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Posts from September 2003

Trent's Big Post of Life Lists

Blue Skies

I swiped this from Mister JT of Negro Please ::

Top 5 thoughts while watching/listening to OutKast's André 3000 perform "Hey Ya" on The Late Show with David Letterman last Friday (Sept. 26) ::

1. Dré is a hip-hop superstar!
2. The go-go dancer in the pink outfit is hot!
3. Dré can carry a tune; He's actually a nice singer!
4. "Hey Ya" is the coolest song of the year!
5. My gosh, Dré should take his act on the road -- he should call it the Ice Cold Tour.

Top 5 Songs of the right now ::

1. "Walked Outta Heaven" -- Jagged Edge
2. "Rain On Me" -- Ashanti
3. "My Crew" -- Jean Grae
4. "Hey Ya" -- André 3000
5. "Gettin' Late" -- Floetry

Top 3 things I've written that you don't know nothin' about ::


Top 5 things that I haven't had time to write yet ::

1. My music review on CDs by Little Brother and Cunninlynguists -- two southern rap groups who are the heir apparents to OutKast.
2. A hip-hop-related book.
3. A screenplay.
4. My 1,000 word music review on CDs by one-named R&B lotharios:Kem, Dwele, Javier and Malik.
5. A bio on a friend who's running a very successful business-to-business entertainment company.

Top things I've been doing at home when I get free moments ::

1. Blogging.
2. Having late-night chats with a fly girl from the Midwest.
3. Listening to new CDs that I get in the mail from record labels.
4. Balancing by checkbook; paying bills, bills, bills, bills.
5. Sleeping.
6. Blogging.
7. Zone out on VH1 and/or BET

Good Movies I've seen on DVD [at the barbershop] ::

1. The Hulk [bootleg DVD]
2. The Family Guy (season 3)
It's not a movie, but it was entertaining to watch while getting my "baldie" haircut.

Bad Movies I've seen on DVD [at the barbershop] ::

1. Once Upon a Time In Mexico [on bootleg DVD]
2. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen [on bootleg DVD]

Albums playing on the regular right now ::

1. OutKast -- The Love Below side
2. Kindred The Family Soul -- Surrender To Love
3. Seal -- Seal IV
4. Erykah Badu -- Worldwide Underground
5. DMX -- Grand Champ
6. OutKast -- The Love Below side
7. Various Artists -- Universal Records/Motown Records' Fall 2003 music sampler CD (sent via mail)
8. Aesop Rock -- Bazooka Tooth
9. Various Artists -- Don Cello and Friends
10. OutKast -- The Love Below side

Unconscious Mutterings For Week 34 ::

  1. Herpes :: Don't Want It!
  2. Freddy :: Krueger
  3. October :: next month
  4. Hunting :: game
  5. MSN :: Internet
  6. 36 :: in three more years (age-wise)
  7. Hotel :: California
  8. Travesty :: the state of hip-hop music
  9. Health :: conditions
  10. Conditions :: are looking good


It's All Love . . . Below

Son of a Beach -- OutKast's Andre 3000

This will be my final post on OutKast's illustrious double-CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

The reviews on Speakerboxxx/The Love Below have been unanimous: 'Kast's double LP is indeed the best album of the year. Check out what the critics and bloggers had to say about the wonder twins' masterpiece ::

Diarist Angelique of is totally in love with André 3000's musical contributions on the Love Below. She writes:

"Presently [I'm] on some "Cupid Valentino" type shit. And I want to do it, um . . . I mean listen to it (The Love Below) over and over again. Eargasms are better than "no-gasms." So . . . I think I'm [gonna] let my eardrums "Spread." Dré got me bent over in one night."

Larry Katz of the Boston Herald believes that Speakerboxxx and The Love Below -- separately -- are two of the best albums of the year. He writes: "In this face off between André and Big Boi, everyone's a winner."

Blog-master Mister JT (of Negro Please) also admires Dré's Love Below, too. He says:

"The Love Below is the best album I've heard in 10 years. [The disc] is an attack on the soul and the mind and the heart. It is new language. You can hear the work that was put into every second of every moment of the album. You feel André Benjamin in everything that you're doing when you're listening because he is leading this journey. This is genre shattering, unchartered territory. This is fresh."

Now while everyone seems to be diggin' André 3000's side, writer William Blaze of abstract dynamics gave props to Big Boi's side:"[Speakerboxxx] is fucking off the rigging, while the Dré one is just weird, at least on the first run. If anything The Big Boi [side] is actually more out-there then previous OutKast albums, but in direct lineage."

Interestingly, Stereodust thinks that Dré's subject matter on the Love Below is not about "love" or "women," but rather it's about hip-hop. He pens:

"[The Love Below] is a concept album about music and hip-hop and [André's] fear of even doing the album. The beginning is about his running from his love. Cupid Valentino understands . . . . he used to be a bad boy. Hell, André might've just sung on it just to make fun of the rap game's current state. I really don't want to ruin it for you, but [André 3000] is a muthafuggin' genius dog, I swear."

But not everyone was happy with Dré's and Big Boi's musical expansion on the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

Shockingly, The Source magazine -- the so called Bible of Hip-Hop -- in their current issue (with Ludacris on the front cover) gave 'Kast's LP only 4 microphones, which means "banging" in their ratings scale. Despite a glorious review, the editors of the magazine felt that the double-CD was "too far left" for hip-hop. (???) Also, the editors believe that since André is singing (rather than rapping) on his side, they believe that the double-LP as a whole wasn't a hip-hop album.

In my opinion, four mics is not that shabby, but I think Speakerboxxx/The Love Below deserved more microphones -- at least 4½ mics. I don't know what the editors were listening to, but 'Kast's CD is a full-fledge HIP-HOP ALBUM. And as far as Dré singing on his half of the collection -- I don't see the debate. Ja Rule sings on his records and the Source editors call that hip-hop, but Dré singing on his LP, and the editors are questioning whether or not that's hip-hop? And if the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below -- as a whole -- should be even considered a hip-hop LP?

Yes, I understand that Speakerboxxx is a rap record for the obvious reasons; but to say that the Love Below is not hip-hop enough because Dré is singing on it, to me, this is bizarre thinking. OutKast shouldn't be punished for taking hip-hop to the next level. In fact, hip-hop needs to go "far left" as possible -- singing or otherwise. Anyway, it's safe to say, that I have lost all faith in The Source as a credible hip-hop magazine.

Nevertheless, writer Bomani Jones of puts in all in perspective:

"With the release of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double CD with one solo disc per group member, OutKast may have secured their place in history as the greatest group ever."


Oops, I'm sorry . . .



33 and the Love Below

Andre 3000 Holding A Sweet Bitch

"God . . . [ Trent ] just needs a sweet bitch . . . you know, somebody not too . . not too fast, but not too slow. 'Cause I don't have it all my damn self. And LIFE ain't easy. You just want somebody by your side to help smooth that thang out. At this point . . . I mean, [ Trent's ] not being picky . . . she doesn't even have to have a big ol' ass. You know . . . just something well-proportioned to her body . . . you know a nice lil' tail . . ."
-- Taken from "God" by André 3000 (The Love Below)

I listened to OutKast's double-CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Below all weekend long.

What an exciting sonic trip. My assessment after several listens:

I totally love André 3000's The Love Below. Probably because, much like Dré, I also have been unlucky and lucky in love. So I know how Dré feels when you are totally in love (or in lust) and you can't get that girl out of your mind ("She Lives In My Lap"). And I know how it feels when your girlfriend dumps you for another nigga. The anger you have for that bitch can take over all of your emotions and your life. (Errrr!) On the scornful "Roses," a heated Dré reveals his resentment towards his ex-girl. ["I know you'd like to think your shit don't stank/ But lean a little bit closer/ See that roses really smell like boo-boo-ooo-ooo"]
I know that feeling . . . trust me. [Talking to my ex-girlfriend: fuck you bitch!]

Dré's Love Below is a psychedelic trip into those romantic pitfalls we often find ourselves in when it comes to love. Dré's music encompasses influences of Prince ("Happy Valentine's Day"), Earth, Wind & Fire ("Prototype"), Shuggie Otis ("Pink & Blue") and Beck ("Dracula's Wedding"). In addition, Dré's drum-n-bass reworking of John Coltrane's tune "My Favorite Things" should blow the roof off rave clubs nationwide. And "She's Alive" and "A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre (Incomplete)" are pure hip-hop brilliance. Both of those songs are heartfelt autobiographical odes to Dré's life, which are introspective, retrospective and reflective all at the same time.

Not to say that Big Boi's Speakerboxxx is weak. Oh no, quite the opposite. Big Boi has put the "boom boom" back into hip-hop, and his side offers some of the funkiest (or "crunkiest") music I have ever heard in a while. The guest stars (Ludacris, Jay-Z, Lil' Jon, Killer Mike) are aplenty and they come through in a pinch -- since Dré is hardly heard of on the Speakerboxxx side, and vice versa. [Like my man, Paul Farber, said to me: "Speakerboxxx sounds like an OutKast album without Dré . . . and I'm fine with that!"]
None of the guest rappers outshine Big Boi -- they complement him. Not even Jigga's verses on "Flip Flop Rock" surpassed Big Boi's comprehensive lyrical flow.

Among the hot tracks are: the gospel-enriched "Church"; the crunk-meets-doo wop banger "The Way You Move"; the smooth soul grooves featured on "Reset"; and the club anthem "Last Call" (featuring Lil' Jon & the East Side Boyz and others), which will make the ladies (and fellas) "get low" from the window to the wall.

All around, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is just a great hip-hop CD and certainly one of the best albums of the year!

Now, the real question:
Is Speakerboxxx/The Love Below a hip-hop classic?

Hmmm . . .?

Who cares, it's a triumphant album --

Hip-hop is not dead . . . it's just in another spirit.

Oh . . . and today is my birthday.

I hope my birthday wish comes true . . .

God, are you listening?

Keep on stankin' . . .

"Word Association" time from Unconscious Mutterings
For Week 33 ::

  1. Savings :: account
  2. On :: and on
  3. Wire :: tap
  4. Word :: is bond
  5. Bladder :: control
  6. Missing :: link
  7. Side :: show
  8. Window :: seal
  9. Digit :: phone number
  10. Swirl :: ice cream

News Headlines (Part 2)

Bootylicious diva Beyonce

• A Bootylicious Comeback? ::
R&B crooner Marques Houston (aka Batman from IMX) will release a song dedicated to his old girlfriend Beyoncé -- it's a dance track called "Pop That Booty."

Ah, yes, pop that booty. Beyoncé's father, Mathew Knowles, must be angry at this revelation -- yes, daddy's little girl is a hoochie mama. *wink (Ha! Ha!)

• New Hip-Hop Class Teaches 50 Cent, Run-DMC ::

A new hip-hop class is raising eyebrows and surprising students with how in-depth it is. Hip-hop culture is the subject of the newest class offered by the Center for Black Studies at Northern Illinois University. The class offers a chance to learn about all the hip-hop artists people may enjoy listening to.
Okay class, today's lesson is "Thug Marketing." We are going to learn how to get shot nine times and make a successful rap career out of it. G-G-G G-Unit!

Hip-hop Folkie Everlast Signs With Def Jam

• Look Out Source Here Comes The TRUTH ::

A James Madison University (Virginia) campus DJ has started his own rap publication called TRUTH magazine. Inside the 12-page magazine there are interviews with rappers Skillz and Talib Kweli, plus insightful articles addressing topics like the "n-word" in hip-hop, the abuse of soundscan sales and a column on American democracy. "Hip-hop's just a form of entertainment," says Thomas Anderson, the man behind the publication. "We're basically using hip-hop to bridge the culture."

P. Diddy Is Going Back To School
He's going to teach class on how to bling-bling and make glorified party records off of samples.
I kid, I kid. Hee! Hee!
Mr. Diddster had a meeting with New York Mayor Bloomberg to see what he can do to help the public school system.

• Yo! Yo! Yo! Check out the hottest "beer-geek-hip-hop" group that's blowing up at your local brewery -- The Pain Relievaz. Their 5-song CD is slammin'! Tracks like "Brewer's Bling-Bling" and "I Got Busy with an A-B Salesgirl" is off the nozzle my hozzles. The duo of Funkmaster I.B.U. and DJ Li'l Guy are just trying to keep it real. "We like to get real pissy drunk," says Funkmaster I.B.U.

Yes, this is a joke.


Hip-hop's Not So Hidden Messages

Weird News

• This is very interesting :: Party of the Body

• Mmm, Mmm, Ewwwww ::
Utah woman has sued the Campbell Soup Co., saying she found a tooth in the chicken soup she served her 13-month-old son last year and now is afraid to eat soup.

Hip-Hop Site of the Day
The Hip-Hop Post

Hip-Hop Quote of the Day
"They (fans) won't let [Tupac] die. And when they ask me, I say, as long as I breathe air 'Pac is never dead. This is what they want to hear. I always say that anyway. These kids come up and hug me and I say, 'Damn, these kids love Pac.' I cannot figure it out other than the chemistry that existed, that [2Pac] was a genius and he knew how to reach his people. He reached them, they loved him, and they will not let him die. I love him, because he’s my godson, he’s family and I struggle to understand as I grow."
-- Geronimo Ji Jaga (Tupac Shakur's godfather) on the legacy of his late godson.


Thug 4 Life

The Late Great (2Pac)Tupac Shakur

• Thug 4 Life ::
Thug 4 Life is a daily weblog that tracks a white guy from New York named Tom Sanford who is trying every conceivable way to transform himself into the late rapper Tupac Shakur.

No, this is not a joke website. From what I can tell this is real. After reading through Tom's diary entries, I am totally fascinated by this weblog. The guy -- who makes his living as an abstract artist -- seems very respectful of Tupac Shakur and his legacy. He's committed to becoming Tupac Shakur.

Tom has gotten in shape to have the same muscular build as Tupac; he is donning some of Tupac's tattoes; He is listening to Tupac's music and he has read many of the Tupac biographies. The daily entries are an interesting read. This is a blog that hip-hop heads should check out. But what I want to know is -- is this offensive? Is he making a mockery out of the legacy of Tupac Shakur? Please tell me what you think about this.

[EDIT] Also, on a side note, Tom's transformation into Tupac Shakur calls for a discussion on race and identity. Jason of Negro Please tackles this subject in his recent post. His entry was inspired by another post by George Junior.

There's a notion that nobody who is white would ever choose to be black -- which I tend to agree. But let's flip that equation: Would anyone who is black ever choose or want to be white? What if a scientist could turn your brown skin color (pigmentation) so you can become a white person, would you go for it? [Read Black No More by George Schuyler]

So now let's look at Tom here: This is a white dude who is choosing to be an iconic figure who is black. So how do you view Tom's ongoing Tupac transformation? Do you question Tom's whiteness? Is he a poser pissing on Tupac's grave? OR is he just a crazy white boy?[/EDIT]