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Posts from October 2003

News Headlines

DJ/Producer 9th Wonder

• Celebrated beatmaker 9th Wonder (of the indie-rap champions Little Brother) recorded a track with Jay-Z for his upcoming farewell LP The Black Album. And Jigga gave music insiders a taste of things to come. The Black Album hits stores on Nov. 28.

• Remember this: Hip-hop is worldwide, baby. Hip-hop is even in Alaska. Get off your block and listen to something new.

• Tammy Faye and Lil' Kim must be sharing make-up tips together. Click this>>

Rhythm Of the Knife ::
Singer Chico DeBarge – whose older siblings formed the '80s group
DeBargewas stabbed Thursday morning outside of a Philadelphia nightclub by reputed mob figure John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto.

• NBA b-baller Allen Iverson is the ultimate hip-hop athlete?

"[A.I.] is very much in line with hip-hop," says cultural critic Todd Boyd, author of the just-released book Young Black Rich and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip-Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture. "[Los Angeles Lakers star] Kobe Bryant defies the perceived ghetto stereotype of most NBA players and that has often caused Bryant to function as the league's 'de facto white man.'"

Signs Of Money Savin' ::
R&B stud Tyrese recently visited his alma mater, Grape Street Elementary School, in Watts, Calif., and talked with teens about being money smart. The singer spoke to the students as part of the "Banking On Our Future Across America" program, which teaches money management to young teens nationwide. "[I'm] here to instill the truth and reality about finances into these kids," said Tyrese.


• Columnist Stanley Crouch doesn't think Ghettopoly is an insult to African-Americans, but rather black music is . . . read HERE>>

Wacky News

Bubble Yum :: Bubble gum celebrates 75 years of being America's favorite treat and making kids' teeth rotten.

• A British couple have been forced to move [out of their] house because of the shame caused by the name of their street – Butt Hole Road.
Imagine if you live on Butt Hole Road? The mailman might be afraid to deliver your mail.

• Six naughty English schoolboys popped Viagra at lunch – and were caught when fellow students giggled at the obvious results.
Female teacher to male student: "Excuse me son, is that an apple in your pants or are you just happy to see me?"

Hip-Hop Site of the Day ::

Hip-Hop Quote of the Day::

"I've been there so long, I just needed some space; quality of life," he says. "New York is cool, but I'm just trying to get a better bang for my buck, basically. North Carolina is still close to New York and has a couple of things that were important to [my family], like a good education system for the kids."

-- Mike G of the Jungle Brothers has moved Straight Out the Jungle – that is, New York City – and is now living in the suburbs of North Carolina.


Flying The Friendly Skies

The Weekly Wrap-Up :: On Travel

1. What is the most essential item you include in your suitcase when you travel? Why?

When I traveled to Minneapolis (Mpls), the most essential item in my suitcase was my toiletries case – it had everything: toothbrush/paste, soap, lotion and cologne. I don't use the hotel's soap and lotion products.

2. What is the least essential item you include in your suitcase when you travel? Why?

The least essential item that I included in my suitcase was "wet wipes." I don't know why I included Lever2000 hand "wet wipes" in my suitcase, but I barely used them when I travel.

3. How early do you start packing for a big trip (say, a week)? Why so early or so late?

For my 3-day vacation to Mpls, I packed one bag the day before I had to leave. I was only going for three days, so I packed lightly with a few items. To be honest, I'm a procrastinator, so that's why I packed my bag so late.

4. What do you pack in your carry-on bag if you're flying? If you've never flown, estimate what you'd pack.

When I went to Mpls, I packed magazines and a few clothes in my carry-on bag. You can't pack a lot of things in your carry-on bag because the plane's cargo compartments are very small. My suggestion is to pack your personal items in your carry-on bag as well as magazines, palm pilot and any other writing/reading materials.

5. What kind of stuff do you (or would you) pack if you were traveling with a child for a three-hour flight?

I would definitely pack a game boy and make sure s/she's has the newest game to play – that should keep the child busy. Also, pack a writing pad and or coloring book materials. If you and your child have a favorite card game that the two of you play, then bring the card game.

Unconscious Mutterings For Week 38 ::

  1. Roadtrip :: My three-hour travel to my job from N.J. to NYC and back everyday.
  2. Honey :: My baby from the Midwest
  3. Flanders :: Ed
  4. Vampire :: Dracula
  5. Justice :: For All
  6. Marine :: Water
  7. Protractor :: Doctor's tool for peeking into the anal cavity
  8. Rubber :: Room
  9. London :: Calling
  10. Jerry :: Rice


Trent's Big Post Of Life List (Part III)

Hey, I'm back! I haven't blog in about week or so. Last week, I was on a seven-day vacation from my job. I was able to travel and get some much needed rest during my weeklong "R and R" from the daily grind. So please bear with me as I try to get back on a decent blogging schedule. But for now, I present to you another Big Post Of Life List:

Top 5 things wrong in my field of vision right now ::

  • John Allen Muhammad representing himself at his own murder trial.
  • Grown-ass men sucking on pacifiers while out in public.
    I don't know why men think this is such a cool thing to do but it's absolutely insane. If there are any grown-ass men out there who like to walk around sucking on a baby pacifier in public, please stop that bullshit. It's neither cool or attractive. It's neither hip-hop or in style. It's straight-up ignorant nigger shit. Stop it!
  • A crazy white man survived a jump -- head first -- over Niagra Falls. (White people do the craziest shit sometimes)
  • I'm broke.
  • Writing a post for my blog at 5:30 a.m. in the morning. (I need to get some sleep!)

    The 4 best things I saw, did, or listened to this week ::

  • I'm Listening To :: Comfort Woman by Meshell Ndegeocello
    For those of you who love André 3000's Love Below CD, I suggest that you pick up Meshell's latest effort. This disc is "The Love Below" from a female perspective. And it's one of the most romantic CDs of 2003.

  • I Saw :: Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's latest flick Kill Bill.
    Four words: Intense. Anime. Bloody. Awesome.

  • Vacationing in Minneapolis :: The Twin Cities is indeed a "funky" town.
    I had a wonderful time vacationing in The Twin Cities for three days.
    I enjoyed fine dining at Jazzmines -- a great restaurant that offers wonderful live entertainment and great food.
    And I also visited the Mall of America, which is something to behold. I was walking around for hours and hours and hours. And I shopped till I dropped.

    Right now, the city of Minneapolis is holding a Hip-Hop Festival this week. Plus, the Minnesota History Center has an exhibit called Sounds Good To Me, an historical and musical showcase of the Minneapolis music scene. The exhibit features memorabilia from homtown musicians such as Prince and legendary production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
    Did you know that the 1980's disco hit "Funkytown" was produced by a Minnesotan?

  • I'm Reading: THE AVE magazine
    THE AVE is a new hip-hop magazine, which is on newsstands now. I like the editorials in the publication. The 'zine is off to a promising start. You can check out THE AVE magazine in my "What I'm Reading Section" up top.

    Top 5 songs of the right now ::

  • "It's All Real" -- Pitch Black
    This is a banging street joint (produced by DJ Premier) by a new rap group called Pitch Black. Now jump in the cipher and feel the realness.

  • "Supa Star" -- Montell Jordan
    Montell certainly knows how to do it on this silky smooth joint. The song is not that bad, and I like how Montell freaked Mtume's "Juicy Fruit" sample on the song.

  • "The Red" -- JayLib
    Next to hip-hop supergroup OutKast, Madlib and Jay Dee are the supreme hip-hop duo of the year!

  • "Backtight" -- Jaheim
    This is a cool video for a very nice ballad. Although I have to say that thugs don't pluck rose petals in the rain. Or for that matter, rip their wife beaters off in the soaking rain. C'mon Jah represent for the journo thugs, man. (hee, hee)

  • "Fallen (Remix)" -- Mya (Featuring Pharcyde)
    I dedicate this song to my baby girl from the midwest.

    A music review that I'm trying to write that you don't know nothin' about ::

  • Black Girls Rock!: Meshell Ndegeocello, Lizz Fields and Maria.
    Music writer/blog master Lynne d Johnson penned an informative music examination on three soulsters who are bringing their unique sound of technosoul to the forefront of the music scene. Well, let me introduce to you the three ladies of technosoul -- Meshell Ndegeocello, Lizz Fields and Maria.
    "Three women who are black, whose music is not always classifiably "authentic" black music -- not in nature, nor in context. And they often traverse too many genres for the popular music buying public to be bound up in one [categorical] box."
    (It's coming up, right here on Beats & Rants -- just give me a minute a couple of weeks.)

    A good movie I've seen on [bootleg] DVD [at the barbershop] ::

  • The Wedding Singer starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore
    It was a slow day at the barbershop . . . but "The Wedding Singer" is a funny-ass movie.

    Albums playing on the regular right now ::

  • Jean Grae :: The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP
  • JayLib :: Champion Sound
  • Various Artists :: DJ Aries Ox's Sexxy Redd mix-tape CD
  • Joss Stone :: Soul Sessions
  • Maria :: My Soul
  • Meshell Ndegeocello :: Comfort Woman
  • OutKast :: The Love Below side


  • Scream Phoenix!

    Cannibal Ox's hip-hop classic album Cold Vein

    UPDATE: Jon of HipHop Anonymous was able to get the 411 on the whole Cannibal Ox breakup, and this is the official word from their label Def Jux. According to CanOx's reps, the rap duo DID NOT split up, but in fact the group are on "hiatus" as Vordul and Vast Aire pursue their solo careers. This piece of news is bittersweet, considering that they did canceled their tour with Jean Grae at the last minute, which left Jean hanging without nothing to support her latest effort, The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP. CanOX gets the gas face for doing that to a fellow MC.

    Say it isn't so . . .

    After one classic album, indie-rap champions Cannibal Ox have disbanded. Rhyme-slingers Vast Aire and Vordul have parted ways reportedly over creative differences. "This is the second tour we canceled this year," said former Ox DJ Anthony "Cip One" Cipriani. "Since leaving Def Jux, Vast and Vordul rarely speak to each other anymore. Vast just wants to focus on his solo career." Jean Grae reportedly is in shock over the breakup and never saw it coming. Even sadder news, her promo tour -- with Cannibal Ox -- in support of her brilliant The Bootleg Of The Bootleg EP has been canceled.

    This sucks for everybody -- especially for Jean who is trying to get some exposure (and some dough from these shows) for her latest project. And concertgoers nationwide will miss out on watching a talented MC rip it on the mic.

    This is such sad news, but it's the nature of the bizness.

    But at least Cannibal Ox leaves on a high note. Their debut CD The Cold Vein is indeed a hip-hop classic. If you ever get a chance to listen to the disc it will remind you of the very first time you heard the pure unadulterated beats and rhymes from the Wu-Tang Clan on their debut CD Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The Cold Vein's aggro-electro breakbeat productions by producer/rapper EL-P goes against the norm of today's conventional rap sounds. And the duo's gritty street rhetoric is as abstract and weary as the Harlem (New York) streets they grew up on.

    Cannibal Ox will be sorely missed.

    In light of this news, I'm begging everyone out there to go purchase Jean Grae's Bootleg EP and support a sister who is trying to make a living doing what she loves to do -- and that's rhyme for the people.

    Jean Grae . . . if you are reading this . . . keep your head up. We still need you.


    Grae Matters

    "Not a thug, not a drug seller/ Not a gun shooter, not a stripper sex symbol or anything you use to/ Marketing nightmare/ I don't fit into categories/ I just rap, make beats and shit and sleep all of these stories . . ." -- Jean Grae

    Cop This Disc!!

    Jean Grae
    The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP

    In 2002, Jean Grae was crowned b-girl rap's revolutionary sweetheart with her critically acclaimed debut CD Attack of the Attacking Things. On her unofficial sophomore effort, The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP, Jean continues spitting introspective narratives and metaphors galore over crafty productions that has launched her to underground rap stardom.

    Jean is apocalyptic, funny and brilliant on the EP. Bootleg's standout is "My Crew," a matriarchic ode to her family -- the hip-hop community-- where Jean excoriates pedophiles disguised as music artists, and scolds rap fans who devalue hip-hop culture. Jean spits: "Rap's dead, rap sucks, but thanks to y'all for killing it/ Grilling it down and spilling it guts and filling it back up with trash/ Wait up, I mean cash/ But ain't the two synonymous/ With media politics?/ You know they love it."

    Jean is not your politically correct rapper either. The bright rhyme-slinger talks about her own spiritual warfare with God on the melodic "Take Me," and on the incendiary "Hater's Anthem," Jean's inner bitch is revealed as her honesty outweighs being polite. She huffs in one verse: "I'm more necessary than violence on the Amistad/ [I'm] wrong like eatin' bacon at Ramada-n/ I'll piss on your shoes and make you clean them with your mouth/ Then tell all of your friends and send ya panties to your house." With a chorus that goes: "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you/ Hold up/ You fuck, you fuck, you fuck."

    The highlight of the EP is the 45-minute mix of Jean Grae's hottest freestyles that would make 50 Cent proud. The mix showcases Jean's lyrical versatility: From a feel-good rapper, to a mind-numbing wordsmith, to a hardcore battle rhymer, to a navel-gazing lyricist looking for answers to the world's social ills. Among the treasured gems you'll hear on the mix include a bevy of crazy freestyles over Nas, Jay-Z and Scarface ("My Block") instrumentals, including Jigga's "You Don’t Know (remix)" track. Jean's preference in a man are revealed on her cover tune of Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss," titled "Excuse Me Sir." (A classic) Another gem is "Negro League Baseball," a throwback song (circa late '90s) of a then-witty 18-year-old Jean when she was with the now-defunct rap group Natural Resource. (An old-school classic)

    Only one minor disappointment: Jean Greasy's sinister "Very Bad Things" didn't make the cut on the EP, which would reveal Jean as more diabolical than her fellow rap counterpart Eminem. (Yes, she is indeed the Real Slim Lady.) Aside from that, The Bootleg of The Bootleg is a tasty appetizer before the bountiful feast coming in 2004 -- Jean Grae's second full-length CD. I can't wait.

    Here's what other music writers are saying about Jean's The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP:

    Alvin "aqua boogie" Blanco of says Jean "Has the rhyme chops to hang with the big boys like Jay-Z and Nas." And that Bootleg [offers] "thought-provoking and technically precise lyricism with even stronger beats. Thank you Jean."

    Online music writer madtheory believes: "Amidst a wall full of 30-watt light bulbs Jean Grae’s deft lyricism and resonant production radiates like a halogen lamp."

    And Jon of HipHop Anonymous writes about Bootleg: "You would think Jean belongs in a psychiatric ward, but such containment would only keep her from cutting her teeth on the mean streets of New York. And you don't want to do that, because she'll bite you, repeatedly."