• Fellow hip-hoppers unite! The Blogship Connection is in FULL EFFECT. Please add this site to your links or blogrolls immediately. I'm not fond of the name, tho. (Maybe hip-hop blogship or hip-hop station? ) Also, keep in mind that the blog is not fully operational, yet. But big-ups to Eric Nord (of Stink Zone) who is doing a helluva job bringing hip-hop bloggers together on one website. Oh boy, this is going to be big. I can feel it!
• An idiot at Virgin Records took down the link to Janet Jackson's brand new song. The lovely ballad was produced by the "producer of the moment" Kanye West. Take my word for it, the song is real hot. And -- much to my chagrin -- the track does sound a little bit like Alicia Keys's "You Don't Know My Name." Yes, Kayne used a dusty soul/doo-wop sample in the song. As hardCore stated in a post last year, "It's hip-hop for no reason." Nevertheless, Kanye is doing his thing. I'm hoping that somebody at Virgin Records will have the good sense to put that link back up.
"I think [Kanye West] is bigger than Pharrell (Williams). He's a rapper, a producer and a businessman with a serious work ethic. He's a label's dream -- a team player. He's also positive for the culture of hip-hop."
-- Roc-A-Fella CEO Damon Dash beaming about his newest superstar, rapper-producer Kanye West
• But not everybody is cheering for Kanye West.
During his lecture at Brown University, noted hip-hop intellectual Michael Eric Dyson -- a professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania -- feels that Kanye's anti-college sentiments devalues hip-hop culture::
"We're not challenging the status quo by trying to accumulate money. It's through intellectual values and lyrical dexterity that hip-hop can further its credibility. The 'dumbing down of lyrics' is spreading throughout hip-hop, spurred on by widespread anti-intellectualism in American culture. This phenomenon started in the White House. We have an everyman bragging about how inarticulate he is."
(via Brown Daily Herald)
Ouch! I have so much to say about this. In a future post . . .
And speaking of Roc-A-Fella ::
• Jay-Z reportedly has inked a fashion deal with clothing designer Ralph Lauren. This rumor adds more hysteria to recent reports that Jigga is no longer a part of the Roc-A-Fella empire and that he has a major beef with Damon Dash. But I don't think that's the case. Right now, I think Jay-Z wants to be looked upon as the sophisicated rapper-turned-businessman. It's time for black folks to start looking proper.
(via Chicago Sun-Times Online)
• If you want some intellectual hip-hop, Blackalicious rapper Gift of Gab will drop his debut solo CD Fourth Dimensional Rocket Ships this spring. Check out his underground single, "The Writz." I prefer the b-side track "Just Because" . . . just because, it's a doper track. And don't fret, Gab on the solo tip doesn't mean that Blackalicious are over. According to Gab, the group is on hiatus.
(via Mean Street magazine)
• Is this a dangerous shift in hip-hop? ::
Get really really "Low" with Lil' Jon & The Eastside Boyz. Check out this promo clip. (Warning: Lots of T & A . . & P!!!)
• Was Jesus Into Hip-Hop?
"Hip-hop is a voice for disenfranchised people and is doing what the church was intended to do. Hip-hop often sounds angry and 'in yo face,' but its role is to prick our social consciousness."
-- Alex Gee, author of Jesus and the Hip-Hop Prophets
This is funny