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December 2004
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February 2005

Posts from January 2005

Essential Reading

I applaud Essence magazine's Take Back the Music campaign. My only concern is the editors/writers will assail against the rappers and hip-hop and not really focus on society at large. Misogyny is a cultural problem and is not exclusive to hip-hop (and rappers) only.

But I digress because all I want to do with this post was pass this article along to those who may have not seen or read this piece.

It's music journalist Mark Anthony Neal's insightful commentary on misogyny in hip-hop titled Hip-Hop Has A Gender Problem.

One Highlight:

In a society that remains largely ignorant of the scholarly, political and cultural contributions of women like Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis ("oh yeah, the chick with the afro, right?"), June Jordan, bell hooks, Michele Wallace, Patricia Hill-Collins, Jewell Gomez, Joy James, Beverley Guy-Sheftall and Masani Alexis De Veaux, how can we expect hip-hop to do the heavy-lifting that hasn't been done in the larger culture? Despite popular belief, hip-hop is not the most prominent site of sexism and misogyny in American society, but a reflection of the sexism and misogyny that more powerfully circulates within American culture.

In many ways the images and lyrics used to objectify women of color in hip-hop videos serve as metaphors for the ways that American society actually treats those women. As Pough notes, "rappers become grunt workers for the patriarchy: They sow the field of misogyny for the patriarchy and provide the labor necessary to keep it in operation, much as Black men and women provided the free and exploited labor that built the United States." Remember, the black men on the screen are "performing" -- performing their notions of how American masculinity embodies power through force, violence and exploitation. (50 [Cent] ain't the only thug or pimp in the room -- there are more than a few in the White House and at the Pentagon.)

That is all. I'm not looking for a medal or looking to be crowned a hip-hop scholar.

I'm just passing this information along.

Thank you.


Baker's Dozen: Get Right

Here are THE RULES: You have to come up with twelve thoughts and one picture (totaling 13) to describe your weekend. Try using quotes, events, links to blog entries and websites, etc.

01. I'm still compiling my "Best Albums of 2004" list. I just need some motivation inspiration to post my list.
02. I watched the UNCF telethon in honor of Quincy Jones. Q looked bored as hell, but it was very entertaining show. Stevie Wonder performed Michael Jackson's classic ballad "I Can't Help It." How apropos, huh?
03. Then, I popped in the DVD player Fat Albert -- The Ultimate Collection. Hey, Hey, Hey! What can I say?
04. On Sunday, I copped some long-sleeve t-shirts at the Gravy Factory -- it's all gravy, baby!
05. I . . . can't . . . stop . . . watching . . . her . . . sizzling . . . new . . . video. I . . . must . . . look . . . away. But . . . I . . . can't . . . resist . . . her . . . fat . . . . booty. Dang . . . she . . . looks . . . so . . . damn . . . hot . . . in . . . those . . . black . . . leather . . . pants. I . . . must . . . turn . . . away. But I can't. I love huuur . . . . she's my future baby's mama.
06. Hey, check out this hot blog straight from the frontlines of South Africa -- Don't Sleep! (hat tip: Lyrical Swords)
07. And 50 Cent -- a changed man? According to music journalist Lynne d. Johnson -- who listened to a few tracks from 50's forthcoming sophomore CD -- Fiddy gets introspective and shares his thoughts on fame and God. The hip-hop toughie also recorded a song with Stevie Wonder. Dang, Fiddy is about to bring some heat in the '05.
08. But the question I want to know is -- what the hell is The Game doing on the front cover of Vibe magazine? New blood? C'mon now, this Compton rhyme-slinger is rehashing gangsta themes that he studied from Dr. Dre, N.W.A. and 50 Cent. If this is new blood, give me another blood transfusion. But Kevin gives a good synopsis about the cover boy.
09. And according to Bol (of, The Game lacks, uh, lyrical game. But music scribe Sean F. loved The Game's CD The Documentary and feels it "burns hotter than last night's tramp." Well, all right, then. But let's see if homeboy can put up the numbers.
10. R.I.P.: Hip-Hop (1975-2005). Eulogy performed by Gregg Tate. CHUURRCH!!

-- I'm kinda half and half on Gregg's article. I agree with some of Gregg's viewpoints, and then, on other parts, I think Gregg is out of touch. I think hip-hop as Gregg remembers it is dead. Today's hip-hop is on a whole new idealism. I'm in agreement with Honey Soul on this subject. She writes, "Negative or positive, hip-hop music reflects the culture and we ain't going nowhere. To quote my man Mos Def: . . . 'Whatever's happening to hip-hop, is what's happening to us' (Fear Not Man)."

11. Essence magazine has organize a campaign to stamp out misogyny in the entertainment industry. And since Beats and Rants is exempt from the ladies' scorn, I figured I show you this week's hottie -- and man, is she a foxy lady. Yeeaauuh!
12. But seriously, I applaud the editor's efforts to address the issue of misognisitic lyrics in (rap) music and the overt exploitation of black women in the entertainment industry. Blogger DL Chandler offers his viewpoints on Essence magazine's campaign. CHUURRCH!

[Editor's Note: I see a lot of bloggers/writers posting their viewpoints on Gregg Tate's article. Maybe I will do a follow-up and survey the opinions. Is hip-hop truly dead?]


The Best Is Yet To Come

Hey, since O-Dub, Sam Chenault, Lynne d Johnson and Jon are doing it, I figure I jump on the bandwagon. Here's my partial list of my Pazz & Jop Albums Ballot for the Village Voice:

01. Kanye West -- The College Dropout -- Roc-A-Fella (10 points)
02. The Foreign Exchange Project -- Connected -- BBE (10 points)
03. Martin Luther -- Rebel Soul Music -- Rebel Soul Records (10 Points)
04. TV On the Radio -- Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes -- Touch & Go (10 points)
05. Ghostface -- The Pretty Toney Album -- Def Jam (10 points)
06. k-os -- Joyful Rebellion -- Astralwerks (10 points)

My Pazz & Jop Singles:

01. The Foreign Exchange Project -- "All That You Are" -- BBE
02. Snoop Dogg (Featuring Pharrell) -- "Drop It Like It's Hot" -- Geffen
03. Martin Luther -- "Daily Bread" -- Rebel Soul Records
04. Nas (Featuring Olu Dara) -- "Bridging the Gap" -- Columbia
05. De La Soul -- "Rock.Cokane.Flo." -- Sanctuary
06. Jadakiss -- "Why?" -- Ruff Ryders
07. Jean Grae -- "P.S." -- Babygrande
08. Kanye West -- "All Falls Down" -- Roc-A-Fella
09. Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs -- "Maps" -- Interscope
10. Common (Featuring Kanye West) -- "The Food" -- as performed on the Dave Chappelle Show (2nd season)

P.S.: I will post a full list as soon as I'm able to gather my thoughts together about my picks.

In the meantime, check out these well-written, well thought out, well-defined 2004 Year-In-Review wrap-ups by music journalist Q and blogger DL Chandler. Also, Noz of Cocaine Blunts wrote an excellent year-end recap that thoroughly examines hip-hop's hits and misses in 2004.

Great job, fellas. Major props to you all.



"Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep seeded, that it is invisible because it is so normal."
-- Shirley Chisholm

"At present, our country needs women's idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else."
-- Shirley Chisholm

"Reagan [was] the prez but I voted for Shirley Chisholm."
-- Biz Markie on "Nobody Beats the Biz"

Shirley Anita Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, died Saturday at the age of 80. Shirley, an advocate for minority and women's rights, also was the first black person to run for the U.S. presidency in 1972. "I ran for the Presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo," said Chisholm in her book, The Good Fight. A recently released documentary titled Chisolm '72: Unbought & Unbossed that details her presidential campaign will premiere on PBS in February.


Real Live In the '05

Happy New Year!

2004 was such a bore, but now it's time to get live in the '05. Or rather, stay alive in the '05. Ya feel me? It's a jungle out here.

Thank you for reading (and linking) Beats & Rants 2.2.

I hope to continue bringing my thoughts, reviews, opinions, and or rants to you via this blog, as well as on my other blog, Magic Negro.

I wish everyone peace and prosperity in the 2 double-zero 5!

P.S.: My year-end music list is forthcoming . . .