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July 2006

Posts from June 2006

Music Critique 101

Rule #10:

"There's No Such Thing as "Real Hip-Hop"

Jay Smooth of Hip-Hop Music breaks it on down. Here's a passage:

There's no such thing as "real hip-hop" or "fake hip-hop." There's only hip-hop you like, and hip-hop you don't like.

That doesn't mean there's no place for blunt, honest critique of our artists/industry/culture. If Thug Life Clone #228 spends his whole album glorifying stupidity and self-destruction, he (and whoever's running the clone factory) needs to get called out for that. But framing our critique in the language of "fake" and "real" hip-hop will always be self-defeating. It does nothing but alienate and insult the intelligence of everyone we hope to reach.



Why It's Taking Me Forever To Finish Consuming Jazzhole's "Poet's Walk"

Poet's Walk
(Beave Music)

It's good to know friends in low places.

I've known Jazzhole mastermind Warren Rosenstein since 1995, when the group released their critically acclaimed CD, . . . And the Feeling Goes Round. It's been hard for us to keep in touch with one another through the years because both of us are so busy. Whenever Jazzhole releases a new album, without fail Warren always sends me a fresh CD copy in the mail. What a cool guy.

I also treasure the fact that Jazzhole are truly a GREAT live band as well. In the last few years, crooner Marlon Saunders has been part of the fold and has given the group its soulful sound. Their latest CD, Poet's Walk, was recently released in the U.K. and will hit U.S. stores on July 11. Poet's Walk is a great collection of wonderful jazz-soul music. It's a perfect album for the summertime. I will write a more detailed music review and post it on my blog Beats and Rants near or around the July 11 release date. In the meantime, check out a few selections from Poet's Walk, right HERE.

My Favorites: The excellent remake of Boz Scaggs's "Lowdown," the tender ballad "The Slipping of Time" and the smooth jazz sounds of "Timeless."

See more about Poet's Walk


Mega Def

So far, I think it's safe to acknowledge that so-called "back packer rap" is making some major strides in 2006. Some of the best rap albums I have heard this year have come from indie-rap stalwarts Soul Position, People Under the Stars, Madlib and the late J Dilla. All of them are considered underground rap, or as producer Pete Rock would say, "Harriett Tubman" -- because they are so underground, they are beneath the underground railroad. Out of the so-called "mainstream rap" scene, only Ghostface Killa's Fishscale CD and T.I.'s King disc had me nodding my head uncontrollably within the past six months.

An ill lyricist I will be looking out for next week is Mr. Lif.

This Boston rhyme-spitter is set to drop his sophomore CD Mo' Mega on June 13. The disc is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut, I, Phantom. Early reviews on the disc have been good, so far.

Writer Jessica Dufresne of writes that Mo' Mega "combines just the right amounts of humor, political and social consciousness and sensitivity for your aural pleasure."

Editors at Insominac online magazine was so enamored by Mo' Mega, they said, "it is a must buy."

Bol C (aka Byron Crawford, the hip-hop blog baron) -- who is usually tough on indie rap artists -- gave Mo' Mega a marginal thumbs up.
He states:

It's no I Phantom, but it's still pretty good. El-P kills it on the production, and the one Edan did ["Murs Iz My Manager" featuring Murs] is really good, too. Most of this is a lot less explicitly political than you'd expect coming off of that last album he put out, but you don't really mind as much.
However, blogger The Wigfield Maniac feels that Mr. Lif's Mo' Mega is straight crap.
To wit:
[Mo' Mega] is a damn mess and I probably won't pick it up. Aside from the sometimes spaced out, downright annoying beats and [Mr. Lif's] weak flow I just don't see myself dropping $14 on this [album].
Mr. Lif's Mo' Mega CD is available for pre-orders right HERE. You can also listen to DJ Big Wiz's mixtape featuring songs from the disc. (Hat Tip: 15 Minutes to Live -- a MP3 music blog)

And you can also buy and download the remix of Mr. Lif's "Brothaz" by producers Cassettes Won't Listen, right HERE.


Her Hips Don't Lie

This Colombian cutie has been modeling for three years mostly for Playboy and other adult magazines. The 28-year-old former Hawaiian Tropic model currently resides in California and is happily single. Her ideal man must be confident, loving, fun, spontaneous and willing to cater to her every needs. Are there any takers? To check out more pictures of her, clickety click HERE.


Still "Lost", Bitch!

This is bittersweet news for me.

While I'm ecstatic that the lost episodes of Chappelle's Show is finally coming to DVD this summer, I just wish Dave Chappelle and the show itself would return to the Comedy Central lineup -- ASAP. Nevertheless, I'm going to cop the DVD (SRP -- $24.99) to complete my collection.

However, before it hits retail, Comedy Central will broadcast the Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes -- in which the show's writers Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings introduces sketches that never aired -- on July 9 at 9 p.m. ET. The DVD arrives in stores on July 25.

Dave please come back . . .