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Posts from February 2008

Still A "Champion"

"Did you realize that you are a champion in their eyes . . ."
-- "Champion" from Graduation

I'm quite sure that for Kanye West, music's biggest night left him with a bittersweet aftertaste. After three consecutive years of being nominated in the Album of the Year category, the super-producer was once again shut out of winning the coveted prize at Sunday's 50th Annual Grammy Awards. But don't feel bad for 'Ye, he won four trophies for the night, including Best Rap Album for his great LP, Graduation.

Like Usher said before Quincy Jones announced the winner for the Album of the Year honor -- "There are no losers, Kanye."

People are in shock that veteran pianist Herbie Hancock won the trophy for his Jazz LP River: The Joni Letters. But the real shock here is that Herbie's win was also only the second such honor for a jazz album in the Grammys 50-year history. Damn! So rather than give the award to the odds-on favorite, the Grammy voters decided to play catch up and correct a 43-year miscue of not honoring a jazz album.

But aside from that, I think Herbie deserves the prize. I have listened to Herbie's River: The Joni Letters, a tribute disc to singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, and it's a wonderful collection. There are some great performances on the set by Corinne Bailey Rae and Tina Turner. And of course, the instrumentation, musicanship and production on the disc is top notch. In comparison, Herbie's River: The Joni Rivers is like a jazz version of Santana's Supernatural CD, and that disc won Album of the Year at the 2000 Grammys.

And I cannot forget about Kanye's glow-in-the-dark rendition of "Stronger" backed by Daft Punk -- simply an outstanding performance. The glasses were hot, the suit jacket was hot and his haircut with "MAMA" etched into his head was, ah, well, over the top metrosexual. 'Ye's emotional performance of "Hey Mama," his tribute to his late mother Dr. Donde West, brought tears to my eyes as 'Ye sang to his beloved matriarch. Go, Kanye!

Kanye is probably sulking but he should be happy with his four wins. And although he didn't nabbed the top prize -- Kanye you are still a champion in my eyes.

Kanye West:

Best Rap Solo Performance: "Stronger"
Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "Southside" (with Common)
Best Rap Song: "Good Life" (Featuring T-Pain)
Best Rap Album: Graduation

To check out the complete list of Grammy winners, click HERE.


Dilla Is Forever, Part II

(From J Dilla mural in Paris)

"My brother was like my hero. A lot of people ask me what if I feel like I'm living in his shadow, but it’s not even like that. I'm just happy to have had such a great brother."
-- Illa J (John Yancey), J Dilla's brother

Today, Feb. 10, 2008, marks the 2nd anniversary of the untimely passing of the late hip-hop maestro James "J Dilla" Yancey (AKA Jay Dee) who died from liver complications caused by Lupus. This past week, his exhaustive body of work has been celebrated in the press and on the Internet.

HipHopDX writer Aliya Ewing has posted two great tributes to J Dilla. First, she salutes Jay Dee with her story Dilla Wafers: Remembering J. Dilla, which features some of Dilla's memorable tracks. The second is a feature called A J. Dilla Family Affair, a thoughtful interview with Dilla's mother Maureen Yancey (affectionately known as "Ma Dukes") and brother John "Illa J" Yancey. On a side note, Illa J is making a name for himself as an up-and-coming rapper, who is currently featured on Black Milk's Caltroit LP ("Spectacular" featuring Busta Rhymes).

In the blogsphere, bloggers have "Stand Up" and offered tributes to the late studio wizard. Here's a few that caught my eye:

J. Dilla -- "Find A Way" (Orchestral remix)

Soul Bounce mastermind nOva remembers J. Dilla with his Dilla Soul Sampler -- 15 of his favorite Dilla tracks. posts J Dilla's "Greatest Beats"

And if you missed the Donuts Are Forever Party at Southpaw in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 8, here's a VIDEO RECAP of the event. It was bananas, er, donuts!

Continue reading "Dilla Is Forever, Part II" »

Dilla Is Forever

This Friday and Sunday, two events are being held that will pay tribute to the late and great hip-hop maestro J Dilla (aka James Yancey). The visionary beatsmith died two years ago on Feb. 10, 2006. Dilla's birthday is actually on Feb. 7.

The first event is being held in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the second gathering takes place "across the pond" in London. (That's right . . . in London.) All proceeds from both of these tribute shows will be donated to the J Dilla Foundation and the Alliance for Lupus Research.

Check out these flyers:

For more info on the New York event, click THIS.

Continue reading "Dilla Is Forever" »

Super Bowl Music Post


Snoop Dogg -- "Neva Hafta Wurry"

I have to apologize to Snoop Dogg. Two years ago, I suggested on this blog that veteran rhyme-slinger should retire. The reason why I called for Snoop's retirement was after listening to him rehash old gangster lyrics on his last effort, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, I figured it was time for him to preserve his rap legacy and quit while he's on top. But I was wrong. After listening to "Sensual Seduction" (aka "Sexual Eruption"), "Neva Hafta Wurry" and "Fuckin'" (featuring Ice Cube), I think Snoop's new disc, Ego Trippin' (due March 11) might be his best CD since 1996's Doggystyle. I think Ego Trippin' might be the first great rap album of '08.

Janet Jackson -- "Rock With U" and "Luv" (via Official Website)

Janet Jackson has unveiled two new tracks from her upcoming LP Discipline, which hits stores on Feb. 26. The songs are oh-hum to me. Nothing special.

Jay-Z -- Ain't I (produced by Timbaland)

This is an old Jay-Z song that was cut from Timbo's Shock Value LP. The track is banging. It's better than that awful "Apologize" tune by OneRepublic.

Lil Mama (featuring T-Pain & Chris Brown) -- "Shawty Get Loose" (Music Video)

Obvoiusly, this video takes its creative license from the "Scream" video starring Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson (I guess Lil Mama is playing the Michael Jackson part -- I keed, I keed!). The 16-year-old rap vixen is getting a little too sexy for me in this clip. I feel a little strange getting a "stiffy" from watching Lil Mama dancing around in those tight latex pants, if you know what I mean?

Check out Missy Elliott's hot remix for "Ching-A-Ling" (featurng Ciara and Jay-Z).

Focus (featuring Little Brother) -- "Back When"
Rapper Focus reminiscing about the good old days when rap was fun and when the word crack meant there was a hole in the wall.

Speaking of back in the days:
Showbiz & A.G. -- "Fat Pockets" (Music Video)
And can I get a "Soul Clap"? This is a hip-hop classic joint.

Hip-hop writer Felicia Pride talks about her new book, The Message.

Nappy Roots -- "Who Got It, Where's It At?" (Audio)

Jean Grae -- "Love Thirst" (Audio)

Jill Scott -- "Whenever You're Around" (Live)(Video)

Murs -- "Better Than the Best" (Music Video)


Gluteus Maximus

I haven't been sleeping on the booty, y'all. I had to fall back for a minute and focus on the music. But I found this cutie the other day while I was flipping through Show magazine, one of the hottest men's publication on the newsstands. Her stage name may be Maximus, but I sure do love her gluteus. (*wink, wink*)

Here are some quick facts about her:
The Mexican beauty was born and raised in Orange County, Calif., and is 22 years old. She also is a Gemini and very single. According to this video and this video, she claims to be a homebody and not a party girl. You can see her next in the March issue of Black Men Magazine, which hits newsstands on Feb. 10. Her official website is a work in progress, but you can add her as a friend via her MySpace page.