East-West Paperboy Division

I was at a VJ Uncle Ralph McDaniels session in Manhattan over the weekend. While Uncle Ralph was doing damage with the video mixing, the homie Samaha leaned over and asked, “You think he’ll play Paperboy?”
Had to laugh at that one. Sure, Paper Boy is the one-hit gem every West Coaster knows as the jam that rocked outdoor BBQs and skating rinks statewide. In the midst of gangster rap, this Paper Boy guy jacked a funk loop and rode off into the sunset, or did he?

Maybe one day Uncle Ralph will figure out how to squeeze this jam into his rotation, keep an eye out and let me know if you see it. He’ll be streaming his Saturday “Video Music Box” show, here.


Bootlegger’s Revenge


One thing this video doesn’t mention is how this guy built his entire audience off of rapidshare.com and the like. He’s come a loooong way. Based on what he used to tell me in emails, his day starts at like 5 a.m. or something. An Internet hustler with a Master’s and a day job.

He doesn’t drink or do drugs, but he does puff menthols pretty heavy.  Somehow or another he convinced me to write for him after seeing my nonsense writing on his forum.  And that’s how I got into the writing game. If you like what I write, or you don’t, thank this bum for showing me the light.

P.S. Gotty, you still a sucker. LOL.

Miami Heat

It was a  hot August in N.Y.C. Like 90 degrees, with an extra 5 degrees of thick humidity slathered on top. I’m trying to get my professional on and not wear shorts to class. But damn it’s hard. I’m not a stinky guy, but I sweat a lot. Multiple showers help.

I’m taking a break from the regular news cycle and hyper-local coverage that’s grinding me down at the moment. I feel like the luckiest cat, really.

Working with so many sound and picture files, and transferring them to professor laptops for class critiques has made me break out old thumb-drives I haven’t used before. On one (literally), I found notes from a piece I did for the Source magazine back in 2007.

It was a transcript from a conversation I had with Luther Campbell. The story was on cursing in hip-hop. Remember that non-controversy? At this point in my celebrity interviewing career, I was still finding myself. I wonder why I didn’t write out the entire transcript. Well, from what I remember, Uncle Luke was so erudite that I just let him monologue until I had enough. I think I also got to talk to Too Short for this piece. I hope I find that transcript somewhere, too.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Luther Campbell or listened to a 2 Live Crew album (check the video above), let this mini- Q&A be your guide:

Luke: The way  I look at it is any time there’s a presidential election is when everybody use hiphop as a scapegoat. And the first thing that they do is they look at the whole lyrics situation, you know? They attack hiphop for lyrics and all that. It’s like this: because hiphop don’t have no bonafied leaders in it, and all the leaders is selling the soul of hiphop, you know what I’m saying, and they just selling it for profit. We needed to be attacked.

Until we get  a true bonafied leader in the hiphop business, and at that point we can then move on in the right direction. When these kinds of issues come up [cursing in lyrics] we will have somebody representing us truly, and not for the dollar.  People like Russell Simmons and all them, they don’t truly represent the artform, in my opinion. They sell the soul of the artform. And so they’ll go get those usual suspects and they’ll have these conversations with them about lyrics, and then if it’s for some kind of profit behind it…. You know, up on Oprah; to sell hiphop down the river, where we all as hiphop artists said we boycotting Oprah. They up on Oprah, cross the line, fucking boycott.

We need a leader.  It’s everybody’s fault, it ain’t these big individuals who run around here selling this shit, keeping it awake. It’s everybody involved, because the magazines put certain muthafuckas on the cover, the TV put certain motherfuckers on the cover.

These magazine’s, these TVs, they keep glorifying these niggas who’s selling the business down the river, and they put them on the cover and then they put them on the TV, and nobody knows that they full of shit.

Q: You’ve been dealing with this shit since day one, has any of this changed at all. Hiphop lyrics?

LUKE: It’s the same thing. I ain’t no different than 20 years ago, it’s the same thing. It ain’t no different than 20 years ago. Hiphop lyrics saying the same thing. I mean, when was the last election? Think about this here, you know who they was talking about in the last election? They was talking about Eminem.

If you really think about this shit, every presidential election hiphop comes under fire.

And before Eminem, it was me.
Keep going four years, now we at another fucking presidential election.  It’s always a fucking pattern.

And you know who profits? They gonna get Russell, they gonna get Benjamin Chavis, they gonna get Puffy; and they take Puffy down to the Republican convention ,and they parade him and the other niggas up around there. Nobody says this,  I’m looking at this man on TV at the Republican Convention.
Come on man, let’s be realistic, I ain’t read that shit nowhere. I had to look and  see that shit on “Hannity and Combs.”  If I ain’t sit here looking at that shit on CNN, CNBC and FOX, I don’t know what’s going on.

What do you think about the lyrics in hiphop? You started this whole shit. Yeah, I know what I started, but then I know at the same time it’s deeper than this. We ain’t nothing but pawns in the game, man they use us. They gonna crucify us, then you know what they gonna do? Cut a deal with Russell and Puffy, then they gonna go out and say..

The bottom line is this: The PDs, you know, they put the music on. That’s who put the music on. The people at the TV stations, that’s  who put the videos on.  Ask me a question, I don’t think “I’m a Freak” should be played on the radio.  Because when I made the record “Throw the Dick”, which legally can be played on the radio, I made the song “Throw the D,” because I don’t want my daughter, I don’t want nobody’s daughter, riding around in the back seat of the car singing shit they don’t know what they singing about, when it’s a bad word. I don’t want that. Really it’s the PD and the video people.

If the song got a word in it, go back into the studio and flip that shit around. That’s how you clean it up.

I ain’t here to be saying you can’t say freak. You can say freak, you can say pussy, you can say dick, you can say ho, you can say nigga, you can say all them words that you want to say. You can put them on records, but that shit not be played on the radio. Don’t put no ho the radio, don’t put bitch on there. PD don’t put that on the radio.

It’s not the artists fault, it’s not the record company’s fault, it’s not my fault, it’s the fault of the PD because he regulates what gets played on the radio.

I created the Parental Advisory sticker. That sticker is on there for a reason. I never intended, nor does any artists every intend for kids to get this music.

The artist ain’t the problem because all we doing is talking what the hell is going on in society, there’s some freaks there’s some hoes, there’s some bitches and some niggas in society. So don’t bother with us talking about changing no words.

Moment of truth

News came out Tuesday morning, just in time for the morning drive shows, that Guru died sometime Monday. He was just 43.

Reports say  it was due to complications from cancer — minus the heart attack I blogged about here. But what´s causing a stir for music fans isn´t the prognosis, but the unclear information about Guru’s relationship with his Gang Starr cohorts and a letter he wrote on his deathbed.  Important matters considering this is a guy whose body of work helped shape hip-hop culture in the 1990s.

Being in Gang Starr is part of his legacy, and the legacy of NY/Boston hip-hop.  An odd letter to fans,  allegedly via Guru (one of those, if ¨If I die, make sure they get this¨, type of letters) , just opens up more questions about Guru’s relationship with his new music partner and his former DJ.  Not to mention the shock most fans felt over a death too early. Too soon.

The letter calls Guru the sole creator of Gang Starr, and puts a big X over the name of DJ Premier. This whole thing is dragging Gang Starr´s name through the mud. It´s  a shame. I can only think of Eazy-E and Too Poetic of Gravediggaz, as rappers who´ve died from natural causes, so early in their lives. Without the subsequent drama.

Still, many knew that Guru and Premier had  a fall-out for unknown reasons some years back, when he started a controversial working relationship with hip-hop producer Solar (no relation to the French rapper).

I first learned about this riff back in 2007, when I interviewed Big Shug for thesmokingsection.net. In the interview, he mentions Solar and the rift between the original Gang Starr members.

It could just be internet chatter, but are you and Guru not on the best of terms right now?

Shug: Basically, Guru, man…he stepped off to do his own thing about three years ago. So me and Premier continue to represent for Gang Starr Foundation, what have you, and everything that sprouts from it. Like, Premiere has year-round records at Headquarters studio and I have Team Shug and some other various projects. We haven’t spoken to Guru in about three years, but that’s by his choice and he’s doing his new thing with his new producer. His name is like Suna Son, Solar or something.

So officially, Gang Starr doesn’t consist of Guru anymore?

Shug: I mean, it’s not functioning right now. Gang Starr will always be known as Guru and Premier, but they not together right now. I don’t know if they’ll ever be together again, but you can never rule things out. He’s just out there doing his new project with his producer named Clown Solar or something. I don’t know. He doing some clown shit.

You directing any lyrics at Guru on the new album.

Shug: It depends. On “Just Don’t Stop” I’m more or less talking about where cats is at with the music and how they sound better with Premier.

When you read the letter, it becomes clear: there was bad blood between Guru and friends.

I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this. I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ. As the sole founder of GangStarr, I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz.

Check out DJ Premier´s weekly mix show on satellite radio. DJ Premier: Live From HeadQCourterz, Friday 10PM to Midnight (ET)

Manny Pacquiao of DJs


Pac Man proved his dominance again this weekend. According to the New York Times Manny´s pull on the Filipino people is such that even the gangsters take a break on a Pacquiao fight night. He´s the first from his country to be such a huge international cultural icon. Before him, who were the heroes little Filipino boys and girls looked up to?

For kids wanting a career in music, perhaps Neil Armstrong is someone to take that title. Filipino Djs, especially those from California ( Neil reps NY) are really holding together the art of turntablism, party deejaying and hip-hop mixtape culture. Neil even spoke against the RIAA pressure on the mixtape industry some years ago.

DJ Neil ¨Armstrong¨ Rodriguez, is  a New York-bred DJ who rose up in the turntablist competitions ruled by the Bay Area.  He started taking turntables seriously in the mid 90s after earning a chemical engineering degree, and has been growing more ultra-successful in the last 5 years.

There was this gig as tour DJ for Jay-Z for several years, (here’s a Q&A I did with him in the Spring of 2008), which led to deejaying gigs in China during the Olympics. He no longer tours with Jigga, but has a nice job as spokesman for the Adidas/Star Wars campaign. He also released a free mixtape this month that´s dedicated to Jay-Z.

Rodriguez has crafted a mixtape ouvre that’s taken the concept of a  Ron G “blend” tape a lot farther than maybe it was supposed to go. His mixtapes tap into raw nostalgia at times, and sometimes just hinge on an emotion. Check ¨Warmfuzzy¨.

I´m not Filipino, but a Filipino national who immigrated to Newark, NJ, during the turn of the Century did marry into my family. This is him below. I´ve heard he was good at martial arts, but that could´ve been a stereotype passed down through the generations. He was known as ¨Pop¨.

To hear more Neil Armstrong mixes, check out a mixtape/soundtrack to travel he did. The excellent classic rock filled “Extraordinary” mix, part of his All Out Kings series. And also check out his updated podcast page, where you can hear his “Warmfuzzy,” mix. Hear this mix from L.A.’s The Do-Over.

Continue reading “Manny Pacquiao of DJs”

Cuernavaca Flow Of Eva.Eme

EVA.EME: Not a backpack-underground-rapper. She reps Cuernavaca.

I didn’t want to edit this video too much, I wanted you to see the off-the-cuff Eva.Eme (pronounced Eva Punto Eme).

In Mexico, these days, it seems like everyone raps.
Over the summer I had a chance to meet 21-year-old MC Eva.Eme in her home town of Cuernavaca, Morelos. That of course is a written rhyme in the video above, but what I’m impressed with more about her is her love for the music and its energy. She sacrifices a lot, and given shady biz in the industry, people who rap on stage almost always do it for the love and not the bread, because you just don’t cake like that. Check out her group.

At this point in her career, she’s working a day job, trying to play clubs on weekends, and to my surprise has to suffer abuse from her mother just to go rock a mic. Eva showed me a scar on her wrist from her mother wilding out on her for coming home too late after a show. Drama. But that’s the life of an early 20s Mexican girl/rapper.
I’ll have a more thorough profile written for you later. I just wanted to get this video online for people to see. And yes, fans, hip-hop is alive and well in Mexico…but like anything, it needs a little work. If Eva keeps working on her bars, no telling where she might take her rhyming skills.

Listen to Eva:

Go here, and scroll down to stream 2 tracks by Eva.Eme.

Factor Disfuncional


Courtesy: SocSub.org

Remember Travel Fox?

Looks like our favorite rapper’s blog has hipped everyone to an interesting course at Carnegi Mellon University, a fine institution that represents one of the few reasons to actually venture to Pittsburgh (no disrespect to my good old college pal Warner Mack!)

98-094 Sneakerology 101
Led by: Chorng, Jesse D; Curtis, Elliott P
M 7:00PM – 8:50PM DH 1209
In this course we will explore the extensive impact that sneakers have on fashion, identity, and cultures throughout the world. There is no prerequisite of pairs, so whether you are a true “Sneakerhead” or just someone who is interested in urban culture, this class promises to invigorate the sole.

Looks like Bobbito Garcia, will snap up some royalties from the use of his text in this course.

Bob, along with DJ Stretch Armstrong held down an overnight rap show during the 90’s that I easily picked up on my radio across the river in New Jersey. So often I would stay up until around 5AM, Friday morning listening to their show–which is celebrating 10 years since its final broadcast–making sure my rec button didn’t pop up too soon on my tape deck. The next morning I would be groggy as all hell. But it was always worth it. Columbia U’s radio station, 89-tech-9 was the station to listen to as a young hiphop head in the 90’s. The only thing comparable to that show is the still-running Underground Railroad, on New York’s lefty station WBAI, headed by brilliant hiphop commentator and now vlogger, Jay Smooth.

*On a side note, I’m kind of mad at myself for not catching Cool Kids at this years SXSW. Maybe I can catch them in GA. No matter what, at least you can peep their steez on the cover of sneaker afficianado rag, Laced Magazine