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Mixing it up for cuz

 

That picture is of a guy who made the NJ Amber alert earlier this month. He tried to steal his kid, I think.

No relation.

My cousin came to visit. Stayed about 3 months. Good times, good times. Dude was my first  friend, first ace! First cat I drank beers in NYC with. My dude. Family.

Now that I’m at that crucial juncture where I have mouths to feed and people who look to me to take care of them — the carefree days are over.

Well, not really…it’s just another era for me.

Enjoy the mix, it was inspired by Pancho.

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Sunshine and Snow


(Photo via)

It’s like 14 degrees and windy right now. A light flurry outside. My ears were freezing.

Now, I grew up in New Jersey, but L.A. weather was my warm blanket for a long time before I returned to the Great East this year. This is my first winter in a long while.
California is definitely on the brain.
L.A. sunshine, all the time. I wish.

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N.Y. Streets *Still* Love This

I’m not sure how many blogs have talked about this joint, I mean I’ve been too busy with life to really keep up any more, but I’d like to take a moment to consider “Banned From TV”.  I heard it several times pumping out of cars when I returned to the East Coast. I heard it blasting out of ear buds on the subway (at least 4 times).

It’s one of those songs where the artist whose album it’s on gets buried by greater talents, namely Jada, Styles and Pun. ¨Been sonin n***as for so long I think I got a grandson¨

The video will give you a headache, so look for the Mp3 instead.

For the Mescudi stans

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Alright, so WordPress threw this slideshow function into the mix and I plan to aprovechar. Just something for the stans who like my previous Cudi post.

A  little background on the images above:

Cudi came to Steve Aoki’s Tuesday night party at Cinespace two Springs ago, along with his manager (and former Kanye A&R)  Plain Pat.  He wasn’t all Baped out at this point in his career. He still rocked The Hundreds.

He was riding the high of having a single that was just beginning to beat up on big city airwaves. He had the silver sneakers on, a bottle of Grey Goose and a friend from back home, now living in the Valley hanging out with him. He was Scott Mescudi.

Onstage, Kid Cudi came out.  He was warming up earlier, in the V.I.P with that bottle of Goose. Plain Pat reminded him of a Kanye warning: don’t get drunk around reporters. It was too late.

Nothing crazy happened, though. Cudi was a personable dude. This was before the record sales and tour, of course.

What I enjoyed about Cudi’s set was that he had a heck of a good time with the audience. He was a little bummed that I was only writing for a blog.  He said he wanted his mom to be able to read it, and that she was too up there in age to be checking for her boo on the Internet. I’m sure, two years later, Scotty gets all kinds of ink.

Outside Cinespace, on Hollywood Blvd., Cudi asked a few people for directions so he could direct his homegirl back to the Valley. Some dude, salty from all the groupie love Cudi was getting, was like “go back to Cleveland–this is Hollywood”.  Cudi, taking a long drag off a Newport, gave him a delayed look, like what you say!? Then Wale’s manager softened the moment by yelling, “White Power.” Weird moment, but whatever animosity there was in the air got diffused immediately.

You can catch Cudi on HBO. Or get your so-called emo-electro rap fix, with about a  half dozen Cudi mixtapes.

Suspend your rap pass

Once, at a Rock the Bells show, in the none-too-distant past I thought the guy above — this guy,  was this guy.

He’s smiling in the face of ignorance in that photo. Now wait for his verse in the following video, I dare call it a classic.

Manny Pacquiao of DJs

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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.

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Weezy on Mexico City Bus Stops

lil wayne rappers prison

FROM HOLLYGROVE TO D.F.: Lil Wayne fronts Rolling Stone, here in the Mexican version. This is a bus stop billboard on the corner of Moneterrey and Alvaro Obregon in Roma

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Hip-hop isn´t as noticeable on the streets in Mexico City as it is in North America´s other major cities, NY, L.A., Atlanta, Toronto. That´s why this Rolling Stone (Mexico) billboard, above, caught me off-guard. You can find it throughout the city, on bus stops.
Does everybody know what Wayne represents, in the sense of representando? ¨A Milli¨ was played out a while ago. The only American rap cut I hear on Pop 40 Mexican radio is “Empire State of Mind.” Jay-Z is just mainstreaming himself like that I guess. That song Wayne did with Shakira, I hardly ever hear. It hurts my ears anyway.

The RS cover is a duplicate of the US version. Wayne going to jail, etc, etc. AP had a trite piece today on rappers going to jail

In the history of hip-hop, other popular rappers such as Slick Rick, Shakur, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Remy Ma, Beanie Sigel, Shyne, Mystikal and C-Murder have spent a few months to several years in prison. Snoop Dogg was acquitted of murder; Diddy faced jail time but he was acquitted in 2001 on bribery and weapons charges stemming from a club shooting. His protege, Shyne, wasn’t as lucky and was convicted in the same case and sentenced to 10 years; he was recently deported after his release from prison.

They talk to Shaka Zulu alot, Ludacris´manager and get the big jailhouse chat with Gucci.

Gucci Mane warns others to avoid his fate.

“Don’t keep bumping your head against the wall,” he says. “It’s a serious situation. It’s so many things that happen behind these walls. Think about how to avoid situations so you won’t have to come in here.”

The story is somewhat pointless, just a repeat trend piece some bored editor said to roll with, following RS´ lead this week.
The truth is, on the streets, going to jail is cred—a right of passage for Black/Latino men in America. Going to jail, as in the case of Tupac, and following that up with platinum success doesn´t happen to everyone.
I can´t name another rapper after, who had a publicized jail stint, then ran to the top of the sales charts when he became free again. What Wayne has working for him is that he´s still young. And, like Annette Funicello, Cubby or any Mouskateer, he´s been training for the music life since he was a pup.
But it´s not about that, going to jail for thuggery lends your rhymes credibility. I think if a rapper goes to jail for unpaid taxes or speeding tickets, it doesn´t work the same.

Of course, many of the faces referenced in the AP story bring the trouble on themselves.

Mainstream media and critics generally don´t have a clue when it comes to the particulars of these guys. It gets me.

Take for instance all the tatto-age on Wayne? Other than the ¨B¨ he´s holding up with his right hand, the rag in his back pocket and the ¨DAMU¨ scrawled on his chest—outright gang affiliation—what other reason does the ¨greatest rapper alive,¨ have to be going to jail? Thuggin(g), of course.

bloods gang Lil Wayne rollinstone magazine