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.

Continue reading “Sunshine and Snow”

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.

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.

Continue reading “Manny Pacquiao of DJs”

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

Rapping on Mexico’s AM Dial

I have no idea who the gentleman in the picture is. But I see him at just about every hip-hop event in Mexico City. If someone reading this post knows this cat, please let me know via email. Actually, I should just approach him and ask him about why he supports his local hip-hop so hard. Pause.

I imagine that like me, he might tune his radio to Trackzion tonight.
Anyone who knows me knows of my love for underground hip-hop radio. I was scanning the AM dial one Monday night a while back when I found Radio UNAM‘s hip-hop show Trackzion.

It was a mighty surprise and one I’m glad Mexico City AM radio gave me. The show is hosted by Asgard with help from Sweet P, and on the blogging end, Urban Samurai.

What I like about the show is that it isn’t stuck on an only-what’s-new format. You can find some classic records (they once played a full-length Pete Rock DJ spot from WBLS in ’89) as well as the newer stuff coming off of zshare links everywhere.

And they know what’s going on — in both the hip-hop and urban arts world, without the backpacker snobby-ness.

Their shows include some guest interviews, and as much hip-hop and whatever else if floating their boat, from Groove Armada to Dam-Funk, as you can pile into a one-hour show.

They tend to lean heavily on Stonesthrow artists as well the healthy underground from NYC. But that’s just for right now, the crew has been blogging since October and only since last month have they had a regular time slot on Radio UNAM.

As far as Spanish rap goes, this show has discriminating tastes. You’ll hear fewer acts from Mexico, though they did have an on-air interview with Dr. Destino and they will occasionally play songs by other Mexico rap acts like Menuda Coincidencia from Monterrey.

Most Spanish-language rap fans in the post-post Cypress Hill era look toward Spain (Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, et al.) for their hip-hop much in the same way English-language rap fans (the globe, right?) will look to NY or LA before listening to rap from Canada Drake. The show reflects this Spain-ish focus, with some attention payed to the occasional Chilean act. Check their archived playlists on their blog.

Here’s a quick, and by no means complete, list of rap acts from Spain:
Falsa Alarma
Tremendo
El Puto Coke
Shotta

Listen to Trackzion, on Radio UNAM. Every Monday night, 10PM (CST), on 860 AM Mexico City, or online .
Also, check out DJ Azteck 732’s Radio Kotos Chidos on AM station Interferencia 7Diez. You can listen, here, every Friday from 3pm to 5pm, AM 710 Mexico City.

update: For anyone interested in Azteck 732, one of Mexico City’s 1st generation hip-hop DJs, check out his Valentine’s Day love mix from a few weeks ago. You can dl it or listen online (via )

I Too, Miss Mr. Magic

Maybe my google search box isn’t working right, but I can’t find any mainstream press, other than MTV and ET, mentioning the passing of Mr. Magic. No New York Post, NYT…no one. Kudos to Gawker for running something fairly early.

Mr. Magic was the glue that binded the people to hip-hop culture and music. The first supa-star hip-hop radio DJ. What Ralph McDaniels was to video hosting, Mr. Magic was to dropping bombs on hot songs.

The first time I actually paid attention to Mr. Magic, was one Friday night when my cousin Reg asked his mom to turn on “Rap Attack.” Reg was always glued to the radio like that back in the day. We were probably in 2nd or 3rd grade and this rap stuff was all the trend in Linden and Newark, all the kids like Reg were showing their affiliation by buying countless tapes: BDP, PE, Run-DMC, the Christmas rap album. You name it, Reg bought it. It wasn’t long before he had turntables and I was trying to scratch up DWYK to the worst of my abilities.

Mr. Magic made a lot of that possible. That historic show on WBL(-kickin-)S was always a mainstay on a drizzly or snow crazy Friday or Saturday night. I can’t say I remember a lot of shows, but I know when I started finding stuff online, it brought back tons of memories from my days as a shorty. With that, R.I.P, Mr. Magic, my aunt Vicky, DJ AM, and GM Roc Raida.

Listen to some of the mixes and read more for yourself.

Old School Hip-Hop Tapes blog says he’ll be upping Mr. Magic show mp3’s all weekend.

If you need something to bump in iTunes right now, look here.

I think Cold Rock Da Spot actually gets his name right.

Of course, there’s tons (like hereand here)to read and learn about Mr. Magic.

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

R.A.P. (Ft. LOSTDREAMER)

Courtesy: SocSub.org