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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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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

Just Getting Started


In 2005, a Mexican hip-hop documentary produced by Canal 22 premiered, and to the best of my knowledge, it´s the best visual document yet of hip-hop culture in Mexico City. It feels a little dated. Big Metra, goes by Bigger B or something like that. Big Metra won this year´s DJ Concept award for best MC. I was always impressed he got Jada on a track.

My only problem with this is the use of Maldita Vecindad´s Rocco as the narrator. While Rocco is by no means lacking in any hip-hop cred, his Cyber Pachukote, raga-styled music isn´t quite purist hip-hop like I know a lot chavitos like their music. Rocco is still dope at the end of the day, and he reps hard for the indigenous people´s all over Latin America. My kind of dude.

I´d found this doc on youtube months ago, but the good folks at Cabezas under. compiled the whole flick in one post. Enjoy.

“…Shaker Heights” to “Transformers” Cudi and Cleveland Rap

FRIENDS of KANYE:  Taz Arnold,left, of SA-RA Creative Partners, and Kid Cudi at The Hundreds BBQ '08 in L.A.'s Fairfax District. Both are signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music label.

FRIENDS of KANYE: Taz Arnold,left, of SA-RA Creative Partners, and Kid Cudi at The Hundreds BBQ '08 in L.A.'s Fairfax District. Both are signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music label.

Plain Pat what up!?

I’ve always wanted to holler that.

Scott Mescudi owes a lot to the Pat, the former Def Jam A&R who gave Kanye support and also works as Cudi’s manager. The rapper is set to be an international star. Not bad, Cudi is booked for  Lollapalooza 2009, in addition to getting an introduction to the world via a Kanye West video.

Cudi, who’s from Shaker Heights (not the hardest section near Cleveland, or is it?) just put out his latest mixtape. It’s more or less a compilation of several mixtapes he’s appeared on, including his first.

But it’s a good way to re-hear some gems like this track with Jackie Chain:

and this song, too:


cudi_1_mres
This photo of Cudi at SXSW 2009 was taken by deannadentphotography.wordpress.com/

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Another L.A. Crip on the Grind

“Born in the 80s, raised in the Sixties”: Nipsey Hussle gives some background on gang ties and who he may or may not see as an “enemy” on the street in a two-part interview with Streetgangs.com’s  Alex Alonso.

C-Boy from Harlem (not the  Uptown locale, but Jefferson Park) called me once about 5 months ago to tell me about Thundercat from the 60s.  His grind had been paying off for a while and he was ready to take his rap game corporate.

Nipsey Hussle is the rap name of the aforementioned hood star from 60s, pictured in the video above, who says he’s never seen Kurupt on the block. He  considers him a D.P.G only.

Hussle still has a lot to prove. If the son of a Black mother and an Eritreanfather can pick up where Game left off, then he’s in good shape. But just like the Game, he needs some radio- friendly hook-happy hits to push his star along. Because these days, the biggest news out of L.A. hiphop is going to be how a Utah high school wasn’t gangster enough for G. Malone.

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Half-Time

It’s been such a long time that I’ve dipped into this bloggery game. I think I quit sometime after the great hip-hop blog debacle of ’08 (I’m sure you can read about it on the XXL.com website). Lots to update you good folks on. Here, across the border, I’ve been chillen, but as Danny H. says, gotta work, gotta work, gotta work. So stay tuned for more, in the life of….type mess, and maybe some facts and figures for you to grow on. 

Here’s a little track from the halcyon days of rap.