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.

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The T.I., N.J. Connection

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You can stream and download T.I.’s out-of-jail track, “I’m back.”  Atlantic Records, in hopes that an incarcerated Gucci Mane (or Lil Wayne) doesn’t snatch all of T.I.’s thunder, had their star southern rapper take media calls yesterday, fresh out of a stint in prison on federal weapons charges. Rappers and guns, rappers and guns. One of my first published stories was a co-byline on a piece about Naughty by Nature” getting caught with guns.

T.I., wasn’t in trouble for “a” gun, but several.  I bumped into him at the fashion industry convention called MAGIC in 2008.

I always like to point out to people the connection T.I.’s global success has to New Jersey. The Great Migration meant a cross-roads such as Jersey would always share a connection with the lands across the Mason-Dixon, including T.I.’s home state of Georgia. But to have this link represented in contemporary pop culture, I mean … that’s what Sinatra lived for. So, what’s the Jersey connection to T.I.?

Jason Geter. As legend has it, Geter was a guy from Montclair, who discovered T.I. in a barbershop, after he moved to Atlanta to stake his claim in music. An internship and a front-desk job later, he struck gold.

He now not only manages the Bankhead rapper, but also runs his Altantic imprint, Grand Hustle records. He even got his 15 minutes of TV fame when he did a co-cameo on HBO’s “Entourage,” above. You can read more about Jason and see pics, here.

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Furthering the N.J. connect, T.I.’s Akoo clothing line got some free publicity in the states biggest city, Newark. A billboard put up down the street from my high school was thought to be too suggestive for the people ambling through Downtown.

Continue reading “The T.I., N.J. Connection”

Doble H en Mexico

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RAPERA´S DELIGHT: D.F. via Monterrey rapper Niña Dioz tears it down at the Spanish Cultural Center in Downtown Mexico City.

I just read a post over at the always interesting Mija Chronicles regarding hip-hop culture in Mexico, or maybe its lack thereof.  A topic I´ve been focusing on for almost half a year.

Let me first say that the Mija is a friend of mine, so in no way am I trying to clown her, but when I read these graphs:

I haven’t read a whole lot about why hip-hop isn’t big here, but I wonder if it has to do with the fact that in Mexico, there seems to be a culture of quiet acceptance when things go wrong. Politicians stealing again? Sigh, shake of the head. Yep, that’s what they always do. No water? Yeah, but that’s just the way it is. The general notion seems to be to keep your head down, and make sure your family is fed. Not strike back at The Man through politically aware lyrics.

That still doesn’t answer the question about why American hip-hop culture hasn’t seeped in more. Mexicans have embraced plenty of other aspects of American culture — fast food, sneaker boutiques, Wal-Mart.

I was like oh, boy (rubbed my hands together like a plotting mad professor) gotta get to back to blogging.

Before I continue, let me just give you a little context:

See, back in 2005, ya boy was sitting in the dungeons of  a newspaper (clocking decent loot), wondering to himself: How can I get the heck out of here? And it dawned on me…write. So I wrote. And I wrote about hip-hop, because, frankly I listened to enough 89 Tech 9, been to enough Rock Steady Crew reunions, the Apollo, Summer Jams, you name it to know more about this music and culture than, perhaps,  your average person who writes for a newspaper. At least that´s been my experience.

That said, I thank every reporter who didn´t realize Snoop dropped the Doggy Dog years ago, didn´t know Ceelo Green had a career before Dangermouse, doesn´t know who Paul Wall is, can´t tell me which rapper sampled in the opening of Biggie´s “Ten Crack Commandments”, or tell me what sippin syrup refers to. Thank you oh peddlers of popular culture. Thank you, you helped me find my way.

Back to Mija´s blog.

Hip-hop culture vs. rap music…yes, it´s more clear cut than the “I´m Black” vs. “I´m African-American” debate.

The Mexican embrace … of sneaker boutiques is totally hip-hop culture. So, if we just look at that BAM! we got hip-hop culture in plain view. Other than that..commercial radio out here is more apt to play Zoe than Jay-Z, but if you blast ” Big Pimpin ,” most Mexicans in their 20s will start bobbing their head to this familiar jam.

I won´t get into it all right now, because I´d like to give this all more thought.  And more posts, dig.

There´s a lot of evidence that hip-hop culture is as part of the mainstream fabric of Mexican society as anywhere. Now, the economics here are different, so you don´t see hip-hop pushed into people´s faces like you do in the States. I don´t know, maybe it´s the lack of suburban white people in Mexico that keeps hip-hop at a more humble existence here. But it´s here. And don´t worry, I lace you with the knowledge. I´ve got some adventures to post about, female emcees, and the rest. Stay tuned.

  1. In the meanwhile, learn about political hip-hop in Mexico.
  2. The O.G. DJ you should try to hire if you want your expat friends to experience real hip-hop, Mexico-style.
  3. See why all the love for bumpers and rappers.
  4. Why it´s just a liiiiitle racist down here.
  5. Just who is that girl in the pic up there?
  6. Sometimes we don´t JUST write about rap. But maybe “we” should.

AUTOMOBILES, EROTICA And RAP, Pt.I

Wow. Huge lapse in the blogging. Sorry about that, my (very) few keeping count.

Shout to Google for keeping me somewhat relevant, and for the kind soul who shared a post on Bocafloja with their Myspace posse.  Let’s keep this rap en Español convo going.  I really believe that the next frontier of hip-hop is going to be popular rap in a language other than English (or French). As our Latino population grows (while not at the same time as our ability to speak Spanish) I think people will come to appreciate the different mix of ideas and the stretching and pulling of rap music in the form of other tongues.  Maybe I sound crazy, but if you told a B-Boy rapping in a cipher circa 1985 New York that one day, not only would the South run rap, but also Chicago and even England a little bit, they would laugh you out of the Bronx. Now hasn’t that come to pass?

With that said, I want to keep everyone interested in my explorations of hip-hop culture out here in Mexico, which I hope explains the title of this here post. I attended an automobile expo this past weekend (July 3rd-5th, 2009) in Santa Fe, known as the business-y part of Mexico City. Utterly amazing architecture in this part of town. I learned two things at the expo that had nothing to do with the ‘car girls’ running around, 1.) Hip-hop isn’t going away here. And, 2.) Although it’s not the money-making operation it once was and sometimes can be here in the U.S., there’s still a culture with deep roots and dedicated practitioners.

Now, the car show existed long before rap. And somewhere along the line, hip-hop culture became infused with car culture and now the two are one.  Of course cars and sex have always gone together, so somewhere hip-hop gets tossed into the mix.

In this installment of Automobile Erotica and Rap, I’ll just give you a little sample of what went down at the 3rd Tuning expo in Mexico City this weekend.

Rapper Zw (pronounced Swoo) from the Iztapalapa/Neza crew Manicomio Clan was there to show his freestyle skills.

Reggaetoneros/rappers 330 Studio showcased their blend of styles after a wet bikini contest. What’s car show without the wet bikinis?

More later in the week….

[ READ PART II ]