Because before I lived in Brooklyn, I was a Virginian. Shout out to KarmaloopTV on the premiere, and lots of love always to my people still in the 703.
There’s a lot to say about this Occupy Wall Street protest, as well as its various offshoots, but the fact of the matter is most of the talking is already being done which is exactly the reason why I haven’t felt a need to say much of anything.
And then Kanye West showed up. *Please note the above photo isn’t of him at OWS, it was from this year’s Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. I’m just proud of my paparazzi skills.
Oh my God Based God, there were so many witty and sarcastic things I wanted to say when I heard that news. Of course I didn’t need to, because the Twitter massive was already doing that for me. But there are some things that necessitate more than 140 characters.
Just so you know what kind of mindstate you’re dealing with, here’s my stance: I dig the core ideals of the Occupy Wall Street protest. As a struggling freelancer going against dwindling budgets and shit, trust me I know. As someone who has been having employment issues outside of my writing work, trust me, I know what they’re fighting for. That being said, I also know what naysayers are getting at. How I look like camping out in a tent in the street when I could be at home blasting out my resume to the job opportunities that are out there? And then there’s the point my mother brought up – it’s getting cold out…why not fill up the tents with the NYC homeless guys and give them a bit of really low-quality shelter? We can’t see who’s in the tents anyway and if it’s power in numbers, why not address two problems at once?
It’s great that people are coming together to speak out against something that really holds weight, and it’s even better that it’s getting the attention it deserves. Maybe some change will come.
But then Kanye West shows up.
Did he roll up in his Maybach? Complex already reported that he showed up in a Givenchy shirt that I’ve also heard has an MSRP of $355. Kanye West is the 1% they are talking about and alienating themselves from. For him to show up is just…it deters from the point. He just dropped, alongside Jay-Z who is arguably the greatest businessman Hip Hop has seen, what is perhaps his most pretentiously wealth-flaunting album we’ve ever seen in the shape of Watch The Throne. It’s a free country, he can show up, but really though?
This just gives me a good opportunity to speak about some of the #OWS flaws.
First of all, #OWS has suspiciously turned into a perfect Stuff White People Like post. In a way it’s advantageous, since that will make it easier to get media coverage since it makes it all slightly more shocking and sanitized all at the same time. When that many white folk are mad, people notice. Think I’m an asshole for saying that? It’s 2011 and Troy Davis is dead. Need I say more? All I know is that I’m broke, I need to get money, and camping out in a tent and holding up signs isn’t about to make me any. How are these people paying their rent? My guess is they’re all the sons and daughters of people with loot or sitting on a hefty heap of savings anyway (so getting arrested and getting your bail posted is light work), in which case I still wonder about how much they have to protest. The other people I know who are truly broke and suffering in this economy haven’t been out there either. Why? We’re too busy hustling our asses off to stay fed. In fact, even being near that area with all the police waiting for an excuse to arrest you or mace you scares me shitless. Even in a good economy a criminal record is going to make it way tougher to get a job. In a shitty one? Fuhgeddaboutit. And good luck browsing those Monster ads with pepper spray in your corneas.
And now it crossed the line and has become too large. It’s an entertainment spectacle now. Blogs are doing “Best Signs From Occupy Wall Street”-style posts, rumors of Radiohead concerts are flying around, and Michael Moore is showing up to mingle in the crowd. Now the media isn’t just covering the protest, they’re monopolizing off of it. The big names are coming out, the page views are rolling in, the advertisers want a piece, and the cycle begins. I also find it a bit backwards when they interview some of these people on TV and they’re all smiling and happy and shit. Protesting isn’t supposed to be happy. Get mad, dammit! And then there’s the obvious – when celebrities like Kanye West come through, it’s basically a slap in the protest’s face. It’s so shitty that 99% of you guys are feeling used, voiceless, poor, and disadvantaged. Excuse me while the paparazzi follow me into the crowd and take pictures of my $350 shirt and my chains. My concerts are still going to cost you a week of your unemployment payments to attend. I love me some Kanye, and I love Watch The Throne, but mixing that with #OWS is just confusing. Watch The Throne gives me delusions of grandeur just by listening to it. #OWS makes me feel even poorer than I already am.
Kanye does have a way with social commentary from time to time (really rare moments here people, but they happen), and if he believes in the movement then I’m all for him showing up and mingling. But do we really believe he relates to this anymore? As a child before he ever made a hit record, maybe. Now? Not so much. If anything Kanye West is the anti-#OWS. He’s proof that even in a craptastic economy, with the right determination, connections, talent, luck, whatever, you can still make it in America. You too can chop up a Maybach one day. You too can criticize our president on T.V. for disliking black people. And you’ll still be paid. And still ultimately pay taxes to the government.
My point? Kanye showed up. So what? He’s not the only celebrity that has undermined the message, or will in the future. I think the 99% could learn a thing or two from people like Kanye. If we paid more attention to how he got to be where he’s at, rather than the price tag on his shirt, maybe our panties wouldn’t be in a collective bunch over him showing up.
I just wish he would have brought Jay-Z with him, so Hov coulda rolled up and said “what’s up, motherfucker, where my money at?” That would have been great.
Jasmine Solano gets decked out in Rocawear and spits over some instrumentals we all know and love. I know this wasn’t the point of the video, but I love her nails. Anyway…want more Jasmine? She’ll be spinning alongside Stretch Armstrong at Santos on Friday. Flyer below.
From time to time I think about an old acquaintance of mine. Her name was Mary, and she used to sit behind me on the rare days when I actually wasn’t ditching band class in 10th grade.
Yes, I was in band. No, I wasn’t in marching band. Me in one of those hats? Not happening. I was a cheerleader, remember? Plus thanks to a clash of ideals and feeling stifled, I ended up ditching that class my senior year for Auto Tech. Which has actually proven way, way more useful in the long run. Big ups to the homie Mr. Cannon, I still remember him. He helped me put the plates on my first car. Memories.
But back to Mary. She was like the total opposite of me at that time in my life. I was the little rebel who showed up late, mixed henny and cokes in the bathrooms before first period, skipped class, or just showed up for attendance then dipped out to go places I felt were more important. I was constantly pushing the limit when it came to my teachers (authority? What’s that?) and I was probably too smart for my own good. Lots of knowledge, lots of laziness. Awful combo. I flew through high school barely having to lift a finger, unless you consider the seven days a week I spent lifting actual people at cheer practice. That was the only thing I gave half a shit about, besides my true love, Hip Hop.
Music was probably the only common interest Mary and I shared, besides a few mutual friends. She was a great student, she was always smiling, hell, she loved band class. I never forgot that girl. A few years later when we had parted ways and I was already a couple years into college, that kid lost his mind at Virginia Tech and went on a shooting spree – leaving my old acquaintance Mary dead in her French class. I didn’t attend the funeral for whatever reason, even though I was literally blocks away from it when it was happening, but an interesting little tidbit from the services started making its rounds through the media shortly after.
When deep injury is done to us, we can never recover unless we forgive.
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it changes the future.
Mary’s dad, who hadn’t planned on saying anything at his daughter’s funeral, actually had some words. Her words, which are in fact the words above. They were from the last entry in a journal Mary kept that he found (if something ever happens to me I’m going to be mortified in the afterlife at the thought of my parents going through my shit. Imagine how many knives and bottles of booze they’ll find…oh man), in which Mary was listing her favorite quotes about forgiveness. Perhaps it was because she was the last person I ever expected to hear this type of news about (kind of like my other high school acquaintances as well, such as Aaron and Sendy, gone but never forgotten), but those words stuck with me.
Nowadays I’m a little more grown, a little more reckless if you can believe it, but with way more responsibility in my life. And with that responsibility comes the need for some good friends to lean on sometimes. But you know what? Sometimes good people do stupid shit. Or act like assholes. Or even betray you, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Sometimes I do the same. No one’s perfect. Or sometimes bad people are disguised as good friends. It’s hard to tell. But what I do know is that I’ve been told more than once that my penchant for squashing problems and just keeping it pushing can be a weakness.
You know what? Maybe it is. Maybe I am too quick to just let conflict fizzle and maybe I don’t speak up enough when I’m feeling wronged and so I get got sometimes. But I honestly believe that had Mary survived that shooting, she really would have forgiven that guy. Now that takes strength. That’s just the type of person she was. And if she can forgive a person like that, then why can’t some of the rest of us move on from little shit? When you’re dead and gone, nothing from this life really matters anymore anyway, so why let the negativity linger?
Who gives a fuck if some blogger didn’t post your song – it’s your art and being proud of the final product should mean enough to you. Who cares that your ex cheated on you – you’re going to move onto bigger and better things, wish that bitch the best and move on with your life. Someone shot and killed your friend – avenging their death isn’t going to bring them back. He never actually loved you, he was just in it for personal gain. At least you learned what signs to look for in the future. Forgive. Because what other option do you have? Be mad at someone forever? We all have positive things to accomplish, and no room for negativity in that plan for success. Let that shit go.
Since Watch The Throne dropped I’ve played “Why I Love You” in its entirety at least 45 times, and that’s only as far as my laptop’s iTunes is concerned. Nevermind my iPod or a trip or two in a vehicle. I’ve analyzed it drunk, I’ve analyzed it sober. On headphones or on laptop speakers. And though I’ve seen a ton of commentary talking about how the track is or isn’t directed toward certain people like a recently accused of tax evading Beanie Sigel, I’ve heard little about what the song really means (to me at least): forgiveness. Though Mary was not in possession of the same type of sophisticated ignorance as Kanye West, the words she penned formed the same point as those he and Jay-Z uttered on that track. Maybe that’s why it resonates with me so strongly. Who knows. All I know is despite all its allusions to affluence and references to material things I’ll likely never be able to afford, there’s a sort of humility that lies between the lines of Watch The Throne‘s highest points that I believe makes this an album one that many will be able to relate to, even if the type of lifestyle that ‘Ye and Jay live is only a fantasy.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more allergy medicine to consume and a very long nap to follow. I’m gonna stop being so busy elsewhere and neglecting this site soon. Promise.
This “Otis” beat is making rappers lose their minds. I’m not a fan of rhyming over other people’s beats unless the emcee is super extra exceptional, so don’t expect me to post many of these, but Skyzoo deserves the nod. Listen as he goes in over the ‘Ye and Jay madness.
I don’t fall in love with bitch ass dudes, so I feel him that dudes shouldn’t fall in love with bitches either. Is it just me or is this like the 2011 version of “Bitches and Sisters,” minus the acknowledging of the sisters end of the female spectrum? Eff love and all of its headaches. Ha. xoxo <3
Big ups to Rahman for sending this through to me with the heads up, since I always forget this shit. And despite the heads up, I can’t watch this today because I’ll be underground when it’s going on. Damn. But if you do have access to the net at 4pm EST, Beanie Sigel will be discussing his issues with Jay-Z with MTV. Mmmmm…drama. Yo Rob, what up?
One thing people ask me about a lot in my actual real life off the internet is tactics to marketing their music (or brand, or other product, etc.). In most cases people want to know how they can better utilize the internet to promote themselves. How to stand out. I figure maybe I’ll start addressing some of the questions people bring to me, or just things I happen to think about relating to the topic, here at the site. And, as always, if you want to submit something or ask a question, you can always hit up untitledtype[at]gmail. It’s not like I’m a marketing genius or anything, I’m really not (if I was I’d have like a million twitter followers, right?), but I do know a few little things.
Today, I said something on Twitter that I’d like to elaborate upon right quick.
Many artists these days are hiring Public Relations professionals, teaming up with DJ’s, or getting their friends to help blast out their newly released mp3′s to as many contacts as possible. Of course word of mouth is an important aspect of getting your numbers up, but who is doing the talking also matters. Let’s make a hypothetical situation, shall we?
Let’s say that among the various things that Kim Kardashian does, but doesn’t seem to do well (like sex tapes [open to debate], reality TV, and singing), she decides she wants to start a boutique PR firm and help upcoming rap artists by sending their materials to her bevy of important industry contacts and then hopefully gaining them media opportunities, etc. off the strength of their product. Let’s also say that Jay-Z found some time in his day to do the exact same thing with different clients.
Kim K. and Jay-Z both know a lot of people. The “right” people. This can’t be argued. But as far as Hip Hop is concerned, which person’s opinion would you trust more? As a member of the media, I’d be way more likely to open an e-mail about a new artist coming from Jay-Z than I would from Kim K, never mind that Kim K’s artist may actually have more talent. What has she cosigned in the past? Skechers? Well, they’re still ugly kicks. Midori? Yeah, still not drinking that, and neither is anyone else I know. Meanwhile, on the Jay-Z side of life, Carol’s Daughter seems to be doing well (and I’ve heard good things about it), Roc Nation is chillin’, and nobody ever questions what Jay-Z is or isn’t good at doing, unlike Kim K. See what I’m saying with this?
It goes beyond a person’s prior success stories and aptitude for business tactics as well. If they’re a person who deals with multiple clients, are the other people they’re representing also people you want to be associated with? Does the person cosigning your product have a reputation for being a shady, sketchy individual? Have they done people dirty in the past? Does their taste in music generally suck? Sure, people may change for the better over time, but trust if you know about some things in that person’s past, so do other people. Though that may have nothing to do with your music, you need to consider how that will reflect upon you if you hire them to be a brand ambassador of sorts to people you need to be working with. Choosing someone to help you handle e-mail blasts or field media opportunities should not be a matter of choosing the cheapest price or picking out your most accessible friend who knows the most people and is enough of a “yes man” to give you that semi-public and oh-so-important cosign.
In summary, to quote Nas: “you should watch the people with you, let them street rules hit you, if you hang around snitches you get judged for that, cuz you condone it, you know it ain’t no love for that, it’s slugs for that, oh you ain’t know your man was talkin? That’s why you stand with em, til you both land in a coffin?“
I wrote a LOT last week and definitely burned myself out a bit. So this weekend has been dedicated to relaxing and trying to do all the things that usually inspire me, which means the music I’ve been listening to is the type of shit that motivates me. Maybe what works for me will work for you, too. I know it’s a long weekend for a lot of you, but that work week is right around the corner.
Jay-Z’s life story in itself is motivating. He came from Marcy Projects (which isn’t all that far from me), and is now an undeniably successful artist and business man with a fly ass shorty to top it all off. Don’t even front like you wouldn’t like to reach the levels of success that Shawn Carter has seen. I sure do.
“I could never live forever, but the voice will, always knew I’d be somebody that the world would feel”…and of course, let’s not forget that Alchemist is basically my favorite producer next to Premo.
Nas feat. Keri Hilson – Hero
Not only is this some good Premier production, but Reks has to be one of the most talented lyricists out right now. Classic cut off of Grey Hairs. I just wish this had a better video.
Reks – Say Goodnight
This. Shit. Goes. That is all.
Mick Boogie’s mixes have been catching my eye lately. This time he teams up with Terry Urban for a mix involving this year’s Grammy nominees. The result is unique, but it works. Again, if you enjoy rap but want a bit of a different sound, this may be for you. If you enjoy partying to dance music and that breed of genre that causes Jersey residents to fist pump, this may be for you. And if it’s not? Oh well, delete it and keep it pushing. Tracklist and link below. That La Roux remix is tough!
1) Vampire Weekend: Kids Don’t Stand A Chance (Miike Snow Remix)
2) Kings Of Leon: Radioactive (Jesse Marco Remix)
3) Lady Gaga: Dance In The Dark (Monarchy Remix)
4) Kanye West: Runaway (Chew Fu Remix)
5) Groove Armada: Still Going (Will Young Remix)
6) Robyn: Dancing On My Own (Fred Falke Remix)
7) B.o.B.: Nothin’ On You (Villians Remix)
Lady Gaga: Bad Romance (Roctakon Remix)
9) Cee-Lo: Fuck You (Le Castle Vania Remix)
10) Goldfrapp: Alive (Dave Aude Remix)
11) Rihanna: Who’s That Chick? (Geometrix Remix)
12) La Roux: In For The Kill (Lifelike Remix)
13) Big Boi: Shutterbug (Jack Beats Remix)
14) Kanye West: Hell Of A Life
15) Drake f/ Jay-Z: Light Up
16) The Roots & John Legend: The Fire
17) Black Keys: Tighten Up
18) Kanye West & Jay-Z: H.A.M (Amtrac Remix)
19) Florence & The Machine: You’ve Got The Love (The xx Remix)