It's My Beat

(Beta Max)

Saturday, December 31, 2005

O, I like that!

The year in review - Mad Skillz ghostwriter extrodinaire!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

No Religion

Worst Rapper of All Time?

The "Bible of Hip Hop" took a downturn some time ago however I still found quality news and politics pieces from time to time. That time ended about a year ago when I stopped thumbing through the mag at my local Barnes & Nobles. Anyway, this was one of my windows into hip hop when I was just a shorty in tha town so it was particularly dissapointing to watch its downfall. But this absurd tragedy has turned comedy with Benzino* acting a fool on Ozone Magazine Founder and EIC Julia Beverly's voicemail. Wow.

Just a sneak pic at Benzino's elementary verbal arsenal:

...F*cking prostitute, cracker, f*cking-man-b*tch, you!"
Get 'Em Daddy!

Monday, December 19, 2005

"Snack Attack Motherf*ckers!"

So we are feeling "The Chronicle of Narnia Rap" a/k/a " Rap":

MB: I like that they rapped about their lives and it wasn't some trying-to-be-hard reference to imaginary bling. I thought it was genius!

JB: It's almost like they're mimicking Linkin Park/Fort Minor and other immodulated white boy rap. Samberg (btw: quite the hottie) is very Zack de la Rocha with his. This may be the first time Saturday Night Live parodied rap without being racist.
Link via Hip Hop Music
So it seems that Andy's crew, The Creative Commons Comics, parodied the Ying Yang Twins Whisper Song before they made the leap/descent to SNL. The Bing Bong Brothers
More foolishness at Lonely Island Shorts.
Link via Boing Boing.

Friday, December 02, 2005

"...when I tend to think of Rosa"

*Freedom (Rap Version)* also listed on the full length soundtrack as "Dallas' Clean Half Dozen Mix"
*Freedom (Original)*

I want to say this is my all time favorite hip hop posse cut but I don't feel comfortable writing the word "posse." It's like raising the roof or furiously pumping one's fist while wildly woofing Arsenio Hall style, practices in which I, and my lifelong best friend L'Erin Asantewaa, still participate un-ironically. But I just can't get down with the word "posse" but I obviously haven't let that stop me from earnestly foraging through crates and CD sleeves for my favorite female rap collaborations.

Semantics aside hearing this song for the first time was like eating cotton candy on a rainy day.* "Freedom" was the theme for the 1995 motion picture Panther directed by Mario Van Peebles and scripted by his veteran filmmaking father Melvin. Producer Dallas Austin (Diamond D and Joi "copy cat, copy cat, get your own shit" Gilliam are also credited) assembled an impressive array of black female vocalists for the lead track. Vanessa Williams, Coko of SWV, Patra, Meshell N'degeocello, Mary J. Blige, Zhane, Chili and T-Boz of TLC, Aaliyah, Pebbles, Amel Larrieux, N'Dea Davenport, Tonya Blount, Monica who has the best line of the song: "I can make you run make you hide from all your ancestors transgression that you hold inside", Queen Latifah in her crooning Dana Owens incarnation, En Vogue and a host of other mid nineties R&B powerhouses traded lines blending their voices into one on the declamatory chorus: "Freedom for my body. Freedom for my mind. Freedom for my spirit." The arrangement was masterful. The women riffed and scatted allowing the spirit of the film, black empowerment and self determination, to guide their voices to poignant perfection.

Soon after the song faded into digitized oblivion I was met not with a instrumental or an acapella but an explosive rap version with an equally impressive smorgasboard of black female wordsmiths from LA underground legend Medusa to the 'Queen L-A-T-I-F-A-H in command' in her original gritty mic murdering form. First, Queen of the Pack Patra set it off exhibiting some pan-Africanist solidarity and subsequently held down the chorus which gelled verses by the aforementioned Jersey rap royalty and the LA luminary, YoYo, Left Eye of TLC, MC Lyte, Meshell Ndegoocello in an extended version of spoken word piece she delivers on the original, and Salt-N-Pepa whose dated elementary rhyme scheme is the only low point of the star studded affair.

Everybody but the well intentioned Salt-N-Pepa absolutely kills their verses exhibiting a fair amount of gender consciousness and, I'll say it, Feminism, even though to my knowledge none of them would self identify as such (Left Eye refers to herself as 'feministic' on her verse, which is, in my opinion, close enough). It's like the spirit of Sojourner Truth occupied these women's variegated brown bodies for one long studio session. My favorite verses are from MC Lyte and surprisingly, bubblegum lyricist Left Eye. Left Eye addresses her volatile relationship with Andre Rison, then a star for the Atlanta Falcons football team. She asserts her individuality and then her community mindedness. She's fearlessness, she's angry and everything in between in the space of a few witty bars:
Whoever said these are the things that you can do
And the things you ain't supposed to
So am I further when I think I'm getting closer
That's when I tend to think of Rosa how was it
Took a seat to make a stand
But now in standing we've gotten more demanding
They never thought in planning
That a wish for us to sit would be a dose of
This fucking rollercoaster
Whether tradition or religion
Why you question my decision
Why you spend up all your time trying to
Get into my mind
Why everybody and they mama
Gots to add to all my drama mad drama
Hell if I'ma keep my dominating feministic hell
Creating CrazySexyCool black ass
In the palms of your player hater's stands/(stance?)
My only chance of being free is to fly within me
And it's illegal to kill a fucking eagle
A bird is never more important than my people
I guess we didn't need him so I took away his freedom
This song is as important as it is a relic of a dynamic but now dormant moment in contemporary black popular music. I'm grateful that I was a little black stereo fiend in Seattle, WA then and not now 'cause I don't hear anything like this on the radio or see anything like this on the TV and I can't import this into every little black girl's iPod but I can't say that I won't try.

* I imagine Nikki G, who coined that line and is a Black Arts Movement Baby and a rap fan as demonstrated by her "Thug Life" tattoo, liked this song a lot and still does.