Thursday, April 26, 2007
Damn... I knew that this Imus situation would open the flood gates of criticism on hip-hop. It's definately taking a beating right now. But, personally, I think it's way over due. Rap has become a modern day minstrel show of repetitive hooks, violence and misogyny. I definately support freedom of speech, but it seems that record companies are only shoving the ignorant side of rap down the throats of the kids that they target (it's not even spoon feeding anymore).
On the heels of getting chewed out by Oprah and friends, Russell Simmons asked the RIAA to place a ban on the words "nigga, ho, and bitch" in music played over the airwaves. This proposal would force rappers to actually change their lyrics and not just use "bleeps or muting" of those words when singles are played on public airwaves. This does not include censorship on actual records.
I actually agree with this move, but for the most part this is already in place. While I commend him for taking that step to ask, it won't happen; and even if it does, it doesn't get to the root of the problem, which is not the artists making the records, but the companies that seek out the artists willing to make these types of records for pay.
The problem isn't the Rich Boy's, 3-6 Mafias, and Young Jeezy's, but rather the Lyor Cohens, Jimmy Iovines, and Tom Silvermans. These are the guys that control the purse and have the real power to make change. They are the ones who pay the black psuedo-moguls, that pay the rappers to rap about illegal and destructive wet dreams. Most of these rappers never lived what they talk about and only do so because they are under pressure to follow trends to make money. If these guys started paying and heavily promoting book worms to make rap records, SAT scores in inner city schools would see a steep surge, and rappers like Jeezy would start rapping about Algebra.
Notice that Russell Simmons was left out of that generalization of people with power. Whenever someone needs to defend rap, he's put on front street to take the heat. But does he have any real juice? I always assumed that Russell ran shit. I stumbled upon an article recently that calls out the names of the real moguls that run rap. And, you guessed it... only one of them looks like Russell.
Check it out...
With the one possible exception of Percy “Master P” Miller there is no such person as a black Hip Hop mogul. Puffy ain’t one, neither is Andre Harrell, nor Rush(Russell Simmons), nor Andre “Dr Dre” Young, and Marion “Suge” Knight especially was never a mogul. Neither is Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, his ex-sidekick Damon Dash, or Jermaine Dupri or even Bob Johnson. All these folks might be rich, but they sure are no moguls.
Now Jack Warner, he was a mogul. Ahmed Ertegun, that was a (mini) mogul. David Geffen is a mogul.So is there such a thing as a Hip Hop mogul? Of course, there are quite a few of them. Here’s the list: Clive Davis, Rick Rubin, Lyor Cohen, Steve Gottlieb, Jimmy Iovine, Ted Fields, Doug Morris, Mel Lewinter, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Sumner Redstone, Percy Miller. Then there’s the Hip Hop ueber-mogul, attorney Paul Schindler, and his sidekick, business manager Burt Padell.
Ok. So what about the black record industry pioneers of Hip Hop. Any there? Well, maybe Sylvia Robinson in the late 1970’s, but that was over in a heartbeat. The real Hip Hop record pioneers? There you have them: William Socolov, Arthur Russell (Sleeping Bag Records), Rick Rubin (Def Jam Recordings), Steve Plotniki and Corey Robbins (Profile Records), Jerry Allen (BDP Records), Tom Silverman (Tommy Boy Records), maybe even Hiroshi Matsuo (Pallas Records). None of them black, one is Japanese. Oh, and let’s not forget Arthur Baker (Fat Boys), and the late Steve Salem.
And no no no. Russell Simmons did not co-found Def Jam. Nor did he ever run Def Jam. Rick Rubin ran Def Jam. Later Lyor Cohen ran Def Jam. Nor did Russell ever sign Def Jam’s big acts. LL Cool J? Rick Rubin. The Beastie Boys? Rick Rubin. Public Enemy? Rick Rubin. Oran “Juice” Jones? Lyor Cohen. So what was Russell’s claim to fame? Simple, Rush is the house that Joey built. Russell is Joey “Run” Simmons’ brother. That Rev. Run (oh, boy "Rev." Now, that's a whole other story) of Run-DMC fame. That’s what made Rick Rubin decide to open the door for Russell.
Ah, but Run-DMC. Now that’s a black owned and controlled group!?!? Nope. Produced by: Rick Rubin. Record company: Profile Records, (Cory Robbins and Steve Plotniki). Management: Rush Artist Management run by…Lyor Cohen. Publicist: Bill Adler. Black? Nope, nice guy, but absolutely not black.Ok, their attorneys were black. Right? Nope. Grubman, Indursky and Schindler. Not black. Black business management? Nope Burt Padell. Not black.Then, … ah, but, but, but at least their booking agents were black, right? Naw. Norby Walters (aka Norby Meyers), Cara Lewis, not black. (Cara, being a red head, is definitely not black). Public Enemy, in their heyday? Record Company: Def Jam. Not black. Rush Management, not black, Norby Walters Agency, Pyramid Agency, William Morris Agency, (Cara Lewis) not black. Publicist: Bill Adler.BDP (Scott la Rock, Kris Parker and Scottie Morris), Record Company: BDP Records: Not black. Attorney (Jay Kramer), not black, management (Jay Kramer), not black.
On another note, people forget that Master P REALLY is a master.
First rapper to own 100% of his Masters
First and only rapper/CEO to receive 85% of profits in a major deal
Has sold 75 million records as an independent CEO
First rapper to be worth over $100 million
First rapper to be worth over $300 million
Suffice it to say he is one SMART COOKIE! Neither Jay, Diddy, nor Russell have accomplished those BY THEMSELVES!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
So the other night I was texting a female friend of mine. It went something like this:
Me: *tap tap tap tap tap*
"Are you going to be around later?"
"I'll be around after 11"
Me: *tap tap tap tap tap tap tap*
"Holla at me when you're free"
"OK... guess what happened to me today?"
Me: *tap tap*
"I was at the mall earlier and I ran into (insert name). She had the nerve to walk right past me and not speak. I was so pissed"
Me: *tap tap tap*
"That sucks. Get at me when you're free"
"I know right? I am not gonna let that ruin my day. I mean we've known each other forever and she's gonna turn around and do me like that? Blah blah blah blah words words words words words blah blah"
This exchange took no less than 30 minutes...
I must admit that I have fallen victim to texting culture. It's much easier to send a quick message to someone and get a quick message back than to call them and get bogged down in an hour-long conversation where getting off the phone with that person is cumbersome and awkward. But here lately, I've found that people (me included) are having full conversations through text.
Between text messaging, instant messenger and the Facebook, people can get away with hardly ever physically communicating with other people. Now admit it, thirty-minute conversations of texting, and not physically talking, can get pretty ridiculous. It may seem like a subtle way of contacting your friends or new love interest, but people are supposed to text because they are too busy to call — a one paragraph response requires much more time and effort than hitting send and opening your mouth.
Now don't get me wrong, texting definately has its place: discreet messages when you're in meetings/class, trying to find someone you know in a loud and crowded club, one-way communications, avoiding talking to a long-winded person, and of course, the 3AM booty call. Other than these reasons, having a full conversation over text is lame.
Are you a chronic texter? Do you think that texting is lame or do you think it's the next best thing since Krispy Kreme? Ladies... what do you think about guys that only send you text messages?
**Majestic music plays in background**
I PROCLAIM THAT FROM THIS DAY FORTH, I SHALL SEND NO MORE THAN 4 TEXTS TO ONE SINGLE PERSON DURING A TEXT EXCHANGE BEFORE I PICK UP THE PHONE AND PHYSICALLY CALL THEM! AND IT IS SO...
Friday, April 20, 2007
This is what happens when a chick that got turned out and played back in the day goes to school and gets her Ph.D. in Sexology. Funnnnn-ty! Shouts out to anonymous for the link.
Ignorance: "What's that Jack Rabbit You Talkin' bout?... I thought that Jack Rabbits supposed to jump from here to there!"
Friday, April 13, 2007
Is getting cosmetic surgery OK? Does your physical appearance determine your worth? Andrew the AssHole weighs in on the topic. What do you think?
Brazilian women are arguably some of the most beautiful women in the world. They come in all flavors from blonde hair, blue eyes to your chocolate brown. To top it off, their intoxicating accented whispers of “Ummm Papi!” in your ear makes them a commodity. Brazil is a hilly country and many people walk, so their bodies are normally fit. I recently found out that they are manufactured beauties. Brazil spends more money per capita for physical appearance than anywhere in the world.
This brings me to the subject of cosmetic surgery. Some may think this is a shallow way to spend money, but I beg to differ. Don't think this only applies to women, Men should go get fixed as well. Don't feel like going to the gym 4x's a week? Buy a chest. If you frown all the time, get a face lift. Maybe your girl didn't leave you because you weren't listening, but because you couldn't give her any “Act-Right” (Good Sex). Enlarge your penis!
Many studies have been done to prove that sexually desired people make more money than the undesirable. Even if you make $50K and the difference is 10%, that's a $200K over your working career. At a $20K investment that is a 1000% return on investment. Not to mention the fringe benefits of looking good. Your teacher gives you better grades through school. Your boss lets you take longer lunches, and don't forget all the free dinners and gifts you get for looking good.
Cosmetic surgery will increase your self-esteem. The higher your self-esteem, the happier and easier your life will be. So if nature didn't make you perfect, get help by getting fixed. You already do it with diet pills and hair products, why not take the next step?
Check out Andrew's blog at memoirsofanasshole.blogspot.com
Thursday, April 12, 2007
So the Imus in the Morning Show simulcast was cancelled by MSNBC as result of the comments that he made about the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team after the NCAA Women's Championship. CBS Broadcasting has also pulled the plug on his radio show which officially makes Imus unemployed.
For those of you who have been living in an Underground Nuclear Fallout Bunker for the past couple weeks, Imus is a radio personality that has been under fire for calling the Rutgers team "Hardcore nappy-headed hoes." This has created a hailstorm of controversy and outrage within the Black community.
Were his comments racists? Yes. Should he have been condemned for them? Yes. Should anyone offended have boycotted his show? Absolutely. Should corporate sponsors with ties to the Black community have pulled their advertising? Yes. Should others like Bill O'Reilly be held to the same standard? Fuckin' A! Was he one of the first non-Black radio hosts to blast the Bush Administration for not "getting down there and helping" the peope of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina? He was. Should he have been fired?...
If I offend anyone with what I am about to say, get at me on the comments section. How many times have we called our women “bitches, hoes, whores, tricks, jump offs, sluts etc.” in place of “sister” or “queen?” And even if you haven't done it personally, how many times have we supported artists who use the same language by buying their records or singing along with their songs? How many times have we danced harder in the the club, alongside other races, to songs with lyrics like "Fuck them other niggas, cause I'm down with my niggas," or "Ho, who is you playin' wit? Back dat ass up!"? Hell, back in January I heard Sirius' Hip Hop Nation Channel play Dr. Dre's "Nappy Headed Hoez."
How can we justify celebrating Snoop Dogg for calling Black women bitches and hoes, but hold anybody outside of our circle to a different standard? How can we justify rounding up our "leadership" (and the quotes are intentional) to go this hard about a comment, and not as hard about more pressing issues that we face like really holding our government officials accountable for not putting more money into minority schools? It seems like these events are the only occassions where Al and Jesse really flex their muscles.
I just think that it is hard to police others when we don't police ourselves. On any given morning, you can turn on the radio and hear Russ Parr clowning White people. There's even a cardboard stereotype character (voiced-over by a Black woman) called Mei Ling on his show that makes racists jokes about Asian people. On the Tom Joyner Morning Show, I remember Ms. Dupree saying that "white people smell like dogs when they get wet." And we all know about the Steve Harvey Morning Show. Could we really refute claims of hypocrisy from the other side?
By Imus being fired, what did we gain? In the long run all that we really gain is 1) the temporary satisfaction of having a notch under our belts as a race to offset past and present wrongs done to us, 2) the strengthing, reinforcement, and even creation of more hidden and covert racism, and 3)reinforcement of the stereotype of Black people as hypocritical.
Make no mistake about it. I am in no way defending Imus and what he said. Fuck him! But I am surprised about the level of outrage that we have expressed over this without looking in the mirror and being accountable for what goes on in our own House.
As far as this situation goes, I felt it would have been sufficient to condemn him for the comment, demand an apology, take it for what it was, and move on. We've got bigger fish to fry.
At the very least, after listening to him, I could get a real sense of what people were thinking about me when I walked down the street. The fact is that many people think like him and Imus has a large constituency. I personally think it's a good idea to know what that constituencey is saying and thinking. Imus will probably be replaced by someone who is politically correct but shares his ideas when the cameras are off. I would rather know that the knife was coming rather than finding out later that it was in my back.
Will his firing make things better? Is ignorance really bliss?
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are a lot of things about yourself that you didn't know and may or may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.
You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you do not realize is that they are realizing that too and are not really cold or catty or mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.
You look at your job. It is not even close to what you thought you would be doing or maybe you are looking for one and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and are scared.
You miss the comforts of college, of groups, of socializing with the same people on a constant basis. But then you realize that maybe they weren't so great after all.
You are beginning to understand yourself and what you want and do not want. Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging a bit more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and add things to your list of what is acceptable and what is not. You are insecure and then secure. You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.
You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you or you lay in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough to get to know better. You love someone but maybe love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you are not a bad person.
One night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap and getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision.
You worry about loans and money and the future and making a life for yourself and while wining the race would be great, right now you'd just like to be a contender!
What you may not realize is that everyone reading this relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out.
I've definately experienced all of those emotions at one point or another. The truth is that I'm getting older and the changes are becoming more and more apparent every single day. Personally, I am starting to see the changes in the music that I listen to, the clothes that I wear, my decline in interest for clubbing (I have a good one or two years left in me), my desire to find someone that truly compliments me, my concern with investing and future finances etc. This is simply growing up.
Along with those things, however, comes those strong traces of uncertainty about the future. We are undoubtedly more fickle and nervous about our futures than previous generations ever were.
Why is this Quarter Life Crisis such a force within our generation, but seems to not have affected the Baby Boomer generation in the same manner?
In talking with Baby Boomers, most seemed to have joined the work force immediately after high school or college at around age 20, married by around 23, found careers by 25 and still had the time to raise us. They seemed sure of themselves and took charge of their lives early on. They were fiscally responsible and were family-oriented at a much earlier age. They seemed invincible and confident in their abilities to run the world.
But with our generation...
We seem to graduate at around 22, party until around 26, either marry around 28-32 or never marry at all, divorce at a much higher rate after three to four years of marriage, and change jobs an average of six to seven times by age 30. We seem to be more insecure about our futures and, in most cases, have no clue as to where we will be in life by our mid-30's. It seems as if we freestyle life. Shit done changed.
I don't understand it. What has changed so much for Generation X? Why are we not taking control of our lives at an earlier age?
I think there are several factors going on with the Quarter Life Crisis. First of all, I think that our generation was raised with unrealistic expectations in life. Too many of us expect the financial and material trappings to come easier than they really do. When they don't come, we find ourselves in a second childhood, using that time to find ourselves personally; whereas the Baby Boomers jumped into a cookie cutter life and either surpressed these feelings, or allowed them to evolve alongside their careers and families.
At the same time, I think it truly IS harder for our generation to find a decent career path. There often is no set career path - and the professions that do have one have become more demanding. A Bachelor’s degree is now the equivalent of what a high school diploma used to be. Before long, a Master’s degree will be required for most decent paying jobs. So things have gotten tougher and at the same time we’re a generation that is not as persevering as previous generations, and as result, we drift for a bit longer. This perceived professional failure then magnifies other naturally evolving areas of our lives and causes our generation to collectively doubt ourselves.
Yes... shit done changed, but maybe change is good. Maybe this Quarter Life Crisis will prove to be an asset to our generation in the long run. Maybe it will make us stronger and wiser. Maybe our true impact on the world is yet to be seen.