Beanie Sigel A free Man

Beanie Sigel's murder case ended in a mistrial.

He's one of my favorite emcees so I'm glad he didn't get locked. However, I hope he takes this second chance and keeps his nose clean as Jay-Z has been urging him to do for years. At the very least he should get one of his hanger-ons to do the dirt for him like a real gangsta would.

April 28, 2004 in News | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Usher, Wow

I can't believe that "Usher has scored the best opening sales week ever for a male R&B artist and the best debut week of 2004 with his fifth Arista set "Confessions." See Billboard for the full article and numbers.

I'm amazed because I didn't notice any big hype about the album and none of my friends rushed out to buy it. The day 50 Cent dropped I remember major retail outlets being sold out by that aternoon. But Usher..? It didn't feel that exciting a release, at least not to me.

What does this mean in terms of music industry trends. I don't know, I don't know.

By the way, Vibe has a great cover article on him this month.

April 5, 2004 in News | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Hip-Hop is Dead (Again)

CHZA of the Filter tries to put a new spin on the tired "hip-hop is dead" rant. And fails. He complains:

"Nowadays, the motives of the Ja Rules and the Nellys are unmistakably clear—let the dolla holla back. They couldn’t care less about artistry, and neither does their audience. Hence the hundreds of radio-friendly singles without any redeemable albums to show for it."

Yessir, very insightful. Not only is Nelly and Ja-Rule trying to pimp the culture, but the fans are stupid for listening. I wonder if CHZA gets paid for writing. Does that disqualify him as a journalistic artist?

These type of articles are overdone despite the best attempts to correct their claims that hip-hop is done for good or had its best days back in the the early nineties. These music critics never add anything enlightening or new to the subject by writing their compliant. It seems that the only reason they do it is to establish themselves as a hip-hop authority- "My taste is so above what is offered in rap right now. Only the classics will do." Hip-hop snobs with jobs. Professional fans. Their writing is boring and tired; uncreative and full of cliche.

Hip-hop is dead? Man, hip-hop criticism is dead! (especially online.)

March 24, 2004 in News | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Eminem a Racist?

A few weeks ago Benzino claimed that he had evidence to prove that Eminem is a racist. I thought it was going to be some obscure battle audio where Em says "nigga" to his competition or something. Turns out it is much worse than I thought (listen to the audios). MTV reports:

The Source magazine owners Ray Benzino and Dave Mays held a press conference to play a recording of the MC delivering racial slurs.

On the first of two tracks purportedly recorded in 1993, an audibly young male, who says he's Eminem raps, "All the girls I like to bone have big butts/ No they don't, 'cause I don't like that n----- sh--/ I'm just here to make a bigger hit."

The second track, made in 1988, featured Eminem rapping about a black girlfriend he broke up with. "Blacks and whites, they sometimes mix/ But black girls only want your money, 'cause they dumb chicks," he rhymes. Later in the freestyle Em raps, "Never date a black girl, because they only want your money/ And that sh-- ain't funny."

Eminem doesen't deny that the second track is his, but explains:
"The tape they played today was something I made out of anger, stupidity and frustration when I was a teenager. I'd just broken up with my girlfriend, who was African-American, and I reacted like the angry, stupid kid I was. I hope people will take it for the foolishness that it was, not for what somebody is trying to make it into today."

What do I think?

Let's put this into perspective. First off, Benzino is pathetic. His influence has helped to ruin The Source magazine, which has become a joke in journalism and an embarrassment to hip-hop as a whole. Frustrated with his own floundering "rap career," he gained publicity from a feud with Eminem last year, and was lyrically beaten to a pulp by Eminem's diss track responses. It's hypocritical for him to call Eminem a racist when he encouraged his own white emcee to use the "N-word" on a song! If that's not enough, then consider that Benzino is trying to nail Em on lyrics that disrespect Black women yet he boasts on his own song:

Who the f*ck chicks think they are?
M-A-D-E pulls b****es cards
Hookas better meet us at the bar

So yes, Benzino is a lame. But that doesn't change the fact of what Eminem said on those audios. I'm disappointed that my hip-hop blog brethren have decided to focus on how stupid Em's accusers are without addressing the issues that this event brings up. Here are some quick thoughts:

1. Kill the double standard. Hip-hop embraced Eminem even though he made songs dissing his mother, killing his wife, and beating up gays. Should we be offended now that this White emcee has said something many other Black emcees have said without reprimand? Listen- lyrics that degrade are not cool, no matter who's saying them. We grown folks within hip-hop need to take a second look at what we condone in our songs. We've spent so much time defending ourselves from the powers that be that we've neglected to police ourselves. I'm not saying hip-hop is destoying the Black community or America or something dumb like that. But have to admit that 90% of the stuff pumping out of the industry is emotionally immature. Let's at least have an alternative for all of us over the age of 15.

2. Everyone says foolish things. If someone recorded my private conversations with my friends they would find me saying some really ignorant things about every race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. You can only judge a man on the whole of his character, not by a few sloppy words that were meant to be private. The Bible has wisdom on this. Ecclesiastes 7:21 says

"Do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you".

Those are just my sloppy thoughts. Here's what other people are saying:

Jay Smooth- "Em will surely take a hit in the short term, and he'll have to put in a lot of work cleaning this one up. But in the long run I'm sure he can work past this. Though I would never trivialize his usage of the N word or disparaging Black women, this really does sound like a frustrated, ignorant little kid who is in a very different place mentally than Em is today."
Supernova Juice- "I thought all you had to do was buy one of his albums to figure out he was a racist mysogynistic homophobe."
Micheal of Bad Samaritan-"Scott also said, and I’m not making this up, that “we've got to treat this the same way we treated Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant, O. J. Simpson.” Okay, let me get this straight now because I must be confused, Tyson is a convicted rapist, Kobe is an accused rapist, and Simpson is an accused double-murderer. Eminem should be treated the same way these guys were treated?"
Psynorm- "i honestly think this is hilarious. not only are these retards gonna show up on eminem's next record (while giving him the ingredients he consistantly uses to DOMINATE the rap industry), but they're trying to claim this is somehow significant. he influences millions of people, and now he's we'll have millions of racists on our hands. jesus christ people, could you be any more desperate to latch onto to this guy's fame?"
Pink Rabbit- "Maybe no one cared that he's violently homophobic, but now that it's come out that he's racist, too, people will stop liking the bastard..."

November 19, 2003 in News | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Joe Budden Murder Attempt

Man, oh man. This is not what we need right now. Rich Rock of SOHH just wrote an exclusive about a murder attempt on Joe Budden, the mixtape to record deal emcee I highly touted on this site months ago. The guy survives career threatening throat problems just to go through this?

Here's a blurb of the details:

As Budden and friends sat in the vehicle, a black male in a black ski masked rolled up on a bicycle directly beside the driver door, where Budden was seated. The assailant stuck a 9mm handgun in a window and attempted to fire the weapon twice in the window. When the weapon did not fire, the gunman turned the gun directly onto Budden at point blank range and attempted to fire again.

Realizing the gun had failed on both attempts, the gunman was reported to have jokingly said "just playing" and sped off on the bicycle. Budden ensued chase in the Hummer, losing the victim and later catching up with him in front of a police precinct where the victim fled to hide.

The guy was eventually caught. If that was me, honestly I would say, "I quit! Forget this famous stuff. Somebody just tried to Merlin Santana me!"

It's a twist of irony that Joe taunts 50 Cent in a battle rhyme spitting:

"what good is your bulletproof truck when you gotta hop out?"
If Joe had died that line would have given the conspiracy theorists and lazy tabloid journalists something to fill a few pages with.

There's something weird about this story that I hope one of my co-d's can clear up. Rap News Direct (a poorly written hip-hop news site known for typos, stealing photos, and reporting gossip) had a story up about the shooting over a week ago. And they took it from another crummy hip-hop site even before that! Hmmm...

Actually the answer is probably simpler than I'm making it. This report wasn't as exclusive as Rich Rock thought it was!

*UPDATE (in the comments)

November 6, 2003 in News | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack