Entries Tagged 'Controversy' ↓

“Don’t Give Up Your Publishing!”

Music is a publishing business.

This may seem obvious, but, in a way, I think it’s not. That is, we often think about the field as music, and then publishing; as separate things.

But, of course, the act of putting music in fixed form is an act of publishing, and pretty much anything one does with music, subsequently involves publishing.

That’s why we think it’s critical for hip-hop artists not to give up their publishing, but to also think about publishing a different way. That’s a big part part of why we’re doing GrindXDesign.

Registration is $77 through August 22nd, $97 after that. Go to GrindXDesign.com for information.

“How Do I Get A Record Deal?”
Rap Coalition’s Wendy Day On The Question She Gets Asked The Most By Hip-Hop Artists.

As Wendy Day gives recording contract facts, Cash Money Records
producer Mannie Fresh appears to regret every deal he ever signed.

This conversation is from last week’s Friday, August 10 edition of my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION. In it, music business activist Wendy Day, above, discusses the modern-day record deal with me, and talks about how artists should sensibly approach getting one—or not.

On October 17th, Wendy and attorney Dan Booth will be guests at GrindXDesign, the “teleclass”—that’s education and instruction by phone—I’m doing for eight Wednesdays, starting August 29th. (Our first guests: Gang Starr’s D.J. Premier and Jay-Z engineer Young Guru, discussing production and songwriting.)

Registration is $77 through August 22nd, $97 after that. Go to GrindXDesign.com for information. Now, back to our scheduled programming….

#gXd: Is Hip-Hop Getting Better, Or Worse? Or Is It The Same? Or Is It Simply A Matter Of What You Like?

The majority of all human output is of average quality, or trash. A small amount of it is excellent. What we remember most, though, is what excited us, and moved us.

So, like René suggests, was hip-hop in the past—the Pre-Wax Era, the Pioneer Era, the Golden Era, the Gangsta Era, the Baller Era—better? Or is it that you just really remember the parts you liked? Or is it that you just don’t like what you’re hearing because you liked what you heard? Or do you like what’s coming out nowadays more?

What are your thoughts?

#gXd: How Big A Role Do “Connections” Play In Hip-Hop Success? Is It More “What You Know,” Or “Who You Know”? Why?

What do you think of Erick’s statement?

When DAM Breaks, the Sound of Palestinian Freedom Gets Unleashed.

Palestinian hip-hop trio DAM, above, wield the power of hip-hop as a force against the Israeli occupation of their homeland—the world’s longest—and their minds as well.

Formed in 1998 by brothers Suhell and Tamer Nafar, center and right (friend Mahmoud Jreri, left, was added later), they initially sought to make party records that would earn them cool points with peers and the ladies. Then it was still “just for fun,” says Tamer. They completed a six-track EP titled Stop Selling Drugs, the first time any Palestinian had ever recorded rap music.

What politicized them, however, was the Second Intifada of 2000…and the music of 2Pac. As Tamer poignantly told me, for my March 2008 piece in VIBE, “Straight Outta Palestine,”

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Malcolm McLaren, 1946-2010

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The New York Times reports the death of svengali, impressario, and iconoclast Malcolm McLaren, above, today, at the age of 64.

His companion of many years, Young Kim, confirmed that Mr. McLaren died on Thursday, and said that he died of mesothelioma at a hospital in Switzerland.

never_mind_the_bollocksMcLaren is best known, and will be most remembered, for assembling and managing the sneering punk prototypes, the Sex Pistols. Fearsome and outrageous, especially in an era that had just come through yacht rock and disco, the quartet’s sole, 1977 studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, right, remains one of the most influential rock albums ever. (This fact later led McLaren, with typical, consumate bombast, to declare himself “the inventor of punk.”)

I didn’t know about any of that, however, until much, much later. I didn’t know who McLaren even was until one afternoon in 1982, when driving down Commercial Ave. in Freeport, listening to my ’75 Impala’s radio, I heard the opening wails of his agglomeration with New York’s World’s Famous Supreme Team, “Buffalo Gals.”

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“Funny, when my dad talks to me from the Great Beyond in a Nike ad, he says ‘Mostly, we watch people make whoopie.’”

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That’s author Colson Whitehead (John Henry Days) in the hed, on Twitter, taking a little spit out of Tiger Woods’s new Nike ad, above.

In the spot, the disembodied voice of Woods’ late father and golf mentor, Earl, who died of a heart attack in 2006, is heard urging the athlete to deeper self-examination and introspection:

“Tiger, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. And did you learn anything?”

And that’s it. That, and a very controlled, low-key camera dolly-in to Woods’ expressive, soulful eyes.

The spot, which ran before and after Tiger teed off during the Masters Tournament, is the first Nike piece with Tiger to air, post the golfer’s massive Bimbo-gate sex scandal. (During the controversy, over a dozen women surfaced, claiming they’d slept with the married superstar.)

don_kirshner_2_120This commercial moves me to ask the question my sister and I always did after watching each lame Kansas video on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, right, late Saturday nights when we were kids: What does it mean?

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“Scarface School Play.”

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That’s the title of this YouTube, above, and I’m not even going to try and top it with a clever pun. (Thanks to Erica K. of The Feminista Files for forwarding it, though.)

In the short, tykes recreate legendary moments from Brian De Palma’s 1983 classic, including the bloody shootout climax and demise of Tony Montana. (As you can see, above, a mound of popcorn makes a life-sized stand-in for Scarface’s desktop supply of coke, and the tiny actor has channeled the narco-mogul’s contemptuous sneer perfectly. Also, here, the word fudge repeatedly replaces a shorter, punchier expletive.)

From where the hell did this piece of genius, albeit evil genius, come?

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Alexander the Great’s Final Victory.

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A dazzling ensemble, above, from late designer Alexander McQueen’s crowning collection, shown ten days ago in Paris.

McQueen hanged himself in his London apartment on February 11. Friends said he’d been painfully desperate after the death of his mother just over a week earlier.

Reviewing the pieces, The New York Times solemnly bowed to the artist, his star so suddenly and sadly dimmed: “At this point, not much more can be said about the brilliance of McQueen’s work.” Remember him well.

No Wonder Rielle Hunter Felt Sick When She Saw Her GQ Pictures.

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Is it me, or does former Presidential candidate John Edwards’ paramour, Rielle Hunter, above, give off a certain, I dunno, trashy, ‘coon-eatin’ vibe in her decidedly un-erotic pictures for Gentleman’s Quarterly?

According to Barbara Walters, on today’s The View, Hunter called the doyenne aghast and in tears over her own photos. (This despite footage released by the artist, Mark Seliger, showing Hunter enjoying the shoot and the images.)

Yet, says HuffPo humorist Andy Borowitz, that’s not the worst of it, and far more extreme responses to Hunter’s pics have been widely noted:

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – In a move that many in the magazine world called unprecedented, GQ today recalled the entire print run of its new issue after a photo spread featuring John Edwards mistress Rielle Hunter was found to cause nausea and in some cases projectile vomiting.

rielle3“We at GQ want our readers to know that we are doing everything in our power to avert a public health catastrophe,” said magazine spokesperson Carol Foyler. “And if that means tracking down every last copy of those Rielle Hunter pictures [right] and destroying them, that’s what we’re going to do.”

As emergency rooms across the country overflowed with people who had unwittingly opened the latest GQ and seen the Hunter photos, fresh concerns were raised over the existence of a John Edwards-Rielle Hunter sex tape.

Rand Deckle, press spokesman for the National Institutes of Health, issued this statement on the matter: “Given the health crisis that the Rielle Hunter photos have created, it is imperative that every copy of that sex tape be secured and buried in the center of the Earth.”

I’m tellin’ you that they…wait…no…Bobby!! Put DOWN that DVD!! DO NOT PRESS “PLAY”!!!!!

Barf.