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|Fri, May 20, 2005 at 11:55 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Ludacris, born Chris Bridges hosted the 2nd Annual Ludacris Foundation Benefit Dinner. In a dual roll Ludacris hosted the festivities of the evening along with Nard Holston of BET's Comicview. The foundation recognized outstanding individuals for their commitment to the community. I was more then impressed by Ludacris on this night. The one award the most stands out in my mind went to a mentor of his by the name Mary Ellen.
As he presented the award he noted that he would not be where he is today if it was not for this Radio One executive. Apparently during his time as a Radio Personality, Chris Lover Lover he made a serious mistake on air, but she had his back and did not allow him to be fired. A great story and a moment that added to the already special evening, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, CEO of The Hip Hop Summit Action Network, was also honored.
While talking to Chavis I asked him why he was committed to working with members of the Hip Hop industry when others were afraid. He shared with me that he was a long time friend of Russell Simmons, whom he called the Godfather of Hip Hop and it was through his relationship with Simmons that he realized this was a music that was going to transform lives and send messages that otherwise would not have been heard by the masses.
The controversial leader said that he was looking forward to the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March and that he would be participating and working with the march organizers. The smaller clean shaven Chavis was positive that Hip Hop and young people will be the ones to make serious change and many more great contributions in the continued fight for equality in this country.
In an evening with a different crowd than you normally see at these types of functions other stars that call Atlanta home came out to support Ludacris. Superstar Usher Raymond, attend the dinner and I was shocked to have seen him stay for the entire evening. In fact Ludacris left before he did. I am told the singer purchased two very expensive works of art in support of the foundation. Both Ludacris and Usher arrived in Maybachs. Obvious the two stars were comfortable in their environment.
Usher had only one security guard with him for the evening and Ludacris did not allow any distance between him and his guests. During my talk with the rapper I asked him was he Chris Bridges or Ludacris for the evening. Laughing he said he was Ludacris. I was not sure which personality was the man with many hats allowing to show. He said that he was Ludacris, but for acting purposes he wanted to be taken seriously and he feels when addressed by his birth name it would allow him to do so.
The great host shared with me that it is important to him to give back and support a number of initiatives. His foundation gives monetary contributions to a number of nonprofits doing a tremendous work in the community. Sony recording artist Lyfe performed and shared with the invitation only audience that he had been in prison and had a life changing experience. He writes music that tells of his difficult childhood that lead to him being convicted. Having gone to prison for arson changed his life and he began to write music
|Sat, May 14, 2005 at 3:09 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Z*Trip is considered one the best live performance DJs, having toured with a diverse group of entertainers ranging from Cypress Hill and Linkin Park to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dave Matthews. He started DJing at the age of 13 while in Phoenix, Arizona (he's now based in Los Angeles). He created a DJ collective called the Bombshelter DJs with his then-partner DJ Radar and began rocking parties with a mix of rap classics, new school jams, funk and soul rarities and rock and jazz breaks. In 2002, Z*Trip was featured in the DJ documentary Scratch and contributed a mock instructional short film, How To Rock A Party, that would be featured on the movie's DVD release and shown on MTV2.
On "Shifting Gears," Z*Trip demonstrates that he's truly a DJ's DJ. His style oozes of old school break beats, mixing and scratching. Unfortunately much of the lyricism is an ode to old school Hip-Hop as well...and not in a good way. Far too many simple, un-entertaining lyrics guarantees that this release won't be comercially embraced. This album is the mentally challenged stepbrother to the Jay-Z/Linkin Park mash-up album released in 2004. Note: Shout-out to "Breakfast Club," one of the funniest tracks I've ever heard!
Rating: 2BVs out of 5
- "Breakfast Club"
- "Everything Changes"
- "Walking Dead"
For more info, go to DJZTrip.com
|Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 11:55 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
American Idol has lived up to the name. I am not sure what all of America sees in this show. I actually have never watched it nor do I enjoy the many copycat shows. It is something about the name that just rubs me the wrong way. People have you ever really thought about the definition of the word Idol. You look it up for yourself. I wonder if it would have been this much hype if Paula Abdul was a man. Clearly, this is a PR stunt for Corey Clark to sell his book and push some units on his album due next month. Actually, it is good to see this role reversal. However, he should have made it more interesting and sued her for sexual harassment. What is the matter with you Corey?
Well, it is obvious that he is mentally disturbed. More importantly, his advisors are even more misguided. Why would Paula Abdul risk her career over this fool? If anything, this may be the case of the 42 year old getting some maintenance on the side. I sincerely doubt it was a "relationship."
But if Paula really loved Mr. Clark, or if he had any skills, wouldn't she have used her influence to shield his criminal background and keep him from getting booted off the show? We all know this is about two things; ratings and money. I sure hope Clark scored a big pay day because he will surely be black listed in many industry circles for his tell all special.
There are many roads to success. But the sure fire route is grounded in integrity; all you really have is your word. Once that is tarnished it's a wrap. Corey Clark, enjoy your fleeting fame. Sadly, he will always be remembered as the guy who tired to take Paula Abdul down. Not an ideal way to start a career.
Papa Was A Rolling Stone!!!. Why is that bothers cannot keep peter in the gate? And why can't some sisters stop hiking up their skirts? Another man has put lust before accountability. Famed attorney Willie Gary sins are now Exhibit A. Married with four children, he has fathered twins outside of his marriage and will be shelling out child support checks larger than Sean Puffy Combs. Where is the moral fiber of our community? Or all these reports further proof that we are all fallible.
Diane Gowins, a registered nurse with whom Gary had a brief relationship five years ago, has been awarded $29,100 a month for 16 years. Well, that is not bad for an hours worth of work. Gary has no excuse and no one to blame; but himself. With his litigation experience, I would have expected him to have a hoe contract for his concubines.
Similar to the sexual agreements many other successful man of leisure have at their disposal. Now that hold harmless clause would have come in handy in this case. When you are black royalty, 60 million to boot, you have to be a little smarter than the average. No one ever considers the public shame the family and wife endure after dirty laundry is cast for the world to see. Money cannot buy good character; no matter how many Bentleys and Boeing 737 Jets you own.
The most disturbing finding in this case is not his having an affair, but for absolving himself of the responsibility of caring for children he created. I am sure he thought would never see Gowins again, but she had a plan, and he fell for the set up. It seems that Diane Gowins is very bitter; and she may have every reason to be. Her brief affair with Gary, while she was training in track and field for the 2000 Olympic Games, has forever chan
|Tue, May 10, 2005 at 11:50 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Detroit. Motown. The D. Whatever you call it, this city is one of the most untapped sources of music talent and technology in the world. That's right. The same place where city government is enduring a $200 million deficit and too many people still think jobs at the plant are "stable" is also brimming with music evolution and innovation.
There are certain names most people recognize: The Temptations, Eminem, Smokey Robinson, D-12, Berry Gordy, Kid Rock and so on. However, there's a crop of artists and musicians on the rise that refuses to be ignored.
Recently Detroit held its first ever industry-wide music conference, The Motor City Music Conference, featuring dozens of panels led by industry insiders on a variety of topics such as "Independents Day," which focused on teaching smaller labels how to make an impact as well as "Signed, Sealed and Delivered," which addressed the necessary steps to make labels pay attention to your music.
One panel which caught my attention was "Online Music: Making The Internet A Home For Your Music." Leading the discussion were company employees of AllMusicGuide (allmusic.com), one of the web's premier music information hotspots. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Go Blue!), their site currently commands an astounding 85 million page views per month. As they discussed online music, their position was that the Internet is the best way for independent, up-and-coming artists/musicians to gain recognition. "Online promotion is especially key in today's Darwinist music business where labels are eating up other labels" said Rob Theakson, one of the panelists. He continued, "Best point of advice? Make good music. Too many gimmicks and not enough emphasis on making quality music. Payola is sniffed out." Another panelist, Sam Valenti, encouraged artists and musicians to utilize networking and community resources and also referenced certain sites such as MySpace.com and PeerVolume.com
What perhaps stood out most about the conference was the Verizon Wireless Demo Listening Lounge, where artists had the opportunity to have their music critiqued by professional A&Rs and other music industry professionals. I've been to a number of music events but this was the first time I've ever seen this. Many of the artists seem to appreciate the demo lounge even if the consultation wasn't what they expected.
Overall I give the Motor City Music Conference a passing grade of a B. It would have been nice to have seen more vendors in the showcase area; nevertheless it was a tremendous inaugural success and I look forward to even bigger and better things next year.
Note: Congratulations to all of the winners at the Detroit Hip-Hop Awards hosted by DetroitHipHop.com
For more info, visit MotorCityMusic.com
|Tue, May 10, 2005 at 11:59 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Hidden Gem of the Week - Little Brother - "Ain't Nobody"
`Tis finally the month of May. We've pretty much seen all the snow we're gonna see in every part of the country until the fourth quarter. Mr. Sun is finally showing his cancerous (but smiling) face. And if you are anything like me, you are scanning your music collection looking for those albums that signify the mood.
I'm not the biggest fan of southern-fried rap bangers, but I'm far from a backpacking hip-hop purist; I do believe they serve two very specific purposes: popping a*s on the dance floor and driving the subwoofers in your ride with the windows down while pushing 65 in a 45 zone. We all know the weather brings out sunnier demeanors in us all, and let's be honest; playing some grimy, dark, RZA or DJ Muggs-produced music when the sun is out isn't always very mood-conducive.
Virtually every summer up until a couple years ago was dominated by a Jay-Z album and his ubiquitous flow of singles. Though S. Carter still can't seem to stay away from the microphone these days - even given a posh executive job at Def Jam - there was something about his full-length albums that just made for a spot in the car's disc changer. Since that is apparently not destined to happen again (if you REALLY believe he's retiring this time), guess we'll have to make do with the work of his contemporaries.
This summer's album is destined to be Late Registration by Kanye H. Christ. The buzz has yet to wear off from his domination of the pop charts last year, so this ill-titled sophomore effort is no doubt on folks' wish list. That first single, "Diamonds", is risky because it isn't really single-ish and would fit better somewhere in the final few tracks of the album. I'm still hopeful, though; I just hope hip-hop's biggest ego (and that's saying a whole hell of a lot) doesn't up and falter due to overconsumption with being the man.
Everything is everything else. 50 Cent will hang onto the charts for a while, and the warm weather will force me to listen to folks playing his music with their car windows down. T.I. and Ludacris will no doubt drop some singles for the sun; and Lil' Jon should just about be ready to do a duet with Paris Hilton.
As usual, I have some audio recommendations that will invoke memories of summers past:
Camp Lo - Uptown Saturday Night - This whole album has a special place with me because it was required listening back in the summer of 1997 when I had to do a two-hour round-trip on the bus to East Detroit for my first job. Now I didn't understand exactly what the hell Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede were talking about in all their songs, but their flow was ridiculous to say the least, and the production was perfect for warm weather. I break this album out at least once a year every year. Peep "Coolie High", "Black Connection", and "Sparkle".
The Notorious B.I.G. - "One More Chance (Remix)" - "Who's it gonna be: him or me?/ We can cruise the world for pearls, gator boots for girls..." The super-mellow production on this song is definitive for the summertime vibe. One of the heavyweight's top five tracks, it doesn't demonstrate his hard lyrical prowess, but this is the joint that still warrants a head bob in the club at the very least. If you can get past unbelievable lyrics about such an, umm, "burly" man pulling all the females, then make this your day-starting, I'm-on-my-way-to-work track.
Common - "Go" - I ranted about how awesome this album is a few weeks ago, but now I have the retail copy on my hands (minus the skips and unmastered tracks), and I can say without question that it will be my all-purpose, go-to LP of the next few months. Though I dig a good nine of the 1
|Fri, May 06, 2005 at 11:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The Runaway Bride!!!! This is clearly deeper than a case of cold feet. I will never forget sitting in a church on a lovely spring afternoon anxiously waiting for a wedding, more than an hour and a half late, to start. To my surprise, the Bishop announced the wedding had been called off and that our dear sister was going to need our prayers and support. Tears filled the sanctuary as a beautiful bride, with the assistance of her father and mother, bravely thanked family and friends in attendance.
To this day, I still think she is one of the bravest women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Jennifer Wilbanks, much like the groom that did not show at the wedding I attended, is a coward for refusing to face her fears head on. No matter what the circumstances surrounding her standing up John Mason, she should be made to repay the estimated cost of nearly $100,000 back to the City of Duluth.
The world famous liar claimed to be kidnapped while jogging, but recanted her story by coming clean about her bus trip to Las Vegas and Albuquerque to avoid her wedding slated for this past Saturday. John Mason is a fool in love, and he still wants to marry this troubled women. Authorities are actually contemplating whether Wilbanks acts were premeditated. Let me give you the answer. Yes!!! The moment she purchased a bus ticket the whole affair reeked of planning. Guess she knew the post Sept 11th flight security would have delayed her escape.
Wilbanks is clearly in need of a good old session on somebody's couch, especially considering the mass hysteria her fabricated story caused throughout the nation. Having coordinated many weddings, I know all to well the emotional ride jumping the broom invokes. However, cold feet should never be the catalyst for a national man hunt. Wilbanks should be behind bars in a prison hospital on 24 hour watch for her selfish episode.
For her to have lied about her abduction is unconscionable. Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Ported said that he would look into whether Wilbanks violated the law. Wilbanks could face a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting a crime and /or a felony charge of false statements. The misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to a year in jail; five years in prison is the maximum sentence for the felony.
Phil Jackson has it down to the New York Knicks or a return to the Los Angeles Lakers. Some sources report Jackson has already decided to return to the Lakers; though no official word has been released. Not too many teams can afford to pay a coach a $10 million a year and have money for a decent team.
Earl Monroe is a former Jackson teammate and says that he knows he will go to a team that he can build. Monroe does not think the Knicks are that type of team at this point. However, Jackson did meet with Isaiah Thomas on April 25 and a second meeting was expected, but has not taken place. Ric Bucher of ESPN The Magazine reported Jackson is to also meet with Kobe Bryant.
I told you that Kobe Bryant always gets what he wants. Perhaps Kobe has changed and now has a clear understanding the word TEAM has no "I". Sources close to Kobe say the meeting has not taken place as of yet, but he would be open to talk to his former coach. I have been told Jackson and Kobe have not spoken since the ugly departure of Jackson, and many other former Lakers.
Kobe`s predilection for extra marital affairs, and unchecked arrogance, obviously caused riffs with his coach and teammates. The greater question is why is he allowed to run the Lakers? Kobe is a one stop shop in LA
|Wed, May 04, 2005 at 11:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Okay, so who HASN'T Foxy Brown gotten into a fight with?!? Not two weeks after winding up in a Manhattan Criminal Court on assault charges after kicking Myoung Yi and Sun Ji Song's a*ses when they checked her for not paying for a manicure, Foxy tangled weaves with relatively pointless rap chick Jacki-O. Though I admit the idea of these rap dames scrapping (perhaps in negligees. With hot oil involved) is enough to give me a semi, I am willing to bet that the whole thing was on some uber-catty s*it that probably isn't even worth the ink I'm dedicating to it.
Admittedly though, something about these females handling whatever squabbles they had with a good old-fashioned fist fight is somewhat admirable. I don't advocate or condone the use of violence to solve a problem (unless it's against the studio executives who green-lighted "Oceans Twelve"), but don't you think there is something to be said about people willing to put up their dukes in the old-fashioned way, as opposed to talking insurmountable amounts of s*it the way most rappers do it?
Okay fine, before you break out the crossbows...yes, I know that lyrical dart throwing is a keynote staple of the culture, but dammit, yelling out lyrics about what you wanna do or what you wish to do is just passive at heart. Do rappers expect us to believe that which they speak? Are half the beefs going on in hip-hop - particularly in these days of half-handed trading of bar-long darts - enough to muster up a fight? I doubt it. I mean, could you imagine R. Kelly and Sisqo in a fistfight? I picture a lot of slapping, whining and foundation flying all over the place.
But The Game and 50 Cent? I would've paid good scratch to see that resolved via duke throwing in the squared circle. We're talking about two machismo-oozing rappers with jailhouse builds who have enough combined shrapnel buried inside them to set off every metal detector they will ever pass through...but we all know that deep inside, neither of them really want any part of each other on that level. 50 will use his influential muscle to try to f*uk up Game's career, like he did with Ja Rule, and they'll probably never do anything past that reported "shoving match" they had (whatever you do, don't believe that the beef is buried).
A few other beefs I'd enjoy seeing settled off wax:
Canibus vs. LL Cool J: Now that would've been funny. Imagine a goofy chimp-looking rapper being beaten into the concrete by a hulking sex symbol of a man. `Bus going after LL was like David picking a fight against Goliath...except in this case, David was the one who fell into military and bargain-bin CD obscurity, while Goliath continued with the longest unbroken rap career in history.
Roxanne Shante vs. The Real Roxanne: (see oil and negligee reference above)
Eminem vs. Everlast: Eminem would've gotten his a*s sorely beat to pulp. And I probably would've enjoyed it. That is all.
Nas vs. Jay-Z: I don't think any of us are really convinced that EITHER of these hip-hop phenoms are as adept with fists as they are with words. But given all that, I think Nas could probably whoop on Jigga without that much effort. Both dudes are kinda skinny, but I think Nas would slapbox Jigga to the mat (this opinion is largely determined by recent pictures of Jay-Z on the beach. Dude looks about a buck-25 soaking-wet).
KRS-ONE vs. MC Shan: Shan could've thrown Kris' concentration off with a meatball hoagie and laid him out with the one-two combo. The Bridge Is Ovah!
Tupac vs. Biggie: Ah, the ultimate rap war. Many say it claimed both of th
|Fri, April 29, 2005 at 11:50 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The Trumpet sounded in Atlanta. The 13th Annual Trumpet Awards was a sea of wigs, weaves, make-up, and mega glamour as stars packed The Georgia World Congress Center. The three day celebration--featuring a prayer breakfast, concert, youth celebration, and red carpet formal--marked African American Achievement in the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Music, and Ministry. Close to 2000 invited guests attended the formal awards dinner. And you know I was there working the red carpet in all of my Obnoxious splendor.
Bishops of "Mega Churches" were bestowed honors for their unique abilities to cultivate flocks that continue to swell in number and prominence. Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. Bishop T. D. Jakes, Bishop Eddie Long, and Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie all received accolades. Most importantly, the panel discussion The Black Church and African American Inspiration illustrated that store front churches were just as vital as those boasting over 10,000 members. To be sure, the Civil Rights Movement proved that men of faith and meager accommodations could galvanize millions.
The panel got heated when I asked the panelists why so many black men fall to women and money. Bishop Long cited lust and greed as a problem for all men, and Judge Greg Mathis called for balance in the reporting of negative versus positive actions of black leaders. I was glad to know that neither of them felt that black leaders were beyond reproach. It is only through critical analysis--wrapped in love and compassion--that we move forward as a people.
Comedian and life long activist Dick Gregory clearly had a different view on the state of black leadership. When I asked Gregory about the problems facing celebrities like Michael Vick, whose recent allegations of sexual irresponsibly have tainted his image, he offered these choice words: "I do not give a damn about a boy that can run a ball. I am more concerned with why Condolezza Rice is not respected in the White House and called Dr. Rice when she has the highest level of education in the entire presidential cabinet. "
Nancy Wilson received a Lifetime Achievement Trumpet Award and had some piercing remarks for a legion of hip hop fans. Wilson, who has worked as a professional performer for over 52 years and made over 70 albums, stated hip hop lacked musicianship and skill. "Music is not created with a machine and it has never taken me longer then 5 five days to make a record, "stated the living legend. When she was queried about the ever present misogyny of hip hop lyrics, Wilson was extremely candid. "I know that I am not a bitch nor am I a whore so when I hear those words I know they are not talking about or to me.
However, I am concerned about that 10 year old girl being raised in a home with no father and no good solid role models around her thinking that she may be a bitch or she may be a whore. It exposes our children to a great deal to early. " Though her retirement from music has yet to become official, Wilson made it clear she will bow out on her own terms. "I want to stop while I am at the best of my ability and not because I cannot do it anymore," stated the determined pioneer. Wilson now wants to shift her attention solely to family since they have had to share her with the world all these years.
Wilson was extremely grateful for the longevity she has had during her career, but she is not yet convinced that her fellow honoree Beyonce' could stand the test of time: "The music business has changed so much that I am not willing to state a