Monday, January 31, 2005
I Feel Superior
Yes, the book is finally out, I'm finally upgrading my hardware, and I'm Asian/Pacific Islander. Fuck it, go on and write a song about me.
Folks in the Bay, if you get a minute this week, peep Rennie Harris Puremovement's hip-hop dance opus called Facing Mekka at the Yerba Buena Center. (Yes, I just hooked you with a deal folks.)
Rennie is one of the leading street dance choreographers in the world, the host of the semi-annual Legends conference that has brought together all the pioneers of hip-hop and street dance, and a living legend. I've seen pieces of this and it's just mind-blowing work.
posted by Zentronix @ 9:17 PM
Friday, January 28, 2005
Wave Of Mutilation: A Belated 2 Cents on Hot 97
Sorry for being quiet this whole week, especially with the tsunami fiasco going down. I've been doing set-up work for the book and a bunch of meetings around hip-hop activism.
First I just want to send a shout out to our tireless and indefatigable man, Jay Smooth. He's the one who first alerted all of us via email, and blog, weeks ago about Miss Jones' idiocy. And he's taken it to them, again and again.
Now, I'm gonna say this and please don't be mad or take it out of context. People, the level of heat that yall brought to Hot 97 is wonderful.
But now can we talk about who is making your shoes and your sweats? Can we close down hip-hop fashion sweatshops?
Can we channel this energy toward an honest dialogue about how racism in the media and the country affects Asians and Blacks?
Can we move on the post-Powell FCC and force them to demonopolize the media so we don't have be hearing dumb shit across the board?
Can we stand up to the folks who are just hankering for a way to launch a backlash against hip-hop radio?
Can we get together to shut down the real assholes who are sending us back decades in time--Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, Gonzales?
Look I realize I might sound like a gotdam hippie saying all this, but yo, I for one worry that a lot of this rage is just pure bloodlust, some old let's-go-see-the-5pm-execution-in-the-town-square, while all the real criminals are still out there.
Tell me I'm wrong. Or better yet, tell me how we now get to the real criminals. Alright?
posted by Zentronix @ 11:24 PM
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Been A Long Time...Shouldna, You Know, Etc. Etc.
The Frontline :: Can't Stop Won't Stop Freestyle
First of all, big shout out to my peeps who brought me through this past weekend for a likkle radio and print interview trip: The Uhuru Maggot, Trinity, and Billy Jam. Shouts also to T-Kash, Nerissa Pacio and Eric Arnold, plus a spontaneous after-midnight chat with my long-lost peoples, the gifted producer Rob Fanatik and shouts to his crew Mikial, Jihad, and the brother Hasan! To all of you...It was an honor and a pleasure.
In the middle of Billy's show, he asks me, "So what do you think of The Frontline?" And I go, "Duh. I've never heard 'em."
But a couple hours later I'm talking to my man Eric who tells me they're about to go national, so I head up to Rasputin's and pick up The Bootleg 2.1 and Who R You and I realize, yo, I hear this every day outside my door and down at the park! It's true--I know all their beats and hooks already 'cause this is the stuff that's on the bassbins all around the area.
There's nothing like a promotional book tour to get a dude out of the house and up on his around-the-way heroes.
Anyway, thanks to all yall faithful who come back everyday waiting on me for something new to say. I ain't forgot aboutcha. Bear with me as this blog transforms into something else, a road-dawg diary, over the next month plus change.
New hardware in the works, wireless software, and actual bandwith means I'ma be servin' up a lot more this year, if not as often. Thanks for listening.
In the meantime, peep some Richmond game--or more precisely, as the folks who ain't locked in their rooms writing books around here call it, some of that New Bay shit--from a group yall will be hearing lots about very soon.
And yeah, I'll get to that Sticker Shock post I promised last week real soon...
Finally, this one from Lizz Mendez Berry:
Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?
posted by Zentronix @ 8:02 PM
Saturday, January 15, 2005
If You Don't Like The Effects, Don't Produce The Cause
Nothing in this more stuff and things post relates to the title, I'm just on a Funkadelic kick.
The mixtape is done! It'll be available free with a purchase of the book at all the events so fall through and bring a Jackson and some change. If you've already purchased the book, just bring it through to get it signed and you'll get a copy of the CD. And if you can't make it to any of the appearances, come back here to the website in the coming weeks to find out more about how you can cop it.
Here's a preview of the tracklisting:
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
The Next Lesson
A Zentronix Production starring:
Gift of Gab
Lateef the Truth Speaker
And Hip-Hop’s Pioneers
D-Sharp Just Can’t Stop
Sipple Out Deh
Kingston ‘73—Lyrics Born
Zen’s In This Time Mix
Blood and Fire, With More Music
Bronx ‘68—Lateef the Truth Speaker
War and Peace—The Gangs of the Bronx
Ghetto Brother Power!—Ghetto Brothers
DJ Kool Herc Makes A Name
A Creation Myth—Joyo
D-Sharp’s Back To Sedgwick Mix
Bam Power!—Pow Wow & Jazzy Jay
Bambaataa’s Theme—Afrika Bambaataa
Bam’s Faith—Afrika Bambaataa & Jazzy Jay
Live At Bronx River—Lisa Lee
The Summer of ‘79 at the T-Connection—Grandmaster Melle Mel
Three Anonymous Rappers—Lyrics Born
Good Timing—DJ Icewater
Hip-Hop On A Record?!?!!—Chuck D
D-Sharp’s Hip-Hop On Wax Supreme B-Boy Mix
Worldwide Understanding—Crazy Legs
D-Sharp’s At The Roxy Mix
Things Fall Apart
The Other Planet Rock—Chief Xcel
Track TBA Quannum Exclusive!
Cokane In My Brain—Dillinger
Rick’s Ready Rock—Chief Xcel
The Batteram (commercial version)—Toddy Tee
What We Got To Say
The Ultimate Black Melting Pot—Chuck D
D-Sharp’s Whylin’ On The Island Mix
The Culture Assassins
West Coast Poplock—Ronnie Hudson
Uncle Jam’s Army—Gift of Gab
Things Done Changed—Gift of Gab
The New Blues—Gift of Gab
D-Sharp’s All About Reality Mix
Gonna Work It Out
Risking It All—Joyo Velarde
A Vision of Peace—Daude Sherrills
Peace Treaty (white label mix)—Kam
New World Order
The First Coast—DJ Kool Herc
Revelation Time—Lateef The Truth Speaker
A New Generation—Lateef The Truth Speaker
Icewater’s Better World Mix
-Title TBA Quannum Exclusive!
-Title TBA Quannum Exclusive!
+ Christopher Porter with more Konono No. 1! Thank you thank you thank you. And for the two or three billion of you who still don't know, this was the album of 2004.
+ Ouch! Serg goes after scionism. I actually don't know if, by his definition, I'm a ex-scionist. But these days, I drive a Sienna, and I got people that call me daddy.
posted by Zentronix @ 5:52 PM
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Stuff & Things...
Stuff and things to holla about:
First off, I'm not avoiding you.
I'm deep in planning for release parties, including what looks to be some killer events in the Bay, LA, and NYC. All the details are here. Also working on the mixtape with DJ D-Sharp and DJ Icewater. It's sick, a cross between Lemony Snicket and Kay Slay or something. Instead of details, right now, think these thoughts: Bronx Legends, and A Whole Lotta Quannum.
In more book news, wow! Fools is already jackin'. They ignore the bright red sticker on the thin little cover that says "ADVANCE UNCORRECTED PROOF" and are trying to sell it to you as a "Trade Paperback".
My people, hold on. The real deal--hardcover--ships in less than 1 week. Pre-order my thing now, please. I'm running out of diapers.
Just kidding. About the diapers. OK. No more begging.
+ Farai Chideya tears Armstrong Williams a new one. The lead alone should have Michael Powell and the FCC taking up small handguns.
+ Mark Anthony Neal on Lil Jon, his ugly cup and crunkface.
+ The Bay Guardian is hiring an associate arts editor. Contact Charlotte Harper or Kim Chun. All I will say is: Negotiate. You know, I...nah, that's all I'll say.
+ I said this before and I mean it: Eric Arnold is The King of The Yay.
+ Special Ed is back. Whoa!
+ Hip-hop journalists/scholars take note: Words, Beats, & Life looks like a really great magazine--really good thinking going into the themes. And they're soliciting! Topics on tap for the four issues coming in year 2: Golden Age of Rap, Kung Fu & Capoeira, DJs, Graf.
+ This Herman Chin-Loy :: Aquarius Rock on Pressure Sounds is incredible, and reminds me that I need to start doing some reviews on this blog. BTW all those ugly Internet rumors that my next book is about how the Chinese invented reggae are true. I have stunning evidence that they brought it to America with them in 1421.
+ Lastly, more Sticker Rock Shocking this week, Max Romeo revival style. For now, enjoy my comrades on the right-most coast.
posted by Zentronix @ 5:28 PM
Sunday, January 09, 2005
South African Pop
My long-promised, much-delayed thang is up at Sticker Shock. In this edition, we go back to apartheid-era South Africa for some Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens. There is a hip-hop connection, after all. Plus, a big shout to my peeps out in Cape Town...I see ya!
posted by Zentronix @ 12:52 PM
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Soldier News: Army Reserve A 'Broken' Force
From yesterday's baltimoresun.com headlines:
"The Army Reserve, a force of 200,000 part-time soldiers that provides key support in Iraq and Afghanistan with medics, engineers and truck drivers, 'is rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force,' its top general told senior Army leaders.
In a blunt memo, Lt. Gen. James R. 'Ron' Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, noted the demands of overseas commitments and the unwillingness of Army and Pentagon officials to change 'dysfunctional' policies that hamper the Reserve on issues such as training, extension of service and the mobilization of his soldiers.
You can also download the actual memo from the sidebar to that article.
posted by Zentronix @ 9:46 PM
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Hip-Hop Is Dead
I mean, are you gonna argue with Greg Tate?
I love this essay, not least because it captures in less than 3000 words what I spent damn near 600 pages trying to say. Such is the greatness of Godfather Tate.
His essay on hip-hop in 1988 is still prescient: "Hip-hop might be bought and sold like gold, but the miners of its rich ore still represent a sleeping-giant constituency. Hip-hop locates their market potential and potential militancy". Dig!
In 2005 it's about this: "If enough folk from the 'hood get rich, does that suffice for all the rest who will die tryin'? And where does hiphop wealth leave the question of race politics? And racial identity?"
I also love it because in the same way the Godfather catches up 16 years of back-story, he flips the script on a decade and a half of hip-hop journalism and about a decade of decent hip-hop scholarship. Folks, the story now is: what happened?
I don't agree with everything he says. But I'ma withhold that for now to let you check it out first.
Bonus: pictures by Jamel Shabazz of Lucky Strike and Fabel and other UZN and Rock Steady Crew. Go read this now. Then come back and holla in the comments...
posted by Zentronix @ 10:01 PM
Monday, January 03, 2005
Kanye West Is So 2004
Spent the long holiday fighting a flu, avoiding work and email and finishing musical blog entries and thinking about anything important, working on the Can't Stop Won't Stop mixtape with dem Quannum boyz, and cleaning like demon. The only reason I have a top 10 list for 2004 is because the Village Voice imposed a fricking deadline. To everyone, I will return your calls and emails soon! Forthwith, without comment because I ain't got the time...
Albums (In Alphabetical Order)
Build An Ark - Peace With Every Step - Plug Research (10 points)
Danger Mouse - The Grey Album (10 points)
DFA - Compilation #2 - DFA (10 points)
DJ Nuts - Cultura Copia - Mochilla/Wax Poetics (10 points)
Jill Scott - Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 - Hidden Beach (10 points)
Joni Mitchell - Dreamland - Asylum (10 points)
Konono No. 1 - Lubuaku - Terp (10 points)
Various Artists - Lif Up Yuh Leg And Trample - Honest Jon's (10 points)
Maroons - Ambush - Quannum (10 points)
Various Artists - The Third Unheard: Connecticut Hip-Hop 1979-1983 - Stone's Throw (10 points)
Singles (In Ranked Order)
1. Federation - "Hyphy" - Montbello/Virgin
2. Lyrics Born - "Callin Out Remix" - Quannum
3. Tanya Stephens - "Power Of A Girl" - Pow Pow
4. MIA - "Galang" - XL
5. Mac Dre - "Feelin' Myself" - Thizz Entertainment
6. Green Day - "American Idiot" - Warner Industrial Complex
7. Richie Spice - "Earth Ah Run Red" - Fifth Element
8. Lady Saw - "I've Got Your Man" - VP
9. Snoop Dogg - "Drop It Like It's Hot" - Geffenomics
10. Terror Squad - "Lean Back" - Universal Megacorp
Listen globally, get hyphy locally!
posted by Zentronix @ 11:50 AM
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