Wednesday, October 31, 2007
NY Times Paper Cuts : Living with Music :: Listen Here!

The hits keep coming!
(Por la techno-challenged :: Press the Yellow Star on the tape cover to open and play the music...)


I was asked by Dwight Garner to contribute a Living with Music playlist for the New York Times' book blog, Paper Cuts. In celebration of that, I've uploaded a Fuzz mixtape of the songs above. You can check the songs for a coupla weeks.

(If it's popular like that, I'll try to figure out a more permanent solution. Fam feel free to school me on any interesting widgets to try...)

While you're at Paper Cuts, check all the Living With Music lists. Hours of fun. I think Kevin Young's is particularly great. Thanks to Dwight for making this all possible...

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posted by Zentronix @ 10:36 AM   0 comments links to this post




Me and Mother Jones :: Hip-Hop Politics In A New Era


Here's a preview of the second of my pieces out this month, an overview of the emergence of hip-hop activism in the U.S. and its prospects for 2008 and beyond from Mother Jones. There's also a timeline...which reminds me to let you know that the book Born In The Bronx by the great Joe Conzo is finally out! More on that soon...for now check this:

Jerry Quickley, hip-hop poet, performance artist, and war correspondent, can describe hell. It is a post-"liberated" Baghdad street, jammed with beat-up Brazilian and Czech sedans spewing trails of carbon monoxide, clouds of dust thickening in the 125-degree heat. He is riding shotgun in his Iraqi friend's car. "You have no traffic lights because there's no electricity. You have no police because they'd just be shot or blown up," he says. "You can barely breathe, traffic's going nowhere."

U.S. transport patrols fire into the air in an effort to clear traffic and ward off would-be bombers. Iraqi drivers desperately ram their clunkers into each other to get out of the way. "And while this is all going on," Quickley says, "this friend of mine is playing songs by 50 Cent."

The top-selling doo-ragged-and-body-oiled rapper—whose smash debut album was entitled "Get Rich Or Die Trying", and whose 2005 album "The Massacre" occasioned a multi-platform onslaught that included a book, a feature movie, a bloody videogame, a bling-encrusted line of watches, shoe and "enhanced water" ("hydrate or die trying") endorsements, not to mention tabloid headlines about a beef with a former protégé culminating in real-life shootings—warbles through the busted car stereo in a nasally drawl, "Many men wish death upon me."

"Sarte was right," thought Quickley at that moment. "This is 'No Exit.'"

For many, this is what hip-hop has become: an omnipresent grisly übermacho soundtrack from which there appears no exit. Tensions exploded this past spring after the April firing of shock jock Don Imus, who had called the largely African American Rutgers women's college basketball team "nappy-headed ho's". While Nike took out ads in the New York Times and on the web that read "Thank you, ignorance…Thank you for reminding us to think before we speak", Fox News commentators like Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson lectured hip-hop advocates. For two days, Oprah Winfrey and an angry studio audience cornered Russell Simmons, the rapper Common, and music industry executives.

For many, this is what hip-hop has become: an omnipresent grisly, übermacho soundtrack. Don Imus unleashed the latest hip-hop backlash when he noted that in calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” he was using an argot popularized by rappers. The frenzy of finger-pointing that followed culminated with the spectacle of Bill O’Reilly lecturing hiphop advocates on sexism and the “n word,” while Oprah berated Russell Simmons and other industry executives. The talk show circus aside, there’s plenty of evidence that people are weary of corporate rap. Only 59 million rap albums were sold in the United States last year, down from 90 million in 2001. According to the University of Chicago’s Black Youth Project report, youths—particularly minorities—overwhelmingly believe that rap videos portray women of color in a negative light.

Once a cacophony of diverse voices, the genre now looks like a monoculture whose product, not unlike high-fructose corn
syrup, is designed not to nourish, but simply to get us hooked on other products, from McDonald’s to Courvoisier.

Quickley, though, remains a true believer in hip-hop’s transformational potential. For him, it goes back to the summer of
1976, three years before the Sugarhill Gang’s breakthrough “Rapper’s Delight"...


Read the whole thing here.

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posted by Zentronix @ 6:12 AM   0 comments links to this post



Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Foreign Policy :: It's A Hip-Hop World

Graf in China...

NOTE :: I'm reposting this as all the links are now active. Got more pieces in the clip to unload on you in the coming weeks! Enjoy...

ORIGINAL POST (10/24) :: I know I've been out of the mix for a minute. Mainly I've been writing like crazy over the past few months--on a number of pieces, some of which I've been pitching for years--and so now the universe is starting to bear fruit.

Here's the first, an article for Foreign Policy on the globalization of hip-hop and some of its implications.

BONUS BEATS (10/30) :: Here are more links from the good people at FP...

+ A sidebar by the great S. Craig Watkins.

+ A Q+A with Dana Burton, hip-hop artist/promoter in China.

+ Video from China's Iron Mic contest.

There was much much more stuff that we unfortunately had to lose in the edit, especially about the history of hip-hop in Brasil. I may post that here shortly. In the meantime, I'm back on the road for the final run of the year. Hit me here with any thoughts you might have...

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posted by Zentronix @ 5:30 AM   4 comments links to this post



Thursday, October 25, 2007
Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Kool Herc & Clyde Stubblefield Rock The Bay
Our boy Marc Bamuthi Joseph appears this month in Smithsonian Magazine as one of the top 37 Cultural Innovators Under 36. We're already underway in working on his next project "the break/s". If you want to catch the final run of his incredible theater piece, "Scourge", it closes out this weekend at ODC Theater.

PLUS...The Saturday closing will be followed by a rare appearance by DJ Kool Herc and the funky drummer Clyde Stubblefield. You did not read wrong. The father of hip-hop and one of the godfathers of the break will be rocking together onstage after the curtains come down. Tickets for all the shows are available here.

All shows are guaranteed to be sold out, so go now.

See you this weekend...

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posted by Zentronix @ 11:21 AM   2 comments links to this post



Sunday, October 14, 2007
The Disappearing Model of Color
The always on-point Guy Trebay on the disappearance of models of color from the runway.

posted by Zentronix @ 9:43 AM   1 comments links to this post




From The Whoa! File on Supersurveillance :: Dragonfly Spy Drones
This stuff is, uh, just bugged out.

posted by Zentronix @ 8:30 AM   0 comments links to this post



Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Plug 2 :: Living Word + Litquake!
Yes, I've been gone. Just poking my head back in to let yall know that if it's October, I must be coming round to a place near you like Collie Budz.

Tomorrow, it's the University of Illinois at Chicago, and this weekend back in the Yay your boy is falling through the Living Word Festival all day Friday in events with Popmaster Fabel, Grandmaster Caz, Q-bert, the Bay's best graf writers and ridiculous crew. Stop by for some hip-hop immersion. Also doing a lil some-somethin' up at Litquake's Lit Crawl! I'll be the kid amongst all the SF punk luminaries.

Details are here. Fall through. Bring a pie or something else to throw...

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posted by Zentronix @ 9:45 AM   0 comments links to this post

 

Previous posts
Coming Soon!
Notes On The Eve Of Day One
Students Occupy The New School
Farai Chideya's News And Notes on NPR Has Been Can...
I Am Nixon
Shouldna Lef Ya...
2G2K Is Back! :: On Hillary, Again, And Foreign Po...
The Impact of The Hip-Hop Vote
UCLA Education In Action Keynote Speech
A Great Day In Baseball History


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