Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why Don't Black People Buy “Black” Music? AKA The Hood Ain't Checkin' For The Roots! (Reup from 2006)

As an admittedly old ass hip hop fan, I personally got to experience an amazing era in hip hop history.

Not because of the fact that I was old enough to remember clearly and actually buy, read and memorize the liner notes of albums released in both Golden Eras of Hip Hop (1986-1989 and 1992-1996). Not because I got to be there firsthand when legends like Run DMC, LL Cool J, Too Short, Rakim, KRS One, N.W.A., Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Ice T, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte and Queen Latifah FIRST broke onto the scene. Believe it or not, it also wasn..t because I got to experience the culture of hip hop in it’s truest and rawest form, either.

It was amazing because when I was growing up Black people actually bought and listened to intelligent, original, conscious or Afrocentric music en masse....those days are over and now long gone.

The world was different back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Crack had just hit and ravaged the inner cities of America, they were in ruin and brown people nationwide suffered due to the Reagan/Bush administration and their terrible policies. Apartheid was still in effect in South Africa and Nelson Mandela was still serving time in prison. The Black Panther Party, The Young Lords Party, The Weathermen/The Weather Underground as well as AIM and the Incident At Oglala weren’t too far off for that previous generation to relate to.

The turmoil and changes of the 60’s hadn’t yet dissappeared from the conscience of the people in the 70’s. The same generation that witnessed the fallout of the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were the ones rhyming about revolution and upliftment in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s. They were born in the mid to late 60’s or early 70’s themselves so these ideals were still fresh in their minds.

This current hip hop generation was robbed of the same music that challenged us and made us think and question the world around us (at least on the mainstream level) by three different factors. First up, the Ice T “Cop Killer” controversy back in 1992 in which Time Warner and it’s affiliates began dropping any artist that was controversial in any way following the threat of a nationwide boycott and fallout from bad press.

Secondly, the Telecommunications Act of 1996. With artist having to go for radio spins and MTV/BET video rotation, any conscious artists or group left on major labels would begin getting phased out and/or dropped due to “low record sales”. By 1999, none of them were left signed to major labels.

Lastly, the national tragedy of 9/11 pretty much put the kebosh on any radical or conscious music groups on a major label. The last group of that kind signed was when Loud signed Dead Prez in 1999, the only LP they recorded on Loud Records was their debut “Let’s Get Free”. All of the groups and artists like Public Enemy, Brand Nubian, Poor Righteous Teachers, King Sun, Lakim Shabazz, Paris, X Clan, K.M.D., Movement Ex, The Coup and Two Kings In A Cipher were completely irrelevant to this current generation of hip hop listeners.

With no foundation in conscious music on the radio or video stations, conscious/Afrocentric music was deemed as corny. Take for example, Arrested Development. They were media darlings and widely acclaimed by music publications, but never truly accepted by the hip hop community. They made sing song rap and wore weird headdresses, kinte cloth and long flowing clothes. Since they were garnering so much attention during the early years of Gangsta Rap’s takeover of the industry, there was a backlash against them from the Hip Hop community.

The same thing happened to PM Dawn who had the hit “Set Adrift Of Memory Bliss”. They had a weird image, often wearing paisley and huge tie dyed robes with beads and dreads. They also made some kind of weird sing songy rap that the media and music critics loved, but the average hip hop fans dreaded. To get a proper idea as to how much these groups were frowned upon, think of the disdain that the Black Eyed Peas receive nowadays by the average rap multiply that by 20.

PM Dawn was ultimately thrown off of a stage by KRS One after they made some not too bright comments about him as well as Public Enemy in different magazine interviews. Arrested Development lost some members after their successful first album and by the time they released their second album, no one was checking for them.

The rise of West Coast gangsta rap and East Coast underground grimy hip hop pretty much proved to be the undoing of "positive" hip hop on the mainstream level as well. Given that these acts were considered not ..real hip hop.. and corny (well, they were), no one wanted to hear anything from any group resembling them in hip hop. By 1992, the age of the African medallion, Afrocentric/conscious hip hop crews like the Native Tongues and the Stop The Violence Movement were dead and gone forever.

After the Telecommunications Act, the focus turned to status symbols and material possessions. A group was judged no longer by the quality of it’s music or lyricism/beats, but by how many records they sold, how many diamonds were on their watches or chains, or if they had a certain car, etc. With the wealth and opulence displayed in videos and name dropped in songs by Bad Boy Records, No Limit Records and later Cash Money Records, the Jiggy/Shiny Suit/Bling Bling Era had begun. Ever since then, if you weren’t about making money, then it didn’t make sense (cents).

Unfortunately for us that grew up with our parents Last Poets, Gil Scot-Heron, Umar Bin Hassan, Amiri Baraka, Mutabaruka and other "Black Power" records playing and the Gods and Ansaars on the corner or the train station selling incense while selling books have to exist in a hip hop environment where grown men proudly carry around the title of “The Kufi Smacker” and revel in ignorance (Just so it’s clear, I’m talking about the subliminals, fuck them niggas...Dig a hole, g’head, bury yourselves).

In this hip hop climate, artists like The Roots, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Jean Grae, Common and Little Brother are immediately lumped into the same category...”backpacker music”. Related R & B/Soul artists such as Raphael Saadiq, Dwele, Bilal, Erykah Badu, Amel Larrieux, Jill Scott, and Teedra Moses are all lumped into the Okayplayer category as well.

Both genre designations point to one thing “artists who have more White people than Black people buying their albums”. To anyone with common sense, this is stupid. Why? Because any “popular” music act, regardless of race or genre, has more White people than Black/Latino people buying it out of sheer numbers.

With Blacks making up between 12-13% of the United States 300 million residents (approximately 1 out of every 8 Americans), and White consumers making up between 60%- 70% of the units bought in urban music, to use the “more White people than Black people buy their music” argument is beyond stupid.

If you look through the CD collections and iTunes libraries of most White college students across America, you’ll find plenty of T.I., Ludacris, Young Joc, Young Jeezy and Rick Ross that says what about them exactly?

The fact does remain, that if you were to go to a show for most hip hop acts from the early to mid 90’s or any underground crew, the audiences are overwhelmingly White...but whose fault is that?

It takes me back to the legendary dialogue from Spike Lee’s film “Mo’ Better Blues” between Denzel Washington’s Bleek and Wesley Snipes’ Shadoe about why Black people abandoned the Blues and Jazz as well as stopped frequenting Blues and Jazz clubs.

The same dialogue was used in The Roots' classic album “Things Fall Apart”. If you aren’t familiar with it, you should definitely see it (this coming from a dude that knows Questlove’s Roots album liner notes by heart).

It is distressing to know that artists that grow up on the blackest of Black music and emulate those same masters of Black music on their projects will fall on deaf ears when they try to release their music to an audience of Black people that, in essence have no taste for “Black” music.

The music that is marketed to ”Black” or urban markets is ACTUALLY really pop music in nature, being that it’s made by major labels that are looking to move units. Just because it’s played on BET means nothing...BET is, after all, a Viacom network.

I understand that people, regardless of color don't like being preached to or having anyone acting like they are holier than thou...if you then take that and add it to an entertainment medium that people use to ESCAPE the problems and ills of the real world, you now have a TURNED OFF captive audience.

Whereas in the 60’s and 70’s Blacks and Latinos were actively fighting for their freedoms and the right to be considered more than subhuman/third class citizens are they actively SEARCHED for music that empowered them and gave them a sense of pride in their identity , the youth of today aren't doing that anymore...even though they clearly should be MORE conscious of what's going on in the world considering it is the Information Age.

We’ve already been through the what, when ,why, and how’s that conscious music disappeared from the mainstream, became remanded to the underground and is now regarded as “corny” or wack to the majority of listeners...The question remains: How is this solely the fault of the music industry? Don’t these kids have parents, aunts, uncles and older siblings that can tell them about Assata Shakur and Elaine Brown so were not relying on Common to do it?

BET has a new show premiering soon called “American Gangster” that will highlight the lives and crimes of figures like Stanley “Tookie” Williams and “Freeway” Rick Ross...wouldn’t it be MORE beneficial to the youth if they made programming that highlighted the lives of former activists like Canada Lee and Paul Robeson or members of the Young Lords or Black Panthers? Or are they afraid that it wouldn’t be “entertaining” enough.

The bottom line is that you as an individual have to choose whether or not you want to buy or listen to Afrocentric or conscious music. If you choose not to it’s your prerogative. It just doesn’t make sense to immediately dismiss it as corny or lame...unless you think that all of those people that fought for freedoms they’d never live to experience and died for you to just have the right to be here and respected as a human being as corny or lame.

Do you think “Freeway” Rick would’ve put his life on the line to SAVE his people as opposed to poisoning them for financial gain? No, but Medgar Evers and Fred Hampton did. Now that’s gangsta.


This blog was originally posted by myself on's Ill Community November 25th, 2006. This should give you all an idea of the direction this blog will be taking in February.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Come On And Catch A Beatdown!

I'm sure some of you readers have seen other blogs report on it but my boy What It Is from Tree Beats is starting up a new beat battle site at I Hook A Beat Up starting Sunday, February 3rd. Basically, a song is provided (from the likes of Mr Mass from Mass Corporation, Dr OK from And It Don’t Stop, DJ Nes from Dirty Waters, or Scholar from Souled On) then several producers will take the song and sample it and flip it the way they want over the next week. The beats are then posted and a panel (including Travis from WYDU, Eric from WTR, Max from Hip Hop Isn’t Dead, Mike Dikk from Dumpin.Net, Andrew from Strictly Beats and King E from the Justus League boards) will discuss what they liked and/or didn’t like and then it goes to a public vote. If you remember the Lawn Jawns, it’s very similar.

The same concept is used on sites like and the list goes on. If you wanna be down with the League Of Extraordinary Hip Hop bloggers then hit up the site and show 'em what cha got a la Just Blaze. As for myself, I'm still in the middle of writing yet another colossal blog and researching a huge project coming up in the near future (February is gonna be crazy over here..believe it!).

So if you gotta crew, betta tell 'em. We can battle in the alley around the corner with a big boombox and maybe later we can all get together and put on a big ass show to save Miracles...We need all the help we can get (and $250, 000)!

I also made a new post regarding the Super Bowl XLII media day and Plaxico Burress attempting to channel Nostradamus on my collaborative NFL blog Armchair Linebacker earlier this morning. Check it out.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tragedy And The Award Tour AKA Dartflix Edition #29

The past month has been chock full of odd occurrences in the world of television in film (not to mention a bunch of writers being laid off by film studios). Not only is it the awards season in which the Golden Globes and SAG Awards are given out, but the Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Utah.

The Sundance Film Festival and Slamdance are followed by the Independent Spirit Awards where new independent films can find audiences and studios to purchase and distribute them. The films that gained the most awards were No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly and Away From Her (I haven’t even thought of seeing the last two of the aforementioned films)

The films that premiered at this past Sundance Film Festival that I’m looking forward to seeing on DVD/in theaters are “Choke”, the adaptation of the Chuck Palaniuk (Fight Club) novel, “Trouble The Water”, “Sleep Dealer”, “The Wackness”, “Where In The World Is Osama?”, “American Teen”, “Hamlet 2”, “Ballast” and “American Son”.

There weren’t as many films being bought early on in this year’s festival but I expect more films to get bought as time goes on. It sucks that the WGA strike is still going on and people are just given out awards in short, borderline terse ceremonies. At least the Independent Spirit Awards still exist...too bad they wont air until February. The final major show of the awards season is the Academy Awards, the Oscars will occur on February 24th without any pomp and circumstance (which might be a good thing).

The tragedy of this past few week is that Heath Ledger, one of the best young actors in Hollywood has passed away very recently of what’s been called an accidental overdose on January 22nd. He had just recently finished filming the new Batman film “The Dark Knight” and he was so immersed in the role of The Joker that he was having trouble sleeping, he took too many Ambien (because two only helped him sleep for an hour) and he never woke up.

The loss of Heath Ledger (pictured above) stung because he was only 28 and he wasn’t afraid of taking risks and doing films that weren’t considered mainstream such as Lords Of Dogtown, Brokeback Mountain and I’m Not There. This loss is made all the more sadder by the fact that exactly one week prior (January 15th) troubled former child actor Brad Renfro (Sleepers, Bully, Ghost World, The Jacket, 10th & Wolf & The Informer also pictured below) passed away as well at the age of 25. Both of them will be missed by film fans the world over. Rest In Eternal Peace, Heath Ledger and Brad Renfro.

Top 5 Apple Trailers Of The Rest Of January (1.16-08-1.31.08)

88 Minutes

Never Back Down


The Air I Breathe

Cassandra’s Dream

Top 5 ImDb Trailers Of The Rest Of January (1.16.08-1.31.08)

The Bank Job


Drillbit Taylor


Vantage Point

Movies to consider renting from either Netflix or Redbox (or purchasing):
The Nines
The Hunting Party
3:10 To Yuma
Right At Your Door
He Was A Quiet Man
Death Sentence
Zodiac: The Director’s Cut
Man On Fire (Blu-Ray)
Killing Machine/Shogun’s Ninja (Blu-Ray)
Sister Street Fighter/Sister Street Fighter II (Blu-Ray)
Saw IV (Unrated Widescreen Edition)
Rocket Science
Mr. Untouchable
The Hustle (series)
Confessions Of A Superhero
Ladron Que Roba A Ladron
Ten Til Noon
Eye In The Sky
The Invasion
King Of California
Day Zero
The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters
Born To Fight
A Knight’s Tale
The Patriot
10 Things I Hate About You
Lords Of Dogtown
The Order
10th & Wolf
American Girl
The Jacket
Ghost World
Red Eye (2005 Korean one)
Broken Saints (animated series)
The All New Superfriends Hour: Season One
The Vietnam War (History Channel)
Torchwood-The Complete First Season
Damages-The Complete First Season
The Riches-Season One
Zodiac: The Director’s Cut
Dragon Heat
Family Guy- Blue Harvest
Groundhog Day (15th Anniversary Edition)
Only The Ball Was White

Dart’s Picks:
The Nines- This joint is not for everybody. If you’re into experimental/cult film that do great things with their narratives then see this now.

The Hunting Party- This joint flew under the radar, rent it and watch it.

Trade-I saw it online and it was pretty damn good. I can’t wait to see a better quality version of this powerful film about the ills of human trafficking.

He Was A Quiet Man-I didn’t even realize that it came out on DVD already. I’ve got to see this, now.

Right At Your Door-Independent as fuck...I dug it.

Dart’s WTF?/Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk Awards:
Mr. Woodcock-Fuck this movie.

The Comebacks-Fuck this movie, too.

Meet The! *Kicks it into a huge pit*

Strange Wilderness-Fuck everyone at Happy Madison...and then fuck this movie.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Dart Adams presents Lost In Translation: Black And White

On April 5th, 2000, a new movie reached theaters and it created quite the controversy. The Palm Pictures film was called “Black and White” and it was a collaborative effort between Wu Tang Clan exec Oli “Power” Grant and writer/director James Toback (both pictured below). The movie was an experimental piece in which each performer/actor had a specific amount of information and key plot points that they were supposed to get across in each scene but other than that they were allowed to freestyle their own dialogue. It made for quite an interesting final product considering that many of the key players had never acted before and/or weren’t trained thespians of any kind.

In order to show the contrasts between the lives of these Hip Hoppers and the young White students that idolized them, a wide array of Black and White pop culture icons were cast in the film. On one side we have Oli “Power” Grant in the protagonist’s role as Rich Bower, the infamous Harlem gangster who’s trying to get out the game and go legit as an entrepreneur/manager in the Rap game. His main artist is Cigar, played by Wu Tang Clansman Raekwon and his other artists are Raekwon’s proteges American Cream Team (including the infamous Lord Superb and the now deceased Chip Banks).

Among the celebrities with roles in the film were boxer Mike Tyson, New York socialite Marla Maples, model/actress Claudia Schiffer, Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton’s fine ass daughter Kidada Jones, newcomer Kim Matulova (she is now a VCA model) and New York Knicks guard Allan Houston. The cast was supplemented with veteran performers such as Robert Downey Jr., Brooke Shields, Jared Leto, Joey Pantoliano and Ben Stiller alongside younger actors like Elijah Wood, Bijou Phillips, Gaby Hoffman, William Lee Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Scott Caan. The Wu Tang Clan (Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah) and Sticky Fingaz also made appearances in the film as well.

The movies opening scene shows Rich Bower (Power) having sex with two teenage White girls in a public park while Lord Superb stands by as an armed guard. It then shows the parallels between the home life of one of the girls he was smashing and himself and his associate Cigar being denied studio time at Sorcerer Sound because of Rich’s reputation as a gangster. Then came a bunch of convoluted storylines that were somehow strewn together involves themes of identity and being true to yourself.

From there the movie becomes a mish mash of improvised scenes, some of which are interesting and others are just awkward. You can clearly notice where the looping and voiceovers are put in certain scenes so you aren’t totally confused. In some instances they repeat unnecessary information that’s already been covered (as in the case of the D.A.’s son working for Rich Bower). Some scenes (including all of the sex scenes) are pretty much just used for shock purposes. Mike Tyson’s scenes are necessary viewing even though his involvement with the film is a head scratcher in itself. Scott Caan’s scene was interesting considering the fact that he was in the Hip Hop group The Whooliganz with Alchemist back in the days.

Around the time of the release of the film there were several talk shows all over cable talking about the phenomenon of White youth and why they identify themselves with Hip Hop culture and Black culture (or what they believe “Black culture” to be). I taped one show that aired April 10th, 2000 on Fox News Channel called “The Full Nelson” hosted by Rob Nelson and the panel consisted of Hakim of Channel Live, William “Upski” Wimsatt, former member of The Source Mind Squad and author of the books “Bomb The Suburbs” and “No More Prisons”, Smokey Fontaine, the former music editor of The Source and entertainment editor at HBO’s (he has since written “E.A.R.L: The Autobiography Of DMX”) and Mia Mask, editor of (she is now an associate professor in the Drama and Film Department of Vassar College).

This panel was all about the sensational aspect of the film, White youth being immersed in Hip Hop culture. Rob Nelson kept asking Upski how he felt about being a “wigger”. Upski wouldn’t go for it and later on Hakim of Channel Live explained that “wigger” was not an acceptable term and that the word was coined by racist Whites that didn’t approve of the actions of their Hip Hop loving peers. Then the panel was steered towards the question of “Are executives trying to force White kids to act Black?”. This question was shot down by the panel (especially Hakim).

It was clear that Rob Nelson was not prepared to moderate a discussion about racial politics or Hip Hop. It was then that Hakim, Upski and Smokey just took over the discussion. Nothing was learned except that White youth make up 70% of Rap music sales and that White youth loving Black music was nothing new. No fresh, eye opening exchange of ideas or new ground was broken. Just like the movie the panel inspired.

The movie was made to make people think and open up dialogue about this fascinating cultural phenomenon...that didn’t happen. The film was released less than 8 years ago and damn near no one even remembers it ever even coming out. Several American Cream Team songs appear in the film (but didn’t make the soundtrack) such as “Kid Encyclopedia”, “Perb’s World”, “Where You At”, “Volochi Papers”, “Heavyweight Champ”, “Set It Off”, “Hold Your Head”, “Urban Life”, “Club Life” and a bunch of other Raekwon joints that had yet to be released.

Power was the executive producer of the Black And White soundtrack and the musical consultant for the film. The film was a promotional vehicle for the upcoming American Cream Team project “Only In America”. The film failed to crack the Top 10 after the first week in the theaters and fell 60& in the second week. It was out of theaters after only 26 days and generated only $5.2 million dollars. It’s budget was $10 million and it didn’t break even for a long time even with the DVD rentals and sales. To make matters even worse, Chip Banks was shot and murdered in November 2000 and the American Cream Team album was shelved indefinitely.

I fully recommend this clusterfuck of a Hip Hop/indie film to all Hip Hop and film fanatics to see just to know what not to do. If you do rent this film then watch it with the director’s commentary after you’ve seen it the first time and watch James Toback’s video diary in the Extras to further illustrate my point about this film. Below I have included the soundtrack to round out the full “Black And White” experience.

Black And White OST (2000)


Friday, January 25, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #17 AKA It's Been A Long Time, Sorry I Left You...

I promised that I’d write one last week so here it is, my first “What’s New In Dart’s iPod” post since November 30th. This week I post up reviews for the new joints by Guilty Simpson “Ode To The Ghetto”, Torae “Daily Conversation” and the new EMC concept album “The Show”.

Seeing as how it’s been so damn long since I’ve done one of these I think I’ll try to write out my thoughts and opinions on each individual album by writing out the best joints, hot garbage and my personal take on the project and how it struck me. I’ll start with the reviews in the order I received the albums so “Ode To The Ghetto” goes first, then “Daily Conversation” and finally “The Show”. Here’s the breakdown for how my rather unique "Cop It Or Not" ratings system breaks down below:

Oh No! This CD is a drink coaster/table balancer/doorstop/gerbil/hamster room divider/frisbee/discus/makeshift shield/last ditch choice for a visor/alternate shuriken choice. Sell this shit to whoever is dumb enough to buy it from you.

Maeby (Maybe)! Depending on your own set of personal preferences you might like this joint. Give it a listen first to see if it's in your lane or not.

Mos Def! Cop the album when it drops...'Nuff said.

The sky's the limit until I die and I'm in it! © Joe Budden

Guilty Simpson is a well known emcee in the underground Hip Hop circuit and he’s made quite a few notable guest appearances on some of the most important releases in the last couple of years. His “Stray Bullets” mixtape with Rhettmatic was just a prelude to his debut solo album on Stone’s Throw called “Ode To The Ghetto”. Will his album be able to live up to th line up of producers it has (Madlib, Oh No & Black Milk)? I let you all know below:

Best Joints: “Robbery”, “She Won’t Stay At Home”, “Ode To The Ghetto”, “I Must Love You”, “The Future”, “Pigs”, “My Moment”, “Run”, “Kinda Live”, “Yikes”, “The Real Me”, “Kill Em” and “Almighty Dreadnaughtz”

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: I liked this album, but Guilty’s style does sometimes grate on your nerves. I keep wanting him to speed it up or fill in my lines with some more syllables every once in a while. He might work more as part of a group to some but he still has mad punchlines and metaphors to keep you interested. He keeps it thugged out song topic wise (as evidenced by songs like “Getting Bitches”) and that will keep the rah rah muthafuckas listening that crave just the right amount of ig’nant shit with their Hip Hop. I thought this effort was good enough to buy, but it didn’t blow me away or really impress me all that much. I give it a recommended maybe.

Torae has been making quite a bit of noise over the last couple of years with his other Justus League companions and now he’s considered one of the new generation of elite emcees along with cats like Jay Electronica, Joell Ortiz, Blu, Skyzoo, Vandalyzm, Wiz Khalifa and the list goes on. Heads have been waiting for Torae’s new joint for a while and without further ado, here’s my review:

Best Joints: “Callin’ Me”, “Somethin’ To See”, “The Journey Pt. 1”, “Click”, “Fantaztik”, “Think About It”, “Switch”, “Get It Goin’”, “Save The Day”, “Da Nigguz Is Comin’”, “CME The Entity”, “Get It Done”, “Tayler Made” and “Casualty”.

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: “Daily Conversation” is bananas from beginning to end, even the intro was a remake of the classic Gang Starr interlude “Alright Chill”. There wasn’t a weak verse on this entire project, his guest appearances were all dope and the beats were all on point. Torae is a top rate lyricist and he fills up his lines with a nonstop delivery and he fills up the missing syllable gap that plagued Guilty Simpson’s album. I didn’t go into this album with any ridiculous expectations but he’s definitely raised the bar and I expect more great material from Torae in the future. This gets a mos def.

The long awaited album from M3 Hip Hop’s underground supergroup EMC is called “The Show” and it features underground vet Stricklin, Lyricist Lounge legends Punchline and Wordsworth and Top 50 G.O.A.T. Lister Masta Ace. The entire album is made around the occurrences and happenings involved with an EMC show. Will the album satisfy all the heads that have been patiently waiting for it since the first EMC song was released around a year ago? Let’s find out.

Best Joints: “Who We Be”, “Leak It Out”, “Traffic”, “Say Now”, “Don’t Give Up On Us”, “Get Some”, “We Alright”, “EMC What It Stand For?”, “Grudge”, “Make It Better”, “Winds Of Change”, “The Show”, “Once More”, “U Let Me Grow” and “Feel It”

Hot Garbage: N/A (but I really wasn’t feeling that “Borrow U” track)

Dart’s Take: This album is dope! It does delve into the realm of “Grown Folks Hip Hop” quite often with tracks addressing real life issues such as the strains made on personal and familial relationships by constant travel. The loss of family members and the bullshit surrounding being an underground emcee. It’s good to hear some new material from these cats. They all perfectly complement each other in a group environment. The beats are up to par and you know that these four cats are gonna bring it lyrically. The interlude placed throughout the project bring the album together and make it once concise listening experience. When this album drops go and BUY IT. EMC’s “The Show” gets a mos def from me.

I want your mind, fuck the money! © Jay Electronica


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Man At Work

As I'm currently exhaustively researching three new blogs simultaneously (I do things like this from time to time) I don't have the time to write and post anything new today. More than likely I'll get some writing tonight and have something brand new up for tomorrow. I promise that it will all be worth it once the finished products finally get published. Expect a new Dartflix next week about the Sundance Film Festival and the passing of Heath Ledger as well as some thought provoking, chin rubbing bloggery (Is that a word? Fuck it, it is now).

I was thinking about it and we need to create some type of Hip Hop blogger's union and force the internet/bloggerverse to take us more seriously. We need to write out our own Wikipedia pages, we need to start putting our shit up on Digg and if you have a blog you should go and claim in on Technorati and pick all of your favorite blogs out...or not. I mean you can all do whatever, I'm just sayin' that it would be cool if we all (read: a fair amount) of us did it to raise our profile/presence in the blogging community.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Never No More AKA Old Trends In Hip Hop That’ll Never Come Back...I Hope Part Two

Today I’ll finish up and cover three more trends that annoyed the fuck outta me during the era surrounding the last Golden Age of Hip Hop, these ocurrences were all prevalent between 1991-1997 and if I had a time machine I’d try to save the world from some of these horrors. Well, here goes:

Old Trend #4
Everyone’s Jamaican, mon!

Thanks to the huge crossover success of Shabba Ranks in the early 90’s there was a new upsurge of interest in Reggae artists. Maxi Priest, Mad Cobra, Patra, Super Cat, Tiger, Ninjaman, Red Rat, Buju/Mega/Burro Banton, Bounty Killer, Terror Fabolous, Garnet Silk, Jamal Ski, Red Foxxx, Daddy Freddy and Shaggy songs infiltrate the walkmans of many Hip Hop heads that didn’t originally check for Reggae before. This is further helped by a slew of Hip Hop Reggae tracks made by Kenny Dope and Funkmaster Flex. Before you know it Rayvon, Big Daddy Ricksta, Mad Lion, Snow and Lil’ Vicious are all over the radio.

In no time every new Hip Hop song has a Reggae artist on the hook and kids are coming to school with Jamaican flag medallions and dancing like extras from the movie “Dancehall Queen”. I knew shit was getting weird when even the kids on the Mickey Mouse Club were bustin’ out the Butterfly and Bogle while singing covers of shit like Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away” on the Disney Channel. Some dude showed up chatting on N.W.A’s “Alwayz Into Somethin’”, Ice Cube went and got Don Jagwarr, Heavy D reminded everyone that he was Jamaican on every subsequent album and it just snowballed from there. KRS One and Just-Ice were off to the side observing like “Is this shit somehow our fault?”

Eventually, it just burned itself out and Shabba Ranks career had to fall back due to overexposure. Ini Kamoze celebrated by creating “Here Comes The Hotstepper”...a song that almost became the Jamaican version of “This Is How We Do It”. When I first heard “Welcome To Jamrock” I got scared for a minute but then I looked up in the sky and saw a rainbow which reminded me of the pact God made with Man to never let that ever happen again.

Old Trend #5
Unnecessary accesories galore

Erick Sermon thought it would be a good idea to wear a vest one day. So did Masta Ace. So did Black Moon. When Black Moon did it, they decided to wear hockey jerseys underneath bubble vests and rock some ski goggles with ‘em. Method Man saw that and raised them some Nike armbands and black Nike receivers gloves. Nas decided to wear an Army jacket and BDU’s from the Army/Navy store over some Timbos.

The Jungle Brothers saw Nas, Black Moon and Smif N’ Wessun and raised them Ranger hats and lumberjack gear. Motherfuckers all over the country saw these videos on TV and these pictures in The Source and Rap Pages then took themselves to the mall. By the Winter of 1994 every asshole was wearing a Conart, GAT or Timberland skullie, a Triple Fat Goose or a Helly Hansen coat and looked like they were gonna go climb Mount Everest. In reality, all they were really gonna do was smoke some blunts and freestyle on the corner. I've seen some scary things in my life like dudes rocking doo rags under fitted caps and basketball jerseys over hoodies...what were we thinking?

I have pictures of myself in the 90’s and I look like a fuckin’ hood superhero with all that shit on. What was with all of those pockets on those vests? Even Batman didn’t have enough shit to put in all of those pockets! Grand Puba made me buy (okay...steal) all of those damn Girbaud jeans with those weird ass pockets that went straight across! Thank God I didn’t buy a bunch of Phillie Blunts and White Owl T shirts and those damn tie top A Hats like those other assholes.

Old Trend #6
“Alternative” Rap, it’s 75% less scary than original Rap!

The media was scared of Ice T, Ice Cube, 2Pac, Scarface, Above The Law and Public Enemy but they just LOVED P.M. Dawn and Arrested Development! The media became so enamored with them that it created a level of resentment between both groups and the “Hip Hop Nation” at large. KRS One “tossed” (I read the posts on, dammit!) Prince Be’s chunky beads and flowing robe of many colors rockin’ ass off the stage after some questionable statements he made in several different interviews about not only KRS but Public Enemy as well. Both P.M. Dawn and Arrested Development had big hits on the charts, their albums moved mad units but Hip Hop heads weren’t impressed...Too late! Record labels rushed out to find some “alternative” rap acts.

Labels rushed out to sign Divine Styler (his “Spiral Walls Containing Autumns Of Light” LP failed to make noise...who would’ve guessed?), they signed Kid Rock after he discovered a “new sound” (his “The Polyfuze Method” LP was considered straight up noise), they put out the Stereo MC’s songs in North America (“Elevate My Mind” and “Connected” were minor hits), Dream Warriors were imported from Canada ("My Definition" and "Wash Your Feet In My Sink" went over big on MTV) and Q Tip vocal doppleganger Justin Warfield dropped a full length (his album “My Field Trip To Planet 9”was certified Aluminum Foil by the RIAA a month later).

Labels weren’t discouraged yet, so they signed up The Diposable Heroes Of Hip Hopracy, The Hansoul Project, Urban Dance Squad, Skate Master Tate, Brotherhood Creed, MC 900 Ft Jesus and the super wack “Fraternity Of One” himself (pictured above), Me Phi Me. None of them made much noise and some of them got dropped before their albums ever even came out. By 1995, all of these groups were finished and forgotten about. Quick, name a song off of “Lucacentric” that WASN’T “Lucas With The Lid Off”. Quick!

Everything I didn't mention was already previously covered by my esteemed colleague Animal Mother on his blog And It's Still All Good. Read those classic entries here:


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Never No More AKA Old Trends In Hip Hop That’ll Never Come Back...I Hope

A lot of us oldheads in hip hop (and many of us that have blogs) tend to idealize the past 10 or 12 years in hip hop history. Even though there was a great amount of classic material made and released between 1991-1997, there were a lot of wack copycat groups, lame trends and other things of that nature that could fly only in that era. I’ll list three of them here in this following blog:

Old Trend #1
Group overdubs, group chants and punch-ins in unison on tracks:

No more of those rehearsed team chants, improvised sound effects or random interjections being hollered over the track anymore. Sometimes it sounded fly, other times it sounded like a high school spirit squad just got a damn record deal. We heard this style used regularly from 1991-1994 by groups such as Fu-Schnickens, Leaders Of The New School (pictured below), The UMC’s, Original Flavor, etc.

Never again will four dudes cram themselves together in the vocal booth to scream something borderline gay or cornball like “Sha Na Na!!!”, “Shboom! Shboom!” or “Wopbabaloobop!” There will never again be a rapper like Ski of Original Flavor, whose entire style consisted of him repeating popular phrases and making random sound effects like scratching noises. The last group that actually pulled this off and made it sound fly was The Arsonists (pictured below)...after they broke up that style was officially dead and buried.

Old Trend #2
Flippin’ your tongue:

After Das Efx (pictured above) came out with the “iggity” style and sold a shitload of records, it seemed that everybody and their mother decided it would be a good idea to bite it (even though Kool Ass Fashion of The Beatnuts (“Third Of The Trio” off of the Intoxicated Demons EP) and the UK ‘s Demon Boyz suggest that Das Efx jacked their styles) and run with it. Tung Twista and Daddy Freddy also jumped on the scene and took the whole fast rapping/tongue twisting rap era to another level of ridiculousness. The end result? Verses in 1992 and 1993 would go sorta like this:

Let me fliggity flex my skills to piggidy pay the bills/I used to chiggity chop that raw and sling those krills/
I riggidy rock and roll/I siggidy got soul/I tick tick boom/I’m gonna bliggity blow!/
I fliggity flow/I fliggity flow like the Nile/they call me Swiss Army Knife cuz I’m so versatile/

Back in the days that sounded fly, but nowadays? Please shiggity shut the figgity fuck up! I now understand why some younger heads go back and listen to some of that shit that we were doing the East Coast Stomp and jumping up and down to in 1993 like “This shit is hot garbage!”. You truly had to be there in that time and era to fully comprehend/enjoy it.

Point of reference "Ban Da Iggidy's" off of Illegal's "The Untold Truth" LP on Rowdy Records and the scrapped Def Jam album by Boss' sidekick/hypewoman Dee Tha Mad Bitch...and everybody on Earth flippin' their tongues after Das dropped.

Old Trend #3
The grimy ass “underground hip hop” video (circa 1991-1997):

These videos were usually filmed in a really shitty area near or in an abandoned building and everyone around is wearing army gear, skullies, vests, hoodies and Timberlands. Sometimes it’s filmed entirely in black and white. Folks are dancing around metal drums with burning wood in them (cuz that’s how you keep warm in the winter, duh!). Assorted heads may have somehow acquired sledgehammers, baseball bats and/or chainsaws (YZ. Treach..I’m looking at you!) and have preceded to destroy things that are ALREADY in extremely shitty condition (it IS the ghetto, after all!).

When the camera comes around everybody makes their best ice grills and mad faces they’d been practicing since the casting director picked them for the shoot. They also get to flash their machetes, butcher knives, box cutters, guns or whatever other weapons (including razor blades under their tongues) they have on them to the camera to illustrate how “real” shit is at that point in time. Occasionally, some cinder blocks and bricks might get thrown around as well (because God knows how much fun that is!). Breaking shit is imperative, also feel free to spit, smoke weed and grab yo’ nuts.

Some of these elements are present in old Hip Hop videos like Das Efx “Straight From The Sewer”, EPMD’s “Crossover” and “Headbanger”, Rough House Survivers “Get Rough (Rough House)”, Fat Joe’s “Shit Is Real”, Redman’s “Blow Ya Mind”, Wu Tang Clan’s “Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin’ Ta Fuck Wit”, Rumpletilskinz “Attitudes”, Onyx’s “Throw Ya Gunz”, YZ’s “Return Of The Holy One”, Diamond D’s “Fuck What U Heard”, Beatnuts “Hardcore (Hit Me With That)”, Bushwackass "Rough, Rugged and Raw", Greysun and Jasun's "Livin' Like A Trooper" and M.O.P.’s “How About Some Hardcore?”

That's all for now...shout to Animal Mother for posting his blog a while back and making me delay and rewrite this one.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

18-0! AKA We're Baaaack! © Tom Brady

The New England Patriots have won their 4th AFC Championship in 7 years 21-12 against a tough San Diego Chargers squad and will face the winner of the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants to play in Super Bowl XLII. (Edit: It'll be the New England Patriots vs. New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII)

We'll see you in Arizona and look out for my post about the AFC & NFC Championship games to appear either late tonight or early tomorrow on our collaborative NFL blog Armchair Linebacker (mine will be the really long upbeat post with pictures).

Happy MLK Day!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Cuz It's Friday And I Ain't Got Shit Else To Do!

I still don't have enough big releases to motivate me to do another What's New In Dart's iPod yet. I need at least three releases to do one (or it doesn't really work) and all I've run across lately are Guilty Simpson's "Ode To The Ghetto" (pictured above) and Big Noyd's "Illustrious" (pictured below). The last time I was really checkin' for Noyd was when Tommy Boy rushed out his first album. His subsequent releases haven't made me care enough that he dropped some new material, either.

Who the hell is that at the end of hallway on Noyd's album cover? I'm really looking forward to a lot of upcoming joints that might be clouding my judgment and forcing me to overlook so joints/mixtapes that just came out. That Rhymefest mixtape is pretty damn ill after all! Well, here are some joints that I've been killin' lately.

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of January 18th, 2008):
Welcome To The Machine-Termanology
Life On The Line-AZ
My World Is Empty Without You-Prodigy
Go All Out-Buckshot & 9th Wonder
90 Days-Sadat X
Bring Y'all Back-Pete Rock f/Little Brother & Joe Scudda
Things Done Changed-Big Noyd
I Still Remember-Wiz Khalifa
Ups & Downs-Joell Ortiz
We On-Gemstones f/Lupe Fiasco
Mistaken Identity-Slaine
Bubble Pop-Del The Funky Homosapien
My Thoughts-Bumpy Knuckles
Murdapan-Big Shug
Till I Retire-Pete Rock
Intruder Alert-Lupe Fiasco
Run-Guilty Simpson f/Sean Price & Black Milk
Slow Down-Ghostface Killah f/Chrisette Michelle
Victory Is In My Clutches-Jay Electronica

Joints I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak..I Mean Drop:

Non Hip Hop Albums In My Regular iPod Rotation This January:

Yeah, I really like the Paramore album...don't ask me why, but I do. I'll be back with a "What's New In Dart's iPod" next Friday regardless. One.