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Clyde Smith on Hip Hop Culture & Politics
now at: www.hiphoplogic.com

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   Saturday, January 31, 2004


Hip Hop Hoodios, David Banner

Latino-Jewish group Hip Hop Hoodios continues the multicultural growth of hip hop.

Enjoyable piece on David Banner and his dichotomies in the Village Voice. Though not very timely. Does David Banner have any other pictures? Or is that the only one that adequately represents his realness?




   Friday, January 30, 2004


Kid606 and the Music Industry

Kid606 demolishes sound in Oakland.

How's it going with the music industry?

Available from Amazon:
Kid606's Kill Sound Before Sound Kills You.





   Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Hip Hop Nationwide

Hip hop continues to build everywhere and Jonathan Moore aka Wordsayer is helping it build in Seattle.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has issues with the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. This week they're in Houston and a local columnist called their PR people on the Network's shit by the radical move of reading them various rap musician's lyrics. Except for calling Busta Rhymes a gangsta rapper, it's a nice little piece.

Since I've been keeping up with new hip hop album releases for Hip Hop News, I've become more aware of how many albums get delayed indefinitely. Apparently it's a growing problem and Dan Leroy of the Cleveland Scene discusses delays from such artists as Method Man, Mos Def and Foxy Brown.

Nationwide media attention continues to roll in for Dizzee Rascal and Kanye West.




   Tuesday, January 27, 2004


Coloring Books and Graffiti Art

I've already mentioned that one of my Christmas gifts was the Boondocks collection, A Right to Be Hostile. Another very cool gift came from my youngest brother who gave me a couple of other books, the Gansta Rap Coloring Book by Aye Jay! and All City, a book about graffiti art. The coloring book is pretty simple and kind of funny, basically 18 full page line drawings of folks like Too $hort, Ice Cube and Tupac. Apparently Last Gasp is coming out with a longer version in the spring.

All City is more complex with pictures, articles, interviews and pretty in your face attitude that goes with the subtitle: The Book About Taking Space. As cool as it is, I find the fact that the All City website forces you to sit through a slow introduction without being able to click through incredibly annoying. However, that's a general failing of many rap and hip hop websites. In any case, it's a great book.

My bro got both of them from the books section of Dusty Groove America which is a very cool online store with a lot of vinyl, some hardware and books and magazines. He caught me by surprise, this time.

Available from Amazon:
All City: The Book About Taking Space
Gansta Rap Coloring Book (due April '04).




   Monday, January 26, 2004


Dizzee, Kanye and Michael Jackson

Dizzee Rascal is getting mad media coverage at the moment, but some feel it was the bloggers that made him a star. Look we're important, ok, some of the other hip hop bloggers are important and I posted a couple of links in the last entry. But some bloggers don't love the guy. And I just went to a record store and listened to some tracks and passed, although I'll be paying attention in the future.

I guess I haven't been keeping up with the blog nation on this one. Most of the stuff I've read on Dizzee has been from other sources. So I'm interested but I'm more psyched about the upcoming Kanye West album that Oliver Wang previews in Pop Life (scroll down to Tues. Jan 20).

On a more serious note, are you a Michael Jackson supporter? Do you remember when he tried a comeback a few years ago on some awards show with one of those boy bands and did the same moves he's been doing since forever? I mean the exact same moves. And then Jay-Z and other folks were all worked up over his presence? Well, I'm mentioning this because of a nutty piece in the New York Times about his massive support among white women under 35. One woman is quoted as saying, "When Michael was arrested, I understood what he meant. In a world where this can happen, if it wasn't for the innocents the children and animals there wouldn't be any hope." So he's fucking animals too?




   Saturday, January 24, 2004


Dizzee Rascal, Beatboxing, Mixtapes,
Roots Launch Label


Black Brit phenom Dizzee Rascal and his debut album Boy in Da Corner have caught the attention of many, including Jeff Chang at the Village Voice and Lily Moayeri at the East Bay Express.

Plus, East Bay Express writers want you to know that beatboxing is not dead and mixtapes can boost careers.

Breaking News: (ok, yesterday or whatever, but I just heard) the Roots are launching a record label, Okayplayer Records. Even more exciting, they're accepting demos right now!

Available from Amazon:
Dizzee Rascal's Boy in Da Corner.




   Friday, January 23, 2004


Stimulus/Response

I caught an event in Austin, TX last week that was pretty cool. It's called Stimulus/Response and, the night I went, it was like a scaled down version of the old Hip Hop Humpday at the Mercury, partly because it involved some of the artists from that event. Hip Hop Humpday featured a lot of freestyle artists working with djs and a band. They'd start with freestyle and djs then the band would be added to the mix. Once they started playing you couldn't really understand what the mcs were saying, which kind of undermines the freestyle aspect.

The night I went, Bavu Blakes and Tee Double were on the mics with D Madness on drums, Ruddy Eccles on bass and Fumi on guitar. I haven't gotten the name of the dj. It would require a phone call, something I've never done for this weblog and have no particular plans to do. So, like other entries related to local Austin events, I'm just going off what I got from the show and a follow up email to the only participant whose email address I had.

The live band thing is interesting and has a lot of potential. It seems like more hip hop artists are headed that way and I think that's a good thing. At Stimulus/Response it often worked really well and I thought the dj did a fine job of relating to the other humans involved. Sometimes the music got a little monotous, particularly the bass. Like at Hip Hop Humpday, when they play straight up jazz or r&b sounding things, it starts to lose track. There're just too many great musicians doing that stuff and it got a bit formulaic at times. I think the band/hip hop/mc thing works best when something new emerges.

For me, Tee Double and Bavu Blakes were really the focus of the evening. They're both highly skilled freestyle artists and they have different approaches that complement each other. I'll have to say that Bavu really seems like the potential superstar here. Since he also seems to be taking care of his own business pretty well, that's a good thing. Of everybody I've seen locally, Bavu seems the most poised to take things to a higher level in terms of commercial success. Between this show and another show I saw recently with Bavu, I'm pretty convinced that he's got the combination of skills and stage presence that it takes to go all the way. Whether he gets there or not remains to be seen. Unfortunately talent and skills aren't enough to ensure success, especially in the snakepit of the music biz.

If you can, check out Stimulus/Response on Wednesday nights at The Hole in the Wall. They got started around 11 pm the night I went and it was already packed. Now that school's back in session, they're going to be turning people away.

If you ain't from round here, you can pick up Bavu Blake's cd Create & Hustle from Amazon. You'll be glad you did.




   Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Larry Pickett - Hip Hop Media

While this blog mostly focuses on hip hop albums, artists and news, I'm also interested in the other people who make hip hop happen. If you haven't yet heard of Larry Pickett, it looks like only a matter of time before you will. Larry first came to prominence in the North Carolina scene with his cable access hip hop show called Hip Hop Nation. He's gone on from there to bigger things, including network appearances and local projects. I've posted some links to sites he's associated with and media coverage at NC Hip Hop Online's Broadcast page.

You can also go right to his biz homepage: The Larry Pickett Entertainment Company. Besides being a rising tv talk show celeb, he's now directing music videos. The homepage includes links to recent music videos and tv commercials plus an Internet radio station. Peep it now. You'll be ahead of the game.




   Tuesday, January 20, 2004


The Genesis of Refashioned Perception

I recently received Cipha Divine's The Genesis of Refashioned Perception from Demonetize Records. When I got it, the name of the label caused me to imagine it would be a necro thing, like demons or something. But it quickly became clear that it wasn't about that at all and the site informs me that it's about taking the emphasize on money out of hip hop, thus de-monetize.

Cipha Divine is two people, Andy Natusch (producer) and James Harrelson (mc), based in Boone, North Carolina. They're supplemented with guest appearances by John Harris and Beth the unknown. Overall the beats are fairly simple but create a nice atmospheric effect without bogging down. The lyrics consider a range of topics from the traditional claim to be changing the game to drug use to relationships to higher powers. The lyrics are generally meaningful and real without obsessing on dissing everyone who has a different view.

Harrelson's a good song writer but his vocals get a bit monotonous after awhile. It's not a bad voice but it lacks a range and urgency that a solo vocalist really needs. Nevertheless, for a first album it's a nice start. You can check out tracks for yourself on their site.




   Monday, January 19, 2004


A Right To Be Hostile

So I finally got back to reading Aaron McGruder's A Right to Be Hostile. That's right, over 4 years and 800 strips of Boondocks goodness. It was a Christmas gift and, as soon as I remember who gave it to me, I'll have to thank my mom and/or dad. They're so good to me.

You know, you can buy this book at Amazon but it's worth checking in at your local library cause of lot of them carry cartoon books these days. If they don't have it, recommend that they get it. As I've said before, The Boondocks is true hip hop news!




   Saturday, January 17, 2004


We're Back!

Or, really, I'm back. netweed should be settled for awhile, at least in terms of web hosting. I'll warn you, there are design changes ahead. But Hip Hop Logic will just keep doing it's thing. "Thing" includes reviewing all hip hop albums and related merch people send me and pursuing alternative hip hop news about big stars and total unknowns from all over the place. Plus, periodic rants, websites to watch, news from outside the U.S., cause hip hop is international, and whatever else seems relevant. Halfway through January, I finally feel like it's 2004.

Hip Hop News: Oddities and Insights

Eventually netweed's Hip Hop News page is going to change a bit, split in two, add more headlines from more sources and more links. But I'm also going to keep posting unique news here, like the fact that some people find when comparing Tupac to Jesus, that Tupac wins out. Other people feel that rap-rock band Linkin Park is the last of a dying breed. And Miami has a new online hip hop magazine.




   Tuesday, January 13, 2004


netweed's moving again!

It's a pain for us to move servers again but it's totally necessary and will ultimately result in a better site (I hope). Last time it seemed like the blogs were the most affected. So, if we're hard to reach for a day or two in the next week, know that we will be back soon.

African Hip Hop

If you're interested in African hip hop, check out SeneRAP.org, based in Senegal. From some of the announcements on the site, it looks like more African hip hop will be coming to the States, a good thing in my opinion.




   Monday, January 12, 2004


The Apple Juice Kid

plus+ is a new release from The Apple Juice Kid a percussionist and producer based in the Triangle, aka Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I think he's from Chapel Hill but that's less important than the fact that he's a regional presence working with all sorts of groups including Sankofa, the Apple Juice Orchestra and the Remix Project. He's also done things like play on the street and play live with a club dj. plus+ brings together the multiple influences in his music from neo-soul to jazz to hip hop, among others.

Although there are a lot of different folks on this album, there is a general sense of continuity provided by The Apple Juice Kid's percussion and overall production. He's obviously very talented but ultimately it ends up being an album that's more for those who like to hear lots of different genres back to back, like a really good college radio show.

There are a number of hip hop or hip hop related cuts on the album and they are a nice example of how live instrumentation can give an added dimension to hip hop. For example, the window features Shirlette Ammons spoken word vocals. Really more of a jazz cut, it's doesn't overdo the instrumentals yet creates a rich environment for the vocals. But there are certain points where Ammons' vocals go into kind of a croon and sound off pitch. This is something I've been noticing with various hip hop artists and I think it's accentuated by the music being in a clear key. I'm not sure what to say about it other than it seems to be one of the undiscussed elements of rap. And I don't mean when rappers try to sing but when rappers and spoken word artists get into a certain sound that seems to have a pitch that doesn't match the instrumentals.

Listen is also jazz influenced but is very much a hip hop track with vocals by Omatade from Squeezetoy. The instrumentals are fairly mellow but still I find my head bobbing. It also does a particularly nice job of featuring The Apple Juice Kid's percussion work. The vocal flow is sweet with some funny samples including someone talking about the fact that they don't really think rap is music. My main disappointment here was that the track seemed relatively short.

There's other nice stuff on here, especially Savoir with J Yu which I should probably talk about but, as I've often said, I'm a bad reviewer. So, basically plus+ is a well done album that should be of interest to hip hop artists and fans who'd like to see a stronger jazz and world music influence in hip hop. For those of you familiar with the Triangle music scene, the other artists include:
DJ Pez, Rob Chasemen, Daniel Hart, Kirby, Dana Chell, Mark Wells, Brandau, Jana Privett, Taalib, Cream De La and Tain Collins.

You can check out and purchase plus+ at CD Baby where you can get an overall sense of the album, including a discussion of each track and sample tracks.




   Saturday, January 10, 2004


Wide Ears = Great Production

One of the things that continues to interest me in hip hop is the possibility for experimental approaches to making music. I find it particularly cool when cutting edge ideas can also gain some level of popularity. I remember Public Enemy's first album Yo! Bum Rush The Show and the harsh industrial edge it has. And El-P's production, particularly on Cannibal Ox's Cold Vein, is absolutely mindboggling at times. It seems to me that a lot of the more interesting producers are aware of a much wider range of music and aural possiblities than hip hop. If I was producing, I'd be checking out things like the circuit bending experiments of Chachi Jones and related folks. Of course, hip hop producers have long drawn on inspiration from world and electronic music.

Sites Worth Peeping

If you're interested in Christianity and hip hop, you might want to check out phatmass. It's the first clear connection I've seen between Catholicism and hip hop.

The Traditional Rap Tour is getting ready to kick off with a site devoted to the tour that includes Camp Lo, Tajai from Hieroglyphics and Grand Agent.


Available from Amazon:
Yo! Bum Rush The Show
Cold Vein.




   Friday, January 09, 2004


The View From California

From the East Bay Express:

Antiwar political hip hop continues to develop in the Bay Area with the release of the compilation War (If It Feels Good, Do It!) from Hip Hop Slam.

Review of Westside Connection's Terrorist Threats.

Review of Feenom Circle's The Pawn Shop.

And in the SF Bay Guardian:

Jeff Chang rants about race and Da Capo's Best Music Writing series in Return of the white noise supremacists.

Available from Amazon:
Westside Connection's Terrorist Threats
Da Capo Best Music Writing 2003.




   Thursday, January 08, 2004


Danger Mouse, Pitbulls, MC Solaar

Profile of producer Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse whose products include Ghetto Pop Life (w/Jemini the Gifted One) and the upcoming The Grey Album (reinventing Jay-Z's The Black Album).

Are pitbulls part of hip hop? If so, then this review of the book American Pitbull by Marc Joseph is relevant. If not, please disregard.

Review of MC Solaar's MACH 6.

Available from Amazon:
Ghetto Pop Life
American Pitbull
MACH 6.




   Wednesday, January 07, 2004


News from the Hip Hop Nation

It's good to be back in blogging action. Here's as much news as I can stand to post:

What's Petey Pablo Been Up To?

Tech N9ne, from Kansas to Cali

Jacki-O's Nookie Launches Her Career

Russell Simmons, Future President?

The Story of A Hip-Hop Story

Hip Hop in College, Interdisciplinary Knowledge

Available from Amazon:
Still Writing In My Diary: 2nd Entry - Petey Pablo
Absolute Power - Tech N9ne
A Hip-Hop Story - Heru Ptah.




   Tuesday, January 06, 2004


Archives Repaired

Now let's make this a great 2004!






Back in Action

We're finally fully operational except for the archives. And they'll be back, oh so soon.

Aiight?




   Saturday, January 03, 2004


   Thursday, January 01, 2004


Education, Spirituality and Hip Hop

University of Delaware professor Shuaib Meacham has been awarded a 50k grant to research the educational possibilities of hip hop.

Jesus & the Hip-Hop Prophets was recently released and my dad even gave me a copy!

Available from Amazon:
Jesus & the Hip-Hop Prophets.