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

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   Saturday, January 29, 2005
Hot 97 Followup

I followed up my recent post regarding Hot 97 by actually writing Jay and Oliver to get their comments. You know, I should try doing that earlier, especially with these two, cause they're pretty thoughtful people. But, then, I'm just a lowly blogger with no journalistic training, so I bumble along.

My big question to them was about the difference between the Hot 97/tsunami song incident and a less visible campaign that still seemed to have the same dynamics. I.E., when do we decide to take action against hate speech? And, as usual, they were more on top of things than I assumed and had done more than I expected (in a good way) but also less (in terms of my negative concerns).

Sorry about the mystery but it's for the best. I'll try not to make a habit of alluding to things that I'm unwilling to clearly identify and that only a few folks will know about in the future.

And I'll try communicating first about volatile topics. Periodically, I've been rather harsh with Oliver and Jay and they've both been quite nice about it.

Hmm . . . food for thought?




Jason Jagel: MF Doom Cover Art

mf doom


I just got back from an art show, a mere block and a quarter from my house, by Jason Jagel who did the cover art for MF Doom's . . . MM...Food. In fact, not only was the original artwork on which the cover was based part of the show, but the whole thing had a similar stylistic quality with little MF Doom head's popping up here and there. Although the album cover and the original are pretty similar, the other pieces were larger and, if one of them had included the album cover art it would have been a section of the larger piece, if you catch my drift.

One of the cooler things was that Jagel had painted the gallery walls to relate to the art. There were also some headphones hanging by some of the works, but they weren't working when I was there early and later, when I went back, the music was too loud to bother. Honestly, I've never been into that headphone deal anyway. I think it was played out long ago and mostly should be used in museums for children and tourists, unless:
a. you make it work.
b. you do something interesting besides play music or have some intolerable monologue.

I don't know what Jason had playing but I didn't have the feeling it really mattered, partly because the visual aspect was really strong and partly because they felt like fun add-ons rather than anything integral to the work.

The gallery is called Queen's Nails Annex (possibly from the prior occupant) but doesn't have a website. The show's up till Mar. 5th at 3191 Mission St. and you can call the following numbers to get hours and information:
415-713-0783 or 240-9874

Jason Jagel doesn't have a website either (what's up with that, I thought all these artsy white 20 somethings had websites), but he's represented by the Richard Heller Gallery in LA and you can see some earlier Jagel art there.

Jason did a cute little price list by hand right before the show officially opened (I was there early because I was going to catch a bus, saw them setting up the show and walked in). Over half the work was not for sale, including the front and back cover art of the MF Doom album, and the ones that were started at $1400 and ran to $4000. Actually there were only 5 works for sale but it didn't seem like the buying crowd. Yeah, it was all white people but with the mostly dark, drab colors white people wear here (one of the reasons I feel at home!). On the other hand, this is San Francisco and you can meet some taped up punk girl who's a trust fund baby and never know till you eventually discover what a nice home she has and that she rarely works. So, who knows?

Available from Amazon:
MF Doom - MM...FOOD.




   Friday, January 28, 2005
While I Was Looking

Stuff I found while checking out hip hop blogs.

From funkdigital.com:
Look for or review record stores at RecordStoreReview.com.

From Hip Hop Blogs:
Understand the Music CD Industry.

From Lynne d Johnson:
Make your own Southpark character.




Links Updated

I finally added the links in the left hand column back. That's the final stage in putting this blog back together. I tried to include everybody that links to me but if I missed you, let me know:
hiphoplogic(at)netweed(dot)com




   Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Hip Hop Bloggers Confront Racism

I'm glad to see Jay Smooth going into activist mode and Oliver Wang offering good advice regarding racist nonsense at HOT 97, a NY hip hop radio station. I'm not going into the details of what was said (peep the article), but it was basically asshole shock jock material designed to offset the return of Star and Buc Wild to NY radio. And it looks like a whole different set of activists are currently working to take Star and Buc Wild off the air for their version of asshole shock jock speech.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Jay Smooth has a lot of credibility and a substantial audience via his radio presence and blogging activities. Although blogs have been known for keeping stories alive and getting the mass media to pay attention, this situation is more about building an activist response to a particular situation. I'm particularly interested in the potential for direct action that Oliver Wang suggests and also agree that directly contacting sponsors is a strong move. Hot 97 can only exist if they have sponsors. Without sponsors, they're dead in the water.

In addition, I agree that this isn't the kind of thing one should ignore and hope will go away. I suggest studying history if your head is that far up your ass. But then I prefer to be proactive.

The other reason that I'm glad to see these guys responding is that I feel they've been very weak in their dealings within the hip hop blogging scene regarding racist, sexist and homophobic speech practices by fellow bloggers. In particular, their embrace of an asshole from the Ozarks helped build a space for some fucked up shit that burned Oliver. I don't know how Jay felt about what happened but he still big ups the guy.

Sorry if you don't know what I'm talking about but, if you do, let me say that I pretty much stopped following blogger beef (and most hip hop blogs) over the summer and am not interested in building a nuanced argument regarding what happened. But my feeling is that Jay and Oliver dropped the ball there and have picked it up again, in addition to whatever else they've been up to, which is usually quite considerable and worth following. And I know the issue of deciding what's acceptable and what's not is a difficult one, particularly if you care about free speech.

It's interesting, though, that everything I'm describing above, from radio to blogs, involves fucked up humor and seeing who responds and how. Cause, really, isn't this about where we draw the line regarding hate speech as something that has concrete effects in the world? And about what we do when that line is drawn? I hate to be polarizing, but haven't you noticed we're dying?




   Friday, January 21, 2005
What Happened to Sleepy Brown?

Although Rahiem gives his interview with Sleepy Brown an optimistic title, when he did this interview with Sleepy back in the fall Only for the Grown and Sexy was long overdue. And, guess what? The album's still not out and online retailer's aren't listing anything, which is a bad sign. If you know what's up, give me a holler: hiphoplogic(at)netweed(dot)com. And check out the following interview with Sleepy Brown, a singer who's already contributed a lot to hip hop followed by some commentary from Rico about why this is Sleepy's time, or at least, why it should be his time.

NO MORE SLEEPING ON SLEEPY
By: Rahiem Shabazz

Grammy winning singer/producers Sleepy Brown is no new jack to the music scene. Back in the early 90's his vocals appeared on numerous breakthrough songs "Poppin Tags" (Jay-Z) and "So Fresh, So Clean (Outkast). The soulful southerner's eclectic musical taste was evident when he stepped behind the mixing boards to produce one of TLC's biggest hits "Waterfalls" and En Vogue's "Don't Go". It seems strikingly unusual for someone with such enormous talent to be in the shadows. But, according to Sleepy it was all a part of the great scheme of things and now it is his turn to shine and there will be no sleeping on Sleepy. "I feel the reason we got together is to help each other grow to where we wanted to be. It took all of us to see the mistakes in each other and to prepare ourselves individually," states the charismatic singer.

If you haven't caught a performance from the man who makes it fashionable for the 'young and grown' to feel 'grown and sexy', then you will never know the appreciation the ladies have for a brother in a button up. Sleepy's style reflect the stylish fashion trend of today, "everybody is getting older and things are getting more sophisticated. It's no longer about jerseys, brothers are keeping it hip-hop with suit jackets and nice shirts", states the Dungeon Family crooner. "The fact that it's moving to a whole new level is cool and something I want to tap into. I see a time coming when people want to be a little more adult and a little more stylish," he continues.

Party People Your Dreams Have Now Been Fulfilled

The line at Club Eleven-Fifty is congesting the sidewalk. Parading around is a few unfortunate individuals who didn't adhere to the dress code admiring the ladies wearing open toes sandals; body fitting dresses with their backs out. With radio and flyer ads announcing 'dress code' being strictly enforced. I silently wondered why? After all, the majority of the artist performing was rappers with over the top crunk lyrics. However, it darned on me like a prism of sunlight after the shower of rain, just before the rainbow appears. This was "For the Grown and Sexy" and the main attraction for the night was no other then Sleepy "Patrick" Brown.

The crowd sporadically spread out with thug wannabes occupying the walls, celebrity guest sitting comfy in V.I.P and a few courageous individuals showing off their fancy footwork, dancing. Once the announcement was made that "Sleepy Brown" is the next act, partygoers were advised to come front and center towards the stage. Even the most hyper-avid, male hip-hop fan hurried to the stage to catch a glimpse of the man who sang, "I Can't Wait". Greeted with more than a polite applause Sleepy graced the crowd with his presence as he began to redefine the very meaning of hip-hop soul.

Sleepy's demeanor was laid back, quiet and reserved as if he's not willing to celebrate the outcome of his undertaking prematurely. Although, he is obvious that success is on the way his humbleness was apparent. Here is the exclusive interview the musically gifted singer granted Rahiem Shabazz.


RS: What is your anticipation for this album?

SB: I anticipate the album to do great, the single is doing extremely well and there is more to follow.

RS: What will be the second single?

SB: The 2nd single is featuring Pharrell and Big Boi. It is a grown folk song, and after hour song, something to relax to called Margarita.

RS: I notice from your performance many if not all, of your songs are for the 'grown and sexy'. Should that be expected throughout the entire album?

SB: Pretty much, its kind of where I'm at now that I'm thirty-four years old.

RS: What was the pinnacle point in your life where you knew music is what you wanted to do?

SB: Really, since I was little music been in my family for years. Being little and growing up backstage I knew this is what I wanted to do.

RS: What record do you consider to be your breakout record?

SB: I would have to say So Fresh So Clean and The Way You Move.

RS: Who are some of the people that were influential to you growing up musically?

SB: I would have to say Isaac Haynes, Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Earth, Wind & Fire and Sly.

RS: Who are some of the producers we can expect on your album?

SB: Organized Noize, Pharrell, Raphael Saadiq and Leon Well who did Marvin Gaye's album, "I Want To".

RS: The name Sleepy Brown where did that come from?

SB: I was a big fan of Big Daddy Kane and one thing that made him cool is that he always look like he's half sleep.

RS: What's up with the shades, is that your signature style?

SB: I'm working with Sunglass Hut and RayBan Shades. My picture is used in their campaign, there is posters in Canada and a few in Cumberland Mall with Amel Larrieux (Groove Theory) and myself.

RS: Five years from now where is Sleepy Brown?

SB: I see myself still with Rico and Ray owning some big businesses and making a lot of money. I will still be doing the music thing.


RICO TALKS ABOUT HIS PRODIGIOUS GROUP THE DUNGEON FAMILY
By Rahiem Shabazz

"Rico tells the world what it is about Sleepy's style and why Sleepy is the next one out..."

I'm telling you, Sleep is the next one out, it is about him right now. He is bringing his style to the forefront. The glasses is Sleepy's signature style, he is just soul like that... Back in the 70's when them boys over did it they made it big, they made it an event. That is how Sleppy is, how Big Gipp is like the funkerteers. His music tells the story but I believe what took Sleepy to come to the forefront was the fact that it took the world a long time to recognize his beauty, He didn't change for now, now came to where he is. In other words, he didn't change with the time, the time just caught up to what he is doing.

When we did Outkast first album, Sleepy was on it and that was his sound. What Outkast is doing now with "Hey Yall", "Miss Jackson", "The Way You Move" that is the sound that they developed later on that came off of what we did. I'm the person who handles all of the business, but Sleepy is the person who comes up with the melodies. So whenever you fell in love with Outkast, you fell in love with Sleepy then. Sleepy stays out there all the time, he made it a point to hit the clubs and stay on the road. If I'm home, I look forward to Sleepy coming up for five minutes to tell me, "that's cool but change this", cause he just came from the club and off the road. He got a chance to balance it all by being on the road with Outkast.

"Rico talks about the Dungeon Family roots and how they built heir musical legacy..."

Many people consider the Dungeon Family legends in the South. It's like in High School, you have the legends, then you have those who are the man. But, every four years there is going to be some new boys who come in and we have to accept it, that's all it is. There are a lot of new people out here and some of them can't even carry my bags. But, they are keeping the money coming, they are paving the way for me to get back out there. I can't be made at them now, cause if they weren't out there I wouldn't be able to sneak back in like I'm getting ready to do.

The Dungeon Family is like a real life family with a 2nd generation, family lineage that can trace it's roots back to it's family tree. A real family, where certain members don't speak. My dream is that one day we will all come together, so collectively we could go on the road together. Of course, individually one could go out there but it will mean so much more if Sleepy got two-three songs he's doing, Cool Breeze got songs, or Goodie Mob got their own hits, C-Lo getting back to do some songs with Goodie Mob and doing some of his solo songs, Andre break out and do his solo songs and do a couple with Big Boi, Big Boi break off and do some of his solo songs. I know it can happen, it's about us not giving up. When we first started out it was going to happen but we got tired of the industry and at times each other.

"Find out how Rico Wade feels about the Dungeon Family roots and how Rosie Perez had a hand in how Outkast produced their music..."

When we (Outkast) started out New York was so important, that is why we had Raequan rap on the album ("Skew It On The Barbeque"). We had the good Southern flava, got New York involved, George Clinton involved. I remember when we went to New York; we went to see Positive K he is the first person who promoted Outkast for the Player's Ball. We got up there and Rosie Perez was like, (Spanish accent) "I don't know about this Player's Ball record, it sounds slow to me". This is what made us go home and remix it to a dance version. Then when she heard the remix that was the one she liked. That is when L.A. Reid honestly pushed the button. Player's Ball was doing good already but he was like "New York ain't responding". That meant so much to him, what Puffy and Positive K and all the young cats from New York thought. So when the remix came out the response was overwhelming and that set it off right there.




   Thursday, January 20, 2005
Okay For Now

I'm going with this version, although I may tweak a few more things. We'll see. I've got a bunch of other problems at other places so I'm just happy to be back up in reasonable form.

My next goal here is to get Rahiem's stuff up.




Experimenting

I'm experimenting with this template.

Probably to my doom.




I'm Rebuilding

I'm putting the site back together. I think it was my fault the template got damaged and it's certainly my fault that I don't have a current version of my template backed up. Duh.

I'll start over on adding links to other sites. It will give me some impetus to check out all those new blogs that keep springing up.

I want to wait to post Rahiem Shabazz's contribution till I get everything back in order.

Ok, soon.




   Wednesday, January 19, 2005
I Messed Up

I'm trying to rebuild the site but it doesn't look good. You know, almost every site of mine has either collapsed or is in a state of decay. Not good.




Chaos Ensues

Or not. I hope.




   Monday, January 17, 2005
Drums, Religion, Politics

?uestlove is interviewed in Modern Drummer

A South African student makes Arabic rap songs with Islamic perspectives

Oliver Wang takes the big view on hip hop and politics.




   Sunday, January 16, 2005
Introducing Contributing Writer Rahiem Shabazz

I'm happy to announce that Rahiem Shabazz will be periodically contributing to Hip Hop Logic beginning with an interview with the Dungeon Family's Sleepy Brown and Rico. He's written for a variety of publications and websites including AllHipHop.com and you can check his site for links to his writings plus archived interviews.

My favorite so far is his response to one of Stanley Crouch's attacks on hip hop in which Rahiem compares Crouch's tactics to those of COINTELPRO, a vicious U.S. government program developed in the 60s to halt the revolution in progress. Don't hold back, Rahiem!




ProHipHop's Back

Finally got my recent TypePad issues resolved, as I recount at ProHipHop. I did not like being locked out. It took a lot out of me but I was back posting the next day. Now if I could get things going here at Hip Hop Logic, I'd be a happy man.




   Thursday, January 13, 2005
TypePad Hell Continues

Well, I've got really nice people helping me but still no ProHipHop. At least the site itself it still up. Today is the one week anniversary of my first help ticket to TypePad's help desk about this problem. It's the exact same problem with very few elements. I've already had two help desk people contact me and have also been in dialogue with an advocate from another department. Saturday was the last day I was able to access my site. But when the fuck will I get it back?




   Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Hip Hop Albums Updated

More '05 releases at Hip Hop Albums.




Still No ProHipHop

I'm so pissed right now. I still can't get into my TypePad account for ProHipHop and now is the time for me to be digging in. I'll have to say that, although TypePad gives you a lot more than Blogger, Blogger's customer support was always better than this. With school starting next week (I'm taking a couple of library science classes) and my need to get an actual job becoming quite serious (which generally means accepting more abuse and giving up more time than I can feel positive about for any reason other than paying the bills - you know the drill), this WAS the time that I would have gotten caught up from Christmas and settled into whatever hellish schedule will emerge in the next month or so. Did I mention I'm incredibly pissed? I think I'm managing that anger pretty well, for the moment.




   Monday, January 10, 2005
ProHipHop Temporarily On Hold

[I wrote this on Monday but was apparently too pissed to remember to post it so I'm adding it back in sequence.]

As I've noted before, ProHipHop has kept me away from this blog, for the most part. But today I can't log into my TypePad account and I'm somewhat disoriented. I'm supposed to have started my work week but I can't because the TypePad control panel is fucked and can't process my credit card. Now my free trial has ended and it still won't accept payment. You know, I'm using a card I use all the time for my other business services (Yahoo hosting, GoDaddy domains, etc.) and I've never encountered problems like I'm now having with TypePad, except when I was hosted at GeoCities with their ad free version. They didn't handle email well and there was no phone number to call.

My emails to TypePad customer service have been partly answered with ideas that don't work and now I'm just waiting for them to get back to me with something, anything. I could send them a check, make a paypal payment or give them the cc info over the phone if they offered me those options. But they don't. They don't offer me a phone number either. So I wait at a time when I'm becoming the busiest I've ever been, which I'm not happy about, the waiting or the busy.

I've always had a commitment to small companies, but I've been burned by small companies related to Internet services enough times to stop assuming that they're inherently worth dealing with, even if they're run by smart, honest people who are doing their best. It hasn't gotten to that point with TypePad and I'm assuming that things will work out. But, right now, I'm locked out of my business and later today I'll have other things to do.




   Sunday, January 09, 2005
Hip Hop Albums Updated

More January '05 releases at Hip Hop Albums.




   Saturday, January 08, 2005
Another Day at Work

The Feenom Circle - Souled Separately
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
Jay-Z - The Black Album
The White Stripes - Elephant
Fiona Apple - When The Pawn
Mr. Lif - Enters The Colossus
Wyclef Jean - The Carnival
Aesop Rock - Labor Days

"All I ever wanted was to pick apart the day and put the pieces back together my way." - A. Rock




ProHipHop: Creative Commons, Contests, MP3 4U

I recently attended an event/party in San Francisco hosted by Creative Commons, which offers alternative licensing for content owners who want to retain copyright but allow for various uses of the material. I've done a number of posts over at ProHipHop about various aspects of the event:

Creative Commons, Copyright and Free Content
I discuss the event a little bit and some of the implications of Creative Commons licensing.

Quick Paths to Stardom?
Two contests for artists, including a remix contest announced at the event.

Meet and Greet: MP3 4U
I met Paul from MP3 4U, a directory of free MP3s.




   Sunday, January 02, 2005
Hip Hop Albums Updated

I've just done an update of Hip Hop Albums. I think I'm mostly caught up through December with some added releases back to October plus a few more for 2005. Hopefully I'll get in another round soon with additional '05 albums.