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

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   Sunday, July 13, 2003

On Vacation

I didn't get to review everybody I wanted but I gots to take a break. When I return at some point in August, I'll begin with reviews of Mr. D-Note and The Feenom Circle.


   Sunday, July 06, 2003

Artist Reports - All-Mighty Playas and Pauly Snubnoze

All-Mighty Playas is the type of group usually described as keeping it real, telling the truth of the streets and that kind of thing. At a certain level I can respect that if they aren't really from the suburbs but generally speaking it also means I don't share many of their values. That said, the single All in the Game, is well produced and the group has a solid sound, one that's full of commercial potential. Plus I love the accents, one of my favorite things about regional rap making itself known. Representing Kansas, Oklahoma and NYC, AMP is based in Oklahoma City and the vocals have a Midwestern twang.

I also received a package from 21st Records featuring one of their founders Pauly Snubnoze. Schooled in New Jersey, Pauly is now in North Carolina, home to so much more than Petey Pablo, who I think lives in New York now, anyway. Unfortunately the dvd with the "Corn Likka" video won't play in my Mac but fortunately, according to the press release, it's already "been embraced by millions of hip-hoppers worldwide."

The cd tracks are pretty nice, ranging from gun talk to poetry, and apparently they're from the new "Anti" cd which may or may not be out now. In any case, the nicest track is "Perfection" with interesting lyrics and solid beats. It almost helps me get past the gun angle that comes up in some of the lyrics and in the name Snubnoze. At least Pauly didn't send me any pictures of him pointing guns at me or making fake gun shapes with his hands. Obsessions with guns leads to people getting shot and I'm not really down with that.

Next up will be Mr. D-Note.
Till soon.

   Saturday, July 05, 2003

Outkast Links

I've just added a new page of Outkast Links to NC Hip Hop Online. Although the site is focused on North Carolina, I'm gradually adding more Southeast coverage. Look for more additions over the next couple of months.

   Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Hip Hop Movie Note

I haven't been writing about hip hop movies lately cause I haven't seen any. But I did just see an older movie on video that I thought was going to be a hip hop movie. It's called Boricua's Bond and it's about Puerto Rican youth in the South Bronx. I don't know if it's faithful to the topic but it's a pretty good independent flick. However don't be fooled by the fact that Big Pun is on the cover. He has about three lines before and after the movie. Basically he starts things off by saying fuck school. If you want to be an artist, go make art. And then he says it again at the end of the movie. Honestly, it has nothing to do with what the movie's about. The other hip hop artists listed make very brief appearances, except for Treach who's on for a few minutes. But it's really not about hip hop or the stars listed and there's like one hip hop tune at the very end. Oh, there's one guy doing some interesting freestyle at one point while the Puerto Ricans teach their new white friend to dance. Oh yeah, I'm not up on Latin music superstars but apparently Frankie Negron is one and he is the main character here, plus he's an ok actor, at least for this role where he's mostly pissed off, upset, trying to get laid or painting. You've been forewarned.

   Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Artist Report - Cosmic Legaci and Iconoclast

I'm going to work my way through the week with individual reports on the artists I mentioned in my last entry before taking my vacation. So this first report is on a demo cd sent to me by Cosmic Legaci and Iconoclast.

If you've read my article on freestyle hip hop in North Carolina, Cypher on Planet Iznak, you've already encountered the thoughts of Cosmic Legaci. He's now out in Los Angeles doing his thing and hooking up with folks out there. Cosmic works with lots of different people and he recently did some work with Iconoclast (more on him below) that's included on a promo cd they've put out. It starts with a collab called "Remember This" and it's a great track. Very upbeat and real, the track is by Iconoclast featuring Cosmic Legaci and it recognizes earlier artists/tunes that influenced the game and places these guys in that tradition, announcing their arrival. It's also kind of a hip hop manifesto. You can check it out at R-TIK-Q-LIT.

The next three short tracks are all Cosmic Legaci and they focus in part on Cosmic's origins in and inspiration from outer space. I've never really gotten too deep into his issues of cosmic origin and have always simply related it to earlier African-American musicians like Sun Ra and Parliament/Funkadelic who have various relationships with other realms. The strongest track, with lyrics and beats meshing well, is "Cosmic Fluid" dropping lyrics about "Universal Entities" and "Vitamin U that stands for Universal." This fluid is clearly of a higher psychic realm than the currently popular pimp juice that they're drinking on "Front Street."

The rest of the tracks are by Iconoclast and they're also at the R-TIK-Q-LIT website. This cat is definitely translating his art into digital form. If he's much better live it would be kind of frightening. Seriously. Iconoclast describes himself as brown, a Latino rapper that's trying to make it in LA while rejecting the underground label. He places his work in the mainstream of hip hop, considering the top 40 material currently controlling the game as "hip Pop." He's a serious guy but he's also very funny, willing to "rock Nintendo beats" when necessary.

You can check out Iconoclast's tracks for yourself, I won't say too much more, only that I think Iconoclast is one of the strongest new voices I've encountered in 2003, though he's been around longer than that.

Alright, these guys are worth keeping an eye, no matter what configuration they pop up in. My next Artist Report will be on the All-Mighty Playas.