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

  Web netweed.com   
   Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Minstrel Men, Hip Hop Convention

Method and Red Minstrels? Or just more weak comedy like we almost always get?

I don't check out BET or BET.com that much so I missed their coverage of the National Hip-Hop Political Convention. If you know of further coverage, please let me know. Also, if you have any comments on the fact that a mainstream source like BET seems to have covered the event better than any left/lib source, send them on in. What do the hardcore BET haters think about the fact that all your preferred sources got trumped?

   Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Hip Hop Albums

Hip Hop Albums has been updated with new and upcoming releases.

Hip Hop in the Newsweeklies

This is actually Friday's report that I didn't get to with the most relevant pieces included.

Joy Press reviews Method and Red and Jon Caramanica reviews the Beastie Boys' To the 5 Boroughs for the Village Voice.

Sam Chennault on the Consequence mixtape Take 'Em to the Cleaners and on the X-Ecutioners' Revolutions.

The Kansas City hip hop scene and Young Kev are featured in this multipage article by Nathan Dinsdale.

Phoenix's Magnum P.I.E. emerges after the death of CPT, his partner in Cousins of the Wize.

   Monday, June 28, 2004

Hip Hop Convention

Great piece by Jeff Chang on the National Hip-Hop Political Convention. It's partly great because it's written by an excellent writer who is also an organizer but also because it gives more background and context for the Convention. It also discusses the agenda that the delegates spent a lot of time on, an agenda that still hasn't been posted to their website. An agenda I'm very interested in reading, since it's the big statement to come out of the Convention.

   Friday, June 25, 2004

News of the Homophobic

Beenie Man concert cancelled in London over alleged homophobic lyrics

   Thursday, June 24, 2004

Still No Reviews
But Plenty of News

Just to let people know, reviews of hip hop albums will be delayed for awhile. Can't do it till I get settled and that's not happening right now.

Passing along a promo. This is some kind of Beastie Boys game. Maybe something political's involved. I don't know. If you're into games, check it out.

More followup coverage of the Hip-Hop Political Convention on Democracy Now. I'm looking forward to seeing some wrap up documents from the Convention on their website like summaries, group statements, future plans.

Lester Kenyatta Spence discusses the Hip Hop Summit Action Network's dissing of local activists.

Nice profile of a Cambodian rapper living in Cali whose pirated album became a top seller in Cambodia.

Hip hop in the south? I've never heard of such a thing!

   Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Voting, Dancing, Smoking

Closing coverage of the National Hip-Hop Political Convention appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and at MTV.com.

spoiling election results to block black votes

Timbaland on NPR

A.O. Scott of the NY Times reviews Soul Plane.

hip hop dance festival in Boulder

smoking is kool

Jake O'Connell reviews the Beasties Boys' To the 5 Boroughs.

   Tuesday, June 22, 2004

More Legal Mania

Bow Wow's concert rider is up at The Smoking Gun's Backstage Pass.

   Saturday, June 19, 2004

Hip Hop News Roundup

This post combines Hip Hop in the Newsweeklies with news from a variety of other sources. You'll notice that I don't link to hip hop websites that often. That's not because I don't respect them. It's because I'm trying to offer something not readily available otherwise. For hip hop websites with news, check out netweed's Hip Hop News.

More coverage of the National Hip-Hop Political Convention includes articles in the Home News Tribune and the Guardian as well as a feature on NPR.

Eric K. Arnold has an extended feature on hip hop and electoral politics.

The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network participated in the Ohio Hip-Hop Summit at Ohio State and in New Orleans.

Hip hop continues its gradual takeover of all areas of American society with Russell Simmons Presents Hip Hop Justice, Russell Simmons' ring tones, PlayStation's sponsorship of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and Virgin Megastores hip hop events. Except for the last, it sounds like hip hop is Russell Simmons vehicle for world dominance.

Both Jimi Izrael and Mosi Reeves discuss Ronald Reagan's influence on hip hop.

More from Michael Franti in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

Hip hop artists in Hartford, CT are trying to achieve some visibility with the release of Third Unheard, a historical hip hop cd featured on NPR, and the recent Hartford Hip-Hop Festival.

The Beastie Boys' To the 5 Boroughs is receiving attention from the likes of Sam Chennault and Dan Leroy.

Other reviews include Tajai's Power Movement, the dvd Cuban Hip Hop All Stars, DJ Shadow's Live! In Tune and On Time and RJD2's Since We Last Spoke.

Plus, you can take a hip hop tour of New York or read about the history of hip hop in New Zealand.

   Friday, June 18, 2004

National Hip-Hop Political Convention

The National Hip-Hop Political Convention is in full swing and there's been some decent coverage, a lot of it while I was on the road. Since I've already critiqued the early stages quite heavily in terms of their online presence and pr, I'll just say that I'm finally hearing the things I needed to hear that would have gotten me involved. The motivations, the organizers' stories and other background elements that are coming out in interviews could have been put together and included on their website a long time ago. As I hope I've made clear, I'm especially disappointed because the organizers continue to impress me as I find out more about them and what they have to say. But if they're really in this for the long term, the current press attention can help set the stage for further growth and development.

Democracy Now has a solid interview with Rosa Clemente and Davey D that provides some background and strategy for the Convention's goals.

An article in last week's Village Voice included the thoughts of James Bernard who worked with the Jesse Jackson campaigns for President in the 80s. The article also gets into some of the bigger picture and the political context for the Convention.

A more general article at Newhouse News discusses such efforts including a variety of projects.

An Associated Press report includes comments from Ras Baraka.

Joshunda Sanders attempts to connect American Idol voting with voting in elections but then digs into a nice article with quotes from organizers and comments about earlier events in the Bay Area preparing for the Convention. Who knows, maybe the American Idol analogy will connect for folks.

Doug E. Fresh is featured in a preview article and includes some beatbox tips.

An article by Yvonne Bynoe looks at longer term political strategies without focusing on the Convention, Summit or related efforts and raises a number of useful questions to consider.

And there's a lot of other interesting news happening in hip hop right now that I want to get back to as soon as I can. But I've got to go apply for a couple more jobs to earn my unemployment check.


   Thursday, June 17, 2004

Riders and Tables

It's going to take me much longer than planned to get going again due to small personal problems like employment and housing. But I did want to make sure you knew about Smoking Gun's recent addition to their collection of musician contract riders at Backstage Pass. In addition to riders for such hip hop artists as P. Diddy and Black Eyed Peas, you can now see what Eminem and company require backstage for their concerts. Plus, Boing Boing just featured the DJ Kreemy turntable table.

   Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I'm Back

So I made it safely to NC and will be gradually settling in. I can't believe I thought about this fucking blog during the trip, but I did. I may be taking a somewhat different approach in the near future but nothing drastic to report in that regard.

I'm not just back in NC, I'm back in the land of television. In some hotel along the way, I think I saw part of the MTV movie awards and a best kiss award with Carmen Electra. I thought it was so funny to see the incredibly boring Paris Hilton give a light kiss to Carmen then freak on the thought of kissing Snoop Dogg. Now, is it black men she doesn't like to kiss or just Snoop? Actually, Snoop is kind of a sleazy character but it's not like Paris is particularly pristine, given her adult video background.

I also finally saw the "99 Problems" video. I should be checking this stuff out online but I just don't do it. In any case, I think it's a great video by Mark Romanek, beautifully shot with well chosen images. And it fits the song well, even though it doesn't relate directly to the lyrics. Although I've heard a few things about why Jay-Z gets shot in the end, it doesn't really work for me, partly because it's a narrative event in a video without a narrative.

On the b-word. I don't think it's good when derogatory terms continue to be used to describe a large group of people, like men calling women bitches. But it does fit the flow and you've got to have something in your life to balance out a relationship with a high-maintenance woman like Beyonce, who I doubt takes much shit from men other than her dad.

A linkless entry? Don't worry, it's not a trend.

   Saturday, June 05, 2004

Soul Plane

I've just added some Soul Plane links to Hip Hop Movies.

Till Soon

I hate to say it but I'm going to have to take the next week and a half off without having done the reviews I planned. However, I have listened to the following albums at least once and found them all to be interesting and worth hearing in their own respect. So don't let the fact that I'm not going to review them for a bit longer get in the way of your checking the artists out.

Reviews will include a promo cd from Redeye out of Austin, San Francisco's El Jefe and their album, Amorphous Phormula, and Organic Thoughts' album The Purest Form.

It's unfortunate that I wasted a bunch of time on the "no homo" exchange between bloggers. Although there are some great hip hop blogs out there, I think I've pretty much lost interest in a lot of what passes for discussion between bloggers. I don't get the sense that much of it is going anywhere productive, at least, not for me. But I will keep checking out and linking to the blogs that are worth spending time on and a lot of them link to other blogs that you might find interesting, even if I don't.

I'll be back soon, once I hit NC and get a bit settled. Peace.

   Friday, June 04, 2004

The Vice Mag Angle

One of the few nice things that came out of the previously mentioned No Homo "discussion" was a link from Jay Smooth to a great blog entry about the fucked up politics of Vice Magazine which was preceded by this attack. I've criticized Vice before but the above posts do a much better job.

No Mo Homophobes

Apparently the "no homo" discussion has been raging (like a queen) through various hip hop blogs (no journalism). As usual, it's just not that interesting a discussion, I'm sorry to say (although a few represent intelligently). If you're interested, try looking up "no homo" and blogs or hip hop and you'll see various blogs that have been discussing it along with more general use patterns. I'm happy I missed out on this trend until recently. But I do need to correct my statement that "I will no longer link to writers that use it." Actually I've only unlinked one writer who uses the term and related insults on a regular basis.

However, I do link to people who say things I don't agree with and who sometimes use language that I have issues with. I don't link to people who consistently say things I consider fucked up, no matter how amusing other people find them. That's my right just as it's their right to say what they want. And, if you're thinking this sounds like more inbred blogger bullshit, then you caught on quicker than I did.

Nevertheless, "no homo" is weak as fuck. On some things, the kids are not alright.

Hip Hop in the Newsweeklies

Shorter than usual but these things vary each week. After this, I'll be doing a few album reviews then taking a "vacation", i.e. working my ass off for a week to get moved from Texas to NC.

Armond White argues that the screenwriters of Soul Plane have "sussed out the precise exploitative nature of contemporary black popular culture."

Mosie Reeves talks about Miami Beach's recent Urban Beach Week.

Dan Leroy profiles Northern State, three white girls on a mission.

Lil' Flip's U Gotta Feel Me and Paul Wall's Chick Magnet - reviewed by John Nova Lomax.

Jordan Harper is reminded of his own childhood attempts at breakdancing while covering a breakdance battle in St. Louis.

The California Music Awards have both rap and hip-hop categories showing they know how to cover the bases and that they hope they're in the right game.

   Thursday, June 03, 2004

Sampling, Soul Plane, Talib Kweli, Beasties

Chuck D and Hank Shocklee on their early sampling days and the effects of copyright on hip hop.

For a more academic take on remixing and related topics, see Issue 8: Remix. This publication is an older issue of Horizon Zero, an online magazine focused on Canadian digital art and music.

Cynthia Fuchs reviews Soul Plane at Pop Matters.

Talib Kweli is on tour with MF Doom and getting press in LA and Tucson.

Apparently the Beastie Boys new album, To The 5 Boroughs, includes some anti-Bush material. That's cool. I hate to be mean, but aren't those guys looking really old in their photographs these days?

musicplasma charts the relationship of a musician or group to similar artists. It's kind of interesting and possibly useful.

   Tuesday, June 01, 2004

New Address

I'm moving to NC. My mailing address for review copies is:

Clyde Smith
514 Daniels St. #147
Raleigh, NC 27605