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

  Web netweed.com   
   Monday, September 27, 2004

For the Pimp Lover in You

Current pimp popularity is based, in part, on leaving the social reality of prostitutes out of the discussion. And many people think that prostitutes enslaved by pimps get what they deserve and probably like it at some level anyway. Reading about the international trafficking of Bulgarian women, I discovered that a Bulgarian rapper named Vanko 1 was sentenced for roping women into a forced prostitution scam.

But with the issue getting a lot of press, the disturbing response from young fans is support for Vanko 1 because they feel their music is misunderstood. One politician commented that the "most frightening aspect" of the Vanko 1 trial was that "this case was widely viewed more as 'news entertainment' than a serious issue facing our country."

For a picture of the sleazy bastard and some close relatives, see this brief coverage of the 2003 trial. For some audio samples that I can't play, see this Bulgarian cd website.

Hip Hop Albums Updated

In better news, a number of interesting looking Oct/Nov releases have been added to Hip Hop Albums with way more to come.

   Friday, September 24, 2004

Hip Hop Biz and British Hip Hop

Jameel Spencer of Bad Boy Worldwide lays out the business proposition for hip hop in what turns out to be an interesting interview.

In an article not otherwise about hip hop, Levi's current difficulties are attributed to not catching on to the influence of hip hop on youth fashions.

I missed Sasha Frere-Jones's piece on Dizzee Rascal and the Streets in The New Yorker till just now. It's a solid take on these interesting developments in British hip hop.

   Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Night At The Hip-Hopera

I haven't had a chance to hear The Kleptone's mash up of Queen classics and hip hop called A Night At The Hip-Hopera but get it while you can. I found out about it from Waxy.org who's providing one of the mirrors.

   Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Hip Hop Games, Artists, Dancers

Get On Da Mic is an old school hip hop game.

This interview with Brit hip hop artist Ty is worth reading, both to get to know the guy and to see how he tries to balance social awareness and pop ambitions.

Toronto-based K-Os discusses Joyful Rebellion, his new release.

I've never been a fan of turning a C into a K and when I see the word Klan, I'm usually looking for the other two Ks, but I guess I'm an oddball. In any case, Footklan is an interesting hip hop dance group influenced by capoeira, as explained in a recent press release.

Available from Amazon:
Ty - Upwards
K-Os - Joyful Rebellion.

   Monday, September 20, 2004

Missing the Obvious, Making the Loot

I get the feeling that the author of Beatboxing at the Ballot Box missed out on most of the hip hop related voter registration activity so highly visible this year.

Russell Simmons has finally reached that elite sector of society that makes money off of money.

Although I cast a cynical eye on all of Simmons's activites, I do appreciate the fact that a lot of poor people are stuck with financial "services" provided by check cashing joints and pawn shops. And I think it's good to see an example of a fair service being offered that bypasses the traditional banking offerings without necessarily blocking the future possibility of community based credit unions.

   Thursday, September 16, 2004

Hip Hop Albums Updated

Many new and upcoming releases have been added to Hip Hop Albums. Please note the slightly new address.

   Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Smoking Gun: Hip Hop Legal News

The Smoking Gun has recently added contract riders for Fat Joe, Ja Rule and 50 Cent to its Backstage Pass collection. Plus, documents related to Eminem's legal encounter with The Source.

   Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Dizzee Rascal's Back

It took me a while to warm up to this guy but every time I hear something else or see a video, I just get more into him. Here's a nice review of Showtime, Dizzee's new album, that gets at some of the things I like about him.

Although I don't have time to actually read them (the sad story of a blogger who let other projects take over), here are more reviews:
The Guardian - Dorian Lynskey
Pitchfork - Scott Plagenhoef
the beat surrender - booklover
PLAYLOUDER - Gal Detourn
Stylus - Gavin Mueller

And, look, an Unofficial Dizzee Rascal Site and photo shoots at the official site.

Available from Amazon:
Dizzee Rascal - Showtime.

   Monday, September 13, 2004

Hip Hop Blog Alert

We eat so many shrimp

Hip Hop Movies Updated

I've updated Hip Hop Movies with twice as many titles plus subsections for more artists. Although I need to check some of the links and add official home pages, where available, I'm mostly done for now.

   Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Sex Surveillance

This bit about 50 Cent videotaping his sexual encounters makes me wonder about a number of things:
Do his groupies know they're being videotaped?
Does he only have sex in this room or is it some sort of portable contraption that he takes on tour?
Does he have videotapes of that black actress whose face I can imagine but whose name is escaping me that he later dissed as being dumb?
I'm sure more questions will arise at a future date.

Hip Hop Class at MIT

I just found out about a course on hip hop offered last year at MIT. Although part of an effort by MIT to offer the material from various courses online for free, this course seems to mainly have basic documents posted. However, scholarly types will find the list of readings and audiovisual material to be of interest.

   Tuesday, September 07, 2004

From Black Rock to Hip Hop Writing

After recently mentioning the Black Rock Coalition while discussing the MTV Video Music Awards (or music video, whatever), I ran into this discussion of the Black Rock Coalition by Mark Anthony Neal at Africana.com. Actually, it's primarily a review of Maureen Mahon's recently released book Right To Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and the Cultural Politics of Race.

If you're not familiar with the Black Rock Coalition, it's worth checking out some of this material. It may give you a new perspective on popular music and even on hip hop.

Scanning Mark Anthony Neal's bio led me to a number of recent academic releases about hip hop, including his co-edited volume, That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader. And, at least temporarily, the publisher has posted an interview with Neal regarding the book.

Like punk rock a bit earlier, hip hop has been taken up by a variety of voices in academia and the emergence of a reader is a sign that courses about hip hop may be becoming more common place in university settings. But I think the academic study of hip hop will go much further in higher ed than punk rock because a wider variety of disciplines may become involved beyond the usual music and society writers one finds in such fields as Music, English and Sociology. For example, Black and African Studies offer obvious possibilities for courses and research on hip hop that could become an integral part of the academy.

Other recent releases include Joseph G. Schloss's Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop and Gwendolyn D. Pough's Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip Hop Culture, and the Public Sphere.

Available from Amazon:
Maureen Mahon - Right To Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and the Cultural Politics of Race
Mark Anthony Neal - That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader
Joseph G. Schloss - Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop
Gwendolyn D. Pough - Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip Hop Culture, and the Public Sphere.

   Friday, September 03, 2004

Insomniac Magazine

I've finally checked out Insomniac Magazine which bills itself as "the world's only hip hop industry publication." The last time I checked out that claim it seemed true and also surprising. Hip hop's so big, one would expect some competitors for a trade publication.

What struck me in reading my first issue, plus the special hip hop business issue, is that this is a trade publication more for independent artists and folks on their way up. A traditional trade publication would probably focus on the P. Diddy's and the Nelly's, the ins and outs of large record companies and so forth with occasional sidebars on up and coming labels and artists.

Insomniac Magazine is more of a publication for people into underground and independent hip hop with full respect given to old school performers. The articles tend to be more business oriented but there's a lot that hip hop heads would enjoy. In fact, it probably offers more for the artist trying to make it and underground/indie fans than for those climbing the corporate ladder or for those taking the indie route who've gotten past the basics.

   Thursday, September 02, 2004

netweed Seeks Bloggers

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Those Darn Music Video Awards

I'm sure the MTV Music Video Awards have been fully discussed in all sectors of the Internet. However, I've been out of touch so I'll just rattle on like these are new insights to everyone. Mostly it was a trip to see what a presence hip hop artists made. Although I only watched the show in bits and pieces, it seemed like hip hop artists were the ongoing center of attention.

My favorite part was actually the Black Rock sequence with Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder and Lenny Kravitz. I can't actually remember Keys's racial background and now, with Chappelle's Racial Draft, such issues are more complicated than ever. It just seemed like a victorious moment of which the Black Rock Coalition would be proud.

The typically gratuitous appearance of P. Diddy with his Vote or Die t-shirt was, well, gratuitous. No lines drawn between editorial and advertising there. Every moment of P. Diddy's public appearances reek of branding and self-promotion. So I was glad to run into this editorial by Robert at Rap News Direct on the topic, even if the floating ad wouldn't go away so I'm not entirely sure what the first paragraph said.

I also enjoyed the high point coverage in the Village Voice by Nick Catucci.

   Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hip Hop Updates at netweed

Hip Hop Albums has been updated and NC Hip Hop Online has undergone a link check and the addition of new links. Both are recovering nicely.

netweed Seeks Bloggers

If you have a blog, or are seriously ready to start one, and you think it might fit in at netweed, then you should consider joining us. Revenue can be generated through ads and Amazon sales, in whatever mix seems appropriate for your blog, and then split between you and netweed.

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