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

  Web netweed.com   
   Saturday, November 27, 2004
Potluck - Harvest Time

Potluck gets to be the guinea pig for my new approach to reporting on albums. Maybe an opinion or two, but no reviews here. Some info, some links and "who's next?"

I actually like this cd. Potluck is a 2-mc group, one black, one white, both from Humboldt County, where marijuana is reportedly an important cash crop. At the very least, these guys really dig pot. And whoever's organizing their marketing (I'm not even sure at this point, I'm at the pull something out of the overflowing box and do something, anything, with it stage), gets an AAA+ for including two Royal Blunts Flavored EZ Roll Tubes. You don't have to smoke to enjoy the brightly colored packages nor to reflect on how innovative use of products by the streets is later marketed to the streets in the form of new products. (See, that's why I started ProHipHop, these mad insights just go to waste at Hip Hop Logic).

I like these guys, the mcs, I mean. They're reasonably meaningful without being boring and they're generally enjoyable without being mindless. Plus, they make good use of their guest artists with feature appearances by TECH N9NE, E-40 & Bosko, Equipto, Living Legends and Cool Nutz. I feel that a lot of recent releases by indie artists on the move lose focus due to a glut of guest artists with too many diverging styles and agendas. But the guest artists on Harvest Time are well placed and, for the most part, add distinctive flavor without diverting the overall flow.

There, I said too much. Peep their site: Lost Koast Productions.

Available from Amazon:
Potluck - Harvest Time.

Current Stack #2

Bjork - Telegram
Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
John Coltrane - My Favorite Things
John Coltrane - Blue Train

Hip Hop Albums Fully Updated

I'm currently up to date at Hip Hop Albums, but there are always more releases out there, including those that fly under my radar. Still, find me a better resource for new hip hop album releases and, well, I'll just be flabbergasted! Seriously.

   Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Upcoming Reviews

I've listened to or viewed the following:

Potluck - Harvest Time
Capital D - Insomnia
DVDs - Dat Boy Funny, B-Boy Masters, South Beach Live!

Reviews to follow. I mean it this time!

Current Stack

Keith Jarrett - The Melody At Night. With You
Sonic Youth - Goo
Miles Davis - In A Silent Way
Nirvana - From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah
Company Flow - Funcrusher Plus

   Sunday, November 21, 2004
Hip Hop Albums - Small Update

In the past, I'd add a bunch of new albums to Hip Hop Albums in one fell swoop. In the last week, I've added little batches of new titles on two occasions. So that's an update. Just wanted you to know.

   Saturday, November 20, 2004
Seeing or Seen Jay-Z & Friends?

If you went or are going to Jay-Z & Friends, I would love to hear what you thought about the video screens that allowed people to post text messages from their cell or two-way before the concert starts. It's for ProHipHop and you can send me your comments at prohiphop(at)netweed(dot)com. One of the big things I'm discovering, since starting ProHipHop, is that hip hop rules mobile content (kinda sorta), as I mention in my ProHipHop entry:

Hip Hop Dominates BILLBOARD Ringtones Chart.

   Friday, November 19, 2004
Playmakers Theme Song

I'm finally seeing the whole Playmakers series on DVD. I really love that show and had just caught scattered episodes before. And, of course, like apparently everybody else, I love the theme song. The composition credit goes to Louis Natale who's got a major career writing music for television. But I can't find the name of the vocalist. Anybody know? Also, most people linked to a mp3 download that's dead. Damn, I really should be filesharing.

I'm also bummed that the network cancelled it under pressure from the NFL. I understand that it may be over the top, yet every major issue on the show hits the headlines periodically. And it's a television show, so they hit one team all at once in a single season. Maybe the character of the team owner was just too close for comfort for the fucking fucks. Remember, in sports, only one teams wins the championship, so all the rest of you are losers.

Give me back my tiny bit of decent television, damn it!

Speaking of which, what's up with this whole towel episode. Maybe we are becoming a Republican nation, fronting in public and fucking our children in private. You know, the little bit I've read about this latest NFL on tv controversy just makes me think that there are a lot of dumb people out there. And a lot of folks that still don't like race mixing.

"I AM the inedible man . . . "

Available from Amazon:
Playmakers DVD.

How Did Your Favorite Musical Genre Vote?

I've been mad busy over at ProHipHop trying to make things happen and I'm already getting good response. Plus, I've been checking out some of my stacks of cds, really, any minute now the review-like blog posts will start rolling out. Till then, here's a thought:

When people ask what happened to our hip hop voter drive, tell them that even the rich assholes voted for Kerry. And then ask them how their favorite musical genre voted. Odds are they'll lean back, even if only for a moment.

   Monday, November 15, 2004
Return to Reviewing, Electoral Bloggers

I'm getting ready to start my first day on the "new job" a little later than planned. But, before I do, I wanted to drop a couple more electoral links plus let you know that this week I'll return to reviewing the many interesting looking releases I've received. I appreciate people's patience.

Rafat Ali at PaidContent.org reports on a panel about bloggers and the election at The Online News Association's 2004 Conference. The panel included big stars Arianna Huffington, Joe Trippi and Rock the Vote's Jehmu Greene and is described more fully at the ONA website. If you're into online publishing, there's lots of other interesting stuff being posted there as well.

A couple more hip hip blogs that have been writing about electoral related issues:
stink zone
Where HipHop and Libertarianism Meet.

   Saturday, November 13, 2004

Don't Give Up Now!

Unintentionally, Julian Ivey reveals why Bush remains in office with the following comments:

"Hip-hop has had a lean couple of weeks. We've all been bombarded with political news over and over...and over. I, for one, am extremely happy I can go back to just worrying about my life and not the future of the free world."

On the one hand, I understand the feeling. Especially among people who aren't normally politically active and got wrapped up in this campaign for the first time. But the social change we need is going to require ongoing action on all our parts. And I'm not saying be grim and give up having fun. In fact, I think it's important to have fun. Like the great American anarchist Emma Goldman supposedly said:

"If I can't dance I don't want to be in your revolution."

Ivey also mentions P. Diddy's desire to play James Bond. My prediction has two branches:

One, P. Diddy gets the role because he helps finance the film.

Two, P. Diddy gets offered a similar role in a remake of either The Pink Panther or Our Man Flynt.

   Friday, November 12, 2004
Still Sending Me Stuff in NC? Stop or I'll Spank!

Apparently people are still sending review copies to my North Carolina address. Just so you know, everything sent after I moved will stay in NC until my Christmas vacation. Also, I'm shutting that box down very soon. Send stuff to me in SF at my address on the Contact page.

However, I do have a big backlog that I'll start reviewing again next week after ProHipHop officially launches on Monday.

Jay-Z, Allhiphop.com and the 302

The Jay-Z interview at Allhiphop.com is much better than the news reports that fixate on his statements about the pressures in the music biz. He doesn't use the word commercialism and when you read his statements in the context of the interview, they just don't come out with the same emphasis.

He does talk about being new at retirement and saying that he wouldn't make another album, at this time. But that whole retirement deal seems like bullshit. Everything else is pretty good, though. And I appreciated the fact that he asks if they're doing another Nirvana album and then rejects the reviewer's mention of Weezer, since I love Nirvana and they are historically important, whether I love them or not, while Weezer is really a shitty band.

Even though I find the retirement thing annoying, I have to admit that I've been slow to give Jay-Z his due. And I'm finding I like him and I like a lot of his music and I'm looking forward to seeing Fade to Black.

It took me a while to check on the version at allhiphop.com cause their site was down. Now it's back up and the title at the top of the browser page says:
Bear, Dover, Middletown, Seaford

Hmmmm, 302 paid a visit?

Youth Voters Weren't The Problem

I keep reading negative things about the youth vote. As Michael Moore points out:

If there was one group who really came through on Tuesday, it was the young people of America. Their turnout was historic and record-setting. And few in the media are willing to report this fact.

Unlike 2000 when Gore and Bush almost evenly split the youth vote (Gore: 48%, Bush: 46%), this year Kerry won the youth vote in a LANDSLIDE, getting a full ten points more than Bush (Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%).

Young people were the ONLY age group that voted for Kerry. In every other age group (30-39, 40-49, 50-59, etc.), the majority voted for Bush.

Moore follows with other stats that just don't support this youth or hip hop generation failure theme that's getting floated.

If you've been saying the youth vote didn't come through, please ask yourself, what caused you to think that? Perhaps you've been sucking down too much mass media. I've noticed that I seem to be calmer than a lot of bloggers about the election outcome. Perhaps it's because I don't watch television.

Hip Hop Post-Election Bloggers

Since I haven't gotten deeper into election stuff here, other than to comment on a post at Different Kitchen, I want to point out some hip hop blogs that wrote a lot about the election and are discussing the "what now?" question.

I may link to specific posts in the future, but for now I'd like to encourage you to check out:
I'm So Sinsurr
November Third
Notes From a Different Kitchen
Pop Life

In some cases, you'll have to go back a few posts. Understandably, many of us wish to think about something else while we recover from the shock.

If anyone comes across a good website that's tracking coverage of electoral rigging and other criminal acts that really make even our half-assed approach to democracy a sham, I would be very appreciative.

   Thursday, November 11, 2004
Genocide in Sudan

Waxploitation Records is set to release a charity cd on Nov. 23rd called Genocide in Sudan to support relief efforts in Sudan but also as part of a political move to encourage the UN to declare the situation a form of genocide. The record will include tracks from multiple genres and artists including Jurassic 5, Thievery Corporation, Jill Scott, Danger Mouse and Murs, Gorillaz, X-ecutioners and DJ Spooky.

Interviews with Dame Dash and ?uestlove

It's so nice to hear Dame Dash discuss karma and business ethics in such a mature manner in Black Enterprise. He's grown so much from the deranged, angry freak we saw in the documentary The Show.

?uestlove discusses working with Jay-Z on Fade to Black and his hopes for hip hop.

Group Hip Hop Blogs

Hashim at Hip Hop Blogs wrote me a note about my new project, ProHipHop. It's interesting because he just keeps developing new group blogs while I just keep seeing what I can do alone. Of course, I've mentioned that I would enjoy having other people write reviews for Hip Hop Logic, but that hasn't developed yet. And, honestly, if you're somebody who just wants to write a couple of times a week and enjoy the weblog experience, you might take a look at one of the blogs Hashim's initiated because he seems pretty open to involving other people.

Not only have Hashim and friends added Mixtapes Etc. to the activities, I just found out that he started a post election blog entitled November Third. There's been a lot of election discussion on hip hop blogs so it will be interesting to see if people pick up on this blog.

   Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Hip Hop Albums Updated

I've added a bunch of new releases to Hip Hop Albums as well as updating various release dates. I'm trying to do a better job of keeping up with changing dates but it's getting tougher with people pushing up dates to foil pirates and pushing back dates for so many reasons that we'll never hear about.

   Tuesday, November 09, 2004

ProHipHop Launches, Softly

I've recently mentioned a project I'm working on focused on hip hop business news. It's called ProHipHop and it's a hip hop trade blog that looks at business news across industry sectors. One of the things that has fascinated me about hip hop has been it's creeping progress into all sectors of society. This progress is escalating and much of it can be tracked by keeping up with business news items.

But ProHipHop is also a more commercially oriented project than I've taken on before and will require a more conservative approach than I take at Hip Hop Logic. We'll see how that works out and how it affects my writing here soon enough. For now, I'm still figuring out how to approach ProHipHop and will take the week to get it fully operational. So check out the early version of ProHipHop to see what's going to be keeping me extra busy for awhile.


Lil Jon is the posterboy for the son-to-be released OAKLEY THUMP, Oakley shades with a digital music player which looks a lot cooler than one might anticipate. Currently you can link to a slideshow of the launch party where Lil Jon performed last Friday from the Oakley homepage. Jeremy Horwitz of iPodlounge Backstage attended the event and discusses the THUMP but skipped out on Lil Jon's performance.

   Monday, November 08, 2004
Wired's Creative Commons Sampler CD

I'm very busy getting ready to launch my new top secret hip hop news related project. Any day now. But I just wanted to pass on a couple of things before getting back to work on that.

You've probably already downloaded Wired's Creative Commons song sampler with cuts from a variety of artists including the Beastie Boys, Dan the Automator, Chuck D and Danger Mouse & Jemini that's included in the current issue of Wired. The issue also has an interview with the Beastie Boys with interesting commentary on their beatmaking and sampling.

Under a Creative Commons license, artists can specify uses of their music from freely usable to various restrictions, particularly on commercial use. So it's not an anything goes situation but it gets pretty close on the Wired cd and many of the songs can be sampled and used even in commercial projects.

If you want to skip the paper and cd clutter, you can read the articles at the links above and download the cd from Legal Torrents after you've installed BitTorrent.

   Friday, November 05, 2004

The Postmodern Anarchist on the Election

I'm following hip hop related responses to the election and will eventually get something up. In the meantime, the Postmodern Anarchist has started a series of Electoral Aftermath posts that look at a variety of issues with a special eye on electoral fraud.

KILL BUSH NOW, Jay-Z, Foreign Exchange, VERBALISMS

Those crazy Norwegian rappers and their KILL BUSH NOW ideas! What will they think of next?

Jay-Z's concert film Fade to Black is reviewed in the NY Times. I think Jay-Z is a really powerful example of the fact that, though we may retire from our current jobs, many of us will have to continue to work after retirement. Especially after W hooks up us with his social security "reform."

My other bad Jay-Z joke without the political edge is that Jay-Z is the hardest working man in showbiz retirement! Ha ha!

Last month NRP did a feature on Foreign Exchange, the collab between Little Brother's emcee Phonte Coleman and producer Nicolay Rook of the Netherlands. For links to Little Brother related websites and media coverage, see the sadly outdated but soon to be updated Little Brother links at NC Hip Hop Online.

If you're into women in hip hop as something other than ornaments, then you may dig the VERBALISMS Holiday Issue, freely available online. However, it looks like they're also going to start with print editions in the spring.

You know, I'm realizing that instead of posting less news here, the effects of doing another news project may result in more news here. Go figure.

   Thursday, November 04, 2004

Interested in Being a Hip Hop Reviewer?

I'm looking for someone to take over reviewing the more thuggish and street oriented cds I get. I don't think I really do them justice and my criticisms of that sort of thing can only become repetitive. If you aren't immediately repelled by talk of guns and display of bling, then you are the human for the job. Being in the Bay Area is a plus but not a necessity, by any means.

I could also use someone to review mixtapes. I've only gotten a couple but I think that will grow and could be encouraged to grow. If that's your sort of thing and you'd like an immediate forum then please consider reviewing for Hip Hop Logic.

Though largely unpaid, you'll get the cds/etc. and we can try to figure out a profit sharing arrangement for the tiny amount of ad revenue. If you took off, you could get your own blog going at netweed, if that interests you. These could be good opportunities for people just getting into writing before possibly moving on to other projects, experienced writers who would appreciate having another forum or folks who would just enjoy the experience.

Talk to me: hiphoplogic(at)netweed(dot)com

Hip Hop News and New Directions

I'm about caught up on news I've missed and am passing along a few of the more interesting bits. I should let you know that Hip Hop Logic will probably continue in the direction of less news and more reviews, although I'll be emphasizing linking to other reviews and news items in my reviews. Next week I'll be unveiling a new project that will focus on hip hop business news. Although that project will require me to take a more neutral (professional, mom, I'm a professional) approach, I will continue to spit fire when necessary here at Hip Hop Logic, though, as you may have noticed, I've generally moved away from harassing fellow bloggers who have enough on their hands as it is.

Although I haven't really gone out to any shows, I'm digging being in San Francisco because in hip hop, as in everything, the Bay Area has a lot of progressive perspectives. And people put their perspectives into action, as did the Nunez Brothers with their local hip hop tv show "Distortion2Static".

As I'm thinking about focusing business news items on my new project, I notice how many of the items that interest me here are, essentially, business news. For example, the story of a
young New Zealander who built a hip hop magazine is a good example of an item that interests me here because it's about the global spread of hip hop. But it's also a hip hop business news item, as is the use of hip hop to market Dentyne to Malaysian youth or the news that RZA contributed to the Blade: Trinity soundtrack or the many twists and turn in the R. Kelly/Jay-Z saga.

Whether or not this article about a gathering of hip hop journalists at NYU or this NPR feature on Jin is hip hop business news or Hip Hop Logic fodder will be a topic for future internal debate.

   Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Hip Hop Albums Updated

Hip Hop Albums has been updated with lots of Oct/Nov releases and a few more from September. More to come in the next week or so.

Hip Hop Politics and Journalism

I'm gradually getting caught up on hip hop news while I digest this bitter election. It will be interesting to see how the various figures involved with mobilizing a hip hop electorate will respond.

For those in the hip hop nation with an activist background, the re-election of the Bush Cartel will be upsetting, yet also simply one big event in an ongoing stream of activity. That's certainly the perspective of Asad Jafri of the Hip Hop Congress.

Adisa Banjoko probably has interesting things to say and I may try to find out at one of his San Francisco promotional events for Lyrical Swords. Actually, his site includes an animation with the slogan "on November 2nd, vote for yourself." Banjoko's book is placed in the context of his life in a great profile by Joshunda Saunders of the SF Chronicle. And, like all hip hop writers these days, Banjoko has a blog.

I'll have to say that the campaign has led to some interesting quotes, for example, Russell Simmons pointing out to a group of potential voters, "I had a big tax break cause y'all didn't vote". And who could resist feeling hopeful at the words of one young registrant:

"I wasn't registered and I know I wanted Bush out of office," said McNeil. "When I saw Nelly with Diddy, I just went ahead and registered, because I LOVE Nelly!"

We may have lost this one, but just wait till Russell and P. Diddy run!

   Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Hip Hop Logic in San Francisco

I've finally completed my relocation to San Francisco, which happened a lot quicker than getting back online. But now I'm back and here's my new address for reviews and whatnot:

Clyde Smith

2370 Market Street #391

San Francisco, CA  94114

I'll be back posting regularly tomorrow.