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Posts from August 2004

Monday Mutterings 12

The Kings of Rap: Run-DMC

I copped this fun music survey (or meme) from Casper at Chromatic Musings. He saw it over at Frank's blog, Chromewavesdotnet. A bevy of music bloggers caught the meme flu at Blogcritics, as well.

First Record Bought: Run-DMC / King of Rock (on cassette)
First Concert: Fresh Fest '84 at the then-called Spectrum (now First Union Center) in Philadelphia.
Favorite Music Movie: Cooley High -- this classic urban teen movie featured some great Motown classics as well as soul crooner G.C. Cameron's tear-jerky ballad, "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday."
Favorite Music Book: Chasing the 'Trane By J.C. Thomas.
Favorite Songwriter: Stevie Wonder
Favorite Producer: Past -- The Bomb Squad/ Present -- Madlib
Favorite Record Label: Past -- Def Jam/Present -- Stones Throw
Favorite Magazine[s]: Fader magazine / Complex magazine
Favorite Bassist: Bootsy Collins
Favorite Album Cover: A Love Supreme/John Coltrane
Favorite Music DVD: Only the Strong Survive
Favorite Teen Idol: Past -- LL Cool J / Present -- Ciara (I love her "Goodies")
Artist Who [Disappointed You]: R. Kelly. Why did you have to pee on that girl, man? Why?!?!
Five Artist[s] You Will Always Believe In: Prince, Ice Cube, Stevie Wonder, John Coltrane and Rick James (R.I.P.). One more: Chuck D.
Singer Who Makes Your Skin Crawl: Macy Gray
Singer Who Makes You Swoon: Alicia Keys. Runners-up: Beyoncé and Jean Grae . . . and Mariah Carey. . . yeah, I swoon easy.
Favorite Sound: Soft melodramatic piano like Alicia Keys's "Diary" or Stevie Wonder's "Lately."
Album You Will Always Defend:
Album You Own That No One Else Does: City Life/ Boogie Boys -- on vinyl in mint condition.
Classic Album You Own but Don't Like: Fear of a Black Planet/ Public Enemy
Artist You're Supposed to Like but Don't: Elvis Presley. I also don't care much for Lil Jon even though he is a talented rapper-producer. I don't care much about the crunk scene either.
Song You Can't Stand by an Artist You Like:
Band [Or Group] That Should Break Up: Destiny's Child. Do we really want to hear another album from them?
Band [Or Group] That Should Re-form: A Tribe Called Quest.
Guilty Pleasure: Weird "Al" Yankovic
Concert You Wish You'd Seen: Jimi Hendrix -- anywhere in concert.
Dream Collaboration: Earth, Wind & Fire and the Doobie Brothers [with frontman Michael McDonald].


Biggie Smalls Is Alive

A Biggie Imposter?: Los Angeles rhyme-spitter Guerrilla Black

A BEATS and RANTS exclusive:

Notorious B.I.G (aka Biggie Smalls, Frank White, etc.) is alive.

Yes, Biggie is alive and well, and he's living in Compton, California.

He just released a new song called "Compton" (Featuring Beenie Man), which is getting spins on L.A. radio but not on New York radio (weird, huh?).

B.I.G. is also featured on Young Rome's club banger "Freaky."

Following in the footsteps of his dyslexia-mouthed buddy Mase, Biggie is trying to make a serious run at the rap game again.

Welcome back, B.I.!



Monday Meme Mutterings

This "Meme" was spotted at Lynne's blog and at KB's online diary:

The \\

Last Cigarette: I don't smoke; tobacco kills niggas

Last Alcoholic Drink: 4 Coronas at an office party. Let's just say, I was gettin' "tipsy" on the job

Last Car Ride: Took a taxicab in South Carolina to look at some historical sites.

Last Kiss: My mom at the family reunion

Last Good Cry: Journo thugs don't cry. (Ha! Ha!)

Last Library Book: N/A

Last book bought: None recently

Last [magazine] Read: Complex magazine with Eve on the cover. Wow! Eve is looking hot to def. Plenty of nice gear to cop!

Last Movie Seen in Theatres: Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Last Movie Rented: Barbershop 2: Back In Business

Last Cuss Word Uttered: Read my past entries on this blog

Last Beverage Drank: Arizona Green Tea with ginseng

Last Food Consumed: Cheesy bread from Domino's with fish sticks and corn on the side

Last Crush: My last crush was on this lovely Latina

Last Phone Call: Talk to my mom to say, "what s'up."

Last TV Show Watched: The Shield on FX

Last Time Showered: At 8:30 a.m. Sunday; my black ass is stankin'!

Last Shoes Worn: Timberland boot shoes

Last CD Played: I shuffle on iTunes and haven't listened to a full CD in a while -- though I know that Roots CD The Tipping Point shuffling around in there is the hotness

Last Item Bought: Souvenirs from South Carolina

Last Download: "Funky Kingston" -- Toots & Maytals, Bootsy Collins and The Roots from iTunes store two weeks ago

Last Annoyance: Pretty bitches

Last Disappointment: My relationship with a nice woman

Last Soda Drank: I don't drink soda; soda kills niggas

Last Thing Written: Jotted notes down for my trip to South Carolina

Last Key Used: [enter/return] just now

Last Words Spoken: "Damn, I'm so tired"

Last Sleep: 5:00 PM this afternoon after I posted this meme.

Last Ice Cream Eaten: about a month ago -- Napoleon ice cream (chocolate, strawberry and vanilla)

Last Chair Sat In: Sitting in a wooded chair now typing out this post


Jesus Wept: Jesus Talks, Part II

Mase And Kanye West

"He who glories, let him glory in the Lord . . ."
-- 2 Corinthians 10:17

"The real measure of our labor is whether it is keeping with God's Word and if it reflects His glory rather than our own. Make sure that whatever you do, you do for the Lord."
-- Mart De Haan, President of RBC Ministries

It looks like Kanye's hubris is rubbing off on the comeback kid Ma$e.

"There's no variety in hip-hop right now. You needed me to come back."

So declares prodigal rapper Ma$e.

[The dimpled-face rhyme-spitter] deflects questions about reconciling his rap return with his ministry, declaring only, "Ma$e was never a filthy artist. I was never saying, 'You B's and hos.' So I don't know why people keep asking me about using curse words. All great artists have some spiritual backing. Before this, I was empty with riches on the outside. Now I'm rich on the inside and outside."

Mase CD Cover Art

Ma$e's CD Welcome Back arrives in stores on Aug. 24. His party banger "Breathe" (featuring his partner-in-rhyme P. Diddy) is blowing up on radio.


While I Was Gone . . .

Rick James Getting His Super Freak On Half-Naked Partygoer

Ray Charles is dead and now, Rick James. What the hell is going on? Why are our musical heroes leaving us so soon?

A Tribute To a "Super" Star: Rick James (1948-2004)

Rick James was indeed a "super" star who brought us his punk-funking style and street-worthy attitude to R&B and soul. A cross between George Clinton and Prince; Rick was able to get your booty shaking on the dancefloor and help you get your romantic groove on in the bedroom with his seductive ballads. His trademark long cornrowed and beaded hair and sequined costumes often categorized him as a funk artist, but Rick didn't want to be called just a "funk artist", he thought his music elevated beyond limited catagorizations. "I hate to have people call me a funk artist. I always get upset when I hear that," he says. "I'm so much more than a funk artist. I love lyrics. I like to consider myself a good lyricist. My love for music ranges, and it's so deep. To call me a funk artist really undermines me, and everything that I've done."

Sadly, Rick James, who was best known for his '80s hits "Super Freak" and the timeless love ballad "Fire and Desire (his duet with R&B songbird Teena Marie), died in his sleep on Friday (Aug. 6). His assistant found the multi-talented musician dead in his Hollywood home. He was 56. An autopsy Saturday failed to determine the cause of death for Rick, authorities said. The singer was a diabetic and also had a pacemaker. He also suffered a stroke in 1998. "It's a great loss to music," said rhyme-slinger/beatmaker Kanye West, who recently worked with Rick on a song featuring Kayne's rap protégé Bumpy J. "He was just an amazing talent, and it was a privilege just to be in the studio with a legend like that."

Born James Ambrose Johnson Jr. on Feb. 1, 1948 in Buffalo, N.Y., Rick was the nephew of Temptations singer Melvin Franklin. The third of eight children, Rick's mom ran numbers for the Mafia, while his father deserted his family when he was still young. Rick began his musical career at age 15 when he won a talent show at Bennett High School by beating out a song on the bongos while chanting.

He never finished high school. Instead, Rick enlisted in the Naval Reserve, but later went AWOL, ending up in Toronto, Canada where he met up with Neil Young and Bruce Palmer (who later formed Buffalo Springfield) -- under the alias Ricky James Matthews -- and played with them in a band called the Mynah Birds. They were signed to Motown Records and recorded an album that was never released. Soon thereafter, the group disbanded.

In 1978, Rick return to the United States and form a group called the Stone City Band and developed a rock/funk style he dubbed "punk funk." Impressed by his demo tapes, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. re-signed Rick to a worldwide deal with Motown's publishing company, Jobete.

Throughout the late '70s and early '80s, Rick notched a bevy of hits for Motown, as a soloist, songwriter and producer. Among a numbered of Rick's greatest songs included "You and I," "Bustin' Out," "Give It to Me Baby," and "Super Freak," which later was sampled by MC Hammer for his 1990 hit "U Can't Touch This." (Rick eventually sued Hammer for royalties-owed and won.) He also produced songs for Mary Jane Girls, Teena Marie, Carl Carlton, The Temptations and for his own group, Stone City Band. He was also responsible for Eddie Murphy's lone solo hit -- now Karaoke favorite -- "Party All the Time."

"Everything that I have written, is stuff that comes from me, like George Clinton he writes sci-fi Funk, and he is great at it," said the funk lord in his last interview with "My musical intake is so much that it is hard for me to be new wave, because I come from so many different areas, every song that I have ever written came from my heart. I am not Prince, I don't write stupid [lyrics]. I talk about the streets, love affairs, a fire [and] desire."

Continue reading "While I Was Gone . . . " »