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Posts from December 2006

Rest In Soul Power

(photo swiped from Funky16Corners)

Can we please have a moment of silence . . .

For Soul Music . . .

On Christmas Day, soul music was officially ethered with the passing of the Godfather of Soul James Joseph Brown, Jr. The legendary crooner was hospitalized with pneumonia on Sunday at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Ga., and died of heart failure early Monday morning (Christmas).

When it comes to musical and cultural icons, no one compares to James Brown. His music crossed all genres including jazz and classical. James also perfected the "rhythm," that signature groove that has been the soundbed of R&B, soul, funk and rap music to this very day. James Brown will also go down in history as the most sampled artist ever in the music biz. Culturally, James' music was the soundtrack for the civil rights movement during the '60s and '70s stressing black individualism with "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." For his efforts, he earned three Grammys including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. James is also a proud inductee of both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fames.

In the end, James Brown was simply a musical genius.

Extra Reading/Listening Material:

Read historian/journalist Larry Grogan's musical and cultural tribute to James Brown, as well as listen to "Get On The Good Foot" and "Butter Your Popcorn."

Also, watch one of my favorite James Brown performance of "There Was a Time." Feel the rhythmic power of "the groove" and witness James doing the Camel, the Boo-ga-loo and the "James Brown" dance steps.

And Chicago Sun-Times columnist David Hoekstra offers a wonderful story about James Brown and his cape man Danny Ray -- the guy who threw the velvet cape over James's shoulders before his finished his shows.

Watch James Brown perform "Cold Sweat" on Soul Train.

R.I.P. -- Rest In (Soul) Power, James . . .

You will be sorely missed.


Claus For Celebration!

For those of you who are celebrating this pagan ritual of capitalism and materialism . . . Merry Christmas. LOL!

I'm not hating on Santa Claus or on the spirit of goodwill and happiness.

I want to send a shout out to everyone who visits my blog.

Happy holidays to you and your families.

Peace and blessings . . .


Best of '06: Hookers Of The Year

A salute to the R&B crooners and songbirds who flaunted their pen game and sang the best hooks on rap songs in 2006. Click on the links and enjoy!


Clipse -- "Nightmares" (F/ Bilal)

Where has Bilal Oliver been hiding at? Although he does an occasional show, the classical-trained crooner's disc, tentatively called Love For Sale, has been held up longer than the Clipse's four-year suspended release of Hell Hath No Fury. Which probably explains why he's on this track -- he can relate with the Clipse brothers (Those crackers aren't playing fair at Interscope, either). The song features the Virginia-based rap duo reflecting on their post-traumatic stress from years of slinging dope on the block, while Bilal provides a Curtis Mayfied-like falsetto: "I'm having nightmares . . ./ My niggaz say I'm p-noid, they say I'm just p-noid."

Chrisette Michele

Jay-Z -- "Lost Ones" (F/ Chrisettee Michelle)

Nas -- "Can't Forget About You" (F/ Chrisette Michele) (MP3)

Chrisette Michele is a new songbird on the scene who is prepping her debut set for Def Jam in 2007. She sings the chrous on my favorite track from Jigga's lackluster Kingdom Come disc. She also plays hookie on my least favorite Nas track from Hip-Hop Is Dead. Keep an eye and ear out for this talented songbird.


Snoop Dogg -- "Imagine" (F/ Dr. Dre & D'Angelo)

J Dilla -- "So Far to Go" (F/ Common & D'Angelo)

D'Angelo is another singer who disappeared from obscurity, but resurfaced this year after news broke that he entered a rehab clinic for drug and alcohol abuse. He's drug-free now and looking like a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, much to the shock of his adoring female fans. He also reportedly left Virgin and has inked a deal with J Records. No word on when D is going to release his long-awaited disc. D'Angelo is in rare form on two of the best rap songs in 2006, "Imagine" and "So Far to Go." Welcome back, bro.

Marsha Ambrosius

Game -- "Why You Hate the Game" (F/ Nas & Marsha Ambrosius)

Nas -- "Hustlers" (F/ Game & Marsha Ambrosius)

Hi-Tek -- "Music 4 Life" (F/ Nas & Marsha Ambrosius)

Busta Rhymes -- "Cocaina" (F/ Marsha Ambrosius)

Busta Rhymes -- "Get You Some" (F/ Q-Tip & Marsha Ambrosius)

Former Floetry songbird Marsha Ambrosius (aka "The Songstress") is undoubtedly 2006's Hooker of the Year. While the Brit-Soul chantuese is waiting to drop her debut on Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records, she's been putting in overtime singing hooks on banging tracks for the Game, Busta Rhymes, Nas and others in 2006. Her vocal contributions this year, should help her in getting Dr. Dre to finally release her solo CD in the '07.


*** Inspired by that nigga, err, excuse me, that Negro Jason Toney.

Best of '06: Worst Rap CD Title

Rasco -- The Dick Swanson Theory (Pockets Linted)

The Dick Swanson Theory by Bay Area (Calif.) rhyme-spitter Rasco was the very first rap CD I purchased in January 2006, despite it's horrendous title. Dick Swanson sounds like a name of a porn star not an alias for a well-respected braggadocios lyricist. Nevertheless, I bought the disc because I'm a major fan of Rasco's work since Time Waits For No Man. Unfortunately, Dick is not his best work to date (an extra no homo, just in case). There are a few hard joints on the collection ("No Love," "Chances," "Emotions") but the rest is limp. (No homo; all suggestive puns intended.)

"Even though the album could have benefited from some more conceptual material, there is no denying Rasco's lyrical ability. And while the West Coast underground scene may not get the attention it deserves, you can be guaranteed that won't stop Rasco from pumping out consistent albums for the foreseeable future." --

Jim Jones -- Hustler's P.O.M.E. P.O.E.M (Koch/Dipset)

I'm not hating on Jim Jones, but let's keep it real -- J.J.'s CD title is a major typo. The New York rapper -- who's flying high with his remix/video for "We Fly High" -- recovered nicely with the title P.O.M.E (Product of My Environment), but I'm quite sure ol' Jimbo wanted it spelled "P.O.E.M." As for the rest of the disc . . . I'll pass.

But please read Passion of the Weiss' review of Hustler's P.O.M.E. -- it's a great piece of music writing and it's hilarious. Here's a clip:

A Day In the Life of Jim Jones [according to Hustler's P.O.M.E (Product Of My Environment)]

7:23 p.m. Jim Jones decides that tonight he will fly high. Suddenly, he has a flashback to last week when he was ballin. Jim Jones likes flashbacks. He also likes bub. Tonight, he vows that he will order 10 bottles of Bub by 2 in the morning.

8:23 p.m. Jim Jones receives a phone call. He checks the caller ID. It is one of his hos. Damnit! When he checks the voicemail, she tells him how upset she is about how the last time they had sex and he left a $100 bill on the dresser. She also tells him that she wants more out of the relationship than a Dipset tattoo. Ha ha. Jim Jones will have nothing of the sort. He declares that treating women like prostitutes is definitely baallinn!!


*** This post has been inspired by that nigga, oops, excuse me, that Negro, Jason Toney.

Total Clipse Of My Heart

"The reason why we keep driving like we do is that we still have a genuine love for hip-hop. This is our story. 50 Cent got shot. Kanye West got into an accident. The Clipse went through hell."
-- Pusha T from Interview

Let's talk about the Clipse.

First, this is not a lovefest for the Clipse. So turn your "hipster" radars off, please. Thank you.

But I do have to make a confession . . .

After weeks of playing the Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury in my iPod, I have to give the disc a thumbs up.

Is HHNF a hip-hop classic? Hell No! (all puns intended)

But I agree with critic Brendan Frederick, the disc is pure fishcale, no Ghostface Killah. Ya feel me? I'm not saying that it's better than Ghost's Fishscale set, but if you put those two collections together you will have yourself some real Hip-Hop Crack.

I'm not going to bore you with a long review, but here are my thoughts:

On My Score Card: Out of the 12 tracks on the disc, it has a 7 to 5 hotness ratio -- 7 dope tracks and 5 wack joints.

Standout Tracks On The Collection:

1) "Nightmares" (F/ Bilal)

2) "We Got it For Cheap" (Intro)

3) "Keys Open Doors" (DJ Green Latern Mix)

The song is haunting like the streets.
"The realest shit I ever wrote/ Not 'Pac inspired/ It's Crack Pot inspired/ My real nigga's quote . . ."

4) "Momma I'm So Sorry"

5) "Ride Around Shining" (featuring Ab-Liva)

One Song I'm Not Feeling On The Disc:

The wacky experimentation of "Trill."

Another Downside:

Too much crack-slinging wordplays for me, but Clipse's duo Malice and Pusha T were more engaging with their coked-up lyrics than Miami hustler Rick Ross.

Word of the Day: "Eghck!"