Hip Hop May Not Be Dead, But Internet Radio May Soon Be

May 31, 2007 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Found At Other Sites | Leave a comment

Hip Hop May Not Be Dead, But Internet Radio May Soon Be

by Davey D

A few years a ago I ran into former FCC Chairman Michael Powell as he was leaving Jesse Jackson‘s Wall Street Project conference in New York. He was the man of the hour due to the fact that over 3 million people had hit up the FCC demanding that he abandon his plans to allow big media conglomerates like Clear Channel to further consolidate.

I confronted Powell about many of the complaints I was hearing from media reform activists around the country including the Bay Area’s People Station Campaign, Detroit’s Black Out Friday campaign and the ‘Turn off the Radio Campaign‘ which drew 1500 people including Chuck D, Afrika Bambattaa, Doug E Fresh and numerous other rap stars and launched in a Harlem church the night before.

It was there that members of NY’s City Council held a tribunal and listened to over six hours of testimony where person after person complained about lack of musical diversity resulting in listeners having to endure the same ten songs in row, the lack of local airplay for independent local artists and an abundance of harmful stereotypes being broadcasted everyday resulting in Black and Brown communities being marginalized. The most troubling was the management of NY’s then number one station Hot 97 allowing their on disc jockeys to constantly use the N and B words on the air.

Powell listened and then dismissively told me the solution was not to regulate radio and prevent further consolidation but for concerned listeners to turn to the Internet radio. It was there he stated that people could find all the diversity and niche programming their heart desired. I tried to explain that a lot of people especially in poor communities where broadband was scarce, couldn’t listen to Internet radio. Sadly Powell wasn’t trying to hear it and he bounced.

Fast forward 4 years later and people faced with little changes in radio found their way onto the Internet and an industry that once boasted a scant few million listeners a month now has mushroomed to a medium that attracts over 70 million people. Apparently people got Powell’s memo.

In a cruel sense of irony, what has become a viable alternative and a place of solace for many is threatened. In recent weeks while the country was focused on Don Imus, the major record labels along with their organization Sound Exchange successfully petitioned the US Copyright Board and convinced them to increase royalty fees a whooping 300-1200% to be applied retroactively. The rates which were supposed to kick in May 15th threatened to bankrupt the Internet Radio industry.

Just to give you an idea of how that looks, locally based Soma FM in a recent Eastbay Express article explained that they had an annual webcasting bill for 10 thousand dollars. Under the new rates they would immediately owe 600 thousand dollars. I spoke with owner Rusty Hodge who noted that the high rates are the result of him having lots of people who listen for long periods of time. He also noted that if he manages to stay afloat in 2007 he will owe the labels over one million dollars.

The largest Internet Radio company Live 365-also locally based explained to the Washington Post that their annual 1.5 million dollar bill would increase to 6 or 7 million and bankrupt the company.

What makes this new ruling even more insidious is that all webcasters no matter how big or small would be required to pay 500 bucks annually on top of the increased rates, meanwhile commercial broadcasters who have in recent months been aggressively pushing their own online stations and HD broadcasts along with satellite radio would NOT be paying these increased rates.

If you listen to commercial stations all around the country you will hear many of them pushing for listeners to check out their new on line spin off stations. The ultimate plan of action for many stations is to launch specialty stations that focus on a specific genre. For example in New York City, Hot 97 now has a online station called the ‘Original Hot 97’ where listeners can hear the station in its original dance music oriented format. Here in the Bay Area Kiss FM which plays classic R&B and soul has launched an online station where they play classic commercial Hip Hop.

Now this in itself is not a bad thing except the playing field is not even. For starters the commercial outlets at the very least will be able to barter with major labels to overlook online fees in exchange for terrestrial airplay. What also is not being stated is that for the commercial giants this will be the place where they can legally exercise pay for play (payola) especially if they wind up being the only game in town.

A likely scenario that will soon emerge if it hasn’t already is that labels seeking airplay will hit off these commercial giants with a set amount of money and then after the stations ‘determine’ that the songs are doing well online will then bounce them up to regular rotation on the terrestrial stations. The pay for play scheme online will be a welcome cash cow for commercial stations while labels will be able to exercise control over projects that they are promoting.

For those who don’t know, the way things work now, is that a major label comes up with a marketing campaign for a particular artist. They set up a marketing campaign with the album’s first single followed by a video. They depend upon broadcasters to go along with their game plan. They expect stations and video outlets to play the second and third singles at the prescribed time and will actually discourage programmers from playing album cuts or upcoming planned singles ‘too soon’. In some instances labels will use their muscle and threaten to stop servicing stations with music or will prohibit their artists from doing interviews or summer jam concerts if the broadcasters don’t cooperate with the marketing plan. This focused marketing is what many of these label executives feel will lead to increased album sales and hence that’s the main reason you hear the same ten songs being played on air from coast to coast.

Internet Radio helped break that strangle-hold. With the average webcaster it’s usually been people first not labels first. The industry seems bent on changing this dynamic The first step is to eliminate all these independent Internet Radio stations by making it too costly.

For those who think what I’m saying is far fetched, talk to any online broadcaster and ask him/her about the 1998 DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) which governs Internet Radio and was pushed through Congress by the RIAA and the major labels, it is technically against the law for Internet radio to play songs from the same artist 2 or 3 times in a 3 hour period. Hence unlike commercial giants who can break format and do a Prince special or have a Jay-Z or Public Enemy hour, webcasters are forbidden to this by law.

When James Brown passed late last year and Rick James passed the year before, radio stations all over the country broke format and played hours of music from these legends. Thanks to the DMCA, Internet radio was forbidden to do this unless they got special permission from the labels which was damn near impossible for most people who actually go out and purchase their own music as opposed to commercial stations which get it sent to them for free and have relationships with record label promoters.

The Sound Exchange people said they need to raise rates and make all these rules for the benefit of the artist. They said that because album sales are down and that the industry needs another income source. Webcasting fees will help offset the economic downturn. They also stated that they were doing this for the artists who they feel need to be paid.

Well according to Wendy Day of the well respected artist advocacy group Rapcoalition that’s not exactly true. Day who is responsible for brokering deals for artists like Master P and Cash Money stated;

“From the negotiation standpoint in the music industry, the major labels are fighting hard to retain as large a percentage as possible for digital rights. Much like record deals of the past (old formats such as records, cassettes, and CDs), the labels retain the lion’s share of the profits giving the average artist a lowly 12% of the selling price AFTER they’ve paid back every recoupable expense from their share of the royalties. That business model still stands in digital formats. The labels still keep the lion’s share of the money, using the artists measly percentage to pay down the debt. I have, personally, seen labels budge on allowing artists to be non-exclusive to their label, but not give an inch in negotiating digital rights. Artists still get pennies in comparison to the labels’ dollars”.

The Sound Exchange people have also stated that webcasters can easily pay the increased fees by selling advertising. That’s a huge fallacy. To start, what wasn’t stated by SE was the fact that these small webcasters are now in direct competition with traditional broadcast giants who are going after those same ad dollars for their own online webcasts.

In short the chips are stacked against the average online broadcaster who was chased on line by Powell and the lack of response by broadcast mediums to their initial concerns. The little guy who does this as a passionate hobby where he was willing to pay reasonable rates is suddenly up against a huge company with a sales staff that at the end of the day can barter for ad dollars with a variety of on and offline platforms. As I said before Internet and digital broadcasting is new terrain that the industry wants cleared out with them being the only game in town. If that happens all the same complaints consumers had and continue to have with traditional radio will resurface with these commercial online outlets.

So disconcerting is this latest assault that there has been a groundswell of support and broad coalition of groups opposing the rate hikes ranging from Christen broadcasters to Yahoo radio. The end result are two bi-partisan bills being pushed through Congress and the Senate. In the House its HR 2060 and in the senate S1353 the Internet Radio Equality Act. Which would repeal the rates. People are asked to call their representative and get behind the bills or risk seeing the Internet radio landscape permanently change and be a thing that only the rich and powerful can afford to do. You can go to SaveNetRadio for more info on this..SaveNetRadio.com

Advertisements

Scion Presents: Rendition – Opening June 9th

May 31, 2007 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Hip Hop News/Press Releases | Leave a comment

Scion celebrates cutting edge art with the opening of a new show,  Rendition, in its 4,500 square foot Installation L.A. Gallery.   Curated by Eyeone, (Seeking Heaven Crew and Second to None), Rendition features artists Asylm, Cab, Jorger, Kozem, Klee, Luna, Mear, Panic, Passenger, Patrick Martinez, Skypager, Vyal, and Yem.Eyeone began painting with aerosol during a boring summer break between grades 10 and 11 in high school. He forms part of the Seeking Heaven and Second to None street art crews. His work has been featured in diverse publications, notably the books “Graffiti World,” “Graffiti L.A.,” “Big Time Magazine,” and “Rime,” among others. He has exhibited extensively in the U.S. and is currently featured in an exhibition representing Los
Angeles in France. Born in Mexico City, Eyeone was raised and is based in Los Angeles. He holds a MFA degree in Design | Media Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.
 
Involved in the street art movement since 1989, Asylm began his quest to develop a recognizable street art style on the walls of the Los Angeles River.  Asylm actively transfers the value of art as a mentor in community organizations such as the Los Angeles Conservation Corps’ Clean & Green program and Artcorps L.A.  Asylm works with students to create colorful murals that can be seen throughout 20 schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Cab is regarded by many as one of L.A.’s most prolific street artists.  Hailing from East Los Angeles, his work has traveled the states and the globe. He has been featured in countless publications, including “Lost,” “The History of Los Angeles Graffiti Art,” and “Graffiti L.A.”

Cache has turned the streets of his native Los Angeles into a vibrant outdoor gallery. His walls prominently featuring his trademark chicken characters can be seen throughout the city.

Seeing the graffiti in his East L.A. neighborhood inspired Jorger to pursue art from a very young age. This pursuit has led him to develop his visual style in diverse media, from skateboard graphics and apparel to painting and 3D modeling.

Klee’s painting adventures began in 1992 in Guadalajara, Mexico and continue in L.A. to this day. Armed with spray paint, oil paint, acrylics, or sometimes a screen and a squeegee, he has worked on numerous surfaces including walls, trains, bridges, canvases, wood panels, metal plates, and other found objects. He considers his mission in life to speak and act against injustice through his art and to always find a way to exist despite all challenges. It’s in his blood.

Kozem is a highly active exponent of a new generation of urban artists. He lives in East Los Angeles.

Born in Mexico, Distrito Federal and raised in Los Angeles, Luna first became drawn to street art in junior high. “Something about it appealed to me, and I guess you can say I’ve been hooked ever since. In high school a friend of mine ‘borrowed’ Subway Art from the library for me and I loved it so much, it never went back. Since then I’ve experimented with spray-paint and other fun marking tools, but mostly I’ve spent my time documenting things- much of it graffiti – throughout L.A. (and wherever else I find myself) on good old-fashioned film. Every once in a while, I’ll pick up a can or two for mural projects and other such shenanigans. My eye is very drawn to walls, bridges, trains, buildings, and the paint found on these surfaces: hidden treasures in the midst of grotesquely large, obnoxious, and visually polluting advertisements plastered all over the city.”

Educated on the streets of Los Angeles, Mear is a self-taught painter, designer and sculptor with a professional art career that spans over fifteen years. The artist’s philosophy is clear in his name, which is an acronym meaning Manifest Energy And Radiate. His art is a passionate attempt to speak a higher form of language, encouraging people to raise their social and political consciousness and become involved in their own lives through creativity. Mear has achieved legendary status among the urban street art circle and has been recognized as an international art sensation. His raw, vibrant style catches the eye with its colorful intricacy and ensnares the mind with its deep, intriguing messages.

Panic is recognized by the Los Angeles street art community as a style innovator and influence on countless practitioners of the art. Most recently, he was a consultant on the monumental “Graffiti L.A.” book project. He is a member of the Seeking Heaven crew based in North East Los Angeles.

Since the vivid days of Patrick Martinez’s childhood he was drawing or scribbling on something. In his teenage years he was introduced to Hip Hop culture and exclusively to one of its elements, street art. Hip Hop has influenced his art ever since he understood what it was about. He uses subject matter such as everyday people that aren’t usually painted into the limelight and elements of the city that would be thought of as objects we take for granted. He keeps a steady career doing illustrations and design for clients such as ADIDAS, RIME, FRANK 151, NIKE, UPPER PLAYGROUND, SOUL ASSASINS, and STONES THROW. Patrick holds a degree in illustration from Art Center College of Design.

A native Angeleno, Passenger currently makes Long Beach his base of operations. He is a photographer and printmaker who documents everything from daily life to the underground punk scene.

Skypager’s work is a highly developed craft merging elements of typography, punk rock, skating, street art, and all the other syndromes of a city such as Los Angeles. His clients include NIKE, STUSSY, and X-LARGE. He is a member of seminal L.A. skate crew Shred Team and all-Cali graffiti crew Lords.

YEM is an acronym for Y x ENERGY = MOTION. Once known as Krenz, he is reminded of this equation every time he inks his name. With roots back to the L.A. Bomb Squad, K2S, and the mastermind of AMseven, he has nothing to prove. Transferring himself to France in the early 90s, he wrote his way around Europe. Stamping his mark one ink stain at a time, his name is synonymous with substance. His works strive for meaning and awareness; insight is etched into each piece.  Now back in Los Angeles, he continues the development of this high-risk craft, working against the ink of night.

Vyal is currently living in Los Angeles. He is constantly booked for live street art and mural work. His technique and imaginative iconography grace the walls of many communities throughout the city. He will be speaking on street art at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in L.A. this spring.

Sheak has been dj’ing in unique fashion throughout L.A., including stints at the Beauty Bar, Le Deux, Vermont, Barcade, and Monroe’s.

An Echo Park local, Dr. Jules is premiering his documentary on L.A. street art at the Battle of the Year Festival in Montpellier, France.

Rendition refers to an interpretation of culture in Los Angeles, translated by the artists and presented in a visual form. For some of the artists in this exhibition, rendition alludes to the fact that some of their creative work, as in the case of street art, is often rendered, made to disappear, its whereabouts unknown. For others, rendition is literal: the rendering of an image fed by the experience of living in this city.

The opening reception takes place June 9, 7:00 – 10:00 P.M. at the Scion Installation LA Gallery, 3521 Helms Ave. (at National), Culver City, CA 90232. The show will remain up through June 30. 

Dedicated to fostering independent artistic expression, the Scion Installation L.A. Gallery is a space that allows artists to explore their creative visions.  The new Scion Installation Gallery hosts art shows and art-related events for cutting-edge urban artists from across the globe.  Due to success and growth, the Scion Installation L.A. Gallery recently moved from its Washington Boulevard location to Helms and National near the Hayden Tract area. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. and by appointment -310.815.8840.  For more information, visit www.scion.com/space

About Scion:
Scion is the newest line of vehicles from Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. Developed with a new generation of youthful buyers in mind, Scion’s mission is to provide distinctive products, the opportunity to personalize, and an innovative, consumer-driven process at the retail level. The Scion brand features three groundbreaking models: the all-new xD subcompact five-door; the xB, an urban utility vehicle with an iconic shape; and the tC sports coupe.  For more information, visit www.scion.com

RIHANNA’s ‘UMBRELLA’ (FEATURING JAY-Z) NETS #1 TRIFECTA ON BILLBOARD HOT 100, POP 100, AND DIGITAL SONGS CHARTS – AFTER HITTING #1 IN UK LAST WEEK

May 31, 2007 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Hip Hop News/Press Releases | Leave a comment





 

            (May 30, 2007 –

New York, NY)  RIAA platinum, award-winning SRP/Def Jam recording artist – and CoverGirl spokesperson – Rihanna takes over the top of the charts this week as her current single “Umbrella” (featuring Jay-Z), with over 80 million audience, scores a perfect trifecta at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Pop 100, and Hot Digital Songs charts.  Last week, the song made chart history in the

U.K. as Rihanna’s first #1 there.  The video for “Umbrella,” directed by Chris Applebaum, stays at #1 on  iTunes and the AOL Music Top 40 Videos chart, and is in heavy rotation on MTV, BET and VH-1.  In her U.S television debut, Rihanna will perform the song live with Jay-Z at the MTV Movie Awards this Sunday, June 3rd.

 

            “Umbrella” is the introduction to Rihanna’s new album, GOOD GIRL GONE BAD, which arrives in stores next Tuesday, June 5th, a day that will be capped off with an appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  TV continues with NBC’s The Today Show (June 8th), ABC’s The View and MTV’s TRL (both June 11th), BET’s 106 & Park, climaxing with the global broadcast of the historic all-star Live Earth concert on Saturday, July 7th

 

            Rihanna’s third album release in less than two years, GOOD GIRL GONE BAD is the follow-up to 2006’s RIAA platinum A Girl Like Me, with the back-to-back #1 hits, “S.O.S.” and “Unfaithful”; and her RIAA gold debut from 2005, Music Of the Sun, featuring the worldwide smash, “Pon De Replay.”  GOOD GIRL GONE BAD boasts the production skills of Timabland, C. “Tricky” Stewart, Stargate, and the team of Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken (responsible for “S.O.S.” and “Pon De Replay”), as well as songwriting contributions from Justin Timberlake and Ne-Yo, among others.

 

            In June, 19-year old

Barbados native Rihanna will be seen in her first ads as the newest CoverGirl, joining the ranks of Queen Latifah, Molly Sims, Christie Brinkley and Keri Russell.  The long list of famous CoverGirl models (starting in 1961) also includes Cheryl Tiegs, Rachel Hunter, Tyra Banks, and Niki Taylor.

 

            Personally signed by Def Jam president and CEO Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Rihanna is a unique role model for West Indians back home and around the world.  She created The Rihanna Foundation, a public charity organization dedicated to assisting terminally ill children world­wide.  Its mission is to assist and inspire children who suffer from life-threatening diseases including cancer, leukemia and AIDS.  The Foundation raises funds and awareness for medical research, as well as for individual and institutional medical needs. The vision of the Foundation is to achieve what Rihanna has always strived for in her remarkable music career – “to inspire with hope, courage and love.”

CRACK THE CODE AND WIN A $150 SHOPPING SPREE FROM DEFINITIVE JUX

May 31, 2007 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Hip Hop News/Press Releases | Leave a comment

CRACK THE CODEAND WIN A $150 SHOPPING
SPREE
FROM DEFINITIVE JUX 

DECODE THE MESSAGE ON WWW.DEFINITIVEJUX.NET AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO BE ENTERED TO WIN Think you have what it takes to be an expert code breaker?   Definitive Jux would like to see you try.  DJX has launched a contest testing the minds of fans everywhere.  Visit the front page of www.definitivejux.net to receive a coded message for your chance to win a $150 shopping spree. Once you have decoded the first message you will receive instructions on how to proceed.  This message will self destruct in 15 seconds.   

Stay tuned for an even larger coded message to appear on the home page of www.definitivejux.net celebrating the continued onslaught of El-P’s new album I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead for your chance to win a trip for two to
New York City!
 El-P is rolling through the Southeast on his “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” tour before making his way back up north: 

05/30/07 –
New Orleans, LA – The Parish House of Blues
06/01/07 –
Orlando, FL – The Social
06/02/07 – Common Grounds – Gainsville, FL06/03/07 –
Ybor City, FL – Orpheum
06/04/07 – Atlanta, GA – Lennys Bar and Grill06/06/07 –
Ashville, NC – Stella Blue
06/07/07 –
Carrboro, NC – Cats Cradle
06/08/07 –
Washington, DC – The 9:30 Club
06/09/07 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza06/12/07 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church06/13/07 –
Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel Club Lounge
06/15/07 –
Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo
 Listen to Smithereens from “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” (MP3)http://worlds-fair.net/media/El-P/Smithereens.mp3 Purchase “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” (with a bonus track) on iTuneshttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=252894815&id=252893460&s=143441

Freekey Zekey Releasing Book Of Ezekiel July 24

May 31, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Posted in Hip Hop News/Press Releases | Leave a comment

Diplomat Records’ President Freekey Zekey has set the official release date of July 24, 2007 for his debut solo album, Book Of Ezekiel. The album features appearances from the Diplomats crew – Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Hell Rell, JR Writer and Jha Jha – and a collaboration with Cash Money Millionaire Lil’ Wayne. Freekey Zekey’s first single, “Hater What You Lookin’ At,” is a fiery ode to that Harlem flash and finesse that Dipset has built an entire movement around.Since his release from a three-year jail term in November 2006, Zeke has been in the studio creating songs that offer his point of view on Hip Hop, life and the world at large. Of course, a Freekey Zekey album would not be complete without his trademark humor-filled skits, and he’s included some on Book Of Ezekiel for the fans. While he garnered a lot of attention for his over-the-top antics on early works from Cam’ron and Diplomats, Zeke is determined to set forth his own sound and style with his debut album.

“I’m happy to finally show the world what I can do as an artist in my own right,” explains Freekey Zekey. “Book Of Ezekiel is my own story, and the Diplomats family is a big part of my music. I thank the fans who have stood by me through everything, and I am sure they’ll feel what I’m bringing on the album.”

For more information on Freekey Zekey, go to www.tygereye.net/freekeyzekey and www.myspace.com/freekeyzekey

Media Streams for “Hater What You Lookin At”

http://streamos.asylumrecords.com/wmedia/asylum/audio/freekey_zekey/freekey_zekey_-_hater_what_you_looking_at-_main.wax

http://streamos.asylumrecords.com/qtime/asylum/audio/freekey_zekey/freekey_zekey_-_hater_what_you_looking_at-_main.mov

Book Of Ezekiel Tracklist

1.  Intro – prod by Dramasetters
2.  Daddy Back f/ Cam’ron & Juelz Santana – prod by J.A.
3.  Like This f/ Sen – prod by DA
4.  Skit
5.  Shoot’em Up f. Hell Rell & JR Writer – prod by Spectacular
6.  Hater what You Lookin’ At – prod by Freebass
7.  Crunk’d Up – prod by C Dub
8.  Skit
9.  Livin’ It Up f/ Tobb – prod by Flava Beats
10. My Life  – prod by StreetRunner
11. Skit
12. Killem Killem f/ Juelz Santana – prod by J.A.
13. Streets – prod by Ash
14. 730 Dip Dip f/ Jim Jones & Ash – prod by Carmelo Torres & Ash
15. Where The Dutch f/ Tobb – prod by Tito Green
16. Fly Fitted – prod by The Firemen
17. Bottom Bitch – prod by The Firemen
18. Steph f/ Sen – prod by DA
19. B without Base f/ Lil Wayne & Jha Jha – prod by JR (Legendary Media Group)

Freekey Zekey Bio

Ezekiel “Freekey Zekey” Jiles, President of Diplomat Records, understands what it takes to succeed. While the last three years have challenged Zeke on many levels, he is taking on the next phase of his life with bravado and passion that only the most focused artists truly understand. Fans can expect the solo debut album from Freekey Zekey, Book Of Ezekiel, on July 24, 2007 on Diplomat Records/Asylum, and the masses will enjoy more of the excitement that the Diplomats have been bringing this year.

Guidance from a strong family upbringing in New York laid the foundation for Zeke’s path in life. Through his work on Diplomats’ world-famous mixtapes and Cam’ron’s albums, Freekey carved his niche as “The Skit Master,” bringing a fiery comedic side to the crew. Nothing is outside his spectrum of personality, and Zeke soon became notorious for commanding attention from fans in various ways.

Building off of his dynamic self expression, Zeke began putting his creative energies into the music as Dipset’s star began to rise. Unfortunately, his ambitions were slowed after he was victimized in a robbery attempt in 2004. The situation brought up old charges, and Zeke was sentenced to 35 to 42 months in North Carolina.

During his incarceration, Freekey utilized his resources and laid out a plan for his music career. He put together a solid team, garnered press and planned his own coming home parties between North Carolina and New York. He was released on November 20, 2006, and in less than two weeks sealed his solo album deal with Asylum Records.

Despite the setbacks in his personal life, Zeke stayed in touch with the Diplomats’ business effectively, rallying for the success of each new project. He is stepping into the mix with vigor, both mentally and spiritually prepared to take the reigns. “The only difference now is that we have a lot more money,” he says. “It was like I was free, I just couldn’t move around. I stayed in tune so much with the label that it was like I was there. Nothing really changed except the year of the Range.”

Freekey wears battle scars of his life victories, and stays focused to keep his impeccable skills and business savvy in motion. The new album will bring Zeke’s honest, creative edge to the forefront, and Dipset will have another hit on their hands.

Super-producer, CHRIS STYLES lays the rumors to rest and makes some ‘Dangerous’ moves

May 31, 2007 at 12:08 pm | Posted in Hip Hop News/Press Releases | Leave a comment

With three ASCAP Awards, a Grammy nomination for 50 Cent’s “Disco Inferno,” (The Massacre album), and several G-Unit hit singles including “Window Shopper,” “Disco Inferno,” “In My Hood,” “Hands Up,” and 50’s new track, “Amusement Park,” in constant radio rotation, artist/producer/CEO of Dangerous LLC, Chris Styles, is experiencing the first sign of industry arrival, a little controversy.Already finished recording tracks with 50 for his upcoming album, Styles recently set aside time from his state of the art Midtown studio to address an internet rumor spreading that he sold the track 50 is currently using for his new single “Amusement Park,” to Jim Jones. Chris Styles denies ever giving the track to Jim Jones or Drama stating emphatically, “The beat was done for 50. I never sold the track to anyone. This only reveals just how much heat Dangerous LLC is bringing to the industry. We create the type of tracks that artists with completely different styles can vibe to.”

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen asked what he thinks will happen after the controversy dies, he responds, “I appreciate 50, , he’s the big homey and he’s like a mentor and a big brother to me. He was the first one to give my joints an ear and bring it to the people. We make a great team. This is my sixth release with 50 and G-Unit Records not including mixtape and video game tracks. We have a history of creating hits together. I look forward to people hearing the hot joints we have coming for the next album.”

While the controversy has everyone’s attention, Dangerous LLC has had some major successes in a short time. Styles shares a little of what’s happening next with his company, “Aside from “Amusement Park,” you’ll soon be hearing another track produced by Dangerous LLC from the album entitled “Destiny.” Dangerous LLC is also recording tracks for LL Cool J, Swizz Beats, Uncle Murder, and developing its own artists R&B singer Deemi signed to Atlantic Records whose album, Soundtrack Of My Life, will be released this fall 2007, emerging siren, Dawne who currently has several major label offers on the table, and rapper, Khryst, who has already recorded songs with 50 Cent and M.O.P. for their upcoming albums. Dangerous LLC will also be scoring the soundtrack for the upcoming biopic on Wendy Williams.

Although deeply rooted in hip-hop and known for producing hits for the G-Unit camp and tracks for Fabulous, Twip, and Ma$e; Styles’ musical talent extends way beyond the genre and includes tracks with Christina Aguilera, Lil ‘Mo, Deemi, and Avant. “For me it’s more than just about producing tracks or sticking to a genre. If you want Polka music, then we’ll create the hottest Polka music. It’s more important that Dangerous create a legacy of hits that define an era in the same way that Gamble & Huff created “The Philly Sound,” Berry Gordy “The Motown Sound,” or P.Diddy took us back to the clubs in the 90’s.” I’m about making a mark, breaking artists, and changing the game.”

– Official site: www.dangerousllc.com

SUPA NOVA SLOM’S “Unify the Hood, Heal the Hood” Brought Together Rival Gang Members; Speakers T. Rogers and Ben Chavis Sharing Knowledge and Wisdom With The Youths of Brooklyn

May 31, 2007 at 10:28 am | Posted in Hip Hop News/Press Releases | Leave a comment

–“The only people who belong to gangs are cowards and kids,” said T. Rogers, Author of The 50 Most Asked Questions about America’s Gangs (2004), and the forthcoming release Lies My Homies Told Me. His statement is central to Supa Nova Slom’s Unify the Hood, Heal the Hood campaign.  The Unify The Hood, Heal The Hood event  took place on Sunday, May 20th, at 6p.m. at The Center in
Brooklyn.
 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSupa Nova is a hip hop artist with a movement: Unify the Hood, Heal the Hood —the title of his debut CD release. The first single off the album is G’s Up Salute” featuring The Game and Jadakiss.  Coming fresh out of
Brooklyn, Supa Nova‘s album has already started to gain traction, as has his call for social healing: after spending his teenage years running with gangs, Supa Nova had a wake-up call.
 Before long, he found a better way of life and started taking it to the streets. His DVD/CD combo release, Holistic Wellness for The Hip Hop Generation has sold over 100,000 copies and continues to fly off the shelves. BET.com has noted it as “a documentary that is going to teach self-improvement to the hip hop generation.”  

His movement has rapidly gained momentum. Beyond the DVD and the upcoming album release, Supa Nova founded Unify the Hood, Heal the Hood, The Event—catering to the community—uplifting the streets and for the first time rival gang members in one room. “I’ve never been to an event like this,” said T. Rogers in praise of Supa Nova’s May 20th speech.  “I am in full support of his efforts.”  Supa Nova has already proven that he has the mind of a CEO and the heart of a healer. With his debut album, he’s bringing his skills as an MC front and center. Unify the Hood, Heal the Hood showcased a cast of hip hop’s elite—on top of Jadakiss and The Game, Supa Nova joined forces with Ice-T, Dead Prez, Erykah Badu, and others.  This event served to entertain and also to educate—including a screening of the ground breaking film, Hooked: The Legend of Demetrius Mitchell, it also featured special guest speakers: T. Rogers Founder of Black P-Stone Nation B.L.O.O.D.S (LA Chapter)/Director of Sidewalk University; Ben Chavis, President of Hip Hop Summit Action Network; spins by the legendary Afrika Bambaataa; and a live performance by SUPA NOVA SLOM.  Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWith a debate raging over hip hop slang, Supa Nova ‘s efforts have a great urgency: “We are in a time when rappers and hip hop artists are being targeted for their lyrical content, but the core issue lies within our communities. There is always a cause and effect; so, if we want to encourage rappers to change their lyrical content, we must, first, as a collective, be accountable for our influence and encourage social change on the home front—within our hoods and our communities. We must elevate the consciousness of the people, overall, further inspiring constructive change in the future direction of hip hop.” SUPANOVASLOM “You know what time it is, “ Unify the Hood, Heal the Hood” is how it’s going down…Real talk…I Love It.” – JADAKISS   “I’m ridin’ or dyin’ with my homie, Supa Nova…”Unify the Hood, Heal the Hood “— that’s what you should be doing!” – ICE-T 

Unify The Hood, Heal The Hood –First SingleG’s Up Salute”Featuring THE GAME and JADAKISS

Bay Area Rapper Set For Release On June 26

May 31, 2007 at 10:17 am | Posted in Hip Hop News/Press Releases | Leave a comment

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFrom the Bay Area to Manhattan, a new bomb is set to blast with the long-awaited release of the provocative debut album from Charlie Manhattan.  Titled “The Manhattan Project,” (named after the top-secret engineering project that developed the atom bomb), the disc is set to detonate on June 26, 2007. The album is slated for release by Laid Black Productions and The Pen, a division of Jaggo/RNB Entertainment Group, and it will be distributed by Fontana.

Born as Charles Wiliams, with San Francisco as his Ground Zero, his wickedly proficient, bone-crushing seventeen blazing tracks on this album will make weaker MCs take cover. Prior to this release, Charlie was dropping explosive joints on Bay Area compilation albums such as “Killa Tay Presents The Murder Show Soundtrack,” “11-5 Presents: Grind And Post,” and “Theme Music To Drug Dealins And Killins,”(which featured the likes of Young Noble of The Outlawz, Guce and Cold World Hustlers).
 
Growing up in the tough streets of the Bay View Hunters Point section of San Francisco certainly impacted Charlie’s rhymes.  Manhattan’s life has also been shadowed by an extremely tough break: throughout his entire life, his own father has been serving time in prison. Charlie’s harsh surroundings, however, convinced him to drop bombs that are creative, rather than destructive.  Charlie says, “I have seen gang violence, drugs, pretty much everything. It has influenced me in my music.  But since I’m a really down to earth person, I’m not segregating myself off to one section of the city or part of Cali, or one part of anything. My experiences have impacted my music, through the things that I’ve seen, been around, and things that my family members have been through.”

Producers on this explosive album are Laid Black Productions, comprised of Mr. Laid and Chill Black, with additional contributions made by Slo Burn of BAISS Entertainment the newest addition to the now expanding Laid Black Production Team.  Featured guests include U.D.I., Pho Balo, vocalist Calita Talley, R&B singer Omari Jelani, and Charlie’s younger brother, Lil Brah.

Key tracks on the album include the single “Two Occasions” which features a sample of Baby Face vocals as performed on the original “Two Occasions” by the Deele, “Thinkin Bout U” featuring Omari Jelani and “TAXI,” which features the sultry vocals of Calita Talley. Club bangers like “Traffic” which feature Charlie’s younger brother “Lil’ Brah” and “Right Here” are destined to make this album ghetto gold.

A song titled “F.W.A.H.S” is pretty much self-explanatory as to how Charlie feels about negative comments from haters. Charlie says, “Haters usually hate on what they can’t understand or be a part of.”

Charlie has performed a number of live shows, and already has experienced performing in another Country. He points out, “The fans in Germany were the testing grounds for some of the material on my album, and it was well received there so I am hoping the fans at home feel the same.” “I’ve done a lot of competitions with my camp. I remember a performance, a show we did with Mac Dre that was huge, about two and a half years ago. It was real shocking when he died. He was part of the Bay Area music scene, contributing for so long. The reaction to his death really showed how important the Bay Area is to people in hip-hop. It was felt far and wide, which meant a lot to us.”

The fallout from The Manhattan Project will be universally heard, and will be felt from Charlie’s hood to yours.

TRACK LISTING

1. F.W.A.H.S.feat Lil Brah
2. I’M TALKING
3. CATCH EM’ ROLLING feat. Da’ Falcon & Black Steve
4. RIGHT HERE
5. TWO OCCASIONS
6. NOW/LATER feat. Big Quint and Da’ Falcon
7. MAKE EM’ CLAP
8. I GOTTA GO
9. TAXI feat. Calita Talley
10. TRAFFIC feat. Lil Brah
11. CHRISTYNE
12. PARTY GIRL feat. U.D.I.
13. GO GIRL
14. HOT SHIT
15. DO U LIKE THAT
16. THINKING ABOUT YOU feat Omari Jelani
17. BUMP

Master P Announces “Hip-Hop History” Album Release Date

May 30, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Hip Hop News/Press Releases | Leave a comment

Master P announced that the release 
date of the first father-son hip-hop album titled “Hip-Hop History” 
will be September 4, 2007. The date was not chosen to compete with 
Curtis Jackson’s delayed release, but rather to create balance in the 
marketplace and give kids a freedom of choice. Master P will be 
mixing it up with Chamillionaire, Silkk The Shocker and other rappers 
that want to continue making street music but without the explicit 
lyrics. “Hip-Hop History” will be a collaboration between Master P 
and his son, Romeo, and will be produced by platinum producer Mike 
Diesel, Chip, and Hood Noise.”This record isn’t about making money, it’s about providing a choice, 
changing, and hopefully saving lives,” said Master P. All proceeds 
from this record will go towards a foundation and scholarships for 
underprivileged kids that want to further their education by going to 
college.

“Guaranteed Success,” Master P’s book on how people can achieve and 
maintain financial success, will also hit bookstores on the same date.

Master P is challenging to the media to devote their time and 
airwaves to the positive side of hip-hop. It would make a difference. 
“Before we condemn others for making a change, we should take a look 
in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing? Are we a part of 
the problem, or are we a part of the solution?'” said Master P. “Take 
A Stand Records, the movement.”

From the song “Let The Kids Grow”
I heart you flipped stacks
Yeah I did that.
My brother’s dead; cousins, friends
Can’t get them back.
And since I changed,
I guess they think I got sauce.
I guess you hard when you’re dead
Or locked behind bars.
Let the kids grow,
Let the kids dream.

Politrix: My Thoughts on the Crusade against Indecency in Hip Hop

May 29, 2007 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Found At Other Sites | Leave a comment

Politrix: My Thoughts on the Crusade against Indecency in Hip Hop
By Tony Muhammad

Politrix2012@yahoo.com
www.uannetwork.com
www.myspace.com/tonymuhammad
www.myspace.com/uannetwork.com

For over a month now I’ve been patiently sitting back, observing the formation of this new moral crusade to sanitize Hip Hop music. These efforts have been largely concentrated on having artists stop using the notorious “N, B and H words” in their lyrics as well as put an end to violence and misogyny in the overall content of Hip Hop music. While it is expected that someone such as myself would automatically come out and express support for this movement, I have found it more beneficial to back up away from it and continue my work independently within Hip Hop as a teacher, journalist and community organizer just as I have been for the past 6 years. Here are my reasons for NOT supporting this movement:

1 – The Main Organizers – On one end you have Russell Simmons, the main proponent in the cause. According to sources, Simmons first came up with the concept of launching this movement during a closed door meeting at the Manhattan home of music executive Lyor Cohen on April 17th. The problem with this right off the bat is that Simmons and Cohen themselves have historically profited immensely from Hip Hop’s commercialization and are responsible for its moral deterioration; if not directly, more so while looking the other away and making excuses for it. Simmons continues his profiteering ventures from the more negative aspects of Hip Hop culture by forming a jewelry company, thereby encouraging materialism. Until recently, it has been reported that Simmons’ second favorite word in private circles is “nigga.” But, don’t take my word for it. Ask Founder and Co-Director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E, Najee Ali. Several years ago Ali called for a boycott against Simmons’ companies (namely, Phat Farm, Baby Phat clothing, Def Jam, Def Poetry Jam and ONEWORLD magazine) after Lil’ Kim appeared half nude on the cover of an issue of ONEWORLD wearing what was obviously female Islamic garb. In response to Ali’s actions, Simmons reportedly said to the press, “What wrong with that nigga?” With this being said, is Simmons truly in a position to call for the banning of the word in the music. Regardless, there are already too many within the Hip Hop community that feel that Simmons has ulterior motives in this cause; that is, to appeal more strongly to the Black bourgeois class so that he could become a stronger power broker between Hip Hop and mainstream politics. Case and point, it was rumored when Kweisi Mfume stepped down as president of the NAACP, that Simmons was being highly considered to fill the vacancy. Are these Simmons’ motives, especially with Bruce Gordon recently steeping down as NAACP president? Is it of any coincidence that the NAACP just happened to be one of the first organizations to publicly express support for Simmons’ crusade?

On the other end, you have the Rev. Al Sharpton leading demonstrations in New York in front of the offices of major record labels demanding that they clean up their act. While I believe Sharpton’s approach to all of this is authentic, the main problem in this situation is that Sharpton has not historically been paid much attention to within the Hip Hop community. This is shown fully with the reported lack of attendance on the part of Hip Hoppers themselves at Sharpton’s demonstrations (read the open letter NY Oil made about Sharpton’s demonstrations). A stronger candidate in this cause would have been someone such as Min. Louis Farrakhan, who has historically received much more attention and respect from Hip Hoppers. Yet and still, in the end, I do not believe demonstrating in front of the offices of major record labels will cause much change. These corporations have demonstrated a countless amount of times that they are NOT interested in our well being. They are interested in making a profit, even if it is at the expense of hurting or even killing the consumer … little by little.

2 – Don Imus: The Roots of the Problem? – This crusade began in mid-April shortly after controversial radio personality Don Imus was put on the “hot seat” (and consequently lost his job) for making an on-air reference to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as being a group of “nappy headed ho’s.” He blamed Hip Hop for his commentary, citing that Black women are referred to as ho’s in Hip Hop music. To even pay this excuse any mind is in itself reactionary. To create a protest movement against indecency in response is worse. A racist such as Don Imus, who knows at best next to nothing about Hip Hop culture and probably does not care in the least bit about what Black people think (so long as his job is not threatened) should not be the catalyst to any movement surrounding Hip Hop. Change in the Hip Hop community must come from within through self-motivation and sincerity. There have been soldiers nationwide (and worldwide) that have already been working diligently in this cause for years. The best solution is that we continue to network with each other ( i.e. through the internet, national conferences, etc.) and continue to provide alternative role modeling, events and outlets for the youth on the local level.

3 – Missing the Real Issues – Having major record labels censor artists’ lyrics will probably do nothing but encourage already loyal fans who have acquired the thirst for violence and misogyny to look elsewhere for their brand of music. The violent and pervasively sexist messages and images in commercial Hip Hop have reinforced an addiction in the minds of many young people that has existed since this nation’s birth. Yet, with the popularization of ignorance and irresponsibility in Hip Hop music, young people now believe more than ever before that it is normal to have several baby mammas and baby daddies out of wedlock, it’s cool to be a “snow man” and sell drugs even if you don’t have a real need to do so and you’re considered “The Man” when you’re living the lifestyle of a “pimp” with several non-committed relationships on the side.

On a cross-generational level, now more than ever before it is acceptable for grown adults to entice those that are significantly younger than they are to have sex with them in exchange for something “cool” like an ipod or jewelry. On a guidance (or misguidance) level, too many parents nowadays re trying too hard to relive their youth and “look good” rather than planting little seeds of wisdom on their children’s minds. Consequently, too many parents nowadays are going to the same clubs, trying to fit into the same clothes, listening to the same music, drinking from the same liquor bottle and in some cases smoking from the same blunt as their children. In truth, just simply changing the lyrics to the music alone will not be enough to shift our culture in a more positive direction. Direct community intervention needs to be an integral part of any reform movement.

4 – What are the Limits to Censorship? – After the censoring of “indecent words” in the music, what is to follow? Indecent content? And if so, what content would be deemed as such? Would a content ban just be limited to violence and misogyny? In these undemocratic post-9-11 times these ideas are not just problematic, they are dangerous. This is especially considering that censorship is already taking place both on terrestrial radio and television. Just note that one of the last videos to be banned on MTV (in 2002) was Public Enemy‘s Gotta Give The Peeps What They Need, which called for the freeing of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. Truly, how far will this crusade against indecency go when corporations and major media outlets already treat music with strong social content as an indecent thing? Let us continue to expose the youth to the music we feel they need a fair balance of by introducing them to internet sites, underground (and college) radio stations, events and other outlets that support such music.

As this issue grows, I’m sure I’ll have more to say …

Peace and One Love for now

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.