Tuesday, March 08, 2005


nobody gets down like the 'Town

  • Trust the L.A. Times to highlight a uniquely Oakland phenomenon: sideshows, where caravans of cars roll through East Oakland, doing donuts in intersections (you have to peep the video of all this - c r a z y), occassionally slamming into one another, storefronts, etc.

    Obviously, I lived in the quieter part of Oakland from 1997 until this past summer since I had no idea this was all going on (O-Dub = disconnected from the streets) but it's nice to know that organic street culture (albeit really dangerous and stupid street culture) is still thriving in the 'Town. And all this time, I thought it was just my peoples that roamed the streets at night, bringing mayhem and havoc. I bet OPD wishes they had left all the foolios at Eastmont just do their thing there instead of turning MacArthur into one long crusing strip.

    And just because it needs to be said: this is all so hyphy.
    (apologies - and thanks - to Piotr Orlov, who knows more about what's going on in my backyard than I do)

  • Strangely, 50 Cent's recent public beef with The Game has managed to, in my opinion, overshadow the fact that his CD just came out. I only say this because 50 poppin' smack on radio is considerably more exciting than 90% of what's on The Massacre though, surprisingly, our man K at the NY Times likes the album quite a bit. Pop Life is feeling "Ski Mask Way" and the remix of "Love It or Hate It" but besides a handful of other songs, we're left uninspired by the fact that 50 retreads most of his last album, just half as fresh. Is he fooling anyone with that C-grade "Magic Stick" known as "Candy Shop"? Apparently, some folks are offended by the song's sexual content but really, you should be offended by the sheer laziness of a lyrical effort that uses a lollipop = oral sex metaphor. When you start biting Lil Kim songs, it's time to step your game up.

    J-Smooth has been staying on top of the 50/Game beef and brings us this commentary from Mel Man with some insightful points about the possible roots of the conflict. Most telling to me is that 50 seems mad that Dr. Dre didn't work on more of his album because he was too busy with The Game's CD but as Mel Man notes, if 50 had been more patient, Dre could have gotten around to dropping more tracks for him.

    I take a pause and want to ask: if 50 Cent is running G-Unit, shouldn't he know when key producers in his squad (like, um, Dre) are available and not available to work on the various G-Unit projects (like, um, his own album)? Maybe I'm giving Curtis too much credit here, but I assumed that he would have wanted Dre on The Game album given their mutual Compton roots, ergo, why would he get all screwfaced over the fact that the Dr. would be a little too caught up to finesse The Massacre? Just saying.

  • Speaking of important hip-hop albums (not that The Massacre is remotely one of them), our man Hua weighs in on the legacy of Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and relevance it might have for today. (Hint, apparently, not enough)

  • And speaking of rappers with overblown egos (I'm talking about 50, not Chuck D), Gossiping Bitches destroys Kanye in a recent faux-news story.

  • Lastly, in case you missed it, RZA was on NPR's Fresh Air today. Normally, I tend to wince when Terry Gross interviews rappers - in the past, she's revealed a limited understanding of hip-hop history, culture and society, relaying on familiar assumptions (she seems especially drawn to whether rappers did or did not grow up in the 'hood), etc. This, however, was one of the best interviews I've heard her do with a hip-hop figure and I give much of this credit to Rza who's one smart guy and is just a fantastic interview.