Wednesday, February 02, 2005


1. Not that it's all over yet but here's the Hot 97 tally so far: Todd Lynn + producer Rick Delgado = fired. Emmis Broadcasting is donating $1,000,000 to tsunami relief. Miss Jones = suspended for two weeks, presumably coming back.

Assuming this is how this affair ends, here's some positive and negative outlooks. On the upside, $1,000,000 is not for nothing and in the grand scheme of things, goes a long way (we hope) to providing needed aid to tsunami victims. You could cynically say this is just a powerful media corporation buying their way out of trouble...and you'd probably be right but you think orphaned kids in African and Asia care about Todd Lynn's career? No.

As far as blood-letting goes, Emmis should have canned Miss Jones too and let's just be real about this: she survived because she brings in rating to Hot 97. No one is going to miss Lynn and certainly not Delgado but Jones is a financial asset to the station so she gets to keep her job after a slap on the wrists. I guess it's too bad Jones wasn't making jokes about shooting Asians.

Anyways, the easiest thing angry people can do now is simply to turn Hot 97 off. Don't fulfill everyone's pessimism by going back to the station as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, we'll see if the sponsors press on to boycott until Jones is dusted too.

2. Just Blaze lives up to his name.

3. Fifteen and a half million dollars can buy you some good cups of coffee.

4. This story sounds too bizarre to be real but it probably is.

5. Davey D runs down the 2004 awards for

6. Ian @ Diff Kitchen asks, "is the golden age of hip-hop blogging over?" in response to Eric's musings that he might quit the blog game (E - don't pull a Toure, man).

Wait, there was a golden age of blogging? When was that, second quarter 2004? I'm not clowning but previous to late 2003, I'd say 90% of the hip-hop blogging community hadn't even gotten onboard yet so it's a little strange to think that "our" moment has already passed. We're still in the stone age, relatively speaking.

Ian writes, "Blogs were supposed to be the media format that would tear down the barriers and break all the rules as far as democratising to process of getting new voices heard in the media and even redefining what constitutes journalism, being a journalist or the media."

I agree that blogs have had an impact on professional journalism (just ask the CBS News staff) but personally, I thought blogs were supposed to provide an avenue for self-publishing for anyone who thought they had something to say, no matter how random or parochial. Look at the Xanga-verse or similar kinds of blogs that are basically online diaries. At a very simple level, blogs exist because people want to be heard and going online is how you can cast the widest net for a potential audience.

I'm not saying that's an inherently good thing and it's beyond any easy management. There's supposed to be, what? 1.5 million blogs out there? It's no wonder that people's blog rolls start to look like phone books - the sheer amount of content is beyond comprehension. And as Ian and Eric suggest, yeah, a lot of it is either redundant or random, contributing to this growing white noise that seems to be a complete waste of bandwidth. Do many of us end up writing about the same albums? Or posting up the same MP3s? Or rave about the same shoes? Probably. But I'm not sure how that necessarily diminishes the medium itself. Two thoughts:

  • I'd rather see 1,000 wack blogs get started if that means a handful of good ones come into existence too. Case in point - I just saw today that Danyel Smith has a blog - this is probably the first music writer I ever learned the byline for and she's been a big inspiration to me over the years as a woman of color, as a pioneering rap writer, etc. And now I get a small window into what she's thinking about. In this case, I don't need her blog to be the first one to tell me that Snoop got sued for sexual assault or that there's a new G-Unit tape on the streets. Instead, I appreciate knowing what she has to say about women in rap videos or what she thinks about Kobe.

    Not everyone is going to give a damn but that's the upside to having 1,500,000 blogs out there to read - you can pick and choose what kind of content you want and there's likely going to be something to fill that.

  • As for the hip-hop blogging community, let's be real about this - is there even a dozen of "us" out there? At least, from my observation, we're a relatively small circle of folks who read and comment on each other's sites and while that is - as many have pointed out - a bit insular, I prefer to look at the positive: never before have dialogues been created and pursued as quickly as via blogs. Look at the so-called "Tate Gate": pre internet, how would people have responded to quickly to an essay like that? Maybe around a water cooler but there's no log of those conversations, no documents that capture these moments in time.

    Blogs are forms of self-publishing but they're also inherently communication tools. The whole existence of hypertext - the ability to link to another site - means that we're often connected to one another rather than shouting into a void. That's a striking, new way to think aloud and debate issues and topics - whether it's Bush's foreign policy or how ugly Pharrell's sneakers are.

    Does any of this "mean" anything? Are we doing anything important? That's not for me to say but I didn't get into blogging for any real lofty aspiration - it was for the same reason why I got into writing a dozen years ago: to share some thoughts, to work out some stuff in my head, to try to advocate at times, pop shit at others, and find a space to converse with like-minded souls. To that degree, I think blogging has proven itself quite successful. Whether or not it's going to kick start the revolution...well, check back in a few years (once we get into the Bronze Age at least) and let's take stock.