Archive for the Hip Hop Category

Chachi and Zé on BET

Posted in Articles of Interest, Artists, Hip Hop on March 20, 2008 by blackrep

In case you missed Chachi and Zé when they lit up BET’s 106 and Park this past January, here is the clip from their performance. Chachi is currently in the running for The Providence Phoenix’ best music poll. Go check out all the nominees and be sure to vote for him!


Speak The Truth Ras

Posted in Artists, Education, Film, Hip Hop on January 15, 2008 by blackrep

Big ups to J Bro and Tigerlily for the expert production on this new joint reflecting on their recent viewing of The Great Debaters.

Backpacker history

Posted in Articles of Interest, Hip Hop on December 21, 2007 by blackrep

Pharoah Monch
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a piece for The Voice back in 2004 that just surfaced at the Rep in the vicinity of the printer. Coates disects a seminal underground Hip Hop label, Rawkus Records, that in some way was over before it started. Rawkus’ story is indicative of many of the problems plaguing boutique labels in the late 20th century. How much further have we come?

Remember 1997? Radio has been deregulated. The reign of Bad Boy has begun and you can’t walk down the street without hearing Mase mumble, “Can’t a young man make money anymore?” And then comes Funcrusher Plus, a straight razor to hip-pop’s gilded visage. The album revels in dark moods. Its MCs are morbid tour guides escorting you across a jagged soundscape of drum and noise. And now suddenly Rawkus isn’t about post-hippie idealism. Suddenly it’s indie as fuck. You’ve been sitting in your dorm room, jaded and smoked out, cursing the Samboism of Big Tigger. Then you hear Co-Flo and realize that, yes, there is hip-hop on other planets.

Hip Hop still a force of positivity in France

Posted in Articles of Interest, Genre-defying, Hip Hop on December 20, 2007 by blackrep

K Rhyme
The following excerpt is from an interesting article in the Times that a colleague turned me on to. It’s important to think hard about how local color (as it has in 20th century American lit.) creates specific contexts for communities that exist in nations, in trans-nations and in a global context where the meanings of cultural products are constantly being remade and reinterpreted by people with extremely different perspectives. While Parisian suburbs have been blazing on and off, Marseilles remains relatively cool, despite its similarly impoverished situation. Michael Kimmelman attributes this to the city’s diversity, culture of quiet confrontation, and neighborhood solidarity, citing the character of Marseilles Hip Hop :

Rappers in Marseille, some of the most original and distinctive ones anyway, compose sad odes to their local neighborhoods and hymns to the whole melting-pot city. The sound of Paris hip-hop, slicker and more aggressive, adopts much from American gangsta rap, as Marseille hip-hop does too, but Marseille boasts a groovier style. It mixes in blues, flamenco, Jamaican ragga.

Yes, Reagonomics killed respect for live music, but this is not live music

Posted in Artists, Education, Hip Hop on December 20, 2007 by blackrep

Rufus Thomas
Recently stumbled across an interesting article on the Dis-Education blog. Would love to hear some of your thoughts:

Part of the degeneration of popular Black music into snippy jingles, bad cliche lyrics and unoriginal, over-sampled music is owed to the fact that at one point in time kids quit learning how to play music. In the late early 80s, thanks to the Reaganomics, money was funneled out of the public schools, and the first programs cut from those underfunded, inner-city schools was music. So kids with a passion for music making, turned to new technology that made music-creation easy: synths, drum machines, sampling devices, etc.

So fast forward to now — an entire generation of youth have no idea what the sound, feel or look of REAL instruments is like. Enter ROCK BAND to save the day. This video game has the potential for millions of kids to shun the “band nerd” label and head to band class.

M1 of dead prez to speak at Brown tonight!

Posted in Education, Events, Hip Hop, Slavery & Justice on December 4, 2007 by blackrep

Thanks to Jon Mahone of the legendary In House Freestyle for the tip on an intimate discussion in List 120 with M1/Mutulu Olugabala. M1 has not only made waves as one half of the revolutionary political hip hop duo dead prez, he has also organized and become the local president of Brooklyn’s National Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement, spearheaded the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and worked with the Friends and Family of Mumia-abu Jamal. This one is not to be missed:

The discussion will explore the relationship between organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); the black leaders who were spied on, infiltrated, and assassinated by the FBI under COINTELPRO; the Black Liberation Army (the most underground aspect of the Black Panther movement) and its leaders in prison, including Russell “Maroon” Shoatz – former Black Panther and BLA member; the current transition of gangs and street organizations like the Bloods, Latin Kings, & Crips as they evolve into viable political organizations; and the resurgence of interest in the Black Power movement, abolition of the Prison Industrial complex and the death penalty, as well as campaigns to free political prisoners in the US.

American Gangster

Posted in Articles of Interest, Film, Hip Hop on November 5, 2007 by blackrep

Guess who conceived of the soundtrack to American Gangster, Ridley Scott’s contribution to the genre that spawned many of the rhymes spit during the halcyon days of East Coast Hip Hop? Jay Z’s new score/second comeback album after only a few short years of retirement gets the Kalefah Sanneh treatment:

Please don’t compare me to other rappers,
compare me to trappers.
I’m more Frank Lucas than Ludacris —
and Luda’s my dude, I ain’t tryna diss.
Like Frank Lucas is cool, but I ain’t tryna snitch.

This equivocation — a rapper inspired by a movie about a gangster, trying simultaneously to distance himself from rappers, actors and the gangster in question — sums up the album’s greatest strength and greatest weakness. Jay-Z is too discerning to ignore the contradictions in his music, even when he’s trying to play the role of a coldblooded killer.

Jay Z feat. Pharrell – Blue Magic