Archive for November, 2008

Releasing Albums From Jail

Posted in People, Places, Things with tags , , , , on November 26, 2008 by kat3000

oz1hh310 Jail can be a lonely place for an artist, but it can also be a time for them to let their creative juices flow (not during shower time). Many artists have spent some time behind bars and created albums that either release right before they enter jail, during their time in jail, or right after they leave jail. Releasing an album in jail can create some problems with photo shoots, especially ones with the artists wearing traditional prison garb (a la Foxy Brown and Shyne), as their former glamorous lives have now been relegated to orange suits. The good news is, many artists maintain successful careers while behind bars. The bad news is, that career often ends when they return to the real world.

Comic Book Characters

Posted in People with tags , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by kat3000

picture-9Invincibility is a common theme in Hip-Hop. From dodging bullets to taking them and writing songs about it, the concepts of immortality and abnormal strength run deep in rap. That and every five minutes an MC adopts a new alias. While 95% of the time, comic book characters are nothing like their rap counterparts, it is still sensible to an MC to somehow relate to the biggest and the best from Marvel to DC. When Last Emperor released “Secret Wars Part One”, he put rappers up against comic book characters. Somehow Method Man beat Wolverine (we understand how Nas beat Spiderman). By “Secret Wars Part Two”, Last Emperor opened with the Rza turning into Bobby Digital and fighting Captain America. Considering no rapper really uses their government name when rhyming, an alias to an alias would constitute a third identity. There aren’t enough comic book pages to fill that kind of criteria.

The Entourage

Posted in People, Things with tags on November 24, 2008 by kat3000

entourage A solid group of confidants is always essential for a successful rap artist. Especially when one or more of said crew members are rappers themselves and not very good ones. This allows one MC to shine above the rest. The entourage could be comprised of relatives, friends, or just about anyone who agrees to show up for a Hip-Hop artist’s career. Besides the obvious lack of fame, there aren’t many negatives to being a member of the entourage. They are usually the recipients of entry level groupie fanfare, any free clothing that doesn’t fit the group leader, and unlimited food and alcohol. The entourage rappers (if close enough to the group leader) are often heavily cosigned (sometimes wrongfully) as they too begin their fledgling rap careers. They are usually afforded the opportunity to release one single (with a cameo from the star MC), one verse on the star MC’s album (album cut), and sometimes a self-released album before fading back into the obscurity of entourage life. However, by that point they have now graduated to middle management groupie fanfare. That has to at least count for something.

Ellen DeGeneres

Posted in People with tags , , on November 21, 2008 by kat3000

0000039351_20070425211713As Hip-Hop makes it a mission to continuously fight for its soul, purists can find relief in knowing that Ellen DeGeneres has the gangster to hold it down. Ever since Ellen received her own talk show and Oprah announced she hated Hip-Hop, EDG has been an advocate for all things rap related. From having her own in-house DJ, to dancing her way onto her talk show stage to the tune of Snoop’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, Ellen is not afraid to take us around her hood in a gangsta lean. She even wears all blue Chucks like she’s remixing “Lodi Dodi”. It’s no wonder Kanye West chose to debut his video for “Love Lockdown” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. OG status.

The Mafia

Posted in People, Places, Things with tags on November 20, 2008 by kat3000

thegoodfellasPerhaps it is the camaraderie or the gangster posturing that keeps Hip-Hop so fascinated with the idea of a mafia lifestyle. With Hip-Hop artists embracing the mafia moniker in group titles (Junior M.A.F.I.A), album titles (Lil’ Kim’s La Bella Mafia) and song titles (“Wu Gambinos” off Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx), the mafia has evolved into its own monster beyond cement shoes and re-runs of The Sopranos. And while there are some factual elements of La Cosa Nostra in all mainstream coverage of it, the real mafia doesn’t walk around wearing fedoras and double tailed coats with bowties and machine guns in briefcases. Hip-Hop is learning that slowly.

Off-Broadway Plays

Posted in People, Things with tags , , on November 19, 2008 by kat3000

jim-jones-playbillHip-Hop’s history has been vividly expressed through clever rap songs and Hype Williams videos. When an expression of self through song is not enough, an Off-Broadway play or musical will do just the trick. While some Hip-Hop inspired shows circle around a particular neighborhood [In the Heights] or overall history [Bring in Da Noise Bring in Da Funk], others present monologues from rappers in rhinestone shirts [Inside the Life & Mind of Jim Jones]. Hip-Hop has made strides in being recognized as the viable art form that it is. It’s inevitable that a deep history has been rooted. And you can now hear all about it, one block away from Evita.

Catch Phrases

Posted in Things with tags , , on November 18, 2008 by kat3000

gary_coleman_old

“You Down Wit O.P.P.?” “For Evah Evah? For Evah Evah?” “Ballin!” “Hi Haters” “My Lambo is Blue!” Hip-Hop readily embraces a new catch phrase by the hour to use and abuse and proudly don on t-shirts, stickers, and Facebook statuses. All it takes is a catchy line to start an entire movement. The movement generally lasts several months, and the phrase is then retired – picked up by middle aged caucasians and placed in a wheelchair to be paraded for another few months until it finally passes away peacefully on a mug in a print-design kiosk at the mall.