The King of _____________

Posted in People, Places, Things on December 31, 2008 by kat3000

simba2-798140 *special thanks to Tonedeff for the suggestion.

Hip-Hop has always had a huge fascination with being the King of something. Whether a region, city, state, supermarket, announcing that one is in fact “The King” is usually the only criteria for becoming just that – that is until someone else claims the same of themselves. While this Grand Schism usually leads to some sort of argument/beef, the winner is almost always the one who declared it first. Some rappers, however, believe the real king to be God. As referenced in Run DMC’s “Down With the King,” the verse goes Only G.O.D. can be the King to me/and if the G.O.D. be in me, then the King I be and in the Notorious B.I.G. dedication “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa” the LOX declare Biggies entrance into heaven with I guess you with the real King of New York now, forreal. With all this talk of the King, who’s the real Queen?

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MySpace

Posted in Things with tags on December 20, 2008 by kat3000

myspaceWhile much of the free world is now comprised of Facebook fanatics, Hip-Hop’s separation anxiety from MySpace is a serious phenomenon. Since its inception, MySpace has offered musicians of all genres the opportunity to promote their music in a user friendly interface. Hip-Hop became a fan of that simplicity and began to migrate toward this beta community. With sites built upon MySpace user pages, music, videos, and photos, a MySpace page is an essential part of a Hip-Hop head’s career as an artist, designer, dancer, juggler. What used to be a mark of shame (internet love), now gets an internet hug.

Movies About Dancing

Posted in People, Places, Things with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2008 by kat3000

2001_save_the_last_dance_007While breaking is one of the four elements of Hip-Hop and has had many movies like Breakin 1 and 2 and Beat Street honor its fluid legacy, there are several movies that have followed involving a brand new twist on Hip-Hop’s famed form of dance. Modern-day “Hip-Hop dance movies” must incorporate one or more of the following: 1. A girl from the suburbs who moves to the inner city with a desire to dance. 2. A crew of friends who all like to dance. 3. An adversarial crew that also likes to dance. 4. Someone has to die. 5. Someone has to fall in love. 6. Someone has to win a competition, get into a performing arts school through a recital and or talent show, or gain hood recognition by dancing in the street. Lastly, at least one person must emphasize that they are taking said dance routine “to the streets.” Once the streets have properly been identified, every cast member of the movie must dance on them. There must also be at least one known rapper or singer to provide the Hip-Hop stamp of approval by playing a role in the movie. No actual dance skills need apply. And finally, a valuable lesson must be learned by the close of the movie.

The Backpack

Posted in People, Things with tags , , , , , on December 2, 2008 by kat3000

yeThe backpack holds a unique significance in Hip-Hop, as it is solely responsible for crafting an entire movement. The backpack is special, as it holds everything from a writer’s Krylon to a DJ’s vinyl. Rarely does it hold actual books (hence, the reason why it is called a backpack and not a bookbag in this instance). Sometimes a backpacker will carry hardly anything at all, but the presence of his mini hump over his jacket says “Hey. I carry a backpack.” The backpack is an avid supporter of “backpacker music,” music crafted by those who also carry a backpack. The backpack has attended many a concert, frequently attending without having to pay for a ticket, though sometimes large enough in size to fill an entire standing room space. Eventually the backpack fell into a negative light in Hip-Hop and briefly retired like most rappers do. Then Kanye West began the new movement of carrying a backpack…only this time it was a Louis Vuitton and not Northface or Jansport. Since coming back out, the backpack has went back into hiding, awaiting its next public appearance or signature sound on an album cut from a Hip-Hop group that probably met over the internet.

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.