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hip hop

The Bronx Is In Da House On ABDC

Americas Best Dance Crew is one the many television shows that is bringing artistry of dance back to the youth of america. This so reminds me of my youth when we had crews battling at local clubs. I was too young to attend but I heard the story from brothers and sisters of friends who saw the battle go down live. I got turned on to this show because I have youth around me who were fans, but I love dancing, especially dancing crews so I found this show fun to watch. I am an avid fan of “So You Think You Can Dance” and I have added “Randy Jackson Presents–Americas Best Dance Crew” to my dvr list. My favorite from the previous seasons so far has to be JabbaWockeeZ. This season there is great diversity in the groups, from girly to straight up gay, everyone is representing.

At first I was surprised by the depth of Lil’ Mammas critique. She takes her judging seriously often giving the most sound advice from the panel and I look forward to her comments. JC Chasez and Shane Sparks complete the judges panel. The show airs on sundays at 9pm on MTV. This season there are competitors from thePollitikat’s hometown. Rhythm City Representing The Bronx on ABDC. They bring precision and style.

Southern Movement and We Are Heroes are bringing it all on the dance floor. Artistry In Motion and Massive Monkeys are among the crews vying for the championship. If you love dancing and want a little funky fun, fun–Americas Best Dance Crew will have you up and at tem. I don’t think Southern Movement should have danced for their lives. I thought they had the most complicated routine of all the groups. They made it to next weeks show and I cant wait to see what the groups bring next sunday.

Akon!! Perfect Example of What is Wrong With Hip Hop

Hip Hop Return to your Roots!! Pt. 4

If there was any confusion about the seriousness of the state of Hip Hop and R&B we need only look as far as the recent scandal with Akon. I have been wondering for quite some time what the fascination was with Akon. To me he was always just a mediocre singer, I found his voice annoying. I felt betrayed by Akon a long time ago, the first song I heard from him was “locked up” and I have to admit I definitely rocked to it. I thought it was soulful and and groovy. It touch something in me, but when I heard “smack that” and “I wanna f**k you” I was offended. I did not think neither songs met the threshold to be considered artistic. What I heard when I listened to both of those songs was a pervert who was publicly advertising his disrespect for women. The shocker was that women were jamming to these songs that portrayed them as sexual objects only there for the satisfaction of men. They blasted it from their cars and danced to it in clubs. When I complained, they said “it’s just a song, you’re taking it too serious.” To me it was serious, and there was no way I was dancing to Akon. I was appalled when I heard him on India Arie’s “I am not my hair” and wondered why she would even make a song with someone like Akon, I have since forgiven India after seeing her explanation on “Oprah” (of course she was pushed by the label into the duet with him because they claim it was hotter and more marketable, I question the integrity of the label -MOTOWN- a historically black label) and hearing her say that she has since dropped the Akon version from her albums future copies. When I heard Eminem rapping on “smack that” I felt Eminem had sold out and was now just making music to exploit the black community, I found it hard to remain a fan.

Akon played us, luring us in with “locked up” making us think that he was a soulful conscious person only to reveal that he was just a pimp, out to exploit females. If Akon wasn’t over the line before he certainly is now. His performance in Trinidad where he basically dry raped a fifteen year old on stage in front of thousands of people was felonious. I question anyone who continues to support or perform with Akon. Hip Hop and R&B music has degenerated into a pit of sleaze, vulgarity and violence, a pit that seems to have no bottom. It seem that all artists are just getting sleazier. From the Fergies, Gwen Stefani, Pharell, RKelly all these people have no business being played on the radio. Yet they are revered as artists.

The fact that these people are popular just gives us an example of how the society is deteriorating. We must speak out against these kind of offenses against our community and society at large. We cannot just condemn people like Imus and have Akon being played on the airways. We must stop the aggression against young women by these pervs. These people are destroying the music that I love. They are helping with denigration of the culture. We need to take our music back. People like Akon are a fraud and are only around to milk money from the community, we cannot legitimize him by purchasing his music.

Response to Oprah’s Hip Hop Town Hall

Hip Hop Return to Your Roots!! pt. 3

I watched the two day special Oprah had about sexism in the hip hop lyrics. I found this forum interesting. Rappers have had a little animosity against Oprah ever since she confronted Ludacris about the use of words like “nigga, b**ch and hoe” in the songs put out by rap artists. Most troubling was the reaction of Industry mogul Russell Simons, and Warner Music vice president Kevin Liles. Their attitude helped me to understand why we see the predominance of the kind of artists we have today. Just like fired radio talk show host Don Imus these people just don’t seem to get it. It was disgraceful watching Dr. Benjamin Chavis advocating for the garbage that is out there and Russell and Kevin calling them poets, just because someone rhymes two sentences does not mean they are a poet. Russell and Kevin expressed such anger especially towards women, Russell at one time saying “I don’t know why we have these girls because they say they don’t listen to hip hop” and made faces as they were speaking. As if to say because you chose not to listen to the denigrating lyrics you don’t know or can’t speak about hip hop. I don’t listen to that garbage but I love hip hop and when I find a good artist like Mos Def or Talib Kweli I try to follow that career. I look out for their music, but it is very hard to find their music among all the other stuff. They don’t get the radio play or the promotional support from the label.

Kevin Liles, Vice president of Warner Music is just ignorant. He blew up at one of Oprah guests because he mistakenly thought the man called him a “clown”, which shows he does not listen. It is obvious that he is in support of the garbage because as the only person “who ran a record company” he did not name one thing that he was doing to try to make a real difference in the kind of content that was being marketed. I was plainly offended by his presence on the panel, and felt he made no legitimate contribution to the conversation.

Russell sounded so delusional (maybe he hasn’t listened to the music lately) when he says that the artists are talking about their community and the poverty they have to endure. I haven’t seen a trailer park or any reflection of poverty in hip hop for a while, maybe only the Keisha Cole show. Mostly I see mansions, expensive cars and bikes, diamond and platinum jewelry, “patron”, topped of with the close to naked girl shaking their bootie in a thong, jumping in and out of a pool. When new rappers have these images in their very first videos how are they reflecting the conditions they came from? Yes it is clear to me why we have the kind of music that we have today.

In my previous posting I talked about the role that women of hip hop are playing in advancing this type of music. What is evident is that females within the industry are not protesting against this music but is instrumental in the creation and promotion of music that is offensive to their own gender. When a female artist makes a song about her ability to perform oral sex what kind of message does that send to men and women. Wonder why there was an increase in our youth participating in oral sex? When a video “hoe” (and girls if you haven’t figured it out you are playing the role of the “hoe or bi**h” in the video) shakes her behind in front of the camera in a room full of men it tells women it is OK to take off your clothes in a room full of men, it does not show the possible consequences of that action. You are showing them how to make it in the industry. When a radio executive decides that in order to make a song marketable you have to have something more “hot” then they are in a sense supporting it and then must defend it. Label executives have to defend it. What I find revealing about the panel is the ignorance displayed when it comes to the influence that hip hop has on young people. Is this naiveté or defending your bread and butter?

I grew up on hip hop. I remember the first time I heard a rap record. This was rappers delight by sugar hill gang. I was in fifth grade. It was funny, catchy and made you dance. I was curious and wanted to hear more. I also remember when Run/DMC first came out. “Two years ago a friend mine asked to say a mc rhyme”, the clapping beat. Oh it was hot. We dance and screamed, my generation was having our own Motown moment, but it was “Def Jam”s. I love the music and the culture, but if hip hop is a culture then a culture comes from something. In hip hop’s case the culture is coming from the artist and the fans. I remember when Run/DMC wore their shoes without laces. What did we do? Not everyone, but many people wore their shoes without laces. Back then it was simple, it was shoes without laces. We did not know we were embracing prison fashion. When rappers wore timberland and white tees everybody wanted timberland and white tees. Rappers talk about how they sold drugs to come up, the youth think they can sell drugs and then become a rapper, and how come every rapper had to be involved in some kind of crime to be considered legit. Our fascination with jewelry started with the big gold cables and the dunky earrings. Fordham road made a killing selling the hollow chains and earrings. The music was influencing the listener, and out of that came the culture. The style of dress, the lingo and slang. The music touched many, everybody wanted to rhyme, and yes it was because we wanted to live the individuality that hip hop presented. Rappers did talk about their conditions but not all did, some just had fun with it, and that was OK because it made the music more diverse. That is what hip hop was about. Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane were our pimp rappers. But did they were not the only voices heard and did not only talk about pimping. Today we seem to only have one voice in hip hop, and the prevailing voice is one that does not have respect for themselves or their community, women or the culture.

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