Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rich Nichols



I won't pretend I know much about him outside of liner notes, and his sometimes overpowering presence in Questlove's memoirs, but The Roots have managed to stay successful for a very long time, managing to somehow find a way to stay relevant through changing landscape of the music industry, since their debut (yeah, I know), in 1994. He was a very passionate and intelligent brother, and I'm sure he was no small part of their ability to survive and adapt.

Here's an old post from the message board Okayplayer, where Rich addresses some fans who thought The Roots were not doing enough to promote their 2008 release, Rising Down.

---

Come on adrian, stop being the sensitive type (what are you 22
years old or
something?). As you can see, I don't post here on any regular
basis so,
I can hardly be charged with driving dedicated okayplayers
away
(but a nigga can wish). 

Couple of points.

I'm not bitter nor do I have a chip on my virtual shoulders
but,
I will respond aggressively when individuals come at us on
some 
cybergressive steez. Flexing and saying things that they
wouldn't 
say if not for their anonymity, or lack of proximity. 

Anyone who has met me is aware that I'm consistent, that my
on-line persona doesn't vary from my real world one and that
I stay on the  "eye for an eye".

As for me being an asshole, that's industry rule number one.
Be an asshole. You can't survive this shit without being an
asshole.
I have met every label head in the business. They are all
assholes. Lyor Cohen...definitive-asshole, Jimmy Iovine
....supreme-asshole,
Clive Davis... historic-asshole. Let's not talk about the
niggas of the industry.
Puff, Dame, Irv, Jay, Suge, Benny.  These guys could give less
than a fuck about 
your touchy feeley  sentiments. They're assholes.  It's their
vocation.
While I'm hardly in that echelon of shit cutters, I must
admit, I'm an asshole
as well. 

My aggression isn't directed at the supportive fans that have
constructive criticism, the ones that make known their
opinions, wishes, disappointments etc. and then respectfully
fall back. These supporters, like minded artists, aspiring
writers, musicians, business types, general well wishers and
kindred spirits that we encounter in cyberspace or in general
population, are our lifeblood and we respect them. We
certainly wouldn't have survived for 16 years plus as one of
the only Black touring bands, not respecting them, our
psychographic base, our living breathing demographic.

The Okayplayers that I do have a problem with are the
aggressive, dissatisfied
(to the point of being hateful), frustrated, narcissistic ones
(there is also a
passive aggressive/narcissistic variation of this archetype).
These bitter, third wave Okayplayers are usually (or
unusually) frustrated artists,
producers, journalists and bloggers who have yet to see their
work acknowledged in a way they feel is meaningful. Most of
these people have no way of nuancing their social 
selves and are largely unknown outside the message boards of a
select number of online communities or the heads of their
bitter progeny. They're the backseat drivers, the
armchair quarterbacks, couch potato A&R's who won't shut
the fuck up. 
Their refrains go something like this: "Yall gonna catch
a brick", "That's why
yall went wood", "The Roots are meh", " I
stopped listening to them 
after Illadelph", "Thought is
boring"....yada.... yada...fucking yada.
It would be cool if these lames said that shit twenty times
and disappeared into 
the hip hop abyss that is the comment section of rival sites. 
Instead for these fucks, Okayplayer has become some weird part
of their 
"Primal Scream Therapy".  They are drawn here hour
after hour, day after day, year after year, to clear their
fucked conscience. For them, I pray and pray for their
downfall. They are the worst elements, lowering the bar of
support to the point that a regular fan feels comfortable
saying semi-foul shit. Yet we should grin and take it right?

(That's why you (Adrian) feel like you can say some shit like,
us "okayplayers are all you got", rattle off some
bullshit about a "clear conscience" and feel
justified. How bout this.....FUCK YOUR CONSCIENCE. Now do we
still "got" you?  Or is it bye bye to your trouble
and your spirit?  Yes,I'm an asshole). 

Anyway, back to this elusive casual buyer that Trouble, High
Volt and, nut ass Bialystoker allude to...Who are these casual
buyers? What artists do they support? 

Coke rappers...Jeezy,Rick Ross,TI, Jay Z. Lil Wayne.
Tween rap.... Soulja Boy, Bow Wow (in decline), Hurricane
Chris (ringtone only)
Huge artists in decline 50, Luda, Snoop, Outkast 

For the most part hip hop is a singles market. Singles for the
most part are lifestyle driven.
Lifestyle meaning crack, club, bitches, guns all that boots
with fur shit.
Does this sound like something that the Roots could traffic
in.

There is Kanye, a winner but a very specific type, post ironic
and non committal.
A lil backpack, a lot of dizzy dazzle. The self professed Dear
Moma-ing, Louis 
Vuitton Don. Spends 10 million plus making and marketing his
albums. That
can create lots of casual buyer awareness (for the record I
think the boy is dope).
Can we traffic like that?

There is Common/Lupe.

Casual buyer appeal.
Lupe a  young newcomer with a Kanye association, a fresh face,
a skate boarder,
nerd, etc., a kid  who resonates with kids (his first outing
sold just 350k btw) and, has only been around for two albums.
His label outspent Def Jam two to one on marketing.  

There is Common, clearly the lone winner (gold plus) on this
side of
the left of center divide, thanks once again to the Kanye
associated buzz (fyi, Kanye isn't intersested in producing,
cameo-ing or, touring with anything Roots...we have asked).
More recently casual buyer awareness by films and Oprah
appearance.
Geffen outspent Def jam three to one marketing his last
project relative to The Roots.
  
Believe it or not for all "the Roots only go wood
talk" Do You Want More Is gold,
Illadelph is 475K, Things Fall Apart 900k, Phrenology 700k,
Tipping Point 470k....
Game Theory did 200k which -if you check any recent  soundscan
you will discover 
that this-is pretty much the new hip hop reality (with the
exception of the 
aforementioned lifestyle artists and the Kanye bubble). 
But now I got hear about the casual buyer from people who have
never sold one 
record in their entire life (or received per diem for that
matter).

Given the shape of the industry in general (google any label
and layoffs)
and Def Jam specifically we expect diminishing returns (name
one act selling 
more than a fraction of what they sold just two years ago). We
accept
the industry's new reality along with possibility of becoming
more niche than 
mainstream. So, exactly where does the casual buyer fit into
this equation?  
Are casual buyers at the core of niche artists sales? 


In closing, the Roots have done over 100 interviews in the
last month.
Including  The New York times, Vanity Fair ,Spin, Blender,
Urb, Fader,
Rolling Stone (a six page feature), XXL. THe Source, Vibe,
Essence, The 
Washington Post,USA Today,etc. etc. We tour constantly.  Check
our dates.
Just this week we appeared on Night of Too Many Stars and, as
discussed,
Colbert. We are headlining DC's Green Apple Festival at the
National Mall 
in front of 100,000 people on April 20th. We have Letterman on
April 28th.
VH1 Soul Stage at the beginning of May. We got the cover of
Urb, a six page 
feature in Rolling Stone and a feature in the New York Times. 


Our records have been serviced but, no significant play (Flex
dropped bombs
on Get Busy so I know he has it). Our video (no real budgets)
has been serviced
(Get Busy) no significant play. Def Jam is having internal
problems as are 
all labels.  Hip hop has been losing almost 30% of its market
share every passing year
and the industry overall is in decline (Soundscan anyone?).

I wish y'all would do some homework before y'all start
yapping, that's if you care.

If you don't care ...shut the fuck up.

If you don't care and still want to yap ...yap this dick in
your mouth.



RIP Rich Nichols.



Sunday, May 25, 2014

No It U Lover by Hazel Newlevant

The story of Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman (whom I love), told in comic book form.





You can read the complete story, and get details of its physical release on Hazel's Tumblr site, here: NEWLEVANT

No It U Lover = Revolution (backwards).

Friday, May 2, 2014

The UMCs Unleashed Hardcore Before 'Unleashed'


But you weren't paying attention.

Ok, it wasn't exactly hardcore, but there was definitely expressed frustration on how they were perceived by Hip Hop following the release of their debut album Fruits of Nature.

Peep these b-side remixes from their second and third singles:

Swing It To The Area (Side Show Bob Recreation)

Never Never Land (Remix)

I also remember hearing stories about some of their shows between albums, where their frustrations were on display as well.

Similar with what happened with Souls of Mischief when they released their second album, people were surprised, offended, or humored by the duo's (Kim especially) more aggressive approach. The response wasn't entirely surprising, as I'm guessing that many grew attached to the feel and messaging from their debut album. Maybe not the Children's Television Workshop visuals of Blue Cheese, but definitely the wonder and optimism present in tracks like One To Grow On, and Never Never Land.

Their second album was a departure, but the hardcore-ness of it never offended me. Yes, it was aggressive, but there was a familiarity with their wordplay that often referenced music, cartoons, or games from childhood; much like their Shaolin brethren, the Wu-Tang Clan.  Of course many of us didn't know about their label and financial situation at the time, but in hindsight, darker tracks like Evil Ways, and Some Speak Ill Thoughts make more sense given their reality, and the changing landscape of Hip Hop.

Anyway, that's all in the past. Now that we're clear that The UMCs can be both a new way of being, and a new way to wreck, we can move on.  The reason why I made this post is because The UMCs are recording together again, and released a new track earlier in the week. NYOIL (Kim) takes vocal duties on the track produced by Fantom of the Beat (Hass). Good or bad, I'm always going to champion artists that were around when I loved Hip Hop most. In this case I'm digging the track, and I look forward to hearing more from them.



Follow The UMCs on Twitter: NYOIL | Fantom of the Beat

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ras Kass - Nature of the Threat



Hadn't listened to this song in a while, but it occurred to me that it's a little more interesting today because of the large amount of information available to the listener. If one wanted to fact check this song, and write a piece on the accuracy of Mr. Austin's work, only a lack of desire would stop them.

...

Don't look at me; I'm too lazy.

Accurate or not, I always thought the track was an ambitious undertaking. Somehow it works, in spite of being an almost 8 minute rant.

 

Let freedom ring with a buckshot, but not just yet
First we need to truly understand the nature of the threat
And a pale man walks in the threshold of darkness
Roughly 20,000 years ago the first humans evolved 
with the phenotypical trait, genetic recessive
Blue eyes, blonde hair and white skin
Albinism apparently was a sin to the original man, Africans
So the mutants traveled North of the equator
Called Europeans later, the first race haters
So here's the Devil's alpha to the beta
Cause history's best qualified to teach one
Quoting German philosopher Schopenhauer
"Every white man is a faded or a bleached one"
Migration created further mutation
Genetic drifts, evolution through recombination
Adaptation to the climate
As the Caucus Mountain man reverted to that of a primate
Savage Neanderthals, until the late Paleolithic age
That's when the Black Grimaldi man came
With the symbol of the dragon, fire and art
Check cave paintings in France and Spain to the Venus of Willendorf
Around 2000 B.C. Southern Russians migrate in small units
Those who travel West populated Europe
Those who went East settled in Iran, known as Aryans
1500 B.C. some crossed the Khyber Pass into India and
created Hinduism, the first caste system, the origins of racism
A white dot on the forehead meant elite
The black dot - defeat; untrustable, untouchables
They wrote the holy Vedas in Sanskrit
That's the language that created Greek, German, Latin and English
Now the Minoans around 2000 B.C.
Starts on the island of Crete, in the Agean Sea
The Greek culture begins Western Civilization
But "Western Civilization" means "White Domination"
Myceneans learned from Kemet, called Egypt in Greek
It existed since at least 3000 B.C.
Creatin geometry and astronomy
This knowledge influenced Plato, Socrates and Hippocrates
Cause Imhotep, the real real father of medicine
Was worshiped in Greece and Rome in the form of a Black African
The word Africa comes from the Greek "Aphrike" 
meaning "without cold"; the word philosophy means "love of knowledge"
Stole from first man, Greek power expands
The first Greek fraternities band
The word gymnasium is Greek for "naked"
This was the place where adolescent boys were educated, and molested
This was accepted because Greek culture was homosexual
For example, Sappho trained girls on the island of Lesbos
Hence, the word lesbian (Ay let these dumb motherfuckers know)
December 25th, the birth of Saturn
A homosexual god, now check the historical pattern
December 25, now thought the birth of Christ
Was Saturnalia, when men got drunk, 
fucked each other then beat their wife
Fact is, it was still practiced, til they called it Christmas
So put a gerbil on your Christmas list
The Hellenistic Era, Alexander the Great
Conquers all the way to India leavin four successor states
By the Fifth century B.C., R.O.M.E.
succeeds to be the conqueror of Egypt and Greece
But had the threat of the Black Phoenicians in Sicily
The Punic Wars began 264 B.C.
The Black general Hannibal and Carthaginian Peace
In 146 B.C. Carthage fell after a six-month siege
Rome sold every citizen to slavery
The first genocide of history
And more bisexuality in sight; Julius Caesar was known as 
"every woman's husband and every man's wife" (BEOTCH!)
Spartacus Revolt, a slave rebellion that lost
Where 6,000 slaves was nailed on a cross
Cross? Aw, shit! Jesus Christ! Time for some-act-right
Christians get your facts right
Cause Christ was not his name
That's Greek for "One who is anointed"
Yoshua Ben Yosef was his name, do Christians know this?
So who do you praise, do you know his name?
Or do you do this in vain?
Accepting the religion they gave slaves to behave
Peep the description of historian Josephus
"Short, dark, with an underdeveloped beard was Jesus"
He had the Romans fearing revolution
The solution was to take him to court and falsely accuse him
After being murdered by Pilate how can it be
these same white Romans established Christianity
Constantine would later see the cross in a dream
In his vision, it read "En Hawk Signo Wonka":
"In this sign we conquer" - Manifest Destiny
In 325 he convened the Nicean Creed
And separated god into three
Decided Jesus was born on December 25th 
and raised then on the third day is a myth
Plus to deceive us
Commissioned Michelangelo to paint white pictures of Jesus
He used his aunt, uncle, and nephew
Subconsciously that affects you
It makes you put white people closer to God
(Yo, 'The Man' got game like a motherfucker!)
True indeed, fuck it, Jihad
In the eight century Muslims conquered
Spain, Portugal and France and controlled it for 700 years
They never mention this in history class
cause o'fays are threatened when you get the real lesson
Moors from Baghdad, Turkey threatened European Christians
Meaning, the white way of life; hence the Crusades for Christ
On November 25th, 1491
Santiago defeats the last Muslim stronghold, Grenada
King Ferdinand gave thanks to God for victory
And the Pope of Rome and declared this date to forever be
A day of "Thanksgiving" for all European Christians
.. Now listen, when you celebrate "Thanksgiving"
What you are actually celebratin
is the proclamation of the Pope of Rome
Who later, in league with Queen Isabella
sent Cardinal Ximenos to Spain 
to murder any blacks that resisted Christianity
These Moors, these black men and women
were from Baghdad, Turkey
And today, you eat the turkey, for your "Thanksgiving" day 
as the European Powers destroyed the Turkeys
Who were the forefathers of your mothers and fathers
Now fight the power, you bitch-ass niggaz!
Now around this time, Whites started callings us Negroes
That's Spanish for black object meaning we're not really people
but profit, and the triangle trade begins - they seize us
Queen Elizabeth sends the first slaves on a ship named Jesus
Stealin land from the indigenous natives
Gave them alcohol to keep the Red Man intoxicated
Whites claim they had to civilize these pagan animals
But up until 1848 there's documented cases
of whites bein the savage cannibals, eatin Indians
In 1992, it's Jeffery Dahmer
They slaughtered a whole race with guns
Drugs, priests and nuns
1763, the first demonic tactic of biological warfare
As tokens of peace, Sir Jeffery Amherst
passed out clothin and blankets to the Indian community
Infested with small pox, knowin they had no immunity
Today it's AIDS, you best believe it's man made
Cause ain't a damn thing changed.. let me explain
Now since people of color are genetically dominant
and Caucasoids are genetically recessive
and Whites expect to be predominant, meaning survive as a race then
they simply must, take precautions
That's why they're worried about their future now
'cause by 2050, almost all the Earth's population 
will be brown, then black, so understandin that, whites counterreact
(I'm sayin.. man.. them fools 
ain't nothin but a teaspoon of milk in the world color majority)
So they created a system
to force blacks into an unnatural position
That re-enforces the position of natural inferiority
In addition, created guns and developed the ethnocentric view
that God justifies every fuckin thing they do
Condition people to perceive whites' culture as civilized
and every other culture considered primitive - not true!
Racism is the system of racial subjugation against nonwhites
in every areas of human relation
Entertainment, education, labor, politics
Law, religion, sex, war and economics
See blacks were 3/5ths of a man with tax purposes intended
You think you're Afro-American?
You're a 14th amendment and a good nigga
Jews don't salute the fuckin swastika 
but niggaz pledge allegiance to the flag that accosted ya
They never teach about the break of islands like Jamaica
But before slaves came here whites would take a
pregnant women, hang her from a tree by her toes
Slice her stomach with a knife
and let the unborn baby fall to the flo'
And stop an unborn child in front of all the slaves
to inbreed fear, so they'd be scared and behave
and not rebel more
Understand all whites must be perceived as potential predators
I paraphrase historian Ishakamusa Barashango
"Understand that regardless of the lofty ideas ingraved on paper
in such documents as the Constitution or Declaration 
the basic nature.. of the European American white man 
remains virtually unchanged".. so check
This is the nature of the threat

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Letterboxd

I signed up for this site to keep a log of the films I've been watching, and to get recommendations on ones I might enjoy. No reviews though, and definitely no stared or numerical ratings. I mean, look at this:


Where did that .47 come from?

I don't put much stock in these rating systems because they feel so arbitrary, and at times the numbers are effected by what similar or related films might have received (if that got this, then this should get that). When anyone brings a Rotten Tomatoes score into a conversation my response is usually something to the effect of "Well isn't that wonderful."

If you want to *conversate about film, then let's conversate.

I'm right here.

* yes, I know...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Parachute Club - At The Feet of the Moon (1984)

*80s Pop Music Warning*

Growing up, I always assumed that all music came from some magical land of music. Well, not the Brits, they had accents, so they have to have been from somewhere different. It wasn't until all of the Live Aid type music dropped that I realized that Canada had its own musicians, and that there were musicians from Toronto. (Imagine that.)

This song recently popped into my head and inspired this post. I always liked the scatting(?) at 3:12, and the proto-Kid 'n Play (just kidding, Hip Hop) dancing that follows.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

George Michael, Morrissey, Tony Blackburn - 8 Days A Week (1984)

Discussing music (Everything but the Girl, and Atlantic reissues), film (Breakin'), and literature (Joy Division/New Order book "An Ideal for Living) .

George comes off well here. Found myself relating to him most. Morrissey is Morrissey, and Tony Blackburn likes Lucinda Dickey's bum.