Why Chuck D was right about Hot 97

By now the Chuck D/Hot 97 beef has been well-documented by blogs, and anyone with access to Twitter can see the back-and-forth exchange that’s spanned several days.

Long story short, Chuck D blasted Hot 97 for this year’s Summer Jam show, calling it a “sloppy fiasco” and criticizing the liberal use of the n-word, questioning where Hot 97 would be if the concert had been filled with Anti-Semitic and gay slurs. He wants urban radio to “get it right or be gone.”

Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97 responded, and a war of Twitter words ensued.

On the surface this seems like just another social media spat that will be forgotten tomorrow, but in reality it runs much deeper than that. This is not just about a sloppy show or racial slurs. It’s not about Summer Jam or Hot 97 or Ebro and Rosenberg. It’s not about specific hip hop radio stations or specific hip hop concerts. It’s about what all of these things collectively add up to. This is about what “hip hop” has become, and Summer Jam was just the most visible example…continue reading at Rap Rehab.

The problem with hip hop journalism

Most hip hop journalists these days fall into two camps, neither of which has much to do with journalism.

The first camp includes press release aggregators and groupie types who act more like publicists than journalists. These writers attend all the right parties, score all the right interviews, blindly co-sign “hot” artists, post new singles as soon as they receive them and act as virtual mouthpieces for record labels, never questioning the direction of the culture or the artists who represent it.

They invite readers to look, listen and click, but not think. When confronted about the ills of hip hop, these “journalists” will make endless excuses in defense of rap and why they aren’t addressing deeper issues in their reporting – and they have to make these excuses, because their livelihood and status depend on rap’s popularity.

On the other end of the spectrum are “cultural tourists” at so-called hipster magazines. These writers know little about hip hop as a culture, have only scant association with the community it springs from and subconsciously gravitate toward ignorant strains of rap because they’re more comfortable with black stereotypes and caricatures than real people…continue reading at RapRehab.com.

More to Molly than meets the eye: A look at rap’s latest drug trend

Move aside Mary Jane, and make way for Molly.

Once associated primarily with weed, hip hop has cozied up to a party drug with a cute name, a mysterious identity and a potentially lethal set of side effects.

Artists such as Kanye West, Juicy J and Trinidad James have all name-dropped Molly, and Rick Ross’ Molly-laced date rape lyrics (“Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it”) caused an uproar and got the rotund rapper dropped from Reebok.

Some emcees have dedicated whole songs to rap’s new designer drug — take, for example, Tyga’s “Molly,” which has racked up over 7 million views on YouTube and features Tyga-as-cyborg rapping “I show up in that party like where the f*ck that Molly?” A robotic female voice chants “Molly” during the chorus, and Wiz Khalifa offers up more drug references during a guest verse — “Got champagne and we pourin it/she poppin it and she snortin it” — while images of pills flash onscreen… Continue reading at RapRehab.com.

Hip hop reality check: A brief manifesto on Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz and betrayal

Hip hop fans, let’s be clear about a few things.

Wiz Khalifa can’t rap for shxt.

Rick Ross is an impostor whose fabricated identity is based on betraying his own people.

And 2 Chainz has little to offer besides swag and stereotypes.

And no, this is not hate, this is the informed opinion of a hip hop junkie who has watched the art form devolve from a beautiful display of skill and innovation, an outlet for a wide array of black perspectives, a voice for a community that previously had none, to a collection of negative stereotypes that send destructive messages about who we are and what we should be as black people. Continue reading “Hip hop reality check: A brief manifesto on Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz and betrayal”

10 things every rapper should do before they start rapping

When it comes to rap music, abysmal record sales often start with abysmal records. Though a few bright spots do exist (Kanye, we see you), a barrage of bling-obsessed studio thugs has made the rap landscape look mighty bleak.

While a return to the golden age may be a rap purist’s pipe dream, the state of hip-hop affairs can certainly be improved.

With that in mind, we present The Top 10 Things Every Rapper Should Do Before They Start Rapping:

Ready when you are.

1. Read the dictionary. That doesn’t necessarily mean emulating Malcolm X and going cover-to-cover with it. Necessarily. But some time invested in expanding your vocabulary will be well-spent. This way you won’t end up rhyming “handle” with “weather” and “hood” with “hood,” or “new shit” with “new shit” and “sun” with “hundred.” At the very least, consider setting up a word of the day alert at Dictionary.com. Continue reading “10 things every rapper should do before they start rapping”

Millyz opens up about sophomore album “Whiteboy Like Me 2”

[Originally published in the Boston Herald on May 20, 2011]

For Cambridge rapper Millyz, two years have brought both triumph and tragedy.

In 2009, the enterprising emcee released his debut street album, “Whiteboy Like Me,” and turned a budding fan base into a cult following. When recording the follow-up “Whiteboy Like Me 2,” available for free download on Friday at datpiff.com and newenglandhiphop.com, the 25-year-old looked to capitalize on the success of the original while pushing beyond its street-oriented scope.

Continue reading “Millyz opens up about sophomore album “Whiteboy Like Me 2””