Archive for January, 2009


How much did “Hip-Hop” infulence the recession?

Listening to my favorite cut of all time: Mass Appeal by: Gangstarr, caused me to think…

It is in the context of our present economic “recession” that I raise this question:  How much did “Hip-Hop” infulence the recession?   Most people reading this blog already know the history on how Hip-Hop rose from the slums of New York City, to become a global melting pot of outspoken creation on all artistic mediums by generation X and Y’ers (not just music – don’t get it twisted).   We all know about the commericialization of the music and the culture into mainsteam society.  

Hip-Hop was the ugly duckling that grew into a gorgeous swan, only to get its innocence exploided by Uncle Sam .   It has flooded every profitable (currency) market from childeren’s toys to liquors; marketing the false persona that “Bling Bling” is going to enrich our lives and bring us happiness.   Basically in a nutshell Corporate Americana is marketing greed to this “tv” nation.   

What better source than Hip-Hop to relay these messages of greed with?  Hip-Hop reaches every demographic in this nation.  It provides jobs to people that don’t even like the music or know what it really is.   It causes people to want things that they can’t afford, to buy things they can’t pay off.  We all know what that lead (and continues to lead) toward.

Now don’t get me wrong I do belive in the American dream of making a dollar out of fifteen cents. I don’t want to be hypocritical by saying I don’t like nice cars and enriching myself with material things when I have a little extra cash.   But…

Just a thought I needed to write…  there’s a lot more I want to discuss but I feel myself getting a bit off of the subject so signing off for now…


Reppin’ Checkmate Films – LA, CA… All Day!

Mass Appeal by: Gangstarr


44th American President: Barack Obama

This morning as much as two million people physically welcomed Barack Obama as he was sworn into Office as the nations 44th president. His speech was excellent, beginning with the negative of the United States and then discussing how each of us, citizens, and non-citizens, have a duty to play a part in making the US into the country that we all hope for. A country, of hope, peace, equality, and change.  Here is the text of Obama’s speech along with the video.

Taken from the Associated Press:

OBAMA: My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers … our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).”

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.


What’s good.

Wsup everbody. Thanks for Sonny for getting this started up, and I thought it was about time I jumped on this. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to blog on first, but a song randomly came onto my itunes and really caught my attention. I’m sure most of you have probably heard of the song, but I’m not quite sure if many people have really taken a closer listen to it.

The track I’m talking about is track “The Seed” by The Roots off Phrenology (2002).

The song at first listen has caught a lot of listeners from its catchy guitar riff & heavy vocals from Cody Chestnutt. But has anyone really thought about the song is really about? Surely Black Thought wouldn’t just be making some song about having sex, or in this case “pushing my seed in her bush for life.” Well have a listen for yourself…

The track could be interpreted in a plethora of ways, but what’s my personal take? Really, I think there’s a few different messages in the song.

With the first verse, Black Thought is probably alluding to the typical perception of large record companies.

“She wants neo soul cause hip hop is old
She don’t want no rock’n roll
She want platinum, ice and gold
She want a whole lot of somethin’ to fold
If you’re an obstacle she’ll just drop you cold”

You could take this a reoccurring theme with Black Thought, but there’s also some other interpretations. With Cody Chestnutt, I was kinda taken off guard. What if the song was about the fusion of Hip Hop and Rock N Roll?

Maybe pushing the seed, it’s implanting this idea of rock n roll or a live band aspect within hip hop. A different direction of hip hop, that the Roots uniquely have always taken. I haven’t really put much thought into it, but its an intriguing idea. Let me know what y’all think.


Substantial – It’s You (I Think)

Many who know the Japanese producer NUJABES probably heard the record “Blessing It” or “Think Different”. Representing Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Substantial’s largest fanbases reside in Japan, but he is known world wide. Check out his latest single “It’s You(I Think)” produced by Kno (of CunninLynguist).


Amel Larrieux – FOR REAL

I felt that I’d be a great to follow up after Mondo Grosso with a Amel Larrieux classic. Off her sophomore album, Bravebird, this is “For Real”.

Mrs. Amel Larrieux is a 8-year veteran to the R&B genre. She was the amazing vocalist from the Groove Theory. You may know their hit single “Tell Me”. After persuring her solo career, Amel has now reached a position where she is renown throughout the mature R&B and NeoSoul scenes.

Those who enjoy Anita Baker, Goapele, Sade, and the like, will enjoy many more songs from Amel Larrieux.


Mondo Grosso feat. Amel Larrieux – Now You Know Better

If you don’t already know, Mondo Grosso is  a super producer out of Japan. He has the skill to produce quality music in almost everyof music. Usually he keeps within the boundaries of House and Soul music.
Here is one of his collaborations with the beautiful vocalist, Amel Larrieux. The track is entitled “Now You Know Better”. Check it out!


Arrested Development – Everyday People

It’s been sometime since music has been brought from the soul, and then actually reached the mainstream audience. In 1992, Arrested Development released their single “Everyday People”. It reached the #8 Spot on the Billboard HOT 100, and #2 on the UK Singles Charts. Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People” was sampled as the chorus for the song. The single featured on their “3 Years, 5 Months, and 2 Days in the Life Of…” Album.  Even though Arrested Development’s “Everyday People” was released over a decade ago, the lyrics of the song are still relevant today. Check it out!