Always loved this Killer Mike gem and could never figure why it didn’t go further. Circa ’02/’03 Killer Kill from Adamsville was my subject for a Mic Check in The Source; one of my first substantial pieces for the mag. The Source—actually, it was probably Columbia Records—flew me into Atlanta for the day, I had my boy Tariq meet me at Stankonia (where we conducted the interview) and Mike, ever the gracious host, offered up “trees” and drink.
Still don’t know how I got that 4,000+ word transcript down to a 700 or so word story. Mike was good money with me since the topics of discussion ranged from the importance of the Zulu Nation to how slept on was T.I.’s I’m Serious debut. I caught up with Mike early ’08 [via AllHipHop] and judging from the critical acclaim of his last project, I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind II, Mr. Render is proof positive that talent and will is all you need to make your mark. [Spotted at The Fader via OnSmash]
“The recession is cramping the style of hip-hop artists and wannabes — many of whom are finding it difficult to afford the diamond-encrusted pendants and heavy gold chains they have long used to project an aura of outsized wealth.” —Michael Bustillo (Wall Street Journal)
So the Wall Street Journal, of all places, dropped a piece on the recession having an adverse effect on rapper’s jewelry. Seems like your fav ghetto griots have been forced to use lower grade diamonds or inferior ores. The horror.
But really, for years now those in the know, or with common sense, have realized that all those shines these rappers are wearing are usually either borrowed or bootlegged.
And really, only rappers wear that gaudy ish. Okay, ball players do too. The irony is that these aforementioned groups of bejeweled individuals that take pride in looking ridiculous (peep Soulja Boy on The View for confirmation) stay getting robbed or extorted for all that bling. In the hood, you will rock expensive ish because you have enough clout that people won’t think about testing you. On the flip, buying your cred via a record deal makes you a tasty meal for the wolves. You’d think they would have figured it out by now.
And who is laughing at these cats, besides me and Gawker? The people with real wealth; as in tangible assets, like a home.
Funniest thing about the article, though— no doubt because of the WSJ’s style manual—is that whenever a rapper is mentioned their “government” name is also revealed. Lil Jon’s middle name is Mortimer. See, comedy.
“I’m a diamond, you’re a cubic zirconia.” —Smooth B (Nice-N-Smooth)
“In a young man’s game, the middle-aged MCs have forged an album that reflects their belief that skills will always trump bells and whistles. Don’t mistake it for complacency—blame it on consistency. BO2 passes the smell test.”
Got to review Method Man and Redman’s Blackout! 2 for Vibe.com and I was impressed.
But hey, who reads reviews nowadays anyway?
On a related note, much has been said lately about Joe Budden going at Method Man over Vibe’s bracketology. Really, it’s the same shtick Jump Off is known for; talk slick over the Internet, act suprised people took his words out of context, then feign like he’ll be taking the high road.
Whether you think Method Man is that deal or, like Funkmaster Flex, think that he is overrated, when comparing the gamut of their respective careers, Budden has a LONG way to go [II] before he’ll be in Meth’s league.
Alright, back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Wow! I remember having this Ravage Decepticon (but it transformed into a cassette tape, back then) when I was a kid. OG Transformers fans will remember Ravage and Laserbeak as the Decepts (no relation to the Brooklyn hard rocks [II]) Soundwave would “eject.” Word is pre-orders on the flash drive above are already sold out. [Spotted at Engadget]
Anyway, what better reason than to post The Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen trailer which I will surely be watching like a giddy little schoolboy on June 24 in front of an IMAX screen.
“BAPE definitely helped put us in a lane and in a light and I think we did a lot for that company too…We going to the show and we got on the exclusive s**t we just got in the mail and the fans be like, “Oh s**t!” This is before I’m really Hypebeasting and shit. I’m just like, “Nah, Nigo just threw this s*** over here.” –Pusha T
I moved to Harlem in 2001 and my how my block has changed. My little corridor of “Upper Manhattan” (near 145th & Bradhurst–which going East is after Edgecombe but before Frederick Douglass Blvd, everyone asks) used to be pretty barren. When I first told people the locale of my new digs (the 2 bedroom rental I had was then $900, hate me) many a times the response I received was something along the lines of, “Oh word? I used to cop weed from around there…”
Flash forward to 2009 and gentrification is in full swing. A Starbucks on 145th & Bradhurst pretty much sealed the deal. But really, the big difference for me is the parking. When I first moved in, no matter what time of the day or night, I would ALWAYS find a spot. But thanks to new developments like The Sutton, The Hamilton and The Langston, parking has become a true beeyotch; unless you’re fortunate enough, or able to afford, your own parking space in a garage.
Watching the above clip only highlights how quickly (20 years is nothing in the grand scheme of things) a community can change. The morale of the story; if you live in the ‘hood and can manage to buy your home, do it. There is no greater investment. [Spotted at Uptown Flavor]
Below Cam’Ron and Mase run around Uptown…
Was watching the E! True Hollywood Story on Rapper Wives. Needless to say it wasn’t the best of looks for the rapping hubbies.
Mos Def’s ex-stripper wifey, Alana Wyatt, filed for divorce a few months after they got married in 2005, but he hasn’t signed the papers—so they’re still married. DMX is…pretty much in a bad spot (to put it nicely). And the late, great Big Pun, according to his widow Liza Rios and damning video, was unfortunately a wife beater. [sigh]
The only rappers that came out unscathed were Uncle Luke and neglected white rapper Paul Wall (he just dropped an album, ya know). Guess Jay-Z and Beyoncé weren’t available. Shout out to former spouses KRS-One and Ms. Melody too.
Can a rapper have a healthy marriage in the Hip-Hop game? Surely; if he or she wants to. But that applies to any marriage, rapper or not. Respect those vows.
This joint from the real life documentarian a.k.a. Dante Beze is kinda fresh. That is all. (via Rcrd Lbl)
Mos Def “Casa Bey” (Sharebee)
So the Bawse, Rick Ross, got called out by the powers that be at Louis Vuitton over those fraudulent specs he sported on his recent XXL Mag cover. Seeing that Ross initially and foolhardedly denied his past as a Correction Officer, the Internets is abuzz over his latest faux pas.
But really, Hip-Hop heads sporting bootleg gear isn’t anything new. O.G. rap fans will remember the infinite shout outs given to one Dapper Dan [via Iced Dot Com]; a Harlem clothing shop owner and designer infamous for his skill at creating Hip-Hop stylized takes on designer labels like Gucci, MCM or even Nike.
For example, those track suits and jackets sported on the cover of some of your favorite Eric B & Rakim albums, were as counterfeit as the day is long.
Since then the Hip-Hop generation has flexed it tastemaker muscle with artists like Kanye West (Nike, Louis Vuitton) and Pharrell Williams (Louis Vuitton)—can’t forget grand Puba and the Tommy Hilfiger too—getting the official co-sign from and even producing sanctioned lines for some of these brands.
The beauty of Hip-Hop is taking some otherwise milquetoast product, putting our fresh stamp on it, and making it that much more desirable to the wannabes (read: mainstream) hawking our steez.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not giving the Bawse a pass on this one. Those frames were hella tacky looking anyway (there is only one Undisputed King of Cheap Sunglasses). And if you think that more rappers than not are rocking the genuine article as opposed to Canal Street Specials, you’re lying to yourself.
That reminds of another of my greatest fashion peeves. The rocking of some grotesquely horrible piece of clothing with the wearer’s only defense for his suspect garb an excuse along the lines of, “But it’s Polo, yo.” Fugg outta here.
UPDATE: Rick Ross Explanation on Shades [via AllHipHop]