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Mos Def Black Thought Eminem BET Cypher 2009 + the rest

Easily the best of the Cyphers that dropped during the BET Hip-Hop Awards. Each MC came off and has a mean argument as to why they were the best. I say it’s a draw.*

The real winner is the random, bridge and tunnel looking white dude who got into like every shot. There he is, 2nd from the left in the pic below.

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One of these kids is doing his own thing...

*I’m leaning towards Mos Def > Black Thought> Eminem

October 28, 2009 Posted by | Freshness, Hip-Hop, Music, News | , , , , | 8 Comments

Mos Def is MF DOOM Fan – Vol. 2

Black Dante recites Zev Love X’s verse from “Meat Grinder,” with assistance from the Supervillain. Further vidence that a DOOM and Mighty Mos Def album is so profoundly necessary. [Spotted via Stone Throw’s twitter, via Frolab.com]

RELATED:

The Mask of Doom [The New Yorker]

that's really him

that's really him

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Freshness, Hip-Hop, Music, News, Random | , , , , | 1 Comment

Mos Def X Malcolm X

Nice hat(s).

Nice hat(s).

“You’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there’s got to be a change. People in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built and the only way it’s going to be built is with extreme methods. And I for one will join in with anyone, I don’t care what color you are, as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth. Thank you.”–Malcolm X

Mos Def uses the above quote in the intro song, “Super Magic,” off his latest album, The Ecstatic, which actually is dropping Tuesday, July 9.

Not the first, or last time a rapper will quote Brother Malcolm, the statement is the conclusion of his speech at The Oxford Union Debate on November 23, 1964. The topic of the debate was “Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is No Vice; Moderation in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue,” with Malcolm speaking for the affirmative position. [more after video]

Mr. Def, a Muslim, has never been one to mince his words when it comes to his politics. Black Dante’s mention of “tall Israeli is running this rap s**t” on “The Rape Over” from his The New Danger (2004) album is only one of those examples.

It’s probably coincidence, but the release of Pretty Flaco’s new album is almost 50 years since The Hate That Hate Produced, a 5-part look at the Nation of Islam (NOI) originally aired (July 13 – July 17, 1959). Co-produced by the esteemed Mike Wallace (60 Minutes) and the inspiring Louis Lomax (an African-American excelling in TV journalism in 1959? Incredible), the documentary offered an inside look at the “gospel of hate” being preached by the NOI. The entire documentary is on YouTube and thoroughly worth watching. [more after video]

The issues raised in the The Hate That Hate Produced, whether implicitly or explicitly—Black vs. White, Muslim vs. Christian, Jews vs. Gentiles—are still present today, contrary to anyone claiming some nonsense about the U.S. being post-racial thanks to our President being a Negro with the middle name Hussein. The fact that yesterday (June 2) Barack Obama made a speech in Cairo attempting to begin mending strained, to put it lightly, relations with the Muslim world is a testament to that reality.

Thanks to shady business like Donald “Halliburton” Rumsfeld seeding Biblical quotes into top-secret White House briefings, it won’t be an easy road. But we’re at least on the path.

By the time Malcolm made his speech at Oxford in ‘64, he had formally split with the NOI in March of the same year and made his pilgrimage to Mecca a month later. While his Hajj made Malcolm essentially rescind his divisive—or empowering, to many—rhetoric of years past, with hope that Islam would be a means to unify different people, the underlying themes of even his most fiery and incendiary of speeches remained. The disenfranchisement and oppression of the weak at hands of the powerful was unacceptable and could only by remedied “by any means necessary.” That’s the language they get. Word to KRS-One.

RELATED:

Mos Def “Casa Bey”

Mos Def Reads Malcolm X Speech [via Urban Daily]

1959: Sex, Jazz, Datsuns [via NY Mag]

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Freshness, Hip-Hop, Music, News | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

E! True Hollywood Story: Rapper Wives

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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.

I asked her to leave the chain at home.

I asked her to leave the chain at home.

May 16, 2009 Posted by | Hip-Hop, News, T.V. | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mos Def “Casa Bey”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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)

RELATED:

Mos Def “Flowers”

casabey

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Freshness, Hip-Hop, Music | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gumsole Beatdowns #2: Kool & The Gang X Spinna & Premier

DJ Spinna has got beats. Fresh beats*. It’s a shame this production wunderkind of Jigmastas (and Stevie Wonder tribute parties) infamy doesn’t get his proper due. The above clip of him in the studio with Ski (of Camp Lo and early Roc-a-Fella infamy, not a bad producer himself) and the homie Sucio Smash chopping up Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness” inspired me to write another Gumsoles. [Props to High Water Music]

koolthegang_lightofworlds1

Most people nowadays will know Kool & the Gang for their Pop/Crossover hits like “Celebrate” and “Ladies Night” That’s all well and good but if you’re a little savvier with your music history you will note that Kool & the Gang started with traditional Jazz leanings before delving knee deep into R&B and Funk before getting their Disco on.

Being that the group’s main players—brothers Robert “Kool” Bell (bass) and Ronald Bell (tenor sax) as well as George Brown (drums), Robert Mickens (trumpet), Dennis Thomas (alto sax), Charles Smith (guitar, RIP) and Rick Westfield (keys)—were all accomplished musicians, it’s no wonder their catalog has been picked clean by scavenging Hip-Hop producers.

The song in question here (directly below), “Summer Madness,” stems from their R&B/Funk days, though they retained their sophisticated Jazz sensibilities. The instrumental tracks sweeping synthesizer and haunting melody was first heard on Kool & The Gang’s Light of Worlds (De-Lite, 1974) album.

That said, I wanted to share some of my fav “Summer Madness” flips, for the uninitiated. No one tell Premo I dropped dime please, thanks.

Gang Starr “DJ Premier in Deep Concentration”

“Summer Madness” forms the musical landscape for Premier to cut, scratch and transform with finesse, and all that mess. Word to Biz Markie and Cool V.

Pete Rock f/ Jim Jones & Max B “We Roll”

Ahh, feel the wave; when Jones and Max were best of buddies and making surprisingly good music. Pete Rock chops up “Summer Madness’” synth to the point where they’re almost recognizable, Max drops a catchy hook and Jones fills in adequately on the rhymes.

Da Bush Babees f/ Mos Def “The Love Song”

You really can’t lose early Mos Def teaming with late 90’s, underground Hip-Hop torchbearers teaming up over a Posdnous (De La Soul-did I really have to add that detail?) produced track.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (pre-Bel Air) “Summertime”

Enough of a classic that younger heads will think it’s the original.

RELATED:

Gumsole Beatdowns #1: Notorious B.I.G. X Al Green

*I’ll get around to posting that Spinna story from the late, great Scratch Magazine, one day.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Freshness, Gumsole Beatdowns, Hip-Hop, Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mos Def “Flowers”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It’s the Mighty Mos Def. What more needs to be said? The Ecstatic, June 9. We hope.

Here’s a throwback to the B-side of “Universal Magnetic.”

Mos Def “If You Can Huh You Can Hear It”

I'm a just a dope MC.

I'm a just a dope MC.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Freshness, Hip-Hop, Music | , , , , , | 1 Comment