What the Game's Been Missing

Saturday, July 25, 2009

During a stroll down memory lane with BlackInk we touched on the current crop of new rappers and the relative absence of NY from the hip hop scene. But, I think my thoughts are a bit different from where it seemed like I was going in my comments.

Seems like every time you look up someone is declaring hip hop dead or on life support and going on & on about how good hip hop used to be. While I do miss the variety hip hop used to offer, I'm not sold that it is dead or dieing.

Nah, I don't think the popularity of "Stanky Leg" or "Ice Cream Paint Job" has as much to do with people wanting dumbed down music as it does something way simpler.

I think the kids just want to listen something new.

I thought about that while listening to the radio the other day. Everyone was going on and on about Jay-Z's new album and the apparent "Death of Autotune". The death of autotune came as a shock to me as at least 5 of the previously played songs all featured autotune.

And to be perfectly honest, I'd much rather listen to some of those autotune songs than D.O.A. The track just didn't really move me at all nor has much of the other stuff I've heard pumping from the East Coast these days. Then the DJS hit us with some Drake and Kid Cudi and I was back in a riding mood.

And that's when the thought really hit me. I think I'm just tired of some of these dudes and the kids probably are too.

To the average 15 or 16 year old, D.O.A. is probably the equivalent of some old man on his porch shaking his cane and telling them to knock off all the racket.

I heard a new track by Nas the other day and I couldn't help but think about the fact that I was in high school when I first started bumping Nas. That was like 3 degrees and a bar exam ago. Nothing against him or Jigga or any of the East Coast vets, but the next time one of them decides to jump in there soapbox and complain about the fall of hip hop, maybe they should look in the mirror.

I mean, where are all the new east coast artists? What happened to Saigon, Papoose, Red Cafe, Joel Ortiz, Tru Life, etc, etc, etc. Why did we not get an real album from ANY of those rappers?

Sure, its easy to just jump up and declare that something is wrong with hip hop, but the reality is that there are artists pushing the envelope like Drake, Cudi, Kanye, Wayne, etc. They may not be from NY, but they're cd's have delivered the goods.

If you want to "fix" hip hop, how about you do something really crazy like...I don't know...make really good music? You know like you guys all used to do.

NY had an incredible stretch back in days with everyone from Nas to Biggie to the Wu-Tang dropping cds. Now, promising artists pop up on mixtapes then fade away before they can even release a cd.

That's got to change.

Stop hogging the spotlight and complaining about the state of the music and start developing some of the talent you have out there.



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Twice as Good

Friday, July 24, 2009

So, Bush gets 8 years to run the world in the shitter and Obama gets not even 8 months to fix it? Yeah, that sounds about right.

As a kid my grandparents always told me that familiar saying that to be successful as a black person you had to be at least twice as good.

For Obama, that's more like 100 times as good.

I won't lie, the numbers being run up by the current administration are eye popping and I haven't exactly been thrilled with how we have handled a lot of the banks.

But, I'm still not ready to shovel dirt on Obama. From minute one, I think most of us knew this wasn't going to be an easy fix. We're in deep folks and its going to take time to turn this thing around. I'm willing to give Obama that time to get things done, but it doesn't look like the rest of the country will.

That's why I think its important for Obama to get as much of his agenda accomplished in his first four years as possible. Its going to be very difficult for him to get reelected. Yes, I know it was tough for him to get the job to begin with, but the short memories of the talking heads out there is mind boggling. Obama is taking a lot of heat for problems he inherited. I'm not sure if he will be able to shake that off enough to win again if the Republicans get their heads out of their asses and pick a more moderate candidate instead of someone from the looney bin (see Sarah Palin).

That opinion quickly changes if we start to see a lot more positive ticks in the economy and on the health care front, but for now I think Obama and the Democrats need to just push full steam ahead with their goals.

That's why I am upset with the current waffling with health care. Enough catering to the Republicans on this. They simply will not support it. Let's not forget that Reagan was very much against Medicare calling it.....socialist medicine. Can anyone imagine what things would be like without Medicare?

As someone with a spouse fighting a daily battle against lupus, I'm definitely biased on this issue. We are extremely blessed to have good income and even better insurance. But even for us, the monthly bills are large and definitely have an impact on our daily life. We're pretty much stuck having to go with an employer provided plan, because with anything private we would either a) not be covered because of prior illness or have to wait at least six months for her to be covered and/or b) have to pay a huge amount for coverage.

It's just wrong.

I'm all for other opinions on this issue but so far all we've gotten is the typical Republican BS. It will raise your taxes. It's socialist medicine. Blah Blah Blah.

Ok, fine. You don't think its the best plan. How about you come up with something more reasonable?

The problem the conservatives don't seem to be getting is that so many Americans are struggling to pay their bills right now that the typical person really does give a rat's ass that someone making over 250K is going to have pay more taxes. The only way for them to get back into the game is to come up with sound policies and solutions to problems.

Or borderline racist attacks and rhetoric. Whichever works you know.

In the meantime, the Democrats need to take full advantage of their position and stop being so wishy washy. Unless a Republican idea is truly sound and advances their goals, its time to stop letting them slow down progress.

You wanted the majority. You got it. Now use it.

Obama really seems to be intent on helping people. That's a bigger deal than most think.

One of the greatest problems for the average politician, at least from the view on my couch, is that most of them simply can't understand the problems of the average person. They really have no clue what its like to not be able to afford medicine, pay bills on time or worry about how to put food on the table.

Obama seems to get that and its part of what pushed him into office.

Now, its time to see a bit more anger and a lil less smooth. I have liked his current media blitz and hope he continues to push Congress to get health care reform passed. I'm still not sold on his "team of rivals," but he picked them so its time to get them on the ball.

Obama should be a man on a mission and as I said above, I think he would benefit from an approach that he only has four years to get things done.

4 less years to get ten times as much accomplished as his predecessor? Yeah, that sounds about right.

After all, isn't that pretty much the same situation we all face when we head to work everyday?

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Black People Are Never the Victims Part II

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So a man gets arrested in his own for looking "suspicious" to some random white lady and he has no right to be angry about it?

Also, if he thinks, maybe, possibly, that the only reason anyone called the cops on him is because he was black then he is of course needlessly playing the "race card" and should just move on.

Yeah.... How 'bout no on both of those.


First off, once Prof. Gates showed the officer that he did indeed live there, that should have been the end of the whole thing. The officer had no right (repeat NO RIGHT) to remain on his property once it was proven that it was Gates residence. In the police report, the officer clearly states that he believed it was Gates' home. So why did he stick around?

According to the average commenter on the Boston Globe, he wanted to fulfill his duties as a police officer.

As convincing as their comments are, I'm going to roll with my initial thought and that was to "put the uppity nigger in his place."

Back to the police report for a sec, so we're supposed to believe that a Harvard scholar really yelled to the police officer "Yeh, I'll speak to your mama..." Because you know, no matter how much education we get, we can't resist an opportunity to drop a "yo mama" reference into the conversation. Come on folks, if you're going to make stuff up at least get with some current slang. That's as bad as the hey whitey crap with the Obamas.

I would love to link to the report itself, but, for some strange reason, the boston globe has taken the original one down and replaced it with another one! Wonder why?

Also, yelling at an officer who should not be in your house to begin with, is not a crime. So he should not have been arrested.

Beyond those glaring issues, thoughts remain on the woman who called the police and all the wonderful commenters out there accusing Gates of playing the race card.

On the woman, isn't great how someone who doesn't live in a neighborhood can call the cops and get someone who does live in the neighborhood arrested?

On the commenters, is anything racist guys? Anything? Is there something that someone could do that would qualify as being racist and not a misunderstanding or somehow thrown back at the victim. Once upon a time, I would have said that hanging a noose would clearly be racist, but the Jena 6 incident proved that wrong.

Sigh.

So to all the people who keep insisting that they would have called the police regardless of who it was at the door, I simply say
NO YOU WOULDN'T HAVE!

These were two middle-aged men with luggage sprawled about! Why would a criminal try to get in the front door when he could go around the back? What criminal on earth would just sit there banging on a door IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY! What criminal would go around the back, unlock the door, take inside HIS LUGGAGE, and then come out front and again try to get the door open. What criminal stands outside in broad daylight with glasses on, slacks and a polo shirt....

You know what, I could go on for days.

No, you wouldn't have called the damn police on anyone. You see black guy, young or old, big or small, educated or thug, and you see criminal. Period.

It reminds me of my criminal law class when we discussed racial profiling. One of my classmates couldn't understand why people didn't just let it go. I asked him how many times he had been stopped, questioned, ticketed, etc by the police. He said twice. I said, you know, the first two times I was questioned by the police, once while riding my bike at age 5 and the other playing basketball at age 8, I let it go too. By the time I was 18 and the number was well into the double digits, I was a lot less hospitable. Having people stop you anytime they feel like, not because you have actually done anything, but to ask you questions about things you haven't done and people you don't know kind of wears on you over the years.

At the very least, I am still relatively young and really expect nothing less out of cops. I can only imagine what it felt like for Gates.

While he has not lost his connection to the community, you have to think the brother felt like he was beyond this sort of thing at this point in his life. Unfortunately, he wasn't and neither are any of the rest of us.







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