Monday, April 28, 2014

Rakim and Others' Art On Display at The Grand Cypher: Hip Hop, Iran, & Syria

The Rush Arts Gallery is having an extraordinary exhibit going on now until May 24, 2014 Wed-Sat from Noon-6pm. The exhibit entitled, The Grand Cypher:Hip Hop, Iran & Syria  was curated by Julie Ashcraft. One of ST's contributors came across this beauty above created by Legendary Hip Hop Artist, Rakim Allah. The Rush Arts Gallery is located at 526 West 26th Street, New York City. 

Brooklyn Celebrates MCA of The Beastie Boys

BROOKLYN WE GO HARD!!!!! And this Saturday May 3rd, 2014 MCA DAY returns to Brooklyn at Littlefield Performance and ArtSpace. Starting at 11am.

MCA aka Adam Yauch is one-third of the Legendary Hip Hop group, The Beastie Boys and this is the day, Brooklyn will celebrate his life. Free fun event for all. For more info click (here). 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rapsody's New Visual - "Thank You Very Much"

I fell in love with Rap a long time ago. I’m not talking about the genre of Rap Music when I say, Rap. However, when I say, I LOVE RAP”!  I’m talking about Rapsody, the artist. And when I say “Love” I don’t mean in a derangedStan type of way. I mean, I love Rapsody's music and what it has done for the culture and hopefully will continue. When an artist can create music that I can listen to with my daughter in the car, I ought to be telling that artist, "Thank You Very Much".

However, on this track, Rap is telling me, Thank You Very Much". Maybe it's because I've blogged about this Emcee since her first spit like I worked for Jamla. Though I appreciate the Twitter love back and forth, I was just sharing good music with my peoples. In return, my peoples agreed with me and also, fell in Love with Rap

But I want to say, Thank You Very Much Rap, for giving me something that I love dearly (Hip Hop music and culture) through your music and over the years, my daughter and I were able to see your run in this game. She was able to see your progression and both of you have ‘similar’ growing stories, so she’s able to relate to your lyrics. It was your track "1983' off of The Return of The B Girl Mixtape that made my daughter and I immediate fans……

“Brought up to be smart and smart ones are like darts”

My daughter and I looked at each other like, “Whoa! Did she just say that?” and Rap continued throwing lyrical DARTS through the track…….

“I was on the schoolyard, recess in the park, and this kid came up and he asked me like, “Uhh
Ay Misses, ay Misses, on the Honor Roll Misses, how you get to play with them words like you play misses?
It’s cause I’m smart and got a library card, from my Momma, and when I was born the doctor said I’ll be Hard.”

My daughter and I looked at it each other like it was the HARDEST line we ever heard for Nerds. Nonetheless, I say, Thank You Very Much, for delivering your music to the masses, because for a #HipHopParent like myself, this is the kind of music we ask for. Things don’t stay the same, but the 'Culture' is worth remaining. Thank You Very MuchRap and Thank you Very Much 9th Wonder for assisting this young lady in reaching her dreams and goals. This is Hip Hop!! IT DON’T STOP!!

Oh, BTW, if you don’t’ have Rapsody’s Latest Joint– She’s Got Game, GET IT!! However, you get your music, go GET IT!! If you have a teenage daughter, GO GET IT!! Ride along in the car, play it, and watch how she grooves to Rap, TRUST!! If you need some help getting her music, you can always grab it (here).

Skelle Top is Back!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Thanks For The Boondocks Aaron

Just like The Boondocks, Skelle Top is Back after a LONG HIATUS!!!!

I thought animated people never died and last forever. Well it appears that The Boondocks creator, Aaron McGruder, will put an end to one of the best adult, satire, animated comedy series ever made for television.
I could date the show’s length by my daughter’s age. She’s 18 now and when The Boondocks first aired, she was 11. How can I time a show by my daughter’s age you may ask? Well, when she was 11, we had a discussion about the, “R. Kelly” episode a day after it aired.

I was turned on to The Boondocks Comic Strip by a friend that attended University of Maryland at College Park with McGruder. From the moment I was introduced to the comic strip, I became an immediate fan. Years later I had a daughter and The Boondocks Comic Strip was in our local newspaper. I used to give it to my daughter so she could read the strips. As soon as we were enjoying the daily comic strip, for whatever reason, it stopped running in our local paper in Houston. Maybe it was too ‘edgy’, I don’t know, but I do know the strip didn't run in the paper again. However, the strip was still printed in the paper back home in New York.  

I eventually moved back to New York for work while my daughter and her mother stayed in Houston. When I was in New York, I would mail my daughter The Boondocks Comic Strips that I cut out from the paper. Soon, the strip stopped running in the New York paper. Not too long after that, there was a rumor of the strip coming to life by animation.

I would call my daughter frequently while I was living in New York and we talked about The Boondocks debut leading up to the show. I missed the first episode because I was working, but the next time I was on the phone with my daughter she told me, “Daddy. You got to see The Boondocks. It’s funny. You’ll like it”.

After receiving rave reviews from my daughter, I knew I could not miss the second one. I set my recorder to tape the second episode just in case I forgot to adjust my life to the Adult Swim calendar. I didn't miss the second episode and was amazed
 at what my eyes had just seen. I had to rewind and watch it again. The episode was about the R. Kelly Trial which was going on at the time. The show was time-written and attacked an issue that was the talk of the streets within the Black community. Not only was it the talk of the Black community, it was worldwide news. But this episode took a punch at those who valued R. Kelly’s music more than the law. Things that were pointed out in this episode were some of the very things I had scrambling through my head; somehow those same thoughts I had were put into satire in a creative and talented way.

The next time I called my daughter, I asked if she saw The Boondocks and she quickly responded, “Yes. It was funny”. I asked her if she learned anything from the episode and she said, “Yes. I learned that it doesn't matter if R. Kelly makes good music, he shouldn't have done what he did.”  I asked her what else she learned and she boldly said, “No matter what our people do, we have to love our people. But Riley was happy that R. Kelly didn't get in trouble. I thought it was funny when he told Jazmin’s Daddy, ‘If someone was to pee on me, I’ll get out of the way and I’m only 8’. Daddy, he’s too smart to be 8”.

As the first season went on, this became our topic of discussion whenever the show aired. I read reviews of the show and how some thought it was ‘too risque’. For example, The “MLK” episode where several reviews attacked the show and its creators for having MLK use the “N” word. As I watched the episode, I wasn't too comfortable with the “N” word being so freely used, but at the end of the show I understood why it was used. Some may not agree with me, but one of my favorite Lauryn Hill lyrics is on the Fugees track Zealots, “And even after all my logic and my theory, I add a motherfucker so you ign’nant niggas hear me”. Meaning, in today’s society with certain individuals (and I must state “niggas” in this context doesn't mean Black), a curse word or two may be necessary in order to get the point across. And whether it was right or wrong is not the point, the subject matter is the point and the point was made because it got people, even ‘ign’nan’t people to talk.

The next day I phoned my daughter and we talked about the ‘MLK’ episode. I asked her what she learned. Her confident 11-year-old response to her father was, “Martin Luther King didn't get his ass busted and thrown in jail, so we can look stupid dancing and partying”. I was in awe. I was surprised that she felt comfortable to use the word, ‘ass’  with me as she had never used a curse word in my presence. Her mother and I allowed her to watch the show, so I guess we had to take whatever she got from it. Since my daughter felt comfortable using the word ‘ass’ with me, as a former educator I took this opportunity to see what lesson she got. I simply asked her, “So why did Martin Luther King get his ass busted?” Her response was simple and innocent, “So we can have freedom”.

Animated characters are supposed to last forever. I mean Bart is still that same kid after all of these years and I want Riley and Huey to last a lifetime. However, I understand if it must come to an end. Monday night will be the beginning of the end as the final season starts. My daughter is now going on 19 and a freshman at St. John’s University, studying media. You can bet your last dollar we will be tuned in for every episode that airs. And of course, like we did 8 years ago, we will discuss the pros and cons of the show. So for that I say, “Thanks Aaron” and may you have continued success with whatever direction your creative style takes us. The Boondocks won’t be the same without you.

 “As the world now knows, The Boondocks will be returning for a fourth season, but I will not be returning with it. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Sony and Adult Swim for three great seasons.
I created The Boondocks two decades ago in college, did the daily comic for six years, and was showrunner on the animated series for the first three seasons. The Boondocks pretty much represents my life’s work to this point. Huey, Riley, and Granddad are not just property to me. They are my fictional blood relatives. Nothing is more painful than to leave them behind.
To quote a great white man, “Hollywood is a business”. And to quote another great white man, “Don’t hold grudges”.
What has never been lost on me is the enormous responsibility that came with The Boondocks – particularly the television show and it’s relatively young audience. It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons. For three seasons I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy. It was not perfect. And it definitely was not quick. But it was always done with a keen sense of duty, history, culture, and love. Anything less would have been simply unacceptable.
As for me, I’m finally putting a life of controversy and troublemaking behind me with my upcoming Adult Swim show, BLACK JESUS.

Let me say this in my Huey Freeman voice, “Power to the People!!”, and continued success Brother. New season starts this Monday, the 21st, on Adult Swim