Cell Therapy 005 Pt.5

So as we approach the Fourth, enjoy BBQ and fireworks, and answer why celebrate, define independence and better yet, use our cocky national anthem to do so.

Cell Therapy 005 Pt.4

What we dont realize, and i dont think Mr. Keys thought this either, is that last line: "the home of the brave." This country holds nothing but brave souls.

Cell Therapy 005 Pt.3

We didnt even want other nationalities singing it. Think of Jose Feliciano and how nuts conservatives went, or how much civil rights leaders hated it.

Cell Therapy 005 Pt.2

We've prided ourselves on bragging how much British ass we kicked when they tried to take BACK the States! The song/poem gets more arrogant with each stanza.

Cell Therapy 005 Pt.1

Watching a special report on the Star-Spangled Banner. I never knew, yet not surprised, that our country has the most cocky song as a national anthem.

Cell Therapy 004 Pt.2

Let us not forget he transcended music videos from mere ads for songs to masterpieces!

Cell Therapy 004 Pt.1

If James Brown opened the door for musicians and all around entertainers, then Michael Jackson made a doorstop so he could come and go as he pleased.

Cell Therapy 003

Yo, when your fam can talk for about three hours on 60s music, that "classic rock" people continuously get wrong, expect a great, full blog soon!

Cell Therapy 002

TOP STORY-TELLIN LOVE SONGS 3. Mo better - raheem devaughn 2. I was checkin out - don covay 1. I love you - lennie williams... explanation due.

Cell Therapy 001

This is a test to see if i can blog on my cell. Now if i have something i gotta get off my chest i can! Toodles!

CD Review: Mos Def "The Estatic"

The best way to vibe with Mos Def's new piece (I don't want to just call it an album; I'll get into that later) is with a game controller on deck to play a war game (some Call of Duty, Mercenaries or something like that). If you are not an individual who is aware of current politics and world issues, then this may not be a top Mos album. On the other hand, if you are a fan of this kind of music, or you just appreciate art in all realms (whether social or personal), then you'll enjoy a new ear-banger from Pretty Flaco.

I don't want to call it an album because Mos Def doesn't just release a record with just some tracks thrown onto it - a compilation of rhymes from his rhymebooks or off the top of the dome. That's not his style in "The Estatic". The concept and theme he approaches is "Boogieman". Rarely do you find people approach a theme in albums anymore, and if so, it is something that is personal to him or her (e.g. Jay-Z's American Gangster). Mos Def definitely took his theme seriously as you hear it (annoyingly to be exact) almost subliminally but loud enough to catch its off-beatness and indicator of a theme.

His purpose of his chosen theme was, if you are unfamiliar to any purpose of a true hiphop album, no matter what steps we take the boogieman will be there. Despite advances in our technology, the boogieman will be right there with us. Like the message in car mirrors: everything that looks (great) may not be what it appears. He also hops on the "blame the whack MCs" train wagon in saying how lame hiphop is becoming because they don't know their history. Like K'Naan said, "most these guys are just rappin' about rappin'", which is not helping Pretty Flaco develop his image as a hiphop artist. He should've just left it alone, or better yet, he should be teaching the whack MCs how to be real and real good.

Best track:

Auditorium (featuring Slick Rick) - He delivers just enough to not make it Slick Rick's song like most rappers tend to slip up and do when faced with a challenge from thier collaborators (how ironic, but true). Also, Slick Rick gives an interesting story to upkeep the theme of the album and compliment the dope Middle Eastern beat.

Worst track:

Pistola - Let's be honest. I appreciate the fact that Mos knows he can't sing, but don't let that be the strongpoint of ANY track (or you'll end up like Phonte of Little Brother).

Star's Grade: B- (I just expected more)

"Why R U" by Amerie

When I heard the beginning, I instantly thought of the 90s. Especially Mary J. Blige. Her songs were hard, but still had that feminine touch. Think of "You're All I Need/I'll Be There For You" and "Sincerity"... now, don't you feel the same way? Honestly, this beat should have been hers (this and "Umbrella", but that's just me).

Anyway, it seems the way Amerie was going with this song is the same way MJB usually did back then: a raw, gritty-ish hip-hop beat playing behind a soft, smooth melody that everyone, from the thugs to the not-so-thugs, can enjoy. Unfortunately, this isn't the 90s and she couldn't bring it back. I think it's cute, but it's definitely nothing big (yet again) from Amerie.

She doesn't have the softness in her voice to pull through on this song; she doesn't really reel me in. Don't get me wrong, she has a soft voice. Plus it's raspy enough to go with raw beats (i.e. "One Thing"). However, her high pitch turns me off from this song. Maybe it's the lyrics, because the flow of it isn't on point either, maybe it's just her, but I bet it's both.

One thing I refuse to hate on though is this beat, especially the sampled song, "Ego Trippin" by Ultramagnetic MCs (which sampled "Synthetic Sunstitution" by Melvin Bliss, another classic record indeed)! The production behind this song did a wonderful job. Not only does the song homage the sample well, but it also adds feeling to the song in general (i.e. the bassline in the chorus; Amerie couldn't do without it). Although she doesn't bring the song home, the beat still knocks. I hope there will be a remix coming out soon to save her!

But here it is for you to listen, and agree or disagree:

SLAM GONE SOFT? -- Another old "thought"

After reading the Times (New York Times for those unfamiliar), I have to say I am shocked at the article "Is Slam in Danger of Going Soft?"

*Now let me put this on pause because I told you all this was a music blog, and although poetry isn't music, without it there would be no hip-hop. No poetry in motion. No art from the mouth and for that ass* Now as I continue...

I am not shocked at the fact they covered slam poetry; I actually think that is amazing! An international yet city, newsy newspaper/magazine/website diving so deep into culture, especially non-mainstream culture, deserves a lot more respect than it is getting right now. HOWEVER, I am shocked at the angle the reporter went for this topic. The angle just stayed with "slam is dead", "slam is commercialized", "slam has lost its ground". The reporter failed to get all sides of the story. Nowhere in the article is a quote or graf that opposes the idea that slam is dead, there isn't even a sentence on there that makes the reader think critically about slam poetry. He just handed some dead slam poetry on a platter to his readers.

I do agree slam poetry is becoming commercialized, with that "Brave New Voices" show on HBO and every place's attempt to carbon copied open mic nights. But I disagree with slam poetry being dead. That's like saying hip-hop is dead. Yes, hip-hop is commercialized and starting to lose its ground, but it isn't dead. Like hip-hop, slam poetry will continue to have its grassroots implanted in society. Let's look at the meaning grassroots because one of the sources mentioned slam as grassroots in the beginning but now is a sport of who can say the previous line better, but onto the term grassroots:
  • For something to be "grassroots" or "a grassroot movement" it must have the people in mind first. It must start at the root, it must start with the people, it must hone that "for us, by us" attitude. Without the people, that sense of community, who will move the opposition out? Who will plant the seeds and make the roots grow?
  • Another thing about the term grassroots is the roots must grow, they must develop into what moves the people to liberate against the opposition. I'm not endorsing people like Russell Simmons or Stan Lathaan or Diddy to air out all that moves the young and unrested, but I can't be mad at the kid on national television who is spitting about being in school rather than on the street.
  • But once money becomes involved with art, like the old saying goes, the art is lost. But in all honesty, like what was done with different movements (i.e. BAM) there are ways to fight that as well, which is the combative side of a grassroots movement. A grassroots movement doesn't end on the dollar.
As for slam poetry and this "interesting" article in the Times, they are both in need of its color. Sure, the person who started slams was white (who was quoted the most in this article), a guy by the name of Marc Smith, but the origins of its style and poetics are Black. Let's be real. I want to dapper with this thought: an art with Black roots and a white guy making it a competition; does that in itself cry irony, especially in this article (that, by the way, does not have a Black source in it except for an old quote from Amiri Baraka on poetry) where he claims an art that he turns into a competition dead? Sit on that for a little bit...

For my music and art people, it's no secret the outlets are becoming commodified, but never will it die. It may change, it may integrate with the mainstream, it may divide within its own community, but as long as the roots are still implanted in society no art, no movement will ever die.

My List of the Top 5 Overly Sampled Songs in Hiphop Music - Jacked From HHC's Blog

What up hiphop heads!

So as I'm doing research for an upcoming activity for HHC, I'm noticing how there is nothing new under the sun, especially in the hiphop community. We can claim to be as original as we want to be, but hiphop has mastered taking something and making it our own. Especially in music. Our music has come from the most obscure, and yet the most popular music that was created before us, but we've managed to use it in order to enhance our message. Sometimes we use jazz songs, rock songs, or even classical.

So, as I'm looking up the classic music we've made I'm noticing some of these songs have the same samples as other songs I heard. I do more research and I found out I wasn't trippin at all - these are the same samples! Now, there's nothing wrong with that, it's that some of them have been on waaay too many hiphop songs. So, I present to all you hiphop heads on my list of overly used samples for hiphop music.

#5: Melvin Bliss - Synthetic Substitution (1973)

You can hear the beat of the drums that are played in the beginning of this song in a number of hiphop beats (about 90 songs to be approximately exact lol), including "DWYCK" by Gangstarr, "Ego Trippin" by Ultra Magnetic MCs, "Potholes in my Lawn" by De La Soul, "OPP" by Naughty by Nature, and a host of others. Although he is not among the most popular artists out of the 70s, Melvin Bliss packs a powerful message that hiphoppers try to spit now - don't be synthetic substitution, be real!

#4: Funky President - James Brown (1974)

Ever wondered why "Hip Hop Hooray" sounds a lot like "Eric B. for President"? Well, Naughty didn't swagger-jack Eric B. & Rakim, they both used this sample. Not only these two artists, but Pete Rock & CL Smooth (Da Two), LL Cool J (6 Minutes of Pleasure), A Tribe Called Quest (Oh My God), and Das Efx (They Want Efx). This sample was one of many samples used in Public Enemy's Fight the Power. To put a number on it, a little over 100 songs used this sample (and that's just the ones I know of)! But it was used beyond its drum beat, with the use of the James Brown lyrics and ad-libs in the hiphop songs as well (i.e. the "Hey!" and "Funky" he shouts in this song).

#3: The Honeydrippers - Impeach the President (1973)

Now remember Marley Marl's little announcement in "The Bridge" by MC Shan ("Ladies and gentlemen, we have... he just came from off tour and he would like to tell you about where he comes from")? He totally took that from The Honeydrippers, as well as the drums in the beginning of this song. This sample was hot in the 80s, being used by Audio Two in "Top Billin", Big Daddy Kane's "Smooth Operator" and "Put Your Weight On It", and into the 90s with NWA (Gangsta, Gangsta), Biggie (Unbelievable), and Wu-Tang (Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nothin to Fuck Wit). You hear this beat slowed down in MC Lyte's "10% Dis", or sped up in Nas's "I Can". All total, this song was used in over 100 songs! Now, the point of this song, if it wasn't stated enough for you in the title, was to rally Washington into impeaching the president who was Richard Nixon.

#2: Ohio Players - Funky Worm

I would argue this is the funkiest song I've heard... ever. I may be biased being that they came from down the street from my hometown (I'm from Springfield, they're from Dayton Ohio lol), but you can't say the synthesizer was used and abused in this song! This song became the sample for almost all gangsta rap songs. A song wasn't gangsta without the bells jingling and the synthesizer out of Funky Worm. It seemed like this song will make anybody go gangsta in an instance. You can hear this song in NWA "Dopeman" and "Gangsta, Gangsta", MC Breed "Ain't No Future in your Frontin", Kriss Kross "Jump", De La Soul "Me, Myself and I", Erick Sermon "The Ill Shit", and many more! It was beyond gangsta rap this sample was used (as you can see with Kriss Kross and De La Soul lol), with X-Clan's "Xodus", DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince "Boom! Shake the Room", and Montell Jordan's "Gotta Get My Roll On", which now brings Funky Worm out of the hiphop genre. The thing about Ohio Players is that they put a huge stamp in funk music with this song (it was their first number one hit), but also with their heavy horns and play on the drums (not to mention their album covers). I feel like listening to their stuff right now!

#1: James Brown - Funky Drummer

"Ain't it funky?" asked James Brown. Yes it is! But do you know what Dido, Nas, Milli Vanilli, and Public Enemy have in common? They all sampled this song! It is the break in this song that everyone, in some shape or form, used in their song. This was used in over 100 hiphop songs, as well as numerous pop and rock songs. Some artists took the exact break and looped it into their beat, whereas some artists copied the beat using their own instruments. These artists include Depeche Mode in "My Joy", Guy "I Like", Public Enemy "Fight the Power", Run-DMC "Run's House", LL Cool J "Mama Said Knock You Out", Daedelus "Light's Out", and N.W.A. "Fuck the Police" - a huge spectrum of musicians among the list of people who used this sample.

Now, I'm just posting a blog and I am not going to count how many songs have this sample (as well as Funky Worm) because it is waaay too many in that list. I'll let you decide whenever you hear a hiphop record/CD/tape/mp3/etc what other songs you hear. But as you pick up your jaw because of the info delivered in this post, I hope it makes you more aware of the music you listen to is no where near as original as the songs before its time. I will be a good blogger and leave you with a link to the playlist of everything I mentioned. I hope you enjoy!

Peace hiphoppers!

HHC-OU President

Top 5 Sampled Songs

So, You Come Here Often?

I figure I get this cracking the best way I can - the corniest way possible. The weirdest. The coolest. What can I say? After a million and one "yo, you should start a blog"'s I finally did it!

But let me tell you about this blog:

  1. This is NOT the spot where you can free music!!!! *all the time* Sorry, don't want to get caught up in that. I got a few friends who tried that and ended up never finding a bloghome... just traveling from site to site. Po' lil' tink-tink!
  2. This IS where you need to be to know about all the new music! I surf the web a lot, plus I'm freakin' sweet, so I constantly hear new music from those you love and those you hate. Those I love may not be those you love, and those you hate may not be those I hate, so we'll just find a common ground, drink, and be merry!
  3. This is NOT a rodeo show! If I don't like what I'm hearing you will be the first to know. I don't care who's hot, if their song sucks then it sucks. Not all music is good music, and not all hot celebs make hot music. Plain and simple.
  4. This is just for the music. I don't wish to be like TMZ or YBF and go into gossip or all that, I just want to talk about the music. You'll be lucky to get beefs out of me (because those aren't even real no more; real talk).
So, yeah, it's finals week and I need to get to my potential 5-page paper and put this on my twitter LOL

I'll probably post some old stuff to get those musical juices (eww) flowing, so look out for that soon.

'til then..................