Tag Archives: Rick Ross

Stand Your Ground. Music is the weapon.

pharoahe monch stand your ground

Once again, I’ve decided to break protocol and talk about something that will invariably make a few people uncomfortable.

Trayvon Martin.

On the eve of the one month anniversary of the verdict, I’m not going to go on a tirade about how wrong the verdict was.

Or was not – based on where you come down on the issue.

But I am going to say that I place the blame for the fact that we’re even having this collective qualm of conscience squarely at the feet of George Zimmerman.

His recorded 911 calls let us know unequivocally that he actively sought out the encounter that resulted in Trayvon Martin’s death.

Regardless of whether Florida’s laws gave him the right to shoot to kill, if he had stayed in his car, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

But since he did, we’re are.

And I’m sure some of your are cringing, right now.

What may be a few lingering moments of discomfort for you, is an inescapable part of the Black experience.

Get over it.

Don’t worry though, I’m not going to make you suffer for long.

Because I’m not here to talk about the child killer.

That’s depressing.

I want to talk about something more uplifting and positive: the various tribute songs that have sprung up in the wake of this incident.

By far, my favorite is “Stand Your Ground,” this rough by Pharoahe Monch.

“Stand Your Ground” is a protest song which flips Florida’s ‘self-defense’ concept on its ear.

Pharoahe isn’t the only artist to feel away about the Zimmerman verdict.

Rick Ross expresses his outrage in “I Wonder Why,” when he says, “Now I’m being followed by this creepy ass cracker.”

Creepy ass cracker indeed.

Skip to 2:19 to hear the reference, if you’re not a Rick Ross fan.

Young Jeezy adds his “It’s A Cold World” tribute track to the mix.

And Wyclef Jean’s “Justice (If You’re 17)” puts the now notorious neighborhood watch captain on full blast.

This little curated collection is by no means all that there is.

Numerous artists have released their own personal tributes for Trayvon, some of which are a lot less veiled with their feelings about Zimmerman and the verdict.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno performance by Talib Kweli, Nelly and Abbey Dobson, gives those who are having a hard time understanding why people of color are so angry (about the verdict) visual aid.

All I can say is that while Zimmerman got away with murder, he will forever be memorialized, in song, as the coward he is.

Music is the weapon.

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Will the real B.I.G. please stand up? Big Sean, sit down.

Show some respect Lil’ Sean!

I can’t stand posers.

You know, folks who claim that they’re the original, but are really some half-baked facsimile.

And there are loads of posers in the rap game.

You can tick off the numerous rappers, whose names are attributable to real cats.

50 Cent.


Jim Jones.

Rick Ross.

Typically, rappers use the name of some ill gangster as their rap nom de plume or alias, thereby channeling the street cred of their alter ego.

It’s deeper than this, but you get the picture.

There’s one, though, that really gets my goat.

‘Big’ Sean.

I heard this song recently, which starts off “B-I-G”, which everyone knows was the signature call-out of the Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Small aka Biggie aka B.I.G.

Now this 24 year old rapper from San Francisco is running around, referring to himself as B.I.G.

And taking issue whenever he’s called out on it.

Umm…dude, there was already a B.I.G., what are you tripping about?

You were like six when Ready To Die dropped.

You could barely scrawl your name when it was certified platinum.

And now, all of a sudden because people on your ‘block’ know you as B.I.G., we’re supposed to give you a pass?

I don’t think so.

It would be one thing if he acknowledged his predecessor, and gave Biggie his just due.

But this snotty nosed kid acts as if anyone who questions his use of the (much more famous, talented and prolific) rapper’s name is some sort of insult.

Listen here, young man.

You just got into the game.

You barely have chest hair on that bird chest.

Can we call you Big ‘Bird-Chest’ Sean?

And at 5′ 7″, calling yourself ‘big’ is somewhat of a stretch, wouldn’t you say?

Even if the rumors of your large johnson are true, naming yourself ‘big’ because of it smacks of insecurity.

Maybe you’re just overcompensating because of your Lilliputian size.

Or perhaps you simply wanted to differentiate yourself from other vertically challenged rappers, who embrace their short stature by using the ‘lil’ moniker in their names: Lil Wayne, Lil Bow Wow, Lil’ Cease, Lil Flip, etc.

If that’s the case, it’s all good.

But there are loads of rappers who call themselves Big <fill in rapper’s name here>, that don’t refer to themselves as “B.I.G.”: Big Boi, Big Pun, Big L, Big Daddy Kane, Big Mike, etc.

These cats (who all precede you) haven’t felt like they could use B.I.G. legitimately.

I would think that you’d want to strike out and create your own identity, rather than ride on someone else’s popularity.

For all that, why don’t you just yell out ‘Yeaaahhhhhhh boooyyyeeeee!” like Flavor Flave?

But that’s just me.

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Made In America (the movie). How agencies, brands and hip hop are a formula for success

Photo Credit: RocNation.com

I just read an article  in AdAge, about Budweiser, Translation and Jay Z partnering up to produce a movie.

My first reaction was “that shit is sick!” (sick=great for my linguistically slang challenged readers).

What’s so sick about it, for one, are the straight macks behind it: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Steve Stout, Jay Z – all titans of their respective fields.

But what’s even sicker is that Budweiser (aka deeeeep pockets) is the driving force behind it.

Who would have thought that combining a beverage brand, an advertising and a hip hop mogul would have made such perfect sense?

Me.  Been trying to do it for years.

But I digress.

Mind you, this is not the first time this combination has come together.

Master of the Mix, the reality show on Centric, was a combined effort of Smirnoff/Diageo (brand), GTM (an Atlanta-based PR/creative agency), Just Blaze and Kid Capri (hip hop).

Smirnoff/Diageo bankrolled the production of the series, which successfully married liquor, celebrity and hip hop in what has become a flagship show for the network.

But there’s a marked difference between a television show on a minor network (don’t be mad Centric, but you’re not BET, which isn’t Viacom) and a feature length film with national/international distribution.

And while Kid Capri, Just Blaze, Biz Markie, and the host of DJs that were contestants on the show, made it one of the most highly rated shows in Centric/BET’s history, it really pales in comparison to Budweiser’s planned effort with Jay Z.

The movie will focus on two days of the Budweiser Made In America concert festival, in mid-September, when Jay Z and 25 hip hop and electronic music artists hit the stage.

In addition to Jay Z, the line-up includes Drake, Rick Ross, Wale, Janelle Monae, and Jill Scott.

You’ve probably already seen the ads featuring Jay Z, promoting the event.

And with the sheer star power of the backers and participants, it’s sure to be a blockbuster.

But it’s also probably going to be a serious piece or art, as well.

There’s talk about submitting the film to festivals, and Ron Howard ain’t no slouch, so I’m very interested to see what the narrative of the movie will ultimately be.

I can already see the film taking on a Decoded type of feel, with Jay Z narrating the lead-up to the event, and the cameras following him, and the various players as they make their way to and from the stage.

I wonder if they’re going to produce an app for it like they did for Decoded.

Steve Stout, get at me! I’m your guy if you want to talk integrated mobile strategy.

I’m definitely keeping an eye out for this, and will update you with anything I learn about it as it comes together.

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Life Is Good. So is Nas’ latest album.


I just downloaded Nas’ latest album, Life Is Good, from iTunes, and I feel like I’ve been transported back to 1988.

I’ve listened to six tracks, and everything feels so…nostalgic.

Nas is by far one of the most prolific artists in the game.

Despite being a veteran, Nas has stayed relevant by continually elevating rap as an art form.

But Life Is Good, feels more like a throwback album.

The tracks, samples and even some of the features, harken back to the original Nas.

My favorite track so far…in fact, the reason I even copped the album…is A Queens Story.

Put your glass high if you made it out the stash spot
And here to tell your story and celebrate the glory
Drink in the air for my niggas not here
This is for fallen soldiers
Hold it down, I told ya
Pop another bottle and keep the smoke rollin’

Back in the day (did I just say that?) rap had this pulse.

There was a feeling that seemed to resonate in the music that I don’t really feel in rap music these days.

It’s not to say that music nowadays (nowadays?) doesn’t have feeling.

I’m not an old head by any means.

I appreciate the music being made by today’s rappers.

But a lot of it is so homogeneous that I don’t know sometimes if I’m listening to Weezy or Drake or some other similar sounding artist.

But Life Is Good is a marked departure from what you’re used to hearing on the radio.

Tracks like Cherry Wine (from which the album takes its title), featuring Amy Winehouse, Daughters and Bye Baby, showcase Nas’ depth, as he tackles subject matters like love, parenting, and lost love.

And with features from Mary J. Blige, Rick Ross and The Large Professor, Life Is Good has something for both old school hip hop aficionados (like myself) and new jacks alike.

So if you haven’t picked up Nas’ album yet, I suggest you do.

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I’ll admit it…I’m ghetto (fabulous)!

So I’m in my car, listening to the radio heading to an appointment, when a Lil’ Wayne song comes on.

I turn it up, as I oft do when I hear anything I like from Weezy.

‘Turn it up’ is a genteel way of saying I crank it.

Before you know it, I’m driving on 280 with Rick Ross and Lil Wayne screaming out of the windows of my white Benz.

Sunglasses on.

Dreads whipping around my face.

…And AK47 is my f*cking address….

To be honest, reggae is my favorite genre, but I’ve always had an affinity for hip hop.

But it’s only recently (during that ride, in fact) that I realized how enamored with it I actually was.

You see, I failed to mention that on the aforementioned trip, I had one of the kids in the car.

Typically, my radio-cranking of ghetto anthems only takes place when I ride alone.

I’m not really trying to have my kids listening to some of the ignorant misogynistic lyrics rappers push these days.

But when I’m alone, I can rock out unfiltered.

So, when I finally come to, and remember that I’m not alone, I turn the volume down and start flipping through the stations to find something a little more…appropriate.

But then my son, Fuji, hits me with ‘Daddy no!’

Mind you, Fuji is only two, but he was clearly not checking for daddy changing the station from Weezy.

So I turned it back…and turned it up.

I’m not a star, somebody lied…

I got a chopper in the car.

I got a chopper in the car.

I got a chopper in the car.

Even though he’s only got a few words in his vocabulary, I’m pretty sure I heard Fuji say, he too, had a chopper in the car.

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