I’m not one to get all preachy about politics, but I just read this piece in the New Yorker and I am really heated. Death penalty supporters can no longer argue the infallibility of our legal system, as all evidence points to the innocence of Cameron Todd Willingham (pictured above) in the crime for which he was executedby the state of Texas in 2004.
What country are we living in, people? This man spent 12 years on death row for killing his children, and when evidence surfaced exonerating him of any wrongdoing, the very people charged with safeguarding the system chose not to listen.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so ashamed to call myself an American (and believe me, I’ve been pretty ashamed.)
Last week I hit up San Francisco’s oldest independent music store and did a little shopping/politicking with the store’s cool-as-fuck owner. Creative Music Emporium is a goldmine for Jazz/Blues/Gospel as well as underground Bay Area rap, but it doesn’t have a lot in the way of used CDs. That said, I managed to scoop up Cormega’s The True Meaning and EPMD’s latest joint, both used, for five bucks each. As good as both these albums are, the best things I purchased that day were two still-wrapped, classic cassette singles: DJ Quik’s “Jus Lyke Compton” and Wu-Tang’s “Protect Ya Neck.” You know those shits are on display in my room beneath my parents’ house swagged-out bachelor’s apartment. But I digress.
After leaving the store I came home, smoked a bowl, and threw on the Mega album, which by the way is a front-to-back banger. Read the rest of this entry »
Caught this over at The Bay Is Back. This is definitely one of the biggest Bay Area videos to come out in a minute. Nicky’s there in the flesh, and there’s also a gang of other cameos from (former Mob Figaz) Husalah, A.P. 9 and Fed-Ex, as well as fellow Baydestrians Laroo, E-40, and (on the grill, of course) Young Cellski. Really this should have come out months ago in anticipation of Tear Gas, but it’s still nice to see. I’m feeling the Bay unity on display, and Nickatina’s suit-vest looks clean as hell (he must be hot, though!) Also The Jacka laughs at the end, which is crazy considering I’ve never even seen him smile. All in all this is the best Bay Area vid I’ve seen since probably 40’s “Got Rich Twice.” Let’s hope the trend continues.
With the internet fast becoming the main medium for watching music videos, rappers no longer have to worry much about censoring their clips for primetime. In fact, it’s now common for artists—particularly those in the underground—to create videos that purposely flaunt the restrictions imposed by MTV and BET, thus garnering points on the internet for the “realness” of their clips. A couple recent examples that come to mind are “Bullet, Bullet” by BK’s Uncle Murda (whose apparent indifference to the loss of human life reaches outright comic extremes) and Atlanta rapper Pill’s “Trap Goin’ Ham“—a sort of Citizen Kane for the reverse-elitist rap blogger set. However, leave it to San Francisco’s Messy Marv to make a video far more menacing than the aforementioned, despite a complete absence of guns, bodies, or—in Pill’s case—real-life crackheads smoking rocks.
So what does Marv do? He rides public transportation. That’s right—Muni buses, BART, and even the city’s famed Cable Car. There’s something about it that just seems gangster as fuck, because Mess comes off as a hustler just struggling to survive. Which, if you think about it, is far more menacing than someone bragging about all their drug money. A rich hustler pushing a Benz is going to be think twice before risking his future over some bullshit, but a gangster that still rides the bus? That’s the dude to watch out for, ’cause he’s got far less to lose. Shot in 2003, “World is a Ghetto” exemplifies the Bay Area tradition of doing more with less. There’s no girls, no ice, no money, and (most glaringly) no cars—and yet the clip is hard as fuck and very effective at conveying the song’s message. Meanwhile the beat is typical low-budget mobb shit, the kind of track Messy always kills. Shit is damn near terrifying in its cheapness, as well as it’s sonic “middle finger” to anyone outside the Bay. Underground Bay Area production has got to be the most menacing in the game: it’s the only style I know of that sounds like the producers would fuck you up.
Today is the first day of school, so for all the youngn’s out there I thought I’d post this classic PSA. “Beats By The Bay Presents: Stay in School” joins together some of the biggest rappers in the Bay Area (and a few I’ve never heard of) for a decidedly conflicted public service announcement. The message coming from a few of these rappers is clearly “Don’t be like me. You know—the ice, the cars, the girls, the life….you don’t want it. STAY IN SCHOOL.” Granted some of these dudes made it through high school (I know 40 even did a couple years of college) but others definitely gave school the middle finger (and, it could be argued, are currently getting paper because of it.) Mugzi makes a good point, though: if you’re gonna get a record deal, you better know how to read the contract (no looking at it once and then putting your “X” on the bottom!)
Best part of the video has to be when Cellski’s intimidating ass just pops out of nowhere. So weird to hear him saying something positive. Same goes for The Jacka, who has probably the best line of the whole song: “Don’t admire thieves ’cause we don’t admire you.” Way to keep it 100 with them kids, Jack! I hope they can handle the truth!