Showing posts from 2005
Hypestyles' Top 25 Hip-Hop LPs
(circa 1980 – 1995)

In a recent Rolling Stone article, there was a feature with Chris Rock’s Top 25 hip-hop/rap albums of all time. For whatever reason, it inspired me to come up with my own.

I usually try to avoid ‘Top (fill in the blank)’ lists. For one thing, I’m usually at a lack for words to defend my choices other than to say "I just dig it". I’m not the best debater, and when it comes to my own personal tastes, I have little interest in trying to be. As the saying goes, I may not know art, but I know what I like. I’ve tried to select LPs where I’ve tended to listen to them all the way through, or at least 90%. I’ve also tried to keep things to one LP per artist, wherever possible, though a few double-entries may have slipped through. I’ve also put a specific time frame on the entries. Hip-hop’s ‘golden age’ varies from person to person. For my purposes, I’d place it from roughly ’84 to ’94, as my own tastes in hip-hop were pretty much c…
Rise of the Dirty South & are Hip-Hop 'Girl Groups' a Thing of the Past?

Watching this year’s Vibe Awards, I was reminded of something- I really don’t relate very well to the current generation of rappers and R&B singers.
Most of the rappers in attendance- Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Young Jeezy, Lil’ Wayne, etc., were from the south. After years of neglect, southern hip-hop can claim dominance over both coasts. It’s great that hip-hop’s regional diversity hasn’t stalled. Still, I can’t front, I really don’t buy much southern rap at all. As much as I love the now old-school Geto Boys, they’re almost the only southern rap act I’ve really latched on to over the years. Fellow southern rap pioneers 2 Live Crew had any number of street hits, but I never bought a record from them—but I do have a copy of Luke’s Uncle Luke CD that I literally found discarded on the streets. Out of all of Outkast’s LPs I only have Speakerboxx/Love Below. If Goodie Mob has a best-of set, I might cop th…
At Least it Didn't Happen during the Playoffs:

WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes just came out as a lesbian. Whoops, so much for dynamiting the stereotype about female athletes.

Her achievements speak for themselves. Several gold medals, WNBA team championships and individual awards. She's a great athlete, and God bless.. Hmm... I wonder will there be any backlash.. especially from the 'hood... Black communities have yet to publicly embrace any openly gay public figures (okay, E. Lynn Harris sells a lot of books, but it ain't the same thing as your kid's sports hero stepping up to a podium and saying she likes girls).

Obviously, up until now I'm sure she's done her share of charity appearances and participates in community service and any number of photo-ops. I wonder will the brakes be put on those endeavors. I notice she's got an ex-husband and child.. There's all this lingering hand-wringing over 'down-low' men.. and now....?!??!?

``Do I think …

egads... this is too surreal.. The white Sox are actually in the World Series.. and they're leading! It is not a dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary story.. as a former citizen of Northwest Indiana, the Sox and Cubs were the teams to root for-- partly because Indiana has no Major League baseball teams.. maybe a farm team or two.. Game 3 was FOURTEEN INNINGS, lasting over 5 hours... exhausting to watch, let alone play.. If the Sox win game 4 in Houston, it won't be the same as if they won in Comiskey-- er, US Cellular Field (how in the hell did that deal take place, anyway?).. All the same, i'll take a sweep regardless....So far, no crazily stupid stunts have happened, unlike Game 6 in the '03 playoffs when the overzealous Cubs fan tried to grab the foul ball and... well, sports heads know the rest.. Ozzie Guillen deserves major props as the manager, he should get manager of the Year.. Jermaine Dye should have his gear boost in sales …
Supporting Military Families
by Christopher 'HypeStyle' Currie
U.S. Military units have been spread across the globe in support of the War on Terror (whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or other countries) as well as many personnel engaged away from home in homeland security initiatives. Americans are looking for methods in which they can help out a military family while Mom or Dad is away. In particular, the families of reservists, who tend not to live near or on a military base, would be in need of assistance because they may not have the immediate support network that usually exists between families that are on military bases. Here are some things to consider if you decide to help a military family-
Be proactive with offers to help:
Call the family and say that you’d like to bring a dish for dinner, and suggest a date.
Offer to take the children for an outing.
Assisting in the care and well-being of children is usually a major help:
If you have children, offer to ‘swap’ kids one afternoo…
Michigan Senate Seat Up for Grabs in 2006

One of Michigan's two senators (both Dems), Debbie Stabenow, is up for re-election in '06.. the two primary GOP contenders include two pastors, one white, one black.. one's from Grand Rapids, michigan, the other from detroit.. Keith Butler, along with Andrew Merritt of Straight Gate, Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries, Glenn Plummer of Ambassadors for Christ Church & CTN TV ministries and Marvin Winans of Perfecting Church have been among G.W. Bush's strongest local supporters (both vocally and $$$) since Bush became the GOP frontrunner for prez in '99.. I've been to Butler's main church (he has like, 7 total) a couple times.. mostly to humor female friends (and no, I didn't get any).. huge place, seats 20,000 easily, but I guess typical for such mega-ministries.. almost like going to a basketball game.. guy has a curiously southern accent for s…
class continues, in Africana Studies: History of Work & African Americans.. Had a big debate in this class, concerning Madame CJ Walker & her cosmetics/beauty empire, and what it means/meant for black communities who participated in working for her and/or using her products. What did this mean, in comparison to American/White beauty standards? Did her entrepreneurship exacerbate self-image problems for African-Americans, or did it help to enhance self-image? Consider also the well-documented philanthropy of Ms. Walker.. Does that mitigate the 'issue', for those who think she represented a reinforcement of European-derived standards? Or does that even matter at all?

In class, things really got out of hand, as the discussion wavered from discussing the time frame of Mme. Walker, to discussing today's society, which is of course, still deeply affected by European derived standards of beauty, law & morality. The discussion went further to discuss rap music, and…
school daze, '05 style--

back to school at WSU this semester; taking a course in African-American History 1865 - Present: "The History of African-Americans & Work": more or less looking at the history of African-Americans within various industries that have come up since the end of the Civil War. Right now I'm reading On Her Own Ground, a biography of Madam C.J. Walker by her granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles. A very good read so far.

Looks as if the course is going to be reading-intensive, we'll be reading about a book every other week. Naturally; as if I didn't have enough things siphoning my money as it is. But, I guess that's just par for the course for your higher education: But-- $128 for 6 books? Egads! All the hustler-types out there need to leave the weed, crack, meth and heroin alone and start selling college textbooks! Stores are making a killing, and it's all legal, and the bad thing is, if the books you use are "unique" to yo…
Return of the Legends Part II--- September 3, 2005
Hey, I told you this was a two-night show, right?
If you missed part 1, it's right below this blog- go ahead, read that one first, I'll wait here 'til you get back:
hmm-hmm-hmm... (taps toes)..

Back already? Cool beans. So here we go:
Earlier that afternoon, I headed downtown to the annual International jazz festival- big chunks of downtown streets were blocked off, and several stages were set up between Compuware headquarters and Hart Plaza on the riverfront. Street vendors were set up along the lower Woodward strip (T-shirts, purses, jewelry, oils/incense, African art, etc.) and you had to buy tickets to get food from all the various food outlets selling stuff. Mingling around the festivities, unfortunately I missed the Ford Field Football Classic that’s been happening this past couple of years, finally bringing some HBCU football—and their bands—to Detroit.
Close to show time, I finally made my way down to Chene Park. It was …
Return of the legends, part 1:
Friday, September 2, 2005:

Well, alrighty then.. At last, the concert is here. As I was representing Northwest Indiana for the vast majority of my youth, I never really got the chance to see any hip-hop glitterati during the so-named Golden Age heyday of the Reagan/Bush pt. 1 era of performers (see the archives- So when these 'Return of the Legends' showcases started up last year, I was definitely down. Last year, the two-night lineup included Slick Rick, SugarHill Gang & Melle Mel, Special Ed, Nice & Smooth, & more.

This time, there were over 10,000 people packed in at Chene Park, just east of downtown Detroit, situated on the Detroit riverfront. Boat owners set anchor near the outdoor amphitheater and got to see the show for free.
The first act started promptly at 8:10 p.m., as MC Serch served as the host, introducing all the artists, and providing a run…
Make Politicians Pay Attention:

a sample letter that i've been emailing to various elected officials, those near me as well as national-- every little bit helps. a lot of these folks are running for re-election circa '06, so keep that in mind:

To whom it may concern:

I would like the federal (regional, local) relief efforts to be steppedup to help New Orleans and the other areas affected by the disaster:

Some suggestions-
For transportation-- appeal to corporations-- get bus companies like greyhound, trailways, etc., to donate buses for evacuations. similar things can be done: charter moving groups like U-Haul, etc. at the various temporary shelter sites, donated food can come from restaurants and food distribution services. All these companies can get tax credit for their donated resources.

The Army, Navy, and Marines should be brought in tohelp get people out. Military helicopters can be usedto lift people in groups, and Navy and Coast Guard ships can be used to transport pe…
Disaster for the South-
Hurricane Katrina has devastated a big stretch of the U.S. Gulf Coast. Louisiana. Mississippi. Alabama. Even northwest Florida. By now, over 80% of New Orleans is underwater. Thousands are feared dead throughout the path of the storm. Cities are in states of chaos; water engulfing entire homes and neighborhoods. Clean water, toilet facilities are at minimum. Power is out most places. The bottom-feeding frenzy has already started, with some desperate folks turning to violent means to get what they want. I can empathize with most of those who are scrounging to get sustenance and shelter. Seeing folks grabbing food, drink, basic clothing, blankets, etc. is one thing—a TV set or car rims is another—where the hell are you gonna plug in the TV? What the hell are you gonna put those rims on? A bicycle? You’re flooded out, your neighbor’s flooded out, too. So even in the midst of this great disaster, some folks have their priorities twisted, by some unseen force.
Just lo…
My review of the Power to the People & the Beats release from Public Enemy-

Artist: Public Enemy
Title: Power to the People & the Beats: Public Enemy’s Greatest Hits
Label: Def Jam/Universal
Release Date: 8/2/05
Behind Enemy Lines: Public Enemy’s Best of LP shines.
By Christopher 'HypeStyle' Currie
Power to the People & the Beats: Public Enemy’s Greatest Hits arrives in stores over a decade after the band’s zenith, but perhaps there was no better time than this for it to come out. What can be said that hasn’t already been said about arguably hip-hop’s most influential band? Well, first of all, this isn’t the first best-of PE set to hit American shores. The first was part of Universal Music Group’s ongoing 20th Century Masters series, in 2001. Designed as a budget-minded sampler of various artists’ work, it was a nice attempt, but far from comprehensive. Entire albums were overlooked, and several key singles were bypassed in favor of lesser album cuts. Power to the People…