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Showing posts from April, 2010
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IN MEMORIAM: KEITH 'GURU' ELAM



Rap musician Keith ‘Guru’ Elam has died (born July 17, 1961). Long considered an elder statesman of hip-hop music, Guru was a founding member of the hip-hop group Gang Starr (above right, started in the 1980s), as well as having had a parallel solo career of importance from the 1990s forward. According to a recent article by his brother, Elam was 48 years old, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse who veered into rap music where other family members became attorneys or joined academia.

As a lyricist, Guru joined contemporary ‘street intellectuals’ of hip hop, delivering a mixture of MC battle-aggression on certain songs as well as thoughtful moral observations on the contemporary music industry and social conditions in the inner-cities of America . On his solo albums, Guru eased off of cursing and invited an assortment of veteran and contemporary musicians to collaborate on his Jazzmatazz offerings. Some of the collaborators include…
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WWJB? (What Would Jesus Blog?)

On the Afro-Punk website message board (I think my link to the right still works), someone started a discussion on contemporary religious practices in the USA and the views towards non-mainstream faith practices. At some point, this author chimed in regarding his general preference for a more liberal-leaning faith community. The poster Something Else wanted me to elaborate on this angle. And so:

In short, I'd define such a community as one where, philosophically, it is not inordinately focused on dogma.. Pragmatically speaking, this would be a place where, for example, gay folk are not called out for being part of the "reason" why there is suffering in the world/USA; where Intellectual honesty is uplifted rather than baseless rumormongering, i.e., Obama is a closet muslim & Marxist-style socialist/communist. This would be a community of folks who genuinely look to the examples of Jesus in the Gospels (reaching out to the sick, outcasts, f…
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TRIBUTE: MALCOLM MCLAREN, 1946 - 2010



Malcolm McLaren, a British-born music industry impresario, has just died, as documented in the New York Times- http://tinyurl.com/yhlyffh.

In mainstream pop culture, McLaren is most famous (or infamous?) for his managing and promotion of the pioneering Sex Pistols punk-rock band during their meteoric rise and fall during the 1970's. At the beginning of the Reagan era, however, he found himself dabbling in another underground music culture with roots in New York City--hip-hop.

The CD Buffalo Gals: Back to Skool compiles virtually all of the hip-hop related recordings that McClaren had a hand in producing, primarily with the World Famous Supreme Team: According to McLaren, they were a duo of part-time 3-card-Monte hustlers who caught his attention in Times Square, who happened to also host a community-access radio show in New York City where they showcased early hip-hop records, and eventually their collaborations with McLaren.

"Buffalo Girls&q…
GETTIN' JANKY WIT' IT

Janky Promoters” is the latest gleefully low-brow buddy comedy pairing Ice Cube and Mike Epps. Here, the duo star as a pair of improbably incompetent concert promoters. Russell Redds (Cube) and Jellyroll (Epps) have just struck a deal with popular hip-hop artist Young Jeezy (playing himself), and have less than 24 hours to finalize the logistics, despite the fact that they have less than $1,000 between them.

Thus begins a series of increasingly grating misadventures, as Russell and Jellyroll seek to con their way into having a successful show. The filmmakers could have made the lead characters more likeable, despite their slacker status. As it stands, despite the efforts of Cube and Epps, Russell and Jellyroll mainly come across as boorish clowns that you want to fail—Russell steals his fiancĂ©e’s checkbook to pay his share of the concert costs, and Jellyroll brags to a reality-TV crew that he’s sleeping with a married woman (Character actors Tamala Jon…