Kanye West for Mayor?

God, I hope not.

Ben Shepard has launched the “Kanye 4 Mayor” campaign. The initiative includes a website, Kanye4Mayor.org, that features several pages of explanations on why Ye would be the best successor to Chicago’s current leader Rahm Emanuel. Shepard believes “Mayor West could lead a movement to make it the best city in the world.”

In open letter to Kanye, Shepard points out four main issues he feels the citizens of Chicago need addressing by a new administration: failing schools, a sub par transportation system, excessive shootings, and an undemocratic police force.

If Kanye ever becomes mayor of anything it will mark the fall of America.

Jurassic 5 release new song and video

It’s been 8 years since one of the best groups in hip hop called in quits, but Jurassic 5 is back… sort of. They recently released a new song and video in preparation for their first US tour in 8 years. The song is entitled The Way We Do It and was produced by the late Heavy D. Watch the video below.

Dueling Good Days

As an amateur historian and hip hop aficionado, I found the research of what day in history is actually Ice Cube’s “Good Day” fascinating. Murk Avenue breaks down the clues of Ice Cube’s It Was a Good Day to pinpoint the day.

CLUE 1:
“went to short dogs house, they was watching Yo MTV RAPS”
Yo MTV RAPS first aired:
Aug 6th 1988

CLUE 2:
Ice Cubes single “today was a good day” released on:
Feb 23 1993

CLUE 3:
”The Lakers beat the Super Sonics”
Dates between Yo MTV Raps air date AUGUST 6 1988 and the release of the single FEBRUARY 23 1993 where the Lakers beat the Super Sonics:
Nov 11 1988    114-103
Nov 30 1988    110-106
Apr    4 1989    115-97
Apr  23 1989    121-117
Jan  17 1990    100-90
Feb  28 1990    112-107
Mar  25 1990    116-94
Apr  17  1990    102-101
Jan  18  1991    105-96
Mar  24  1991    113-96
Apr  21  1991    103-100
Jan  20  1992    116-110

CLUE 4:
Dates of those Laker wins over SuperSonics where it was a clear day with no Smog:
Nov 30 1988
Apr   4  1989
Jan 18  1991
Jan 20  1992

CLUE 5:
“Got a beep from Kim, and she can fuck all night”
beepers weren’t adopted by mobile phone companies until the 1990s. Dates left where mobile beepers were availible to public:
Jan 18 1991
Jan 20 1992

CLUE 6:
Ice Cube starred in the film “Boyz in the hood” that released late Summer of 1991, but was being filmed mid-late 1990 early 1991 and Ice Cube was busy on set filming the movie Jan 18 1991 too busy to be lounging around the streets with no plans. Ladies and Gentlemen..

The ONLY day where:
Yo MTV Raps was on air
It was a clear and smogless day
Beepers were commercially sold
Lakers beat the SuperSonics
and Ice Cube had no events to attend was…

JANUARY 20 1992
National Good Day Day

Of course, it’s not that easy. Someone else has already set to disprove the day of January 20, 1992 as being the Good Day. 

Blue Scholars Sign to the People

blue scholars

One of my favorite underground hip hop groups over the past couple of years has been Seattle-based Blue Scholars. If you don’t know much about them, they are a duo comprised of producer/DJ Sabzi and MC Geologic. They produce really good socially conscious hip hop. Some of the themes that appear throughout their albums and EPs include struggles between socioeconomic classes, challenging authority and youth empowerment. Recently they announced that their forthcoming album, Cinemetropolis, would forgo a traditional record label release. Instead, they are signing to “the people.”

After weighing all options for the release of our third full-length studio album, Cinemetropolis, we’ve decided to forego all traditional channels and return to the independent approach that made Blue Scholars who we are. No record label. No marketing and distribution deal. No middlemen. No bullsh*t.

Instead, we’re going to sign a deal with the people. Specifically, you.

An industry-standard release leaves very little to the imagination or creative diversion. A set amount of singles, videos, and a tour, constantly negotiated by a contract that dictates the “life cycle” of an album. Thing is, Cinemetropolis is our most ambitious release yet, and we don’t want to stick to the script.

Our philosophy has always been to create our music and our media with creative freedom while still being able to sustain and grow ourselves. And at this point, we don’t believe that the tired music industrial model is necessary for people to pick up what we’re putting down. We don’t need to compromise our vision by ascribing to the “deal.” We believe the power of word-of-mouth far more than industry-induced hype, recognizing that it’s been the support of our fans and not what we’ve signed that have gotten us where we are.

With your support, we’ll be able to release Cinemetropolis to you directly. Those who pledge in this campaign will receive the digital album weeks before it’s actually released in June, and will get special exclusive-to-Kickstarter swag, not to mention be the first people to find out about when our Cinemetropolis singles, videos, and merch gets released.

Check out their Kickstarter video.

So, they group has created a Kickstarter page. Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. The premise is simple, donate money and receive stuff. What you receive from Blue Scholars depends on how much you donate. You can see the different levels here. Blue Scholars is definitely one of the most creative groups out there. You should kick in a few bucks and help them out. When you think about it, you’d be spending $10 for their album on iTunes anyway. Why not send it directly to them and get the album for free before it’s released? Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Personally, I’m glad to see more and more musicians using Kickstarter. It definitely helps show that their music is appreciated and allows the musician to cut out middle men and release directly to the fans that support them.

Kno, Kokayi, and Bop Alloy

This is probably the oddest post title on my site. For those who don’t know what it means, they are the names of the artists behind three of the best albums of the year. In a time where it seems really good music is hard to come by, I consider myself blessed to come across three awesome albums that all came out within just a few months of each other. I almost experienced music overload. What makes these albums even better is that they are nothing alike. For those who say all hip hop sounds the same, I challenge you to listen to these three albums and tell me that afterwards. There is something for everyone on this list. I’m not going to give detailed reviews of the albums, I just want to talk about why they are great and why you should buy them. First up is Kno’s Death is Silent.

For those unfamiliar with the name Kno, you might recognize him as the excellent producer behind the group CunninLynguists. Kno has largely stayed absent from the mic on the last couple CunninLynguists albums choosing to hone his production skills to near perfect quality. Death is Silent finds Kno’s trademarked sample-heavy production painting a dark backdrop over the best lyrics we’ve heard from him to date. The only problem with the album is that sometimes the rapping doesn’t live up to the excellent composition behind it. Also, this is a much darker album from what we’ve previously heard from CunninLynguists, so be prepared to get sucked in to a dark place (which isn’t a bad thing as you feel like you’re part of a really good story). I really can’t describe what this album is, other than close to being perfect. This is one of those albums that you can turn off the lights and listen from beginning to end over and over and over. Each time you listen you pick up on something new. It’s an experience that will never end. Make sure you pick up this album now.

The next album is from QN5 newcomer Kokayi. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of Kokayi before his signing to QN5. He was nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in the 51st Annual Grammys, but I’ve not watched the Grammys in years (and really don’t intend on starting again). He joined QN5 in April of 2009 and I’ve been waiting to hear something from him ever since. Was the wait worth it? Yes! Kokayi’s Robots & Dinosaurs is undeniably one of my favorite albums to come out in years. What sets it apart from other hip hop albums is that Kokayi is able to meld genres to make an amalgam of good music. He’s hip hop, he’s rock, he’s soul. This album contains something for everyone. If you are a fan of good music, you will love this album. Best of all, you can order a Paleo-Pack of his album that includes a bunch of goodies to go with the fantastic music or you can listen and purchase the digital album here.

The last album on my list is a side project from Substantial. The album is called Substantial & Marcus D are Bop Alloy. The album can easily be defined as Jazz Hop. It is a great album utilizing the smooth flows of Substantial on top of excellent Jazz production by Marcus D. This is one of those albums that you can sit back and listen and get lost in the music. You would think this duo would have been making music together for years, but that’s not true. This is their first album together and if all their music together is this good I hope there will be many more albums in the years to come. Not to say anything bad about Substantial’s previous works because they are all good, but I think this is his best to date. He has definitely evolved as an emcee and this album shows it. If you’re a fan of Jazz and a fan of hip hop, make sure you support the artists and buy their album.

Songs of the Week: Great Lyrics Edition

Even though this is far from weekly, I’m going to post not one, not two, but three songs of the week. These songs aren’t exactly new. In fact, they are several years old. They are fantastic tracks though, all by the hip hop group Binary Star. Binary Star was an alternative hip hop group formed in 1998 that was composed of One Be Lo and Senim Silla. Unfortunately this duo no longer exists, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t put out some great songs during their short stint together. These three songs come from the album Masters of the Universe (or Waterworld for those familiar with their Binary Star history). This album is considered a classic by many underground fans and brings socially-concious rap with great beats.

The first track is called Slang Blade and is comprised almost entirely of different slang words and phrases. There’s some good word play in this track.

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The next track is called New Hip Hop. Again, there’s some really great word play and metaphors throughout this track.

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This last song, Honest Expression, is about honestly expressing yourself and criticizes pop rap and rappers that make music for money and not for the love of music.

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All three of these tracks include some great lyrics and wordplay from the two MC’s. I’ve followed their solo careers since the breakup of the group, but nothing can compare to when they were together.