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March 2009

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cornell_scream1Chris Cornell is getting a lot of heat lately. Longtime fans of the Audioslave and Soundgarden singer were quite vocal about the news of his latest solo album attempt, Scream. When news broke that it would not be a rock album and that hip hop uber-producer Timbaland would be producing it, the fans revolted. Many claimed it could be the worst thing he could ever do and bashed Cornell and Timbaland to no end. I understand where they are coming from. An album produced by a hip hop producer probably isn’t going to sit well with fans of hard rock. I was even a bit leery of the collaboration because I love Audioslave. I’ll tell you what though, yesterday I bought it and I love it. I know it won’t appease all the fans who only listen to hard rock and detest everything not hard rock, but Cornell didn’t make this album for them. I applaud him for branching out and testing new waters, quite successfully I might add.

Chris Cornell has a unique voice. There is no other singer that sounds like him and he sounded great with both Soundgarden and Audioslave. I did wonder about the sound of the music that him and Timbaland would come up with. I was scared that it would be a rock-hop fusion that we heard so often in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. But it’s not rock. It’s not hip hop. The tracks on the album are funky and electric with a hint of pop. It’s something completely different from what Cornell and Timbaland usually do. Cornell’s voice over Timbaland’s production fits a lot better than anyone would have thought. This simple fact shows how great singer Cornell is and how talented of a producer Timbaland is. If you are looking for something unique, with great production and the unmistakable soulful voice of Chris Cornell, I suggest you purchase his album Scream.

I’ve not blogged about politics for a while, mostly because I’ve been burnt out on the subject since the election. I get this way after every national election and can’t write about politics for a long time after. Lately, there have been things that have been bugging me though, so I’m going to go on a little rant.

Republicans
Republicans need to grow up. I’m so sick of them publicly announcing that they want President Obama to fail. Seriously. How patriotic is that? That is disgusting. You may not agree with the guy’s policies, but he’s doing what he thinks is best for America and by wishing he fails you are wishing that America fails. Rush Limbaugh needs to shut the hell up (so does Ann Coulter) and the Republicans actually need to reach out to the other side. The Dems and Obama have reached out numerous times (even when I wish they hadn’t) but each and every time the hand comes across the aisle the Republicans slap it. It’s no wonder that the polls are showing that people have a more favorable opinion of the Dems than the Republicans.

Democrats

Grow up. You are also having problems. Pay your taxes. Don’t show up to the big dance with the hot date and then brag the entire time. Yeah, you have reached across the aisle, but you have done it with a bit of smugness that you don’t really need. I know, I know, the Republicans were like that when they were in power. But they aren’t anymore. There’s a reason for that. Don’t get to cocky.

President Obama
Mr. President, you’re making some great speeches and getting some things done, but I do have some issues with you. Stop being so eager to get support from Republicans. They are just going to burn you. You’ve gotten a little better lately with not caring what the Republicans think. You even reversed Bush’s policy on funding for stem cell research, which is a definite “F You” to most Republicans, and that’s good. Play hardball with them, especially when they aren’t doing anything to give you support and are publicly bashing everything you (and your wife) does. They aren’t the only ones you need to play hardball with though. Start playing hardball with Wall Street. It is time to say no more. Giving them more and more money isn’t going to help. They will keep asking for more and more. Instead, stop giving to Wall Street and give to the people. How about a stimulus check please? Hell, you give me $600-$800, I know I’m going to spend that a lot more wisely than Wall Street bankers. I’ll do something to stimulate the economy of real people. Not the economy of corporate jets and retirement packages.

That’s all I got. It’s a scary time right now and I’m sick of all the right-wing rhetoric being blasted my Limbaugh, Coulter, CNBC, and anyone else who wants to see the President fail. At least when Bush was in office we didn’t want to see him fail (we knew in the back of our minds that his policies would anyway).

This weekend I’m going to be moving to an apartment at Highway 94 and Jung Station Rd. It’s actually the same apartment complex that my sister and bro-in-law lived in when they first got married. It is right next door to Parrot’s Bar and Grill, which could be dangerous. Not since college have I lived within walking distance of a bar. I’m not looking forward to the actual move, but I’m looking forward to living in the new place.

One thing that will take some getting used to is changing routines. I’m very much a routine guy. I go to the same places, do the same things, shop at the same stores. Of course, I could still go to the normal places and stores, but that means I would be driving much further. Now I have to get used to going to new places. I’m not that big a fan of change. I’ll get used to it. Anyway, if you’re in the neighborhood, give me a call and swing on by.

I’ve talked a bit about the history of hip hop music and how it quickly evolved into a profitable form of music, but no other company was able to capitalize on hip hop like Def Jam Records, and no other person could have done it like Russell Simmons.

In 1984, Simmons candidly told Gary Harris, a former Def Jam executive, “I’m sick of making people rich. I want to own my own shit, my own record label, my own movie company.” 1 It was this mentality that drove Simmons to find Rick Rubin. When Simmons found Rubin, he was surprised to find a white kid, but then “realized that Rick Rubin and I had a lot in common.” 2 Simmons decided to ask Rubin to co-produce an album by RUN-D.M.C., a group that Simmons was working with that also included his brother, Joseph Simmons. RUN-D.M.C. were probably the most popular and successful hip hop act of the time, but that did not mean they garnered much chart success. It wasn’t until Rick Rubin convinced the boys of RUN-D.M.C. to collaborate on a song with Aerosmith. The result was “Walk this Way,” which became the first rap record to appear in heavy rotation on MTV. By this time, Simmons knew he did the right thing in pairing up with Rubin, even though Simmons had been working with the group prior to meeting Rubin, and the group was never signed to Def Jam. His mind was made up, and with visions of success in his eyes, he went to create Def Jam Records with Rubin, using the signature name and logo that Rubin had come up with for the T. La Rock & Jazzy J record.

  1. The Men Behind Def Jam
  2. Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money + God