Jack the Ripper Unmasked

The British tabloid The Daily Mail is reporting that they have discovered the identity of famed serial killer Jack the Ripper.

But now, thanks to modern forensic science, The Mail on Sunday can exclusively reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer responsible for at least five grisly murders in Whitechapel in East London during the autumn of 1888.

DNA evidence has now shown beyond reasonable doubt which one of six key suspects commonly cited in connection with the Ripper’s reign of terror was the actual killer – and we reveal his identity…

Jack the Ripper has been identified as Polish-born Aaron Kosminski, one of the 6 original key suspects of the murders.

If this turns out to be true, this is very interesting. Unfortunately, this means he didn’t die in St. Louis.

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. 

Chinese villagers ‘descended from Roman soldiers’

This is absolutely fascinating.

Tests found that the DNA of some villagers in Liqian, on the fringes of the Gobi Desert in north-western China, was 56 per cent Caucasian in origin.

Many of the villagers have blue or green eyes, long noses and even fair hair, prompting speculation that they have European blood…

The genetic tests have leant weight to the theory that Roman legionaries settled in the area in the first century BC after fleeing a disastrous battle.

The clash took place in 53BC between an army led by Marcus Crassus, a Roman general, and a larger force of Parthians, from what is now Iran, bringing to an abrupt halt the Roman Empire’s eastwards expansion.

Thousands of Romans were slaughtered and Crassus himself was beheaded, but some legionaries were said to have escaped the fighting and marched east to elude the enemy.

They supposedly fought as mercenaries in a war between the Huns and the Chinese in 36BC – Chinese chroniclers refer to the capture of a “fish-scale formation” of troops, a possible reference to the “tortoise” phalanx formation perfected by legionnaries. The wandering Roman soldiers are thought to have been released and to have settled on the steppes of western China.

The theory was first put forward in the 1950s by Homer Dubs, a professor of Chinese history at Oxford University.

Even if not true, it is a great story.

Hip Hop History, Part III – Building the Empire

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. Read more

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

Hip Hop History, Part II – The Beginning of a Dynasty

In my last post you learned a little about the beginnings of hip hop music as a business. While the song Rapper’s Delight might have sold two million copies world wide, the industry still saw hip hop as a fad that wouldn’t last. Rapper’s Delight could not be replicated. Many people felt differently. One of them became one of the most successful people in hip hop. That man was Russell Simmons.

Russell Simmons was brought up in Hollis, Queens. His father, Daniel, was supervisor of attendance in Queens School District 29. Russell Simmons studied sociology at the Harlem branch of City College. It was there that he teamed up with fellow student Curtis Walker to throw parties in Harlem and Queens at which the first generation of rappers competed. He went on to manage Walker, who as Kurtis Blow became the first big solo rap star in 1979. Simmons worked with Blow in the completion of “Christmas Rappin.’” He also managed other successful acts such as Run-D.M.C., Will Smith, as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, as well as legendaries DJ Hollywood and DJ Kool Herc.

“Christmas Rappin’” was Simmons’ first time of his illustrious career, that he entered the studio. When the song was completed, Simmons began shopping it around to various labels for release. As Simmons said in Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money + God, “There was interest, but no one was biting. The industry’s attitude was that “Rapper’s Delight,” despite its US sales and international appeal, was an unrepeatable fluke. 1

While it was a fluke for the artists that recorded the song, the genre was by no means a fluke. “Christmas Rappin’” gained moderate success on radio. In places around the South, the single was still being played in late July. Simmons, who needed distribution for the record, approached PolyGram to distribute it. PolyGram wasn’t interested in investing in a hip hop record, but Simmons decided to show them the power of hip hop. He decided to go around to the various stores that expressed interest in the record and told them to order the record from PolyGram. When PolyGram started receiving orders from stores, they saw this as an immediate opportunity to cash in on hip hop. Kurtis Blow signed a record deal with Mercury Records, a label under the PolyGram umbrella. This marked the first time a hip hop act was signed to a major label. 2

Sugar Hill Records did find some more success on their roster. The legendary Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five signed to Sugar Hill Records and made its mark in hip hop in 1980. The group released the record “Freedom” which hit the top 20 on the R&B charts. 1981’s “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” was the first record to feature complex cuts and scratches, and introduced the name Grandmaster Flash as their originator. But it was 1982’s “The Message” which became the first hip-hop social commentary on ghetto life, and which became a critical crossover hit for Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. 3 Meanwhile, Simmons was out on tour with Blow promoting the “Christmas Rappin’” single. Though Blow had two Gold singles (sales of five-hundred thousand each), hip hop was still far from the minds of the major labels in the industry. They still didn’t see it as a marketable form of music. Simmons thought differently and would soon form a partnership that would change the fate of the entire music industry.

In 1984 two very different people with very different backgrounds met and would come to create one of the most successful musical ventures in the industry’s history. Not only was it that successful, but it was successful with a music the major labels didn’t see as becoming successful. The first guy was Rick Rubin, a former punk musician who loved the rebelliousness of this new form of music. The other was Russell Simmons, the concert promoter in New York who was booking the hottest MCs and DJs of the time at small venues, parties, and other small gatherings. These two met when Simmons saw a little logo on an album by T. La Rock & Jazzy J. This logo read “Def Jam.” The record was nothing like Simmons had ever heard. He immediately began searching for the producer of this record. He tracked Rubin down and found out he attended New York University. It was in a NYU dorm room that he met Rick Rubin and formed a partnership that would change music history.

Stay tuned for the next segment in my series on hip hop history, Building the Empire.

  1. The Men Behind Def Jam p 53
  2. Ibid
  3. Grandmaster Flash: Biography