Thanks to DIVAdend Entertainment for the following press release updating us on a special hip-hop project to support the Jena 6. If you're not familiar with the Jena 6 case check Wikipedia for the latest updates or visit Democracy Now for a summary of the situation.
The Hip Hop World Descends On Birmingham (Generation Next Takes A Stand For “Jena 6”)
Lloyd, Baby Boy, Sean P, Twista, Tank, Jagged Edge, Killer Mike, DTP’s Small World, and Hurricane Chris are among the first artist to join the Jena 6 movement to converge on historic Birmingham, AL and headline The “Jena 6” Empowerment Concert. The concert will give the consistently misunderstood musical generation a chance to make a positive statement. What better city than Birmingham (a key city in the civil rights movement) to set the stage for the hip hop community to shed light on an ever present problem, that continues to divide cultures and classes of youth throughout this county. Incidents that mirror the Jena 6 tragedy are increasing at an alarming rate; and communities across the country are enduring similar challenges like the residents of Jena, LA.
Since the unfortunate circumstances involving six of their peers has been predominately reported by adult press and media outlets, young people from the hip hop generation are now demanding that their voices also, be heard. The “Jena 6” Empowerment Concert will provide the perfect platform for them to positively express themselves. Seed money to host the event was pulled together by The Stop the Violence Movement (AE Music Group, LLC, Atlanta Sound & Lighting Company and God’s Pod Outreach Ministry, Inc.); who have worked tirelessly with Blaire Entertainment to provide our young people with a platform for positive expression. Upon hearing about the Jena 6 case, Abdul Chestnut (event organizer) felt compelled to contribute and coordinate the resources to bring appropriate media attention to this matter. One of the primary goals is to assist communities in economically empowering themselves, so that they may become self-sufficient.
By engaging the much criticized hip hop community to spearhead this movement, it gives them a chance to be apart of something special and an opportunity to rewrite history. “Any adult who ignores this Call to Action is guilty of neglect and should be held accountable,” continues Chestnut. The “Let Freedom Ring” Weekend will educate and involve the hip hop generation in a crusade strikingly similar to the one birthed by their ancestors, during the Civil Rights Movement.
Hip hop icons Twista, Sean P, Rasheeda, Baby Boy, B5, The LAX Boyz; along with R&B sensations Lloyd, Kandi (formerly of Xscape) Tank, The Chestnut Brothers and Jagged Edge are among the first artists to sign up for the benefit concert. “What’s happening to the Jena 6 is not an isolated incident; it could happen to any of us,” says Universal Recording artist and teen rap phenom, Baby Boy. We are asking men of all persuasions to stand on the “front line” with our young people and send a message demanding accountability of law enforcement officials and the judicial system. A press conference is scheduled for Friday, September 28th at 1:00 PM in front of the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum; with a peace rally to follow at Parker High School at 4:00 PM.
The benefit concert scheduled for Saturday, September 29th begins at 6:00 PM at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center. Tickets are available at the Box Office or online at Ticket Master.
Chamillionaire's curse free sophomore CD (and to a lesser extent, Master P's Miller Boyz CD released last week) brings up the issue of curse words in rap music. After Don Imus' ignorant and racist comments Black leaders nationwide took the opportunity to crusade against the perceived problems in rap music, mainly the n-word, bitch, and hoe. While Chamillionaire has never been the one to curse excessively in his rap, his decision to make a curse free record was significant considering his recent success and high expectations for his sophomore album. Given the positive reviews for the album, there's no question (nor should there ever have been any doubt) that rap music can be just as dope, though provoking, and catchy without four letter words. The question that remains is whether banning certain words from rap music will have any effect on the perception of women as "bitches and hoes."
When people look at A.D. the VOICE’s educational background the first thing they usually ask is “why is that guy a rapper?” A.D. was the first black Rhodes Scholar to graduate from Colgate University. He then moved on to Oxford University and Harvard Law. Hip-Hop, however, and the art of MCing, called to him the entire time. “I think for me Hip-Hop boils down to being the ultimate form of self-expression,” he explains, “and there is nothing I enjoy more in life than expressing myself.” After an impromptu appearance on stage with The Roots during a show at Colgate A.D. the Voice was hooked and Hip-Hop became added to the holy trinity of things he had done growing up in Schenectady, NY - books, basketball, and church. This week I caught up with A.D. the Voice to find out how higher education and Hip-Hop mix.
In a recent article on www.ballerstatus.com Nas revealed that 2007 is going to be his year. Nas has been telling MTV among others that he's halfway done with a new album and the first single will come out on October, but he won't yet reveal the title. MTV is also reporting that a Nas greatest hits album will come out in November before the album of new studio material drops. Nas: "They say the fourth quarter is for big dogs. I been doing the fourth quarter for years, so I guess I'm at home in the fourth." Stay tuned to RapReviews.com for more coverage of this album as the year draws closer to an end and we'll see if Nas makes his fourth quarter goal on time.
In this latest MySpace blog entry Steve 'Flash' Juon takes VH1's "Hip Hop Honors" to task, particularly their section for awards honoring online hip-hop websites. You'll definitely want to check this one out. For more updates from the founder of OHHLA and RapReviews.com be sure to check out www.myspace.com/originalhiphop or subscribe for direct updates.
With artists having such a hard time generating album sales it’s a wonder they haven’t taken a harder look at how to properly utilize downloading to their advantage. I’ve previously written about the potential advantages to having at least one song on an artist’s MySpace page being available for download, but former Artist of the Week Conscious has one-upped me by putting together an entire EP, A Side, B Side, and offering it up for free via download. A lot of folks, especially artists, may think that’s quite a lot of work to be giving away for free, but when one takes a closer look at it they’ll realize the idea is brilliant.
In an update from our good friends at www.ballerstatus.com Kanye West says he's fed up with MTV and NEVER coming back. The Chicago native hip-hop artist feels he didn't get the treatment he deserved at this weekend's MTV Video Music Awards and the Associated Press is reporting that West "lost it" backstage. His beef appears to be that hiss performances throughout the evening were performed in the Palms Hotel & Casino's suites instead of on the main stage where Justin Timberlake and others were featured. An anonymous backstage source was quoted this way: "Kanye was watching the closing performance [a medley featuring JustinTimberlake, Timbaland and Nelly Furtado] on a closed-circuit monitor,and he started getting upset. He started asking anyone who'd listen why he wasn't allowed to perform on the main stage. 'Why did I perform in just a suite?' he was saying. 'Justin's my boy, but even he gets to perform in both a suite and on the main stage? Something's wrong here.' " It was after this outburst that he vowed never to return to MTV again - strong words coming just 24 hours before the release of "Graduation," potentially his biggest album yet. Stay tuned to www.RapReviews.com as we unveil a review of this album at tonight midnight EST, 11:00 CST along with 50 Cent's "Curtis" and an advanced look at Chamillionaire's "Ultimate Victory."
A lot of people point towards 1996 as a landmark year for Hip-Hop despite the murder of 2Pac. What seems to fall through the cracks in the discussion, however, is that 1996 was also one of the greatest years on record (pun fully intended) for R&B / Soul music. So while everyone else has taken you through what made the year such a great one for Hip-Hop, today I’m going to take you on a ride through the soulful side of ’96.
There’s been a pretty constant rhetoric for the past half decade about how Hip-Hop needs saving. Everyone is quick to anoint new artists as the next big thing, or the potential saviors of Hip-Hop. The truth of the matter is no one can live up to such initial pressures and in the past few years a number of artists have failed miserably under such conditions. Today I’m taking a look at five of those artists.