Monthly Archives: November 2010

lil kim vs. nicki minaj: what do you mean by battle?

dear readers,

hope you not only made it through the holiday weekend but were blessed by all kinds of wealth, love, courage, that priceless gold called courage.

today on hot 97, people’s choice countdown, angie martinez show, featured lil kim’s diss rap, black friday, aimed high and aimed low but aimed for sure at nicki minaj.  black friday is supposedly as a rejoinder to minaj’s, no entry.  now we got the youtube phenom of drake at a concert saying nicki don’t stop you the bestest, calling out kim on stage.  as a hip hop writer i hesitate to enter this melee, if only because i loathe to be complicit in this battle.  battles are a part and parcel of the genre, true, but yet a plague on hip hop these battles are.  because it goes beyond inspiring artists to create, and it overflows into slave master’s kicking back a cold moonshine while the slaves fight to the death for massah’s viewing pleasure.  what, there’s not enough shine to go around?  really?  i guess not, because when i was coming up we had way more female mc’s than now, all of them could hold their own, none of this best ever, only one type shit.  nah, just everybody express yourself.  we all need to.

Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

but i digress.  for there is actual news for all of us, even the most under exposed, to wrap our minds around.  because in the times today king pins are getting taken in around the world, mexican leader of los aztecas gang takes the fall for the ciudad juarez women killings, and brazil’s favelas in rio getting infiltrated for better and worse by the swat teams which precede the world stage of the olympics and the world cup.  now it’s him and his boy in swim trunks getting taken in by the full armor and uzis.  and what about the diplomatic gaffe that’s set to fill up ink in newspapers for weeks to come.  you know, the one about how u.s. state departments let their documents get leaked by the thousands.  so now we have hard evidence that each outpost is an intelligence base.  sloppy.  and isn’t it so ironic that the sexual exploits of male leaders of the world are spoken about so cavalierly, so long as it’s not fodder for u.s. soil scandal.  the kind that could take down a golf career, or a presidency.  can hypocrisy reach new levels?  or is it only our understanding of the hypocrisy that climbs to new depths?

stay tuned,


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you’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you: near lethal repetition on hip hop high rotation: comments on the end game of when profit and policing control popular culture in a challenged democracy

this is for everyone i love most in the world.

here, now, in america, music culture is heavily surveilled, artists routinely go to the cages.

perhaps most importantly, popular culture has begun to be so repetitive as to mimic school of the america’s torture tactics.  particularly in mainstream hip hop.  the profit made from our inundated brains is skyrocketing.  while at the same time we are increasingly less likely as a public to manifest ideas.  the very thing that this crazy experiment called america engenders is a near total access to a kind of universality.  the kind of universality that means i grew up seeing your moms getting out of bed, and i mean that in the kindest of ways.

i’m talking in mira mesa, a base town not too far from la jolla shores, san diego, california.  we grew up with each others mothers in our lives, pinoy, southern black, working class white, indian of course, mexican fo sho, now she brushing, now she taking out her rollers, now she cooking, now we up, now we brushing, on our way to school, like 6th grade, feel me, and what better way to honor this universality than to create.  but, illogically, the potential of accessing a wide platform, the opportunity to access a wide audience is at once better than ever and less possible than ever before.  than ever before.  particularly in the genre of main stream hip hop.  let us all remember the fall of lauryn hill, the resurrection which we are now witnessing is a blessing.  let us always resurrect.  that’s my wish for the people i love the most in the whole fucking world.

they used to call me 8.  you can too if you want.

stop procrastinating, do your work.



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dispatch from the states: black friday

dear readers,

dispatch from thanksgiving weekend, 2010, new york city, america.

today is black friday.  los tigres from the block left for the stores straight from coronas, the sun ain’t nowhere near up, but he’s warming up his yankees themed navy blue ride because it’s 3am, perfect time to dip through the shopping list and avoid the rush of lines.  black friday, a capitalist date at the polls, cash registers log our votes, cash from grips of the broke, gonna get these deals if it chokes.

yesterday was thanksgiving, so official out here in brooklyn.  started off visiting my girls who rep for pinoy and chicano pride.  hollered at my trini dude and his blue nose pit bull, he’s hitting that spliff to the quick.  shrugged on my rabbit fur coat and a kangol tipped over one eye, butterscotch platform boots make me 6 feet high.  seeped in the sweet tea of carribbean-american elders in their majestic ditmas park homes.  she must have broken so many hearts in her day, praly still breaking em, and she’s telling me in that voice full of gravity and light about how back then women who fought for women’s rights were called womanists. did i mention the food?  from the dip to the wine, to the rib eye, the salmon could have made a grown turkey cry.  and the pie.  oh the pie.  then it’s back over to the block for pernil and the rest of the football game with the honduran and boricua family.  firecracker discussions on franky ruiz, freestlye music, the best salseros, the best mc’s, the imagery that binds women in hip hop now.

that’s america, that’s what we pledge to honor.  the wonder of the whole world in our homes.  and a 50% off price tag, of course.



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