All Articles Tagged "hip hop"
From The Grio
MC Lyte is a pioneer and legend within the hip hop community. The “Light As A Feather” emcee is also an active philanthropist. In honor of Black History Month, Lyte’s teamed with AT&T 28 Days later campaign, which encourages children to give.
She sat down with theGrio talk about poetry, who is she currently listening to, and if there can ever be a successful openly gay mainstream rapper.
theGrio: MC Lyte, thank you for sitting down with us.
MC Lyte: Absolutely, thank you. Thank you very much for the platform.
Tell me about the 28 Days later campaign. You’ve been tapped to lead a team and help a nonprofit organization with your charity efforts.
Absolutely, I’m honored to be a participant even at the level of a coach for the 28 days, but it’s all about taking a look at history but also being able to step out in the forefront and make history. That is what I like so much about this campaign. We can also further that mission and with the team that I have, physically we’re helping out an organization called “Write Girls.” This is completed up my alley. They have these workshops to empower young girls to write out what it is they are feeling, to use their imagination or to just open up.
How has poetry impacted your life and how you can give that knowledge and experience to your team?
As a kid, my mother had me write everything. I had to write an essay for everything that I wanted to do that was extracurricular based. So if you wanted to go roller skating, play hand ball, it was always an essay. It was short but none the less you had to be able to write and convince her that I needed to be outside of the house. I used to think hip-hop was that but the mainstream has sort of had its way with it.
Now a lot of the focus is put on being at the top of the charts, being more popular so that you can be on the cover of someone’s magazine. Whereas poetry stays true to the community, true to the people who wrote it. Because mainstream is not trying to get a hold of it to make money, it’s been able to keep its purity, which I completely respect and honor.
Read more of MC Lyte’s interview at TheGrio.com
If rapper Q-Tip gets his way, we’ll be seeing a lot about his life during one of the most important times in the hip-hop era.
According to Deadline, the rapper has joined forces with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, stars of The Wolf of Wall Street, to create a television show based on Q-Tip’s life when A Tribe Called Quest and the Native Tongues were one of the most popular groups and hip-hop collectives, respectively, around.
The Native Tongues included De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers, DJ Red Alert, Queen Latifah, and of course, A Tribe Called Quest. While they would have been known today as “backpackers,” The Native Tongues were mostly a group of artists who didn’t necessarily fit into the mold of what hip-hop artists were back then but used their “eclectic” style to bring what some would call “conscious rap” to the forefront.
The show doesn’t have a primary writer behind it yet, but it is described as a drama project that “will draw from Q-Tip’s experiences with the group and with The Native Tongues collective that A Tribe Called Quest was a member of, which brought together late 1980s and early 1990s hip-hop artists known for their positive-minded, Afrocentric lyrics. The show will reflect on the stories of their friendship and how their music played a part in culture then and influenced the music of today.”
DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way, will produce it and they are expected to shop the show to various networks next week. By the way, Tip and DiCaprio have been close friends for years.
You know what? I’m really excited about this idea. Members of the Native Tongues have influenced almost every one of our favorite rappers and it would be great to see that time recreated. The DiCaprio name alone can probably get the meetings to with almost every network but if HBO shows any interest, that would be an ideal situation.
Would you watch the show?
“Where we are headed entertainment-wise never ceases to amaze me,” MC Lyte reflected just a day before New Year’s Eve. Prepping for a conference call with the board of her year-old Hip Hop Sisters Network – which includes industry heavyweights Cheryl “Salt” James, Russell Simmons and Jada Pinkett Smith — the legendary rapper took hip-hop and the culture at large to task for its negative and sexist portrayals of women.
“I think in general with hip-hop, it’s just gone to such a dark space, and I think it’s very reflective of just where we are, period.” Lyte, nee Lana Moorer, who was raised in Brooklyn long before the borough became America’s hipster capital. She analogizes video games to drive home her point.
“Back in the days, we were happy with Frogger. We were happy with Space Invaders and Pac-Man. And now, you know, we have Grand Theft Auto where the whole motive is to steal cars. And in the process, a whole lot of other things go down from it,” she said, noting the latter game’s cast of prostitutes and scantily-clad female characters.
“I’m still shocked by what it is that I see that’s on primetime television, how sexist things can be portrayed,” she adds. “However, I think that hip-hop is just a drop in the bucket compared to everything that’s happening all over the entertainment world, including film and television.”
To combat this cultural onslaught, Lyte initially founded Hip Hop Sisters as an empowerment network for female artists. Back in 2007, then up-and-coming rapper Lex Diamond approached her after one of her performances and asked for her help. “She simply said to me, ‘You know what, Lyte? …All of the celebrities always say they have advice to give up and coming artists, but the problem is we can never find y’all when it’s time for us to ask questions. And that sort of, like, lit a light bulb for me in terms of what I can do to have information be transferred over to them.”
She created opportunities for MCs, DJs, journalists, photographers, and choreographers to share their work in a space where they could get constructive feedback, and she began assembling experts in publishing, copyright law, and other relevant topics to speak to the women. Lyte says, a little more than 2,000 women now belong to the group. “Out of that,” she says, “the foundation was born.”
Growing up we did not have a Miley who twerked or a Nicki Minaj who dropped bars between her numerous alter egos. We had Kim, who will forever reign as the original Queen Bee. Lil Kim, as we affectionately remember her, took hip hop by storm with her ear-phone-wearing-when-parents-are-around lyrics and most importantly, frank sexuality. Never once did she apologize for her identity and in a recent interview with Rolling Out Magazine, Lil Kim reminds us she was always a star in her own lane therefore, igniting the blueprint many female MCs use today. Check out the highlights from her Q&A:
How she balances being an artist and businesswoman
“That’s something I was born with. When you’re born with talent, you also have the talent to conduct your own business. With me, that’s how it is. I just know how to turn it on and off. I just know what I want from myself. In my field, I am the blueprint of what I do. I’ve always starred in my own lane.”
What Her Legacy Means To Her
“No disrespect, no shade, but I’m not going to answer [that] question because I think that’s kinda corny,” she says adamantly. “I don’t know how to answer that.”
What she regrets about her career
“I’m pretty sure everybody in the industry — and in life, period — has things that they feel like they would do over, but I don’t really regret much in my life. There are certain things that I would do over — and certain things that I would do differently. [But] the things that I go through and the things that I’ve gone through have become a major part of who I am today.”
Fears about becoming stagnant in the music industry
“I’m a real artist. I [have] basically been in the game for a minute, [so it’s] where I feel like it’s time to go to [another] level in my career. I think every artist has that moment — if you’re a real artist. I care about what I do, so in different things [you’re] always concerned about your next step — but that doesn’t stop me from taking it.”
Her plans on creating new music
“I just think that my fans — not even just my fans, but even potentially new fans — are ready to hear some new Lil’ Kim music and everyone knows that … I put a lot of my reality into my music [that] people can identify with. People are ready to hear real rap — real s— coming from a female. Because I’ve always been different, no matter what. My music has always been very sexual and very pro-women. Now I get to do that through my new artists. I have my label coming out, which makes me very driven. “
If We will ever see her on reality television
“I never say ‘never,’ but I don’t look at television shows or reality shows and say ‘I want to be on this show,’ Not really. I’m more so into just watching them for entertainment purposes.”
Her relationship with Diddy
“Puffy called me one day and he tracked me down through some people I knew,” she says of how this latest endeavor together came about. “[He said] ‘No matter what, you’re going to always be my sister.’ We always go through things like that. At the end of the day, we’re tied to each other through B.I.G.’s estate and B.I.G.’s iconic, historic legacy.”
What do you think?
Hip-hop is still a young artform, which means there is still a long way to go when it comes to giving respect where it is due. The women of hip-hop on the mic, in the studio, writing bars and battle rapping often don’t get the respect and recognition they deserve, so we decided to spotlight 15 women who’ve contributed to hip-hop in big ways.
Yo-Yo did her thing in the ’90s when she was featured on Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted album for “It’s a Man’s World.” Her debut album Make Way for the Motherlode in 1990 gained popularity with the single “You Can’t Play with My Yo-Yo.” Although she didn’t receive mainstream success she continued to release albums that were authentic and true hip-hop. In 1992 she released her second album, Black Pearl that had a positive message which clashed with the current sound of gangsta rap. She went on to release three other albums and her single ”Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo” was ranked number 92 on VH1′s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs.
For years rappers have been accused of being partial to lighter skinned women when selecting models to appear in their music videos. Unfortunately, it appears that the cycle is only getting worse. The latest rapper to be accused of being prejudice against dark-skinned models is Senegalese rapper Akon.
Recent reports have implied that while shooting a new music video with WizKid, the rapper turned away a few Ghanian models because of their darker skin tones. According to All Hip Hop, a few models who were reportedly turned away say that they were told by the person who originally invited them to the set said that producers only wanted “half cast” (aka mixed) women to appear in the video. As a result, people were reportedly seeking to organize a boycott against the “Play Hard” rapper.
TMZ recently caught up with Akon to discuss the allegations and afford him with the opportunity to clean up the rumors. He insists that the rumors are false.
“That doesn’t even make any sense. That don’t make sense at all, man,” Akon said in response to the allegations.
To clarify, the cameraman then asked if the rumors were true. Akon responded:
“Absolutely not. “
We’ll certainly take Akon’s word for it, though we don’t know many rappers who would actually admit to doing such a thing.
Watch his response below. Thoughts?
Jazmine Denise is an entertainment and celebrity news blogger. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.
While many hip hop heads are excited about Kendrick Lamar getting the cover of the GQ ‘Man of the Year’ issue, there is over important person in hip hop who isn’t excited about the content of the interview: Top Dawg Entertainment’s CEO, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith.
The article, published online this week, follows Kendrick around with his team as writer Steve Marsh chronicles how Kendrick manages his “new life” while trying to maintain some sort of normalcy. At the same time, it seems to make quite a few references to gangs and also refers to Top Dawg Entertainment as the “baby Death Row Records” while calling its founder “TDE’s Suge Knight.” That did not sit well with Top Dawg.
When Top read the article he was outraged and actually pulled Kendrick out of a performance he was supposed to give at the “GQ Man of the Year” party earlier this week. He’s released a statement and citing racial undertones as one of his biggest issues. Check it out part of the statement (posted in full on RapRadar.com):
“This week, Kendrick Lamar was named one of GQ’s 2013 Men Of The Year, an honor that should have been celebrated as a milestone in his career and for the company. Instead, the story, written by Steve Marsh, put myself and my company in a negative light. Marsh’s story was more focused on what most people would see as drama or bs. To say he was “surprised at our discipline” is completely disrespectful. Instead of putting emphasis on the good that TDE has done for west coast music, and for hip hop as a whole, he spoke on what most people would consider whats wrong with Hip Hop music. Furthermore, Kendrick deserved to be accurately documented. The racial overtones, immediately reminded everyone of a time in hip-hop that was destroyed by violence, resulting in the loss of two of our biggest stars. We would expect more from a publication with the stature and reputation that GQ has. As a result of this misrepresentation, I pulled Kendrick from his performance at GQ’s annual Man Of The Year party Tuesday, November 12th.
While we think it’s a tremendous honor to be named as one of the Men Of The Year, these lazy comparisons and offensive suggestions are something we won’t tolerate. Our reputation, work ethic, and product is something that we guard with our lives.”
As the head of the label, it is understandably his job to stand up for his artists, especially if he thinks they (and he) are under fire in the media.
The editor-in-chief of GQ, Jim Nelson, has responded to Top Dawg’s statement with one of his own:
“Kendrick Lamar is one of the most talented new musicians to arrive on the scene in years. That’s the reason we chose to celebrate him, wrote an incredibly positive article declaring him the next King of Rap, and gave him our highest honor: putting him on the cover of our Men of the Year issue. I’m not sure how you can spin that into a bad thing, and I encourage anyone interested to read the story and see for themselves. We were mystified and sorely disappointed by Top Dawg’s decision to pull him at the last minute from the performance he had promised to give. The real shame is that people were deprived of the joy of seeing Kendrick perform live. I’m still a huge fan.”
It sounds like this whole thing has blown up in a less than popular way but if there’s any positive spin, it’s that Kendrick has received even more mainstream publicity. By the way, Kendrick hasn’t personally responded with his thoughts about the article but it looks like Top Dawg has said it all.
What do you think? Did GQ overstep the lines of “journalism” or is Top Dawg reading too much into the article?
There’s something about GQ that brings the best out of a men– style and mood wise. For the magazine’s December 2013 “Men of the Year” issue, the publication tapped musicians Justin Timberlake and Kendrick Lamar for covers; in addition to Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey and James Gandolfini. And we’ve never seen the West coast rapper look happier… and better dressed.
The fellas were photographed by veteran, Sebastian Kim, for the gritty yet beautifully lit shoot. The interview with Amy Wallace was no less gritty with Timberlake talking about his public perception and Lamar on his quick rising career.
Read more at StyleBlazer.com
Can rap music help people learn English? A California university teacher thinks so. “In California, one English as a Second Language teacher and hip-hop music fan at the University of California, Davis, decided to help incorporate the 1990s rap hit ‘Straight Outta Compton’ by N.W.A into his lesson plan, to help his students understand English slang,” reports International Business News.
A report by Southern California Public Radio revealed that one of Stephen Mayeux’s lessons for students was based on the title itself, for teaching students how phrases — such as “out of” — are shortened in the every day American English.
“They’re saying straight out of Compton,” Mayeux said. “But I think a lot of people, especially Americans, we pronounce it ‘outta.’”
Mayeux is now offering his “Hip-hop as a Second Language Class” online as well, at ESLhiphop.com. On the site he explores wordplay with the lyrics of such hip-hop artists as Ludacris and Nicki Minaj. He also explores “reduced relative clauses” with help from Philadelphia hip-hop band The Roots.
Using rap music as an educational tool isn’t really a new concept. Rap music has been used as learning tools by many teachers. Some have used rap music to help encourage reading in the grade school level, to teach math, and there are even college courses focusing on hip hop.
Of course, Mayeux’s methods have drawn criticism. But Mayeux — who has studied linguistics — says there is value in the language of hip-hop. “You have to treat every form or variety of the language as if it’s equally complex and valid,” he said. “So the English that a rapper or hip-hop artist uses is no better or worse than what a university professor is using.”
American Pop culture is constantly referenced in conversation. And like it or not hip hop is so engrained in American culture its language shows up everywhere–from advertising to films. Learning hip hop slang could help non-English speakers understand American culture.
“They do experience a little bit of alienation,” Mayeux said of some of his close friends from other countries. “They feel like they can’t be fully part of the group because they’re not speaking the same lingo.” Just as legal or medical jargon can often sound like a foreign language, pop-culture slang can be necessary when interacting with peers.
When it comes to music, there are classics and then there are songs that just got all the way played out. We loved these tracks when they first came out in the ’90s, but eventually they were played so much we lowkey ended up hating them. Check out our list songs people played out thoroughly.