NBC is calling you “Colored”…But in a good way right?

As I sat home intently watching the 62nd Annual Emmy Awards this past sunday, I couldn’t help but notice NBC‘s light attack on my sensibilities every 10 minutes with it’s barrage of commercials unleashing it’s new agenda.

It’s one thing to have to endure the expected network promo and propaganda during a large, star-studded, nationally televised event, but what makes this particular onslaught especially cringe-worthy, is that it was shoving this new agenda in our faces. Our multi-racial, see-thru-your-B.S. faces.

Apparently, the new fall line-up for primetime NBC programming is Hellbent on putting forward a politically correct and diverse spin on things, by loading the slots with shows spearheaded by minorities and members of subcultural demographics. While there’s nothing wrong with that at all, it’s the manner in which NBC is going about it that kept bugging me out. It’s like they just opened a bag and dumped it on the table and said ‘Here! see?? We can be equal oppurtunity too!’. There spilling it all out there like they’re proving a point. As if we’re supposed to commend them for FINALLY reflecting a broader scope of the nation at large.  To top it all off, the slogan behind this new campaign is  “More Colorful”. What The Fuck does that mean???!!!

This tagline was first brought to my attention by my homegirl, The Jaded New Yorker (See her blog here; http://www.thejadednyer.net/), in my post about the show, UnderCovers, starring Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She pointed out how ridiculously questionable this phrasing was and I felt her eyebrow raise. At first, I shrugged it off…..but after seeing this flash in front of me at least 15 times as I watched an ad spot for a new series about a female U.S. Marshall (Chase) , another one revolving around a Latino Judge (Outlaw, starring Jimmy Smits) , a Comedy about outsourcing that looks like it’s going to be laughing at Southern Asians and Middle Easterners more than laughing with , and finally, a show featuring an overly-dramatic Blair Underwood as a Black president (The Event) , I threw my hands in the air!

It’s more like a quota fill than a new slate. I haven’t seen such a deliberate attempt to attract a new audience and show that a network is in tune since the CW first debuted as the WB and UPN gave us such gems as The Steve Harvey show, Sister Sister and Sparks.

With that said, I’m glad someone’s giving minority actors work, let alone leading roles. It’s really just the marketing that’s killing me a bit. Either way, I’ll still be watching Undercovers and hoping it doesn’t suck or get yanked before it gets good.

Thanks Raquel for foreseeing the wompage.

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New Pinks Video – “Power (Freestyle)”

My Young homie Pinks has been goin’ at it for a minute now.

Sheeeiiiittt!

You probably know him better than you know me!

He took a little break from the game last year to get his grown man on, but now the Queens representative is planning a full on assault on the game this Fall with his project titled, Elevator Up, putting me in good company to usher in my season correctly.

Check out his comeback/declaration video clip to set things off and start the talking. He murders the “Power” beat and ups the ante over all the 7,0000 freestyles that have taken place over this track already by providing a visual that’s a throwback to videos where walking through projects and dapping niggas up was dope!

Get Familiar or get reaquainted!

Speaking of TDJ; New web series coming soon “So I Married A Vampire…”

As part of being on her ever consistent grind, The Notorious T.D.J. is about to bless the internet with a new web series encompassing 2 of her favorite forms of film entertainment. Fresh off her stint at the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film festival, here’s a trailer from her latest project titled, So I married A Vampire... Starring Ms. Daryl, who by the way used to do some gr8 promo for this very blog back in the beginning.

On the site Indiegogo.com, the series is described as

“A mockumentary on the optimistic wife of a maladjusted vampire. The Office meets True Blood.

This web series depicts the everyday life  of Stephanie, the perky, optimistic human wife of an inept bumbling vampire, Armand. As Stephanie answers questions on her everyday life and how she deals with their far from normal relationship, her true feelings on her relationship start to show. The camera witnesses some of their quirky moments.”

Watch for yourselves, and get ready

Top 10 Reasons Why TDJ is a Thug!!

Our former Columnist from the Burbs, Breaks down the makings of her Gangster. And why you shouldn’t test it…

This, you just have to read…http://writeinbk.com/?p=171

(6) Classic Sounds

Like…

You could tell from the intro that you’re in for a one of a kind experience like nothing else you’ve ever heard in your life. We were blessed to be in the midst of the height of the Wu-Tang fervor and fanaticism because we were accepting of almost ANYTHING Wu related. I say this because I fear that if not for that fact…let’s say if, Russell Jones was just random Joe rapper from random place U.S.A., we wouldn’t have gave him the time of day and wrote him off as some crazy novelty act instead of as a misunderstood genius. Sure, if he had come out alone in this digital age where crazy wins for the moment, he’d be a viral sensation just because of word of mouth and maybe that would translate into success. I could see the Youtube frenzy now. But in the 90’s, rest assured he’d end up in the same bin of hip-hop obscurity as Akinyele, and Dr. Octagon, Maybe Tech N9Ne if he was lucky.

Fortunately for us, we never have to find that out.

We’ve all been marked with an indelible O.D.B. moment. The sanity question surrounding the man was his allure. You’d see the charm, the raunch, and turmoil all in one setting if you heard him speak. You’d see, much like another hip-hop outcast and performer better known for his legal woes, clownish antics and drug use, Flava Flav, that there was a keen sense of self awareness, perceptiveness and waning intellect under the ultra-ghetto exterior. But comparing Russell Jones to William Drayton may be unfair. Ol’ Dirty was far from just a hypeman, or merely a character. While both are equally charismatic, Dirty had a method to his madness. He would freestyle songs and punch the best parts until music was made. He always made sure his projects displayed and incorporated all of his musical influences, from blues, to hardcore Hip-Hop, to a little pop/rock. He has given Wu albums some of the most memorable lines, full of poor man’s profundity. And he was totally in control of his voice and mastered the ideology of it being the final and most key instrument on a track. He also embraced the power of shock value. In both song and interviews, Dirty had the knack for perfectly timing rants and saying things in ways designed to raise eyebrows. Sometimes it’s just him on his Scorpio shit. Or coke. What can you expect??

The tragedy of his life, gave us the artistry of his career. In the intro to his album, (which sounds like 5 different ideas that he couldn’t decide on so he put them all together into one long-ass intro), he compares himself to James Brown. I don’t think anyone who has listened to a substantial amount of  Big Baby Jesus will contest that notion.

And that intro prepares you for what you’re going to get on this album; all of the facets of Ol’ Dirty’s personality/(personalities?) clear and present. It goes from him assuming some kind of Redneck impersonation, to him attempting to speak sincerely, to him going into a comedic anecdote that turns into mock-melodrama which finds him singing a humorous yet crass rendition of a Burt Bacharach classic, then finally, the standard Wu-Tang trademark Kung-Fu flick clip, which I’m sure RZA insisted on. This all leads us into the song that O.D.B. may arguably be best known for, “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”. I don’t need to say much about this track, because if you’ve never heard this song before, where the fuck have you been? But I will point out that MC Eiht is in the video for this. Have you ever noticed that?

Now it could’ve been Dirty’s attempt to diffuse the tension stirring amidst the whole supposed East Coast – West Coast beef at the time and make a show of solidarity. Then again, it could also be Dirty being so high that he didn’t even realize that there was a beef at all and these were just some of the kinds of rappers that he was just genuinely cool with because he was always on some other shit.

This album can kinda be broken down into some kinds of pockets of Dirty’s style. I assume it depends on exactly how high he was during the recording of each track. There’s the drunken rants that are beligerent non-sequitters that make up the majority of the project, usually taking place over the more grimey boom bap beats. Then you have the playful stuff where it seems like even Dirty is laughing at himself as he’s in session. But then, there’s those brief moments of steady focus where his rhymes have some lyrical value and it’s not just amusement. You actually get a glimpse of what a young Russell Jones may have been like when he first embarked on his quest to grab the mic. Or maybe he was always a little touched.

“Shimmy Shimmy Ya” falls into that category of playful Dirty, where he just has full command of the show, but just wants you to party with him and feel him. But the gritty stuff is what dominates this album, thanks to Dirt’s constant daze and RZA’s sway to the darkside and ability to get away with it due to that Wu Mania that I mentioned earlier. Tracks like “Snakes” and “Raw Hide” (which is one of my favorites on the album) find Dirty doing just what I said; going off on half angry tangents and sometimes yelling his bars if not just yelling! (no, seriously…listen to the end of “Snakes” where he screams for about 10 seconds)

This isn’t more present than on “Brooklyn Zoo pt.2 – Tiger Crane” where he rehashes a verse from the earlier portion of the tape (yeah, I had it on tape, not bought – but borrowed), from the song “Damage” which I’m sure, The GZA, who’s featured on it wrote most of. Anyway, in this regurgitated version which sounds just like that; regurgitation, Dirty skips, backtracks, stumbles and slurs his way through what sounded almost pristine 6 tracks prior. The thing that saves this song from being the low point on the album is a good verse by fellow Clan member Ghostface Killah, and a random ass montage of pieces of songs from the album that leads into some audio clip of a live performance over a hypnotic loop where Dirty engages the crowd and displays what an intriguing presence he has as a performer. This is one of those moments on a record where you revisit after an artist has died and feel like it was foreshadowing, or like you were personally there to experience them. Sort of like when Pac would talk to you at the end or beginning of his songs. Or those Death threat skits on Big‘s second album. Or when Pun said he just lost weight and he ain’t “goin nowhere!” This doesn’t mean that there aren’t bright points in the crevises of these dim spots, like where Dirty spits alongside Raekwon and Meth, “See Murder which is caused, when you fuck with the negative and positive charge, then I came up out my garage, with the hit that’s gonna be laargee! I’m tired of sittin’ on my Fuckin’ ass..Niggas I know, you walk around with mad fuckin cash! Who the Fuck wanna be an MC – if you can’t get paaaaiiid, to be a fuckin’ MC!!”

It gets even rawer on the Posse cut “Protect Ya Neck 2 – The Zoo” where Ol’ Dirty assembles a Motley Crew of C-List Wu Affiliates – most of who would become apart of Sunz Of Man – over a haunting demonic boom bap beat. I’m almost afraid to listen to it. It’s not far from listening to a Marilyn Manson, Goth-rock cut, but it’s undeniably Hip-Hop.

It’s not all Hardcore dizziness tho. The playful moments balance the album out. Moments like “Don’t U know” segue the listener out of the bash n crash mode, into lighter stuff because it still incorporates the grit, but moves the subject elsewhere to Dirty’s favorite subject; The Ladies. This is my least favorite joint on the album. It’s just too murky and crass for me. And I’m sorry, there’s just too much Killah Priest on this album for me. However, it’s when he full out releases and lets loose, like on “Baby C’mon” or the other female joint “Sweet Sugar Pie” where we get a smile from Dirty. On the latter, he croons over some kind of Casio ballad template and sings an interpolation of…something, in a half-drunken stuper as he shouts out classic female eungenues and gorups of yesteryear and then concludes in a mock female and male(?) orgasm. That’s also a little too much for me! But then, to top it off, he yells at the top of his lungs as the instrumental fades “NOOO! I’m the Baddest! Hip-Hop Maaaan! Across the World!!! I don’t care, what you care! I just give, What you receiveeee!!” If ever you needed proof that Osirus was off his rocker…Exhibit A

On the aforementioned “Damage, there is a prime example of those moments when he’s tamed and somewhat refined. I still have my suspicions about why tho. Just like on The RZA assisted “Cuttin Heads”, I think that these 2 tracks were either old recordings from a less indulged version of Dirty, or penned largely by his two cousins with Z‘s in the middle of their names.

The best songs, in my opinion, are the ones where there is a meeting of both his playful side and his focused side. Songs like “Goin Down”, and “Stomp” and my personal Favorites “Hippa to Da Hoppa” & the original “Brooklyn Zoo” . You just gotta listen to them in order to see the best version of the man known as the O.D.B. The beats are even the most different on these tracks.

So that makes 4 favorite tracks for me; “Baby C’Mon”, “Hippa To Da Hoppa”, “RawHide” and “Brooklyn Zoo”.

Overall, this is not an album that I’m sure the kids now would enjoy if they weren’t apart of the Wu era, but Iam confident that Dirty’s personality would prevail and make this a timeless piece of work just because he’s irreplaceable. It’s one of those rare projects where the Artist themselves outshines the material and the lack of subject matter is not a fault. It’s almost secondary as this album is more a character study of a turmoiled man. A rough genius, something similar to those stories we’ve come to know about down-on-their-luck winos who were virtuosos in their glory days. Except we witnessed Dirty’s glory days during his wino phase.

because of this, I give this album 12 Candles out of a possible,

4812 or 16.

4(Classic Just because where it stands in Hip-Hop, whether it be the time of it’s release, it’s influence, or the popularity of it’s singles overall)

8(Classic because it was solid for it’s time, but may be a little dated or less than amazing by today’s standards)

12(Classic as a complete release and probably celebrated widely on the surface, but possibly lacking one key element – be it one song that doesn’t fit, a wack guest appearance, lyrics, lack of depth or beats)

16(Classic all around)

Did I ever Mention How much I HATE Black McDonald’s Commercials??!

Why is this commercial so obnoxious?! Who greenlighted this?!

Their urban marketing team should be sent to the firing squad!

Now that I think of it…Are there any McDonald’s commercials that AREN’T Black??

Damn These Bed-Bugs!!!!

Where did they come from all of a sudden??!

It’s a rhetorical question of course…We know the species has been around for years now, but Law offices? Retail chains? This is getting a bit out of hand.

These creatures have been the things of folklore for all of my life up until now. They existed as nothing more than the tail-end subjects of an old nursery rhyme. They were like the Boogey-man in a sense. As years went by, I did evidently discover that they were an actual insect group, but never in any regard to them being a threat that I would ever have to encounter.

Enter the New Wave of New Millenium sensibilities, where cultures and habits have mixed to the point of blurring. In 2005, when I was a Real Estate agent, working for a rental firm, was my first experience of hearing about Bed-Bug infestations. This was soooo foreign to me, something akin to the lice outbreaks that I would hear about in middle school, but never came close to. Something…and pardon the inadvertent racism, but something I identified with WhiteFolks. I immediately had visions of Hostels filled with a mixed bag of  European tourists.

Now, in the wake of my ignorance, I’ve come to realize that while the rising tide and trend of more frequent world travel is one of the main culprits being outlined as a contributing factor in the spread of these pests in my beloved New York City, it is far from being the only one. Yes, we live in an era where going to Switzerland is just like going to Kansas, but even more so now that we’re  just as willing to go to less affluent regions of the Globe as those glamorous – for whatever reasons – the risk has gone up.

Even still, As much as this Globe-trotting phenomena is new, and it is still uncertain what areas are more Bed-Bug active, there is no particular group of people who are responsible for the current onslaught. As I perused an article on bed-bugs on 1 site, I came across comments like “People need to seriously start taking showers before they leave the house. Especially dirty hipsters that live in bedbug infested buildings in Williamsburg and Bushwick.” Humorous, but misguided and misdirected. Then there were others that cited immigration as the heart of the threat. We now have been told that Bed-Bugs can nestle in with no relation to cleanliness, and do not discriminate based on whereabouts, but something could be said about how hygiene and organization can aid or deter early detection and prevention methods.

Experts have suggested taking measures such as implementing Climb-Up inceptors and mattress encasements for bed protection, as well as common sense preventative actions such as not putting down bags/purses on certain surfaces.

Some articles I’ve read have urged people not to freak out, while others, like this one, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129345182 have downright spelled doom. It has been pointed out that at one point in time, Bed-bugs were just accepted as a part of everyday life, and this article suggests that we are headed in a direction that would see us having to submit and accept them just the same. As a Grown man who is still horrified of Cockroaches, or as we call them in the hood, Waterbugs, I say that we have been waaaaaayyyy too accepting already of the infiltrating nasty scourges. Haven’t we been passive enough in understanding that they have outlived us and we can’t win? Why would we invite and brace ourselves to endure another infestation to coexist with in the most intimate spaces of our metropolitan lives???!!

If ever I meet God, I will ask what he was thinking when he made these abominations.

I’ve never been more ready for war. And you can rest assured that this is big business for specialty companies that will no doubt pop up out of the woodwork (Literally) to temper the situation. And this doesn’t mean that your run of the mill exterminator who comes by every 3 months will receive any additional or upgraded training to handle the  new threat. Nooooo, this means you’ll have to call in individualized Bed-Bug removal agents and shell out extra cash.

Maybe the exterminators are at the core of this to begin with. Some believe that the pesticides, particularly DDT’s that have been recently made illegal due to concerns with vegetation, some animals and overall long-term human health, are crucial elements in the rise. The existence of these chemicals may have been what suppressed any resurgence of the bugs for decades, and now with them out of the picture, guess who’s back in the picture? Blame it on those New Wave, New Millenium sensibilities…

We care too much. How is it that we can send rockets to other planets and have video phone conferences in the palm of our hands, but can’t eradicate one pest that will fuck up our very comfort? We can wage genocide on each other, but not on an insect? Humans man….

All I know is that the paranoia alone is enough to make one city dweller go nuts! Last night I was twitching in bed from just the thought alone. The inception of the idea is enough to drive most of us to Howard Hughes levels of compulsion and that’s scary. With the recent cases of Bed-Bugs found in the Time Warner building and the 2 Major Manhattan AMC theatres, I already don’t want to go anywhere without leather, plastic or metal furniture. There’s even stories of subway bench discoveries. Damn those bums! I told you!

But like I said, this surpasses finger pointing at any one group to be singled out. This is not a subcultural, racial or even New York Centric problem…With news of outbreaks across the country, this is now becoming a full scale invasion.

All I ask is……what are you gonna do about it??

You gonna fight? or lie there like a beeyotch?

….And get bitten?