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Archive for the ‘Hip Hop’ Category

The F-Word: Homophobia in Hip-Hop

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A BAMM.tv Exclusive Report by Joseph Bien-Kahn

Warning: Strong and derogatory language is present throughout this article. BAMM.tv in no way condones discrimination of any kind. We felt it necessary to present the raw language used in the form of lyrics, comments, and quotes in order present an honest story addressing homophobia and sexism in hip-hop.

A rapper recently told me, “When you say, fuckin’ faggot, that’s like the worst possible thing you can say about someone, besides like, dirty cunt. Those are terrible words and when they’re coming out of your mouth, you have this feeling of, almost, hyper-masculinity, this feeling of like extreme power. When you’re saying those words, you feel badass, you feel like you’re dominating somebody.”

The rapper who said that, Sam “Oh Blimey” McDonald, explains herself as “exactly the opposite of what I know the face of hip-hop looks like.” She’s white, she’s female, she’s homosexual.

I squirmed in my seat when I heard that opening quote; your stomach might have turned reading it. But that’s where hip-hop’s at today. It struggles with mainstream success and its all-too-present misogyny and homophobia. Rap is big enough now that the headliner acts say all the right things about homosexuality and hip-hop. But the truth is, homophobia is still a living, breathing force in the rap game.

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Jay-Z And Master P: A Tale Of Two Empires

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Joey Bien-Kahn takes a revealing look at the interwoven business history of two modern day moguls: Jay-Z and Master P …

jay_z_master_p

2013 was a bad year for Jay-Z the Rapper. Magna Carta … Holy Grail had none of the dark elegance of Reasonable Doubt, none of the club slaps of The Blueprint and not even any of the royal over-indulgence of Watch the Throne. It didn’t have a club hit, wasn’t committed to artistry, and some of the lyrics read like stroke-induced gibberish (“I’m in the ocean/I’m in heaven/Yacht!/”Ocean’s Eleven”).

But 2013 was a great year for Jay-Z the Mogul. Once again, Jay made money for himself and his friends, while remaining squarely in the public eye. He presold a million copies of Holy Grail for early download on Samsung smartphones and tablets (check out that promo below). He toured North America with Justin Timberlake, bringing in $69.75 million. And his protégées J. Cole and Kanye West put out two of the best studio albums of the year, while his wife won the Pop Star Wars with an unprecedentedly unexpected album drop that defied the Age of Internet Leaks.

Stadiums: sold. A million records: sold. Samsung smartphones: sold. Say what you want about Jay’s rap output since The Blueprint (2001); just don’t say a thing about his business savvy. Let’s be honest here—Jay-Z the Mogul has been the more impressive side of Shawn Carter for much of his career. Remember: He’s not a businessman; he’s a business, man.

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BAMM.tv Featured Artist: Wallpaper.

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Anyone familiar with reviewer shorthand will know the meaning of the term ‘wallpaper music’. It’s often used to describe the output of MOR giants like Coldplay or Maroon 5 – it’s background stuff, ambient dinner party noise, inoffensive and barely noticeable chatter which uses music more as a pleasant crutch than a blazing center of attention.

Sooooo … if you were a frenzied hip-hop electro-pop mastermind who drops beats like John McClane drops bad guys, you probably wouldn’t want to associate yourself with the word. You’d call yourself ‘Explosion Beast’ or ‘Annihilator’ or ‘Dance Yourself Sick’. That would be the predictable thing to do. The thing is: Ricky Reed – the producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist behind Wallpaper., our brand new Featured Artist – is anything but predictable.

Interested yet? Want to read on as we get all Home Depot on your ass and really start examining Wallpaper.? Or are you just a big old Doo-Doo Face?

(Note: Doo-Doo Face is the title of his first album. It’s just a joke. We’re not really calling you a Doo-Doo Face. Unless you’re a sadomasochist and are into that kind of thing. This is the internet, after all).

Anyway. Let’s continue (after the jump …)

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BAMM.tv Team Playlists – Wirjo Hardjono, Communications Administrator

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Friday means only one thing at BAMM.tv (well, actually, Friday means a lot of things, but for the purposes of this blog entry, let’s all just play along) – time to unveil another one of our BAMM.tv Team Playlists, in which one of our esteemed BAMMers shares their top five tunes of the moment.

This week: Wirjo Hardjono, Communications Administrator …

“Switch (The Science Project)” (Fahrenheit 1/15, Part 2: Revenge of the Nerds, 2006) – Lupe Fiasco

After making a great first impression on me with “Kick Push”, Lupe Fiasco now takes us on a tour through different rap styles and subjects, showing off his knowledge and the depth of rap.

“Made You Die – Trayvon Martin Tribute” (n/a, 2012) – Yasiin Bey, Dead Prez, and mikeflo

Politics of rap: after the death of Trayvon Martin, Dead Prez, Mikeflo and Yasiin Bey pick up the microphone to let the world hear where they are coming from, representing the thoughts and feelings of many living that life. Perhaps the most ‘real’ and most important use of the art form?

“Hands On The Wheel” (Feat. A$AP Rocky) (Habits & Contradictions, 2012) – ScHoolboy Q

The smooth sound and smooth flow of A$AP Rocky and ScHoolboy Q. Part of the new hip hop generation taking it back to the streets. Honest, personal hip-hop with a dark atmosphere.

“Big Spender (Feat. A$AP Rocky)” (n/a, 2012) – Theophilus London

A$AP Rocky returns in Big Spender rapping over one of the best hip hop beats I’ve heard in some time. Big, powerful, pure perfection.

“Hot Cheetos & Takis” (n/a, 2012) – Y.N.RichKids

Pure fun, go big or go home. It’s all about the hot Cheetos and Takis.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

BAMM.tv team playlists: Fernando Estrada, Head of Business Development

BAMM.tv Team Playlists: Jeff LaPenna, Media Director

BAMM.tv Team Playlists: Chris Hansen, CEO

Check out the new album from Death Grips – streaming now

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Whether you like or loathe Death Grips – the Sacramento-based alt-hip-hop crew whose dense, dark beats come shuddering out of your speakers like a derailed freight train – you can’t deny that their approach to the mainstream music industry has always been somewhat … erm … unique. Massive underground hype saw them sign up with Epic Records in 2010, and unleash their first label release (‘The Money Store’).

The thing is: Death Grips are rebellious types. Upset with lack of attention they were getting from their record company – who promised to release their new album ‘No Love Deep Web’ next year – they took matters into their own hands and put the whole thing online today. They released a cheeky statement announcing that “the label will be hearing the album for the first time with you.”

Ouch. If pulsing hip-hop is your thing, you can take a listen below:



OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:


Check out the new album from Gatekeeper – streaming now


Check Out The New Album From Serj Tankian

Check Out The New Single From Yeasayer …

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