Commentary

Mos Def vs Jay-Z?

I wish the title of this post was slightly misleading for shock value but unfortunately it’s not.

I love Mos Def and everything he represents but I can’t endorse these statements he made on Hot 97. Maybe it’s the timing that i couldn’t agree with. He did this interview on Tuesday, which just so happened to be the same day his album dropped.

Jay had just made an appearance on Angie’s show the day before. The day before that, Jay shut it down at Summer Jam, performing his new joint Death of Autotune which premiered on Hot 97 that Friday.

i could be very long-winded about this but I’ll keep it brief. Mos Def is sipping the haterade. Just a little bit. I don’t put Mos in the same category as a lot of the other cats that throw rocks at the throne, but there is definitely an element of hate involved.

Mos is disguising it as honor for Slick Rick and Rakim but truthfully he just doesn’t like the attention that Jay gets. Jay paid homage to Slick back in ’01 when he put him on Girls Girls Girls, and gave Rakim his due with the line on Blue Magic.

What more does he have to do.

And why isn’t Jay the greatest? It’s like comparing Tim Duncan and Michael Jordan. Tim is going to go down in history as the best player at his position. But not the best player ever.

When it’s all said and done, Tim is going to have more blocks and rebounds but yet will never be considered the greatest player ever.

There are all types of different positions in hip hop. But when it comes down to it, Jay has played his better than anyone else has played theirs.

As far as the proposed battle in New Orleans goes, it’s not a bad idea. But much like everyone else, Mos Def knows it will never happen with Jay.

Besides, Jay can’t prove anything in one day that he hasn’t proved over the course of a 13 year career.

The Inevitable D.O.A. Fallout

What started as a debut on Hot 97 Friday night, has turned into the main topic of discussion for the hip hop community today.

As is typical with most arguments/debates, the first and most crucial step is understanding the argument. Don’t just look at the title of the song and assume that Jay is just shitting on any and everyone who uses auto tune.

If you heard Jay on The Angie Martinez Show today, you may have gotten some clarification.

Here’s what he told Angie:

I’m not saying that autotune is wack, what I’m saying is: someone does that. You know T-Pain did it and writes great melodies. Wayne did it, Kanye did it…leave that to them. Like we all going to make one type of record? That’s how you stagnate hip hop and that’s how people get turned off.

You listen to the radio and every single record has autotune on it? That’s corny.

Alright, back to the lecture at hand. Clearly a lot of artists out there are feeling a way because they all think Jay’s talking about them.

But he didn’t speak one name in the track. So if an artist is feeling a way about it, that’s pretty much on them.

If you know you’re making quality music and not just riding the wave of a trend then you’re cool.

For the record, Kanye can do whatever he pleases. He was a VERY established artist and producer for years before made 808’s and Heartbreak, which was far from just a collection of dance songs.

I understand that cats gotta eat, but at the same time you have to respect the culture because the label heads clearly don’t. Don’t just make an auto-tune song because Wayne and T-Pain did it.

I heard the homie DJ Webstar say that he’s just giving the fans what they want to hear. Well at this point the fans will listen to whatever the radio puts on the air.

The NBA wouldn’t be able to put sub-par athletes on the court because the fans demand better. If the talent level dropped dramatically then so would ticket sales, merchandising, TV ratings and so forth.

What do we demand as rap fans?

Do we demand LeBron and Kobe? Or do we settle for settle for a YMCA all-stars on 10 day contracts?

Jay Speaks, Hip Hop Listens

If you’re on Twitter and follow  any residents of the hip hop community, you already know how Hov officially took over practically everyone’s tweets.

I’ve never seen such a mixture of hate and adulation.

Now, I’m not one of these cats who feels that if you don’t like something it means you’re hating. And likewise I don’t believe that if you’re feeling something it means that you’re dick riding.

But I have a serious problem with the hating for no reason. Every time Jay drops a new record or makes news I get a strong reminder that despite the fact that most people want to deny it, he’s the greatest rapper of all time.

Who else gets such a buzz just for dropping a record? Who else can get so much hate for a record that’s truthfully better than at least 80% of the joints that are out at the time?

Here’s a guy who’s given us album after album of both hot and insightful music. And he gets disrespected more than Drake? What part of the game is that?

No shots at Drake whatsoever, but all across Twitter and in the comment sections on Nah Right and Rap Radar I’ve seen actual statements with Drake and Jay in the same sentence.

Even rappers have gotten their hate on.

Like this cat Mistah FAB. I have no problem with him not liking the record, of course he doesn’t have to like it. But to come out and say: ” This Jay-Z song is so weak!!!!!!!!!!!!!” irks the hell out of me.

Especially when I haven’t seen him throw shots at any of the absolute gabage (that’s right gah’baj) that’s out there. It’s almost as if cats are throwing rocks at the throne just because it’s Jay.

If the lyrics he put on this track came out of someone else’s mouth it’ll be praised as the realest shit out. But because it’s Jay it’s weak?

Shit like that just makes it ever so clear that Jay is the G.O.A.T. Hip hop has never seen an individual dominate the game the way he has and we as a whole don’t know how to embrace it.

But back to the track itself.

Of course there is a perceived element of hypocrisy involved here, seeing as Jay’s biggest artist just put on an album entirely composed of auto-tune.

But let’s get one thing straight: Kanye West is one of the most talented artists hip hop has ever seen and 808’s and Heartbreak is a piece of art. So kill that argument.

Jay is sending shots to all those “artists” who are using auto-tune just because it’s popular.

That is not hip hop. Hip hop is variety. Not copy cat.

History Time For Kobe

kobe-bryant-mvpThose Nike puppet commercials with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant weren’t all about jokes.

Just imagine if Jordan’s puppet was was in the crib chilling while Kobe bragged to LeBron about his three rings.

A commercial like that would put it all in perspective.

It’s about history.

Even though there would be more MVP drama added to this series if LeBron wouldn’t have gotten thumped by the Magic, history is still there for the taking for Kobe Bryant.

Defeating Lebron in this year’s Finals would have been a major notch on Kobe’s belt. A year removed from winning his first MVP trophy, the Black Mamba could have killed a few birds with one stone.

Of course in all the interviews he’s going to say  that playing against LeBron wouldn’t add anything to his preperation and a ring is a ring no matter who you play.

And that’s what he should say. But as far as the arguments I’m hearing in the street? Kobe is losing most of the arguments in the barbershops and shoe stores and especially with the kids.

While a lot of the cats I hear talking  basketball wouldn’t know a down screen from a v-cut, they wouldn’t be able to deny the results of a head to head match-up.

A Kobe win over LeBron would have been what i’ll call a ’sonning’ moment. With that win, he would be on record as having officially sonned Lebron.

If he defeats the Magic for his fourth ring, he’s going to need a fifth just for the numbers. In order to make history, you have to seperate yourself from even the greatest of you contemporaries.

And right now, both Shaq and Tim Duncan have four rings.

So regardless of who he’s playing, he still needs that trophy this season which will put him only two behind Jordan and tied with the greatest of his era.

One thing I’ve learned from  the G.O.A.T. conversations I’ve had with older people who know the game is this: If you’re not the greatest from your era, you can’t be in the discussion as the greatest of all time.

michael_jordan_trophy_rings

So Kobe needs to lock in and snatch this ring up and add to the collection. Because the homie to the right doesn’t care about those three cookies.

He’s a grown man drinking a six-pack.

But back to the prediction at hand, I’m riding with the Lakers in six. For the record, I wouldn’t be surprised if Orlando won it in seven. But I can’t see Kobe losing two NBA Finals in a row.

Jordan never even lost one Finals series and a loss in these Finals would make Kobe’s third which would give him as many series wins as losses.

Not a good look.

Media To Blame For Daschle Fiasco

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Former Senator Tom Daschle's withdrawal from nomination as Health and Human Services Secretary illustrates the heavy influence of the media.

Want to know how powerful the media is? As if you would need an example, try this one on.

By know you probably know all about Former Sen. Tom Daschle’s withdrawal heard round the world. What you may not know is the real reason behind it.

Daschle’s situation is a multi-layered one. But however  you slice it his decision to withdraw was, for the most part, based on the  influence of  one entity — the media.

Not the White House, republicans or even the Senate committee who would have grilled for days on end. Nope, blame it on the press.

In fact, no other party is more responsible for decisions that get made in Washington than the media. Whether it be newspaper columnists, cable news anchors or talk show hosts, the media controls politicians much like back room invisible hands.

Not to be confused with the crooked politicians you read about in their papers, the media rightfully holds their position and possess an almost God-like omnipresence that even the most powerful elected officials fear.

They have their own offices in the White House. If not for the importance of the media, every PR professional in Washington would be searching for a new career path.

The Tom Daschle situation is perhaps the greatest example of that. Over the last three days since he made his announcement, I haven’t heard a single argument from a single person stating that Daschle was unfit to do the job President Obama nominated him for.

All I have heard are comments about perception. So, I posed a question to a journalism friend of mine in order to get an unbiased opinion.

I’ll pose the same question to you.

Say you have a problem with the plumbing in your basement, and have had this problem for some time now.

After asking around and doing your research, you’re referred to a guy who by all accounts is the best in the business. He possesses a special set of analytical skills and  has unique relationships with a number of plumbing supply manufacturers.

My question is simply this: Would you not allow this man to fix your problem if you found out he had some issues with his personal taxes?

If you’re sensible like my friend is your answer too would be no. And that’s the Daschle fiasco in a nutshell. A very qualified individual is forced to disqualify himself because of an unrelated issue.

But why is the situation so insignificant  when it concerns Joe the plumber (no pun intended) and such a major deal when a potential cabinet member is involved?

reportersThe answer is simple: the media.

Now, I understand that a position such as Secretary of Health and Human Services is a high position, but it is still a job right?

And as a job of great importance, shouldn’t priority be placed on getting the best qualified person for the job?

Somehow the media has convinced the country that a tax issue, while unappealing, will somehow effect a person’s ability to read, think analytically and make crucial decisions.

The general consensus across America is that Barack Obama is a smart individual. Therefore he must have had very good reasons to select Tom Daschle for the HHS position  in the first place.

To further showcase how much confidence he had in Daschle, Obama was willing to stand by his nominee despite his tax situation.

That tells me that President Obama felt very confidently that Tom Daschle was best equipped to perform this job at a high and effective level.

At the end of the day, the former senator withdrew his name for no other reason than to save the White House from another PR firestorm. Not because he wasn’t fit for the job, but because the media wouldn’t let it go.

The press controls perception and thereby control the actions of administrations. Presidential approval ratings are a good barometer of how the country views the president.

How does the country view the president? Through the lens provided by the media. With high approval ratings, President Obama maintains his leverage over opposing republicans. If it goes down, well not so much.

So since the new administration can’t afford to lose ground Daschle, who by most estimates would have gained   Senate confirmation, stepped down and took one for the team.

And this is the cycle. Controlled by one central player.

The media.

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