Lynne d Johnson



« December 2002 | Diary | February 2003 »

01.29.03 11:35 AM

the battle of the hip-hop magazines

"War of the Words at Hip-Hop Magazines," by Lola Ogunnake, The New York Times, January 29, 2003:
"For a rapper, there's no better way to make a name than through a battle, preferably a verbal one."

"But with the appearance of a two-sided poster in the February issue of The Source, the magazine regarded by many as the bible of hip-hop, it appears that rhetorical tussles aren't limited to rappers anymore. A cartoon depicts Elliott Wilson, the editor in chief of The Source's main competitor, the younger publication XXL, being crushed by a hulking monster wearing a Source T-shirt. Beneath the image is the warning "Respect the architect or get broken.""— More...

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01.21.03 11:16 PM

hip-hop teaches, kills, and dies?

If hip-hop slang and songs can incite thoughtful discussion, then...

"Reading, 'Riting and Rap," by Erika Hayasaki, Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2003:
"So check it. On the white board in a Crenshaw High School classroom were the words: "Man vs. Ho.""

"English teacher Patrick Camangian wrote the phrase to get his students talking about the lyrics by the late Tupac Shakur: "Blaze up, gettin' with hos through my pager.""

"It worked. A lively discussion ensued about sexism, racism and how degrading terms such as "ho" — slang for whore — can be used to dehumanize and divide people. In hip-hop terms, the students were feelin' it."— More...

And, does pop music make people kill?

"Rock in the dock," by Andrew Mueller, Guardian Unlimited, January 18, 2003:
"A few weeks ago, a nationwide leap in gun crime was lent grim focus by the murder of two young women at a party in Birmingham. It must have been a relief to investigating police when, as the smoke was still lifting, culture minister Kim Howells, possibly imagining himself wearing some sort of cape, identified the culprit. Charlene Ellis and Latisha Shakespeare were, in Mr Howells' view, victims - at barely one remove - of hip hop."— More...

How about, is hip-hop dead as a creative musical force?

"Hip hop's not done yet," by Aaron Wherry, National Post, January 13, 2003:
"For those music fans not yet sufficiently jaded by the death of the singer/songwriter, the death of jazz, the death of pop, the death of punk, the death of country, or the repeated death of rock 'n' roll comes the latest critically endorsed proclamation of demise — the death of hip hop."— More...

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01.17.03 01:53 PM

hip-hop's race card

"Rapping out battle lines: How did an anonymous rhymer become the most prominent voice in a war between Enimen and hip-hop's main magazine?," by Geoff Boucher, Los Angeles Times, January 17 2003:
"In two decades as a rapper, Ray "Benzino" Scott has remained a minor player -- he can claim no gold records, no hit video on MTV or BET -- which makes it all the more fascinating that he is the most aggressive provocateur in an ugly war that pits rap's biggest star, Eminem, against the genre's most successful journal, the Source magazine."

"This week, Scott released an album that includes a track, titled "Lift Up Your Skirt," which portrays Eminem as a cultural carpetbagger, a white artist undermining a black art form. That attack escalates considerably in the February issue of the Source in a five-page interview with Scott and an accompanying cartoon poster that depicts Scott holding a gory trophy: the decapitated head of Eminem. At the top of the cover, Eminem and Scott are shown in facing photos with a challenging caption: "Step into the arena.""

"Issues of race, street credibility and success have often roiled the rap community, especially when white superstar rapper Eminem has been considered, but how did a fairly anonymous Boston rhymer become the most prominent voice in the matter? Especially now, in 2003, when many of the most acclaimed black rappers have repeatedly embraced Eminem as a talent whose urban background overrides many questions of color?"— More...

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01.15.03 10:35 PM

the best music of 2002

In checking out some of the nods for the best music of 2002 this is what I came across. I will save my views for later, but some of my votes are on these lists. What are yours?

"The Top 10 Essential Albums of 2002," by Ken Gibbs,, January 15, 2003:

  • God's Son, Nas (Sony/Columbia)
  • Electric Circus, Common (MCA)
  • Red Hot + Riot: Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti, Various Artists (Red Hot/MCA)
  • All I Have, Amerie (Columbia)
  • Instant Vintage, Raphael Saadiq (Universal)
  • Let It Rain, Tracy Chapman (Elektra/Asylum)
  • Nothing's In Vain, Youssou N'Dour (Nonesuch)
  • The Complete Sarah Vaughan Studio Sessions, Sarah Vaughan (Mosaic)
  • Justified, Justin Timberlake (Jive)
  • Headphone Masterpiece, Cody Chesnutt (Ready Set Go)

"Best Music Of 2002," by PopMatters Music Staff,, December 31, 2002:
"Following several less than stellar musical years, 2002 shaped up to be the best year for new music since 1997. Hip-hop was vastly reinvigorated by ambitious and grand albums like Common's Electric Circus, Blackalicious' Blazing Arrow, and Talib Kweli's Quality. UK garage fulfilled its promise and went global with The Streets' Original Pirate Material and the rocketing stardom of North London's Ms. Dynamite. Rock 'n' roll was in very good health and surged ahead with Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot scoring major critical acclaim, Coldplay's massive A Rush of Blood to the Head, and the emergence of The Hives and The Vines. Alt-country reached new heights and touched the US national consciousness with Steve Earle's Jerusalem and Ryan Adams' continued artistic prolificness. Only dance and electronic music seemed to shine less brightly with few classic records this year. A great, banner year.— More...

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01.13.03 10:36 PM

more hip hop views

The New Year's pics are still coming. I promise. And sorry I didn't comment on the last post, after I thought about it most of the comments took care of things for me. I'll save my comments on the next article until I see what you folks have to say.

"Hip Hop Hysteria," by Salim Muwakkil, In These Times, December 20, 2002:
"Serious social critics could once dismiss hip hop's purveyors as a bunch of crude vulgarians extolling ghetto-centric lifestyles. No longer. Hip hop has become one of the most influential U.S. cultural exports. In virtually every city on the planet, there are hip hop communities that not only have adopted the percussion-heavy music and spoken-word vocals, but have appropriated the sartorial and attitudinal style of the black and Latino youth who created the genre."— More...

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01.08.03 10:45 PM

Hip Hop Rules...Not?

Aight I know I was supposed to put up pics from Hotlanta, and they are still coming. But in the meantime...

"Hip Hop History Lesson," by Maori Karmael Holmes, WireTap, January 8, 2003:
"History is almost always told by the side that wins. The stories of the defeated and oppressed are often missing from "classical" texts and it therefore falls to the surviving generations to pass them on. Many of these stories are forever lost in the tides of time. But every so often, generations later, a curious descendent seeks out these forgotten histories and retells them."

"Into this tradition enters Dan Park, a.k.a. DYP tha Goldynchild, a twenty-something, East Coast bred and born, Ivy League-educated, Korean-American emcee, who was recently inspired to put on wax the story of the brutal forty-year occupation of Korea by the Japanese. WireTap recently spoke to Dan about his new song "35 Yearz" — a magnificent attempt to seek redemption for his ancestors."— More...

"Foucault's Turntable," by Hua Hsu, The Village Voice, January 8 - 14, 2003
"'Like Craig Mack said, here comes a brand-new flava in your ear!' Professor Todd Boyd is hyping his latest book, The New H.N.I.C.: The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip-Hop (NYU Press), but it's not so much what he's saying as how he says it that captures the ear. His argument begins in a rich, methodical tone, elegantly scripting the fall of the previous generation alongside the rise of a new hip-hop ethos, occasionally punctuated with a line lifted from Jay-Z or Nas."— More...

And a bonus from Trent:
"Has Hip-Hop Replaced the Civil Rights Movement?," by Artelia C. Covington, Black Press USA, January 01, 2003:
"I believe that hip-hop has replaced the Civil Rights Movement because a new generation has emerged, and being Black now is a lot different than it was during the Civil Rights Movement," says author-cultural critic Todd Boyd, about his latest book, H.N.I.C.: The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip-Hop. "Hip-hop to me is the sort of thing that cuts across all boundaries and races the way the Civil Rights Movement did. I'm not denouncing the Civil Rights Movement for what it stood for, I'm simply saying that it was useful in some ways and in some ways it wasn't - it's played out now.""— More...

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01.04.03 01:17 AM

stakes is high

From "Stakes is High," by Jeff Chang, The Nation, January 13, 2003:
"Indeed, as the central marker of urban youth of color style and authenticity, rap music has become the key to the niching of youth culture. The "hip-hop lifestyle" is now available for purchase in every suburban mall. "Political rap" has been repackaged by record companies as merely "conscious," retooled for a smaller niche as an alternative. Instead of drinking Alizé, you drink Sprite. Instead of Versace, you wear Ecko. Instead of Jay-Z, you listen to the Roots. Teen rap, party rap, gangsta rap, political rap—tags that were once a mere music critic's game—are literally serious business."— More...

BTW, have you ever witnessed how robust my linkage is?

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01.03.03 02:29 AM

back from Hotlanta

Had a great time in Hotlanta bringing in the New Year with the men of DIC, Wood, and a few of their special friends. Pics to post coming soon! But J. already shows me bringing in 2003 with Loverboy. I am not officially back yet, still awaiting my new design. So my return emails—to those of you who cared enuff to ask to be notified—will be sent out as soon as the new site is up, and of course when I am posting somewhat more consistently. It is back to work in a few hours, so I best get some sleep. For some reason I am suffering from insomnia since my return. But if I want to be on top of my game in the morn, I have to make that sleep come down. Perhaps I just need to get used to this cold ass weather again. I left a pretty warm, but rainy day in ATL to encounter ice, sleet, and snow in NYC.

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