Lynne d Johnson



« November 2005 | Diary | January 2006 »

12.29.05 05:38 PM

mariah and others who didn't make the list

Mariah Carey

This was an interesting year for music. Alternative/Rock and R&B made a comeback in a major way. Not that hip-hop albums didn't warrant mention, it's just that the top selling hip-hop artists this year who also made the Billboard charts happen to have a little pop crossover appeal. Besides, Kanye West and 50 Cent's raps nowadays sound a lot more like singing.

But it was definitely Mariah's year. Mariah's The Emancipation Of Mimi has sold 4.8 million copies nationally to date and more than 8 million copies world wide. This places her neck-and-neck with 50 Cent for best selling US album of the year. ("In the latest numbers from Nielsen SoundScan, Carey has sold 4.866 million copies to 50's 4.834 million." 50 Cent and his Massacre received Billboard's Artist of The Year Award. Carey though, proved that 2005 was her year, nabbing 5 Billboard Music Awards, 4 Vibe Awards, and 1 American Music Award, notwithstanding her 8 Grammy nods.

Yet in a few year-end lists, such as Pitchfork's Top 50 albums of 2005 and Popmatters Picks: The Best Music of 2005, Mariah Carey's Emancipation does not appear. That's definitely a problem. How can the most lauded artist of the year, not end up on lists that are supposed to be significant markers of good music?

Both lists do showcase a few crossover rap acts. First there was the usual suspect — Kanye West. Then there were two of the best lyricists of the past 10 years — Cam'Ron and Common. There was also the underdog — Blackalicious. And dont forget about newcomers The Game and Young Jeezy — but no 50 Cent. I have to admit that The Massacre left something to be desired and perhaps the Get Rich Or Die Tryin' Soundtrack was a much better album. Even Tony Yayo's album was far more sonically interesting.

These lists, though, tend to tilt more toward rock critics assessment of what makes a good album. And therefore R&B doesn't make the cut, even when it's Mariah Carey. John Legend, another R&B heavyweight this year, also didn't make these popular year-end music lists.

As for the rap/hip-hop selections that do make the cut, they lean more toward a rock critic's sensibilities and listening pleasure, and often it's the material of the genre that has crossover appeal.

But here's another problem with those lists. Swishahouse had a great year. Swishahouse was the best thing that happened to hip-hop in 2005. Yet Swishahouse artists did not make the list. Houston, in general, has become the home of hip-hop lately with everyone who wants to make a hit collaborating with Slim Thug, Bun B, or Paul Wall.

Swishahouse rappers Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug, made major contributions to top hip-hop and pop singles this year. Mike Jones, "Still Tippin'," was one of the most popular hip-hop songs and ringtones of the year. His album, Who Is Mike Jones? has sold over 1 million copies. Slim Thug's Already Platinum has sold more than 500,000 copies, and Paul Wall's The Peoples Champ debuted at No. 1 with 176,000 copies sold in the United States. Lil' Flip may not have had major-label releases in 2005, but his heavy mixtape circuit activity should be a boon to his Feb. '06 release. And Houston veteran, Bun B's Trill, debuted at no. 6 on Billboard, while newcomer Chamillionaire capitlized off the H-Town movement with The Sound Of Revenge debuting real big.

Overall 2005, saw some of the most diverse music offerings released. In the case of Reggae and aslo Reggaeton, that hardly ever get mentioned on any of these year-end lists, there were some significant firsts.

Sean Paul, who will be rocking in the New Year's on Dick Clark's special, and his album, The Trinity not only received a Grammy nod but also earned the highest ever reggae debut and single week sales for a reggae artist in SoundScan history. A week before Sean Paul earned those honors, a native reggae son, Damian Marley earned the label as the highest reggae debut. Far from his brother's Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Chris Blackwell pop reggae fusion, Jr. Gong's Welcome To Jamrock mixes dancehall, roots, blues, r&b, and hip-hop. It is definitely one of 2005's winners, if only for its summer anthem.

As for Reggaeton, Don Omar, Daddy Yankee, and Tego Calderon's major label deals, will only help to push this genre further into the mainstream. Don Omar's “Dale Don Dale,” featuring Fabolous and Daddy Yankee's "Rompe" are already playing heavily in mainstream radio and video rotations.

Maybe this year's music wasn't the most exciting, but it was by far the most unique (and as I already said) most diverse, in many years. Since Usher's success in recent years, and the introduction of Ciara and Chris Brown, R&B is once again a recognized and important genre. Hip-hop continues to widen its net, bringing us a larger array of rapping and production styles, especially from the midwest and dirty south. And world music, usually far more popular with adults, is becoming equally as relevant to today's youth.

I just wish that when some of these year-end lists are published that the top 10s reflect just how varied America's music is.

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12.29.05 03:53 AM

mary j. blige redux

I forgot to list the tracks...

lynneluvah's Weekly Tracks Chart

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12.28.05 03:08 AM

it was a mary j. blige kind of week

Top tracks week of Dec. 18 - Dec. 25

lynneluvah's Weekly Tracks Chart

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12.18.05 11:58 PM

i've joined the revolution

since jason has been talking about so much and nova asked my opinion on the service i decided why not - why not try one more social networking tool that focuses on user's music preferences

watch out napster and msn

here's my page on

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12.12.05 06:43 PM

open source is my life

Lately, I've become the Queen of open source tools. Time I should be spending writing, or putting up my new site design, or hooking up with Donald so he can upgrade my MT, or on a host of other things, I end up playing with technology.

It started when I finally decided to drop some ducats on my own 12" powerbook instead of lugging the one from work home all the time. Other than tricking the hell out of the joint and using Candy Bar to replace icons - I've been testing out a bunch of other tools.

Versiontracker was always my best friend when looking for what to download to perform certain tasks, but it's becoming a better friend as of late. I'm very thankful for the ratings and commenting systems that the site employs, offering users an opportunity to get a fair take on products they don't know too much about.

That's how I found Missing Sync for HipTop so I could synchronize all of my contacts and calendar info across my Mac and my Sidekick. And also how I found lifebalance, a project management tool specifically for OS X that helps me to forget that since I don't actually use Windows at home I can't use either Project or Open Workbench.

Photo Manipulation

Now I'd used Gimp on a Linux box and on a Windows XP Machine. Having been a staunch Adobe Photoshop advocate, I just didn't see the need to have it on a Mac. But as Adobe moves to make Photoshop more and more part of a creative suite, it just made more sense to give Mac Gimp a try. I'm impressed. In just a few more revs, this tool may certainly replace Photoshop for Mac users. Well for all users who aren't graphics snobs.


So no one likes NAV or Virex for Tiger, or at least it seemed that way. I tried to figure out what really worked and what would be intuitive to the operating system. Something that made use of its UNIX shell. So I started using ClamXav. Who doesn't love freeware?

Beyond being free though, it really works. I know that Mac OS elitist, especially Tiger users are always like: "We don't have to worry about viruses, what virus?" But we all know we can pass viruses on to PC users - and that's still a large percentage of the computing world.

So I loved ClamXav, but it doesn't repair files. The only option you really have is to quarantine a file or to throw it away. This kind of bothered me when I cam across some old files that I had transfered to my jump drive, that I really couldn't afford to throw away. I ended up subscribing to NAV, but to be honest, I found ClamXav far more interesting to use.

Eventually I couldn't keep them both on the machine. It just didn't make sense to run two anti virus products. NAV won out, because of it's ability to repair files. But if ClamXav could do that, it would still be on my box today.

iPod Utilities

I've used many iPod to iTunes exporters since having my first generation iPod. But none of them work quite as well as the one I've downloaded most recently. Senuti is just faster and works much better than any of these iPod rippers that I've ever used. And if you're a synch freak it makes even more sense.

DVD and Video

In the past couple of weeks, I started testing out 3 tools to help me get some work done with DVD ripping and conversion for streaming and prepping for DVD burning. I don't have a final analysis on them as of yet, but the best one so far seems to be ffmpegX. Like ClamXav, it makes use of OS X's Unix Shell to do some major work. For folks who don't know how to use terminal appropriately, tools like ClamXav and ffmpegX offer some great front end tools to make use of operations that are already available to you.

ffmpegX is probably the most robust Video/audio encoder I've seen to date. On some forums, I've heard of people having some problems with conversion, but overall the tool has served my purposes.

I also checked out Handbrake, a DVD to MPEG 4 ripper/converter and MacTheRipper, a DVD extractor. As I've only recently begun using these products, I don't have much to say about them, but the ffmpegX appears to be the most useful.

Digital Audio Recording

I've been using BlackCatSystems audiocorder for a couple years now. I originally used it to transfer mixes made for MD to MP3s since MD and Mac weren't always such good bedfellows. It served my purposes well. Later, I started using it for interviews, when I felt like carrying a laptop and recording other conversations and sounds. (Yes I know wouldn't a digital audio recording device or attaching a belkin voice recorder to an iPod work just as fine?) Well, there are more things I can manipulate sound wise with audiocorder.

And yet, while I've been using audiocorder all this time, I hear that audio recorder is making some headway. Audio Recorder is free while a full version of Audiocorder costs about $19.99. It really depends on what your needs are though with these two. Audio Recorder gets one point higher rating at versiontracker though.

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12.11.05 09:34 PM

dat real bk muzik

It's not often that an underground artists gets legit rap credibility on a mixtape, but that deemi chick is about to have this game on lock. I downloaded mad MP3s of hers last month, and haven't stopped listening to them since. Chris Styles, of dangerous llc, who produced 50s "Disco Inferno" and "Window Shopper," as well as "Car Wash" from the Shark Tale soundtrack, is the mastermind behind this raw talent.

You can check out her music and videos @ dangerousllc, midimafia, family ties entertainment, and her myspace spot. The deemi buzz, now that she has a project slated to be released on Atlantic in Feb., must be getting huge. I've heard joints with Busta, Remy, Nore, Jaheim, Talib, Slim Thug and Bun B, and Styles P.

This girl is just so hood and raw. I'm co-signing her to the fullest.

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12.11.05 05:53 PM

the return of urbanexpose - sort of in the form of a hip-hop bible

Back in the days of the urban interweb explosion...

When there were mega sites like,,, Urban Box Office, 360hiphop - and far too many foul ups to mention

There was this one space, to get your daily dish on the behind-the-scenes scoop on all of these organizations

In it's heyday, it was the most notable urban site - and media inside scoop (definitely a percursor to such sites as gawker and wonkette)

But the smooth move operator who launced the site was of the stealthiest breed - maintaining anonymity as long as he could - at least until it made sense and would further his own career - he turned out to be a once locked up hacker envied for his bed stuy hardcore roots as much as his technological acumen

Brilliant! So brilliant in fact there's talk of an urbanexpose TV show in the works - seeing will be believing

But the fact is I'm not posting about UE to praise it or its founder, or even to discuss the time that once was urban interweb. I'm more interested in some of the new sites cropping up that seem to be following in the footsteps of the once lauded UE.

The Bible of Hip Hop

No - not The Source

The Bible of Hip Hop Blog

Which of all things has a blogspot url using blogger type template, launcehd in Oct. 2005 to: "fill a void of hardcore media analysis of the hip hop world that has been sorely lacking."

The name of the blog of course takes jabs at The Source - just in its branding alone. But I would think that if you're going to be "The Bible Of Hip Hop" - the least you could do is own your own domain.

Oh you do - just redirects to

There's a lot of analysis there and some clever jokes, but honestly I think has already claimed the space that thebible hopes to enter. And though I don't think he cares for me all that much, I'm not afraid to honestly praise him for the job he's done or how funny he is - whether sometimes I think he goes a little too far or not.

Sure there's a lot of room for hip-hop analysis and hip-hop media analysis, but um...

when people say they're going to be anonymous (I hate when folks do this, and if you don't care about my thoughts - well hashim isn't crazy about it either. And I know you hip-hop bloggers care what he thinks. I only know how he feels about it from talking about another blog taking stabs at another urban magazine behind an anonymous front. On the real though, it's like man up already. It's alright to criticize, but show your face.)

But truly, if you're going to really be anonymous, and even claim that you are in you're about section of your site:

"Who: In the tradition of your favorite rappers of old who stepped out of their basement, put on a cape, and called themselves grandwizard suchandsuch, we have opted to don names that will reflect our personas. We are the ultimate insiders. From the beast, but not of the beast. We are connected. When the time is right, all will be revealed..."

Don't forget that bloggers aren't stupid - and that some of us even really do this interweb shit fo' real, and often identities can be discovered.

Such as:

Registrant Contact:
J. Feinberg (
Fax: +1.2125619546
18 Sutton Place
New York, NY 10001

What you're doing could end up being major though, regardless of anything else I've posted here. It's totally just my opinion. And besides I'm just like Jay-Z and Diddy, holding on to some golden age of hip-hop that's long slipped through my fingers, and as I, like them start approaching middle age, I perhaps need to stop worrying about creating products of hip-hop and worry more about owning products of hip-hop.

Yo, J. Feinberg, if you ever think you need a consultant or an investor to make your dreams come true. Holla'

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12.07.05 05:13 PM

they're redirecting podcasts, yo

Call it the big takeover or just simple hijacking technology, but recently eweek reported that Podcaster Erik Marcus of and the "Erik's Diner" Podcasts had his podcast redirected to

But this week, the other side responds...

"According to George Lambert, creator of the Podkey redirection service that allegedly hijacked a Podcast and held it for ransom, the alleged victim registered with his service to begin with and the "ransom" simply represents fees that would be required to do the custom coding the Podcaster has demanded." (read more)

In other podcasting news...

Yahoo has launched a podcast listening service


AOL is developing its own podcasting search technology

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