Monday, December 31, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter will step down as Def Jam Records president when his contract expires this year, he and Universal Music Group announced today (Dec. 24). The rapper will continue to record for Roc-A-Fella, the label he co-founded in 1996, which is part of the Universal-distributed Island Def Jam Music Group.
In a statement announcing his departure, Jay-Z acknowledged the artists and executives he had worked with during his three years as label president, including IDJ chairman/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid.
He added, "It's time for me to take on new challenges. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to build upon the Def Jam legacy, helping to move the company into a new era of artistic success."
Reid stated, "Jay made it clear to us that he feels the time has come to take on different challenges in his life. While we regret his decision to move on, we certainly respect it ... While he will continue to be one of our signature artists, he will nonetheless be missed in this executive capacity."
In an interview earlier this month with Billboard, Jay-Z said any decision about his future with Def Jam would not be "about money." It's really about trying to invest in the future, trying to invest in maybe coming up with a new model. Because going in hard making records with artists and throwing those records into a system that's flawed is not exciting for me."
"It's not the music; people ingest music the same way. It's just that the model of selling CDs has changed," he continued. "So doing things the typical way is not in the best interests of anyone and not exciting for me. My whole thing is, how do we invest in the future? If everyone is committed to doing that, then I'm sure there's a deal to be made."
Monday, December 24, 2007
Oscar Peterson, the legendary Canadian jazz pianist known for his breathtaking displays of speed and agility, died Sunday, December 23 at his home in Mississauga, Ontario, according to various news sources. He was 82 years old. According to the Associated Press, the cause of death was kidney failure.
Peterson was born in Montreal on August 15, 1925. He grew up in a musical family, and was influenced by Art Tatum and Nat "King" Cole at an early age. While only in high school, he played in a band with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and performed regularly on Canadian national radio. In 1949, Peterson performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, launching his international career. He signed to Verve in the early 1950s, and went on to play with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker. His reputation for velocity and virtuosity grew and grew in the decades that followed, and he attracted a large international following. A 1993 stroke weakened his left hand, but Peterson continued to play for years to come.
Throughout his lifetime, Peterson was given countless honors and awards, including many Grammys. He was given his own stamp in Canada and Austria. He also started blogging in 2000.
Since the news of Peterson's death hit on Christmas Eve, tributes from the jazz world have been pouring in. The Associated Press quoted the following statement from Herbie Hancock: "Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today. I consider him the major influence that formed my roots in jazz piano playing. He mastered the balance between technique, hard blues grooving, and tenderness ... No one will ever be able to take his place."
A message from Peterson's family on his website asks that those seeking to honor the pianist's memory can make donations to World Vision or Christian Children's Fund.
Video: Oscar Peterson Trio: Live in Italy 1961
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Proceeds from the event, at the Madison Theater in Covington, Ky., will go toward the rebuilding of Brown's early recording home, Cincinnati-based King Records, and the eventual launch of a museum. Brown died Christmas Day 2006.
Featured acts include Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, rapper Lil' Boosie, guitarist Buckethead, bassist Freekbass and Brown's most recent band, The Soul Generals. Also on tap: an appearance by members of the JB's, Brown's original backing unit, as well as his longtime MC Danny Ray.
"We didn't want a rock star hoopla kind of thing," said Collins, who started working at King Records when he was 15 and was touring the world with Brown by the time he was 17. "I want to keep the focus on Mr. Brown; I don't want people to forget what he's done. To me, he's like the Martin Luther King Jr. of music."
Collins said the city of Cincinnati has also signaled its support for the museum. He envisions an interactive experience whereby young people can learn about music and instruments, participate in workshops and perform live.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
He also ventured into rock with the Allman Brothers Band's second release, 1970's "Idlewild South," and Don McLean's 1974 album, "Homeless Brother." (McLean was the inspiration for the songwriters of "Killing Me Softly...")
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
"Ike Turner passed away this morning. He was at his home," in San Marcos, California, outside San Diego, said Scott Hanover of Thrill Entertainment.
Hanover did not have any further information about the cause of death.
Turner helped pioneer rock 'n' roll in 1951 when his band The Kings of Rhythm recorded the song "Rocket 88," a tune widely regarded as the first record in the nascent genre. The Chess Records release was credited to the band's saxophone player Jackie Brenston "and his Delta Cats."
As a guitarist and pianist, Turner played with the likes of B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon in the 1950s. He married Annie Mae Bullock in 1958, she changed her name to Tina, and they enjoyed such hits as "River Deep, Mountain High," "Proud Mary" and "Nutbush City Limits."
The pair won a Grammy in 1972 for "Proud Mary," and earlier this year Ike Turner was awarded again with the record industry's top honor for his traditional blues album, "Risin' with the Blues."
After his and Tina Turner's 1976 divorce, Ike Turner was crippled by a cocaine addiction and was widely vilified in the mid-1980s as Tina Turner mounted a huge comeback and said she had suffered abuse and humiliation at his hand.
The Turners were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
And don't forget:
Go there, support us. Have a good time! Don't forget also, this event is 21+ and is $5 for entry.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Two years ago, the "Free Pimp C" movement hit its zenith. Incarcerated for aggravated assault, Pimp C was absent from the Houston hip-hop scene just as the next generation of rappers — Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Chamillionaire — was about to make its mark nationally.
The young ones knew the score: They owed much of any success they might achieve — and, more transparently, their sound — to Chad Butler, a.k.a. Pimp C, and they waved the flag emphatically in his honor. The "Free Pimp C" movement was strong enough to cut across the terse, territorial friction between North Houston and South Houston; it was powerful enough to cool long-standing beefs between locals; it united a fractured scene on the verge.
No one kept that movement alive more than Pimp C's partner in the group UGK, Bun B. The underlying sentiment for his tireless efforts was "hope," Bun B told us when we met with him in the spring of 2005 for "My Block: Houston." Bun was on a mission, dropping his partner's name in every rhyme, wearing "Free Pimp C" gear at every opportunity, talking about the day his partner would be released from prison and UGK would be reunited — and the Houston scene would be whole again. Just last summer, the group scored its first #1 album and, just today, Bun learned that "Int'l Players Anthem" has been nominated for a Grammy.
There is no hope for another day now, though, with Pimp C's passing on Tuesday. Houston, the entire Dirty South and all of hip-hop has lost an icon. But Bun B has lost a brother. The two friends were not the same men in adulthood that they were when they started UGK as teenagers in 1987, but there was a fundamental, intimate bond that existed beyond hip-hop and the music industry: They were, in essence, family, and now Bun has lost the person that's been closest to him for the longest. By his own admission, he will never be the same person again.
As reactions continue to pour in from the hip-hop community, in one of his first interviews since Pimp C's death, Bun B talked with us in an emotional, heartfelt interview about the loss of his brother, remembering Pimp C as a passionate artist and an even stronger man. Here's what he had to say ...
MTV: You've said that rapping was a hobby at first and not your dream, but that music was something Pimp cared about deeply. Can you tell us how important music was to Pimp?
Bun B: Pimp was very respectful of the [musicians] that came before him. R&B, jazz, different blues and stuff; he was a big Wes Montgomery fan, he was a big [John] Coltrane fan, he was a George Benson fan. He was really respectful of music in that sense and he was respectful of the fact that he knew the opinions and the way that our elders looked at our music at the time; this was in our earliest inception. His father was a musician and was highly critical of rap itself — not him but rap in general, the old saying that it's a bunch of noise.
Above all things, he wanted to show the musical inclinations of UGK — we didn't just sample the music. Pimp worked very hard to get live musicians to play music and record live organ sounds. And reaching out to Leo Nocentelli from [New Orleans funk legends] the Meters and saying, "I want this sound on the guitar and nobody can really play this sound on the guitar but this man," and going to the man and asking him, would he do it? And imagine one of the Meters — instead of sampling them, having one of the guys there playing the riff for you. That was his commitment. And because of [Pimp's] love ... that was the reason a person like that would consider recording with some 20-year-old kids from Port Arthur, Texas. And he was extremely, extremely passionate about showing that. If nothing else, UGK's music was at its very least musical. It had a full, rich sound. And that's kind of what separated our music from a lot of people, it had that live instrumentation.
MTV: When I talked to Slim Thug this week, he compared Pimp to Lil Jon in terms of laying the foundation for Texas' sound like Jon did for Atlanta. But our own Sway made the comparison of Pimp and Jam Master Jay, as far as the swagger behind the group.
Bun B: I kind of understand where you draw the distinction from. And believe me, that is extremely high company to be held next to, and I appreciate the compliment. I'm sure [Pimp] does too. I sit and I think about what you're saying right now and there really is no one to compare him to, for me. And I guess that's how close I am to the situation in general. Keep in mind, his favorite rapper was Run. I totally understand the Jam Master Jay-swagger reference. If you really look at it, Bun B and Pimp C — Run-DMC. We definitely derived a lot from not only them, but our peers: the Whodinis and the EPMDs and the Geto Boys. We learned a lot from all of those people. His swagger, though, I have to say, it was definitely influenced by the Big Daddy Kanes and the Run-DMCs, and even the Steady Bs and Cool Cs of the world. We listened to it all: Eazy and Cube and Too Short and all these people. At the end of the day, when it's all summed up, [though,] he was uniquely Pimp.
MTV: Pimp was recently in the news for some outspoken comments he made about Atlanta not really being "the South," and some unflattering comments about his peers. But instead of these comments painting him in a negative light, in ways they humanized him as a real person, not just a rapper.
Bun B: He was passionate. He wanted to be as honest with people as he could — almost to a fault, you know? And it's just ... it's kind of hard to really put a lot of that into words, the kind of man he was. But everything he loved — everyone he loved — he loved hard and embraced it fully. He was very passionate if he felt a certain way about things; he couldn't hold it in, he couldn't filter himself, he couldn't be politically correct. It just wasn't in him to not say what he felt. Whether he felt he was right or wrong at the time, he spoke from his heart.
He said a lot of things over the years to a lot of different people about a lot of subjects. And at the end of the day, even if you didn't agree with him, you have to give him credit and respect the fact he was willing to stand by what he said. So many people can be wishy-washy about statements and what they do, and very few give a damn about anything anymore. You know what I'm saying? And he really cared about everything and everyone, and just wanted everyone to be their best. He wanted rap to be the best. He wanted Southern hip-hop to be the best. He wanted everyone involved to be the best. He never looked down on anybody. He never made anybody feel small. He tried to uplift, especially. Sometimes that honesty can come across the wrong way, and sometimes it can be taken the wrong way, and sometimes people don't want to hear it. And that's why, even though if I [didn't agree with] how he felt, I couldn't tell him to not speak from his heart. There's a lot of things that we didn't agree on. There's a lot of opinions I had on things that he didn't agree on, but he was down with me. It was documented he didn't want to do [the Jay-Z collaboration] "Big Pimpin'," but he rolled with me on that. And that's just the relationship we had. That's just the kind of person that he was. He didn't know how to love a little; he didn't know how to care a little.
MTV: He didn't want to do "Big Pimpin'," but with "Int'l Players Anthem," he was behind that one and ...
Bun B: Yeah, I initially didn't want to do it. But [that song], the way you think of it, it's not the one that we set out to create; it ain't the one that you hear now. It went through a series of changes. That was a song that he heard on Project Pat's album and was like, "Yo, I really want to rap to that." And I was like, "Why would you want to rap to a beat that someone already rapped to?" He was like, "Because it's jamming, the record label didn't really promote it, and people didn't really hear that beat. DJ Paul and them made such a great beat, Pat went off on it, nobody got to hear that track! It's too jamming to just let go away like that, we need to bring it back." We have different moments where there's different songs that he wants to do that I feel like I don't want to do or feel like we don't need to do. But I trusted his judgment and at the same time he trusted mine.
MTV: UGK were in pursuit of recognition for so long and it got to the point where the group's influence was overwhelmingly recognized. And for Pimp, he was in jail when the recognition began to enter its heights, but the last two years for him were the fruition of that journey. It's almost as if everything came full circle.
Bun B: I just got a call about a few hours ago that we got a Grammy nomination. Me and my VP from Jive [Records] were talking about this, because we been on this label for 15 years. We've known these people longer than we've known a lot of people in our lives. And he can always remember Pimp telling him, "We going to the Grammys," and them looking at this little kid from Port Arthur like he's crazy: "He may make some good music and sell a few records, but what they do? That kind of stuff doesn't go to the Grammys." And 15 years later, a song I told him we shouldn't do and he was adamant about it — and he got his Grammy nomination just like he always wanted. I'm so happy for him. I'm so proud of him. Because he did it exactly like he wanted to do it: on his terms. We had a nomination before with Jay-Z — and we were very blessed and honored for that. But that was Jay featuring us — this one was us. Not taking anything away from Outkast, because that definitely comes into play. But at the same time, us putting Outkast on the record was his vision — seeing things a little further — and God putting together a plan for us. [He pauses.] I'm really happy for him. I know he just popped a bottle! Because in all honestly, this is what he wanted [to win a Grammy]. He's gonna put a Grammy on his mama's shelf. He's gonna put a Grammy on his mama's shelf, man. [He pauses again.]
MTV: How important has the fan support been for you and Pimp's family?
Bun B: I know I'm not alone in my grief and my pain. And it's not just his family and closest friends — there was a lot of people who loved him, there was a lot of people that were hurt before, when he went to prison, and they carried us so far and held us up for so long. They brought us to where we are right now. I know they're hurting right now. I feel their pain, I hear their prayers, I hear them on the radio. And I thank them and I love them, and I just want them to know Pimp loved them too. There's nothing more that Pimp loved more beside his family and children than his fans. He appreciated them so dearly. And he knew what it meant because of the way he loved music, and the way he loved different people and to be admired like that.
I just thank the fans for not being afraid to call in and say how much they loved him. Because his family and friends and myself included, we all need to hear that, and it's good to know that. I'm not alone right now. It's really good to know that, and I thank them for it. And I love them and he loved them, too.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
British pop/soul singer Amy Winehouse, whose promising career has been sidelined by drug and alcohol problems, followed with six Grammy bids.
Five acts received five nominations each -- rock band the Foo Fighters, rapper Jay-Z, hip-hop producer Timbaland, pop singer Justin Timberlake, and R&B singer T-Pain.
Winehouse, 24, was nominated in all four of the top categories: record of the year, album of the year, song of the year (a songwriter's award), and best new artist.
Her second disc, "Back to Black," will compete for album of the year with West's "Graduation," the Foo Fighters' "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace," country singer Vince Gill's "These Days," and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters."
Winehouse's autobiographical single "Rehab" will vie for record of the year with the Foo Fighters' "The Pretender," Timberlake's "What Goes Around ... Comes Around," and tracks from two R&B singers -- Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" and Rihanna's Umbrella," featuring Jay-Z.
"Rehab" and "Umbrella" were nominated for song of the year, alongside country star Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats," pop band Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah," and singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae's "Like a Star."
The field for best new artist is dominated by women: Winehouse, Canadian singer/songwriter Feist, country singer Taylor Swift, R&B singer Ledisi, and the female-fronted rock band Paramore.
West's categories were mostly in the rap field, including nominations for best rap album ("Graduation") and two entries for best rap song ("Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "Good Life").
Selected List of Grammy Nominations
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal · Bon Jovi - "(You Want To) Make a Memory" · Daughtry - "Home" · Maroon 5 - "Makes Me Wonder" · Plain White T's - "Hey There Delilah" · U2 - "Window in the Skies"
Best Hard Rock Performance · Evanescence - "Sweet Sacrifice" · Foo Fighters - "The Pretender" · Ozzy Osbourne - "I Don't Wanna Stop" · Queens of the Stone Age - "Sick, Sick, Sick" · Tool - "The Pot"
Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal · Daughtry - "It's Not Over" · Green Day - "Working Class Hero" · Nickelback - "If Everyone Cared" · U2 - "Instant Karma" · The White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
Best Metal Performance · As I Lay Dying - "Nothing Left" · King Diamond - "Never Ending Hill" · Machine Head - "Aesthetics of Hate" · Shadows Fall - "Redemption" · Slayer - "Final Six"
Best Rock Song · Lucinda Williams - "Come On" · The White Stripes - "Icky Thump" · Daughtry - "It's Not Over" · Foo Fighters - "The Pretender" · Bruce Springsteen - "Radio Nowhere"
Best Rock Album · Daughtry - Daughtry · John Fogerty - Revival · Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace · Bruce Springsteen - Magic · Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Best Pop Vocal Album · Bon Jovi - Lost Highway · Feist - The Reminder · Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long · Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full · Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
Best Female R&B Vocal Performance · Mary J. Blige - "Just Fine" · Fantasia - "When I See U" · Alicia Keys - "No One" · Chrisette Michele - "If I Have My Way" · Jill Scott - "Hate on Me"
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance · Raheem DeVaughn - "Woman" · Musiq Soulchild - "B.U.D.D.Y." · Ne-Yo - "Because of You" · Prince - "Future Baby Mama" · Tank - "Please Don't Go"
Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals · R. Kelly (featuring Usher) - "Same Girl" · Chaka Khan (featuring Mary J. Blige) - "Disrespectful" · Rihanna (featuring Ne-Yo) - "Hate That I Love You" · Angie Stone (featuring Betty Wright) - "Baby" · T-Pain (featuring Akon) - "Bartender"
Best R&B Song · India.Arie - "Beautiful Flower" · Rihanna (featuring Ne-Yo) - "Hate That I Love You" · Alicia Keys - "No One" · Musiq Soulchild - "Teachme" · Fantasia - "When I See U"
Best Contemporary R&B Album · Akon - Konvicted · Keyshia Cole - Just Like You · Fantasia - Fantasia · Emily King - East Side Story · Ne-Yo - Because of You
Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group · Common (featuring Kanye West) - "Southside" · Fat Joe (featuring Lil Wayne) - "Make It Rain" · Shop Boyz - "Party Like a Rockstar" · UGK (featuring Outkast) - "Int'l Players Anthem (I Choose You)" · Kanye West, Nas and KRS-One - "Better Than I've Ever Been"
Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package · My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade · Panic! at the Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out · The White Stripes - Icky Thump · H.I.M. - Venus Doom · V/A - What It Is!: Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977)
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical · Howard Benson · Joe Chiccarelli · Mike Elizondo · Mark Ronson · Timbaland
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Outkast's Big Boi, Swizz Beatz, Slim Thug Remember 'Real Honorable, Real Cool, Really Respected' Pimp C
(Swiped from MTVNews)
When your first name is Pimp, obviously you are a bold, bold man. But aside from his endearingly brash appeal, Pimp C was somebody who his friends and industry counterparts describe as genuine, big-hearted and funny.
Pimp C (real name: Chad Butler) was found dead Tuesday in his Los Angeles hotel room. As half of UGK, named one of MTV News' Greatest Hip-Hop Groups of All Time, Pimp's influence was far-reaching, both personally and professionally.
"He was one of the funniest guys I ever met," Swizz Beatz, who worked on UGK's most-recent LP, Underground Kingz, said Tuesday night. "His character had me on the floor the whole time. I thought I was the only person in this industry who had some humor, not trying to act like a killer all the time. ... It's sad he went out. It's sad for hip-hop."
"You kept it trill way before I had a deal," Lil' Flip raps in a Pimp C tribute song, "RIP Pimp C," released Wednesday morning (December 5). "I can't believe we lost you and [Big] Moe the same year/ We miss you, homie/ We got your back though."
Pimp wasn't just a person his peers looked up to professionally; many also considered themselves fortunate to become friends with him.
"My initial reaction was disbelief," Slim Thug said Wednesday. "I just talked to him the other day. Me and Pimp were cool, for real. I always talk to him and Bun B on the regular. He always reached out to me and made it be known, 'I got love for Slim Thug,' in interviews he did and everything. He always showed me a whole lot of love. So that's why it hurt to see a good dude like that go.
"I remember soon as he got out of jail, I went to his video shoot," Slim added. "And just approaching him like, 'What's up? I'm Slim Thug.' And he was like, 'Man, I already know about you. I got love for you, and I respect what you doing. Here goes my number. Call me if you need anything.' I still got his card. Man ... I just want to send my condolences out. I'm just sitting here seeing this happen and wishing Pimp would just wake up."
"He was cool as hell," said Outkast's Big Boi, who was noticeably distraught when he spoke of his friend and "Int'l Players Anthem" co-star during a Tuesday phone call. "He was real laid-back, down-to-earth. We would talk from time to time. We hung out at a couple of clubs a couple of times. He was the real thing. He wasn't putting on a front or acting out a character: That was really him. Real good dude. So much fun and charisma.
"Once [Outkast] got in the game, we recorded a couple of tracks with each other," Big added. "We kicked it. Pimp C was living in Atlanta. ... He came to the house when we had our little parties. He's just my dog. Real honorable, real cool, really respected."
Big said being around Pimp and Bun B was definitely like being around family — his longtime musical clique, the Dungeon Family. "It's like having a crew," Big said of working with UGK. "They're like an extended part of our Dungeon Family. They were real close with [Big] Gipp and Rico [Wade] and pretty much everybody down with us all the way down. When the studio came, it was time to bomb on the tracks and make hits. It was like having Goodie Mob in the room, you know?"
Like many hip-hop fans, especially in the South, Big and Andre 3000 were influenced by the Underground Kingz at a very early age. "We had UGK tapes; we would listen to them on the way to high school," Big Boi said. "[We listened to] them and 8Ball and MJG. They were two of the groups we looked up to when we was coming up.
"It was the lyricism, man," Big added about what attracted him to UGK. "They were so real and blunt and honest with it. They said what they wanted to say. They were from Port Arthur, Texas, and represented that and told you what they went through. People have to realize the legacy of Pimp C is gonna live through the music. The boy got a hellafied catalog."
A lot of the classic songs in that catalog were produced by Pimp. "Dope," Big said of Pimp's beats. "Some of the most funkiest, vintage, country rap tunes you ever heard. If you go back and get the CDs and read the credits, you'll see some of your favorites were produced by Pimp C, as well as him and Bun B together. His talent went a long way as an MC and as a producer.
"A lot of people don't know that he made damn near all the beats on the old UGK albums," Big Boi continued. "He had a whole other sound. He gave Texas its sound. He was our Lil Jon, when it comes to a sound. You hear Jon and you know ATL, crunk music. Well, Pimp gave us our own sound out here, with what him and Bun were doing with UGK. He was cold with it. He was a genius at what he did with that."
The UGK legacy grew by leaps and bounds in 2007. The legends were finally able to capitalize on years of adulation with their first #1 album, Underground Kingz, and their biggest single, "Int'l Players Anthem."
"I think that  was the rebirth of UGK," Swizz Beatz said. "They came with a fresh sound, got a new audience, stepped up their lyrical, reached out to a lot of people like myself and Outkast, brought in another side of UGK that was embracing the industry and showed everybody was rocking with them. It was amazing. And the album was good music."
"Bun B stayed down with him 300 percent [while Pimp was in jail]," Big Boi said. "He kept the UGK name and the Pimp C name alive. When Pimp got out, them boys reconvened and put the album together like [Pimp] ain't miss a day. It's a shame to see it go down how it went, now especially with them doing what they doing. It's a sad situation."
Pimp's mother, Weslyn "Wes" Monroe, told Port Arthur's KFDM News, "It's a terrible loss to the industry."
"What a nut he was," she added with a light smile. "C loved this community. He didn't leave, even when he came home [from jail], he chose to live here. ... So we need a tremendous support from the community."
Head here for an in-depth feature on UGK from 2005.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
(Swiped from MTVNews)
Pimp C of the long-running Texas hip-hop group UGK was found dead Tuesday (December 4) in a Los Angeles hotel room. He was 33.
Few details were available at press time, but according to TMZ, the rapper's body was found at the Mondrian Hotel Tuesday morning after the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a 911 call. The MC (real name: Chad Butler), was reportedly dead when officers arrived on the scene.
A press release issued on behalf of his family Tuesday reads as follows:
"It is with great regret that I must confirm that Chad Butler, a.k.a. Pimp C, one half of the legendary UGK, was in fact discovered dead this morning.
"Manager Rick Martin is asking that everyone please respect his family and those close to him at this time and refrain from rumors and innuendo.
A formal statement will be released later this afternoon. Thank you all for understanding."
Inquiries made to the West Hollywood Police Department and the Mondrian Hotel by MTV News were inconclusive at press time; a police spokesperson said the body has not been officially identified.
Based in Port Arthur, Texas, UGK — Pimp C and Bun B — formed in the late 1980s and released their first album, Too Hard To Swallow, in 1992. While the group long enjoyed a strong underground following, Pimp C was perhaps best known in recent years for the "Free Pimp C" campaign launched by Bun B. Butler was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2002 for failure to comply with probation restrictions following a conviction for aggravated assault, but was released late in 2005..
In the wake of his imprisonment, Bun B. brought greater fame to the group as scores of hip-hop fans donned "Free Pimp C" T-shirts at shows and shouted the refrain in call-and-respond chants lead by Bun B.
The buzz helped the group's comeback LP, UGK: Underground Kingz, debut at #1 on the Billboard charts upon its release in August. The album spawned the hit single "International Players Anthem," the video of which featured an all-star cast including OutKast, Three 6 Mafia and others.
Early this year, UGK was voted the #10 Greatest Hip-Hop Group of All Time in an MTV News feature.
UGK entered the mainstream in 1999 after collaborating with Jay-Z on the single "Big Pimpin' " from the Brooklyn rapper's Vol 3: Life and Times of S. Carter. Pimp C said the song, UGK's most mainstream track, was a collaboration he wasn't entirely fond of at first, as he felt the track was too soft for his group's image.
MTV News visited the rapper in prison and spoke with him regarding his tribulations while being incarcerated. Upon his release from prison, Pimp C became an outspoken critic of hip-hop glamorization of jail.
"It's not a party. It's not fun," Pimp said. "Jail affected my whole family. My family got locked up. My group got locked up. I lost when I went to prison. That's something to be ashamed of, and that's not a badge of honor. My youngest son was 8 years old when I went in. I came back and he's a teenager. I can't get them years back."
Monday, December 03, 2007
"It's all over the place," he added. "Balance is so important because there's a fun level to the [album] too. There's an attractive, sexy, aspect to it; a stylish aspect, a flashy aspect. It takes negatives and makes them good."
Lupe Fiasco's got a mind that runs a mile a minute, and a mouth that can keep up with it. The sharp-tongued Chicago MC will follow-up last year's well-received Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor with Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, due December 18 from 1st & 15th/Atlantic. We phoned Lupe and did our best to keep up as he talked about the character-based concept behind The Cool, the album's darker hues, the infamous cheeseburger track, radio and comic book spin-offs, Child Rebel Soldiers, Cornel West, and his plans to "retire" after his third album.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
The first release off the label: Green Sketch, which consists of T.Q.D. and Phingaz on the raps, and Phingaz on the beats.
They will be the first release on the label, out on X-Mas Day. Tis' The Season! The name of the EP is "So Long...For Now" which is an excellent way to kickoff the new venture. And after you hear the song "Countdown," you'll come to the same conclusion too.
If you're in town, we'll be having a label showcase on 12/29 at the Terminal Bar with many other folks to celebrate the showcase and the release of Green Sketch. Such luminaries as Ernie Rhodes, Ruthless, Wide Eyes, Cleva & FIC (of the Chosen Few) will be performing along with all of the Background Noise Family.
Click on the picture to hear the songs from other members of the Crew.
Peace to y'all.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
01-19 Dallas, TX - House of Blues
Friday, November 23, 2007
After decades away from the spotlight, Sly Stone has returned to the stage with his band Sly and The Family Stone, performing in Europe this summer and this week making his first New York appearance in 32 years.
Dressed in a white sweatsuit trimmed in silver, sunglasses and Mohawk hairstyle, Stone fills the club with his rich, mellifluous voice as the band spends an hour cycling through their greatest hits, including "Everyday People," "Family Affair" and "Stand."
For those who have followed the career of 64-year-old Stone -- who was born Sylvester Stewart -- the shock is not the fact that he can still sing but that he showed up at all.
For after reinventing rock and roll in the late 1960s as a pioneer of funk, rock and rhythm and blues, Stone disappeared into a haze of death threats, financial problems and drugs.
Stone, who declined to be interviewed for this article, began missing concerts in the early 1970s on a regular basis. He has not released an album of new material since 1982.
Between 1973 and 1989, there was a steady list of arrests on drug and gun charges -- but for the better part of the last 20 years, there's been little more than silence.
However after appearing at the 2006 Grammy Awards, Stone returned to the stage this summer for a European tour and his agent, Steve Green of Artists International Management, says he how has a stack of offers including for the Super Bowl in 2008.
"He can do it," Green told Reuters in a telephone interview, sounding part salesman and part motivational speaker. "But he's got to want to do it."
Sly and The Family Stone emerged out of the San Francisco scene in the late 1960s, with anthems that came to define both the free spirit and the political turmoil of the era, with the band containing blacks and whites and also men and women.
But after a string of hits from 1968 to 1970, Stone's behavior turned erratic. He'd show up hours late for gigs, if at all. Financial problems tore the band apart.
And his own obsessive nature delayed the next album "There's A Riot Goin' On." The album is now considered a landmark, laying the blueprint for the funk sound influencing many from the Temptations, the O'Jays, to Miles Davis.
Despite a couple of flirtations with chart success in the early 1970s, Sly slipped into seclusion in California.
The turning point came a few years ago when his youngest sister, Vaetta, who sang on the Family Stone albums, was sent by his parents to care for him. She had a tribute band that played the group's old hits and cajoled him into attending one of their Los Angeles shows in 2005.
"I looked up and I saw him dancing to his own music. Since then he's been showing interest in wanting to play gigs," she said in an interview.She said the biggest challenge was convincing agents that Stone would meet his obligations but her persistence paid off and this year's European tour was booked.
"He did all 14 shows on time," she said proudly.
Green said Stone was the most difficult act he had handled, recalling a story of Stone buying a puppy while in Europe which ended up in quarantine in London, in danger of being destroyed. Green had to intervene and find the dog a home in England.
"Sly has an amazing mind. He still comes up with lyrics that are unbelievable. But the other side of Sly is 'me, me, me'," he said.
In the meantime, Vet says Stone has a treasure trove of new music he's worked on for years. Will it be released?
"I certainly hope so," she said. "But it's got to be his decision. No one can make him do it when they want it done."
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Lupe Fiasco has descended from the parapets of his mind and found his way out of the maze of all those tongue-twisting extended metaphors to deliver actual concrete info about his sophomore album, The Cool. Thanks to a report from Billboard.com that was confirmed by his publicist, we now know the Food & Liquor follow-up's tracklist.
Due December 18 via 1st & 15th/Atlantic, The Cool features production from Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump, UNKLE, Chris & Drop, and Soundtrakk, according to Billboard.
True to form, the report says Lupe has fashioned The Cool as a concept album of sorts, featuring recurring characters such as Michael Young History, the Game ("a male personification of a hustler's damaging influences," not the Compton rapper), and the Streets ("a female embodiment of an urban area's corrupt allure," not Mike Skinner). Billboard also says The Cool features two mentions from Lupe of his plan to quit music after releasing the album's follow-up, titled L.U.P.N.
And yet, out-wtf-ing every other detail related to The Cool in the article is this morsel: "Perhaps the oddest song is 'Gotta Eat', which is apparently written from the perspective of a cheeseburger and is rife with food/life metaphors."
01 Iesha Poem
02 Free Chilly
03 Go Go Gadget Flow
04 The Coolest
05 Superstar [ft. Mathew Santos]
06 Paris Tokyo
07 High Definition [ft. Snoop Dogg and Pooh Bear]
08 Little Weapons
09 Hip-Hop Saved My Life [ft. Nikki Jean]
10 Gold Watch
11 Street on Fire [ft. Matthew Santos]
12 Hello Goodbye
13 Gotta Eat
14 Dumb It Down [ft. Gemini and Graham Burris]
15 The Die [ft. Gemini]
16 Put You on Game
17 Fighters [ft. Matthew Santos]
18 Go Baby Go
Video: Lupe Fiasco [ft. Matthew Santos]: Superstar [from the forthcoming The Cool LP]
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
20th TV had no comment on the matter Tuesday but confirmed that it remains in production on new episodes. The first episode finished without MacFarlane's blessing has been delivered to Fox. Sources said it is one of three very close to completion, with others in various stages of production.
Paper Mail address only:
(NAME SHOW HERE)
Friday, November 09, 2007
With anticipation levels surrounding Ghostface Killah's forthcoming The Big Doe Rehab fast approaching a boiling point-- particularly since we no longer need divide our anticipation between Big Doe and the Wu-Tang's 8 Diagrams-- Ghost has gone and added some kindling to the fire. Album details, people! Have a look.
First, of course, is that classy cover art you see up there, set to adorn copies of Big Doe that Def Jam delivers on December 4.
Next, the tracklist, reprinted in full below. Of note: Kid Capri-featuring first single "We Celebrate" (not just "Celebrate", as reported prior), which samples Rare Earth's "I Just Want to Celebrate"; Raekwon-boosted "Yolanda's House" and "Shakey Dog Starring Lolita" (an epilogue to Fishscale standout "Shakey Dog"!); a pair of tracks featuring Ghostface's tourmates Rhythm Roots Allstars; a track called "I'll Die for You" and another called "!".
Then, naturally, there are the guests, including the aforementioned along with Ghost's Wu associates Method Man (as you know), U-God, Masta Killa, and Cappadonna, plus Ghost's posse and More Fish co-stars Theodore Unit, Beanie Sigel, Styles P, and more.
And while Ghostface and the Wu seem to have settled their beef, Ghost apparently isn't the only one upset with the way camp Wu is being run. Billboard.com points us to a MissInfo.tv interview with Raekwon, who revealed his own misgivings. "Bottom line," said Raekwon, "it's a lot of business that's fucking up the creativity." Is that why we haven't seen a second Cuban Linx yet? Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Finally, since Ghostface has been blowing up the Pitchfork news ticker in recent weeks, here's a quick, updated roundup of recent happenings:
* Ghostface doll: available now
* Ghostface book, The World According to Pretty Toney: due January 8 from MTV Press (moved from previously reported December 4 date)
* Ghostface's Walk Hard collaboration with Jewel, Lyle Lovett, and Jackson Browne: soundtrack in stores December 4, film in theaters December 21, collab's very notion still blowing minds
* Ghostface-boosted Beatles-interpolating track: set to appear on Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams, out December 11 via Loud/Universal/SRC/Wu Music Group
* Ghostface, Rakim, Brother Ali, and Rhythm Roots Allstars on the Hip Hop Live! tour: happening now, dates below
The Big Doe Rehab:
01 At the Cabana Skit [performed by Ghostface Killah and Rhythm Roots Allstars]
02 Toney Sigel a.k.a the Barrel Brothers [ft. Beanie Sigel and Styles P]
03 Yolanda's House [ft. Raekwon and Method Man]
04 We Celebrate [ft. Kid Capri]
05 Walk Around
06 Yapp City [ft. Trife Da God and Sun God]
07 White Linen Affair (Toney Awards) [ft. Shawn Wigs]
08 Supa GFK
09 Rec-Room Therapy [ft. Raekwon and U-God]
10 The Prayer [performed by Ox]
11 I'll Die for You
12 Paisley Darts [ft. Raekwon, Sun God, Trife Da God, Method Man, and Cappadonna]
13 Shakey Dog Starring Lolita [ft. Raekwon]
14 ! [performed by Ghostface Killah and Rhythm Roots Allstars]
15 Killa Lipstick [ft. Method Man and Masta Killa]
16 Slow Down [ft. Chrisette Michele]
Hip Hop Live! dates:
11-08 Denver, CO - Ogden Theater *
11-09 Aspen, CO - Belly Up *
11-10 Kansas City, MO - Beaumont *
11-11 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue *
11-12 Chicago, IL - House of Blues *
11-13 Bloomington, IN - Bluebird Theater *
11-15 New Haven, CT - Toad's Place *
11-16 New York, NY - Nokia Theater *
11-17 Baltimore, MD - Sonar *
11-18 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *
11-21 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero *
* with Rakim, Brother Ali, Rhythm Roots Allstars
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Because of his involvement in records like Deltron 3030 and the first Gorillaz album, it's easy to think of Del the Funky Homosapien (formerly Del tha Funkee Homosapien) as just a sci-fi rapper. But dig a little further back in his catalog (like back to his killer 1991 debut, I Wish My Brother George Was Here), and you find an MC geeked on making genuinely quirky everyman anthems-- like "Pissin' on Your Steps", "The Wacky World of Rapid Transit", and "Sleepin' on My Couch".
We're not sure which of the two Dels (or maybe an amalgamation of them both?) will appear on his forthcoming full-length, The 11th Hour, but we're psyched that it exists and is coming out via Definitive Jux on February 26.
Produced entirely by Del himself, The 11th Hour is the Hieroglyphics crew member's first solo record since 2000's Both Sides of the Brain. And while February is still a little ways away, Del is currently touring the U.S. in front of the album's release, alongside Devin the Dude and friends.The tour's next stop is November 8, in Portland, Oregon.
Dates (all with Devin the Dude):11-08 Portland, OR - Roseland
11-09 Seattle, WA - Showbox11-10 Eugene, OR - WOW Hall
11-11 Chico, CA - Senator Theater
11-13 San Francisco, CA - Slim's11-14 San Francisco, CA - Slim's
Stream: Del the Funky Homosapien: Various Tracks
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
This time last year, the Clipse complained to anyone who'd listen how unhappy it was on Jive Records. Now, the act's wish to leave has been granted. Sibling MCs Malice and Pusha T have ended their deal with Jive and the Neptunes' Star Trak Entertainment in favor of a new arrangement with Columbia, Billboard has learned.
The Clipse emerged early this decade on Star Trak, which at the time was distributed by Arista. The duo's 2002 debut, "Lord Willin'," was a critical and commercial smash, and has sold 948,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
When Arista was restructured in 2004, the label's artists were split between J and Jive. But Star Trak joined Interscope, leaving the Clipse behind at Jive. The act lobbied to be allowed to follow Star Trak to its new home, but Jive refused, resulting in a lawsuit that sought to break the Clipse's four-album deal (Jive had no comment at deadline).
Although the suit was settled after Jive agreed to a distribution deal for the Clipse's own Re-Up Gang Records label, the relationship continued to deteriorate, with release dates for the group's sophomore album constantly shifting. That set, "Hell Hath No Fury," emerged last November via Jive, but struggled out of the gate. It has sold just 194,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.By then, the Clipse was in talks with a variety of labels about a new deal, eventually settling on a five-year, 50/50 profit-sharing arrangement with Columbia for Re-Up Gang Records.
The Clipse will own the masters for its Re-Up Gang artists, Ab Liva and Sandman. Next year, the Clipse will issue a Re-Up Gang album as well as a new studio disc, but for the first time, the latter will not be produced solely by the Neptunes. Instead, the brothers are anticipating working with Timbaland, Danjahandz and Dame Grease."I can honestly say that we were all friends before the music and will be friends to the end," Malice says of his relationship with the Neptunes. "Everything is business. If we had our way, we would always be on Star Trak. But it's what's working for you and what's not. We just want good energy, and Columbia has both the urgency and the muscle."
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Activist, poet, and musician Saul Williams has laid out the unique circumstances surrounding the release of his latest LP, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!.
The Trent Reznor-produced album will be issued digitally through Williams' website under the aegis of the Fader Label, with an In Rainbows-esque payment mechanism: listeners can opt to fork over a $5 "contribution" via Williams' website and get NiggyTardust! in their choice of DRM-free 192kbps or 320kbps mp3s, or the giant, uncompressed FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format. If you're a bit light at the moment, Saul's got you, though you cheapskates will have to settle for 192kbps mp3s.
Preregistration for the album is open now, and what's more, you'll only have to wait until Halloween (October 31, duh) to get it. As Reznor tells it on the Nine Inch Nails website, "There are obvious similarities in how Radiohead just released their new record and the way we've chosen to. After thinking about this way too much, I feel we've improved upon their idea in a few profound ways that benefit the consumer." Particularly the nerdy customer up in arms about a couple of kilobits per second.
Enough business; let's talk music. NiggyTardust! features guest turns by Reznor, CX Kidtronik, Thavius Beck, and others, and was mixed by Alan Moulder. As Williams tells it in the press release, though, it's really a joint effort between himself and Reznor. "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! is the lovechild of Trent and me," Williams said, and Reznor agreed, adding that this is the "most involved [he's] been with any project outside NIN since [Marilyn Manson's 1996 LP] Antichrist Superstar." Williams believes the album's overarching theme gives him more room to expand on the album's content onstage. "The NiggyTardust! concept sets me free to do more on stage with costume, etc. than one might expect from a regular Saul Williams show. It allows me to put my theater training to use. I've also thought long and hard about all the discussion surrounding racial epithets etc. and chose this title as a means of furthering the dialogue while also showing how creativity will outlive and outshine hatred of any kind." Plus, you can, like, dance to it!
Williams has a number of live appearances on the way. Those dates-- and the NiggyTardust! tracklist-- after the jump.
The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!:
01 Black History Month
02 Convict Colony
04 Sunday Bloody Sunday
09 Scared Money
11 Skin of a Drum
12 No One Ever Does
13 Banged and Blown Through
14 Raised to be Lowered
15 The Ritual
11-02 Pullman, WA - Washington State University
11-07 London, England - Bardens Boudoir
11-09 Zurich, Switzerland - Tonhalle
11-12 New York, NY - The Box
11-13 Storrs, CT - University of Connecticut
11-14 Bridgeport, CT - Housatonic Community College
11-17 Chicago, IL - Studio E
01-23 Laramie, WY - University of Wyoming
02-01 Fairfax, VA - George Mason University
02-15 Tacoma, WA - Pacific Lutheran University
Video: Saul Williams: List of Demands (Reparations) [from the Saul Williams LP]