What’s Up With These Voter ID Laws?
There’s been a lot of controversy recently for states enacting stricter voter ID laws. Some people feel like they discriminate against low-income voters, others say they’re necessary to prevent voter fraud. If you’re like us, you’re probably still trying to figure out  exactly what the laws mean.
So here are the basics: In many states, if you show up to for an election, you can offer a bill, government document, or just about any form of photo identification as proof of identity. However, Republicans have been pushing for states to enact tougher ID requirements. The main reason is supposedly to prevent people from frauding at the polls, but this reason seems sketchy for quite a few reasons. Requiring all voters to show a state issued ID may not seem like a big deal, but peep how the Democrats breakdown this move:
11 percent of Americans—approximately 23 million citizens of voting age—lack proper photo ID and, as a result, could be turned away from the polls on Election Day. Those without photo ID are disproportionately low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters. Numerous non-partisan organizations have debunked claims of widespread voter fraud, the purported basis for these laws.
The Voting Rights Institute has studied the impact of photo ID laws using the actual costs incurred in Indiana and Georgia—the two states that have implemented photo ID laws—and considered the cost estimates from 17 states where photo ID laws were introduced this year.
In 2011, Republicans advanced photo ID legislation in at least 35 states. The report concluded that if these 35 states enact a photo ID law, they collectively will spend at least $276 million, and possibly as much as $828 million, in the first four years alone. At a time when states are experiencing huge budget shortfalls, it would be an enormous waste to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to disenfranchise voters.
The more we look into these political moves, the deeper this stuff gets. Make sure to check out Ballotpedia to verify your state’s voter ID laws to make sure you’re not caught off guard on election day.

What’s Up With These Voter ID Laws?

There’s been a lot of controversy recently for states enacting stricter voter ID laws. Some people feel like they discriminate against low-income voters, others say they’re necessary to prevent voter fraud. If you’re like us, you’re probably still trying to figure out  exactly what the laws mean.

So here are the basics: In many states, if you show up to for an election, you can offer a bill, government document, or just about any form of photo identification as proof of identity. However, Republicans have been pushing for states to enact tougher ID requirements. The main reason is supposedly to prevent people from frauding at the polls, but this reason seems sketchy for quite a few reasons. Requiring all voters to show a state issued ID may not seem like a big deal, but peep how the Democrats breakdown this move:

11 percent of Americans—approximately 23 million citizens of voting age—lack proper photo ID and, as a result, could be turned away from the polls on Election Day. Those without photo ID are disproportionately low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters. Numerous non-partisan organizations have debunked claims of widespread voter fraud, the purported basis for these laws.

The Voting Rights Institute has studied the impact of photo ID laws using the actual costs incurred in Indiana and Georgia—the two states that have implemented photo ID laws—and considered the cost estimates from 17 states where photo ID laws were introduced this year.

In 2011, Republicans advanced photo ID legislation in at least 35 states. The report concluded that if these 35 states enact a photo ID law, they collectively will spend at least $276 million, and possibly as much as $828 million, in the first four years alone. At a time when states are experiencing huge budget shortfalls, it would be an enormous waste to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to disenfranchise voters.

The more we look into these political moves, the deeper this stuff gets. Make sure to check out Ballotpedia to verify your state’s voter ID laws to make sure you’re not caught off guard on election day.

Props to Tennis Player Lindsay Davenport for Talking Politics
Sports fans may know Lindsay Davenport as an award winning pro-tennis player, but today she showed she cares about a lot more than sports. This morning we came across Lindsay commentating on a game on the Tennis channel, and she took a moment to switch gears and encourage viewers to participate in the upcoming midterm elections. She stepped out of her sports lane to remind us that voting in the midterms are just as important, if not more, than voting for the President.
Why does she deserve props? Well, how many athletes have you heard making comments about politics or voting lately? Exactly. Doesn’t happen. Particularly black athletes. Many of our sports players are too afraid to make waves or lose endorsement deals to lend their voice to political causes. But this is what we need more of. Too many of us are clueless or indifferent to what goes on in Washington DC and our local offices, which makes it easy for politicians to get away with passing laws that don’t speak to our needs.

We need to see more from the athletes who represent our lifestyle (like Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, than flashy Instagram picks or commercials pushing us to buy their latest sneaker. How about you talk to the young people you influence about how local government impacts their lives and educational opportunities? Or why not stand behind a candidates that wants to do something positive for the communities you come from? Muhammad Ali is still loved to this day not just because he was a great boxer, but because he was willing to stand up and vocalizes his beliefs. It would be great to see some one from our generation step up and be as bold.

Kudos to Lindsay Davenport for reminding us that everything is not a game. If we want to see change, we have to become aware and active in the political process.

Props to Tennis Player Lindsay Davenport for Talking Politics

Sports fans may know Lindsay Davenport as an award winning pro-tennis player, but today she showed she cares about a lot more than sports. This morning we came across Lindsay commentating on a game on the Tennis channel, and she took a moment to switch gears and encourage viewers to participate in the upcoming midterm elections. She stepped out of her sports lane to remind us that voting in the midterms are just as important, if not more, than voting for the President.

Why does she deserve props? Well, how many athletes have you heard making comments about politics or voting lately? Exactly. Doesn’t happen. Particularly black athletes. Many of our sports players are too afraid to make waves or lose endorsement deals to lend their voice to political causes. But this is what we need more of. Too many of us are clueless or indifferent to what goes on in Washington DC and our local offices, which makes it easy for politicians to get away with passing laws that don’t speak to our needs.

We need to see more from the athletes who represent our lifestyle (like Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, than flashy Instagram picks or commercials pushing us to buy their latest sneaker. How about you talk to the young people you influence about how local government impacts their lives and educational opportunities? Or why not stand behind a candidates that wants to do something positive for the communities you come from? Muhammad Ali is still loved to this day not just because he was a great boxer, but because he was willing to stand up and vocalizes his beliefs. It would be great to see some one from our generation step up and be as bold.

Kudos to Lindsay Davenport for reminding us that everything is not a game. If we want to see change, we have to become aware and active in the political process.

Russian Tennis Chief Shamil Tarpischev Is Just A Hater
Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev is the definition of salty. Homie recently came under fire for his “insensitive, sexist and racist” remarks about the Williams sisters, or in his words “Williams brothers”, on a late night talk show. Naturally, after falling victim to a large amount of criticism, Tarpischev doled out a typical half-assed apology, punctuated by a blatant retraction: “I didn’t think this incident deserves so much fuss”. He also mentioned that it was just a “small joke”.
Well Tarpischev, it looks like no one is laughing. Well, except for the Williams sisters, all the way to the bank that is. You must have forgotten that Serena is the #1 tennis player in the world, right? Although you probably knew that since your girl Sharapova is #2. Tarpischev, your comments are nothing more than sheer jealousy, my friend.

Of course, this kind of hate isn’t new to Venus and Serena. Remember when Sid Rosenberg said:

“One time, a friend, he says to me, ‘Listen, one of these days you’re gonna see Venus and Serena Williams in Playboy.’ I said, ‘You’ve got a better shot at National Geographic.’”?
We all know that jealousy often falls under the umbrella of hate, though. It must be sad for Tarpischev to watch all of his people practice 24/7, bulk up on steroids (I’m looking at you Svetlana Kuznetsova, Barbora Zahlavova Strýcová) and train day and night only to be repeatedly whooped on and dominated by two black girls from Compton. Without blonde hair, blue eyes and a stick straight body, there is no way that these two could be pulling off these wins on their own, right? They’re dark skin, textured hair and bodacious backsides should only make them inferior, so they MUST be men. That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it Tarpischev?
Let’s be real here, these latest remarks are only further evidence of the rage that many tennis industry admins carry over a black woman holding the number one title in a predominantly white sport. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not going to stop at Venus and Serena. Tennis is well on it’s way to becoming a more diverse sport, and we already know who dominates almost every major sports industry. So keep slinging your ridiculous insults,  Mr. Tarpischev, I doubt that the Williams sister can hear them all the way from the top.

Russian Tennis Chief Shamil Tarpischev Is Just A Hater

Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev is the definition of salty. Homie recently came under fire for his “insensitive, sexist and racist” remarks about the Williams sisters, or in his words “Williams brothers”, on a late night talk show. Naturally, after falling victim to a large amount of criticism, Tarpischev doled out a typical half-assed apology, punctuated by a blatant retraction: “I didn’t think this incident deserves so much fuss”. He also mentioned that it was just a “small joke”.

Well Tarpischev, it looks like no one is laughing. Well, except for the Williams sisters, all the way to the bank that is. You must have forgotten that Serena is the #1 tennis player in the world, right? Although you probably knew that since your girl Sharapova is #2. Tarpischev, your comments are nothing more than sheer jealousy, my friend.

Of course, this kind of hate isn’t new to Venus and Serena. Remember when Sid Rosenberg said:

“One time, a friend, he says to me, ‘Listen, one of these days you’re gonna see Venus and Serena Williams in Playboy.’ I said, ‘You’ve got a better shot at National Geographic.’”?

We all know that jealousy often falls under the umbrella of hate, though. It must be sad for Tarpischev to watch all of his people practice 24/7, bulk up on steroids (I’m looking at you Svetlana Kuznetsova, Barbora Zahlavova Strýcová) and train day and night only to be repeatedly whooped on and dominated by two black girls from Compton. Without blonde hair, blue eyes and a stick straight body, there is no way that these two could be pulling off these wins on their own, right? They’re dark skin, textured hair and bodacious backsides should only make them inferior, so they MUST be men. That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it Tarpischev?

Let’s be real here, these latest remarks are only further evidence of the rage that many tennis industry admins carry over a black woman holding the number one title in a predominantly white sport. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not going to stop at Venus and Serena. Tennis is well on it’s way to becoming a more diverse sport, and we already know who dominates almost every major sports industry. So keep slinging your ridiculous insults,  Mr. Tarpischev, I doubt that the Williams sister can hear them all the way from the top.

Lupe Fiasco - Lilies ft. Sirah

Lupe’s New Song Made Me Feel Guilty About My Current Tastes in Rap (Sike!)

Lupe Fiasco will always hold a special place in my heart as the rapper that sang “Kick, Push” when I was in middle school—but if I’m being honest, that’s largely the only extent to which I’ve cared about him for longer than a minute in the past decade. I mean, I’ve heard a decent number of Lupe songs (admittedly, not as well-versed as I should be); it’s just that, Lupe’s not exactly the type of rapper who goes dumb in the paint, and it’s hardly even a critical point to venture anymore that it’s difficult to survive and maintain strong crossover appeal as a rapper oriented towards revolutionary politics in a Hip Hop climate where going dumb in the paint undeniably gets the people going. But, as any YouTube-comment section on Lupe Fiasco’s (or any rapper’s rapper) video will show you, there are still plenty of fans hot on the revolutionary tip.

Lupe’s new drop on SoundCloud didn’t bore me like I thought it would. In it, he says words like “Ebola,” “Qur’an” and “debunking.” I don’t believe he’s fucking around. There are some horns in the hook, which is sung by Grammy-winning rapper and singer Sirah—keeping the song from sounding like an Intro to a World History lecture, in my opinion; I don’t know. It makes me feel warm inside. I like how he shows Drake some love by singing the word ‘remember,’ in the same inflection as him in “Worst Behavior.” I wonder if Drake and Lupe ever text each other to see how the other is doing :).

Just for the record: I’m never going to stop fucking with Sosa or The Basedgod, so please don’t patronize me about how I’m a sheep because I’d prefer my academics stay in the classroom and out of my music. I really didn’t mean to make this a hate piece, and I hope I didn’t. Sometimes I feel like I’m reacting to a rapper’s fans more than the rapper themself. If you have time to pay a little extra attention, however, check out “Lillies,” ft. Sirah. Make sure you have Rap Genius open, because a lot of the lines can easily go over one’s head

We Talked To Lil Dicky
After shutting down the TLA for the second time in 8 months, Cheltenham rapper Dave Burd or Lil’ Dicky (as the masses know him) sat down with us to discuss his tour, upcoming album, favorite Philadelphia munchies restaurant and much more.
OogeeWoogee: So your 1st full national tour run is winding down with only 1 show left, how did everything go?
Lil’ Dicky: It was great, its one thing when you’re in Philadelphia and see a lot of people that you’re friends with but when you’re in Phoenix, Arizona, [you’re] like who are these people? The enthusiasm has been crazy, after every show it feels like a Justin Bieber situation…except its not 13 year old girls, its middle aged white guys. But I think its been a great tour, every city really brought it and I think I brought it in every city too.
OW: You were just in New York for a show at Irving Plaza and Peter Rosenberg from Hot 97 was there, how was that encounter with him?
LD: It was cool. Peter is a big deal and I think he sees some of himself in me in terms of being a random white jewish guy in Hip-Hop. So I think he buys what I’m selling. I think its a good ally to have.
OW: You were also on the Backroom Freestyle on 106 & Park in New York, how did that situation come about?
LD: Yea, the Vice President of BET is really into my music and they asked if I wanted to do it and I said “of course.”
OW: How is the progress with the Professional Rapper album, as well as your search for features?
LD: No tentative release date as of now. I’m really just waiting on some features to come through so I just have to be patient with it all. I’m gonna keep the features on the down low though.
OW: Obviously “Lemme Freak” is the first single from Professional Rapper, it has been going absolutely crazy on the internet. The importance of social media has impacted your career so much from Kickstarter to YouTube, what was your reaction when you saw Diddy and Kevin Durant tweet about your music?
LD: Relief. I knew “Lemme Freak” had to take things to the next level and I’ve been waiting to get recognized by societal figures. So it felt great. It was an important step because, to me, “Lemme Freak” had to do a certain task and I feel like it did exactly what it needed to do.
OW: Can we expect more songs like “Lemme Freak” on the album or do you want it to have a more serious undertone?
LD: No, well there are other funny songs for sure but “Lemme Freak” is certainly the most funny song. There’s one other song that is really funny. Theres a lot of hybrids [on the album] that are funny and serious.
OW: We’re going to transition over from the music to more personal questions. What was your career high in JJBL (Junior Jewish Basketball Leagues) and what gym?
LD: Aw man, I think it was like 34. In Triangle. Triangle to me is a really good gym to score. I was really into driving and you can go end-to-end immediately because the court was so small and the kids weren’t fast enough.
OW: What was your Bar Mitzvah theme and giveaway?
LD: I don’t believe I had a theme. I really don’t recall having a theme. I think it was just Blue and Orange.
OW: Mets colors?
LD: Yea I don’t know, it made no sense. My Bar Mitzvah sucked. I spent so much time picking out the food, by the time all the games like “who knows you the best” came around, there was no food left so I was miserable. And I was way too shy to dance in front of girls and parents so I had no fun at my Bar Mitzvah. And we gave away a mix CD.
OW: That’s fitting. 
OW: We were watching the Sixers-Celtics preseason game upstairs before the show and were talking about the season. Knowing that MCW is now out until 2015, how many wins will the Sixers have this year?
LD: How many did we win last year?
OW: I think we won 18 last year. (It was 19)
LD: I think they win 16 games this year.
OW: Ok, I’m saying 13. Who’s going to score? Hollis Thompson is honestly our best player until MCW comes back from his injury.
LD: Yea, I don’t know. I think they have to figure out a way to play very strong defense. And then you never know.
OW: Best munchies restaurant in Cheltenham?
LD: Does it have to be open late?
OW: Yea, needs to be a 2 o’clock in the morning, high as shit, need some munchies now place.
LD: Honestly, I’m into Checkers. I love how cheap it is, its always open. It can be a little dicey at times but when you really want Checkers, a spicy chicken sandwich for $2 is amazing. Actually, fuck it. Steve’s Steaks. What am I saying? Steve’s Steaks is the answer. The cheese fries, its open late. Steve’s steaks 100%. Sorry that it took me so long to realize that.
OW: Finally, how do you come up with all of your AKA’s?
LD: It’s very spur of the moment.
OW: Do you ever see things like “Ok that would be a good AKA”?
LD: I honestly can’t even put it into words, I really don’t know. I just find myself writing AKA’s. Sometimes I’ll make a point to sit down for 10 minutes and write AKA’s if I’m low on them. But normally, shit just happens to me and I just think about it like that.
OW: Can we expect more AKA’s on the album?
LD: Yea for sure. You can definitely except some.

We Talked To Lil Dicky

After shutting down the TLA for the second time in 8 months, Cheltenham rapper Dave Burd or Lil’ Dicky (as the masses know him) sat down with us to discuss his tour, upcoming album, favorite Philadelphia munchies restaurant and much more.

OogeeWoogee: So your 1st full national tour run is winding down with only 1 show left, how did everything go?

Lil’ Dicky: It was great, its one thing when you’re in Philadelphia and see a lot of people that you’re friends with but when you’re in Phoenix, Arizona, [you’re] like who are these people? The enthusiasm has been crazy, after every show it feels like a Justin Bieber situation…except its not 13 year old girls, its middle aged white guys. But I think its been a great tour, every city really brought it and I think I brought it in every city too.

OW: You were just in New York for a show at Irving Plaza and Peter Rosenberg from Hot 97 was there, how was that encounter with him?

LD: It was cool. Peter is a big deal and I think he sees some of himself in me in terms of being a random white jewish guy in Hip-Hop. So I think he buys what I’m selling. I think its a good ally to have.

OW: You were also on the Backroom Freestyle on 106 & Park in New York, how did that situation come about?

LD: Yea, the Vice President of BET is really into my music and they asked if I wanted to do it and I said “of course.”

OW: How is the progress with the Professional Rapper album, as well as your search for features?

LD: No tentative release date as of now. I’m really just waiting on some features to come through so I just have to be patient with it all. I’m gonna keep the features on the down low though.

OW: Obviously “Lemme Freak” is the first single from Professional Rapper, it has been going absolutely crazy on the internet. The importance of social media has impacted your career so much from Kickstarter to YouTube, what was your reaction when you saw Diddy and Kevin Durant tweet about your music?

LD: Relief. I knew “Lemme Freak” had to take things to the next level and I’ve been waiting to get recognized by societal figures. So it felt great. It was an important step because, to me, “Lemme Freak” had to do a certain task and I feel like it did exactly what it needed to do.

OW: Can we expect more songs like “Lemme Freak” on the album or do you want it to have a more serious undertone?

LD: No, well there are other funny songs for sure but “Lemme Freak” is certainly the most funny song. There’s one other song that is really funny. Theres a lot of hybrids [on the album] that are funny and serious.

OW: We’re going to transition over from the music to more personal questions. What was your career high in JJBL (Junior Jewish Basketball Leagues) and what gym?

LD: Aw man, I think it was like 34. In Triangle. Triangle to me is a really good gym to score. I was really into driving and you can go end-to-end immediately because the court was so small and the kids weren’t fast enough.

OW: What was your Bar Mitzvah theme and giveaway?

LD: I don’t believe I had a theme. I really don’t recall having a theme. I think it was just Blue and Orange.

OW: Mets colors?

LD: Yea I don’t know, it made no sense. My Bar Mitzvah sucked. I spent so much time picking out the food, by the time all the games like “who knows you the best” came around, there was no food left so I was miserable. And I was way too shy to dance in front of girls and parents so I had no fun at my Bar Mitzvah. And we gave away a mix CD.

OW: That’s fitting. 

OW: We were watching the Sixers-Celtics preseason game upstairs before the show and were talking about the season. Knowing that MCW is now out until 2015, how many wins will the Sixers have this year?

LD: How many did we win last year?

OW: I think we won 18 last year. (It was 19)

LD: I think they win 16 games this year.

OW: Ok, I’m saying 13. Who’s going to score? Hollis Thompson is honestly our best player until MCW comes back from his injury.

LD: Yea, I don’t know. I think they have to figure out a way to play very strong defense. And then you never know.

OW: Best munchies restaurant in Cheltenham?

LD: Does it have to be open late?

OW: Yea, needs to be a 2 o’clock in the morning, high as shit, need some munchies now place.

LD: Honestly, I’m into Checkers. I love how cheap it is, its always open. It can be a little dicey at times but when you really want Checkers, a spicy chicken sandwich for $2 is amazing. Actually, fuck it. Steve’s Steaks. What am I saying? Steve’s Steaks is the answer. The cheese fries, its open late. Steve’s steaks 100%. Sorry that it took me so long to realize that.

OW: Finally, how do you come up with all of your AKA’s?

LD: It’s very spur of the moment.

OW: Do you ever see things like “Ok that would be a good AKA”?

LD: I honestly can’t even put it into words, I really don’t know. I just find myself writing AKA’s. Sometimes I’ll make a point to sit down for 10 minutes and write AKA’s if I’m low on them. But normally, shit just happens to me and I just think about it like that.

OW: Can we expect more AKA’s on the album?

LD: Yea for sure. You can definitely except some.

I Forgot What Rap Was: A Brooklyn Night In Manhattan
Wednesday night there was no place more unwelcoming to skinny jeans than Santos in New York City. The masses that gathered were drawn by a light that has been shining in the Hiphop community for over 20 years and we were here to celebrate just that. The Lyricist Lounge, started by Danny Castro and Anthony Marshall of NYC, had humble beginnings providing an open mic for local emcees which parlayed into a series of mixtapes and eventually landed itself on MTV as a sketch rap show. The Lyricist Lounge might be obscure to some but it gave me my introductions to people from Mos Def to Tracee Ellis Ross and 20 years later on a cold, rainy, Wednesday night it gave me my re-introduction to gritty, Pelle Pelle leather, Timberland boots, buck fifty across the cheek, New York Hiphop.
I booked an Uber car on my iPhone to travel from my girlfriend’s Soho apartment to Santos which is only a six minute walk but it was raining a lot. How un-fucking Hiphop is that sentence? At the end of the night, this would be a metaphor for how soft shit is now but I arrived at Santos via fucking Uber, bypassed the thick line (good looking, Tamir), and walked into the venue being welcomed by weed smoke and Hennessy vapors. We were in downtown Manhattan but 96 Lafayette would be Brooklyn for the next few hours.
DJ Evil Dee was the obvious choice to warm up the crowd for this night that BK has been curating for over 20 years. A night that Williamsburg, now, wouldn’t recognize and couldn’t see through it’s Warby Parker frames.
Don’t be fooled by the low brim fitted caps, big jeans, and 6 inch Timbs. It’s not that this crowd didn’t get the memo, it’s that this crowd does not give a fuck.
Talib Kweli wasn’t on the set list but it was a nice surprise (wild understatement) to have him open the night and keep shit thorough.
This is going to sound blasphemous and I might get denied entry at Gloria’s on Nostrand Ave from now on but I was not familiar with Cella Dwellas at all before this night. I need to dig in the crates a bit and study up on Phantasm and UG because their stage presence was crazy and had me dumb hype, rapping along to music I never even heard before. How the fuck did I even do that?
One of my favorite rappers of all time is Sean Price and he was in the house with Rock, together on stage as Heltah Skeltah. Bar for bar, P is one of the greatest to ever rhyme words and their set made me feel like I know more Drake lyrics than one man should.
Smif-N-Wessun had the place jumping and mean mugging at the same time. Only Tek could look tough during a Rick James tribute singing “Mary Jane”. Tek crowd surfed his way to his fans and did half of his set amongst the people. That’s G shit and I wouldn’t expect nothing less from that man.
The Mash Out Posse aka M.O.P. closed out the night which naturally kept security on their mother fucking toes. Nobody does fight music like these guys and I had to check for my wallet a few times during their set just because M.O.P. makes people want to be that stick up kid so bad, in a good way.

The last show I went to before this was Little Dragon, which is like Swedish/electro/indie pop. Before that I went to a Raury show, which is like folk/indie rock/hiphop. Before that I’ve seen Beyonce/Jay Z/Disclosure/Schoolboy Q/Drake/etc. That was only this year and I had fun at pretty much every show but this Lyricist Lounge Reunion brought me back to my roots. This show wasn’t “which is like” anything. This show wasn’t “/” anything. This show was unapologetically raw uncut fishscale, run your pockets, Champion hoodie, Newport loosie, rap music and I needed that so bad. This night was church and I exorcised the demons that are Drake. Don’t get it fucked up, Drake is one of my favorite rappers and I consider him the new Tupac in an allegorical sense but the line up tonight ain’t allegorical about shit. They literally embody what 1996 Brooklyn was, and that time and place dictated to the world what Hiphop was and through all this time these artists have stayed true to that.

When I first fell in love with Hiphop I almost exclusively listened to this brand of rap, but now my soundcloud playlist plays like hipster waves of PBR crashing upon a beach made of chambray shirts under a skinny jean sunset. Soft. I’m not saying anything is wrong with that. I’m not about to change my playlist or nothing but Brooklyn gave me a wake up call that night (or maybe it paged me 911) and told me that raw shit is still live as fuck and comes from a real place. Most of the world’s attention is now given to more vegan options of Hiphop but never forget that Brooklyn keep on taking it.

I Forgot What Rap Was: A Brooklyn Night In Manhattan

Wednesday night there was no place more unwelcoming to skinny jeans than Santos in New York City. The masses that gathered were drawn by a light that has been shining in the Hiphop community for over 20 years and we were here to celebrate just that. The Lyricist Lounge, started by Danny Castro and Anthony Marshall of NYC, had humble beginnings providing an open mic for local emcees which parlayed into a series of mixtapes and eventually landed itself on MTV as a sketch rap show. The Lyricist Lounge might be obscure to some but it gave me my introductions to people from Mos Def to Tracee Ellis Ross and 20 years later on a cold, rainy, Wednesday night it gave me my re-introduction to gritty, Pelle Pelle leather, Timberland boots, buck fifty across the cheek, New York Hiphop.

I booked an Uber car on my iPhone to travel from my girlfriend’s Soho apartment to Santos which is only a six minute walk but it was raining a lot. How un-fucking Hiphop is that sentence? At the end of the night, this would be a metaphor for how soft shit is now but I arrived at Santos via fucking Uber, bypassed the thick line (good looking, Tamir), and walked into the venue being welcomed by weed smoke and Hennessy vapors. We were in downtown Manhattan but 96 Lafayette would be Brooklyn for the next few hours.

DJ Evil Dee was the obvious choice to warm up the crowd for this night that BK has been curating for over 20 years. A night that Williamsburg, now, wouldn’t recognize and couldn’t see through it’s Warby Parker frames.

Don’t be fooled by the low brim fitted caps, big jeans, and 6 inch Timbs. It’s not that this crowd didn’t get the memo, it’s that this crowd does not give a fuck.

Talib Kweli wasn’t on the set list but it was a nice surprise (wild understatement) to have him open the night and keep shit thorough.

This is going to sound blasphemous and I might get denied entry at Gloria’s on Nostrand Ave from now on but I was not familiar with Cella Dwellas at all before this night. I need to dig in the crates a bit and study up on Phantasm and UG because their stage presence was crazy and had me dumb hype, rapping along to music I never even heard before. How the fuck did I even do that?

One of my favorite rappers of all time is Sean Price and he was in the house with Rock, together on stage as Heltah Skeltah. Bar for bar, P is one of the greatest to ever rhyme words and their set made me feel like I know more Drake lyrics than one man should.

Smif-N-Wessun had the place jumping and mean mugging at the same time. Only Tek could look tough during a Rick James tribute singing “Mary Jane”. Tek crowd surfed his way to his fans and did half of his set amongst the people. That’s G shit and I wouldn’t expect nothing less from that man.

The Mash Out Posse aka M.O.P. closed out the night which naturally kept security on their mother fucking toes. Nobody does fight music like these guys and I had to check for my wallet a few times during their set just because M.O.P. makes people want to be that stick up kid so bad, in a good way.

The last show I went to before this was Little Dragon, which is like Swedish/electro/indie pop. Before that I went to a Raury show, which is like folk/indie rock/hiphop. Before that I’ve seen Beyonce/Jay Z/Disclosure/Schoolboy Q/Drake/etc. That was only this year and I had fun at pretty much every show but this Lyricist Lounge Reunion brought me back to my roots. This show wasn’t “which is like” anything. This show wasn’t “/” anything. This show was unapologetically raw uncut fishscale, run your pockets, Champion hoodie, Newport loosie, rap music and I needed that so bad. This night was church and I exorcised the demons that are Drake. Don’t get it fucked up, Drake is one of my favorite rappers and I consider him the new Tupac in an allegorical sense but the line up tonight ain’t allegorical about shit. They literally embody what 1996 Brooklyn was, and that time and place dictated to the world what Hiphop was and through all this time these artists have stayed true to that.

When I first fell in love with Hiphop I almost exclusively listened to this brand of rap, but now my soundcloud playlist plays like hipster waves of PBR crashing upon a beach made of chambray shirts under a skinny jean sunset. Soft. I’m not saying anything is wrong with that. I’m not about to change my playlist or nothing but Brooklyn gave me a wake up call that night (or maybe it paged me 911) and told me that raw shit is still live as fuck and comes from a real place. Most of the world’s attention is now given to more vegan options of Hiphop but never forget that Brooklyn keep on taking it.

#FlashBackFriday: When Danny Brown and Tony Yayo Did a Mixtape Together… Oh Wait, That Happened?
Yes, it happened. The finished product is called Hawaiian Snow, because it never snows in Hawaii. The only thing more rare than a Nor’easter in Honolulu would be Danny Brown, Tony Yayo and Lil B all peeking their heads on one track—which happens here, thus warranting comparison to the unheard of meteorological phenomenon. Hawaiian Snow is also a sativa strain of cannabis with mad crystals to the bud. A blunt of this shit will fuck you up worse than “her clitoris smelling like some catfish nuggets”.

Aw, c’mon: don’t look at me like that. It was Danny! Coercing Mr. Brown to turn down is like finding a yeti cooling it around the rim of a volcano, you see. But let’s get this straight: things would’ve been leagues different if Danny Brown signed with G-Unit back in 2010 like he almost did.
So why didn’t he? Well, let’s just say that the boss wasn’t feeling his get-up too deeply (life hack: never wear skinny jeans to an interview):
“It was a real thing. 50 was with it; he just didn’t sign me because of my jeans,” Lieutenant Dan confesses. “He liked the music, but he didn’t like the way I looked. I understand where they were coming from, but you gotta understand where I’m coming from, too: I’m from Detroit.” And it was in Detroit where the prospect of signing to G-Unit first presented itself, when Yayo was in the D shooting his role for the movie S.W.A.T. 2 and the two got together and burned one:
“When I was recording [mixtapes] ‘Detroit State of Mind,’ Volumes 1-3, I was working with a producer who worked for G-Unit and was Yayo’s engineer,” he tells the LA Times. “[…] so he hit me up and said, ‘Come link up, chill and smoke.’ So I went down there, and he was like, ‘My homeboy told me about you.’ I showed him the ‘Re-Up’ video, went on my iTunes and played him a couple joints, and he said ‘You need to come up to New York with me.’ So he took me on tour with 50 Cent all through July, and we built from there.” Those are the hazy origins of the equally enigmatic Hawaiian Snow, which would go on to become Brown’s first commercially available release.
So what’s good with the tape itself? Everything. It’s cool to see two artists who are this uniquely different have unreserved levels of fun with a recording. The boisterous spirit in which they trade verses back and forth makes it difficult to see the songs as anything less than a 44:33-long, cross-blunt-rotation soiree with goodie bags of every junk food imaginable sewn somewhere into the mix. As I’ve mentioned, one of these unorthodoxly nutritious components is Lil B, who makes controlled appearances on two of the tape’s 12 tracks. On “Trap Ball,” he handles adlibs fluidly, before spitting a quick, six-bar capstone. On “Trippin,” he offers much of the same—marking an end to the tape’s only features. From the time Yayo and Brown “Roll Up,” to the point where they go full “Cyclops”—delivering cold flows over hot-sounding beats—they are able to craft an unlikely-singular vision, through collaboration, by virtue of where their styles touch. Hawaiian Snow ultimately does a good job at inverting tropical climates for the sake of making the impossible happen, asserting the efficacy of Hip Hop when it comes to transcending common modes of inquiry.

#FlashBackFriday: When Danny Brown and Tony Yayo Did a Mixtape Together… Oh Wait, That Happened?

Yes, it happened. The finished product is called Hawaiian Snow, because it never snows in Hawaii. The only thing more rare than a Nor’easter in Honolulu would be Danny Brown, Tony Yayo and Lil B all peeking their heads on one track—which happens here, thus warranting comparison to the unheard of meteorological phenomenon. Hawaiian Snow is also a sativa strain of cannabis with mad crystals to the bud. A blunt of this shit will fuck you up worse than “her clitoris smelling like some catfish nuggets”.

Aw, c’mon: don’t look at me like that. It was Danny! Coercing Mr. Brown to turn down is like finding a yeti cooling it around the rim of a volcano, you see. But let’s get this straight: things would’ve been leagues different if Danny Brown signed with G-Unit back in 2010 like he almost did.

So why didn’t he? Well, let’s just say that the boss wasn’t feeling his get-up too deeply (life hack: never wear skinny jeans to an interview):

“It was a real thing. 50 was with it; he just didn’t sign me because of my jeans,” Lieutenant Dan confesses. “He liked the music, but he didn’t like the way I looked. I understand where they were coming from, but you gotta understand where I’m coming from, too: I’m from Detroit.” And it was in Detroit where the prospect of signing to G-Unit first presented itself, when Yayo was in the D shooting his role for the movie S.W.A.T. 2 and the two got together and burned one:

“When I was recording [mixtapes] ‘Detroit State of Mind,’ Volumes 1-3, I was working with a producer who worked for G-Unit and was Yayo’s engineer,” he tells the LA Times. “[…] so he hit me up and said, ‘Come link up, chill and smoke.’ So I went down there, and he was like, ‘My homeboy told me about you.’ I showed him the ‘Re-Up’ video, went on my iTunes and played him a couple joints, and he said ‘You need to come up to New York with me.’ So he took me on tour with 50 Cent all through July, and we built from there.” Those are the hazy origins of the equally enigmatic Hawaiian Snow, which would go on to become Brown’s first commercially available release.

So what’s good with the tape itself? Everything. It’s cool to see two artists who are this uniquely different have unreserved levels of fun with a recording. The boisterous spirit in which they trade verses back and forth makes it difficult to see the songs as anything less than a 44:33-long, cross-blunt-rotation soiree with goodie bags of every junk food imaginable sewn somewhere into the mix. As I’ve mentioned, one of these unorthodoxly nutritious components is Lil B, who makes controlled appearances on two of the tape’s 12 tracks. On “Trap Ball,” he handles adlibs fluidly, before spitting a quick, six-bar capstone. On “Trippin,” he offers much of the same—marking an end to the tape’s only features. From the time Yayo and Brown “Roll Up,” to the point where they go full “Cyclops”—delivering cold flows over hot-sounding beats—they are able to craft an unlikely-singular vision, through collaboration, by virtue of where their styles touch. Hawaiian Snow ultimately does a good job at inverting tropical climates for the sake of making the impossible happen, asserting the efficacy of Hip Hop when it comes to transcending common modes of inquiry.

Yuna Proves Women in Music Can Be Modest, Stylish, & Successful
Last night Yuna performed at Union Transfer in Philly, and left an unforgettable impression.
For awhile the singer was one of those artists I felt like I should be familiar with, but never had the chance to get into her music. Her name kept popping up and I knew the Malaysian talent was making waves in the industry, but I didn’t discover why until recently.
Everything about Yuna from her look to her sound goes against the grain and that’s what I love about her. Her music is an airy but soulful blend of acoustics, R&B, and pop. Her style is her own modestly chic blend, showcasing some of the avant-garde trends in the Malaysian Islamic community.
After Hollie Cook from the U.K. opened the show with her funky, alternative reggae sound, Yuna’s band warmed things up a bit and she gracefully appeared on the stage in white wide-legged pants, a sequined top and one of her signature head wraps. Outfit alone, she had me.
Then she kicked off things with a flawless performance of “Falling” which got everyone amped. Her organic voice echoed throughout the venue and her band intensified things with a heavy bass filled rendition. She continued with more fan favorites from her latest EP Nocturnal including “Someone Who Can,”  “Mountains” and “Rescue”.
What stands out most about Yuna actually seems to be the most understated thing about the artist. The focus has been on her music, and that’s what’s up. Yet there’s no denying that her presence and growing success as a Muslim woman is a statement that raw talent and unique style can bring success in an industry still flooded with so much of the opposite. Props to Yuna, for a dope show and not being afraid to bring something refreshingly out of the norm.

Yuna Proves Women in Music Can Be Modest, Stylish, & Successful

Last night Yuna performed at Union Transfer in Philly, and left an unforgettable impression.

For awhile the singer was one of those artists I felt like I should be familiar with, but never had the chance to get into her music. Her name kept popping up and I knew the Malaysian talent was making waves in the industry, but I didn’t discover why until recently.

Everything about Yuna from her look to her sound goes against the grain and that’s what I love about her. Her music is an airy but soulful blend of acoustics, R&B, and pop. Her style is her own modestly chic blend, showcasing some of the avant-garde trends in the Malaysian Islamic community.

After Hollie Cook from the U.K. opened the show with her funky, alternative reggae sound, Yuna’s band warmed things up a bit and she gracefully appeared on the stage in white wide-legged pants, a sequined top and one of her signature head wraps. Outfit alone, she had me.

Then she kicked off things with a flawless performance of “Falling” which got everyone amped. Her organic voice echoed throughout the venue and her band intensified things with a heavy bass filled rendition. She continued with more fan favorites from her latest EP Nocturnal including “Someone Who Can,”  “Mountains” and “Rescue”.

What stands out most about Yuna actually seems to be the most understated thing about the artist. The focus has been on her music, and that’s what’s up. Yet there’s no denying that her presence and growing success as a Muslim woman is a statement that raw talent and unique style can bring success in an industry still flooded with so much of the opposite. Props to Yuna, for a dope show and not being afraid to bring something refreshingly out of the norm.

Modern Day Black Gay’ Promotes The Seldom Seen Black Gay Man

Thanks to Issa Rae and Numa Perrier, web series have gotten a lot more black. The Misadventures Of An Awkward Black Girl, rocketed Rae to fame. As for Perrier, her Black and Sexy TV Youtube channel offers audiences a wide array of mini-shows depicting a sample of the “black experience”. Although more black folks have been getting their shine on internet shows, there seems to be a void where black gay male life is shown. That is until Modern Day Black Gay released its debut episode.

The web series, created by Philadelphia born and raised playwright, Donja R. Love, was created in order to showcase the gay black male as more than voguing, AIDs, and catty behavior.

“I created Modern Day Black Gay because I got tired of seeing stereotypes of men who were supposed to represent me: Black and Queer. I never saw a truthful image of me! I wanted to explore what it means to be a modern day black gay man. I wanted to explore what he goes through.”

The inaugural episode, “Are You A Top Or A Bottom”, which aired on October 15th, begins with the main character, Malcolm, played by Christopher Livingston, preparing for a late night booty call. Once Malcolm’s potential partner arrives in his bedroom, the question arises, “Are You A Top Or A Bottom”

Through out the episode, Love, who is also the writer and director of the first season, explores the idea of top or bottom. For those who don’t know, top and bottom refers to the preferred positions of two men when having sex. Often times the “Top” is seen as a dominant figure while the “Bottom” is seen as submissive.

After being asked about the booty call of the previous night, Malcolm proceeds to give a rundown as to why he does not like the binary standard of “Top or Bottom”.

“It forces us to only look at each other as sexual objects. It glorifies dicks and ass. It degrades the man who is the owner of that dick and/or ass. It places limitations on people like all tops are supposed to be masculine and all bottoms are supposed to be feminine. The question, “Are you top or bottom?” on furthers the notion that the community is pathetically trying to viciously operate out of a hetero-normative paradigm”.

Bars to say the least.

There are five more episodes left of season one that will discuss what it means to be a black gay male in today’s society. Stereotypes will be broken and positive images will be reinforced.

The Weakest Beef In the History of Rap
By now most of you have heard about the most asinine beef to have ever taken place in the history of rap. Spawned from Snoop Dogg’s Instagram page, where he posted a picture of an albino woman with the caption, “Iggy Azalea No Make Up.” The image garnered more than 50,000 likes. Iggy Azalea however, did not take this lightly. In response, she posted a now deleted image of Snoop Dogg, with the caption, “When Your Drug Addict Aunt Gets Clean.” And from there, the fuckery continued. That is until TI phoned Uncle Snoop and made him squash “the beef”.
Although this heavily manufactured debacle has been well covered on every blog from here to Timbuktu, there are a couple of notable points I think we can all take away from this. Chiefly among them being that social media is a place where anyone’s image can be used, misused, and abused for public fodder. Whoever, that albino woman was, I am sure she, like Iggy Azalea, is not laughing. It’s also not cool to make fun of the way a person looks. Its one of the things, we as human beings can’t help. That is unless you have thousands of dollars and a great plastic surgeon. But I guess that’s the downside to the rap game. Maybe, Iggy should have taken her issue with Snoop to wax and recorded a diss record? Now, that would have been something to hear.

Iggy, not without fault, has been a controversial figure of sorts, accused of everything from cultural appropriation to not writing her rhymes. In the past she has taken to social media to lambast any and every rapper who has had something negative to say about her, especially in regards to her looks. Google her beef with Tyler the Creator. Now, it’s a tricky thing being a woman in this here rap game. In the music industry, much like society, it seems that a woman’s worth is determined by her physical appearance. I mean how many fans would Beyonce really have if she was sixty pounds overweight? I’m not saying it’s right. What I am saying is: critiquing a woman’s looks in the way that Snoop did is helping to perpetuate sexism. Snoop Dogg, a sexist?! It can’t be! Although sexism in rap is nothing new, it’s a tad bit disappointing coming from a rap legend such as Snoop…in 2014. This incident was just odd and immature on Snoop’s end. However, Iggy Azalea will deal. She has thousands of fans, the comforting arms of Swaggy P, and TI to weather the sexist-misogynistic storm. I just wish the rest of us womenfolk had the same.

The Weakest Beef In the History of Rap

By now most of you have heard about the most asinine beef to have ever taken place in the history of rap. Spawned from Snoop Dogg’s Instagram page, where he posted a picture of an albino woman with the caption, “Iggy Azalea No Make Up.” The image garnered more than 50,000 likes. Iggy Azalea however, did not take this lightly. In response, she posted a now deleted image of Snoop Dogg, with the caption, “When Your Drug Addict Aunt Gets Clean.” And from there, the fuckery continued. That is until TI phoned Uncle Snoop and made him squash “the beef”.

Although this heavily manufactured debacle has been well covered on every blog from here to Timbuktu, there are a couple of notable points I think we can all take away from this. Chiefly among them being that social media is a place where anyone’s image can be used, misused, and abused for public fodder. Whoever, that albino woman was, I am sure she, like Iggy Azalea, is not laughing. It’s also not cool to make fun of the way a person looks. Its one of the things, we as human beings can’t help. That is unless you have thousands of dollars and a great plastic surgeon. But I guess that’s the downside to the rap game. Maybe, Iggy should have taken her issue with Snoop to wax and recorded a diss record? Now, that would have been something to hear.

Iggy, not without fault, has been a controversial figure of sorts, accused of everything from cultural appropriation to not writing her rhymes. In the past she has taken to social media to lambast any and every rapper who has had something negative to say about her, especially in regards to her looks. Google her beef with Tyler the Creator. Now, it’s a tricky thing being a woman in this here rap game. In the music industry, much like society, it seems that a woman’s worth is determined by her physical appearance. I mean how many fans would Beyonce really have if she was sixty pounds overweight? I’m not saying it’s right. What I am saying is: critiquing a woman’s looks in the way that Snoop did is helping to perpetuate sexism. Snoop Dogg, a sexist?! It can’t be! Although sexism in rap is nothing new, it’s a tad bit disappointing coming from a rap legend such as Snoop…in 2014. This incident was just odd and immature on Snoop’s end. However, Iggy Azalea will deal. She has thousands of fans, the comforting arms of Swaggy P, and TI to weather the sexist-misogynistic storm. I just wish the rest of us womenfolk had the same.