Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
In the build up to the first Blood Is One "We're On Everything" mixtape, I've decided to drop a few of the tracks that our conglomerate of great artists has put together. Our first is by upcoming New Jersey rapper CaLii, entitled "Miles 2 Miles."
How much do you know about Seattle's own Grammy-winning rap star and notorious big-booty fan, Sir Mix-A-Lot?
Now you can find out in a social-gaming adventure where fans and Facebook junkies alike can play Mix-N-Match with Sir Mix-A-Lot: a trivia game where the rap star weighs in on quirky dilemmas — would he rather get a Snuggie or a Shamwow, is he more afraid of tornadoes or earthquakes?
From Facebook to Twitter, experts say this type of social gaming is becoming the newest marketing phenomenon. Seattle-based Giant Thinkwell, the creator of Mix-A-Lot's game, recently raised $600,000 from Madrona Venture Group, Founder's Co-op and other unnamed angel investors, to fuel more interactive games where celeb fans answer questions and have a chance to win prizes.
Scott Jacobson, a partner at Madrona, which has invested in companies such as Amazon.com, said once social media hit big and celebrities began acquiring a large number of online fans, an opportunity arose.
"So you have 200,000 fans. Then what do you do? How do you keep them engaged?" he asked. "The answer: social gaming."
According to research firm Parks Associates, more than 300 million people are playing games on Facebook each month. And with 20 percent of players paying cash for in-game benefits, that pushed revenues for social-gaming companies over $1 billion in 2010, the firm reported.
Thinkwell, which creates games to connect fans with celebrities, was co-founded by former Microsoft marketing exec Kevin Leneway, artist and designer Kyle Kesterson, and Adam Tratt, a veteran of game-company Cranium.
It debuted in February with its first Facebook game, Celebrity Baby Jackpot, which was played by more than 250,000 users and ranked among the top 5 percent of all Facebook games shortly after its launch, according to the company.
Tratt, chief executive of Thinkwell, said the Mix-A-Lot game took two months to create, and since its launch Tuesday it has boosted the Seattle star's Facebook fans from 1,200 to some 20,000.
To generate revenue, he said, Thinkwell has included virtual items that give players a leg up — if they pay. Point multipliers and energy drinks, for example, can be purchased to play for longer, helping fans move closer to winning the grand prize: a ride down Broadway with Sir Mix-A-Lot in his Lamborghini.
Players also will have the chance to win a personalized video shout-out posted on Facebook or receive an exclusive track.
"We're getting Mix to do a virtual high-five with his fans," said Tratt.
The Seattle rap star, born Anthony Ray, said getting into social gaming is a reflection of the technogeek in him.
Over the next year, Mix-A-Lot said, fans can expect to see a lot more of this as he prepares to launch a new company and celebrate the 20th anniversary of "Baby Got Back," his hit single.
Mix-A-Lot said he plans to stay in Seattle — a city where his fans have contributed to the longevity of his career.
"They treat me like I'm one of their own, talk to me like I'm anyone else," Mix-A-Lot said. "And that's what I like. They're my kind of people."
Friday, June 24, 2011
Santigold has kept herself out there with collaborations with Beastie Boys and Karen O., but it’s time for a new record. Three years after her self-titled debut dropped, she plans to put out her sophomore album as the leaves change and the weather cools. Billboard got a few details on her vision for the new material:
“I wanted it to feel dynamic and powerful,” stated Santigold. “I still have the songs that sound very electronic and clubby, but I have a couple ballads on this one-- my own type of ballads, where they just sound big, like the way some old Kate Bush or Peter Gabriel songs were… on this one song, we did a whole section that has a bottle used as the percussion, so there’s layers upon layers of Greg Kurstin playing a bottle and literally filling it with different layers of water, and stacking each note. Mixed with a marimba and taiko drums!”
Also anticipate collaborations with Dave Sitek, Switch, Nick Zinner, John Hill and Ricky Blaze on the yet-to-be-named release due ambiguously this fall.
Elizabeth Flock with the Washington Post explores Graves' Disease and the impact it has had on rapper Missy Elliot:
Missy Elliott fans have been waiting six years for a new album, and now they know why. On Thursday, the rapper and producer revealed that she is suffering from Graves’ Disease, a disease that affects the immune system and thyroid gland.
Elliott told People magazine the illness had made even simple, day-to-day tasks difficult for her. “I couldn’t write because my nervous system was so bad – I couldn’t even use a pen,” she said.
The ominously named disease is unfamiliar to most people. We explain what you need to know about Graves’ Disease below.
What causes Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ Disease happens when too much thyroid hormone is produced, a condition called hyperthyroidism, according to the Mayo Clinic. This higher thyroxine level can greatly increase your body's metabolic rate, which may affect weight, mood, and energy.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms aren’t pretty: rapid heart rate, tremors, double vision, insomnia, fatigue, muscle weakness, anxiety, and in men, enlarged breasts. The list goes on. Elliott, 39, says she’s suffered hair loss, mood swings, and muscle control loss since she was diagnosed with the condition three years ago.
How can it be treated?
Elliot says radiation therapy and time at the gym has helped her get better. Other treatments include anti-thyroid medications and doses of radioactive iodine to shrink the gland. If left untreated, Graves’ Disease gets worse over time. But, if diagnosed properly like Elliott’s was, a person can continue to live a mostly normal life. Elliott is now reuniting with Timbaland for several new songs, and her much-awaited seventh album, Block Party, is on its way.
President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush also suffered from Graves’ Disease. Read about how it affected their lives here.
Let's all pray for Missy Elliot, who has always brought alot of grace, humor and talent to hip-hop!
Something to do if you're in Seattle:
One of the more loving homages to horror films of days past, Shaun of the Dead is that remarkable film that works as pitch-perfect pastiche but also stands on its own as a great film. Whether or not you treat Romero's original trilogy like texts of Biblical significance, you'll find much to love in this grim comedy about a zombie outbreak in London that forces two chumps to put down their PS2 controllers and spill undead blood.
The film, screened at Seattle's Fremont Outdoor Cinema begins at dusk.
Insiders recently spilled the beans to Vulture, announcing that Will Smith and his producing partner, Jay-Z, are in negotiations with screenwriter/actress Emma Thompson to re-adapt Annie for Smith's youngest child, Willow.
One of the Fresh Prince's kids already has his own remake franchise brewing (son Jaden, and The Karate Kid) and the Hollywood mainstay is balancing his family dynamics by doing the same thing for his daughter. Thompson, who scripted both Nanny McPhee films and 1995's Oscar-winning Sense and Sensibility is being courted by Smith's Overbrook Productions to bring her impressive resume as a screenwriter to the table.
If Thompson agrees to pen the new version of Annie, this will mark the beginning of a possible fruitful relationship between Smith and Jay-Z that Columbia Pictures announced back in January.
Vulture also speculates that the energetic writer could possibly star in the film too, in the role of Miss Hannigan, the child-hating head of the orphanage where Annie resides. While Will Smith may have passed on Django: Unchained, he's making sure to build a strong career for his children. Do we see the beginnings of the Smith Dynasty that will dominate filmmaking of the future?
Let's hope she takes the job. Until then, audiences can see Emma Thompson alongside Will Smith as she plays "Agent Oh" in next summer's Men In Black III.
"This beef sh*t is stupid, @frank_ocean I respect ya music and you and Odd Future! Ain't beefing wit nobody. Y'all can have that! Love," Brown tweeted June 23rd. (Chris Brown's Twitter)
That basically provides a neat, polite and humble end to the feud that Tyler the Creator helped accelerate:
Following Friday's Twitter feud between Odd Future and Chris Brown, the hip-hop collective played the House of Blues in their hometown of Los Angeles on Saturday night. Before performing "She" with Frank Ocean, frontman Tyler, the Creator lamented about MTV banning the song's video while sharing his dream to one day win a VMA. But it wasn't long before the crowd reignited the fire, chanting, "F**k Chris Brown!" OFWGKTA members hurled insults ("He's a loser") at the blond singer and Tyler chimed in, saying, "He beats up women, he's a b*tch." (Rap-Up)
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Kenan Bell is one hard working man. We've currently got him doing some brilliant stuff for the Blood Is One "We're On Everything" mixtape series. We're perfectionists, however, so while we tinker around you'll be able to stay in company with this rising star through his new Summer Solstice mixtape. Download it here.
“I was [driving and] trying to put my foot on the brake, but my leg was jumping. I couldn’t keep the breakdown and almost crashed. I couldn’t write because my nervous system was so bad–I couldn’t even use a pen. I’m 30 pounds lighter because I’ve been exercising.” Elliott continues. “My thyroid is functioning, so I haven’t had to take medication in about nine months. [But] you live with it for the rest of your life.”
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Nona Willis Aronowitz, writing for the online magazine Good, took aim at rap phenom Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. Articles like this pop up quite a bit and 50 Cent along with 50's label mate at Shady Records, Eminem, are often the targets. Both have uttered alot of homophobic stuff along with misogynist lyrics.Aronowitz takes special issue with 50 for his writing an anti-bullying novel while continuously producing music that promotes and legitimizes violence:
Millions of kids look up to 50 Cent and will take anything to heart that's attached to his name. So if he's calling for an end to violence in the schoolyard, perhaps he shouldn't rap about shooting people. If he cares about bullying, maybe he shouldn't tweet about how gay guys should kill themselves. While he's at it, he might refrain from constantly starting shit with other rappers.
To be fair, a rapper writing a book about the violence that poor, black kids endure daily in school could give some much-needed visibility to an issue that seldom gets the spotlight. In recent years, news stories of homophobia-related violence have gotten far more attention than pervasive urban bullying, not only because they have often involved a suicide, but because anti-gay activism is a far friendlier cause to white, affluent people.
On this website, I've defended Eminem against similar attacks. However, Eminem is alot easier to defend than 50. Eminem has provided an epic level of diversity in his discography, showing a personality that ranges from frightening wife beater ("Kim") to serial killer ("3 AM") all the way to hyper-responsible and loving father ("When I'm Gone") and Alcoholics Anonymous spokesman and motivational speaker ("Not Afraid"). That sort of range shows Marshall to be pretty honest, maybe too honest for most people's tastes.
That's not a range that 50 has. 50 has legitimate talent and makes songs that are hard to not like. However, his range is shorter than Danny Devito. From his early 2000s mixtapes to his latest releases, all of his songs are either about shooting people or macking on hoes. 50 likes to describe himself as an "artist" but artists are not this limited by definition. His lack of depth is no small reason why, despite his wealth and influence, the rap game is leaving him behind. There's simply nothing new to his story and he isn't willing to give us anything new.
Does he think rap fans are stupid? Maybe. There were alot of comic book creators back at the beginning of the medium that hid their names and wrote comics that were orgies of sex and violence (look up EC Comics) because they thought it would be a good way to make a buck. Making his motto "Get Rich Or Die Trying," 50 has never hidden the fact that he's in it for the money and he may simply not respect the genre enough as an art form to play around with it.
50 has put on multiple masks when talking to the media: a philanthropist when he talks about his organization G-Unity, a hardcore gangsta when talking to rap magazines and blogs and a businessman and smart pragmatist when talking finance or making business moves in the soft drink world (50 Cent himself helped make Vitamin Water a national brand and spur a copycat launch of similar brands). 50's a charming guy but that sort of double dealing masks a lack of honesty. As he's said before, hate it or love it.
Monday, June 20, 2011
From Hip Hop DX:
The G-Unit general took to Twitter to tell fans that his delayed album will hit stores this year.
After bringing his label woes to light, 50 Cent has revealed that his previously delayed LP will land in stores before the end of the year. Responding to fans on Twitter, the G-Unit leader revealed that the album will drop in November to coincide with the release of his new headphones line.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Video Provided by DatPiff.com
Download the song here:
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
This is surprising:
After years of grinding, Tech N9ne has finally made it all the way to the top of the charts.
The Kansas City, Missouri MC debuted on at the No. 4 spot on The Billboard Top 200 today (June 15), the highest chart position of his decade-plus career, with his latest album, All 6s and 7s. Not only was the disc his highest first week seller, it was also the top hip-hop release this week, after selling 55,700 units.
Following the Technician, the Beastie Boys, came in at No. 25 with their ninth studio album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two selling 15,100 making for 242,700 units in total. At No. 29, comes Pittsburgh spitter Wiz Khalifa, who’s single “Roll Up” went platinum, and has managed to stayed on the charts for 11 weeks straight. This week the Pittsburgh native’s Atlantic Records debut Rolling Papers picked up 13,800 more in sales. Over all, the LP’s stats now stand at 445,000.
Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday is also holding strong in its 29th week on the chart. The disc came in at No. 34 adding 12,400 in sales to the Harajuku Barbie’s total stats, which stand at 1.419,500.
Next week look for Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″‘s collaborative EP, Hell: The Sequel to debut at the top of the charts. —Nicole LoPresti
Just one day before what would have been Tupac Shakur's 40th birthday, a man named Dexter Isaac has reportedly come forward to claim responsibility for robbing him at Manhattan's Quad Studios in 1994, an incident during which the West Coast rapper was also shot five times, setting off a feud between himself and the Notorious B.I.G.
According to a letter published by AllHipHop and reportedly sent by Isaac, he was paid $2,500 dollars by James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond to carry out the November 1994 robbery. "James Rosemond hired me to rob 2Pac Shakur at the Quad Studio," reads the watermarked letter. "He gave me $2,500, plus all the jewelry I took, except for one ring, which he wanted for himself. It was the biggest of the two diamond rings that we took. He said he wanted to put the stone in a new setting for his girlfriend at the time, Cynthia Ried. I still have as proof the chain that we took that night in the robbery."
The Quad Studios robbery and shooting occurred less than one year before Tupac was murdered on Sept. 7, 1996.
“Mr. Fiasco has been invited on ‘The Factor’ but has declined, possibly because he could not possibly defend that remark, which makes him a pinhead,” he said during his “Pinheads & Patriots” segment. “Now the reason I say I wish I was named Lupe Fiasco, wouldn't it be great, ‘The Fiasco Factor?’ I mean, it would be tremendous.”
Lupe responded on Twitter by saying this:
Whoa! I got invited to the O'reilly factor and turned it down??? Thats news to me...would NEVER turn down the opp to push billys buttons!
Remember back when rap had a sordid image in the 1990s because of the turf wars between East Coast and West Coast factions? Well, nowadays it seems like hip-hop is fairly unified and the aggression is coming from guys like O'Reilly.