Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean Go Platinum

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is finally getting with the times and has incorporated streaming into their methodology for their certification process for their Gold & Platinum Program.  Their album award formula is 1,500 video or song streams = 10 track sales = 1 album sale while their digital single award formula is 150 streams = 1 download.

This is new methodology has raised a few albums up with Big Sean’s “Dark Sky Paradise” going platinum, Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” going platinum, The Weeknd’s “Beauty Behind the Madness” going 2x multi-platinum and Wale’s “Ambition” going gold. Even Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” gets a new certification, 32x Multi-Platinum, 33 years after its debut.

The new certifications equals great news for everyone with the RIAA acknowledging the changing landscape of music purchase. This also allows for artists who rely heavily on streaming and downloads to finally get their well-deserved recognition.

 

 

New Video: Mag B “Triumph:Wu Tang Forever”

If you look back on any artist, you can hear the rawness of their artistry. Their unpolished and unfiltered sound communicates their desperation and hunger to be among the elites, to get the respect they believe they deserve and to afford the house their mother has been praying for. A beat is not a beat but a chance at finally being able to honestly say “I made it”. Mag B demonstrates that unapologetic passion in his new video “Triumph: Wu Tang Forever.”

Energy is felt from the first second with Mag B beginning the track spitting off Jersey-accented rhymes for a speedy but comprehensible verse. Though impressive, it brought back flashbacks of his freestyle on Sway in the Morning. After another listen to the freestyle, it was confirmed that he mixed the first part of his freestyle, the freestyle prior to the change in beat, with his verse. The identical lyrics would not be bothersome to new listeners but would be noticeable to avid listeners.

 

New Video: New Jersey’s Own Mag-B, “The S**t” Release

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New Jersey is often overshadowed by its more prominent neighbor, New York. While New York continues to dominate hip hop culture with other influentials like Georgia, California and Chicago, New Jersey barely gets any recognition even with prominent natives like Lauryn Hill, Naughty by Nature and Fetty Wap. Fortunately, New Jersey has the powerful Mag-B on their team. With a new video for his fiery new single “The Shit” and the upcoming Substance Abuse project, Mag-B is focused on putting Jersey on the map.

Mag-B first turned heads during an interview at Sway in the Morning. During the early morning radio show, Mag-B humbly stood with neat dreads and a sweatshirt as Sway gave a preamble to Friday Cypher and introduced the young MC. Mag-B explained the woes that occurred in his hometown, Trenton, New Jersey, that included a shooting at a church and went on to describe himself as  “humble, an intellectual . . .  a father . . .” artist because “my music reflects everything about me, where I’m from, what I do, I’m a working person, I fear God. Ecstatic about life. I just want to breath Sway, I want to smile.”

The interview continued on with good reviews on his track “Which Way is Up” and finishing with an amazing freestyle with notable rhymes like “I’m chewing real lyricist; these lames are minor snacks and I always got the munchies; you know I keep that sack” and “like first and one and you punted, it’s obvious, you don’t want it.” That lyricism and steady flow is still present in “The Shit” and his other single “End of the Summer.”

Check out his song “The Shit” below. If you are still hungry for more of Mag-B or just want to see his impressive sneaker collection, you can find him @magb422 on SoundCloud, Twitter and Instagram.

Spring Valley, SC and the School to Prison Pipeline of Black girls

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The video of  Ben Fields assaulting a young black student at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina is disgusting to watch as a young black student is being slammed and flipped over out of her desk. The hard reality is the place that students go on to pursue their aspirations and dreams to contribute to their country violate their basic civil liberties and becomes a pipeline to prison.This video was an example of the School to Prison Pipeline of  Black Girls. The officer there, Officer Ben Fields was a School Resource Officer. After Columbine, the influx of school resource officers in schools began happening in the early 2000. Since the zero tolerance policy has been enacted the policy by federal government was used to punish any infraction of a rule, regardless of accidental mistakes or ignorance in schools.During that time, the number of officers in schools arose from 9,000 to 400,000 SROs.

The sad thing is that the young lady was living in foster care after her mother had passed away. Statistics show that children out of foster care have a higher than likely chance to be at-risk youth and that young girl certainly was that at the moment, vulnerable and probably pissed at the world that she has to live under her conditions for the use of force to be used over a cell phone. The zero tolerance culture dominates as result of that policy that Instituted the cell phone bans, there has been more police in schools.Kimberly Crenshaw and the African American policy form have already pointed out the way that black girls are routinely pushed out of “education” due to the School to Prison Pipeline.When a student from a predominantly white neighborhood is discipline they go through all procedural steps in order to not criminalize that young student, on the other hand African American students get disciplinary action given to them based off of talking back or their attitude. These instances have caused higher suspension rates particularly among those of color and treating black kids like prisoners. When white middle class students are throwing chairs at a teacher the calm the situation down. Mass shooters of schools and churches are often racist and hate women such as the shooting in the state South Carolina.

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There have  been too many recent encounters that  black people are having to deal with as a result of police brutality such as in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri. I don’d believe in respectability politics when it comes to talking about civil rights or micro-aggression because if that’s the case if a man feels as though his wife disrespected him and he slapped her does that give him a ride to put his hands on her?NO so miss me when you say “if you would just pull up your pants” ,analogy, “then the officers would have taking you seriously”… therefore you would have gotten shot at?!.Kidding me. That’s what’s going on with this little girl in South Carolina and The School to Prison Pipeline is particularly high in our communities.You have to look at the intersectionality of race, class, and gender. Women face high rates of domestic violence and it’s mixed in with rape culture. Sexual assault on campus often go unresolved. If this was a white female student would he have reprimanded her they way he did the young lady in the video?
There is a long history of criminalizing black people and I do believe that this officer was doing just that.As a southern State that fought to take down a symbol of hatred and go through a mass shooting in Charleston in which nine people were gunned down during church service.South Carolina has a major past of racial hatred. There is no justification for officer Fields to have done this and was improper protocol his procedures. Perhaps we should have waited for the story to turn into her being to death the way Eric Garner was choked to death in New York City by NYPD because he has improperly arrested. This young lady deserves justice for her body being dragged across a room and sustaining scars physically, psychologically, and to those young black, queer,straight, gay, lesbian, bi , cis, trans non-conforming women that experienced this in silence.

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The Fall of Iggy Azalea’s Career

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It’s been a rough year for Iggy Azalea and things just aren’t looking up. During an interview, T. I. stated that he has cut business ties with his protégé. Meanwhile Iggy used her twitterfingers to set the record straight. She clarified that she’s still doing business with him. It was an awkward moment for our favorite culture vulture from down under. While many are rejoicing over Iggy’s fall from grace, I’m left waiting for the next Iggy to appear.

Iggy isn’t the first artist accused of cultural appropriation, and she certainly will not be the last. Why after a year did she flop while Katy Perry goes on tour with Big-Butt mummies? A lot of people did not like Iggy but as long as fans could understand what she was rapping, they liked her music.

People kept calling out Iggy for the fraud that she was. Once, her image became too nasty for the public, then sponsors started cutting ties with her because she wasn’t making money or even music. Like Kreayshawn, Iggy disappeared into oblivion, leaving only one fancy hit behind.

Iggy’s fall from public grace needs to happen to more artists who blatantly use cultural appropriation to mask their weak skillsets. The fixation on creating hit singles, pop stars, and catchy anthems are resulting in a dangerous misunderstanding of individual cultures. Music, which once had meaning and the power to induce societal change, is reduced to numbers on a chart.

We all know that money is nice. It helps you pays bills, buy food, and gives you the chance to Treat yo self. But even in 2015, the mantra stays the same—“Mo Money Mo problems”. Blindly making music for money means that artists are surrendering the chance to make a difference. We are left to deal with the Iggy rappers. Yes, like a rash they disappear over time, but they still reappear and are annoying to deal with.

New Hip Hop Songs of the Day

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Method Man – 2 Minutes of Your Time

Method Man is releasing his fifth studio album The Meth Lab on August 21. The one-ninth member of Wu Tang Clan decided to bless the world with this track. His proclamation that “I don’t rap, I flow” continues to hold as he flows seamlessly with the cruise-worthy beat. Nothing is forced and each bar coheres to the previous to give you a melodical conversation with Method Man.

Play or Skip: Play

Continue reading “New Hip Hop Songs of the Day”

Homophobia In Hip-Hop

19257_medium I was on Facebook and I was told from a post that the new Love and Hip Hop Hollywood cast member was rapper Millian Christopher also known as Miles, an openly gay rapper. What followed was Miles accusing the cast of shunning him because of his sexual orientation but disguising the distance as not wanting to work with someone lacking credibility and / or not wanting use Miles as a “sideshow” for a ratings boost. What followed were a sprinkle of bible thumpers, homophobes and incomparable comparisons. It got me to thinking and I kept thinking and I could not stop thinking about why homophobia is so accepted and, most importantly, justified in the hip hop community. After much thought and consideration, I have come up with three key reasons why homophobia is accepted and justified. Those three reasons are religion, masculinity and media.

Definition

Let us first define homophobia. In America, we pride our freedom and liberties. We have the freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms and freedom of religion to name a few. If a white person can do this then a African American person should also be allowed to this. If a man is allowed to this then a woman should also be allowed to do this. It is about fairness and equality. However, being unfair to another does create an -ist. In the same sense that a person who would mutter the words “I do not think women should work outside of home because they are caretakers” is sexist, someone who utters the words “I do not think blacks should be allowed to vote because they are ignorant” is racist.  The whole point being made is that one group deserves a freedom while the other group does not. Men can work but women cannot. Heterosexuals can get married but homosexuals cannot. And do not pull out an extreme example to counter this point. Two consenting people with the mental capacity to decide and engage in sex is not the same as murderers, rapists, or pedophiles. It would be assisted-suicide, consensual sex and still pedophilia because a child does not have the mental capacity to consent. Being unfair to a serial rapist and to law-abiding citizen are not the same in any degree to being unfair to a gay woman and straight woman. We can discuss the criminal justice system another time because in 2015, sodomy is not an enforceable law.

Religion

Hip hop consists of majority African American artists. Surprise, surprise. Additionally, African American are more religious than other racial and ethnic groups. During slavery, sermons were held and religion was able to instill hope. Though life on the plantation was terrible, believing in Christ gave slaves the promise they would be free after death with a path to heaven. Every movement that moved African Americans closer to their white counterparts in terms of rights held a religious undertone. Lincoln freeing the slaves was similar to Moses freeing the Jewish slaves. Nearly every demonstration led by the many great leaders of the African-American Civil Rights Movement is comparable with Joshua and the Battle of Jericho. Leaders in the African American community have predominantly been religious figures. Malcolm X was a Muslim minister and Martin Luther King, Jr was a Baptist minister. Even now, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and T.D. Jakes are the notable leaders of the African American community and they all have religious backgrounds. The church is a symbol of hope and endurance and has been attacked for having that audacity, hence the morbid memories of the church burnings and attacks faced during the Civil Rights Movement when Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was attacked by Dylann Roof.

Instinctively, hip hop artist are known to give thanks to God during award ceremonies. Prayer is seen as the best remedy for anyone going through a rough period. Bible verses are tattooed and can be recited verbatim. However, religion goes into many topics and can be used to justify many beliefs based on interpretations of the bible. The Civil War sprouted because plantations owners believed it was their God-given right to own slaves with references to Ephesians 6:5 and Titus 2:9. Currently, homosexuality is seen as an abominable sin based on Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. Though there are many sins, homosexuality is an unforgivable sin along with “everyone that is proud in heart” from Proverbs 16:5 and “lying lips” from Proverbs 12:22.

With strong ties to religion it is understandable why hip hop would want to distance and denounce such a big sin like homosexuality compared to lying and arrogance. Homosexuals are a minority and African American homosexuals are minorities in a minority. Judging the vices of the small compared to looking at the arrogant,  liars and cheats is easier and brings less backlash because who is going to stand against the ideologies of the church and stand for the sinners who are repeatedly told that their sexuality is a sin but continue to sin. You lied once or twice but it can be touted as a small dose of sin compared to the boosting those Rainbow flags and maintaining a relationship with the same sex. Religion has played a big part in past for African Americans and continues to do so today. Disowning or not abiding by (or not even giving thinks to) Christianity and, increasingly, Islam is seen as disrespecting your ancestors plight for the freedoms enjoyed today because without the wisdom and mercy of God, how would African Americans have made it out of such a horrific situation. Standing by religion even at the expense of another group is just a casualty on one’s righteous road to Heaven or to the afterlife.

Masculinity

Hip hop is not just masculine, it is really masculine, no extremely masculine, no hyper-masculine. Men must be men. This shift to skinny jeans, men in wigs on Vine and faux dreads on men has been noted and disapproved and a great deal of hip hop rappers remain traditional to the street style. Young Thug, Fetty Wap, Kanye West and Lil Wayne are the exception, not the rule. On D.O.A, Jay-Z rapped “you niggas’ jeans too tight; your colors too bright; your voice too light” and Joell Ortiz rapping “we don’t play the skinny jeans and the blouse game” on Slaughterhouse’s “On the House.”

Gayness is not seen as masculine. The representation of gay men is most often one sided with gay men being seen as frilly, high-pitched men with exceptional fashion sense. The introduction to gay men for some began and ended at Jack McFarland from Will & Grace, though it pioneered the way for gay representation on television. Nevertheless, the flamboyant gay or camp gay is enough of a recurrence on the small and big screen that TV Tropes has a page dedicated to it. This unrounded representation leads to the belief that all gay men are inherently flamboyant and feminine. Though the community does have a fair share of stereotypical gay men, it should not cast a shadow on the entire community.

“Faggot” is seen as an insult because homosexually and masculinity are seen as two separate things. Men are routinely told to “man up” and hide their emotions behind a thick layer of uncaringness or content. That point is amplified with African American men who are made to be strong, unbreakable characters with unmistakable masculinity. This contrasts greatly to the stereotypical gay man who fawns over guys, speaks with a lisp and wears feminine clothing. Hip hop has no room to have their images tarnished by the idea of being anything other than hardcore and manly.

Media

You will get 12,400 results (in .20 seconds) on Media Take Out when you search gay. Who has not been called “DOWN LOW” by MTO at least once in their career? This constant watching of artists sexual activity and the implications that can come with being seen as gay (see previous points) makes the only rational and PR-friendly response to either denounce homosexuality, distance yourself or say how the Devil is at work with those accusations or a mixture of all three. Standing behind LGBT results in allegations of being called lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. The language surrounding these allegations are always portrayed as shameful with big exposure for catching wind of it first but the celebrities are still being criticized for being attention-seekers, if they do so decide to come out to the public.

Just Listen

There is a disproportionate criminalization, homelessness and violence aimed at African American LGBT community, specifically the transgender community and the youth. Nearly 4% percent of the 13% of the United States African American population identifies as LGBT, higher than every other ethnic group and the 3.4% national average. New infections of HIV/AIDS is disproportionately attributed to African American male-to-male contact. Before there are theories this is natural selection trying to right a wrong, it should be noted that African Americans have higher cases of reported infection for HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis attributed to not using protection, a lack of information and poverty, to name a few ideas. The point is a significant chunk of the African American community are facing problems from both ends of the spectrum, an underrepresentation from the mainstream and a complete disregard or attack from their own community.

Music is just music but we all know that is bullshit. Artists have influence whether they or we like it or not. Nicki Minaj’s money, fame and business ventures are far more alluring than a mother working two jobs to put food on the table. A parent trying to compete with a person who gets attention for a hat is not much of a contest. This is why their actions are scrutinized. They are significant. The anti-vaccination movement has plenty of celebrity endorsements. Beyoncé paved the way for feminism. Bob Marley moved a nation. Cam’ron made pink fashionable and are we very thankful for that fashion forward contribution he made. We are moving towards a world where being gay will not require “coming out” but automatically accepted without needing a discussion about it or fearing repercussion. Even hip hop has an increasingly growing LGBT community with self-proclaimed LGBT hip hop or queer hip hop with openly gay artists like Frank Ocean, SIYA, Azealia Banks, Angel Haze, Big Freedia, Brooke Candy, and House of Ladosha. Hip hop is moving in the right direction. I hope that it is not in the direction of skipping on usage of the word “faggot” but being less open behind the scenes but general acceptance. One can only hope.