Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Biggest Songs of 2009

Ok, so since the year is coming to a close, this is usually the time of year when radio stations, websites and music television stations countdown the biggest songs and moments of the year... wait, scratch that... there aren't any more music TV stations. But you get the point. The one wrinkle this year is that since it's the last year of the decade, people have even begun to have countdowns for the past 10 years. The most impressive I've seen thus far is this litany of lists that Complex.com has posted of their best "everything" of the 2000s.

However, I'm not going to do that here. Not because I'm better than that, but simply because there's no way I could even attempt to remember all of the best songs for the past 10 years. I can't even remember what I ate two days ago. But what I will do is try to name what I think were the biggest songs of this year.

Now let me first preface this by saying I'm sticking to hip-hop and R&B. The only real reason for this is because I don't listen to pop, and other than this song, I have no idea what was popular. Sorry Taylor Swift, you won't be featured here. Also, I'm basing what was a "big" song on some pretty basic criteria. What were the songs that were ALWAYS on every time I turned on my car radio? What were the songs that the DJ had to play at the club? What were the songs everyone was downloading?? And lastly, keep in mind that this list is being compiled strictly off the top of my head, so no actual research was done on my part to include songs I may have forgotten. Now, given the rules, here's my list, starting with number 5...

5. Keri Hilson feat. Lil' Wayne - Turnin' Me On
I've since gotten over her, but I remember that when I first saw Keri Hilson, I thought she was so fine. But you know when you see a girl enough times, and she's just not as hot as you thought she was the first time you saw her? That's kind of what happened here. Plus, I realized she can't sing, so I was really over it after that. Nonetheless, I remember this song being on the radio constantly. I couldn't escape it. The thing that stood out most to me was how she took Wayne's "Young Moolah Baby" and flipped it to "Miss Keri Baby", which was kinda cute until she started saying it on songs that Wayne wasn't even on. Dub tee eff? Who does that? Regardless, this was a huge record.

4. GS Boyz - Stanky Legg
OK, I lied. I actually did have to do some research for this one, because I had no idea what the name of this group was. If everyone knows your song but no one knows you, I'm sorry, but you're probably a one-hit wonder. They shoulda took the Soulja Boy approach and just put their name in the song and dance title. This was a very big club record, and it reminds me of when I went to Miami for Spring Break '09 and everybody was doing this dance on South Beach. Good times...

3. Gucci Mane feat. Plies - Wasted
As a recovering alcoholic (AKA recent college graduate), I was all for the irresponsible drunkenness that this song promoted. This really is a great drinking/partying song, regardless of the fact that it comes from Gucci Mane, who may be the worst rapper of the past decade. I didn't even realize this until I read the lyrics, but in the third verse, he ends 6 of his 12 bars with the word "wasted". Now that's lyricism. But alas, I guess you don't have to be that lyrical when all your diamonds are "Carcasian"...

2. Drake - Best I Ever Had
We all know the story: Former child actor from Canada puts out critically-acclaimed mixtape, gains radio play without an official album release, signs with Lil' Wayne's Young Money label, gets Grammy nomination. Really an amazing story. Truth be told, I wasn't crazy about So Far Gone, but this was one of my favorite songs on the mixtape. Of course, that was until it became too popular for its own good, and all songs start to suck when you hear them too much. This would have been my pick for biggest song this year, but it wasn't bigger than...

1. F.L.Y. - Swag Surfin'
Another one-hit wonder group whose name I had to look up... but isn't that half of what music is nowadays? I first heard "Swag Surfin'" in Atlanta in like early January. At this point, it was still just a local hit, but everybody in the clubs was going crazy when it played. I thought it was an extra catchy tune, and I'll admit that I even downloaded it. I didn't think much of it, but then I started hearing it on the radio. In about two or three months, it was a nationwide hit, and the song even had a music video. And you knew the song really got big when other rappers started recording freestyles over the beat. Unequivocally, I don't think anyone would argue that this was the biggest song of 2009.

Honorable Mention:
Jeremih - Birthday Sex
Drake feat. Trey Songz - Successful
Fabolous feat. The-Dream - Throw It In The Bag
Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind
Drake, Kanye West, Lil' Wayne & Eminem - Forever
Maxwell - Pretty Wings
Beyonce feat. Kanye West - Ego (Remix)

So, what do you think?? Disagree with the order? Did I leave anything out that should have been mentioned? Leave a comment...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What's New York's Hip-Hop Theme Song?

(Again, all words that appear in red are links. It's amazing after a year of reading this blog how many people still haven't figured that out.)

So, I read this ridiculous piece of news the other day that said there was an ongoing discussion going on in my home state in regards to what the unofficial theme song for New York should be. As everyone knows, Frank Sinatra's ode to New York is not only a beautiful, classic song, but they even play it at Yankee Stadium after every home win. What could be better than that?

However, some people feel that the new Jay-Z/Alicia Keys tune should usurp Sinatra's as the new theme for the Empire State (you damn right I looked up "usurp" to make sure I was using it correctly). Not only that, but MSG's website is holding a poll to see which song people think should be the unofficial theme. Granted, I understand that Hov wears Yankee caps and sits at Knicks games and performed at the World Series and even at the Yankee Parade, yada yada yada. I get it. But, really? Jay-Z over Frank Sinatra?? Come on, people. This shouldn't even be a serious debate.

In my opinion (and hopefully yours), "New York, New York" is and always will be the main theme song for New York. I don't see how anyone over the age of 18 could think otherwise. But this post isn't really about that. Sinatra's song is a different genre and should be kept in a class of it's own... but is the Jay song even the best hip-hop record about New York?? In a backhanded celebration for Jay-Z's 40th birthday today, I'm going to list a number of hip-hop songs that I feel represent New York better than "Empire State of Mind."

There are A LOT of songs from New York rappers about New York. But as a self-proclaimed Nas stan, obviously the first song that comes to mind is "New York State of Mind". Nas uses this song to kick off his classic Illmatic LP, and it's one of those songs that just feels like New York. And really, that's one of my major qualms about Jay's song. It doesn't really make you feel like you're there. The exact same song could be about any other city in the country, and you wouldn't think twice about it. Not to mention the fact that Jay-Z has three forgettable verses and A. Keys pretty much carries the entire song with the way she belts out that chorus. And I know I wasn't the only one that felt some sort of way about Jay-Z all but stealing Nas' song title and not even putting him on the record. Ugh, let's just move on...

Of course, another New York dedication that most other people think of is the song titled, simply, "New York". This song, by Ja Rule featuring Jadakiss and Fat Joe, was an amazing record that made New Yorkers such as myself act obnoxious at parties. Once you heard those synth notes at the beginning of the song, it just made you wanna pull your hat down real low and mean mug. Also, weren't those three verses all amazing? The biggest surprise of all had to be Fat Joe, who arguably had the best verse of all ("Now we killin' em hard, niggas sayin' I musta found Pun's rhyme book"). This song is also better than "Empire State of Mind".

Next, we have a classic from Mobb Deep entitled "Shook Ones". Now, this song isn't actually about New York, but you couldn't name me another song that has the gutter, subway riding, slapboxing, c-lo playing, bodega shopping feeling that so perfectly defines the nature of New York. I know I mentioned this before, but when I heard this beat come on during "8 Mile", I damn near lost my mind. There's something about this beat that brings you back to Gotham City. Again, better than "Empire".

This next song is one that I'm sure many of you haven't heard, but if you haven't, you should. It's called "Where It Started At (NY)", and it's on Hi-Tek second album. What makes this selection particularly embarrassing is the fact that Hi-Tek isn't even from New York; he's from Cincinnati, Ohio. Of course, when you make a song featuring Jadakiss, Talib Kweli, Papoose and Raekwon, you really can't lose. This is another song that feels like New York.

Oh, I almost forgot... "New York Sh*t" from Busta Rhymes featuring Swizz Beatz! Man oh man... this song is a monster. Busta and Swizz actually take the time to explain to you various ways through which they are on their New York ish. This may be one of the strongest New York songs ever, considering the lyrics ("Tims with the shorts on my New York sh*t... Razor in my mouth on my New York sh*t"). If you don't know why this song is better than "Empire", I really don't know what to tell you.

Obviously, my sentiment here is very clear: the song has to feel like New York in order to represent New York. I actually like Jay's song; I just don't think it's a "New York song". As a New York transplant who's no longer living there, I think the biggest indicator that this song doesn't do the state justice is that whenever I hear it, I don't particularly miss New York, or even think about it. New York songs are supposed to make New Yorkers proud, and make everyone else jealous. I don't know how envious out-of-towners feel when they hear this record, but if I were them, I wouldn't be.

Honorable Mention:
Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz - Uptown (Deja Vu)
Cam'ron ft. Jay-Z - Welcome to New York City
Jay-Z ft. Notorious B.I.G. - Brooklyn's Finest

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"She's Not a Ho... Anymore"

Hoes. What an interesting topic of discussion. They're everywhere, and everyone knows that they're hoes except for them, right? Well, not necessarily...

I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine who brought up the importance of someone's sexual past. His overall question was, basically, how important is it if a girl slept with a lot of guys in her past? And is it worth wifing up a chick that was a ho at some point in her life? I thought those were both valid questions, and we shared our views back and forth. But, since none of you were able to eavesdrop on our conversation (unless you stole my IP address), I will share our conclusions here.

The topic of hoes is nothing new to Red Light, Green Light; about a year ago, I dedicated a blogcast to discussing hoes (click here). Then, about four months back, I shared a blogcast with some friends in which the topic of hoes was raised once more (click here). But I think what sets this post apart is the notion of actually taking a ho seriously.

First off, how do we even know that a girl is a ho? Most of what we hear are rumors, anyway. Some are true, but most are exaggerated. For instance, if a girl sleeps with three different football players, the story usually somehow becomes that the girl let the entire offensive line run a train on her. You see what I mean? Little of what you hear should ever be taken for face value.

On the flip side, what if that stuff actually is true? Do you wanna be the guy who makes the train conductor your wifey? Probably not.

I think it's safe to assume that no one wants to date a ho or a former ho. But now, that raises two subsequent questions. First off, are there such things are former hoes? Is it possible for a girl who was once a ho to change her ways? Personally, I would argue yes. Everyone makes mistakes, whether they be sexual or otherwise. Some learn from those mistakes, others do not. But to judge someone for the rest of their lives based on a phase they went through is somewhat unfair. So yes, I do believe in ho reform.

The second question - and, really, the most important one - is, why are we so scared to get into a relationship and find out that our girlfriend used to be a ho? Are we really that judgmental? To this second question, I would also argue yes. And no. See, it's complicated. I think that, yes, there are certain men who want every girl they date to be as clean as a whistle with no dirty laundry to be found (even if the man himself was a ho for half his life, but I'll save the Double Standard Discussion for another day). But I think that the large majority of men who worry about a girl's sexual past don't really care themselves, but instead are worried about what other people will think.

Let's be honest here: As men, we like to showcase our women. We like to introduce a lady friend to our homeboys so that they can tell us, "Wow! She's great! I really like her, and she's gorgeous! I can't believe you pulled that off! You're the man now, dog!" But what if our friends know she used to be a ho? How proud are we then? Even worse, what if one of our friends slept with her??

Personally, I would never enter a relationship with a girl my friend banged. I might hook up with her, whatever whatever, but I'm never going to be able to take her seriously. If she wants me to wife her, she better keep that a secret and pray to the almighty heavens that I never find out.

Above all, I think one of the main factors that men consider when we enter relationships with a woman is homeboy approval. Yes, it's right up there with actual compatibility. If we fear that our friends will never accept you as a quality girlfriend, there are very slim chances that you'll ever become one. And we know it works the same with women. That's why a smart man always makes sure he's on his girl's friends' good side. Because if the homegirls don't like you, they'll talk about you. And we already know how that winds up...

So, in conclusion, I think what my friend and I ultimately decided was that a girl's sexual past really doesn't matter that much. it's all in what you know. A girl could have been a major ho in high school, but if you met her in college after she suddenly transformed into a good girl, you'd be none the wiser. And really, would you want to know she used to be a ho? I doubt it. It's a reputation thing above all else. We don't want to know the dirty little secrets, because they would taint the image we've built. And trust, EVERYONE has skeletons in their closet. But we don't want to know about them, and we want to make sure our friends don't know about them, either.

In the end, it's just like they say in that old cliche: Ignorance is bliss.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The "Daddy" Complex

So, while I was driving back home from Atlanta this evening I was listening to Tupac's Makaveli's classic album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, which was also the last album he released before he died. As I was riding out, one of the songs caught my attention. Track number 7, which you can listen to here, is called "Just Like Daddy."

Anyway, the song got me thinking. What does he mean when he says he's just like Daddy? The girl he's talking about in the song is a woman who's neglected at home, whose father died when she was young, and who gets the love she desires from her boyfriend/ jumpoff/ whatever Tupac is represent. Given the context clues (hip-hop is educational), I assume what he means is that their romantic relationship is her substitute for the father-daughter relationship she never had.

Then, my mind took it a step further. I wondered if this is kinda what it means when a girl refers to her boyfriend as "daddy" or gives a man this paternal nickname in bed. Is she really saying that she wants him to be the father she never had (through the use of his d*ck)??

I've always been fascinated by the "daddy" complex, or concept, or what have you... Well, maybe not fascinated, but considering that I've never experienced it first-hand, I've always wondered how weird it would be if a girl called me "daddy" in bed. Would I be creeped out? Would I just stop what I was doing?? Would I ...*gulp*... like it?

I also wondered what would spur a woman to call a non-related man "daddy", especially in a sexual setting. Is it like some weird Freudian thing that I don't really get?

Suffice it to say, I still don't really get it. I know I've asked girls this question before, and most of them say they also think it's weird and that they've never called anyone "daddy". Of course, someone had to have done it, or else we never even would have heard of this practice. Maybe some of the girls I asked have said it before, but they're too embarrassed to admit it. I suppose I'll never really get to the bottom of the issue until I experience it for myself and someone calls me "daddy"...

What do you think?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Red Light, Green Light Presents: J. Brown - Summer Sessions

It's finally here. My collection of summer freestyles in one compact, mixtape format, plus two bonus tracks. I also added a cover this time, and even took the time to go back and add a REAL LATE cover for Entry Level Mixtape (that was for you, Aaron).

Download: zShare | DatPiff
1. Every Girl Freestyle
2. DOA (The Revival)
3. It's Only Facebook
4. Mafia Music Freestyle
5. Always Strapped Freestyle
6. Against The Wall
7. West Coast Tribute
8. Duckmouth
9. Contradictions (Why)
10. Beatbox
11. Recognize Freestyle
12. The Story (100 Bars)
13. The Finale
14. Already Home *Bonus Track*
15. Summer Love *Bonus Track*

Friday, September 11, 2009

Summer Sessions: The Finale

Well, summer's over. Just in case Labor Day wasn't enough of an indication, this should do the trick.

Week 13 and the final installment of Summer Sessions. It's been fun. Mixtape dropping soon.

J. Brown - The Finale

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Summer Sessions: The Story (100 Bars)

I've always been a firm believer that in order to be a true MC, you have to have storytelling abilities. So, here it is, 100 bars worth. Pay attention...

J. Brown - The Story (100 Bars)

This is the 100th post of Red Light, Green Light, by the way. Woo hoo.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer Sessions: Recognize Freestyle

Obviously, Summer Sessions would not be complete without a DJ Premier beat. Week 11 is over that glorious LOX instrumental. You better recognize...

J. Brown - Recognize Freestyle

Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer Sessions: Beatbox

Week 10 got that old, freestyle-in-the-park feel to it, know what I mean? I wanted to bring it back to that classic hip-hop sound. And of course, dope lyrics as usual. Only a few weeks left...

J. Brown - Beatbox

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Football, Looks & Single Ladies

Alright, the laziness has ceased... back to the regularly scheduled program.

For my return to blogcasting, I discuss two quarterbacks who made their way back into the NFL: Michael Vick and Brett Favre. I give my outlook on both situations.

Also, I ask for some feedback to answer a question I've been asking myself: How much do your looks dictate the looks of those that you date? And is there really such thing as someone being "out of your league"?

Lastly, I touch on women who aren't married; is there really such thing as a happy, single woman?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer Sessions: Contradictions (Why)

I know sometimes I don't make any sense. Well, this is me trying to make sense of the lack of sense I sometimes make. Make sense?

Week 9.

J. Brown - Contradictions (Why)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coaches, Abortions & High Horses

Greetings, RLGL listeners/readers. I decided to write again this week, as you can tell by the length of this post. Some of you are happy to see me writing, others prefer the blogcasts. Quite frankly, your opinion is irrelevant to me at this point in time, especially since the overall feedback has been underwhelming for the past few weeks. If you want me to take your preferences into consideration, you'd best be able to get my attention by actually sending me some suggestions. Anyway...

I figured I'd touch on this Rick Pitino thing. For those that don't know who that is, Rick Pitino is one of the most popular coaches in college basketball. He became popular back in 1987 when he took the pathetic Providence Friars to the Final Four. Since then, he's taken three separate teams to the Final Four, becoming the first NCAA coach
ever to do so. Currently, he coaches at the University of Louisville.

OK, now that you know his background, here's the actual story: Six years ago, Pitino was at a restaurant when some woman approached him and starting gushing about how awesome he was. After the restaurant cleared out, the owner left Pitino the key, and he had sex with this woman in the empty restaurant. Classy? I thought so. As you could have guessed, he wasn't wearing a rubber, and she ended up getting pregnant.
As you also could have guessed, Pitino is a married man. After he found out that she was pregnant, he met up with this woman at one of his assistant coaches' house to, you know, get rid of the problem. (In the irony of all ironies, the woman actually ended up marrying Pitino's assistant coach six months after meeting him that day. Needless to say, they are currently estranged and going through a divorce.)

After they agreed that there was no way she would be having his baby, Pitino agreed to pay her for an abortion. He gave her $3,000, which sounds exorbitant to me. Aren't abortions like $300? I don't know if they charged her so much because she had no health insurance, but I'm under the impression that he just hit her off with the extra $2,700 as comp for the restaurant sex.

In any event, the same woman, who already had four children of her own, decided to extort him to keep their little secret intact. As we all know, college basketball coaches get paid some pretty healthy checks (half of which is probably spent on hair products). So she started asking him for cars, house payments, and college tuition for the four kids she already had. He refused to pay her, and she decided to accuse him of rape. Obviously, anyone would much rather be an adulterer than a rapist, so Pitino finally came out and admitted what actually happened.

Now that the truth has come to light, Pitino has been under all sorts of scrutiny, and the question has been raised of whether or not he should retain his coaching job. Here's my thing: When did we all become so righteous in this country? Obviously, cheating on your wife with a stranger isn't a commendable thing to do. But what does it have to do with coaching basketball?

Pitino released a public apology (as expected), and the president of University of Louisville said today that Pitino was still "our guy." I just wonder where everyone comes off having an opinion about his sexual escapades. I was never a part of the camp that believed that all public figures are supposed to be role models. Quite frankly, the only person who should be concerned about his infidelity is his wife. Why should the fans or the journalists or even the players care about who he's sleeping with? The only thing we should be concerned with is whether or not he's doing a good coaching job. If it doesn't affect his coaching, than we have no reason to care or voice our opinions.

It's kinda like that whole Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky thing. The President copped some dome in the Oral... umm, Oval Office and skeeted on Lewinsky's dress. Big deal. JFK was probably doing all kinds of unmentionable things to Marilyn Monroe back in the day, and no one cared about that. But Clinton fingers some intern with a cigar, and we want to impeach him? (Actually, I don't even think that's called fingering anymore... cigaring??) So far as I'm concerned, that doesn't interfere with his ability to run the country. To be honest, it might have helped him to release some stress and perform his job better, because we all know Hillary wasn't putting out.

All I'm saying is that not all public figures are supposed to be role models. They're just regular people. If their personal activities don't affect their performance, we have no reason to care. Get off your high horse, America.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Sessions: Duckmouth

For Week 8, I'm trying something a little different...

I bet you never heard nothing like this before. Shouts to FAMU and all the other HBCU marching bands.

J. Brown - Duckmouth

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gates, Guns & Goons

I know I don't usually do this. In fact, I haven't done this ever in the history of this blog. But after almost a year of blogcasts, freestyles and Throwbacks, I decided to actually write this time around. I was too lazy to record anything this week, which is ironic, because my original reasoning behind blogcasting instead of blogging was because it was easier for me to get my thoughts out verbally. Oh well...

First off, let's touch on this Henry Louis Gates thing. I won't pretend like I know all the details, and I'm much too lazy to actually do the research. But from what I understand, this black professor couldn't get his front door open and was forced to break into his own house. His neighbor saw what was going on and called the cops on him. The cops showed up, he spazzed out, they arrested him for disorderly conduct. Now a bunch of black people are up in arms because they feel like he was a victim of racial prejudice.

Here's the thing, though... He wasn't arrested for breaking and entering. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. Which means two things: Number one, he saw cops come to his house to ask him about why he had to break in, and he lost it. We don't know what the conversation between him and the officers was. All we know is that he was arrested, and subsequently released. Numero dos, if his neighbor saw him trying to break into the house, should they not have called the cops? Furthermore, should the cops not have arrested him if he was truly out of line?

I, unlike other black folk, don't believe in using the race card to explain everything. Sometimes bad things happen to black people. And a lot of times it's on account of them acting ignorant. A part of me feels like as soon as he saw the cops show up to his house, he probably went all Malcolm X on them and felt like he was being a victim. When, in fact, they were simply responding to a domestic call. I don't know if the arrest was racially motivated. Not saying that it wasn't, but why is everyone so quick to assume that it was? We as black people need to look at all the facts instead of always assuming race is the deciding factor. Can we smarten up, please?

As a New York native, I know as much as anyone else that police brutality exists. And I also understand that a lot of cops make judgment calls on the basis of race. I'd even go so far as to say that I don't trust most police officers. But I don't think that every time a black person gets arrested, it's simply because they're black.

You know, the whole topic actually reminds me of the whole "Free (insert rapper's name)" movement that started a few years ago. From Gucci Mane to Pimp C to Tony Yayo, we always seem so concerned with making sure our rap brethren are released from prison. However, most of these rappers deserve to be in jail for doing stupid things. Take T.I. for example, who had Army guns in his basement like he was getting ready to go to Iraq. Or the aforementioned Pimp C, who actually pulled a gun on a woman in the middle of a shopping mall. Why would we wear t-shirts saying that we should free these people? Is it simply because they're black that we assume they can do no wrong?

Racial politics is a touchy subject that needs to be approached with caution. We need to look at the facts of a situation objectively without first asking, "Wait...Was he black?" That's unhealthy, and above all, it gives a lot of idiots the line of thinking that no matter what they do, it's always the white man's fault. A lot of people think that having a black President gives us the right to act however we want, because "now white people have to respect us." In actuality, Obama's inauguration has done nothing more than give us added responsibility. We have to understand that because of the President's position, everything we as a people do will be further scrutinized. Obama's presidency isn't a free pass; it's really a challenge.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Sessions: West Coast Tribute

Tribute to the other side of the map. Throw a W up...

Week 7.

J. Brown - West Coast Tribute

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top 5, Versatility & Technicalities

I give my own answer to the question I raised last week: Who are your top 5 favorite MCs of all time??

I also ask listeners to weigh in on the Henry Louis Gates controversy, which you can read up on here, here and here.

Editor's Note: Shout out to Rae for being the only one to provide an answer to the sexy big white girl question: Anna Nicole Smith.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Sessions: Against The Wall

And just like that, we're halfway done.

Week 6, six more to go.

J. Brown - Against The Wall

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Black Girls, Big Girls & Bigotry

I'm impressed. Really. The feedback has been tremendous. Shout outs to everybody who added their perspective on interracial dating. The feedback can be found here, here, and here. Thank you to everyone who had something to say.

Tonight, I give my own perspective on interracial dating and whether or not I would date outside my own race.

I also raise the question, who are your top five MCs of all time?? The last two weeks have been great response-wise. Keep it up, y'all.

P.S. All the words that appear in red are actually links, for all you smart folks out there. (This is where you go back to the old posts and check to see what you missed.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mail Time, Malik & Marcus Garvey

Last week's entertaining blogcast garnered a number of interesting responses, especially from my female audience. The response above was provided by my homey Gibbz, who you can check out here.

For today's blogcast, I spend a majority of the time relaying the feedback I received in response to the numerous questions we raised last week. I also raise the question of interracial dating, and ask for your feedback. (And you guys were really responsive last week, so let's do it again, shall we?)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mistresses, Misleaders & Moscato

For the first time ever, Red Light, Green Light is blogging from the road. And also, for the first time in a long time, I have guests.

Today's blogcast discusses Steve McNair's untimely death, and the potential consequences of having a mistress. We also get into a lively discussion about hoes, selfish sex, faking and much more. Needless to say, it gets very interesting.

As always, your comments are more than welcome.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Sessions: It's Only Facebook

"Nigga, you tryna pull hoes here?/ Tryna get to the trim like a mowing chair"

...And if you don't have Facebook by now, shame on you. Week 3.

J. Brown - It's Only Facebook

Monday, June 29, 2009

Celebrities, Autopsies & Hypocrisy

What a weekend.

Without rambling on and on forever, I try to touch on all the topics from this weekend:
Michael Jackson, the BET Awards,
Joe Jackson, celebrity deaths, Bernie Madoff and USA soccer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Throwback Thursdays: 2Pac feat. Digital Underground - I Get Around (1993)

"Hate to sound sleazy, but tease me/ I don't want it if it's that easy"

This song and video are both indicative of why I love and respect the legacy of Tupac (2Pac) Shakur. Despite me being from New York, I always say Pac was a better artist than Biggie, and people think I'm crazy. But here's my defense: Although Biggie said things in ways no one else could say them, Pac said things no one else was saying.

Obviously, "I Get Around" isn't the perfect example of Pac's deeper side, but the fact that he could go from a song like this to "Brenda's Got a Baby" to "Hit Em Up" to "Letter 2 My Unborn" shows just how versatile an artist he was. You think Biggie could have been able to switch topics like that? Of course not. I think a big part of Pac's legacy is the fact that he remains so enigmatic; there isn't really one way you can describe or categorize what he stood for, because he was such a polarizing personality.

A few noteworthy things I noticed from this video...
1.) Peep the blatant ass slapping and grabbing from the 2:05 mark to about 2:15. You gotta love how they were able to just, do that. No way in hell the video stations would allow that to fly in 2009. It's funny; we have a black President, we have all these gay rights for the first time ever, but our music videos can't show guns or booty. And people say our society is too liberal...

2.) Check out that classic old school dance that 2Pac pulls out at the 3:12 mark, which he even has the courtesy to reprise at the 3:49 mark. How fun is that? Furthermore, just try to picture Biggie doing that dance in a video. I dare you.

3.) How ridiculous is Shock G in this video? It's almost distracting, to be honest. From the outrageous afro to the cheesy shades to the weird voice, he almost stole the show. My favorite part, though, was towards the end when he really starts to get into his vocal adlibs. See: 3:38 mark.

Great song, great video. Tupac Shakur, rest in peace.

Sidebar: This will be the last Throwback Thursday for the summer, as I have some other things to attend to. Not to mention, I'll be busy banging out new freestyles every week. I may bring it back in the fall, I may not. I guess it depends on whether or not people enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy posting them. You know what to do, hit me up and let me know.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rumors, Jumpoffs & Game

What is game? Not this guy or this show, but actual game. Is it good for a guy to have it, and if so, how much is too much?

Also, I answer the age-old question of whether or not a jumpoff can ever become a girlfriend/boyfriend (my answer might surprise you).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Throwback Thursdays: Lauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing) (1998)

I don't know how many of you realize this, but this album not only won five (5) Grammy awards, it also went diamond, selling over 19 million copies worldwide. Needless to say, this is probably one of the most classic albums of our generation.

Classic album, classic song, classic video. The whole split-screen contrast between 1967 and 1998 is genius, too. Lauryn Hill is was such a dope artist. It's really a shame that she went crazy. But no matter what you do, people, don't compare all of us Jamaicans to this guy. It's not our fault, dammit.

You know, this song is really deep when you break it down. Although Ms. Hill never explicitly explains what "that thing" is, the lyrical implication is that men and both women both use the other sex to acquire what they want out of said relationship, whether it be sex, security or something else.

Does that mean that everyone's just selfish? Of course that's what it means, you idiots. Maybe that's why she didn't need to specify. At the end of the day, we're all just a bunch of pigs looking for "that thing"... *end of rant*.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Phil Jackson, Black Mamba & Black Dante

So, the Lakers won title number 15 last night. Yeah, big surprise.

Today's blogcast discusses the implication of the NBA Finals for Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Hedo Turkoglu and both franchises. Also, will this ring satisfy Kobe's hunger for winning?

In addition, I provide my listeners with my second RLGL album review, this time discussing Mos Def's new album, The Ecstatic.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Throwback Thursdays: G-Unit - Wanna Get To Know You (2003)

"Make a decision, shorty, good things don't last long/ Your girlfriend keep showing me that thong..."
Featuring Joe (not the Fat one or the Budden).

One thing about this song that I was never really sure about: When Joe sings the chorus, does he say, "I really wanna f*ck you, baby"? It really does sound like that, but then it seems so out of place for the mellow tone of the song. Someone answer that for me, please, I'd appreciate it.

This video has all your G-Unit needs: spinning chains, a cameo from The Game, and bra strap tank tops. And really, what else could you ask for? They also shamelessly plugged their G-Unit sneakers, which had just come out at the time. Of course, this is right before 50 Cent leaves a beach party to have sex with a stranger in the sand. Keep it classy.

I was a senior in high school when this album came out, and truth be told, I didn't really have any interest in G-Unit. I liked the Lloyd Banks mixtapes, but I was never much of a Cincuenta fan. The Game hadn't come out yet, and I automatically wrote off Young Buck because he was from the South (Sorry, Cashville). However, after much prompting from my friends, I finally decided to give it a listen. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by Beg For Mercy. Even more surprising to me was how well Young Buck performed. When I go back and listen to it today, it seems to me that he collectively had the best verses on the album. Furthermore, this is one of the best driving-around-in-my-car-with-the-system-up albums that I have. I'm still not really a G-Unit fan (Tony Yayo really, really sucks), but this album knocks.

Also, the Queens conglomerate returned the favor by being featured on a Joe song the following summer. Remember this song? This used to be my joint...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The N-Word, Hip-Hop & 2012

Obviously, the n-word is controversial. But why, really?

Today's Tonight's blogcast digs deeper into the issue, and I share my views on why it might not be that big a deal, after all. I also talk about the current state of hip-hop and why I think there might be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Throwback Thursdays: Scarface - Mary Jane (1997)

Who is the King of the South? Is it T.I.? Lil' Wayne? Andre 3000??

Of course, the answer is Scarface. If you didn't know that, shame on you.

This song was actually a topic of conversation a few weeks ago when I was riding in the whip with some of my homegirls. This song came on, and, based on the piano intro, I thought they were about to play "Mary Jane." I was pleasantly surprised that they were about to play throwback Scarface on the radio. But then both of my friends looked at me all stupid like, "Scarface?? This is obviously Ashanti. Duuuuhhhh." How dare they. What really rubbed me the wrong way was that they weren't even familiar with this song when I tried to clear up my mistake. Damn Ashanti, always trying to sample classic hip-hop and make it her own.

This song, if you didn't figure it out, is actually about weed. It's the typical "I'm-talking-about-drugs-but-making-it-sound-like-I'm-talking-about-a-girl-so-they-can-play-it-on-radio" record. For more examples, listen to this or this. One thing about this video that stands out is how much skinnier he was back then. Face Mob has def put on some pounds over the past 10 years. Also, if the chick in the video is supposed to be the embodiment of weed, does that mean the guy who exhales at the end killed her? Or slept with her?? Either way, he smoked the other guy's dro; I don't know what the physical analogy to that would be.

I caught on to Scarface kinda late, as I didn't purchase download The Fix until like 2007. But, boy, was it worth it. I knew it was critically acclaimed, and even got Five Mics in The Source. (They also gave this album Five Mics, though, so what do they know.) But it wasn't until I heard it for myself that I really understood why Scarface is such a legend. Made is pretty good, too, if you're interested. Knock this joint here for a sample.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

LeBron, Sexy Spec & Bruno

I don't care if it was pre-planned, a surprise or an accident. That's just nasty.

Today's blogcast focuses on LeBron's failure to make it to the NBA Finals, and also some discussion on the two teams that did (L.A. Lakers & Orlando Magic). I also talk about the ridiculous Spectacular YouTube debacle that transpired last week, and the internet implications the the video featured above carries.

Oh yeah, and Zac Efron's reaction was priceless.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Throwback Thursdays: Twista feat. Kanye West - Overnight Celebrity (2004)

Remember this guy? The guy who rapped really fast from Chicago? He was pretty popular for a few seconds there, wasn't he? Remember that??

For whatever reason, from 2003 to maybe 2005, Twista was one of the biggest names in hip-hop. I'm not sure where it all started (probably with this record), but it seemed like he was everywhere, from his songs being smash hits to him being featured on other people's records. Kinda weird, considering that he dropped his debut album all the way back in 1992. For some historical significance, that's two years before Illmatic and Ready to Die came out.

So like I said, the guy got popular out of nowhere, most likely due to the Kanye West cosign. Speaking of Mr. West, I remember there being rumors that Twista was going to sign with Roc-A-Fella. (This is back when Roc-A-Fella still existed and people gave a damn about record labels.) He was featured on this Roc conglomerate song, spit a bar about being on the label on this record, and can even be seen wearing the Roc logo chain in the video featured above. Needless to say, he never ended up on the label, and no one really knows why. It can be assumed that his impending signing got screwed up due to Roc-A-Fella breaking up.

The hip-hop violinist, Miri Ben-Ari, was also featured in this video. I would call it her "big break," but I don't remember seeing much of her again after this. She was featured on a bunch of tracks from College Dropout, but there wasn't many hits for her past that. On the bright side, I saw her perform for halftime at a Heat game once, and that was pretty cool.

Did anybody else notice Da Brat in this video? What was she doing there? And why is she always dressed like a dude? Unbeknownst to most, she's actually kinda bad when she decides to look like a woman.

Also, if you guys needed any proof that this video qualifies as a throwback, notice that he is wearing a chinchilla coat. God forbid someone actually wore one of those today. That's, like, soooo 2004.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Veterans, Referees & Roller Skates

Hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day. Now it's time to return to reality...

Today's discussion explores the travesty that is the officiating in the NBA. I also talk about the recent release of everyone's favorite gravelly rapper.

Editor's Note: Here's a link for a blog entry I wrote four years ago complaining about the exact same thing: "The NBA is rigged!"

Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pitbulls, Good Guys & FML

Two posts in one week?? I'm turning into this guy...

As promised, I address the issue I didn't have time to get to on Tuesday: The Good Guy Debate. I also talk about Mike Vick's situation and describe my ultimate FML moment.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Telltale Signs, I-85 & The Eastern Seaboard

After a small break due to the release of my mixtape and some traveling (and searching for inspiration), the blogcast is back in motion.

Today, I share some tidbits in regards to my trip along the East Coast. I also talk about a scary incident that occurred on my way back, and touch on some telltale signs that prove whether or not a girl is "wifey material".

Friday, April 24, 2009

Red Light, Green Light Presents: J. Brown - Entry Level Mixtape

Cheap production, rich quality.

Download: zShare | DatPiff

1) Entro
2) Look What You Can Do
3) We In The House
4) Entry Level
5) Let's Talk About It
6) Donuts (Entrolude)
7) Only One Can Win
8) Cut Me Deep
9) The Cool Kids
10) Swing Ya Rag
11) '06 Freestyle
12) Hey Baby...
13) The Barkeep
14) 3 Black Men (Entrolude)
15) 3 Black Men
16) Three 16s
17) Vulnerability
18) Peace Outro
19) Certified Krunk *Bonus Track*

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Throwback Thursdays: Nas - Halftime (1994)

"Nas, why did you do it?/ You know you got the mad phat fluid when you rhyme, it's halftime"
After dwelling on the early 2000s for the past few weeks, I figured it was about time I got real old school. Surprisingly enough, this is the first time I've featured Nas on T-TDay. Surprising, of course, because he is my favorite artist. But you know that wasn't gonna last for much longer.

This is one of my favorite songs off his classic Illmatic album (if you don't have this album, you're not hip-hop). Most people talk about "It Ain't Hard To Tell", "NY State of Mind", or "One Love", but "Halftime" was always one of the songs that really resonated with me. Of course, the album is only 10 tracks long, with the first track being an intro. So it's hard not to like every song on this album, because there really isn't room for fillers. But I feel like he really went in on this song lyrically, with a lot of nice wordplay. Large Professor did a good job with the beat, as well.

One thing I noticed while watching this video (besides how old it looks) is how uncomfortable the 20-year-old Nas looks in front of the camera. Needless to say, he's come a long way. Also shout out to his wifey Kelis, who I recently heard is pregnant with the couple's first child. Congratulations to the Joneses.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Retirement, Champions & Kilimanjaro

Stay tuned, RLGL faithful. The mixtape is on its way.

Today's blogcast focuses on the musical retirement of a hip-hop legend (at least he is on 106 & Park). I also touch on Wasulu's latest fiasco, and give my picks for the NBA postseason. Last but not least, I give an open invitation to all my listeners to send in at least one question for next week's blogcast (I'm serious this time).

P.S. The Yankees need to pick it up, too. I see you, CC!

Editor's Note: Lupe's LupE.N.D. album was actually supposed to be a triple-disc release, but the idea got scrapped.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Throwback Thursdays: Beanie Sigel & Freeway - Roc The Mic (2002)

"All of y'all need to one yourself!/ Go get the burner, nigga, bang yourself!"
The 90s had Bad Boy. The early 2000s, though, had Roc-A-Fella (or Roc La Familia).

For a second, from like 1998-2001, it was kind of a two-way tie between the Roc and Ruff Ryders. But then Drag-On disappeared, Eve started doing sitcoms, and X couldn't put the pipe down. Needless to say, the Diamond Family kinda won out.

Beans and Freeway were basically the Robin and Nightwing to Jay-Z's Batman. Then Kanye West dropped "The College Dropout" in 2004 to keep the movement moving. Memphis Bleek was there too, but he's still there now, and nobody cares any more or less than they did then. (Sidebar: Why is he still wearing a durag? In 2009??)

As is usually the case with these rap guys, as soon as they got on, they decided to start a supergroup with every other rap guy that they knew growing up. In the case of Sigel and Freeway, they started a conglomerate of Philadelphia rap guys called State Property. Then they released a movie called (you guessed it!) "State Property." This song, of course, was on the soundtrack.

Beanie came out in 2000 with the Kanye-produced "The Truth." The first time I heard Freeway, though, was when he ripped a freestyle live on Hot 97.
Jay had brought the whole Roc fam to the radio station to freestyle, and I set up shop with my portable radio and recordable cassette tape, ready to save the goodness. (This is before the days of mp3's. Don't act like you never taped your own mixtape.) They collectively went in for about 20 minutes, and it was pure crack. Freeway, though, really stood out (go to about the 1:20 mark). I don't know if he was necessarily that much better than the other guys, or if it was just because his voice was so unique.

Freeway, of course, performs the best with the beat on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bonuses, Comebacks & Old Folks

It's hard to believe that he's actually back, right?

Today's blogcast discusses Mr. Mathers' comeback into the public eye, and why he's such a big deal to so many people.

I also touch on the idea of old people deciding to get married in the twilight of their lives, and I crown a new Bonehead Athlete of the Week (I know, it's been a while).