The Message 2006

Rhymefest updates Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s classic in “Bullet”:

Straight outta high school he didn’t know what to do
Wanted to go to college but no money was nothin’ new
Wanted to get away go see the world and do somethin’ new
He got approached in the mall by the army recruit
Told him “If you wanna go to school we got money too,
Sign up at eighteen you be you when you twenty-two”
He joined the army airborne got his uniform went to bootcamp got some
discipline Iraq is where they shipped him
He’s in the mission where bullets flyin’ and missin’ him
Wishin’ he was a kid again with his family in Michigan
In the midst of fightin’ militiamen, one round took down six of them
He ain’t really a killa though, takin’ a lotta risks
This is what a poor person do for a scholarship
He turned around and got a face full of hollow-tips
But don’t be mad, he died for the flag

[Chorus: Citizen Cope]
Now what you’ve done here, is put yourself between a bullet and a target
And it won’t be long before, you’re pullin’ yourself away
What you’ve done here, is put yourself between a bullet and a target
And it won’t be long before, you’re pullin’ yourself away

What’s Gangsta?

”I wasn’t afraid to be sensual and romantic. But I wanted to still hit you hard and make your body move. I just think that being honest is the most gangsta thing you could ever do.”

–Sean “Puffy”/”P-Diddy”/”Diddy” Combs

A New Sound For Old What’s-His-Name
New York Times
September 10, 2006

Another Reason Not to Like 50 Cent

In addition to being an average talent, here is what 50 Cent had to say about George W. Bush:

“I think he’s incredible. I think George Bush is a gangsta. That’s what I think. I wanna meet George Bush, just shake his hand and tell him how much of me I see in him. Do you know we share the same birthday. We were both born on July 6. I would have voted for George Bush.” –Quoted in GQ Magazine, December 2005.

Also, the fact that 50 Cent was named a GQ “Man of the Year” indicates the further debasement of the term “Gentleman” in the magazine’s title.

What’s wrong with Jay-Z?

I haven’t had alot of time to listen to Kanye West’s much anticipated sophomore album, Late Registration, but I have been intrigued by the remix of the song “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.” In the first half of the song, West makes very astute observations about the relationship between “bling” in America and the trade in “conflict diamonds” in parts of Africa, including Angola and Sierra Leone. Although it was five years ago that the U.N. adopted a resolution condemning the role of diamonds in fueling these brutal wars, it took West’s song to bring the issue to the attention of large segments of the American public.

My problem with the song is not West’s part but Jay-Z’s. The second half of the song is an extended cameo by Jay-Z, who raps about nothing relevant to the first part. Sample lyric:

Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week
I do this in my sleep,
I sold kilos of coke, I’m guessin’ I can sell CDs
I’m not a businessman I’m a business, man
Let me handle my buisness, damn!

Jay-Z’s considerable talent is evident on the song. He can flow and he is funny, but why has he never said anything socially relevant in a song? Or maybe he has? Am I missing something here? I mean, he doesn’t have to be Chuck D, but it seems he has wasted his talent in part by not pushing himself more. “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” is a perfect case in point.

Savior of West Coast Rap?

Someone was hyping The Game as the savior of West Coast rap. After all, he’s produced by Dre and his new album debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. So I listened to the collabo with 50 Cent, “How We Do.” You can’t avoid it, really. And I say: if The Game is the savior of West Coast rap, then the West Coast is beyond salvation.