Hip Hop is how I define myself. Hip Hop did not start in the late 70's. It started long ago, undefined, from several points around the globe culminating into what we now call Hip Hop. Hip Hop is a way, a feeling, a thought. This blog reflects my Hip Hop.

Thank you for paying attention.

Friday, June 26, 2009





Then again, I'm not sure if that even describes to the fullest extent. It is by far the closest my small mind can come to labeling him.

No words I put here will have the ability to convey to you how I feel at this moment. I'm typing through tears...

Mos Def suggests we're living life in marvelous times. Up until the evening of 6-25-09, I would have said times were just great. Now I understand just how less marvelous the world has become.

As a lover of all forms of music, no other solo performer, during my lifetime, has had the level of impact upon my listening habits.

I sincerely love and miss 'every' version of Michael Jackson ... from ABC to Rock My World.

In life, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears.

In death, my disbelief has grown tenfold.

I pray for his fans and non-fans alike. We were better with than without.

R.I.P., M.J.

One love.

Bigg Russ

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Music Monday is back!!

Okay...there's never officially been a 'New Music Monday' but it sounded catchy! Here's a quick list of albums I've heard recently that I think deserve a listen by anyone who calls themselves fan of hip hop.

First up is J. Dilla's Jay Stay Paid. This album holds particular importance to me as a fan of Dilla for a few reasons. One, Dilla passed a few years ago way too early for someone with his talent. I know he's home now but I, as others felt, believed he was only just beginning to reach his potential. Two, the music on this album was compiled by his mom and none other than the Chocolate Boy Wonder, Pete Rock. They literally raided Dilla's 'vault' and put together a collection of music (with a select few emcees) that just keeps ya head noddin' non-stop. My sincere appreciation for Pete Rock's contribution to hip hop knows no bounds. This album only goes to further solidify Pete's place in hip hop's short history. A few of the beats were unfinished so Pete added his touch to 'em. I can almost picture this is what a Tribe Called Quest album might've sounded like had Dilla and Pete worked on the production together exclusively. Some of the other beats were left untouched most likely because they didn't need any work at all, keeping that original, dirty hip hop sound. The stand out track is Reality TV featuring Black Thought of The Jimmy Fallon Show (just kidding). Thought doesn't hold back as he shares his thoughts about reality TV and how it affects the people around him. The song is poignant and doesn't let up for one moment. Even in J. Dilla's passing, hip hop lives through him.

This next man needs no introduction. Even the new school cats know his name. Grand Puba, the front man for Brand Nubian, has returned with his first solo release since 2001's Understand This. Brand Nubian has been taking part of the celebratory resurgence of 90's hip hop. They've been doing shows just about everywhere so it just makes good sense to release new material for original and newer fans alike. There is no doubt about it...Puba is a throwback. Not in the sense of say Kool Moe Dee or Run-DMC but more like Nas or Jay-Z. Puba is definitely old enough to be considered old school...but armed with rhymes that easily rivals anything new on the radio. His style has never been matched and he's been laying down music since the mid-80's as part of his pre-Nubian crew, The Masters of Ceremony. This album has solid beats and more-than-solid lyrics. The stand out track is How Long?, yet another political based track which shows that life truly is deeper than rap. Guest appearances from Q-Tip and Large Professor add to the album's strength. You'll enjoy this.

DJ Green Lantern somehow got Dead Prez to do another album. If there's anything anyone knows about Dead Prez, it's that they don't put out albums often. Dead Prez fans already know what to expect so I won't bother writing this for them. For all of you who don't know who Dead Prez is or what they represent, well... Imagine Public Enemy driving in X-Clan's pink Caddy while listening to N.W.A., Paris and KRS-One on solid rotation. Dead Prez makes hardcore, politically charged rap music. Period. Sure, take a listen if you want to hear something a little different than Ron Browz and Soulja Boy Tell'em. Warning: If you can't stand the heat, then stay outta the muhfucin' kitchen and don't bother coming back to see what they cooked. It won't go down easily.

Honorable Mention: U-God's Dopium. At this point, Wu-Tang is simply Wu-Tang. They've developed their own Wu-sound and U-God's latest doesn't veer far from Wu's classic debut back in '94. Unfortunately, Dopium's guest appearances outshine U-God's performance. Lyrically, U-God simply can't hang with Ghostface or GZA but he hold's his ground like 'Golden Arms' is supposed to. U-God does lose a few points for hanging onto the ridiculously overplayed drug references though. A song entitled Coke, hilariously featuring someone named Slaine of La Coka Nostra (are you kidding me?!), as well as the album's title just screams, "Hey, look at me! I've run out of ideas!" Regardless, this album is true Wu. Love it or hate it.

As usual, thanks for reading...

Bigg Russ

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Come with me if you want to live!!

Do you VERY best and stay away from Kettle Creek Outfitter's Corn Chips!! I would even go out on a limb and say stay away from this company all together.

Besides the obvious breath kickin' factor of this wonderful flavor, take a gander at the amount of SODIUM in contained in ONE BAG!

I'm thinking...they're a salt company who wanted to spice up their product with corn chips...but I could be wrong.

And from what I can tell, they're only available at your finer FAMILY DOLLAR establishments. That should set off all types of alarms for ya...

As usual, thanks for readin'.

Bigg Russ

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Curious Case of Funkmaster Flex

This blog is late. Very. But I'm glad I'm typing it now instead of when I wanted to. I wanted to make sure I was being as objective as possible without sounding like an ass. Ya see...I hate Funkmaster Flex. With a passion. My hate is subjective though. I don't hate him enough to take food out of his mouth...but I do hate him enough not to listen to his radio show or give him any props more than he rightly deserves. Let's start from the beginning of why I decided to write this...

A few weeks ago, B.B. Kings Bar & Grill (NYC) hosted the first concert in a series of performances showcasing supposed hip hop legends. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go at first...until I saw who was on the bill. EPMD and Method Man & Redman?! Decision made. It would've taken a nation of millions to hold me back. Plus, I felt they actually got the billing correct this time. EPMD, Mr. Meth, and Redman ARE hip hop legends. As well as Brand Nubian, who were also scheduled to perform. The other acts, Lords of the Underground, Dres (from Blacksheep) and N.O.R.E...well, not so much legends. I didn't care. I was going and no one was stopping me.

I ended up going with a few friends who were just as psyched to see the crew formerly known as the Hit Squad (EPMD & Redman) as I was. I 'just' saw them last year at Rock The Bells '08 but with new albums released by all, I expected a really good show. Well, that I didn't get. What I got was, what I refer to as, Old School Shows In A New School Decade. Here's a short list of the problems:

1. We waited outside on line for two hours....for NO DARN GOSH reason! (There might be children reading this...ya never can tell). We could have easily stood inside while they set the show up.
2. The show began late. Like an hour late.
3. Funkmaster Flex was DJ'ing. Yes, that's a problem for me. He sucks as a DJ. I don't care if constantly demands respect for using vinyl. Big effin' deal.
4. N.O.R.E. was on stage way too long. Plus....he didn't deserve to share a stage with EPMD or Brand Nubian. Lyrcially and artistically, he couldn't carry their collective nut sacks. (Sorry children. This is how upset I am.)
5. A NYC fire marshal decided there were too many 'people' in the building and wanted to shut the show down.
6. Thanks to the persistence of the fire marshal (and N.O.R.E.'s long ass set) EPMD ran through their set in 15 minutes. They were trying to emulate the length of N.O.R.E.'s fame, I think.
7. #'s 4-6 above led to Meth & Red only rocking for about 20 minutes before King's management decided to rudely shut all power to the stage. They probably did that for fear of getting fined by the fire department. I'm not mad at them. I would've done the same thing. What made this a major problem is that Meth & Red did NOTHING from the new album...nor did they peform Da Rockwilder. Da Rockwilder!! ('Scuse me...I need to breathe for a moment...) The song is all of 2:30 minutes long yet I never get tired of seeing them perform it. How they got out of the building w/o performing it is beyond my comprehension...

So, for $30, I got an accelerated show, an abrupt end and no real satisfaction to speak of. At first I chalked it up to hip hop. Ya know....that thing that happens at most rap shows (i.e. family members and people you really don't care about standing on stage for no absolute reason other than to be seen by people who don't know or care about them, the expected and now comical threat to the sound man for not turning up the mic and/or sound levels, the 15 minutes of 'Where Brooklyn At?', etc.). But, I was wrong. I found out shortly after the show was over that this was a Funkmaster Flex produced concert.

Well, kick me in the head! Had I known that, I wouldn't have gone. Why? Because Funkmaster Flex is an abomination. He 'killed' hip hop in NYC after pretty much blowing it up single-handedly. He talks too much. He drops too many 'bombs' over new songs that maybe deserve half-a-bomb, if that. Did I mention that he sucks as a DJ? I've heard from some other concert goers that this isn't the first time this has happened. The truth is, most of his productions (concerts, car shows, etc.) usually end up like trash. I don't doubt it!!

After all these years of concert production, you'd think they'd all go right though. Correct me if I'm wrong, but rappers need but a few things to have a good show: A mic, something to play the damn music on (or a drum riser for ?uestlove, if you can afford him), a few bottles of spring water, a hand towel (if they're old school. They're usually fatter and sweat more) and a hype crowd. If it's one thing we know, the crowd will never let a rapper down...so long as the rapper doesn't let them down. Meth & Red was actually successful in sending the crowd into a frenzy, especially when EPMD and surprise guest (well, not really) K-Solo joined them on stage to perform Headbanger.

It was really just a shame to see all that energy literally go to waste because the production staff just couldn't get it under control. I blame Funkmaster Flex because he shouldn't have been trying to host, DJ and run the backstage all at the same time. Man up and delegate next time, fool. I don't care about your cars or rims or how fly you are because you bought vinyl. Red Alert DJ'ed that night as well...from a Mac...and still out-DJ'ed Flex in spite of all that vinyl muscle!

Whatever. Going forward, I will make sure I find out who's producing a show before I spend my money. Some say I do my homework too extensively. To them I say I'm just being critical of the concerts I attend because I'm paying for them...and I DEMAND a good show. You should never allow yourself to be shortchanged by the entertainment you pay for. Period.

As usual, thanks for reading.

Bigg Russ