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            Showing posts with label AB MultiMedia Expose.
            Showing posts with label AB MultiMedia Expose.

            Thursday, December 19, 2013

            What I Learned Over A Month (Or So) As A Non-Black Anoymous Internet Commenter.

            A month (or so) ago, I changed my ubiquitous avatar from a cartoonish approximation of my handsome real life visage, to a race neutral cartoonish approximation of a guy holding an American Flag. I also ditched my screen name, making it something fairly generic ("A/B") as well.

            [Editor's Note: This piece likely has a million and one grammatic and spelling errors. I'm not proofreading it, nor fixing them. Mostly because I'm lazy. And also, because #science. Don't let that deter you.]

            The point of this was to see if my opinions would be responded to more readily if people weren't initially forming their rebuttal with my race in mind. It was a social experiment of sorts, but it was also an acknowledgement that I get tired of being accused of being an unemployed welfare moocher with 6 illegitimate kids by people who don't know me when I'm merely trying to debate the finer points of the Afforable Care Act with some stranger on Mediaite.

            There's no denying that people are more apt to repond in a different manner online that when in person. And there's likewise no doubt that people are going to form opinions of you based on ther sole appearance related item (an avatar) that you typically present online. Heck, people respond based on their (perceived) level of safety.

            Tell em, Louis CK.[1]



            After doing this for a month, I changed my avatar and screen name back today. I wish I could present you guys a more scientific analysis of what I learned via this little experiement, but it's close to the holidays, and I'm lazy and whatnot, so this will have to suffice.
            People (Initially) Treated Me Much Better And Didn't Just (Initially) Outright Dismiss My Opinion - To be certain, I didn't change the nature of my typical comment on any of the sites I typically weigh in on. I don't usually identify myself as black when I comment either, unless the subject calls for that, and I never did so during this month. Not once in my generic avi experiment was I accused of being on The Welfare or getting SNAP benefits. Being a "liberal" and an ObamaBot, sure. But nothing racial. Ever. And I found fellow commenters far more likely to engage in debate, rather than just dismissing me. Hmmmmmm.

            I Never Got "Outed" - You'd think people would just click on my profile, see the link to my site, and figure out I was a black guy. Didn't happen. I'm not shocked either, because most people don't have that kinda time.

            I'm Not Surprised By Any Of This, Nor Do I Really Think It's A Problem. - There is racism in America. That's a fact, despite whatever Fox News might suggest. It just is what it is, and I don't think it's going away anytime soon. To police their comment boards, , in an attempt to limiting trolls and anonymous comments. The thought is that if people have to put their real name and face beside what they're saying they'll likely be more considerate and thus more civil.[2] As a guy who has made his name via a largely anonymous online persona, you might guess where I fall on this topic.
            All in all, this results of this experiment weren't really suprising. I long assumed people lobbed racist comments at me because I was black, and that was essentially confirmed. And I don't really know if my life's any better for wear with that bit of information.

            Question: What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you also find people online respond to you based on assumptions formed via your avatar/screen name?

            [1] Speaking of appearance-based stereotypes, I slept on this guy for the longest because I assumed I wouldn't find his style of comedy very relatable. I was completely wrong. I don't know if I agree with the "genius" label many people fling at him, but seriously, this dude is absolutely hilarious.

            [2] See the comedy clip again, just for reinforcement of this concept.

            Tuesday, March 27, 2012

            New Black Panther Party Puts A Hit Out On George Zimmerman (And Other Trayvon Miscellany).

            in this case, fellas. Nice job.



            BTW, they are lying. . Nor would any black person with half a brain.

            I think it's downright comical that the "lamestream media" is covering these stupid coons.[1] Black people don't take them seriously, nor should anyone else. I can't help but wonder if this story is gaining traction, just cause the President happens to be black. Nah, no way. Couldn't happen.

            Speaking of coons...

            Visit msnbc.com for , , and

            Brothaman, how much did the George Zimmerman Legal Defense Fund pay you to go on TV and be his Official Black Co-Signer™. I hope you don't wear a hoodie when you go cash that check. Actually, turns out this very polished black fella (he's a former news anchor) isn't actually Zimmerman's "friend", he's technically a family member, .[2] So nah, no bias here.

            about him "being a gold toothed thug" who "had it coming". Classy.

            But wait, there's more!

            Negroes, please.

            Question: Is this yet another black eye in the annals of American race relations? Does this country北京体彩网官方网站 have any hope or chance of ever overcoming its deeply ingrained racial issues.

            [1] If you take offense to my use of this word against fellow black people, I'm sorry. But I seriously can't think of a better phrase to describe them and their actions. They are not working on behalf of the Martin family. Trayvon's father denounced their tactics. They are simply serving as a distraction from the legitimate actions being taken to bring Zimmerman to justice, and they're changing the narrative in a way that makes the deceased appear to be the aggressor, not the victim. In short, they aren't helping. They are simply out for their own self-promotion. And yes, they are coons. Go watch the full Anderson Cooper interview and tell me otherwise.

            [2] Actually, he isn't related to Zimmerman, he's just a family friend. The Huffington Post and Mediaite erroneously reported this initially. It should be noted that Joe Oliver hasn't actually spoken to Zimmerman himself, he was simply relaying information on behalf of the family. He's also a former newscaster, who is comfortable in front the camera, and demands respect (and thus, no cross examination) from fellow newscasters. This is all about PR. So basically, he's a professional black co-signer.

            Monday, July 18, 2011

            An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé - Lil' P-Nut. Must. Be. Stopped.

            Why erry black kid gotta rap? The venerable Lil' P-Nut is just playing the weedcarrier role in this video, but I'm thinkin' both of these kids need to quit grabbing their packages and go do some 北京体彩网官方网站work or something otherwise productive.



            Where Is Obama?!? Better yet, where are the parents?

            Ok, who am I kidding? If my kids had this sorta natural Swag. Man do I hate that word! charisma, I'd prolly be trying to prep them for Disney Channel careers instead of getting exploited by the music industry.[1] But that's just me.

            I just wanted an excuse to run this video, because I'm hip like that, and I went to to a Lil' Wayne concert this weekend (true story). So there. But the more videos I see this kid pop up in, the more concerned I get. Dude is clearly ready for his Roc Nation contract. Peep the work.

            The positive/introspective/social commentary track.



            The street/traaaap song.



            The song for the b*******.



            He's even got haters.[2]



            Yep, this kid's gonna flame out by age 10.

            Question: What's the career trajectory for a pre-teen rapper? Is it possible to turn this into something other than passing internet fame? Is this child being exploited or are his parents simply cultivating his natural talent?

            [1] Am I the only one noticing all the "John Wall" references in rap songs of late? I'm thinking it's got more to do with an easy-to-rhyme name than dude's actual popularity.

            [2] Yeah, this was meant to be WSHH a parody. It failed. Miserably.

            Friday, July 30, 2010

            The Realest N*ggaz On Children's Television™.

            [Editor's Disclaimer: I know some of you take offense at the "N-Word" and see no need to label fictitious characters as such. If you are extra squeamish, don't have kids, or just have zero sense of humor, you might wanna go ahead and skip this post right now. It isn't for you.]

            I watch a lot of children's television. And I mean a lot. Yes, my kids are well rounded, and no, they aren't being raised by Sony, but as a responsible parent, I still have to watch 90% of what they watch when they do watch. This means imbibing hours of Sprout, Nick Jr., The Disney Channel, and countless movies.

            What strikes me as different about today's shows is that they're so overly, well, soft. There's too much sangin' and not enough fighting. Everything is so politically correct, and so educationally focused that the net effect is unoffensive, sanitized boredom. Still, every now and they, you catch a glimmer of real n*gga sh*t that somehow slips past the focus groups that inevitably monitor these shows. While most cartoon charaters are supposed to exist in a colorblind parallel universe, it's clear that many of these characters are given stereotypical "black" behavior, whether good or bad. And to that effect, I present a shabbily assembled collection of The Realest N*ggaz On Children's Television™, past and present.

            Uniqua from The Backyardigans



            All the singing on this show generally irks me, but you gotta give props to Nickelodeon for casting a real hood girl for the role of the obviously black character Uniqua. While most black cartoon characters speak with a nasally twang that screams "suburbs", with her sassy blend of split verbs and underhanded insults, Uniqua just screams "Southside". And seriously: Uniqua. She gets props just on the name alone. Tyrone? Not so much.

            Hip Hop Harry from Hip Hop Harry



            This show used to be hot, but for whatever reason, production ceased years ago and they just keep showing the same old stale episodes. Still, an 8 foot tall rappin' bear draped in saggin' Sean Johns, and rockin' ice is some trill sh*t. This show used to be really popular in my kids' rotation, and we even rented a bootleg Hip Hop Harry suit off the internet which I "performed" in for my son's 1st birthday party. When I say "hip hop", you say "Harry".

            Gordon from Sesame Street

            A brotha rockin' a baldie on the 70's on PBS is some real sh*t. Nuff' said.

            Swiper from Dora The Explorer

            After all this damn time, how come Dora and Boots haven't figured out that Swiper is gonna roll up about 15 minutes into the show and steal their sh*t? I just don't get it.

            Oscar The Grouch from Sesame Street



            Admit it. Oscar is pretty much the neighborhood wino, in muppet form. He talks greasy, smells greasy, and basically just exists solely to hate on random sh*t. He's like Kill Moves off Everybody Hates Chris, but greener and furrier.

            Fushia from Little Bill

            If there was ever a kiddie show character with WNBA written all over her, it would be Little Bill's mean-assed, ball playin' older sister April. But Bill's cousin Fushia matches Uniqua for pure hoodrat gulliness.

            Question: Can you name some more of The Realest N*ggaz On Children's Television™? Who did I miss?

            Thursday, May 13, 2010

            An AB.com MultiMedia Expose - cRappers In Jail.



            [1] How and where did this Negro learn to read so well?

            [2] And yeah, I have each and every artist mentioned in this post somewhere on my iPod right now. My name is AB, and I am officially part of the problem.

            Tuesday, April 20, 2010

            An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé - Lloyd Marcus And Other "Woe-Is-Me" Negro Conservatives.

            .

            Folks, I know a damn Grand Hu$tle when I see one. And that's all this is for these folks, an easy way to get paid and advance yourself professionally by leveraging your race and downtalking a majority of black America. All you need to do is state some BS about how poorly you were raised in the ghetto, how voting for the GOP saved your life, and how the Democratic party's policies are holding Negroes back. As if ShawwQyuanzza With 6 Kids And 8 Baby Daddies' lack of personal motivation to get off her a$$ is directly coorelated to her love and admiration for Nancy Pelosi. Black folks are, and have been effed' the eff' up! Period. Putting Newt Gingrich in the White House is not going to peel back the complex layers of sh*t we've been covered in for centuries. Sorry. And if voting reliably for the GOP is such a cure-all, how come it hasn't done much to help poor whites like those in the community I was raised around?

            {Crickets}

            I'd be much less critical of these folks if they just admitted they've turned to the GOP for acceptance and approval they don't receive in their own communities. If you think I'm kidding, when's the last time you've seen one of these folks talk about something other than how Black folks are held back by continually voting for Democrats? People like this, and their willy nilly sob stories make Black folks who are just genuinely Conservative[1] look bad, and give the GOP an excuse to say "see, we tolerate Black people too! We've got a few on payroll!", rather than doing the hard work of changing both their arrogant tone, and their policies that are a roadblock to making inroads with black voters.

            I'm all for gaming the system and getting paid in the process, but I wish these folks would see a shrink and work out their childhood issues, rather than project them onto Black America as a whole and the Democratic Party by association.

            Question: Is "Woe Is Me" Black Conservatism merely a profitable hustle or do folks like Lloyd Marcus, Kevin Jackson, and Star Parker really believe what they're saying? Does it seem like these folks' issues with Black America and the Democratic Party are somewhat more than skin-deep?



            [1] I personally know many principled Black Conservatives. They don't resort to this sort of "put down lazy Negroes" rhetoric to make the point that they prefer lower taxes and less government intrusion. It IS possible. But these folks on TV... not so much. I know a Grand Hu$tle when I see one.

            Tuesday, February 23, 2010

            Why Justin Combs' Life Is Great, And Why Your Dad Is Really Lame.

            I have no idea why, maybe it's the need for a brain dead release after chasing two toddlers around all day, but lately my wife has been adding lots of MTV/BET fare to the Tivo Season Pass. This means watching crap like MTV Cribs, The Mike Vick Experiment, and my personal favorite, Teen Mom, a show so mind-numbingly stoopid it leaves me at a loss for words. Even NeNe Leakes wouldn't sign up for this train wreck. However, the cultural navel gazing reached a new low the other night when we watched some show called My Royal Sweet 16, starring one of the many fruits of P. Diddy's loins, a really obnoxious kid named Justin Combs.[1]

            In case you're clueless, Justin is the child whom Diddy's (defunct?) chain of overrated restaurants (were?) are named after. It's little shock that this kid would have an exaggerated sense of self worth and entitlement, and My Royal Sweet 16 put this teen ego on full display, courtesy of a million dollar birthday party for the self-proclaimed Prince Of New York, featuring the likes of Lil' Kim, Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, The Dipset, and Fabolous. To say this was a bit extravagant for a kid who can't even drive is an understatement. Take a few minutes from your boring, menial existence and witness this for yourself.



            The proverbial icing on the cake, however, is when Diddy presents his child with a $400,000 car, then just for the sake of good PR, a $10,000 check to donate to Yele Haiti to give Pro Keds and Vitamin Water to the poor chill'rens of Port Au Prince.



            Perhaps most puzzling of all is that Justin looks nothing, I repeat, nothing like his famous father. In fact, he looks more like Al B. Sure, but maybe that's just me.

            All hatin' aside, man, what teenager wouldn't want to have a party like this? I mean, sure, blowing a cool mill for a child's birthday party, and having the whole thing chronicled by MTV is sorta tacky, and at worst, extra, but if you got the loot (I don't think Diddy has any cashflow problems, and wouldn't be shocked to find out this whole thing was "sponsored") why wouldn't you? Reality is, any kid who grows up seeing his Dad on TV pouring champagne on models of undermined ethnicity is likely going to be a bit detached from reality in the first place. That said, the kid seems reasonably well adjusted, or at least much better adjusted that I would have been if this were me. So, kudos to Diddy for at least doing something right. And yeah, your Dad, with his lousy 9-to-5, non-Jordans buying a$$ is officially L.A.M.E. Father Fail!

            As far as this party being "too much", I guess it's all about context. We dropped a lot of money on both my kids' first birthdays, with a professional photographer, DJ, MoonBounce, BBQ, and special appearances by characters (Hip Hop Harry and DJ Lance from Yo! Gabba! Gabba!) from their "favorite" shows, as if a 1-year-old actually has a "favorite" anything. Yes, this party was just as much for us and our guests as it was for the kids, much as I suspect Diddy's was. Some folks looked at us sideways, but hey, we can afford it, and both kids had college funds established (thank you very much!) they day after they were born so, whatever whatever. My $125 HHH suit rental is Diddy's $1,200 cage dancer, so it's all a wash in the end. Would I buy my son a car that costs more than our house? Of course not, but hey, I'm not Diddy, and neither are you.

            If you got it (and can keep gettin' it), why not flaunt it? It's all about the kids, mane, it's all about the kids.

            Question: Is there such a thing as spending too much darn money on a child's birthday party, or should you ball out if you can afford it?

            [1] Yeah, this is the same one who was in that disturbing preteen "lap dance" photo I showed here last week.

            Tuesday, October 6, 2009

            An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé : The Tears Of A A$$Clown.

            I tell ya', the more powerful this Glen Beck fella gets, the more I realize just how stoopid a lot of folks in this country北京体彩网官方网站 are. We already know this dude is no activist, no journalism, no nothing. He's just a onetime morning zoo radio jock and failed standup comedian who has somehow managed to convince a sizable and easily duped segment of the country北京体彩网官方网站 that he's some super whistleblower.



            And when you don't have facts, what's the easiest thing to do, other than appeal to people's raw emotions? And what tugs are emotional pursestrings more than tears?



            This asshat seems to get misty eyed more often than my 11-month old, and like most folks with a 3rd eye, I tend to look at this as little more than calculated drama to manipulate an audience. Looking at Beck's Nielsen numbers, it obviously works. But is this guy lying, or true to his convictions?



            Yeah, that was Vicks' VapoRub, the stuff your Grandma used to put on your chest to get phlegm out. How appropriate.

            Yes, this was part of a staged photo-op, but you can very clearly hear Beck say "my eyes are getting used to this", which sorta suggests he's done this before. Which also sorta suggests he's a fraud. But then again, what did you expect? This is Fox News after all.



            Question: Do "commentators" like Beck, Hannity, and Co. who pass themselves off as legitimate journalists deserve to be scrutinized a bit more? Is Beck crying out of concern for this country北京体彩网官方网站, or out of concern for his next yacht payment?

            Friday, September 11, 2009

            An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé : The Death Of The Femcee.

            Few would argue with the assertion that hip-hop, as a commercially viable artform, has likely seen its best days pass. With rampant illegal downloading effecting the entire industry, no genre has seen its fortunes more dramatically altered than the largely disposable category of cRap music.

            Somewhat overlooked in this downward spiral is the utter and complete irrelevance of the female MC, perhaps better known as the femcee. There isn't really a commercially successful lady rapper out at the moment, a situation so dire that it inspired a cheesy VH1 reality show to address the plight. The extinction of the female MC didn't happen overnight, nor will it be fixed overnight. Let's examine the history of females on the mic, how we got to where we are, and how things might get better.

            The Beatbreaks Era (1970's-mid 80's)

            Ladies didn't really get much play in the early days of the rap game. Perhaps the best known female MC in the pre-music video era was Roxanne Shante, a Queens teenager who got into a back and forth years-long battle with the rap trio UTFO.



            The "Roxanne battle" series eventually ended up folding in rappers like Sparky D and some lame Puerto Rican broad named "The Real Roxanne". While most of these ladies could indeed battle, you never really got the impression that they were standalone artists who could make it on their own merits.

            The Golden Era (mid 80's-mid 90's)

            In the mid-late 80's, rap music finally began to cross over into the mainstream and with the advent of outlets like Yo! MTV Raps, BET's Rap City, and The Box, female rappers rode the wave of afrocentricity and independence to a new level of industry respect. No artist symbolizes this rise to prominence better than Queen Latifah.



            Other artists like Salt -N- Pepa, Monie Love, and MC Lyte were able to carve out successful niches for themselves during this era of prosperity. These ladies were feminine, but still strong and independent. While they may or may not have written their own rhymes, you never got the impression that they were simply mouthpieces for some male ghostwriter. By moving units while being feminine, yet not selling sex, these ladies set the table for the ultimate femcee, Lauryn Hill.

            My favorite L-Boogie verse of all time isn't even on her album (or the Fugees for that matter), but rather an obscure mixtape staple from the mid-90's, a rare posse cut called "Da Ladies In The House". Just skip to the 2:45 mark if you're impatient, and watch L rip the mic.



            "Tears in my eyes burrrrrn, tears in my eyes...."

            Call me crazy, but this video was a high point for femcees. Hill hadn't even blown up yet, and the other ladies never really did, but peep the lyrical content. Each lady could spit, and it's quite likely they all wrote their own sh*t. Sadly, this era was shortlived.

            The P*ssy = Power Era (mid 90's-2000)

            Rap music's thematic shift from substance to flash also ushered in the commercial climax of the femcee, which also eventually meant the death knell for this genre. Emboldened by the new culture of bling, female rappers like Lil' Kim, Foxxy Brown, Trina, Eve, and Da Brat made names for themselves (as well as money) by more or less adopting personas crafted by their ghostwriting mentors (Biggie, Jay-Z, Trick Daddy, DMX, Jermaine Dupri).



            While this was great for album sales, watching women shift from talking about "Ladies First" to "Dreams of S*ckin' An R&B D*ck" was not exactly empowering. Perhaps most astonishing is that Hill's The MisEducation Of Lauryn Hill was dropped during this period and outsold all of these other female artists combined, yet was an anomaly rather than a trendsetter. Ditto for Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, whose oddball, (initially) sexually androgynous style didn't spawn a bunch of copycats either.

            The Post-Femcee Era (2000-Present)

            The present state of the femcee is rather sad indeed. Each and every female rapper that experienced some level of success in the previous eras has fallen on some level of hard times. Hill, still the biggest selling female emcee of all time, got into a strange marriage with a random Marley, reportedly joined a cult, had an Octomom-sized litter of kids, and keeps releasing albums with no beats. MC Lyte is a BET on-air personality. Elliott is just played out. Lil' Kim foolishly didn't snitch on the stand to protect her male weedcarriers, did a year in jail, and now has morphed into a ballroom dancing R&B singer. Brown's series of public beatdowns landed her in the clink for a year, and upon release she got (temporarily?) engaged to Rick Ross of all people. Remy Ma shot her weedcarrier in the stomach and will be in jail for the foreseeable future. Eve lost all interest in rhyming and went on to become a D-List actress. Yo-Yo and Salt -n- Pepa are reality show "stars". Queen Latifah is more interested in singing standards than spitting 16. While artists like Jean Grae and Eternia have backpacker cred, there isn't a female rapper of substance with real commercial potential. Except for Nicki Minaj.



            Perhaps the only current artist with the potential to really blow up commercially is Nicki. She is the female emcee's struggle to be taken seriously, personified. On one hand, yeah, she can really spit. I mean, really. Her cartoonish voice and strange in-and-out accents at least make her somewhat unique. On the other hand , she's a mouthpiece for a male MC (Lil' Wayne) whose rap style she mimics a bit too closely for her own good. She isn't just selling sex appeal, by advertising herself as a bisexual, she's more or less giving away sex appeal. As talented as I find her, and as much as I liked Beam Me Up Scotty, if she does eventually blow up (which is iffy), she's more or less perpetuating some of the very same problems that lead to the genre's demise in the first place.

            I don't really know what can stop the demise of the female MC. The whole concept of artist development is a thing of the past, and with few rappers period moving units, it's little surprise that women, who have always had to battle sexism and misogyny in the rap game, have it even worse. It's almost like that America has a cold, Negroes have the flu analogy in a nutshell.

            Question: Who is your favorite female rapper of all time? What do you think caused the demise of the femcee?

            Wednesday, March 11, 2009

            Does AB Owe Michael Steele An Apology?!?

            . Get your peoples in check, Mike.



            So, just so nobody gets it confused, I am officially backing off the Bash Steele Express, or at least I am on this blog. This isn't the first time I've reversed course like this. I've "taken back" prior statements about lots of folks I used to pop sh*t about, including everyone from Hilary Clinton to T-Pain. I'm not calling this an apology, but it is an olive branch. Sure, he could help his own cause by staying off TV and working on hiring a staff and raising money, but I don't think all the scrutiny is warranted. At least not on this blog it ain't, not anymore.

            Give the brother a chance.

            But in the meantime, this sh*t is still funny.



            Question: Do you think the media is too focused on Steele and not enough on the 4,000 earmarks the GOP just slid in the Omnibus bill? Political leanings aside, do you think Steele is getting a bad break because he's black, or is he merely a convenient target because he loves the camera so much? Is AB losing his edge with all these apologies and contractions?

            Wednesday, February 4, 2009

            People I Strongly Dislike: Common.

            As ya'll know, I'm a rap music junkie, and although my tastes are more subterranean in nature, I keep up with the commercially popular cats too. Since I listen to Sirius XM all the time (rather than "regular" radio) I'm admittedly not up on what the current songs are, but if the satellite radio playlist is anything like the regular one, I'm clearly not missing anything.

            Some well-known rappers seem to have fallen on some hard creative times of late. Either that or they're just washed up. One such guy would be Common.

            [Editor's Note: One-finger salute to Universal Music Group for blocking embedding of music vids from Youtube, and subsequently ruining this post.]

            I was a big fan of Lonnie Rashid Lynn, waaaay back when he was known as Common Sense[1]. The consummate B-Boy, dude was more of a punchline lyricist on his debut album Can I Borrow A Dollar?, but still dropped dope gems like "Breaker 1-9", "Take It EZ" and one of my favorite remixes of all time, "Soul By The Pound".



            On subsequent albums, he went on to create even more classic material like "Resurrection" and "I Used To Love H.E.R".



            Common was by then well established as a vanguard of quality rap music. His name, along with Mos Def, Taalib Kweli, and The Roots was a common retort when defending the integrity of hip hop. But he seemed to peak creatively with 2000's brilliant Like Water For Chocolate. Despite all the ultra lyrical materion on this classic album, his ladies-first single "The Light" inexplicably became a radio hit. And I knew we were in trouble.



            Then he fell for singer Erykah Badu made the worst career decision of any black man this side of Baron Davis going to the Clippers, with the dreadful Electric Circus. Words cannot describe the botched abortion on wax that this album was.



            A few years ago, Comm latched onto fellow Chicagoan Kanye West and experienced a career resurrection with back-to-back albums Be and Finding Forever. Ditching his neo-soul eccentricity for some generic ghetto-shaman act, he reached the commercial apex of his career, but his music sounded like the sorta banal, yawn-inducing crap they play in the background at Starbucks.



            Caramel Macciato, please. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ....

            Now, Common's B-Boy days are long gone. He's beginning what seems to be a promising Hollywood career, has dated starlets like Serena Williams and Kerry Washington, and even has a commercial for Lincoln. Dude's come up. But the music? Uh, not so much.

            Listen to this bullshit right here.



            I'd show you the extra frooty video, but of course Youtube doesn't allow embedding. Bastards. Trust me, it's for the better. The guy responsible for "I Used To Love H.E.R." is now ripping off "Planet Rock"? Seriously?

            Again, I'm all for progression. Expecting the guy to still be rhyming about being cockblocked and drankin' 40's a decade in the game is simply unrealistic. But lyrically, dude has regressed bigtime. Some of his punchlines make me feel like punching myself.

            Seriously, listen to Common on 1994's classic "Watermelon". Try counting the obscure pop culture references and punchlines. You'll give up after the first 8 bars. There's just too much stuff here.



            "I stand out like a n*gga on a hockey team, I goals and I can like a pop machine." Amazing.

            Now, listen to the same man on 2009's "Punch Drunk Love".



            "Check my dictionary... that a$$ is so defined." WTF?!?

            Turrible. Just. Turrible. Aren't you supposed to get better with time.

            Don't misread the post title, I don't "strongly dislike" Common. I met him at the Inauguration and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. I even lied and told him I liked "Universal Mind Control". I shoulda told him to come visit my site.

            Again, no disrespect to the man himself. I just "strongly dislike" the music he's made lately. He needs to hang up the mic while he's still ahead.

            Question: Do you think Common's lost his lyrical talent? Can you think of another artist who seems to have really lost it over the years, yet still remains popular for some odd reason?

            [1] Cyber CapriSuns™ to the first person who can explain the name change.

            Friday, December 26, 2008

            People I Strongly Dislike: The Washington Wizards.

            Okay, that's enough. I've had it. I am officially renouncing my fandom.

            Last night was a microcosm of the dread that is being a Wizards fan. The team is next to last in the league. They had lost 7 straight. They lead the Cleveland Cavs by 7 on the road with less than 2 mins to go. They never scored again. They lost the game.

            After more than a decade, thousands of dollars spent in tickets, infinite hours watching, talking about, and thinking about the team, I am formally stepping off the Washington Wizards bandwagon. Not that I had much company...

            I know some of you consider dumping your team an act of sacrilege. Well tell the troof and shame the devil. Or however that cliche goes. I'm done.



            Done with watching an organization that wouldn't know a good personnel move if it popped them in the face with an inbounds pass.



            Done with watching a team full of overpaid imbeciles, completely oblivious to their glaring weaknesses.



            Done with caring about a "shooting guard" who shoots barely 30% from the field, but has the gall to do that ignoramus assed "I can't feel my face" gesture when he finally swishes a meaningless 18 footer with his team trailing by 20 late in the 4th quarter. And get a damn shave and haircut while you're at it.



            Done with caring about a "power forward" whose next strong move to the basket will be his first.



            Done with yelling at a team that can't rotate on "D" and stop leaving 3 point shooters open like it's going out of style. I call that play, which seemingly happens every 4th time downcourt, a "Wizards Special".



            Done with caring about a supposedly "Tuff" swingman who couldn't D up if his massive paycheck depended on it.



            Done with caring about a monstrously overpaid "point guard" who can't stay healthy, but spends more time blogging than I do.



            Done with cheering for a man-child big man who won't hit the boards, but seems to hit every club in town. And you get a haircut too while you're at it.



            Done with caring about a two-headed center combo that won't box out for a rebound, but seem to always be boxing each other, literally, in practice. When they're not writing lousy "poetry" of course.



            Done with caring about a carousel of coaches who still can't get the excessively basic concept of defending the pick and roll explained to a group of college dropouts (and never wents).



            Done with going to games, paying $7 for a Budweiser, and sitting amongst "fans" who spend more time watching each other and the Jumbotron than the actual game. It wouldn't hurt you folks to boo sometimes. Yes, even when, especially when, the 北京体彩网官方网站 team is the object of your scorn.



            Done with cheering on a bunch of losers, and feeling like a loser by proxy.



            Done with caring. Period.

            Holla back when you win two in a row. Or don't.

            Question: Am I committing an act of sacrilege by abandoning my team, or am I fully justified in no longer cheering for this merry band of losers?

            Thursday, September 4, 2008

            An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé: Yaw's Boy Is Headed To Jail.

            Tuesday, September 2, 2008

            An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé: Why God & Politricks Don't Mix.


            Tuesday, August 5, 2008

            An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé: From Cliff Huxtable To Uncle Luke - Black Dads on TV.

            So, I'm flipping through the channels the other day, and I notice a gap-toothed blast from the past on VH1.

            That's right, Uncle Luke, aka: Luke Skywalker, pka: Captain D*ck, gov't name Luther Campbell has a new reality show, Luke's Parental Advisory. That in and of itself isn't really news. What is news, is that his show is just the latest in a line of like-minded fish-out-of-water "unscripted sitcoms" about Black dads.

            First there was A&E's foray into Negro Nonsense, the shortlived trainwreck, Being Bobby Brown.



            Then there was Run's House, which is wildly popular for reasons far beyond my comprehension.



            Then there was the decidedly low brow Snoop Dogg's Fatherhood.



            And then Irv Gotti, who isn't even really all that popular, somehow got a show as well. Unlike the others, Gotti's Way seemed to actually be transparent. It dealt not with some fantasy vision of Pampers and Air Jordans fatherhood, but rather the reality of bad decisions (in this case, adultery) and how they effect one's spouse and kids.

            I peeped an episode of this while in the gym (the trainer elliptical TV only has 8 stations, I didn't have much choice). The first episode I saw was kinda interesting, but it got boring pretty quickly.



            And then there's the always obnoxious Neon Deion Sanders and his wife's show, Deion & Pilar: PrimeTime Love. Wake me when it's over.



            I guess the culumative effect of all these shows in a mixed bag. While it's good to see Black men taking care of their kids and in most cases married, the ancillary plots of sex, misogny, and extramartial affairs that lurk behind the scenes in each show (with the exception of Run's House, to my best knowledge) somewhat ruin the vibe. Yeah, I know that sorta stuff does also occur in real-life, unscripted reality, but does it really need to be broadcast?

            Everday life for most Black Husbands and Dads I know is hardly exciting. It's a nonstop cavalcade of packing lunches, reading stories, bathtime, teachable moments, gray hairs, chauffering to activities, and oh yeah, managing to slip in some one-on-one time with the wife as well.

            Simply put, being a reasonably good husband and reasonably responsible Dad looks pretty darned square in real-life, unscripted reality. So it's no surprise that these shows choose the most far-out there, screwed up individuals to give shows to. This is all about ratings after all, but at what expense?

            Part of me wants badly to like these shows, if for no better reason than the fact that they show that some Black men actually do get married to the women they impregnate. I mean, there has to be something good about that, right? And with the decline of the Black Sitcom, these seem to be about the only images of Black men as hubands and Dads on TV. Seriously, besides the brilliant Everybody Hates Chris, is there a Black Dad anywhere on non-reality TV nowadays?

            But by simply repackaging old-school stereotypes and Negro dysfunction as new-school versions of Leave It To Beaver, this latest series of reality shows has me wistful for Cliff Huxtable. Say what you want about shows like The Cosby Show, Family Matters, and Good Times, but at least I didn't cringe when I peeped them. Cliff Huxtable never had to explain to his kids why there was a stripper pole in the basement. James Evans couldn't always pay the rent on time, but you'd never see him wiping a "doody bubble" out of Florida's butt on TV. And Carl Winslow may have had this issues, but... well, okay, let's stop while we're ahead.

            Some may see these shows as progress, but honestly, I'm indifferent. We've come a long way since the days of "hurry up and come here, colored man on the TV". But when I peep the promo for Luke's Parental Advisory, I'm just reminded of how much further we've got left to go.

            Question: What do you think of this new fad in Black family reality shows? Do these shows actually improve the image of Black fathers/husbands, worsen the image, or not make a darned bit of difference? Do you watch any of them? Can you believe that the man responsible for "Pop That Coochie" and "Me So Horny" has a show about parenthood?

            Friday, April 18, 2008

            An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé: The Vocoder Anthology

            .

            A vocoder (a portmanteau of vox/voc (voice) and encoder) is a speech analyzer and synthesizer. It was originally developed as a speech coder for telecommunications applications in the 1930s, the idea being to code speech for transmission. Its primary use in this fashion is for secure radio communication, where voice has to be digitized, encrypted and then transmitted on a narrow, voice-bandwidth channel. The vocoder has also been used extensively as an electronic musical instrument.

            For musical applications, a source of musical sounds is used as the carrier, instead of extracting the fundamental frequency. For instance, one could use the sound of a synthesizer as the input to the filter bank, a technique that became popular in the 1970s.
            Okay, now that we've got the technical jibber jabber outta the way, let's talk music, decade by decade.

            1970's

            History says The Alan Parsons Project, Giorgia Moroder, and Pink Floyd were the first cats to really mess with the vocoder. I don't really know any of these folks, but I guess I have to provide token representation, so here's "Mr. Roboto" by Styx.



            No, I still have no friggin' idea what this song is about. So let's fast forward to the familiar stuff.

            1980's

            Herbie Hancock probably had the first breakout 'urban' hit of this genre with his Grammy-winning single "Rockit".



            It's a real shame that most people still associate Hancock with this single song, when his career as a jazz artist is far more accomplished than one hit. And speaking of one hits, how could we forget Rockwell's creepy "Somebody's Watchin' Me, featuring a still-black Michael Jackson on the hook?[2]



            While other bands like Dazz, Guy, and the Gap Band successfully used the machine to crank out 80's hits, perhaps no single artist exemplified vocoder fever more than Roger Troutman. With a plethora of hits like "Computer Love", "Slow And Easy", and "More Bounce To The Ounce", the frontman for Zapp elevated the artform to all new levels.



            1990's

            With the exploding commercial popularity of hip hop music, interest in pure R&B began to wane during the 90's, and the vocoder appeared to be on it's last legs. With the exception of a few notable guest appearances by Troutman on West Coast gangsta rap songs, the 90's weren't too kind to the ole' voicebox.

            The seminal mid-90's hit "California Love" featured Troutman gettin' down with Dr. Dre and Tupac.[3]



            While this version of the song gave 80's babies a nice feel for vocoder magic, the slept-on "California Love: Part II" where Troutman really gets off is a far better representative example.



            Troutman enjoyed a brief career renaissance after the exposure, but sadly was violently gunned down in his 北京体彩网官方网站town of Dayton, Ohio. So overlooked are his contributions to the history of the talkbox that the wiki entry doesn't even mention his name. This must change.[4]

            2000's

            With a second George Bush in office, and black music reaching creative all-time lows at the advent of the century, there was little to sing about. But a few years ago, a Senegalese ex-car thief named Akon dusted off the ole' voice box and quietly started pumping out hits like "Locked Up", "Belly Dancer", and "Lonely". While this young[5] man swore up and down he was singing in his own unaltered voice, anyone born before 1980 knew full and damn well he was stealing Troutman's old tricks.



            Sadly, while Troutman's voicebox was studly and masculine, Akon's came off as chipmunkish and comical. But this being America circa 2003, tweens who don't know any better thought Akon was cool and unique. Payola was exchanged, and in short time Akon became a chart topping household name. He even had his own Verizon commercial and toured with Gwen Stefani before an odd humping incident with an underaged Carribbean girl became a Youtube sensation.[6] Still, Akon had gained enough juice to unleash his secret moneymaking weapon: a marginally talented ex-rapper turner singer named T-Pain.

            The husky Floridian exemplifies the average (and we do mean very very average) guy on the street done good. By unapologetically embracing the voicebox, Teddy Pain has become a commercial success beyond Troutman's wildest dreams, with such ditties as "I'm Sprung", "Buy You a Drank", "Bartender", and my personal favorite, "I'm In Love With a Stripper".



            Seldom has mediocrity sounded so good.

            T-Pain has gone on to become a highly sought after collaborator and general debit



            [1] Admit it. You thought I was kidding about this post didn't you?

            [2] Wasn't Rockwell some famous person's nephew or somethin'?

            [3] I still hear this song somewhere or other at least once a week. But for the record, I don't consider it classic material. Not by a mile.

            [4] Anybody know how to update a wiki?

            [5] Some people say he's pulling a Dikembe Mutombo and is nearly 47 years old.

            [6] Come on, he HAD to know that girl was 15 at best.

            [7] Probably the most original video I've seen in ages.

            [8] I threw up in my mouth the first time I heard this.

            [9] See [8].

            [10] Doesn't this little girl look like Connie from King Of The Hill?