Friday, October 31, 2008

You can get with this.

Dres revisits "The Choice is Yours," for the election season.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MTV remembers what the "M" was for

MTV recently soft launched, which gives users access to a sizable portion of the network's video vault. This isn't as revolutionary as it would've been before sites like youtube took hold, but with copyright holders becoming more vigilant, this may become the only place you can search for a Prince's "America" video and actually find it. And be reasonably certain that it will still be there a week from now.

The site is easy to navigate and has over 20,000 videos. Most of the big names are there, which have become hard to find on video-sharing sites, regularly perused by the copyright police. I haven't had the time to thoroughly search for rarer rap clips, but I'm sure the archive will be expanding soon. So until I can see some Yomo & Maulkie or Yaggfu Front clips, I'll reminisce with videos like this from The Pharcyde.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rudy Ray Moore, dead at 81

I've never sat through one of Rudy Ray Moore's films, heard any of his comedy albums or his attempts at making R&B music, but I know his work. The comedian's voice was sampled on countless hip hop records and his persona as an articulate, larger-than-life pimp was a role model for men who came of age in the 1970s. Whether that was a good thing or not is up for debate.

Moore, also known by the name of the character he often portrayed, "Dolemite" died on Sunday died in Akron, Ohio after a long illness.

Here's some of Moore's work (The ass kickin' starts at 2:15):

Moore also played the character of Petey Wheatstraw:

Here's Dolemite talking out his life and his mother, who is 98 years old. An appearance on the Arsenio Hall show follows.

A clip of Dolemite's "son" on SNL

Friday, October 17, 2008

Man's Best Friend

Beside every great rapper is his friend from the 'hood whose music career will be forced on the public. Known on the internets as "weed carriers," referring to their obligation to assume responsibility for their monied friend's bad behavior and habit, their job is can be risky, but it has its perks.

Through his close connection with DMX, who doesn't have a problem with getting arrested, Ruff Ryders member Drag-On appeared in three films and released two albums. Most people couldn't tell you one of his songs if you waterboarded them. A report suggests the rapper is now an employee of a Yonkers dry cleaners, as DMX continues his tour of courthouses.

Ray, a guy who grew up watching the failed video show that inspires this blog, Wavelength, handles this interview and talks to Drag about the delay between his releases, the content of his new album and reveals a past affiliation with another rap crew before his days as a Ryder.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Big Nat Gets Up Like a Fart Machine

Big Nat is a DJ and blogger here in Richmond, Va. His latest post is way funnier than it should be.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Welcome Back Real Talk

Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds decided to keep their "Juan Epstein" podcast going a few weeks ago and last week's edition might be their best ever. The duo sit down with The Large Professor and discuss his career in detail. There's a lot of new information, even for serious students of the professor's work.

"Juan Epstein" always reminds me of discussions the Wavelength staff would have after the cameras were off. Maybe we should've filmed that ...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Woman's Worth

The addition of Yasmine as host was a game-changer for Wavelength, the failed video show that inspires this blog. Once I relinquished hosting duties to the stunning Hampton, Va. native, her personality and energy became the nucleus of the program's final years. 

I met her while shooting a video for a rap group she sang hooks for back in 2001. She impressed me with her enthusiasm, professionalism and lack of pretension. These three qualities are usually in short supply in low budget shoots. We talked for a minute and I knew she'd be my replacement, even though she was moving to New York in a few days. 

We lost the local backdrop of the Richmond, Va., the town that had supported us for years and traded it for small studio spaces around New York City.  We also gained access to rappers and singers didn't have our RVA n on their touring schedule. Before she decided to move on, Yasmine logged hours interviews with popular artists and few movie stars. Since then, she's appeared in a movie with Goodie Mob, acted in short films and written about entertainment for Black Star News.

In this clip, with a pre-murder trial Cassidy, she provokes the rapper to break union rules and smile. 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

BET's Rap City: Is it Really a Wrap?

BET recently announced that its long-running video program, "Rap City," would end next month. After almost decade on the air, the show never rose above mediocrity, although it often dipped below the mark. While the news of this mercy killing didn't warm my heart, I am concerned by what I heard from an industry insider today.

The bad news: Rap City might come back. Sources say the cancellation is a publicity stunt to generate nostalgia and interest in the program. Viewers might see a renewed version of the show back on the air in a matter of months. 

BET has attempted to reinvent itself in recent years. The cancelled "Uncut," a video show that aired uncensored videos and hired Reginald Hudlin to create some original programs for the network known for reruns and rap videos. BET might not be living up to its potential, but it's certainly not the joke it once was. Bringing back a dated and flawed franchise like Rap City would be a step backward. 

I hope it's just rumor. I hope Rap City is shut down for good and the network has moved on. Maybe, but I wouldn't BET on it.