Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rah Rah Rah

Rah Digga was the brightest star in the Flipmode Squad, a name that Busta Rhymes gave to his friends and family who wanted to become rappers but would settle for just hanging out with him. The crew of weed carriers has dwindled down to four members, with rappers like Digga, Rampage, Papoose and Lord Have Mercy leaving the group to struggle on their own.

We met Rah at Willie's Record Store in Richmond back in 2000. Although this clip catches her on a bad hair day, in the right light, Rashia Fisher is an strikingly beautiful woman. "That's me," she said with a laugh that day as she signed pictures of herself looking slightly more fabulous. Along with revealing her fresh face, Rah shared with us her uncommon orgin, which includes private school and a stint as an egineering student.

The Willie's store is now a Radio Shack. Rah Digga is reportedly signed to "The Inc." as part of a suspergroup with Vita and Charlie Baltimore. It's hard to say which is the better look.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The McN*e*r*d Dance

Tennis shoe pimp and rock star wannabe Pharrell attempted to persuade a Paris McDonald's to open early recently by giving them a impromptu and unwanted mini-concert. I guess if Hammer could dance for popcorn chicken back in the day, this school teacher's son can humiliate himself for a couple of McNuggets. Although the money is probably long gone, at least Hammer got paid for his fast food shuffle.

Although he and his psuedo rock group, N*E*R*D, never appeared on Wavelength, the failed video show that inspired this blog, I did run  into Skateboard P a couple times while doing business. The first time I saw him he was performing onstage at Flood Zone, a defunct Richmond nightspot. He and a couple of other guys were wearing matching flowered shirts and talking over a couple beats they had produced, Noreaga's "Superthug" and MC Lyte's "I Can't Make a Mistake." The crowd was polite but unimpressed. Later that evening, I was shooting Wavelength at another club when I was tapped on the shoulder.

"What's this?" he asked.

"I'm shooting my video show," I said.

"I want to be on this."

"Alright," I said and went back to setting up my shot.

"I want to be on this," he repeated.

"Well, you can't be on it right now," I said. "I'm shooting."

I guess the "P" doesn't stand for patience. He walked away from me and went on to become a successful producer and popular recording artist. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wavelength Goes to the Movies

At the height of our irrelevance, Wavelength was among a handful of music shows that were invited to a series of press days for urban films in New York and California. A movie studio paid for my train ride to New York, (I never fly to New York. That's another story.), put me up in the W Hotel and gave me a per diem. All I had to do was watch a movie and chat with a few celebrities. It was the best of times.

Like much of the music that arrived in Wavelength offices during that time, I realized I wasn't the target audience for the film "Love Don't Cost A Thing." So I sat out the interviews and let Yasmine, who had moved from Richmond to New Jersey by then, to do her thing. In this clip, Yasmine talks to Nick Cannon, who after failing as a rapper, may have found his true calling as Mariah Carey's purse holder and bodyguard

Friday, March 06, 2009

Yasmine wants you to man up

Every now and again someone wants to know whatever happened to former Wavelength host Yasmine. I got a message from her today to check out her article in Man Up magazine. As she's dabbled as a journalist, I was expecting to read something. But this is not that kind of article. Looking good, Yasmine.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Coup on the Boulevard

It was a rare to have a national rap act as a studio guest for Wavelength, the failed video show that inspired this blog. A convergence of events had to happen; the rapper had to be on a promo tour or in town for a concert, they had to be in Richmond on a Wednesday, they had to be available between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and they had to decipher my perplexing directions to the studio.

After getting stuck in an endless loop of toll booths, The Coup finally made it to the studio for a brief interview. There were supposed to perform, but we didn't have the tables at the 918 N. Boulevard studio that day. I'm sure we missed a treat if Pam is as half as good as she says she is. We came up short in other ways that day, too. We could have used another 2 to 3 feet of our painted canvas backdrop, another microphone and somebody, anybody to work the cameras. That was public access television, you go with what you got. Or don't got.

Boots Riley, the lead rapper of the The Coup, now a duo, was in Virginia last year where was charged with using profanity in public after leaving the stage of a Norfolk concert. Defunct Hampton Roads news magazine Portfolio Weekly covered the story. The charges were eventually dropped and the city council rescinded the ant-profanity ordinance after realizing it was a bunch of bullshit.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Chris Brown & Rihanna ... now what?

According to, Chris Brown and Rihanna are together again and staying at one of P. Diddy's home in Miami. (I assume it's not the same one where he's twittering while in the midst of a tantric sex marathon.)  I can't think of another time where the old domestic violence scenario (guy meets girl, guy beats girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back) has played out on the pop culture stage. I hope this unfortunate situation inspires parents to talk with their daughters about "nice guys" who speak with their fists.  It's sad, but I think we know where their relationship will goes from here. But what about their careers?

Professionally, Chris Brown is a pariah. Wrigley spit him out as their pitchman and the milk mustache people have wiped him off their list of promoters. His next film is "Bone Deep," but you wouldn't know it, because they've erased his image from all of the promotional materials. Radio stations have banned his music and former fans have been seen grinding his CDs into the asphalt. Some celebrities spoke out in his defense, but backed off after getting a taste of the bad press that Brown is generating. (What's going on with you, Terence Howard?) Anyone who rides with Chris Brown, who was last seen on a jet ski, is putting their career in jeopardy. This includes you, Ri Ri.

Since news of the assault broke, Rihanna's CD sales reportedly went up 35 percent. I don't expect she'll see a similar bump now that she's seen as an enabler as well as a victim. But unlike her boyfriend, she can walk away and start fresh whenever she wants ... if she wants.

Pop music fans are fickle. The memory of Rihanna's battered face will fade and if Brown is never charged, all could be forgotten ... by some. If Brown is able to return to making mediocre pop music,  he'll be subject to unwelcome questions from the media, protests and threats for quite some time. Sort of like what awaits Michael Vick in a few months.  Chris Brown may not go to jail but he won't get his life back.

Image via Mavrixonline