Check out the new release from Harmony Muzik – “Conflict of Interest.” It was recorded and mixed at Depth Charge Studios by yours truly and features two tracks I produced for Team Demo Productions. Click on the link below for the download page.
Archive for the 'News and Politics' Category
1.) In 2009, the Internal Revenue Service instituted an amnesty program for individuals maintaining overseas accounts for the purposes of avoiding taxes. We already know that Romney has accounts overseas, but if any of these were illegal, and he took advantage of the amnesty program with the IRS, that information would be contained in that return. This would be an admittance of felony tax evasion and would be a death-blow to his hopes of becoming President.
2.) Mitt has made it a point that while he still owned interest in Bain Capital, he was not actively participating in its recent politically untenable practice of buying companies, laying off the employees and chopping up the assets for a profit. When one receives money from a pass-through entity (like Bain) one must declare if the income was passive, or non-passive. (Passive meaning one was merely an investor and not actively involved in the day-to-day activities of the enterprise. Non-passive meaning the opposite.) Non-passive income is taxed at a lower rate than passive income (I know this because I’m the majority shareholder of an “S” corporation.) If Mitt declared his income from Bain as non-passive to take the lower tax rate, it would demonstrate that he was in fact actively involved in the company’s activities or that he lied about it. Either way, it is political suicide.
This is all speculation of course, but it wouldn’t be necessary if Romney simply released his 2009 returns.
Keith “Guru” Elam died this week of cardiac arrest at the age of 43. He was one half of one of the greatest hip hop groups of all time. I met him twice, most notably when I was 18 years old while still in high school and still under the spell of hip hop fanaticism which I would later outgrow by becoming a professional within the culture/ business I had been religiously following. I was introduced to Guru as a local up and coming mc and producer with a bright future. We chatted and I naively asked if he was looking for artists. He wasn’t of course, but he took the time to tell me why. He treated me like a colleague when we both knew damn well I was not. This I’m sure was merely a reflection of his character, but his death and the subsequent fanfare has got me to thinking.
I did not know Guru. In fact, I can think of several people with whom I spent more time, who have since passed away who evoked only a moment or two of reflection by my self before I carried on with the rest of my own life. I am not a cold or callous person. I have just had several devastating losses already in my life and will have plenty more as time goes on. This is due to the fact that I am fortunate enough to have a lot of people who I love dearly, and one day, many of those individuals will most likely die before me. Nothing is free. The price of great love, is great loss. It is for this reason I cannot share in the grief of someone I did not know. If I were to allow myself to be affected by the death of every person whose work I enjoyed, i would be miserable. I did not know guru. We are not related. My condolences to his family and friends.
Many of my contemporaries react differently to the deaths of individuals they did not know. They refer to deceased rappers as OUR icons, or OUR heroes. They spend a week playing the music of the deceased and then add them to this running list of dead rappers that they can spout off at a moment’s notice. This is clearly the craving of a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves. In my youth, I saw hip hop as that something the way they do. I mistakenly thought of it as some kind of giant fraternity containing people of similar worldview, similar passions and similar ideals. But this perception faded with every new hip hop enthusiast who made my acquaintance. We weren’t the same at all. Very few people actually shared my priorities, ideals and passion. Hip Hop was not some club we had all signed up to join. It did not have a test or a written code to which we all adhered. The perception of Hip Hop and it’s values was different (sometimes drastically) with every individual pledging allegiance to it. I realized that what I thought of as hip hop was only a tiny fraction of who I am as a person. Hell, it was only a tiny fraction of who I am musically! I liberated myself from the religiosity and began doing what I wanted to do without any regard of how it relates to “hip hop.”
Guru and I didn’t share some sort of connection because we both create or enjoy hip hop music and that single commonality is not enough for me to do or feel anything unique when he passed away (I certainly wouldn’t expect him to do the same for me if the roles were reversed.) I am not part of some big family with Guru and every other deceased rapper just because we all at one point enjoyed spitting rhymes. I am not obligated to feel bad and post R.I.P. on message boards just because someone in the same profession met their demise. It is not fair to a Guru or ANY other artist of his stature for a person like me to assume some kind of connection or relation just because we occasionally create the same genre of music. How pretentious would that be of me? “Yeah man, you know I feel you man because I’m like you.” At the same time, I don’t want some arrogant kid to feel the same way towards me. “Nah buddy, you ain’t like me.” Just because we’ve both made a few beats doesn’t mean we have anything of significance in common.
It sucks when a person who brought enjoyment to our lives passes away. But unless you are a miserable human being, the list of these people should be in the thousands. Death will eventually come to ALL of them and to you. Fortunately, many of them are able to leave behind much of what brought us joy. In the case of Guru- some very good records. Enjoy them, and for the sake of your own happiness, save the grief for those who pass away who TRULY matter to YOU.
On a side note… I just received my first e-mail from a club promoter inviting me to a “R.I.P. Guru Party.” Now that’s classy. What a tool.
There has never been a more crucial moment in the long history of hip hop music in the Washington, DC area. For the first time in a long time, a hip hop artist from DC is dropping a major label release. Wale’s “Attention Deficit,” hits stores on November 10th. For those of you DMV hip hop heads who for whatever reason, intend NOT to support Wale, please hear me out.
I hate the fact that hip hop music is so regionally identified. It is one of the many things I don’t like about hip hop. It seems that “where an artist is from” is the first question anyone asks when they hear something new. The world has become so small thanks to our new abilities to communicate with one another. Yet in hip hop, we want to group people by neighborhood. This practice is outdated but it is the reality and because of that, we now have an artist, Wale, who has been given the burden of seemingly carrying an entire city and region on his back. It is not fair but it is what it is. Imagine for a moment, you are in a pitch black room. You cannot see a thing except for small little lights appearing and vanishing. Each of these lights looks like something on a christmas tree. They are not powerful enough to cast any glow on the rest of the room. You are still blind. Suddenly, a 60 watt light bulb ignites. It’s so bright it draws all your attention, but then you realize that it’s light has now made everything else in the room visible. You had no idea of the wonderful contents in the room, but now you can see them. The room is the DC hip hop scene, the 60 watt bulb is Wale, and the little lights are all those who came before him.
Over the past year, I have heard a ton of jealous and flat-out hateful garbage being spewed by DMV residents towards Wale. Everybody from so-called fans, to artists, to even local radio personalities. I don’t know what personal vendetta any of them have against Wale, but this self-serving ego-maniacal bullshit needs to stop right now. Maybe you don’t like his music or his style. Maybe you think YOU should be in his place. Maybe you think he doesn’t show love to DC (which is utterly ridiculous.) Whatever you feel about Wale personally is irrelevant. Wale is his own man with his own artistry who is going to do what he wants. But he also bears the burden of being a proxy for all of those talented artists who came before him who never got a shot, and all of those who have been sitting in the darkness hoping for a chance. LIke it or not, he is the DMV’s light bulb. It makes absolutely no sense for anyone who has been sitting in the dark with him to try to dim his brightness in any way. The entire room may be visible thanks to that light. Make it brighter! Buy his album!
In addition, I am proud to say that my DMV based production company, Team Demo, produced the street single, “Crime Wave” for 50 Cent’s new album, “Before I self-Destruct.” The album is available on itunes now and in stores on November 16th. The better this album does, the more attention we get. Which means more attention to the many DMV artists we produce. Please support us in adding another small light to Wale’s glow!
The time is now everybody. There are a dozen or so super talented artists from the DMV that are ready for deals and opportunities RIGHT NOW! Help make the light that is illuminating the room even brighter and before you know it, we all may need sunglasses.
Just about the only lousy thing that happened on election night was the passage of several Gay marriage bans – most notably in California where civil rights were actually stripped away by the votes of other citizens. I was going to write one of my typical wordy rants about the stupidity and bigotry of these individuals who voted for these bans, until I came across the video I have posted here which articualtes my positon better than any thing I could write at the moment.
I will say this. Reason ALWAYS wins over faith. ALWAYS. It may take time, but reason is flexible and intuitive while faith is rigid and static. Eventually, gay marriage will be legal. Society won’t crumble, the American family will be strong, the four horsemen will not appear overhead, and the world will have a little more love and happiness. If you’re convinced that somehow your god would approve of denying your fellow man their civil rights and chance for happiness- thereby contributing to their own misery; you have managed to use your faith to rationalize your own bigotry and homophobia. Doing this is WRONG. It is that simple
There are very few faces we can all agree should be on the Mount Rushmore of comedy. One of those faces was that of George Carlin. George passed away Sunday night at the age of 71.
Carlin had a unique an unrivaled ability of observation that he processed with scientific-like critical thinking skills. He would then package the results into a meticulously choreographed display of hillarious commentary that somehow could manage to be both crude, and amazingly intelligent. Ask ANY comedian working today who the giants of comedy are, and they will ALL say Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Carlin was an unapologetic atheist and his routines railing against religion and faith were as funny as they were reasoned. I’ve had video from a couple of my favorite Carlin routines posted on my home page for quite some time. Please take the time to view them and admire the genius of his work.
Two weeks ago, we lost Tim Russert; one of the few remaining active journalists I actually admired. As a Washingtonian, I saw Russert everywhere (especially sporting events) and I watched Meet the Press every Sunday for his ability to ask all the right questions. Much has been said about Russert since his passing. All I will say is that when he was at work, one couldn’t tell if he was a Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative. All one could tell was that he wanted the truth. That’s the way it is supposed to be. Many of today’s so-called journalists could learn alot from his body of work.
It seems that every other day, an era ends; and I’m not too crazy about those waiting in the wings to pick up the torches. A certain brand of dignity, integrity and class seems to be on the verge of extinction in our culture. There are less and less Sinatras, Sagans, Carlins and Russerts in this world, and we would all be advised to become conservationists of this decorum, lest we fall victim to the cultural deterioration that ended classical civilization; this time however, with much more serious consequences.