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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Roots of Gangsta Rap

Posted by Billyjam, May 26, 2015 09:00am | Post a Comment

N.W.A are routinely credited with creating the genre known as gangsta rap, which is a fair summation since it was these West Coast rappers who inspired a whole new unstoppable generation of hardcore gangsta rap recording artists. However, these LA rappers are predated by fellow LA-based artist Ice-T who in turn was predated by the true O.G. (Original Gangsta) -- Philadeplhia's Schoolly D who in 1985 unleashed the original gangsta rap record. Entitled "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" and released on his own small indie label, Schoolly D Records, the record with cutting by DJ Code Money was an ode to the Philly street gang that the rapper (born Jesse B. Weaver, Jr.) was associated with. The initials P.S.K. stood for the Park Side Killas gang and their song dedication was brimming with references to gangsta activity: guns, violence, sex, and drug use, with usage of the N word ("sucka ass nigga tryna sound like me"), which was something uncommon though not totally unheard of in rap records up to that point.

Although originally considered a regional rap record with likely little appeal beyond its immediate hood, the distinctly hardcore rap record struck a nerve with music fans well beyond Philadelphia. The NJ-born, LA-based Ice-T adapted its style for his single, "6 In The Mornin" (later entitled "6 'N the Mornin'), released a year later in 1986. It was also included on his 1987 debut album Rhyme Pays.

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Freddie Gibbs and Madlib Complete Video Trilogy With "Deeper"

Posted by Billyjam, June 5, 2014 06:45am | Post a Comment

Part 3: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib "Deeper"  (from Piñata  2014)
 
Indiana emcee Freddie Gibbs and LA musician/DJ/producer extraordinaire Madlib, have just released a video for the song "Deeper" from their collaborative full-length Piñata (aka Cocaine Piñata) on Madlib Ivazion, which delivers Gibbs' 90's gangsta rap style and features guest spots from such artists as Raekwon, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown, Domo Genesis, Scarface, and Mac Miller. The album topped each Amoeba store's hip-hop charts when it was released on CD and also on vinyl back in March. With the publication this week of the music video for the album track "Deeper" (above), they've completed the third part in the Jonah Schwartz-directed trilogy (admittedly a "loose" trilogy, says Schwartz) in which the "Deeper" video was preceded by two Gibbs/Madlib song videos "Thuggin'" and "Shame."

A brief (and by no means complete) history of Black Los Angeles. Happy Black History Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 30, 2012 07:19pm | Post a Comment
Los Angeles' black population is relatively small compared to the city's other major racial and ethnic minorities. The LA metro area is only 8.7% black as compared to 47% Latino (of any race), 28.7% non-Latino white, and 14% Asian/Pacific Islander. However, since its inception, black Angelenos have always played a major role in LA's history and culture. Los Angeles is one of the only major US cities founded largely by people of black African ancestry. When it was still a Spanish colony, Los Angeles began life as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles on 4 September, 1781 (well, sort of). Of the 44 pobladores who ventured over from nearby San Gabriel, a majority of 26 were identified as having African ancestry.

BLACKS IN MEXICAN AND EARLY AMERICAN LOS ANGELES

Pio Pico
Pio Pico ca. 1890

During the period that Los Angeles was part of Mexico (1821-1840), blacks were fairly integrated into society at all levels. Mexico abolished slavery much earlier than the US, in 1820. In 1831, Emanuel Victoria served as California's first black governor. Alta California's last governor, Pío de Jesus Pico, was also of mixed black ancestry. The US won the Mexican-American War and in 1850, California was admitted to the United States. Although one of America's so-called "free states," discriminatory legislation was quickly enacted to restrict and remove the civil rights of blacks, Chinese, and Native Americans. For example, blacks (and other minorities) couldn't testify in court against white people. 

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Fakin' The Funk: Bait Rap Cases in which Cops Create Fake Rap Businesses to Entrap Criminals

Posted by Billyjam, January 24, 2012 08:45am | Post a Comment
No doubt you're aware of Bait Car - the engaging popular reality TV show on the truTV channel that follows, via tiny hidden video cameras, the exploits of opportunist car thieves who can't pass up the temptation of an empty unlocked car with its engine idling & keys clearly in the ignition crying out "Steal Me!" Of course, as the show's title implies, it is merely bait laid out by police as part of an elaborate entrapment scheme. This entrapment approach as a means of catching "bad guys" has become increasingly more common by law enforcement agencies in recent years. Examples include the NYPD entrapment scheme in which the cops planted "drunks" asleep on subway benches apparently with their wallets or purses open to thieves. Another example that, like Bait Car made for good reality TV, was the predator entrapment practice that would become popular Chris Hansen hosted TV show To Catch A Predator. Two recent cases of entrapment, that would have made for some interesting TV viewing, are two specific cases by law enforcement that are stranger than fiction and each involved rap music as bait.  The two cases, both highly complex and involving approximately one year each, took place in Washington DC and in the UK one and four months ago respectively.  

As reported by several news and hip-hop outlets last month in Washington DC cops along with ATF agents wound up an intricate one year undercover sting operation that entailed agents posing as “music industry insiders” running a "fictional rap label" and amounted to authorities  making numerous arrests and confiscating over $7.2 million in drugs and 161 weapons. The DC sting, which began in November 2010 and went to great lengths to ensure results, involved D.C. police creating the Manic Enterprisess studio in Northeast Washington, even going so far as to create for the fictional label the fictional rap artist Richie Valdez. (Note that unfortunately - and oddly - no images or music reviews or website links seem to exist of this fake rapper.)  Next, reportedly, agents then told the underground world and black market that they were seeking to purchase weapons and drugs which resulted in money, drugs, and weapons: 161 firearms including a rocket launcher, 29 assault weapons, 80 pounds of methamphetamine, 21 pounds of cocaine, 1.25 gallons of PCP, 24 pounds of marijuana, and undisclosed amounts of heroin and ecstasy.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Compton, Los Angeles County's Hub City

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 23, 2011 07:03pm | Post a Comment
***The following blog entry contains strong language and is intended for mature audiences***

Painting of Compton

This edition of Eric's Blog is all about the CPT.  Where? Compton. That's right. To vote for other Los Angeles County communities to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, vote here.



INTRO

Seal of Compton California

Compton is an infamous city that is practically synonymous around the world with the South Los Angeles region in which it's located. Due in large part to the mythologizing and glamorization of N.W.A. and their gangsta rap followers, Compton has also become a byword for urban squalor and gang violence even though (not to make anyone feel old) nearly a quarter of a century has passed since the release of "Straight Outta Compton" and the city has, naturally, changed a great deal in that time. Nevertheless, the media continues to exploit the aging and increasingly irrelevant image as if Compton is frozen in time. Recently, a program on The History Channel hilariously claimed that "going to Compton is a death sentence for non-blacks." Not only are most residents of Compton non-black Latinos, there are small but visible groups of Belizeans, Filipinos, Koreans, Samoans and Tongans.

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