On 20th Anniversary of "Mad Izm" Channel Live's Hakim Green Releases "Mad Izm 2015" And Keeps The Weed Flag Flying High

Posted by Billyjam, November 24, 2015 08:18pm | Post a Comment
"I used to dance for Naughty By Nature back when they were called The New Style," said emcee Hakim Green taking it way back in recalling his earliest role in hip-hop. Speaking to me by phone from Florida the other day he was remembering his formative years that also included working behind the scenes in hip-hop music video production. That was all some years before his introduction to most hip-hop fans in '94 and '95 as half of the now defunct hip-hop duo Channel Live. Along with his partner in rhyme Vincent "Tuffy" Morgan the duo grabbed everyone with their late 1994 single (a hit in 1995) "Mad Izm." The single featured a prominent guest spot from KRS-One and was featured on the East Orange, NJ duo's debut album Station Identification, one of three they would release over a decade long career. While Tuffy has gone into management and behind the scenes music projects, Hakim has stuck with hip-hop as artist and just released a guest-heavy, new single ("Mad Izm 2015 (feat. Treach, Minty Burns, Keith Murray, Do It All & Dyme A Dzin)" (video below) with a similarly titled full length to follow. With "Mad Izm" (meaning weed) being the title of his latest single and forthcoming album  as well as his two-decade old release, not surprisingly, Izm / weed and its legalization is something that Hakim has cared deeply about for a long time, and it is something he has a personal interest in.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Overview of 1990's Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment
The 1990's was an amazing decade for hip-hop music: one which enjoyed the second half of the so-called Golden Era of hip-hop, the birth & proliferation of the indie hip-hop movement, the end of the Afro-centric movement and, propelled by the success of the early decade success of the G-Funk Era, the commercialization of the gangsta rap style that continues to this day.  So for this Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I present a broad overview of the  decade that was the 90's. A by no means inclusive of that very prolific decade this look at the decade merely scratches the surface, selectively highlighting a handful of releases and events (with each year getting a mention) that helped shape the 1990's in hip-hop.

In 1990 revolutionary, militant and Afro-centric hip-hop was in full effect and looked like it would be around forever. Examples included such popular socially & politically charged albums released in that first year of the decade as Public Enemy's third full-length album Fear Of a Black Planet, Ice Cube's first post N.W.A./solo album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Boogie Down Productions' Edutainment,X-Clan's To The East, Blackwards, Brand Nubian's One For All, Poor Righteous Teachers' Holy Intellect, Paris' The Devil Made Me Do It, Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum's self-titled Marley Marl debut, and Lakim Shabazz's Lost Tribe of Shabazz.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: What Ever Happened To Hip Hop?

Posted by Billyjam, August 27, 2013 03:10pm | Post a Comment

The above Sonali Aggarwal directed documentary with the self-explanatory title What Ever Happened to Hip Hop? poses that eternal question among diehard hip-hop followers about however did hip-hop get from point A (IE the more conscious, thought-provoking and lyrically loaded music of decades bygone) to point B (today's more hook driven popular rap). Even though the little viewed documentary was made a few years ago and on a limited budget it is well worth watching and raises some important points especially on the topic of the commodification of the music by major corporations. Most intriguing are the revelation about the artist no-play list that exists at BET, and the points raised about the consumption of popular rap via exposure to airplay with the theory that what we think we like is what is familiar and recognizable - something repetitive airplay will result in.

Also impressive with this documentary is its list of interviewees including KRS-One, Jean Grae, MC Lyte, Afrika Bambaataa, Busy Bee, Slick Rick, and Kool Keith who jokes about coming up with the basis of a pop rap hit. Although, as with many interviews with well-meaning longtime hip-hop fans on their beloved subject, the conversation sometimes takes on an elitist tone with some old school heads dismissing everything new as "shit-hop" or "hip-pop." I hear where they are coming from but cannot fully agree as the state of hip-hop - now or anytime before in its 40 year history - is not just black and white issue. It's a lot more complex than that with a lot of grey in between with hip-hop continually evolving and incorporating new elements and nuances.

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Hip-Hop That Encourages A Healthy Diet

Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2013 12:34pm | Post a Comment

Sam Stomach "80 Bites" (2013)

Rap may have a bad rap for being negative but there are lots of positive raps out there including ones about diet and healthy living: the latest of which is the song/video above - "80 Bites" by Sam Stomach in which the cartoon character encourages healthy eating habits while wisely suggesting limiting ones intake to the amount of bites on a daily basis. "80 Bites, 80 Bites, 80 Bites" repeats Sam in his advice rap on only eating 80 bites of food throughout the day, and thereby retraining your stomach container to return to its original size which in turn will lead to fewer cravings for food / calories. "Puff said it's all about the Benjamins. He was wrong. It's all about the bites my friend," raps Sam who disses most diets. However he instead encourages downloading the "80 Bites" App and signing up for the new diet (at a $50 membership no less!). So really the video/song is just an ad. But still it's coming from a good place and it got me thinking about hip-hop and healthy eating. Beyond movements like the kids oriented Healthy Hip-Hop organization and individuals like "The Hip-Hop Chef - Cooking Tyrone"  who cross-pollinate hip-hop with cooking and who endorses vegan diet and healthy cooking/living, there are numerous hip-hop tracks that rap about diet.

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Happy Hip-Hop Holidayz

Posted by Billyjam, December 25, 2012 02:28am | Post a Comment
For this holiday occasion here are four hip-hop Christmas songs/videos to celebrate the day. Two of them are old school 1980's flashbacks: Run DMC's 1987 Christmas classic (of all genres) "Christmas In Hollis," and the and "Santa's Rap" from the 1984 hip-hop movie Beat Street by The Treacherous Three and Doug E. Fresh. Note that is not the album version but the original film version of the song and hence a little more explicit (better too).

Meanwhile the two new 2012 Christmas rap/hip-hop songs, which are both a bit more cynical than their 80's rap predecessors are from Duck Down Music's Sean Price (the animated "How Sean Price Stole Christmas") and KRS-One (featuring Mad Lion and  Shinehead) and the great new song/video "Holiday Gift Style." Happy Hip-Hop Holidayz!

KRS-One, Mad Lion, Shinehead "Holiday Gift Style" (2012)

Run DMC "Christmas In Hollis" (1987)

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