August 2007

I cant pick a favorite in this 9-11 battle, because I’m thoroughly entertained by both Kanye and 50 Cent…..Sure, Kanye is more fashionable and hip, but 50 is more blunt and commanding. Now the one difference was that self-deprecating humor that Kanye displays, that always wins with me.

But guess who’s got a sense of humor too? (and not just his usual evil kind)

This is 50’s remake of his upcoming Rolling Stone magazine cover, featuring him and Kanye West. (they did a real shoot together too, before the Screamfest show. Its not just some photoshop kum-bye-ya fantasy, lol)

Please note the Gorilla’s spot-on grey doo-rag. Oh wait, I just noticed the rainbow font on “Graduation,” lol…aww that’s bad!

I even hear 50 brings the Kanye Teddy Bear with him to interviews. Maybe to show that he cares (bears). (ok, that was bad. I apologize)

its weird, all day I’ve been seeing news stories, even from credible sources, congratulating Sean Kingston for bagging that Notorious BIG role in the upcoming “Notorious” biopic.

Did it even sound believable when it came out of Sean’s mouth? Nobody had the slightest inclination to double check, even if only because you hoped it wasnt true?

Well, anyways, lets try this one more time…..with an news official statement from Ms. Voletta Wallace and Wayne Barrow, executive producers of “Notorious.”(big up to Complex Magazine’s blog site for notice the previous post where I broke the news that Sean was….dead wrong, lol)

“As Producers of the biopic, “Notorious”, we felt compelled to quell the various False media reports indicating Sean Kingston has landed the coveted role of portraying “The Notorious B.I.G” in the upcoming film.

The role for B.I.G is 100% open and we are diligently searching for the individual to seize the moment and fill those Giant shoes of Greatness, everyone is being considered, including Sean Kingston but noone has been chosen.

R U B.I.G?! , if so:
Log on to:, follow the instructions and upload your video for our review and consideration..”


Kanye played his Graduation album for a packed, SRO, auditorium tonite….and before I even speak on the album itself, let’s first talk details. I’ve already heard what hell it is to work with ‘Ye, lol….smart ppl are usually pretty demanding. And anal retentive…and neurotic…and did I mention demanding, lol. So its no surprise that Kanye had everything planned to a T. There were the Kanye West Graduation programs, featuring all the lyrics to the whole album, plus a few back pages for “notes.” There were the plastic 2-D versions of his signature DEVO shades. There were fog machines, and a light show, and even medleys of Kanye’s favorite visual cues (Anime porn, 2046, etc). I think I saw DJ A-trak’s set up in the lobby. But the crowning touch for me were the huge bags of cheese, caramel and buttered popcorn sitting on the bar.

Maybe the other folks there just thought, “Ok, cool. Movie theater seating. Popcorn. I get it. But no thanks, I’m good.” Me? That popcorn moved me. It was Garrett’s Popcorn. And if you’re from Chicago, you have vivid sense memories of the smell of Garrett’s wafting down Michigan Avenue. The only smell I know of that can cut through Lake Michigan wind in deep winter. And when Kanye arrived at the theater at 6:30 and saw there was only the buttered flavor there….someone had to rush out to get the cheese and caramel kinds before the party could start. Sounds anal, but trust me when I tell you, that cheese and caramel really were key: ) Those are my mom’s favorite flavors too, lol.

Anyways, so much for my rambling….the album. Really good. I remember liking the last album but having these brief moments where I felt like Kanye was rapping at me, and it was getting in the way of enjoying the music. Not so with this album. I liked everything I heard, but especially the three songs Kanye said he did at the very last moment, down in Atlanta, with DJ Toomp and others. (“Barry Bonds,” “Flashing Lights,” and one other, I cant remember which) And of course, “Big Brother” was very poignant, and definitely the best rap song ever made about another rapper : ) Some folks said “Good Life” sounded slower than in earlier listening sessions. And an audience member questioned why “Home” had changed beats and become “Homecoming.” (Kanye’s answer? Because “Home”‘s beat wouldnt rock stadiums, and its lyrics were too good to go to waste. LOL) But again….I really liked “Flashing Lights.”

So that was the music portion….but as Valedictorian of this ceremony, Kanye had to give his Graduation speech. And that’s what I really came for. (I go to album listening sessions but honestly, I prefer to enjoy my rap music in private. Much like my porn. Just keeding.) As different as Kanye and 50 are….I always maintain that they also have many similarities. One of them being that both men are very magnetic public speakers. Kevin Smith, the guy who directed Clerks and Chasing Amy and Dogma, has this documentary of him just doing speaking tours at colleges, where he packs these huge auditoriums and folks watch him for like four hours, just talking out his thoughts, telling hilarious anecdotes about Prince and George Lucas….its genius. Well, my point is, I think Kanye would spit pure fiyah behind a lecturn : )

He revisited his love/loathing of blogs. He decided that music reviews are often full of shit (‘Ye listened to the last Killers album for hours just to get some critic’s ridiculous 2-star Killers review out of his head, lol). And he explained that “making classic albums provides a service,” i.e. “Spaceships” helped people get through their daily grind. And “Stronger” helped one fan deal with death in the family. “Its not all about being the #1 download on iTunes. Or who’s gonna sell more.” (zing!) Kanye was funny and sharing and, dare I say, motivational?

Here were two of my favorite moments from Kanye’s Q&A….

Kanye says he makes song to inspire. And makes interesting point about Jay-Z’s name being a universal word…

Kanye’s brilliant Sept.11 scheme…let the media do the dirty work!

Big up to everyone that I got to talk to after the show. MTV fam (Sha, Rah, Sway, Jrod, Tim), Hillary, Leah, Miatta, Rik Cordero and Cons, Allhiphop fam (Chuck and Steve), UMusic fam (Yvette Davila, Gabe T, my new As-Am sisters Christine Moon and Inur Manoor), King Mag fam (Datwon, Jermaine, with Skyzoo), 88Keys (who’s going on tour with Common and Qtip), and more.

And of course, much love to Al Branch, and the Chicago boys, Kanye, John Monopoly, and Don C. (DemDare was the future)

(ps: no, I have no clips of the album. Nor would I post them if I did.)

Kanye with his fiancee Alexis and a friend. The future Mrs. West is stunning.

Ok, now I’ll shut up. This was even wordier than the “Stronger” screening post : )

Big up to Jeff and Eric Rosenthal of RecognizeReal.blogspot for making this skit and hitting me up with an email. Thank you for having a blog that isnt just the same old hip hop news that I have to wallow in, lol….

Creative ish like this makes me like people again. Eventually it wears off, but for today, I’m all about people : )

Sean Kingston might want to learn that its best not to brag that you’ve gotten something….until you’ve actually gotten it.

The chubbier, younger, version of Akon was spotted at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, where he announced that he would be playing the Notorious B.I.G. in the feature film about his life….


“My management had told me about it. And then you know, I auditioned for it. And then I met with the director, the big director, and I nailed it. So he’s giving me a shot now, in being in the movie.”


So everyone reported that Sean Kingston was the new star of the Biggie biopic. And then Sean gave the late great Frank White a nice pat on the back, calling him “a talented artist.” Umm, not to be a nitpick or anything, but it kinda felt like the understatement of someone who’s sole knowledge of Frank White’s work started with “Born Again.”……ugh.



But tonite I got an email from Wayne Barrow, Biggie’s longtime manager, friend, and the executive-producer of the Notorious B.I.G biopic.

“NO, Sean Kingston nor ANY other individual has been cast for the role of Christoper “Notorious B.I.G” Wallace or any other characters which will be portrayed in the biopic of B.I.G!!!.

We will continue to search for the individual to fill the shoes of B.I.G in this film…”

Phew. Because I was worried that the director was going to throw credibility to the wind to get that fleeting teen audience. Reality check=the teens aren’t the ones still swearing that Big is the greatest rapper dead or alive.
And being of Jamaican descent, having a hit record and glandular issues shouldn’t get you automatically cast in a role that an entire borough, an entire city, hell…a whole generation will be holding under a microscope.

So the casting is still open. Swagger is a prerequisite.

(ps: is it true that Sean Kingston played Biggie in the “Sky’s the Limit” video? I heard that once but its never been confirmed.)

Common’s “Driving Me Wild” feat. Lily Allen. Very cute. Lauren London is so random to me, though. On another note, I finally saw that movie “Smokin’ Aces.” The storyline was swiss cheese but visually appealing. And I really liked Common and Alicia’s performances. Well, Common’s more than Alicia’s but, anyways…here’s the new vid. Big up to Nigel at for sending it over!

And my boy Rik Cordero did it again with this Consequence video “Uncle Rahiem” feat. a nice cameo from DMC. He shot this maaad long ago, no idea what took the label so long to release it!

Jay-Z as Jason Bourne? I have no idea what this video is for, and honestly I didnt quite follow the progression of it completely, but big up to the creator, Patrick Gayot, for all the effort and creativity! I loved the hand-drawn animation. He sent this youtube link to me today. Nicely done.

ahh, what a charmed life. Just think about how blissful it must be to be this stupid. Everyday must be so much fun for this pretty thing, lol.

From the recent Miss Teen USA pageant’s dreaded Q&A segment….

Tonite I went to watch the live taping of the Making the Band Finale over in the fiery depths of hell…..aka Times Square. And I’m not gonna dance around this….I would have never gone to this event on my own. I would have been perfectly happy finding out tomorrow (or honestly, whenever I caught a rerun) who made the final cut on the 4th incarnation of this modern day Menudo. But I was asked to cover the event for work, so you can check out the webvideo of my interview with Diddy, Danity Kanye and the new boy band later this week at

But you know what…my cynical, jaded ass was kinda won over by these fresh-faced fellas. All 10 of the finalists seemed genuinely talented and shockingly likeable. They didn’t give us all the ignorant entertaining antics of that other Making the Band band…what were they even called? The one with Babs, Choppa and the other guys? (so much for spitting that “hot fiyah” lol). And that choreographer Laurie Ann still thinks she was the “show.” So congrats to the newly formed [Insert Name Here] band—Robert, Brian, Big Mike, Q, and Will. Good luck guys. You’ll need it: )

But more importantly…..while I was talking to Diddy, he confirmed to me what I posted about that “I Get Money” remix, featuring him, Hov and 50. Diddy called it the Billion Dollar remix but he couldnt say whether Kanye’s verse would ever be cleared. Thanks for keeping it real, Puff.

hahaa….Jsmooth’s videoblogs make my day….this one is about how folks love to monitor hip hop’s vital stats, or demonize hip hop fans and hip hop artists. Its especially entertaining when politicians/community leaders use hip hop as caulk for their leaky plumbing. The hip hop is dead debate is like the new jazz-hands.

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