Back in 1993, the hip hop group Digital Underground needed to release a single to promote their 4th album, the Body-Hat Syndrome, in the hopes they could recapture the magic of their two biggest hits, Humpty Dance and Doowutchyalike. Frontman Greg "Shock G" Davis (aka Humpty Hump) needed a gimmick to promote the new single, Return of the Crazy One, so he hired FM Productions in San Francisco (who had also designed flying pigs for Pink Floyd concerts) to create a 12-foot high sculpture of his own head, which would allow him to emerge from a trap door in the nostrils. Fast forward almost twenty years later, until a guy with the web handle johnny payphone finds the giant head abandoned and covered in dust in an Oakland warehouse after a homeless man attempted to live in it for several weeks. No museums have yet expressed interest in the head, but if you have the money, and you can take good care of it, the giant Humpty Hump head could be yours.
Stop Snitchin' may be the hidden link between hip hop and the 1980s alternative rock group, House of Freaks. According to the New York Post, journalist Ethan Brown has accomplished "making the Stop Snitching movement seem reasonable" in his new book Snitch: Informants, Cooperators, and the Corruption of Justice. Brown argues that harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses have created a "cottage industry of cooperators" and informants who fabricate evidence, because Provision 5K1.1 of federal sentencing guidelines gives leniency in exchange for "substantial assistance to authorities." According to Brown, two of these criminal cooperators included Ray Dandridge and Ricky Gray, the perpetrators of the Richmond spree murders that ended the life of Brian Harvey of House of Freaks, his wife, and his two children. On the other hand, Mark Kleiman argues that the Stop Snitchin' movement has driven homicide clearance rates so low that, in some cities, "you have a better than even chance of literally getting away with murder." [more inside]
George Bush Doesn't Care about Black People: The Remix? Kanye West's anti-Bush ad lib on a telethon for the victims of Hurricane Katrina has already attracted considerable controversy, but now Legendary K.O. of the Houston rap group, the K-Otix, has decided to immortalize Kanye West's soundbite by incorporating it into a mash-up with Kanye's song Golddigger. The K-Otix rewrote Golddigger's lyrics to serve as an indictment of Bush and his sluggish response to Katrina, while simultaneously promoting Houston Hurricane Aid to help displaced residents of New Orleans. Other rappers including Mos Def have already recorded songs in response to the disaster, while other performers such as Jay-Z and Usher have rallied to Kanye West's defense.
John Walker Lindh, Hip Hop MC? Before John Walker Lindh became the American Taliban, he hid his whiteness, excoriating wack MCs on Usenet hip-hop bulletin boards. Attracted to Islam after listening to hip hop influenced by the Five Percenter movement, he later abandoned rap to denounce Nas as a fake Muslim. An interesting, but previously unexamined side to the American jihadist.