Do the Right Thing wasn’t ahead of its time. It was behind its time, and it’s ahead of ours. It came out in the summer of 1989, six months before Driving Miss Daisy, but if you can imagine it without hip-hop, it could have come out in 1939 alongside Gone with the Wind; without color, in 1929 with The Jazz Singer; without sound, 1915 and The Birth of a Nation. If you updated the soundtrack and the fashion a bit and released it next week, critics would praise its timeliness and how its depiction of police brutality and racial tension captures the angry zeitgeist surrounding the recent killings of unarmed black civilians by police officers. Some might even predict that it would ultimately end up feeling dated, as some did 25 years ago. If only. - Lessons from Do the Right Thing on Its 25th Anniversary
"Rap music wasn’t just the black CNN: it was the black Psychic Friends Network. In fact, the history of rap music could be viewed as a litany of complaints about the police that seems to have predicted this current state of unrest."A pair of articles: one tracing the evolution of rap's relationship with police, from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and Public Enemy, to Lil' Wayne and Run The Jewels (previously) and a more personal look at how RUN-DMC and Parliament allowed a writer to embrace his African-American heritage. [more inside]
The movie was shot over nine weeks in Brooklyn, entirely on Stuyvesant Avenue between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue.... [more inside]
Andrew Collins started a blog in July 2013 - Circles of Life: The 143 - he's about half way through now. [more inside]
Flickr user Harvezt brings you The Dark Side of the Covers, which recreates 33 rock album covers as seen from the OPPPOSITE direction. Some of the covers are iconic, others are obscure, some of the interpretations are simple and obvious, others are creative and... interesting. (And some are NSFW, but then, some of the original covers were NSFW).
It used to be that a CD or good old fashioned 12" vinyl would simply play, and your only indication of when it was about to end would be the album tracklisting printed on the sleeve. Hearing another song start up just as you thought the album was finished and got up to change the record was always an unexpected thrill - a surprise encore in your bedroom, a sort of reward for listening right through to the end. Yes, the iPod and its many variants have transformed the way people listen to music, but as someone who grew up waiting excitedly when an album finished to see if there was an extra hidden treat at the end of an album, I'll always see the death of the secret song as the sad flipside of its success. [more inside]
In 1991, Ice Cube was a force of nature. The idea that he could someday star in Are We There Yet? was inconceivable. Still, commercialism wasn't foreign to him. He shilled St. Ides malt liquor as furiously as he called out the police.St. Ides, manufactured by Pabst Brewing Company, targeted young black people. They built an advertising strategy around rappers and hired DJ Pooh to produce beats and commercials. Rappers responded with zeal. [more inside]
MTV bans Public Enemy 's video "Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need" because the video contains the lyric "Free Mumia and H Rap Brown". MTV are willing to air the video if the lyric is cut. Public Enemy front-man Chuck D is vocal in his response. Responsible action or censorship in its worst form?
Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me … "Media arrogance and dishonesty means we are eternally bound to live in a skewed world where Elvis is king of rock'n'roll, Clapton is the guitar god, Sinatra is the voice and Astaire is the greatest dancer." Is it right to celebrate an artist who’s fame derived from appropriating and diluting the original music of black America?
"95% of all music will be free, at least for a period…" says Chuck D, while praising the magic of Napster. I <heart> Chuck D.