Posts Tagged ‘hip hop


?uestlove. [photogenic.]




I’m not a very photogenic person. Perhaps it’s an erroneous perception based on my own inability to accept my physical appearance, or the unappealing nature thereof. Either way, I’m endlessly fascinated by people who seem born to sit before the camera. I’m not talking about the supermodel variety, I’m talking more about random people, mostly (but not exclusively) of the musical artist variety,  who seem to have an endless supply of brilliant photography of which they are the subject. I wanted to share some of my favorite portraits with those of you out there in internetland. So, when the mood strikes me, I’ll keep posting them. I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will continue to show up again and again, such as Tom Waits, Alison Sudol (A Fine Frenzy), and today’s subject, Mos Def, to name a few.

I’m not ashamed to point out that for my money, Mos Def is flat out sexy. I’d be more than satisfied with a mere third of his unique, smooth, effortlessly cool style and persona. And, if that weren’t enough, he also recently released the best Hip Hop CD I’ve heard in a long time.  I figure, since this is the first photogenic post, I’ll post three photos of the fabulous Mr. Most Definitely.

Mos Def

Mos Def

Mos Def


casa bey.

The Ecstatic, the new Mos Def album, is amazing! I love it. It literally floored me the first time through, keeping me from doing writing that I was supposed to be doing at the time. I may write more on the CD soon now that school is winding down a bit, but we’ll see. At the very least I wanted to post the music video for the album’s first single, ‘Casa Bey.’ As the album’s final song, ‘Casa Bey’ works quite well as a  grand finale, showcasing Mos Def’s characteristically smooth flow. As he says in the song, you can’t stop his go.

I mourn the fact that garbage like 50 Cent and such flood the airwaves, all the while Mos Def isn’t nearly as famous as he should be. He should be at the top of the Billboard charts and such for months on end… but he isn’t, Lil’ Wayne is instead. Ugh!

See the video here: Casa Bey


five things. 11.7.08

1. Q-Tip – The Renaissance –

Q-TipThere is no more appropriate emcee name in all of Hip Hop than Tribe alum Q-Tip. I have no idea where his name came from, or what his intentions were in either adopting or accepting this particular moniker before changing Hip Hop forever. Yet, whatever his intent, Q-Tip is a fantastically fitting name.

Q-Tip is the brand name that has replaced the more generic term, cotton swabs, much like Kleenex is what many people call tissues. Thus, most associate Q-Tip with the product designed to be soft to avoid friction upon entering one’s ear. So, what better name could an emcee like Q-Tip have, with his smooth, easy voice that belies the complex poetry of his lyrics. When Q-Tip speaks, his words enter our ears without the friction caused by much of the awkward lyrics, and inaudible grunting and yelling that characterizes so much of the garbage that passes itself off as rap on the radio. His voice is the perfect compliment to the jazz heavy Hip Hop that A Tribe Called Quest created throughout my childhood.


So, in a time where most rap makes my ears hurt, Q-Tip is the perfect remedy to join the ranks of Mos Def, Common, The Roots, Talib Kweli and the like, to sooth my ears and resume his role as champion for Hip Hop as art as opposed to Hip Hop as mindless club anthems. That is why it is in line with this theme of appropriate names that Q-Tip’s new CD is called The Renaissance, hopefully it will bring about the sort of renewed life and artistic inspiration the name promises.

I’ve listened to it about three times through since I got it on Tuesday, and it hasn’t disappointed.

Now, if only Tip would get back together with Phife and the boys and release another Tribe album, my life might just be complete.

2. Brian is coming Tuesday –

This one is pretty self-explanatory, Brian is coming on Tuesday in the hopes of testing out the job market here to see if he can make money out here in Seattle. Emily and I hope it goes well, so that Brian will soon be living in our happy home.

3. 4. AND 5. President-elect Barack Obama –

He got the electoral votes at more than 2-1, so it’s only fitting that he gets to take up slots in this week’s five things 3-2.


I’m ecstatic that Barack Obama was elected president, and I have been closely following the initial stages of his transition toward being the the 44th President of the United States. I know he has a huge mess to face when he enters office, but I am continually taken by the integrity of his character and the focus of his leadership and I think he is our best chance of turning things around.

There, I said it (or wrote it to be more precise). I’ve been quite careful about including my thoughts on Obama very often, and to be honest, I’m tired of it. My fear was that this blog would become the target of the ugly political rhetoric that has been so tiresome to so many and I didn’t want to deal with it.

Well, I’m done hiding behind carefully chosen fluff, and if you feel the need to attack me with the sort of unbecoming, hate-filled bitterness that flooded Facebook and Twitter from so many of my “Christian” friends, so be it.

I believe in the leadership of Barack Obama… sue me. Many have been telling me from the very beginning how foolish that is. I would need more than two hands to count my conservative friends who responded to the articulation of my feelings about Obama back in 2004 (after both his DNC speech and his interaction with Sojourners), by telling me how impossible that would be. The primary reasons they gave were that not enough white people would actually cast their vote for a black man, and that he could never survive a tussle with the Clinton machine. Well, I’m tired of feeling foolish about my beliefs when nothing anyone has told me to dissuade me has had anything to do with reality thus far. He is stronger and better equipped to lead than you give him credit for, so let’s focus on concrete debate about policies and let go of the silly character attacks that just make people sound like 2nd Graders fighting over a swing.

The thing that bothers me the most about the reaction to Obama’s victory is the insensitivity by so many toward what this means for our country. People who grew up in a country where they were forced to eat behind a divider at a restaurant because of the color of their skin, who couldn’t drink out of the same water fountain or use the same bathroom, who were treated like sub-human beings, were just able to vote for a black man to be the President of that same country. A people who are continually treated as second class citizens in far too many contexts experienced the validation of having a black man win more than 2-1 electorally, with a very impressive percentage of the popular vote, getting a mandate from the people that he can lead our country, as well as a mandate that we really are moving forward socially. Pardon the following language, but THAT’S FUCKING HUGE, and I’m quite honestly embarassed for you if you can’t see that.

I have many Republican, conservative, evangelical friends, like Catherine Golden and Bryanne Figlia, who voted for McCain, disagree with Obama’s politics and would vote for McCain again if given the chance, but who were still able to appreciate the beauty and history of what Obama’s victory means. As well as those like Waldo, whose views and ideals wouldn’t let them vote for Obama, but who, as Waldo’s post yesterday indicates, understand that this moment matters. I disagree with them on much politically, and I couldn’t be prouder to count them as friends.

All of us share the collective consciousness of 9/11 and that tragedy. It was our Dr. King or JFK assasination. But now, I’m so grateful to have been able to share with so many others a moment of a very different kind. This is our moon landing. Whatever happens next, this is a beautiful moment in our our history. I’m so happy that there are seven wonderful people aside from Emily and me who will always remember that they were in our living room when this history was made.

Anyway, that’s enough of that for now. Perhaps soon I will write about how, while Obama’s victory was a beautiful moment and indication of our progress, the bans on same-sex marriage is a sad indication of the opposite, and of the work yet to be done socially. For now, these pictures of Obama are well worth checking out, keep clicking the ‘show more images’ link.

I strongly welcome comments to this post, but please let them be actual dialogue and not bitter ranting. Thanks.

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