Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hot outside, ebooks, 10,000 Watts & Drumming

A goody goody salute to you.

When it gets hot outside, it really gets hot outside. The young boys here go berserk with the deading. But there's nothing like a little perspective for that ass. Recent Mungiki vs. Police killings make Northeast Gutter City pop-off Shenanigans seem like an episode of Fraggle Rock. Who was down with Fraggle Rock? Yeah you know me! Leo Faya had a Buru Reminisce Piece that you may want to feel out. I might just be down for a back-in-the-day version of my own, like Faya said, before the dementia sets in. Some people never need worry.

Speaking of which, American Football has a case to answer as far as depression, dementia and general brain damage is concerned. I always knew there was trouble with those blunt hits.

Big up to my brother Sultan on the alert. The EA Standard had a piece this weekend about the cut-throat turf wars on the K.E. entertainment scene. On all levels, from Event Hosts to Bouncers. Pretty soon, even the bartenders are going to get in on it. The very interesting thing to me is that D.S. Njoroge is the go-to guy for all the big international shows, which I suspect is because of his well known 10,000 watt sound system. (I'm ashamed he ok'd Ja Rule... Richie Spice....more like it. Most definitely worth it to see that Dread live at least once in your life). Still, no new pretenders in the Biggest Sound in K.E. race?

It's a beautiful thing...when Namibia comes to Nairobi and falls. Now, they can nail up a new scalp at the RFUEA grounds with Morocco doing that now-dead Motorbike dance move formerly dearly beloved by my bredren Msanii....Going Dooowwn.

With ODM not finding a suitable Flag Bearer at this point in the game is telling. Raila is already looking to 2012! But that doesn't mean ODM is done with. Peep Alexcia's reasons. All the same, a stalemate now only means someone will end up being frustrated late in the game, and not entirely willing to yum up on the humble pie, and bail.

Nuff Respect to Akiey, who is grinding heavy in the Midwest, currently pitching a Barack Obama ebook, Best Speeches of Barack Obama, available for free download for a limited time. With New York City Mayor and I-don't-need-your-guap-rich billionaire Michael Bloomberg almost throwing his hat in the ring, the leading candidates on the both the Democrat and Republican sides must make their cases known before this turns into another year 2000 type fiasco, where the Dems were left baying for spoiler Ralph Nader's blood, as Ross Perot is back in a flashy NYC format.

Who didn't see this coming: he's portrayed God already, so what's a little Nelson Mandela going to do for him? Morgan Freeman is Nelson Mandela in a recollection of SA's 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph. Coming soon, White and Blacks united under one banner... White America will shed a tear. Wait...wasn't there only one black player on the 1995 Springboks? Chester Williams, I believe? Jonah Lomu. What a beast he was in that tournament. The memorable mismatch I recall was the one with those tiny Japanese team peeps trying to hold on to their dignity as Lomu trod them underfoot.

So what do I does on a fly Sato night like this one? The truth, I'm heavy in the lab, cooking up some new heat. No bashdowns tonight. The time hasn't arrived for me to speak on what's on the horizon. Still, the dirty work must get done, Monday to Sunday. Break time is over. Must go find my 808 kit and get busy. Thankfully the team is present and it's riot in here. I wouldn't prefer it otherwise.



Friday, June 15, 2007

Money, Gaza & Death.

Oh yeah that Time has come again....

The Time when I look at my tv and wonder what is going to happen to it now that the NBA is over....No more basketball on tv till it's cold again......

San Antonio are the testament to the Tortoise Way to Run Things. Phoenix and Dallas, the high flying (aka sunguch) teams in the West ran out of steam before the post season, while the Spurs had been easily choo-chooing at a steady clip only seeming to up the ante in the playoffs. The scary thing? The Big Three (Duncan, Ginobili and brand new Finals MVP, Parker) remain unchanged in the line-up until 2011. I wish that was exciting news. By the way, who's keeping count of how many rings Robert Horry has amassed? Look for trades to happen quickly in Cleveland.


On Madaraka Dizzay, Tony Thompson passed. Not to be confused with the late drummer from funk outfit Chic, this Thompson was the lead vocalist in the young boy group Hi Five.

The Gems: 1990, I Like the Way (Kissing Game) had smooch rookies in boarding school seeking out cute, willing guinea pigs for lip lock behind the girls bathroom at supper time on Sundays, while the rest of us hungry bastards were trying to miraculously acquire an extra piece of meat (incidentally, the resulting blackmail would guarantee some of us extra nyaks for weeks). FFWD>> 1992 She's Playing Hard To Get and Quality Time, the former being a quality New Jack Swing effort that lit up many a venue with masses united in the execution of the that dance they called the Pyrate, while I assume the lyrics from Quality Time found perfect use on a high school love letter or two. Or for simply yumming up the baby making....

Then came Sexsational, the solo LP in 1995 with a first single I Wanna Love Like That that stayed booming in matts for months, as well as in Bubbles and Visions; John Karani and crew hyped it up on the English Service drive time show (before the wide wonderful world of FM babies), and it definitely had my vote for one of the better R&B jams of that year, as if we were starving for good crack then.

Tony Thompson, dead at 31. Initial reports speculate it may have been a drug related death but the official word hasn't been released yet. In any case, for all the good flavas, my simple tribute. R.I.P. Thanks for the tunes and memories.


This is also blowing under the radar, but the East Cost Rap Fraternity is mourning Monday's shooting death of Stack Bundles. Most recently affiliated with Dipset's Byrd Gang Crew, he initially stormed on the scene with other Desert Storm alums Joe Budden and Ransom under that banner. Bundles had a unique slick, thugged out oh-so-New York flow. Gutter and outspoken, his fodder was the streets and all the non-fluffy things in them unless, of course, it was a spanking new Lexus LS 460h or similar artifacts of couture and grace. His immersion into Dipset along with Jim Jones brethren Max B is directly related to Jim Jones stylistic upgrade, which led to Jones making some mainstream noise in 2006. Bundles' debut Dipset mixtape appearance was in 2006, on the same mixtape Jones' banger We Fly High debuted on. Outside of Dipset, he was involved with his own crew Riot Squad (Bynoe, thanks for everything, we're with y'all). Stack Bundles has been a mixtape favorite since 2004, it's a suprise Papoose, Saigon, Joell Ortiz, Tru Life, Maino, Uncle Murder and Red Cafe were all toting major label deals before him.

Never heard spitting some sappy mess for the ladies, always spitting crack tales, gunfights or styling on them retardedly, this is definitely one rapper I was checking for in NY...he never took a day off in his rhymes. He will be missed. No street mixtape of mine was complete without a Stack Bundles contribution. Definitely, his passing is an alert for all rappers with one foot in the game, other foot in the streets.

Rayquon Elliott, dead at 24. Before his time in the sun.


It's not a movie, not 28 Days or Weeks Later. 5 Days later, Gaza Strip is owned by Hamas. In the same week, an anti Syrian Lebanese MP is assassinated and a suspected terrorist bomb goes off in the Green City in the Sun. A freaking cowinkidink?


The US Immigration Bill dead and buried? Coming soon....The next week soon.


Holla at Half n Half. Good thing you kicked them cigarette thangs to the curb, as the Jamhuri Budget attacks smokes and beer for the umpteenth time (Brand new entry at number 3... Free High School!!). Better roads, more teachers and coffee farmers get debt relief.




Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tuesday at the Training Camp

Mid-afternoon, early May 2007. Walking up Avenue A on a leafy sun-blessed Gotham afternoon. Tis a wonderful thing that it warmed early this year, as these NYU co-eds are keeping your boys open. With a more reticent and dignified appeal, this part of Manhattan is one I could get used to. Maybe I'm in the South Bronx and Brooklyn too much, I need to style up. But far from a lolly gag episode of fun possibilities (a shame, because dark haired queen posted up on the corner looks like the one for me. Me and her hand in hand through the park, what!), we head a block up away from the park towards a mob lined up outside a nondescript entrance. White tees and fitted hats, allover print hoodies, bapester and air force one sneaks and a slight whiff of piff. There are a few ladies sprinkled in the crowd but this for the most part is a heavily testosterone scene.

Every Tuesday night at this unassuming location in Manhattan the doors get flung open for New York to get a taste of what's next in the streets. The brainchild of Brooklynite Mental Supreme, the night is billed as Tuesday Training Camp, which also doubles up as the moniker for his nicely quorumed rap crew. Although it's only 4:45 in the afternoon, the sidewalk outside Club Pyramid is owned by these early birds. There will be no latecomers, especially when this is going to be a Tuesday more special than most. When Mental Supreme shows up to take count he only takes those he will see outside into consideration, otherwise you just might have to be really special. Mental's dark suv pulls in at about 5:30. He walks up to the chained doors holding a list, exchanging greetings with all and announces "Aight, who was first?"

In a suprisingly orderly way, the list builds itself. People go out of their way to point out who was there ahead of them. Even those who had been in line but had stepped away and were still missing at Mental's arrival are spoken for. Getting there this late in the game would mean looking at at least 20 people ahead of us, but coming from two hours away on a last minute call-up goes well with Mental. We find ourselves among the first six performers. Once the performances are settled, the crowd melts away to await showtime at 10:00pm.

While there are many similar forums all over the region, Tuesday Training Camp has built a reputation for being a brutally honest rapper showcase. No hoopla about cash prizes, celebrity judges or studio time up for grabs here. Just bring it. If the crowd isn't with it by the time the first hook is done they're obliged to clap you off. Maybe you'll luck up the following week. In a room full of backpacker-like purists and street honed lyricists, their fans, wannabe rappers, highly opinionated people somehow involved in rap music and label execs, the tolerance level is pretty low. We were hoping for a few familiar faces in the crowd but we had left our turf by ourselves, just the two of us, at the last minute scrambling to get out of work to make it there. The crowd that evening was a good mix of suits and baggy jeans, skirts and apple bottom slacks complete with a squadron of boisterous Brooklyn and Jersey dames. Where Harlem at? We make sure we hand out as many cds as possible.

The lights go dim as the DJ fades out his warm-up set of mid-90's boom bap. It's 9:45 but the building is already packed and there is a queue down the street. Mental and sidekick Biggs, who is a leading Training Camp member, get on stage as the Masters of Ceremonies. In the building that evening are executives from G-Unit, Atlantic, Universal and Interscope as well as scouts from D-Block and Def Jam. It's a networking bonanza. Then the reason why Mental had been adamant about us showing up becomes clear: MTV were set up ready to tape the event and there would be a special performance in the middle of the showcase by a brand new Interscope Records artist. The place gets hype. Due to the massive turnout for the showcase that week each act gets to do one song only.

First act, Ancient Scroll, an older, nay, middle aged West Indian with an off beat flow, but tonight he's just off beat and he's offstage in a rush. Act Two launches to the stage with a portable fog machine and polyester outfit like a leftover from an 80's funk band. His love song has an extra long intro and before he even lays into his song he's booed off. Act three is looking jitterish. Indeed, he's forgotten the end of his first verse. Gone. We're up.

Wait. We didn't rehearse, we are about to perform a song that we've never performed before, the crowd has tasted blood and no doubt they want more. Damn, we're up this early? So be it New York. Let's play.

"What up What up....I go by the name Smalls," my partner booms into his mic. "This joint is called Let's Go." With a slight eye cue from me the DJ sets track two off and I enthusiastically plow into my hype man role seeking to quickly find the zone. Smalls goes into the first verse. The crowd watches silently waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Being lyrically deft is a good thing in here and this uptempo club joint has heads bouncing. It seems to be going well with the ladies also. I latch on Smalls' punchlines accentuating them for impact. While Smalls tilts his mic upward rooted to the spot preaching, I venture to roam the small stage casually doing my romp nailing my cues. The second verse is wrapping up and I'm definitely feeling the heat rising from under my shirt, the words are getting throatier, the neck is snapping harder and our posture is confident. I'm channelling Freaky Tah tonight. Smalls is stellar as usual. It's the final stretch now, I spy a girl with a golden jacket and stunna shades getting atop a speaker to the right of us. That's the fuel I need. We've got them. Now we're right on the brim of the stage, words loud, spittle flying, right hand on the mic, left arm in the air body moving in time. "Let's Go!" The music cuts, and the crowd lightly claps. Props never come easy in The Rotten Apple or anywhere in the North East for that matter. And amid the clapping the rant goes up among that Brooklyn bevy, "Bullet! Bullet!" Bless them.

Post-Morterm: Phew... The first survivors of the night. I wonder if it was a good call going up that early, but better that than when the crowd gets weary ten acts in. And this new song we did sounds good live. Good pick.... Damnit Smalls, we forgot to shout out New York. We barely talked to them tonight. Not that it matters. Not as much as when the clapping was happening, as the gunfingers went up in the air, as my Brooklyn darlings saluted us, we proclaimed these words proud. Prouder words still. "Big Up all Africans."

Big Up.

Check out Smalls' brand new mixtape THE BRIEFING available for download.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Madaraka Dizzay!!!!

As I ride into the Nyayo Staduim in the ceremonial titties-out Land Rover with the the red guts.....white rungu in the air while the masses serve makofi za kilo and the Army Band toots that Presidential Funk....

I know, I know....I'm straight violating with the gross neglect of the blog, but for now I've promised myself less wwwing, more grindin, less new music, more 90's hewas and more sunshine. And it's been hot outside. May is always right, the month when the legs return from hiberbnation.

Many moons ago, courtesy of Half n Half I was tagged. Much obliged sweets.

---I'm self taught in a lot of ways. Taught myself to ride a bike, swim, dj, rap, making beats and production. I never really was anyone's understudy for these and other things. I need to study under a mack though. I kick game to chicks like a punk.

---I'm that jamaa they call the Anti-Flick. If I watch more than 10 new movies this year it'll be a brand new record. Don't even ask me the last time I was in the movie theatre. They already dropped Shrek 3 and Shrek 1 hasn't been seen yet. They just don't make movies edgy enough for me. Good winning over evil every single damn time is boring. As is that rapturous kiss that comes in the finale, and the villain's monologue before he takes the L.

----Few things rankle the kid, but I absolutely can't stand folks who see themselves better than the others. And those judgemental holier than thou I'm going to heaven while you flame in a sulphur diesel pit types. And bredren who will dismiss a skirt coz she's only an A-cup with a low fade like Fabolous. Allergic to all that.

----I have no problem being by myself. When I first hit the exile I never ran into another jamhuribody for over 2 years. Never felt the need to and I wasn't going to force it. Put me on an island with some books and some music and I'm good.

---I consider myself funny and all that, but I can never remember any jokes I've heard or been told to me. This is me: "Sikiza, a Rapper, a priest and an Irish man go to the bar and....wait... It's a Rabbi, A priest and a Polish guy...and then....wait....I'll be right back with more drinks."

---I like knowing all kinds of trivia. Like yesterday, I learned Giant Squid live between 1500 and 3000 feet under the sea. Or the AR-15 rifle was the precursor to the M16, which made it's disastrous debut in Vietnam. Or that none of you really give a frruqk.

----I write better than I talk. Like James Earl Jones or Wahome Mutahi, I was a born stammerer, learned my way out of it, but nothing ever comes out the way I want it to. If I could talk like a comic book character with conversation ballons right above my head I would. And every now and then I still st-st-tutter stutter.

I know I know....Say it, don't spray it. My fault.


I understand I must say something profound today in celebration. This has always stuck with me. From an old Cappadonna record. Slang Editorial. The very first line he spits.

'I came to a fork in the road and went straight.'


Happy Madaraka Day to y'all. Stay warm and enjoy Safari Sevens if you are up on the Equator, for those in the heat, warn me ahead of time where the cookout is at. I'm sick with meat on a metal grill over hot coals. And emptying your cooler.