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Public Enemy

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TODD MACMILLAN/UNIVERSAL PICTURES

TODD MACMILLAN/UNIVERSAL PICTURES

Recently, the news of the new N.W.A. biopic hit the net with a new release date and first photos. Straight Outta Compton will tell the story of N.W.A. (Dr. Dre, Eazy E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella) as they rose to music and pop culture fame in the 1980s with their debut album of the same name, and beyond. In past years, we’ve seen more than a few Hip Hop biopics hit theatres, from Notorious, telling the story of Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, and 8 Mile, a semi-autobiographical account of part of Eminem’s story. And of course, the Tupac Shakur biopic is reportedly beginning to take shape as well. But the truth is that there are tons of towering Hip Hop figures that deserve their own major motion picture treatment on the silver screen. Here are a few Hip Hop legends we’d like to see have their biographies told on the big screen.

Bob MarleyThe #1 songs of this week were:

1990 – Madonna – Vogue (24 years ago)
1997 – Hanson – MMMBop (17 years ago)
2004 – Usher – Burn (10 years ago)


May 18th

In 1999, The Backstreet Boys release their third album, Millennium.


May 19th

In 2009, Glee made its debut on Fox. Their cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” went to #4, and brought the original version back to the charts at #9.


May 20th

In 1972, Busta Rhymes was born.

In 1985, The Apollo Theater reopens after extensive renovations.

In 2009, Michael Jackson was supposed to start his “This Is It” tour, but pushed the dates back to July. He stated needing more rehearsal time as his reason for pushing the tour back. Unfortunately, Michael passed away shortly before the new tour dates.


May 21st

In 1972, Notorious B.I.G. was born.

In 1981, Bob Marley was buried in St. Ann’s, Jamaica with state honors.

In 2003, Mariah Carey called Eminem a “little girl” for threatening to sample voicemails the singer had left him on his next album.

In 2003, Ruban Studdard beat Clay Aiken as the second winner of American Idol.

In 2008, Lou Pearlman was sentenced to 25 years in jail on four federal charges including conspiracy and money laundering. Lou Pearlman was the manager for Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and others.

In 2011, Adele went to #1 in the US with “Rolling In The Deep”.

In 2013, Chris Brown was charged with a misdemeanor hit and run in San Francisco.


May 22nd

In 1989, Public Enemy kicked Professor Griff out of the group after he made anti-Semitic remarks in the Washington Post.


May 23rd

In 2006, Jordin Sparks wins the sixth season of American Idol.

In 2008, Slick Rick was pardoned by the governor of New York for the attempted murders of two men in 1991.


May 24th

In 2000, 50 Cent was shot 9 times while inside a parked car and was dropped by his label at the time, Columbia,


Check out what happened in music history last week, May 11 – May 17.

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The #1 songs of this week were:

2009 – Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow (5 years ago)
2006 – Daniel Powter – Bad Day (8 years ago)
2000 – Santana feat. The Product G&B – Maria Maria (14 years ago)


April 14th

In 1988, Public Enemy release their second album, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”. Some of the group’s best tracks came off this album including “Don’t Believe The Hype” and “Bring the Noise”.


April 15th

In 2006, Mary J. Blige sets a record with 15 weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with her single “Be Without You”.


April 17th

In 2008, Leona Lewis becomes the first British woman to debut at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart with her debut album “Spirit”. Leona Lewis was the winner of the UK’s X Factor.


April 18th

In 2003, Etta James receives her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2008, Foxy Brown is released after serving 8 months at Riker’s Island for battery charges.


April 19th

In 1986, Prince became the 5th songwriter in history to have two singles in the top ten on the charts at the same time. These songs were “Kiss” and “Manic Monday”.

In 1989, Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” hits #1.


This was a pretty slow week in music history. Check out what happened in music history last week, April 6 – April 12.

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Long Island Music Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Public Enemy, are known around the world for their politically charged lyrics and their criticism of the American media.  But with all their activism and time spent in the public eye, how much do you really know about Public Enemy?


1. They formed at Adelphi University in Long Island

The four artists collaborated together on a college radio program before they were recognized.


2.  They were only the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

They were inducted on December 11, 2012.  Other inductees are Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-DMC, and the Beastie Boys.


3. Terminator X left the group after a motorcycle accident.

The accident shattered his leg and left him hospitalized for a month.  After his exit, he was replaced by DJ Lord.


4. They helped to create “rap metal”.

They partnered with thrash metal group Anthrax to create and define this new cross-genre style of music.


5. Chuck D released the track “Check Out the Radio” while he was still delivering furniture for his father’s business.


6. “Bring the Noise” was the fastest rap song of its era.

The song comes in at 109 beats per minute.


7. Publicenemy.com was one of the first websites created for a rap or hip-hop group. 


8. Their work on Spike Lees’ He Got Game was the first time a rap group solely headed a motion picture soundtrack.


9. After his retirement from the group, Terminator X began to raise African black ostriches on a 15-acre farm. 


10. Only two songs ever made it to the Top 40 Billboard chart

Those songs are “911 is a Joke” and “Give it Up”.

 

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Ever since the release of his critically acclaimed mixtape/indie album Section.80 in 2011, Kendrick Lamar has been well on his way to being the next Hip Hop “It” artist to emerge from indie success to mainstream prominence. Pretty much the poster child for both the Black Hippy movement and for Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar is leading a charge of artists that include Jay Rock and Ab Soul that are continuously making strong name brands steeped in intricate lyricism and sincere yet diversified wordplay in new millennium Hip Hop.

Even though he had already recorded and released material through T.D.E., Section.80 was his coming out party to heads across the country. Now, having been blessed as the next big thing in Hip Hop by everyone from Dr. Dre to BET, Lamar just released his proper album debut with Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City.

Kendrick Lamar is the personification of Hip Hop in the post-Hip Hop generation: not confined by generational, cultural or regional boundaries yet still maintaining a brazen arrogance and pride that can only be a product of Compton, and a flow style that combines a plethora of different kinds of Hip Hop music from the last 10-plus years. From the sprinklets of social consciousness peppered throughout his rhymes that pays homage to old school East and West coast artists like Public Enemy and N.W.A., to the rapid-fire linguistics that remind listeners of Midwest rap heroes like Twista and Bone Thugs and Harmony, to the screwed and chopped voice manipulations that are a clear ode to the South. Kendrick refuses to have himself of his music marginalized into a box, and that desire to break away from the mold is constantly on display throughout Good Kid… .

Undoubtedly one of the best tracks on the album has to be “M.A.A.D. City” featuring West Coast O.G. MC. Eiht. Kendrick’s jittery, quivering yet focused flow about a day in the life in the Cali streets paired with a beat that starts out simplistically enough, then rolls into a vintage low-rider banger that harkens back to the heyday the West’s sometimes forgotten heroes Spice 1, Mack 10 and Eiht himself, will be enough to get even the most staunch Kendrick Lamar hater to nod their head. Also effective is “The Art of Peer Pressure”, a standard romp-through-Compton adventure that quickly evolves into Kendrick detailing the elements of drugs, violence and theft that gets him engulfed in the street life, and how both sides of his guilty conscience try to pull him in conflicting directions as he struggles with both his own inner demons and the desire to impress his homies.

On Good Kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick does better than many of his peers at finding that ever-elusive balance between radio jams and introspective songs that are heavy on reality. The current radio favorite “Swimming Pools”, along with “Poetic Justice” featuring Drake and “The Recipe” with Dr. Dre, will all bring the emcee more casual fans that may not have been following his career progress until now, while “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” finds Kendrick contemplating the questionable choices he’s made and their impact on those around him, with his own brand of gut-wrenching self-deprecation and pity fully on display, and might just make believers out of those same casual fans.

Simultaneously, Kendrick pays more than enough homage to some of the West Coast’s most well-loved Hip Hop institutions, from sampling Janet Jackson on “Poetic Justice”, to the shades of 2Pac heard on “Sing About Me…”.

The greatest thing about Good Kid, m.A.A.d city is not only that it’s refreshingly cohesive and simultaneously multi-layered, but that it displays so many of the contradictions that Hip Hop too many times doesn’t want to admit that it has. True, other artists like Drake, Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Lupe Fiasco and others have been effective at doing this as well, but many times they seem to revel in them. Kendrick realizes and embraces those contradictions, but he doesn’t glorify them. He simply puts them on display as real as he knows how, and the end result is this body of work. While it’s very much a departure from Section.80, Good Kid… stands on it’s own as arguably the best concept album of 2012.


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A few weeks ago, I had a chance to visit with Amani K. Smith and Gary ‘G-Wiz’ of Urban Score Productions in Los Angeles. Urban Score has been in music industry since the late 80’s working with icons like RUN DMC, Method Man and Redman as well as Public Enemy.

In addition, the duo has worked on countless television and film projects together. I met Amani through one of my ex-girlfriends when I was living in Los Angeles in the mid 2000’s, and I was able to do some work on a Public Enemy project with them.

Gary did most of the talking as Amani was busy working on tracks for the follow to Public Enemy’s Apoacalypse 91.

Really cool people..

Kelland:So how did you get into the music industry?
Gary: I started as a Dj in the 80’s and then I connected up with Chuck D and Hank Shocklee. I worked with them for a while after they formed Public Enemy, and then in 1991 we recorded Apocalypse 1991.

Kelland: So who are some of the artists that you guys have worked with
Gary: First and foremost Public Enemy, Run DMC, Janet Jackson, Aerosmith, Busta Rhymes
Amani: Meth and Red

Kelland: When you guys first started producing what type of equipment were you using?
Gary: All the old stuff that the rock guys were using. We had some samplers and the SP 1200. We had drum machines that was about it. I think in 1990 we actually did have Protools but it was only like two channels.

Gary: I didn’t tell you how I met Amani lol.
Kelland: Lol, Thats the million dollar question. How did you meet Amani?
Gary: Well in 2000 Amani and myself… Well I actually did a theme for a show called ‘Dark Angel’ with Jessica Alba and Amani was doing composing and we met at the first season wrap party. We were hoping it would be more but it was only one season. After that we Did the ‘Meth and Red’ show on MTV, ‘Volcano High’ and a show called ‘Louie.’ After that we worked with Ice Cube on his album ‘Black and White.’ We just got sick of TV, the volume of work you have to do was a bit exhausiting

Kelland:Whats the difference between composing for television and producing for an artist?
Gary:When your composing for television your making stuff to order. You bring them a bunch of songs and they decide if they want to use them. And again, the volume is a lot..For example the ‘Meth and Red’ show was seven episodes and we had to compose 40 songs for each episode. When your composing for a song you create the music and either people buy it or they don’t. In television we did a lot of work to get the job and if the show was on for only one episode it was nothing we could do about it.
Amani: After a while television gets boring

Kelland: What type of advice would you give up and coming producers who are trying to get some televion or movie work?
Gary:I mean you can do everhthing now. The difference now is everybody is doing is doing it now. It’s saturation. Put you stuff online and if it’s good people will finds you know. The funny thing is no one will work with you till you find a job. With MTV Amani’s buddy was actually doing some writing.
Amani: It’s who you know. Get cool with people, play golf with them and go out an have some drinks lol. Have your music organized 30 songs on a cd and have different styles of music. Not just 30 hip hop beats, but you wanna give them a wide range of music to choose from. Show them the different type of emotions that the viewers wanna see.
Gary: You got to give it to everybody, the only thing you have to do with music is you have to make someone care about your music first.There are so many people with good music these days. Whether u gotta be like Lil Wayne and make 300 songs until someone cares about it. The good thing about that approach is it will make you better. When do you pure volume you’re gonna get better or you really suck lol

Kelland: How are you guys leveraging the internet and social media to promote your brand
Gary: Like i said with Chuck D he has a whole host of sites. We launched the Public Enemy site in 96 or 97. We were one of the first in hip hop to do it. Then we launched rapstation.com, now we have hiphopgods.com. In order to be a Hip Hop God you must have made a piece of music that impacted thirteen years ago. We have flipmash.com and we are taking on a 100 producers and helping them to shop their music. Chuck’s gonna use their stuff, cash prizes for the best tracks.Shop them to the companies we work with like Nike. And, Shemovement.com is for classic female artist who don’t get enough publicity..

Gary: It’s a lot of people out there who are trying to get their point across. We use to say and we still say anything that you wanna do is gonna do its gonna take nine to ten years. If your working on something for ten years you have to get better and the last man standing will win. The difference is just being there. People wanna see you grow. If someone comes too your site today and two years later you have better content and its growing then you have something.

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So I was in the fitness center in my hotel a few minutes ago and caught a preview of the new Celebrity Wife Swap starring Flavor Flav and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister.

I have to admit that I always thought people who spent excessive amounts of time watching reality TV, were pretty lifeless but who can deny Flavor Flav.

How many conscious rappers/hypemen have actually broke out on their own and became reality stars. Flavor Flav that’s who. Although I’m not familiar with Dee Snider, I just watched some YouTube footage and I think this is gonna a be a pretty interesting show.

BTW I wonder what happened to Bridget Nielsen and New York?