August 27, 2008

Bridging The Gap: Old School vs. New School

KRS-One was recently invited to BET’s Rap City to discuss the new generation of Hip-Hop and how to steer the culture’s future in the right direction. Soulja Boy was also invited and they laid the foundation for a dialogue between old-school and new-school rappers. Because of the beef that Soulja Boy was recently in with Ice T, KRS-One explained that generation gaps have been around since the mid-‘80s. When he was coming up they thought that old-school Hip-Hop was in 1977, in 1997 they thought old-school was ’87, and today we think that it’s anything from the mid-‘90s.

I’m proud that BET would even step up to have an interview like this. It reminds me of Fab 5 Freddy’s conversations with artists during the Yo! MTV Raps era, and it’s good to take it back every once in a while so the new generation doesn’t forget where our culture came from. I also appreciated Soulja Boy’s humble approach when talking about Ice T. He could have reignited the entire beef but instead he just told his side and let the topic die.

In some ways I feel that there is going to be a re-emergence of KRS-One. Not like he ever went anywhere, but Hip-Hop is in such a state of disarray you’re beginning to notice a lot more artists reach out to him on a personal level. 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Nelly, Redman, Talib Kweli, and many others have jumped on board with his Stop The Violence movement. Also, The Temple of Hip-Hop and its mission are becoming much more relevant when it comes to connecting the TRUE roots of Hip-Hop to those who are born with only a mainstream knowledge of the culture. Those roots are peace, love, unity, & having fun and they are expressed through the MC, DJ, B-Boy/B-Girl, and Graf artist.

Much respect to KRS-One, Soulja Boy, Q45 of Rap City, and BET for setting off a continuing dialoge, and remember that The Teacha is the one with the blueprint.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

August 20, 2008

Lloyd Banks: Terminated On Sight

It’s been on the charts for almost two months and G-Unit’s “Terminate On Sight” STILL hasn’t sold 200,000 copies. It’s no surprise that we haven’t heard any statements from 50 Cent on the matter, but I know Lloyd Banks is pissed. I think it should be a wake up call for him that he needs to get from behind 50’s (and now Tony Yayo’s) shadow. We all know about 50 Cent’s business ventures, but with Yayo stepping into the acting world that leaves Banks as the only real lyricist left in the group.

He was the only real MC in the group to begin with, but now he’s really going to have to put the pen to paper and firmly establish himself as a Hip-hop heavyweight. He showed promise on his debut album, but went way too formulaic on “Rotten Apple” and lost a lot of credibility. His calm demeanor took the backseat to Young Buck’s brash personality once he was down with G-Unit, and with The Game (aka G-Unit Killer)’s lyrical improvement he might challenge Banks as the best MC G-Unit ever had.

Hopefully on his next album, currently titled “Gang Green”, Lloyd Banks will be able to find that lyrical promise he still possesses. His witty punchlines, metaphors, similies, and interesting stories are what caught the public’s attention 4 years ago. If he can stray away from the redundant topics that mainstream rappers are known for (or at least do it in a real creative way) then he will be the one to bring G-Unit back to a relevant status again. His next challenge would be to wrestle the “King of NY” crown from Jay-Z… that is, if the Jiggaman doesn’t pass the torch to Nas first.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

August 15, 2008

NURC: Re-Generation Tour Auditions!!!

The Neo-Underground Railroad Conductors (NURC) will be hosting the 1st Annual “Re-Generation Tour” heading out across the country. The Re-Generation Tour was devised to use music as a tool to inspire youth to realize the value of true expression, the importance of making conscious decisions, and the power behind their individual voices.

NURC was founded on the same principles of the original Underground Railroad, led by Harriet Tubman. They use a network system to break the shackles of post-modern slavery, which threatens to be more dangerous than the slavery of our ancestors because we are no longer in physical bondage, but are mentally controlled by a mainstream society that puts money before morals and corruption before compassion.

The NURC will gather artists from all genres of music and the arts to perform at venues around the country. This year the focus will be on bringing positive acts to the east coast of the US, and sending satellite acts to states like Texas, California, Illinois, and other major cities.

All artists, speakers, filmmakers, dancers, etc., will be provided coaching from the NURC’s Conductor of Talent Relations and other trained professionals.

Tour Auditions will be held from August 15th – September 21st 2008 in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Submit artist & contact information to:
Or contact Amirah Cummings at: 646-457-6988

August 13, 2008

Jockin' Jay-Z

Whose house? Hov’s no doubt Bout the only rapper still getting money in the drought
- Jay-Z

With firmly established business ventures like Roc Nation, 40/40 Clubs worldwide, NJ Nets, Rocawear, and potentially the NY Yankees, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has really come a long way. I’m not talking about the rags-to-riches story that everyone knows about. I mean the riches-to-wealth story that he’s still in the process of writing. No one else in the Hip-Hop game has turned their financial successes as a rapper into investment capital as an entrepreneur quite like Jay-Z has. Yes you can say 50, Diddy, & Russell should be mentioned as well, but Diddy & Russell weren’t rappers, and 50 Cent has always been more business minded than artistically gifted.

The fact is Jay-Z is creating a new trail for young Hip-Hop brothers who want to be more than just a record deal or a fashion icon. He’s laying down a true blueprint of success showing individuals how to focus on your vision, brand your ideas, and market yourself to a worldwide audience. He is becoming so well established in the financial fabric of our country that he can now create music simply for the love of art, rather than relying on it to pay the bills.

Because of the path he has chosen, young people can now look at the Hip-Hop industry and realize that being an artist can also be a platform for you to pursue bigger & better dreams. Essentially, if you’re good enough with the right mentality and can establish, brand, & market yourself, if you stay relevant the sky can be the limit. It also doesn’t hurt if you’re name’s Shawn Carter too, haha.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

August 06, 2008

Dream Team I vs. Dream Team III

Now that the Olympic preliminary games are over for Men’s Basketball, the comparisons between the 1992 Dream Team and the 2008 Dream Team are starting rev up. Now I don’t think there will EVER be a team better than one that consisted of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Isaiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Chris Mullin, & Christian Laettner. Besides the last two (Mullin & Laettner), the entire team was comprised of 11 of the original 50 greatest players in NBA history. I mean, I don’t even think there’s another sports team that can even boast that fact.

So now its 16 years later and a young, talented group of NBA stars are donning the red, white, and blue for their country. Granted, in those years there was a lot of turmoil within both the NBA and in USA Basketball. International competition flourished, Hip-hop fashion was banned, 18 year olds were barred from entering the league without playing for a collegiate institution first, and Ron Artest started punching fans in the face.

There was no way David Stern or any of the NBA brass was going to send their elite players to the Olympics to not return with the gold medal, only to have the league’s reputation tarnished again. I mean this summer alone more NBA players have signed contracts with foreign teams than in any other year. The quality of international play is much better than any of the teams that the 1992 Dream Team had to face. So instead of reminiscing on the “good ‘ol days” of USA Basketball when we would devour other countries teams for lunch, we should root for and respect Dream Team III because they have the hardest quest to the gold medal than any other team before them.

- Steve Tyson Jr.