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There’s a Public Enemy action figure set (does not come with noise, bring your own)
07.22.2016
12:32 pm

Topics:
Design
Hip-hop

Tags:
Public Enemy


 
I’m loving this Public Enemy action figure set designed by Ed Piskor, author of the New York Times best- selling and Eisner Award-winning comic series: Hip Hop Family Tree. I dig the details and it looks like they’re posable in the knees, elbows, hips and shoulders.

Kings of Hip Hop and inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Public Enemy’s “first action figure as a set” featuring four of the central members from the 80’s. Members are: Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, and Terminator X.

Right now they’re only on pre-order at $60 for all four of ‘em. The release date is set for August 2016.


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Buy the ‘Rap Master Maurice’ telephone rap business: Only one million US dollars
07.01.2016
09:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Hip-hop

Tags:
Derek Erdman
Ebay
Rap Master Maurice


 
Some of us here at Dangerous Minds are big fans of “America’s greatest living art garbage movement” painter, Derek Erdman. In the past we’ve profiled his unique “outsider” paintings, as well as his hilariously bizarre soundboard phone pranks, and his punk dollhouse.

Erdman is a multi-talented individual, and one of his side-gigs that we’ve never discussed much here is his long-running “Rap Master Maurice” character which is the centerpiece of a lucrative “telephone rapping” business. Erdman claims the “Rap Master Maurice” character has earned him an average of $15,000 a year for the past nine years. Clients pay Rap Master Maurice the modest sum of $17 for him to call a target and deliver a rap.

Here we have a typical example of Rap Master Maurice’s lyrical skills:
 

 
According to Erdman:

The concept of the business is simple. The customer comes to you with a reason for a rap, either positive or negative. Address a grievance, wish a happy birthday, celebrate an anniversary; there are so many situations that call for a telephone rap. You then deliver the rap over the phone in the Rap Master Maurice character style, record the rap, and email the recording to the customer… The entire process is very simple from start to finish and never fails to make the customer happy.

It’s a proven money-maker, but Erdman has decided it is time to pass the character and business along—he has recently put the RMM concept up for sale on Ebay for the low, low price of one million US dollars.
 

 
The auction details the transition of ownership to the buyer:

The winner of this auction will take full possession of all intellectual property of the Rap Master Maurice character, thousands of past telephone rap audio recordings, all clothing and related costumes, rapmastermaurice.com + all data & traffic, the original landline telephone, three rhyming dictionaries, and a small handheld digital audio recorder. Also included is a five hour tutorial seminar that includes lunch.

Rap Master Maurice has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, MSNBC, The History Channel, The BBC Radio One, CBS This Morning, MTV2, E!, Fox News, SiriusXM, and more. Print media features have included the New Yorker, the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Utne Reader, Aesthetica, Art Monthly, the Atlantic, Beautiful/Decay, Juxtapoz, and many more.

The ownership transition will be as seamless as possible. You’ll be making telephone raps as a full time career in no time.

Anyone outraged over the asking price should be aware that Erdman is planning to donate 10% of the proceeds Amnesty International.

Here’s Rap Master Maurice appearing live on the fabulous Chic-A-Go-Go program delivering a political message about the 2008 election:
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Ridiculous Vines of hip-hop beats dropped behind fast-talking auctioneers
06.28.2016
12:13 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Hip-hop

Tags:
Auctioneer Beats

 
Here’s something at least mildly amusing of your midday yucks: Vines of fast-talking auctioneers with hip-hop beats!

There’s not much say as the videos certainly can speak for themselves. Play them all at once for a total mindfuck and watch the whole world collapse in on itself.

If you want to see more, you can follow Auctioneer Beats here on Vine.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Adventures of Schoolly D: A Gangster’s Story
05.24.2016
01:24 pm

Topics:
Hip-hop
Movies
Music

Tags:
rap
Schoolly D


 
At the risk of sounding like a middle-aged white guy character in a Mike Judge film, the improbable soundtrack to my life for the past two weeks has been Schoolly motherfuckin’ D. For whatever reason, I pulled out an old CD of his—maybe for the first time this millennium—to listen to in the car the other day and now I can’t get enough of it. Alone in the car I play “P.S.K. (What Does It Mean?)” at an ear-splitting volume that I’m pretty sure bounces my conservative European automobile like a low-rider with tricked-out suspension. I probably look like an idiot, I grant you, but I don’t really care. This shit is amazing. I appreciated it when it came out—I saw him live—but why it captured my attention so much again thirty years later I couldn’t tell you. It just did.

Probably the original original gangster rapper—even Ice-T admitted in his autobiography that he might’ve taken a bite out of Schoolly D‘s style—the Philadelphia native, on his self-released records at least, perfectly played the role of the scary black gang member/rapper, alluding to, cataloging and boasting about the nefarious activities of the “Park Side Killers,” the local posse of bad boys he ran with. Schoolly—real name Jesse Weaver Jr.—was backed by his DJ Code Money and rapped about violence, guns, raunchy sex, “bitches,” crack and “cheeba”—Salt-n-Pepa or Run DMC were never going to mention such things, or use the “N” word in their raps. Schoolly D shied away from none of these topics or that word.
 

 
He told the Philadelphia Citypaper about where his lyrical inspiration came from in a 2004 interview:

“A couple of guys I know, Abdullah, Disco Man and my man Manny, were like, “Why don’t you write a song about us, why don’t you write a song about Parkside Killers?’ It was one of the easiest songs I’d ever written. I wrote it sitting at my mom’s dining-room table, smoking some weed at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

Armed with his newfound inspiration and a large amount of weed, Schoolly hit the studio. Out of necessity he was forced into recording in a studio designed for classical music.

“They had these big plate reverbs, that’s why you got the “PSK’ sound because nobody used the real shit. We did everything live, and if you listen you can hear my fingers programming the drum machine. We just kept getting higher and higher and higher, and smoking and smoking and all of a sudden the song just took on this whole other life because we were just so fucked up. It just made this sucking sound like “boosh, boosh’ and we just looked at each other and were like, “Yeah, do more of that shit.’”

The “boosh” sound is what really made “PSK” stand out as something that, until that time, had never been done. The tweaked-out reverb bass caused a sensation.

“I got home and I put the tape in the tape recorder and I was like, “What the fuck did I do?’ Nobody had ever done something like that before, with all the reverb, nobody. And I was like, “I gotta go back and take some of that reverb out because this shit just sounds kinda crazy.’ But I didn’t know that everyone else was making tapes and passing out copies to everyone in Parkside, so by the time that I wanted to go back to the studio it was already out everywhere, and motherfuckers was going crazy, they was like, “That’s the baddest shit we ever heard in our whole fucking life.’”

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
De La Soul’s epic (and slightly awkward) appearance on Dutch TV from 1989
05.16.2016
01:27 pm

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
1980s
Dutch TV
De La Soul
Fa. Onrust


Don’t let the flowers and peace symbols fool you, De La Soul are not hippies.
 
It has been 27 years since hip-hop pioneers De La Soul released their groundbreaking album, 3 Feet High and Rising on Tommy Boy Records. I recently pulled my copy of the record out for a spin at the request of my twelve-year-old son, no less, who had just heard “Me Myself and I” on the radio in the car and wanted to know who was responsible for the infectious track. I don’t often brag about my parenting skills, but when I do, musicology is involved.
 

De La Soul on Dutch TV show, Fa. Onrust, 1989.
 
So let’s go back to the magical number year of 1989 and De La Soul’s trip to the Netherlands. The trio appeared on Dutch television show Fa. Onrust and performed three songs from 3 Feet High and Rising, “The Magic Number,” “Plug Tunin’” and “Me, Myself, And I.” To say that De La’s performance is anything less than completely stellar, would be a vast understatement as it could easily be considered a historic piece of hip-hop flavored performance art that beautifully expressed the band’s culturally rich message. A message that still strongly resonates today.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The Beastie Boys designed an egg gun for kids
04.01.2016
08:58 am

Topics:
Crime
Hip-hop
Punk

Tags:
Beastie Boys
egg gun


MCA in costume as a deviled egg
 
The Beastie Boys had a thing for eggs. Their first release, 1982’s Polly Wog Stew EP, concluded with “Egg Raid on Mojo,” a hardcore blast about getting revenge on the doorman at a NYC club by unloading a few cartons of eggs on his person. But as the Reagan/Bush years wore on and anomie set in, the Beasties’ use of eggs became less judicious. During the sessions for Paul’s Boutique, the trio egged hapless pedestrians from windows: those of Ad-Rock’s Manhattan apartment, their rooms at LA’s Mondrian Hotel, and MCA’s “macked-out” car. They also infamously egged the heavily-hyped British “supergroup” Sigue Sigue Sputnik during their big US debut on Halloween night of 1986. (Mike D: “We threw eggs at them when they were at the New York Palladium, it was the least we could do.”)

If you think the Beasties’ random eggings were bad, they were nothing compared to the doomsday device of mischief the band was sitting on which, had they unleashed it, would have made childhood and adolescence a lot more interesting for me and a number of DM’s readers. The line “Put him in check correct with my egg gun,” from “Egg Man,” described a Beastie Boys business venture that could have turned the world’s major cities into slimy, shell-specked hellscapes. From Dan LeRoy’s excellent 33⅓ book on Paul’s Boutique, which just reached its tenth anniversary (and spawned a worthy sequel):

[T]he egg gun mentioned in the song was more than just a rhetorical device. [Dust Brother] Mike Simpson recalls the band “actually employed some toy designers—maybe they were from Hasbro?—to come up with a Beastie Boys egg gun. And I believe there were a couple of prototypes, which Yauch probably still has.”

[Mike D], however, says the prototypes came tantalizingly close to being developed, yet were never completed. “But imagine if we had,” he muses. “The egg business would have blown up. Chicken farmers would be like oilmen today.”

 

 
But Simpson, who mentioned the egg gun in an interview about Paul’s Boutique with Seattle’s KEXP recorded last July, maintains the designers did make some kind of visual representation of the finished product:

Yauch took it so far as to hire toy designers from Mattel to come up with prototypes for the Beastie Boys Egg Gun. Somewhere in the world, there are these amazing renderings of these potential egg guns with the Beastie Boys brand on it, which is hilarious.

Can we get the Beastie Boys Egg Gun in stores, please, or at least in my hands? Isn’t this what crowdfunding was invented for?

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Straight Outta Carlstadt: The N.W.A.-Neu! mashup T-shirt
03.31.2016
02:09 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
Neu
N.W.A.


“Cuz I’m the Klaus Dinger that’s built to last / if you fuck with me, I’ll put my foot in your ass.”
 
This T-shirt was on an audience member at last week’s Faust show at Union. Sitting at the bar, I stared at it longer than I meant to; it seemed to hold a secret about my hometown, Los Angeles. Did this apparition signify that someone in Berlin, say at an X show, had on a Guru Guru shirt emblazoned with a blue circle and the face of Darby Crash? Was some Rastaman, clad in a Burning Spear tee decorated with green, gold and red Black Flag bars, watching Fear play in Kingston? Or had my gaze penetrated the veil of space-time itself, uncovering the very matrix of the hybrid musical forms LA has played Luther Burbank or Dr. Moreau to since the days of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction and Beck, whose Mr. Potato Head permutations of genre traits heralded the inevitable, depressing combination of everything with everything else? Had I, in short, trespassed into forbidden realms of knowledge? Was one man’s motorik indeed another man’s Poison? Was I really paying eight dollars per beer?

By the next morning, these questions had lost their urgency, if not their poignancy. But my matchless Google-fu led me to the creator of this thing straightaway: an LA-based retailer called Skim Milk. They also sell a T-shirt with a picture of Roky Erickson and G.G. Allin busting a hang, a detourned DEVO tee that spells “DEBT,” and a sweatshirt depicting a hit of blotter acid that looks like the American flag—unless it’s really a tiny American flag that looks like a hit of blotter acid—at rest in a young woman’s mouth.

Personally, I wouldn’t go back to Coachella for 100 million dollars, but if this N.W.A. reunion comes off, people are going to lose their shit when Hologram Eazy E-Musik comes onstage to sing “Neuschnee On Ya Chin.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The Egyptian Lover’s new ‘infomercial’ is a hilarious tribute to ‘80s late-night ad kitsch
03.23.2016
08:35 am

Topics:
Amusing
Hip-hop
Music
Television

Tags:
VHS
Egyptian Lover


 
An amusing side effect of rapid technological change is nostalgia for dying and dead formats. It’s not a universal phenomenon—nobody’s misting up over DAT tapes—but it’s certainly prevalent. For my part, I abidingly LOVE vinyl records. But it ain’t 1997 anymore, and lossless digital boasts a demonstrably better frequency range and less harmonic distortion than vinyl, period—that those distortions may sound pleasing doesn’t make them not distortions. For every delusional LP junkie who holds vinyl to be a superior sound reproduction format, there’s also an even MORE delusional record-head who insists that the scratches, pops, and hiss of a beat-ass record actually sound good. That’s freakin’ NUTS—that’s just a consequence of the media’s physicality, if musicians wanted hiss and pops they’d have recorded them and baked them into the mix, and that to me is the end of the discussion unless you want to bring up Christian Marclay. But those flaws that obscure the message the medium is intended to deliver are exactly the things we seem to miss when progress obsoletes a familiar media format.

VHS tape is an apt case in point. For folks like me who are of let’s just say “a certain age,” nth-generation VHS dubs were the lingua franca of video sharing. The distortions that came with multiply dubbing that format were amazing. Colors would sometimes fade, sometimes drastically oversaturate, sound would unpredictably wobble and drop, the tape itself could stretch in spots causing playback to weirdly slow down for just a second, pausing for a long time could cause the play heads in the tape decks to rub the magnetic oxides off the mylar tape… It was kind of a shit medium, optical video media was MILES better and high def digital better still, but since those distinctive distortions were the haze through which I first saw weirdo touchstones like mondo documentaries and the oeuvre of John Waters, I kind of love them. I don’t love them to the point where a transparently exploitative contrivance like “Videotape Store Day” could ever make off with an assload of my money for movies I’ve already seen, but still, I love them.
 

 
A recent example of VHS love gone wonderfully right is videographer Zev Deans’ new ‘80s inspired infomercial for hip hop/electro pioneer The Egyptian Lover, who’s releasing a box set with the self-explanatory title 1983-1988 next month on Stone’s Throw. The video is a dead-on accurate throwback/homage to the era when ads for albums ran on TV with tremendous frequency. Typically these would be thrown-together compilations of whatever could be licensed—classics of the form include “Hey Love” and “Freedom Rock,” or best-ofs for fading fogey country singers like Boxcar Willie and Slim Whitman. The Egyptian Lover video nods to all the foregoing with lashings of degraded VHS distortion, and to boot it throws in a period-appropriate satire of psychic hotlines that features L.A. synth musician/spectacle purveyor Geneva Jacuzzi, herself no stranger to throwback video. There are other bonuses for trainspotters as well, and videographer Deans offered this:

Egyptian Lover is a legend, and for this project, I wanted it to feel like we were digging up a relic from Los Angeles in 1984. Most of this was shot in the back of Good Fred’s LaRutan Barber Shop, and legend has it that Jheri Curl was first bottled and sold at this location. Back in the day, Egyptian Lover’s Egyptian Empire Records office was on the second floor, with the entire 1st floor warehouse used as a dance floor for parties and record storage. You can still see the Giant mural of Egyptian Lover from the street on W54th street!

 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Nappy Happy’: Radical thinker Angela Davis interviews Ice Cube, 1991
02.11.2016
09:12 am

Topics:
Feminism
Hip-hop
Music
Race
Thinkers

Tags:
Angela Davis
Ice Cube


 
Before the release of Ice Cube’s Death Certificate, renowned black radical Angela Y. Davis interviewed him for Transition Magazine. It’s probably the first and last time a magazine has used a Gramsci quotation to introduce its readers to Ice Cube.

Davis, a former student of Herbert Marcuse, had been targeted by Governor Ronald Reagan in 1969 and 1970, when she was an assistant professor in UCLA’s Philosophy Department. At the governor’s urging, she was fired (twice), and Reagan vowed that she would never teach at the University of California again. Because who was better qualified to evaluate the work of philosophy professors than like Ronald Reagan? (Today, Davis is Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies Departments at UC Santa Cruz, and “Reagan” is a pair of syllables that stands for mental decay.) In ‘80, a decade after she was arrested because of her association with the Soledad Brothers, and again in ‘84, she was the vice-presidential candidate on the Communist Party USA ticket.

Ice Cube was coming from a different place. You couldn’t call his analysis Marxist, and “feminist” would have been a real stretch: he was reading The Final Call, not People’s World. This was during the period of Cube’s loudest advocacy for the Nation of Islam—before Friday, long before Are We There Yet?—when he was advocating black self-reliance (“We’ve got to start policing and patrolling our own neighborhoods,” he told Davis), endorsing an anti semitic NOI book called The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, and arguing that the Hon. Elijah Muhammad was more important than Malcolm X. He and Davis had plenty to talk about.
 

Angela Davis and Ice Cube in Transition #58
 
Hip-hop historian Jeff Chang, who thinks this meeting likely took place in July of ‘91, writes in Can’t Stop Won’t Stop that publicist Leyla Turkkan set up the interview, hoping it would position Ice Cube as “an inheritor of the Black radical tradition.” Chang continues:

The interview was a provocative idea—one that both Davis and Cube welcomed. But none of them had any idea how the conversation would turn when they got together in Cube’s Street Knowledge business offices.

To begin with, Davis only heard a few tracks from the still unfinished album [Death Certificate], including “My Summer Vacation,” “Us” and a track called “Lord Have Mercy,” which never made it to the album. She did not hear the song that would become most controversial—a rap entitled “Black Korea.” In another way, she was at a more fundamental disadvantage in the conversation.

Like Davis, Cube’s mother had grown up in the South. After moving to Watts, she had come of age as a participant in the 1965 riots. While Cube and his mother were close, they often argued about politics and his lyrics. Now it was like Cube was sitting down to talk with his mother. Davis was at a loss the way any parent is with her child at the moment he’s in the fullest agitation of his becoming.

Cube sat back behind his glass desk in a black leather chair, the walls covered with framed gold records and posters for Boyz N The Hood and his albums. Copies of URB, The Source and The Final Call were laid out in front of him. Davis asked Cube how he felt about the older generation.

“When I look at older people, I don’t think they feel that they can learn from the younger generation. I try and tell my mother things that she just doesn’t want to hear sometimes,” he answered.

There’s more, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Louder than a bomb: Public Enemy’s intense extended live set on Dutch TV from 1988
02.11.2016
08:50 am

Topics:
Heroes
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
1980s
Public Enemy
Holland

Public Enemy - Chuck D, DJ Terminator X and Flavor Flav
Public Enemy - Chuck D, DJ Terminator X and Flavor Flav
 
1988 was a huge year for Public Enemy. That year they released their second record, one of the most important records in history (hip-hop or not), It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and toured all around the world in support of the album, to insanely enthusiastic, packed house crowds.

I saw PE on that tour, and it was like nothing else that I’d ever seen before. Everything about that show was in fact, harder than the hardcore. Love them or hate them, everybody knew who Public Enemy was in 1988. Even in the Netherlands.
 
Public Enemy, 1988
 
During the tour, PE found themselves in Holland and made an appearance on a Dutch music television show called Fa. Onrust. During the show, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, and DJ Terminator X rip through “Night of the Living Baseheads,” “Rebel Without a Pause,” “Bring the Noise,” and “Don’t Believe the Hype.” If that’s not enough for you, Run DMC just happened to be in Holland themselves at exactly the same time, and Joseph Simmons/DJ Run and Darryl “D.M.C.” Matthews joined PE on stage to kick out their 1988 track, “How’d Ya Do It Dee?” from Tougher Than Leather. Damn.
 
Public Enemy and Run DMC on Dutch television, 1988
Public Enemy and Run DMC on Dutch television, 1988. Chuck is asking the audience to throw up the “peace sign”
 
Despite all the good times that you will see in the video below, there is a slightly uncomfortable interview segment with the two (rather clueless) female hosts of the show. The interview was already going off the rails—thanks to the always brutally honest Professor Griff)—but then the always eloquent Chuck D. decides to give a pop quiz his hosts about the Netherlands’ political system, which they obviously don’t know a lot about…

Here come the drums!
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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