Fitted Like Pieces of Puzzles

June 29, 2007

Just a little addendum to the last post. It's the same problem we face with politics and everything else that matters, so much of our public discourse on hip-hop culture takes place within soundbyte-driven media where it's almost impossible to talk real talk about complex issues..

Posted by jsmooth995 at June 29, 2007 4:15 PM

Another good one Jay. You're a smart dude who can talk with proper sentence structure!

and just in case

Posted by: Bman at June 29, 2007 7:22 PM


Posted by: marynificent at June 29, 2007 7:41 PM

True words

Posted by: darksunn at June 29, 2007 8:24 PM

this is my favourite videoblog right now.

Posted by: julien at June 30, 2007 12:28 AM

I agree that the issues we speak about in hip-hop are often complex and need nuanced arguments, but there are plenty of things of things that are black and white, and need to be kept that way.


Too often I read rap scholars or journalists who try to put these negative aspects of the music into "perspective" and end up discrediting themselves.

I remember a short story class I took where the feedback from my classmates on my assignment went way beyond what I meant for the story. They were finding symbolism and nuance where I didn't mean any.

If the rappers don't offer themselves as complex, let's not do it for them. Many of the forefathers offer themselves as symbols, and many of the new jacks offer themselves as one dimensional. Why are we going past that?

If we had some real talk and movement within the hip-hop community, instead of being forced into the conversation by the mainstream media, then we could express proactive instead of reactive ideas. Isn't BET, MTV, SOHH, Vibe, and Radio One run by black woman? They should have banned together before imus and approached Oprah with the idea of a town hall meeting. Instead we're all on the defensive.

Posted by: hashim at June 30, 2007 6:29 AM

This blog is a breath of fresh air and I'm glad to see the readers responding with intelligence rather than the insult fest that takes place on lots of other blogs.

Kudos. (oops...this isn't myspace)

But as far as your topic is concerned I completely agree with the fact that we ( opponents and supporters of ANYTHING ) tend to oversimplify the argument because people aren't actually interested in a real conversation about a thing. Most individuals simply want to blurt out whatever soundbite they've listened to from Russell Simmons or Bill O Reily to sounds as if they're in the know.

The internet seems to be a place where this truthful conversation can take place.

Posted by: Jovan at June 30, 2007 7:49 AM

I think calling jim jones a “young black man” and a “artist” is stretching it, I really don’t think rhyming words together is art and even if it is I would have to say its pretty low brow. Like “happy birthday” is music but is it art? Like ] jim jones is a sound, a rhythm, and to some people he is entertaining, but art? Your pushing it. Also I don’t think he’s black either, like he is half native American, quarter black and qusi Puerto Rican/ zebra (yea I know I couldn’t believe it either). But on another note, why do we have to defend the music? Why can’t people be judged on their own merit and not as a member of a fictive community? And of course there are good people and there are bad, bad people tend to be motivated by basic barbaric needs. These are the same needs they appeal to when they make music, and this is not unique to rap. But just like everything else urban people do, they are collectively judged. Whistle at a white girl and your whole block might get lynched.

Posted by: live from hillside at June 30, 2007 6:21 PM

you said something about having complicated conversations in hip hop...


in hip hop? maybe.

complicated in the business of hip hop music today? that's the antichrist.

Posted by: andres at July 1, 2007 2:26 AM

yo has anyone seen the O'Reily factor with camron and dame dash on it? It's fairly old now, but if you havent seen it, YOUTUBE it please! It is a prime example of what Jay is saying.

Posted by: jason Reynolds at July 1, 2007 5:39 PM

Great post.
Great argument.

Not to move away from the discussion, but I just want to say that I love that intro and outro thing with the DJ. Bravo, that was some hot shit.

Posted by: Trent at July 2, 2007 11:38 AM

Nice post.

Can their ever be the time for anything but sound bytes in the near and/or distant future of mainstream media? What distorts hip hop dialogue also distorts a lot of news today.

Also, what is your definition of an artist and in what specific ways to Jeezy and/or Jim Jones adhere to that definition?

Posted by: jb at July 2, 2007 1:08 PM

See, the problem is that when Hip Hop started, you used to have to have TALENT to get on the mic. The EmCee's job was to ROCK THE PARTY and make it so that people were having a good time. Sure, there was bragadocio, like "I've dated queens, I've beat up kings...", but it was talking themselves UP and not talking other people DOWN. Also, nobody was going to pay to have your records cut to vinyl unless they were sure you were GOOD and they could get their money back.

NOW, they let ANYBODY on the mic, because it's so cheap to make mp3s. No skill. No talent. No charisma. No good rhymes. No PARTY-ROCKING ability..... As long as someone has a following... As long as there are people that will buy whatever they produce, regardless of how wack it is, SOMEBODY will sign them or at least fund them to make CDs and get them booked to do shows.

Next time you go out, take a look around. Notice how nobody's dancing? Now, look at VHS tapes of when Doug E Fresh OR Kurtis Blow OR Run D.M.C. OR Grandmaster Flash OR KRS-One OR just about ANYBODY from back in the day had the mic at a party. People dancing, smiling, getting along, partying.

When quality goes out the window, so does regulation. Anybody can say anything they want, because nobody cares as long as people are bringing their money and buying their records. By the 1000th time Don Imus hears someone call females "Nappy-Headed Hoes", I'm sure he thinks there was some kind of agreement at the last meeting of the National Black People's Association that that's an ok statement to use. :D

Anyway, there are still entertainers in Hip-Hop and there are still garbage rappers. It's not going to change because it's so inexpensive now to make an mp3 and call yourself a rapper. The best deal is to seek out and support artists that you like, and for all the rest of them... Change The Channel.

Posted by: bill c. at July 2, 2007 3:21 PM

I have a feeling that J is Ze Frank and Bobbito Garcia's hip hoppin' no blinkin' love child...

Posted by: RIP Nick Jr.: They Reminisce Over Blue's Clues at July 2, 2007 10:20 PM

yes! ze frank and bobbito's love child! LOL. NOW pretty soon here's we're gonna have to talk about how on "so you think you can dance" the judges thank the hip hop choreographers for making a routine where "the dancers dont look like they want to kill someone."

Posted by: irina slutsky at July 3, 2007 3:09 AM

I've been sleeping on ya J. Your vlog is hot. Where are you hosting your videos? I like that player. Holla back. PEACE!!

Posted by: at July 4, 2007 10:43 AM

"Multi-Dimensional Human Beings" - haha! very well put.

Posted by: Gezzius Christ at July 4, 2007 11:05 AM

This is really great work, Jay. The whole v-log has been.

Drop me a line, I might have some connections to help you out on this project. I think you're doing such a great job with this.

Posted by: Jesse Thorn at July 5, 2007 11:23 AM

You're doing amazing, Jay. Such thoughtfulness when discussing this topic is virtually unheard of.
P.S. What was that song in the background?

Posted by: Aaron at July 5, 2007 1:11 PM

Hey Bro Jay I agree with you on your analasis of hip hop.You seen to be the most informed person I've ever heard on the topic.You Criticised my defense of the Sabina billboard.You said that clearchannel paid for it I find that hard to believe.Do you have proof.If so though embarrassing,still it is a good cause.The rappers you have to admit know what the are doing .Today I read in an article that Jackie O,was dropped from her label.She sais now she was free to do her own thing .Which wont be an oversexed ho to sell records.She has her own label now,She says she feels free now.THIS IS MY POINT.The rappers are perpetuating a slavery,coon,role and the people ahve had enough.This is every corner of the black community.Even among thugs

Posted by: Kala Nation at July 8, 2007 12:39 AM

I forgot that song in the background I remember it from the ninties.Please tell us who and whatit is Jay.

Posted by: Kala Nation at July 9, 2007 5:03 AM

i never understood what "EARLY!!!!" meant but this is a good time to say "EARLY!!!" in it's literal context. as hip hop is growing into a multi-faceted, incredibly complex genre of music, it should take a look at another multi-faceted, incredibly complex genre of music like rock, and like you said, open up. nice video, i agree whole heartedly, except for the "cheeseburger" thing. i say shoe salesman. tomato, tomatoe.

Posted by: Milo at July 25, 2007 6:26 AM

"EARLY!!" is Philly slang (well, now worldwide) for saying "For real" or "Seriously!". It's like saying "I mean that shit."

It started in like '02 or '03 with the single from Early in the Game. I forgot whose song that was


"Yo, Serena's ass is crazy. Early!"

-Black People

Posted by: Black People at July 25, 2007 3:04 PM

Thanks Jay. Thanks for discussing this issue so eloquently. I especially appreciate your point on mythologizing the pioneers and the fact that we need to start viewing hip hop and its artist in a multi-dimensional. Damn, you also pointed out about the problem of looking at commercial and underground hip hop as a dichotomous relationship. Well said. Props.

This is a ill video blog. I am fan.

ps. cu alum? i peeped the shirt.

Posted by: Dino at August 2, 2007 11:13 PM


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