So Anyway, What Was I Saying?

December 10, 2008

Looking for some help while I get over this cold...let me know (by twitter, email or a comment here) what I should talk about now that the election's over!

Posted by jsmooth995 at December 10, 2008 5:37 AM

I want you to talk about german hiphop.
What do you know about it, can you name any crews, stuff like dat.

Posted by: MC Winkel at December 10, 2008 6:15 AM

I can't for one minute believe that your mind has slowed to the pace where you really have to ask us what you want to talk about - maybe there's so much noise and routine around you that you feel the urge to always have something fresh to talk about...

Personally, I'd love to hear you talk just a little bit about what non-mainstream Hip Hop music you've been getting into, maybe a recommended list of 2008... I love the political and social insights, don't get me wrong, but sharing your love of Hip Hop with some form of specifics would be cool in my humble opinion.

Posted by: Ruairi at December 10, 2008 6:50 AM

Well, like Ruairi (and as i said in a previous comment), i'd love to ear your opinions on indie rap, this nouvelle vague of rappers like, well, the ones from Rhymesayers and DefJux, and don't you agree hip-hop cannot possibly ever be dead when this level of just great writing is present?

Well, that's what i personally would like to see discussed, but as you already talked about hipster rap i can't really complain :P

Posted by: Nexus at December 10, 2008 7:30 AM

Hey Jay.
I'd still love to hear your whole take on Prop 8 and how that bullshit went down. Anyway, talk about whatever you like. I think it's best when you just speak your mind, though I do enjoy your political talk. What do you think of Obama's cabinet picks? Do you even care? Why isn't it January 20th yet?

Posted by: JqlGirl at December 10, 2008 8:14 AM

Another vote for Prop 8, homophobia, the black vote on Prop 8, the (white) Mormon/Evangelical funding of Prop 8—all that.

Posted by: Orange at December 10, 2008 8:31 AM

Would love to see some commentary on Duanna Johnson's murder...

[ps-- nice meeting you briefly last wed night @ old towne tavern! sorry I couldn't stay longer. :-) ]

Posted by: Deanna at December 10, 2008 8:38 AM

Since I stumbled across it this morning, and thought I should blog about it, why not share the love? Foreign Policy's Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2008. On the list? More in Darfur, Americans convicted of torture, increases in coca production in Columbia, aid to Georgia re-directed to a luxury hotel, Russia in Africa, bad Chinese steel, etc. Plenty of stuff to hype, plenty of explanation for why it matters, here at home.

Posted by: Jennifer oh jenny at December 10, 2008 8:55 AM

Oh yes a top ten or twenty music picks. Your perspective would be a hit, and the video/audio/splashing around from one to the other would be a fun way to present a top picks for the year. Unlike most top 10s of the year...

Posted by: Lynn at December 10, 2008 9:08 AM


You've probably noticed that politics and hip hop have a lot in common. Aside from the topics and motives, members of both communities (and who isn't a member?) both use words masterfully.

I wonder if you feel words as potently as you use them, because you do have an artfulness about your language. A hypnotist I once met, in passing, said to me, "words are just words that can have more of an impact than you may realize." And it made me get thinking. Now, I could be wrong, but I feel like you have a lot to say about this stuff.

Posted by: Mike Stop Continues at December 10, 2008 9:26 AM

I'd like to see something more personal than political. Maybe another vid about the little hater and how he's affected you lately.

Posted by: Jordan at December 10, 2008 9:35 AM

Sorry you're not feeling well. Remember: Nyquil is the nectar of the gods.

I, too, would be interested in hearing about some of your favorite music of 2008. As someone who loves hip-hop but lives in an area of the country where I am rarely immersed in hip-hop culture, I'm always looking for sources to introduce me to new music about which I would not otherwise hear.

I'd also be interested in hearing your thoughts about The Roots' rumored new gig as house band for Jimmy Fallon's upcoming late-night show. It's been a long time since The Roots could truly be characterized as obscure or underground but I always still worry as a favorite band garners commercial success about how it will change them. Purportedly, for The Roots, this would mean the end of touring for them, which I think would be tragic. What do you think: good, bad, or indifferent?

Feel better soon!

Posted by: Jessie at December 10, 2008 10:02 AM that I've finished laughing...I dont know what you should talk about..yet...but I need to see more cameos from the cat...

Posted by: DJ Diva at December 10, 2008 10:07 AM

Ok, that was one of the best vids to date. I dig the level of transparency of your posts and that you open embrace that you're not infallible. I couldn't possibly begin to tell you how or what to talk about on here, but be assured that you're not the only one out there who struggles with finding new and exciting stuff to bring up, especially after the election.

Posted by: Dave Conrey at December 10, 2008 11:38 AM

since officially called you a "tastemaker" i'd def love a list of general "things to watch out for in 2008. maybe include
everything not just hip hop since it seems hard for you NOT to talk about politics.
hope you feel better

Posted by: dianewah at December 10, 2008 11:46 AM

Why hasn't Jay Smooth said something about autotune? Lol. Aside from that, idk. what about the fall of the magazine industry and the rise of blogs/vlogs? As a prominet vlogger, I'm sure you have some sort of insight. What about the XXL cover with all new kids, no reaction to Asher Roth? I'll twitter any other ideas I get.

Posted by: Incilin at December 10, 2008 12:19 PM

BLAGO!!! You can go off on that guy!

Posted by: mistress_scorpio at December 10, 2008 12:48 PM

How about giving some insight into where you'd like to see people putting their energy now that Obama has won. I think a lot of people who finally felt they could work inside the system, are now back out. Where do we go from here?

Posted by: Chai G at December 10, 2008 1:45 PM

I'd say that although you thoroughly impress me with each video you do both with your ideas and your video editing (top-notch). But I think that perhaps you feel that your 'performance' always needs to be top-notch since you've garnered some much attention and accolades over the course of your video bloging life. My recommendaiton would be to just talk about whatever is interesting you whether or not it has anything to do with current events. Actually, I think that post-election we could use a little less current events. As a few other commenters said, you could talk about some great albums of 2008 or perhaps a book you had read which made you think or even a street sign which made you giggle. I know an invisible bar seems to have been set for you but just go play on the swings for the afternoon and leave the bar for another day.

Posted by: Blake at December 10, 2008 1:53 PM

You Never talked about OPRAH!!!!!!!!!

let's see what you have to say about the O'Bitch

Posted by: The Little Hater at December 10, 2008 2:06 PM

I think your cat deserves a segment.

Posted by: Jay Smooth's Cat at December 10, 2008 2:11 PM

I'd be entertained by some sort of puppet theater, perhaps rapping about the seven Kwanzaa principles, but that's probably too tall an order. :) The Ill Doctrine Holiday Spectacular would be legend!

I third the list of fave music choices for the year. And I also hope you feel better.

Posted by: Jaicat at December 10, 2008 2:44 PM

I agree with The Little Hater and Jay's Cat. I'd love to see an episode on Oprah and, separately, on your cat.

Additionally, I've been seeing your name pop up on more mainstream (i.e., outside the hiphoposphere - like... Salon? srsly)sites lately, and I suspect not all your new fans are hip hop people. That being the case, now's your chance to do a kind of Basics of Hip hop for Newcomers. Or some really controversial top 10 lists. Top 10 of all time, of 2008, and whatnot.

You know. That kind of thing. And the cat thing too. Also Oprah. Though she always struck me as a dog person and therefore untrustworthy. Just saying.

Posted by: Japooka Lulubelle Jones at December 10, 2008 3:30 PM

How about BLAGO, and how the right is trying to pull in Obama and Jessie Jackson III in that whole mess?

Feel better soon. It's the holidays, sort of. So you deserve some down time.

Posted by: jenn at December 10, 2008 4:34 PM

I'd love to hear your thoughts on (1) Kanye West's choices with his career and his message, (2) the rich and wonderful world of not-so-mainstream hip hop artists, like Seattle's Blue Scholars and others, (3) the beauty of hip hop and why you love it, (4) why hip hop is important, (5) where you think hip hop is going, and (5) more about your cat, lots more about your cat.

Posted by: Naomi at December 10, 2008 5:26 PM

I like the basics of hip hop idea. Educate the Newcomers.

Posted by: Christine at December 10, 2008 5:35 PM


I hope you beat that cold. I know Obama is trying to run away from the scandals back in Chicago. I'm from Illinois but go to school out of state and can't believe I voted for someone this corrupt.

Posted by: Jr at December 10, 2008 6:10 PM

I'd like to hear you talk about ...

Hip Hop has changed drastically on the 'mainstream' level ... but at a time even Smooth the Hustler and Trigger the Gambler got play on MTV, or even 'BBoy Document 98' with Mos, Mr. Eon, and Mad Skillz was getting some rotation...

So I'd like to hear your take on if hip hop lost its integrity ... or if the things that lyricist used to spit have lost they're relevance ... or some shit... I don't know, it was a great idea before I started typing... so the hell with it...

How about... Big Three Bail Outs, which I'm actually tired of but you have a way of talking shit out that usually rings home with me (and others I'm sure) and helps me further along to come to my own conclusions...

Posted by: KaeGiacona at December 10, 2008 6:13 PM

I agree with the person above who said your cat deserves a segment. I love your video blogs and all the poltical stuff, but think it brings an audience closer when the performer talks about themselves a little. Give us a quirky day in Jay Smooth's life. Just a boy and his cat. Also, I agree with the commenters who suggested a setment about what you're listening to now. I'd also love to see a list with feelings about what your in to that is NOT hip hop. I know you have diverse tastes. Show them to me. Hugs!!

Posted by: Gina Marie at December 10, 2008 6:32 PM

Man you put much pressure on yourself to always be top notch. Forget the Little Hater/Headmaster in your head. :)

Thoughts on my end:
1. Multi-racial inheritance of hip hop... ex: Asian/Asian American hip hop artists, international hip hop, etc.

2. Hip hop dancings, breakdancing, etc. All the various cultural vestiges of a larger hip hop cultural moment... what do you feel about them? How do they relate to the music? Why?

3. Prop 8 in California, what's your take? Esp. on the recent blaming of black folk for the passage of prop 8?

4. Yeah, tell us about your cat, she's so cute.

Posted by: Shinen at December 10, 2008 6:42 PM

I've been thinking about Prop 8 quite a bit. Obviously, others have also. And the race angle for voters in CA is incredibly interesting. But, I don't know if it's a race issue as much as it is a faith issue. Would African Americans be voting that way if their churches or other places of worship were expressing more progressive views? Maybe you can talk about faith a little bit.

I ask this as a Christian that has no home church, doesn't exactly believe that the current incarnation of American Christianity is what Christ was talking about, and votes consistently left. How should we (I) talk to Christians who hold stereotypically hateful (or, at least biased and divisive) views about gay marriage.

You've given us some great input as to how to tell someone they are racist and why we should monitor our own language even in an otherwise safe environment (no homo). Maybe you have some input as to how people should be talking about gay, lesbian, bi, transgender issues.

Posted by: Kevin at December 10, 2008 7:07 PM

It may be too personal, but I would really like to hear about how you deal with haters and flack you undoubtedly get because you critique both masculinity and homophobia.

I'd also love to see you comment on the O'Reilly interview with Jon Stewart where he refers to his young self as a "little thug."

Posted by: withoutscene at December 10, 2008 7:35 PM

The Rod Blagojevich scandal in IL.
the twitter phenomenon (?uest called it the new blog"

Posted by: JayOh at December 10, 2008 9:13 PM

If you could do a post about your thoughts on the John Forte pardon by President Bush, I would love to hear it.

Posted by: Naomi at December 10, 2008 9:32 PM

What about the state of education in America, and how the crazy cost of education is meant to either encourage anti-intellectualism or to reinforce the elitism of the upper-class...leaving folks in other communities behind.

Or maybe Greece and the riots.

Posted by: sandela at December 11, 2008 12:47 AM

You should do like a.. rapper stock market thing in each video, like:

Lil Jon fell 2 points this week after commenting that *something stupid*

I dunno, that's about all I have

Posted by: TakaM at December 11, 2008 3:00 AM

When in doubt, go back to the basics. Why'd you start this in the first place? Look out your window. Put on your headphones. Inspiration is everywhere.

Posted by: SDLN at December 11, 2008 4:00 AM

I'd like you to talk about the unusual cast of characters that now dominate hip hop...

lil wayne, kanye, t pain.... there is a renaissance going on in mainstream hip hop right now. THESE GUYS ARE PUSHING THE GENRE FORWARD!!! piercings and guitars (if only as props), acrobats on stage, autotune and heart pins. Emotion, love- and not that we are the world b.s., i mean genuine love and loss. Is mainstream hip hop finally starting to grow out of corporate obsession and into artistry? FINALLY?

Am i the only one that sees this tectonic shift happening, right before our eyes?

Posted by: d at December 11, 2008 9:15 AM

Yo, what is up with Common? He's the John McCain of hip-hop, a complete sellout with nothing intelligent to add to the conversation. It's felt like the Native Tongues extended family is trying to be more inclusive of black culture, but why is misogyny considered to be culturally significant? Black men are not the only ones who have had to struggle with their value prop in post-ERA world. Why aren't we hearing more dialogue from men about that?

Posted by: Jason B at December 11, 2008 12:17 PM

arab money. cultural appreciation or appropriation?
the remix. better or worse?

Posted by: heather at December 11, 2008 1:09 PM

You really ought to talk about that little issue the Gov. of Illinois had...and what ever happened to Eminem? I started listening to him again and got seriously curiously. That dude acutally had talent, and he didn't give a rip...what did he care about???
Mm, and I really enjoyed your vidz that addressed the church and our insaitable desire to affect the world without touching it. Love to hear more on that.
Keep it up Smooth.

Posted by: Justina H at December 12, 2008 1:19 AM

OH YEAH and I would LOOOOOOOOVVVVEEEE to see a video about REGGAETON!!!! DO IT!!! PLEAAASE!

Posted by: Justina H at December 12, 2008 1:21 AM

Jesse Jackson Jr, in my mind, was one of the few young black politicians who could have moved the affirmative action policy conversation forward, which is necessary since the conversation has been stagnate since the 1970s.

I'd like to hear your take on the relevance of the recent news surrounding him as "Candidate #5," and what this means for the future of black politicians.

Posted by: Brother Spotless at December 12, 2008 11:21 AM

You are the One (The ONE and ONLY) who can and should do the historical (hysterical?) rap about "President George The Second and His Reign of Error." We need a Rap Song about Bush's Legacy that we can come back to, hopefully never to repeat those mistakes, although as we all know, that never happens, does it?

Posted by: LinkFan at December 12, 2008 12:51 PM

I think your specialty if giving us a picture of multiple sides of a situation, and acknowledging various ways that it could truthfully be described at once (Exhibit A: Getting Back to Work Part 1; Exhibit B: No Homo, etc.)

So what's something you see people battling over, in terms of how a story gets told, a media image is framed, or whose voice gets to dominate the telling?

Prop 8 and the black vote keeps getting mentioned.

Bailout on auto companies just failed - everyone in the country is talking about various bailouts, and as you observed, no one seems to know what that means. On a lay level, should we be bailing out a bunch of fatcats in an industry that depends on wreaking environmental devastation? But should we let them collapse which may mean the loss of jobs for many many thousands of lower and middle income Americans, further entrenching class divisions and depressing the economy as a whole?

How about the case being made for prosecuting Rumsfeld, Bush, and others for torture or war crimes? Is this a poor precendent of blaming and crucifying the mistakes of the outgoers, or a legitimate and necessary step for accountability in government?

Or take a particular song or lyric you like and tell us about it. What does it mean and why is it artful?

Posted by: Lena at December 12, 2008 3:42 PM

I'm curious to know how you think notoriety, and other people's impressions of you affect what you do. For instance, do you think about how you look on camera more since Salon named you one of the sexiest men living? Also curious what you think about NPR canceling News & Notes. In reality though - we could all give you plenty of suggestions, but I find you the most interesting when you make me stop and think about things I never gave a second thought to.

Posted by: Fat Lady at December 12, 2008 4:43 PM

Forget what I said earlier about Blogo. I should've known better. It's already on the media infinite loop. So here's an idea: how about talking about the holidays? Or rather, the lack of holiday spirit. I'm just not feeling it. I know it sounds corny, but I used to like the season. Now, I can't stand it. There used to be a lot about it to enjoy when I was younger -- even the silly Christmas albums were a little fun. Now it's all about buying stuff or people feeling bad that they can't buy stuff. Is there something worth salvaging about the season or is it all just played out. Just some of my thoughts, for what they are worth.

Posted by: jenn at December 12, 2008 5:41 PM

Maybe not this next video, but comming up: Talk about your hopes and fears for the new year, both political, hip hop and personal.

I'd like to see something on the holidays. Your take on Kwanzaa (a rap was mentioned, up there ^, I second it), how everyone's messed up about the economy and christmas.

No special on the cat- I love her as a little mysterious cameo character. Adorable.

Posted by: Sheepling at December 12, 2008 9:06 PM

seconds to so many great ideas above - personally could use a Beginner's Guide to Hip Hop (or just about anything)

But I've been pondering lately the transient nature of happiness. As a school teacher, so many of my colleagues are holding on to the idea of some great glorious restful beautiful day off of happiness that will make all the daily misery worth putting up with and though I'm as up for a day off as the next girl that just seems so dysfunctional. Why do I (we? you? anyone else?) find it so hard to just let the moments of happy be where they are? What do you see when you watch through your day? bet the cat knows where happiness is.

Posted by: Debbie at December 12, 2008 10:39 PM

J Smooth,
How's it going? I really enjoy the show. It's good to see a brother with intellegants and a cool sense of humor doing something positive for hip hop now a days. Im, also, finally happy to see a vlog that makes some sense and has a message behind it. I know this is a hip hop vlog and I know it's old news, but I would like to hear your opinion on the OJ Simpson conviction. Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Dirk McGirk at December 12, 2008 11:19 PM

i'd like to hear what you've got to say about prop 8 and coolective responsibility & work. obama has inspired to realize the individual matters. i'm walking in the world like i matter and focusing some of my energy into helping others.

this christmas i fulfilled a needy family's wish list. it felt really relevant. what would happen if everyone did a little something for some one else?

Posted by: michelle at December 14, 2008 7:17 PM

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the rise of the Vocoder/AutoTune fuckery that is disguising itself as innovation in hiphop. TPain gets his under-roos in a bunch when other people encroach on his gimmick, but isn't the fallacy of a gimmick the belief that it's something divinely unique that brings wealth and attention to it's practitioner, when in actuality it's a cheap get-rich-quick-trick that can be easily replicated? Granted, he uses it with musicality for the most part, but his superfluous use and disregard for respectful placement of the effect turned something meant to be artistic into a fad that is becoming as annoying as white people using the word "Bling" to describe EVERY-DAMNED-THING, or to reference one of your earlier videos, the phrase "No Homo." Roger Troutman must be rolling in his grave by now, especially since--to hear him talk--TPain seems to think he's reinvented the wheel. If not that, can you just please say how lame Puffy/Diddy/PDaddyDummyDoo (whatever his "name" is these days) is for making a big deal out of actually offering TPain royalties off of his new album because he's doing it all in auto-tune? Puh-leeeeze. Sorry you were sick. There's something going around NYC, I swear. Everybody I know (including me) has been sick since before Thanksgiving on a rotating basis and it can't stop, won't stop, eh-eh, eh-eh. :-) Doesn't help that it's 63 degrees today, yet supposed to snow tomorrow......holla!

Posted by: Kell at December 15, 2008 4:29 PM

I'd love a best of for the year - or the place - I hear the local indie folks (612 = Rhymesayers) but I don't hear the NY or SF or Cinci or whatever sound much.

Or since you just got home, how you're feeling about this attempt at "community" in vlog/blogland.

Posted by: Rosa at December 15, 2008 9:42 PM

Kevin mentioned being a liberal Christian above, thought he might like to know that there are liberal religious institutions. I belong to a Unitarian Universalist church in New York (All Souls). I don't want to get too into all our beliefs in this forum, but you might want to check it out. Interesting tidbit: Martin Luther King Jr. attended Unitarian churches in Boston and felt a great affinity with the religion--but chose not to join for several reasons (I think): UU didn't have a lot of black congregants and King wanted to belong to a faith that would help him mobilize his movement, King also wouldn't have wanted to deal with the racism that was unfortunately a part of Unitarianism at the time, and King also seemed to think Unitarianism was too optimistic. So, in light of people discussing religion, racism, and Prop 8, now might be an interesting time to contemplate faith and politics.

But I'm with the people who want more vlog time with the cat!

Um, also... not sure, but wanted to clarify that I'm not Jay's cat. I've had this user name (Jaicat) since high school. Someone above said that Jay's cat commented and I wanted to assure everyone that despite the mounting evidence at, cats don't type. Not well, at least. Just saying.

Posted by: Jaicat at December 15, 2008 11:43 PM

I just heard Kanyes’ 808 & Heartbreaks.
What is your stance on the whole autotune movement? Personally I will be happy when the tend passes. Is it ever a good thing for a larger percentage of the rap community to jump on one trend?

Posted by: Jason at December 16, 2008 4:19 PM

I'd like something fun and upbeat about prosecution of war criminals. Shit, a brother can spend like, what, 25 years in Texas for selling a joint, but the pretzelnit and his posse admit to giving orders to torture humans (oh, I get it, they're Muslims, and deserve all that and more, yeah, that's it), and they'll never be charged with anything?

Is Obama gonna let such high-profile crimes against humanity slide because we need to move forward, and needs the support of the defenders and co-conspirators? Damn.

Posted by: ack3000 at December 16, 2008 11:35 PM

Oh yeah, other than something about prosecution of war criminals, more vlog time with the cat!

Posted by: ack3000 at December 16, 2008 11:36 PM

Add me to the crowd of people who want to hear you talk about AutoTune. It's not the most important thing in the world. I just have this urge to hear your take on it.

Posted by: JJRJ at December 16, 2008 11:47 PM

Hey J I think I have two possible topics for your next video blog. 1. How do you feel about the whole "Arab Money" controversy, did BR go to far and how should the Hip-Hop community respond. 2. Have you seen Charles H. A Roth on World Star Hip-Hop, if so what did you think about Charles idea for presidential term limit for rappers?

Posted by: brownhornet at December 18, 2008 4:28 PM

can we get an end of the year wrap up?


Posted by: heather at December 23, 2008 1:58 AM

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Posted by: G at December 25, 2008 3:01 PM

You could comment on this political rap video. :)

Posted by: Nicole at December 27, 2008 2:25 AM

The bombing in GAZA!!!
Around 300 Palestinians have been killed in the last 2 days. Please talk about this, it's insane, inhumane, and unjust. Let's bring attention to this and ask that Obama change the U.S.- Israel relations and the fact that Israel receives the most U.S. aid than any other country and uses it to strengthen its military regime.

Posted by: ivonne at December 28, 2008 10:32 PM

yea i was just trying to write a comment to ask u to speak on gaza, looks like person above already asked. after all, palestinians are the worlds black people and gaza is a massive prison. ur like the amy goodman of hip hop (thats supposed to be a compliment), thanks.

Posted by: aaron at January 2, 2009 9:39 PM

Cool post, I really appreciate it!

Posted by: Brice Hagenbrok at September 6, 2010 12:21 AM

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