This video’s a little cheezy but it’s also a nice primer about how Creative Commons works. CC is a Copyright alternative that allows for remixing and sharing of media, which we here at Mashit think is of utmost importance.
Some of you might find CCMixter.org of interest. It’s a website where you can upload and download samples, accapellas, remixes, and collaborate on projects. Like Archive.org’s audio site, it’s a great place to get open-source samples for productions you’re working on.
These projects are a big step in the right direction, but they don’t solve the problem that most of pop culture has not yet opened up to open-source and commons ideas. Digital media and the internet have unleashed a “torrent” of remix and collage culture, and creativity is running wild in the best way, but a large portion of the output is technically illegal. In the immortal words of Peter Tosh, “You’ve got to legalize it.”
I’m noticing an emerging theme; M.I.A. has been inspiring some hip-hop activism on her remixes. I’m glad to see her and Jay Z (!) taking the lead by talking about leadership. Jay seems to realize that his piece of the bling-pie will be eaten by someone much more wealthy than him if he doesn’t speak up and push for change.
Gotta get Bush out the chair.
Give Obama the floor.
Lets bring back Ragen,
at least we were gettin’ that raw.
These Politicians don’t give a s***
The hood’s still gettin’ ingnored
Wayne pointed out this post on Vibe’s blog about the abundance of M.I.A. “Paper Planes” remixes floating around. I had already collected a bunch over the past year, but recently they’ve been popping up like mushrooms on shit after a rain storm. Many of them seem to be legit/official (or semi-official) versions featuring prominent rappers like 50 Cent, Jim Jones, and Bun B.
To top it all off, the new T.I. track “S.L.U. (Swagga Like Us)” features a “Paper Planes” sample as the main refrain. M.I.A. repeats “No one on the corner has swagger like us” while T.I. and his brothers in top-40 rap Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and Kanye West, do their thing over the top.
3 years and 3 days ago John McCain and George W. Bush ate cake to celebrate McCain’s 69th birthday. At that very moment hurricane Katrina was bringing devastation to the gulf coast.
Now it’s election season, and almost exactly 3 years later the Republican National Convention was due to begin today, but another monster hurricane has disrupted the plan. I hope that Gustav is a more benevolent beast then Katrina was, but this new storm does bring a silver lining. It reminds us of Katrina and the way she was handled. Gustav shines a light once again on the Bush administration’s horrible bungling of the disaster. Not only before, during, and immediately after the event, but the continuing botches that have left FEMA-trailer-park refugee camps spread across the region to this day. And now those camps themselves have been evacuated as Gustav begins to bear down on the coast.
Coincidently my friend, filmmaker Lucia Small, was here in Chicago this weekend for the debut theatrical run of her new documentary “The Axe in the Attic“, a film about Katrina.
Hi everybody! I’ve been away for a LONG, LONG time…sorry about that.
Anyway, I just picked up this new Cocoa Tea 7″ called “Barack Obama”, and it’s pretty adorable. To be honest, I am kind of really tired of the Obama sales bonanza that I see going on in my demographic–I mean, I love the guy and fully intend to vote for him, but when I walk into Urban Outfitters (my first mistake) and see no fewer than FOUR different Barack Obama t-shirt designs for sale, I shudder a little bit.
NEVERTHELESS, I thought this nifty Obama-themed steppers joint from dancehall legend Cocoa Tea was cute as hell. Enjoy.
Cocoa Tea; Barack Obama (VP Records)
This McCain attack ad equating Obama with Britney Spears and Paris Hiltion is hilarious!
First of all, I don’t know about Paris, but Britney was a Bush supporter. Is the ad trying to say Obama is a stupid blond bimbo like the one who voted for Bush before? Wow!
Second, the ad is practically an endorsement of Obama. I mean they’re saying he’s the most popular guy in the world and then questioning whether he’s ready to lead. It’s quite obvious from the images in the ad that he’s already leading.
The one infuriating part of the ad is the claim that Obama will increase our dependence on foreign oil. That’s a classic Republican attack machine lie.
Right now we could increase the fuel efficiency of our cars to 43 miles a gallon, and if we increased the fuel efficiency of our cars to 43 miles a gallon then we would have to import zero oil from the middle east. That is something that we could do right now.
It’s come to our attention that late last week the Chicago City Council rammed through a new “Promoter’s Ordinance” aimed at small-time / “underground” event promoters. According to the Save Chicago Culture blog:
Imagine a Chicago where local music is only heard in the suburbs and theater is limited to Wicked and Jersey Boys.
Scary thoughts. But if the City of Chicago’s City Council doesn’t hear your voice by Wednesday, May 14, they’ll become reality.
On that date the council will vote to approve an ordinance that has the power to stifle creativity in Chicago’s musical, theatrical, and general cultural scenes. With no public discourse or commentary, this proposal has been approved by the City Council Committee and is on the fast track to be pushed into law. It is up to us to let our elected officials know that Chicago’s creative scene is too rich, too varied, and too vital to be regulated in such a blanket fashion.
The “Event Promoters” ordinance requires any event promoter to have a license from the city of Chicago and liability insurance of $300,000, but that’s just the start:
The definition of “event promoter” is so loosely defined it could apply to a band that books its own shows or a theater company that’s in town for a one-week run.
“Event Promoter” must be licensed and will pay $500 – $2000 depending on expected audience size.
To get the license, applicant must be over 21, get fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and jump over several other hurdles.
This ordinance seems targeted towards smaller venues, since those with 500+
permanent seats are exempt.
Police must be notified at least 7 days in advance of event.
Entire genres of music would not exist if it weren’t for “underground” music scenes; most notably in this case Chicago-blues and house music. Lets take the later for example. From the Wikipedia entry on house music:
“House music was developed in the houses, garages and clubs of Chicago and Detroit, and it was produced for local club-goers in the ‘underground’ club scenes, rather than for widespread commercial release. As a result, the recordings were much more conceptual, longer than the music usually played on commercial radio.”
This underground music went on to have a gigantic influence on dance music all over the world which is one reason why Chicago is known as an important cultural center. The underground clubs like the Ware(house) where this music developed would never have survived a draconian law like this. This is a deep disappointment, Chicago!
First up, for all who haven’t seen this: Google Maps Drug Deal! Right here in beautiful Chicago, Illinois. There’s a license plate number and everything. Here’s a screen shot, for when Google eventually gets this removed.
There are all sorts of webbernets nerds buzzing about this pic and how it relates to our PRIVACY and PERSONAL FREEDOM and OMGZ GOOGLE IS TAKING OVER OUR LIVES and BIG BROTHER and all that, but really I think all that can be avoided by operating on a simple principle that has served me well throughout the years: “don’t sell drugs in the street when a car covered in cameras rolls by”.
In related news, Dizzee Rascal has a new video, with Bun B from UGK. It’s called “Where Da G’s”, and it’s filmed in Houston, and it’s all about what an accomplished crack dealer Dizzee Rascal & Bun B are, and how you (and all those other “fake” rappers) claim to be accomplished crack dealers when you really aren’t. It’s full of shots of a specifically American vision of ghetto life: windowless bungalows with spacious, grassless lawns; giant American hoopties; craps games; etc. Take a look:
I find this pretty revolting for a few reasons:
1) Could Dizzee possibly be trying any harder to blow up in America? This really looks painfully forced..it reminds me of when The Prodigy came out with Firestarter.
2) Maybe this makes me a bigot (or maybe I’m just rooting for the home team), but I just absolutely refuse to believe that any Englishman is as hard as your worst (or even average) American thug. I’m not saying that the British are weaklings or anything, and I certainly don’t think American gangsters are the toughest on earth, but the very fact that Dizzee talks about KNIFING somebody in his track is telling–KNIFING somebody? really? Stabbing is a crime for hoboes, prison inmates, and Europeans–here in the western hemisphere we SHOOT people, thank you kindly.
3) COKE RAPS ARE SO PLAYED OUT. Can we pleeeease PLEEEEEEEEASE move on to an era where hip hop is either a) dead or b) interesting again or at the very least c) not ethically reprehensible? Don’t get me wrong, I have always been one of those bleeding heart free speech ultra-liberals who thinks crack should be legal and people should be able to say just about anything in any format they want (including on radio, FCC guys) and I’ve always laughed at the crusty right-wing culture terrorists who think that rap and video games are the downfall of society, but at a certain point I have to admit that songs like this fall into the same category as torture in films and television–certainly these artforms are reflections of endemic problems with our society, but at the same time they are helping to glorify and lionize a lot of harmful, dangerous, and unethical behaviors, and I can’t help but believe that an absence of such treatments of this subject matter in hip hop would be a positive thing.