Category Archives: Current Events

Hip Hop: 4 Signs that this is a Dying Genre

Great article by Nick Cannata-Bowman which helps put into words my feelings over the last few years about hip hop and the future of hip hop.

Photo:  Tidal Launch

From The Cheat Sheet:

Hip-hop is a music with a history dating all the way back to the 70s, having evolved in each decade since. What we have today though is completely unrecognizable from the genre’s origins in the streets of the Bronx, New York. The modern industry features megastars like Jay Z and Kanye West, raking in millions of dollars on album sales, huge-scale arena tours, and award-show appearances. In the midst of all that, it’s easy to forget that the goal wasn’t always to make money.

The hip-hop industry as we know it now certainly has quality artists. Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and more have helped pioneer the next generation of rappers, but even that’s not enough to overcome one simple fact: Mainstream hip hop is effectively dying.

1. Ego has become prioritized over music

The things making headlines nowadays concerning hip-hop and rap typically won’t be about quality music. More of what we hear is the latest incident from Kanye. Or Jay Z’s most recent comments about how his music streaming service is making history. Outside of that sphere, typically all we hear the biggest rappers talking about is how great they are, sans the actual proof of that greatness. It’s become more about puffing your chest out than simply going into the studio to make good music, which in turn has diminished the quality of what we’re given.

2. The original motivation behind the genre is gone

Hip-hop began in humble roots, acting as a voice for the disenfranchised of the younger generation. It’s since been packaged, commodified, and sold to the masses, having long since lost its original meaning. Most lyrics now are about making stacks, while pointless beefs with other artists over social media dominate the landscape. At the risk of sounding like the old man on the porch waving his cane, “back in the day,” hip-hop used to be a movement that stood for something. What it stands for now certainly isn’t the same anymore.

3. The music we do have has become oversaturated and inane

Let’s take a second to cherry-pick some relevant example. Some select lyrics from O.T. Genasis’s hit song “CoCo” that peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100:

I’m in love with the coco
I’m in love with the coco
I got it for the low, low
I’m in love with the coco

Values aside, an ode to O.T. Genasis’s love of cocaine is as far from artistic integrity as you could possibly get. Odds are it took O.T. little effort to write, while yielding a whole lot of reward. When the bar for a hit song becomes “repeat ‘I’m in love with the coco” over and over again, it becomes fairly clear we’ve arrived in a bad place (also worth noting, Tyga repeats “rack city bitch” upwards of 54 times in his hit, “Rack City”).

4. Money is all that matters

As it is with any art, there’s nothing in this world that can’t be commodified. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to make a living off of your art, the role models young rappers have in the industry are the ones setting the tone. Aspiring rappers see their idols rolling around in Scrooge McDuck-esque piles of money. This in turn makes their art a means to an end; the creative process is corrupted at its very roots, when the goal is to get rich. It’s also of course driven by a number of socio-economic factors, with “getting big” acting as the straightest path out of poverty and into a mansion.

Jenna Jameson Converting to Judaism

Well, all righty, then. From the Jerusalem Post:

It’s a scene most Jewish families are familiar with: a table laid with two homemade challahs, Shabbat candles, a kiddush cup and an impressive spread of food. The catch? This image was posted online by Jenna Jameson, arguably the world’s most famous former porn star.

“Here is a little image from last Shabbat!!!” the 41-year-old mostly-retired actress wrote next to the photo she posted on Twitter and Instagram. “I made home made Chilean sea bass chraimeh, potato pancakes, Israeli salad and yummy challah!”

While Jameson has in the past described herself as a devout Catholic, things are apparently taking a turn, as she wrote on social media that she is currently converting to Judaism for her Israeli-born boyfriend.

On Tuesday she posted a photo of a box of Strauss popsicles exported from Israel that she bought at a local market, writing in Hebrew that they were “taim” (tasty).

When one follower invited her to visit Israel, she wrote in Hebrew: “I’m coming to Israel soon,” and told another “b’ezrat Hashem.”

Among her undoubteldy risque postings of photos from her past work, Jameson also posted a picture of a slow cooker filled with cholent bubbling away, surrounding by Pereg-brand spices and Osem kosher soup mixes. “Cooked my first Shabbat dinner tonight,” she wrote.

Jameson’s fiancé is reportedly 41-year-old Lior Bitton, a Herzliya native who works in the diamond business in Los Angeles, where they both live.

These days Jameson is venturing into the mainstream film world, and has just been cast in an indie drama called Limelight. If you’re still looking for more information on her – Google at your own risk.

Photo: Jenna Jameson

How Interesting

From the NY Times:

Ratings Bounce for Radio Stations That Turned to Classic Hip-Hop


Photo:  Jay Rio of Boom 92 Classic Hip Hop
Jay Rio, the radio personality of Boom 92 Classic Hip-Hop, in the studio at Radio One Houston.Credit Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Two months ago, a Houston radio station changed its format from news to “classic hip-hop” — meaning lots of LL Cool J, Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. — and kicked off a broadcasting frenzy.

Since that station, KROI-FM — owned by the Radio One chain and now known as Boom 92 — changed over, big broadcasters around the country like iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media have quickly followed with their own variations on the new format. This week Nielsen released numbers for three of Radio One’s stations, and while the results are promising, there is some cause for concern.

Once its format flipped KROI’s audience more than tripled, going from 245,000 to 802,000, and its share — meaning the percentage of radios in use and tuned to a station — went from 1.0 to 3.2, according to Nielsen. In Philadelphia, WPHI-FM, which became Boom Philly on Nov. 6, grew from 534,000 in the month immediately before the change to 736,000 after. (Radio One had timed that change exactly to Nielsen’s ratings period.) KSOC-FM in Dallas, which turned on Nov. 14, went from 524,000 to 724,000.

Radio executives say that more classic hip-hop stations are expected around the country in the new year. But one piece of data about KROI in Houston throws some cold water on the excitement. Although that station’s audience grew quickly when the new format was introduced, it fell slightly the following month. In the four-week ratings period that began Nov. 6, the station’s audience declined by 2.6 percent to 781,000, and its share dropped from 3.2 to 2.9.

That suggests that after an initial explosion — and a great deal of local and national attention in the news media — some listeners moved on to other things.

Cop killings have nearly doubled in past year: FBI

Photo:  NYC Mayor Police Graduation
NYC Mayor Police Graduation

Courtesy of the NY Post:

The number of cops killed in the line of duty during violent acts has almost doubled in the past year, the FBI said.

In 2014, 51 cops were killed in a felony crime — up from just 27 the year before, which marked a 35-year low, according to preliminary data released Monday by the FBI.

By region, eight cops were killed during the commission of a crime in the Northeast, 17 in the South, 14 in the West, eight in the Midwest and four in Puerto Rico.

An average of 64 officers were killed per year nationwide from 1980 to 2014 in felony cases, the FBI said.

The data come amid spiking tensions between law enforcement and minority communities after deaths of unarmed black men and boys at the hands of cops in Baltimore, Staten Island and Ferguson, Mo.

The recent turmoil also has shed light on the dangers faced by cops across the country.

Among the 51 slain cops, 46 were shot at with handguns, rifles and shotguns; four were run over by vehicles; and one was killed with the offender’s bare hands, the FBI said.

They faced a variety of situations, including 11 who responded to disturbance calls, 10 who were conducting traffic pursuits or stops, eight who were ambushed and six who were investigating suspicious people or situations.

Five cops were fatally injured during investigations, four were taking part in tactical situations, three were dealing with the mentally ill and one was killed in a drug-related case. Three others were killed while arresting suspects.

In addition to the violent cases, 44 other cops were accidentally killed in 2014 — including 28 car accidents and two accidental shootings. In 2013, 49 cops were killed in accidental cases.
The FBI will publish the full statistics in a fall annual report.

On This Edition of World’s Dumbest Criminals

Aaron Hernandez charged with witness intimidation in connection to 2012 Boston killings

Photo:  Aaron Hernandez
Aaron Hernandez

BOSTON — Former New England Patriots player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez is facing another criminal charge: witness intimidation.

Aaron Hernandez was indicted Friday on charges of witness intimidation. AP Photo/Dominick Reuter
Hernandez was convicted last month of killing a man in June 2013. He also faces two counts of murder in Boston, where he is accused of gunning down two men in 2012 after one caused him to spill his drink at a nightclub.

The Suffolk County district attorney’s office said Monday that a grand jury indicted Hernandez on Friday. It says Hernandez shot a witness to the Boston killings on Feb. 13, 2013, after the witness made a remark about the killings.

The district attorney’s office did not identify the witness, but Alexander Bradley, a former Hernandez friend, has sued Hernandez, saying he shot him on that date in Florida.

Hernandez’s lawyers didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.


[fb_embed_post href=”” width=”550″/]