Read In Your Language

Happy 50th Birthday, Graffiti!

In 1967, some dude in Philly wrote his name on a wall to get a girl's attention. My how this culture has grown up since then.

Taggin Ass City

A historical look at the origins of the 1st element of hip hop in this new documentary. Culture kicks the facts.


A LEGEND amongst legends has passed away in Philadelphia. You should probably know this name if you SAY you love hip hop culture...

The Art Scene: The Fun Gallery

Street Art? New???? Our Big Brother Samo, aka Basquiate and the crew was doin that back in the day in NY, sun. Take peep into the start of a movement.

Da Buze Bruvaz: Hard Liquor

Our favorite rap group is back making that unmistakable hip hop music. Nothin but fire. see if I'm wrong...

Sunday, August 9, 2009


i like the way its goin down. all around me, i see dudes (and females) gettin up on some i'mma get it myself shit. clothes, promotion, media and music. they tryin to compete with the big boys, and a lot of them have the ideas that will make them competitive. sometimes, they just drop the ball on execution.

as an audio engineer, i can't begin to tell you how many times people get this whole notion fucked up in regards to their music. they think that talent is enuff. i mean, it does count for a big portion of the equation. but there is an already established standard as to what constitutes "professional" in every discipline. therefore, if a person is gonna call theyselves goin for it, they should try to aim as close to that standard as possible. like i don't see how somebody could think they was gonna start a magazine and aim at takin down XXL, and their magazine is some stapled color copies. i mean, they could have the most talented writers in the world. some amazing photos. excellent and informed editorials. but i dont see nobody takin a chance on spendin some real money on advertising. because the format suggests that the people puttin the magazine together don't fully realize what it takes to put a magazine together. you see where i'm goin' with this?

a lot of rappers think they can put out stuff and it not be mixed and mastered. that would've been true back when Too Short was makin his tapes in Oakland. the standard for the sound in rap music wasn't fully established. "South Bronx" by KRS One was originally done on a 4 trak recorder, and was played on the radio just like it was. thats why when you play it today, it almost has no bass in it. because it wasn't MASTERED. but with A Tribe Called Quest's "Low End Theory", a whole new level for the sound of the records had been reached. consistent, polished, levelled, present, resonant, and balanced. the next major turn was later in the same year, with "The Chronic" by Dre. Dre, which is even more impressive because he is also co-mixed the project. and since then, rap music has never been the same. even though records by RunDMC, LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys ushered in the big label sound into hip hop, they didn't serve as the turning point in the overall application in the sound of the recordings. there were actually "worse" (and i mean that in the level of quality) sounding records after that that were still hit records in hip hop. as an ardent fan of Marley Marl production and production techniques, i am amazed that while listening to those records these days with much better informed ears, how much distortion is in a lot of the classic Juice Crew records, especially in the vocals. with the advent of these two records and probably even more so "The Chronic", most labels made it a point to aim higher. even the seminal productions of DJ Premiere at D&D Studios (along with "Enter The 36 Chambers" by Wu Tang Clan) were regarded as a style of mixing, or more widely accepted as the sound of "real hip hop", the gritty hard core sound that characterized a break away from the more audiophile offering of the Death Row catalog. even Bad Boy records followed suit with well produced, mixed and mastered records that set them apart from the typical offerings of the day. and since then, with the rise of digital format recording, the sound has been pushed even further in it's sonic character and clarity. the standard has been set. anyone wishing to compete has to come correct. even a listen to DJ Premiere's work will show a gradual improvement in sonic clarity and definition, even while recording at D&D.

so now with digital audio workstations in everyone's home, the dividing line that existed between that superior professional sound and the home demo has been blurred, if not completely erased. or has it? the difference still lies in the attention to detail. how well are your recordings captured? how good are the sounds you use? there still is no replacement for a good microphone, and mic modelers are just really eq settings. and most people need to realize these things. because no matter how much more accessible quality recording equipment has become, the laws of physics involving sound ARE STILL THE SAME. no matter what version of Pro Tools, Cue Base, Nuendo, or Logic you have, you will not get professional audio if you dont know how to manipulate sound. in other words, if you don't KNOW what the fuck ur doin, you gonna fuck shit up. and thats as strait up as i can put it.

mastering is a whole 'nother thing. cause your record will not come together, or have that polish if it isn't mastered. this is what makes your recordings sound like records. you can't skip it for budget reasons; put it in the budget! i have a client that used my service for his first record. he sold pretty good in the streets and figured that he could bypass mixing and mastering with his second effort because people were already down with him. he started to hear people say, "it doeasn't sound the same", or "it don't sound like a record", or worse yet, "nice mixtape". people can't get all geeky like i can explaining why it doesn't sound the same. but they know it when they hear it. and if THEY can hear it, what makes you think that the music PROFESSIONALS who do this for a living, and who you're trying to get a DEAL from, are gonna think when they hear it? and with the playing field so broad now a days, you're gonna need every advantage you can get. that is, if you're serious about what you're doing. if it's just a hobby, then don't worry. it will sound like it.

the legendary engineer Tommy Dowd once told a story of bringing Ray Charles into a modern recording facility. the engineer there was eager to explain all that the studio offered. so he went on about all the trax at their disposal, the outboard gear names and models, how it was the newest thing out and all that. Ray Charles stopped him in the middle of all his gear spittin and asked one question; "Yeah, but how does it SOUND, baby!?!"

now, in the words of Gangstarr, ask yourself the same question.

Friday, August 7, 2009


all week over at, there was guest blogger named Shakur. She was the chick from the Drake video, "The Best I Ever Had" ("All you ever taught us was how to stretch!"). she was a total bomb all week, insulting the commenters, who didnt want to hear shallow media friendly stories and weak and feeble attempts to sound like she is an active participant in the culture, while calling it a "commodity" as well as a "branding" tool. poor girl. like so many others. misguided and undecided. and that goes for you dudes as well.

i was initially gonna get in her ass. but i figured i layed into her pretty good over there. cause in my house, if i lay into her ass, it got to be literally.

i mean it's just like so many things we deal wit in life. men aren't good fathers because they haven't experienced one. women aren't good partners because they've grown up watching their mother's go at it alone. kids in the hood choose crime because they don't see the successful lawyers in Benzes. they move away. they see drug dealer in Benzes, and that's what success look like. same thing with this rap shit. i'm not even gonna go into HIP HOP. cause that's more than this rap shit. and more than most of yall give a shit about.

i came across this video and had to post it so that it can be a reminder to those that don't know what it feels to be appreciated for your SKILL. not your chart placement or your guest appearances, but just for how good you are. look at how these dudes have appreciation for each other, even tho their approach is different. cause it's supposed to be. and for those haven't seen it and to those that remember it, this is hip hop...

Thursday, August 6, 2009


i don't get it. i don't understand women sometimes.

naw, let me swallow that. i think i understand them pretty good. i guess i'm constantly amazed at the shit that they do. like the videos circulating of Pun's wife Liza speakin on her current condition. it seems she's homeless and has taken to blaming Fat Joe for her misfortunes. he ONLY gave her $120,000. for most people, thats like 4 or 5 years pay at around $20/22,000 a year. thats ALL she got.

i don’t know how much i gotta get on here and say that these chicks need some guidance in their lives! i swear. because a properly coached female in a CLEARLY advantageous position is capital all day. in other words, if she was under the proper guidance,
a phone call to Joe
to explain the situation
to suggest a solution in the form of
a) a mixtape
b) a reissue of Capital Punishment or
c) a remix album with the cats that used to fuck wit Pun from producers to rappers, to be sold,
that says on it “to support Big Pun and his widow and his children”
would’ve been a SOLUTION. instead she’s chosen, and Latinos forgive me if i type it wrong, BONCHINCHE. thats gossip, slander, like in a slimy way. and at the one sureshot solution she got to her current dilemma.

i sure hope she ain’t thinkin “book”. cause abuse and abandonment are played out. Oprah don’t even book that shit no more. and as much as i love Pun, his impact is not that far reaching to secure big numbers. WE love him. but i don’t think the abused and abandoned bitch in Des Moines is gonna give a fuck. so what a Latino man beat his wife? they were raised to think they wasn’t shit from first of all.

what kills me is the seemingly universal concept that women have of going against the grain. and then expecting men to respect how they make decisions. (?) cause anybody that attacks their ally in the face of battle that they’re losing is a FOOL. i mean no disrespect to Pun’s widow. this is somethin i see a LOT of women do. and a lot will STILL have the nerve to ask you for help AFTER THEY ARE FINISHED ATTACKING YOU. as if nothing happened. it’s in those times is when i thank my dad for the genetic material he passed on that enables me to grab a good portion of myself whereas to demonstrate what can be done with a mouth like that.

death is always a sad issue. i’ve been to 56 funerals in my life between Philly and New York. one thing that i know, and i don’t mean to sound callous, but if you gonna get some money outta niggas for the family of the deceased, do it fast. cause niggas WILL forget. and as the grief fades away like daylight when the night comes, folks tend to get back to what matters to THEM. and Pun matters to people. so her solution is to SPOIL that memory in the minds of people? and then expect to collect on that legacy? i don’t see where you can say you really thought that out.

i wrote an entry on this site called “Who’s The Mack?” detailing my theory of where this mindstate originates in women. cause any woman that catch an ass whoopin wit a gun butt and wake up in the same house with that nigga the next day has ACCEPTED that treatment in her life. stop making men the root of all yall problems because that ONE man, your daddy, didnt perform HIS duty. and perform yours.

cause the kids are blameless. and they gotta eat. whether it be poyo, or pizza in the middle of little Italy…

UPDATE Aug 6: Joe feels the same way

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


i really get sick of you niggas. especially when it comes time for you to get feedback from your work. it's amazing to me that you niggas want accolades with no criticsm. honestly, the greats are made great by what they overcome. not by what they over compensate for.

this term HATIN'. this shit fucks me up. or at least the way it's used sometimes. because the minute somebody tell u that ur ridin the wrong way up the block, yall'll tell 'em they jealous cause you got a car.

it makes me think back to the days when it was common place that dudes was called toys in graffiti and was called wack rappers or breakdancers. or u got called a biter if u didn't come at it in your own way. it was a sin to copy, or if u did something that was in an existing style, you had to add on to it. that type of scrutiny kept muthafuckas on they toes and on they game. and what was honorable about it was that muthafuckas would accept it. not sayin that a muthafucka would choose stagnant as a position (Bow Wow?), but would rather work his ass off to get that title off of him. in order to change a problem, u first got to acknowledge that it exists.

nowadays, its a whole 'nother thing. these dudes is sensitive. you tell em that they need more work, or that you simply don't like they stuff and you would swear you cussed they mother. they get real emotional, want to fight and call you a hater cause they are plain and simply not that good. i remember back when the Source was the shit and that whole anti-journalist sentiment sprung up. i mean rappers was ready to set it on people for their opinion. "they tryin' to take food off my kids table!" was the more famous mantra by those of this sort, when it was the futherest thing from the truth. they may be stoppin u from doin what you WANT, but there is always other ways to feed the children. i mean if u serious about being a daddy. but if you serious about your career, then you're just gonna have to get better, strait up. that is, if u don't wanna throw jabs at the next man's clock. make a choice.

editorial in music is what used to drive the standard. most folks don't realize that Billboard position was once determined by the general consensus of the critics. that was what decided the number one position. so for RunDMC to chart #3 on the Billboard is a real feat considering it was judged by people who weren't close to the culture. good weed will get you high, no matter who smokes it, yah'meen? it's easier to understand why The Beasties hit #1 being as tho' they had an approach that was easier to understand to the writers of Billboard; they used snippets of Led Zeppelin and used thrashin guitar solos. but make no mistake, when held to a standard of responsibility in regards to the culture, they passed with flying colors. no one has ever compared them to a Vanilla Ice. that just seems absurd. so with the introduction of the Source, there was a center point for the type of editorial that was needed to explain and introduce different aspects of the culture. it was an integral part of the expansion of hip hop for sure. but it also served as a reminder that excellent work will be rewarded. it used to be a coveted prize to get the hip hop quotable and a career sealer to get a 5 mic rating. i mean, the mic rating system would help drive sales! these coveted prizes were the reward of responsible editorial. and we barely disagreed.

now, it's all fucked up. even the last man standing, XXL, seems compromised. or scared. the new editor fielded comments from the regulars on the site, and she openly admitted that Slaughterhouse wouldn't get the cover in deference to Jeezy. not to slight Jeezy, he does what he do, but i thought the whole thing was about covering the HOT story. the commenters wanted Slaughterhouse, because they felt they deserved it. the editor wanted Jeezy, insisting he'll do numbers, even tho' she agreed that Slaughterhouse DESERVED it. another example of the responsibility of the editoratti, if u will, or the irresponsibility conversely, to the culture that gave it the platform to exist in the first place! talk about some ungrateful shit.

now a days, what gets artists validated is the pure collective opinion of the blogosphere. we gave Drake his career. but in truth, Drake gave us somethin to fuck with. others on the rise will also benefit from the new found power of the editorial blogger, who at no time bites his/her tongue. that why things are trending toward more developed concepts and increased innovation in material and subject matter. watch what i tell you, this shit is gettin ready to pop off. and it's at the hands of people who are demanding that others content has to have content in order to be content with including it amongst other content on their site. (i know, i b havin fun sometimes...) bloggers know that the people who fuck with them do so because they AGREE with them. it's that sense of integrity that keeps us going. thats that real shit, sun.

and it's not without reward. do you think i'd be doin this if i couldn't get no loose leaf? sheeeet! but i live by thorobred rules. even if it's wrong, i do wrong right. money is a by product of doing things well. no matter how you do it. drug dealers get rich from GOOD product, not from tellin you it's hot. so i see holding events with big name rap artists, and even my man Dallas Penn makin more of an effort to generate more original content. this will all get niggas MONEY. but because muhfuckas fux wit dem. not because someone told them they should.

i included this cartoon cause it made me think about a lot of the material that comes through my studio. it seems any bum off the street is a producer or rapper. i act as the editor to a lot of their shit, to, at the very least show them what good audio is supposed to sound like. so i increase my business because people know Culture will give you a quality mix/master. so i make more money by making sure the quality is there and not just giving people any ol' thing. but keep it up, rap magazine editor, and that will be YOU with the cardboard box speakin to bloggers like my man Tony Grand$ behind the editor's desk. my, how the table's have turned. and then, when it's too late, you'll really understand... that a house divided against itself, can not stand. 'specially if it's made of cardboard.

just ask Dave Mays...

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