Stunted By Reality Just another know-it-all talking about life, business, technology, sports and music.

27Aug/09Off

Michael Jackson: The picture that says it all

It's not like how I dreamt it would be.....

I stumbled onto this picture of Michael Jackson on Ledisi's blog the other day. For me it conveys a lot of what we outsiders saw in him.

  • The boy dressed in his Peter Pan fantasy outfit. Seemingly shutting out reality.
  • The boy we knew, who now has a freaky, whitened face. Still recognisably him.
  • The sad look on his boyhood face.
  • The half-smile, half-sad adult face.

I'm posting this as it captures the essence of what I try to say on this blog. Whatever you do, business, music, politics and most importantly in life, pay attention to the reality of the situation. Too often we think and dream of something and when it's time to do it, reality bites us in the ass.

I believe Michael Jackson was Stunted by Reality. What does the picture say to you?

11Aug/09Off

Major Lazer – the birth of electro dancehall

So I'm reading this Guardian article about pop artists'  nominations for worlds best artist, period. And Mike D from the Beastie Boys mentions Major Lazer before eventually nominating a different band. Now I was intrigued enough to find out about this Major Lazer dude and set about following the links trail, as one does.

The story behind Major Lazer is an interesting one about him being a "Jamaican commando who lost his arm in the secret Zombie War of 1984." All very imaginative, but in effect he is the creation of Diplo and Switch, two producers who met whilst working on M.I.A's Paper Planes album and discovered that they both had a love for Jamaican Dancehall. They then went out to Jamaica and tried to convince Dancehall artists to feature on their tracks. Unsuccesfully at first, though in the end they managed to get Vybz Kartel, Mr. Lexx, Baby Cham, Wayne Marshall and even Elephant Man.

The beats they were pushing were a mix of Dancehall, House, Electro and I can say being a fan of all three, I love the results. They've kept the bassy drums of Dancehall and infused some electro riffs and samples that manage to be distinctive and yet not detract from the Dancehall elements.

Of course Dancehall has been here before with Jungle which in the end turned out to be shortlived though I liked that when it was around. What can I say, anyone who knows me knows I love bass. Bass guitar, drum & bass, that Jack White bassy riff. Anything! However I feel that this could be a new genre we're witnessing.

Like any new genre it still needs other artists, especially up and coming ones, to be inspired enough by it to go down the same route.

Major Lazer, I salute you.

Major Lazer (Feat. Prince Zimboo & M.I.A.) - \"Baby (Switch RMX)\" MP3 via Stereogum

Filed under: BS, Music No Comments
20May/09Off

KO the Korean rapper – Why rappers shouldn't say the N word

Yesterday I saw a link posted by Ty one of my favourite UK rappers. Actually, one of my favourites, period. It was a link to a YouTube clip and his comment was "is this for real?", without actually saying what he was linking to.

Now I'm as curious as anybody, so I clicked through and watched a clip of a young Asian rapper talking about n1ggaz and hoes in that animated style you'd normally associate with 'gangster' rappers. In fact I'd say he was biting off of DMX's song (What's My Name? I think?). Those swear words were used quite a lot and to bad effect, because the rhyming and lyrics were really off. You know what, just watch it yourself. Here's the video.

That was Here we go by KO; Too bad you don't get rap skills from taking steroids!

Anyway, I'm sure most people would agree that it was interesting! I must admit the video is kind of funny because the song is so bad. Of course it doesn't start off funny because each time he says n1gga it feels like a slap to me. Ideally you'd want to tell him to stop using it, until you realise that a great number of today's rappers use that word; so how are we going to tell him to stop when this is most of what he sees in hip-hop. Furthermore, no rap album or DVD is going to come with a pamphlet explaining the history of the word and why it's offensive.

Now I know quite a few black people who would be offended by this song, but I'm not one of them. I actually think that our more prominent rappers are perpetuating this sort of thing by their common use of the word n*gga in their songs. Therefore I'm mad at them. That's also not a new thing, because I'm sure they've all heard it before and probably from people with way more clout and reason than me.

The only thing I'd like to say is that rappers need to have a look at this video to see how much of a caricature THEY have become and by extension us black people. This is all because of the unnecessary use of a word that we really don't need to appropriate. Yes, I use the word from time to time (rarely in fact), but in all honesty there will never be a day when black people can truly say we have gotten rid of the negative connotations of that word. I remember watching Oprah once and she mentioned that it was like calling your kid a b*stard. You can say it, but you wouldn't want anyone else saying it. I agree with that, especially since we all know that b*stards will never manage to appropriate that word too!

Now it's entirely possible that KO made this video as a joke, whilst still appreciating hip-hop music, but that just shows even more deeply how these 'gangsters' need to check themselves in the mirror. Anyone who's comfortable being emulated like that, joke or no joke would really have to be insane.

That actually brings me to my proposal for getting rid of the N-word. Any rapper/singer/actor (yes you Samuel L Jackson) who wants to use the word n1gga in their video, film or whatever, MUST be made to have a duet with KO!

Not forgetting all those video girls who are comfortable being called hoes and b*tches. They should be made to share the stage with KO's Juicy-wearing hoes. I'm sure no-one will choose that option, or will they......


16May/09Off

neither facebook status nor twitter was enough

So I've been using Twitter for the last year or so and have found it OK. For those that don’t know it’s a micro-blogging platform. Basically, on Twitter you say what you want to your “followers” in 140 characters or less. Your message is open for all to see on the net, but your followers get a constant stream of what you and their chosen personalities have to say. In my opinion, it's a bit of a glorified group-text messaging service, but one that can be useful. In my case that usefulness was in trying to evangelise for my business, GigPay.

Personally I always try to say something engaging in my tweets. For example, instead of saying “there was a lot of traffic on the way to London”; I'd prefer to talk about my thoughts with regard to traffic. Bare with me, it's just an example, and yes, people do tweet mundane stuff like that. Instead my tweet would be something along the lines of the government’s traffic policy or my perception of people’s traffic habits. Like I said, something engaging. Short, but enough to get whoever is reading it, thinking or even responding.

Now, there are two issues with this. Firstly Twitter is not really brimming with that sort of user. Second, sometimes their 140 character limit is not enough to put across my sentiments. Therefore, I've lately been feeling the urge to express myself more than I could on Twitter. Yes, I have a partner (in the traditional sense of the word!) but that's just not enough, especially as she doesn't agree with most of my thoughts. So today I thought, well maybe I should start a blog. However, as far back as two months ago I didn’t think I had anything to blog about. I do like reading and writing, but I was convinced that the world doesn’t need to hear my opinion. There are quite a lot of loud-mouths, smart-ass*s and armchair critics already out there, and if I look around it’d be easy enough to find someone who actually says the things I want to say much better than I do!

Needless to say none of those issues stopped me slowly coming round to the idea that I might just be that guy who says things that someone else out there wants to say. Talk about having an ego! To top it all off, despite not being a celebrity, I went and named the blog after my surname. Whew!

So who am I? My name is Joe and I’m a budding entrepreneur living in the UK. I love business and I love culture.

Anyway, here we are and I want to say stuff in a little more than 140 characters. Stuff about the music business (I know, I know), business, politics, life, and whatever other BS I wanna spout. I hope to write short articles, but I’ll certainly try to make them all entertaining. Even the business ones! I’m only assured of one reader, my sister Charmaine, but that won’t stop me. I hope to post at least once a week and I promise not to abandon this blog. Otherwise I might as well have stuck to Twitter!