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



OpenMusicMedia is a London meetup that “gets together once a month to discuss, explore and shape the future of digital music and media”. The group is free to attend and is open to anyone, though it’s predominantly attended by relatively young new music business types. Typically the meet is a topical talk presented by an industry guest from 7pm. The talk then moves onto a discussion around the day’s topic up to around 8.30pm. After that attendees normally go to the bar for some networking, drinks and to generally wind the evening down.

I’ve attended OMM three times at their cosy (read small) venue, The very nice William IV pub, located a short walk from Old Street tube in London. For me it is a great meetup that contrasts very well with most networking events because of the informality of it all, though there is still enough organisation that things moving along well. You do get to meet a lot of smart music, media and technology types.

There’s a meetup tomorrow 24 February 2010 on “interactive music.” Yes that’s a very broad topic, but all the better for you to provide some input! See you there.


Music I’m feeling this week; Chiddy Bang

Last week I heard a cover of MGMT’s Kids being played on BBC Radio 1 and I made a mental note to look up the people behind it. Radio 1 being who they are, never actually said who sang the song so I did that thing where you search based on lyrics. Wasn’t too good because the song is a bit underground, but I got there in the end. Anyway the song is called ‘The Opposite of Adults’ and it reworks Kids in a good way that you can sort of recognise who they sampled whilst coming up with a totally new song.

Kids (Feat. MGMT) by Chiddy Bang

I liked the song so much I dug into it and found out that it’s by a group called Chiddy Bang made up of Chidera Anamege, Noah Beresin, drummer Zach Sewell and Xaphoon Jones. These guys are first year students from Philly who have decided to put out some free mixtapes and get the word out.

There’s nothing new in that of course, and in this case these guys have some real talent to make it worth your while downloading their stuff if you like Hip-Hop. The Swelly Express is the resulting mixtape which takes you on their journey to get signed up, though the songs are not as narrow as the theme suggests. The lyrics delivered by Chidera are good and the beats are tight and produced by Xaphoon. All this without any mention of the N-Word in sight. Get Up In The Morning contains a sample of Desmond Dekker’s The Israelites to good effect and the album flows well with Fresh Like Us, Truth, Dream Chasin’ and the Wu-Tang-like Decline being my highlights. The album is tinged with a pop-like, electronic feel that makes it easy to listen to when combined with the fact that the songs are not too long. All Things Go closes off the album on a high and it’s one of those songs with a catchy hook that’ll reverberate in your head long after that.

Nowadays there’s so much free music out there that you can actually get mad at artists who pimp their stuff and it turns out not to be good! Sometimes I get mad if I take the time out to watch a YouTube video that turns out to be whack. I believe time is the new currency in the music industry and I didn’t mind paying these guys some attention.

However the one reason I think these guys are going to make it is their names. Chidera Anamege, don’t know what it means but (I assume its West African) I like it. Xaphoon Jones. Wow! Sounds like those Black-American made up names like LaDainian, but waaayyyyy cooler. On a white guy with the beats to match, that’s a cool name by any measure.

Download the album here if you like Hip-Hop / Electronic music.

Play Fresh Like Us below and give it at least 30 seconds to get into.

(UNRELEASED) by Chiddy Bang


Jay-Z sues to protect his second-hand name. Ridiculous

Around the mid ’90s when Jay-Z decided to start a label to put his records out on, he came up with a really stupid name. Roc-A-Fella. Geddit? Rock a dude with his music? Rock a fellow?

Roc-A-Fella y'all!

That was the clever part but the name was a double entendre, the second part being from the Rockefellers. One of New York’s most entrepreneurial and wealthiest families. Something of a dynasty. I get that part too. I mean these are all things he and his business partners aspired to. What better way to pay them homage?

Except, I believe it was dumb simply because the family still exists. Maybe not with the great patriarch of old but an actual family and corporation that still operates and uses the name Rockefeller.

I guess Jay and Co would have said something like “Well it’s spelt different! We’ve spelt it hood so there’s no conflict there. They’re corporate and we’re hood. That’s what we’re about.”

Anyway Jay, Dame and Biggs brushed all this aside; did their thing; put out great music and actually made a name for Roc-A-Fella in very admirable ways. Some of them corporate, but that’s by-the-by. I can imagine them saying something like “We’re hustling, so anyway we can get it, we get it!”

Fast forward to 2010 and Jay-Z now thinks that no one should do business with any name sounding like Rock A Fella. Case in point a restaurant called Rockafella, located in Newcastle, England. The guy who owns it was recently sued for using that name. Not by David Rockefeller Sr, but Roc-A-Fella as in records. It’s one thing appropriating someone else’s name, but suing others who use a similar name as if it was your own? Ridiculous.


Rockafella restaurant. Part of the Roc-A-Fella Records Group

I know there are issues in all the music genres to do with naming, and that’s understandable. There are only so many names to go round. Freeway and Rick Ross had to take names from the same person due to the shortage. In Reggae Dancehall, which of course has a symbiotic relationship with Hip-Hop, we’re starting to hear names like Busy Signal and Voicemail. Make no mistake people, the name shortage is real. The Killers named themselves after a fake band depicted in the music video of another band. You couldn’t make it up!

The shortage is leading some to speculate that Roc-A-Fella are launching a trading market for band names. Sort of like buying and selling domain names. The premise is that if it’s good and catchy, its worth more. So you register someone else’s name as your own and 20 years down the line or more likely when your band flops, you can just trade it in. Brilliant.

However all this still doesn’t excuse Jay-Z suing that poor restaurant. Does he not realise the name is spelt different? It’s Rockafella with a K. Plus there are no Dashes. Geddit?


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?


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

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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......