Monday, September 29, 2008

Top Gun, Snitches!

Aww yeah.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

My Thunderbirds Flight Playlist

I got to fly in an F-16 on Thursday, which was, to quote the great poet Mighty Mike McGee, a pocket full of awesome.
Preparing for and recovering from the flight, however, required a bit of mental and emotional prep work. What better way to capture and gauge those emotions than with music playlists?
The following are pre-, mid-, and post-flight playlists for my big fly in the sky:

Pre-Flight Playlist

Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins:
An obvious choice. Anytime I think of jets screaming through the air, I think of this song, and my favorite fictional fighter pilot of all-time, Maverick — pre-Oprah couch surfing and Scientology-goon Maverick, of course. This song is still pretty awesome more than 20 years later.

“Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz: Some more chest-thumping, high octane, adrenaline rush inducing fight music. I'm bumping this loud as I gear up for my flight.

“Disco Inferno (Burn Baby Burn)” by The Trampps:
This is more of a psyche-job, as I'm trying to avoid two things: first, I don't want to crash and burn, baby, burn and second, I don't want to leave the earth with this stupid song ringing in my head.

“Fly Like An Eagle” by The Steve Miller Band:
Now we're back on track. This song is a little more mellow than the first two, but still is a good primer for what it feels like floating in the sky.

“How High (Erick Sermon Remix)” by Redman and Method Man:
Since I got to meet both these guys backstage at “Rock The Bells” last month, gotta throw them in the mix. Plus this song is so heavenly, it can't help but soothe the strain of going up. How high? So high that I can kiss the sky. Indeed.

“Low Rider” by War:
Since I'll be one of the few Chicanos to go up in an F-16, I gotta represent for my gente. I'm bumping this as we cruise toward the runway and prepare for take-off.

Mid-Flight Playlist

"Oh S---” by The Pharcyde:
Anyone who watches the video at knows the four-letter word I expelled upon take-off. Not suitable for a family-friendly newspaper, but apropos nonetheless.

“Physical” by Olivia Newton John:
Geez, this jet-flying thing is strenuous. As we hit a few maneuvers and prepare for 9G's, I'm a sweat hog. Am I really this out of shape?

“Help” by The Beatles:
Okay, we're flying over Lake Nacimiento and it's an all-out assault on my senses. Nausea, dizziness, muscle strain, panic and Acrophobia combine for a painful physiological cocktail.

“We've Gotta Get Out of This Place” by The Animals: As we finally hit 9G's, I'm thinking to myself “Why did I sign up for this again? Oh yeah, because I thought it would be cool.” Boy am I stupid.

Post-Flight Playlist

"Take My Breath Away” by Berlin:
Kinda sort of another no-brainer, but for entirely different reasons. I felt like I could barely breathe up there. Yay, oxygen!

“At Last” by” Etta James:
As we approach the runway for descent, this song rings in my ears, with new lyrics. ”At laaassst/my love for the ground, has come along...”

“Take Me Home” by Phil Collins:
Great ride, awesome pilot, once in a lifetime experience, yadda-yadda. But for the almighty love, just take me home and put me to bed. I'm done.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Final Thoughts with Bubba G. Scotch

My DJ Kazzeo story ran Sunday, but there was one voice that didn't make the deadline and deserved to be in there: Bubba G. Scotch.

In case you don't know, Bubba G. Scotch is the most influential local DJ/radio personality in my book. He started as a disco DJ and helped bring hip-hop to the area. His name loomed large during the 80s. He was a hood ambassador and gentleman who kept it true to heart.

Here's what he had to say about Kazzeo:

"One of the things I admire (DJ Kazzeo) for is endurance and endurance builds respect. Endurance is what gains momentum in what you do and he's done it. He's hung through thick and thin and it's very admirable.

I believe he is the real deal here in the area. You want to hear good musix, the good rhythm and rhyme, you got to Kazzeo.

If it wasn't for Kazz and a few more cats that are out there who are my friends in radio, radio's dead. Kazz... is one part of what keeps music alive. When you have to resort to (satellite radio) to hear what you like, it's because we're not getting our own munchies locally. Kazzeo is keeping it alive and he's thriving.

I commend him and a lot of the guys out there that do it and they do it with heat. You can feel it.

People are hungry for music. People need to be entertained. I need a home cooked meal. I've had too much microwave. The dedication that Kazzeo and a few other guys have for the music, I have nothing but respect for them."

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Monday, September 08, 2008

2008 VMA's: The Beat-Down

Watching the MTV Video Music Awards has become less and less a tradition for me. Once upon a time, I anticipated it with the fervor Giants Opening Day (or almost). This year, I was kind of bummed because it was on at the same time as my new guilty pleasure, "I Love Money" on VH1.

Despite that lack of adolescente build-up, I invariably end up watching the damn thing, as I did once again this year. I even semi-rushed from running errands and pucking up dinner to catch it on time.

The show kicked off with a Britney/Jonah Hill and followed her much ballyhooed "show introduction." MTV's made a reputation for itself for big intro's, from Pee-Wee Herman coming on post-masturbation-in-a-porn-house-bust to MJ and Elvis's daughter slobbering all over themselves on their way to divorce court a
few years later.

It turned out to be foreshadowing, as Spears wound up winning three awards, including the top honor of best video. She looked like a robot on xanex the whole time, and even my girl called shenanigans, joking it was a big "pity party" for her. Tom Breihan said it was an apology for throwing her under the bus after last year's show.

I think MTV just has too much invested in her to let her fall off the deep end and, in a way, they're probably feeling kind of shaky knowing she at any moment could have died and they might have been partly responsible. Considering what she was up against, I was mildly surprised she didn't shoot herself on stage, in front of the cameras. She just might make it after all.

I was more interested in watching Russell Brand, who I found hilarious in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and has intrigued me since. His monologue fell flat, but mostly because the audience was too stupid to appreciate it. He riffed on the Jonas Brothers a whole lot, and also got a dig in at the Republican party. He had gusto and guts and mad, mad hair. Props.

The network also introduced what they called "live videos," basically turning the back lot of Universal Studios into live-shoot video performances, that fell somewhere between Bing Crosby X-Mas Show musical numbers and Sesame Street performances. In fact, the Jonas Brothers performed on what looked like the Sesame Street stoop before finishing with a big live set and hundreds of screaming fans rushing the stage.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

“The Beat @ Wave St.” w/ 880 South

So the first episode of "The Beat @ Wave St." debuted last week at Pretty friggin' cool!

Basically, we've reached an agreement with Wave. St. Studios in Monterey to start shooting and airing live studio interviews with bands. This "pilot" featured San Jose Dub Rockers 880 South.

The guys were really cool and funny and energetic, which made the experience a whole lot easier. If anything, it was a challenge to keep up with them.

Still, there are some fuzzy points for me in getting used to being on camera. My independent efforts doing the video blogs went a little smoother because there was only one camera, and I knew where to look. With the Wave St. gig, I'm working with a few more cameras, and it's hard to know where to look at any given moment.

But I've got to give it up to Rhett and the crew at Wave St. Studios. They were very accommodating and fun to work with. We'll do more of these in due time, and hopefully they'll generate some buzz and get better as we figure things out. In the meantime, just click the player to the right and enjoy. Peace.

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Why Obama Reps for US

So what does it mean to have a hip-hop president?
That's the question now that Barack Obama has secured the Democtrat Presidential nomination. Music publications like Vibe and Rolling Stone have been quick to drop the "hip-hop president" label on the newly minted nominee, but carrying the label isn't as cut and dry as it might seem.
The obvious entry point for Obama's criteria as a hip-hop presz is race. But being the first black presidential candidate doesn't automatically endear you to the hip-hop nation. I doubt rappers would have referenced Colin Powell or Condoleeza Rice had they emerged as presidential or vide presidential nominees.
Obama's status as the hip-hop president is in large part hype. Believe that. No one can be all-encompassing in the eyes of hip-hop heads and maintain any measure of authority. Hip-hop, like punk and folk and blues, is grossly anti-authoritarian, sometimes to a dubious fault. To some degree, Obama might be better off avoiding the tag altogether.
But hip-hip is youth culture, and more often than not, relevant youth culture. It's still the heartbeat of the hood, despite the regression of artistic merit and record sales. The bass bumping out of passing car windows is still a hip-hop rhythm, a modern-day smoke signal relaying the word or rhyme of the day.
Hip-hop is still a harbinger for political controversy. Don't believe me? Think about it: who does Bill O'Reilly choose to pick on when he wants to reach a younger demo?
Rappers like Nas, Ludacris and Cam'ron have all been caught in the conservative pundit's crosspins, partly because they make themselves easy targets, but also because Republicans need them like police departments and prisons need crime. It's an industry of contempt.
As long as rappers detail systematic social ills with sometimes vile, vulgar content, pie hole pundits like O'Reilly will always have fodder.
With a hip-hop president, well, that must have the O'Reilly's of the world champing at the bit. It's like when political comics hope the dumb candidate wins office just so they can have more material to mine.
Despite the media tag, Obama has wisely kept the hip-hop lobby at arms length during his campaign. Sure, he might mug it up with Russell Simmons or talk about the Jay-Z album collection bumping in his iPod, but he knows too much can hurt his chances.
He publicly denounced Ludacris for a song the Atlanta rapper released promoting Obama's campaign earlier this year. The offensive lyrics and grade-school insults would have been easy targets for the Republican campaign.
That's where the hip-hop prez tag can lead to undoing.
Like it or not, Obama is the first presidential candidate endorsed by the hip-hop nation. His combination of race, youth, energy and swagger have endeared him to the hip-hop community.
It's crazy to think that we'll have someone for us, by us, representing as the most powerful man in the world.

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