West Coast Hip Hop: Part 2: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

For my next installment of the West Coast Hip Hop Series, I will be profiling Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Even though Bone Thugs hail from Glenville Ohio, they were discovered by Eazy-E and helped bring G-Funk and West Coast Hip hip to the forefront.

In 1997, the group was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for their song "Tha Crossroads" from their E 1999 Eternal album. They also collaborated with Eazy-E, 2Pac, Big Pun, and The Notorious B.I.G., and were the only artsit/group to collaborate with all of them while they were still alived. The group consisted of four members: Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone and Wish Bone. Their most famous single, Tha Crossroads, rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 9 weeks, sold over 17 million copies worldwide, and would later win a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

(Foe Tha Love of Money; the last video Eazy-E appeared in before his death)

(Thuggish Ruggish Bone, their first single)

(Tha Crossroads, dedicated to Eazy-E)

(If I Could Teach The World)


Dear Alicia

I used to really like you Alicia. Even though I foolishly missed out on the experience of your first album, Songs in A Minor, I have all your music from that point on. I appreciated your confidence to venture into the unknown with your music. You weren't like other singers, you had dignity, integrity and it showed in your music. You've sold millions of albums and won tons of awards with your somtimes alternative, sometimes neo-soul genre of music. I know a lot of your songs by heart, Alicia. You were a black woman that I could be proud of. As I watched you grow up musically, personally, and even fashionably; (remember those frontward braids?), I also watched you accept many awards for being the humanitarian that you were supposed to be. I said to myself, "Alicia is beautiful, inside and out." I said, "she actually cares, she knows what matters." The Alicia Keys that I admired would never be caught up in silly drama, or sing songs that could be damaging to a girl's self esteem, this Alicia was humble and educated. This Alicia was self-less and stood worlds above the people that make it harder to live in this world, you were a person that made it easy to listen to your music and not have to say "I like the music but not the person singing it". I stood up for you when other people talked shit about you. I remember when you first burst onto the music scence, it took me a minute to warm up to you but I enjoyed your braids, doo rag and jeans. You wrote your own songs and played the piano! You seemed down to earth, like a homegirl. You were a breath of fresh air from those of us tired from the same gyrating, skin baring singers we had been used to seeing. Your voice was powerful and filled with whatever emotion conveyed in the song. Your lyrics were about empowerment and staying true to yourself. I thought you were real Alicia.

Now, Alicia I find myself hating you more and more everyday. I can't see how someone who sang about Karma is now making bad karma for herself. You should have been the expert on the subject, this mistake that you have made, is a little girl's slip-up and Alicia you're supposed to be a woman. I will never understand how someone who gave all womyn everywhere hope and pride with a song like "Superwoman" can show us that someone who prided herself on being a role model can shatter images of what I good woman looks like for little girls who have no one else to look up to. I am still trying to wrap my mind around how you can help AIDS victims but yet help a man break a woman's heart. Alicia, how can you attribute to the misfortunate experience of breaking up someone's family? How can you leave a child with a broken home? And worst of all how can you show so little empahty or care about your actions and how they affect your fans and the people around you? Don't get me wrong Ms. Keys, I understand that when you're in the public eye you have to keep a persona that can sometimes be limiting. And of course, we all make mistakes. And maybe we all thought you were above making mistakes. But would it have been too much to think that you were above this? I tried to deny it at first. "Not Alicia", I said. Then I came to believe it after I saw pictures and tweets. I had put you on a pedastel that eventually proved to be too much for you to handle. I know your entitled to your privacy, but as someone who proved to a role model for millions, how can you so easily close the door on those who looked up to? I don't deny that you might be dealing with this sliently, but it sure doesn't look like it when I see pictures of you and Mr. Beats plastered on blogs, having a gay ol' time together. I also know it takes two to tango and I will even argue that Mr. Beats is more at faults than you are. He was the one in a relationship, not you. Maybe their marriage was already over, he just needed that extra push. But Alicia, why did you have to be that push? You seem to believe that you are above being the victim of a cheater's actions. Please know, that what goes around comes around, what goes up will come down, if he did it to her, its more than likely he will do it you too. I cannot tell you who to be involved with, Alicia, I just hoped that such an esteemed woman would make better, wiser choices for herself. Don't you know what you're worth Alicia? Did you sing about A Woman's Worth, but didn't have the self-esteem to know yours? I know how powerful love can be, how no matter how many times you leave, love just won't let you. I know, but please Alicia, try, try.


West Coast Hip Hop

I'm from Los Angeles, California baby!! I represent it to the fullest and love it with all my heart! In accordance with this, I will be inducting a series on the subgenre of West Cost hip hop. This first post will be a general one, about West Coast hip hop and furthermore I will start to highlight specific artists that have made an long lasting and positive impact on West Coast and its music. West Coast hip hop is generally characterized was popularized by artists such as Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. Los Angeles and Bay Area, California are main hot spots of the origin and practice of West Coast hip hop. The West Coast was the fisrt area involved in hip hop to add a voice to the ghetto and the happenings there. West Coast hip hop is political too and it was also infused with guitar ridden beats, making it infused with rock musical elements. NWA's Straight Outta Compton soldifies the West Coast place in hip hop music. With such artists belonging to the area, such as Too Short, Cypress Hill, and Ice T, West Coast hip hop is a historical powerhouse. G angsta Funk or G-Funk was also originated in the West Coast. It was a dominant sound that helped put West Coast hip hop on the map. G-funk incorporates multi-layered and melodic synthesizers, slow hypnotic grooves, a deep bass, background female vocals, the extensive sampling of p-funk tunes, and a high portamento sine wave keyboard lead. There was also a slurred “lazy” way of rapping in order to clarify words and stay in rhythmic cadence. Unlike other earlier rap acts that also utilized funk samples, G-funk often utilized fewer, unaltered samples per song. G-funk often sampled Parliament of Funkadelic songs, popularized by artists like George Clinton. G-funk became the most popular subgenre of hip hop.


Series: Womyn N Hip Hop and Rap Music: Part 1: Lauryn Hill

So today my friend and I were discussing womyn and & in hip hop. Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte. Just now, I was thinking about how much some people focus on the disrespect of womyn in hip hop and the lack of womyn in hip hop that we forget about the contributions that womyn have made to hip hop in the way of artistry. We need to respect not only womyn's bodies and their place in hip hop but also their connection and effect on hip hop. Therefore, with this post, I am going to start one of the many series I have coming up: Womyn in hip hop. First up to the mic: Lauryn Hill. She's my favorite female emcee, her talent, voice, beauty, and creativity were unmatched. We need you back Lauryn!!

Lauryn's appearances on the Fugees first under-the-radar album 'Blunted on Reality'(don't you just love that title?!), was stark but decidely quiet, actually only appearing on half of the album's 18 tracks. On the Fugees follow up album, The Score, Hill had a bigger hand in what would be one of the highest selling hip hop albums, 18 million copies sole. Lauryn won two grammys with the Fugees and stood out on a number of tracks with them like 'Ready or Not' with lyrics such as "I be Nina Symone and defacated on your microphone".

However, the Lauryn we all know and loved shined even more on her debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She received 11 nominations for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the first hip-hop album to do so. It won 5 of the 11, making Hill the first female artist to win that many. The album was about the education one receives after leaving school; the life learning process. This really resonated with me because growing up I learned a lot of life lessons, that later on I found out weren't lessons at all, just false-truths, that I believed in at that time, until i got older. Being that life is a continous learning process, we have to re-learn lessons that we once believed with such conviction. The album changed the way womyn, especially black womyn and womyn in hop hop were viewed. She was credited with bring hip hop into the mainstream with the album's mix of R&B and reggae, not unlike the Fugees previous albums. It was a heartfelt and honest documentation of love, lost, and desperation. Miseducation did what a lot of male artists in hip hop had not done yet and a lot of them would never do. Lauryn was one of the few females emcees in the 90s that didn't join in on the warfare against black womyn. The music of Miseducation was like a spoken word session between her and some of the most talented artists ever, such as D'Angelo, Carlos Santana, and Mary J. Blige. The album was a creative portrayal of what womyn could be and who we are, what we go through and the respect we deserve. She forced us to pay attention and take note with her soft and meaningful lyrics and unassuming smile.

Doo Wop (That Thing)

(Everything is Everything)

(The Sweetest Thing)


(I Gotta Find Peace of Mind)

Love you Lauryn!


Music of the Day

So simply put: I'm going to start putting up a musical selection of the day, preferably a music video but it may just be a link or a streaming song. Sometimes it may be a classic or a song that I think you should check out. Please let me know what yall want to see.

For today's Music of the Day selection:

Today's selection is a classic by Deap Prez: hip hop.