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Straight Up and Down

by Archives April 11, 2007

With a clear blue sky, yacht-riddled ocean bay, and countless amounts of breast implants as a visual backdrop, this week’s column is being written from the balcony of a luxurious Miami hotel.

That’s right, M-I-Yayo – a very peculiar place. A lot of really tanned people wearing really tight shirts and drinking really expensive martinis served by a really good-looking bartender. Just sitting by the pool for an hour I must have seen ten million dollars worth of plastic surgery.

But the home of thug extraordinaire Trick Daddy has other things going on for itself. One of them is an exploding hip-hop scene. With superstars like DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, and producers Cool and Dre, Miami is setting up to be the next city to invade the North American airwaves. “We Takin’ Over”, the inescapable club banger featuring some of the hottest rappers in the game, seems to confirm that, plain and simple.

Yet if you look at Miami’s musical heritage, it only makes sense that a comeback is in order. Miami Bass, also known as Booty Music, has set the stage for B-more club, Drum&Bass, Ghettotech and of course the monster that Dirty South music is. Being the first musical genre to use 808 kick drums, the pioneers of Miami Bass, although never commercially recognized, were the first to pursue that booty-shaking madness that so many DJs make a living off of now.

I must say being in Miami makes me wanna act like Scarface all the time, minus the mountains of cocaine and the chain saw scene. But causing a scene in the restaurant and yelling “everybody look at the bad guy” then calling people “f-ing cockroaches” seems doable. The sad truth is, strolling down South Beach I noticed there are dozens of guys who actually walk around talking like Tony.

Anyway… If you guys have ever read Jeff Chang’s “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, the most comprehensive history of hip-hop in book format (full of priceless interviews and photos from the 70s and 80s), you should look out for his follow-up “Total Chaos”.

The book, which deals with the arts and aesthetics of hip-hop, explores the ways in which the music has influenced mediums like theatre, dance, performance, poetry, literature, fashion, design, photography, painting, and film. The book presents the idea that hip-hop is now much bigger than rap music and, in turn, beyond the African-American experience. I’ve only read parts of it but I definitely recommend it as a gift to any hip-hop heads.

The Kop Shop is hosting a must-see hip-hop show on April 20th organized by ICM (Island City Monsters) records and featuring Lone Catalysts’ J.Sands, local MC/Producer D Shade and Memo, an established graffiti artist and talented MC. ICM also recently released a crew album available on their online store at islandcitymonsters.com.

Montreal’s biggest street dance convention Bust A Move is going down May 5th at 8 PM. Featuring dancers from here as well as Toronto and NYC, the event will showcase battles in Hip-Hop, House, Popping, and Locking. $10 per person. Tickets are available at Off the Hook, 8 Count, and Urban Element. Don’t miss it.

And of course, Nas will be performing on April 16th and I’m counting the days until he blesses the stage at Metropolis. Get your tickets quick!

French rap group TTC collaborated with locals Omnikrom yet again for a new banger. After blessing us with the anthem “Pour Te Rechauffer”, the new hilarious masterpiece “Danse La Poutine” is a must-listen on Omnikrom’s myspace page. Too good.

Local rap movement Hood 2 Hood will put out vol. 2 of their mixtape this summer which will feature Concordia student/rapper The Catalyst. Check out his myspace.com/catalystlilo.

If you would like to join a forum for ideas and suggestions for the column, join the facebook group “Straight Up And Down!” and feel free to post up.

For anything else, hit up my gmail.

Poppa knows, child…

Songs to bump once the weather’s nice:

The Roots: “Lazy Afternoon”

Sublime and Pharcyde:

“Summertime”

Ice Cube:

“Today Was a Good Day”

Big Pun: “It’s So Hard”

Snoop Dogg: “Still a G Thang”

Wyclef: “Guantanamera”

Lil Wayne: “Mo Fire”

Ludacris: “Spur Of The Moment”

Clipse:

“Queen Bitch” (Diplo Remix)

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