There’s an excellent feature on Chi Ali. Directed by Espi, the ten minute and fifty six second clip provides us a glance at what Chi Ali’s average day in Sing Sing is like, his thoughts on the crime that he committed to land himself there, and ends with a quick freestyle.

It’s important I start with a mention of this piece. It humanizes the MC. Chi Ali provides a valuable gem about not being impulsive, and how one split second decision can alter your life forever.

Look at this as one bookend — a snapshot of the six million minutes.

Once upon a time Chance the Rapper could do no wrong. Rising from the Chicago underground in a time where the city was more likely to be identified as the home of drill and murder capital of the US, Chance became the face of independence.

Landing features that looked like a who’s who of established and emerging artists, the internet was flooded with articles attempting to explain how he did it all with no major label support.

When I saw him on the Magnificent Coloring World Tour, I marveled at the crowds’ deep admiration for Chance and those 21 Anatomorphex…

Although I’ve never received a license for it, I been teaching for three decades. Anything can be a lesson. Whether it’s sports or politics, whether it’s economics or epidemiology, if you have an understanding of a subject, it can be used to teach.

One of the things I love to teach is storytelling via Rap. It takes a special gift to tell a clear and concise story over a beat that people can party to. I doubt that Shakespeare could’ve done it. It’s one of my measures for what makes an MC great.

Ice Cube is one of our greats…

Imagine, you’re sitting in the comfort of your home, phone in hand, ruminating on the end of your relationship. To you, that’s a personal matter. You experienced your first bit of paparazzi — proper celebrity relationship type business.

It’s not something you want to talk about. You tweeted the break-up and let the chips fall where they may. It’s been a couple of weeks. So why are you trending?

Come to find out, a man that’s gained popularity on YouTube as a dating coach rated you as a 6 out of 10. That prompted Joe Budden to interview said man…

I had been anticipating the release of Akinyele’s album since “Live at the BBQ.” It was the summer of 1993 and I was spending it with my Aunt, Uncle, and younger cousins in Columbia, Maryland.

When we rode around town, we mostly listened to Lords of the Underground’s Here Come the Lords and Masta Ace’s Slaughtahouse. Both had solid singles that got radio play, although the former’s “Chief Rocka” was winning that battle. In the car, however, it was mostly about Slaughtahouse.

Then came Akinyele’s Vagina Diner. Luckily, when I purchased it I gave it the walkman run through first…

No one would have ever expected it. Mr. Nothin’ on You may have had some twists and turns in his career but none of those roads appeared to lead to a diss track against one of the most popular scientist in the world.

B.o.B. had been on the fast track since he was eighteen when he partnered up with B. Rich. Rich made it his responsibility to connect B.o.B with industry folk. And connect him he did. Luckily, B.o.B. had just the calling card with “Cloud 9.”

Then came the predictions back in 2008 of B.o.B being the “next hip-hop…

This could really be titled as the evolution of the perception and skill of Florida Rap.

The eighties to mid-nineties. Mention Florida Rap in this era, the prevalent thought is the preponderance of BASS. Yes, it was sexual, yes it was party music, but it was BASS. Luke, Magic Mike, Splack Pack, BASS.

Luke brought forth Trick Daddy. He wasn’t just doing call and response or simple Rap, he was lyrical. I’m sure there is someone else who could assume that mantle. But Trick Daddy was the front-facing, mainstream example that I can think of as a lyrical rapper. You…

I know, I know. We all were on Reasonable Doubt. We rushed to the store and played it non-stop. We are the Day Ones. All of us.

If only.

I won’t speak for ya’ll. I’ll speak for myself. I was rocking Heltah Skeltah, then I bought Reasonable Doubt. But it was really about Stakes is High for me. The fall was ATLiens, the winter was Redman’s Muddy Waters. That retires the side. That’s my 1996.

E’rybody else was listening to All Eyez on Me or The Score or Busta Rhyme’s The Coming or Masta P’s The Ice Cream Man, then…

I’m not gonna start this off like the race/gender insensitive person by saying, “I don’t notice/judge people by — insert difference here — I look at everyone as the same.” That’s dismissive. It’s just not what I’m writing about nor is it what I’m interested in.


What I’m interested in is MA’s break from convention in light of having a hit song. Most people get a hit and take each and every opportunity dangled before them, whether that’s for money or for fame, artists often are hungry for that first bit of exposure and all that it entails.



b-boy, Hip-Hop Investigating, music lovin’ Muslim

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