By Quibian Salazar-Moreno Pharoahe Monch has been ripping mics for over 15 years, first as part of lauded hip-hop crew, Organized Konfusion, and then as a franchise solo artist on Rawkus Records. He released his debut album, Internal Affairs, in 1999 and followed that with a national and world tour in 2000 and 2001 as part of the Spitckickers. But then Monch disappeared. His label, Rawkus Records merged with MCA Records which subsequently folded, having most of its artists end up on Geffen Records. The label politics stalled any follow-up albums that Monch was planning. Although he was hard to find, Monch appeared in spurts by doing songs with Mos Def and Nate Dogg (“Oh No”), Styles P (“Life”), and recording his own singles (“Agent Orange”). He even managed to stay in the news with rumors of him signing with Shady/Aftermath Records. Last year Monch finally secured a deal with SRC/Universal Records and plans on dropping his long-awaited sophomore album, Desire, in March. HiphopCrack.com caught up with Monch to get the official word on his hiatus, the new album, and his controversial video for “Guns Draw.” What should people expect from the new album, Desire? Production-wise, we got Mr. Porter, Denuan Porter, The Alchemist, Lee Stone, Black Milk and I produced three cuts myself. And I just think, to describe it it’s real soulfully based, funk, political record. Are you singing on it at all? Definitely. Some of the music, which I think people will get when they listen to it in terms of why vocals are placed where and how it moved me. When did the singing start to play a part in your creative process? I did some for Internal Affairs and when I did, I pulled it off the record because it didn’t fit. It’s something that was always there. When you listen to the “My Life” record with Styles P or the history of the Organized Konfusion stuff, like “Black Sunday”, a lot of the stuff on the Equinox album, even on the “Oh No” record with Nate Dogg and Mos Def, I incorporated a lot of vocals like that. The video for “Gun Draws” isn’t censored for television and instead you released over the internet. Why did you decide to go that route instead of shooting for MTV or BET? I really can’t answer that question in terms of why it would have made the video better. I think things of that nature is why artists like myself who haven’t even gone Gold before, and keeps a certain edge or a certain integrity is why I have a valid place in the market place. But the response has been just incredible, I don’t know how much these stations would have played it and I don’t know if would be getting to people in Sweden and the U.K., if that makes any sense. The violence is actually needed as a ‘going in the complete opposite direction’. People have been desensitized to it and I needed to shock them to get my overall message across. I needed to do it how I wanted to do it, such a would be script writer, that I wanted to do it in that style anyway. The song itself is reminiscent of “Stray Bullet” off of the Organized Konfusion album, Stress: The Extinction Agenda that you dropped in 1994. Why did you decide to broach the topic again? Yeah, I was calling it a Part 2, but it’s more like a spinoff. But because I know it would be a challenge to do that, and people don’t usually do that in hip-hop. I want to stay out of the box and stay doing what people don’t expect you to do. And it was a big challenge for me because “Stray Bullet” was really respected. So what have you been up to since Internal Affairs dropped in 1999 until now? Why so long for a new album? The main thing, the hiatus was because of label politics and working on getting off of the label, the Geffen situation. That was the biggest reason for the hiatus. But mostly I went on tour, got a publishing deal, write records, produced records. I wrote two songs on the Diddy album and tried to stay busy here and there. But most of it really, was just enjoying my time off and not being involved in the hypocrisy and the BS, to be quite honest with you. It felt good, but its back to work now. There were rumors you were signing to Aftermath/Shady Records, was that deal close to being done? Definitely. The contracts were in the bag, but due to a lot of label overrides and what have you, it didn’t go over well in terms of the transfer of me going over from Geffen to Shady. Did you get to record at all with the Shady Records crew? Yeah, all of the Mr. Porter stuff on my album was going to be a part of that project, definitely. Are you still down with the Spitkicker crew and planning on any tours? Yeah, definitely. Funny you should ask, I just met with Kweli’s manager last night. And we were going over some tour dates for this Spring. Of course, everytime there is an interview with you; everybody wants to know if there will ever be an Organized Konfusion reunion. Will there be? And the answer to the questions is……. Who knows what the future holds! Do you still talk to Prince Po, O.C. and them cats? Yeah. And I just spoke to O.C. a week ago. The hot topic for this season right now is the statement, “Hip-Hop is dead”. What’s your take on the whole situation? It’s obviously not dead, and I don’t think it was meant to be literal. There are definitely aspects that hold true in terms of culturally and the different things that were implemented and aspects of hip-hop that are missing. But for the most part, what does Nas call the brand of music that he’s putting out? And what do I call the brand of music that I’m putting out? You know what I mean? So by virtue of that, I understand the statement but I don’t take it literally. Who do you think is upholding the standards of hip-hop right now? The one album that I’m blown away by now, is the Georgia Anne Muldrow album. She’s a jazz balladeer singing over Jay Dee, Sa-Ra and her own production. Do you have a mixtape or anything coming to holds people over until the album drops? The mixtape is out now, called the Awakening and you can get it from Clinton Sparks.com. What’s the next single and video? “Desire”, the title cut produced by The Alchemist. But the next video I;m going to do is going to similar to Gun Draws, kind of that feel. I also did a remake of Public Enemy’s “Welcome to the Terrordome” so I might do a clip for that. Why did you name the album Desire? Because that’s what I had to have to get through the industry BS. It was just the desire to continue through all the politics in the industry and the waiting and everything that goes on as well as a lot of everyday life stuff, that’s why I chose that title. Did you ever feel like throwing the towel in on this rap stuff? Never that. I think it’s apparent for the most part, and I think it will be apparent by virtue of why I waited so long to uphold integrity and just be patient shows that it’s not about… I could have put things out here and there but I didn’t. It’s not about king of New York or the commercialization, it’s something that I really love to do. If I didn’t love it so much, then I wouldn’t have a waited so long. I would have put my own records out. So what do you hope people get from this album? It’s really layered man, it’s like one of them records that implements itself and something you can buy into. I think you’re going to want to get the t-shirt and involve yourself in the whole vibe. I think it’s just not a good album that you listen to and you’re like “Yeah, that album is good, I like number 14, 8 and number 7” I think people will learn the titles, and I think when you go on a road trip, you’re definitely going to be like “Don’t let me forget my Pharoahe CD…” That’s about it. Anything else you wanted to mention? Just thanks to the fans for being patient. I know I’ve been stalling and pushing the dates back, but it’s for a good reason. I think they’re going to appreciate the record.
By: Rizoh Busta Rhymes has added fuel to the fire that engulfed the one year death anniversary of his bodyguard, Israel Ramirez. Last week, we told you about Ramirez’s outcry on Busta’s failure to cooperate with iinvestigators on the murder mystery. Well, Rhymes now says he feels no guilt over the shooting of his bodyguard. "It doesn’t hurt me (what the family say) because I don’t live with guilt,” Busta told MTV News recently. I didn’t do nothing. I didn’t contribute to that negative (in any) shape or form.” He added, "What I did, I offered my man an opportunity to make money to provide food on the table for his family. We were in a work environment which was supposed to be a controlled environment, a place where we were supposed to be productive. We had children on the set. The environment was a completely positive environment." "As far as certain family members feeling a certain way about me, I can never hold that against them because everybody gotta deal with tragedy in their own way. Especially when it’s direct personal tragedy. All I can do is try to be the greatest support system I could be despite how they want to use me as a punching bag. I’m cool with that." In February 2006, Ramirez was gunned down on the set of Busta’s “Touch It” music video.
By:Hot Gossip Gal It was like a scene from a western movie I heard at the Universal Music Party in LA over the Grammy weekend. 50 and head honcho of the Inc (formerly Murder Inc for all y’all who have forgotten about the label..it has been a while since they were right on time with anything), Irv Gotti. The two went stare for stare at the party but from what my boy in L.A told me, Gotti fluttered his lashes first and hastily left the event. Now we all know there is no love lost between the two factions..but a classic staring down is a little different to what Fif is going through with Cam.
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation is looking for young film makers to submit their films as part of the 1st Semi-Annual Tupac Amaru Shakur Film Screening on March 10. The foundation is asking for film students to submit films 90 minutes or less with a PG-13 or lower rating for the “Selective Choice” film section of the event. The winner of the contest will have their film screened for an audience and have an opportunity to speak about their film after the showing. In addition, the event will also host a screening of “The Hip-Hop Project”, a documentary produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah. The film follows Kazi, a former homeless teenager, who inspires a group of New York teenagers to use hip-hop to tell their life stories. The film was well-received last year at the Tribeca Film Festival. Other films, released and unreleased will also be shown as the screening event. For more information, check out TASF.
By: Hot Gossip Gal OK here is the inside scoop on what really went down at the Grammy’s. New porn star Kim Kardashian hosted the Complex party where word on the street is, her ex leading man, Ray J was thrown out of the event. Hmmmm wonder what that was? She is now saying that she will fight the sex tapes featuring her that Ray J released. However former lover Nick Cannon was allowed to stay as he was working the turntables at the jamboree. The event was s stop for the Hilton sisters, John Legend and Ashlee Simpson. Bobby and Whitney were seen dining together before the event without any frequent trips to the bathroom or the parking lot. Pleased to see they can be friends for the sake of their daughter Bobbi, although Whitney has asked for the couples divorce to be speeded up. The parties were certainly popping in Tinsel Town. Jada and Will hosted a party for Mary J Blige, of course the Clive Davis party just gets better every year, although I still think the one where Jamie Foxx joined Alicia Keys and Angie Stone on stage was the best ever. XM had a party, People had a party and for any party hopper who knows. Grammy night is the best night to be out and about. Beyonce was a lil hoity toity on the red carpet this year as she declined to give autographs..maybe she hadn’t had time to let her nails dry who knows, but one fan who had been waiting to catch a glimpse of their fave Dream Girl and nab an autograph expressed their disgust at B. Shouting at the Child of Destiny about how she had waited for hours to get her to sign an autograph, B succumbed and signed her name away for the avid fan.
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno In the spirit of Talib Kweli and Madlib giving away their project, Liberation, for free, Little Brother and Mick Boogie are giving away their project, And Justus For All. The album (or mixtape), feature mostly original content from producers Khrysis, Focus, the Kickdrums, Nottz, Oddisee, Babu and RJD2 as well as guest appearances from Talib Kweli, Ray Cash, Kardinal Offishall, Rhymefest, Skillz and Bishop Lamont. But why for free? “It’s Christmas in February, Lol…” Boogie told HipHopCrack. “It’s about the music…not about the money.Just wanted to give back to the fans who have supported myself and Little brother over the years.” Fans can download the album for free atHALL OF JUSTUSor SENDSPACE. Here’s the tracklisting of the project: 1) Big Pooh: Intro (Poobie’s Song) 2) Little Brother and Chaundon: Can’t Stop Us (Produced by Young Cee) 3) Little Brother and Oddisee: Delusional (Produced by Oddisee) 4) Interlude: The Purpose Of Mixtapes 5) Little Brother and Skillz: Life of the Party Remix (Produced by Nottz) 6) Little Brother f/ Legacy: Best Kept Secret (Produced by RJD2) 7) Interlude: Wack Freestyles Little Brother f/ Rhymefest and Supastition: Do It To Death (Produced by Focus) 9) Phonte and Von Pea: A Word From Our Sponsors (Produced by Khrysis) 10) Interlude: The Justus League Crew 11) Phonte: Last Day 12) Little Brother: Never Leave (Produced by The Kickdrums) 13) Interlude: Mick Boogie, The A&R 14) Big Pooh f/ Ray Cash: Bring It On 15) Big Pooh, Bishop Lamont and Jozeemo: Without You 16) Interlude: Myspace Etiquette Part 1 17) Little Brother: The Pressure (Produced by Khrysis) 18) Little Brother and Joe Scudda: Fan Mail (Produced by Babu) 19) Interlude: Favorite Duos 20) Little Brother, Mos Def and Talib Kweli: Let It Go (Blackstar Version) (Produced by 9th Wonder) 21) Big Pooh and O-Dash: One Eleven 22) Interlude: Myspace Etiquette Part 2 23) Little Brother f/ Kardinal Offishall: Cross That Line Remix (Produced by 9th Wonder) 24) Little Brother f/ Cormega: Back At It (Khrysis Remix) 25) Little Brother f/ AZ: Rise And Fall (Produced by J. Cardim and Phonte) 26) Little Brother f/ Talib Kweli: Grown Man (Produced by Midi Mafia) 27) Little Brother: Outrolude
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno EA already announced that rappers like T.I., Ludacris, The Game, Jim Jones and Fat Joe were going to be playable characters in the upcoming Def Jam: Icon for Xbox 360 and PS3. Now they’ve finally announced the full roster of the game that will also include execs Russell Simmons and Kevin Liles, video chick Melyssa Ford, model Mayra Veronica, reggaeton star Tego Calderon and rappers Method Man, Redman, Paul Wall, Ghostface Killah and others. The game is set to drop on March 6 and to help promote the game, EA joined forces with Gamestop to host tournaments in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and L.A. For tournament rules and locations, check out GAMESTOP. Here’s the entire roster for Def Jam: Icon: Anthony Anderson Jim Jones Method Man Sticky Fingaz Big Boi Kano Mike Jones Summer Walker Bun B KD Aubert Nina Nicole T.I. E-40 Kevin Liles Paul Wall Tego Fat Joe Lil Jon Redman The Game Funkmaster Flex Ludacris Robert Dolan Young Jeezy Ghostface Killah Mayra Veronica Russell Simmons James Hong Melyssa Ford Sean Paul
By: Hot Gossip Gal Well we get it with the MC’s so why not the producers. Although I am not sure what beef between producers like Timbaland and Scott Storch will eventually equate too. But anyhow apparently the line "I’m a real producer/ and you just a piano man." which Tim spits in the joint from his new album featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake ‘Give it to Me’ was aimed at Scott. The boys who both reside in Miami were going through a lil drama, who knows what about but it was enough to have Tim stand his ground and take a somewhat subtle shot at the man who should be getting himself some sun on South Beach rather than upsetting one of Hip-Hop’s finest.
By: Rizoh Producer/emcee Kanye West isn’t the only one in his family with a resourceful mind. His mom, Dr. Donda West, is putting final touches on an upcoming memoir titled Raising Kanye. As the title suggests, the book chronicles Kanye’s upbringing and includes previously unpublished photos and family anecdotes. Donda West recently told the Chicago Sun Times that Kanye encouraged her to write the book. "There [is] a whole lot of mothers who are just as proud of their children as I am of Kanye. I am not that different from any mother that loves her son dearly," she said. Dr. West worked as the head of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as Kanye’s manager. She’s the CEO of West Brands LLC, which oversees the management of all of her son’s enterprises. Raising Kanye, co-written with best-selling author Karen Hunter, will be available via Simon & Schuster on Mother’s Day.
By: Hot Gossip Gal Ok y’all know my opinions on beef lol, yeah I prefer mine of the cow variety as opposed to the Hip-Hop variety and like my homie said, it does bring some life to Hip-Hop. But this Cam and Curtis episode has taken another turn. Fiddy had his video for Funeral Music removed from video hosting site YouTube.com earlier today while y’all were sleeping. The reason being that the video violated the terms of the site. The video which was shot entirely on location at 50s crib in CT made me want to get call Martha Stewart on him I can’t lie. But I am curious to know what the outcome of this will be? Post your thoughts people I am intrigued to hear what the streets are saying about this. And in the words of Cam himself all I can say is ‘Oh Boy.’ CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE VIDEO
By: Rizoh Hiphopcrack has learned that Black Knights member and Wu-Tang affiliate Doc Doom is dead. The rapper born Dante Cunningham was shot and killed in Compton on Sunday (February 11th). Doom had just returned home from a correctional facility and was already working on new material for a new Black Knights project as well as contributing to Rza’s upcoming Bobby Digital album. Originally made up of Crisis, Doc Doom, Monk and Holocaust, the Black Knights released their debut album Every Night Is A Black Knight in 2004. They’re also featured on Wu-Tang Killa Bees: The Swarm compilation. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Dante Cunningham.
By: Rizoh New reports have surfaced on the cause of Gerald Levert’s death. We now know that the R&B singer did not die from an accidental mix of prescription narcotics and over-the-counter drugs, despite earlier reports. US Coroner Kevin Chartrand has pointed out that Levert died from acute intoxication. His blood contained several allergy medication and painkillers. 40-year old Gerald Levert passed away in Philadelphia last November. He had just completed work on a new studio album, In My Songs, said to reflect his arrival at a personal crossroads. A family spokesperson confirmed that the R&B great had been taking pain medication for a shoulder problem and was taking Xanax for anxiety attacks.
By: Hot Gossip Gal What happens when two of the most photographed females in the world collide and discover they share similar interests. Well J Lo and Victoria Beckham are peas a pod it would appear, the two share a love for clothes and J Lo was so impressed by the style Vic oozes that they may be launching a lingerie collection together. Perhaps the two will spotted down Rodeo Drive shopping in the meantime. Even though Posh’shusband will be working up a sweat on the soccer field, I am sure Marc Anthony won’t be too far behind as wherever we see Jenny he is right there with her..maybe the gals should put him to use and have him carry their bags. J Lo did gush a bit about her ‘soulmate’ in an interview,with UK Hello but I guess that had to be expected, especially when ex love Sean Combs was pictured on the front with his baby momma and twin daughters. Strategic planning from Hello?
By: Quibian Salazar-Moreno In 2006 Rawkus Records made a comeback with excellent albums from The Procussions, Kidz in the Hall and Panacea. To help further their brand as well as help forward-thinking hip-hop artists the label is launching its “Rawkus 50” initiative. The “Rawkus 50” will be 50 unsigned artists or groups hand selected by founders Jarrett Myer, Brian Bater and content manager Slop Funk Dust to help them market and promote their latest project. “This is such a great opportunity for both artist and label,” Myer said. ”There are so many talented artists with substance and a do it yourself spirit that deserve a larger promotional outlet.” Bater added, “with the Rawkus 50, Rawkus will provide unprecedented opportunities for Independent artists.” Rawkus will provide the Rawkus 50 with a full-fledged online marketing campaign as well as print ads, NY and L.A. showcases and blog and podcasting hosting. In addition, the artist is free to sign with any label of their choosing and possibly entertain an offer from Rawkus Records as well. “When have you ever heard of a respectable record label accepting unsolicited material from the general public? I could send my demo to Def Jam, but it’s just gonna end up on someone’s floor,” Slop Funk Dust said. “The Rawkus guys are loading up their IPOD’s and listening to submissions like mad men. This is the perfect opportunity for that one guy, that’s been recording albums in his basement and posting his videos on youtube. It is also perfect for artists that are already established and have followings and are just interested and hungry. For those established artists this can be a way better outlet than mixtapes.” To see if you qualify, check out the press release here: RAWKUS.
iHipHop Blog Team