Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Grammys: The Good, the Bad and the WTF?

Last Sunday's 53rd annual Grammys was a night full of surprises!

The Good:

Aretha Franklin Tribute: The show started with well-put-together tribute to the "Queen of Soul". Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yoland Adams, Martina McBride and Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch performed. While at times, the the notes were off and some of the girls screeched, I know they meant well. Yolanda Adams and Jennifer Hudson blew me away as usual and Florence Welch was surprisingly better than I thought she would be. Marina McBride sadly was a little flat and Christina Aguilera was trying way too hard. At least they sang some of my favorite Aretha songs!

Train won for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group for their song "Hey Soul Sister." That was a surprise for me because I didn't know Train had another album out and I've heard that song on commercials, not realizing it was them. I need to keep in the loop more.

Muse sounded great singing "Uprising". But now everyone including Glenn Beck (yuck) is saying Muse is calling for a "revolution." Or maybe it's the illuminati, haha!

B.O.B., Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae: B.O.B. was classy with his orchestra and monocle performing "Beautiful Girls", Janelle Monae stole the performance with "Cold War" and Bruno Mars tried with his "oldies but goodies" throwback to the Motown singing "Grenade, but sounded a little froggy. Sorry Bruno, still love you!

Seeing Jaden Smith make Justin Bieber's performance 100x better with his rap skills, however... (keep reading)

Bob Dylan, Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons almost convinced me to go pick up a banjo and head to the country. Still it did have its uncomfortable moments, like the mentioning of a noose in the Mumford and Sons' song.

Cee-Lo sang "F*** You" as Big Bird!!!!! Some said he looked like a Liberace peacock. I thought it was hilarious and fun, especially with the Muppets. And Gwyneth Paltrow wasn't bad...See Gaga, that is how you look weird and make it work!

Norah Jones, John Mayer (looking like Johnny Depp) and Keith Urban sang one of my favorite COuntry song "Jolene"...John I hope you know that this does not erase that we black women have not forgotten your white supremacist dick comment...

Esperanza Spalding winning Best New Artist was definitely a shocker. Most expected either Bieber or Drake, but the upright bass-playing Jazz artist snuck in and took it right from under them. To all of the Bieber and Drake fans who are asking who Spalding is and/or are mad she won, get over it and check her out. She is talented and you may learn something; be respectful and open your damn mind!

Mick Jagger and Raphael Saadiq paid tribute to one of my favorite Soul singers, Solomon Burke. I was so excited to see Mick Jagger in his first appearance at the awards show performing "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love." You should have seen me jumping around in my room! And it seemed as if Mick didn't want to stop jumping around either...all that energy for a 67-year-old!

The Bad:

Sorry to all the Lady Gaga fans, but the debut performance for her song "Born This Way" was weak! Besides the song sounding like a bad Techno mash-up of Madonna's Express Yourself" and "Vogue," the dancing was ridiculous. This is what makes me angry -- Lady Gaga does strange stunts like coming to the awards show in an egg, but her music does not live up to the hype!

Miranda Lambert basically was boring--I don't even remember the name to the song--That goes for you, too, Katy Perry.

Rihanna performed twice! TWICE!!!!!!! First with Eminem, who looked pissed off all night and then with Drake. Hearing her once was enough, thank you!

And finally The WTF Moments:

The overly-sentimental beginning of Usher and Justin Bieber's performance made me want to gag...A Lot! Also, what was with the mortal combat ninjas and drummers in Bieber's perfomance; were they to mask how bland he looks and sounds in real life?

Lady Gaga said she wrote "Born This Way" with Whitney Houston in mind. While she probably would have sounded better, was saying that necessary?

Teddy Pendergrass tribute...what Teddy Pendergrass tribute!!!!!!!!!!!! First of all you have a group named Lady Antebellum (a reference to pre-Civil War times) doing the tribute and it was ONE song "If You Don't Know Me By Now," which was done while he was in Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. WOW!!!!!!

Why were Kings of Leon on the same stage as Miley Cyrus?

Hey Grammys, you left an artist out of the Memoriam to those who past....hello, Guru, rapper from the 90s, member of Gang Starr!

Arcade Fire won Album of the Year...this was a WTF moment only because after seeing Lady Antebellum win award after award, this woke me up!

Eminem was called, "The most dangerously talented man in Hip Hop history!" REALLY?!!!!! Either this shows how much other Hip-Hop artists are failing or how much amnesia we have when it comes to Hip-Hop history. Ever heard of Biggie, Tupac, Rakim, Kool Moe Dee, Chuck D, KRS-One, Mos Def, Jay-Z, I could go on!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kool Herc: A Biographical Essay

In honor of Kool Herc, who is struggling to pay off medical bills after being hospitalized, this is a great article detailing his accomplishments as a pioneer of Hip-hop:

Few individuals can claim a life story that so closely parallels hip-hop’s narrative arc as Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc. Often considered the movement’s founding father, an early participant in and innovator of the musical and cultural practices that have since swept the world, Kool Herc embodies hip-hop’s roots and routes, its booms and busts, its struggles and triumphs. From his childhood in Kingston, Jamaica to his coming-of-age in the Bronx, from his rise as a streetwise, peerless DJ to his decline in the wake of hip-hop’s new forms and commercial success, from his drug addiction in the 80s to his recent return as standard-bearer and spokesman, Herc’s tale can be read as a thread running through hip-hop history. Although his story has been told and retold and sold many times over, often making it difficult to extract the truth from the myths, the representations, and the press releases, Herc has been generous in granting interviews over the years, and his myriad recollections, as well as those of his peers, provide a strong outline for understanding his role as an architect and inventor, as one who forged so many of the forms we recognize today as hip-hop...

Continue Reading at Wayne and Wax

If you want to donate to Kool Herc, donations can be sent to:

Kool Herc Productions, PO Box 20472, Huntington Station, New York, NY 11746.

or send donations through Paypal: cindycampbell1@aol.com.


More information here: http://www.DjKoolHerc.com/