Wednesday, February 27, 2008

::MURS emerges from the underground?::

When I was checking the record bins at Fat Beats today, this cover caught my attention even though it was only in my peripheral vision. I thought to myself:

"DAMN! Folk done resorted to mocking my main man Basquiat to sell records nowadays!"

But I guess I hadn't been paying attention to my man MURS for a minute. The last time I peeped him was around 2005, when him and and Slug put out the Felt 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet record...which was dope as all hell.

That shit still gets major play on my iPhone.

MURS has been on my radar for some time, though. Even though most West Coast MCs generally miss me with their rhymes, he's actually a hell of a storyteller and his flow is real concise. I think I'm diggin' dude because he reminds me of The Pharcyde. Wait...his locks actually remind me of Slim Kid Tre. Damn...ain't the mind funny? Anyway, turns out this is the first single from his upcoming Warner Bros. Records debut Murs For President. Hmm...Warner seems to be trying to shock the monkey as of late. Last year, they snatched up Hip-Hop underdog Talib Kweli and released his third solo album Eardrum. They're also supposed to be releasing Jean Grae's next album. And for the icing on the cake, as many of y'all might already know, they signed underground buzz wunderkids J*Davey to a deal last year.

But maybe MURS should have talked to J*Davey before he inked his deal. Their relationship with the label seems to be in flux due to some "creative" differences. But let's not put negative energy into the universe. I'm just glad that folks that are dope finally get a shot at one of the major labels...even if they're all about as dependable and sturdy as marina of sinking ships.
At any rate, check the video for his first single "Best Of The Best." The video treatment is a nice play on the song title, especially since we're in an election year that is probably the most interesting one we've seen in our lifetime thus far. If only MURS had put in his bid for the candidacy a bit earlier. Ah...c'est la vie:

By the way...check the B-side "Dreadlocks" to hear MURS wax poetic on the subject of his tresses.

::Cop that: Muhsinah Day.Break 2.0::

If you haven't bought this one yet, you're playing yourself. No...seriously. Muhsinah's the shit. All Georgia Anne Muldrow comparisons aside, she's dope as the most pure, uncut. I remember when I first heard "Discovery" a year ago. Wow. Those moments are rare. And when they happen, you just thank God for the gift of life. For inspiring someone to create a piece of art that speaks to your being and moves you. It was a quasi-transcendental experience, y'all. And I'm not just giving props because she's from my hometown. This Howard U alumna is actually worth her weight in gold.

I've heard a few critics attempt to genre brand her style as "experimental soul." Hmmm...not sure how I feel about that, but all it takes is one person to get the ball rolling and the next thing you know it's part of pop culture vernacular. Hell...Jerry Wexler, in his journalism days, transformed "race records" into "rhythm & blues" with a single article. Anyway, some folks may find her stuff to be an acquired taste. Those who have been weaned on a steady diet of Keyshia Cole and R. Kelly may find Muhsinah a bit...odd. But that don't mean you might not find something that appeals to you over this way. Open your mind and jump on in.

It's unconventional, yet familiar at the same time. The beats, which she also produces herself with the help of her trusty MPC, are otherworldly and her vocals and sense of harmonics are very visceral. Note: those that copped the iTunes version that came out in December will be surprised that this 2.0 version has been tweaked a little. There's the original version of "Construction" in lieu of the remix "Reconstruct," and the added cuts "Psycholan" (which uses a convoluted sample of Bobbi Humphrey's "Just A Love Child") and "Yiy." If you're in NYC, Fat Beats got some copies.

Here, lemme upgrade ya to version 2.0:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


As much of a music snob as I profess to be, I guess I'm just a slave to pop culture like most of America. I kind of heckled Janet a few posts ago when I heard the snippets, but upon hearing the full album I've had a slight change of heart. Discipline is her most fluid, consistent, cohesive album since The Velvet Rope. The interludes tie the record together very nicely, I might ad. Some dope cuts on this one, IMO, are "Cant B Good," "So Much Betta," "The 1 (feat. Missy)," and "What's Ur Name." "Feedback" is a cool record, but the video was very budget. It seems to me that if you're an icon whose career has been on the down slope for the past three albums, you might want to consider a full reinvention. Meaning the sound as well as all aspects of the visual, most importantly the music video of the first single.

The first thing I noticed about this record, being the avid liner note junkie that I am, was that Janet had NO writing or co-production credit on this album...with the exception of one interlude. Very odd, seeing as that she had a hand in co-writing and co-producing all of her records from Control to 20 Y.O. The album artwork is very risque and edgy. The Velvet Rope was the last time we saw her put some provocativeness in her swagger. This could potentially be the stepping stone to a rebound, like Charmbracelet was for Mariah Carey. But I don't know if Discipline will convert the non-believers. I guess time will tell...

For those of you who refuse to accept the fact that I bought Penny Gordon's latest joint, I hope this redeems me a little:

This record is dope. Front to back. No games. I don't absolutely dig all the cuts on here, but the few that I don't dig are balanced out by being book ended by my favs...not to mention the overall energy of the record. As I stated in a previous post, it's definitely a mood record. A concept record that doesn't try too hard to stick to a main theme. It flows very naturally, eccentricities and all. She delves into subjects of race, class, the slanted distribution of wealth, the correlation between substance abuse and know the drill. But that's one of the main reasons I'm diggin' this record. She says a mouthful over the course of 10 little tracks. My favs are "Amerykahn Promise," "Me," "Soldier," "The Cell," "Master Teacher," and "Telephone." But my ULTIMATE joint is "Twinkle!" At 5:27, some kat gets real fight-the-power on there. Hell...first time I heard it, I wanted to run down Broadway with a picket sign and a fist in the air!

I like the fact that she switched up her sound and pulled in new talent. Madlib pitched two home runs; 9th Wonder did "Honey"; Questlove and James Poyser did the Dilla tribute "Telephone"; Roy Ayres did the opening cut (by default of being sampled). SA-RA Creative Partners produced the other 5 cuts...which got me to thinking. Remember when SA-RA first started touting their production resume after hittin' the scene in 2004, even when NONE of their production had hit the streets besides their own one-off singles? The fellas was droppin' BIG names like Jill Scott, Bilal, and Erykah, among others. But none of this outside production started surfacing until 3-4 years later. Jill's album came out last year with the cut "Breathe." Bilal's version of "Hollywood" leaked to the internet last spring. Then came Erykah's record this year with 5 cuts by SA-RA. Could it be that these tracks from New Amerykah, Part One were dusted off after sitting in the vaults for 4 years? Eh...who cares. The shit is dope, and that's all that really matters.

::Mr. Combs, you ARE the weakest link::

I know that phrase is cliche and played as hell, but it so applies in this situation. If felt like I was having a lobotomy Monday night as I watched him struggle through his performance during the made-for-TV production of Lorraine Hansberry's classic Rasin In the Sun. Phylicia Rashad was phenomenal. Sanaa Lathan and Audra McDonald were great. But Puff just couldn't get into character. One of the things I found disturbing was that he didn't dispose of his ostensible New York accent. It reminded me of RZA in American Gangster. Even though it was nails-on-a-chalkboard painful, there was immense irony in how he actually fit the role of Walter Lee Younger. There are so many parallels between his cultural role in Hip-Hop and the fictional character of Mr. Younger.

The moment of truth for Walter Lee was that of making the decision of using his deceased father's life insurance policy to purchase a spacious house in the sprawling suburbs for him and his extended family currently living in a cramped, sordid tenement apartment in a 1950s Chicago ghetto...or following a pipe dream of opening up a liquor store in that very same ghetto with a friend (Bill Nunn a.k.a. Radio Raheem) and making a killing.

"Think big. Invest big. Gamble big; hell, even lose big if you have to."

Against the instruction of his mother, who had jurisdiction over the money, Walter Lee neglects his fiduciary responsibility and funnels the money into his liquor store, which was a failed project before it even materialized. In a similar twist, Puffy, using what was was bequeathed to pop culture by musicians of yesteryear (i.e., songs), essentially spearheaded the movement of the accelerated pimping and bastardization of Hip-Hop culture in 1994 by relegating those songs to mere samples. No stone was left unturned in the process. Puff even sampled Public Enemy, a pro-Black Hip-Hop group, for his own cut "P.E. 2000."

The liquor store in the Black community is symbolic for feeding depression and anxiety with anesthesia. Instead of cultivating messages that would potentially empower the at-risk Black youth his music both depicted and targeted, he chose to issue ramped up messages of braggadocio, excessive materialism, narcissism, Black-on-Black crime, involvement in illegal narcotics, sexism, and misogyny. All the very elements which are counterproductive to the Black community at-large. In short, Puff chose to build a liquor store instead of investing in a house...just like Walter Lee.

Author and sociologist Thomas M. Shapiro once wrote that homeownership is the most important way for families to accumulate wealth. Especially Black families. It is a gateway to better schools and neighborhoods. Land also has the best potential for appreciation. Not 24" rims and diamond-encrusted platinum chains.

Though at the time of Hansberry's play, redlining and other racially biased social practices prevented Blacks from moving into white neighborhoods. In 2006, the Census Bureau reported that 48% of African-Americans owned their own homes. I'm sure that in 1959, when Hansberry's play debuted on Broadway, the rate of African-American home ownership was probably less than 15%.

But ten years later, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 sought to remedy that. But being that it didn't solve the issue of inequality in salaries and earnings between whites and Blacks, it did nothing but put a band aid on a festering sore. And being that the real estate market has been in steady decline for the past year and a half, I'm not sure home ownership rates for ANY race or ethnicity is getting better. But I digress...
Lorraine Hansberry must be rolling in her grave. Nah...she's probably rolled all the way to the front gate of the cemetery by now. officially suck.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

::New Amerykah listening party::2:20:08::

I like Erykah. Even with her many aesthetic changes and incarnations. Even with the disappointment behind WWU. Even with the 5 year wait for her follow up album and the exorbitant concert ticket prices in the interim. I guess you could say I'm like a faithful ole' hound dog. Harpo beats me and I just keep on comin' back.

Last night, I got the chance to hear the highly-anticipated 5th album from Erykah. She talked a lil bit about the record and it's conception. Jay Electronica was bobbing and weaving through the crowd last night. If you ain't heard about him, Google him. "Eternal Sunshine: The Pledge" is probably one of the most innovative hip-hop cuts I've heard in some time. But back to New's very much a mood record. And as much as folks profess their ambivalence towards the lead single "Honey," it's probably the most commercial thing on the album. My favorite cut so far is "Me." She's also got a duet with my girl Georgia Anne Muldrow called "Master Teacher," which is pretty fly...but I'm sure it will be an acquired taste for most.

The event was held in an art gallery in the Chelsea area called Chapel of the Sacred Mirror. My homegirl and I were tryin to figure out what it was all about. It was strange, to say the least. The featured art was an amalgam of Egyptology, metaphysics, and acupuncture. Seems like the central theme was concerned with the flow of energy, but all the pamphlets we found did little to explain any of it. Anyway, I'm sure the venue was Erykah's idea. It was as weird as she had become over the past 5 years and it suited her persona to a T.

I think she's definitely trying to expand beyond the box she's been put in as far as the "neo soul" and "incense and poetry" stereotypes. New Amerykah, split over the course of 4 albums, will definitely challenge folks conception of Erykah as an artist. The album seems like a throwback to the old jazz fusion records of yesteryear (think Black Jazz and Strata East) while retaining a contemporary feel. Essentially, it's a mind fuck. And I don't think she would have it any other way...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Somebody needs a damn dictionary...

Dis·ci·pline [dis-uh-plin] noun, verb - 1. Activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill. 2. To train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.

Wanna have a little fun? Perform the following experiment:

1. With the aforementioned definition impressed upon your memory bank, visit the following link:

2. Sample tracks 1-22.

3. Match ANY part of the aforementioned definition(s) with the craftsmanship, artistic integrity, or viability of tracks 1-22.

Compare your results with others in the comments section. The fun is in reading the comments that best illustrate why the album title is a misnomer. Be as cheeky or reserved as your heart desires. To jump start things, I'll post the first comment!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dear Michael...

The next time you decide to re-release an album, I kindly ask you to consider the following:

1. Reissues with wack remixes just make legends look desperate for a check and some attention in the contemporary market.

2. Reissues of reissues just make the fans who purchased the previous reissues feel cheated.

3. many copies of Thriller can the average household own?

4. Unless you plan on reinventing yourself and releasing some new, viable material, do everyone a favor and just stay in Europe...and take Janet with you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pushing the envelope back?

What's good? I mean, what's REALLY good?! It seems as if there's a conspiracy to block the next level of Black music from coming to fruition. Dime-a-dozen hip-hop and R&B acts are being spat out from the factory at an alarming rate, while acts with edge and a futuristic sense of musicality get suppressed every time. The rule of thumb is if you don't fit in the box, you don't fit. The machine is scared shitless of anything that they don't already have a marketing algorithm for. Even if it compromises and applies a little pop sensibility to itself.
I mean...can you say Res?

Could it be that while some of these acts are actively pushing the envelope, the industry is incessantly pushing it back? Ya think so? The saddest part of this saga is that the public is deprived of making the ultimate decision of what appeals to them. I know, I know. Simply putting dope, cutting edge artists on won't remedy the problem. Most people are scared to even make that decision based on the conviction of their peers. But does that mean that we should just let the current situation remain?
Lordy. Sometimes I just want to quote my man Malcolm X:

"You've been hoodwinked. You've been had. You've been took. You've been led astray, led amok. You’ve been bamboozled."

I mean, I dig pop music just as much as the average person. Well...maybe not that much. But let's keep it funky, you need a well balanced diet in all aspects of life. All this cheese has got me constipated...

Anyway, here's an example of two groups that I thought would have been doin' it big by now. I know...wishful thinkin'.

It seemed like J.Davey definitely had next on the blowuptuate chart for the 2006-2007 period. Last year, they were buzzin' on the tongues of every "underground" figure of substance and popping up in the right magazines and on the right records at the right times. Questlove affectionately labeled them the "ghetto Eurythmics." Hmm...I prefer the "Black" Eurythmics. Jack and Brook were essentially at the tipping point of their career. But after the Warner Bros. deal stalled, seemed like they got buried in their own hype. I, for one, still love the group. Always have. Their sound is innovative, retro in some aspects but still fresh. Their bootlegs are legendary. Their image is mos def cutting edge. I had been waiting for a viable Black group to come along and push the envelope and kick a field goal in the process. Being that they scored some impressive touchdowns, let's just hope that this is just half time.

Sa-Ra. What can I say. The fellas are definitely talented. "Maxine" still stands as my favorite cut on John Legend's last album. Again, these dudes have gotten praise from the talking heads of the so-called "true school" Black music realm. They popped up in hipster and mainstream mags alike and issued a string of ill underground 12" singles, mix tapes, and limited edition Japanese import vinyls since 2004. Not only did they get signed to a major, but they signed to a joint venture label with the narcissist, flamboyant king of hipster-hop himself, Kanye West. All this amounted to nothing in the end. 5 minutes after the CD samplers went out the door to generate more buzz on their highly anticipated G.O.O.D. Music debut, Sony Urban had the rug snatched from under it and the Sa-Ra project has been hovering in purgatory ever since. To their credit, they did release a full length onBabygrandelast year, The Hollywood Recordings. But these dudes need to shine...for real.

Well...I could go on and on. But the history books are rife with examples and it would take me light years to wax poetic.
Therefore, I defer to my girl Jack Davey who sums it all up in a recent post to their blog. It's long winded, but exemplary to say the least. Cut and paste this manifesto as you see fit:

read this out loud !

this is intended for all of you lowly puppets who sit in your big offices in big buildings that will soon be out of business & thus, forced to hold vacant memories of an industry that once was . this is for all of the big wigs in suits & ties who sit at the head of the conference room table with creative opinions as empty as the "music" they force down the throats of the now bored & uninspired creative consumers . this is for all the idle assistants who only work hard enough to get their names on the grammy party lists, or whose only existence remains obsolete if he/she can't get into the hot new band's hollywood show debut . this is for the borderline retarded a&r guy who should in fact abandon his dreams of changing the failing record industry to become a highly paid talent scout at a modeling agency . this is definitely for all the marketing low lives who fail to avidly push great talent because the world's fave reality slut randomly decided one day while botoxing her armpits that she wants to be a rockstar.

yes .

this open letter is for all of you .
come feast your eyes upon the truth behind your insolence for 5 minutes , if you even have your job for that much longer. 

your blatant lack of respect & worship for the oldest & dearest artform has brought a once thriving & artistic industry to a grinding halt . your willingness to believe that the world wide web has killed the consumers' thirst for new & exciting talent is wildly ignorant & safe . you would like to feed into this stupidity because you are too lazy to stand behind substance ; you'd rather take the low & easy road than take the time to nurture true talent . you'd rather tirelessly feed us the same carbon copied , lip synching , sex dripping , faux punk "i got my entire outfit from hot topic" rocker , buffoonishly ghetto "are they even speaking english?" hip hop , "same old same" sound from song to song type image & force us to believe that this is all the world's artists have to offer . you'd rather watch your company stocks & yearly record sales severely plummet than take strong initiative to fix the current problem . you'd rather see hundreds of employees laid off & out of work during the holidays because you're too afraid to stand up for something new & different . you're content with creating a 1-hit wonder society , where any idiot with anything shockingly catchy can enjoy a sorry 15 minutes of fame & a future segment on vh1's "biggest 1-hit wonders of 08" extravaganza .

where is the new generation of legends ?

beyonce & alicia keys are old shoe ins . r kelly , sure , but his personal dramas easily overshadow his genius . radiohead & outkast comes to mind , & then i draw a big blank .

the latest thrill in music has been an over abundance of great dancers with mediocre voices , albums , singles , concert ticket sales , etc . thank god the internet allows every joe blow in the universe a free forum to overexpose every little thing , especially mediocre celebrities . thank god for online music forums , such as myspace . artists are able to directly connect with the people & expose themselves & their art to everyone everywhere at the click of a button . myspace proves that music can no longer fit into a box . long gone are the days of urban vs pop vs alternative radio . gwen stefani had hit songs for years on the pop & alt charts , but she records a song written by pharrell & she's instantly on top of the urban charts as well . this new r&b dance pop music crosses over to white kids & that kelly clarkson "since you've been gone" song was smeared across the lips of many a young black girl last year . m i a is all over the indie alternative stations , & lets not even get started on gnarls barkeley .

all signs point to the obvious : true music consumers right now are a ) young , & b) smart . young kids are able to point & click their way to every new trend . they arguably have short attention spans & they want to be in on what's cool & personable to them . when madonna emerged in the '80s you had tons of girls around the world imitating her every move & style down to the mole . kurt cobain turned grunge commercial when he was exposed to millions of kids who felt like society's outsiders looking in . hip-hop has been a huge influence on mainstream culture since the early '80s because of it's relativity . kids have not changed . young people are not mindless robots who like what you tell them to like with no opinions . the youth are always looking to be enthralled .

they want to be entertained . they want to feel as though they are a part of something that will be written about , studied , & revered 20 years later . they , like all of us old & young alike , want to be inspired . when i was a kid i saw prince prance around on stage & dazzle people with his art & i felt inspired to do the same thing . why are you music industry idiots attempting to tell us that we don't want to be touched ? why are you trying to rob us of new musical experiences ? will there ever be another motown 25 / michael jackson moonwalk experience ? will we never again hear a single like queen's "bohemian rhapsody" on the radio because the hook isn't catchy enough ? will we never see another band like the talking heads & joy division or parliament ? will there never be another artist to rival frank zappa ? will we be forced to hear different versions of the same dumb song on every single radio station every 5 minutes simply because the record label had enough money to pay off the station manager ? are we still supposed to care about mtv when there are hardly any videos in rotation ? do i even need to mention b e t or v h 1 ? are any of the classic record industry outlets working these days ? as of late it seems that artists are independently breaking ground with their own efforts . songs are being licensed for national commercials from artists' myspace pages & personal websites . ellen degeneres has been known to book musical guests from videos seen on youtube , & as i aforementioned , gnarls barkeley not only created a new genre , but they also won grammy awards for an album that was recorded in home studios & released through an indie label .

why should artists even seek major label deals ? they are completely outdated & obsolete . artists are sold the dream that talent can secure superstardom , but it becomes evident that labels only sign bands nowdays because of the band's existing fanbase & record sales , or because they dig the artist's look & want to cash in . they don't want to develop the art . they don't want the artist to express his/herself entirely . they just want the artist to comply with what will get the company a big monetary return . they sign you for millions , pimp you for pennies , then drop you a year later when the music they made you record & release is no longer relevant . you're left on the streets unsigned & irrelevant & ready to infect the world with the music you've always wanted to make , but no one will take a chance on you due to your previous material . meanwhile , the label has already put white out over your signature on the slave deal & replaced it with a younger version of you . cold game , ain't it ?

the age old model is failing . as an industry based on faithful consumers you have lost your connection with the people who matter most : the PEOPLE . you have yet to show them that you are with the changing times & able to adapt to something new . you are proving that you are too afraid to promote good music . you would rather let the monotonous drone of what is today's music remain unbalanced by substance . you would rather watch more legendary artists abandon you for direct deals with itunes & touring companies . you would rather allow the internet to defeat what should be your life's work . maybe you should excuse yourself from the next a&r meeting to go take a look in the bathroom mirror . stand there & ask yourself why you took this job , & when you realize it's simply because you wanted to be cool & "in the mix" then return to the conference room , take that gun out of your pocket , & shoot yourself in the head in front of your coworkers so that you are made an example of . if you can in fact leave that conference room & look in the bathroom mirror with pride & hunger to break the monotony then head back into that conference room , jump on top of the table & read this manifesto .

this is a challenge .

we're calling your bluff .

record labels are nothing but banks that give artists hi price loans in exchange for artistic control . put your money where your cocks are . go out on a limb & support real music for a change . find the line where the internet & the real world meet & infect more people with something magical . start building more legends . it's almost too late . interscope is dead . def jam is next . motown who ? mca what ? warner , you're not too far behind . the war sirens are ringing & you're content with playing deaf & dumb .
we're calling your bluff !

we're here to reprogram how you & the rest of the world listen to music .

we can do this together , or you can stick to your own devices & peril in the process .
we are the people . we are the future . we are the present .
who are you ?


copy this , paste this , & repost it wherever you see fit . email it to those who you believe can benefit from somethin like this . this is from the heart in jerry maguire "who's comin with me?" fashion . lets open our eyes , our ears , & our hearts . lets stop standin for the bullshit & start demandin these idiots to take charge & make change . substance has the right to be heard . support real shit & start takin it to the streets !

c'mon people .

it's 2008 . diddy killed music in 94 . it's time for some better shit .

Pass it on...


Somebody get ole' Hillary another box of Kleenex...

Monday, February 11, 2008

FREE Magazine: January 2008

My latest scribbles: reviews of The Dream Love/ Hate, Van Hunt Popular, Q-Tip The Renaissance, Estelle Shine, and Angels & Airwaves I-Empire. Catch it if you can...

Upscale Magazine: February 2008

My latest scribbles: reviews of the latest greatest hits packages from Teddy Pendergrass and Lou Rawls. Also got the chance to chop it up with Luther Vandross' mama for this issue. Although the piece was severely truncated, we chatted about the man, the music, and the compilation of the new boxed set, Love, Luther. Cop that.
And, yes...I jacked the jpeg from YBF.

::Will E. Makeit?::

If the results of the past primaries are any indication, I'd place my bets on O-Dog.

Tomorrow, all my folks in DC, MD, and VA will get the chance to rock the polls. Make sure you get up off yo' arse and vote!!!

But with the final primaries not wrapping up until June, it could still very well be a photo finish.

Stay tuned...

Monday, February 4, 2008


The Grammy committee must have been on some raw uncut shit when they decided to run this ad...

I mean...I don't get it. There's NO comparison between these two artists. This ad has the audacity to imply the "apples and oranges" comparison with Aretha and Christina. With all due respect to Christina, she's got miles to go before she can even affect a mere fraction of the influence that Aretha has in the realm of popular music. This ad reminds me of when Ashanti was given the Aretha Franklin Award at the 2002 Soul Train Awards. At that point, she was a new artist that hadn't even been on the charts for a full year. It's all laughable in the long run, because her career experienced a steady decline since her
debut album was released that year.

Speaking of Aretha, it reminds me of an interview on where Joss Stone confesses to essentially stalking Mrs. Franklin in attempts to land a duet on Stone's sophomore album, to no avail. Big Ree-Ree basically took the passive-aggressive approach, which adds to the comedic nature of the story...

Blankly put: Aretha's a legend. Even if she's accumulated more pounds than hits over the past few decades, her resume speaks volumes. If anyone is going to be put on a scale with her (no pun intended), they're going to have to be worth their weight in gold. Today's industry is filled with artists that are ascribed a legendary status even before their debut album hits the street. They're virtual celebrities by association with stints on reality TV series, magazine profiles and cover stories, and rants on celebrity worship blogs. All of these criteria feed the hype machine and dictate a new artist's worth before their records have actually been released. Just think...If Aretha had to compete with the same media machine back in 1967, her incomparable voice would have fallen on deaf ears. The world would have truly missed out on a great talent, indeed.

Oddly enough, it seems that this is exactly what the industry wants: deaf ears. Their intention seems to be to steer critical attention away from the vocal ability towards the energy and hype that the music and the media creates. Enough ranting for now...

Dear Virgin Megastore...

1. Your crappy listening stations are always broken.
2. Your staff is always dumb as nails.
3. Your "sales" have contributed to the smothering of the beloved mom & pop record shop.

As the music industry implosion nears completion, I wish you a slow and painful death...
Have a nice day ;-)