Bobby Shmurda, 20, took the internet by storm in early 2014 when a Vine of his song “Shmoney Dance” went viral. After a bidding war between labels, he signed a multi-album deal to Epic Records, and became hip-hop’s new flavor of the week. He followed it up with “Hot Nigga” and seemed poised for continued success (whatever that looks like in today’s music business landscape). Yet somehow, with lyrics that highlight drug sales, trap houses, and violent exchanges (or him and his crew just shooting people, as it were), there was some incredulity when Shmurda was arrested in December 2014 on a series of charges that include drug dealing, weapons possession, conspiracy to commit murder, and assault. Shmurda pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $2 million. Yet two months later, he is still in custody, and apparently upset that his label hasn’t been more supportive, specifically by posting his bail and voicing its support. My gut reaction to Shmurda’s sense of entitlement from his label was disgust. How dare this employee expect his employer to bail him out of a situation he got himself into by allegedly committing crimes? If I go out and catch charges, I’d sooner expect to be fired than for my employer to post my […]
Today Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment. While the official cause of death has not been determined, I think most of the world is assuming her death is the result of a drug overdose. If that’s the case, I won’t be shocked, based on the much-publicized (perhaps overly so) battle she waged with addiction to drugs and alcohol. What has shocked me is the sheer amount of comments I’m hearing about how disappointed people are in her ongoing struggle with addiction and her inability to overcome it. It seems so ignorant, insensitive, and removed. I wonder how many of these people have ever dealt with addiction up close and personal — in their own lives or of those they love — and not just through the media. I would venture to think that their outlook on the effects of addiction on the addict and the havoc it wreaks would be much different, perhaps less concerned with pointing fingers and more understanding of the rehabilitation process. After all, life is much different when you’re a participant instead of a spectator.
Today, via Twitter, I learned that Fat Beats was closing its New York and Los Angeles retail locations. I’ve never been to either location, but the realization that I never will hurts. A TON of the artists I like have expressed how integral Fat Beats was in their careers, both tangibly and otherwise. Many of them cited how amazing on a personal level it had been to do their first in-store appearances there, or described how legitimizing it felt to see their vinyl in the stores. Others talked about how you could always trust Fat Beats to have the underground music more mainstream stores couldn’t be counted on to have. Immediately, people jumped to the why. How could something that has come to be regarded as a “mecca” for hip-hop fans and artists be closing? It truly is a hip-hop institution, so what went wrong? The same answer echoed (and was retweeted): people don’t buy music. DJs don’t vinyl anymore. Fans don’t purchase physical music, either. More than that, when people do purchase physical music, they do it at big box chains like Best Buy, Walmart and Target, but not local mom and pop spots, like Fat Beats, CD Game […]
I’ll say this up front. I’m basing my statements on 3 things: The actual video. Her video statement. Her official released statement. (Caveat: I’m just posting this link because it is the closest I could find to include what I think is the statement in its entirety. I’m not familiar with the blogger or the blog’s slant. Read it at your own risk because I’m not endorsing it.) Now that I took care of that, I have another disclaimer: I think the song and video are terrible from a musical standpoint. I don’t like her voice and the video doesn’t float my boat. This is not taking into account the content and representations in the video. Moving on. This is an interesting situation. The public is outraged at her depiction of a situation; she claims she’s doing it for a noble reason. Hm. I can accept her argument that the song and video are meant to call attention to the very reckless and dangerous behaviors of some women who partake in casual sex. I just think it was poorly executed. Neither the song nor the video offer any commentary, real or imagined. It’s a declarative statement, at best. A documentary, if you will. […]
I always have this strange love/hate relationship with old music. On one hand, I absolutely LOVE old songs because they remind me of the past and call forth long-forgotten memories. On the other hand, they force me to remember how much life has changed, and not always in a good way. Most of the time, the songs bring on this warm, fuzzy feeling that reminds me of being young. I think about the times when the most serious thought I had was how I could con my mom into letting me stay up past my bedtime to watch New York Undercover (never worked) or what field trip was next in class. Everything was so carefree and innocent. Even if I had a somewhat clouded view of reality behind my veil of youth, I created these memories that, for the most part, are positive. After listening to music initially, the reality of life sets in. That I'm not young and carefree anymore, and certainly not as innocent. I don't even mean that in a completely negative way. It's a fact of life that as you age and experience life, not everything will work in your favor. So now when I hear […]