Saturday, February 28, 2009

Barack Obama

I Know ya didn't think I was gonna forget or otherwise skip my uncle Barack right?

Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4Th, 1961. (Big Ups to the best birthday month in all the 12 months available!) BARACK IS THE 44TH AND CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO HOLD THE OFFICE.

Barack Obama was born at the Kapi'olani Medical Center for women & Children in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was born to Stanley Ann Dunham, an American of European descent from Kansas and Father Barack Obama, Sr, a Luo (African ethnic group) from Nyang'oma, Kenya. Obama's parents met in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was a foreign student on scholarship. The couple married on February 2, 1961, and Obama was born later that year. His parents separated when he was two years old, and they divorced in 1964. Obama's father returned to Kenya and saw his son only once more before dying in an automobile accident in 1982.

From ages six to ten, Obama attended local schools in Jakarta, including Besuki Public School and St. Francis of Assisi School.

He then returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Aemour Dunham, while attending Punahou School from the fifth grade in 1971 until his graduation from high school in 1979.

Obama's mother returned to Hawaii in 1972 and remained there until 1977, when she relocated to Indonesia to work as an anthropological field worker. Dunham finally returned to Hawaii in 1994 and lived there for one year before dying of ovarian cancer.

Of his early childhood, Obama recalled, "That my father looked nothing like the people around me — that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk — barely registered in my mind." He described his struggles as a young adult to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage. He disclosed that he used alcohol, marijuana and cocaine during his teenage years to "push questions of who I was out of my mind." At the 2008 Civil Forum on the Presidency in 2008, Obama identified his high-school drug use as his "greatest moral failure."

Some of his fellow students at Punahou School later told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that Obama was mature for his age, and that he sometimes attended college parties and other events in order to associate with African American students and military service people. Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama wrote: "The opportunity that Hawaii offered — to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect — became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear."

^The 44Th President of the United States^
The First Black man elected into office
My Uncle
Barack Obama

[His story is quite long so I hope you can understand me cutting it short, and I hope you do your research on him as well as I have.

Personal Thoughts:
So going back to November 4Th, lol.
I'm still excited about the whole fact that my generation came together as one to produce a President (a chosen leader of the people) who is of black decent. A decent, family man who's the complete opposite of so many peoples perception of what black people are.

I was watching a documentary on HBO the other day that showed millions of conservatives in the South who hated Barack and everything that he stood for. One man was asked who he was going to vote for and when asked he simply said: "I'm gonna vote for the white man" when asked why, he simply said "I ain't voting for no Nigger". The Ignorance and hate that poured out with the sound of his voice hurt me deeply and personally. It showed that there is still racism and prejudice in the country we call home. But that's all to be left for another post. Despite the South Barack Obama still reigned triumphant and became the 44Th President of the United States. I'm more than proud of him and only hope that God be with him in every step He takes, metaphorically and literally.

I pray that he doesn't let us down like so many expect and are hoping for just so they can say "I told you So" May God Bless him and his family: Wife Michelle and both beautiful daughters Sasha and Milia. I'm sure this is not my last post in which he is the focal point so like always Stay up and Stay tuned.

Will Smith

I want you to argue with me that Will Smith is not the coolest dude to ever be in front of the camera. Ga' Head I dare you argue that with me.

Born Willard Christopher "Will" Smith, Jr. on September 25Th, 1968 is an actor, film producer and rapper. He has enjoyed success in music, television and film. Newsweek has called him the most powerful actor on the planet. Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, and has won multiple Grammys.

Smith, was born and raised in West Philly. His mother, Caroline, was a school administrator who worked for the Philadelphia school board, and his father, Willard Christopher Smith, Sr., was a refrigeration engineer. He was raised Baptist. His parents separated when he was thirteen and divorced when he was thirty-two. Smith's charming and sly demeanor in school resulted in the nickname "Prince", which eventually turned into the "Fresh Prince". While still in his teens, Smith began rapping and eventually began collaborating with Jeff Townes (a.k.a. D.J. Jazzy Jeff), whom he met at a party. He attended Overbrook High School in West Philly. D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince was born with Smith handling the rhymes and Townes overseeing the mastery of mixing and scratching – the combination was a pop and hip-hop hit during the 1980s and early 1990s. While it is widely reported that Smith turned down a scholarship to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he never applied to MIT, although he was admitted to a "pre-engineering program" there. According to Smith, "My mother, who worked for the School Board of Philadelphia, had a friend who worked in the admissions officer at MIT. I had pretty high SAT scores and they needed black kids, so I probably could have gotten in. But I had no intention of going to college."

Smith started as the MC of the hip-hop duo along with Dj Jazzy Jeff as well as Ready Rock C (Clarence Holmes) as the human beat box. The trio was known for performing humorous, radio-friendly songs, most notably "Parents Just Don't Understand" and "Summertime" (THATS MY JOINT) They gained critical acclaim for winning the first ever Grammy in the Rap category (1988). He had a line in "Voices that Care", a 1991 Gulf War song by a celebrity group.

Smith was nearly bankrupt in 1990 due to over spending and having his income garnished by the IRS when the NBC television network signed him to a contract and built a sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, around him. The show was successful and launched his acting career. Smith set himself the goal of becoming "'the biggest movie star in the world'," studying box office successes' common characteristics. Although he made a notable dramatic film debut in Six Degrees of Separation while still appearing in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Smith's film career took off with his role in the buddy cop action film 'Bad Boys' in 1995 along with co-star Martin Lawrence.

^The Fresh Prince Indeed^
Jada-Pinkett's Husband,
Lil Jayden Smith's Pops

Aight ya'll in an UN-presidented Black History Month event I'm going to skip the rest of the sited story and go straight to my...

Personal Thoughts: You gotta problem?
I honestly don't know where to begin but I'll go on and say: That I DO NOT believe that there is any person in my age bracket that is not a Will Smith Fan. Lets Begin with his music: Okay most people don't consider him to be a rapper but he's just as much a rapper as any other rapper mentioned in my blog this month. A cleaner less aggressive rapper of course but still a rapper. And who can forget 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'.... Will Smith was the coolest teenager on television and he was the person to look up to for various reasons, Before we had the Internet to tell us what the New Jordans were I used to watch Will and see what he had on his feet. It Never failed, 5's, 9's 11's Flights, these are just a few that I can remember off the top of my head that he wore on the show. He was hilarious and he made getting into trouble (of course not serious trouble) look like so much fun. Shortly after the last episode of the show (Which I can still remember as if it were yesterday) I remember seeing him in movies and I have been keeping up with his work since. Independence Day, Men in Black, Enemy of the State, etc.... I don't remember a time (except for in Wild Wild West--Sorry prince but you missed me with that one) that I sat down to watch one of his flicks and didn't get drawn into it. He's such a talented actor that you completely forget that its not the actual Chris Gardner (The Pursuit of Happyness) or the actual Muhammad Ali (Ali) on screen. This one goes out to my boy Will "The Fresh Prince" Smith.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spike Lee

"Baby Baby Baby Please Baby Please Baby Please." lol

Spike Lee, producer, writer, film director, Actor, and the World's BIGGEST and truest New York Knicks fan was born Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee on March 20Th, 1957. he has since become an Emmy Award winner and has been nominated for Academy Awards. He is best known for his films dealing with controversial social and political issues. He also teaches film at New York University and Columbia University.His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced 35 Films since 1983.

Lee was born in Atl, GA. the son of Jacqueline Shelton, a teacher of arts and black literature, and William James Edward Lee III, a jazz musician, and composer. Lee moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York when he was a small child. The Fort Greene neighborhood is home to Lee's production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, and other Lee-owned or related businesses. As a child, his mother nicknamed him "Spike." In Brooklyn, he attended John Dewey High School. Lee enrolled in Morehouse College where he made his first student film, Last Hustle in Brooklyn. He took film courses at Clark Atlanta University and graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communication from Morehouse College. He then enrolled in New York University's Tech School of the Arts. He graduated in 1978 with a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television.

^Ya'll Know who this is... Its Mookie^
Spike Lee

Lee's thesis film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, was the first student film to be showcased in Lincoln Center's New Directors New Films Festival.

In 1985, Lee began work on his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It. With a budget of $175,000, the film was shot in two weeks. When the film was released in 1986, it grossed over $7,000,000 at the U.S. box office.

The reception of She's Gotta Have It led Lee down a second career avenue. Marketing executives from Nike (WOOHOO) offered Lee a job directing commercials for the company. They wanted to pair Lee's character from She's Gotta Have It, the Michael Jordan-loving Mars Blackmon, and Jordan himself in their marketing campaign for the Air Jordan line. (For all you young SO-CALLED "SneakerHeads" out there, this is when Jordan was releasing Quality Sneakers do your homework and figure out what I'm talking about.) Later, Lee would be a central figure in the controversy surrounding the inner-city rash of violence involving Air Jordans. Lee countered that instead of blaming manufacturers of apparel, "deal with the conditions that make a kid put so much importance on a pair of sneakers, a jacket and gold". Through the marketing wing of 40 Acres and a Mule, Lee has also directed commercials for Converse, Jaguar, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry's.

Lee's movies have examined Race relations, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues.

Personal Thoughts:

My earliest memory of Spike Lee has to be watchin "Do the Right Thing" as a kid, back then I didn't understand it nor do I remember how I felt while watching it, but I do remember a younger thinner Spike Lee walking up and down the Brooklyn streets as Mookie, wearing what I Believe was the Jackie Robinson Baseball jersey, some shots and some Nike Trainers. That was one of the coolest movie I had ever seen, and since I've loved most of his works. "He Got Game" was another one that I loved. Seein Ray Allen playing a Coney Island Basketball prodigy alongside Denzel Washington was just great to me. (I hate to have to mention it all the time) but damn Those Jordans that Denzel copped in the movie, made them even more great to me. Spike himself has always been quite the Jordan Loyalist himself which is one of the reasons I've felt I can relate to him. Whenever I'm watching a movie even if I don't know that its "a Spike Lee Joint" I can tell it is because of the use of Music, the actors used in the movie and of course that Floating effect that he uses. Spike is most def one of those people in Black History that deserves a lot of recognition and respect for the craft that he loves so much and produces for our enjoyment. With that said I wanna thank Spike for all his works that have raised Eyebrows, made people think, and scratch their heads. Thanks man. I'll always remember what Da Mayor (Ozzie Davis) said and 'Do The Right Thing'.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sherman Hemsley

Sherman Alexander Hemsley was born February 1st, 1938 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is an actor best known for his role as George Jefferson, on the tv shows All in the Family and The Jeffersons and as Deacon Ernest Frye on Amen. He also played Earl Sinclair's horrifying boss, a Triceratops named B.P. Richfield on the Jim Henson sitcom, Dinosaurs. (Ya'll Remember that one?)

Hemsley was born and raised in South Philadelphia by his mother, who was a factory worker. He dropped out of school and joined the Air Force, where he stayed for four years. When he left the Air Force, he moved back to Philadelphia where he worked for the Post Office during the day while attending acting school at night. He then moved to New York, continuing to work for the Post Office during the day while working as an actor at night. He starred as the character Gitlow in the early 1970s Broadway play, Purlie.

^I Know Ya remember George Jefferson right?^
Sherman Hemsley

Though Hemsley was largely typecast as George Jefferson, he remained working steadily after the show's cancellation. He teamed up with the show's original cast members as The Jeffersons moved to Broadway for a brief period.

Hemsley joined the cast of NBC's Amen in 1986 as Deacon Ernest Frye, an unscrupulous church elder much like his Jefferson character. The show enjoyed a run of five seasons, ending in 1991. Hemsley then was a voice actor in the ABC live action puppet series Dinosaurs, where he played Bradley P. Richfield, Earl's sadistic boss. The show ran for four seasons, ending in 1994.

Since Dinosaurs' cancellation, Hemsley has largely retired from television acting, although he and Isabel Sanford reunited in the late 90's and in the early 2000s, reprising their roles in guest spots on television programs such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and commercials for Old Navy and Denny's. They continued to work together in piecemeal fashion until Sanford began having health problems leading to her death in 2004.

Personal Thoughts

My first memory of Sherman Hemsley is as the main character of Amen. I used to watch it with my parents back when we were all living in a one bedroom apartment. Years later I remember watchin all the Jefferson re runs. Watching a Half bald black man as the owner of a dry cleaners who hated white people was hilarious to me. I can remember how he treated Florence, the maid played by Marla Gibbs and he treated her so mean but it was funny as hell. Sherman Hemsley has always been one of those people that was funny tome without even trying. Just seeing him on screen was good enough for me lol. He's been away from Tv for a while, but I'm still a big fan.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Redd Foxx

Redd Foxx was born on December 9Th, 1922 and lived to be 69 years old. He passed away on October 11Th, 1991. He was born John Elroy Sanford, and he was best known for his starring role on the television sitcom 'Sanford and Son.

Foxx was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised on Chicago's South Side. His father left the family when Foxx was four. He was raised by his mother, his minister, and his grandmother. He briefly attended DuSable High School with future Chicago mayor Harold Washington, but never graduated. Moving to New York in the early 1940s, he was an associate of Malcolm Little later known as Malcolm X. In Malcolm's autobiography, Foxx is referred to as "Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth." Foxx earned the nickname due to his reddish hair and complexion. His second stage name was taken from baseball star Jimmie Foxx. In May of 1967, Redd Foxx was the only artist to be invited to Elvis Presley's wedding at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

^You Big Dummy lol^
Mr. Fred Sanford Himself
Red Foxx

The character of Fred Sanford was named after Foxx's own brother, Fred, who had died. Foxx was in his early 50s when he played the 65-year-old Sanford.

He was also one of the first black comics to play to white audiences on the Las Vegas strip. Foxx used his starring role on Sanford and Son to help get jobs for his friends such as La Wanda Page, Slappy White, Gregory Sierra, and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. Foxx also battled with producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin for higher paychecks and creative control of the show. Writer Alan Rafkin touched on some of Foxx's clashes with Lear and Yorkin in the book Cue the Bunny on the Rainbow. Foxx does not appear in six episodes at the end of the third season, and three at the beginning of the fourth, because of problems with producers. "Fred Sanford's" best friend "Grady", played by Whitman Mayo, took his place.

Foxx appeared ringside at the famous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner (the match that inspired actor Sylvester Stallone to write the movie Rocky) near Cleveland, Ohio in 1975. Foxx also served as co-commentator.

Personal Thoughts:

So around the time that 'Nick at Nite' began playin all the old re-runs I was becoming more and more of a Redd Foxx fan. Watching him order his TV son Lamont around and calling him a dummy was Hilarious to me. Being a huge fan of comedy already I naturally loved his work. My father was a big fan of the show as well so I guess it just made me like it that much more. Looking back at it I feel that he is one of Histories over looked black comedians, so I figured that blogging about him this month was my way of shedding some light on a man who so often ends up in the shadows in the memories of the average person.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quincy Jones

Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. (How dope is that Middle Name?) was born on March 14Th, 1933 also known as Q, is a music conductor, record producer, musical arranger, film composer and trumpeter. During five decades in the entertainment industry, Jones has earned a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991. He is best known as the producer of the album Thriller, by Pop Icon Michael Jackson, which has sold 104 million copies worldwide, and as the producer and conductor of the charity song "We Are the World". He is also well known for his popular 1962 song "Soul Bossa Nova", which originated on the Big Band Bossa Nova album.

Jones was born into an African American family in Chicago, Illinois. He is the eldest son of Sarah Frances, an apartment complex and bank executive who suffered from schizophrenia, and Quincy Delight Jones, Sr., a semi-professional baseball player and carpenter. His mother is a descendant of Mary Belle Lanier, the out-of-wedlock daughter of James Balance Lanier. Jones discovered music in grade school at Raymond Elementary School on Chicago's South Side and took up the trumpet. When he was 10, his family moved to Bremerton, Washington, near Seattle, there he attended Garfield High School.

In 1951, Jones won a scholarship to the Schillinger House in Boston, Massachusetts. However, he abandoned his studies when he received an offer to tour as a trumpeter with the bandleader Lionel Hampton. While Jones was on the road with Hampton, he displayed a gift for arranging songs. Jones relocated to New York Ceity, where he received a number of freelance commissions arranging songs for artists like Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa, and his close friend Ray Charles.

^This Pic is Straight Smoove^
Mr. Quincy Jones

While working on the film 'The Wiz', Michael Jackson asked him to produce his upcoming solo record. The result, Off The Wall has sold a staggering 20 million copies and made Jones the most powerful record producer in the industry. Jones' and Jackson's next collaboration Thriller has sold 104 million copies and became the highest-selling album of all time. Jones also worked on Michael Jackson's third solo album Bad, which has sold 32 million copies. After the Bad album, Jackson and Jones went their separate ways so that Jackson could produce his later solo works by himself.

In a 2002 interview, when Jackson was asked if he would ever work with Jones again he replied, "the door is always open". However, in 2007, when NME.COM asked Jones a similar question, he said "Man please, I've got enough to do. We already did that. I have talked to him about working with him again but I've got too much to do. I've got 900 projects, I'm 74 years old. Give me a break".

Jones first worked with Frank Sinatra when he was invited by Princess Grace to arrange a benefit at the Monaco Sporting Club in 1958. Six years later, Sinatra hired him to arrange and conduct Sinatra's second album with Count Basie, 'It Might as Well Be Swing' (1964). Jones conducted and arranged 1966's live album with the Basie Band, 'Sinatra at the Sands.' Jones was also the arranger/conductor when Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Johnny Carson performed with the Basie orchestra in St. Louis in a benefit for Dismas House in June 1965. The fund-raiser was broadcast to a number of other theaters around the country and eventually released on DVD. Later that year, Jones was also the arranger/conductor when Sinatra and Basie appeared on "The Hollywood Palace" TV show on October 16, 1965. Nineteen years later, Sinatra and Jones teamed up for 1984's L.A. is My Lady, after a joint Sinatra-Lena Horne project was abandoned.

Personal Thoughts:
Threes had never been a time when I was fully aware of who Quincy Jones was till a few years ago when I had developed a more mature ear and understanding for music. But I can Most definitely tell you this. I'm from a generation where If you hear: "Well This is a Story all about How My Life got split turned upside down....." EVERYONE in the room knows what comes next. And one thing I can most definitely remember seeing after the credits to the opening and closing of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' was Quincy Jones' Name. If it weren't for that man who knows what that song would sound like. Lets not forget the TimeLess Records that he produced for Michael Jackson, Basically what I am saying is that the man is a Musical Genius and if we didn't have Quincy Jones we'd have no choice but to invent him.

Sunday, February 22, 2009



Pharrell Williams was born on April 5Th, 1973. He was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia to father Pharoah Williams, a handyman, and Carolyn, a teacher. Pharrell is the eldest of three sons. He is a music producer, singer-songwriter and rapper. He, along with Chad Hugo are the duo that make up the Neptunes. It is with the Chad that they produce Hip-Hop, Pop, and R&B records.

Williams met Chad Hugo in a seventh grade summer band camp where Williams played the Keyboard and drums and Hugo played tenor saxophone. They were also both members of a marching Band, where Pharrell played the snare drum, and with Chad as a student conductor. In the 1990s, Hugo and Pharrell formed a 4-piece "R&B type" group along with friends Shay Haley and Mike Etheridge, which they named 'The Neptunes'. They later entered a high school talent show where they were discovered by Teddy Riley, whose studio is next to Pharrell's school, Princess Anne High School. After graduating from high school, they signed with Riley as a group.

Through working with Teddy Riley, Pharrell went on to write a verse for Wreckx-N-Effect's 1992 hit "Rump Shaker" (number two Billboard Hot 100, 2x Platinum). That same year, he also performed a small rap solo on SWV's second hit, "Right Here (Human Nature Remix)". In 1994, Hugo and Williams had established themselves formally as a production duo under the previously used name "The Neptunes", and produced "Tonight's The Night" from Blackstreet's self-titled debut album. Over the next three years they continued to produce occasionally. Some of the production had little resemblance to the trademark Neptunes sound present today. However, some like Mase's 1997 song "Lookin' At Me" from his album 'Harlem World', and the most definite beginning of the so-called distinctive "Neptunes sound", came with N.O.R.E.'s "Superthug" in 1998, reaching number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, and gaining them widespread attention for the first time. In 1999, the duo then worked heavily with Kelis, producing her first album Kaleidoscope in its entirety and Ol' Dirty Bastard's 'Nigga Please', followed by Mystikal's hit single, "Shake Ya Ass".

^Mr. Billionaire Boy Himself^

In 2001, The Neptunes produced Britney Spears' single, "I'm a Slave "I'm a Slave 4 U" gaining their first world-wide number one single. The same year, Pharrell, Hugo and Haley released their first album as N.E.R.D - In Search Of... - in Europe, where the first Kelis album was better received. The album sounded very much like their previous production work; the group decided that they should make their work as N.E.R.D sound different, and re-recorded the album, with the funk-rock band Spymob. The Neptunes also signed Clipse, a rap duo from Virginia Beach that Pharrell had met back in 1993, to Arista Records through his recently established Star Trak Entertainment imprint.

Then in 2002 their re-produced album was released worldwide, and The Neptunes reached number one in the U.S. with Nelly's single, "Hot in Herre". In August of the same year, The Neptunes were named "Producers of the Year" at both The Source Awards and the Billboard Music Awards. Clipse released their commercial debut album, Lord Willin' on August 20, 2002. The album opened at number one on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 200, fueled by the strength of its first two singles, "Grindin" and "When the Last Time" (Video=DOPE! shorty with the big forehead OMG! lol), which peaked at number 34 and number 19 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Neptunes released a self-credited album called The Neptunes Presents... Clones in 2003, featuring songs and remixes from various artists. This album topped the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums Chart. The Neptunes and Pharrell specifically were also kept in public eye largely due to ties with Jay-Z, producing several hit singles for him and landing two tracks on his album The Black Album. The track "Frontin'" was a big hit (the 34Th biggest single of 2003 according to Billboard Magazine and lets not forget Lauren London's beautiful self being featured in the video.) A survey in August 2003 found the Neptunes produced almost 20 percent of songs played on British radio at the time, a survey in the US had them at 43 percent. The same year, The Neptunes remixed the Daft punk song Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger for the duo's poorly-received remix album Daft Club. The track also featured a brief rap section performed by Pharrell.

N.E.R.D's second Funk-Rock-oriented album, Fly or Die, released in March 2004. Williams' rock credentials were further bolstered by his appearance at the 2004 Grammy Awards, performing The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" on drums along with Sting, Dave Matthews and Vince Gill. Pharrell went home with two Grammy Awards that night, one for Producer of the year, Non-Classical, and another for Best Pop Vocal Album for his work on Justin Timberlake's Hit Album Justified. They also gained their first UK number one, again with Nelly, and Flap your Wings.

On September 9, 2005, Pharrell performed the opening single from his debut solo album On My Mind, (GO PICK THAT UP!) "Can I have it Like That", featuring Gwen Stefani. (I Adore Her) The single did poorly in the US, reaching only number 48. It fared better in the UK, reaching number three. Between then and the July 25, 2006 release of "In My Mind", he released "Angel" (The song that you are most likely hearing playing on the Blog right now) and later "Number One" with Kanye West. "That Girl" featuring Snoop Dogg was the final single.

In 2006, Pharrell solely produced The Clipse's second album Hell Hath No Fury. Most critics labeled the album to be Pharrell's best production in years, and put the Virginia rap duo back in the charts.

On May 16, 2007, for seven days only, the first of two expected collaborations with Madonna entitled "Hey You", was made available for free download from the MSN website. MSN, in conjunction with Madonna, donated 25 cents for each of the first 1 million downloads to the Alliance for Climate Protection, in support of Live Earth. Later that year, Pharrell performed songs at the Concert for Diana on July 1, 2007. Then, on July 7 2007, he performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth in Rio DE Janiero.

A second album, entitled Out of My Mind, was recorded with his newly formed band "The Yessirs" featuring Questlove of The Roots. However, Pharrell's record label did not think that a companion album to the first would sell well. He also produced Beyonce's rendition of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend". He then wrote and produced "Why Should I Be Sad" on Britney Spears' fifth studio album, Blackout. He also produced two songs from The Hives album, The Black and White Album, titled "Well All Right!" and "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.".

In April 2008, Madonna released her eleventh album, Hard Candy, which featured vocals from Pharrell and production from The Neptunes on several tracks. Later in June, an article in NME revealed that Pharrell is very interested in producing The Strokes' fourth album. Also in 2008, Pharrell collaborated with Louis Vuitton to create a series of jewelry under 4 different themes.

Williams, along with other notable musicians, is to work on a remix album for Maroon 5's Call & Response.

Personal Thoughts:

I knew I was a Pharrell Fan when I heard Superthug for the first time. This was during a time in Hip-Hop where the beat and the producer over shadowed the artist on the track. But lets be honest, Its not that hard to over shadow N.O.R.E bumass. lol But regardless I've always been a fan of music in its entirty. Neptunes created a sound that became the new standard in Music. Pharrell being the frontman of the duo became one of my favorites, his style, his attitude and his child-like nature made him someone I could in some way relate to. His Album "In My Mind" in my opinion was dope and it was just one in the many that he had produced. I admire how he has gone beyong the typical Hip-Hop projects and has taken on jobs working with Pop Artist such as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. His work with the Clipse has been stunning thusfar and I've since and always will be a fan. Shout outs to Mr. Billionaire Club Muchacho.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Notorious B.I.G


Christopher Wallace was born on May 21st, 1972, he was one of the best rappers to ever live until he met his untimely demise on March 9th, 1997. He was better known to the world as The Notorious B.I.G and often referred to as Biggie Smalls.

Born in St. Mary's Hospital, although claiming to be raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, the apartment he grew up in is located in neighboring Clinton Hill. Wallace was the only child to Voletta Wallace, a Jamaican pre-school teacher, and George Latore, a welder and small-time Jamaican politician. His father left the family when young Chris was two years old, leaving his mother to work two jobs while raising him. At the Queen of All Saints Middle School, Wallace excelled in class, winning several awards as an English student. He was nicknamed "Big" because of his size before he turned 10-years-old. At the age of 12, he began selling drugs. His mother, often away at work, did not know about the drug-selling until Wallace was an adult.

Wallace transferred out of the private Roman Catholic school that he attended, at his request, to attend the state-funded George Westinghouse Information Technology High School, where Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, and DMX were also students. According to his mother, he was still a good student, but developed a "smart-ass" attitude. At seventeen, Biggie dropped out of high school and became further involved in crime. In 1989, he was arrested on weapons charges in Brooklyn and sentenced to five years' probation. In 1990, he was arrested on a violation of his probation. A year later, Wallace was arrested in North Carolina for dealing crack cocaine. He spent nine months in jail until he made bail.

When he was a teenager Biggie had begun rapping. He would entertain people on the streets with his rapping as well as perform with local groups, the Old Gold Brothers and the Techniques. After being released from prison, Wallace made a demo tape under the name Biggie Smalls, a reference to his childhood nickname and to his stature; he stood at 6'3" and weighed as much as 300lbs. The tape was reportedly made with no serious intent of getting a recording deal, but was promoted by New York-based DJ Mister Cee, who had previously worked with Big Daddy Kane, and was heard by the editor of 'The Source' magazine.

In March of 1992, Wallace featured in 'The Source's' 'Unsigned Hype' column, dedicated to aspiring rappers and was invited to produce a recording with other unsigned artists, in a move that was reportedly uncommon at the time. The demo tape was heard by Uptown Records A&R and record producer (I'm using the term "Producer" very losely) Sean "Puffy" Combs who arranged for a meeting with Wallace. He was signed to Uptown immediately and made an appearance on label mates, Heavy D and the Boyz' "A Buncha Niggas". Soon after signing his recording contract, Combs was fired from Uptown and started a new label. Wallace followed and in mid-1992, signed to Combs' new imprint label, Bad Boy Records. On August 8, 1993, Wallace's long-term partner gave birth to his first child, T'yanna. Wallace continued selling drugs after the birth to support his daughter financially. Once this was discovered by Combs, he was made to quit.Link

Wallace gained exposure later in the year on a remix to Mary J. Blige's single "Real Love", under the pseudonym The Notorious B.I.G.; the name he would record under for the remainder of his career after finding his original moniker was in use. The letters in "B.I.G." apparently do not stand for anything. "Real Love" peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was followed by a remix of Blige's "What's the 411".

He continued this success, to a lesser extent, on remixes with Neneh Cherry ("Buddy X") and reggae artist Super Cat "Dolly My Baby", in 1993. In April 1993, his solo track, "Party and Bullshit", appeared on the Who's the Man? soundtrack. In July 1994 , he appeared alongside LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes on a remix to label mate Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear", reaching #9 on the Hot 100.

^The Late Great Notorious B.I.G^
One of the Best to ever do it!

On August 4, 1994, nine days after meeting R&B singer Faith Evans he married her. They met at a Bad Boy photoshoot. Four days later, Wallace had his first pop chart success as a solo artist with double A-side, "Juicy/Unbelievable", which reached #27 as the lead single to his debut album.

Ready to Die was released on September 13, 1994, and reached #13 on the Billboard 200 chart, eventually being certified four times Platinum. The album, released at a time when West Coast Hip-Hop was prominent in the U.S. charts, according to Rolling Stone "almost single-handedly... shifted the focus back to East Coast rap". It gained strong reviews on release and has since received much praise in retrospect. In addition to "Juicy", the record produced two hit singles; the Platinum-selling "Big Poppa", which reached #1 on the U.S. rap chart, and "One More Time" featuring Faith Evans, a loosely related remix of an album track and its best selling single.

By the end of 1995, Biggie was the top-selling male solo artist and rapper on the U.S. pop and R&B charts. In July of that year, he appeared on the cover of The Source with the caption "The King of New York Takes Over". At the Source Awards, he was named Best New Artist (Solo), Lyricist of the Year, Live Performer of the Year, and his debut Album of the Year. At the Billboard Awards he was named Best Artist of the Year.

Wallace started recording his second record album in September of 1995. The album, recorded in New York, Trinidad and Los Angeles, was interrupted during its 18 months of creation by injury, legal wranglings and the highly publicized hip hop dispute in which he was involved.

On March 23, 1996, Wallace was arrested outside a Manhattan nightclub for chasing and threatening to kill two autograph seekers, smashing the windows of their taxicab and then pulling one of the fans out and punching them. He pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and was sentenced to 100 hours community service. In mid-1996, he was arrested at his home in Teaneck, New Jersey, for drug and weapons possession charges.

Tupac Shakur a former friend but at the time an apponent in the music industry due to a media provoked fued, was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, on September 7, 1996. Shakur would die six days later of complications from the gunshot wounds. Rumors of Wallace's involvement with Shakur's murder were reported almost immediately, and later in a two-part article by Chuck Philips in the Los Angeles Times in September 2002. Wallace denied the allegation claiming he was in a New York recording studio at the time. Following his death, an anti-violence hip hop summit was held.

On October 29, 1996, Faith Evans gave birth to Wallace's first son, Christopher "CJ" Wallace, Jr. The following month Junior M.A.F.I.A. member and childhood friens Lil' Kim released her debut album, 'Hard Core', under Wallace's direction while the two were involved in an apparent love affair. She was also pregnant by Wallace but decided to have an abortion.

Wallace traveled to California in February 1997 to promote his upcoming album and record a music video for its lead single, "Hypnotize". On March 5, 1997 Wallace gave a radio interview with The Dog House on KYLD in San Francisco. In the interview he stated that he had hired security since he feared for his safety, but this was because he was a celebrity figure, not specifically a rapper. Life After Death (His 3rd and Final album that was being recorded at the time) was scheduled for release on March 25, 1997. On March 8, 1997, he presented an award to Toni Braxton at the 11th Annual Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles and was booed by some of the audience. After the ceremony, Wallace attended an after party hosted by Vibe Magazine and Qwest Records at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Other guests included Faith Evans, Aaliyah, and Puff.

On March 9, 1997, at around 12:30 a.m., Wallace left with his entourage in two GMC Suburbans to return to his hotel after the Fire Department closed the party early due to overcrowding. Wallace traveled in the front passenger seat alongside his associates, Damion "D-Roc" Butler, Junior M.A.F.I.A member Lil' Cease and driver, Gregory "G-Money" Young. Combs traveled in the other vehicle with three Bodyguards. The two trucks were trailed by a Chevrolet Blazer carrying Bad Boy's director of security.

By 12:45 a.m. the streets were crowded with people leaving the event. Wallace's truck stopped at a red light 50 yards from the museum. A black Chevy Impala pulled up alongside Wallace's truck. The driver of the Impala (an African-American male neatly dressed in a blue suit and bow tie) rolled down his window, drew a 9 mm blue-steel pistol and fired numerous rounds into the GMC Suburban; four bullets hit Wallace in the chest. Wallace was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center by his entourage but was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. Till this day the actual suspect responsible of the crime has not been caught.

Personal Thoughts:

I swear I could go on for days telling you how much I feel that Hip_Hop would be in a different stae if Christopher Wallace were still breathing. I can remember the early years of his carrer with songs like Juicy, Big Poppa and being featured on Flava in Ya Ear. His lyrical content, story-telling, and over all flow were all amazing to me. I was in the last couple of months of fourth grade when he was killed. I remember thinking that the death made no sense but it was because at the time the whole fued was relevant to me, I only cared about the music I would hear. As I got older I listened to BIG even more and his words started to make more sens in my more developed mind. Till this day "Mo Money Mo Problems" is my all-Time favorite song and his verse on it is one of the major reasons why. He repped Brooklyn till the end, therefore repping New York. I just told Buddah last night that im pretty sure that if Biggie was still around many new rappers would still be working at McDonald's. lol Needless to say I'm a huge Biggie Fan and always will be. He will always be missed but wilkl longer be remembered through those who he left behind. R.I.P Big, We miss you, and you know We'll always Love Big Poppa.

Friday, February 20, 2009


"I'm out for Dead President's to represent Me"

Nasir Jones was born on September 14th, 1973. He is better known by his stage name Nas, formerly Nasty Nas. He is a New York rapper, son of jazz musician Olu Dara. He was born and raised in the Queensbridge housing projects in New York City. Although he dropped out of middle school, he attained a high degree of literacy that he would later use in his lyrics. His debut album Illmatic, was released in 1994 on Columbia Records. Illmatic was a critically acclaimed bestseller and would go on to be widely hailed a classic.

From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a widely publicized feud with rapper Jay-Z; both rappers verbally attacked each other in their songs. [But ya don't really wanna continue to hear about this damn "Battle" da Ya'll?]

Among inspiring and influencing many modern day artists his lyricism has also earned him the respect from rap pioneers such as KRS-One, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane.

Nas, whose given name Nasir means "helper and protector" in Arabic, spent the first years of his life in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. His father Olu Dara was a jazz trumpeter and his mother Fannie Ann Jones was a Postal Service worker. He has one sibling, a brother named Jabari Fret who assumes the alias Jungle. While in Brooklyn, Nas would listen to his father's trumpet in his house's stoop at age four. The family soon after moved to the Queensbridge Houses. Olu Dara left the household in 1986, when Nas was 13, and Ann Jones raised her two boys on her own. Nas soon dropped out of school in the eighth grade. He educated himself, reading about African culture and civilization, the 360° Lessons of the The Nation of Gods and Earths, Nubian Islamic Hebrew scrolls, the Bible and the Qur'an. He also studied the origin of hip hop music, taping records that played on his local radio station.

Nas had settled on pursuing a career as a rapper, and as a teenager enlisted his best friend and upstairs neighbor Willy "Ill Will" Graham as his DJ. Nas first went by the nickname Kid Wave before adopting his more commonly known alias of Nasty Nas. Despite the substantial buzz for Nas in the underground scene, the rapper was rejected by major labels and was not signed to a recording deal. Nas and Will continued to work together, but their partnership was cut short when Will was shot and killed by a gunman in Queensbridge on May 23, 1992.
Nas at the age of 18 performed on Main Source's Live at the BBQ, establishing himself as a child prodigy. In mid-1992, Nas was approached by MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who became his manager and secured Nas a record deal with Columbia Records the same year. Nas made his solo debut under the name of "Nasty Nas" on the single "Halftime" from Serch's soundtrack for the film Zebrahead and became part of the Chang Gang productions with Freshy C. The single increased the buzz surrounding Nas and when MC Serch's solo album was released later in the year, Nas’ standout appearance on "Back to the Grill Again" only intensified interest. Hailed as the second coming of Rakim, his rhyming skills attracted a significant amount of attention within the hip-hop community.

^Pumpin the Fist of a BraveHeart^
"First it was Nasty But times have changed"

In 1994, Nas's debut album, Illmatic was finally released. Critically acclaimed and widely regarded as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, Illmatic was the first album awarded Five Mics from The Source magazine. It also featured production from Large Professor, Pete Rock (one half of legendary group with C.L. Smooth), Q-Tip (frontman for A Tribe Called Quest), L.E.S. and DJ Premier (one half of Gang Starr) as well as guest appearances from Nas' friend AZ and his father Olu Dara. Aside from Halftime, three moderately popular singles were released in order to promote Illmatic. However, due to widespread bootlegging and a lack of corporate appeal, the album did not do well in terms of record sales. Despite this, the album gained Platinum Certification seven years later.
Following Illmatic, Nas appeared on AZ's Doe or Die and with his Queensbridge associates Mobb Deep on their album, The Infamous. One notable achievement during this period was Nas' verse on "Verbal Intercourse" on Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. It earned Nas a Source Quotable, and gave him the distinction (at the time) of being the only non-Wu-Tang Clan member to be featured on one of their songs. It also continued his "Nas Escobar" persona, in keeping with the Mafia theme of the album (the alias was introduced on Mobb Deep's "Eye for an Eye" from "The Infamous" album.
By 2006 (12 years after being in the music industry) and after working on and releasing multiple albums such as 'I Am...', 'Stillmatic' and others Nas released the Album "Hip-Hop is Dead" In January of that year, Nas signed a label deal with Def Jam, emphasizing collaboration over competition with former rival Jay-Z. Nas's original title for his next album was Hip Hop Is Dead...The N (shortened to Hip Hop Is Dead), though the UK release features a bonus track at the end called "The N." The album featured production from, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, and NBA All Star Chris Webber (Blunt Ashes - THATS MY SH*T! Go play that joint right now), as well as longtime Nas collaborators L.E.S. and Salaam Remi and newcomer Wyldfyer. A street single named "Where Y'all At" was released in June 2006. It was produced by Salaam Remi, and contained a sample from Nas "Made You Look," but it did not make the final cut for the album.
The title record and first single was produced by, and contains the same melodic sample ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida") as Nas' 2004 single "Thief's Theme." The album debuted on Def Jam and Nas new imprint at that label, The Jones Experience, at number one on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 355,000 copies—Nas's third number one album, along with It Was Written and I Am…. A music video for "Can't Forget About You" premiered on February 5, 2007, the song featuring Chrisette Michele and sampling Nat King Cole's song "Unforgettable". Nat King Cole herself made a cameo at the end of the video. Another video, Hustlers, featuring The Game would follow. Also, Nas has stated in an interview with MTV that a video for "Black Republican" featuring Jay-Z is also underway.
The title of the album generated controversy, as many fans and artists (particularly those of Southern origin) began to debate over the actual state of rap music's vitality. With this album, Nas became an unofficial leader of the "Hip Hop Is Dead" movement. Ghostface Killah, on his album Fishscale seemed to agree with Nas and cited Southern crunk and snap music as the primary reasons for why hip-hop was "dead". (AMEN To that!) Many Southern acts, such as rappers Big Boi from Outkast, Lil Boosie, T.I., Young Jeezy, Dem Franchize Boyz, and D4L took offense to the title, taking it to be directed at their region in particular. However, southern rapper Andre 3000 from Outkast said in a interview that hip-hop is "dying". ( I blame Soulja Boy, But moving On)
Nas worked on a song called "Shine On 'Em" for the film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, which opened in US theaters on December 8, 2006. His song "Thief's Theme" was featured in one of the scenes in the Academy Award-winning movie The Departed directed by Martin Scorsese.
He has Since released another album which originally scheduled to be titled "Nigger". The title stired up much controversy and was then later changed to be called "Untitled." NaS has had and still has an amazing career, one that has outlived and gone on longer for more time than many Rappers that are or have been out.

Personal Thought:
NaS is Like.... lol (Shout outs to my man Rich aka Doom on this one) I've been a NaS fan for as long as I can remember. Let the record show that Jay-Z has always been my favorite rapper, but even throughout the time of their dispute I respected, and listened to NaS' music. I remember when "If I ruled the World (Imagine That)" dropped, there wasn't a word to that song that I didn't know, NaS' Lyrics over a classic beat accompanied by Lauryn Hill's melodic voice were all ingredients to a great track. When "Hip-Hop is Dead" was scheduled to release there wasn't a person alive that agreed with him more than I did. I had been saying since around late 2004 that Hip-Hop was dying and by the end of 2005 I assured myself that it had died in the hands of the south. No disrespect to artists such as Outkast, Ludacris, T.I., Young Jeezy, and just a Very few others because I believe they still make good music. But as for all the other who shall remain nameless... well I think you can see where this is going. I remember a few months ago I saw NaS in person while I was working at Saks Fifth Ave. I wanted so mush to go up to him and wife Kelis to shake his hand and ask him to autograph my iPod, but everyone told me not to because I'd possibly lose my job. I regret it so much now because I ended up losing it anyway. Well NaS if your reading this I want you to know that I'm a big fan, and in an industry where garbage is allowed to pass for music you are one of a handfull of artist's whose album release I would still glady and surely pay my hard earned money for. I wanna thank you for giving the world 15 years of great music. Stay up and Stay Tuned.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Muhammad Ali

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., Muhammad Ali was born on January 17Th, 1947 in Louisville, Kentucky. He is now a retired boxer and former three-time World Heavyweight Champion. As an amateur, Ali won a gold medal at the Olympic in the light heavyweight division gold medal. As a professional, he became the only man to have won the linear heavyweight championship three times.

Muhammad was born to father, Clay Sr., who painted billboards and signs, and his mother, Odessa Grady Clay, who was a household domestic. Although Clay Sr. was a Methodist, he allowed Odessa to bring up both Clay boys as Baptists. His father is of mixed African and English ancestry and his mother is of mixed African and Irish ancestry.
After his Olympic triumph, Clay returned to Louisville to begin his professional career. There, on October 29, 1960, he won his first professional fight, a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker, who was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia.
Standing tall, at 6-ft, 3-in (1.91 m), Clay had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on foot speed and quickness to avoid punches and carried his hands low.
From 1960 to 1963, the young fighter amassed a record of 19-0, with 15 knockouts. He defeated boxers such as Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark (who had won his previous 40 bouts by knockout), Doug Jones and Henry Cooper.
Clay built a reputation by correctly predicting the round in which he would "finish" several opponents, and by boasting before his triumphs. Clay admitted he adopted the latter practice from "Gorgeous" George Wagner, a popular professional wrestling champion in the Los Angeles area who drew thousands of fans. Often referred to as "the man you loved to hate," George could incite the crowd with a few heated remarks, and Ali followed suit.
Among Clay's victims were Sonny Banks (who knocked him down during the bout), Alejandro Lavorante, and the aged Archie Moore (a boxing legend who had fought over 200 previous fights, and who had been Clay's trainer prior to Angelo Dundee). Clay had considered continuing using Moore as a trainer following the bout, but Moore had insisted that the cocky "Louisville Lip" perform training camp chores such as sweeping and dishwashing. He also considered having his idol, Sugar Ray Robinson, as a manager, but instead hired Dundee.
Clay first met Dundee when the latter was in Louisville with light heavyweight champ Willie Pastrano. The teenaged Golden Glove winner traveled downtown to the fighter's hotel, called Dundee from the house phone, and was asked up to their room. He took advantage of the opportunity to query Dundee (who was working with, or had, champions Sugar Ramos and Carmen Basilio) about what his fighters ate, how long they slept, how much roadwork (jogging) they did, and how long they sparred.
^Theres no words That can begin to explain how much I love this Pic^
Muhammad Ali
Clay had a plan for his first title fight. At the pre-fight weigh-in, Clay's pulse rate was around 120, more than double his norm of 54. Liston, along with others, misread this as nervousness, and as such, was typically over-confident and unprepared for any result other than a quick knockout victory in his favor. In the opening rounds, Clay's speed kept him away from Liston's powerful head and body shots, as he used his height advantage to beat Liston to the punch with his own lightning-quick jab.
By the third round, Clay was ahead on points and had opened a cut under Liston's eye. Liston regained some ground in the fourth, as Clay was blinded by a substance in his eyes. It is unconfirmed whether this was something used to close Liston's cuts, or deliberately applied to Liston's gloves for a nefarious purpose; however, Bert Sugar (author, boxing historian and insider) has recalled at least two other Liston fights in which a similar situation occurred, suggesting the possibility that the Liston corner deliberately attempted to cheat.
Whatever the case, Liston came into the fourth round aggressively looking to put away the challenger. As Clay struggled to recover his vision, he sought to escape Liston's offensive. He was able to keep out of range until his sweat and tears rinsed the substance from his eyes, responding with a flurry of combinations near the end of the fifth round. By the sixth, he was looking for a finish and dominated Liston. Then, Liston shocked the boxing world when he failed to answer the bell for the seventh round, later claiming a shoulder injury as the reason. Cassius Clay had indeed "Shook up the world!" just as he had promised.
In the rematch, which was held in May 1965 in relatively-remote Lewiston, Maine, Ali (who had by now publicly converted to Islam and changed his name) won by knockout in the first round as a result of what came to be called the "phantom punch." Many believe that Liston, possibly as a result of threats from Nation of Islam extremists, or in an attempt to "throw" the fight to pay off debts, just wanted to call it a day and waited to be counted out.
After winning the championship from Liston in 1964, Clay revealed that he was a member of the Nation of Islam (often called the Black Muslims at the time) and the Nation gave Clay the name Cassius X, discarding his surname as a symbol of his ancestors' enslavement, as had been done by other Nation members. On Friday, March 6, 1964, Malcolm X took Clay on a guided tour of the United Nations building (for a second time). Malcolm X announced that Clay would be granted his "X." That same night, Elijah Muhammad recorded a statement over the phone to be played over the radio that Clay would be renamed Muhammad (one who is worthy of praise) Ali (fourth rightly guided caliph). Only a few journalists (most notably Howard Cosell) accepted it at that time. Venerable boxing announcer Don Dunphy addressed the champion by his adopted name, as did British reporters. The adoption of this name symbolized his new identity as a member of the Nation of Islam
In one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, Ali regained his title on October 30, 1974 by defeating champion George Foreman in their bout in Kinshasa, Zaire. Hyped as "The Rumble In The Jungle," the fight was promoted by Don King.
Almost no one, not even Ali's long-time supporter Howard Cosell, gave the former champion a chance of winning. Analysts pointed out that Joe Frazier and Ken Norton had given Ali four tough battles in the ring and won two of them, while Foreman had knocked out both of them in the second round. As a matter of fact, so total was the domination that, in their bout, Foreman had knocked down Frazier an incredible six times in only four minutes and 25 seconds.
During the bout, Ali employed an unexpected strategy. Leading up to the fight, he had declared he was going to "dance" and use his speed to keep away from Foreman and outbox him. However, in the first round, Ali headed straight for the champion and began scoring with a right hand lead, clearly surprising Foreman. Ali caught Foreman nine times in the first round with this technique but failed to knock him out. He then decided to take advantage of the young champion's weakness: staying power. Foreman had won 37 of his 40 bouts by knockout, mostly within three rounds. Eight of his previous bouts didn't go past the second round. Ali saw an opportunity to outlast Foreman, and capitalized on it.
By the end of the seventh round, Foreman was exhausted. In the eighth round, Ali dropped Foreman with a combination at center ring and Foreman failed to make the count. Against the odds, Ali had regained the title.
[Theres moer to the story but this is where I leave it to yo to research the rest.]
Personal Thoughts:
This is Buddy's all-time favorite Athlete and with great reason. Muhammad Ali's confidence, trash talk, swag and overall winning demeanor is the reason why I decided to speak of him. Ever since I knew who he was I've been a fan. Ofcourse by the time I learned of him he was retired but I did the research I needed to know that I was a fan of his. I remember the movie made based on his life where he was played by Will Smith, I though the move was both very long but very informative and great. In 2005 when I went to Michigan with my cousins we drove up to Muhammad Ali's House. Ofcourse we didnt make it past the gate but just being there was an awesome feeling. Seeing all the land that surrounded the big house and just knowing that he was probably walking around in there was enough to make it an experience i'd never forget. This one is for the World Champ. Muhammad Ali.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mos Def

Dante Terrell Smith better known to the world as Mos Def was born on December 11th, 1973. He has since become a Grammy-nominated rapper and a Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actor. His stage name 'Mos Def', which, contrary to popular belief, does not mean 'MOSt DEFinetly', but rather that he thinks he is the 'Most Def', meaning 'cool' in old slang. Right on Brother, I too feel I'm Mos Def! lol

Mos Def was born in the Roosevelt Houses of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City. (Aren't they all?) He is the son of Darrell Toler. He has two younger brothers, Abdul Rahman (a.k.a. "Gold Medal Man", who is Mos' full-time DJ) and Anwar Superstar. He also has a younger sister, Ces (Casey) Smith. Mos Def and his brothers are all converts to Islam. Mos Def was first exposed to Islam at age 13 by his father. He became a Muslim at age 19 after getting to know Muslim rappers including Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Q-Tip of the group A Tribe Called Quest. Mos Def grew up during the golden age of hip-hop and has been rapping and acting since he was 9 years old. For high school, Mos Def attended Talent Unlimited performing arts school in Manhattan.

Mos Def started his Hip-Hop career in a group called Urban Thermo Dynamics, after which he appeared on albums by Da Bush Babees and De La Soul. With Talib Kweli, he formed the duo Black Star, who released the well-received album Black Star in 1998. He was a major force in the late 1990s underground hip hop explosion spearheaded by Rawkus Records. As a solo artist he has released the albums Black on Both Sides in 1999, The New Danger in 2004, and True Magic, 2006.
Initially recognized for his musical output, Mos Def's screen work since the early 2000s has established him as one of only a handful of rappers who have garnered critical approval for their acting work. Mos Def has also been active on several social and political issues, and was particularly vocal in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

^So Musical, So New York^
Mos Def is...
'MOSt DEFinetly' coo
Amongs many musical achievments he's also begun his acting career which is going very well if I say so myself.
Mos Def's background in film and theater date back to his days at New York University, studying experimental theater. He began his professional acting career at the age of 14, appearing in the TV movie God Bless the Child, starring Mare Winningham. He then played the oldest child in the short-lived family sitcom, You Take the Kids, starring Nell Carter and Roger E. Mosley. His most notable acting role before his music career was that of Bill Cosby's sidekick on the short-lived detective show, The Cosby Mysteries. He also starred in a 1996 Visa check card commercial featuring Deion Sanders.

After brief appearances in Bamboozled and Monster's Ball, Mos re-invigorated his acting career with his performance as a talented rapper who is reluctant to sign to a major label in Brown Sugar. (You slackin if you haven't seen this one) He was nominated for an Image Award and a Teen Choice Award.
In 2002, he played the role of Booth in Suzan-Lori Parks' Topdog/Underdog, a Tony-nominated and Pulitzer-winning Broadway play. He also received positive notices as the quirky Left Ear in the blockbuster hit, The Italian Job in 2003.
In television, Mos Def has appeared on Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show, (Both these dudes together = Stomach stitches and lack of oxyhen from laughter) and has hosted the award-winning HBO spoken word show, Def Poetry since its inception. The show's sixth season aired in 2007. He also appeared on the sitcom My Wife And Kids as the old school friend of Michael Kyle's (Damon Wayans). This was the episode where he played Mike's Old friend who was a clown. After years of not seeing each other he returned in a wheelchair, as a result of a car accident I believe. (Youtube that).

Mos won Best Actor, Independent Movie at the 2005 Black Reel Awards for his portrayal of the skeptical Detective Sgt. Lucas in The Woodsman. For his portrayal of Vivien Thomas in HBO's film Something the Lord Made. These performances have earned him nominated for an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe, and won the Image Award. He then landed the role of Ford Prefect in the 2005 movie adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
In 2006, Mos Def appeared in Dave Chappelle's Block Party alongside fellow Black Star companion Talib Kweli, while also contributing to the film's soundtrack. Also, Mos Def was featured as the black banjo player in the infamous "Pixie Sketch" from Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes. He was later edited out of it on the DVD. Additionally, Mos Def is in the motion picture 16 Blocks along with co-stars Bruce Willis and David Morse. Mos has a recurring guest role on Boondocks, starring as "Gangstalicious." He is also set to be in Toussaint, a film about Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Ouverture, opposite Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes. He made a cameo appearance playing himself in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. (The thought of that just now made me chuckle lol)
He also co-stars with Jack Black in the Michel Gondry movie Be Kind Rewind, (and despite being a Big Mos Def fan, I cant put my dislike for Jack Black aside for long enough to sit through this movie) playing a video rental store employee whose best friend Jerry (played by Jack Black) accidentally erases the store's tapes. The two protagonists then decide to refilm the deleted movies, becoming local celebrities in the process.
Mos Def portrays Chuck Berry in the 2008 film Cadillac Records for which he was nominated for a Black Reel Award and an Image Award.
Personal Thoughts:
This man is in my opinion what you call a very talented person. A great rapper, and actor who doesn't remind you of either or when your watching him do either. I dont remember exactly when I heard him for the first time but I definetly remember 'Umi's Song' and 'Ms. Fat Booty' Now you tell me those aren't Dope! lol I'm a huge fan of Mos Def and I feel he's one of the people in the lime light who tends to be overlooked by most. So check out more of his work if your not already familiar with it.