THE WEEKND Continues To Astound With New Mixtape "THURSDAY"

Our prayers were answered yesterday, people.

Last night, Toronto-based R&B mystery man The Weeknd unleashed his brand new mixtape Thursday.  You can follow the link below to snag the free download.

Things have changed drastically for The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) since the release of his first tape House Of Balloons earlier this year. For one thing, there was absolutely no pressure. But since then, House of Balloons has been the most positively-reviewed album of the year thus far. Tesfaye now releases his follow-up to an audience hungry for another dose of a dark, haunted and debauched majesty that we now come to expect (i.e. demand) from The Weeknd.

And our hero does not disappoint.

WATCH THE THRONE, And Why Jay-Z and Mitt Romney Have A LOT In Common

Mitt Romney and Jay-Z have a lot in common.

Like Jay-Z, whose widely considered to be the most influential and important figure in Hip Hop today, Mitt Romney is currently the front runner for the Republican Presidential Nomination. In fact, like Jay-Z, he’s been the de facto “front runner” in the race for a while now.

And like Jay-Z, Mitt Romney continues to hold onto this position for no good reason at all. And probably won’t be holding onto it for long.

Not Even Black Toddlers Are Safe From Media Slander

Yes, the CBS station in Chicago chopped up an interview by a 4 year old to make it look like he was a thug in training, when he really wanted to be a police officer. I guess scary black men are an old hat and now we need a new boogie…um…boy.

Check how the boy’s “reaction” to the violence was characterized as “disturbing” and “Very scary indeed”. This was a planned, orchestrated and intentional act of character assassination on a 4 year old boy.

It’s also interesting that this comes on the heels of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to impose a new curfew for Chicago children under the age of 12.  With the school to prison pipeline in full effect, propaganda like this leads to more black youth being criminalized and brutalized by the police.

Sadly, this also takes away from the very real problem of violence in our communities and how to effectively solve it, without demonizing children for ratings.

WBBM communications director Shawnelle Richie issued this statement:

“We accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made, both in the reporting and editing of the story. The video of the child should not have aired. As soon as news management identified the problem, they took immediate steps to ensure that the video would not air in subsequent newscasts. In addition, we have followed up with our employees to make sure that we all have learned from the mistakes that were made.”

Yeah right

Jay-Z and Kanye's Out-Of-Touch, Wealth-Obsessed, Culturally-Irrelevant "Otis"

A couple days ago, Jay-Z and Kanye West unleashed their new single “Otis” upon the internets. Set to a fairly inventive (if awkward) sample from Otis Redding’s classic “Try A Little Tenderness,” Jay and Ye trade bars about money, wealth and….umm, money.

The song is really, really bad.

Now don’t get it twisted. The very idea of a Jay-Z-Kanye West joint album makes me all giddy and warm inside like any other Hip Hop (or Pop) fan. But if this “luxury rap” style is going to define Watch The Throne, Yeezy and Jigga might reemerge from their luxurious, million-dollar mansions in the sky to find themselves irrelevant to a culture founded on its ability to resonate with the common man.

On This Day We Declare Independence From Glenn Beck

Yep, Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News has officially been terminated, thanks to his own insane rantings and a big push by activists that hounded his advertisers to abandon him, most notably Color of Change.  Justifiably, he went out with a whimper, although not the customary Glenn Beck tear filled whimper. Yeah, he has some cable channel and I’m sure he’ll say something stupid enough to get media coverage, but he clearly jumped the shark with that lame rally. After that, people just got tired of his wild theories and chalkboard shenanigans. Think about it, he was “too radical” for Fox News, that pretty much says all you need to know.

Ironically enough Beck’s biggest conquest, Van Jones has reemerged, invigorated enough to challenge Beck to a debate (Beck declined). Van Jones kicked off the Rebuild the Dream movement last Thursday in NYC with the Roots. Always inspirational, Van went right at Beck’s media smears about his past and the lies generated by Fox News about the economy. I was there and it was indeed moving, I just wish it would have came 2 years sooner (and that the Roots played a little bit longer).

The Enduring Power of Tupac Shakur

Yesterday was Tupac Shakur’s 40th birthday. And though it has been 15 years since his untimely death, the continued fascination and adoration he conjures amongst black youth (and the world, at large) is a testament to an iconic, albeit brief career that truly transcended mere beats and rhymes. Subversive, contradictory and brutally honest, Tupac’s music told the story of the young black male coming of age in the 1990’s. It is a dichotomous story; one where an appreciation for unity and consciousness within the Black community collides with capitalistic ambition and the attainment of an American dream, by any means necessary. His work spoke truth to a racist, capitalistic power structure, while at the same time attempting to usurp and dominate that structure with its own values and tools.

And that’s what made Tupac’s music so powerful and dangerous.

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way": The Review

Lady Gaga’s second full-length album Born This Way opens with “Marry The Night,” one of the most epic pop songs you will ever hear. Clearly aimed to kickstart the album with the kind of massive statement MJ nailed with Thiller‘s ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” “Marry The Night” opens with somber church organ and decidedly pensive vocals before erupting into a blast of synths, and never lets up. It sounds like classic Whitney Houston produced by Max Martin, and it is arguably the best song Lady Gaga has ever released. It’s that good.

Born This Way should crumble under the weight of such a masterful opening salvo (not to mention unbelievable hype), but it doesn’t. Not by a long shot.

"Slave" Marketing

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Last Sunday I was blessed to be in sunny Los Angeles. After performing Saturday at the Our Communities Our Jobs rally, I decided to stay a few extra days to network and shoot some videos. My good friend Tahir Jahi was showing me the city and we decided to stop in North Hollywood to get some Thai food. As we walked to the restaurant I saw the above image in the window and I could’ve sworn it was a picture of a slave. I immediately stopped and made a quick left turn into the store to see what the hell was going on. Come to find out it wasn’t a slave… it was a cut out of UFC wrestler Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

I thought I saw a slave because I saw a black man with a chain around his neck. Not platinum or gold, an actual chain, that you lock something up with. Also, said black man was naked except for a pair of shorts, I mean he didn’t even have shoes on. To be honest, I was surprised that the shorts weren’t ripped up Kunta Kinte style. Now before you get all offended and say I try to make everything about race let me share a few facts about “Rampage” Jackson that I didn’t know at the time: A) He apparently always wears a chain around his neck, not jewelry an actual chain and B) Since he competes in the UFC wearing only a pair of shorts with no shoes, this is technically his uniform. But remember this shirtless/shoeless chain wearing black man is selling cell phones, which caused me to think about why certain images of black men are acceptable in this society.

It seems like advertisers these days love a shirtless black man just ask Old Spice. I mean those commercials are on damn near every time I turn on the television, and they didn’t have just one shirtless black man they had two. I can’t help but think that on a subconscious level this plays to the image of the black man as Mandingo, strong and sexual but not intelligent, thus no threat to the powers that be.

Of course this all goes back to the need to control our own images and thus avoid being stereotyped all together, but until then can y’all brothers at least put a shirt on?