Dollars Make Sense.

A Couple Pennies, 8/6 – 8/12

Posted in reads. by Jason Mekkam on September 12, 2015

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“I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.” – Dick Gregory

Writes On Raps

When Black Artists Declare Their Autonomy by Dan Bastenmehr

The Day Kanye West Killed Gangsta Rap by Noah Callahan-Bever

First-Hand Accounts Of The Night Eazy-E And Ice Cube Ended Their Feud By Paul Meara

Mikkey Halsted: Kanye Almost Signed To Cash Money, Birdman Threatened To Kill Me by Lucas Garrison

I’m Not Writing About Slim Jesus’ “Drill Time” Video by Gotty

Melle Mel And Kool Moe Dee On Macklemore And Today’s Hip-Hop by Dan Rys

Everybody Is Going Downtown, To The Capitalist Gangbang by Byron Crawford

With Dance You Can Save The Community: The Enduring Inner City Utopia Of Breakin’ by Stephen M. Deusner

How Rap Got Weird by Ben Beaumont-Thomas

Rap’s Most Incomprehensibly Stupid Lyrics by Travis Tack

Profiles N’ Interviews

Geto Boy: An Interview With Bushwick Bill by Shawna Kenney

Too Funky For Gangsta Rap Meet The Producer Who Left N.W.A Weeks Before ‘Straight Outta Compton’ by Jeremiah Alexis

Reviews

Black Dollar – Rick Ross by Jayson Greene

Politics As Usual

Trump Seriously: On The Trail With The GOP’s Tough Guy by Paul Solotaroff

Bernie Sanders Stunned By His Rapid Rise In The Polls by Nick Gass

General Fuckery

I Fuck Fat People by Eloise LeBel

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A Couple Pennies, 8/30 – 8/5

Posted in reads. by Jason Mekkam on September 6, 2015

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“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin

Everything (It Was Kind Of A Slow Week)

On Kanye West And Black Humility by Martin Douglas

On Big Daddy Kanye, Macklemore, And Rap’s Failure To Pay Homage To Old School Greats by Marky Mark

Atoning For Hip-Hop History’s Misogyny: From Dr. Dre To Kanye West by Stero Williams

Was Banning Tyler, The Creator The Victory International Feminism Needed? by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

An Interview With the Legend Behind the “Why You Always Lyin'” Video by Lauren Nostro

The Difference Between Donald Trump And Bernie Sanders by Kareen Abdul-Jabbar

The Republicans Are Officially The Party Of White Paranoia by Matt Taibbi

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Yo They Love Giving Black Mens They Due Way Late Tho.

Posted in truth. by Jason Mekkam on September 3, 2015

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When news broke that MTV was to award Kanye West with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the Video Music Awards this year something didn’t feel quite right. It wasn’t until Sunday night’s ceremony when Big Sean won a Moonman for his “One Man Can Change The Wold” that I was able to put a finger on it. With Kanye and John Legend standing behind him, Mr. Supa Dupa gave thanks and noted that it was his and John Legend’s first win at the award show but it was probably like Kanye’s 30th.

But wait.. was it tho?

Kanye West has been an institution propelling creative, cultural innovation for the past decade. While pushing boundaries musically, his lifelong pledge to artistic perfection demands his visuals rival the dopiness of his sonic output. His music videos serve testament. From “Jesus Walks” to “Stonger” to “Runaway” it feels as if Big Sean is right, right? 30 is hyperbole sure, but still at least double digits, yah?

Nah.

After quickly scanning Wikipedia days of carefully mulling over footage, fact-checking records, and cross-examining data I’ve discovered that while Kanye has reinvade 35 VMA nomination, he’s only won four times inducing his win with Sean and his Vanguard. So before last Sunday before being presented with the honor, if my trigonometry is correct, Yeezy had only won 2 of 33 awards he was up for since 2004 or 6%. In this respect Vanguard honor is like being given an honorary Phd after flunking Biology 101 for eleven years straight.

Don’t get it twisted. Kanye very much deserves the Vanguard. Institution, propelling creative, cultural, innovation, remember? What I’m saying is that something mighty suspect is afoot. How are to going to systemically curb the man’s shine for years and then turn around on a dime and be like “you know what homie, you aight” without inadvernlinglt admitting yawl fucked up all those years in the first place?

This incident actually marked my second time within a week of being taken aback by a black artist being given his props way after the fact when it was announced Spike Lee will receive and honarary Oscar for lifetime achievement over two decades after his masterpiece “Do The Right Thing” received negative love from the Academy.

While stories have popped up recently about the VMAs non-support of black artists in particular, I can’t help but to cringe at what I’ve noticed to be lowkey insidious, visceral reactions to displays of unapologetic blackness in the media. As a fan in general and as a young black man in specific, it’s seeing hard such beautiful displays of art I engage with and am impacted by deeply not receive the recognition they deserves because their authors’s views touch nerves. Is that not wha the best art is supposed to do? These achievement awards only serve as vindication of the feelings I’ve been harboring for a minute. While I’m glad that Lee and West are finally getting their much deserved shine I believe it says a lot about our cultural that we still have to wait so long to do so.

The honorarys are great but the actuals would be better.