Dollars Make Sense.

A Couple Pennies, 8/6 – 8/12

Posted in reads. by Jason Mekkam on September 12, 2015
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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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A Couple Pennies, 8/23 – 8/29

Posted in reads. by Jason Mekkam on August 29, 2015

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“Fiction is an improvement on life.” – Charles Bukowski

Writings On Raps

Dr. Dre’s Apology Is Acknowledged, With Some Misgivings by Joe Carcoselli

Once You Start Banning Rappers Like Tyler, The Creator Where Do You Stop? by Joe Muggs

When J Dilla Said “Fuck The Police” by Mike “DJ” Pizzo

Wu-Tang Clan Still Hasn’t Sold That $5 Million Album by Jonathan Sturgeon

The World’s Leading LinkedIn Expert Advises Gucci Mane On His New Profile by Rembert Browne

Suge Knight’s Crazy Confessional and the Eazy-E Conspiracy That Won’t Die by Merlo Stern

Five Women In Hip-Hop That Deserve Their Own Biopics by Michelle Ofiwe

No Country For Old (Rap) Men: Albums That Fell Tragically Short Of Their Potential by Robbie Ettleson

Profiles N’ Interviews

N.W.A: American Gangstas by Brian Haitt

Uncle Luke Went To The Supreme Court For Hip-Hop, And He Wants More Credit by Rawiya Kameir

A Great Album Or A Horrible Mistake’: Run The Jewels Discuss ‘Run The Jewels 3’ And Cat Remix Insanity by Rachel Toole

Reviews

Beauty Behind The Madness – The Weeknd by Sheldon Pearce

Beauty Behind The Madness – The Weeknd by Lizzie Plaugic

Beauty Behind The Madness – The Weeknd by Linday Dozoladz

Politics As Usual

#BlackLivesMatter Misfire by Ben Carson

General Fuckery

‘Is Your Boyfriend In The Band?’Critic Airs Tales Of Music Industry Sexism by Amanda Holpuch

Average Size … For A Black Man: Myths About Size, Racism, and Patriarchy by Bill Johnson II

Fleece Johnson, The Lockup Booty Warrior, Is Up For Parole In September by Greg Whitt

In 2015, It’s This Easy To Start Your Own Lucrative Student Drug Ring by Max Daly

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A Couple Pennies, 8/16 – 8/22

Posted in reads. by Jason Mekkam on August 23, 2015

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“I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I’ve tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one was satisfied.”  – Ralph Ellison

Writings On Rappings

Here’s What’s Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me And The Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up by Dee Barnes

Dr. Dre Apologizes to the ‘Women I’ve Hurt’ by Joe Carselli

How Widespread Is Ghostwriting In Music And How OK With It Should You Be by Peter Robinson

A Rough Guide To Fictional Rappers In TV And Film by Jonny Coleman

Why LL Cool J’s Famous Album Almost Never Happened by Kathrine LaGrave

The Sociopath’s Answer To Macklemore: Introducing The Haughty Ignorance—And Heinous Michelle Obama Rhymes—Of Chart-Topping White Guy Lil Dicky by Matthew Pulver

How East Coast And West Coat Hip-Hop Are Both Winning by Steven Zietchik

Why 2015 Is The Year Of Hip-Hop by Patrick Ryan

Profiles

These Are The Faces The Of The East Side Detroit Rap by Liz Raiss & Matt Sukkar

Mac Miller Finds The Way by Rembert Browne

Reviews

Trap-A-Velli Tre – 2 Chainz by Sheldon Pierce

Politics As Usual

G.O.P. Candidates Follow Trump To The Bottom On Immigration by The New York Time’s Editorial Board

Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny by Matt Taibbi

A Couple Pennies, 8/9 – 8/15

Posted in reads. by Jason Mekkam on August 15, 2015

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“I was learning that just being a Negro doesn’t qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine.” – Dick Gregory 

Ferguson

Police Shootings Are About Class as Well As Race by Rev. Jesse Jackson

On Ferguson And The Enduring Resilience Of Black People by Kara Brown

Ferguson And America: One Year Later by The FADER

Police Abuse Is A Form Of Terror by Charles M. Blow

‘What The Hell Is Going On In Ferguson?!’ How #MikeMike Changed Our World by Kirsten West Savali

RIP Sean Price (3/17/72 – 8/8/15)

Sean Price, Rapper With Deep Brooklyn Roots, Dies at 43 by Jon Caramanica

Thank You, Sean Price by Daniel Isenberg

Remembering Sean Price, The Grimiest Rapper Ever To Do It by Drew Millard

Sean Price, Rest In Power by Sheldon Pearce

Brooklyn: What Did Sean Price Mean To You? by Bucky Turco

Norwegians With Allergies

On N.W.A. And A Crazy Motherf*cker Named Gotty by Gotty

Kendrick Lamar Interviews N.W.A About Coming ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and Changing the World by David Ritz

Jerry Heller Expresses Himself by Amos Barshad

The N.W.A. Member Turned Pornographer by Jen Yamato

Straight Outta Excuses: It’s Time We Confront Dr. Dre’s History of Beating Up Women by Crystal Irby

‘Straight Outta Compton’ Is The Lamest Kind Of Gloss-Over Musical Biopic by Jim DeRogatis

Writes Abouts Raps

Rapper Drops Clinton For Sanders by Dena Zaru

The Immortal Soul: The Revival Of Soul Music And It’s History In Hip-Hop Production by Matthew Sedacca

What Does The White Rapper Owe #BlackLivesMatter? by B. Dolan

Let’s Be Serious: Meek Mill and Drake Did Not Have a Real Rap Battle by Rob Kenner

Getting Rowdy: Keith Ape and Real Rap in Korea by Jon Caramanica

Features

The Influencer: A Decade Of Soulja Boy by Meaghan Garvey

How 2 Live Crew’s Leader Went from Sex-Rap Mogul to Sociopolitical Pundit by Andy Beta

Reviews

Compton – Dr. Dre by Ivan Rott

Compton – Dr. Dre by Jay Balfour

Compton – Dr. Dre by Jeff Weiss

Compton – Dr. Dre by Samantha O’Connor

Free (Based Freestyles Mixtape) – Lil B & Chance The Rapper by Winston Cook-Wilson

Bang 3 – Chief Keef by Winston Cook-Wilson

Bang 3 – Chief Keef by Chris Gibbons

Politics As Usual

Inside The GOP Clown Car by Matt Taibbi

‘Black Lives Matter’ And The G.O.P. by Charles M. Blow

General Fuckery

Tinder And The Dawn Of The Dating Apocalypse by Nancy Jo Sales

BET Isn’t Really Bringing Back Uncut And Mighty Casey Might Have To Sue by Byron Crawford

‘8 CDs For A Penny’ Company Files For Bankruptcy by Laura Wagner

Watch Ice Cube Fact-Check the “Straight Outta Compton” Rap Genius Page by Mike Hogan

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Black History Most Def Reads.

Posted in reads. by Jason Mekkam on February 1, 2014

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Photo Credit: Leon Levinstein

Today marks the first day of Black History Month – also known as the one month back in high school that I really knew I was black..

And so did my teachers..

And so did my classmates..

‘What’s the name of the black man who invented peanuts again…?’ Ooohh Ooohh the colored boy.. in the corner.. with the hat.. look on his paper.. I’m sure he knows..’

For giggles and subsequent shits I thought I’d go ahead and offer some suggested reading for those who desire to increase their knowledge of Black History beyond being able to readily distinguish between pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz is the one with the glasses.. obvi).

Below are a couple of my favorite books (that I’ve actually read I might add) in no particular order pertaining to matters of Blackness.. whatever that means.

And please please please don’t get it twisted.. Black History = American History.

Fact.

For the record, when push comes to shove I’m very very much on Team Morgan Freeman regarding the necessity of Black History Month’s very existence. But racism still exists because I see it. Everyday. And the only way to defeat stupid is with smarts.

So read up boys and girls.

Let the recommendations begin..

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told To Alex Haley by Malcolm X & Alex Haley

What I found most remarkable about Malcolm X’s story was environment of hate that surrounded him and his reaction to it. Like I remember the first time I read his biography, there was this part whereby a young Malcolm was scoffed at by his teacher when he told him he wanted to be a lawyer.

Law School wasn’t “a realistic goal for a nigger” the teacher said.

Mothafucka say whaaa?

Like the white teacher man said that yo.. like to lil homie’s face. Like I can’t even imagine the psychological devastation. Yet at the same time he encouraged Malcolm’s classmates (whom the little Little had far higher marks then I might add) to pursue careers in medicine, politics and basically any and every career status/upward mobility provides.

The insanity of it all.

Rather than fuel Black Genius the clear aim back in that day was to extinguish it. But that’s the thing about genius. You can’t get rid of it. It always finds a way to make itself apparent. So it could be argued that denied the opportunity to excel in other fields, he naturally gravitated to the only arenas his blackness would permit. First through becoming a criminal and then by becoming the face of The Nation of Islam.

Now I’m not supporting his actions, or the rhetoric or even some of his more radical views that he espoused back at the pinnacle of his notoriety. I’ve grown and I think that tolerance and love always win. In fact, after his pilgrimage to Mecca, I think even he a started to feel this way too. This book is important because at it’s heart it is a story about a man, his transformation and him trying to make sense of it all.

And yo isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?

Nigger by Dick Gregory

My favorite book ever. Also the funniest I’ve ever read. Similar to Malcolm X’s biography it tells the tale of Dick Gregory who too grew from Jim Crow poverty into being an internationally renowned figure. But Gregory’s reaction to hate was much different. Rather than combat hate with hate, he fought hate with wit and humor. His observations on life and his ability to adapt made him the comic that he was but his desire to constantly want better carried him through all the adversity that was thrown at him.

A People’s History of The United States by Howard Zinn/Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen

Two alternate history books offer super much more eye-opening (and accurate) portrayals of black life in America. Both are beyond incredible. Loewen’s book takes a far more sociological approach to tackling the matter and explaining why history is taught the way it in while Zinn’s is much less abrasive. Still both woke me up/shook the shit out of me. As they will you..

Slavery By Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon

Neo-Slavery.

Please please please look it up.

This book tripped me out like you won’t believe. I think it just highlighted the complete and utter failure of Reconstruction not to mention America’s nasty addiction on cheap labor.

Yo like straight up it almost reminds me of many of American’s current economic situations.. Being accused of something.. Being held against something.. being forced to pay back for something you’re not even sure that you did.

*Hint Hint/Wink Wink*

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

In ten years this book will be required reading for every kid in America if it isn’t already. Like I’m not going to lie I teared up a little when I read this. The American Dream at its essence.

Author’s Note: Again I can’t reiterate enough that these recommendations aren’t even the end all be all to knowledge. I am not an expert nor do I claim to be. Rather my aim is to steer those who seek greater knowledge in the right direction. So what little I know I share.

You know..

Just a little something something to get the tip wet before sticking it in.

Cheers.