This New Edition Biopic Needs to be Funded. Immediately.

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Over the years, we’ve been blessed with many biopics based on the lives of our favourite entertainers. From “What’s Love Got to Do With It”:

what's love

to “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&b”:

Aaliyah-movie

And who could forget “The Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story *shudders*.

Flex MJ

However, when trawling through the internet late one night, I stumbled across something that could potentially trump them all.

ARE. YOU. KIDDING ME???

Clapping Gif

This is the story that I’ve wanted to see for years!!

A film that captures the highs, high-tops, lows, colourful outfits and terrible, terrible hair styles of the mid-80’s to the early 90’s. Damnit, this trailer has it all. For the uninitiated, New Edition were the original New Kids on The Block and spawned the career of Bobby Brown, Bell Biv Devoe and Ralph Tresvant.

It seems like the people involved in this trailer have actually captured the essence of what makes a good biopic – getting actors that actually resemble who they’re meant to be. Remember the guy that played R Kelly in the Aaliyah biopic *shudders*. He looked absolutely NOTHING like him.  Now let’s be clear; I’m not talking Jamie Foxx in Ray (the likeness there was uncanny) but at least let’s have a passing resemblance.

The actors playing Ralph, Bobby and Ronnie are a good match without being parodies. Shout-out to the wig people for capturing Ralph’s ducktail haircut from the “Cool It Now” video. If I was born during this era, I would definitely have attempted that hairstyle. And failed.

The outfits, dance moves and sets actually look professional despite it only being a trailer and the scenes of Bobby Brown gyrating slightly too hard in concert to the annoyance of his other bandmates are pretty funny too.

Yes, some of the acting looks a bit cheesy but it was the eighties, damnit. Why don’t YOU try saying some of those lines with Jheri Curl juice drip-drip-dripping from your forehead.

When the trailer came to an end and the stark realisation hit me that this wasn’t going to be an actual movie, it had me feeling like:

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BUT there’s hope because (seemingly with all things these days) if you contribute enough to crowdfunding, this movie could actually get made. So, to all my 80’s fans and lovers of good biopics, let’s all band together and get this thing made. The attention to detail in the trailer alone is second to none. And to be frank, this could be the best biopic that’s not the NWA film to be released this decade.

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New Video: JME ft Giggs – Man Don’t Care

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The 2015 grime resurgence continues with Boy Better Know founder JME’s latest video. Man Don’t Care is one of the highlights from his latest album, Integrity, and features the Hollow Man himself, Giggs as spitting rapid-fire (yes, you read that right) lyrics over a menacing electric guitar loop. Grime fans will welcome this pairing and there are quotables galore from both MC’s with JME asking rhetorically “How can a guy with a uni degree be bussin’ up mics and chatting this grease?” and Giggs reaffirming his place in the game:

“Batman – dada dada duh-duh

Hardest – just let me confirm it

Loafers – it’s got to be Hermes

Burners – go back and hit Bernard”

The visual serves to compliment the tune further and showcases both rappers’ personalities. And I’m pretty sure JME is rocking his custom Iron Man suit again. I guess Man really Don’t Care. See what I did there?

The 5 Best (or worst) Examples of Censored Songs

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A few months ago, me, my brother and my uncle went on a road trip to Florida and as with any road trip, we spent a lot of time in the car. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. One thing that struck me was although hip hop and R&B were all over the radio stations, the majority of the songs playing weren’t really radio friendly. A casual listener isn’t likely to know what’s being said because everything is blanked out which almost rendered the songs pointless.

It got me thinking of how back in the day, there would always be the censored version and the uncensored version. In most cases, a lot of effort would have gone into making the censored versions as radio friendly as possible and you could almost play it in front of your nan without any fear of her ears being damaged by the relentless usage of the n-word, the b-word or the f-word. I just don’ think people care about this nowadays. So now I have dedicated this post some of the best and worst examples of censored ‘radio friendly’ songs. Some were great, some were plain awful, all deserve awards…

The “I Prefer the Censored Version” Award: Aaliyah ft DMX – Back in One Piece

Dark Man X usually punctuates his songs with barks, growls and “WHAT’S” but on this version of Back In One Piece from the Romeo Must Die soundtrack, he excels himself. When I heard the censored version, I thought it was cool. But add in the barks and it takes it to another level:

“A dog needs a grrrrrr…
WHAT, WHAT
A dog needs a grrrrrr…”

The “Most Pointless Censorship” of a rap song: A$AP Rocky ft Drake, Kendrick Lamar and 2Chainz – F%&*in Problems

“I love bad, bad that’s my, that’s my problem. And yeah I like to (“true!”) that’s my, that’s my problem”

What does this even mean? Word of advice: If the song has a curse word in the title then either record a new version or save it for the album. This makes no sense.

The “Most Seamless Censorship of Lyrics” Award: Eminem – “Guilty Conscience”



So when this song first came out, and at the tender age of 14 or so I learnt all the lyrics, I mistakenly thought that Eminem was a clean rapper. “My Name Is” was a song that could be played on the radio when my Nan was in the car and she wouldn’t realise it’s an explicit song. I mean, there were a few blanks here and there but nothing too crazy. It was a different story, when I heard the album version. The lyrics were pretty depraved and graphic. The radio friendly chorus was no more. In fact it was almost a completely different song. Genius censorship with new lyrics was among the many things that Eminem did best in those early days.

The “Most Awkward Adlib” – Bone Thugs N Harmony ft Eazy-E – Foe Tha Love of Money

 
Skip forward to 1:45 for the best example of awkward censorship – Eazy-E’s replacement of Mother*cough*ers to ‘Stupid Suckerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs’.
The “This is Just Lazy Award” – Tyga – Rack City
 
An example of lazy censorship. They censor bits of the verse while dubbing other parts. Favourite part?
“Got my other chick, huggin’ on my other chick
Huggin’ all night, n*gga we ain’t celibate”
But Tyga, if you’re just hugging all night, it sounds like celibacy to me. Make sense, man. Plus, I’m sure there’s an alternative to the n-word. But whatevs.
Can you think of any other great and not so great censored versions of songs??

Throwback Thursday*: The Deathrow Era

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*This is my first Throwback Thursday post. I may not decide to do it again….you know on the basis that I already do Funk Fridays and all…but whatever – it’s my blog so I’ll do as I wish.

One of my favourite eras in music was the early to mid-90’s and in particular, the G-Funk era. I was too young to remember it and definitely too young to listen to the songs but from doing my rap homework over the years, it just seemed like an exciting time in hip-hop.

The label leading the charge was Deathrow Records, founded by superproducer Dr Dre and the imposing Suge Knight. Now although Suge wore a lot of red and had a beard, let’s put matters to rest. This guy was the antithesis of Santa Claus. Suge was responsible for a lot of the money being plowed into the label and of course this money was acquired by legitimate means…*cough*. Anyhow, despite the somewhat questionable nature of the foundation of the business, it was responsible for some of the best hip hop music of all time and at one time – the best roster of artists: Snoop Doggy Dogg, 2Pac, Tha Dogg Pound, Dr Dre, Nate Dogg? Oh come on. Those guys weren’t playing fair.

Source: savagecinema.com

From the period 1992 to 1996, the focus of hip hop shifted from the East Coast with its baggy jeans, timberlands and jazz/soul samples to the West Coast with it’s khakis, braids, Funkadelic samples and that Cali sticky icky icky. Oohwee. Number one song after number one song.

Arguably, the drama outside the music brought an air of ‘realness’ to the label and only enforced the label’s popularity. From 2Pac’s numerous brushes with the law to Snoop Dogg’s murder charge, as well as rumours of Suge Knight dangling Vanilla Ice from a top floor window (sounds hilarious every time I think of it). However, it was this aspect that ultimately brought its down. Dr Dre reportedly grew tired of the hectic lifestyle leaving the label in early 1996 and then 2Pac’s death in September 1996 meant the label was doomed. When Snoop Doggy Dogg left in 1997 to embark on an ill-advised interesting career with No Limit records, the jig was up.

While many choose to look at the negatives surrounding the record label (and there were definitely a lot of those) it’s important to remember that it was a black owned label that was competing with the major players in the game back then. And of course who can forget the classic albums released during that period?? The Chronic, Doggystyle, Dogg Food, All Eyez On Me. It was definitely a whirlwind period in rap music and one that I wish I could have fully enjoyed at the time. To mark this Throwback Thursday, here are some of my favourite videos:

But Where Are All The Male Bloggers Though?

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Day 6 of the #31write now blogging challenge and it’s getting harder and harder to find meaningful topics to write about. In the search for some blogging inspiration I clicked on the #31writenow hashtag and found so many great blogs to explore. However, one thing that stood out like a sore thumb – where are all the male bloggers?? I mean, yeah, there were a few knocking about here and there but on the whole, the majority of people on this #31writenow challenge are female.

When you do see male bloggers (myself included) it seems that they prefer to specialise in one area rather than write about a whole range of topics. As Wendi B put it “why are all the male blogs about music or technology?”. Maybe us guys are too linear. Or maybe we don’t have that many passions that we feel brave enough to write about. I know that as much as I love football, I don’t feel qualified enough to write about it. Likewise with technology. Music is something that is a huge part of my life. I listen to it on the train and in my lunch break. When I want to relax, I listen to music. Music is something that I can write about in my sleep.

Still, I’m sure there is a market for male bloggers who just write about life. There are magazines such as GQ and Men’s Health that cater to all aspects of the male experience. The rise of the metrosexual shows that men do care about things other than girls with large chesticles and sport. I mean, come on – what about the age old problem of….dare I say it…. razor bumps! I’ve shaved down, used creams and yet they come back more times than Mase’s rap career. I would like to read more blogs about male fashion, places to go out and tablets to buy but in order to get this information, I usually have to go to separate sources.

I think there is definitely a market out there for it an all encompassing male blog and the success of print publications is confirmation of this. In my first post of this challenge, I touched on how difficult it would be for me to write about music for 31 days straight and so I think inevitably, this challenge will force me to write about subjects that I would usually avoid and venture outside my comfort zone.

Having said that, there are a few male blogs that do cover a range of subjects, so here are my favourite ones:

Brothers With No Game: Now enjoying success as an online web series and as a result, the content on the blog has been lacking, of late. However, in its hey day this blog was essential reading for the young UK male trying to make sense of life, love and relationships with a healthy dose of humour thrown in for good measure.

Very Smart Brothas: This US based blog touches on so many different issues and is probably the blogging style that I eventually hope to emulate. Topics such as music, race, relationships and pop culture are regularly discussed and definitely make you think.

Honourable Mentions:

Complex.comFor me, this is the Mack Daddy (or should that be Daddy Mack?) of all men’s online publication. Fair enough it’s not a blog per se but it’s pretty awesome. The content is another level and covers pretty much every topic I’ve listed in the main article. Plus, it’s a hip-hop slanting blog, so if you want the latest on the culture, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be here.

Welcome to Swaggerville: Probably one of the funniest, tongue in cheek blogs out there. I just wish it was kept up to date…*nudge nudge*

Do you have any blogs that you could recommend?

Jump Off TV Debate: Has The Bubble Burst For The UK Urban Music Scene?

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Interesting debate on the basis of Tinie Tempah’s new single, Trampoline.

My two pence: I think the “Urban” scene in the UK has always been a mythical one based on hype and what’s hot at the moment. If we think back over the last 10 years at how many fads we’ve had that have died out as quickly as they’ve come in, it’s laughable. In fact let’s see:

  • 1999 – 2002 – UK garage
  • 2008 – 2009 – Funky House
  • 2009 – Bassline (for all of about 3 months)
  • 2010 – dubstep
  • 2011 – 2012 – UK “urban” music (which consists of watered down hip hop).
Now we are currently in the era of EDM, people are worrying that urban music is dead. In my humble opinion, there will always be good music regardless of whether the record executives think it’s lucrative enough to invest in. I think the essence of the scene is better off without major label investment because it forces artists to be innovative and perfect their craft. I can’t be the only one that thinks a lot of these signed rappers were better when they were unsigned. 2008 Chipmunk and 2007 Tinie were streets ahead of their current incarnations, but I digress…
The UK urban music scene was there before it became popular and (hopefully) will be there once the hype dies down and the industry moves on to the next fad.

5 Signs You Know You’re A Gym Freak

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Summertime is well and truly here in the UK and us Brits have been looking forward to those 3 weeks of sun since….well last year. As is usually customary, us guys all go extra hard in the gym in the lead up to the season so that we can all show off and look moderately better in a t-shirt than we did in the other 11 months of the year.

Still, there are some people who take the gym a little too seriously (caution, I hold my hands up and say I’m guilty of one or two of these…)

You Look Down on Other Peoples’ Training Techniques: In no way can I claim to have the best gym technique. These puny arms will lay testament to that. But sometimes, when you’re sweating it out on the treadmill and see people casually cycling with their magazines, you do wonder if they actually have a reason to be at the gym. Likewise, those meatheads with the stick thin legs. Well played guys. Well played.

Your Diet Changes Dramatically: There comes a time where McDonald’s doesn’t always seem like the best option and you’d much rather some fish and some vegetables. And Jesus wept.
Source: mensfitness.com
You Greet Other Gym Heads With the Standard “Grunt”: When I first started going to the gym, I was the newbie. Skinnier than skinny, I got no respect from the regular gym knuckleheads. Nowadays, I’ve improved to just skinny, I’m finally starting to get some darn respect when I’m lifting my moderate sized. The standard gym ‘grunt’ is something reserved for only the most respected gym participants. Since I’ve started receiving that nod, I guess I can join those ranks now.
You Scream On Your Last Set: You know those guys – necks like tree trunks, veins popping out… “98, 99 *ROOOOAAAAAAARS* 100!!!”. They have to let everyone know that they’ve just busted their asses at the gym. I wouldn’t be surprised if a little poop comes out afterwards too.
You Turn Up To Events. Topless: Wireless Festival took place a few weeks ago and we were fortunate to be blessed with an unseasonal heatwave in July. I’m still in shock at the weather. I ventured outside of my comfort zone by rocking a vest. Other guys turned up in tees and stripped down. Other guys turned up… topless. Those are the guys that you know have been working out in the gym all year just waiting for that one day when it is socially acceptable to wear nothing. Part of me prayed for rain so they would look stupid. But then maybe that was gym envy.

31 day blogger challenge #31writenow

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OK, so let me explain.

Source: reviewtrailers.com

It has been months since I last blogged on here. It’s a little disappointing really seeing as I was building up the momentum and blessing *cough* you guys with so much great content.

Basically, the thing is – I went on holiday for a few weeks and while I came back, my writing didn’t. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months and then before I knew it, it’s been about 3 months since anything’s been written! Sometimes you get into a pattern where it’s easier not to write than it is to write. There’s been times when I’ve sat down to write and nothing has happened or where I’ve started to write and just given up – the amount of unfinished drafts sat in my inbox is frankly disgusting.

source: escapecollectivepublishing.wordpress.com
Then came a blessing in disguise. Scrolling through twitter yesterday evening, I saw a post from Luvvie talking about the 31 day blogger challenge. I looked, thought about it briefly, smiled, then moved on with my life. Then at about 1am, my good friend Wendi B sent me the link to the 31 day blogger challenge pretty much confirming that I should do it….so here goes.
Blogging for 31 days consecutively is definitely going to be a challenge for me seeing as I’m not the most prolific blogger in the world. I tend to go through short bursts of inspiration before weeks of nothingness, so this should test me. This blog has mostly centered on hip-hop news, reviews and culture and I think it will be tough to make that stretch for 31 days straight so…*shock horror* I may have to blog about other things that interest me, like Cameo, Michael Jackson and the sun. This blog could go to some really strange places. Or I could fail spectacularly… If that happens, I may just delete this post and pretend it never happened *whistles and walks away*…

Anyway, wish me luck as I start this journey… Love, peace and chicken grease.

This Month I Have Mostly Been Listening To…

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Even though the blog sometimes gets mired down in Funk from the 80’s, I’m still very much a Hip-Hop kid (I’m a big man but I’m not 30), despite my reservations towards the genre at end of last year. Anyway check out my current favourites so far and let me know what you think.

Fabolous ft Pusha-T – Life Is So Exciting

Fabolous definitely isn’t as much of a fixture on the charts as he was in the early to mid 00’s but he’s still capable of coming up with the bangers. Pusha-T delivers a good guest verse as well. Although that’s no surprise.

A$AP Rocky – Live. Love. A$AP.

So the album leaked a month before the official release. Will it sell? Probably. The tracks I’ve heard seem to be pretty solid so far and he hasn’t shown much in the way of ‘selling out’. The title track is typical of Pretty Flako – spaced out beats and a catchy, strangely hypnotic chorus.

Big Boi ft T.I. and Ludacris – In the A

I haven’t heard much of Big Boi’s solo stuff but this is definitely a banger, capitalising on the dirty south trap sound that has dominated hip hop over the past couple of years, this track is notable for Ludacris actually sounding like he’s interested.

T.I. ft Andre 3000 – Sorry

I normally just glaze over T.I’s verse because truthfully, the song only comes alive during Andre 3000’s verse. The beat is cool but sounds like something that the J.U.S.T.I.C.E League threw away. Andre spits real talk, switching up the flow from double-time to regular to sing-songy.

Keith Murray – La La La

A real old-skool sounding hiphop joint with a lush instrumental and piano keys in the background. I’m not sure if this is paving the way for an album but whatever it is – it sounds good.

Sam Frank – Simple Life

Minimalist, dub-steppy, with more than a hint of a tribute to the late, great Roger Troutman. Yes, it’s a modern spin on the funk that you know I love, and it’s beautiful. Bonus track: if you can find the version with Skepta, I’d be most grateful…

Justin Timberlake ft Jay-Z – Suit & Tie

I’ve only just heard this and I’m just thankful that he hasn’t jumped on that Europop/EDM bandwagon like all the ‘so-called’ R&B stars. This has got a real old-skool vibe to it and I’m not mad at it. At all.

Wretch 32 – Pop

I haven’t been the biggest fan of Wretch 32’s chart songs but this is tune definitely goes hard. Paying homage to Kano’s classic P’s & Q’s, this tune is a perfect reintroduction to those people who have slept on Grime recently.

Newham Generals – Doomed

I don’t even know how to describe this but I love it.

Sidenote: Does good R&B exist anymore? Aside from Frank Ocean and Miguel, I can’t think of many artists who are still relevant.

Safe.