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Fa sho.

The story is taken from Contact Music, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. Then again, this is 50 Cent we’re talking about – a man known for making idiotic comments all the time. This week the multi-platinum irritator is making news for likening himself to George W. Bush. 50 referred to Bush as his homeboy and said, “You wanna know something? I actually like Bush. In some ways, I’m the George W. Bush of hip hop – nobody likes me, but I’m still gonna run it for the next four years.”

Yes, 50, you are indeed a lot like our President. Like Bush, you ran a campaign of fear to get ahead. Bush toyed with American fears of terrorism, homos, and the role that government plays in their lives. You played off longstanding fears that black men are to be feared – selling white suburbia material filled subject matter depicting violence. How entertaining and profitable the big black brute theory still is. Isn’t that right, 50?

And like our commander-in-chief, you’ve enjoyed quite the decline in popularity. Your first album sold upwards of eight million. Your second offering sold half of that. Bush is only in office because people are too afraid to challenge him with impeachment charges even though they’re justifiable. With declining sells for you and everyone on your roster, you don’t seem to be afforded that same luxury.

Also like George Bush, your ridiculed the person that came before you only to see yourself behaving exactly like them. Bush faulted Clinton for lying; you roasted Ja Rule for being an emcee who crooned all over his tracks. Bush ultimately was caught lying about far worse than extra attention from an eager intern, and you’ve been channeling Nate Dogg on many of your biggest hits. Hypocrites are unpopular for a reason.

Although 50 views himself in the same light as President Bush, he doesn’t want anything close to his level of responsibility (or irresponsibility, take your pick). “I don’t need that kind of pressure. All I need is a sequel to my video game and a new hit single.”

That’s pretty much on par with Bush’s yearning for another attention-diverting news story and another foiled terrorist plot.

Since he likes our President so much, I’ll be sure to tell him the same thing I’ll be yelling at the scream come January 20, 2009: Good riddance.

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Yes, Bobbaaaay’s still looking for you…

In the latest issue of Jet magazine, R&B superstar and his own number one stan, Usher, discussed his thoughts on the current state of R&B.

Question: What do you think about the current state of R&B in the music industry? Through your eyes, are you seeing constant progression?

Michael Jackson 2.0/Bobby Brown The Sequel: When I came out with ‘Confessions’, everyone was shocked by the quality of the record. I got comments like, “Wow, this is actually good!” What was it supposed to be? I’m not like those other throwaway R&B singers that come and go with novelty hits. I make real music, and I try to hold it down for the genre, the best I can. But I do feel like other brothers are slacking in the musical department. Who do we have now, to carry the torches Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke left behind? I’ll take it, but why can’t anyone else step up? Females aren’t doing it either. No disrespect to those who are trying to shine, but it’s all so cheap now. People are spitting on this thing called soul. Bring back Janet. Bring back Whitney. There’s no authenticity anymore.”

Yes, the man channeling Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown with every little step he takes personifies authenticity. In all honesty, I think Usher has a point. I’m tired of every male singer coming out with the standard first single: some trite fusion of R&B and hip hop that relies heavily on whatever rapper that can be secured with the hopes that said rapper’s popularity will trickle over to the song and the artist being introduced. But then he loses me likening himself to the likes of Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye. As I sit here listening to the latter’s I Want You album, I’m wondering if the torch Usher supposedly carries now is loaded with some narcotic substance.

I always take issue with the term “real music.” To me, it sounds elitist, and what’s real is subjective. But, let’s entertain Usher for a minute. Usher’s biggest hit to date is “Yeah!” Production by Lil Jon just screams origins of rhythm and blues, doesn’t it? Or maybe he meant real as far as his latest studio offering being a reflection of his personal life. Y’know, digging deep down within one self and pouring out your soul on the record. Singing passionately with great earnest. No wait, that was a clever marketing scheme thrown out there to boost album sells, wasn’t it?

If you want to throw out phrases like “real music,” you should start by being real with yourself. I consider Usher to be an entertainer, not an artist. There is a difference. Usher doesn’t produce his own music nor does he write a considerable portion of it. If not for Jermaine Dupri (and Brian Michael Cox, Donnell Jones, Pharrell Williams, among others) where would he be? Probably like many of the contemporaries he takes shots at in the media.

Not to completely trash him, because Usher is talented and outside of the awful first single, “Pop Ya Collar,” from the album that never was (It’s All About U), Usher has been pretty consistent. However, when you criticize your peers, I think one ought to be mindful of your own actions. The popularity of the genre-bending “Crunk n B” is owed to the success of “Yeah.” “Crunk n B” has since morphed to “Snap n B.” Interestingly enough, the man who calls on others in his respected genre to carry on the tradition of R&B is the same man promoting a group with a first offering that’s doing everything but.

It would behoove Usher to follow the adage that humility goes a long way. It would make even more sense if mini-Bobby practiced what he preaches. Yeah!

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Over at the Village Voice blog, Status Ain’t Hood, writer Tom Breihan rises to the defense of model-turned-singer in a recent entry entitled, “In Defense Of Cassie.” In the piece, Breihan makes the argument that much of the recent online backlash Cassie has been hit with may be misguided, noting that there are far worse targets out there than the soon to be twenty year old.

Breihan makes a lot of good points, such as Cassie working in the medium of pop friendly R&B, where singing ability is superfluous. I agree with Breihan that Cassie’s airy first single, “Me & U,” is well executed by her producer, Ryan Leslie. The track is so catchy that there’s no need for a display of vocal theatrics. The song requires nothing more than a whisper and catchy lyrics to make it audiences cling to it. The charts don’t lie.

In an interview with the Associated Press, when asked about her goals, Cassie responded: “To make good music. I said it time and time again, I’m not Aretha Franklin. Because I am aware of that we made it versatile.” She goes on to add, “I am not somebody like a John Legend who has a gorgeous voice. It has to have some edge to make it more interesting. People applauded the fact that I realized that and that I addressed it by making the album versatile.”

One can argue that it her candor is admirable, and the decision to push herself even further to make up for areas where she lacks equally admirable. But at the same time, it speaks volumes when you have to explore so many different avenues to compensate for talent you should ideally naturally possess.

On her backlash, Breihan writes, “The whole thing is pretty weird, considering that Cassie comes from a long line of attractive and interchangeable R&B singers, some of whom went on to blossom into actual stars but most of whom were allowed to pass peacefully into obscurity. Every summer yields about five new singers like Cassie, and none of them has inspired anything like this internet-based outrage.”

True enough, there have been many R&B singers over the years that have scored major success without having much vocal prowess. But, the difference between many of them and Cassie is easy to pinpoint: Jennifer Lopez, Ciara, and Aaliyah made the wise decision to highlight their talent in dancing to compensate for the talent they lacked vocally. Brandy’s voice is unique, and her ability to try new sounds and concepts while tackling more mature subject matter in her work made her appear genuine – a quality lacking in many of today’s current crop of R&B chanteuses. Cassie has no redeemable quality to her other than an aesthetic one. The only other comparable artist to Cassie with a similar internet backlash horror story is Ashanti, and even she can tout her skill for penning catchy hit songs.

This is why I believe the small backlash Cassie is experiencing is easy to understand. Her voice is thin, and not always pleasant to hear. Her choreography is not challenging enough to where she can dub herself as an entertainer versus a singer. She’s since exposed millions of people to all of this on national television. Jennifer Lopez was smart enough to never highlight her flaws on stage. Cassie should have followed suit.

What I find interesting is that when criticizing Cassie’s online condemnation, Breihan neglects to mention that Cassie’s current success is mainly owed to the internet. It was her online popularity through myspace that Cassie found her fame, so the adage, “You live by the sword, you die by the sword” reigns true. Replace sword with keyboard or mouse if need be.

It’s also not too far fetched to say that had the Internet been as big then as it is now, that many other acts would be catching the same venom as Cassie is now. That’s just the way it is in today’s music climate. Blogs, messages boards, and other online outlets now provide music listeners new ways to vent their frustrations — faster than ever and to much larger audiences.

Even media darlings like Beyonce are susceptible to it.

Are some of these petitions silly? Yes. Are people a lot harsher than they used to be? Possibly, but is it justifiable?

For an industry suffering from staggering low sales, one should not be too quick to write off the frustrations of consumers. It’s also not wise to say, “Well there’s someone a lot worse.” Two wrongs don’t make a right. Two off key singers a songbird not make either.

The current state of music is not one to brag on, and the current batch of singers making waves on the charts now openly admit to not even possessing a great amount of talent in the profession they’re in. After awhile you start to wonder if articles like “In Defense Of Cassie” are defending Cassie or mediocrity?

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Ran across an editorial entitled, “Why Martin Luther King Was A Republican,” earlier today. It’s penned by Frances Rice, chairman of the National Black Republican Association.

I’m pretty sure most people reading this already have an idea of what was said in the article: the obvious noting of the history of the Democratic Party, including their support of Jim Crow laws and the Black Codes. Oh how Republicans, black and white a like, love to talk about that, yet they leave out the part about many of those Democrats/Dixiecrats switching over to the other side, taking their racist sentiments with them. And stop, tell me if you’ve heard this, but Lincoln was a Republican. No matter the fact that he wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of Negroes, he “freed” us, so that makes it all right and worth mentioning over and over and over again.

These Lincoln/Jesus/Slavery/Civil Rights references no longer resonate with black folk. If you’re going to go for the support of blacks in this country, make a real effort. You’re no better than the Democrats you blast for taking black voters for granted.

Let’s try to not be disingenuous for a change. Try something new, like honesty. The author mentions Senator Byrd’s actions then, but fails to mention that he’s since had a change of heart and let his voting record prove it.

Never mind that this man can call King a Republican, though he makes no mention that his very own party didn’t want to honor Dr. King by celebrating his birthday as a national holiday.

This part of the article was my favorite:

We must demonstrate that the
Democrat Party policies of socialism and dependency on
government handouts offer the pathway to poverty,
while Republican Party principles of hard work,
personal responsibility, getting a good education and
ownership of homes and small businesses offer the
pathway to prosperity

Yes, and look how wonderfully the poor have progressed under past and current Republican administrations.

You can’t reach out to people through condescension, and more importantly, you can’t help folks “see the light” if you’re using a trite argument full of fallacies.

So much for an elephant never forgetting.

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You’s a bitch.

Did anyone catch All Eyes on Justin Timberlake last nite? Besides watching John Norris swoon over Timbertwat and pay him compliment after compliment for half an hour (someone has a crush), we learned that Justin’s influences this week include Prince and David Bowie. If you’re wondering, no he’s never mentioned being influenced by Prince or Bowie before. Surprise, surprise.

He also yapped about Britney for the millionth time. Dammit man, get over it. She doesn’t want you. She prefers men who leech from her. Take the L and move on.

What caught my attention was that Justin finally admitted to being a punk ass bitch for his behavior following Nipplegate. Well, he didn’t say it as harshly as I’m putting it, but how else can you describe it really?

He apologized and said he regrets the aftermath of the Superbowl. He went on to add that he should have done more for Janet and that he only got 10% of the blame. He said the fact that he was able to get off scot-free proves that America is harsh on women, particularly “ethnic women.”

Ethnic women, eh?

The timing of his apology is all too convenient, however. His single got no airplay at urban radio, and his second single’s performance will be heavily determined by how many spins he gets on that format. No surprise that the second single features T.I.

When Grammy time came Justin punked out, flaked on Janet, and pretended to be aloof to the whole thing. Now two years later, he’s suddenly feeling a sense of guilt when he has a new album to push.

Cry me a river, bitch. What you’re selling, I’m not buying.

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Someone “Ring The Alarm” and tell me who she looks like. I can’t take it anymore. Time to call on a higher power to save Janet from her yes people.

God,

As you can see Lord, things aren’t looking too good for Miss Boring and Predictable (if you have eyes and ears). Please let Janet not have a wack ass second single. I mean, you heard “Call On Me.” Well, you probably didn’t because you’re all knowing so you probably knew her first single was going to be bullshit before she even recorded it. But please God, please let her find some sense of creativity before she drops her album with the really wack title. Let it not be too late. Let me not waste my $9.99 on sale at Best Buy plus tax in vain. I’m buying it because as a Janet fan, I have no real choice. And God, please, please, please, let her not do the same old choreography. Let her know that the Rhythm Nation had an uprising and that there is a dictator that requires more than a sexy robot trying to serve me. Lastly God, please make her give Beyonce her weave back. One is bad enough.

Amen.

You’re the homie!

Michael

P.S. Since I have your attention, can she chart better with the second single, too? Number 847 on the Cold 1000 isn’t a good look.

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A pregnant woman in labor, driving herself to the hospital, crashed her car and gave birth while trapped in the mangled, partially submerged vehicle, authorities said.

Kenyetta Biggs spent more than an hour in the car Sunday morning before she — and her newborn daughter — were rescued and taken to a hospital, authorities said.

Biggs, 21, suffered a broken leg, but she and the baby she named Myracle were reported to be doing well.

Source: CNN

Beautiful story, and I’m happy to read that both the mother and newborn are safe. But did she have to spell miracle with a y?

Now the real miracle will be that kid getting a job with a name like that.

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MC Hammer is back, and ready to get hyphy on that ass with his latest single, “Hammer Time.” “Hammer Time?” Love Hammer’s creative mind. The song is produced by the always complaining (former) super producer, Scott Storch. Storch recently blasted Christina Aguilera and Beyonce in Rolling Stone for not asking him to contribute to their new albums, Back 2 Basics and B’Day, after churning out major hits for both respective artists’ previous albums. Storch has since collaborated with the likes of Paris Hilton and now MC Hammer. I bet those two ladies are feeling pretty mad at themselves now that Storch has moved on to new heavy hitters.

As for Hammer, you can take a listen to the track over at XXL Online. The last time I heard Hammer he was doing the Hammer over al Qaeda waving the American flag in the air in a display of post-9/11 patriotism. Before that, he was uh oh uh oh uh oh uh oh uh uh oh’n it up for Jesus.

I personally have been waiting for another “Pumps and a Bump.” Maybe next time.

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No career. No money. No Proactiv. The curse of Bad Boy strikes again. Ya’ll better buy Danity Kane’s album, or the next reality show those girls star in will be a spin of Set It Off.

And in more bad news for Bad Boy, model turned bad lip syncer, Cassie, is the next artist to feel the venom from Petition Online. After her God awful who the hell signed your ass question prompting performance on 106 & Park, there’s a new petition entitled “We Prefer Lassie Over Cassie” making waves on the net.

Gotta love the name.

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Y’know, it’s bad enough no one can wait for me at the airport anymore. It’s even worse that I’m not the poster child for punctuality, so I have to rush like crazy to get to the airport early. And don’t even get me started on being felt up at the airport. Now thanks to a new ‘plot,’ I’m no longer allowed to bring water bottles, lotion, or any other water-based product on board the plane.

So now I have to be thirsty and ashy on the plane?

Isn’t the time of this leak convenient? Forget about the looming civil war in Iraq. No worries about Israel blowing up Lebanon. Don’t fret over Bush’s potential fuck ups for the fourth quarter, because you’re far too busy worrying over whether or not the bottle of Suave the person sitting next to you on the plane has is a potential bomb.

Ten minutes into watching the coverage of CNN (or the pimping of their agenda, take your pick), I hear, “Don’t use your cell phone within 50 feet of a suspicious object because you might detonate an explosive.”

Are you kidding me? So basically turn off my phone, since any and every object could potentially carry an explosive device. Why don’t these people just say “Be very afraid, vote Republican” and leave me alone? Is that too much to ask?

The terror scheme disrupted in London is ‘suggestive of an al-Qaeda plot’

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said there was no indication of plotting in the United States but said officials cannot assume that the terror operation in Britain had been completely thwarted.

So you don’t know if it’s al-Qaeda, you have no proof that there was a threat to the United States, but you’re going to hold a press conference anyway to promote a climate of fear? Gotta love their boldness.

Fuck Bush. Fuck al Qaeda. Fuck Ozarka (well not really, but I’ll be missing you).

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