Saturday, July 02, 2005

Movie Review: Hustle & Flow

Hustle & Flow is destined to be the hip-hop movie of the summer! With a street release date of July 22nd, the box office is about to get a visit from hip-hop fans nationwide, eager to see the latest John Singleton produced flick. Written and directed by Craig Brewer, “Hustle & Flow” comes to the screens as the Sundance Film Festival Best Picture winner. By the time the movie is over, it may win your vote as well!

The movie comes off like a Dirty South version of "8 Mile" without a famous rapper playing the lead. Amazingly, Terrence Howard (of recent BET Award, Beyonce lap dance recieving fame) grabs the mic and puts the rhyming work in himself. He plays Djay, a two toned hooptie driving pimp, struggling in Memphis, Tennessee. We watch as he tries to regulate his stable of ho's, played by Taraji P. Henson, Paula Jai Parker, and "8 Mile" bad girl & Boomkat lead, Taryn Manning. At times it's hard to see who's regulating who, as he has problems with all of them.

One day at the local pool hall, he learns that Skinny Black (Ludacris), the hometown legend done good, is scheduled to roll through his old stomping ground. Arnell (played by the voice of South Park’s Chef aka Black Moses aka King Isaac Hayes! excellent casting btw) tells Djay that he should fall through, bring some of the sticky icky, and make a little cash when Skinny Black arrives. Djay has bigger plans though. He remembers Skinny Black from way back in the old school days and plans of giving him a demo. Once Skinny Black hears the tape, it should just be a matter of time before he makes it big, right?

Anthony Anderson plays Key, a friend of his from school, whom he bumps into one day at the corner store. Key has since then become an audio engineer at his church. He too once had dreams of making it big in the music business and remembers Djay’s from school and his talent. It’s only a matter of time before the two start working on songs, in preparation of Skinny Black’s visit. We watch as the crew chases their dreams, while fighting to escape their lives in the streets. They add Shelby (D.J. Quills) to the crew, turn Djay’s house into a mini recording studio and make a demo. Unlike “8 Mile”, where the concentration was on the battles and the storyline of the conflicting crews, “Hustle & Flow” shows us a rag-tag group desperately trying to improve their life with the only card they have left.

The scenes that show the actually working process of making music with limited tools is a reality for many artist. When Djay pulled out that Casio SK-5, I almost fell out of my chair! I don’t know how many song I heard back in the day, made on that same keyboard, that were amazing! Some people might find these scenes too long, but those of you out there on the musical grind should feel it. I thought they added a sense of reality to the overall plot. (“Turn off them fans Nola!”) Soon the demo is done and the day of the party is at hand. When Djay and Skinny Black met, the day he has dreamed of suddenly becomes a nightmare!

“Hustle & Flow” is a hell of a movie. To watch a character like Djay try to change his life with the only thing he has left, hip-hop, you can’t help but feel sympathy for his cause, if not his character. In the few scenes where he is allowed to let his pimp hand rest easy, you forget how trill he really is. There are some trifiln' scenes in the movie as well, but most of them help move the plot. Add to that, the strong performances from all the actors involved and you got yourself a big movie for the summer. Ludacris brings yet another great performance and the bathroom scene makes you wonder where the inspiration for it and his “Get Back” video actually came from. The southern hip-hop vibe seals the deal. With cameos from Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul, 1-20, and someone who looked like Haystack, it’s official.

Final Verdict- “Hustle & Flow” – 5 Star Oscar worthy flick! Don’t miss it!

Hustle & Flow - Theatrical Trailers

Additional Links~

tons of movie clips here!

(all photos by Alan Spearman except top still)

Three 6

Eightball & MJG

Hustle & Flow soundtrack info from Atlantic Records &

...oh yeah...IF YOU AINT FROM MEMPHIS>>>>YOU BULSH!T~~WHAT YOU SAY?>>>>a lil' something from the old school...don't sweat it...

"! "

Friday, July 01, 2005

CD Review: Kotton Mouth Kings

The Kottonmouth Kings are back in action with "Kottonmouth Kings No. 7". It is one of their tightest rolled joints yet. Fans of the band will not be disappointed by this new one. (Fans may be disappointed by the delay of the planned tour due to D-Loc’s accident…see website for up to date info). They will just have to wait and be satisfied with the new CD until the tour begins. Good thing it’s a banging CD. The Kottonmouth Kings are on to something with this, their 7th release.

As they continue to expand their fan base and spread their stoned out message, they are improving their sound as well. This latest CD shows a tighter, smoother King Klick. They brought a few friends along for the ride with them too, Cypress Hill on “Put It Down”and Tech N9Ne on “F.T.I.Z." , and the result is a banging CD! They may not be the most flexible or conscious emcees on the mike. Nor are they the hardest rock band. With the Kottonmouth Kings, it’s the way they blend the styles and add their own distinctive SoCal reggae ska sound on top, that makes them a great group. Once you give them a try, their sound sticks to you like resin off a Swisher. Plus you got to love the fact that they are doing it independently and have been doing it for a minute. Their latest album is a excellent mix of hip-hop and hard rock hybrids and turntable tricks on interludes. "Kottonmouth Kings No. 7" is a impressive package. Here’s the rundown!

1. King Klick- In case you don’t know who your listening too, now you know! Nice intro track!
2. Make it Hot
3. Get Your High On- The crew reps that indo here! A song to get your roll on!
4. Bottoms Up- Should move the crowd in a club. Perfect theme song for the bars!
5. Shakey Bones (Interlude)-nice beatbox, scratch combo skit
6. We Got the Chronic
7. Peace of MindKMK on a nice OC ska joint! Great track!
8. F.T.I.Z (feat. Tech N9ne)Tech N9Ne gets it jumpin early and the KMK hold it down with him! One of the highlight tracks on the CD!
9. Revolution- Another rap/rock mash-up done right as the Klick starts the revolution musically!
10. Let the Sunshine-Ready for radio! KMK ask “what are we fighting for?” and makes a statement with this one.
11. Piss Test (Interlude)-“A man should be judged by the quality of his work, not the quality of his piss!” Amen brother!
12. Put it Down (feat. Cypress Hill) – Two of the biggest burners in the business blaze one on a busy beat! Another Cali Kush classic feat B-Real & Sen Dog!
13. People Come, People Go- This one sounds personal! KMK separate their friends from their foes and name names!
14. Watch Your Back -
15. Slow SuicideKMK go for theirs on this punked out banger! This song goes hard fa sho’!
16. P-Town-Showing some hometown love, KMK reminisce on the old hood and their early days. Nice track.
17. The Munchies – Dedicated to the late night pizza delivery man!
18. Nitrous Tank (Interlude) – Ill interlude for the luded minds of the Klick. Sound effects and slowed vocals makes it seem like your holding a ballon yourself!
19. Wasted – Another hip-hop/punk blend done nicely. With a little big up to “wasted youth of today”, KMK delivers another underground anthem.
20. Take a Bath – No punches are pulled! Ladies, you better smell good!
21. Stick Together – Banging exit track to seal up a nice CD.

Final Verdict- Kottonmouth Kings CD – Smoking!

Slow burning grooves from the SoCal heavyweights! While they are not the illest emcees on the microphone, they do have mass appeal with their daring musical steps and genre busting sounds. The punk/hip-hop grossover game is one that is being perfected with a California twist, hand rolled and delivered to you by the Kottonmouth Kings. Cop that!

Additional links

King Klick video

Kottonmouth Kings new website

Get with the King Klick!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Movement of Jah People-Chapter 20:Verses 3-17

Found this site online that has essay on all thing related to the issue of the Ten Commandments display. They also try to analyze the Commandments and show when they clash with the US Constitution. Very interesting site for those interested in such things.

Quote from the essay on the first five Commandments:

The Israelites were to worship only Jehovah. As in many other passages of the Hebrew Scriptures, other (Pagan) gods are assumed to exist, but are not to be worshipped.

As a purely religious document for Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, it is fine. But if posted as a guide for the behavior of students in a public school, it is much more problematic:

Oh yeah, I messed up that last post's title big time. Technically it should be Two and Eight, not One, fyi.

Check the links.

Did you watch "The Passion Of The Christ"? You may have sinned in the process. (shame, shame, shame!)

But isn't this a sin too?

I'm out...

or should I say.....

Numbers One and Eight!

What a week it has been. On top of all the regular chores and maintainence that the day job requires (website re-designs, calling tech support and waiting for hours on TWO phones) I am backed up with homework (online SUNY student plotting a USC transfer over here!) and still writing reviews from two weeks ago. To add to this abominable mountain, we have guest at the compound. So it is hectic to say the least. Regardless, the show goes on! Anyway I could not let another day go by without posting this one.....

It was a historical day at the Supreme Court last Monday, as multiple rulings had the world talking, the internet buzzing, and the faithful praying. The first major blow came in the form of a somewhat Solomon like decision regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in certain public places. It seems that it will remain in some areas while others are to be removed if they hold a clear, religious message. This is, of course, in direct opposition of the U.S. Constitution’s stance on separation of church and state. The mixed decision brought more mixed judicial responses as well.

Lower court cases regarding the Ten Commandments saw rulings in favor of removing the monuments from public venues. While in another case, regarding a monument in Texas, The Supreme Court ruled that the monument in question had a “predominantly secular message”, and it was allowed to remain. The issue will continue to debated from the streets of America clear to the highest courts for years to come.

Not done making history, the Supreme Court also ruled in cases regarding intellectual property, a highly prized win for the majors in the entertainment industry. The Court ruled against Grokster, saying that companies can be charged for copyright infringement. Grokster may have shot itself in the foot when it promoted it’s services early on, promoting and encouraging file sharing. They are just the latest in the line of file swapping giants to fall under the stiff arm of the law.

For more on the rulings, click below.

Supreme Court shows wisdom in guarding intellectual property

No Jams on Info Freeway

Ruling on Grokster does not end piracy concerns

If you want to get your paralegal on, click the link below for the court’s opinions on the cases.

(ps…First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Eight Commandment: Thou shall not steal. Not for nothin’, it seems kinda when you think about it…monument=idols….P2p file sharing=stealing….don’t do it….I’ll work on the downloading thing.)

Monday, June 27, 2005

"Party honesty..." party expediency. " Grover Cleveland

But seriously...who threw that after hours party last month on top of my office building? (don't want to blow it up...think Downtown LA, between Fig and Broadway...) No one in the building seems to know and I really want to holla at whoever threw it. Email me if you know anything about it.