It’s the Box That Rocks! Ralph McDaniels, founder of the seminal Video Music Box talks thirty years of history. Highlights include how Big Daddy Kane shot someone causing him to miss “The Symphony” video shoot, how we wasn’t fucking with Mr. Magic at first, gunplay at NaS’s “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” video shoot, running with a young and grimy Russell Simmons, allowing a young Jay-Z to play hype man for the Notorious B.I.G. and how really good he is in these streets. This is #RapHistoryMonth b. #Newmanati.
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“What up with Cormega/Did ya see ‘em/are yall together?..”
This episode features none other than the much heralded Queensbridge rap legend Cormega. Let’s just say everything you wanted know about ‘Mega, from his early beginning as a Brooklynite..witnessing the murder of his mother at the tender age of 4….his transition to QB….his love/hate relationship with Nas….The Firm….Chris Lighty….Def Jam, we got you covered. Cormega held no punches word to Nature. Who was The Notorious BIG planning to conquer with “The Commission”? Yep, we know. Just hit play on the podcast below. If you don’t know..It’s The Combat Jack Show. #NoFiller #Newmanati
#RIP Chris Lighty
Cormega | @RealCormega
Updated w/ Show Notes
Wanted to interview Bleek for a while. Being protege to the greatest rapper is a gift and a curse, and we get into that. As well as why he started the legendary Jay-Z vs NaS beef, how he discovered Rick Ross, gave Rihanna her first shot, the rise and “fall” of the Roc and whether he knew that some considered him one of the greatest weed carriers of all time.
*artwork by Theotis Jones*
Updated w/ Show Notes
No guests..No Problem…In this episode of The Combat Jack Show it was nothing but pure barbershop talk. From changing or not changing the show’s theme song to the allegations of Nasir having ghostwriters. What was Dream Hampton and FMWJ’s intention on putting that out there? Does it matter? Was it responsible? Here our take on the real and lots more. Hit the stream below and listen to “the bad boys of radio”. #FatFreeWaterEdition #Newmanati
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The Visualizer AZ talks about his start in the game, battling Jay-Z in high school, NaS and Illmatic, Doe Or Die, the Firm, Sprite commercials and his interesting relationship with elevators. Industry legend DEO speaks on his cousin, the late, great Heavy D and his thoughts on today’s music industry. Plus, a call from Trill O.G. Bun B on the Gumball 3000.
It don’t ever stop.
QB’s finest lays it all out. Especially the “Ether” part.
Previously: NaS – “The Don” (Trailer)
Looks good. The lead single from his upcoming Life Is Good album. And check out the debut of his VH1 Behind The Music: NaS episode airing tonight.
Mr. Jones shares with MTV as to why he was reluctant about participating in tomorrow’s Behind The Music episode.
Set your dvr’s for Thursday, April 18th at 9pm EST as VH1 airs the premiere of ‘Behind The Music – NaS’.
“Behind The Music: Nas” tells the story of one of hip hop’s most daring and prolific icons. Raised in the gritty Queensbridge projects of New York City, Nas narrowly escaped his violent surroundings. He later channeled his experiences into a lyrical style that would revolutionize hip hop. A musical legend by the age of 20, Nas’ passion for music has carried him through a tumultuous career. Despite very public distractions including multiple feuds with hip hop’s biggest names, political controversy, a highly publicized divorce with R&B star Kelis, as well as the devastating loss of his mother, Nas’ seven consecutive platinum albums have cemented him as one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. The special features candid interviews with Nas, members of his family, friends and hip hop luminaries including Russell Simmons, Q-Tip and Common. “Behind the Music: Nas” is the truly unfiltered story of Nasir Jones as it’s never been told before.
Nasir Jones most certainly has a story to tell.
I’m always late. The first time I heard of Nasty Nas was back in 1992 when I seen MC Serch’s video for “Back To The Grill Again” on Video Music Box (which for those not in the know features a cameo of Nas’ deceased yet immortalized best friend Ill Will screw faced up at the end of his comrade’s verse). Though I loved “Lookin At The Front Door”, I hadn’t heard Main Source’s Breaking Atoms LP from the year before (chill I was a shorty) meaning I was unaware of Nas nor his pre 9/11 terrorist plot to kidnap Barbara Bush sans strategy via his show stealing verse on “Live At the BBQ”. Didn’t matter though cause off of one listen I thought the nigga’s verse about waving the ratchet at Mother Theresa and ‘em from Serch’s shit was dope. Knowing VMB host Uncle Ralph McDaniels was most likely gonna repeat this same episode soon, I made it my business to have a no frills VHS tape ready in the VCR, so I could record the video next time it aired, just to listen to it (really just Nas’ verse) over again. Continue Reading →
Released in the twilight of rap’s golden era, Illmatic is widely considered to be the greatest hip hop album of all time and is frequently held as the yardstick by which all other contenders are measured. Illmatic was also one of the most anticipated albums, dropping three years after Nas’s breakout introduction on “Live at the Barbeque” and subsequent tracks (“Halftime” from the Zebrahead soundtrack and “Back to the Grill” off MC Serch’s solo debut). During this period of eager hope, Nasir bin Olu Dara earned praise as the second coming of Rakim, with bits of Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Q-Tip, Chuck D and Slick Rick notably embedded in his style. Before he even dropped his album, Nas – a teenager at the time – was viewed as a hip hop prophet. At twenty years of age, Nas released Illmatic, epitomizing the expression “show and prove.” Over fifteen years after its release, Illmatic continues to engulf fervent discussions in contemporary rap circles. Borrowing its title from a line in “N.Y. State of Mind”, Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas’s Illmatic is the first in a series of anthologies centered on classic rap records. Continue Reading →
When you say pioneer with regard to this Hip Hop shit, make sure say you this man’s fucking name. And with respect. Graffiti artist who ran with the legends Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lee Quinones and Keith Haring, featured in the seminal early ’80′s New York movie “Downtown 81“, producer of the classic “Wild Style” flick, shouted out by Blondie on the underground pop smash “Rapture”, the first effin’ Hip Hop VJ on MTV’s ground breaking “Yo! MTV Raps”, director of my favorite Hip Hop video ever, whew, this man put in work!!! I met Freddy when I was working at MTV a coupla’ years ago and we’ve been building ever since. Last Friday afternoon, we were chopping it up about mad topics like me helping him get his twitter game on track, when we somehow got to the subject of XXL Magazine’s recent feature “Still Ill” where they go back 15 years ago into the making of Nas’ first album masterpiece “Illmatic”. As me and Fab are talking, we start discussing how MC Serch, interviewed for the XXL piece, says some kinda flagrant sideways shit about Fab, his involvement in “Illmatic” and how he allegedly made the completion of said classic album very difficult. Quote:
“The most difficult sample [to clear] was with [Wild Style director] Charlie Ahearn, believe it or not. We had made a deal with Charlie, and then Fab 5 Freddy got into the mix and started getting into Charlie’s ear like, “Nah, you didn’t get enough [money].” The funny thing was, Fab 5 Freddy was about to direct the “One Love” video. So I’m calling Freddy like, “What are you telling your man? I’m about to cut you a check. You’re about to direct a video. Get on the same page.” [Freddy said,] “Are you threatening me?” I’m like, “Nah, it’s not a threat. I’m just saying, you don’t take care of this, you’re not gonna be directing no video.” I haven’t spoke to Fab 5 Freddy since.”
I myself have never had any beef with Serch. I even bumped the 3rd Bass albums kinda hard back then. Shit, I even caught a cameo as the bald dude who gives the gas face as my Afro wig is yanked off in their video “Gas Face”. I do also remember however, when I used to work at Def Jam, and when 3rd Bass was Russell Simmons’ new artist, how Serch used to be up in the building dropping the word “Nigger” in my presence like it was going outta style. Man, I used to hate that shit, especially since I was a new employee and Russell had given Serch a mad “pass” in terms of his clout as a new artist. Didn’t know if I was madder at Serch for being so ignorant in his use of the word or at Russell who thought that having his white saying that shit was mad cool. But as I was just starting out in the game, Serch had more juice than me, so I stayed with my work and kept it moving.
So me and Fab are speaking on the XXL joint, and how he feels Serch is kinda talking sideways. Fab makes it real clear that as long as he’s been in the game, he’s NEVER had any beef with ANYONE, however he wasn’t really feeling Serch’s comments. I asked Fab what really went on in connection with “Illmatic”. Being that I like hearing all sides to a story, Fab shared, and his response went like this:
“Nas was an incredible young emcee who made it a point to pay homage to the classics like “Wild Style”. When I met him, he told me how much he dug my work and actually requested that I direct his video “One Love”. Told me it would be an honor. So we went ahead and locked that project in. Afterwards, right before the album dropped, when I heard that they were using the Wild Style sample as the opening theme for “Illmatic”, basically the theme for the album as a whole, I was like, “whoah, that’s major!” As I was producer of “Wild Style” and Charlie Ahearn was the director, I really didn’t have that much of a say in the clearance of that sample. That was Charlie’s lane. What I do know is that Charlie, being the shrewd business man that he is, made sure that he negotiated hard to get what he deserved, what anybody else was getting paid for samples. I never got in Charlie’s ear about how to handle his business and I don’t know what the fuck Serch is talking about. What I do know is that this ain’t the first time Serch said some sideways shit about me. Recently, as I was working on VH1′s Hip Hop Honors and he had his little “White Rapper” show, I remember him talking slick, questioning my credibility as an O.G. of this culture, like I had no business being involved with the Hip Hop Honors. I’m like, “where is that coming from?” Like I said, I never had no beef with no one, but seems like dude likes to keep my name in his mouth, like he’s hating on me or some shit. I remember back in the day, before he even knew who the fuck I was, when real wolf like niggas I knew gave Serch a pass in clubs like Latin Quarters or Union Square, seeing him in the clubs, all up in the piece dancing with the hi-top and shit, I always gave dude his props. Like I said, I never had no beef with no one, but seems like dude likes to keep my name in his mouth, like he’s hating on me or some shit. Whatever.”
As we moved on to the next topic, we both laughed about how Serch tended to fall into that classic role where, once given a pass or ghetto card, certain white, super ecstatic to be down, ball til they fall, not realizing that they killed their own pass status with kniccas that don’t easily honor they so called pass status. Didn’t Serch almost get murked for talking shit about MC Hammer’s momma? Not for nothing, but I’m just calling it like I see it. I do wanna give Serch a direct shout in helping to bless the world with the “Illmatic” gem, shit remains in steady rotation to this day. 3rd Bass? Not so much. No stray shots though.
Meanwhile, the homie Fab, on top of a whole slew of projects, is currently dropping art pieces again and his latest work can be seen at BETTER HISTORY, located at 169 10th Avenue and 20th Street in Chelsea, NYC. Go head, check that shit out, get that culture art swag popping. To my white out there, and you know that CJ keeps love for youse all, let’s stay keeping shit in proper perspective.
UPDATE: Fab just hit me to clarify that the album didn’t just use a sample, it lifted a whole scene from the “Wild Style” movie. ALSO, they tried to clear the sample AFTER the record had dropped, hence the higher price in clearances. Makes a whole lotta sense to me.
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