Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why the United States is the new Roman Empire


(Set to the tune of 'Madness' by Deltron 3030)

Today's subject is about something that I've come to realize over time. This is not necessarily about bashing the United States as much as it's about shaking my head at the sheer stupidity of them following in the Roman's footsteps.

Here are some things to think about:

-At the height of the Roman Empire, one out of every four people were slaves.
-At the height of official slavery in the U.S., one out every five people were slaves.
-The Romans were very fond of fast food. The city of Pompeii had a fast food place for every 60 residents.
-In the U.S., the most visited in 2013 U.S. businesses were fast food chains (McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, Taco Bell, etc.)
-The Romans spent huge amounts of money on political campaigns and used politics as the road to personal wealth.
-The 2012 Presidential Campaign spent a combined $2 billion. People such as Jimmy Dimora have gotten into trouble when it comes to political corruption lately.
-Just like how the late Roman Republic was in a constant state of war, the United States have been in at least eight wars in the last 100 years.
-The Romans were heavily influenced by foreign interests and policy. They would bend the rules to suit the profits made for the Roman aristocracy.
-The United States have followed suit, examples being laws such as NAFTA and the outsourcing of jobs.
-The Romans' middle class was crushed by cheap overseas labor late in its existence.
-The United States has a severe income inequality, with the top 20% receiving 85% of the income in America.
-Rome's late Republic oppressed the rights of common people, often rising to power through illegal means (Julius Caesar).
-The GOP has become a prime example of gerrymandering, ending up with 53% of the Congressional seats despite having 48% of the popular vote. Other examples of this come with oppressive tactics such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and even (nowadays) having to get voter I.D. cards.
-The Romans' system of democracy relied on a system of checks and balances, but steadily declined due to progressively polarized politics between the Optimates (rich people) and Populares (common people).
-The United States have practically mirrored this spirit of polarization with the Democrats (liberals) and Republicans (conservatives), with Fox News (Republicans) and MSNBC (Democrats) being their respective flagship sources of media.        

Here's the thing that gets me about this: the Romans wanted to rule the world.....and failed. Not only that, but  the Mongols, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, the Nazis, the British, and the Soviet Union ALL wanted to rule the entire world. In spite of all of these attempts, only the British are still around.

We shale rule the world! And succeed.......on the 15.000th try.
It seems as if the U.S. might be able to, especially with tools such as H.A.A.R.P. But when you look at it from a historical perspective, you realize that it isn't fear-inducing as much as it just a sad, insane attempt.

Think of it this way. Remember Star Wars, when the Galactic Empire built a Death Star as its headquarters?

Now remember when it blew up?

And remember when they rebuilt it?

 Whoo!!! We gon' build ourselves 'nother one right her!  And it's gon' have a force field!
And remember when that one blew up?

Dang! We didn't even get to bring our huntin' dogs!
That's what the United States is to the idea of ruling the world.

Aww, screw it. Who wants ice cream?

Further Reading: (Dismiss the somewhat liberal slant. I am neither advocating liberals or conservatives. Draw your own conclusions.)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rap Myths You Probably Believe (Thanks to the Media), Part 2

6) Underground=Unknown.

With all the complaining about Mainstream, Modern Rap, you always have those people who scream "UNDERGROUND IS BETTER!!!" You say would say to yourself or out loud "Dude, nobody cares about Underground Rap. Why should I listen to somebody that nobody knows or cares about?"

Of course, you would be wrong again. Check out this video of the song "Mastermind" by Deltron 3030. Or even the songs "Positive Contact" and Deltron 3030. How about "Accordion" by Madvillain, "Raid" by Madvillain, "Rhinestone Cowboy", and "All Caps". There's "Doomsday" by MF Doom, "Chief Rocka" by Lords of the Underground, "Put it On" and "Street Struck" by Big L, "Definition" and "Respiration" by Blackstar, and "Dance with the Devil" and "Point of no Return" by Immortal Technique.There's even songs such as Acid Raindrops by People Under the Stairs, and Coastin' by Zion I. And don't even get me started on Atmosphere, with songs such as Trying to Find a Balance, Guarantees, Freefallin', The Best Day, and She's Enough, among others.

Let's look at Little Brother. Most people (at least in America) don't know about them. But you know who does? Jay-Z, Drake, Lil' Wayne, and Kanye West.

You still think that nobody knows about the underground?

7) Rap is still pretty young.

How many times have you heard someone say "Rap is a young man's game."? I mean, with people like Kendrick Lamar in the spotlight, everyone that's popular must be young.

That's true. 20 years ago, that is.

Look at the birthdays of some of today's most popular rappers (at least for now) :

Young Jeezy (born October 12, 1977)

Rick Ross (born January 28, 1976)

2 Chainz (born September 12, 1977)

Nicky Minaj (born December 8, 1982)

Lil' Wayne (born December 27, 1982)

DJ Khaled (born November 26, 1975)

Wait, they're all over/at least 30. But Rap is supposed to "a young man's game," right? Wouldn't that make them "old"?

Pictured: who's dominating the Rap charts today.

If you notice any list of the greatest rap albums of all time, you will notice that:

a) most of the time, the rappers rose to stardom in the 80's/90's.

b) if not then, they came on the scene in the underground.

c) praise was regardless of sales thresholds.

d) some rose into stardom in the 21st century mainstream (ex: Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West)

e) and this one is important: most were between the ages of 18 and 25. 

Above: actual examples of "young man Rap".

Some people even consider Hip-Hop music as a genre "young". And it is. If you consider a person who is almost 40 "young"

I don't know who says that and actually believes it, but they're wrong.

8) Rap nowadays is more popular than ever.

Hey, in spite of all of the myths, people are still flocking out to buy Rap albums. All of this has no impact on sales.

Well, not exactly.

You see, when you've staked your reputation on this, thisthis and this, and end up with this, this, this, and this, you're bound to lose viewers. "But that's what's hot man. If you look at the charts, they're doing fine." You can believe that, but research doesn't back up your point. It's an illusion. "But it's the record labels who control everything." Yes, they do. But, they are really desperate and have proven to be full of crap. Even Hip-Hop publications have proven (see #5) to be shady (see #9). But in spite of this, the look as if they are doing fine, when the opposite is true. Think about this: why does someone who has taken an embarrassing fall get up and walk away as if nothing happened? To avoid the humiliation, that's why. They know that they're desperate and they got it wrong, so they play it off as if nothing happened.

What the mainstream Rap industry is full of nowadays.

Look, music executives. Stop fronting as if everything is all good when it isn't. Instead of constantly promoting garbage, why don't you actually promote something that is worth listening to? I bet it would help sales recover, a lot.

Oh well, some people have to learn the hard way. If there is anything that you can take from this, it is the lesson that things aren't always what they seem. Oh, and if it ain't broke, then don't fix it.

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Rap Myths You Probably Believe (Thanks to the Media), Part 1

As you probably assumed, I am a huge Hip-Hop fan. You also know that the media has a history of habitually lying about reality. Well, when it comes to Rap, it's no different. some examples of these myths include things like....

1) It takes no skill to Rap.

Whenever you turn on BET, MTV, or the radio, it always seems as if you get something along the lines of this....


or this.

You would probably think to yourself, "Man, Rap sucks. It takes no skill to do it whatsoever." Of course, you'd be wrong. Check out out this video of Mos Def freestyling:

Here is Black Thought of The Roots freestyling:

You can even listen to Rakim rapping on his song called "Lyrics of Fury":

So as you can see, it does take skill to Rap. You can't just throw random words together in a jumbled mess and call it 'Rap'. This reminds me of another myth. 

2) Nobody cares about "old school".           

How many times have you tried talking to a teen nowadays and heard them say, "Don't nobody care about (insert Hip-Hop legend)". From the looks of things nowadays, it would certainly seem like that. I mean, seriously, who really cares about somebody like Rakim?

Oh, I don't know, about a million people at least.

Before you think that that's a fluke, here is a picture of A Tribe Called Quest preforming live:

 All these people came to see Soulja Boy.

How about De La Soul?

  They're only here to open up for Gucci Mane.

If you  thought that was something, look at the crowd who came to see The Pharcyde live:

Moments before they were pelted with bottles.

Not only do they pull large live crowds, but people actually went and bought their albums. "But hey," you might say. "That was then. Nowadays, it isn't peaches and cream. It's all about the money. Talent doesn't matter." Sure, whatever. Even though The Pharcyde has millions of views on their music.

3) It pays to be a moron/cliche.  

With all the attention that people like Chief Keef  get, it should be easy to get a career in Rap, right? Sure, if you want your career to end quicker than a cup of water being dumped into an empty sink. You see, a lot of people think being a jigaboo is the way to go. And in a lot of cases, it is. However, don't expect to stick around long if you do. We all know the song "Cat Daddy" by the Rej3cts. Name another song by them. Exactly. We know the song "Teach Me How to Dougie" by Cali Swag District. How about Nelly's debut album Country Grammar, which sold approximately 9 million copies? I'll give you $5 (just kidding) if you can name at least 5 songs off of there. Exactly. As you can see, it doesn't really pay (long term) to be cliche (hey, that rhymes!). Even Adam Buckley has ranted about this nonsense:


Even the late Baatin of Slum Village addresses this issue in their song 'Tainted' (at 1:21):


Remember, YMCMB and MMG are exceptions, not the rules. This leads me into another point....

4) Radio matters.

A lot of people complain about how music executives use the radio to dumb down Rap fans. And for a long time, that was the case. But it isn't like that now. Let Adam Buckley again explain everything:


So, yeah, that's pretty much the reason why no one should care about the radio. Moving on!

5) Sales of singles matter more than anything else.

Hey, but with all the ruckus and whatnot, the record labels sure are making a ton of money off of hit singles. They must be raking in loads of money that way! Who needs people to buy whole albums anymore?

They do, of course.

You see, making the Rap industry single-driven instead of album-driven is one of the most asinine business decisions you could make. Why? Lets use simple math to solve this. Say, one rapper sells 4 million singles. A single costs about $2 each. That would make $8 million in profit. But, say, another rapper sells 1 million albums. Lets say they cost $15 each. That would add up to $15 million in profit. You see where I'm going with this? The second rapper just made 87.5% more profit, despite selling 75% less units. So all the over-promoting of the "hot new single" is really causing them to lose profit, rather than gain it.

Something else that should be noted is the fact that 'Midnight Marauders', 'Wu-Tang Forever', 'Illmatic', 'The Low End Theory', 'The Great Adventures of Slick Rick', 'Stillmatic', 'Enter the Wu: 36 Chambers', 'Aquemini', 'Beats, Rhymes, and Life', 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back', 'Fear of a Black Planet', 'Paid in Full', 'Reasonable Doubt', 'Straight Outta Compton', 'The W' 'Amerikkka's Most Wanted', 'Death Certificate', 'Eazy-Duz-It', and 'The Don Killuminati: the Seven Day Theory' all went platinum/multi-platinum, yet none of them had any Top-40 hits. 

And you wonder why some people don't care about radio hits.  
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Things To Ponder

Which came first, the color orange or the fruit?

Why, in horror movies, do the people who are running from the threat inside a house go up the stairs instead of out the door?

Do dentists go to other dentists for their appointments?

Why do we put round sandwich meat on square bread?

Why is it called a building if its already built?

If a comedian is on stage telling jokes while sitting in a chair, is it still considered stand-up?

Do bald chefs have to wear hairnets?

If you steal a cooking pot from a guy named Jack, would you call it the jackpot?

Can you cry underwater?

Why is there braille on drive-up ATM's?

Why do you bend over when you "throw up"?

Would you need a silencer to shoot a mime?

Why do you get charged a fee for having "insufficient funds"?

If a normal person takes a difficult class, could you call them "mentally challenged"?

How would/did the ancient Egyptians cuss somebody out in hieroglyphics?