Beats, Rhymes and Life: My Review

 The long awaited, much anticipated documentary about the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest opened last night and I had the pleasure of seeing it with a bunch of fans in the East Village. There’s been much drama these past few months over the release that made me nervous that this was going to be a hip-hop group gone Jerry Springer over infighting. And yes, there are the kind of fights that a group that’s been together for 20 years would have, but that’s not what the movie’s about. It’s a love story between us (the fans and other musicians) and them.

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Decoded by Jay-Z

It took hip-hop an entire year to draw breath and now I’m being blinded by the lights of Jay-Z, Beyonce & Kanye. Looking through my music collection, I realize I didn’t buy much hip-hop this year. Then in a bolt of press releases, Kanye and Jay-Z are dropping records and Beyonce has a huge TV special Thanksgiving night. Jay-Z is doing a re-release with a few new tunes and Rolling Stone gave Kanye’s new one five stars. If I still respected RS, I would be impressed. And there’s a Jay-Z book.

Jay-Z’s last album, The Blueprint III, blew my doors off. I hadn’t been the level of a fan with him where I had opinions about entire albums. I liked songs here and there. At work, we tried to focus on a favorite and would just keep bringing up lyrics or hooks or concepts. I heard it everywhere. A party didn’t happen without a spin of Empire State of Mind and when he sang it at the opening Yankee game of the World Series, everyone knew the lyrics. Now that he’s on my radar, I’m finding out all sorts of great info. The guy is a media genius. He’s worth gazillions of dollars and he did it DIY. This book is a glimpse into all that.

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Rest in Peace Tuli Kupferberg

My Godmother hosted a talk show on a Manhattan Public TV station and I was a camera operator. I was in my early 20s and knew nothing of art and the only anarchy I was interested in was the metal in my headphones. Coca Crystal, TV Star introduced me to her scene. I met so many amazing and gifted artists and one of my favorites was “NYC citizen emeritus, a man who was a Beat, a hippie, a Fug, and a goddamned troublemaker, the blessedly strange Tuli Kupferberg“. (a great fan site of the show is here). He would read poetry and they would talk hippie politics while smoking pot and railing against the injustices of the system.

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