Thursday, February 28, 2008

Erykah & Tip Cover Trace

love it mane

Black Love Rocks

just a few of my favorite images this week!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Natty & Scar Talk About Their New Movie with Matt Lauer

I love Natalie Portman and I love Scarlett Johansson plus Henry VIII's story is pretty incredible (yes, I watch The Tudors on Showtime but I've also read and enjoyed historical fiction by Phillippa Gregory and others). I eat up every commercial for The Other Boleyn Girl so I was happy to find this video of the two young actresses talking about making the film. Here she goes:

Oh Natalie! (Yes, I Fux Wit Her)

MSNBC did a pretty cool writeup on Natalie Portman that I thought I would share. Here she goes:

How utterly cool is Natalie Portman?
Six ways ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ star makes herself a cut above the rest

By Alonso Duralde
Film critic

Natalie Portman may lose her noggin in “The Other Boleyn Girl,” but in real life the 26-year-old has a very good head on her shoulders. In fact, Portman’s doing such a bang-up job of handling international celebrity that it makes her underwear-eschewing, publicly-melting-down peers look even more ridiculous when they try to blame their foibles on the media or the paparazzi.

In an age of starlets gone wild — and the pursuit of same by the insatiable scandal-sheet press corps — Portman has risen to the top of her profession with smarts and class. Even if all of her film choices weren’t the greatest — anybody remember “Where the Heart Is”? — she’s hit upon a winning formula for playing the fame game, and her peers would do well to follow her lead.

1. Be smart
OK, granted, that’s kind of like saying “Be pretty” — you’ve either got it, or you don’t. But even actresses who aren’t brainiacs like Portman could benefit from her example by taking a few years off and pursuing a college degree. They don’t have to go to Harvard, like Portman did, but her decision to put aside her film career (except for the demands of the “Star Wars” prequels) to attend higher education certainly didn’t make her any less desirable to casting agents or less accessible to fans.

Lots of starlets can say they did a hot photo spread for Maxim. But how many can claim to have co-written a research paper that was published in a scientific journal? Portman did it — twice.

But being smart isn’t just about having a bachelor’s degree in psychology and speaking several languages. Portman is smart about her image. She traversed two minefields early on — she wasn’t just a child actress, she was a child actress playing sexually precocious roles in “The Professional” and “Beautiful Girls” — but came out unscathed.

How? Well, take a look at her behavior. Does she say moronic things to interviewers? No. Does she embarrass herself publicly? Never. Do you see much of her in the press when she’s not out plugging a movie? Are her personal habits and relationships analyzed and deconstructed throughout the tabloids? Nuh-uh. And that’s because you can avoid that stuff if you want to. But you have to want not to be photographed all the time. And that’s smart.

2. Be politically committed
Although you’d better be smart about this one, too; passion is great, but if you don’t know what you’re talking about when you’ve been given a platform, you’re sunk. Portman’s committed to animal rights and vegetarianism, but rather than pose for a ridiculously inflammatory PETA ad, she’s out there actually doing things.

She has traveled to Rwanda to make a documentary about the endangered silverback gorillas. She has designed and marketed a line of vegan footwear. She discussed microfinance at the Live 8 concert and has given lectures at universities nationwide about ending third world poverty. And it’s conceivable that you didn’t know any of these things, because she didn’t do it for the publicity.

3. Date non-gross guys
Portman’s love life, like her activism, has mostly traveled under the radar. Unlike those twits from “The Hills” and their ilk, she’s not out there swapping spit in front of the nearest photographer. But even when gossip trickles out about whom she might be seeing, the men in her life aren’t from the usual line-up of seedy DJs and hard-partying rockers and Eurotrash shipping heirs.

Portman gets linked to nice, intelligent fellows like Gael Garcia Bernál and Jake Gyllenhaal and fashionista Nathan Bogle and banking heir Nat Rothschild. These are not the sort of men whose bleary-eyed mug shots you’ll be seeing on “Inside Edition” anytime soon.

4. Work hard
They don’t just give out those Harvard diplomas, you know. But Portman’s summer vacations were spent working on “Star Wars” or doing “The Seagull” in Central Park with Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman for director Mike Nichols.

She’s hardly been a slacker since leaving school, balancing her environmental and socio-economic activism with a string of interesting, challenging films like “Closer,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” “Paris je t’aime” and Wong Kar-Wai’s upcoming “My Blueberry Nights.” For the provocative “V for Vendetta,” Portman not only shaved her head for the role but, as part of her promotional tour, she lectured at Columbia University on the subject of terrorism and counter-terrorism.

5. Have a sense of humor about yourself
If you read an interview with Portman, you can tell that she doesn’t comport herself like someone who’s curing cancer. (Although with her academic creds, she’s more likely to accomplish that feat than practically anyone else in show business.) And if you saw her host “Saturday Night Live,” you know she’s ready to goof on herself when it’s called for. Portman brilliantly mocked her good-little-girl image in a digital short where she unleashed a violent, unhinged gangsta rap persona. (“What’cha want, Natalie?” “To drink and fight!” “What’cha need, Natalie?” “To (bleep) all night!”)

6. Have parents that support you — and who stay out of the spotlight
There’s nothing wrong with having a mom-ager, as long as she makes good decisions and isn’t trying to stage-mother her way to fame on your back. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Dina Lohan. And Lynne Spears, too.) Portman’s mother, Shelley Stevens, has served as her agent, and the array of Portman’s film and stage work shows that her mother isn’t frightened by controversy and that she also steers clear of projects that reek of pointless commerciality. Every young actress should have such a guiding influence in her corner.

There’s no telling where Natalie Portman’s career will take her in the future. But based on what we’ve seen so far, she’s going to continue to impress critics and audiences, to defy convention and predictability, and perhaps most importantly, to always wear panties when exiting a limousine.

Duralde is the author of “101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men” (Advocate Books). Find him at

Zoe Kravitz is an American Gangster

New Video from Hov - "I Like"

Still not sure how much "I Like" this video. Zoe is a rockstar though.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

London Ladies Taking Over

Well I promised you I'd post my interview with Estelle and now I have delivered. Here she is:

SOHH Exclusive: Estelle Talks Collabo W/ Kanye West, Reps For The British Girls

In this SOHH exclusive, Estelle, the first artist to emerge on John Legend's new Homeschool Records label, opens up about her new album Shine, the British ladies taking over, and respecting Kanye West's "fresh."

A proud London native, Estelle is happy to celebrate the female British invasion in progress.

"We're taking over, one British at a time!" Estelle remarked. "I think it's just something different that hasn't been seen for awhile and seen before. We're just doing what we do and we're not apologizing for it -at last. Before, I think every other artist wanted to be an American, but now it's like 'Oh no I'm me. I'm British. I smoke fags [cigarettes], I say wanker and I do drink tea."

Transitioning deftly between singing and rapping, Estelle says her album reflects her three-year journey to reach a personal comfort zone; something she sings about in her title track "Shine."

"It's the wrap-up song for the album, the song that tells the whole story in three minutes," she said. "In the chorus I say, 'This is my song, I'm just like you, I've got to fight to stay strong, cause it glitters don't mean that it's gold but I'mma shine while my light's on.'

"The verses are about me being 100% real in every statement," she explained. "Sometimes I feel like crying and breaking down, but I've got to be on, I've got to stay regal, I've got to stay strong. It's that whole me being me moment, just being 100% happy being me and that's what the whole album is about."

Shine features production by Mark Ronson, Swizz Beatz, Wyclef Jean and John Legend as well as a guest appearance from Kanye West on the current single "American Boy."

"I was on my way to a club and I got a call like 'Come through, he's on his way now,'" Estelle said of her experience working with Ye. "I wasn't even dressed properly. That was the worst thing, looking halfway in front of Kanye, because you feel like a tramp. You can be looking semi-decent and you just automatically feel like a tramp because he's that fresh, all the time."

"He came in and gave me like forty bars and then we went to the club, " she continued. "It's inspiring just to watch him work. He's dope, he's really really dope.

Estelle's album Shine is due in stores April 29th via Homeschool/Atlantic Records.


Estelle... I love this girl, loved her before I interviewed her and loved her even more afterward. She is truly a refreshing artist and it's no wonder she's already teamed up with a gang of talented individuals who've also worn the refreshing adjective so well (John Legend, Kanye West,, Wyclef Jean, Mark Ronson)... she's a woman with her head on straight, happy to be who she is and do what she does. I will post my article on her soon but for now enjoy her two videos....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My (Future) Husband Has A Line

The Dandy’s Progress
André Benjamin has already nailed a few careers (musician, actor), but what he’d really like to do is impress Beau Brummell with his new clothing line.

By Ben Williams

André Benjamin (a.k.a. André 3000) likes short shorts. Short basketball shorts, that is, the kind players wore back in the seventies, the kind that end perilously high up the thigh, the kind that Kobe Bryant recently said made him feel “violated” after the Lakers played a half in throwback uniforms. Benjamin pulls off the look with some flair in Semi-Pro, the latest sports-themed comedy to roll off Will Ferrell’s assembly line. He plays the inventor of the alley-oop, and “by the time we started filming, the shorts were like a second skin to me,” he says. “It seems like you can cut through the air a little bit better in them.”

Not only is Benjamin unafraid to show a little skin—“If you’re tough, and you don’t give a shit, the seventies were so cool,” he says—he’s also something of a sports-uniform historian. “If you look at old football pictures,” he says, “the jerseys were hanging, the sleeves were dangling, but now everything is tucked and tailored.”

Such images, drawn from college football circa 1935, inspired his new clothing line, Benjamin Bixby, thanks to a documentary he stumbled across on TV one night. Consisting of 70 pieces, the line is currently self-funded (he’s looking for a partner) and, he hopes, will be at Barneys in the fall. Benjamin is a fashion autodidact: He has taken advice from Anna Wintour (who invited him to a Met gala), he has sketched the clothes himself, he has been to Italian factories and Parisian textile fairs. (And by the way, if you’re missing his primary career: He’s also working on a solo album for the fall.)

That mix of application and instinct carries over to his personal style. It takes a certain serenity to rock the resplendent Bixby outfit he recently wore to a Fashion Week party: wide-brimmed fedora, green waistcoat, buttery brown leather riding boots (“vintage”) that pushed his pants up, jodhpur style. He looked more like a wealthy, eccentric caballero than a thirties jock toff, but then, he wants the line to tell stories. Benjamin Bixby, he says, “is a character who’s kind of like your uncle, or your granddad, and he has a closet full of experiences and clothes, and he’s been around the world.”

It’s tempting to call Benjamin a dandy, but the word doesn’t quite go far enough—he’s more experimental than that. He’s worn pretty much everything during his OutKast career, from garish plaid to polka-dotted bow ties to pimp furs to turbans to leopard hats to military gear to golfwear.

But as he grows older—“In the hip-hop world, 32 is like being an uncle”—he’s returning to his classical roots. Other Benjamin Bixby pieces, like a pink sweater with a giant emblazoned B, continue a long-standing hip-hop fascination with preppy style that includes the nineties appropriation of Tommy Hilfiger and Phat Farm’s urban take on Ralph Lauren. Growing up in Atlanta, Benjamin was part of a “prep crew” at school with noted butler Fonzworth Bentley. “It was all about being a prep. It was about ties and saddle shoes and Guess overalls and stuff like that.”

Tearing pages out of magazines as a kid left Benjamin with a reverence for English style: He fetishizes “timeless” clothes, name-checks old-school brands like Turnbull & Asser, and calls his own style “classic spontaneity” or “rebel gentleman.” What this means, in effect, is doing a little remix. Here, he’s wearing a Façonnable shirt with Polo khakis and a tie from his new line worn as a belt. “There has to be something inventive about it,” he says. “But not so inventive that it’s a turnoff. So that some of the greats, like Beau Brummell or the Duke of Windsor, would nod and say, ‘Well done.’ Those guys killed it.” Now, that’s hip-hop.

words for the day

The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.

Tom Robbins Still Life With Woodpecker

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My New Blog on Twelve24Girl + Karma Productions

Hey Young World

So my old column Player Watch is no more... but I'm not sad to see it go because it has been replaced with a new daily blog 24Hour Grind on

This week I got tips from songwriter/producer duo Karma Productions (aka Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias)...

Here is a link: 24 Hour Grind Karma Productions

Go check it out please and let me know your thoughts leave a comment or two or three.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Get A Clue (for the fashionably late)

SO. This week the Magic Convention hit Vegas. I am not there, but this guy made me feel like I was.

If you do nothing else today, click on that link. You will laugh as you never have before. Then, if you have a shred of humanity, you will feel pity.

Listen, you don't believe me? Here is a sneak peek...

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to All of my Friends and Frenemies and Everyone Else in the World Who is Either Miserable Single or Miserable in a Relationship or Sickeningly and Disgustingly In Love!

While I'm not all that into V-Day since it is a Hallmark holiday after all, I do enjoy any excuse to give gifts...

Here's mine to you! This is a snippet of DJ Parler's Where Is The Love mixtape.

Thanks P!

I gots mad work to do today so I gotta keep this short but whatever your relationship status I want to stress the importance of keeping love in your life -- whether that be love for yourself, your mama, your daddy, your best friend or your dog -- Love is the shit. God is Love after all, right?

okay enough mush, holler at u laters

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mariah Carey Takes It There

I'm really feelin the new Mariah single -- I particularly like the part where she says "Nigga don't even think about putting our sex tape on the internet or I will hunt your ass DOWN!!!!" or something like that...

Peep it out:

Can't wait for the Bret Ratner directed video

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Funny

Thanks for passing this along Maurice!

I gotta say I actually like this group -- as usual Wally put me on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dew It Dew It Dew It Dew It

Nice to see the corporates are still getting creative... For more check here:

An Illa Thrilla

Ya I know I'm super duper late, sorry I had crazy deadlines but yea this was pretty much the only superbowl commercial I was diggin... Nice to see Naomi get loose wit it and step out of the sex kitten/haute diva box...

Monday, February 4, 2008

The New Yorker Talks Up MJB

When I was in grad school The New Yorker managed to work its way into the general conversation at least once an hour. The most literary of literary mags, I learned to appreciate it, even though I seldom read an issue cover to cover. More recently I have been impressed by their music writer Sasha Frere-Jones, who heaped the praises on Lil Wayne earlier this year and has more recently dropped a gem all about Mary J.Blige that I'd like to share... Wanna hear it? Here it goes:

Living Pains
Mary J. Blige’s chronic brilliance.
by Sasha Frere-Jones February 11, 2008

Blige hasn’t become more genteel as a singer. If anything, she’s more blunt, more visceral.

Mary J. Blige’s eighth studio album, “Growing Pains,” defies the conventional wisdom that aging works against female entertainers. Blige has a robust, dark voice, and she moves around melodies in a pleasingly unruly way. She can irrigate a song with pain but is judicious about adding flourishes to her performances—a decision that makes her sound more like a sixties soul singer than like a modern R. & B. star. (Her 1998 live album, “The Tour,” documents how comfortable Blige is with a few flat notes, and how little they matter to the fans who track her life as if it were more important than their own.) Her commercial rival and aesthetic antipode is Mariah Carey, another R. & B. singer who is selling remarkably well deep into her career. Carey, who is the more successful, offers the inhuman power of her voice, a knack for producing hit records, and undying optimism. If Carey is “Good Morning America”—all cheer and reliability—Blige is what comes later: the daytime talk show noisy with recrimination and redemption.

Blige’s songs focus on surviving heart-ache and emerging emboldened. “Growing Pains” is at least her fourth album in a row to be accompanied by a round of interviews that find her vaunting a newfound sense of self and some measure of hard-earned happiness. (In a recent interview with Vibe, she posited that if you’re human “you’re already crazy,” which is a reassuring departure from earlier bromides.) The danger, of course, is that true happiness might be her kryptonite.

Blige grew up in Yonkers, in a housing project known as Slow Bomb, and she has talked of being abused as a child and in romantic relationships. Her 1994 hit “Be Happy” began the narrative of chronic misery. “All I really want is to be happy,” the chorus goes. In 1997, we got “I Can Love You” (not a done deal) and “Not Gon’ Cry,” a gospelly confirmation that crying was, at least for a while, Blige’s default activity. In 1999, with the album “Mary,” the mood began to brighten, though she kept rehanging the backdrop of suffering: “No Happy Holidays,” “The Love I Never Had.” Two years later, “Family Affair,” a breezy song produced by Dr. Dre, asked listeners to put aside “hateration” and get it “perculating,” and Blige experienced her first No. 1 single. (So much for misery.) The ensuing album, “No More Drama,” also included “Where I’ve Been,” the most specific iteration of Blige’s life story to date, even explaining (maybe) the facial scar visible on the cover of “Mary”: “I grew up as a seventies baby, brought up in poverty and sin. . . . At the age of seven years old, a strange thing happened to me. Before I even saw, my life had flashed before me, and I’ve got the mark to show.” No phrase seems to recur more in Blige’s lyrics than “my life”—her second album is titled “My Life,” and even though the first single from “Growing Pains” is called “Just Fine,” the words “my life” pop up nineteen times. At this point, it is clear that “my life” is not a boast but a lamentation.

Before Blige developed the profile of a survivor, she was notable for being one of the first R. & B. singers to be at ease working with m.c.s. In the early nineties, she worked repeatedly with Sean (Puffy) Combs, who acted as her A. & R. representative at Blige’s first label, Uptown Records. One of her earliest hits and best-known appearances is a duet she performed with the Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man in 1995, “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By.” Method Man raps about finding the love of his life, and living “in a fat-ass crib with thousands of kids.” Blige sings, in an uncharacteristically airy and soft way, the chorus of the 1968 hit by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, “You’re All I Need to Get By.” In the background, though, she throws in subtle ad-libs, as if singing along to the radio. Blige’s personality seemed to be a link with hip-hop artists. In a video for the duet with Method Man, Blige is pictured on the roof of an apartment building, sitting against a low wall and bobbing her head, eyes covered by a hat pulled down. She doesn’t look like a melodic singer who’s been brought in to sweeten the record for a wider audience; on her own terms, she seems just as rugged and menacing as Method Man. In fact, she looks like the one you’d need to tread more lightly around.

Which was true, at least for a while. She was given to drunkenness and drug use during her early years, missing interviews and occasionally lashing out physically at members of the press. Around 2001, the idea of Mary Reborn—usually attributed to Blige’s newfound relationship with the producer Kendu Isaacs (her future husband), or with God, or with both—started to circulate. Self-help slogans became the order of the day, mitigated by her idiosyncrasies and a tendency to refer to herself in the third person. (“I have saliva in my mouth like you,” Blige told an interviewer in 2003. “I deal with insecurities like you. Mary doesn’t mind getting ugly.”)

“Growing Pains” has roughly two moods. The first catches Blige in attack mode—sometimes exuberant, sometimes hurt, and, at one point, momentarily angry enough to put her foot through something. The second mood is the less poetic. If the song is about how we’re all works in progress, it’s called “Work in Progress.” If the song is about the nature of love, it’s called “What Love Is,” and the accompanying words often sound like a transcription of Blige thinking out loud: thoughts that she transforms into lyrics simply by singing them—“Let ’em get mad, they gonna hate anyway. Don’t you get that? Doesn’t matter if you’re going on with their plan, they’ll never be happy ’cause they’re not happy with themselves.” Although she writes many of her own lyrics, her gift lies less in the words and more in how fully she absorbs and embodies the words as she sings them. (Her fire bombing of U2’s “One,” included on the 2005 album “The Breakthrough,” makes me wish for an entire album of cover versions, like the two we’ve already had from Cat Power, who has cited Blige as an inspiration.) Lines that would sound banal from most singers sound urgent and feel immediate, as if Mary were leaving you an especially long voice-mail message—one that she might not even remember the next day. That’s why Blige’s fans feel exceptionally proprietary about her: self-consciousness is absent from even her most wound-up performances. Blige has no truck with artifice; many of her recordings sound like single takes, where she simply lets go and forgets what she’s doing. Of her 2002 performance at the Grammys, where she vanquished her demons in a gold lamé jacket and pants, stomping (and, at one point, squatting) her way through a rendition of “No More Drama,” she said, “It may have looked like I was there, but I wasn’t. . . . I was, like, ‘Who is that?’ ”

Click Here to Continue Reading

We Are the World: Obama Style

Ahhh that was beautiful...I shed a tear.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


while the song is not new (been bumpin it since A-Trak sent me the Drive Slow Mixtape in '05) the video is simplicity at its finest.I fux wit it.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Cuz Imma Flirt!

My old neighbor Jozen says guys don't like being teased. He even wrote a lil essay about it here.

Alls I gotsta say is "Is it REALLY that serious???"