For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop


I Love Your T-Shirt is a site/blog that supports Artists who are on that DIY (Do It Yourself) grind by reviewing their apparel design(s) and driving traffic to those looking to throw their hat into the fashion industry arena. What I think is awesome about the site other than the fact that it supports small up and coming businesses, it also allows those small independent companies to post products, updates, etc, for FREE. Not many sites/blogs allow such freedom without wanting something in return. If you have a product line head to their site ASAP and talk to Ray.

Here’s the scoop:

Recently, teamed up with Mohawk Valley Trading Company to provide info on a healthy alternative. The Mohawk Valley Trading Company is giving away one Maple Syrup T-Shirt with each order of their 32 oz. glass bottle of maple syrup from 12/16/13 thru 12/23/13 with the “Promo Code 111213”.The t-shirt is a Gildan, G200 6.1 oz. Ultra Cotton® T-Shirt made in 100% preshrunk cotton with a Direct To Garment Printed (DTG) image of The Mohawk Valley Trading Company Maple Syrup label and URL on the back.


Next to honey, maple syrup is the most popular natural sweetener in North America and its production predates European colonization. Early Native American societies in Canada and the northeastern United States were distilling maple tree sap making maple syrup and sugar before those geographic boundaries existed. Maple sugar is made from the controlled crystallization of maple syrup and takes several forms. There is no written record of the first syrup production but several native legends persist. Many tribes celebrated the short maple sap collection season with specific rituals.

The Native Americans collected maple sap from v-shaped notches carved into maple trees. The sap was diverted into birch bark buckets using bark or reeds. It was concentrated by placing hot stones into the buckets or by freezing the sap and removing the ice, which is composed only of water.
Sugar maple sap is preferred for maple syrup production because it has an average sugar content of two percent. Sap from other maple species is usually lower in sugar content, and about twice as much is needed to produce the same amount of finished syrup.
When Europeans reached northeastern America they adapted native techniques to make their own maple syrup. The v-shaped notches were replaced with auger-drilled holes. This practice is less damaging to the trees. Bark buckets were replaced with seamless wooden buckets carved from lumber rounds. The method of sap concentration also changed from passive to active. Large amounts of sap were collected and brought to a single area where it was boiled over fires in round cauldrons until reduced to the desired consistency. ‘Sugar shacks’ were built expressly for the purpose of sap boiling. Draft animals were often used to haul firewood and large containers of sap for sugaring. Maple syrup was an important food additive in early America because imported cane sugar was not yet available.
In the mid-1800’s syrup production changed again. Round cauldrons were replaced by flat pans in order to increase surface area and therefore allow for faster evaporation. Over the next 60 year several variations on this design were patented. Draft animals were replaced by tractors and heating methods expanded to include propane, oil and natural gas as well as wood.
The 1970’s represent another period of major changes in maple syrup production. Plastic tubing running directly from trees to the sugaring location eliminated the need for energy and time intensive sap collection. Reverse osmosis and preheating made syrup production more efficient. Recent advances have been made in sugarbush (maple trees used primarily for syrup production) management, filtration and storage.
There are two well known systems of maple syrup grading in use today. One system is used in Canada (where 80% of the world’s maple syrup is produced) and another system is used in the United States of America. Both systems are based on color and translucence with relate to the flavor of the syrup. Different grades are produced by the same trees over the length of the season.
Since maple syrup recipes usually do not specify any particular grade to use, take into consideration that darker colored syrups will produce dishes that a have a pronounced maple flavor.
The Mohawk Valley Trading Company hours of operations are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST, seven days a week. Reach them at (315)-519-2640 to learn more.

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Since Run DMC’s “Christmas In Hollis,” a holiday rap song has been a rare find. However, this year, Murs steps in and drops a track with some genuine holiday spirit- something quite rare in rap today.

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You can know Kanye, Eminem, Lil Wayne, and yes, even hip-pop’s newest darlings, Mac Miller and Macklemore, but if you don’t know Jimmy Spicer, you don’t know Hip Hop. He was making hit records during the golden era of rap. His “Adventures of Super Rhyme” was early to the game with a 1980 release. In many ways, he was the predecessor to Hip Hop’s greatest storyteller, Slick Rick. Spicer was one of the first artists managed by Russell Simmons’ Rush Management. He was one of the first to be released on the iconic Def Jam Recordings label. He was produced by the great Rick Rubin. Tracks like “The Bubble Bunch” and “Dollar Bill” were mainstays on urban radio during the early 80s. If you were a kid hitting the roller rink or summer carnival rides in the earlier 80s, these were the jams you’d look forward to hearing; and to this day, can be heard on midday urban radio old school mixes. Later in the decade, LL Cool J used Spicer’s raw b-boy anthem, “This Is It” as an opening theme track to set the mood before hitting the stage. You’d be hard-pressed to find a self-proclaimed “Hip Hop head” today who has a clue as to who Jimmy Spicer is. Ironically, he’s never had a full-length album. However, in many ways Spicer helped shape the genre’s early days and is a rapper’s rapper, even if rappers don’t know the lineage of their own influences. Deep props go out to Jimmy Spicer for his contributions to this multi-billion dollar genre’s industry that had such humble beginnings. – I. Vasquetelle As found on YouTube:

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As a kid in the Bronx, I remember asking my step Dad’s step Dad one day how Santa made it into the tenements to deliver toys without a chimney. Clearly, this was never an issue on “The Brady Bunch,” “Eight Is Enough” or for that matter any other TV family’s household that I watched growing up. My step grandfather explained that Santa was able to squeeze through the heating pipes of the building’s furnace. I had plenty of questions after than, but never did pursue an answer. Sharon’s new Christmas song brings back those days, and is much more eloquent in breaking down what I’m sure many kids asked in the projects. -I. Vasquetelle

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Ice Cube needs no introduction, he’s conquered music, film, and most currently television. In this interview, Cube talks about his transformation from gangsta rapper to film star and entertainment mogul. He also sheds insight into his journey within this turbulent industry. As well, he gives advice and shares a valuable lesson learned from his own experiences in the entertainment business. Cube also discusses the plight of the recorded music industry, and the importance of putting a value on music. This candid discussion with music industry magazine, Insomniac, is both intriguing and inspirational, and provides a distinct perspective into the success of this talented entertainment icon.

(Listen to Israel Vasquetelle interview the icon and entertainment mogul about his career in movies, TV, and of course the Hip Hop music industry.)

Related article: Ice Cube discusses his television show.

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