For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop

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american-gangster.pngComing to theaters on November 2nd is American Gangster, a feature film based on the life of 70′s drug kingpin Frank Lucas. In this Ridley Scott directed film, Denzel Washington plays Lucas, Russell Crowe portrays Richie Roberts- the cop that brings Lucas down, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. play Nicky Barnes, another dealer who’s life has been glamorized in many rappers’ lyrics. Speaking of that, Jay Z is releasing an album inspired by the film. He will also said to be working on a related tour.

NY Magazine
has an interesting interview with both Frank Lucas and Nicky Barnes. Frank Lucas, who is portrayed by Denzel Washington states he doesn’t know anything about Hip Hop’s players. His son Frank Lucas, Jr. is a talented, up and coming rapper who has made statements regarding Jay Z’s album which is inspired by the film about the senior Lucas. He feels that Jay Z never visted his father, and doesn’t know his father’s real story. Lucas, Jr. recently finished a track with soul group Blue Magic.

Regarding Nicky Barnes you can read a full review of the recent documentary about his life produced by Damon Dash.

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If you’re following the story of “Grindhouse,” the double feature (“Planet Terror” and “Death Proof”) from Robert Rodriquez and Quentin Tarantino then read this. If not, don’t. I’ve read executive producer Harvey Weinstein thinks this lowbrow movie was too smart for some people. He may be right. I saw it on opening night and enjoyed it very much for the most part. However, half of the theater was empty, and some folks even walked out during the fake trailers. I’m not sure they understood these were fake.

Grindhouse is a parody of bad “B” exploitation films from the ‘70s and ‘80s. In NYC’s Times Square (and I guess elsewhere) they would pair bad action movies and show them as double features for less than the price of regular admission. The movie had a strong buzz among film buffs, and was anticipated to be a top grossing film, but the opening was disappointing. I guess most people didn’t get the concept- that it was bad on purpose.

The Weinstein Company decided to release the films separately on DVD. Tarentino’s flick dropped first, and then the Rodriguez zombie movie. The trailers are gone from the home release. Well, with the exception of the faux trailer for “Machete,” which created so much buzz that rumors had it that they were going to shoot the film. The other fake trailers have not made it on either of the DVD releases. Both DVD releases feature limited bonus material. The Planet Terror DVD features a great extra, the ComiCon (comic book festival) panel featuring Rodriguez, Tarentino, and the female cast of both films. Here you can watch Tarentino declare that he and Rodriguez are great directors. And, he gives advice to new directors such as “make a Resevoir Dogs” as your first movie if you want to be successful. This kind of arrogance would normally angry fans, however, since it’s Tarentino, we don’t take offense.

Overall, Grindhouse is an interesting case study on doing new things (or in this case old things) with film and the marketing of film. There’s a niche for these old, bad, “B” movies. However, most current action movie fans prefer their movies just bad, not pretentiously bad.

Now are the films good or bad (meaning bad)? I think they were mostly good, but could have been better if a few things would have been done. For example, “Death Proof” contained too much banter that went nowhere. This long, pointless dialogue was wrapped around two extremely high-powered car chase scenes. The stunts were awesome, but the endless talking made you forget what you were waiting for. Tarantino could have edited this down to 45 minutes. Or, at the least, in the theaters, they could have put “Death Proof” before the adrenaline packed “Planet Terror.” Speaking of that, “PT” was also a tad longer than it should have been- but it worked.

Overall, the entire experience (theatrically) would have been much more enjoyable at about two hours total, as opposed to over three. On DVD you have the luxury of watching these as you like. My complaint is that they should have released them as a double feature with the faux trailers placed before and between the films, just like in the theater. I could have watched two hours of these types of trailers (look out for Tim Roth’s movie of just that). Regardless, “Grindhouse” as a whole is a winner. One last thing for Rodriguez- shoot “Machete.” -IV

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Here we go! Major artists begin to employ indie tactics to get their music out to the masses. As predicted in my previous article, well-known artists will begin to release their albums using similar business models to that of RadioHead’s recent “pay-what-you-want” offering. In this case fans can purchase or download for free the Reznor /Williams’ collaboration entitled “Niggy Tardust.”

On the site Williams states, “We need no priests to talk to God. No phone to call her. And when you click the link below, I think it fair that you should know that your purchase will make middlemen much poorer…”

I can’t think of an artist who is as eloquent as Saul Williams. This should be an amazing display of non-genre specific, cutting edge music. I’m hoping for some hard-hitting soundscapes maneuvered by Saul’s one-of-a-kind stylistic prose. Let the games commence. Visit the site and get the music. IV

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By Khalid J. Strickland

a.k.a. Dirty Angel

It’s about to get ghetto up in here… 

     After winning the Academy Award for Best Song (“Hard Out Here for a Pimp”) in 2006, hardcore Memphis rap group Three-6 Mafia unlocked the door to commercial success.  DJ Paul and Juicy J, the rappers/producers who make up the Three-6 duo, currently star in a hit MTV reality show called “Adventures in Hollywood”.  Project Pat, the brother of Juicy J and a longtime Three 6 co-defendant, has become one of the show’s most popular “characters” with his outrageous sense of humor and colorful slang.      

     Although new crop of mainstream fans have unearthed him, Project Pat has long paid his dues to the hip-hop nation; Pat has been featured on many classic Three-6 Mafia albums such as “When the Smoke Clears”, “The End” and “Chapter 2: World Domination”.  While staying true to his massive underground following, Pat’s memorable guest appearance on Three 6 Mafia’s runaway hit “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” introduced him to many new listeners.  Not to mention the fact that Project Pat has released four solo albums, one of which (the platinum-selling “Mista Don’t Play” in 2001) spawned his best-known record, “Chickenhead”.  His debut LP, the street-saturated “Ghetty Green”, went gold.      

     Basking in the post-Oscar glow of his Three 6 brethren, Project Pat will release his latest album, “Walkin Bank Roll”, on October 30th.  With Paul and Juicy providing the exceptional, crunk-as-hell beats they’re known for, the album also contains the hit single “Don’t Call Me No Mo”, which has also charted as a top-selling ring tone.      

     Naturally I’ve always liked Project Pat’s music, ‘cause I gravitate to hardcore, gangsta rap.  “Mista Don’t Play” stayed in heavy rotation when my cousin Snake and I cruised up & down I-95, making our rounds to South Carolina and back to NY.  So when I got the opportunity to interview the man who made sick joints like “Ski Mask”, “Cheese & Dope” and “Gorilla Pimp”, I couldn’t wait to make it happen.   

Dirty Angel: What’s “Walkin Bank Roll” going to add to your legacy? 

Project Pat: “Walkin Bank Roll”… that’s the name of the new album with the hit song “Don’t Call Me No Mo, Don’t Text Me No Mo”, the number one ring tone in the United States of America. 

Angel: No doubt.  And what’s this album going to add to your catalog, ‘cause you’ve got a long catalog of hits. 

Pat: As far as what it means to me or how many (units sold)? 

Angel: As far as what it means to you. 

Pat: Man, look, I’mma tell you something (laughs).  You know, down south we just in it for the money (laughs).  If you want me to keep it real with you, we just in it for the loot.  And you know, just something for the people… something to please the people. 

Angel: How did Project Pat become a “Walking Bank Roll”? 

Pat: Man, I’mma tell you something, man.  Just paying my tithes and offerings and staying blessed out here through the man upstairs. 

Angel: Hollywood is so fake; it’s kind of a plastic place.  But you a real n***a.  How do you deal with being out there in Hollywood? How do you keep it so gully (for the slang-impaired… that means “real” or “gutter”) out there? 

Pat: Well, man, there’s one thing… I’m from North Memphis, man.  You know what I’m sayin’? And we down south, we don’t flip no scripts.  Either you get with our program or scram, you know? So, when I go out there to Hollywood, it’s the same way.  You know, the thing about Hollywood, they was looking for urban.  They wanted (an) urban (reality show) on the MTV TV (station).  So that’s what we gave them, we gave them urban, know what I’m sayin’? We gave ‘em urban on the MTV TV.  That’s what we did for them. 

Angel: Three-6 Mafia, ya’all always did your thing, man.  Could you ever see yourself and your crew winning an Oscar award? 

Pat: No, that was a blessing all by itself. 

Angel: You’ve been locked up for some real s**t (His entire rap sheet’s too long to list here, but Pat did 4 years in Federal prison for possession of a firearm while on parole.  That’s po-po’s story).  A lot of rappers, they get locked up and wyle out (translation for the slang-impaired: “act crazy”) for publicity and things of that nature.  What would you say to a fake dude that might be thinking about getting locked up for publicity? Anything you’d say to somebody like that? 

Pat: He’s a fool (laughs).  I don’t know, man.  I’d tell him don’t do it (laughs).  It ain’t even the way to go, man.  The thing is to be out here and be free so you can promote yourself.  It’s about promotion, and you can’t really promote yourself in jail.  I mean, the only way you could bust a move like that… you’d have to be almost there. If you ain’t handling your business out here, man, your business ain’t gonna get handled. 

Angel: So how has being locked affected your career? Do you feel it’s affected the way you write rhymes or anything like that? 

Pat: Getting locked up? Yeah, it just gave me more in-depth (insight) about the Fed game.  ‘Cause you know, I really didn’t know too much about that game.  Like… I knew about it, but… I had been locked up in the state (penitentiary), in the county and all that before, but… I never had did time in no Fed.  Not that I wanted to, ‘cause I promise you I didn’t but… I didn’t really know in-depth about the Feds; like the snitchin’ and all that.  So when I got locked up I was like, ‘Man…’  I’m talking (about) a lot of guys that was supposed to have been those types of (gangster) guys in my neighborhood who was really just a bunch of snitches… bunch of snitchin’ dudes, man.  A lot of these guys out here in these streets ain’t real.  They can’t be ‘cause it’s too much, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s too much out here.  You’re not gonna be sitting up here, man, you doing this (dirt) and shinin’ and all that, then… when them Feds come up there to clip you, and they come up there hard (with) all them thousand years they trying to give you… it’s all about, is you really gonna take the hit? There’s a lot of guys out there that’s real that took that hit, but you got a whole bunch that was phony, that wasn’t trying to take that hit.

Angel: True indeed.  Three-6 Mafia had a lot of members at one point (fan favorites Lord Infamous, Gangsta Boo, Koopsta Knicca, Crunchy Black).  There were a lot of artists in the Hypnotize Minds camp at one point, but you’re pretty much the last man standing from that original bunch.  What separates you from everybody else? 

Pat: Well… a lot of them guys that were with us… We still got guys, we still got Frayser Boy, Lil’ Wyte and we just signed a new guy out of Memphis called Young D.  He got a real hot, strong underground backing in the city and throughout the south.  Lil’ Chrome still with us, he’s out of Memphis.  He’s a young guy that’s with Hypnotize Minds.  All them other guys that was with us, man, they took a gamble; you know what I’m sayin’? They took a gamble on, “I’mma make it on my own… do it on my own”, and when they took that gamble, I mean… you say that’s what you gonna do, (then) that’s what you got to do.  Now, they not making no moves like they thought they was.  I guess at the time, they thought it was the best move.  So they let their next move be their best move, and their next move was really their worst move.  But, I mean… God bless ‘em all, I’m not talking down on them.  I wish them the best in life, period.  You know what I’m sayin’? I mean, hey, they made their choices and I’m making mine.  I’m staying right here.  ‘Cause one thing about this game, I’ll tell you this right here, it’s so shady.  ‘Cause it’s so much crookedness in it that… I’ve seen a lot of guys, like even out of Atlanta… that went through a lot of hell, and still is, with a lot of lil’ different companies and producers and managers and stuff.  Whereas, we being from North Memphis; not just me, but guys from Memphis period; we don’t play like that.  You ain’t puttin’ my song out there like that and you ain’t gonna pay me no money.  We gonna get in green or we gonna get it in blood.  I mean, that’s how we roll down here in Memphis.  I mean, that’s nothing to talk about, but you know me.  To avoid all the foolishness, rather than get caught up in foolishness, I just say well, since my brother Juicy J and DJ Paul and them was doing what they was doing, I said I’mma go on and roll with them.  And I’mma stick with them ‘cause ain’t no sense in me jumping no ships around here.  ‘Cause the people who were jumping ships who started with us… they were just being greedy and thinking they was going to get more money out of a “by theyself”-type of situation.  This rap game is so shady, man, and so many crooks… aw, man.  It’s just like the streets.  So I just thank God I’m in a blessed situation with mines and I’m staying right here.  I’m the type of person that if it ain’t broke why am I gonna try and fix it? I ain’t trying to fix it if it ain’t broke.  I don’t even know why people do that, man.  They leave a good management company.  A lot of times leave their managers ‘cause it’s personal differences.  And the majority of people that was with us, it was on some personal (stuff).  It wasn’t no business; they can lie and try to say Paul and them didn’t pay them and all that… that’s all a lie, man.  They know it’s a lie.  I don’t even know why they say no lies like that, ‘cause that makes them look phony.  And that’s not being real, you know.  And that’s a part of being real in these streets and in this world period.  People always talking ‘bout they real and all that, but if you gonna be real tell the truth.  Be honest with yourself, don’t sit there (saying) “they didn’t pay me”.  They know it’s lies. 

Angel: From what I see, you really don’t do many collaborations with people outside of your crew.  You mainly keep it in your family. 

Pat: Well you know… my thing is this right here, man.  I do collaborations, but what I do is… a lot of people be wanting me on their stuff.  So I get on it and then we’ll get a verse or something from them and we might throw them on somebody else’s album or something.  I don’t have no problems working with anybody.  I work with whoever, whatever, where you from, it don’t make no difference to me.  Sometimes I don’t want to get into all that, I know people be busy.  There’s a few people I tried to get up with but I know they be busy.  I understand how the game is.  So if I got a deadline, if I ask you to do something (and you don’t do it), I don’t trip I just say, “Well maybe he didn’t get around to it”.  I look at the best of the situation, but I got to keep it moving.  There’s a few people that I reach out to that I be diggin’.  I do have my preferences.  I would love to do a song with people that’s into a lot of pop singing or whatever.  I ain’t got a problem with it, but it would have to be kind of street cause… (laughs) A lot of people try to cross over and I ain’t into that.  I mean, if I make a song that cross over, well good.  But the thing it would have to be a gutter song that’s gonna cross over ‘cause see… me personally, I just ain’t gonna get out here and try to make no crossover song ‘cause I ain’t no crossover dude.  I done it before when “Chickenhead” crossed over, but I didn’t make it for that, I just made it.  That’s the best way to do the game, I think.  As long as you doing it like that right there, people will look at it like, “Well, at least he is staying true to his fan base.”  ‘Cause if you try to cross over, a lot of guys do this… they try to cross over.  Then when they miss, they lost their fan base; they’re not getting the crossover fans, now they ain’t got nobody.  A lot of (artists) on BET right now, they tried to bust that move.  They know who they is; I ain’t never gonna point fingers.  But my thing is, I seen the mistakes they made and I said, “Naw, I ain’t gonna do that”.  Uh uh.  (I’d work) with some real street n****s like Jeezy.  I’d have to holla at them.  Some of these guys I just can’t (work with).  You can’t do that, ‘cause man, your affiliations can mess you up. I’ll (work) with Pimp C, UGK or something.  No offense to nobody else, but I’m not fixin’ to just go out and grab this dude with a pop fan base… mix him with me… and I’m talking ‘bout bustin’ pistols and he’s (singing) about love… he talking about his love for girls, and I’m talking ‘bout smacking them across the head and snatching something up out their purse… that ain’t gonna go.  (laughs) N****s gonna be like, “Dang, what was that?” (laughs) They’ll say, “I definitely can’t have him on no hook”.  I’ll be honest with you, I could make something to appeal with that and keep it street at the same time, but when he take it back to his (record label) people his people ain’t gonna want to put it out (laughs).   They ain’t call me for it ‘cause they know better.   

Angel: You’re very selective with the collaborations. 

Pat: You got to be.  I mean, Michael Jackson, I’d like for him to get me on a song ‘cause I think it would be a good look.  But I mean, he’s not gonna do that.  Even if he liked the music the people that’s putting him out are gonna say (in a upper-crusty voice), “That Project Pat… he’s too ghetto.  So we’re not going to do that.”  It would mess his image up.  And I would tell him.  I would ask him, “Do you really want me to get this song ‘cause after this right here there’s no turning back”.  It’s like, when I’m riding up in this car and I got the AK (machine-gun) in the backseat and I got the mask and I’m like, “Man, you sure you want to get in this car ‘cause it ain’t no turning back” (laughs)  Same thing. 

For more information on Project Pat visit and .

For more stories & work by Dirty Angel visit and .

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