Results for T.I.

interviews

Mark Anthony Neal and Joan Morgan

Next Jim and Greg welcome Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University and author of New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity, and Joan Morgan, a writer and critic who recently left her post as Executive Editor of Essence Magazine. Joan and Mark have been debating the merits and demerits of hip hop since they grew up as friends and neighbors in "Boogie Down Bronx." And Joan was one of the first music critics to examine the dichotomy of hip hop fandom and feminism in her 1990 Village Voice review of Ice Cube's first classic album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. Greg asks Joan what she makes of misogyny in modern hip hop. She explains that it was always there, but the level of it has changed. That concept of women has consumed commercial rap music, so listeners don‘t hear a lot of balance in perspective and tone. She also explains that something like the Ice Cube album is actually easier to wrestle with because it’s a brilliant album. Joan and Mark explain that labels are as complicit as artists in perpetuating a certain level of misogyny since they are the ones actually limiting the range of what you hear in hip hop.

Greg wonders if perhaps the consumer has already begun to speak out. Last year's top hip hop act, T.I., sold 1.7 million copies of his album King. Those aren‘t paltry figures to be sure, but they are definitely much smaller than what we’ve seen from star rappers in years past. Mark sees less revenue and less investment in major-label hip hop as a good thing; it's an opportunity for fresher sounds to come into the marketplace. Jim likens the trend to the development of indie rock in the '80s. That market was also glutted with big name acts like Poison and Mötley Crüe, leaving music fans to seek out underground rock from bands like Hüsker Dü and The Minutemen. Perhaps next we'll enter into an era of indie hip hop.

When asked about the effectiveness of banning certain words in hip hop music, Joan first expresses disappointment in what came out of Simmons and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network's meetings. Without doubting Simmons‘ sincerity, she calls the resulting call to action anemic at best and disingenuous at worst. Mark also grates against people, especially members of the“old guard,”making proclamations about culture or language. This kind of criticism is compounded by the fact that critics of rap music often don’t understand aesthetics. Mark's specific example is the hit hip hop single "In Da Club." People that take issue with the shallow nature of 50 Cent's lyrics may be failing to hear what makes a song like that so popular — the production and the beats. Mark furthers that rulings against specific words don't take into consideration that some rappers can make really complex, compelling statements using racial or sexist epithets. Joan adds that you can also say some really sexist, racist and homophobic things without using any“bad words”at all.

Go to episode 82

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang, author of Can‘t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, joins Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Jeff, who co-founded the Quannum Label in San Francisco, was on the show previously when his book first came out, and he and our hosts engaged in a discussion of hip-hop's history. Now that Jeff's book has come out on paperback, Jim and Greg welcome him back to the show to discuss where hip-hop is today and where it is going. In order to get a sense of hip-hop's diverse makeup, the three music journalists decide to embark on a geographical tour of the genre, beginning with Chicago and working their way through the United States, and even the U.K.

Go to episode 15
reviews
T.I. vs. T.I.P. (Instrumental)T.I. vs. T.I.P. available on iTunes

T.I. T.I. vs. T.I.P.

One of these new releases that is sure to be a big summer hit is T.I. vs. T.I.P. Rapper T.I., born Clifford Harris, was the top selling hip hop artist of 2006, so you're sure to hear some of his new singles on the radio. But, the question is whether or not the album is worth your money. After displaying his acting chops in ATL and the forthcoming American Gangster, it's not surprising that his new set of songs would take a dramatic turn. T.I. vs. T.I.P. is a concept album that pits the rapper's former thug self against his current mogul self. Jim finds this concept interesting, but a failed opportunity. He welcomes rappers who want to do something different, but T.I. uses the same old hip hop clichés that were discussed on the hip hop panel a few weeks ago. He doesn‘t hear a big difference between T.I.’s two personas, and while he enjoys some of the production elements, he has to give the album a Trash It. Greg agrees that the album is largely a failed experiment, and thinks the idea of alternate identities is a played out one in hip hop. He thinks T.I. is an interesting person and wishes he showed that more. Greg also instructs listeners to Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 84
Paper Trail (Deluxe Version)Paper Trail available on iTunes

T.I. Paper Trail

T.I. went straight to #1 this week with his new record Paper Trail. Unfortunately that's not the only headline the rapper has made. In a few months he's scheduled to serve a year long prison sentence for gun possession. But, as Greg points out, that should‘ve made for great fodder for songwriting - should’ve being the operative word. He sees Paper Trail as a missed opportunity to do something deeper. Rather, this is T.I.'s most commercial record. It's packed with a handful of terrific tracks, but not enough to warrant a Buy It from Greg. Jim agrees; He enjoyed the hook-filled songs, but was left wanting more out of T.I. He recommends the rapper use his time away to channel his more poetic inspiration - Tupac Shakur. Therefore the album gets two Try Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 150
3121

Prince 3121

This week's show begins with a discussion of the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince. The enigmatic musician made news this week when his new album 3121 debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard charts. Hard to believe, but this was Prince's first number-one debut. He has since been dethroned by Atlanta rapper T.I., but it was certainly an impressive comeback for this revolutionary pop icon. Before giving reviews of the album, Jim and Greg discuss other late-career comebacks. In the '90s the Grateful Dead found a new audience with their only Top 40 song, "Touch of Grey." Santana is another artist whose first couple of albums went platinum, but did not find further success until 1999's Supernatural. That album, which paired the guitarist with contemporary pop artists like Rob Thomas, Wyclef Jean and Everlast, sold 15 million copies. Clive Davis tried this same approach with Prince on the album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, but the results were not as, um, fantastic. Other late career successes include Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, and most recently, Mariah Carey. So is 3121 an artistic comeback as well as a commercial one? For Jim, it is not the achievement that Prince's earlier albums were, but still merits a Buy It rating. Greg is not so kind. There are a handful of tracks that are worth sampling, but this critic only suggests you Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 19
news

Music News

Robin Thicke and his producers Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr.(known to the rest of us as T.I.)—the team behind this summer's hit single Blurred Lines —have filed suit against the estate of Marvin Gaye and Bridgeport Music, rights holders to some of Funkadelic's compositions. The reason? Thicke and company claim that no, “Blurred Lines”sounds nothing like Gaye's Got to Give It Up or Funkadelic's Sexy Ways. (Members of the estate of Marvin Gaye, including his son, have claimed otherwise).

Chance the Rapper's mixtape Acid Rap (reviewed favorably on our show) has been selling well. The only problem is that Chance isn‘t the one selling it. Since Chance is lacking in a record deal, he isn’t covered by the protection of the RIAA, it's made the selling of his mixtape by a company called“Mtc”(for $14.83 a pop) all the more complicated. Still, Chance's manager Patrick Corcoran is looking on the bright side“This shows that there's a strong appetite for Chance in the marketplace,”he says. "How often does a bootleg hit a Billboard chart?"

Go to episode 404

Music News

The Michael Jackson posthumous money grab has begun. The new single "This Is It" has been released. It's likely to be the final new piece of music from the King of Pop and coincides with the release of a greatest hits album and movie of the same name. The film captures Jackson's L.A. rehearsals for what was to be his comeback tour. Greg saw This Is It earlier this week and describes it as a first hand glimpse of the artist in his final days. Greg was surprised to see how sharp and detail-oriented Jackson was, especially considering his frail appearance. Jackson lost some of his voice, but still knew how to make great theater, and Greg believes this comeback attempt would've been a success.

Next in the news, another successful rapper is headed for prison. Lil Wayne, the number one selling artist of 2008, pled guilty to gun possession and is expected to be sentenced to a year in prison. He has a new mixtape out this week and will likely continue releasing and promoting music throughout next year-especially if he follows the lead of T.I. That rapper is serving a prison sentence he began in May and is not only still a Billboard Top 200 seller, but recently won a BET award.

Go to episode 205

Music News

Last week the Atlanta Police Dept., in conjunction with the RIAA, raided the Aphilliates Music Group office in Atlanta. The result was the confiscation of 81,000 mixtape CDs and the arrest of DJ Drama. Drama is one of the top mixtape DJs working today, having created pre-release buzz for rappers like T.I., Young Jeezy and Lil' Wayne. 50 Cent, Lupe Fiasco and The Clipse can also credit mixtape CDs with laying the foundation for their careers, and many of the best hip hop tracks released each year are put out by these underground DJs and not by the major labels. The question is why some members of the record industry are now treating this useful form of publicity as contraband. Jim and Greg invite hip hop historian and journalist Jeff Chang to join them in a discussion of the role of mixtapes in hip hop and the effects of this recent raid on the rap industry.

Go to episode 61

Music News

First up is the news that one of music's most successful major label artists is going indie. Jay-Z gave notice to Def Jam, the label for which he formerly served as president. He plans on being a“a completely independent artist.”But, given his 360 deal with Live Nation, Jim and Greg aren't sure this statement carries much weight.

In other hip hop news, rapper T.I. has headed off to jail this week. He‘ll be serving a one year and one day sentence on a weapon charge. While this is not the first time an esteemed musician has served prison time, it is unique that both T.I.’s albums and singles are thriving on the Billboard charts. So while the "King of the South" takes a time out, his career moves on full steam ahead.

After years of singing about darkness and pain, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is showing his softer side. He has helped a 27-year-old fan raise more than $800,000 for a life-saving heart transplant. By asking fans to pay $350 for pre-show access and $1000 for dinner with the band, he has been successfully helping Eric de la Cruz to reach his goal. In one day alone, Reznor took in $250,000, proving he really is the master of web marketing and distribution.

Music fans were sad to learn of the death of Jay Bennett this week. The multi-instrumentalist and former Wilco member died at the age of 45. While the cause of death is not known, what is known is Bennett's great talent. Many people take their image of him from the Wilco film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, but Jim and Greg both believe Bennett will be sorely missed and stress the positive effect he had on the band's music. In honor of Jay Bennett, they play "Pieholden Suite," from Wilco's 1999 album Summerteeth.

Go to episode 183

Music News

One of the highest profile court cases in the music industry has been going on for nearly a year and half, and finally we have a verdict. A federal jury in Los Angeles on deemed that Robin Thicke, TI and Pharrell Williams's 2013 hit "Blurred Lines" was indeed similar enough to Marvin Gaye 1977 song "Got To Give It Up" to award the Gaye estate $7.3 million. Greg notes that while it's a huge win for the Gaye estate and one that will impact future copyright decisions, there will surely be an appeal. Howard King, Thicke's attorney said, "We owe it to songwriters around the world to make sure this verdict doesn't stand."

Pioneering documentarian Albert Maysles died on March 6th. Maysles, and his brother David, made a huge contribution to the film world with their cinema verite works like Grey Gardens and 1964's What's Happening! The Beatles in the USA. But for music fans like Jim and Greg, Maysles made his biggest impact with the 1970 rock doc Gimme Shelter, which showed the Rolling Stones during their 1969 US tour and the tragic death during their concert at the Altamont speedway. Maysles was 88.

Go to episode 485

Music News

These days it's not unusual for pop stars to simultaneously be topping the charts and filling the court dockets (T.I., Lil Wayne). But it is unusual for a commercial, family-friendly star to have such infamy. Singer/songwriter Bruno Mars has the #1 song in the country, "Grenade," and he's been all over mainstream TV this year with appearances on The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, Ellen and Glee. Now he's pleading guilty to cocaine possession charges, so Jim and Greg are interested to see if this affects his popularity. Our guess? It won't.

After Wilco's first label, Reprise, refused to put out their critically acclaimed 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, many people thought they should abandon the major label system. Now, almost a decade later, they're doing it. Wilco is leaving the Warner subsidiaries to form dBpm Records. It will be run by the band's manager, with distribution provided by ANTI-.

Oscar-winning composer John Barry died last week at age 77. The Guardian claims he's as "pop as the Beatles," and Jim and Greg agree. It's hard to imagine the '60s without Barry's brassy, melodic orchestrations. He was not only the man behind the iconic Bond music, but his compositions were critical to many other films. So to honor Barry, Jim and Greg play the theme to Midnight Cowboy.

Go to episode 271

Music News

grateful_dead Jerry Garcia may be dead, but we're sure he'd also be grateful for huge outcry of interest from Grateful Dead fans for a series of reunion tribute shows in Chicago this summer. According to Greg's reporting for the Chicago Tribune nearly a half million fans went online at the same time with the hope of paying almost $200 a ticket. Many of them, of course, got shut out and can only hope to score tickets on the secondary market…that is if they are willing to pay $8,000 to $116,000! The show's promoter promises fans they will try to make the experience accessible via the web, but we recommend loading up your generic mp3 device with Dead tunes and heading over to kick back at your favorite (free) outdoor spot as an alternative idyll.

Jim and Greg next give an update on two ongoing court cases in the music world. First, the former British glam star Gary Glitter has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty of indecently assaulting three girls in the late 1970's. There is no statute of limitations for such offenses in the UK.

And while less unseemly, the copyright case over "Blurred Lines" is also embarrassing for the artists involved. The trial pits Robin Thicke and his co-writers Pharrell Williams and T.I. against the family of Marvin Gaye. They, like many people, hear a lot of similarities to Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up." So far the testimonies have been striking. Thicke admitted he was on drugs during the song's recording and that Pharrell was the primary force behind the song.“The biggest hit of my career was written by somebody else, and I was jealous and wanted credit,”he testified,“I felt it was a little white lie that didn‘t hurt his career but boosted mine.”No wonder so many of these cases don’t make it to a public courtroom.

After decades of being ready to review new releases on a Tuesday, Jim and Greg are preparing for a shift to Friday. But in this digital age, there's not much to prepare. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry announced the decision as a way to eliminate variance from country to country (it's Monday in the UK and Friday in Germany). But in a year when Beyonce and Drake can release music whenever they want with no advance fanfare, this is another example of the music industry being well-behind the times.

Tom Wheeler, commissioner of the FCC delivered a ruling that won in a 3-2 vote to approve strong Net Neutrality rules across the country. The Net Neutrality concept posits that the internet should remain a level playing field; certain companies who control data flow cannot show a preference for one company over another due to self interests. Ars Technica reporter Jon Brodkin, joined us to talk about the historic ruling. He doesn't see a downside to the ruling and says that most of the large telecommunication companies will respond with lawsuits. Brodkin adds that the effect on music fans who enjoy streaming services will be largely positive at this point.

Go to episode 484