Saturday, January 29, 2011

Welcome To The Butcher Shop: An Interview With Kool G Rap

Popularity is not always an accurate way to gauge the impact an artist has had.  The record buying public sometimes overlooks an extraordinary talent because they are neither flamboyant nor easily accessible.  Often times such unsung heroes are revered among their peers.  They inspire them, and in some cases are mimicked by them outright.  While such reverence is not a substitute for monetary success, it usually denotes an artist who is clearly one of the best at his craft.  In hip-hop, such artists are regarded as a “rapper’s rapper.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Brothers Gonna Work It Out: An Interview With Black Cinema Expert David Walker (Part 2)

In part two of "Brothers Gonna Work it Out" (You can read part one by clicking here), Black Cinema expert David Walker talks about the experience of writing the hilarious faux trailer “Blackstar Warrior.”  He also talks about the trials and tribulations of making and marketing of his new film “My Dinner With A.J.,” as well as his upcoming novel.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Animated Series Preview: The First Official Image From The Brand New "Thundercats" Series!

Warner Brothers has just released the first official image from its brand new Thundercats cartoon (shown above). Their new visages offer some perspective as to the direction this series might be taking.  Panthro and Lion-O have received the most extensive makeovers.  The former looks more like a panther/ape hybrid than a feline humanoid.  His frankly huge looking nunchaku resemble two thirds of a three-section staff.  His gargantuan size (in comparison to the other three) makes him look more like hired security for the other Thundercats than a teammate.  Add scars and male pattern baldness to the mix and you've got a Panthro that looks far more fearsome and battle weathered than the original. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brothers Gonna Work It Out: An Interview With Black Cinema Expert David Walker Part 1

Being charged with cataloging the history of a given art form is no easy task, especially when information regarding that art form isn’t readily available.  Such endeavors are usually labors of love, partaken by individuals with a real enthusiasm for their field of study.  Though thankless, the task does place one in an invaluable position.  He will be seen by his peers as an authority.  It will be his job to debunk myths, and to bestow credit on deserving parties.  Having access to such a vast catalog of knowledge can also be key to unlocking one’s own wellspring of talent.  Even historians have abilities beyond cataloging the history of what others have done.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Movie Review: 13

Vince (Sam Riley) stumbles onto what appears to be an opportunity to get his family out of financial debt. In order to capitalize on it, he assumes the identity of a dead man. As a result, he becomes a contestant in the most harrowing game imaginable. The other contestants seem equally bemused. Among them are cow poke Jesse James Jefferson (Mickey Rourke) and the mentally disturbed Ronald Lynn (Sam Winstone).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Paid In Full: An Interview With Dan Charnas, Author of "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop" (Part 2)

In part two of this amazing interview (click here to read part 1 if you haven’t already), Dan Charnas elaborates further on how the rise of hip-hop culture has impacted race relations in America.  He also offers some insight into the enigma that is Rick Rubin, as well as what events lead to mainstreaming of west coast gangsta rap.  Read on to find out why everything you thought you knew about the ascension of hip-hop was wrong…

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Red Band Trailer Review: The Mechanic

Jason Statham has always been kind of perplexing for me as a movie star.  On the surface, he is everything I like in an action hero.  He’s got great charisma and physicality, and he’s not half bad as an actor.  Yet he’s never done a movie that I’ve been an unabashed fan of (though I did enjoy both Crank movies).  Perhaps that’s because of the self-aware tone exhibited by The Transporter films.  It probably also has to do with something that a friend pointed out to me a few days ago.  Fans have become irreversibly jaded, to the point where we can no longer recognize anything but the highest of quality.  Something simply being “good” is no longer good enough.  It has to look and feel brand new, fresh off the showroom floor.  In a world where there are no new stories to tell, that kind of thinking can be problematic.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Paid In Full: An Interview With Dan Charnas, Author of "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop" (Part 1)

The one thing any true hip-hop head craves is an insider’s perspective.  Even in today’s apathetic climate, rap fans are quite given to swallowing misguided rumors wholesale and regurgitating them to each other them as indisputable fact.  This creates an impenetrable subterfuge that not only makes it hard to see the music industry for what it is, but allows falsehoods regarding hip-hops short history to persist throughout the years.  Hip-Hop is as viable an art form as anything else birthed in the 20th century and deserves to be treated as such from a journalistic stand point.   The often shoddy journalism offered by otherwise respectable hip-hop institutions must eventually give way to something more fact based and scholarly.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pop Culture Obsessions: The Ice Cold Words Of Iceberg Slim

Iceberg Slim In All Of His Pimpish Glory

Back in 1998 I picked up Pimp: The Story Of My Life at the behest of a humorous article in The Source magazine listing books that were essential for anyone embarking on a criminal career.  I had heard about Pimp for years, but had never read it.  Unlike many other guys I knew, my fascination with the pimp game was casual at best.  I always found drug dealers, mobsters and gang-bangers much more intriguing than pimps.  For me they had always remained clownish figures of fun.  Finally, I decided to educate myself.  I bought a copy of Pimp and read from cover to cover.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book Review: Immerse Yourself In "The Art Of Drew Struzan"

By Scott Tre

One of my earliest memories is when my parents took me to see Flash Gordon.  I was only three, so most of the trip is pretty foggy save for a few things that really stood out.  One of those things  was the souvenirs stand. I remember rows of magazines adorning a wall behind a cashier.  Each one was a merchandising tie-in for the films playing at the theater.  Each had the poster art from the film as its cover image.  My mother bought me the one for Flash Gordon, which came in pretty handy since I was too scared to watch anything that transpired on screen.  I don’t remember the actual contents of that Flash Gordon magazine, but I still vaguely recall the poster art.  To this day, the movie poster is a vital part of the movie going experience for me.