hip hop muse

hip hop don’t stop. whatever i give you, it will be heavily seasoned with hip hop flavor like your grandma’s secret fried chicken recipe. this is the life of a b-girl. street fab, urban sophisticate. ghetto socialite. all the way real. are you down?

WALE, BLU & EXILE THIS THURSDAY 1/29 @ KEY CLUB January 27, 2009

Filed under: concerts,events,now that's hip hop — hiphopmuse @ 10:34 pm

I’m going to make it my business to check this show out, I’m sure it will be dope. Word is there’s going to be a live go-go band! I’m digging the DMV flavor coming to the west coast. Wale is definitely on my radar. “The Mixtape About Nothing” is hot fiyah!


Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiphopmuse @ 9:31 pm

Today we observe the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s memory takes on a special meaning this year in light of tomorrow’s inauguration of President Obama.  Prez Obama is what Dr. King could have been had he not been taken so soon. Dr. King’s dream is realized!

President Obama has commemorated this day as a day of service. Even if “the man” didn’t let you off work, take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of the front man for the Civil Rights Movement. If it wasn’t for Dr. King we could still be living in a segregated world.  Do a good deed, even if its as small and helping an elderly person with their bags.  The universe will repay you.



Is DC the next hotspot? January 18, 2009

Filed under: events,hollywood ish — hiphopmuse @ 8:15 pm

The net is abuzz with up to the minute highlights of the doings of celebrities hitting DC for President Obama’s inauguration. Jay Z and Beyonce spotted at Pentagon City mall! Parties, concerts, celebrity sightings abound in DC this weekend. It’s like Howard Homecoming weekend times 100. There’s a NY Times article pondering the question of whether DC is stealing NY’s shine. With the 2009 inauguration of President Obama, and the hoopla surrounding it, is Washington DC the next “it” place to be?

If so, that’s cool with me. I for one love DC. For me, it’s been a hotspot.  It’s a very charming, regal place with lots of history and a strong culture. I mean, it’s our nation’s capital. It’s where our federal government happens. Politics rule the city. And with the government taking over the financial markets, it’s where the money is now.

DC has a flavor like no other. It’s Chocolate City, a black mecca. DC probably has the highest population of black professionals in its borders, running neck in neck with Atlanta. The swag of it’s people, from the ‘bamas to the cuties in the Nike Boots, to the go-go music, its hot.

DC is getting it’s shine, but it will never replace New York or Los Angeles. It’s impossible. Of course, I’m biased, as Los Angeles is my hometown. Each of these places has qualities that makes them unique. DC can’t do lowriders on Sundays, be Hollywood or be the birthplace of hip hop and inhabit the Statue of Liberty. DC can only do DC. There’s enough room for all us to have our shine.  So don’t worry New Yorkers and Angelenos. We’re each holding it down, respectively.


“Notorious” reviewed January 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiphopmuse @ 11:02 pm

“Notorious” incites much nostalgia. For what was, and what could have been. It’s usually fruitless to focus on what could have been, but when I walked out of the theater from seeing “Notorious”, I found myself fixated on what things would be like if Biggie was still with us. Would he have live up to his greatness? Would he have faded into obscurity? Would have gone the rapper/CEO route? How would he have fared in the evolution of hip hop post 90s? We’ll never know.

Jamal Woolard was a convincing Christopher Wallace, though my friend and I agreed that Guerilla Black or even Rick Ross would have been even more convincing. Woolard captured the teddy bear/big pimp quality that Biggie embodied. Naturi Naughton did well as Lil Kim in my opinion, she took on that Queen Bee bravado pretty well. Antonique Smith was dead on as Faith Evans; she looked like her, and her performance was solid. Angela Bassett is def one of the G.O.A.T. actresses, though her Jamaican accent kept going in and out as she portrayed Mrs. Wallace.

Derek Luke killed it as Diddy. He had the Puffy swagger down to a T, as evidenced every time he did the Puffy dance (or as my homeboy calls it, the “Diddy bop”). He did a perfect job adopting that energy and braggadocio that we love Diddy for. Though no one can do Diddy like Diddy. Anthony Mackie performed well as Tupac, but I would have liked to have seen an actual rapper play Pac rather than a trained actor.

That’s something that was missing for me in this movie, the rappers. Critics blast rappers for acting, but this movie is about hip hop, so rappers with decent acting skills should be playing rappers. Of all the Tupac wannabes out there – Ja Rule immediately comes to mind – the role would have been better suited for someone who has practice in adopting Pac’s style.

The movie seemed kind of rushed, like a Cliff Notes version of Biggie Smalls. It isn’t feasible to expect a person’s entire life story to be played out on screen, but it would have been better to see it go more in depth. I wanted to see more of a character study than an brief overview of the life of Biggie Smalls.

Though the movie only skimmed the surface, it was great to see Biggie’s life story played out on screen. The evolution of a boy to a man played out in the streets and the rap industry. Ironically both the streets and the rap game have a propensity to eviscerate people who get entangled in their clutches, whether by their own demise or someone else’s hands. There are some who make it out, but many more get caught up in the game. Biggie was a tragic victim of “the life” in both the streets and the rap game. Jay Z’s “Allure” sums it up when he says, “even James Dean <Biggie Smalls> couldn’t escape the allure/dying young and leaving a good looking corpse.”

We can’t change the world until we change ourselves. – Puffy in “Notorious”


Inaugural Ball Gowns January 12, 2009

Filed under: events,ghetto fashionista,hollywood ish — hiphopmuse @ 10:05 pm

If I had it my way, I would be attending one of those fabulous inaugural balls that will be held in Washington DC next week. Alas, I’m hood rich (read: broke) so I’ll be at home reading the highlights on theybf.com. It’s ok, a chick can’t win them all.

If by some stroke of luck I came up on an opportunity to attend an inauguration ball, what would I wear? As my imagination wandered, I sauntered over to edressme.com for some picks.

deep violet halter dress

deep violet halter dress

This dress is classy and sophisticated, with a touch of sass around the neckline. The color is subtle, but it stands out. The color and detail of the dress does a lot of the work, so simple hair and accessories would complete this look. Add a pretty bracelet and earrings, and you’re good to go.

silver sequin gown

silver sequin gown

Bling bling! Every time I come around ya city…now you know I’m obsessed with most things shiny, and this one here really does it for me. The product description on edressme.com says this is a prom dress, but if you can fit it, you can wear it. Don’t quote me on that statement in 20 years, however.

charcoal grey gown

charcoal grey gown

This dress speaks to me. “I am confident, chic, and I know you see me,” it says. This dress would look hot with a messy updo and dramatic makeup. Add in bold accessories and you’re ova, honey.

gold strapless gown

gold strapless gown

This is the Beyonce dress. I can imagine her in this one. Maybe because it looks pretty similar to her Golden Globe dress. This dress is overtly sexy, so you’ll catch the eye of that cute alderman over at the bar. What up, boo.

To all those who have the opportunity to make to inauguration, biggups to you. Please takes lots of pictures for those of us who can’t make it. I’ll be near my laptop with a glass of wine waiting for you to upload them.



Lessons in Hip Hop: Track Samples January 8, 2009

Filed under: now that's hip hop,remixes,throwback moments — hiphopmuse @ 9:27 pm

You. Must. Learn.

Today I got a lesson in hip hop, musically speaking. When I got home today I found myself yearning to hear Usher’s “Throwback” from Confessions. That was the bomb album by Usher right? Anyway, I love that song, and I was curious about the sample used in the track.

So I googled “usher throwback sample” and the #1 result was a link to a blog post listing a whole bunch of hip hop tracks and the samples they come from. It was like finding gold! Even better, it included an mp3 mix of the samples, put together by ?uestlove.

Click here to see the list. Click the title of the post to pull up the mp3, and enjoy.

I learned something today, because I was not aware of some of those originals. The ones that really killed the game include Willie Mitchell – “Grovin'” = GZA – “Liquid Swords,” Billy Cobham – “Heather” (Wounded Bird)  = Souls of Mischief – “93 Till Infinity,” Samuel Johnson – “My Music”  = Jadakiss – “We’re Gonna Make It,” and David McCallum – “The Edge”  = Dr Dre – “Next Episode.” The entire list is utterly amazing. I never knew some of these artists existed, but their samples laid the foundation for tracks that go down in hip hop history.

You don’t really know music if you aren’t aware of what you’re enjoying came from. How can you make a determination of what’s current unless you know your history? It’s beautiful to see how soul music gave birth to hip hop. And while critics bash the use of samples in hip hop, samples bridge the gap. When executed well, it’s powerful and brings the soul to hip hop.

By the way, the sample used in the Usher track is Dionne Warwick, “You’re Gonna Need Me.”



P.S. I cannot get over the Liquid Swords sample. Ill!


Welcome Back to the 90s January 6, 2009

Filed under: ghetto fashionista,throwback moments — hiphopmuse @ 9:04 pm

The 90s are back in full swing. Plaid shirts are trendy again, along with leggings. 90210 is back on television, and we have a Democratic president after 8 hellish years of Bush. All we’re missing is TLC, Nirvana, and Melrose Place, or it would really feel like1993 again.

While it’s cool to watch history repeat itself, I’m kind of concerned about some of the 90s inspired trends that have become popular again. Let’s examine some of these blasts from the past.


vivienne westwood jelly sandals

Jellies were all the rage back in the day…when I was in the 8th grade. It doesn’t makes sense for a grown woman to wear shoes that have the possibility of melting if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, which is a reality of life if you live in Southern Cali or another warm climate. Also, these shoes remind me of sandals that little girls wear. Adult women should shy away from these, lest they run the risk of looking like they belong on the schoolyard. Rocking jellies = not getting your grown woman on.

Shiny, High-Waist Leggings

megan good on somebody's red carpet

Shiny, high-waist leggings. Read that again, out loud to yourself. Does that sound ok? Or does it sound like a LOT of trends manifesting in one item? High-waist pants look good on a very small percentage of the population, while the rest who dare to try this trend look like they’re wearing mom jeans.

There was a period of about 3 or 4 years in the 90s where it was trendy to wear shiny material. Blame Puffy (he wasn’t Diddy yet, back then). Combined with shiny material that’s clinging to your body for dear life, the results can be disastrous. Camel toe, anyone? Eek!

Baggy Jeans

free people boyfriend jeans

free people boyfriend jeans

I will be the first to admit that I rocked baggy jeans on the regular. With a plaid shirt. And a baby tee or tank top underneath. And I thought I was fly. I had TLC, Aaliyah, and SWV to look up to. Back then the b-girls were kind of grungy, so we also channeled that Nirvana, No Doubt style.

I can appreciate the baggy look , because sometimes it’s cool to be comfy and chill. Some days you don’t want to stuff yourself into a pair of skinny jeans, and let’s face it, sometimes you may not feel straitlaced enough to wear the  neat boot-cut or straight-leg look. Sometimes you might feel slacker-chic.

What are some trends from the 90s that you love or hate to see come back?