Unforgettable

Music, Videos, Youth

Yo! This French Montana and Swae Lee (from Rae Sremmurd) shit is my new summer anthem, I can’t stop listening to it. I was looking for a way to post the stream on here, and came across this video of kids in Uganda dancing to it that I had to share. So awesome, and this song is fire—rewind selecta!!!!

*Update*

Here’s the official music video, featuring the kids from the video above…

The Tanning Interview with Nigel Sylvester

Interviews, Published Material, Sports, Youth

For my latest interview with Steve Stoute’s site The Tanning of America, I had the opportunity to talk to BMX pro Nigel Sylvester. Check the intro, a video of him biking through NYC (he’s from Jamaica, Queens), and the link to the interview below…

African-American professional BMX bike rider Nigel Sylvester is one of the premiere sensations in his rapidly growing sport. A native of Jamaica, Queens, Nigel first got put on to the pro world of BMX at age 12 while watching the X Games on television. He immediately went outside, grabbed his bike, and tried to mimic every trick he had just seen. Since then, his number one passion in life has been riding BMX bikes and embodying the culture that goes along with it. After crafting his style on the streets of New York City, he was noticed by legendary BMX rider Dave Mirra, who gave him his first sponsorship. And now, he is sponsored by enormous brands like Nike 6.0 and Gatorade, and leading the sport of BMX to the next level through his exciting, hip-hop infused videos, filmed worldwide. The catch is that he doesn’t compete anymore. He’s a pro street rider, for real.

In this in-depth interview, Nigel talks about how he handled being called “whiteboy” as a young teenager due to his interest in BMX, his run-ins with the police in New York City parks, his experiences traveling the world as a pro, and his hands on involvement in the production of his BMX videos. Plus, he discusses interracial dating, his love of hip-hop music, how he felt seeing Pharrell ride a BMX bike in N.E.R.D.’s “Provider” music video, and what exactly being a professional BMX bike rider entails for him in 2012.

The Tanning Interview with Nigel Sylvester

Leaders of the New School 2012

Youth

The next generation of really, really dope rappers is starting to emerge. Thank god. I was getting worried, but it makes sense that these guys who were born during the 90’s when shit was so pure and rugged are coming around full circle to make the same type of shit. Their parents probably played Wu-Tang and Nas and shit like that when they were in the crib (literally) and it soaked in to their brains or something. As a parent, I know I try to put my kids on to the ill shit, even though they’re both under two. Fuck it. My older son Luca feels beats. He bops his head hard and all that. It’s hysterical.

The first guy who really caught me by surprise is Wiki, who’s from Uptown and spits like a young Eminem but with an NYC flair. His video for “Wikispeaks” is excellent, and it’s apparent with this one song that he’s one of the most talented young rappers out right now. It’s actually mind-boggling how nice he is. And he’s definitely on some throwback shit. He looks like a kid from the movie Kids, seems to have a preference for beers and blunts, and “Wikispeaks” sounds like something from an old Stretch and Bobbito radio show. Watch the video above, and then check out his EP 1993.

Somehow, as I explored Wiki’s Twitter page and other posts on the net about him, I came across another young rapper from NYC, Brooklyn to be exact, named Joey Bada$$ (picture above). Yo. This dude is sick. He reminds me of my boy Nef from the BX that I went to Maryland with, who I always tell people is the nicest rapper I ever exchanged bars with. Anyway, Joey Bada$$ is down with Smoker’s Club (Smoke DZA, Johnny Shipes is his manager, etc) and is only a Junior in High School, but is super duper dope, with smart, clever lyrics, tons of flow, and a great rap voice. His song “Waves” is my favorite shit out right now hands down. Listen above, and then watch his video for “Survival Tactics” with his boy Capital STEEZ below…

Kid is nice, right? Finally, Cali collective Odd Future, who I admit I was never the hugest fan of, is back at it, especially with the return of Earl Sweatshirt, their most talented and lyrical rapper who had been missing in action for the past year. Check the video for their posse cut “Oldie” led by Tyler, The Creator and featuring their whole crew (off their new album coming soon), including a top notch verse from Earl towards the end. These kids are off the chain (they basically just fuck around at a photo shoot in the video), and the beat is straight boom bap…

Finally, I never really posted A$AP Rocky’s shit, but him and his A$AP crew from Harlem are making a lot of noise, and it would be irresponsible of me not to include them in this post. He covered the last issue of Complex, and has lots of new material starting to surface. My favorite shit of his is easily “Peso” which you’re probably up on by now since they play it on Hot 97 and the video’s been on every blog in the world. He’s not the most amazing rapper, and is more on some next shit than some throwback shit, but for good measure, I’m including him here, because this song/video is hot and he’s for sure one of the leaders of the 2012 new school…

Yes, the next generation of spitters is here, and they’re ready to make their mark. We’ll have to see how far they can take it. Regardless, it’s nice to see that the hip-hop community is embracing that realness again. Enough with the party and bullshit, right? Cheah.

*Related*

Odd Future vs. Joey Bada$$ (MTV Rap Fix Live)

Peter Rosenberg interviews Earl Sweatshirt for the first time since his return

Nardwuar vs. A$AP Rocky (and A$AP crew)

*Update*

Watch this mini-doc Vice Magazine did with Joey Bada$$, where they visit him at school and kick it with his crew too. Dope…

ALSO, MUST READ: Who is Wiki? | Complex

Say What?

Youth

These “Shit ________ Say” videos are all the rage right now, eh? I need a late pass for posting this, but I love “Shit New Yorkers Say,” which pokes fun at pretentious New York City residents. Really well done. Watch it above. And it inspired me to make a “Things BGC Kids Say” video with the middle schoolers I work with, and they did a great job with the whole concept and took some quality jabs at themselves. There’s some budding talent in this crew. Watch below…

Also, love this one “Shit Toddlers Say.” My son Luca is gonna be two in May, so I can relate to a lot of this. He loves watching it too, probably because the little girl in it is super cute. Check it…

Catching up on posts. More coming asap. Hollerrrrrr.

Re-interpreting a Legend

Interviews, My Dudes, Published Material, Youth

As part of Complex’s J Dilla Tribute Week, I interviewed this dude Brian “Raydar” Ellis, a teacher at Berklee School of Music in Boston who leads the first and only J Dilla Ensemble, where students re-interpret music from Dilla’s catalog using live instrumentation. I’ve never been the hugest Dilla fan, but I certainly respect his work and what he contributed to hip-hop, and think it’s really cool that a traditional music institution like Berklee is branching out a bit and offering courses like this to its students. Raydar and I had an interesting discussion about the J Dilla Ensemble and its inception, and what goes on inside the classroom. We also talked about what sets J Dilla apart from other legendary hip-hop producers, and his contributions to A Tribe Called Quest’s catalog. This is a must read for Dilla fans, and people who may not know enough about his greatness. Take a glimpse at the future of music education, hip-hop style!

What Is The J Dilla Ensemble? | Complex

*Bonus*

Check out my boy J Swiss’ Dilla tribute song/video, “Geek Down,” off his This 1 Is 4 Dilla mixtape, which dropped the same day as the feature above. Swiss is doing his thing down at UNC-Chapel Hill, and still reppin’ Dobbs Ferry and the 914 heavy…

RIP J Dilla.