Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hug It Out


Anthony Hamilton - "Change Your World" (mp3)
(purchase here)

By now, I am sure more people have heard the news about Nas signing to Def Jam/with Jay-Z than about Cam throwing blows at Jay-Z. As another writer intimated, Jigga certainly has a PR gift for 'accidentally' leaking a story (to the NY Times, no less) at just the right time.

I have been hesitant to comment on this, simply because I really don't have anything new to add to the discourse already floating around. That said, Oliver touched upon a point that has been disturbing me. "Cynicism in today's hip-hop world is at an all time high," he writes, a sentiment prevalent in non-hip-hop worlds, as well (yes, I uckfs with the jazz cats, too). Perhaps it's an extension of Fukuyama's End of History sentiment, chalk it up to the rise in been-there-done-that-itis that has paralleled the growth of the iPod market (to paraphrase yet another writer, "Now, every kid with a 40g Pod and the complete Hall & Oates b-side collection is a musicologist"), or maybe it's just a natural defense mechanism considering how much (and how quickly) music information comes at us, but -- yes, I'm about to say it -- things just aren't what they used to be...

While most hip hop fans, myself included, know how to appreciate a good verbal spar on an aesthetic level, I am generally loath to egg on a confrontation because the last time I did that I was in, oh, elementary school. Nastack has been doing a lot of coverage getting to the bottom of the Cam-Jigga feud, one of the few comprehensive responses (what a concept, researching a topic). However, the feud also elicits a so-what from myself considering the other issues on my mind, like: why is it that when I google my president's name, the top two headlines are, "Bush defiant on wiretaps, but American voters aren't so sure;" and "US President George W. Bush compared to Oprah Winfrey?" Please, stop ig'nance in '06.

I suppose what bothers me the most is a) I spend too much time reading; and b) there is not a lot of discourse about what should be done. Hence, the reason why I appreciate the Nas-Def Jam news is because it breaks the mold, heads in another direction. No shit, it's humbling to be working for a person you were feuding with, but if we can all crawl back to someone with our tail between our legs (which we have all done at some point), then I think it is possible for two grown businessmen to enter into partnership. Hell, if you want to cry foul about rivals becoming lovers or vice versa, take a look at our president's past relationships. Here is a creative and possibly lucrative solution to Nas' career 'problem.' Nastack made the excellent point that pulling the album budget from the artist's paycheck is hardly productive -- Was I the only one who actually thought $3M per album was not a lot? If Nas is to have a commercial blow-out of a record, I highly doubt he'd be able to do it on the dime. That said, this collaboration presents Def Jam's marketing with an opportunity to challenge themselves (this shouldn't be so hard -- the bar has been set pretty low). I am just not willing to knock this approach so quickly, simply because it deviates from the norm, seems 'gay' or whatever. Sure, it may be flawed, but I won't throw the baby out with the bath water.

On a related note, this is what I'll be watching tonight. Concrete Loop pointed out how NBC has been doing the absolute minimum of promotion in a seeming attempt to intentionally sink Jamie Foxx: Unpredictable, which airs tonight at 8 pm EST on NBC. While I am a little skeptical of a network pumping out so much money on a project to intentionally and slowly scrap it, I concede that the precedent is highly suspect.

Oh, and the Anthony Hamilton song is self-explanatory. Just open yourself up to love, dukes. Or at least hug it out. Bitches.

Anthony Hamilton
[SOLD OUT] (uckf!!!)
Wednesday, January 25
Canal Room, New York NY


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