Archive for September, 2010

“Aston Martin Music” is scheduled as the next official single for Rick Ross, but that isn’t stopping Rozay from hitting fans with a video for his Teflon Don intro “I’m Not a Star.” This behind the scenes clip courtesy of Spiff TV and www.57thave.com features footage of Cash Money co-CEO Baby and Gunplay of Triple C’s. Nine weeks after dropping, Teflon Don sits at #26 on Billboard’s Top 200 with over 360,000 copies sold. Look out for the “Aston Martin Music” video to drop early in October with Chrisette Michele and a verse from Drake.

After remaining idle since April , WBC welterweight titlist Andre Berto (26-0, 20 KOs) will face Freddy Hernandez (29-1, 20 KOs) on November 27.

Berto had been deadlocked with HBO over the last several months to find an acceptable opponent. Shane Mosley was the preferred opponent, but Mosley balked when Berto demanded a 50-50 split of the purse. The pair was originally signed on to fight in January, but Berto withdrew after losing nine family members in Haiti’s devastating  January earthquake.

With the welterweight divison losing Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Berto is the only name fighter in the division that holds a title. His short list of potential opponents included the aforementioned Hernandez, Jo Jo Dan and Sebastian Lujan.

The 31-year-old, 5’10 Hernandez raised his profile considerably this year with knockout victories over DeMarcus Corley and Mike Anchondo. He’s competed as high as middleweight, but has fought his last four bouts at welterweight.

The fight will take place on HBO’s undercard for Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis.

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This is a decent fight which is right where it belongs on the undercard. Berto’s been a pro for six years and made four defenses of the welterweight title. If he ever wants to make a name for himself, the time is now.

Earlier this month Berto called out Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto as potential next opponents. At this point he needs them more than they need him. Berto’s been treading water career-wise for some time and essentially wasting his prime years fighting overmatched opponents.

Freddy Hernandez isn’t going to do much to dispel that stigma. After this fight, Berto better swallow his pride and push hard for a Mosley or Cotto bout, even if that means moving up to junior middleweight. He’s in desperate need of a big name fight, because as of now he’s become an afterthought when discussing the top guys at 147 and 154.

There’s nothing like a spirited debate. BET must have learned this by observing the immense feedback MTV receives annually for its Hottest MCs in the Game list, and what Vibe got for its Best Rapper Alive tournament. Next month BET will air its own version with a unique show titled “BET’s Top 10 Rappers of the 21st Century.”

The criterion for consideration is that every rapper nominated must not have had their debut album any earlier than 1999. That means normal all-time list stalwarts like Rakim, Jay-Z, Nas, KRS-One, and other legends cannot be selected. The panel included AllHipHop.com co-founder Chuck Creekmur, So So Def founder/producer Jermaine Dupri, Tony Neal of Core DJs, producer Boi 1da, DJ Greg Street, DJ Timbuck2, DJ Vlad and Vibe writer Chloe Hilliard.

The list of nominated artists are 50 Cent, Drake, Eminem, Eve, Fabolous, The Game, Gucci Mane, Jadakiss, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Nelly, Rick Ross, T.I. and Young Jeezy.

The show airs on October 15 at 8PM. Below is the trailer video.

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Even though I normally disagree with the selections, I love these type of shows. It brings the corner, barbershop and message board arguments fans have to the forefront. And it also gives you a better idea of how industry experts view some of your favorite artists.

What I don’t like is that most of the time the debate centers around album sales over quality of work. You can already see that when someone like Lupe Fiasco, who’s released two of the better Hip-Hop LPs this decade (Food & Liquor, The Cool), didn’t even get a nod. But you have guys on the list like Jadakiss and Fabolous, who in my opinion don’t have any standout albums on their resumes.

It’ll be very interesting to watch how this panel makes its decisions. As far as the artists included on this list, my #1 would be Kanye West. Aside from his own catalogue, I give extra points for his production work. On just lyrical ability Eminem would be #1, but Slim Shady shouldn’t even be on the list. Is BET really going to act like his debut album isn’t 1996’s Infinite (which by the way, had some decent tracks)?

Be sure to check this out. I’m positive they’ll be moments where you nod your head in agreement, shake it in disgust, and flat-out laugh at what you hear.

The show debuts Friday October 15 at 8PM ET.

Lateral movement and inside combinations were the focus yesterday (September 28) during Manny Pacquiao’s workout session with trainer Freddie Roach.

In the below videos, Pacquiao works the right jab-straight left hand from mid-range as Roach mimics Antonio Margarito by stalking after him. When in-close, Pacquiao looks to parry Margarito’s long left hook to the body and counter with a straight left. Pacquiao also worked on landing quick hook-uppercut combinations. Instead of making Miguel Cotto’s mistake of moving straight back after landing, Roach had Pacquiao constantly turn laterally to prevent the slower Margarito from getting set to punch with power.

In the second clip, Pacquiao and Roach worked on continuing the offense after making the lateral move. With Margarito still off-balance, the rationale is to make him pay for his aggression double-fold instead of allowing him to reset after Pacquiao’s lateral swtich without consequence.

Manny Pacquiao also began his first sparring yesterday with Michael Medina. Roach plans to lodge a minimum of 150 rounds of sparring leading into the November 13 bout.

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It’s still very early in camp, and you can notice that Pacquiao is rusty from being out of the ring since March. But Roach’s strategy is very sound. Pacquiao will conserve much more energy by turning Margarito instead of backpedaling like Cotto did. And the Filipino fighter’s handspeed will have him landing 3-4 punch combinations to every Margarito punch.

What I’d like to see is how they’ll deal with Margarito’s uppercuts. Manny doesn’t lean forward and invite them like Cotto does, but it’s still a concern as it’s Margarito’s best punch. If the fight goes late, Manny will have to be cognizant not to start becoming reckless with his attacks and bending into Margarito’s power.

So far, there’s no reports coming out about Margarito’s camp.

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama noted Jay-Z as his favorite emcee. Now two years into his term, President Obama is diversifying his Hip-Hop knowledge by listening to other elite emcees in Nas and Lil Wayne.

In the October edition of Rolling Stone, President Obama gave insight into his musical tastes, verifying that his iPod now boasts 2000 songs. While many were quick to label him as the first “Hip-Hop President” during his campaign, Obama admitted that the title was a misnomer. Even now, the majority of his music centers around the premier musicians of the late 60s and 70s.

“My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me. I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff,” he revealed. “There’s still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards.”

Because of the demands of his presidency, Obama has relied on aide Reggie Love to find new Hip-Hop for his playlists. He credits his newfound exposure to Nas and Lil Wayne as the result of Love’s efforts, and his two children Malia and Sasha. The president also acknowledges music as a huge stress-reliever in his life.

“Thanks to Reggie, my rap palate has greatly improved. Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I’ve got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert,” President Obama explained. “Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.”

Today, Lil Wayne released his I Am Not a Human Being EP, which features Drake and other members from his Young Money label. Nas is expected to release Lost Tapes 2 on December 14, and his currently untitled 10th studio album in early 2011.

President Obama’s Rolling Stone cover story will be available October 15.

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Kudos to Reggie Love on this one! Of course, the obvious question I have is what songs (or albums) from Lil Wayne and Nas has Love supplied in the President’s playlist? Illmatic? Tha Carter II? Distant Relatives? Untitled? Tha Carter III?

Hopefully, Love hits Obama off with all of them by the end of the first term. With all the friction the President is having with the Republican Party, I hope Love has made sure that “Ether” is somewhere in that playlist.

Now if you could add five more Hip-Hop artists to President Obama’s playlist, who would it be?

 

Former IBF junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi (27-4, 5 KOs) has announced today that he’s officially signed to Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.

Malignaggi broke the news via his Twitter account. Lou DiBella was Malignaggi’s previous promoter, but the Brooklyn fighter brought out his contract and severed ties amicably following his TKO loss to Amir Khan in May.

Malignaggi, who competes at junior welterweight, had his mind set on making a run overseas for European title. Although raised in Brooklyn, Malignaggi can legally compete for the title since he was born in Italy. The 140 pound title is currently held by undefeated Irish fighter Paul McCloskey (21-0, 11 KOs).

Malignaggi joins 12 other junior welterweights on Golden Boy’s roster, including Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan, Nate Campbell and Marcos Maidana.

At press time, Golden Boy is eliciting fan feedback on Twitter to help decide who Paulie Malignaggi’s next opponent should be.

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Not a bad move from the Magic Man. Being that Malignaggi and Amir Khan have gotten chummy over the last month, I wonder if he sought the UK fighter’s advice on this signing.

It’ll be interesting to see if Malignaggi still attempts to try his European run. Golden Boy doesn’t really have much pull in that market. If he can, it’ll give him the chance to make money in some easy fights. Matthew Hatton, brother of Ricky, is currently the European welterweight champ. Being that Malignaggi has already fought Ricky Hatton, facing off against Matthew might help generate a good payday for Paulie. And if he’s looking for a challenge, he could consider someone like Andriy Kotelnik.

Here in the States Malignaggi has a few decent options. He’s already lost to Khan, and I would hope Golden Boy didn’t sign him just to feed him to their other star hopeful Victor Ortiz. If the European tour isn’t a go, Malignaggi should look to make a fight with Nate Campbell. The bout itself wouldn’t be the greatest, but both excel at trash talking and would build it into a solid undercard fight. And if Malignaggi and Golden Boy decide to look outside their stable, a Zab Judah fight would be an all-Brooklyn showdown that would generate coverage.

Paulie Malignaggi is 29 years old. Not an ancient fighter, but he’s slowed down and this was a deal to secure his financial future in boxing. He may not ever capture another world title, but I’m certain the Magic Man has a few more competitive fights left in him.

Representatives for Cash Money Records are countering Bangladesh’s “A Milli”compensation lawsuit by stating the producer lost all royalty proceeds for failing to clear the sample.

For the past several months, the Atlanta producer has been airing his grievances publicly with the label to coincide with the lawsuit. Bangladesh alleges Cash Money has not paid him any royalties for “A Milli,” which was the second single off Lil Wayne’s multi-platinum 2008 album Tha Carter III. The track became of the biggest Hip-Hop songs that year and charted #6 on Billboard’s Top 100. Bangladesh also claims the majority of the blame is due to unethical business practices from Cash Money co-CEO Bryan “Baby” Williams.

In a prepared statement from the label, a representative for Cash Money Records confirmed that Bangladesh has not received any royalty payments. However, the statement explains that due to Bangladesh not disclosing his sample sources, his cut of the song’s royalties was eliminated after the company settled a copyright lawsuit from the sample’s copyright holder.

“There is no merit to this claim,” the statement read. “Bangladesh incorporated a sample without informing Cash Money. [Cash Money has] successfully settled the copyright infringement claims that Bangladesh caused with other third parties and his producer and composition shares were wiped out by the sample owners.”

At press time, Bangladesh’s lawsuit is still active. He has submitted instrumentals for Nas’ new album, and is continuing his working relationship with Cash Money Records via tracks submitted for Nicki Minaj’s debut Pink Friday.

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You would think the label would handle sample clearances, but that’s not always the case. Labels are businesses with many hands involved. And like any similar business, costly mistakes can sometimes happen. At first glance, it may seem difficult to believe Cash Money’s statement, but it’s not without precedent in recent Hip-Hop history.

In 2002, Dr. Dre’s former artist Truth Hurts got her first and only hit record courtesy of the DJ Quik-produced “Addictive,” an appropriation of Meghna Naaydu’s Hindi hit “Kaliyon Ka Chaman,” which itself was a remake of Lata Mangeshkar’s 1981 composition “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai.” Quik heard the song early one morning on a TV show, so the likelihood he could get the correct  Hindi song titles and artist names for each sampled track was impossible. Even so, Aftermath released the track and ignored a cease and desist letter from copyright holder Saregama India. The company would file a $500 million dollar lawsuit against Aftermath, which was settled out of court.

In 2004, Just Blaze sampled Supertramp’s “Crime of the Century” for Fabolous’ single “Breathe.” Despite it being Fabolous’ biggest hit, he claims he never made any royalties off of it due to the publishing cut Supertramp requested. Even without seeing the actual paperwork, that means Supertramp received all or the majority of the mechanical (payment for sales) and performance (radio, TV, live) royalties. And this was even with Just Blaze himself working to pay and have the sample cleared beforehand.

Another example is Sting, lead singer of the Police. The rock legend will clear samples of his work only if he gets 100% of the publishing. Puff Daddy had to concede on this point in order to get clearance for his 1997 hit “Missing You,” which uses the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” Cam’Ron also gave up all his song publishing Confessions of Fire’s “Prophecy,” which uses Sting’s “Fragile.” On those album’s liner notes, you’ll see Sting’s name as the sole writer of those Hip-Hop tracks. For the rapper, the hope is that the song becomes popular enough to allow for money to be made through touring, and other revenue streams like endorsements.

So going back to Bangladesh’s case, each side’s stance is believable. Bangladesh could have submitted his samples (Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Don’t Burn Down the Bridge,” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo (Vampire Mix)”) for “A Milli,” and Cash Money simply failed to follow through. Or he could’ve pulled what DJ Quik did and simply submitted the work without the sample references.

The scary thing is it’s quite possible that legally he’s not entitled to any royalties depending on the publishing split. It’s just another example of how crazy the music industry is. Behind the glamour and glitz is a cutthroat business model that you have to be fluent in to survive.

I hope it works out for Bangladesh. If it doesn’t, it’s an expensive but valuable lesson he’ll have learned.

 “A Milli’s” Intro Sample

“A Milli” Vocal Sample (0:35-0:52 and 3:49-5:09 marks)