Being a hip-hop artist in Denver is one of the toughest gigs in town. Not only is it difficult to find a venue that will allow hip-hop shows, let alone take home a piece of the bar and door, but it’s really hard to find an audience who isn’t brainwashed by the mind-numbing playlist heard on the radio. But local hip-hop crews Life Crew and House of Wax Recordings have connected with Soda Jerk Presents and the Marquis Theatre to hopefully put an end to that. In May, they all collaborated to launch The Boombox, a monthly hip-hop showcase featuring Colorado’s hottest hip-hop acts.
“Soda Jerk Presents were a little hesitant initially, but after seeing our groups opening for a few touring acts, they seen that our shows were as quality, if not more, than those acts they were paying upwards of thousands of dollars too,” says ManeLine's Mane Rok. “They realized then that it was worth it to have local hip-hop shows with LIFEHouse (an amalgamation of Life Crew and House of Wax) taking the reins in the booking of talent due to our involvement in the scene at large.”
The inaugural show featured 3 The Hardway, F.O.E., Extra Kool and the Diamond Boiz crew, while the second show, just last weekend featured ManeLine, Debajo Del Agua, Calm and Cadava Recordz. Rok says that the crowds have been very supportive of the showcase, and for the first two shows the size of the crowd was bigger than a lot of the local rock shows. Plus there was no underlying fear of any violence.
“It seemed as the only fear Soda Jerk and the Marquis had was that of the crowd coming through at all,” Mane says. “I have been to the venue a few times on rock nights to get promo materials...and they are kicking people out for fighting. That hasn't happened once -- knock on wood -- on our nights. I think they are grounded people that don't fear bullshit stereotypes.”
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As an added incentive for the people who support the local hip-hop scene, the BoomBox also hosts raffles giving away big prizes. Last week, they gave away an actual old school style boombox fitted for an iPod. For the July 5 edition, which will feature Infinite Mindz, Rie Rie, Boombox Saints, ACO, and the Crunk L.I.F.E. DJs, a limited edition turntable watch will be given away.
“Another great thing about being involved with Soda Jerk is that they have a very heavy under-21 customer base/email list,” Mane points out. “These young 'uns are the ones buying artist merchandise since they can't spend their last dollar at the bar. Sometimes, though, some of the artists aren't prepared to sell merchandise... so these kids will be sitting there with money burning in their pockets. That's why we offered the raffle. It's an extra incentive that remains directly related to Hip Hop. Buy a ticket for five bucks and you might win a retro ‘BoomBox’ that is now being built with an iPOD deck. I mean, who wouldn't want to try their chances at that? Now we have partnered with street wear brand FLUD to offer their patented Turntable watches through the raffle. It gives people an opportunity to take the night home with them, and then when there homie from down the block ask where they got it, they say ‘The BoomBox.’”
Lil Wayne Goes Platinum
There hasn’t been any album since 2005’s 50 Cent opus, The Massacre, to sell one million copies in its first week on shelves – until last week. Lil Wayne’s new album, The Carter III, has sold just over one million copies, an astounding feat in the digital era.
"Thank you. That's it," Wayne told MTV News about the album's first-week sales. "[I'm] just very grateful, that's it. Blown away, of course. Surprised, of course. Elated. Every positive word there is.”
For Wayne’s next act, he’s in discussions to possibly record a collaborative album with hook/chorus master T-Pain. Yes, you can probably expect another one million sold.
Young Buck Sobs to 50 Cent in Taped Conversation
Earlier this year, Young Buck got kicked out 50 Cent’s G-Unit crew for everything from missing recording sessions to drug use. To further humiliate Young Buck, 50 released a taped conversation between him and Buck, where the ousted rapper is asking 50 not to kick him out of G-Unit and is heard sobbing over the phone.
“A nigga just gets confused,” Buck told 50 . “You got to be able to stay closer to me, Buck,” 50 responded. “That way you won’t fuck up…Tony’s [Yayo] been the safest one. You know why? He’s been staying closer.”
Listen to the call for yourself here.
Young Buck was, of course, embarrassed by the leak, and quickly responded by recording a diss track this week, which you can listen to here.
Queen Latifah Suing for Film Appearance
Although the movie, The Perfect Holiday, was released in December, Queen Latifah has yet to be paid for her appearance in it. The veteran rapper filed a lawsuit this week against Perfect Christmas Productions for breach of contract, demanding the $275,000 that is owed to her. The film, which also starred Terrence Howard, Morris Chesnut and Gabrielle Union, has reportedly made close to $6 million since its winter release.
2 Pistols Death Before Dishonor
There isn’t much difference between the 2 Pistols album and releases from Plies, Flo-Rida, or any other southern rapper who is out there trying to make a hit: You got your idle threats, the glorification of materialistic items and the objectification of women. Be that as it may, the track “Been Throwin’ Money” is a sure fire summer anthem.
Tanya Morgan Bridge EP
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Tanya Morgan is actually a trio of MCs, not some R&B chick. The act's EP picks up where its 2006 debut album, Moonlighting, left off – progressive, true school hip-hop -- and features nine previously unreleased tracks to hold fans over until the outfit's next full length album drops next year.
Craig G and Marley Marl Operation: Take Back Hip-Hop
Last year, Marley Marl got together with KRS-One for a full-length album, and now the legendary producer is re-connecting with his Juice Crew cohort, Craig G. Craig still has undeniable skills on the mike and Marl is still bringing the fresh beats he brought with KRS last year. Any purist would be happy with this project.
-- Quibian Salazar-Moreno