Inspired by Lupe’s flawless performance of “Deliver” this past week on Late Night with Seth Meyers, as well as the overall impressive depth of Tetsuo & Youth, I did some exploring for more classic TV performances from Lupe.
I was actually going through the catalogue after many listens of T&Y this week and one favorite that still stands tall amongst the rest is “Words I Never Said”. I know Lu and Skylar performed this live but couldn’t quite remember where. It was, appropriately, on the Colbert Report.
Colbert’s following of political millennials was the perfect demo for Lu to passionately deliver WINS with Skylar equaling his effort on yet another one of her iconic hooks. Reliving this performance was a treat and inspired even more listens of the song and some of my *Tibs Favs.on Lasers. It’s only fitting that on the week Lupe used a national stage to deliver some thought-provoking lyricism (with…err… “Deliver”) that we recognize when he did just the same back in 2011.
Pretty much every 2Pac interview is fascinating and this one with Gang Related co-star Jim Belushi is no different. It is different though because it’s a new, unearthed interview with Gang Related co-star Jim Belushi from August 27, 1997.
They each do their fair share of answering, but of course it’s Pac who delivers the memorable quotes and the raw, unfiltered perspective on everything from the differences between making music to acting (and who gets more ladies, ha!), fame, how jail had humbled him, and the record sales success that came from All Eyez On Me.
If time is a factor for you, at least fast forward to the last minute of the interview when ‘Pac expands on the latter subject and then concludes the interview with this chilling quote.
Nothing can touch me out here now. I been shot, go to jail, what can touch me? What actor can give you more truth than me right now? That’s how I feel.
Pac’s sense of humor is immediately on display afterward as we get the true, raw interview to its fullest and final heartwarming moment. This inspired me to do more research on 2Pac and Jim Belushi and I found this L.A. Times article/interview with Belushi later on in 1997 after ‘Pac’s passing. He was still shakin’ up and cited that they were “brothers”. You can actually feel that come across in the interview below as well.
BONUS Tupac news: The Grammy Museum in L.A. announced the opening of a Tupac Shakur exhibit on February 2nd — All Eyez on Me: The Writings of Tupac Shakur. This looks fascinating and worth a trip out to L.A. to check out the handwritten notes, lyrics, and various memorabilia approved by Afeni Shakur to be on display. More details/news here.
“Tupac Shakur was one of the most original and important of all hip hop artists. His writings are both powerful and provocative,” Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli said in a statement. “It is an honor to be the first music museum to acknowledge Tupac’s legacy and to bring context to what was an incredible career.”
Can you believe …And Then There Was X is 15 years old?
On this day, December 21st 1999, the Dark Man X dropped his third album, which ultimately proved to be his highest-selling CD to date going 5x platinum.
Around this time, co-founder Maks G unknowingly contributed to the spawn of GWHH years later by burning me a CD of his favorites from DMX’s first 3 albums. X was one of the first hip hop artists that I gravitated towards and while I won’t go into track by track anecdotes like Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool the other day, I will mention that this CD was one of my most played including the entire way on a train from the Chi to D.C.
The production on here and It’s Dark And Hell is Hot was superb and to this day, “What’s My Name” remains a distinct production in my top-tier of pump up tracks, ever.
Plus, imagine a bunch of 6th graders knowing all the words to “Party Up”.
Also, who could forget DMX naming 46 umm.. women.. he’s been with. Here’s a graph, via Rap Genius.
Not too long ago, Noisey released a trio of unreleased poems written by a young ‘Pac that didn’t see the light of day until now, via Tupac’s first manager Leila Steinberg of Citizens of Humanity.
It’s simply amazing to read the depth of Tupac’s thoughts on topics like love at such a young age. It’s depth like this that cement Pac as one of my favorite and most fascinating artists to read and listen to years since his passing and for years going forward. Without further ado… check ’em all out (with my favorite of the 3 on top.)
This week, I re-discovered some gems from my old tumblr that I haven’t updated since 2012. Among them was one of my first posts about 4 years ago (a fun re-read too), blogging about this feel-good, soulful Chicago classic: Malik Yusef f/ Kanye West & Common “Wouldn’t You Like To Ride”.
It’s vintage everybody with a common denominator: the wordplay is ill. Kanye rhymes first with this being an example of his clever College Dropout style flow:
Ooh you so bougie boo you could have fooled me
Cuz five years ago you was so Fugees
– Kanye West
The “So why don’t you and your friends get with me and my friends” sample is so smooth and instantly inspiring for a cruise down Lake Shore with the windows down. Or maybe if we had a limo like ‘Ye, Yusef, and Com. Malik’s second verse contains a now-vintage reference to A Beautiful Mind and keeps the good vibes coming.
Never a pretty boy, always a beautiful mind like Russell Crowe
Now you in places no cabs’ll take you, only the bus’ll go
– Malik Yusef
After a humorous skit, Common’s verse picks the track up again, and you guessed it, he does his thing too, even shouting out the hometown mall:
Deep as the ocean is the motion of life
Thought you would have been the sister I chose for my wife
Not knowin’ you was trife
Stiflin’ a nigga’s growth
All you wanna do is shop at River Oaks
And if you weren’t ready to press play already, you’ll most certainly enjoy the animated parts of the visuals — depicting the Chi culture in a lovable, crude, yet beautiful fashion. Enjoy this one in contrast to Malik and Common’s most recent collab: the fire title track to the latter’s new album, Nobody’s Smiling. Enjoy! #OldSchoolSundays
It’s not quite Old School Sundays yet, but this new footage is too rare and raw not to be thrown up immediately. Above is a Common 1997 Fat Beats Freestyle — September 27th to be exact before the One Day It’ll All Make Sense album dropped.
As Common says himself, “been doing this for a min!”
Kept in the hood underground but rarely understood,
Some with paper become rap wear underwoods (?),
Anti-rugged, fuck you, your recording and your video budget
The director and whoever cut it
Souls I penetrate and stimulate mental states,
You’re LP couldn’t fuck with my snippet tape!
Ill. And that’s just one of the many great moments above. Watch.
So on the 4th of July, NBATV had a Slam Dunk Contest Marathon and I so happened to watch ’88-’93 (I later left the house and enjoyed fireworks, and you know, hanging out with people). Of course, the marathon brought back nostalgic, heartwarming memories of Jordan in Chicago, ‘Nique, and feeling disappointed that Shawn Kemp, somehow, didn’t win a Dunk Contest from ’90-’92.
Social media got involved by posting YouTube videos of some of these dunks, and more, from the 80s and 90s and that’s when one related YouTube video jumped out: Foot Locker Slam Fest: 1992.
Yes, this was a thing.
I was too young to remember it (5 years old in ’92), but not too young to remember the athletes involved. Deion Sanders, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Delino DeShields (love that name), WRs Michael Irvin, Tim Brown, and Cris Carter to name a few. Track and field stars Mike Powell and Mike Conley (yup, Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley’s father) were also favorites heading into the Slam Fest.
That kind of rolled off my tongue, but yes, there were favorites in 1992. Based on the previous three years of Foot Locker Slam Fests! They took this competition seriously; with every round, the athlete would win more prize money. Giving us some great commentary: none other than Dickie V and the late Jim Valvano.
So, for 50 minutes, enjoy the full 1 hour long special that pitted all these athletes (and more) against each other in a March Madness style tournament to crown a champion. I won’t spoil it; I’ll only say the winning dunk is legit. Overall, the Slam Fest is a mix of peak athleticism on display, the intrigue of seeing non-basketball athletes dunk, the best of the worst 90s overlays, graphics, and text, and of course, high unintentional comedy.
Could the NBA take notes? Who would be in the 2014 version of the Foot Locker Slam Fest? Usain Bolt? RGIII? Brandon Marshall? Andrew McCutchen? Jay Bilas & Young Jeezy doing commentary? Drake somehow involved, performing and then dapping up the winner? Kevin Hart doing Kevin Hart things? It’s a pipe dream because no way in this day in age that non-basketball athletes would risk injury dunking a basketball, but this is as fun to think about as it is to watch.