Al Sharpton Spending His Life in a Figurative Knife Fight, Slashing At Commercial Hip-Hop

In a recent effort to snag some publicity post-that SNL episode during the 2004 election cycle, Reverend Al Sharpton has been working overtime organizing rallies against glorified violence in hip-hop muzik. Seriously: Sharpton is taking an ever-exhaustive stab at sending AK-47s, switchblades, and coked-up street hookers home and packing, far away from a genre that, as you know, enlightened TMT reader, is typically free of struggle, aggression, and protest.

In essence, though, Sharpton’s mega-thirsty for a time long past: when West Coast hip-hop was a land of milk and honey, ruled by woman-loving, nonviolent pacifists N.W.A. and the like. Those were the days, Rev.

Sharpton got down and cleaned recently in Motown and New York City, in his it-won’t-make-a-difference endeavor to pull violent, woman-bashing lyrical weeds from labels Viacom, Time Warner and Vivendi. Apparently, Sharpton’s supporting legislation proposed in New York that may or may not affect your favorite artists, listening habits, or daily indie-hair-swooping lives.

Instead, enjoy a cleaned-up version of Jay Z’s woman-loving classic. You’ll notice the flower-power happy-Volvo-driving-house-owning love theme doesn’t really affect the lyrical continuity. Or the struggle. That’s hip-hop, ladies and gents.

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"99 PROBLEMS" (Al Sharpton Remix)

If you're havin' girl problems I feel bad for you, MY FELLOW BROTHER IN THE STRUGGLE TO UPHOLD THE VALUES OF MLK IN A SOCIETY MAINTAINING A FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS SURROUNDING OUR CULTURE

I got 99 problems but a LOVELY WIFE TO COME HOME TO WHO WILL COOK MY MEALS AND SLEEP WITH ME IN MATCHING PAJAMAS ain't one

I got the rap patrol on the gat patrol

Foes that wanna make sure my casket's closed

Rap critics they say he's "Money Cash ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMEN"

I'm from the hood LESS INTELLIGENT ONE, what type of facts are those

If you grew up with holes in ya zapatos

You'd be celebrating the minute you was havin' dough

I'm like YOU GOSH DARN critics you can kiss my whole BEAUTIFUL SMILING FACE

If you don't like my lyrics you can press fast forward

I got beef with radio if i don't play they show

They don't play my hits well I don't give a GOSH DARN CARE IN THE WORLD

So

Rap mags try and use my UPSTANDING AFRICAN AMERICAN IDENTITY

So advertisers can give 'em more cash for ads, LOVERS

I don't know what you take me as,

Or understand the intelligence that Jay-Z has

I'm from rags to riches SIMILARLY UPRIGHT AND EMPASSIONED AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE

I ain't dumb

I got 99 problems but a WELL-SPOKEN YOUNG WOMAN WHO SPENDS HER FREE TIME PICKING FLOWERS, SMELLING THE RAIN, AND READING DANIELLE STEELE NOVELS ain't one

[DON’T] Hit me

[Chorus]
99 problems but the BEAUTIFUL WOMAN WHO KISSES MY FOREHEAD BEFORE BED ain’t one

If you're havin’ girl problems i feel bad for you son

I got 99 problems but a COLLEGE-EDUCATED WOMAN WITH EQUAL INCOME, HER OWN HEALTH INSURANCE, AND PRETTY EYES ain’t one

The year's '94 and my trunk is raw

In my rear view mirror is the mother-SLOPPY SUNDAY MORNING LOVING law

I got two choices y'all pull over the car or (hmmm)

Bounce on the devil put the pedal to the floor

Now I ain’t tryin’ to see no highway chase with Jake.

Plus I got a few dollars I can fight the case

So I...pull over to the side of the road

I heard "Son do you know why I'm stoppin’ you for?"

Cause I'm young and I'm A NONVIOLENT, UPSTANDING AFRICAN AMERICAN and my hat’s real low?

Do I look like a mind reader sir, I don't know

Am I under arrest or should I guess some mo'?

"Well you was doin’ fifty-five in a fifty-fo’ "

"License and registration and step out of the car"

"Are you carryin’ a BOUQUET OF ROSES on you I know a lot of you are"

I ain’t steppin’ out of THIS REGISTERED VEHICLE all my paper's legit

"Well, do you mind if I look round the car a little bit?"

Well my glove compartment is locked so are the trunk in the back

And I know my rights so you gon’ need a warrant for that

"Aren't you sharp as a tack, you some type of lawyer or something'?"

"Or somebody important or somethin’?"

Nah, I ain’t pass the bar but i know a little bit

Enough that you won't illegally search my REGISTERED VEHICLE

“We’ll see how smart you are when the K9 come"

I got 99 problems but a WIFE THAT BAKES HOT APPLE PIE IN A ‘KISS THE COOK’ APRON ain't one

[DON’T] Hit me
99 Problems but a WOMAN THAT CONSISTENTLY LETS ME HOLD HER IN MY ARMS AND READS THE BIBLE BEFORE BED ain't one

if you havin’ girl problems

I feel bad for you son

I got 99 problems but a YOUNG WOMAN HUMBLED BY THE EXISTENCE OF GOD ain't one

[DON’T] hit me

Google Teams Up With Universal To Create A DRM-Free Rival To The iTunes Music Store called gBox. Daaaaaaaamn!

Universal Music Group, the biggest record label in the goddamn world, announced last Thursday that it would begin selling DRM-free MP3s through a variety of digital vendors. Music from a test selection of artists in Universal’s catalog will be available through Wal-Mart, Best Buy Digital Music Store, Rhapsody, Transworld, Passalong Networks, Amazon, Puretracks, and Google -- though not through iTunes. Daaaamn!

Google plans to continue its current music service, which links searchers to music vendors, and to create its own online music store called gBox (PC-only, at least for now). Google has chosen to avoid the centrally located business model of digital music stores like iTunes, instead adopting a method of distribution that relies on advertising. Universal will buy advertising from Google’s AdWords program, which displays advertisements based on the content of a website. The advertisements for Universal will contain a link to gBox, where MP3s from the advertised artist will be available for purchase. So, for example, if you send an e-mail containing the words “Reba McEntire” to my Gmail account, I will be provided with a link to gBox’s collection of Reba McEntire hits. Daaaaaaaamn!

With their announced price of $.99-per-track, it is hard to imagine that Universal is not intentionally challenging Apple, whose DRM-free offerings cost a full $.30 more. Universal has referred to this experiment as a “test [of] the implications of selling our music in an open format,” though it will also test the potential for MP3 sales without the power of the iPod. Though their DRM-free tracks will likely play on the iPod, Universal and Google may have a hard time pulling consumers away from iTunes without a vertically integrated system to offer. Daaaaaaaaaaaamn!

Hopefully, this bit of competition will help to loosen Apple’s stranglehold on digital music sales and prevent them from arbitrarily raising prices. And with two of the Big Four moving away from DRM (the other being EMI), perhaps the encryption is on its way out. It should be noted, however, that gBox will also offer DRM-encrypted MP3s for the same price as their non-encrypted equivalent, which are expected to make great gag gifts for music listeners. Shiiiiiiiiiiit!

Who Says File Sharing Takes the Elitism Out of Being a Music Fan? Application Allows Sharing Within Private, Encrypted Rings

Finally, your Dave Clark Five fan club can find electronic solace somewhere unsullied by legions of Herman’s Hermits and Monkees fans. GigaTribe “lets you share entire folders with friends in a private peer to peer (P2P) environment.” It's also free.

My favorite part about whenever a new service like this launches is the semantic race it has to run in order to pretend people will only use it legally. The GigaTribe website, for one, features a random quote at the bottom that outlines a sham reason someone might use GigaTribe for something other than illegal file-sharing. “Oliver H,” for example, “a real estate agent, uses GigaTribe to exchange pictures of houses and apartments with his clients and co-workers.” How ethical! “Thanks to GigaTribe, Nanny can grab all of the movies and pictures of her grandchildren who live far from her.” Hey Nanny, I didn’t know Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker were your grandchildren! Cool!

There’s also something about some sound engineer sending recordings to his bandmates or whatever, but let’s get down to business: This is a streamlined, secure new way for you and your friends to exchange countless illegal copies of stuff you’d otherwise have to pay for. You can even make a fun, immature show out of excluding people you don’t like. For example: Maybe there’ll be a TinyMixTapes GigaTribe. You’ll never know. You’re not invited. Long live the new file-sharing flesh.

100% Original Headline: The National Tour Internationally

The National are having quite a year. The eight-year-old Brooklyn via Ohio group has overcome the familiar chorus of "the new LP is not as good as the last one" and rode it to a fair amount of success. That previous LP, 2005's Alligator (Beggars Banquet) was like an earthquake setting up the indie rock Tsunami known as Boxer (TMT Review). If Alligator is the Preamble, Boxer is the Constitution of the USfuk'nA. Awkward (a.k.a. my bread) metaphors (e.g. my butter) aside, to paraphrase the Zombies, this will be their year, took a long time to come. So, whether you think of the band's upcoming transcontinental tour (with openers including The Rosebuds, St. Vincent, and Hayden) as merely a doing-what-is-expected-of-them move or a victory lap, either way, the wave is coming to your town. You can either run for the hills or put on your bathing suit and enjoy.*

Tourdates:

* Disclaimer: No matter what you, the reader, thinks, I am not making light of any Tsunami or water-related tragedies, even if HP turns them into another reason to buy their products.

“If You Really Love Me, You’ll Prove It To Me… With Your Body…”; UNKLE’s First Time (Touring As A Full Band)

There can be a lot of pressure to losing your virginity -- that is, to have sexual intercourse tour with a live band for the first time. Having sex Touring with someone just because you want to lose your virginity, or because you think all your friends are doing it, is something you may later regret.

You might feel anxiety, especially the first time you have sex embark on a full tour. You may feel embarrassed about how you look without your clothes on on stage or worried about your privacy being disturbed. It's natural to be worried, but good communication will help prevent you from feeling needlessly embarrassed. You should be able to talk to your partner band regarding your feelings about having sex touring for the first time and about any other concerns you may have. In fact, your partner band might be worried, too. Being relaxed and able to share things with your partner band will really ease the tension. And if you're too shy or unable to talk about these things with your partner band, then you probably shouldn't be having sex touring!

Having sexual intercourse Touring as a band -- when a boy's hard penis goes inside a girl's vagina or even just touches the outside of her vagina when people play the instruments to make the sounds onstage instead of just pressing buttons -- can surely lead to pregnancy and disease fame and recognition. So enjoy, but be safe.

$ James Lavelle DJ set

Pearl Jam’s Anti-Bush Lyrics Censored During AT&T Webcast

I love writing for TMT. I feel the editors give me the freedom to say whatever I want, no matter my politics. I don't even hesitate for one second when I say that I fucking [love] President Bush, and I wish that he would just fucking fall and [live]! So, how do I know they won't censor me? Well, first of all, they probably agree that Bush is a big, steaming pile of [pixy stix!!], but also because there's this thing called TRUST. I trust who I work for, and in return, I will continue to support and show my dedication to all things TMT.

Musicians, too, have this freedom, but it's much more complex. Once the song is written, the freedom that the musician had during the songwriting process comes to a halt, as the label, distributors, retailers, etc. all have a say in the production and distribution of the music. And now that performances have become a viable commodity outside of venues, especially with telecasts, webcasts, and so on, it's inevitable that a new world of gatekeeping would rear its head.

Who knew that one of the more high-profile examples of head-rearing would expose itself alongside Pearl Jam. On Wednesday, Pearl Jam accused AT&T of censoring part of their webcasted Lollapalooza performance of "Daugther." The omitted sections, originally pointed out by fans, featured the following lyrics (to the tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall"):

"George Bush, leave this world alone"

"George Bush find yourself another home"

Check out the YouTube video here.

AT&T doesn't deny the missing section of the performance, but it does blame the third-party "vendor" for the "mistake." Reportedly, AT&T regrets the omissions and is working to secure rights to post the entire song on its Blue Room site. But that's neither here not there at this point. No matter how you slice it, the lyrics in the end were censored, whether AT&T authorized it or not. Putting a video of the performance on the Blue Room site is nothing but public relations at this point.

No wonder why groups like SavetheInternet.com and the Future of Music Coalition used the opportunity to bring up the issue of net neutrality. This shit is so important, but AT&T is more concerned with undermining the cause while allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to illegally monitor phone and internet communications without warrants (a violation, ahem, of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the First and Fourth Amendments) and helping the RIAA, MPA, Viacom, and Cisco with technology that enables traffic spying. Seriously, check out their new privacy policy, which went into effect last year:

"AT&T — not customers — owns customers' confidential info and can use it 'to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process.'"

AT&T can suck my big, fat, juicy [stop being so touchy, Mango -- you don't even listen to Pearl Jam, jeez].