Archive for March, 2013

After nearly a year of flirting, I finally made that commitment-I bought Spotify Premium. Two days in, its already easily one of the best investments I’ve made in awhile. So instead of just hoarding this wonderful digitized music, I’ve decided to share with my readers my first impression of some classic albums. First is up is Mr. Scarface is Back, by Brad Davis, better known as Scarface of The Geto Boys.

This underground classic was release in October of 1991, approximately a month from my sixth birthday. Needless to say, I missed it on the first go-around.

This album plays out like a novel. Each song is its own nuanced chapter in the story of a Crack-Era hustler. These aren’t just gritty tales of gangster glorification, though that is a part of Mr. Scarface (see The Pimp). Scarface touches on a broad range of issues that the Black community and America are still dealing with 22 years later. One can’t help but listen to Born Killer and not feel like you’re peaking into the mind of some of the perpetrators of

“My momma did her part/ But it ain’t her fault that I was born with out a heart/ In other words I’m heartless dude/ I don’t love me, how the fuck I’mma love you?/ Thats right, you guessed it/ I’m legally insane, marked mannick depressive/I’m takin all types a medication/To keep me out the mood of premeditatin/ Yo, the log around my lone is worse/ I’m havin thoughts of killin me, but I’m killin you first/ Mr. Kindness talks but I don’t listen”

The centerpiece of the album is Diary Of A Madman. At just over three minutes, its one of the album’s shorter tracks, but perhaps brevity is its strength. As the title suggests, Scarface takes us into the mind of a mentally ill young man whose life is spiraling out of control.

“To myself I’m a stranger/ Walking in the foot steps of danger/ It’s a long path ahead of me/ I gotta get somewhere cause everybody here is scared of me/I had a job but they fired me/ My wife walked out now I’m living in my diary.”

Money And The Power is also another standout track. Scarface takes us into the mind of a dope dealer who pursues both with cold and reckless abandon, even bragging about sleeping with the same woman his brother is involved with. Fellow Geto Boys Willie D. and Bushwick Bill provide an eerily seductive chant that lighten the mood just a little.

The album closes with two solemnly irreverent tracks. A Minute To Pray And A Second To Die is a brutal tale of senseless killing and retribution while brilliantly sampling Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues and What’s Going On. The album’s finale finds the protagonist dealing with the same fate that many of his colleagues face: Death. I’m Dead  is a humorous take on a grim situation. Wakes up to find that he is dead. His picture is on a mantle with the familiar “Rest In Peace” inscribed on it, his mother and his child’s mother grieving them as they hold his son.

Simply put, Scarface’s debut is still pretty relevant. Its equal parts it’s mostly drama and action, with doses of comedy and maybe a little porn. Definitely worth a good listen.

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After 10 years on air, The Michael Baisden Show is coming to an end.

The tenth anniversary of the Michael Baisden Show was abruptly cut short on Wednesday. Baisden announced via his Facebook page not only was his show being taken off the air, he says he and his crew were “locked out” of their studio, owned by media company Cumulus. Apparently, the two sides couldn’t agree on a deal, and when Baisden went public with that info, they decided they would use pre-recorded material to fill his 3-4 pm timeslot until March 29.

I remember listening to Baisden in the car with my mother my senior year of high school and laughing at some of the discussions he engaged in with his guests. As time when on, he evolved from talking about dating, relationships and sex to confronting issues such as domestic abuse, bullying and sexual assault. He has also been vocal on social and political issues such as the Jenna Six, the election (and re-election) of Barack Obama, and the Trayvon Martin Case. He also organized a campaign to get more people involved with mentoring young people and has invested time and attention to small business owners.

Baisden is one of those figures in Black America that folks either love or hate. Whatever you think about him and his opinions,  you have to admit he has a powerful voice. By no means am I a Michael Baisden Stan. I disagreed with his views on more than one subject. But I appreciate his willingness to talk about politically sensitive, potentially explosive topics. He was one of the few minority voices in mainstream talk radio with a sizable audience, and that number is steadily shrinking.

Baisden will be okay. He’ll land a gig on satellite radio or end up on MSNBC with Al Sharpton every day.  My larger concern is that we still need shows like the MB Show, if not that show itself. The Rush Limbaughs of the world aren’t going anywhere, but how many mainstream radio shows featuring minorities are there out there that actually address substantive issues at least on a semi-regular basis?

One less more than we started with this week.