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Mychal Denzel Smith
Writer. Social Commentator. Mental Health Advocate. Smartass.
Writer. Social Commentator. Mental Health Advocate. Smartass.

Mychal Denzel's posts

If I'm executive producing T.I.'s next album, I'm calling DJ Toomp, Mannie Fresh, David Banner, Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze, Andre 3000, Big K.R.I.T., and DJ Premier for beats. No Mercy was horrid, and luckily most people don't even remember it exists. Unfortunately, most people don't even remember it exists, so the last project they associate with Tip is Paper Trail. Three years is a long time to be away in hip-hop, and there's nothing but doubt surrounding him with regards to whether he'll even be able to stay out of prison long enough to record. Plus, Lil' Wayne disappointed even some of his biggest fans with Tha Carter IV recently. The post-prison album isn't a highly sought after product right now. He needs familiarity (Toomp, Fresh, Banner, Swizz, Just) plus something to introduce him to a new audience but fits his sound (3000, K.R.I.T.) and something out of his element, but historic and will definitely get people talking (Premier).

Granted, with that lineup you're talking about a $10 million album on beats alone, but I'm sayin'... shit would be hot.

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Spike Lee said after Do the Right Thing came out, the press largely focused on the moment when he throws the trash can through the pizzeria and ignored the fact that Radio Raheem was killed by the police. The destruction of property was more notable to them than the loss of life. I think about that now as I watch the coverage of what's happening in the UK. What Russell Brand writes here is dead on.

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Here's my lastest column on theGrio. The discussion around Watch the Throne has bothered me a bit, particularly about how Jay and Ye are flaunting their wealth during such hard economic times. I get that sentiment completely. And by all means, I don't think anyone should listen to this album if it offends them that much. Thing is, there is so. much. more. going on here. It's one of those "do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?" moments. I understand we all bring our own perspective to it, but I think if you're actively listening instead of deciding the content based on a few buzz words you heard, there's a message here bigger than just Maybachs and G4s. But this is just my two cents or more.

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I'm gonna be on WVON Chicago discussing Rise of the Planet of the Apes. So that should be fun.

All I really want out of life right now is a Killer Mike, Young Jeezy, and T.I. collaboration. That would feed my soul and make babies cry. When Tip gets out, I'm holla at 'em, see if I can't make that happen. Then I'd need a film version of The Wire so that song could be on the soundtrack. But, ya know, that's just me daydreaming.

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Read this piece about Brandon Marshall, black men, and mental health. And not just because I was quoted. s/o +Mark Anthony Neal

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At the end of it all...

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I've always liked Still Standing better than Soul Food, but that's just me. Anyway, this song has always intrigued me 'cause it's this ode to black women ("you're my sister, lover, and friend" "there's no me if there is no you" sentiments you're not gonna hear a whole lot of in hip-hop) but then there's this line: "you got to respect yourself before I can." I understand the idea of earning respect, but in this particular context, doesn't it suggest that there are women "deserving" of disrespect? Or at least, doesn't it set us on that path? And what exactly are the guidelines for a woman respecting herself enough to gain the respect of these men? Cee-Lo says this:

"Equality, honesty, independence, intelligence.
Emotional, & devotional, humbly seekin to hear God when He has speakin.
At one time my mind couldn´t conceive, a woman had to dress a certain way to believe.
But in the same breath, allow me to say, that
If you believe young lady, you´dn´t dress that way, & I,
Was attracted to yo´ class, I could not see all yo´ ass, & I was very content"

So it seems to be tied up in the way a woman dresses, basically asking for modesty and all that jazz. Show skin = no respect, cover up = ultimate respect. The sentiment is understood, but it brings up these questions about controlling a woman's body. The heart seems to be in the right place, but feels as misguided as they're accusing certain women of being. Hmmmmm...

Not that I've ever accused any male rapper of being a feminist, but those defending hip-hop from the detractors who claim there's nothing of value in the lyrics will offer up Goodie as an example, but I'm just interrogating what looks to me like a case of benevolent sexism.

The song knocks, I'm just sayin'... ya know... things...

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Interesting read in light of the recent prison strike out at Pelican Bay and the Georgia prison strikes from earlier this year (check's "From Attica to Pelican Bay: A Brief History of Prison Rebellions" too). h/t +Jamil Smith
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