Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The State of the Blog

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am working on taking this site to a permanent host, which will allow me to post up mp3s for an unlimited amount of users and redesign the site to give it a new look that isn't like every other blog on blogger. I have hinted at big things in the future here, and felt like it was time to let everyone in on the secret. Other things are in the works, but they are dependent on this first step.

This post is also a request for any help or recommendations with this transition. If you are reading this and have a blog, in particular an mp3 blog, please holler at your bol at the email in the upper right-hand corner. Let me know what host you recommend, what type of package, any help is appreciated.

Tonight is also the State of the Union address by our dear President. The state of me this day is sad, depressed and frightened for the year ahead. Samuel Alito was confirmed today, Coretta Scott King passed away, and Vladimir Putin continues to take Russia back to the Soviet days. The state of the night will consist of me hiding under the bed, crying, with MC and J urging me to come back out and eat something. That is the state of being my girlfriend and cat, respectively.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Dr. Dog and The Teeth at The Mercury Lounge


Dr. Dog doing the damn thing

I had the good fortune of attending the Dr. Dog show Friday night at the Mercury Lounge in NYC with MC. It was a showcase for Philly rock music, as they shared a bill with fellow 215-ers The Teeth and Illinoise. It was a wonderful night of music, proving that the city is a home for all sorts of wonderful music. Lots of Philly residents and expats seemed to be in the house, which warmed my homesick heart. For real, Philly runs this shit, get on board or stay out the way.

We got there around 9:30 and caught the last few songs of the Illinoise set. I liked what I heard, nothing spectacular, just good straight ahead rock 'n' roll. The bassist had the line of the night, coming after a failed attempt to get the crowd to clap along, when he said "Oh I forgot, you're so fucking cool in New York." So true, son.

After that, The Teeth came on and killed. They have a similar sound and make-up to Dr. Dog, sans the piano player. It's lots of guitars, up-front bass and solid drumming. Vocals are shared, and usually augmented with the harmonies that set these bands apart for me. One of the lead singers, who is also the bassist, makes the craziest face I have ever seen when singing, a look of anger that seems more fitting for a punk show in the late 70s. No big deal, as you get used to the look and it sorta endears you to the guys. This ain't no pretty boy/ex-model shit, if ya know what I mean.

Sam Champion were up next, bringing some NYC to the Philly bill. They were alright, just didn't resonate with me that night. A little too slow and sludgy, nothing much vocally and a guitarist with too tight jeans distracting me. MC referenced the Stone Roses, a nice call. Worth a future listen, perhaps on a different bill.

Finally, Dr. Dog came on around midnight to a packed house and did the damn thing. I mean, for really real, these guys are one of the great live acts out there. The quintet came out smoking from the get-go, and never really let up for the next hour or so. I feel like these guys no longer have any buzz, as the band of the month crowd has moved on. That's a real shame, as they put on an amazing live show, write great original songs and are skilled musicians.

There really is nothing quite like a sold-out rock show in a small club, that electricity that doesn't seem to happen with any other genre. This live excitement, the harmonies, the driving rock songs and the high energy reminded me of one band, a band who holds a special place in my heart. The good ol' Grateful Dead. While you pick yourself up off of the floor at the thought of Pound for Pound being a Deadhead, let me inform you that this will be the musical focus for the next week. I will be posting up some live offerings from the 10 CD boxed set chronicling their legendary run at the Fillmore West in early 1969.

Here are a few more pictures from the evening, all taken by the one-and-only MC. She is a wonderful photographer, and I vow to you to do a better job posting up her pictures from the events that I drag her to.


Lead guitarist and vocalist Scott McMicken dressed to impress


The future's so bright, you gotta wear pink shades


Drummer Justin Stens drumming on his drums


A packed house during the Dr. Dog set. Luckily for you, my ugly mug is not in the shot.


One last shot of the diverse crowd

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Young Chuck Norris

In lieu of the last, overly depressing post, I figured I would bring some light and humor back in. The kids call it bringing the funny, or so I've been told. I am still totally feeling the "Lazy Sunday" short from SNL a few weeks back, which is like a decade in blog-time. Whatever. This past Saturday, I had the good fortune of seeing the latest short, "Young Chuck Norris", a short digital film whose title pretty much sums up the plot. The common ingredient to both was one Andy Samberg.

It struck me that I was watching the rise of a star, the emergence of a comedic genius, the man to make me forget about Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz and Tracey Morgan. In short, I am totally jocking this guy. Yes, he has done little else on the show, but it's nice to have high hopes in such awful times. He seems to be the first person on SNL that fits the humor of the times, moving away from the slapstick and impersonations to irony, sarcasm and subtlety. I guess the best way of putting it is that Samberg seems to be the first cast member that could be a correspondent on the Daily Show quite easily. DS has defined comedy for me the past few years: its style of engagement with the world, laughing at the mess, detaching just enough to not go crazy. That's what I sense with Samberg and it seems just right to me.

-Go here to see "Young Chuck Norris". Go here for an amazing collection of videos starring Samberg from the past few years. Go here for Samberg being interviewed on David Letterman.

- Go here for the home page of Samberg's L.A.-based comedy group, The Lonely Island.

-Rolling Stone just did a nice handy guide to the explosion of comedy-based websites. Unfortunately, they do not have that article up online. Thankfully, it's Rolling Stone, so I can summarize in a few sentences. They recommend the following sites: Channel101, Icebox and Ebaum's World. This is months of viewing pleasure, and the breeding ground for Samberg and the Lonely Island guys.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Return of the Political

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I think that this title might be the name of a Frederic Jameson book, but I'm not sure. (For those who know that reference, get a life.) Anyway, I just wanted to get back to looking at politics, a subject which has conspicuouly been absent from this blog recently. I could say that I have been focused on the mixtapes and trying to have related links, but that would only be half the truth. No, I have just been sick to death of politics, current events and the people who write about them and participate in them. It's felt a lot like the lead-up to the last election, when I just couldn't take it anymore- the lies, the smears, the shoddy journalism that was practiced on the 24-hour cable shows and big newspapers alike.

I want to be one of those warriors who canvasses and writes a daily blog filled with the day's atrocities, the idealist who believes. I just don't have the stomach for it, the ability to withstand the disappointment and anger on a day-to-day basis. I wouldn't be able to wake up in the morning if I didn't take a break from it all occasionally. It's that bad out there.

How bad? Samuel Alito is going to be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States. This man is a far-right judge, a man out of step with the mainstream of America. He has worked his whole life to undermine Roe v. Wade, labor rights, environmental rights, defendants' rights. He has spent his whole life pursuing the same agenda that the Bush administration has adopted and crammed down our throats. He will become the deciding vote on so many issues and will influence the direction of this country for years to come. TPMCafe has been a great source during the hearings. Go here and here for the case against Alito. SCOTUSblog has also been a great source. Dahlia Lithwick cuts through the crap and addresses the issue of presidential authority in the war on terror, where the law will be set by this man. Feministing has been looking at this from the beginning. Daily Kos was a good outlet for those of us upset at this nomination and looking for fellow miserablists.

Want more? Take a look at the story surrounding the Washington Post ombudsman, Deborah Howell. For those that don't know what the hell an ombudsman is, let me tell you that it's not a member of the crew on a porno shoot. It is a person hired by a newspaper to serve as a check on their reporters, to catch their mistakes and report on them. Anyway, Howell jumped into the Abramoff scandal and made some factually inaccurate statements tying the Democrats to Abramoff's campaign contributions. Instead of admitting her mistake, she continued to make the inaccurate claims and began to parrot GOP talking points on the issue. It blew up into a real shitstorm, with readers leaving critical comments on her blog, some of which were deleted for supposed offensive comments. Her boss did an interview with right-wing blogger Hugh Hewitt to defend the paper. To top it off, Howell is the same person who called out Post writer Daniel Froomkin's blog for being too liberal! Notice a pattern here.

Jane at firedoglake
has lead the charge thankfully, so go here, here and here to follow the developments. Josh Marshall gets to the heart of the matter. Brad Delong destroys Howell and the Post, for really real. Mark Schmitt gets in on it as well.

And for a depressing finale? A group of alumni at UCLA, led by 24-year old Andrew Jones, are offering cash rewards for anyone willing to out "radical" professors by providing tapes and notes of their lectures. Intimidating professors falls right in the line with the mood of the days, when bullying and insults pass for discourse. Joseph McCarthy would be proud of his offspring.

Monday, January 23, 2006

200 Pound Tumor, the Half Ton Man and Other People Who Make Me Feel Better About Myself

We're working on a few behind-the-scenes things here at Pound for Pound, which means that the next week or so is going to be a little random: some links and some songs from all over the map. We're going to try to take this blog to the next level, so I ask for some patience as we take some steps to do that. We will be taking care of your booty music needs again before you know it.

In the meantime, might I recommend that you check out a cable station called Discovery Health? It's stunning, putting on astonishing programs on a daily basis. In the span of a few weeks, I have seen two people with tumors that weighed more than 150 lbs. TWO people, for chrissakes! The first one was the story of a 120-pound woman who had a 200-pound tumor that engulfed her body below the chest. The second woman, from Romania, developed a 175-pound tumor, which left her just short of the world record. Both women survived, and their tumors now host shows on Fox News.

The remaining cast of characters includes the half-ton man (the fattest man ever), the 750-pound man, kids born without skin, kids born with hair all over their faces like werewolves, and many people getting consmetic surgery to get better noses, faces, boobs and whatnot. I'll put that cast up against Jack Bauer, some desperate housewives and every American Idol. This week: "Mermaid Baby", "Living With Half a Body", "Born Without a Face" and "Born With Two Heads".

Check out this channel, if you have it. It's nice to see Discovery Health adopting my attitude, first presented in a review of Breaking Bonaduce, that the best TV is the kind that makes me feel better about my own pathetic, horrible life.

-I'm going to come with all sorts of topics and links over the next week, covering everything from Roe v. Wade to French rap to reggaeton to boxing. We're all over the place, but in a good way.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Year Ahead for Pound for Pound (a.k.a. Happy 1st Birthday, Nerd!)

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The Future's so bright here, you better wear shades. You've been warned.

It's hard to believe, but this week marks the 1st Anniversary of Pound for Pound. I started this blog a year ago for no discernible reason, just the inkling that I had something to say and contribute beyond banal commentary on big topics. It has taken a year, but I feel that things are starting to come together here, that I am starting to find a distinct voice.

In the next few weeks, you will notice lots of changes here, all of which are intended to make this a more valuable resource for people and an easier and more attractive place to visit. The main change will involve having permanent server space, which will enable me to post mp3s for a longer period of time and for an unlimited number of downloaders. I also hope to improve the design of the site, as I move it from the limited blogger template to something of my own creation. There are other ideas still in the embryonic stage, but let's just say that I'm working on big things, real big things.

I want to take this moment to thank everyone who has visited the site over the past year, from my friends to my regular readers to those looking to find out more about "Wilt Chamberlain penis size." It has been nice to know that people find what I am saying and uploading interesting, and a real treat to meet some good people. On that front, feel free to contact me at the email above, over AIM (jdschone) or at my myspace page (unless you are a girl with a webcam, enough already). I hope to keep adding great links to our list, as there really is a limitless number. We gonna make this an empire, manifest destiny, cheah!

Finally, I want to thank MC for all of her editing, her feedback, her support, and mostly, for inspiring me to do this and everything. This blog came into focus around the same time she came into my life, and I don't think that is any coincidence. I look forward to seeing what 2006 holds, that's about all I can say.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Young Jeezy and DJ Drama-Trap or Die


DJ Drama and Young Jeezy, Trap or Die

DJ Drama and Young Jeezy, Trap or Die (chopped + screwed)

Did you get it, get it? Did you guess who was #1? That's right, Jeezy, the Snowman. He got that snow, man. He's also got the trophy for winning the first annual Pound for Pound Best Mixtape, as the crowning achievement in a big year for mixtapes was DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz Trap or Die. I imagine that a lot of people guessed this choice, as I had pretty much covered every other big name from the year. I mean, you couldn't go anywhere without seeing one of those snowman t-shirts that inexplicably became the gear of choice for hood kids and ironists alike.

However, it wasn't a gimmicky t-shirt that put Jeezy on the map. No, it was this DJ Drama mixtape and a fantastic album that did that. Before I get into that, let me discuss the aesthetics of a great mixtape for me. I'm not sure that I have done a good job of conveying what made a mixtape something I came back to again and again. I'm not sure that I really know, in all honesty, but in looking back, it either had to bring a comprehensive look at a scene, like Whut It Dew, or it had to bring me a complete look at one artist. I want a mix to give me something that the official release never can: the artist and person behind the music. I want it unfiltered: no A&R guys, no label heads, no demographic research. I got that from these six, and then some.

For me, Jeezy brought the perfect mixture of street, talent and arrogance. Mix in an engaging personality, and you have a winner. Moreso than on his album, Thug Motivation 101, this mix brings all of it out in the open. This is Jeezy and his cohorts, talking about selling drugs, bragging about their cars, the money they make, giving advice to younger rappers (he's only 22, mind you), telling stories about going to strip clubs when he was 14 to prove his hood status. It's a huge, wild document, that explores the trap and its mindset, the violence, the guilt, the bragging. Everything that makes hip hop so exciting and frustrating and authentic at the same time.

Trap or Die displayed all of this best, and did it with some of my favorite songs of the year. "Get Em Jeezy", "Miss Me With That Rap Shit" and "We Luv Ya", the freestyle over "Ether" should prove that this isn't all surface, no substance. This mixtape showed the way forward, put Atlanta back in front, and stayed in my playlist for most of the year. Not bad for 6 bucks.

-Hey DJ, that's my DJ! Yes indeed, the man who has provided the soundtrack to way too many of my nights, Low Budget, has brought out a new mixtape. It's called Club Shotta, and gives you a pretty good sense of Low B's style. That means recent club bangers, B-more club, dancehall, mashups, some 80s. In other words, exactly what you need. Go here and buy it directly from the man, or Philly people can go to Armand's to cop it. Whatever you do, buy it.

-The new mix from emynd and Bo Bliz is called Electro Cute and is out now, as well. To quote the guys: "The jawn is a full 70 minutes of ridiculous electro, bmore, Miami-bass, booty, dancehall, and other 130bpm-plus ish." Yum. This might be the mix I would commission to celebrate this blog, as it is so nice to see more and more DJs focusing on bass music and all of its offshoots. Go to the official website and check out some sound clips if you don't trust me. Don't forget to go check out emynd's blog, Schizophrenic Tenant One, which is linked permanently to the right.

-DJ Ayres and DJ Eleven have a mix out called Houston for Dummies, a beginner's guide to all the heat coming out from H-town over the last decade. Go here or here and cop it.

-My Balls and My Word is a great blog coming out of the Great White North that is necessary reading. In fact, it is doing the music, politics, etc. format a lot better than me. Make sure to check out the Schooly D shit, and the variety of mixtapes from Nas, Swishahouse and DJ 31 Degreez.

-Finally, I hope that everyone enjoyed this look at the mixtape game for 2005. If enough people holler at me on comments or email, I will gladly reup anything from the past few weeks. Not sure what's next here at Pound for Pound, but I will be getting back to the booty music that is our lifeblood.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Weekend Update with Pound for Pound

Every now and then there is a weekend that is chock full of happenings, and I feel it imperative that I acknowledge the goodness.

-It's hard to believe, but yes, I am hyping a show, I Have A Dream 2006, at one of New York City's mega-clubs, Roxy, known for its star DJs, clubbing til the next morning, and a general scene that repulses me. However, if you read the flier above closely, DJ Assault and DJ Funk are spinning a dual set this night. That's right, two of the patron saints of Pound for Pound are performing together for one night. Assault and Funk have brought booty music to the forefront in Detroit and Chicago, respectively. Ghettotech and ghetto house owe everything to these two originals, as does this blog. This is a rare East Coast appearance, and even rarer joint one, so needless to say, it's an essential night.

-For those in Philly tomorrow night, I cannot recommend more highly the Killsound event at Waxbar. While it is mainly a showcase for drum and bass music (!?!), the reason to go is the Philly debut of Caps and Jones, two of the best young DJs anywhere. I have heard them spin a few times, consider their Moving In Stereo one of the best mixes I have ever heard, and just generally predict big things for the duo. Philly, head out and give these guys a nice welcome, as playing Philly means they have hit the big time for real. I hope that this is just the first of many more appearances in the Illadelph. Killsound looks like it's going to take over Sundays, FYI.

-I can't forget about Saturday night, as there's much popping off. Reagan Disko Headache holds down The Khyber. If you don't know about this one, it's consistently one of the best, most adventurous parties in the city. Ron Morelli and friends cover all sorts of ground, from electro to post-punk to booty.

-Again, I need to recommend The Pop-off Shack jawn at The Metro Lounge in Northern Liberties. I really believe that this weekly will achieve epic status- two floors of fun, huge space, some of the best Philly DJs. What more could you ask for?

-Unfortunately, one of those DJs will not be there this week, as Low Budget is involved in an amazing night at Supreme Trading in Brooklyn. The Juan MacLean of DFA Records fame will be there, along with Low B, DJ Ayres and a slew of other DJs.

-Finally, the Walnut Room (1709 Walnut Street) is hosting a 12-week Sunday night showcase for some of the greatest Philly DJs of all-time. This Sunday is King Britt, the house/downtempo/hip hop superstar.

-People, if you have an event going on or are DJing somewhere, holler at your bol. I'm always up for helping promote cool events, as it makes me feel like I am a creative person doing big things. Let your bol live vicariously, send in listings!

-In lieu of the title of this post, I have to link to this video from a recent Saturday Night Live skit that I am guessing everyone has seen. It's called "The Chronic of Narnia", and it is the funniest thing I may have ever seen on SNL, especially since Will Ferrell left. I don't watch the show, but this video does have me wondering if it has returned to funny after the dark years of Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz and Tracey Morgan.

-#1 on Monday, people. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Clipse-We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2


The Clipse, We Got It For Cheap Vol. 1

The Clipse, We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2

No surprise here, as this is the mix of the year for most people. Sasha has it at #13 on his best of 2005 list, Hardly Art, Hardly Garbage has eloquently hyped this album since its release. If those names don't sell you, maybe I can. Okay, okay, just let me talk anyway.

Both volumes of We Got It For Cheap served as definitive statements for Clipse, the VA rap duo that dropped Lord Willin' a few years back and enjoyed the beats of the Neptunes. Can you believe that it has been 3 years since "Grindin'" dropped? Me either. While it is a travesty that label troubles have prevented them from dropping more music, hearing these two mixes make the wait well worth it.

The drug stories are back, the beats are more varied, some Philly bols have been added to the crew. However, more than anything, it's the lyrics that make this so unbelievable. I love their album, but I just wasn't ready for these two to put out such unbelievable examples of word play and boasts and coke stories. In some ways, the Clipse seem like the perfect melding of South and East, bringing the laid-back drawl, drug tales and trap or die mentality to the lyrical prowess that defined the East Coast at its best. Gang Starr mixed with UGK. In a sense, the best of both worlds. Now, if they could just find a label to put out another album, for g-dsakes!

-Speaking of getting it for cheap, head here and grab the DFA Radio mixes of 2005, 3 volumes of stuff mixed by James Murphy (a.k.a. LCD Soundsystem) and Juan McLean. Rad.

-Or head here and grab the Optimo No Wave mix put together by JD Twitch. For real, this is a great mix to hear some stuff that maybe hasn't been on your radar, covering that period in the early 80s when new wave turned dark. I really hope that I can get into this music, back when punk and hip hop and electronic mixed and mingled. Keep your eye on the Optimo site, as these guys are crazy busy, putting together the Hang the DJ series, the Optimo party and mashup madness.

-Or head here and check out the new podcasts that Radioclit have put up. I love Radioclit, and cannot recommend more highly their mixes, which go from the sappiest of pop to the dirtiest of rap. The good things in life, in other words.

-A sale at ALife Rivington Club for all those looking to get their kicks for less cash, starting next Thursday and lasting through the weekend. Head to the LES, and cop something nice. [Via Slam X Hype]

-Okay, we are at the end of the road, one more left in our end of year mixtape countdown. The ball is about to drop, can you guess who is the #1? Check in Monday to find out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Juelz Santana-Back Like Cooked Crack 2


Juelz Santana, Back Like Cooked Crack 2

Juelz Santana, Back Like Cooked Crack 3

Dip Set Dip Set Dip Set. I love 'em, you love 'em, everyone loves them. Last year, Cam'ron took the mixtape world by storm with the many jawns that dropped before his album, Purple Haze. Hell, the entire Dip Set phenomenon is a product of the tapes that constantly drop, extending into the minor leaguers of Purple City. This year, the youngest member of the gang ran things, as Juelz Santana put out the biggest album and the best mixtapes from Harlem's finest.

Back Like Cooked Crack 2 was my choice for the better of the two, although my favorite song ("Murder Murder") is on third installment. The entire series is amazing; these are mixtapes that took all of the potential heard before and brought it to the next level. It is a great CD, doing what all of my favorites did this year: great songs from the upcoming album, lots of good freestyles, good talk intervals (either funny shit or hood wisdom shit, choose one). Juelz has proven himself to be one of the best, and a worthy heir to Killa's throne.

Oh, and this is a DJ Green Lantern production, a name that is the gold standard in mixtapes. I kinda forgot about bol this year, what with my attention focused down south, and much of Lantern's best work coming outta the East Coast (Beanie Sigel, Beastie Boys, 50 Cent). However, he deserves more attention and respect, as he is arguably the man responsible for the mixtape as art movement. His Jadakiss and Beanie mixes of the last few years elevated the game to whole nother level that Kay Slay and Clue had no vision of.

-Miami Ink is back like cooked crack tonight with new episodes. This is seriously one of my favorite shows on TV (ok, basic cable) and I highly recommend it to anyone who is into reality TV that isn't about humiliation, sex or craziness. It follows the day-to-day scene at a tattoo parlor on Miami Beach, and follows the artists a bit in their personal lives. It's amazing to watch the process unfold, to see how a tattoo comes to creation, and just how creative an art it is.

-There Stands The Glass is a new blog that is off to a great start. There is nothing better than a site dedicated to "overlooked and forgotten music," as I think that that spirit guides our site here, as well. Anyway, go check it out here and listen to some great music from genres all over the map. Tech N9ne today!

-One can only hope that New Orleans can make it back to the boisterous, imperfect city that it was before Katrina. Go here, here and here to read more on the development process. After that, please make sure to check out this masterful essay by critic Mike Davis in Le Monde Diplomatique on the dangers of reconstruction, the fear of gentrification and the forces more than happy to use this tragedy for their own causes. Here is another Davis piece on the gentrification angle.

-Most importantly, I will be back in the next few days to wrap up this end-of-the-year mixtape look. I know that I originally said that I would only be doing a Top 5, but I was wrong. This is a Top 6 list, as my small brain has constantly looked at the next two as #1 and #1A.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Saturday Night Was Not Alright For Fighting

A big day Saturday, lead off by the Zab Judah fight in New York City. Zab is one of the potential stars of the fight game, a man in need of a huge win to rise in the ranks of the pound for pound rankings. He was close to getting that fight with the best of the best, Floyd Mayweather Jr., but needed to win a tune-up last night.

As they say, that's why they play the game. Carlos Baldomir won a unanimous decision, dealing a serious blow to Judah's future. He came at Judah from the beginning of the fight, in the tradition of the great Argentinian fighters, relentlessly pursuing Judah and never allowing Judah to use his speed and power. I can't really say much, other than that this is a shocking loss and ruins the potential Mayweather-Judah fight that many people have been clamoring for. Judah looked past this "tune-up", and now is left to pick up the pieces of his career for his unprofessional atttitude toward the fight.

While it's disappointing for future fights, it's always nice to see an underdog win, especially in front of a hostile crowd. In all honesty, it's hard to root for a guy as cocky and arrogant as Judah, the only fighter repping NYC. Baldomir claims to want a Mayweather fight, but I really hope that Floyd chooses this Judah loss as a chance to go up in weight class and find some competition.

Lots of great blog reaction, as I have been sleeping on way too many great sites dealing with the greatest sport ever. The folks at Sweet Science have a nice roundup of the fight and the reaction to Judah's loss and whining. East Coast Boxing sums it up succinctly with their post, Zab "Losah." Let Your Hands Go enjoyed seeing the arrogant Judah lose, and even came up with a "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" analogy. Gemini 38 feels shame for the entire borough of Brooklyn as a result of Zab's performance. TG's Blog comes to love boxing more after this card. hitthemagain has some sage advice for all fighters after watching Judah look ahead to his next fight.

-In the unadulterated great defeats category, Tom Delay has officially stepped down as the House majority leader. It appears that his indictment, his future trouble from the Abramoff case and his pariah status in an election year sunk the Bugman. It really couldn't happen to a better guy, as Delay has been at the forefront of the modern Republican party and its culture war, tax cuts, greed, corruption and McCarthyite attacks on the opposition. (Update: As a nice final piece, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Delay's request to have his appeal thrown out. Nine Republican judges do not agree with his belief that this is a meritless, partisan attack. [Via Talking Points Memo])

-There was a fatal shark attack in Australia this weekend, and our thoughts are with the victim's family. As MC knows all too well now, I am fascinated by sharks and would spend hours every weekend watching shark documentaries on The Discovery Channel if the network's programmers indulged me. This one is stunning, because it appears to involve three bull sharks, with one of the sharks chasing the victim and rescuers to the shore. It must be remembered that man has never been able to tame this animal; it is the only one on Earth about which that can be said, and for that it deserves our respect and fear.

-For anyone in Philly Saturday night, there was just no need for fighting, as The Pop-Off Shack brought dancing, good music, drunkeness and fun to the Metro Lounge for a night. I will have more to say about this party, but for now, know that this is going to be the party of the year anywhere. For real, greatness is predicted.

-To make it up to NYC for Zab's tank, we're going to focus on one of your other native sons doing big things tomorrow as we wrap up our look at the best mixtapes of the past year.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

DJ Drama and Lil' Wayne-Dedication


DJ Drama and Lil' Wayne, Dedication

This one was in the running for #1, and really each of the top 3 could make a strong case for being mixtape of the year. All three are solo CDs, focused on one artist, and that seems to be what sounded the best to me this year.

Lil Wayne has been around for years now; he has seen the rise and fall of the Cash Money Records, and has come out of the shadows of Juvenile, Mannie Fresh and Birdman to become one of the big names in the game on his own. Quite a story, and with all that transpired in New Orleans this Fall with Katrina and its aftermath, I can only imagine what he will say in the new year. I'm not sure that anything could top this mixtape, which dropped in the summer, an official release consisting entirely of flows and freestyles from Weezie.

What comes across is that Wayne is a star, an entertainer and one of the great lyricists in the game. I mean, T.I. always seemed like the logical successor after Jay-Z retired. But, hearing Weezy kill song after song, rolling with every instrumental, makes me reconsider. Or perhaps I'm just sentimental for the days when Cash Money ruled the game, when the gang was together, Mannie Fresh was dropping all the beats, Juvenile was a star, B.G. and Wayne were the young lions, and Baby was doing whatever the hell he did.

-Speaking of Drama and mixtapes, he has a new one out with T.I., a.k.a. T.I.P., a.k.a. The King of the South, called The Leak. This is dropping in advance of the new album, The King, and makes it clear that the early part of 2006 will be T.I.'s to lose. Buy it here.

-Good to see U Mean Competitor is back in the new year, and even better to see that 2005 is going to be just like 2006, in other words "Dipset all year every year." That seems like a good hint for the next mixtape we will look at here, by the way. Just FYI.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Rapid Ric and Bun-B


Freestyle Kingz and Magno, Twanks or Swangs (regular speed)

Freestyle Kingz and Magno, Twanks or Swangs (chopped + screwed)

Killa Kyleon, Middlfngz and Bun B, Texas Dreams

Killa Kyleon, Middlfngz and Bun B, Texas Dreams (c+s)

Yung Redd and the Grit Boys, Don't Fuck With the 718 flow

Yung Redd and the Grit Boys, Don't Fuck With the 718 flow (c+s)

As promised, the next mixtape that made it onto my "Best Street Tapes of the Year" list came out of Houston, the city that has been making waves for a few years now. Besides Matt Sonzala, Rapid Ric might be the man most responsible for getting the music out to the rest of the country and exposing the rap world to just how deep the scene is.

These songs come off of an installation of one of the best series going, Whut It Dew 2, Ric's series dedicated to the Texas scene. What makes it invaluable is its focus on a city and its music, allowing the listener to go even deeper into the music. WID2 is hosted by the OG legend, the one, the only Bun-B, and one of the up-and-coming stars of the scene, Killer Kyleon. It seems like it was a while ago that Bun was the center of attention, although I guess that it was only this summer. It was nice to have the focus on one of the underappreciated legends of rap, a genre that indulges in the new thing, the new sound, the new single as much as any other. He is in good form here, sounding as energetic and dominant as he did in the UGK days.

-Go here and get another chance to grab the mix Rapid Ric did to celebrate the release of Bun's album, Trill. All of the man's greatest verses mixed up, The King of the Trill is an epic document of one of the greatest of all-time, like seeing a tape of all of Jordan's dunks and game-winning shots. Make sure to buy the man's album here, as free mixtapes don't put chrome on the Cadillac.

-Looking to grab some of the best albums of '05 that weren't as talked about? Go here for Sasha Frere-Jones' recommendations in the latest New Yorker. I love seeing a list that has the Clipse's We Got It For Cheap next to Natasha Bedingfield. For real, I would follow this guy to war if he said that was the thing to do.

-Great new look at The Stencil, as bols are putting on a new face for the new year. I'mma have to check out their recommendation for cheesesteaks in NYC, as the name Tony Luke's carries a lot weight around Pound for Pound. For the record, I will not go into this with an open mind, as I don't care how many rolls they have sent up from Sarcone's, it will never be the same. NYC can keep trying, but the shittiest cheese steak place in Philly kills the best NYC can offer. Get off of our dicks, the Sixth Borough is rising! Seriously, their other Philly recommendation for the opening of "Something Like Water" at 222 Gallery in Old City looks great. I'm going to try to stop by tomorrow night for the opening.

-More good news in the new year, as the murder charges against Gucci Mane have been dropped. So Lucky.

-Tomorrow we head to New Orleans to hear one of the rap's finest succeeding in the city's saddest year.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

DJ Smallz and Yo Gotti


DJ Smallz and Yo Gotti, Hustle & Flow: Southern Smoke Special Edition

It won't be much of a surprise that the South dominated the mixtape game this past year, as they generally ran the game on all fronts in 2005. While it was the year of the stars, from Three 6 Mafia to Young Jeezy to the Clipse, Yo Gotti was a voice that stuck out to me immediately, thanks to DJ Smallz.

Gotti comes out of the Memphis scene, which hasn't drawn the attention of the world the way that Atlanta and Houston and New Orleans have been able to. That's in spite of Three 6 Mafia's biggest hit ever, "Stay Fly", which brought the group national airplay. This lack of spotlight on Memphis seems to be the only reason Gotti hasn't gotten more buzz, more blog discussion, more press, as he has everything else. He has the coke game raps, the Southern voice, the bass beats. Listen to the mixtape, and hear for yourself. I hope that 2006 is the year that Yo Gotti rises to the level of Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne, making coke money on his rhymes.

Anyway, here is the mixtape that came out during the summer, compiled by DJ Smallz as a Southern Smoke: Hustle and Flow edition. It's one of the five best mixtapes to me this year, and definitely my favorite thing that DJ Smallz was involved in. I hope that people will leave some thoughts in the Comments section this week on their favorites street tapes, as I am sure that I missed a lot of great stuff.

-Jack Abramoff agreed to cooperate with the federal authorities and plead guilty. You heard it here first, if you look at nothing else and don't read the newspaper or watch television. Talking Points Memo is the best source on this story, especially this round-up of the day's events. Firedoglake also has a nice guide for those just getting interested in the story.

The key aspect that people must learn is that this is the modern Republican Party. This is not a bipartisan story. Here is a good start by the Washington Post. (Update: The Wall Street Journal reports that Abramoff could implicate up to 60 lawmakers. [Via Think Progress])

-Make sure to start your new year off by grabbing the last lemon-red mix of last year. This one features the work of Nick Catchdubs, the blog legend, Fader scibe and reputable DJ. It's a nice varied mix, taking in B-more club, dancehall, indie, club bangers.

-Tonight we head to H-town, PAT, specifically, for a look at Rapid Ric and Bun-B for the next mixtape.

Monday, January 02, 2006

2006 In Da House

I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and say that I hope that everyone is recovered from the festivities of the past few days. I am so excited for 2006, as it is a going to be a big year, I do believe. It has been so long (i.e. my entire life), since I last looked forward to the start of a new year.

A big part of this excitement is a direct result of Pound for Pound, and the changes that are in store here. More details to come, although we are really just trying to make the site look better and be more valuable as a source of music. The content will stay the same, with the focus on booty music and all that it has wrought, cities, politics, defense of hipsters. I really hope that we bring in many new readers, and that we will continue to entertain and interest our old readers.

The rest of this week will be a look back on 2005, as I'mma list my favorites from the year past. A novel idea, I know. But, to make up for this played-out concept and self-aggrandizing gesture, I will come bearing gifts. I'll be uploading my favorite mixtapes of the year, the top 5 probably, which should bring all the boys to the yard. From there, we will return to the age-old question: Miami bass vs. DJ Screw. It is a question that has plagued intellectuals and scholars for years, and Pound for Pound plans to answer it in 2006.