Though it seems like forever, it was only a year ago today that I began blogging here at XXL. In the past year, I’ve written about 250 posts, which works out to about a post a day for every week day of the last year. I’m not sure how many words that would actually amount to, but I imagine it would be quite a few. This morning, I went through and put together this list of what I think are some of my finer moments here at XXL. Here’s hoping you have as much fun going over them as I did writing them.
1) Southerner’s, quit yer bitchin’ – As far as I’m concerned, this post remains the ne plus ultra of hip-hop blogging. (I realize that’s not saying a whole lot, but still.) In fact, more so than anything else, it was this post as well as the subsequent kerfuffle with Bun B, that put XXL on the map, as noted in this story on the Bun B incident that ran in the Houston Press a week or so later.
2) Is rap mysogynistic enough? – Similarly, as far as I’m concerned, this remains the final word on alleged misogyny in hip-hop. If black men are so hard on black women, how come black women are doing so well (career-wise, at least) while black men are struggling to keep our heads above water?
3) Minstrel show rap – I knocked out this post on one of those afternoons where I had to high tail it to the BGM and hence had hardly any time at all to work on it. If I had known it would take on such a life of its own, maybe I would’ve called in or something. Since last September, it’s been cited in stories in the New York Daily News and on a radio show with the likes of Jesse Jackson and New York Times music critic Kelefa Sanneh. It’s also been shamelessly ripped off by the likes of The Source and the Baltimore Sun.
4) Diamonds are a Jew’s best friend – I managed to work in a reference to Karate Kid II in this post about the connection between hip-hop and the conflict diamonds issue in light of the release of the Hollywood film Blood Diamond. In a subsequent post, I revealed how the DeBeers family, which runs the global diamond trade, was paying Russell Simmons to discredit the film.
5) It goes both ways – So much of the debate re: hip-hop in the past year or so has had to do with the cracka-ass cracka’s appropriation of hip-hop and especially the extent to which white cultural gatekeeper-types champion lesser forms of black music. But, as I pointed out in this post, It’s not like black people aren’t just as guilty of loving them some shitty white music.
6) Russell Simmons, OG in the Pimp Game – Perhaps no other hip-hop mogul has achieved as much while possessing seemingly so little in the way of actual talent as Russell Simmons. It’s been obvious to me since I was in college that Russell Simmons was the gulliest of the hip-hop moguls, but never was it more obvious than when it was revealed how he managed to string along Kimora Lee Simmons without so much letting her own her own clothing line. Russell Simmons is truly a leader in the fight for a man’s rights.
7) Gettin’ some AIDS – The connection between the AIDS epidemic in the black community, especially among young black women, and the nasty R&B music put forth by artists such as Cassie and Pretty Ricky seemed pretty obvious to me, but I’m not aware of any other media outlets explicityl drawing that connection. Hmm… In fact, as I revealed in another post here, Cassie’s hit single “Me and You” was secretly all about giving head. Nullus.
8) The Not So Wonderful World of Cease-A-Leo – One of my main regrets about my tenure with XXL so far is that I haven’t spent very much time covering the world of hip-hop DVDs. Part of it’s just that it’s not like I have a budget to go out and gather source material for these posts. For example, I only saw this Junior Mafia DVD because it happened to be available On Demand from my cable company that month.
9) Making it rain at Strokers (nullus) – Ages before Pacman Jones pulled his little stunt out in Las Vegas, and even a while, in fact, before Fat Joe released his hit single with Lil’ Wayne, I uncovered the phenomenon of hip-hop night at the strip club, including the now maligned practice of making it rain.
10) Lupe Fiasco, jihadist – Finally, how can I forget my little row with Lupe Fiasco. I think it actually began when I did a post about him bitching because his album had leaked, but it kicked into overdrive when he decided to use yours truly to generate publicity for his guest blogging stint here at XXL. A while later, I busted out this post exploring the Islamic fascist themes in his album Food and Liquor.