New World

internet1.jpgOn June 10 of this year, Hummingbyrd, the mind behind a blog called Model Minority (modelminority.blogspot.com), asked, “What if Rakim had the Internet?” Among the answers she provided to her own question, Hummingbyrd stated that if Rakim had the Internet in 1990, his Long Island–based DJ and producer, Eric B., could have e-mailed beats to West Coast fire demon Ras Kass; video-sharing site YouTube would have made MTV obsolete; there would be a Web-based distribution network for hip-hop artists; and hip-hop publications, such as the one you’re reading now, would not have become the premier outlet for rappers to air their grievances with their peers. “I think that people like us,” wrote Hummingbyrd, “who adore music from the backpack, boom-bap era, would have a constant cycle of music to listen to and tours to attend.”

It’s a decidedly utopian vision, but probably not too far from the truth. And despite the fact that Al Gore invented the Internet on Jan. 1, 1983 (with its roots going back as far as three decades prior), what the writer was referring to is what has come to be known as Web 2.0, which is defined by online encyclopedia Wikipedia as the “second generation of Internet-based services—such as social-networking sites, wikis, communication tools and folksonomies—that let people collaborate and share information online in ways previously unavailable.” In English, this means Web platforms that sample from and build on existing technologies and avenues—such as Blogger, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and del.icio.us. When you factor in the proliferation of high-speed connections, Web-enabled cell phones and mobile game consoles, you’re looking at a world where plugging in is one click away on your hip. And counting the reality that the gamut of hip-hop consumers runs from program-writing computer wizards to guys who only have e-mail on their smartphones to thugs who think Google is a funny way of watching a nice derriere pass by, such advents inevitably impact the way that hip-hop artists conduct both business and themselves and interact with their fans.

To promote this year’s Fishscale, Wu-Tang veteran Ghostface, who has an ardent following among the types of keyboard cowboys who debate minutiae on message boards, teamed up with mix master DJ Green Lantern for Internet Invasion, an Internet-only mixtape available free at www.myspace.com/internetinvasion. “I want you to get your laptops ready, yunnowhamean?” Ghost said as way of an introduction. “Plug in your fuckin’ iPods, man, and log on, muthafucka. This shit ain’t never been done before, muthafucka—straight computer shit. We loggin’ on from the fuckin’ sky and all that shit.”

Ghostface is far from the only rapper leveraging the power of the World Wide Web to his advantage. Chi-Town’s Lupe Fiasco, who keeps a blog on hipster fashion site Hypebeast (hypebeast.com) and has served a guest stint on XXL’s Web site (xxlmag.com), has generated a large Internet following by immersing himself in virtual communities. The U.K.’s grime scene made the journey across the Atlantic electronically, through MP3s and pirate radio shows (grime’s breeding ground, akin to the U.S. mixtape scene) posted on blogs and Web sites such as Rinse.fm and Grimetime.de, resulting in a Def Jam deal for the diminutive Lady Sovereign. Niche artists such as North Carolina’s Little Brother, underground stalwart MF Doom, emo MC Sage Francis and the Baltimore club music–influenced duo Spank Rock have all been able to connect with listeners through online posts, interviews and digital treats—a more direct alternative to the scattershot, cookie-cutter tactics employed by large record companies.

That these smaller acts have been able to cultivate their audiences at a fraction of the cost required by the majors hasn’t stopped the guys in the big pond from going after little fish. Accomplished (and, presumably, filthy rich) artists such as Wyclef and Diddy have appealed directly to their MySpace “friends.” But where ’Clef did a simple freestyle, Diddy, the living embodiment of mass-market rap, went the extra mile in pushing his recent Press Play. He created his own channel on YouTube (complete with a Burger King tie-in), where he uploaded video clips of himself in a bubble bath and taking a leak.

Of course, Diddy’s presence on what started as a grassroots site is akin to Bill Gates copping free lunch from public schools during the summer. Some of his fellow YouTubers have labeled him a “marketing whore,” requesting that he go party in his “expensive clubs,” with grammatically averse user Perduke commenting, “diddys gonna start usin youtube for free promotion and paris hiltons gonna keep releasin her stupid videos for idiots and then more and more and more people are gonna start doin the same thing and then all the most viewed/most subscribed stuff on youtube is gonna be celebrities and the average joe wont be able to get any views and a lot of talented people are going to be overlooked and youtubes gonna become really commercial and it will suck.”

But another user, PorterMedia, commented, “If Diddy hadn’t done this YouTube channel, I wouldn’t even have known this album was out—now I know I’ll be buying it the day of release.” While such arguments are common on the Net, the winners in this situation are clear: Diddy, who came in at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and YouTube, which was recently acquired by search-engine giant Google for a cool $1.67 billion.

By most measures, hip-hop languishes far behind the mainstream when it comes to the Web. There have been songs like mixtape veteran Grafh’s “MySpace Jumpoff,” “MySpace Freak” by Atlanta’s C-Side (who have linked with the ubiquitous Jazze Pha since releasing the song), and full-length dedications like mix king Big Mike’s MySpace Massacre Volume One, but there has yet to be a breakout star from the Internet to get beaucoup bucks for a recording contract. In an article on CNNMoney.com, writer Marc Gunther noted, “The Internet is by nature a niche medium so it has not created any stars, and probably won’t.” Gunther’s assertion may not hold true in the coming months—MySpace pages are quickly replacing the mixtape as a shopping tool, much like the mixtape displaced the demo tape. But for now, the dominant aspects of online hip-hop are decidedly of the lowest-common-denominator variety.

Much like (and, perhaps, more than) other forms of media, the Internet is a haven for unsubstantiated gossip, and on this front, items of the sort once rumored to be urban legend are able to be either debunked or strengthened. Did Lil Wayne and Baby really kiss on the lips during 106 & Park? Not sure. But one day near the end of October, a picture of the Cash Money partners on the verge of touching lips made the rounds so virulently that the Birdman was on the air with a New Orleans radio station the same night, brushing off the haters and professing his love for Weezy.
—————-
Read the rest of our essay on the Internet’s effects in XXL’s January/February 2007 issue (#88)

  • LANDIGGY

    Man we in a new world it’s only gonna get better one thing I don’t like is these internet thugs it’s easy to be a thugs on the internet because you don’t have to deal with no real issuse I think you should have to be some what smart to talk on these blogs because they are the new wave and the last thing we need is dumbass people on it.

  • Legaldollaz

    Good job on XXL’s part in translating their brand strength to online to make up for lost ad revenue on the print side. The Internet gives the opportunity for the NOW generation to take advantage of the open terrain and create their own outlet getways instead of waiting for people outside of the culture to create it and then just simply inside its sandbox (e.g Myspace). Money off of CD’s is outta here as the bread for liscensing your content grows by leaps and bounds.

  • marlon

    The biggest difference that the internet is having on hip hop is that it cut rappers record sales by 60 to 70 percent. Albums are almost always leaked weeks before it hits the stores. there are a hundred mixtapes a week made accessible to everyone, blogs were we all over analyze everything, what the internet has done to hip hop more than anything else it has made it an extremely oversaturated market. Hip hop was at its best when there were two or three good radio shows a week. ten mixtapes a month. and two or three albums dropped a week. The internet is what made hip hop jumped the shark.

  • http://www.myspasce.com/16kingz thebestout!

    we all caugth in the matrix!! Fuck this where’s my pill!?, shit! fuck it pop the oxycotton and flow wit” it!

  • http://www.myspace.com/gopentertainment Sayso is Donny Slaughter

    I think the internet is a great way to promote yo shyt, like this…go to http://www.cdbaby.com/sayso to hear/buy my new cd ‘BlaXXXploitions of Donny Slaughter’, see how easy that was??? Check me out at myspace.com/gopentertainment and give me a shout!!!! Or check my group out on Youtube.com under mercenary family, or just go to myspace.com/mercenaryrecordz!!! Now that’s promotion…thanks internet!!!!!

  • http://www.ohword.com Sach

    You’d think they’d reprint the “Top 10 Rap Blogs” sidebar here.

    ahem.

    http://WWW.OHWORD.COM

  • 11kap

    This aint no revolution. this is corny. youtube is 3rd rate quality video at best, and you know it. who makes money off internet rap? they wanna drive us deep underground so you won’t see us in the light plus they want your art for free. gimme a break, parasites. most people in the hood don’t even have a need for this stuff.

  • OG Frank

    Nice article man…
    Anyway i don’t like this YouTube celebrity thing. I tohught you yube was mainly for common people.

  • 11kap

    CRACKAS ALWAYS TRYING TO STAY 2 OR 3 STEPS AHEAD OF THE NIGGAS AND EVERYBODY ELSE. THEY NEVR EXPECT FOR US TO CATCH THEIR AZZES SLIPPIN.

    ONE DAY WE’RE GONNA GETCHA MF’S. WATCH THE FUCK OUT!!

  • Tray

    LANDIGGY Says:

    December 12th, 2006 at 12:32 pm
    Man we in a new world it’s only gonna get better one thing I don’t like is these internet thugs it’s easy to be a thugs on the internet because you don’t have to deal with no real issuse I think you should have to be some what smart to talk on these blogs because they are the new wave and the last thing we need is dumbass people on it.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Haha, guess that rules you out.

  • Bizz

    JUMP OFF THATS MY NIGGA HE IS ON OF THE BEST RAPPERS TOP 5 DEAD OR ALIVE AND THATS JUST OFF 1LP, ITS….ITS…ITS THAT ON TOP MUSIC!!!

  • antonio

    Wuz up man I thank the aublum going to be crazy

  • http://www.myspace.com/theeastflatbushproject spencer4hire

    i just hope that artists will be able to make a decent living through selling their music..

  • LBz

    internet distribution cant be stopped… sales go down… result: more music made available, but fewer people able to do it as a living. result: the rich dopeboys or the ones whose mommas gave them lots of pocket money get to sell, cause they dont need to make any more money, whether or not they’re any good. its a tradeoff: the most known unknowns will be seen through internet circulatiom, myspace, blogs, youtube, etc., and maybe they’ll get record deals out of it. but eventually the record deals won’t get artists shit money, cause every album’s leaked & sales are stolen.

  • BUD

    why joey in the pic if yall aint gon talk bout him

  • http://www.myspace.com/soulasystem larry

    yeah you right the game has changed
    check out http://www.myspace.com/soulasystem

  • paper chaser

    you stopped blogging to write about this bullshit.First crack and then the internet what is next an article on beef.

  • bassickly

    the fact of the matter is, those people who download mp3s dont purchase them and of course they arent going to pay if they dont have to. nowadays everybody and their grandmother has a pc, laptop or something that can log on the internet and download music. All this myspace fame is a double edged sword yea all these geeks get to hear your music for free or what have you, broaden your fanbase free advertisement whatever. They can just as easily go ahead and record that song with numerous free programs through their soundcard. The whole artists adding everyone thing is just getting all the people who like that artist in a list. one of them is bound to have the newest album coming out and instead of buying that album they’re going to give their new friend it for free, why not? right?. but its the indy artists taking more loss then any substantial gain. they arent diddy who can go platinum regardless just people who love their craft trying to earn a living doing it. I make it through the day because of hip hop but what happens when my favorite artists go broke?

  • http://www.myspace.com/bigprime Prime!!!

    all it means is real hustlers need to learn to adapt and step their game up..and maybe the more ignorant folks will get weeded out. i personally think its great that the internet is bleeding the industry dry…better to have the culture in the hands of true passionate fans than in the clutches of these corporate vultures who take advantage and cake off your average hip hop dude. So now cats can get their music heard and find ways to get paid…you cant download the experience of a live show…get your tours up fellas!

  • http://www.myspace.com/djeddieleonard edstah

    “Hip hop was at its best when there were two or three good radio shows a week. ten mixtapes a month. and two or three albums dropped a week. ”

    MARLON makes a good point. Gnarls Barkley–>no major marketing, just word of mouth and a free download. #1 song of the year (Billboard) and more album sales than 90% of rappers our there.

    if the musics good, its good. regardless of the way we get it…as long as we get it.

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  • http://smokingsection.net DrewBreez

    myspace.com/biggestthingsince says:

    The internet is fast becoming the road to riches for um …no one. However, its Democratic-populist qualities make it a great breeding ground for trends, both ill and retarded. You can get buzz there but usually you can’t capitalize on it (unless you know how to sell ad-space).

    New World Order. Get ahold of your information folks. Control your media.

  • sb

    so since money i the incentive for 90% of artists will there be a decline in the quantity of music that comes out now….i mean if there isn’t any money to be made in the music industry..it’s scary

  • LANDIGGY

    tray hahahaha yo momma out to the dumb bitch keep living her panties in my house and tell your dad he can have her back I don’t like her new dentures they always get in the way

  • LANDIGGY

    well said drewbreez and lbz alot of people are to busy playin around so they don’t know what’s going on in life it’s not just about dope and parting the whole world is changing we better wake up man .

  • 11kap

    time to go and pop da trunk again.

  • alleyeCNtower

    I said in a song that I made in 2003:

    “glossy videos killed the Top Ten pop radio star/ and internet MP3s just made it all more strange and bizarre/ call this the millenium renaissance, where your new hip hop music DOESN’T come from a computer/ stop looking at the past, look into the future…”

    ha ha, nobody’s a part of that renaissance. but now look, Nas says ‘hip hop is dead’. we DO need a rebirth… and a revolution. and it WON’T be televised… or downloaded, please believe it!

    at some point, motherfuckers are going to have to represent hip hop’s essence in the REAL world, fuck this online insanity.

    J-Zone said it perfectly, he goes: “fuck these fools who get internet muscles and start talking shit! That ain’t hip hop!”

    thank god for the few who still are true to the realness… even if they DO use the technology available today

    I ain’t mad that Afrika Bambaataa uses Serato. He still lives and breathes the culture when he logs off his laptop. Do you?

    ;)
    *goes to record a song*

  • Stax On Deck

    The Internet Is So Neccessary. New Age. New Buisness. Greater Promotion.
    You Can Utilize The Internet To You Advantage.

  • Stax On Deck

    The Internet Is So Necessary. New Age. New Buisness. New Promotion. New Sales. An Almost Endless Amount Of Potential Fans. You Can Utilize The Internet To Your Advantage.

  • leecd

    man how u gonna have joey on the cover of the article and then play him out by not mentioning him??

    give him the cover of the magazine

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  • Kidz on wax

    Internet give the artist lots of income. Its a great medium for advertising, they earn from payed downloads (mp3/ringtones logoes etc), and merchandice etc.

    Would they earn more without? Do the rappers nowdays have less money? I dont know, anyone have some numbers?

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  • http://www.myspace.com/miclowrey Mic Lowrey

    HAY THERE

    AS A NO GOOD ARTIST I THINK THE WEB IS INCREDIBLE TO GET YOUR MSG OUT, IT IS NO THE FAULT OF DIDDY THAT HE IS ABLE TO MANIPULATE THE SYSTEM TO HIS ADVATAGE AND DROP A NICE RECORD I MAY ADD, I WOULD AND AM GOING TO DO THE SAME THING, I CASE STUDIED SON, THE INTERNET WORKS FOR HIM AND HIS OBJECTIVE OF BEING IN PEOPLES LIVES AGAIN, FOR A WHILE HE WAS LOOKED AT AS THAT GUY OVER THERE BUT BEING ABLE TO SEE HIM USE THE BATHROOM OR WHATEVER ELSE MADE HIM REAL TO PEOPLE AGAIN, AND THAT IS WHY IT WORKS, THE REASON SAMMY DAVIS JUNIOR AND FRANK SINATRA WERE SO REVERED BY PEOPLE IS BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY HAD A CHANCE TO SEE THEM, THEY WALKED AND TALKED AMONGST THE REGULAR FOLK AND HAS A GREAT TIME DOING IT, NOW WITH THE NEW MEDIUM PEOPLE ARE GETTING A CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE THAT AGAIN, SITES LIKE http://www.myspace.com, http://www.blocksavvy.com (they need to fix the kinks), http://www.flickr.com, http://www.youtube.com, http://www.jumpcut.com, http://www.whosnextonline.com, http://www.burnlounge.com and many other have made it possible to basically be your own boss, get the music out followed by a video that you could edit I mean web 2.0 has made hip hop go back to the people now is that good or bad we will have to wait, but it is something

    MIC LOWREY / RAPPER/ EYE STYLE MUSIC

  • DA HOODZ TRACK BANGA

    THE HOTTEST TRACKS ON MY SPACE 4 SALE CHECK EM OUT http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/Youngeez3 THE BLACK WALLSTREET PRODUCTION TEAM. THE RARE BREEDS “PRINCE OF THE WE$T MIXTAPE” DROPPEN SOON!!

  • http://daveyd.co Lemon Juice

    Some very powerful hip hop shit comes only from the internet by the likes of daveyd.com, playahata.com and sohh.com.Stuff which is not being done in print.

  • http://www.modelminority.blogspot.com Hummingbyrd.

    Thank you Kris for the shout.

    Its much appreciated.

    The Internet is by nature a niche medium so it has not created any stars, and probably won’t.”
    ================
    Stars are stars because of the tens of thousands if not Millions of dollars that record labels invest in artists.

    Trust.

    Technology hasn’t killed Hip Hop.
    Its only acclerated its evolution.

    Technology has the power to affect the realtionship between artists and audiences.

    Talk about a Nich to be filled.
    The website the comes along that is the destination spot for MIX TAPES, HOOD DVD’s and Independnet, Major and Quasi Major videos, that allows for the artist to connect directly w/ the fans, is gonna be on a poppin.

    Kinda lika a Itunes Meets Myspace (why am I givin’ me game away?)

    Old School Emcees
    On Nas’s where are they now, Mad Cats that he mentioned are old school emcees, and prolly would still be rappin’if they could (and we probably would not like it) or at least they would be putting cats own THAT THEY deemed to be worthy.

    I think the idea of of Special Ed reppin flat bush, Ed Og Reppin Boston and for that MATTER De La, AZ and AG (Who have all put out dope/decent albums in the past few months) or some other cats on my Wake up show mix tapes have the right and duty to cultivate new talent.

    Cultivation of the young cats by the old cats happens on Broadway, in Hollywood, on Wall Street….The idea is to keep that Cream up in the Family.

    I rocks with that.

    Hip Hop shouldn’t be any different.

  • 11kap

    you wanna hear something DOPE? listen to some of your old hip hop cassettes.

  • sir charles

    THE INTERNET IS DESTROYING RAP MUSIC (AND IT WILL DESTROY SOCIETY AS IT IS TURNING THE LOSERS WHO WOULD USED TO HAVE PLAYED DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS WITH THEIR LOSER FRIENDS INTO INTERNET ZOMBIES WHO PLAY WARCRAFT WITH LOSER FRIENDS THEY NEVER MET.) ANYWAY CASE IN POINT IS THE CLIPSE ALBUM. LOOK HOW GREAT THE FIRST ALBUM WAS, NOW THESE NEWJACK INTERNET NERDS WHO PROBABLY HATED RAP WHEN THE FIRST ALBUM CAME OUT GOT ON THE CLIPSE NUTS, AND LOOK AT THE BULLSHIT PRODUCT. ONLY TWO OR THREE TRACKS OFF THAT ALBUM COULD’VE EVEN MADE IT ON THE FIRST ALBUM. TAKE HIP HOP OFF THE INTERNET. I ALREADY HEARD AT LEAST TWO RAP SONGS REFERENCING MYSPACE. NEXT THING U KNOW RAPPERS WILL BE MAKING TRACKS BRAGGING ABOUT HOW THEY SPEND 20 HOURS A DAY ONLINE BECAUSE THEIR CORPORATE OVERLORDS WILL WANT THEM TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET NERD COMMUNITY.

  • PITPAT

    internet is killin the music industry everyone just rips songs off they dont want to fork out 15$ for 3 or 4 decent track please you are out of your mind if you buy cd’s.

  • http://www.MylesWalker.com Myles R. Walker

    Me & My Tourette’s: Motivated By GOD

    My name is Myles R. Walker, and I am a 25 year old African American Man Who has Tourette Syndrome. I presently live in the projects (public housing), and I have just written my first book entitled “Me & My Tourette’s: Motivated By God” which was published in
    April 2006 by iuniverse.com.

    My book is also available at
    Barnes and Noble online and offline as well as at 25,000
    other book retailers worldwide.

    You can also go to my website which is
    http://www.myleswalker.com for a little bit of more
    information about me as well.

    I wrote Me & Tourette’s: Motivated By GOD, because I
    have Tourette Syndrome and have had it for approximately
    18+ years. To shed new light which most people do not
    know about Tourette Syndrome but always associate it with
    swearing (which I do not do on a regular basis) or as
    others may think.

    My tics are vocal and sometimes sounds
    like a continuous hiccup. They can be loud and are
    uncontrollable.

    I also wrote Me & My Tourette’s: Motivated By GOD,
    because people who have Tourette Syndrome are usually
    discriminated against from people, associates who you may
    meet on a day to day basis, family, churches, school, in
    the workplace, including having a place to live, etc.

    We are people with feelings too, and we are normal just
    like anyone else and can do anything just like anyone
    else. The difference between me and you is that people
    with Tourette Syndrome have involuntary vocal tics as
    well as involuntary movements of different parts of the
    body.

    We want to be accepted, we want to be loved, we want to
    be a family and to have a family. We want to have friends, we want to go to church, we want to go to school, we want to go to work and we also want a decent
    place and life to live as well!

    We also want to be
    accepted as decent and kind human beings!

    There are people that have Tourette Syndrome, but are
    not aware that they may have it. Or, they might know of
    someone that does have it. As well as in the African
    American Community, other minorities and non-minority
    groups who do not know anything about Tourette Syndrome.

    There is a non-profit organization for Tourette
    Syndrome as well as doctors and support groups for people
    with Tourette’s. If you have any questions, feel free to
    pass this email around as well as emailing me at
    myleswmyles@yahoo.com as well as at MylesW33R@AOL.com.
    Or, you can call me at 1-865-771-7636.

    Thank You

    Myles R. Walker

  • http://www.MylesWalker.com Myles R. Walker

    In this New World Order for 07 I AM Going to work with the Most Powerful Conglomery and that is You already know. DIPSET. So you can point your fingers and say “That’s The Tourette’s Guy with Tourette’s Frank”
    Shout Out from down South to Up North by yours Truly “DIPSET Tourette’s” Yo Killa I Ready for my Killa Season 2 Close Up Holla atcha Boy-Boy! 1 Blood 1 Luv, 1 Luv 1 Luv1 Luuuuuuuuuuuv!!!!

  • bobo

    this song suck cock

  • mikael

    YES LES MECS
    ICI C’est la France
    FROM FRANCE TO USA
    You don’t know the french rap ! is real because every rap is real
    because rap is real
    so you can understand a big emcee from french
    because the language is not a problem
    the flow is here too
    so : check it ! it’s just an exemple
    New school sound! but il y a aussi des old shool too …

    LOOk feat with US rapper because is good for the people us but after listen just the french rap … i don’t speak wery well english but the rap is the rap you know what i’m say !!!!

    Kool shen – Too shoot VI MY PEOPLE feat Big ali
    Ol kainry feat raekwon – de park hill à 91pise
    113 feat mobb deep – lécole du crime
    Rohff feat the game – Tof of the world

    Albums big sold in france, hardcore
    Booba – Ouest side
    Rohff – Au dela de mes limites
    Sinik – Sang Froid

    Mafia k’1 fry (it’s a crew hardcore) new album coming soon

    The rap is a lot OF good rapperz : so check rap all over the world
    and in France !
    iT’s a bizness and a market here too
    the second/third nation of the rap

    HIP-HOP MENZZ

  • http://www.myspace.com/gopentertainment Sayso is Donny Slaughter

    I agree, hip hop is dyin’ cuz of these wack ass rappers who can only muster 2 or 3 good songs and want $15 for that shyt, ‘BlaXXXploitations of Donny Slaughter’ is whut’s up, check it out, http://www.cdbaby.com/sayso or http://www.myspace.com/gopentertainment, DC bout to start a new era in Hip Hop.

  • thizz or die

    hip hop is dead all these gay ass songs on the radio are trash its just the weakest shit the only shit thats tight now is the bay its as real as it gets and thats how hip hop should be if nobody believes me go pick up one mac dre cd and then you will know what im talking about so thizz or die you beezies and watch out for that detox album in sep 07

  • http://www.jonny.info jonny922

    jonny456

  • da chronic

    you forgot bishop lamont in the article

    listen to Chicks on my space
    http://www.myspace.com/bishoplamont