Non-Rapper Dude Series: Peter Rosenberg
Wednesday July 08th 2009,
Filed under: Internets,Interviews,Non-Rapper Dudes,Not Your Average,Video Clips
Written by:

Here’s the first part of a new series talking to non-rapper dudes who still have a story to tell.

After cutting his teeth as a radio personality and DJ in Washington, DC for years, Peter Rosenberg has spent the past two years in New York City, and stays busy with three separate radio shows, including the morning show on Hot 97. Most notable, however, have been his Noisemakers sessions – extended live sit-downs with hip-hop greats.

Robbie: So you do the Juan Epstein show as well as your morning show with Cipha Sounds on Hot 97, right?

Peter Rosenberg: Ciph and I do the weekday morning show, which is a mainstream – but funny – morning show, and then I do real late on Sunday nights from midnight to two, and I don’t really have anyone to answer to as far as what I’m playing. I just play whatever underground shit I want. Then Juan Epstein is sorta separate – we talk about underground shit but we don’t really play music. Each show sort of has it’s different lane.

Hosting that session with DJ Premier recently must’ve been crazy.

Doing the Noisemakers series is crazy. We’ve had Premier, Q-Tip and ?uestlove so far. I’ve got a couple more planned for the summer, but they’re not finalized yet. When you grow up obsessed with hip-hop and then you get to really sit-down and talk to cats that you idolized…that shit never really gets boring! That shit’s always fun.

It’s a fine line between keeping it professional and not coming off as a complete fan-boy, isn’t it?

Totally. I think the charm of it is being a fan, you just have to contain it a little bit. I definitely have had many people call me fuckin’ ‘fan-boy’ and shit – especially losers online. Fuckin’ jealous other fan-boys who are mad that they don’t get to ask questions to the people that they admire. As much as a herb that I could come-off as for being a fan, you’re so much more of a herb if you pretend like you’re fuckin’ too cool for it! How dishonest is that? The interviews that I pursue – whether they’re hip-hop or wrestling – it’s all shit I’m passionate about! On the Noisemakers series, I only want to have people on the show who are worthy of a two-hour tribute in New York City, so it’s going to be people who I’m a fan of. One of the problems with hip-hop these days is that no one’s a fuckin’ fan! Everyone thinks they belong and they’re a producer and they’re a musician. You’re not! It’s unreasonable for all these fuckin’ people to pretend they’re on-par with the people they’re talking to. They’re not! If I’m sitting down with Q-Tip or Premier or ?uestlove, these are dudes whose contribution to the game are so deep and endless that for me to act as if I’m not a fan would be so completely dishonest and lame, and would make me not who I am. I’m a kid from the suburbs who grew-up wanting to be a part of the culture, and I don’t understand why that’s something to be embarrassed about. I’m proud of my upbringing as a hip-hop fan.

What would you consider to be your worst interview so far?

I have a lot of those because my whole style of doing things is such that I put myself out there a little bit. The 50 Cent interview is particularly bad. You really can’t be under-prepared for someone like 50 Cent, cos he’s too fuckin’ smart and you’ll get called-out. It’s not like that with necessarily every artist, but 50 is a fuckin’ ball-buster. If you’re inconsistent like I was – I ended-up getting more time with him than I planned on getting and I just ended-up all over the place. I just ended-up feeling like a douche. He called me out, like, ‘Yo, you’re not making sense’. Now granted, there were a couple of things I was right about that he tried to bust my balls for that he really was just ticked-off about, because they were good questions, but there were also moments when I wavered, and you can’t do that. And I was so brand new! Coming to New York and having the Hot 97 logo behind you completely changes you. People I didn’t used to be able to get a minute with when they were in DC will call me non-stop to try and get on my show now, so it completely changes your position. That’s awesome, but it also has it’s dangers at the same time.

Has it made you have to adjust your style to be more confrontational?

Honestly, I deal with that more doing the morning show. I’m in the position of being the ‘funny guy’, and being ‘funny guy’ I’m sorta expected to make jokes that I might not normally make. I’m not that dude that sits around gossiping, talking about what’s on Perez Hilton and shit. I’m not interested in it, but I have to! I think over time as Ciph and I really start to get ratings – which I know we will – I’ll be able to really become me on the air and really chill the fuck out and really act completely like me. But right now? I kinda play the character of ‘wacky white guy’ on the air. That’s sorta my schtick. ‘Rosenberg’s that crazy white boy! He’s say anything!’ I don’t always like that, because sometimes I say shit that I’m like, ‘Yo, I would not normally say that at all’. I don’t like offending people, I’m not in the rap game to really poke fun at people.

Who have you offended recently?

For example, today I was gonna say something about Webstar, like about how maybe Jay-Z is talking about Webstar on that record. I was in the back, ‘Yo, Jay-Z doesn’t give a fuck about DJ Webstar!’ I wanted to say that, but I like Webstar – he’s a nice guy. He doesn’t make music that’s particularly my speed, but I have to hesitate when I’m about to sort of be mocking, because this is a nice guy and a who I’m gonna see! I’m definitely gonna run into the dude, so I have to be mindful! I’ve already had situations – there was a time when Saigon wanted to beat the shit outta me, and when I first got up here Jim Jones and I were not always buddy-buddy. He definitely wanted to slap the shit outta me when he first heard me.

Is there anyone that you can’t seem to catch for an interview?

There’s millions. We did the fuckin’ greatest De La interview ever and it didn’t get recorded, which was brutal. We got tidbits in that interview that are so crazy and that we’ve never heard anywhere else, and it didn’t come out…I would like to interview Redman just about MCing. I think Redman may have never made a wack record. Redman may not be in the Mount Rushmore of hip-hop, like the four greatest, but he’s certainly in the next couple. He’s retarded. His shit was so dark for a while, but he’s also always had this light streak to him that makes him easier to listen to all the time. I think that’s an advantage of his. I like that Redman makes fuckin’ party records too, and has managed to somehow successfully been completely credible and underground while making records that can get played on the radio and work in the club. There aren’t many people like that.

How’s everything going with your buddy Byron Crawford?

See, you’re on point, ‘cos this is the one place where I would actually feel comfortable mentioning that fuckin’ losers’ name is on your site, because I know it’s a specific audience that already knows who that dude is, because the last thing I wanna do is give that fuckin’ dude shine. The one thing that everyone has in common that he’s talked shit about is that no one knows who he is when he does it. Everyone’s like, ‘Who is fuckin’ Byron Crawford?’ Including me! I didn’t know who he was. Asher Roth hit me one day, ‘Who’s Byron Crawford? He said some really crazy shit about me’. I’m like, ‘Homey, that’s what he does. Just don’t say a word about the dude because the only reason he says it is so you’ll respond’, and that fuckin’ makes him think his dick is bigger is if someone like Asher Roth would respond. I sonned the dude because I never gave him the response that he wanted. But honestly, people like Byron Crawford, the saddest thing about it is they think that they’re contributing to the game. I don’t understand how just sending negative vibes to rappers, DJ’s, video chicks – throwing hate at everyone who’s more involved in hip-hop than you are – is credible or relevant. When you spend your days working at a Wal-Mart in St. Louis and going home to your computer, never setting foot in the hip-hop world…That’s the lamest thing about Byron Crawford, the thing that makes him such a sad soul, is that he’s not a part of it. He doesn’t ever interview anyone, he doesn’t set-foot in New York City. When I make my jokes or I go on and critique artists, the next time I go out to an event I know there’s a chance that I’m gonna run into them and be confronted on whatever I said. That’s a risk I run.

So it’s a case of accountability?

Yeah, exactly. I have to be mindful of what I say. Being fuckin’ on a big-time outlet like Hot 97 – just about as big of a hip-hop outlet as you can be – there’s responsibility that goes with that. But when you’re a nobody that sits around by a computer…

So what was his issue with you exactly?

His issue with me was I think just pretty much straight anti-semitism. I’m not one of those Jewish people who sit around complaining about what little of prejudice I have to deal with, but I’m not gonna lie – the amount of anti-Jewish shit I read from day-to-day is significant, on the internet. I never encounter any of it in real life, but on the internet? You run into your fair share of it. I don’t think with Byron Crawford…he seems like a kinda smart dude, so I doubt he’s really even anti-Jewish – which is kinda the sadder part about it – I think he just likes putting out negative energy and get people to talk, but the shit he wrote about me and my father was just literally completely fabricated. The only reason I sound slightly bent out of shape about it – even though I don’t even think about it anymore, I was annoyed about it the first couple of days – was that he wrote shit about my father. Imagine reading shit about what your family does that is the exact opposite of what they stand for and do? So that was fuckin’ annoying. I didn’t want to respond and give him any shine, so you just have to sit there and eat the fact that people are gonna read bullshit about you and your family, so that kinda sucks. Granted, it’s only gonna be 200 people who read about it, but it’s still annoying.

You’ve also been involved with the Low Budget crew?

When I was in DC I did a college radio show at WMUC, University of Maryland, right outside of DC. It’s a really small station, like a ten-watt radio station with a great history of hip-hop. When I came in there it’s the same as any college radio station anywhere – you get kids who come into the station and bring you their shit – and Kev Brown came in one day and brought me a mini disc of music, and I fell in love with his shit, early. I still wanna put it out one day, his really early shit. I mean it sounds so dated and terrible compared to what he went on to do, but you could still hear the spark. He started coming back to the show all the time and then he made a little first album called The Gifted Misfit. He hand-drew the cover, he produced it and he rhymed on the whole thing, and he really didn’t know how to rhyme well then. This is around ’98, and he met Grap Luva at my show one day and Kev ended up submitting shit to BBE for the Marley Marl record, and he ended-up getting that song with Grap Luva on there (‘What Ruling Means’). Then he submitted shit to Jazzy Jeff and started spending a lot of time in Philly, and he brought Oddisee with him. Oddisee I met through Kev, and Kev brought Cy-Young up there, and then Oddisee was fucking with this kid Sean Born. That was really the formation of Low Budget – everyone met through the open mics and the through the radio station. Me and my boy Marshal Law sorta become the DJ’s of the crew. It was all these really dope artists from DC – Kaimbr, Roddy Rod from Masspike, Critically Acclaimed – it sort of all started there. Now I feel like I’m in a position with the radio show and the way the hip-hop market is, I think radio DJ’s like me have a real chance in the digital era to really be a voice for putting out music. I really want get this fuckin’ digital label crackin’, where I can use all my neat connections that I’ve gotten to make through Hot 97 and sorta bridge the gap between a lot of the underground kids that I fuck with and the people with a bit more of a reputation, and put out some really dope music.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

51 Comments so far
Leave a comment

nice interview – it’s always good to hear people within the industry talking passionately about hip-hop without the usual politics and bullshit getting in the way – everyone was a fan to begin with regardless of where they are in the game now, and if you weren’t then you’re messing with the music for all the wrong reasons.

Comment by Ryan Proctor 07.08.09 @

peter rosenburg interviewed qtip about tribe and couldnt stop talking about dilla . A few weeks back he spoke to buckshot for like an hour, talking about how classic Enta Da Stage was but didnt ask one question about the beatminerz (who had a great show on hot 97 back in the days). he did manage to get one question in for buck form a fan asking if he would beworking with 9th wonder again though.
Juan Ep? puerto rican and a jew? stretch&bob rolling in their graves with that corniness

Comment by cv 07.08.09 @

Sorry to pull a “Byron Crawford” but Hot 97 is about as wack of a station as you can get. I am glad he has been able to get his foot in the door and do the Sunday night show, but their station as a whole killed the culture.

Comment by HipHopHistorian 07.08.09 @

Good interview. I fux w/ Rosenberg, just feel that dude has to pull back every now and then. Like how he called out Rev. Sharpton in connection w/ the MJ Memorial ceremony. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but b/c of his platform, he’s got to be a bit more careful/ sensitive w/ the shit he says. Sharpton is a lot of things to a lot of people. If he doesn’t want hate thrown his way, Rosenberg shouldn’t fling hate to others. What’s good for the goose homie.

Comment by Combat Jack 07.08.09 @

Rosenberg has acceptance issues. Byron Crawford is definitely part of hip-hop. He didn’t have to move to New York and pretend to like Jim Jones records to become part of it but you can’t knock the hustle. That’s sucker shit.

Comment by Tego 07.08.09 @

Juan Epstein is great. I still want to see a picture of “Jenn from Brooklyn”.

Comment by Finally 07.08.09 @

I checked out a couple of their shows……..When they interviewed
” Large Pro “, Juan ( Cipher Sounds ) didn’t even know who”Paul C” was..He also thought ” Let The Rhythm Hit Em ” was on the ” Follow The Leader ” album ( GTFOH )…

Unforgivable in my book…..

Comment by shamz 07.08.09 @

Yeah I was kind of shocked at Cihpa’s ignorance on that Large Pro interview. He always uses the excuse that he was on the Jiggy circuit (DJing for Lil’ Kim) through the ’90s, but I call bullshit on that.

Still, it’s a good show–without the hip-hop nerdiness of Rosenberg it wouldn’t be as good…because Cipha is better as comic relief than a source of actual info.

Comment by Finally 07.08.09 @

Cmon rose, u know Byron been doin #s on u…

Comment by Mirce 07.08.09 @

who is byron crawford?

Comment by Mercilesz 07.08.09 @

Dude is pretty much saying that you gotta be in NYC to be involved with hip-hop, and he says it’s about accountability…wtf?!?

Comment by the snow donkey 07.08.09 @

its kinda true about that nyc hip hop thing…sorry…89.9 hot 97 halftime radio…rap attack…red alert goes bezerk…awesome 2…hank love half pint…underground railroad…kevin keith…martin moore…hank love half pint…dj riz meyhem…supreme team…silver surfer…kid capri/ron g/clark kent on bls/chuck chillout…zulu beats…like yeah hes kinda right. oh well

Comment by Mercilesz 07.08.09 @

oops doubles…ha ha

Comment by Mercilesz 07.08.09 @

Rosenberg is the man yo. I remember his humble beginings at wmuc.
The show was Soul Controllers. Big ups to all DMV. Represent Peter! I
Hope you do reach back for some of
Us! Peacepeace

Comment by brutalLee 07.08.09 @

noisemakers is cool but him cosigning Asher just makes him all suspect

Comment by dotquan 07.08.09 @

Yeah, Asher is a douche. Do you guys think he will ever have another album? If he does, will anyone care about him? Do people even care about him now? It seems that the only people who ever talk about him are industry and radio folks. I certainly have never heard any students I teach mention him, and he is marketed at them.

Comment by HipHopHistorian 07.08.09 @

sorry but rosenberg comes off as another privileged pushy douchebag and as someone who if i actually sat down w/ him and asked him some basic facts about nyc boom bap he prob wouldnt know jack… as for his beef w/ bol… id rather eff with his blog over peteys laughable hot 97 show any day… knowledge born and yeah his dads a zionist and zionists suck

Comment by er4se 07.08.09 @


Peter Rosenberg knows more than enough about NYC Boombap.
Hear the Juan Ep with Red and Meth where they talk about Hard 2 Obtain for instance.

Cipha on the other hand, is definitely not schooled enough in hip hop for my taste.
Nobody is responsible for their age, but it’s not cool to be a hotshot hip hop dj, and still be totally ignorant about anything pre-Mobb Deep.
Thankfully he gets/takes/wants less and less time on the Real Late show.

Comment by SeventhSun 07.09.09 @

The two times I’ve heard this guy, he sounded like an outsider fanboy. I love how moves to NYC in 200whenever, gets a job at hot 97 and thinks he is repping new york. Even with the mikes and cameras, he is still on the outside looking in.

Comment by keatso 07.09.09 @

I used to hear his show in DC on Saturday nights, which was a general talk show, and he would bring up little hip-hop tidbits here and there. I could tell he knew what he was talking about, as they got into a Pete Rock discussion while playing ADOR in the backround. As for the whole New York centric attitude-it is over. There is no reason you can’t move somewhere and become part of that scene; politicians, actors, and musicians do it all the time.

Comment by HipHopHistorian 07.09.09 @

Besides politicians like the Clintons, there are quite a few rappers who moved to New York and claimed it as their own-Digable Planents and Dead Prez come to mind. How come they arent repping wherever they are from and instead are constantly talking about Bklyn?

Comment by keatso 07.09.09 @

I love how everybody talks about post BET hip hop like h20 and AdOr and says that they know about hip hop from the tri state. So people saw some videos on nationwide cable shows…thats not whoah….ha ha

Comment by Mercilesz 07.09.09 @

keatso u forgot the best…GANGSTARR

Comment by Mercilesz 07.09.09 @

@Mercilesz… well, would you rather them pretend they lived in New York and experienced it firsthand?

Because truth is, everyone didn’t. That doesn’t make them less hip-hop, it just means that A) they were too young, B) they simply didn’t happen to live in NYC. That’s really nothing to hold against someone. There’s a lot more fans than there are people who were in the thick of things. I think it’s more corny to say “yeah, I was REALLY there, cause I took part in the whole shit” when you KNOW you didn’t… than it is to say “I was a fan, I watched videos, I bought the albums, I loved it so much I read up on everything and made it a point to be up on all the new shit when it came out”. As Rosenberg said, more people should admit they’re fans and stop trying to pretend they were in the thick of things and have some kind of extended knowledge that they really don’t have.

Comment by DanjaMania 07.09.09 @

I really dont give a fuck. its not a criticism its the truth. Hammer young mc and vanilla Ice were out be4 H2o and Ador.just because one watches videos doesnt mean they listened to or new about what happened here.

Comment by Mercilesz 07.09.09 @

I saw the Q-Tip Noisemakers while i was in NYC. shit was ill, ?uestlove was in the audience and was asking questions, and at the end he got up and they all jammed with the jazz band covering classics like ‘one love’ etc.

Comment by jesse 07.09.09 @

@ Mercilesz: What does any of what you typed have to do with what I said? I’m talkin’ about the horse’s head, and you’re talkin’ about the ass.

I said that just because you didn’t happen to be old enough or live in a specific location to be a part of what was happening at a particular time doesn’t mean you can’t KNOW about it. If you followed hip-hop and you knew your shit about it, that’s what it is. It’s more respectable for someone to admit that than say something that isn’t true just so they can score some kind of “cred points”.

Comment by DanjaMania 07.09.09 @

Im sayin u cant read about sound fashion slang or culture and understand it.U have to live it. thats cool

Comment by Mercilesz 07.10.09 @

btw i checked ur blog and u have hammer on it.cmon now

Comment by Mercilesz 07.10.09 @

another white clown benefitting from ghetto black street music.

Comment by ha 07.10.09 @

Its like the Young Black Teenagers who were white. Imagine that title trying to run today.

Comment by rob 07.10.09 @

@Mercilesz… LOL @ the comment about the blog… and clearly you didn’t read the entry. It’s not always necessarily about artists I liked. I cover Hammer just as easily as I can cover GangStarr or Nas or whoever- there’s a LOT from that era I know about and can speak about- trust me, it def. doesn’t begin or end at Hammer. Nice shot though.

And I would say that someone who is fully into everything going on is probably “living it” as well. If it’s your definition of “living it” or not is irrelevant, because there’s no way you can tell someone “oh, you just listened to the music and enjoyed it, and watched the videos, and read about it, and DJ’d… but you didn’t really live it like meeeeeeeee” People have different experiences with it, and it doesn’t mean that just because they weren’t IN it that they didn’t LIVE it.

Comment by DanjaMania 07.10.09 @

Even though I just happen to be born in NY at the right time, I think individuals live this shit wherever they are if this is their thing. I was only commenting on people who then pick up, move to New York and then rep NY instead of where they are some hip hop carpetbaggers or tourists.
I’ll say this, in other countries they are living hip hop, more so than most american fans. If you go to France, Germany, Denmark etc. they have a real culture-something akin to what used to exist in NYC.
I hate to bring it there, but thats what I dont see in the South. Of course Im just generalizing, but for the most part they seem to have the whole rap star thing down (gold teeth! buying “labels” at the MALL!) but there seems to be zero respect for “hip hop” culture.
I bet you kids in Japan know much more about records, samples, who produced what etc. than the average American hip hop head.
It aint where you from, its where you at…right?

Comment by keatso 07.10.09 @

i guess u guys have a point.I still don’t agree.

Comment by Mercilesz 07.10.09 @

Ok i still didnt read ur blog Danja and I dont know where ur from but I gotta be honest. Living it as u put in quotations is the end all be all of the conversation.I know kids who could care less about rap,however this is the environment which spawned rap. Ny/Nj/Philly. no where else on earth. its a fact. you can talk about how kids read up on who made what or smapled what and when…but it dont matter.This is their culture here and it cant be understood through being studied.It has to be lived to be understood. Many of the lyrics are not understood by people who listen to rap and dont live here.U might like the beat…great…but to understand the lyrics u gotta live in the environemt so yeah peters right when he says rap is a new york thing.sorry

Comment by Mercilesz 07.11.09 @

sampled smapled whatever ha ha

Comment by Mercilesz 07.11.09 @

i disagree Merc. people in other parts of the world have similar experiences and grew up in similar environments to NYC.
I was born and raised in the UK and got into hip Hop when I was 10 (im 30 now).
i’ve been in NY and got into conversations about Hip Hop with people there and knew shit that they had no idea about.
its called being a Hip Hop Nerdand thats what PR is!

Comment by step one 07.11.09 @

The thing with the “everything and anything that matters begins and ends in NY” mentality is that it’s just not true at this point, no matter how much niggas wanna keep it that way. If you were there to experience it firsthand, then more power to you, fantastic. But you CANNOT tell someone that doesn’t live there that they’re somehow “less” hip-hop than you, or somehow an “outsider” because they didn’t happen to live there. You’re not that old, and I doubt you had any say on where you lived in the ’80s and ’90s. So if your parents or whomever decided to pick up and move out of New York when you were younger, would that have made you NOT hip-hop anymore? Would it have been some kind of morphing that would’ve erased what you knew in your heart that you loved and lived by? Or closer to the truth, would you have simply been a person that loved and lived hip-hop no matter where you were, because it’s bigger than New York and has been for over 20 years now? There’s too many ways and scenarios in which your theory can be proven wrong… I know a lot of you guys have relentless hometown pride, and sometimes even think it’s the only air there is to breathe, but hip-hop’s had a presence in areas outside of New York for a while now.

Comment by DanjaMania 07.11.09 @

And you’re right, I don’t know what it’s like to live in New York. I never lived in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten, LI, or any of that… but you’re acting like it’s some kind of race or some shit where if you’re not of that, you can’t understand what it’s like. There’s areas all over the states (and the world) that go thru the same things, just in different ways. Nobody takes anything from New York at all- yes, it’s definitely where it began and thrived. And the thing that made hip-hop so great is that people were able to hear the New York mentality thru the music. But it’s not the only mentality there is, and someone else expressing theirs isn’t in any way less legitimate or somehow not hip-hop, no matter how different or “on the outside” it may be.

Comment by DanjaMania 07.11.09 @

I can point out several turning points that lead to NYs demise: Giuliani, Tupac, fake blood and crip sets…
I’ll never forget I was riding my bike uptown and I past three kids who were about 14 walking around with a box blasting “..Errybody in the club getting Tipsy”.
I had to move out cause I became such a bitter hater. That old new york ish doesnt exist anymore. I mean look at whats going on in Brooklyn, its like an amusement park for hipsters from around the globe.

Comment by keatso 07.11.09 @

well the reason what I am saying is true and is indisputable is slang/culture.Outsiders who don’t know the slang cant understand what the rappers are talking about. The rappers from ny may as well be speaking chinese. Mc lyte kicked it for brooklyn kicked it for the nineties and for her dj?Was she talking about a year? hmmmm
Raekwon played corners glancin all up in your cornia…whass he on the block?hmmmm
Junkyard did a short bid and came out cockdiesel kid…whass he at an auction? hmmmm?
Group Home said you better not be assbettin….what is that in reference 2? hmmmm
get the point now? If u dont know what they are saying youre just listening to a beat. be cool

Comment by Mercilesz 07.11.09 @

It’s really not all that complex… you didn’t grow up in Cali, but I bet you know what a 187 is, right?

No dis to New York, but I don’t get why some NYers tend to think their city is some far-off obscure and distant alternate universe where nobody outside of it can comprehend anything that goes on there. I’ve lived in B-More my whole life, and I still know what a bid, an assbet, a buck-50, 7:30, and all that shit is… it’s not that difficult to figure out.

Comment by DanjaMania 07.11.09 @

Merc is the biggest fool to ever comment on this blog…Ignorance is bliss I guess..It appears as if ” Merc ” hasn’t travelled much in his life…Get a grip herb, stack some cake and see the world…You narrow minded simp….

Comment by shamz 07.12.09 @

whats the nineties? whats playin corners?

Comment by Mercilesz 07.12.09 @

it sounded like Premier referred to a “Gordon” during the interview clips with P Rosenberg. i wonder if it was Fresh Gordon he was talking about. i’m also glad to hear the shout-out to King of Chill.

Comment by bitter monk 07.14.09 @

I think he is talking about ” Biggest Gord “, I could be wrong but I doubt it….

Comment by shamz 07.14.09 @

Biggest Gord? ok. good looks on the info.

Comment by bitter monk 07.14.09 @

I know this exchange is basically dead, but I’m only a sporadic commenter who wants to get his long-winded opinion in here.

The whole if you were there, you get it, if you weren’t you don’t thing has a vague Colbert “truthiness” to it, but it’s a rather porous argument in the whole.

What’s funny is that the whole inside or outside the culture debate in relation to NYC vs other places is replayed in microcosms with NYC itself. I’ve lived all my life in Queens, but the more urban part. Around my early twenties I started hanging more with a crew of dudes from the more suburban parts of Queens. Some of them claimed to be hip hop heads, and my immediate reaction was like, “you can’t be hip hop living in a one family, detached colonial.” But, it turns out a bunch of those dudes were real hip hop heads, real knowledgeable hip hop fans who got the whole culture, even if they didn’t participate in every aspect of it. And, a whole bunch of the dudes from my hood listened to hip hop and enjoyed it, but it was the soundtrack of the neighborhood, so a lot of it was circumstantial.

This argument is all relative, and that’s where its fallacy lies. Sunnyside was the outside, compared to Queensbridge, but was the inside compared to Forrest Hills, which was the inside compared to anything outside the five boroughs.

At the end of the day, you have to acknowledge that the bar people like those who frequent this site set is beyond “being down with the culture, or understanding it.” It’s being fanatical, being encyclopedic. That’s a passion that’s beyond circumstance—you may be Catholic because your parents are, but that doesn’t mean you’re gonna become a priest. In fact, one might argue that dudes who were really, truly about this culture and cultivated that love in a remote area deserve major props because they really had to work, dig, and troop to stay up on their shit, and to understand it all. That’s a level of motivation they had to achieve on their own, not on some inertia shit, or because there was a level of cultural capital they needed to acquire just to get laid or whatever.

Also, the whole NYC-centric slang/references argument is rather weak. If motherfuckers can become Shakespearean scholars, or translate Aramaic, I think some kid from Connecticut can figure out that Latin Quarter isn’t something traded on the Currency Exchange. Playing corners, really? There aren’t elevators in Seattle? Doing a bid? You think the Beatnuts coined prison–related slang? That’s either brashly myopic or startlingly naïve.

All that said, there is something to the “you had to live it to appreciate it” argument. I see all these tennybopper “sneakerheads” and “’Lo-heads.” And my initial reaction is often, “if you don’t remember kids getting stuck up for Jordans, you don’t appreciate the culture of sneakers,” and “if didn’t live through the heyday of the ‘Lo-Lives’ you don’t know shit about Polo.”

But, we aren’t talking about the average poseur. The question is whether you CAN be a real hip hop head while growing up on the outside. And the answer is, of course you can. Granted, most of the heads who think they are, really aren’t. But most of the dudes who were “on the inside” were/are frontin’ too, if we’re gonna be honest about it.

Comment by digglahhh 07.17.09 @

wow this guy knows what playin corners is. raekwon didnt waste any breath or ink on him. he gets it. kinda proves my point since dude is from ny.

Comment by Mercilesz 07.17.09 @

Totally agree with Digglahhh. I’m a white, 28 year old Hip-Hop fan from a small town (population circa 30,000) not too far outside London, England. You could say I’m as far removed from the core of the culture as can be but, I’ve been buying Hip-Hop records, watching videos, reading the magazines and enjoying the culture albeit from afar since I was 13. I had no problem understanding the slang on Rae’s “Only Built…” the first time I heard it. It doesn’t take a genius mind to understand it when heard in context with the rest of the lyrics. Granted, a large portion of the lyric content I will never be able to relate to but, it doesn’t mean I can’t understand it.
I’ve listened to every Juan Epstein that Pete & Cipha have done, most more than once. On a factual level from those two, I have not heard anything that I didn’t already know.
Music is music. It trancends regions, borders and countries the same way it does colour, class and creed.

Comment by James B 08.14.09 @

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>