CMJ in one day

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 30, 2008

With a righteous buzz, I return to CMJ home base on Washington Square for a panel talk titled “Blog Hop and the Digital Factor.” I’ll skip the details, except to say that Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis of 2 Live Crew are among the invited guests. On the topic of artists leaving major labels for independent pastures, Ice serves up a classic: “I’m just saying – if anybody’s going to pimp you, then you might as well pimp yourself.”

At the blog summit I connect with New York’s top live hip-hop band Dujeous, and the guys bring me to the Fader Fort for complimentary cocktails. It’s cool to see that Fader can still afford to throw legendary parties at nearly every music conference; I never thought a photo-heavy quarterly would survive in this quick fire media landscape.

Next, I stop by Spectre Group’s Hip-Hop Meet and Greet at Santos, and proceed to do just that. These parties are often filled with losers who you neither want to meet nor greet, but this is an exception. Among the notables: Buckshot, Breeze Evahflowin, and Vancouver’s Sweatshop Union. Boston hip-hop is well represented too; recent New York transplants JayCeeOh, Jake the Snake, and Statik Selektah are lamping, as is Brick Records co-owner Papa D.
It’s only 8:00 and I already have to close one eye to avoid seeing double. I’m on the subway en route to a George Clinton show at B.B. King’s in Times Square, and there’s a man singing “Fuck you fake ass Jesus” to the tune of “How much is that dog in the window.” I join in.

I’ve always hated B.B. King’s. Drinks are outrageously expensive, it feels like a fire hazard when the basement fills up, and, most damningly, it’s in Times Square. But now I have a new reason to avoid this tourist hole: they want me to pay a $20 cover charge. I tell the doorman to choke and split a taxi with a girl who also got turned away.

My new friend eerily resembles Winnie Cooper, but she was born after the Wonder Years so I have to break it to her that she looks like the biggest twat in pop culture history. She’s not upset, but she still asks the driver to drop her off at Bowery Ballroom before bringing me to the Global Hip-Hop Showcase at Drom. Winnie says she’ll call me later, but she won’t. 

Ghana native Blitz the Ambassador makes up for my missing P-Funk, as does getting to ask Pharoahe Monch if morons misspell his name as often as they do mine. In addition to his rhymes and live theatrics, Blitz has a spottieottiedopalicious horn section backing him. There should be 10 times as many people here, but bandwagon hipsters have no use for artists who don’t rely on fads and laptops.

Next up is Statik Selektah’s Stick 2 The Script release party at Stay, where J-Zone, Lord Sear, and R.A. the Rugged Man are among the esteemed guests. R.A. informs me that he’s voting for John McCain, making him the first, last, and only member of the rap community who’s pulling for the red team. 

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