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January 17, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-17

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U-M Visiting Writers Series
ongane Wally Serote, African poet,
novelist and member of the South
African Parliament reads from his
work at Rackham. 6:30 p.m. Free.

AJ e 3 i ~ i a u & it

michigandaily.com/arts

WEDNESDAY
JANUARY 17, 2001

5

IS LOCAL HIP-HOP SUFFERING FROM MAINSTREAM DOMINATION?

Radio killed the underground
star: The case against WJLB

Slum Village & Co.
cause lyrical wreck

y W. Jacari Melton
gaily Arts Writer
On the seemingly rare occasions that hip-hop
shows occur in Ann Arbor, I make a concerted
effort to attend. Last Friday was no different. I,
like the other hundred or so people in the audi-
ence, was at the Michigan League to see the
night's headliner, Detroit's Slum Village.
Although I enjoyed the show, I left a little dis-
couraged by the crowd. Don't get me wrong, peo-
ee were feeling the show. However, interest visi-
,bly waned when the crowd didn't recognize a
song. Even worse, I could sense a "who's that?"-
type of vibe from a good portion of the crowd
when talented opening acts like S.U.N., Athletic
Mic League and Phat Kat graced the stage. I con-
sider myself lucky not to suffer from this syn-
drome since I've seen every performer multiple
times and/or own their work. I have to wonder,
though, why so many folks are unfamiliar with
artists from "around the way" when, especially in
Slum Village's case, they have a national, if not
*lternational, following?
The easiest answer points a finger at Detroit
radio, especially WJLB 98 FM. WJLB is the tar-
:get of what I think is a justified protest and boy-
cott by the Detroit Hip-Hop Coalition. The
Coalition consists of Michigan hip-hop artists,
DJs and promoters, among others, who want to
.promote the work of local artists and bands. This
Friday, the Coalition plans a protest at the WJLB
studios to draw attention to the station's weak on-
r support of area artists while also encouraging
boycott presumably of the station's musical
eVents and programming. The Coalition contends
that not only does WJLB stiff local artists by pro-
viding little or no airplay -and denying phone
requests for their music by fans, but WJLB also
makes a profit off of these same artists when the
station sponsors events at which they perform. All
of this happens under WJLB's proclamation that
it's the "voice of the community." Obviously, if
local artists don't have a mass venue, like radio, to
spread their music, how can the area's number two

station, according to the latest Radio & Records
poll, make such a bold claim? My call to WJLB
programming director Michael Saunders regard-
ing this question went unreturned.
Before I go any further, I have to make some
things clear. When I say "local artist," I'm exclud-
ing Eminem, Aaliyah (yes, you ARE from
Detroit) and, at, this point in time, Mercedes.
These three are getting more than their share of
airtime and have the contracts to boot. Also, I'm
not taking WJLB to task for its coat drives for
kids or other programs of that nature. These are
extremely admirable. My beef lies in the fact that
I know there are artists in the Detroit area who
have talent and are deserving of airplay.
Seeing that Detroit isn't exactly a hotbed for
media outlets since Motown left, the locals are
extremely limited in terms of avenues to receive
notoriety. Radio, in this case, is their best oppor-
tunity for exposure. Detroit is the seventh largest
media market in the nation, not to mention it over-
laps into Canada. Every artist or group, I believe,
should have a strong support base in their home-
town. WJLB has the perfect opportunity, given its
high ratings in this market, to promote artists who
may eventually become- popular on a broader
scale. Then they could boast about how they
helped launch so and so's career. Case in point,
one of WJLB's most popular songs now, "The Cha
Cha Slide," started on a Chicago radio station and
now it's the second coming of the Macarena.
Although that probably wasn't the best exam-
ple, the idea is simple: Everybody has to start
somewhere and everyone needs a big break.
Doing free, or not so free, shows for college kids
can only take you so far. By not allowing local
artists access to a larger and broader audience that
radio addresses, WJLB aiding in stunting the
growth of Detroit's burgeoning music scene. In
my opinion, the Detroit area is on the brink of
retaining its status on the musical map. Common
didn't record any tracks for his Like Water For
Chocolate album in his hometown of Chicago. He
recorded several in Detroit. Bahamadia did much
the same thing. Jay Dee is known around the

By Dustin Seibert
Daily Arts Writer
It was my humble decision to attend
the Fantastic Voyage concert from the
standpoint of the true hip-hop fan, and
not the press. No notepad, no tape
recorder and no inhibitions. In all hon-

Fantastic
Voyage
Michigan League
Jan.12, 2001

esty, I would not
have enjoyed the
show any other
way. I find the
ambiance of any
show that demon-
strates actual con-
scious hip-hop
truly euphoric:
The energy of the
always-multicul-
tural crowd is
truly overwhelm-
ing, it is more than
likely that you will
get to meet the

Courtesy of Goodvibe/Atomic Pop
Slum Village, shown here on their Vol 2.-Fantastic
Voyage album, headlined last Friday's hip-hop concert.
world as a top-notch producer. Eminem's D-12 is
making noise. EP. Binary Star. Que D. Royce.
These are all local people trying to make it. It's
not a question of talent. These folks could rhyme
circles around most of the people in heavy rota-
tion. The question is will outfits like W.ILB con-
tinue to shut Out our local artists. They have a
wonderful opportunity as the "voice of the com-
munity" to actually support the local hip-hop
community through greater airplay. Who knows,
they could help usher in the new era I mentioned
before. Or they could accelerate the process of
artistic exodus from the city. It's their choice.
Support Your Local MCs.

artists after the show, and above all, it's
nothing but love.
Emceed with grace by the always-
"vivrant" duo of Mr. Marshall and J.
Keys of Black Vibes fame, the show was
opened by S.U.N. and Prime Numbers, a
Roots-esque group consisting of the MC
flowing over a culturally diverse live
band, performing songs from their
albums School of Thought and Silent
Underground (Silent Records). They
definitely had my head nodding to the
excellent band, despite the poor mic
given to S.U.N. I don't doubt that he
would have made a better impression had
the crowd not had to strain their ears to
hear what knowledge he was spitting.
Kill the soundman!-
Next up, The Athletic Mic League,
representing their hometown of Ann
Arbor, blessed the stage seven-deep, per-
forming tracks from their first LP, along
with joints from their upcoming album.
These cats range in age from high
schoolers to twenty-somethings, but that
z

in no way tainted their lyrical or produc-
tion abilities. Their crowd interaction
skills made the wallflowers get up and
play their roles accordingly. Even fellow
duo Binary Star made a cameo appear-
ance on the stage. Look out for AML;
they are on the come up something
vicious.
East Detroit natives Slum Village were
last on the stage as the night's headliners.
The group's member and sole producer
Jay Dee was absent from the show, but
that in no way hindered the performance
of members Baatin and T3, the former
being one of the most amusing rappers
that I have ever seen pick up a micro-
phone. They performed tracks primarily
from their sophomore release, Vol 2. -
Fantastic Voyage (GoodVibe), including
the lead single "Climax" and the crowd-
stirring "Raise it Up." This was my
fourth time seeing them perform on
stage, and I must say that it was refresh-
ing to witness them finally headline a
show. Their whole "simple" rhyme style
is reminiscent of their predecessors A
Tribe Called Quest, and they are critical-
ly praised for their excellent grass-roots
production. Of course, seeing them per-
form on stage is an experience all it's
own.
Unfortunately, the sound that night
was not completely on point, and the way
that it blended with the Michigan League
ballroom played hell with many of the
songs performed - no fault of the per-
formers themselves, yet the crowd suf-
fered the negative effects. In addition, the
crowd was surprisingly small and unex-
cited -not representative of a good hip-
hop concert in which the crowd is always
hype and ecstatic. I attribute this to the
general non-popularity of the artists.
Regardless, hip-hop in Ann Arbor seems
to be so underrated, and it bears a nega-
tive reputation. Shows like these demon-
strate the best things about the art.
Underground is a force to be reckoned
with. Book them and they will come.

sotope 217 rises above the Bland Pig
By Kitten Vile although inappropriate for a place
Daily Arts Wnter such as the Blind Pig, enraptured the
people and drove f tm crazy with. -:
It was a wild time' Amongst the applause. Toward the end of the night-

dirty, depressing atm
irbor's famous ble
nd Pig, Isotope 21
Underground Duo an
act CrushKillDestroy
the smoky cockroach

Isotope
217
Blind Pig
Jan. 14, 2001

o
fo
th
of
bI
ha
di
m
o*v
m
gv
vi

osphere of Ann though, it was painfully obvious that
ak and grimy the Blind Pig's lack of comfortable
7, the Chicago seating and amenities turned many to
nd the opening the raging boredom of irritation and
shone beyond fatigue.
-infested gloom It was amazing to hear people sug-
n Sunday night. gesting that they ought to mosh to
Fortunately the tightly experimental and fuzzily
r the audience, mixed concoctions of Isotope 217's
ere was none last few songs. It was a slick night
f the usual and anyone who was there could
oar-headed attest to the fine drumming and
arassment to be instrumental variation throughout
shed out by the the three snugly woven acts.
artenders, who What's also incredible is that a
ust have been good number of the people in atten-
vertaken by the dance would most likely not claim
ellow and to be easily won-over by most styles
o o d -natured of jazz. A+ for an intelligent diver-
be. sion from the usual trash of the Pig's
The music, scene.

Courtesy of Aestnetics

Isotope 217 chills out after long hours of practice.

Temptation Island' brings an
evil, trashy joy to its audience

By Melissa Gollob
Daily Arts Writer
Attempting to find success exploit-
ing people's personal lives once again,
Fox premiered- "Temptation Island."
,s new reality show selected four
mitted couples for two free weeks

of paradise. The
Temptation
Island
Fox
Tonight at 9

catch is they don't
spend the time
together. Instead,
they place their
relationships on
the line and try to
withstand the
temptation of
thirteen attractive
singles specially
chosen to seduce
the opposite sex.
During the two
weeks apart, all
eight must go on
five dates with at
least three differ-

ment to her finally and if he will stray
from her again because she caught him
cheating in the past. Kaya and Valerie
are testing their relationship so that
Kaya will realize that Valerie is the
only woman for him. In Kaya's words
Temptation Island, "... is like the Pepsi
challenge" to him. Shannon and Andy
enjoy exotic foreign places and seem
like the most down to earth couple on
the show. Mandy and Billy are totally
oblivious to the ramifications of com-
ing to the show. Mandy even believes
that she deserves to be humbled by
watching other women swarming
around Billy because he endures her
constant flirting with other men.
Once the couples arrived on
Temptation Island, they spent two days
together learning the rules of the
game. On the second day, the scantly
dressed singles arrived to a mixed wel-
come. Both sexes began to realize that
one of those singles could in fact break
up their relationship. To put their

leisure can be enjoyable but when the
people on the screen are real, the
repercussions of their actions seem too
high a price for entertainment. The
producers are tempting fate and play-
ing with people's lives. Not only the
couples, but also the singles are being
used as pawns for an hour's worth of
trashy television.
Tonight, the dating begins as the
temperature on Temptation Island
rises. Some will be relieved after view-
ing the date tapes at the bonfire while
others will be shocked with disbelief
Either way "Temptation Island" will
take pleasure by showing people's
most intimate and awful moments
when their hearts break and confronta-
tions become inevitable.
GRADUATING
CT1 T P IVT

cAN-YOU
GUESS WHICH
DAILY ARTS
STAFFERS
CHOSEN FOR ~
"TEMPTATION
ISLAND?"
. - - ....

Courtesy of Athletic Mic League
The members of Athletic Mic Club get their freestyle on behind what used to be Taco Bell.
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE
COME TO ONE OF THE REMAINING
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JAN. 18 AND 22 AT 7 P.M.
BUT THAT'S ONLY IF YOU THINK YOU CAN
HANDLE IT, AND FROM THE LOOKS OF YOU
IM NOT REALLY SURE.
Are You Feeling
Sad or Blue?
Medication free women suffering from
depression between the ages of 18-48 are
needed for treatment and research project
studying brain chemistry. There MAY BE
compensation of up to $400 upon comple-
tion of study.
For more information call 936-8726

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