Welcome to the big show, party people. This edition of the Really Really Good show is streamlined, with two main features to focus on. Both are sure to spark conversation at the water cooler, and give you another reason to put off working on whatever you were doing, before you stumbled onto our parade. Today's subjects are Michael Vick and Nas and Bill O'Reilly. Enjoy!
Falcon in the dog house, faces the big house!
Michael Vick faces criminal charges and public scrutiny due to his current dog fighting charges, and has recently taken a plea deal. Many wonder if he can ever recover from the backlash and impending jail time. Vick isn’t the first major league athlete to fall from grace, some have been able to bounce back and in some cases sustain their public image.
The NFL’s stance on Vick was to initially deny the charges, backing Vick's statements. Now that he has shifted gears, The NFL is sure to make an announcement regarding his professional future soon. Vick faces a possible lifetime ban, as well as his being banned from training camp as of now. Sponsors are sure to place him on their proverbial shit list. Vick could face five years in prison if found guilty. Even if he avoids jail time, this case could also end Vick’s controversial and colorful career.
The dog fighting charges come with testimony from Vick’s co-defendants, placing Vick as the financiers of the illegal dog fights. Vick is up to his neck in trouble, as his associates are set to testify against him and the grand jury court date approach. Read more about Vick and his case at the links below.
Vick judge says he's unbound by sentencing guidelines.
Bill O’Reilly, always the cheerleader for anything related to Hip-Hop, took aim at the recent decision by Virginia Tech president and events planners to schedule rap star Nas as a performer. Seems a few families and student members weren’t pleased with Nas performing. O’Reilly then started to focus on all things negative with regards to Nas, while calling him a gangsta rapper. What struck me odd was that out of all the people I think of as gangster rappers, Nas is not one of them, and never has been.
During the interview, O’Reilly went on to build his case against Nas. Placing the text from two songs, “Shoot “Em Up”, and “Got Yourself a Gun”, was a nice way to open the segment, with Nas’ lyrics on screen, portraying his murderous lyrical intentions. Too bad he used footage of Jay-Z getting shot in his “99 Problems” video, instead of something from Nas. Bill was so close in making a point and his team dropped the ball. I’m sure it won’t matter, as nobody probably caught the “mix-up” and they will still call Nas a gangster regardless.
While I am not an expert on Nas’ lyrics, I’m pretty sure he didn’t write “Rule which car heart gun powder stains.”, as shown in the “O’Reilly Factor”. Woolrich, Carhartt is what I think the reference was to, that and being shot through one of the popular jackets worn both in the hood and in the sticks. I’m just guessing here so don’t quote me on that one. Maybe when I finally get that interview with Nas (hint, hint) I’ll ask him to clarify it for us.
Personally, I’m just so tired of this guy and his obsession with Hip-Hop. You would think that after knocking it down for so long, he would at least have a clue about the music and call it correct a few times. Surely, if you have done so much research and listening over the years, you have broken the codes of the culture by now, and at least have a general knowledge of what the hell you’re talking about. Calling Nas a gangster rapper is like calling Elvis a lounge singer. Wait a minute, Elvis was a lounge singer, right? OK bad example.
The point is Nas is what many call one of last pure breed Hip-Hop emcees, a icon and a legend in this genre who has earned the respect of all who listen to it and participate in it. While the choice of Nas as a performer for that event might sound like an odd one at first, considering there are tons of rappers who might have been better picks, Nas is not a bad choice either.
True, he has a few hit records that talk about guns, but you literally have to go and look to find material from Nas that is really like that. When he went on about shooting and killing in “One Mic”, you know it’s more of a sonic picture of the extremes in life, with the pressures of the “hood”, run ins with other real life gangsters, police assaults, and war. The story builds into a maddening crescendo and finally calms with his simple hook of just needing one microphone to get through it all. You could take offense to a few of the images in the song, but to deny the genius of the total composition and not understand the message is sad.
Nas may be guilty of throwing tough guy, shoot ‘em up lines in more songs that he should or needs to. This is a sin that most Hip-Hop artist share, as that too, is part of the act. Nas also has a long list of songs that are extremely positive and uplifting. In fact, when I first heard the “O’Reilly Factor” piece, I was amazed that Nas was being put in that category at all. Even with “Got Yourself a Gun”, the last thing that any of his music ever felt like was gangsta rap. Last time I looked, we put Nas in the conscious/positive/real Hip-Hop section at SolSounds Records and Thirty Three and a Third, (shouts to Fat Beats and Norwalk Records too!)
O’Reilly also finds a way to work Michael Vick’s name into the segment, giving the uninformed more reason hate on Nas. The true end of the match came when O'Reilly hit with the Nas gun charge accusation. He repeatedly asked about the charge and if it was appropriate for an artist with a gun related case to perform at the VT performance. Bakari Kitwana seemed to be stumped to give a direct answer, probably because he didn't know Nas ever was arrested for anything. I had no clue Nas had a gun charge, and I'm sure most of his fans had no clue either. Further proof that Nas is no gangster rapper, as any real "gangster rapper" would not only talk about it, you would never hear the end of it. Nas isn't the image of gangster rapper in any form. The gun charge sticks though, and Bill refused to hear anything other than that.
Since Geraldo and O’Reilly can't figure out why Nas is relevant and a decent choice for the performance, I’ll break it down for you. Gun violence is a terrible crime and something that is growing in Middle America, sadly it is old news in the communities that Nas is from. It is something we all have had to deal with, the effects of gun violence reaching some of us closer than others. He has spent a good deal of his career talking about it, from several perspectives, most of the time with very positive results.
Since he has a felony charge dealing with guns specifically, he has something to share with people who have suffered from guns. He may use the chance to speak on his personal choices and how/if he has changed his thinking on guns. That alone merits his choice, and I’m sure he won’t disappoint those who attend the memorial services. Call him what you will, but a gangster rapper he is not.
Quote from Fox rush transcript:
"O'REILLY: You're sitting there in your little ivory tower, and — because we gave this Steger guy a week. We sent him all this stuff. We said, maybe you don't know. We don't expect this guy's listening to the rappers. He basically said, "I don't care." And then he issued a statement today saying that I'm mis-categorizing Nas. I mean, what else do I have to do?"
The show is planned for September 6th with performances by John Meyer and Dave Matthews Band. I’m sure that O’Reilly will run a few more segments and get his money’s worth out of it. Check below to view the O’Reilly Factor segment as well as my top five Nas video choices, all worthy of a memorial performance at VT. Oh yeah, some one could help Bill pronounce his subject's name properly. Just a thought.
Bill O'Reilly Blasts Virginia Tech President Over Rapper Nas
Damian Marley ft. Nas – Road To Zion
Can’t Forget About You
The World Is Yours
If I Ruled The World
Nas feat. Olu Dara – Bridging The Gap