Jacob Luttrell; Bryan-Michael Cox; Usher; Rico Love
NEW YORK, NY (May 11, 2012) – Last night, SESAC, the nation’s fastest growing performing rights organization, awarded Rico Love with top honors at the 16th Annual SESAC Pop Music Awards when he was named Songwriter of the Year, at NYC’s Skylight Soho. Multi-platinum superstar Usher made a surprise appearance at the awards to present his friend and collaborator Love with the prestigious award.
Dick Clark who is known as American’s “Oldest teenager” died today at the age of 82 from a massive heart attack. Clark is an icon of the television era who started his career in 1947 and he would eventually host American Bandstand, Pyramid and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Clark’s involvement in Bandstand is where he made the most impact on the music and TV industries. The show was the first dance show on American TV and Clark introduced several rock stars to a national audience. He became the host of the show in 1952 and soon after demolished the whites-only policy. The integration of American Bandstand was also reflected in subsequent concert tours hosted and produced by Clark where Blacks and whites appeared on the same stage. Chubby Checker, Ike & Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were some of the Black artists who made appearances on the show. He was an early champion of rap music and Run DMC would be the first rappers to appear on his show in 1985. The Guiness Book of Records called it the “longest running variety show in TV history.” To younger generations he is known for his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. He hosted the show for a last time in 2009 and Ryan Seacrest has hosted the show since 2010. American Bandstand was the inspiration behind Soul Train and Don Cornelius and Clark worked together on various specials that featured Black artists. Now that Cornelius and Clark have passed just months apart it is truly the end of dance-oriented television programming that embodied new trends in pop culture as dictated by the youth.
New York, NY (April 18, 2012) – SESAC, the nation’s most progressive performing rights organization, will present Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer Bryan-Michael Cox with the prestigious “Inspiration Award” at the upcoming 2012 SESAC Pop Music Awards. Cox, a multi-faceted musical talent, will be honored for his significant artistic, philanthropic and entrepreneurial contributions at the annual awards gala, set to take place on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at New York City’s elegant Skylight SoHo.
Twenty-six years ago Run DMC stormed into the museum of rock and put their trademark Stetson fedoras on top of mannequin heads designed to look like The Beatles. The late actor Calvin DeForest tried to shoo them out by yelling, “You don’t belong here” but Darryl and Run refused to leave while white rockers played in the background. “King Of Rock” is a landmark song because it announced to the world that white guys with guitars were no longer the main arbiters of volume and style.
Rap music became the new rock and Black kids mostly from the ghettos were the artists. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created in 1983, had its first ceremony in 1993 and by 2007 it had inducted its first rap act with Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. This year The Beastie Boys will be the third hip-hop band inducted gaining favor over Eric B. & Rakim who were also nominated. The hall uses musical excellence and influence as the primary factors in determining who is eligible for the honor at least 25 years before the date of induction. Rakim’s microphone cool and Eric B.’s mathematically correct production set forth one of pop culture’s most recognized quote books and sonic beacons in their 1987 magnum opus Paid In Full. Their music caused innovation in the genre by offering some of the most influential James Brown samplings and Rakim’s unflappable delivery of clever internal rhymes.
The Beastie Boys made rap appetizing to suburban white youth who would have never been receptive to the music in another context. White skin, frat boy energy and the incorporation of rock guitar made their image translate to kids who could only relate to urban life as a safari. The Rock Hall’s choice of the Beastie Boys before Eric B. & Rakim is a critical weakness in the assessment of the culture. Guitar rock has been a dying art since the commercial inception of rap music. The racist exclusion of Black rock and rollers from the mastheads of the mainstream doomed the direction of the music. Kurt Cobain’s passing some 18 years ago left an artistic dearth in rock that no one has been able to eliminate. Rock artists like The Black Keys have publicly commented on the death of rock and blamed it on the cynical ways of record executives that gave rise to the success of bands like Nickelback.
By ignoring the obvious heft of Eric B. & Rakim’s contributions, the hall loses credibility and gives credence to the idea that the museum’s hip-hop blind spot is born of racism. Hurricane, the Black DJ for the Beastie Boys will not be acknowledged either.
If the hall is to have true relevance it will have to make the inductions of rap music reflect the global dominance the art has held for 30 years. The Beasties inspired many kids to create bands modeled in the old style of rock while Eric B. & Rakim influenced the entire culture of new street music practitioners. There have been more young people in the past three decades to embrace a turntable and microphone than guitars and amplifiers. The guitar star is not the pop culture hero anymore because kids want to be Jay-Z instead of John Mayer. At the end of the “King Of Rock” video DeForest’s character has been forced to accept Run DMC as the kings from queens and ultimately the paradigm shift in the culture. Unfortunately the rock hall has not made that acceptance yet. And if rap artists and fans are uncomfortable with the hall’s process and selection they should contact KRS-One and Afrika Bambaataa to get a hip-hop museum off the ground. Because at the rate the museum is going LL Cool J, Slick Rick, MC Lyte, The Cold Crush Brothers and so many more important figures will never make it into the hall and receive the recognition that the most influential genre of music of to span the last five US presidents deserves.
1. Isn’t The Dream telling the truth when he talks about the world’s fascination with white people doing soul music and Blacks being pigeonholed into pop? And doesn’t it prove that the bottom line at major labels is not just money but whiteness?
2. Why did someone give Janet Jackson a pickanniny type doll as a tour gift if we live in a "post-racial" world?
4. How can Gene Simmons criticize Rihanna’s music for not “being real” when Kiss is nothing more than a great marketing plan, gimmicks and mediocre musicality? Compared to Jimi Hendrix, Kiss is not real.
(Los Angeles, CA. March 19, 2012) Audio visual pioneer V Squared Labs (vquaredlabs.com) and founder Vello Virkhaus will be lighting up the main stage of this year’s ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL (ULTRA), the world’s premiere electronic music event, starting Friday, March 23- Sunday, March 25, 2012, at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. This year, ULTRA is transforming and customizing Bayfront Park in a way never seen before for an enhanced music experience led by VJ Vello Virkhaus and his team at V Squared Labs.