By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
Twitter’s been on a roll as of late. Last week, “the SMS of the Internet” went public and witnessed its shares rise 73 percent above the offering price on its first day in the stock market. It was a pretty amazing accomplishment, considering Facebook flopped during its public debut last year. Facebook’s shares rose only 0.6 percent.
I’m pretty sure Facebook’s top guns have put this day in the back of their minds. Since Twitter now has something to gloat about, the rivalry between the two is definitely heating up.
Twitter and Facebook are currently fighting over celebrity attention. Both want to make it easier for celebrities to create profiles and interact with their fan base. They believe a stronger celebrity presence will not only attract more users, but also engage them.
It’s important that more people sign up for accounts with Facebook and Twitter but if they’re not engaged, these users aren’t going to stay.
Twitter is often credited with breaking down the barrier between celebrities and their fans. Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Nicki Minaj can connect with the world by re-tweeting and favorite-ing their fans’ tweets. They could make someone’s dream come true by simply hitting the follow button on their fans’ pages.
However, it’s a different story while on Facebook. Celebs don’t have many options to address fans because their public profiles have certain limitations. They’re attempting to change this.
According to an article in Yahoo!, it looks like Facebook is going to launch a feature allowing the Jay-Zs and Lady Gagas of the world to better reach out to their supporters. Facebook hasn’t released any details on the new feature as of yet. It’s been hinted that the feature will “step on Twitter’s home turf.”
I don’t really pay attention to celebrities on Facebook, but when it comes to Twitter, I follow them religiously. I feel more connected when they tweet about their normal lives than on Facebook when their posts are more glamorized.
It’s also entertaining to watch celebrity feuds pan out on Twitter such as the recent feud between Kanye West and Jimmy Kimmel. You would never see something like this on Facebook. I love Twitter.
I’ll give Facebook the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what its new feature will offer. Whatever happens, I’m still #TeamTwitter.
By Alex Siber, Staff Writer
Can you recall a time when the forerunners of hip-hop’s elite pantheon largely represented the generalizations and pigeonholed stereotypes that the mainstream populace held — perhaps rightfully?
Even as rap’s prominence continues to spread across varying subcultures and demographics (the white rapper is as common as ever, as is rapping in general for that matter — an endless stream of YouTube artists fostered by the Internet Age all lust for fame and recognition), this imagery holds fast within our minds.
In 2013, many aspects of this typecast are far less prominent, and the new school leaders and old guards of the genre stray from the norms of prior decades.
Living legend Kanye West might just be the most publicized artist regardless of genre (often for reasons unrelated to his music), and the only stylistic similarity he bears to the outdated rapper image are his elongated, meme-ified leather skirts that he dons from time to time.
Meanwhile, Jay-Z is still conducting “performance art” in private museum rooms or wearing tuxes with Mr. Timberlake.
While the widespread generalization of the rappers’ image is in desperate need of an upgrade, the growing trend of hip-hop artists issuing apologies for lyrics is a growing trend with potentially unfortunate repercussions. In the past year, several major cases have surpassed the thresholds of the genre and entered the mainstream spotlight.
The ever-successful Rick Ross made headlines earlier this year thanks to a particular line of his in a remix to the popular song, “U.O.E.N.O.” [produced by Childish Major], in which his lyrics insinuate sexual assault: “Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it.”
With coverage ranging from MTV News to CNN, Ross’s rhymes set fire to the media landscape. Previously endorsed by shoe company Reebok, the aggressive pressure group UltraViolet stated that this commercial pairing meant that the apparel corporation condoned rape.
In response, Ross apologized publicly to Billboard Magazine, saying that his decision to include the aforementioned lines did not accurately reflect his “true heart” and was sorely regretted. This scenario raises key questions regarding the current state of rap as a microcosm for the rest of society, as well as the legitimacy of Reebok’s course of action. What can an artist from a generally controversial genre say, and at what point is a line trespassed, thus resulting in consequence?
From a broad scope, political correctness pervades the modern culture. While this is not always a bad thing (the gradual elimination of words such as “faggot” or “retard” from casual vocabulary, for example), a classic consequence is the gentrification of culture. Rap is no different, and apologies for lines such as Ross’s were no commonality earlier in the history of hip-hop music. Looking specifically at Reebok’s decision, one likely feels unsurprised by the resolve.
More specifically, it begs us to ask what lyrics are considered suitable, or acceptable (and therefore expected) for a rapper to implement into his or her work. Ross is no saint, and countless usages of certain words or violent phrases arguably warrant a similar reaction, even if such a response occupies a level of lessened severity.
Artists J. Cole and Drake underwent a similar critical experience thanks to a certain line in the remix “Jodeci’s Back,” a collaborative remix between the two: “I’m artistic, you n***as is autistic, retarded.” The sentence prompted the Anti-Bullying Alliance to offer a petition for the removal of the lyrics, which registered more than 2,500 signatures. Cole tweeted an apology before extending his expression of regret further through an online letter, and Drake, who felt guilty by association, also provided a public apology.
Personally, I do not defend these lines. Nor do I defend their implications. I possess no secret hopes of slurs such as “faggot” or depictions of rape becoming a phenomena that sweeps the world of hip-hop, a world once defined by its grittiness and raw mentality.
What I do believe, though, is that the political correctness gradually growing in rap can have culturally disastrous side effects. In the past, comparable lyrics made for nation-sweeping entertainment.
Simply put, if you don’t enjoy what you’re hearing, you need not listen. The price to pay is a slippery slope, challenging the spirit and heterogeneous character of a powerful style of music, and lifestyle for millions.
By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
I’m pretty sure that everyone hates the typical, mind-numbingly dull nine to five; I know I did. For those of us who have had the pleasure of zoning out during a particularly boring day, thoughts easily wander into the fantasyland of quitting, about finally telling your boss that you hate everything that is your job.
That’s exactly what Marina Shifrin did in her now viral video entitled “An Interpretive Dance For My Boss Set To Kanye West’s Gone.”
Aside from the obvious hilarity of Shifrin’s idea to dance her way out of a job, watching the video evokes that classic scene in “Office Space” where the main characters attack the notoriously unreliable copy machine from their office with baseball bats (though with a far less violent approach).
Shifrin explains her reasoning in the description of the video, writing, “I work for an awesome company that makes news videos. I have put my life into this job, but my boss says quantity, speed and views are what is most important. I believe it’s more important to focus on the quality of the content. When you learn to improve this, the views will come. Here is a little video I made explaining my feelings.”
I don’t advise this particular method of quitting for everyone, at least not unless your video goes viral too; but there have been worse ideas conceived at 4:30 in the morning. In the end, you have to give her props for having the guts to take matters into her own hands and stand up for creative integrity. And then of course there’s her hilarious dancing.
To read more behind Shifrin’s idea click here.
Watch Shifrin dance below:
By Brandon Kesselly, Staff Writer
In honor of the recent solo debuts of 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar and Meek Mill, as well as the coming debut of A$AP Rocky (2012’s four hip-hop heavy hitters), I wanted to list some of my favorite solo debut LPs of the genre:
Illmatic – Nas (February 1994): While it is not a very well-known fact, Nas actually debuted before Biggie. Nas’ debut—at the age of 20 – laid the groundwork for his later hit albums and his future beef with both Biggie and Jay-Z. The most notable feature of this album was that it lacked star guest features, focusing the attention on Nas from beginning to end.
Ready to Die – Notorious B.I.G. (September 1994): Biggie hit hard with this album, and—combined with his sophomore double-disc Life After Death—solidified himself as the most popular rapper of hip-hop’s “golden age” The storytelling and lyrical complexity on this album still make me shiver when I listen. “Juicy” and “Big Poppa” became major hits.
Reasonable Doubt – Jay Z (June 1996): The first of many great debuts for Jigga, this album has one of the rare moments where Jay Z and his friend, Biggie, traded verses in real life as opposed to recycled recordings (“Brooklyn’s Finest”). “Dead Presidents II” was also famous for sparking the beef between Jay and Nas.
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – 50 Cent (February 2003) – 50 Cent made his major label debut with this 2003 classic, featuring hit songs such as “In Da Club,” “21 Questions” and “P.I.M.P.” The album went on to go eight times platinum as of 2011.
The College Dropout – Kanye West (February 2004): Kanye West is a name as synonymous with hip-hop production as Jimmy Hendrix is synonymous to epic guitar playing. When the “Izzo” producer finally began to put out his own songs, his own rap legend soon began, combined with further production work on songs for Jay-Z, Ludacris, Twista, Alicia Keys and more. Dropout gave the genre classic songs like “All Falls Down,” “Jesus Walks” and “Through The Wire.”
The Documentary – The Game (January 2005): 50 Cent’s (former) lieutenant, The Game, had a strong debut with The Documentary. A mixture of gritty gangsta rap and heavy-hitting party songs, the West Coast native was helped by his energetic delivery and production work from 50, Kanye West, Timbaland and Dr. Dre. His tracks “How We Do” “Dreams” and “Hate It or Love It” became instant classics.
Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor - Lupe Fiasco (September 2006): Lupe Fiasco—a Chicago native—found an interesting niche in hip-hop, choosing to combine spoken word, nerdcore and skateboarding influences with the dark tales of the streets of his hometown. However, he balanced the tale of a slowly corrupted youth with fun stories and some of the most clever imagery and wordplay in the genre. “Kick, Push” and “Daydreamin’” became classics while songs like the Howard Zinn–inspired “American Terrorist” show Fiasco’s knack for historically driven raps.
By Lauren Dezenski, Online Editor
Girls run the world at the FreeP this semester (to steal the phrase from Beyoncé). With an e-board made up of all ladies except for Kevin the sports editor, No Shave November doesn’t quite meet its original meaning. But thank goodness for the associates: Tyler, Chris and Jasper (plus assistant Greg) are all in some state of facial hairiness.
Thus, I’m honored to present the Novembeards of the FreeP.
Kevin Dillon, sports editor and our reigning Novembeard champion. Well, that doesn’t actually exist because I just made it up, but Kevin *IS* sporting the sickest beard at 648 Beacon St.
When asked to describe his beard, Kevin said, “It got real itchy, so I have had to shave the neck part of the beard.”
Neck beard grows in three times as fast as the regular beard, Kevin said, and had he not taken preventative measures, he would “look like Gandalf with a neard.” Neard is a portmanteau of “neck” and “beard.” That Kevin, always combining words.
Chris Lisinski, current campus associate and next semester’s campus editor. This weekend was the interview process for postion selection (congrats to all chosen), and because of this, Chris was forced to shave off his beginnings of a Novembeard. As of Monday night, Chris is steadfast in his pursuit of the truest Novembeard, despite this weekend’s razor action.
I’m thinking that shaving process looked a little something like this:
Fear not, Chris. Beards grow back.
Resident cherub and City Associate Jasper Craven. Baby boi is next semester’s city editor and with his clean shaven face, boasts the face of a baby angel.
I see you with those Beats headphones, Jaspy.
Don’t be fooled by his cherubic visage ladies and gents. During last week’s snowstorm, Jasper was riding his bike to cover an event for the FreeP, fell and scraped up his knee, thus BLEEDING FOR THE FREEP. That’s dedication if I know any.
Exhibit D and E:
Tyler Lay and Gregory Davis. Tyler is next semester’s managing editor and has no care for maintaining his Novembeard. What a party pooper. However Greg, next semester’s sports editor, is keeping the enthusiasm alive and is a true gem.
Let us heed the words of Kanye West in light of these Novembeards: “No one man should have all that power.”
Stay tuned for updates on the beards’ progress as November elapses.