3threat Media’s Personal 2009 In Review

2009….damn what a year and on first look, for all the wrong reasons! It was certainly a year of struggles and obstacles but rather than highlighting the negative it would surely be more beneficial to highlight the positives that arose from said difficulties. 2009 was the year I realised that with a little belief, determination and confidence I really could stand on my own two feet and create my own opportunities. No matter how rough the road to that discovery was it was a road worth travelling, even if most of it was on crutches!

Perhaps most importantly, 2009 was also the year I realised that even a blood clot couldn’t stop me. A few inches higher up and that really could have been game over but for some reason thankfully it was not! The whole experience certainly provided both a personal and professional wake-up call. I couldn’t help thinking that next time I might not be so lucky, therefore it was time to start building a legacy. That moment marked the beginning of a much bigger professional turn-around than I could ever have imagined.

Some might call it luck, some might call it fate but I prefer to be honest and call it hard work; there was nothing easy about 2009. It was a year of many battles but it was also a year that saw many victories. Rather than looking at 2009 as a bad year, I would rather consider it a prelude to 2010, which I am certain will be a year of improvement and a year of opportunity for all that wish to embrace it. This year taught me that I still had a long way to go and so much to learn and 2010 will hopefully see me making these improvements and continuing to develop my work.

There were many people who made all the victories in 2009 possible and they also deserve the support and belief that they showed me throughout what proved to be a very difficult year. I would like to extend a heart-felt and well-deserved thank you to a number of people and offer them my full support for the New Year:

I would like to extend a huge thank you to my friend and (extremely understanding) Allhiphop.com editor Chuck Creekmur for giving me the opportunity to do some great interviews and develop my skills further this year. I also assure you that meeting deadlines better is certainly my main New Year’s Resolution! (One on the way very soon too I promise).

The team over at Tapwire Magazine, especially Fathom, Syncere and B, who have frequently put up with my crazy creative visions and helped make them possible. I especially appreciate the many opportunities you have given me to push my creativity to the limits and develop my style. I also appreciate the advice and support you have given throughout the toughest part of this year.

I would also like to thanks all the wonderful and incredibly talented artists that I have had the pleasure of working with throughout this year. 2009 has been a year of some great interviews and hopefully 2010 will be the year of even better ones! I look forward to working with you all again in the near future.

I have to extend an extra special shout out to Chino XL for always taking the time out to encourage me in the rehabilitation of my foot regardless of how busy he is. I also have to thank Raekwon for an amazing interview and reminding me of exactly why I stupidly continue do this job even when the doctor tells me I really should take a break! Mike Streezy, I have thank you for constantly reminding me of just how much hard work and taking the time to study and perfect your craft can pay off and Slickmouth for giving me hope for the UK scene! Derty Harry, I want to thank you for an amazing interview and for making me laugh harder than I have in a long time. I think a huge thank you is also in order for La Familia Ent and DJ Mr President for their continued support, outstanding professionalism and for being great role models from the next Hip Hop Generation. There are a huge number of talented artists out there that deserve your support and recognition, as music truly is the soundtrack to our lives and without it I firmly believe that this world would be a much worse place to live.

Finally I would like to thank my wonderful friends, who have helped deal with the highs and lows and never failed to believe in my abilities and potential, even in the times when I have doubted them myself. Without you there would have been absolutely no way I would have got through of 2009 still standing and I doubt I would have had the courage to go for some of the amazing projects that I have lined up in 2010!

Whilst the fourth quarter has been relatively quiet for a number of reasons (mostly health-related…in 2009 I also learned that eventually everything starts to take its toll if you don’t listen to your doctor and rest once in a while) I have worked hard to ensure I have laid the foundations for some great projects for 2010. There is so much more to come and I hope that some of the projects will help make an impact and open some eyes to talent and potential of the next generation.

I would like to wish you all every success and happiness in 2010; it’s going to be a great year!

3TM’s Full Hip Hop Year in review is COMING SOON!

Urban Beauty – London Architecture (Canary Wharf)

Canary Wharf - Urban Jungle (Photo: H. O'Connor)

I guess you could say architecture has always inspired me to a certain degree, although it took a long to to appreciate that some of the best modern architecture actually lay on my doorstep. London is home to a wealth of architectural beauty but there is something particularly inspiring about the Canary Wharf business district, especially as a young business-woman.

Every inch the urban jungle, Canary Wharf plays host to not only cut-throat business but also a vibrant and diverse population of young urban executives – the next generation so to speak. The bold glass structures of One Canada Square, 8 Canada Square (HSBC Tower) and the Citigroup Centre actually played a significant part in my own desire to start a business or a legacy of my own.

Walking through the towering buildings, you can’t help but feel somewhat in awe of their striking beauty and therefore feel the urge to build something equally remarkable (be it a business or creative masterwork). Built on the site of the old West India docks, Canary Wharf represents the transition from the past generation of business to the future and demonstrates literally that the sky really is the limit when it comes to building a legacy.

Slickmouth ‘Travelling Star’ Mixtape Review

Click to download 'Travelling Star'

Try as you may, there is little point in trying to categorise Slickmouth as anything other than an artist. Period. Having pretty much lived a life in constant transition, he will only transgress any musical boundaries that you attempt to confine him too. His eclectic Travelling Star mixtape draws on a number of musical styles and elements and as expected he is lyrically and rhythmically on point throughout.

Particularly notable tracks include The Becoming, which satirically outlines the industry’s need to label artists whilst highlighting his own musical rebellion and the infectious introduction Beautiful Music, which serves as Slick’s musical manifesto for the soulful delights that follow.

Whilst the mixtape as a whole is a strong release, the true gem on the tracklist is the beautifully blunt and nostalgic joint Uninspired, which explores the ongoing conflict between the creative process and industry expectations. The reflective track provides an insight into Slick’s artistic vulnerability and disheartenment with the urban music scene, although he concludes on a positive note stating that true inspiration comes partly from studying the legendry artists of the past and ‘real lives.’

With this release Slick provides some real music of substance, which is a rare treasure in the majority of urban albums today, let alone mixtapes. A great introduction to Slickmouth’s talents, Travelling Star is certainly the perfect prelude to a very promising album indeed.

Available NOW for download from: http://www.zshare.net/download/69904746b248dbc5/

3threat rating: 4.5/5 (Because no release is perfect but as far as mixtapes go, this is about as close as you will get).

Kanye West’s The College Dropout – Album of the Decade

The College Dropout

After months of facing less than favourable press, Kanye West has been recognised by Entertainment Weekly for having the ‘Album of the Decade.’ The publication honoured his 2004 debut The College Dropout above significant Hip Hop releases such as 50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Kanye reacted to the honour by expressing his gratitude, stating ‘Wow, this is really flattering. I’ve had some ups and downs this year, well actually this decade. Just seeing this cover takes me back to that time of my life.’ He then recalled ‘how much pain and love went into this album.’

Touching on the project’s impact on the Hip Hop scene, he explained ‘No one saw it coming. This project wasn’t about me, it was about a time in people’s lives where people force opinions on you and you have to make choices for yourself.’ He then continued to highlight how the record stood out at the time, stating ‘We loved 50 Cent but we wanted to be the yang. We wanted to wear pink polos and rap about being hurt on this album everyday.’

After rising to fame following the success of the Grammy-winning album, West has continued to trangress the boundaries of the genre with his albums and in doing so has enjoyed considerable commercial success. Whether or not you agree that The College Dropout was the Album of the 2000s, it must be said that it is certainly a strong contender and a great contribution to the Hip Hop world.

Langston Hughes – Harlem

Perhaps one of the most powerful poems written by one of the greatest writers to ever grace this world with his talents, ‘Harlem’ provides an insight into the dangers posed by a “dream deferred.”

Langston Hughes

Harlem – Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Without people like Langston Hughes at the forefront of the Harlem Renaissance there would be no Hip Hop.

50 Cent and Susan Boyle Collaboration?

Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson

It would be difficult to find two artists more different than rapper 50 Cent and Britain’s Got Talent singer Susan Boyle; the two are seemingly total polar opposites, in terms of both style and fan base! That being said, in a recent interview, Fiddy expressed his desire to collaborate with the Scottish songstress.

The Queens rapper stated, ‘Susan Boyle is hot right now,’ before adding, ‘I got to get her on a track, for real. We’d make a hit.’ He explained that ‘everybody is talking about’ the 48-year-old singer and that he thought she was ‘cool.’ Fiddy also joked that he would like to ‘take her clubbing,’ then added ‘she’d have a great time.’

Britain's Got Talent Star Susan Boyle

Whilst they may come from completely different backgrounds – with 50 Cent having grown up on the streets of Jamaica, Queens and Boyle hailing from Scotland – both initially faced difficulties getting their music heard in an industry still very much concerned with image.

It remains to be seen whether or not the collaboration will ever come into fruition, although if it does then 50 Cent should certainly be recognised for his creativity and originality. An intriguing combination to say the least, any collaboration between the pair should make for extremely interesting listening.

2pac: The 7 Day Theory

How an Album Sparked the Greatest Conspiracy Theory in Hip Hop

On Friday 13th September 1996, one of the most influential rappers in Hip Hop history tragically passed away. At the height of his career and having just recorded his most powerful work yet, Tupac Shakur was just 25 years old when he met with his untimely demise.

The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, recorded in August 1996, completed shortly before his fatal shooting and released just two months later, only fuelled the ever-increasing number of conspiracy theories and rumours that he had faked his own death and would return to resurrect Hip Hop…

You can read the whole article HERE.

World AIDS Day 2009 – Check Yourself!

World AIDS Day 09 - Check Yo Self!

World AIDS Day….have you been tested?
It’s YOUR responsibility so in the words of Ice Cube Check Yourself!

HIV/AIDS remains largely a taboo in the Hip Hop World and far too many people have already lost their lives to this illness. Many people living with HIV still lead full and meaningful lives, but only if they are diagnosed and treated soon enough. Please do not become another statistic, play it safe, take responsibility for your life and get tested!

Check Yourself!

For more information about World AIDS Day or the HIV/AIDS pandemic, go to http://www.worldaidsday.org/