Clothing designer and hip-hop entrepreneur Marc Ecko's Complex magazine recently compiled a list of Jay-Z's greatest lyrical put-downs, including swipes at Mase ("Check your own videos, you'll always be No. 2," from "Ride or Die") and Lil Wayne's crew ("You niggas ain't gangsta, you gum," from "Trouble), on its Web site.
Chatter asked Houston rapper MC Kane (a.k.a. H-Kane), whose new album The Curfew drops Friday, to explain the dos and don'ts of dissing on record.
Chatter: How does one go about crafting a proper insult within a song?
CD release party 9 p.m. Saturday, January 30, at Element Lounge, 2611 San Jacinto, 713-651-9900.
H-Kane: Do your research. If you are going to talk about anything or anyone, intense research needs to be performed. Then you go with what hasn't been revealed to the public. But lyrical dissing can't cross the line into talking about family, children and so on. That's too far.
C: Are there any Houston MCs it's considered bad form for another Houston artist to release a diss track about?
HK: There's no reason to diss anyone in the city. Right now Houston is on the come-up as far as getting back into mainstream pop culture. And dissing, even if it's just lyrical, doesn't fit into that equation.
C: For as much tough talk as rappers throw around, why do most of them try to be all slick and subliminal with their insults?
HK: Hip-hop took a turn towards WWE for a minute, and it was all about the entertainment. So when someone threw a subliminal shot, it was up to the consumer to find out who it was about, which is considered entertainment. Now that hip-hop is gearing back towards songs with messages and points and being thought-provoking, we will see an end to most subliminal disses.
C: Hip-hop is heading back towards thought-provoking songs? Okay, that's fair. We always thought "Mr. Hit Dat Hoe" was more layered than people gave it credit for.
HK: Club music is its own subgenre of hip-hop. It caters to a certain crowd. But since we brought it to the mainstream, I see how easy it is for media to accept that as the only form of hip-hop. So I can understand why you ask that. I do believe more of the underground hip-hop is introspective and even expresses a concern for matters beyond just "the block."
C: Back to the diss thing. Let's practice a bit. Real quick, give us four insulting bars about, umm, the Chronicle. Go.
HK: Okay: "I don't read the Chronicle / 'Cuz most of it is funny like a carnival / Most of the articles are marginal / If they write about me they might blow up without an arsenal / But Houston Press deserves all my articles." CHEA!
Eric Davis told the Houston Press last week that he met his fund-raising goal of $1,800 for a Lightnin' Hopkins state historical marker in mid-December. "I'm just really pleased, and grateful, to everyone for helping me make this possible," Davis said, singling out the Houston Blues Society, Jack Henderson and Dr. Roger Wood for their contributions. Raising the necessary money for the marker's construction is a crucial step in getting the approval of the Texas State Historical Commission, which Davis says will announce its decision February 1. Should Davis's application be approved, he added that he still needs money for a dedication ceremony. Donations are accepted at any U.S. Bank of America branch via the Lightnin' Hopkins Marker Fund, account number 5860 1320 5659. For more information, e-mail Davis at email@example.com.
88 E. Crosstimbers, 713-694-6800
1. Mary J Blige, Stronger With Each Tear
2. Melanie Fiona, Bridge
3. J-Dawg of Boss Hogg Outlawz, Greatest Hits ('98-'09)
4. Z-Ro, Relvis Presley
5. Trey Songz, Ready
6. Swisha House, Independence Day
7. Alicia Keys, The Elements of Freedom
8. Drake, It's Been a Pleasure
9. BG, Too Hood 2 Be Hollywood
10. Omarion, Ollusion
1. Carrie Underwood, "Temporary Home"
2. Dierks Bentley, "I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes"
3. Reba McEntire, "Consider Me Gone"
4. Jason Aldean, "The Truth"
5. Miranda Lambert, "White Liar"
6. Tim McGraw, "Southern Voice"
7. George Strait, "Twang"
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8. Brad Paisley, "American Saturday Night"
9. Jake Owen, "Eight Second Ride"
10. Toby Keith, "Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)