Sunday, September 30, 2007

Local Teacher travels to Egypt for a meeting of the minds

Lake Hopatcong resident and teacher, Dr. Nancy Westerband is a people’s person in more ways than one. Currently working in New York as what she calls an “Intervener,” Dr. Westerband will soon be traveling to Egypt in November for a discussion among fellow teachers around the world in the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program.

It will be the good doctor’s first trip to Egypt, and also her first experience participating in something so grand and beneficial to the worldly educational system: “I’m really looking forward to this,” says Dr. Westerband, who sounds as if she’s smiling over the phone, “It’s a new experience in my educational career.”

New experience as it might be, it actually wouldn’t be the first time she’s been outside the fifty states of America, as she’s actually spent time across the seas in another location, this one much closer to home.

“I’ve done 32 years of teaching,” says Dr. Westerband, “ten years in Puerto Rico before I [finally] came to New York in 1985.”

Receiving her doctorate in 2005 in Supervising and Curriculum Development, Dr. Westerband currently assists her principal in New York City (“It’s better if you think of me as a mentor”), and works the supervisor support program. Still, the prestigious opportunity the People to People program granted her just didn’t land on her doorstep like a strewn newspaper. She actually had to be accepted for it, the letter coming to her in her mailbox just last summer.

“You have to apply [for it], and they either accept you or they don’t,” says Dr. Westerband.

And luckily for her, with the amount of experience she had under her belt, they took the bait and accepted her, a cruise up the Nile just being one of the many fringe benefits that comes along with the package.

As new and exciting as the People to People Program sounds, though, it actually dates back to the Dwight D. Eisenhower days, as his granddaughter, Mary J Eisenhower, is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the highly influential group that’s been in existence since the 1950s.

The original purpose of the program, according to a message given my Mary Eisenhower herself, is for ordinary people of a similar profession to travel to other places around the world to get a better understanding of how people operate underneath different cultures. This is all with the intention of discovering that while they might have a different mindset or a different way of seeing the world, they’re really not so different after all when it comes to how they would like to see the future—a better and safer place for all.

And with Dr. Westerband’s people and teaching skills, hopefully she can add to that universal mission, she’s one heck of a people’s person after all.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How to tell your significant other that they're getting a little chubby

Not on Weight Watchers yet, but soon. Soon.

Breaking Her The Bad News
Been with your girlfriend or wife for awhile now and you’ve started to notice a little increase in her dress sizes? You’re not alone as many people in relationships tend to gain weight after an extended period of time. Whether it’s because you’ve both stopped dieting because you’re not in the dating scene anymore, or that you’ve just gotten too comfortable on the couch with her to get up and go to the gym, there are many factors that contribute to gaining weight in a long-term relationship.

But if you think she’s totally oblivious to her sudden weight change and you don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, how do you go about telling her without hurting her feelings then?

Chances are, you probably don’t have to.

She Already Knows
“First, women who have put on weight don't need their significant others to tell them,” says Registered Dietician, Jennifer Nardone from the New York State Dietetic Association. “Chances are, they know it and are reminded everyday when they try to fit into a pair of jeans, a dress, etc.

“But what a woman does need is constant support and unconditional love regardless of size so not to exacerbate other underlying problems that may exist and that have led to weight gain. Some tips and ideas to try and find out what else is going on include asking how they are, asking if there has been any stress or problems they what to talk about, and simply, being aware of their emotions,” says Dr. Nardone.

But as men, we know that something as seemingly easy as being aware of her emotions isn’t easy at all, and many guys in this situation tend to either A) Tell her flat out—“Honey, hate to tell you this, but you’re getting a little chunky.” Or B) Insinuate that she shouldn’t be eating certain foods that you know will go straight to her thighs—“Do you really need that second scoop of ice cream?” Neither method is really recommended.

It’s About Health, Not Appearance
"It's important to never accuse your significant other of gaining weight, but rather, emphasize the importance of making changes together,” says Dr. Christopher R Mohr, RD of “Suggest daily activities, rather than sitting and watching TV, and join co-ed intramural sport activities in your area, such as softball, volleyball, etc.”

Another good thing to do before you start poking her in the belly is walking over to the mirror and lifting up your own shirt. If your girlfriend or wife gained a considerable amount of weight, then there’s a very good chance that you did, too

"Always support one another in trying to make positive changes,” says Dr. Mohr, who also recently filmed a Healthy Grocery Shopping DVD with his wife to teach about the right steps to make when at the supermarket, which is a good way to start the conversation about making healthy choices as a couple. “It's not just a weight thing, it's a health thing and it should be encouraged that the entire family make smarter decisions."

Think Smart, Not Low
And smarter decisions really aren’t that hard to make when the two of you are working as a team. When going to the movies, instead of buying popcorn, sneak in some healthy snacks instead. Got an urge to eat right before hitting the sack? Play a game in bed that will keep your minds off food until you fall asleep. She wants White Castle but she just had it two days ago? Suggest that you’ll cook her a healthy alternative at home that really shows you know what she likes without going overboard on the calories. The more fun it is, the more likely she (and you) will stick to it.

And most importantly, don’t let it dominate your lives.

“Should the girlfriend grab a box of cookies, don't rush to criticize!” says Dr. Nardone, stressing the importance of being her rock rather than her shadowy scale. “Let it pass, tell her she's beautiful and continue to be the support system she needs.”

What Guys Who Have Been There Have Said
Advice from doctors and dieticians is fine and good and all, but what about advice from guys who have already been there with their significant others? Here are three guy’s accounts of how they went about doing it. And to keep them out of the doghouse, we’ll only use their first names. Googling your partners kind of takes the fun out of things when your significant other can find out what you’ve said about them by just entering you name and address. Use these methods with caution.

“Travis” from Texas—“I at first joked about it and said she was fat and needed to lose some weight. But then I suggested that there was a race that I wanted to run with her and we practiced for weeks. We lost a lot of weight that way.”

“Vladimir” from New Jersey—“I joked with her and called her a fatty. We both laughed about it, but I think she got the point.”

“Ankur” from New Jersey—“In a relationship, there should be a good amount of comfort where you can directly tell them, 'look, you're getting fat.' That's what I would do, and that's what I have done in the past. I don't see what's the big deal.”

Again, use these methods with caution.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Flickr's Favorite

Back when photo-sharing site Flickr launched in 2004, Rosemea de Souza Smart MacPherson was all over it. But she wasn’t just another obsessive uploader of pictures from her daily life. The 57-year-old Northern Virginia attorney had a photographic eye that won fans from the online photo community—they voted her images best on the site in 2004. SMITH spoke with the Flickr favorite member via email.

SMITH: How did you first get into Flickr?

Rosemea: I started on Flickr because I used to publish my photos at Fotolog. I still have an account there, but I don’t have time for it, so I publish very seldom. The reason I started on Fotolog was because my niece had an account there and I just wanted to be a part of her life—just chat and see her face. But Fotolog had too many technical problems and Flickr started about that time and a lot of people from Fotolog moved to Flickr.
What kind of camera are you using?

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT 350
Sigma: macro, 50mm.
Sigma 70-300 mm.
I just bought a Nikon / Coolpix S10 because it has lithium battery and substitute the Nikon Coolpix 2220 because I needed to keep changing batteries. I still have it and post old photos that I took when that was my primary camera.
Have you ever done photography full time?
Photography is just a hobby. Even so, it has taken over my life in many ways. Full time, I am a researcher/attorney/writer, but wife is my favorite title. And right now, I’m enjoying my life more than pursuing a career at this stage in my life. But yes, it would be fantastic to be a professional photographer and get paid to just have fun!
Say somebody read this article and decided that they wanted to take your title away and have the best photos on Flickr. Would you feel the urge to compete with them?

Flickr has many other popular people and sites, and I am personally friends with many of them, such as Gary*.
But I think my popularity has to do with my sense of humor and creativity. One has to be willing to visit other people’s sites and be fair on the comments and give favorites with fairness.
I am the best that I can be, and that is all that I can do. Other people can be the best of who they are, but I don’t compare myself with other people, and people shouldn’t compare themselves with me. And let it be known that I didn’t choose the title: The best pictures on Flickr. But I am very flattered and humbled by it. Mostly because there are a lot of very talented people on Flickr. A lot.
But there is also a lot of friction about who has the most pictures on Explore, and people fight all the time to be in the top four in different groups. Personally, if I feel a hint of hostility, I quit the group and remove all my pictures. I am on Flickr to have fun and laugh with my friends—and not to compete.
Would you say you’re obsessed with Flickr?

I used to be obsessed with Flickr. I’ve read your piece on eBay and think Flickr is just as addicting as eBay. I am less and less obsessed about Flickr now, but more obsessed than I would like to be. Flickr is more than pictures. I get hundreds of emails, and people share their personal problems with me. Sometimes I feel like a therapist, and that takes a lot of time. But Flickr is a community very similar to a family. Now, I’m not saying it’s a perfect family, but it is a family, nonetheless.
Do you use Flickr as a way to tell personal stories?
That is not my goal, but sometimes I tell personal stories. If I think I have a funny story to tell I will share it. And when a photo reminds me of a situation, a line of music, or a famous line from a movie, I’ll use that, too. I have a self-depreciating sense of humor sometimes, and I usually laugh when I am writing something I feel people will also laugh about.
How do you use Flickr to document your life?
I try not to use Flickr to document my life at all.
Actually, I try to avoid it. But photos do tell a lot about who we are, places that we’ve gone to, and countries that we’ve visited. I love the change of seasons, like Christmas, and in that way, a lot of my life is revealed through my pictures.
Where do you get your inspiration?

I was born drawing and painting, and I get my inspiration from the same source. Sometimes, I might see a shadow on the wall while I’m eating breakfast and it will result in a creative picture with good composition. I feel that taking pictures of famous mountains, or rivers, or buildings is not as creative as a macro, a reflection, or a shadow. Because anybody can see a mountain, but not everybody notices reflections.
Also, my husband and I go out taking pictures over the weekend. I love where I live, I love my surroundings, I love life. I don’t even think much when I’m taking pictures. I can take over a thousand in just one afternoon and not even notice it.
Was there a photo that you ever wanted to take but got away?

Yes. I have been involved with The James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness in the last 10 years, and last year, my husband and I were supporters of the fundraising at Sundance, Utah.
Here’s the scenario: I am in line waiting to be introduced to the press and talk to James Redford, Bob’s son who had two liver transplants and we were told not to take pictures of people, you know, to just stick to the trees and nature. Well, suddenly Bob and his daughter Amy Redford came and stood right before me. One of the people from the Institute apologized and said: This woman has someone in their family just going through a transplant. I was staring at Robert Redford’s neck. When he turned, we were face to face. I pointed my camera at him and said to myself: “I’m stupid if I don’t try.” But as I tried to take the picture, I go, “Oh, no! Battery exhaustion.” Bob said: “Too bad!” I spent hours laughing, as it was such an ironic moment.
What’s your six word memoir?

She laughed about everything, especially herself.

To see the article with pretty pictures and whotnot, check the article out here:

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Buckshot interview

XXL: So, you have a new album coming out called the Formula, right? How is it different from The Chemistry?

Buckshot: Uh, [because] it’s called the Formula [and not The Chemistry]? (laughs). It’s a whole different time, it’s a different scene. It’s just different, you know what I’m saying? It’s a reflection of what needs to be said, and it’s my manifestation. I’m trying to show people that I’m actually greater at what I do than what is perceived when I come up with concepts and stories. The things I do lyrically on this album aren’t easy. That’s the whole point of hip-hop, to do what’s not easy, you know what I’m saying? When you do what’s easy, it’s like, where’s the spark in that shit, you know what I’m saying? What makes this shit worthwhile if it’s so easy? That’s kind of the reason why I do it.

XXL: And how has 9th Wonder’s production changed on this album since the last one?

Buckshot: It’s just different, you know? His beats are different. I’m not really sure how they are, but they are. They just feel different, they sound different. They have a more sinister energy to them. Some of them are commercial joints.

XXL: You said they ARE commercial?

Buckshot: Yeah, the commercial joints are commercial, and the ones that are not commercial, are not commercial. It’s just different reasons for what people view as commercial. Like, I got this one joint with Talib Kweli, and it’s not a commercial song, but we [also] know that it’s not a quote unquote, freestyle kind of thing [either].

XXL: And besides Talib, who else can we expect on this album?

Not too many people, you know? I just work with people who really want to work with me. I don’t go out of my way to buy features. (He says about four other people, but for the life of me, I can’t really hear their names) There are these cats who work with 9th on there. But other than that, there are no other features on the album.

XXL: Okay, that’s cool. So I hear you’re making a new album with KRS-1.

Buckshot: Yeah, yeah, we just signed KRS-1 to Duck Down, so he’s on my label now. And he has an album that we would call something, but I don’t know if he’s going to call it that, so I don’t want to give it no title out. But me and him, we’re going at it hard. And as far as production wise, we’re really going in it. It’s going to be, people look, when I produce albums, I’m a Quincy Jones type of producer first of all. I don’t just play the MPC drums, you know, and stay behind the scenes. I’m actually somebody who produced this. With all respect due to Puffy, he’s a producer. People don’t consider him that, and that’s unfortunate for them, because he’s a producer. And he’s living and getting paid, and he gets props and respect even though a lot of people don’t want to give it to him. You know what I’m saying? Again, I’m a producer in that form, when I put this project together, all my knowledge goes into it. All my knowledge of what works, what doesn’t work, what’s criteria, what’s not criteria, so I attack it like that.

XXL: You’ve been in the business for a really long time. I mean, the early 90s. But the fact is, the business has changed a lot since then. So, I guess the question is, what elements of it do you like right now, and what elements don’t you like?

Buckshot: I like the fact that, you know, people are more public with their opinions and point of views, and it’s more accessibility to things. I like the fact that there are more opportunities, avenues to make something happen. So, I like the fact that rap and hip-hop is worldwide now. We’re in Germany, you know, I’m big in every other country…except for America. But that’s how it goes for every artist and all the talent because it spreads like a cloud, you know? The cloud is not going to be as thick as it was when it was in the area that it first originated from. You know, that’s the purpose of a cloud, it travels. So anybody with common sense knows that a cloud is never as thick as it was in its original state. And everybody knows that, everybody knows that. So I think that’s a blessing for me. It’s the fact that I’m in this area, and I’m doing this. And I sit back, and a lot of people, and a lot of rappers that’s known, you know, they fail to realize one thing. We are known, and the bottom line is that we have such a small sense of mortality in life and have done one thing that a lot of people sit in their crib and don’t even know what it feels like to want this so bad. Like, I know the feeling because I’ve never reached that level or that plateau, but I’ve reached a level of somewhat being big. But I also know the other level. I also know what it feels like to sit at home and feel like everybody else is big, and they’re popping, and you want to be in that position, too. And you’re working hard to be in that position, but you just can’t reach it. I mean, that’s something that I want to touch on. There are certain key things that I always look for, and certain things that make more sense to me, and there are things that don’t make sense to me. There are a looot of rappers out there, a lot, man, and they just cash their check and sit at home and sleep. I’m not like that.

XXL: So…

Buckshot continues: And the bad side that I don’t like about it is, you know, I was listening to Stretch and Bobbito on the radio yesterday, and I remember that there was a time that it was not only me, but a time when people would run to their radio station, run to their RADIO, and be home at 9:00 on a Thursday night because you knew that that radio station was coming on. It was kind of like the Apollo. When the Apollo was coming on, people would run to their crib to watch it. But you don’t do that anymore. It’s not even like that anymore.

XXL: Well, because of the internet.

Buckshot: Huh?

XXL: It’s because of the internet. People can just hear it there.

Buckshot: Well, yeah, the internet does that, and…you know.

XXL: So what would you attribute the resurgence of the Boot Camp Clik to over the past two years?

Buckshot: What would I what?

XXL: Well, I mean, why do you think you guys are getting big?

Buckshot: Why did we get big?

XXL: Why are you getting big again?

Buckshot: Oh, oh, oh, well, we’re just putting in work. In that sense, yeah. We’re just putting in work.

XXL: What about Sean Price, too and the popularity of the group?

Buckshot: Sean Price having the popularity of Boot Camp? Well, that’s because he’s putting in his work! Look, everybody’s doing a lot of work, but when you see Sean Price in XXL now, that was huge for me. That was huge. Sean Price is just doing his work, man. There are very few rappers, you know, who put in work like Sean Price. And he’s putting out tapes, and mixtapes, and this after that, and these over here, and these over there. Nobody’s putting in work like him, you understand? I don’t know, man, it’s like Sean Price deserves the recognition that he has.

XXL: And Boot Camp Clik actually has a new album coming out called Casualties of War, right? Can you tell us more about that?

Buckshot: What, the Casulties of War? You know, what’s funny about that is that a lot of people know and consider that another Boot Camp album. And it’s something that we are…the Casualties album is a few songs that we recorded, the casualties, the definition of that, is the fact that there were a lot of songs that didn’t make the [last] Boot Camp album, but they were good…to us, and we still wanted to use them. So, we did that to make sure that we put out an album that had that selection on it.

XXL: And so, when can we expect the next official Boot Camp album to come out with new tracks?

Buckshot: Um, soon, real soon. This project right here [the Casualties album] is something that we really remixed.

XXL: What would you say your responsibilities are day to day at Duck Down Records? You know, like Dru-Ha does what? You do you do what?

Buckshot: I mean, it’s harder now because we don’t really have an official office, so it’s harder. Uh, I would say that, look, my role at Duck Down now is a little harder. I think all of our roles are harder because we don’t have an office. But we are dealing with Cornerstone. And I say that we don’t have an office because even though we do have an office, we actually do have an office, an office where we operate in. But we’re used to operating in a self-contained place. But the thing is, it is useful that Dru-Ha IS the vice president of Cornerstone Marketing and Production. And that means that, you know, people can really get a sense of his promotion and activity, you know what I’m saying? And people get a sense of actually what he’s made of and why Duck Down has stayed in the game for so long, you know? Buckshot is a producer. You know, I produce, and Dru-Ha does the day to day, but it’s still just so hard because we both do everything. Dru-Ha does the same thing I do. He just doesn’t do the production on the pieces that I get. And without him, I wouldn’t make the decisions that I make. You know, I’m just as good on the marketing campaign, promotional, you know, re-sales, it doesn’t really matter. P-O-P. I been doing the intern thing before I started, rhyming, rapping. So, I was working for a record label. I was doing marketing and promotional before I started rapping. So, it’s kind of a funny thing how me and him work, and that’s why we have worked together for so long. And that’s the reason why we’re still together, because what we have is not only special, but what we have is real. It’s not like we were put together, like, you put him there, and he’s the white boy and he does marketing, and I’m over here, the black man who does production. That’s just not the truth. I mean, that’s my family. He means much more to me. That’s just my homey, that’s my businessman, that’s my family. You know what I’m saying? That’s my fam, that’s my dude.

XXL: Will there be another Black Moon album?

Buckshot: Yeah, definitely. There will definitely be another Black Moon. And it will be real soon. And, um, me and E (Evil Dee) just came from doing a show in San Francisco, and Black Moon, we’re going to do our thing, but you know, it’s crazy. I was reading the 50 article yesterday, you understand what I’m saying? And I’m not going to say I’m the same because I’m not trying to capture a vibe. But when…it’s just funny because, it’s far more often that black people, our people, my own people, that make more of a big deal of why they won’t do certain things. Or like, they’ll say, ‘you have a car, so why do you take the train still?’ Like, so what? Am I not supposed to? My partner Juwan takes the train all the time. Rob Stone, head of marketing and promotion for Cornerstone Marketing, he’s worth millions of dollars, and he takes the train ALL the time. So what’s the problem? But black people, a lot of them, they’ll be like, “Oh, oh,” but that’s because we want to cut ourselves off from that sense of poverty that we came from, but at the same time, I’m reading this interview, and I’m just like, “Wow.” People hear stories that and like, this person makes $300,000, and this person only makes La La (?) I mean, people hear numbers like that and they wish that was them. But people don’t recognize that when they’ll be flying high until winds hit the kite.

XXL: You actually struck upon a good point that I wanted to talk about with the whole monetary issue. The industry right now is in a slump, and ring tones are making more money than records.

Buckshot: Why not? I say, what’s wrong with that? I keep hearing people mention that, like, ringtones…I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t it?

XXL: Well, for someone like me, that doesn’t matter. Ringtones, that’s fine and good. But what do people like you in the industry feel about that? I mean, record sales aren’t like they used to be.

Buckshot: That’s not our fault. Whose fault is that?

XXL: Well, I’m not saying it’s anybody’s fault. I’m just saying, how do you deal with it?

Buckshot: It has to be SOMEBODY’s fault. Because when you look at that, fault becomes the reason, and reason brings understanding. So we really don’t need to start questioning it, you know what I’m saying? You know what, hold up. We’re the reason why we don’t sell records anymore anyway, so why are we all asking ourselves the same question? What do we do? Where?...Ringtones are good, you know what I’m saying? Word. It’s just crazy.

XXL: Okay, that’s fine. So, realistically, what would you say the goals are for Duck Down for the next couple of years?

Buckshot: Putting out different rap artists, like now, I have a coalition, and my coalition is not the same. I fucked with a lot of people. Like now, like I said, I have KRS-1, Lost Cause (?), Black Moon, Smif-n-Wessin (Can’t make out who he’s saying), Raheem…all those are the groups that I got so far. All those groups are very, very important to me. The reason why I reach Sha Much (?) is because De Sha (?) worked with the Outlaws. What’s very, very important is that there are a lot of record labels out there, but if you’re not in XXL or Scratch, then you’re not in the game. I’m just keeping it real. Black Beat, BET, somewhere.

XXL: Since you guys have been in the game for so long, a lot of the younger listeners might not know who you are. Do you feel and urge to reintroduce yourselves to them? Or does that not really matter to you?

Buckshot: It’s funny when people say that or ask that, because what are you supposed to do? Keep re, keep re, keep reintroducing yourself? It’s all about what I do for BCC, right? It never really was about trying to reach out, and being like, oh shit, I’m losing my fan status, I gotta do that again. I’m just so caught up in life that I don’t know. I’m so caught up. Because I have a lot of things that I still want. I can’t be concerned about certain things like that, because fame without money is hell. There are a lot of great rappers who are living in hell, because ask yourself. If some of these rappers aren’t on the radio, and aren’t on TV, than how are they making money? They’re going through hell and torture. Rapping is a curse sometimes. It can be a curse. For real.

XXL: I think a big part of that is because the music has changed quite a bit since the 90s when you were really big. So what do you think is so different about rap music today than rap music in the 90s?

Buckshot: The fact that, ah, everybody is trying to shut the rappers down, and there’s nothing you can do. [These days] you can get on, and get recognized, but you’re not going to be a star, you’re not going to be that one. And that one always comes up doing something that nobody else has done. A lot of rappers, and lot of folks are saying that we’re going to start selling singles again. They’re saying that singles will be the things that sell records, because think about it. Really, really think about it. If Mims don’t do something in the next few months, we won’t even know “This is Why I’m Hot.” He has another record that’s out right now, [called] “Like This,” and I don’t think that it’s wack, but I seriously don’t think it’s going to get the response that “This is why I’m hot” got. They’re big for that moment. But that’s what people want to do. They want to be the franchise boys right now, and then people will be like, “Well, we already have a franchise boys, and they’re the Shop Boys.” And then what you going to do? When the franchise is over, what are you going to do? Are the franchise boys going to break up and go solo? Are there going to be a new franchise boys?

XXL: So, in the end, what do you want to be known for? What do you want Black Moon to be known for? Boot Camp Clik?

Buckshot: I want to be known for as the dude that held his own block, and that’s what we are known for. (I can’t make out almost the whole conversation here). Me and Puffy actually came up with the whole Street team idea at the same time, but Puffy got the props for it. I didn’t get the props for it. Who am I? I’m [just] a little thug. I mean, but obviously, the whole street team idea came from us, because people would look at Buckshot and say, “Here he comes with a bunch of dudes on the street.” Puffy had a lot of dudes, [too], but they were wearing shiny suit outfits. I brought the whole street nigga mentality. I would roll with my street teams that would promote me and myself. That’s all I had. You know, and I’ve had lots of opportunities. Like, I was supposed to sign with Dr. Dre, I was supposed to sign with Jay-Z after I was on the radio with FunkMaster Flex, and I can’t tell you why I couldn’t. When I’d actually go there—[there’d be] silence. And I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe it’s because I’m not good enough when I actually come to the table, you know what I’m saying? When I get to the table, they’re all like, “Ahhhh, I changed my mind.” Sometimes, when I was willing to make that sacrifice for my team, my team was like, “let’s do it,” but it never happened.

XXL: Okay, fair enough. So, I know that Boot Camp just got with KOCH right now, right?

Buckshot: Yeah, KOCH just bought our shit. They bought our label out.

XXL: I know in the past, your relationship with KOCH hasn’t been all that great, so why did you guys get back with them?

Buckshot: KOCH bought our label, we didn’t get back with them. They bought our label out. We’re not getting back with KOCH. But it’s all good, though, you know? KOCH is my label. I was actually going to get with Universal, but Universal isn’t doing so well right now. They’re not. When it comes to making that paper, they’re definitely not doing it right now. But I’m trying to see if KOCH can do what they do, and I’m willing to stand behind them for a minute, you know what I’m saying? But right now, I’m saying that besides Universal and besides Warner, who’s out there? Def Jam is owned by Universal. So it’s like, talk to me here, who’s left, and what’s left? And that’s why everybody and their mother ran to KOCH. And you know, I mean, we know what we have now, and KOCH has adopted my concept, which is, go get a veteran, and go give them a shot. And that’s what they do. Again, I feel you, I’m a model for the legions. And even KOCH took my idea, and that’s why I don’t get no props because I don’t come out with that. People will be like, I come out with that, and I’ll say naw, I’m not going to say anything. But now I’ll say fuck that. You shouldn’t be so humble. You gotta speak for yourself or someone will walk right over you. That’s what I’m known as, a model for the legions. And that’s why I came out and signed KRS-1. And people will ask, why didn’t I sign some new hopes? Why didn’t I sign a Cassidy? Why didn’t I do that with Duck Down? Why did I get KRS-1? You know, a veteran in the game. You know, these are people who can’t make records now. And [record companies] aren’t going to sign the OGs. And then you have Large Professor? People were like, what’s wrong with you? Why would you get these people? But my whole thing is, that everybody who put out a record before in the rap game, and is not getting shit now, come on over to Duck Down. That’s my whole shit. It’s hard and it’s real. People who put out records five or ten years ago and can [only] sell 2000 records today, I’m going to give you $2000, you see what I’m saying? Everybody’s going to give them credit for what they sell. I won’t say names, but there’s a famous duo, and one of them who went solo, he dropped off, and while the other guy didn’t really pop off, as a group, they still never really dropped off as a group, but when they went solo, they flopped. But now, obviously, time went by, and as a solo artist, he wants to get back with the group one more time. And like, they want $100,000 in cash for a record, but we’re like, dude, get the fuck out of here. You don’t recognize the rap game, and you’re not in the rap game, period, and that’s why a lot of people don’t get back in the rap game. Cause listen, motherfuckers be thinking that this is 1990 something where there are budgets like 400 Gs, 400,000 thousand dollars on the table. Now, you’ll be lucky if you get 50 [dollars?], homey. And that’s for a whole project, my dude, so I’m going to leave it like that. I want people to respect Duck Down as a label that’s up and coming, man. Actually, a label and a marketing company, because we’re nice at that marketing. And I just want people to recognize that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Assassin's Creed Looks Awesome...Yeah, Awesomely Bad

EGM, the number one magazine of choice for gamers and super studs like me, is concerned about Assassin’s Creed in a big kind of way. In the latest issue (The one with the strangely hot nurse with no face from Silent Hill on the cover), Assassin’s Creed was featured in their annual E3 best (and worst) in show review. Sadly, for people who are actually interested in the stealthy PS3/Xbox 360 title, the game was awarded the coveted, “Game We’re Most Worried About” Award by the crew. And though I’m a man who enjoys his schadenfreude with a side of raspberries and Vanilla Coke just like any other misanthrope, I guess my negative karma’s finally catching up with me, as NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams for the Wii, a game that I’m HIGHLY anticipating, got Runner-up for game they’re most worried about. I guess this spells, “I think I’m finally going to trade in my Wii for a PS3” for me. But if EGM’s not your cup of Arizona Iced Tea or you’re perhaps only five years old, GAMEPRO also has concerns for the game as well, namely that the controls are iffy and that it’s too complex for its own darn good. Either way, the sweet as Equal sugar graphics aren’t appearing to hold the crummy gameplay up to snuff for either publication. In other news, Bioshock is awesome, but I’ll save that for another article.