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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Gimme some of that urban stuff

This is my first week being officially unemployed. I was still on the payroll until the end of October...and now I'm not. I've been sending out applications and have even had a handful of interviews, nothing that I've really been too excited about (with one exception). I've been keeping myself busy by taking on a couple of side projects: a quick, but well-paid stint doing voiceover work for a video game and translating a forthcoming book about an infamous graffiti phantom in Hamburg. I should get a copy of it for my grandma for Christmas, so that she's not disappointed in me. That said, I have to either put these other projects aside now that I'm officially unemployed, lest it interfere with my unemployment money, or start persuing them regularly. But I don't want to freelance. Blah blah blah...not my point.

Anyway, this is the first time in five weeks where I don't have at least some sort of daily deadline or meeting or whatnot on my plate. And ever since I moved in, Zilv and I have been bouncing around the idea of doing a radio show together. She had a radio show for awhile at the FSK (a public radio station here in Hamburg) and I did the radio thing for awhile in Northampton. We've both thought about starting up again, but sometimes things like this are easier if you have another person to give you some feeback/help you come up with ideas.

Basically the plan is that we would split the two-hour show in half, with Zilv presenting US rap and I'd be doing German stuff. Kind of like a hip-hop remix of Freaky Friday...the 70s Jodie Foster vehicle, not the Lindsay Lohan travesty. We're working on pitching a monthly show to TIDE (another public radio station).

It was a toss up between the two stations. FSK has a smaller listenership, but greater creative control. TIDE has a larger listenership, but slightly less creative control. But it basically came down to the general struggle that the FSK hip-hop shows undergo with the station's music programming. Another completely irrelevant tidbit. Sorry.

Having a somewhat open schedule this week, I've been trying to concentrate on getting my half of the show demo ready. The thing is...I really haven't really been keeping in touch with the German hip-hop scene since my days at FHHM (Fancy Hip Hop Magazine, for those of you who have forgotten). Okay, I have, but more on a peripheral level and definitely not as intensely as back in the day. It's amazing what you miss during the course of one year and seven months when you're not reading the rap blogs on a daily basis. Not that I have to start from scratch, by any means, I just have to fill in the holes in the landscape.

So I started revisiting the old internet rap info haunts, but I got distracted by a new(ish?) website ad that I had never seen before. It's for a site called (I don't want to link back to it, because I find it ridiculous). I clicked on it and, honestly, it should probably be called

In other words, it's an importer of the finer rap dranks in life. Alizé, Courvoisier, Cristal, Hennesesy, Sizzurp (minus the codeine), etc. Then they have a page that shows you some popular "urban" artists (and for some unexplainable reason Paris Hilton, Scarlett Johansson(?!), Lady Gaga, Fergie and some indie band called Chester French). You can click on your fave artist and see what "urban drinks" they prefer.

I think that I'm mostly skeptical of the "urban" designation. The aforementioned ringers aside, I find it hard to overlook that "urban" has become a synonym for "black people". At its foundation, urban drinks should just mean drinks that you buy/drink in the city (as opposed to "rural" drinks, which, following the logic that I perceive, would be moonshine or Camo Beer?).

Maybe I'm reading to much into this, into cities were you can find hip-hop and R&B albums categorized into a section called "Black Music" (not a translation, by the way).

Maybe I've just been reading too much Günter Wallraff lately...

I don't know...but more about that Wallraff guy later.

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