NEWS: Hip-Hop’s Birthplace Goes Up for Sale


1520 Sedgwick Ave.

After a long battle to keep a Bronx residence believed to be the birthplace of hip-hop from being sold, New York City officials have announced that the apartment building will go on the market later this week.

According to the New York Times, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development along with its’ landlord released their decision last Friday (September 26) confirming their intent to allow the building, 1520 Sedgwick, to be put on sale.

The landlord is expected to remove the home from New York’s Mitchell-Lama moderate housing program, which was created with intent of making affordable housing for middle-income residents, by fulfilling the mortgage with a $5 million payment. Afterwards, 1520 Sedgwick will then be placed in to the hands of well-known real estate developer Mark Karasick who has been attempting to purchase the property for over a year.

Despite the current tenants, advocates and the building’s hip-hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc coming together to prepare a $10 million offer for the building and securing a temporary restraining order against the sale, the State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the landlord on Friday.

“While the owners of 1520 Sedgwick have a legal right to buyout of the Mitchell-Lama program, the building’s residents have made an offer that we believe is more than fair,” Shauna Donovan, commissioner for the housing preservation department, told New York Times. “In this light, it is difficult to understand why the owners would choose to put the affordability of over 100 families’ homes at risk.”

As previously reported by SOHH, Herc has put forward an extensive amount of effort in hopes of preventing the sale including calling a news conference earlier this year to bring national attention to the building’s importance.

“This is where it all started,” Herc said at a January press conference. “But its’ turned into a sad story. People are about to be put out of their houses.”

“All the Queen Latifah’s and Will Smith’s,” he added. “We’re asking all those guys you see in Forbes magazine that are living hip-hop to recognize this building.”

The Bronx building reportedly gave birth to hip-hop after Herc threw a now legendary house party there in August 1973.

Article from SOHH.com

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Hip Hop, Part I


Sometimes I wonder about the direction of this art form we all love so much.  What happened to the music?  A lot (hell, most) of the stuff you hear on the radio nowadays is terrible.  And the good music… you have to dig thru various hip hop related websites to even hear it.  And it surely is not getting played on the radio.  I try to keep it within the bounds of my musical tastes and the tastes of the majority of my peers when making my music.  I find myself going over my music to ensure that if there is a tinge of a “commercial” sound to any of it, it stays within the limits I have set for myself as far as what I think should be representative of my work.  But, when I turn on the radio (which is a rare occasion), I don’t hear any, and I mean any, effort musically.  From repetitive beats, to far-below-average lyrics, to the fact that the muck that gets radio play is hyped so much, I can’t even stand to listen to the radio.  At what point did artists take the wrong path with this music?  Or is it the listeners that have brought us to this juncture?  Or is it myself and other listeners like me being too picky wih the music?  Should we just settle for whatever?

(To Be Continued…)

Peace.

E

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Being Part Of A Band


As I was sitting yesterday and thinking of ways to get The Empire more exposure so that people would check out our latest album “The Dark Ages“, I had a stream of other thoughts flood my mind.  When we made The Dark Ages, Me (SpeaK), Mista J and Prince Imperial were all together in NC and 5th Letter was stationed in Korea.  We put the album together and overcame the distance between us quite easily.  Now, 5th is stationed in Florida, Mista J and Prince Imperial are in NC and I’m in Maryland.  Now the goal has shifted towards moving units of The Dark Ages.  We are now forced to rely on the internet, instant messenger and phone to communicate and organize.  This is proving to be quite the challenge.  As the time approached for me to leave the Air Force, I thought with the internet it would be easy to stay organized and focused.  What I have learned over the past 10 months is that there is no substitute for being in the physical presence of eachother to blend all of your ideas and energies.  The point I’m driving at is: regardless of what mass communication medium comes out to overcome time and space, there is absolutely no substitute for being in the physical presence of your fellow friends, especially when it comes to creativity.  This thought now leads me to one question:  How much better would Hip Hop and music itself be today if the artists who “work together” were allotted ample time to actually BE AROUND eachother for the construction of songs?  I bet there would be a noticable difference.

Treasure your family and friends when your around them, because phone calls and internet just don’t cut it.

~SpeaK~

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Having fun doing the music thing…


OK this is more or less based on a conversation I had with Speak the other day… Ever sat there and thought “Damn this music takes so much to get it accomplished?”  I have (see The Trials & Tribulations of Making An Album).  But, I guess that’s because the music starts to seem more like a job and less like the thing you enjoyed doing so much when you started spittin’… And then the end result becomes a less listenable product because it seemed so much like flat-out work that you just wanted to get it over with.  So, in the course of the conversation I mentioned earlier, we (me & Speak) figured that the only viable option to make even better music is to just have fun with it again.  Take it back to the essence, you know.  Enjoy tellin the masses what’s on your mind, no matter how good or bad the topic is.  Because if you don’t enjoy making your album, who’s gonna enjoy listening to it?

Peace.

E

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The Trials & Tribulations of Making An Album


What up fam?  Maaaaannnn…  the business of putting an album together is sumthin… All those reading that have been thru the process already know what I mean… As you may or may not already know, I’m working on “A Long Time Coming,” which is my 1st solo album.  And it has been nothing short of a blast so far, but, there is sooooooo much work involved in it.  This time around (which happens to be a track on the album…lol), it is 99% me on the mic.  Previously, on The Empire albums, I was able to share the responsibility of crafting the lyrics w/ my Empire brethren.  Having to go solo on an entire album (14 tracks) is much more diffiult than I could have ever anticipated.  From deciding on beats to use, writing (& writing & writing), recording (big up to all the engineers out there, y’all are puttin in work on the music we listen to on the regular), constructing the project as a whole, to simply finding the time to do all these things, the road to “A Long Time Coming” has been a long one thus far.  And I don’t see it getting easier as the process goes on.  But, in the end, it will all be worth it, I know.  Lemme tell you, ain’t nothin like sittin up at 5 AM, with half a lukewarm beer, being stuck in front of a notepad with a horrendous case of writer’s block.  But when that pencil starts going, the feeling is almost unrivaled.  And that, I think, is one of my main driving forces in this music.  So, to all the MC’s out there tryin to get their projects finished, keep it movin… the ends definitely justify the means…

Peace.

E

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Empire Quotable 4


“So after this, I’ma take ya dis and throw it back again,

Attack em in 360 degrees from where they rappin in,

Throwin javelins and just stab em in the abdomen,

And use African voodoo magic to bring em back again”

Clip from “The Show”

~Speak No Evil~”The Show”~”The Dark Ages”

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September 11


God bless and keep all of those people who lost their lives in the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.  Take a moment of silence for the families most affected today.

~The Empire Family~

World Trade Center Attack 2

World Trade Center Attack 2

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Independent Artists Alert!!!!


IF you’re looking for nationwide exposure this could be your chance to be included in one of several projects hosted by a nationally known DJ. These projects also include the possibility of international exposure. We are looking to do projects with different musical genres. The mixtape and compilation projects are to be pushed on the internet and other outlets. So come for more information and submit your music today go to

http://www.myspace.com/nccrecords910

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