AMAZON HQ: WORKING-CLASS NYC’S “L”

phonto

The unveiling of the proposed Amazon HQ in Long Island City was the end of the year slap in the face to working-class New Yorkers. Governor Cuomo decided to grant one of the richest men in the world and his company Amazon with a damn near 3 billion dollar tax break with state subsidized funds, also known as New York taxpayer money. Jeff Bezos and Amazon plan to bring 25,000 jobs to New York City with this proposed headquarters but who will be filling those positions up? Surely not native New Yorkers. Long Island City is already one of the most gentrified neighborhoods in Queens and this Amazon HQ will surely further plague the neighborhood.

The increased gentrification of NYC has made ACTUAL affordable housing harder to obtain for working-class New Yorkers. Who cares though when Jeff Bezos is getting a fucking helipad, right? The richest company in the world was granted CORPORATE WELFARE while working-class New Yorkers struggle with shitty public transportation, education, lack of affordable housing and student debt. With this CORPORATE WELFARE granted to Amazon, New Yorkers will most likely see a slash in social services that are a necessity with gentrification making living harder for working-class people. Letitia James, Jumaane Williams, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Ydanis Rodriguez and Yvette Clarke are just a few popular NYC politicians that signed on in FAVOR of Long Island City becoming the site for Amazon’s new HQ.

 

Not to mention, several reports have come out about Amazon’s deplorable treatment of its workers:

A separate survey released Sunday by labor group Organise found that  74% of 102 fulfillment employees surveyed avoided using the bathroom to prevent disciplinary action. Most said they were concerned about missing increasingly high targets. 55% said they have suffered from depression since starting their work at Amazon, and 57% said they’ve been more anxious. Another undercover report in The Mirror by Alan Selby documents disturbing conditions in fulfillment centers — workers were asked to stand for the entirety of their 10-hour shifts, except for two 30-minute breaks. Bathroom breaks were automatically timed by work stations. Selby says he witnessed someone collapse and saw another have a panic attack after learning they would have to work a 55-hour week during Christmas. “ – DIGG MAGAZINE, 2018

We all know Queens as the most diverse borough of New York City, home to someone from almost every nation, country, and island in the world. Queens has a high population of immigrants within it and Amazon is helping the Trump administration by providing technology to ICE:

Asked about Amazon’s efforts to sell facial recognition technology to ICE, Huseman replied, “We provide that recognition service to a variety of agencies and government should have the best technology.” He said the company has a “positive record” on immigration, including advocating for Dreamers and green card reform. – Gothamist.com, 2018

So Amazon is helping NYC while helping Trump with his deportation machine? Lets now talk about the NYCHA residents of Long Island City who are stiffed with this deal. Residents of Queensbridge Houses won’t get preferential treatment in terms of employment with Amazon either. They’ll only get “job training,” which we see is the common “benefit” when companies come to rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods to lessen the blow.

So whether you support this shitty ass Amazon deal or not, you better know that none of this shit is for New Yorkers who need it the most, but one of the richest men in the world got free taxpayer money, as if he fucking needed anymore.

 

 

LIL BOO – “OH LORD” (VIDEO)

lilboo
If you haven’t heard of her by now, you should get to know Brooklyn’s young, beautiful lyricist, Lil Boo. Equipped with a completely polished flow that pairs well with witty lyrical content, Lil Boo can hang with and out-rap women and men alike. In “Oh Lord,” Lil Boo shows us a gritty side and delivers as usual.
Check out the video for “Oh Lord” below:

Lil Boo’s social media:

IG: @lilboo.official

Facebook: Lil Boo

“A SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY!” EP – CHALICE

 

IMG_4987Out of every few artists, there’s always one artist that is well-rounded in style, flow, delivery, song creation, and lyrical content. Chalice is one of those who can shift and manipulate multiple sub-genres to match his energy. With “A Surprise Birthday Party!” EP, Chalice takes on the current mainstream sound and jazzes it up with his natural Scorpio flair.

Stream it below:

THE ICONIC, CULTURAL STREET GAME OF SKULLY/SKELLY TOPZ

IMG_4988

Prior to the advanced technology we have today, the kids of New York City played heavily in the streets. Whether it was freeze tag, manhunt, running around in the Johnny pump, double dutch or hopscotch, city kids always found creative ways to play. The game of skully is one of the most iconic street games New York City has seen. Since the 1950s, kids of New York City have been melting crayon, clay or wax into bottle caps to create their playing pieces. With chalk, players would draw out the skully board on the sidewalk or asphalt:


Skully_cp

Below are the rules of skully:

Make a skully board with chalk on a patch of available and relatively smooth street or sidewalk. The board consists of 13 numbered boxes, 1 through 12 on the periphery of the board, and a box labeled 13 in the center surrounded by a “dead man’s zone” or “skull.”
Start at a line outside the skully box and aim for the “1” box, flicking your bottlecap with your finger. If you get it in (without it touching any line), you keep your turn and shoot for the next box. You can also advance a box by hitting the cap of an opposing player. If you’re close to another player’s piece, you can try to blast the piece halfway down the block with your own. In some neighborhoods, you can replace your cap with a special heavy one (like from a juice or peanut butter jar) for this purpose, though you couldn’t do this if someone calls “no blasting allowed.”

After going from 1 to 13, you have to return, going from 13 to 1. After completing the full journey, you shoot back into 13 and then navigate the “skull,” shooting your piece in the forbidden “dead areas” of the skull while declaring your new powers (“I am a killer diller”).

From this point on, you hunt the other players. Only you (or other killers) can safely go within the skull. If you hit another player (3 times consecutively), they’re out of the game. If they hit you, they become a killer too (or, if you decide beforehand, they’re out of the game). The last person left wins.

Thought not as popular, skully still remains a cultural staple in New York City. Check out a very hood tutorial of the game below:

VERNDOLLA$ – AUGUST (EP)

IMG_2302

Verndolla$ is a 20-year old rapper representing Queens. His debut EP “August” is a 12-track experience with production from AEBeats, Lezter, Cxdy, Regreting and a host of others. Amongst the standout tracks on the EP are “Run With It,” “Really Like Me” featuring Kota the Friend, “Catch Up” featuring Kalonji Law$. and “Outta Pocket” featuring Purp. Stream “August” below:

 

 

REMEMBER WHEN TWO EX-GOOGLE EMPLOYEES THOUGHT A VENDING MACHINE WOULD PUT BODEGAS OUT OF BUSINESS?

IMG_2587

Remember when those two dudes, Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, who used to work at Google thought they were going to make bodegas and mom-and-pop shops obsolete with a glorified ass vending machine called “BODEGA?” They even had the nerve to use a cat as the company’s logo to represent the heart of all bodegas, the bodega cat. We all know bodegas to be the most convenient place in the hood for us to buy food, drinks, snacks, household items and anything we may need. Bodegas have been a New York City staple since the influx of immigrants from Latin America to the United States.  For people in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, bodegas hold the same significance with bodega translating to grocery store in Spanish. There are also the Arab-owned delis that are prevalent here in NYC. This “Bodega” startup  was met with huge backlash and many took offense to these two tech capitalists trying to rid us of these cultural staples that we adore while adopting the name simultaneously.

In an interview with Fast Company in 2017, McDonald had this to say:

I asked McDonald point-blank about whether he’s worried that the name Bodega might come off as culturally insensitive. Not really. “I’m not particularly concerned about it,” he says. “We did surveys in the Latin American community to understand if they felt the name was a misappropriation of that term or had negative connotations, and 97% said ‘no’. It’s a simple name and I think it works.

Exactly who did you survey because it damn sure wasn’t Papi who owns these stores. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t appreciate being put out of business by some mamaguevos that used to work for Google who think putting 100 things in a vending machine is equivalent to the work they put in 7 days a week.  After all that backlash, McDonald and Rajan got the message clearly and relaunched their little vending machine startup as “Stockwell” and it has none of the Latin American hood flair that our bodegas have. How McDonald and Rajan even mustered the courage to do this foolishness is beyond me. 

There’s no way you can replace that feeling of just walking out your crib for a quick run. Whether you want a beef patty, chopped cheese or a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll with an Ari, and some papers to go with it, Papi or Ahky (no pork bacon) got you. Depending how long you lived in a neighborhood or whether you grew up there, you’ve built relationships with the people who work in the bodega. There’s an unmatched level of respect. Let’s not ever get that confused again. 

 

 

RAP LOOKS THAT WE LOVED GROWING UP

Hip Hop fashion has always been influential. We’ve seen the durag co-opted by high fashion brands such as Chanel and sold as “urban head rags.” From Lil Kim’s colorful wig and fur combinations, to Cam’Ron’s all pink everything and Fabolous’ throwback jerseys, let’s explore some looks that stood out from late 90s to mid 2000s.

 

 

IMG_1476.JPG
Fabolous in the “Trade It All” video with the bandana over fitted and Lakers jersey.

 

IMG_1477
In the same video, Fabolous wore the infamous towel bandana.
IMG_1475
Ghostface Killah donning a green fur frock with a championship belt in the “Cherchez LaGhost” video
IMG_1504 (1)
Fire camo jacket and bucket hat combo in Cam’Ron’s “Get Em Girls” video
vintage-sunglasses-nas-paolo-gucci_large
Nas in a leather and Cartier frames in a “Belly” scene
IMG_1484.JPG
Method Man in a mustard yellow Avirex leather and fuzzy kangol in “Belly”
IMG_1754.JPG
Pink bandana jacket with the matching timbs customized in paisley bandana print & the Diplomats logo in the “I Really Mean It” video
IMG_1464.JPG
Cam’Ron’s infamous pink fur coat/headband combo
IMG_1483.JPG
Nas & then Puff Daddy donning furs in the “Hate Me Now” video
IMG_1482 (1).PNG
Nas’ infamous Avirex in “Belly”
Curaiu8XYAUfA3M.jpg
EVERY SINGLE LOOK IN LIL KIM’S “CRUSH ON YOU” VIDEO
tumblr_owmf2ozB711sufv62o1_400.jpg
Foxy Brown in a stunning fur with a sheer dress/ bra combo
3c6fbccd696b47fd3c80e1196cb4fb01.jpg
Foxy again in a yellow body con with an orange shearling/hat combo

 

jmya.jpg
Jay-Z and Mya in the North Carolina Tarheels Jordan jerseys in the “Best Of Me” video
IMG_1501 (2).JPG
Only Killa could make the USA flag look redeemable in his Jeff Hamilton Diplomats custom. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BURNT BRIDGES & AGGRAVATION – CORDELL WATTS

IMG_1259

Cordell Watts is a young lyricist out of Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. With an inviting and charismatic delivery, he makes another mark on the underground world with his fifth project “Burnt Bridges & Aggravation.” “Burnt Bridges & Aggravation” features production from Watts himself, Juno Adonis, Tone Jonez of Jee Juh music and others. “Pedigree Joint,” “It Rained Today,” and “Blood On My Leaves” are amongst the most outstanding tracks on the project.

Listen below:

 

 

 

IG: @cwattsnyc

Twitter: @cwatts86

Facebook: Cordell Watts

THE INFLUENCE OF AN UNDERGROUND LEGEND – MAX B

 

IMG_0092

Growing up during the Dipset era in New York City was an exciting time that you had to be there for. We got tons of gems, “Diplomatic Immunity” 1 and 2, Juelz Santana’s albums and mixtapes, Cam’ron’s “Come Home With Me,” “Purple Haze,” “Killa Season,” with the accompanying movie, as well Hell Rell, JR Writer, Byrdgang, and all of Dipset affiliates. The first time I heard “Babygirl” by Jim Jones, I was enamored by the male voice on the hook that belonged to someone named Max B. It was a hit all throughout the city garnering much radio play.  As a huge Dipset fan, I definitely owned the “Harlem: Diary of a Summer” album. “G’s Up” ended up being a standout track on the album due to Max B featuring on the hook. with him going on to feature on the hook for Cam’ron’s infamous diss to Jay Z, “You Gotta Love It.” Every appearance Max made prior to dropping his debut mixtape “Million Dollar Baby,” were just precursors of the illustrious music he would eventually bless us with.

From 2006 to 2009, Max B dominated the mixtape circuit with tapes such as the “Million Dollar Baby” series, the entire “Public Domain” series, “Domain Diego,” “Wavie Crockett”, “Coke Wave” 1 and 2. In the midst of it all, he began feuding with Jim Jones over shady business dealings which he exposed in multiple songs and documented in the “Cocaine City” street DVDs alongside French Montana. The feud spawned songs such as “Lip Sing,” outing Jim Jones for using him as a ghostwriter, “She Touched It In Miami,” and “Tattoos On Her Ass,” detailing his alleged affair with Jones’ fiancee. Despite being blackballed from radio play due to this feud, Max B was able to reach a large audience in New York City and throughout the entire North East from his departure with Byrdgang and moving on to Gain Greene working heavily with Dame Grease, Al Pac, French and several others.

With street classics such as “Blow Me A Dub,” “Why You Do That,” “Gotta Have It,” “Try Me” and several others, he had a stronghold underground with an entirely original sound, the wave. The production paired with him singing gritty lyrics for hooks were something that was never executed in this manner. The hair, dark shades, chains and Nike boots all attributed to his “wavy” persona, even referring to himself as the Silver Surfer or Wavie Crockett. Let’s not forget his signature phrase, “OWWWWW.” His influence led to people naming themselves after his Biggaveli pseudonym, which is an ode and mixture of Jay-Z’s Jigga, Notorious BIG’s Biggie Smalls and 2Pac’s Makaveli. His influence extends to rappers such as Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y, a long-time supporters of Max. 

Max B fans all over are excited and awaiting his departure back to the streets. We miss the music and the man behind it all. Free Max and visit supportmaxb.com