I should call this the good and the bad issue because there are several Jackson artists who have benefited from good fortune and several that have suffered from some severe mishaps affecting the game lately. One of the biggest headline-grabbers has been Crooked Lettaz alumni Kamikaze. Of course, he threw his album pre-release party (if someone knows what exactly a pre-release party is please e-mail me and let me know) Saturday, Jan. 31, at Freelons. The city's hip-hop high society attended in full mass. The party came on the heels of a recent rumor in industry circles of Kamikaze signing to SRC/Universal. That is the same label as his former rhyme partner David Banner. Keep your eyes open for this situation.
In a related incident I happened to run into Hattiesburg rapper Factor recently. I had the opportunity to listen to a song from his album entitled "Southernizin' DA Game" that he released last year on Big Luc Entertainment. The interesting thing about this album is a song named "Betta Move aka Bust Your Head To The White Meat." Besides the title, the song bears a striking similarity to Kamikaze's hit in several facets. The choruses, tempo and beat of the songs are almost identical. To complicate matters, Factor allegedly performed this song on three occasions with Kamikaze last year before his version hit the radio. I'll keep you posted on this one.
Congratulations to local DJ Scrapp. I heard a rumor from a very reliable source that Scrapp is getting his own imprint label distributed through Violator/Jive. I haven't heard who will be featured on the label but make sure you watch this develop.
In other news, the pictorial exhibition "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America" will run from Jan. 30 through July 4 at Jackson State's campus guesthouse. The exhibit includes pictures and postcards from the James Allen book of the same name. Allen is an Atlanta Southern folk art and antiques dealers. Between 1882 and 1968, more than 3,445 blacks were lynched nationally and at least 539 in Mississippi (the most in any state). Make sure you stop by and take a look. If we don't learn our past, we will be doomed to repeat it.
Lastly I want to take issue with something said on television recently. On a recent episode of 106 and Park, David Banner was debuting his latest video "Crank it up." He made a subtle comment in reference to Emmett Till that seemed to indicate that he thought his Emmitt Till shirt might have influenced the authorities to review and possibly reopen the case to prosecute the murderers of the 14-year-old killed in Money, Miss., in 1955. I found his comments naïve and extremely disrespectful to Till's family and memory. Banner, I hope you were simply misunderstood.