Category: So, it's come to this...

A refresher course for T.I. from the Hip-Hop Guide to Being on Probation




Dear T.I.,

Like many of your fans, I was saddened to hear that you had been booked on drug possession charges Wednesday night. Not least because you had just finished serving seven months in prison (and three in a halfway house) for having attempted to buy a cache of machine guns and silencers in 2007. And any parole violation -- let alone alleged drug possession -- would probably send you away again, potentially for a long time.

Although getting pinched is seldom “convenient” for anyone, your arrest couldn’t come at a more high-stakes moment in your career. It arrives on the heels of your heist movie “Takers” grabbing the top spot at the box office last weekend and in the lead-up to the release of your frequently pushed-back (and inopportunely named) new album, “King Uncaged.”

But considering the circumstances of your arrest, it occurs to me that you may have screwed up in more ways than one: You seemingly violated much of rap’s received wisdom regarding hip-hop superstars on probation.

If we have learned anything from DMX’s last several cycles through the penal system, it’s that there are certain rules governing the behavior of people like you -- performers whose wealth, personal charisma and high profile make them bigger-than-usual targets for police scrutiny. Put another way: WWSDD (What Would Snoop Dogg Do)? The guy smokes more trees than any other three rappers combined, but he certainly would not have been “caught slippin’ ” (as they say on the street), as sheriff's deputies say you were.

In that light, it is perhaps worth refreshing certain rules of the unofficial Hip-Hop Guide to Being on Probation:

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Was DJ AM's death a suicide?


The jet-set mash-up disc jockey had prescription pills in his stomach and one in his throat when authorities found him dead in his Soho apartment on Aug. 28, an unnamed New York City official told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

The official said that there were six pills in DJ AM’s stomach and that the one lodged in his throat appeared to be the powerful painkiller OxyContin. The official didn’t know the dosage of the pills and was not certain what kind of pills were in DJ AM’s stomach. A similar report on quotes an unnamed law enforcement source as saying that eight undigested OxyContin tablets had been found in the DJ’s stomach and a ninth in his mouth.

The discovery suggests that DJ AM (real name Adam Goldstein, 36) swallowed the pills in rapid succession. “He wanted to die,” the source told “He was going unconscious when he took the last one. He didn’t even swallow it.”

Responding to a 911 call Friday, paramedics had to break down the door of Goldstein’s apartment; they found him shirtless and wearing sweat pants in his bed around 5:20 p.m. Prescription pill bottles and a crack pipe were discovered near the body. There was no evidence of foul play. Final autopsy and toxicology reports are pending.

-- Chris Lee

Photo: Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

Music critics: Mindless sheep or sheepish twerps?


Most of the time, reading about "the future of music criticism in the Internet age" either makes me want to cry, throw something or slip into a catatonic state so I don't have to think about it any more. But our sister blog, Jacket Copy, has a sassy take on the issue from Henry Owings, the founder of Chunklet, the cranky, inspired zine that once provoked lots of industry gasps with its "Biggest A-holes in Rock" issue. Zines were what bloggers did before the Internet, by the way, and honestly, most of them took bigger risks than your average indie-rock kid posting MP3s in exchange for concert tickets.

It turns out Owings agrees (more on that in a sec). The Atlanta-based Renaissance Man has a book out, "The Rock Bible: Unholy Scripture for Fans and Bands," which Jacket Copy describes as "a snarktastic set of hundreds of music-related 'commandments,' all bound in scripture-esque fake leather. (Sample: 'Few singers are allowed to drape scarves on microphone stands. You are not one of them.')"

Bad news for all those Stevie Nicks copycats out there.

Owings, in the interview with Christopher R. Weingarten (who's masochistically reviewing 1,000 albums on Twitter), explains his problems with bloggers:

My biggest gripe with online journos is their false sense of importance when they're oftentimes just regurgitating press releases and tour dates. Of course, that mindless mentality is what many labels love. Me? I just find there to be a negligible amount of talent in what passes as a blogger in this modern age. What ever happened to attitude? What ever happened to opinions? What happened to pissing off advertisers? What happened to alienating readers? What happened to having fun? Sadly, I believe that the new boss is the same as the old boss. I just wish and pray somebody would be out there stirring things up instead of following the herd of mindless sheep. But then again, when you have publicists that just needle you all day to write about their clients, it makes a blogger's job easy.

Fret not, Internet scribes; your print brothers and sisters don't get off so easy either. Read the full interview here at Jacket Copy.

-- Margaret Wappler

Photo: Henry Owings. Credit: Ryan Russell

KMVN 93.9 FM does the hustle into that good night


The mausoleum for L.A. radio stations is getting awfully crowded this year. Starting April 14, the disco-leaning station (and most recent home of popular host Rick Dees, pictured) KMVN "Movin 93.9 FM" will pack up the rayon and spangles for good. At that point, Grupo Radio Centro, the Mexican radio firm, will assume control of programming and marketing, with a clause to buy the station outright within seven years. The $7-million deal means 93.9 will flip to a Spanish-language format, and Dees is currently out of a regular morning-show slot.

"These have been challenging times in media, and this is just the best move for us," said Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications, the company that had operated KMVN until the deal. "The hardest thing is that it had been trending up in ratings, and we think the world of Rick, but it's the right decision for us now."

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Pete Doherty dissed me! One reporter's London odyssey


I went all the way to London to interview England's most notorious rock star and all I got was this stupid blog post.

It wasn't supposed to turn out this way. The plan was for me to sit down with Pete Doherty, the former lead singer for shambolic buzz bands the Libertines and Babyshambles, a skinny bloke whose tabloid renown as supermodel Kate Moss' ex eclipses his musical notoriety in this country.

The meeting place: a posh hotel in the Shephard's Bush section of the British capital where we would talk about his debut solo album, "Grace/Wasteland" (Astralwerks), which hits retail stores today. And Doherty might provide a little light diversion by doing something druggy or outrageous before our time together was up.

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Officer Roseland will pay you to listen to its new album


Ladies and gentlemen, the future of the music economy: Officer Roseland, a baritone-voiced and actually not bad emo band from Philadelphia, will give you one crisp American dollar if you download its new album "Stimulus Package." If you listen to it while you work at that Rolling Stone or Atlantic Records internship you paid the company for, you can actually hear the faint hissing of twentysomething creative class dreams deflating.

-- August Brown    

Photo by Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times


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