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Hip-Hop News: The California Music Awards
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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
6/2/2004 12:35:26 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include E-40.

So this year, the California Music Awards added a hip-hop category. And a rap category.

Furthermore, Sunday's award show/free concert in Oakland's Ogawa Plaza will feature a live performance from Night Ranger. And E-40.

Anyone smell a Judgment Night-esque duet cookin'? Picture the scene: the '80s hair farmers trading songs with Blackhawk's most ghetto-fabulous resident. After warmly embracing, they collaborate on a moving rendition of "Sister Christian." Mothers cry. Fathers hug their teenage sons. Hoochies hurl their thongs onstage. It's the ultimate rap-meets-rock moment, one surely worthy of a VH1 segment.

Night Ranger: Sister Christian, oh the time has come ...

E-40: Biiiiiiiiiiatch!

Night Ranger: And you know you're not the only one to say, okay ...

E-40: Uh, izza, shizza, should I save her?

Night Ranger: Motorin'!!!

E-40: Burn rubber!!! We're going sidewayz!

Night Ranger: What's your priiiice for fliiiight?

E-40: Outsmart the po-po's! Hope I don't go back to selling yayo!

Night Ranger: In finding Mr. Right!

E-40: Mr. Flamboyant, oh boy!

Night Ranger: It'll be alright, tonight!

E-40: One luv, fa shiggedy!

Unfortunately, 40 draws a blank when asked if he actually will jump onstage with other CMA live acts like Night Ranger or AFI. "Them new rappers?" he asks.

Um, no, actually. They're rock bands.

But that's okay -- everyone is confused about musical genres this year at the CMAs. The former Bammies, revived from the (gratefully) dead zone a few years back and now established as an annual free shindig in downtown Oakland, are trying to keep the rock 'n' roll tradition alive while still reaching out to the brave new world of urban (read: nonwhite) music. But while putting 40 on the same bill as Night Ranger and A.F.I. (the lineup also includes Tesla, Hieroglyphics, Lyrics Born, members of Grandaddy, and an all-star jazz jam with Dave Ellis and others) might seem like the right thing to do for posterity's sake, the CMAs are still trying to figure out the difference between "hip-hop" and "rap."

In case you missed it, hip-hop is a culture, and rap is the vocal performance aspect of that culture. According to Casual, one of the MCs of Oaktown's Hieroglyphics (nominated for two awards this year), "Rap is an element of hip-hop culture, like breaking, and graffiti, and wearing baggy clothes." In other words, all rap is hip-hop, but not all hip-hop is rap.

It seems simple enough, except to the CMA's nominating committee, which, according to publicist Kerry Silverman, includes CMA staff, radio station MDs, newspaper columnists, retail employees, and record label personnel. Silverman explains the selection process: "There are a bunch of people, and then the names that come up the most are selected."

Uh-oh. Sounds a bit imprecise, which could help explain why neo-bohemians Aceyalone and the Marginal Prophets were nominated in the Outstanding Rap Album category this year, along with E-40 and thug icons Westside Connection and Too $hort. Whoops. This credibility-dampening move not only puzzled C2tE, but confounded some of the nominated artists as well.

"I don't know what criteria they judge by," admits Paris, whose Sonic Jihad rounds out the category. "I have different ideas as to what the differences between hip-hop and rap are. I would have assumed I would have been in the hip-hop category, 'cause rap to me denotes kind of a commercialized offering."

He isn't really tripping, though: "Shit, man, you know, you get in where you fit in." The rapper emphasizes he's happy to be acknowledged, especially for an album as incendiary as Jihad (whose album cover features a plane flying into the White House). "I've been up for Bammies before, but this is especially important in an age where there's been so such an attempt to stifle legitimate forms of dissent, people that speak out against the system," Paris adds. "With that proje

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