Cassidy, a Philly rapper who used to be with Swizz Beatz back in the day, has been jailed for violating his probation. He's on probation for a manslaughter case n 2005, stemming from a shootout near his house. His lawyers have denied a TMZ report that he's a suspect in another murder case. Also, rapper M-Bone of Cali Swag District (the "Dougie" people) was killed in a drive-by shooting in Inglewood, California on Sunday. Also, local Virginia rapper Trey Pound, 24 and an Iraq war veteran, was shot and killed after pissing off another guy in a rap battle. That was in 2008, but the full details have just emerged, so we'll include it here.
After receiving an invitation from Bill O'Reilly to appear on his show and debate whether or not the rapper Common should have been invited to a poetry reading at the White House, Jon Stewart showed up tonight as promised and attempted to interject some logic into the controversy. And because we would never expect you to suffer through an entire episode of the Factor yourself, here are the best four minutes of O'Reilly and Stewart's debate.
Conservatives were up in arms this week after the White House invited the rapper Common to participate in a poetry event. Last night, Jon Stewart showcased how Fox News pundits have distorted the issue with their "Common is a dangerous rapper who defends cop killers!" narrative. It looks like the faux controversy will go on another day: On tonight's Factor, Bill O'Reilly—who "fought the good fight years ago against gangsta rappers years ago"—struck back at Stewart and challenged him to a debate.
This week the folks at Fox News have been up in arms about the fact that Michelle Obama invited Common to attend a poetry reading with her. Naturally, the network mischaracterized pretty much everything while reporting on the issue, so on tonight's Daily Show, Jon Stewart tried to put it all back into perspective.
The White House is holding an event celebrating American Poetry tonight, and guess what? You're not invited. Which, according to Fox News, Sarah Palin, The Daily Caller and associated forces, is great news for you! Because one of the poetry readers will be the rapper Common, the most evil and dangerous man alive.
• Bethenny Frankel isn't going to be happy about this one bit, but her Real Housewives of New York City co-star, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, is going to appear semi-nude in the December issue of Playboy. The 40-year-old reality TV star won't have to worry about competing with the women almost half her age who normally grace the magazine's pages: The photos were reportedly taken by her ex-husband, photographer Gilles Bensimon, "several years ago." [In Touch, P6]
• Jennifer Aniston was reportedly in tears over a scene for her flick The Bounty because it reminded her of Brad Pitt. The actress supposedly pulled it together to shoot her lines, but the source said, "privately she is still very fragile." Her rep denies it ever happened. But if it did happen, Jen probably needs a better therapist. [P6]
• Topper Mortimer and his girlfriend, Vogue editor Valerie Boster hit the New Yorkers for Children Fall Gala on Tuesday night... as did Topper's ex, Tinsley. Val was reportedly "not happy," but luckily, they all weren't seated together so there was no WASP throwdown. [P6]
Jamie Dimon (left) is the CEO of JPMorgan. Byrdie Bell (right) goes to a lot of parties. What do the two have in common? Absolutely nothing, except they're both celebrating birthdays today: Dimon is 53; Bell is turning 24. William H. Macy turns 59 today. Kathy Hilton, the woman who brought Paris Hilton into this world, is 50. Emile Hirsch is 24. Mets pitcher Johan Santana is turning 30. Political commentator Charles Krauthammer is 59. Mediabistro founder Laurel Touby is turning 46. Common is 37. Danny Masterson is 33. Dana Delany is 53. And Neil Sedaka is turning 70. Weekend birthdays after the jump!
We've been hard on Common, the "conscious" Chicago rapper who spends an inordinate amount of time making ads for damn near everybody and then coming up with weird justifications for how he's still keeping it real. Now his new TV ad for Zune, the off-brand iPod that Common called "a representation of me," is out. And he's pulled godfather of the beat Afrika Bambaataa into the advertising web along with him! This, along with The Roots signing on as Jimmy Fallon's house band, is pounding my capability for sincere outrage into a sense of zombie-like acceptance. Watch the full ad below and surrender:
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Several months ago we passed judgment on "conscious" rapper Common—he's fundamentally a tool. Not for his music, which is cool enough, but because he merrily goes around selling himself as a pitchman for everything from Smirnoff to GAP, while simultaneously yapping on and on about his true devotion to hip hop and love and art and The Corner and acting like these "brand partnerships" somehow represent something deeper than just a paycheck. It's incredibly grating. Like his outfits. Well, now Common is speaking out (to Ad Age, appropriately) about how he's totally keeping it real by selling product placement spots in a video for his new song called—wait for it—"Universal Mind Control." Tell us, how dead is irony?:
Conscious intellectual hip hop star Common has announced the winner of his big "Lincoln Spotlight" lyricist competition with Lincoln—the car manufacturer that represents hip hop culture. The winner wrote a song based on "Lincoln's brand truths: advancing the American dream, exploring what it means to reach higher, daring to do more and taking pride in one's history." That is so exactly Lincoln. And hey, just last week Common landed a role in the next Terminator movie! My irrational haterade judgment of him as a tool continues to be confirmed and re-confirmed. For those of you curious about what it takes to succeed in hip hop in 2008, the lyrics of the winning Lincoln Spotlight entry are after the jump. Feel the brand truths:
"Who's the gay rapper?" It's been a parlor game in hip hop for years. A short and incomplete list of some of the most common names tossed around: Kanye West, Puffy, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Common, and, of course, lisping, yoga-master rap mogul Russell Simmons. While there are plenty of rumors for each one, most of those guys are suspected, honestly, because of their fashion sense (except Lil Wayne, who kissed a guy). Or because somebody's homeboy's cousin knows this cat who Puffy tried to do a three-way with. Innuendo is king. But now a formerly closeted gay MTV music executive named Terrance Dean is about to release a book—which has been anticipated for more than a year—that he says will out the gay rappers once and for all. Don't be mad, y'all! This could be the chance of a lifetime for one lucky closeted homosexual.
How come I can't get past the sneaky feeling that Common is a tool? The feel-good, conscious-style Chicago rapper makes truly fresh music, he reps causes like animal rights, and he's an Obama supporter. He's even speaking out with a message of love to defend Obama's controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright [BV Buzz]! I can get with that. So what's the problem? Oh! I know what it is. He rhymed in a fucking GAP ad. Then there was that fucking Lincoln Navigator ad. And the fucking Smirnoff ads. And now he's going to be a gunslinging tough guy in a fucking Keanu Reeves movie? Yes, I think I've put my finger on it. I never really liked his stupid outfits either, honestly. But then again, I'm a hater. Trailer for Street Kings—with Common blasting away like a tool—after the jump.
Last night at a club called Element, on Houston Street, a line formed in the rain. Everyone in line was on the list for a free Smirnoff-sponsored concert featuring Common, Q-Tip, and KRS-ONE. The fact that everyone was on the list made them that much more put off that the doors opened 45 minutes late. "I'm with Diageo," moaned one girl. "I don't do lines."