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How Homophobia Destroyed a Rap Legends Career

Big Daddy Kanes place in raps upper echelon is irrefutable.

Hes among the most fluid rhymers to ever hold a micclever in wordplay and dexterous in flow, he has those rapid-fire bars that sound like flurries of verbiage unloaded at the listener, and those slower, quotable lines that pepper so many radio hits that defined hip-hops Golden Age and the vibrancy in Black radio of the Do the Right Thing era. His debut album, Long Live the Kane, dropped in June 1988, and showcased everything the man born Antonio Hardy does well on record: ferocious rhyme showcases, hooky radio rap and cheesy lover come-ons. He arrives fully formed on his first album.

Kane has one of hip-hops more enviable legacies. His first two albums are a dizzying one-two punch showcasing the lyricist at his most confident and inspired, as Kane goes from jaw-dropping rhyme sprees like Set It Off to more topical tracks like Young Gifted & Black. His work with Marley Marl on Long Live the Kane is among both mens bestwith Marley delivering his first truly classic album and Kane announcing himself as an emcee par excellence, alongside contemporaries like Rakim, KRS-One and Slick Rick. Production on Its A Big Daddy Thing, the 1989 follow-up, would be more varied (Prince Paul, Teddy Riley, Easy Moe Bee and Kane himself helmed the album, along with Marley) and Kane would delve deeper into his bag of tricks, revealing a rapper at the height of artistry and in full command of his musical voice.

But Kanes commercial and creative decline was swift and steep.

Taste of Chocolate, released in 1990, was less inspired than its predecessor, with Kane leaning more heavily into both his loverman persona and tendency to tether his image to the kitschier aspects of the previous generations avatars of pimped-out cool (Barry White and Rudy Ray Moore are among the albums guest stars). The songs werent as strong, the presentation wasnt as fresh, and by the time Kane released 1991s new jack swing-laced Prince of Darkness, it seemed obvious that hed lost a step creatively. Peers like Eric B. & Rakim, LL Cool J and Kool G Rap opened the 1990s with some of their most inspired work, and a newly-solo Ice Cube had joined them near the top of hip-hops hierarchy; Public Enemy was on the back end of what was still a potent album run; KRS-One successfully navigated the transition from the Boogie Down Productions moniker and era into what would be a strong solo career; and EPMD was delivering their most era-defining material in the years leading up to their infamous 1992 breakup. By the time Kane released Looks Like A Job For in 1993, it looked like he hadnt been that guy in a while.

What can I say? I like breaking ground and exploring new things.
Big Daddy Kane

Well, the string of releases essentially ended after the first four albums. We didLong Live the Kaneand I caught the bug, Kane told HuffPost in 2016. I realized pretty much everything I did wrong withLong Live the Kaneand went right back in and didIts a Big Daddy Thing, because now I had a more universal approach. I thinkLong Live the Kanewas pretty much a real boxed-in mindset with me just doing what I represented in the hood.

In that interview, Kane said that the drop-off in his material was the result of his own frustration and indifference with Cold Chillin/Warner Brothers. Following his first two albums, he essentially rushed through releases.

After that, I was unhappy with the label, so I dropped two trash albums to try to hurry up and finish up my 5-album deal so thats why they were coming so fast after that, he added. I was trying to hurry up and get out of the deal. I guess Warner Brothers caught on afterPrince of Darknessand they just stopped me and made me freeze for a year.

Even as Kanes music began to suffer, his status as a rap game sex symbol was only rivaled by LL Cool J. Hed dropped Smooth Operator and I Get the Job Done on Its A Big Daddy Thing and subsequently evolved into a silk-robe-wearing lothario by the early 90s. In an era when hip-hop was becoming ever-more hardcore, Kane presented a version of b-boy sexuality that was macho without being hyper-aggressive or domineering, and he courted the publics sexual gaze in a way that was boldly out of step with other revered rappers of the time.

And he paid a price for it. Kanes 1991 Playgirl spread is one of hip-hops most notorious moments. Despite concern from his label, Kane agreed to do the spread and said hed wanted to do it for his female fans.

Theres no shame, he told the Associated Press in 1992. First of all, I wasnt born with any clothing. Shame is something thats man-made. I just wanted to do something different, and Im not scared to take off my clothes.

He reflected on the Playgirl shoot in 2013.

It came about by joking with my publicist at the time, Gene Shelton, Kane told The Daily Beast. He said, We did everything fromRight OntoEssence. Whats left? I said,Playgirl? So we pursued it and the shoot was wonderful. A first for hip-hop. A lot of my male fans thought it wasnt a good look for me. But as for the female fans, I think that month was the magazines highest sales for black women between the ages of 18 and 25. What can I say? I like breaking ground and exploring new things.

The Playgirl shoot was a step beyond anything even LL Cool J had done before, and Kane followed it with another moment of notoriety: his appearance in Madonnas 1992 book SEX. Posing in sexual photos with Madonna and supermodel Naomi Campbell, Kane had reached a very rare space in pop culturebut it was one that left fans confused and critical. And those two moments had occurred with a particularly ugly rumor lingering in the background of Big Daddy Kanes career in the early 90s.

There were those out-of-nowhere whispers that Kane was HIV positive. The gossip started in New York City and spread amongst rap fans around the U.S.

AIDS hit rap back in 89/90 when a rumor gained momentum, dream hampton wrote back in 1996. The streets of New York City were abuzz with news that Big Daddy Kane was dying of AIDS. That hed been a closeted bisexual playing straight playboy all along. The rumor proved to be untrue but fatal to Kanes career. In a moment that was embarrassing for us all, Kane stood onstage at a free concert organized to register voters in Harlem and declared his negative status and his heterosexuality. His career never quite recovered from that moment.

In a 2009 article called Scared Straight: Hip-Hop, Outing and the Pedagogy of Queerness, Marc Lamont Hill revisited the backlash that occurred once those Kane AIDS rumors began circulating. Given the dominant belief that HIV/AIDS was a gay disease, public attention quickly shifted from Kanes health to his sexuality: Did hip-hop have its first gay MC? Was he gay or bisexual? Did he catch the disease from another rapper? These and other questions chased the rumor throughout the citys boroughs and into urban spaces throughout the country. Further enhancing and complicating the rumor was its apparent irony. In addition to being a lyrical giant, Big Daddy Kane was hip-hops playboy extraordinaire. With good looks, braggadocios lyrics, a flashy persona, and even a pimp-like name, Kanes very identity signified a carefully crafted and extravagantly performed masculinity. After the rumors began to circle however, Kanes image was placed in serious peril.

Kanes uniquely bold approach to rap-sex-god status wasnt entirely without concession to the most regrettable posturing of his era. He didnt seem to want to buck the sex-rap status quo in terms of tearing down bigoted macho-ism. Like so many rappers, Kane wallowed in standard-issue homophobia and misogyny on tracks like Pimpin Aint Easy, but it seems clear that Kane represented something that was threatening in terms of Black manhood, sex and sexuality. He broached taboos in a way the game wasnt ready for. But he did it while his music was at a lull in the early 90s. What may have been celebrated as boldly provocative was read by some as desperate.

Reginald Dennis of The Source said at the time that Kane had lost the people. It would almost be funny if he didnt take himself so seriously, Dennis said. He already had a reputation with the ladies as being a sex symbol, but he didnt have to cross the bridge into being a Luther Vandross where hes turning his back on the street.

When they occurred, Kanes forays into modeling werent generally hailed as anything resembling groundbreakingnot by the hip-hop media that was now sniping at him or by any mainstream platforms that had only barely acknowledged him even at his best. But Kane heard the streets chatter, and there was a sense that he was about to lose his audience completely. His label forced him to slow down before releasing Job For in 1993.

I was glad they did because at that point in time I started realizing that the streets were saying, Yo, they say you fell off. You wack. I had time to really regroup and get all the right producers like Track Masters,Easy Mo Bee,Large Professorand really do a good Kane album, he told HuffPo.

That album could have restored some of Kanes career lustermuch in the way LLs Mama Said Knock You Out resurrected his credibility in 1990but it happened a little too late.

After the album came out I think I messed it up. I dont blame it on Warner Brothers. I dont blame it on the producers, I think it was my fault, Kane said in 2016. Looks Like a JobFor…I think is a great album production-wise and structure-wise. I think that it was me who made the mistake because I was spitting a lot of dope rhymes, but I didnt realize that with artists likeMethod ManandBiggieandNas, the flow had changed. Cats were behind the beat more, they werent that rapid-fire like I was accustomed to doing so I think my style was outdated.

Kane would release Daddys Home in 1994 and Veteranz Day in 1997, but so many years removed from his 89/90 pinnacle and with those lukewarm releases and changing times, Kane saw his stature slip. Even as LL Cool J, KRS-One, Heavy D, Salt-N-Pepa and the Beastie Boys enjoyed ongoing success and visibility, Kane faded to hip-hops fringes. Over 20 years later, he hasnt released a new album.

But Kanes legend has remained intact. A show-stopping performance at the 2004 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors remains one of the high points of that semi-annual event, hes become one of the games most raved-about live acts, and his February appearance on NPRs Tiny Desk series was masterfulwith Kane and his band grooving through classics like Aint No Half-Steppin and Raw.

I love to see it grow and to see it continue on, Kane told the audience. I hope everybody out here is supporting hip-hop and trying to make it continue on. Ive seen a lot of biased stuff going on about how, This is not hip-hop, and This is real hip-hop. But I mean, you never know what floats somebodys boat. Whatever form of hip-hop you like, man, love it and keep it going. Keep it strong, make sure it stays powerfulbecause theres always gonna be different ways of presenting something and expressing yourself.

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com

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Rescue groups go into overdrive in the days ahead of China’s Yulin dog meat festival

The ninth annual ten-day Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat festival in China’s Yulin, Guangxi, is slated to begin on June 21, sending animal rights advocates and rescue workers in both China and abroad into overdrive to save as many helpless canines as possible.

Vendors at the yearly festival are estimated to kill up to 15,000 dogs to serve as food for the thousands of attendees from around the country. The dogs are said to be beaten, burned, boiled or skinned alive – under a draconian, superstitious guise that the fear and torture improves the taste of the meat.

In 2016, in anticipation of protests, the butchering of dogs in public was officially prohibited — but the festival “preparations” went underground.

However, activists in China are clinging to one caveat: they say they can apprehend dog trucks en route to slaughterhouses legally, and can confiscate the animals if companies do not have paperwork explicitly proving they actually own the dogs. Rescuers then endeavor to return them to their rightful owners if they have identification or microchips, as many are often stolen household pets. Otherwise, they are taken to local rescue shelters, Newsweek reported.

U.S. rescue groups are also known to frequent the region in the days ahead, and have been credited with saving hundreds of animal lives. The contentious festival also has drawn the ire of animal rights proponent and actor Ricky Gervais, who for weeks has sought to raise awareness of the controversial festival.

Actor Ricky Gervais called the killing of dogs for the festival “the most horrendous thing I have heard of.”

“I don’t get it; I can’t seem to stop it. It is the most horrendous thing I have heard of,” an emotional Gervais wrote in a social media post late last month. “People will say what’s it got to do with you? But you could say that about anything, really.”

PAKISTAN WORKS TO CLEAN UP KARACHI, ONCE WORLD’S ‘MOST DANGEROUS CITY’

Yet despite the eruption of controversy that only continues to mount, efforts to cancel and ban the yearly summer-solstice chow-down have been unsuccessful so far. Still, activists have launched dozens of online petitions to bring awareness to the cause.

“Signing and sharing this petition is crucial, we must make one final push to save thousands of innocent dogs – they don’t deserve to die! Spread the word and Say No To Yulin 2018,” read one Change.org petition, which has attracted more than 150,000 signatures.

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Residents and vendors have argued the dogs are killed in humane ways and that eating them is no more or less cruel than consuming other animal products such as pork, beef or chicken. According to Chinese culture, dog meat is advantageous to cooling the human body during the summer season.

The Humane Society International (HIS) estimates that around one-third of 30 million dogs and cats slaughtered globally each year are killed in China.

Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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19 Stupid Things We All Believed As Kids For Literally No Reason

When I was young, I thought that there was a building near every single traffic light with three people sitting at a desk who pulled red, yellow, and green strings to change the lights.

It was the only thing that made sense to me.

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Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/

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Kid Gets Bullied Because Of His Girly Lunchbox, So His Uncle Responds In The Most Epic Way

A couple of months ago, David Pendragon took to Facebook to tell people how some boys at school were bullying his nephew, just because of his lunchbox. “My cousin, Emily, has a 10-year-old son named Ryker. Ryker, who loves cats, was very excited to get his new lunchbox. Unfortunately because of its colors, or because it has cats, or both he was teased about it by other boys in his class. He even wanted to stop taking his lunch so he wouldn’t be teased about it any longer,” Pendragon wrote on his Facebook wall.

So, the kind uncle decided to prove a point, buying the same lunchbox and bringing it to work. And it sure worked! Once Pendragon shared the image of him and the lunchbox at work, the Internet went crazy, with 148k likes and over 60k shares on Facebook, people found a way to encourage Ryker and other young boys to be themselves. Strangers started buying the same or similar lunchboxes and posting pictures with them to Pendragon’s Facebook, and the best part is that the lunchboxes managed to get sold-out twice after the post went viral.

Scroll down to see what Pendragon has to say about bullies, and tell us what you think it in the comments!

Meet Ryker, a 10-year-old boy who was recently bullied in school because of his colorful lunchbox

Image source: Emily Fowler

So, his uncle David Pendragon thought of a genius way to defend him

Image source: David Pendragon

He decided to order the exact same lunchbox and bring it to work, proving that boys can like whatever they want

Image source: David Pendragon

People loved Pendragon’s post so much they decided to buy the same or similar lunchboxes and bring them to work, currently, they’ve been sold out twice

Others also encouraged Ryker to ignore bullies and praised his older cousin for being so supportive

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/

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Vintage Matchbox-Style Artworks of Cats Making Questionable Decisions

“Strike Your Fancy” is a series of cheeky matchboxes depicting cats making questionable decisions. The 3-color block prints were created by Arna Miller in collaboration with her husband and fellow artist, Ravi Zupa.

The series is currently on display until June 30th at the Abstract Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

The hand printed matchboxes are also available for purchase here and here. Please note the boxes are now shipped without matches, as sending flammable objects through the mail was creating some understandable issues.

[via Colossal]

ARTWORK BY
ARNA MILLER | RAVI ZUPA | BUY
ARTWORK BY
ARNA MILLER | RAVI ZUPA | BUY
ARTWORK BY
ARNA MILLER | RAVI ZUPA | BUY

Read more: http://twistedsifter.com/

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‘What’s wrong with our society?’ Annapolis mayor voices concern at hostility to media

Gavin Buckley says Capital-Gazette reports on our kids soccer games and good, local, interesting stuff

Gavin Buckley, the mayor of Annapolis, was distraught in the wake of the mass shooting at his citys local newspaper, telling the Guardian: Whats wrong with our society that were this tightly wound that you can be this upset at a newspaper that reports stories on cats being stuck up a tree?

Although Buckley made clear that the Annapolis Capital-Gazette, the newspaper where five people were shot dead on Thursday, was a good paper; he was just still in shock that it was a target. After all, when he was told that there had been a shooting at the Capital, his initial response was to think of Marylands state capital in the heart of downtown Annapolis.

To him, the Capital Gazette reports on our kids soccer games and good, local, interesting stuff that we want to hear about and he could not understand how that could make someone that hostile.

He said earlier: This paper is not a liberal newspaper, its not a right wing newspaper, it stays in the middle and covers local issues, he said.

Play Video
1:24
What we know about the Capital Gazette shooting video report

Buckley also expressed his concern that it was a targeted attack on the media. If this is an attack on journalism it is a sad state of affairs, said the first-term mayor. Because journalists, you dont get paid enough to put your life on the line, were not in some war zone, were not in some third-world country with a dictator. We are in a Mayberry kind of town, were in shock were going to be grappling with.

Among those connecting the events in Annapolis to Donald Trumps attacks on the media was David Simon, the creator of The Wire. Blood today in an American newsroom. Arent you proud, you vile, fascist son of a bitch? Simon wrote on Twitter in response to a February tweet from the president that referred to the fake news media as the enemy of the American people.

David Simon (@AoDespair)

Blood today in an American newsroom. Aren’t you proud, you vile, fascist son of a bitch. https://t.co/DI1shGj65X

June 28, 2018

Simon used to be a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, whose parent company owns the Gazette. He later tweeted to say he had been friends with two journalists who died in the shooting.

Annapolis, Marylands state capital, is one of the oldest cities in the country and noted for its historic downtown and scenic wharfs. Buckley, an Australian American restaurateur, noted Were such an accepting community theyll even let an Australian be their mayor here.

He went out of his way though to praise the police response, with officers said to have arrived in less than a minute. I can tell you they saved lives by being there as fast as they were, he told the Guardian. They put their own lives in danger to do this and people need to know that thats what emergency responders do. They are selfless. Buckley added: These guys, they werent thinking about if the guy had a grenade, a semi-automatic weapon or a rifle. They just knew they had to get him.

A Democrat who recently spoke at the March for our Lives, Buckley warned: We cant numb ourselves to this stuff. We have to say enough is enough.

More broadly, Capital Gazette journalists expressed disgust at the lack of action coming from Washington over the latest gun outrage.

The staff writer Selene San Felice responded to news that Donald Trump had extended thoughts and prayers to the victims. She told CNN: Im not trying to make this political, but we need more than prayers. I want your prayers, but I want something else.

Felice added: This is going to be a story for how many days? Less than a week? People will forget about us in less than a week. Im going to need more than a couple of days of news coverage and thoughts and prayers our whole lives have been shattered.

The Baltimore Sun released an editorial pointing to the atmosphere of hostility toward journalism at present in the US. At a time of political divisiveness when views of the news industry itself have become starkly polarised, many jumped quickly to speculation about whether the metaphorical war on the media had become shockingly literal … Thats why so many reporters across the nation got a sickening feeling Thursday afternoon they couldnt believe something like this had happened, except that they could.

During a police press conference, Pat Furgurson, a veteran journalist for the Capital Gazette, stood behind the police in an untucked blue shirt and rumpled khakis, recording audio and even getting in a question.

Capital Gazette (@capgaznews)

pic.twitter.com/dEiIgEd15K

June 29, 2018

Afterwards, Furgurson briefly talked to his fellow reporters. Visibly shaken, he said the victims were just trying to do their job for the public. Something like this might happen in Afghanistan or Iraq or something like that but you dont expect it in a sleepy office across the street from a local mall. However he insisted were still putting out a newspaper and that the Capital Gazette would be out on Friday.

Asked if he had any message for others, Furguson choked up and paused for a minute. He then said whats so funny about peace, love and understanding and walked away. After all, he had a story to file.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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A wax version of Ed Sheeran is in a cat cafe, which makes sense we guess

The real Ed Sheeran, not in a cat cafe.
Image: Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Never thought we’d say this, but a wax version of Ed Sheeran is currently surrounded by felines in a London cat cafe. Help it?

A wax model of the Grammy-winning artist, created by waxworks museum Madame Tussauds, took centre stage at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London on Tuesday.

After its stay with the kittehs, the model will head to the museum, ready for hundreds of public selfies from next week, reports Reuters.

Although rather weird, the location makes sense, as Sheeran is a big time cat lover whose own cats, Chub and Chubber, make frequent appearances in his Instagram posts.

Just got home to my two favourite gals, it’s been a while my little pusslé

A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on

Second Christmas for Chub and Chubber

A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on

“Knowing what a pet lover he is, launching the figure at London’s renowned cat cafe felt like something the man himself would surely approve of,” Madame Tussauds London general manager Edward Fuller, said in a statement published by the news wire.

Look, it’s a pretty good representation of Sheeran too, much better than this Lady Gaga nightmare.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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Cat sniffs salt and vinegar chip, regrets decision instantly

If you’ve ever found yourself confused by the expression “curiosity killed the cat”, just watch the video below.

It’s almost like a modern-day — although thankfully much less severe — retelling.

“I told my cat she wasn’t gonna like this salt and vinegar chip but she didn’t listen to me”, tweeted Julianna Madison from Philadelphia, US earlier this week.

Behold the result (and make sure you have your sound on):

Oh dear.

Well, Missy may have had an unpleasant chip-related experience, but at least she’s now a viral superstar. That video has had well over 200,000 retweets at the time of writing.

Missy, you have now entered the internet hall of cat fame.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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Starfish, Octopus, And Shrimp Rain From The Sky After Severe Storm In China

You’ve heard of it raining cats and dogs, but what about raining starfish and octopus? It’s not an expression. That’s what really happened in Qingdao, China after a severe storm caused various sea creatures to fall from the sky.

Hurricane force winds caused waterspouts to form over the sea, which were strong enough to pick up the animals living under water and toss them into the air, forcing them to rain down over the city and smash into car windscreens, houses, and walkways.

For more information on this freak phenomenon, check out the video below:

Considering that waterspouts are essentially tornadoes that form over water, it is understandable how something like this might happen. After all, those of us who are familiar with tornados know that they can certainly transport a cow or two.

Seriously, here’s a cow being thrown into the sky by a tornado:

However, raining seafood isn’t that common, and Chinese social media has been flooded with photos of shrimp, starfish, octopus, and other sea creatures in very unusual places.

According to a local weather source, multiple waterspouts formed on the Yellow Sea last Tuesday, picking up sea animals on their journey toward land. But it turns out getting pelted with starfish may have been preferable to what other parts of China received.

Other areas in the region were hit with hailstones so large they smashed windows and dented cars and buildings. Residents in these areas likely would have gladly taken some shrimp ceviche or a bit of calamari instead.

This isn’t the first time aquatic life has rained down on a city. Last year in Tampico, Mexico it rained fish. Tiny fish splatted down onto the pavement, confusing local residents. However, the event is much more common in a small farming town in Honduras.

There, severe weather causes fish to rain down onto the land at such regular intervals that they hold a yearly festival dedicated to the event. Residents consider it the one time of year they get to eat seafood. “It’s a miracle,” one farmer explained to the Times. “We see it as a blessing from God.”

In Serbia in 2005, thousands of tiny frogs rained from the skies, which weren’t native to the area. Miraculously, the frogs survived and hopped around the streets looking for water. There’s even been an account of golf balls falling from the sky in Florida, likely due to a waterspout crossing a golf course.

Cynthia Barnett, author of Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, writes, “Frog and toad rains, fish rains and colored rains—most often red, yellow or black—are among the most common accounts of strange rain, reported since ancient times.”

She continued, “Still more peculiar rains reported over history have included hay, snakes, maggots, seeds, nuts, stones and shredded meat (that last one is suspected to have dropped from a boisterous flock of feeding vultures).”

So perhaps we should all consider carrying heavy duty umbrellas with us. After all, you know know what could be about to rain down from the skies. It could be a very pleasant springtime shower, or it might be one heck of a very lost and confused octopus.

Read more: http://www.viralthread.com

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