Columbus Kings: Episode 4 - Vada

Watch the full fourth episode of Columbus Kings, a mini documentary on the life of rapper King Vada. Columbus Kings releases each week for eight weeks on Thursdays at 8 pm EST.

Columbus Kings - Episode 3: Copywrite

Watch the full third episode of Columbus Kings, a mini documentary on the life of rapper Copywrite. Columbus Kings releases each week for eight weeks on Thursdays at 8 pm EST.

Columbus Kings - Episode 2: P. Blackk

Watch the full second episode of Columbus Kings, a mini documentary on the life of rapper P. Blackk. Columbus Kings releases each week for eight weeks on Thursdays at 8 pm EST.

Columbus Kings - Episode 1: Rashad

Watch the full first episode of Columbus Kings, a mini documentary on the life of producer/singer/musician Rashad. Columbus Kings releases each week for eight weeks on Thursdays at 8 pm EST.

Columbus Kings: Season 1 Trailer

The trailer for the first season of Columbus Kings is finally here! Columbus Kings: Season 1 will profile the music careers of eight Columbus Hip-Hop artists, including P. Blackk, Copywrite, Vada, Fabrashay A, Hodgie Street, Fly Union, Rashad and J Rawls.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mearablog YouTube Channel

Mearabloggers! Check out the BRAND NEW Mearablog YouTube Channel. Here you can find everything involving including episodes of The Mearablog Podcast, personal media videos and everything from PaulCo Productions. Peep it now folks!

Monday, May 9, 2011

THE 25: Paul Meara's 25 Greatest Hip-hop Emcees to Grace the MIC

This list is the holy grail of hip-hop MCing. It was so hard to make a top 25. There are so many great MCs in the history of hip-hop music. 20 out of the top 25 are New York MCs and 22 are from the east coast. The criteria for selection include:

- Lyrical ability
- Career work as either a solo artist or part of a group
- Natural freestyle/MCing talent
- Relevance to hip-hop music (longevity)
- Innovation/Originality
- Personal principle

The above criteria don't necessarily take an order of importance. So with out further a due, here is The 25. My top 25 greatest MCs of all-time:

#25 Scarface
A classic 90's NY bring-it-to-the-hood MC. Not only did Scarface bring it to the hood, that's where he kept it. With too much respectability to sell out, Scarface is just one of many great MCs that made the Golden Era of hip-hop what it was.
Greatest Album: The Diary

#24 Ghostface Killah
With so many great MCs coming out of the Wu camp, Ghost is only one of three that I would consider in the top 25 all-time. His lyrical ability combined with his contribution to Wu-Tang philosophy makes him a shoe-in. Ghost also separated himself from other Wu MCs with a solo career that saw multiple great albums. The persona he brings makes him one of the greats of all-time.
Greatest Album(s): Solo: Ironman, Group: Enter the Wu (36 Chambers)

#23 Slick Rick
With an un-matched style and originality like no other, Slick Rick sneaks onto the list. His storytelling ability rivals anyone who has ever blessed the mic. One special MC to say the least.
Greatest Album: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick

#22 Immortal Technique
The king of the underground movement post-2000, Immortal Technique's eye-opening storytelling ability combined with his knack for menacing metaphors makes him a shoe-in for my list. Tech is also one of the realest to touch the mic also. Don't believe me? Play a little song called 'Dance with the Devil'.
Greatest Album: Revolutionary Pt. 1

#21 50 Cent
While 50 receives criticism a plenty when it comes to decisions made through his career, there is no doubt that this man is one of the best lyricists of all-time. A career body of work is lacking besides the debut album but the talent 50 has shown as being one of the best post-2000 gets him on the list.
Greatest Album: Get Rich or Die Trying

#20 Snoop Dogg
Snoopy D-O-Double Gizzle the name is as smooth as the MC. Longevity is there and the promotion of his unique brand makes Snoop Doggy Dog an easy choice. His contribution to the G-Funk era should also not go unnoticed.
Greatest Album: Doggystyle

#19 Papoose
Pap is one of those guys who are lost in their time period. As the third and highest ranked MC on my list of the post-2000 era, Papoose is a guy who's lyrics and street gutter make me wonder why he wasn't born 10 years earlier. As the greatest MC of the post-2000 era, Papoose's MCing ability, quick-witted metaphors and complete refusal to have his hardcore lyrics softened by the mainstream makes him the embodiment of what a true MC should be. Four letters: R-E-A-L. Many refer to him as the second coming of Big L. I am not going to argue that. If Pap were to have a standout album on his resume, he would be a top 10 candidate easily.
Greatest Album: The Underground King (EP)

#18 Redman
Doc makes it onto the list as one of the most consistent and overall best MCs of all-time. A great body of work in releases, outstanding longevity and an ability to spit with a beat-box flow makes Redman an easy choice.
Greatest Album: Whut Thee Album 

#17 AZ
Just another one of those MCs who is too real to sell out. As perhaps the most underrated MC of all-time, AZ has those gutter rhymes mixed with the player/smooth operator feel. AZ easily has established himself as one of the greatest to do it amongst the New York retaliation scene of MCing camps such as Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Black Moon and Onyx, just to name some of the greatest to touch the mic.
 Greatest Album: Doe or Die

#16 Big Pun
Pun, you left us too soon but not soon enough to say he isn't one of the greatest. An influential hip-hop figure who put himself around the best, Big Pun's fast-pased flows along with dropping the legendary Capital Punishment makes him a top 20 MC of all-time.
Greatest Album: Capital Punsihment

#15 LL Cool J
Once again the name says it all. What else is there to say about LL? Longevity: Check. Career Work: Check. Unmatched Style: Check. LL is who the greats of hip-hop got their style from.
Greatest Album: Radio

#14 Big Daddy Kane
As one of the standout members of the legendary Juice Crew, Big Daddy Kane established himself as one of hip-hop's most influential. As an 80's staple, Kane laid the groundwork for the future of Queens hip-hop. With an excellent solo career and a successful career with the Juice Crew, BDK is easily a top 15 of all-time.
Greatest Album: Long Live the Kane

#13 Dr. Dre
As one of the best producers of all-time and the man who brought us Eminem, Snoop and 50, Dr. Dre's influence on the history of hip-hop music is probably greater than his actual MCing contribution. Having a long-standing influence on hip-hop music, my only disappointment is the amount of solo work he did.
Greatest Album: The Chronic

#12 Buckshot
As perhaps the founder of what we understand today as "Underground hip-hop," Buckshot's unmatched unique style and straight-up spitting ability is a prime definition of what it means to be a hip-hop MC. As the founder of legendary groups Boot Camp Clik and Black Moon, Buckshot brought us some of the best NYC has to offer, including himself.
Greatest Album: Enta Da Stage (Black Moon)   

#11 Raekwon
With arguably the best solo career out of all the Wu members, Raekwon took the Wu philosophy and mixed it with the elements of mafioso and street lyricism. One thing about Rae is that he always positions himself around the best, whether that is he or standing out with the other legends he associates himself with.
Greatest Album(s): Solo: Only Built for Cuban Linx, Group: Enter the Wu (36 Chambers)

#10 GZA
People may argue that Raekwon deserves to be in this spot instead of GZA but I beg to differ. Genius is the greatest metaphorical MC of all-time. He is that guy who you would have a freestyle battle with but instead of getting dissed directly, you sit there wondering what just happened while everyone around you points and laughs. With a combination of Wu-Tang sword-sharp lyrics and killer street metaphors, GZA is an easy top 10 of all time and the most talented MC in the Wu camp.
Greatest Album(s): Solo: Liquid Swords, Group: Enter the Wu (36 Chambers)

#9 Prodigy
Those who know me know that P is my favorite MC of all-time but know that that has no influence of his placement on this list. With a successful solo-career to his credit mixed with being half of one of the greatest hip-hop duos of all-time, Prodigy's influence on hip-hop music's hardcore scene does not go unnoticed. P is the innovator of New York grime rap and the man who you hear in hooks and samples across hip-hop. Mobb Deep's ability to stay relevant for over 20 years should also not go unnoticed. When you put out classics like The Infamous, Hell on Earth and Murda Muzik, you don't have to do anything else. Prodigy is also one of the hardest workers of all-time in hip-hop music.
Greatest Album(s): Solo: H.N.I.C., Group: The Infamous

#8 Kool G Rap
The Godfather of New York gangsta rap, KGR brought us the dark-side subculture of the genre. This Queens god provided an example that would not only present an alternative to what traditional Queens MCs were doing, but would alter the future of the content the legendary borough would produce. As the biggest standout MC of the legendary Juice Crew, KGR has been quoted as a main influence from such MCs as Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Eminem, Mobb Deep, RZA, Big Pun and Jay-Z. Kool G is the Q-borough originator.
Greatest Album: Solo: 4,5,6, Group: Wanted: Dead or Alive (w/DJ Polo)

#7 Eminem
Cited by many as the most lyrically gifted MC of all-time, Eminem displayed his talents in his debut album Marshal Mathers LP. Problem is, all of Em's subsequent LPs never lived up to the greatness of his first. Had Em stayed as original as his debut, he would be in my top 3 consideration easy. As it is, he is still top 10 material.
Greatest Album: Marshall Mathers LP

#6 Jay-Z
Jay Hova. With a silky smooth flow and classic Brooklyn make-up, Jay-Z is an easy top 10 choice. While Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint are classics, Jay's other albums fail to amaze me. If Jay decides to continue to put out LPs that follow the Blueprint 3 model, he could drop out of the top 10. For now though, his businessman persona will forever resonate in hip-hop history and his contribution to the genre will never go unnoticed.
Greatest Album: Reasonable Doubt

#5 Notorious B.I.G.
What is there to say about Biggie that hasn't already been said? The only reason that I don't have him in the top three is amount of work completed. Yes, I know he can't put out anymore work, but what we did get from him gave us classics among classics and let us know he belongs with the immortals of hip-hop music.
Greatest Album: Ready to Die

#4 NaS
The street poet. Nasty NaS. The man has every aspect on lock. The gift of lyricism, the relevance to hip-hop and a career of great music. He also put out a pretty decent album called Illmatic. Heard of it? If not, DIE.
Greatest Album: Illmatic

#3 Rakim
Classic. The word that best describes this man. Rakim brought it to the streets but not in ways like his peers. While others had the more gangsta appeal, Rakim was the original playa. No one could touch him and Eric B back in the day.
Greatest Album: Paid in Full (w/Eric B)

#2 KRS-One
Hip-hop MC. When you look up the term in the dictionary, you see a picture of KRS-One. There is no one who has been more influential to hip-hop music than KRS-One. Crazy MC skills and the embodiment of what it means to be an MC. KRS took a genre that was not as known and translated the harsh life of the South Bronx into a musical form. Anyone who has ever called themselves an MC, you can thank KRS-One for laying the groundwork to one of the most honorable genres in music history.
Greatest Album: Criminal Minded (w/Boogie Down Productions)

#1 Big L
You are probably wondering how, after reading KRS' analysis, could I have anyone higher? Answer: You can sort of and while I was going back and fourth between the two, I finally came to the decision of Big L. The a cappella and freestyle master, Big L's rhymes are what hip-hop is suppose to be. Big L is someone who's music you listen to and just say: Holy S**t. Some people who want to be in the hip-hop game work on their skills to get themselves there. Big L was just born with it. It's like when you listen to a song and you wait the whole time for that one standout line but then the whole song is standout lines. Big L may have no standout LPs but his ability as the most lyrically gifted MC trumps everything and everyone.
Greatest Album: Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous

Honorable Mention: Chuck D, Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, Black Thought, Ice Cube, Tupac.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dialing it in: Borel's 'Twice the Appeal' is Appealing but I'm Rolling with Zito's Colt

(Photo courtesy of Reed Palmer Photography) 
Plenty of story lines including a wet derby track makes this year's Kentucky Derby one of intrigue. 2011 could very well end up like the 2010 edition of the "Greatest two minutes in sports." 2010 Derby winner Calvin Borel once again returns to Churchill Downs on a horse that is once again an underdog. Could Borel's Twice the Appeal be twice as appealing?

Borel rode Super Saver to victory last year but this year, he might not come home with the prize. It is still yet to be determined whether Uncle Mo will participate, even if he is entered, the uncertainty is enough for me to scratch his odds.

(Photo courtesy of Hodges Photography)
Dialed in draws lane 8 and his Derby favored 4-1 odds gives me enough confidence to put my money on  Zito's young colt. Nehro (6-1) may give the field a run for its money and Mucho Macho Man (12-1) has also been generating recent buzz. Don't be surprised if MMM makes a run for the finish.

The reason I am rolling with Dialed In is simple; consistency. In four career starts, Dialed In has won three, only losing by a half-length in the one loss. Trainer Nick Zito has already won the Kentucky Derby twice and Dialed In has been known to show favoritism toward Churchill Downs. My only concern is that in the four career starts, Dialed In has only faced a field as of at least 12 horses once. The real question will be how will he deal with the 20-horse field the Derby presents?

Regardless of the outcome, this should be a great Derby. There is no overwhelming favorite, which makes almost any winning horse of the 137th Kentucky Derby an underdog victor.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mearablog Podcast: Kool G Rap Interview

The legendary Kool G Rap joins me on The Mearablog Podcast to talk about his new album Riches, Royalty & Respect, his new clothing line and the status of hip-hop music today. We also talk about the golden era of hip-hop and his influence on hip-hop music as a whole. KGR is often attributed to being inspiration to hip-hop greats like Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Eminem, Nas and Jay-Z. You can see the full podcast episode Here, on YouTube, or check it out in the iTunes Music Store search: The Mearablog Podcast.