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Story outtakes, celebrity confessions and the latest pop culture news in the Bay Area

About Me
I'm a pop music writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

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1. R. Kelly: "Trapped In The Closet"

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  • Monday, November 01, 2004

    Eminem's "Mosh" spurring voters and Jay-Z and R. Kelly tour no more

    Eminem is no stranger to controversy.

    So when the Michael Jackson spoof "Just Lose It" dropped, fans were waiting, thinking that the song had to be too juvenile for even Eminem and something else must be boiling - either that or he had lost his touch.

    But, Eminem pulled his rabbit out, a single named "Mosh" that mainly criticizes President Bush and his policies. This emcee has already shown his ability to affect music and movie culture, now he's checking politics. (Here's a link to the singles' videos.)

    It has been called "Eminem's Fahrenheit 9/11" and many think it may spur young people to vote.

    I guess we'll find out on Election Day.

    On other news, this morning I caught a screening of Jay-Z's "Fade to Black."

    "This goodbye began like a long kiss," says Jay-Z in the beginning of the film.

    It was an interesting fan flick, focused on the rapper's performance at Madison Square Garden in November 2003. It comes out this Friday.

    Since I've been to a Jay-Z concert before, I wanted to see more of the behind-the-scenes action. Too much of the film focuses on the concert. Jay-Z's concert was similar to last year's Shoreline show with 50 Cent. It included an all-star line-up: Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, R. Kelly, Foxy Brown, Pharrell and ?uestlove.

    But I wanted to see more out-takes like Jay-Z and Beyonce canoodling or R. Kelly and Jay-Z interacting. (This weekend, R. Kelly was taken off the tour with Jay-Z. On Friday's show in New York, he said he saw people waving guns in the audience, left the stage, and then was pepper-sprayed by a member of Jay-Z's entourage. Now the whole tour is supposedly off.)

    In the movie, there were some scenes that lead up to Jay-Z's last album, like when Pharrell got so excited in explaining a beat to Jay-Z, but Jay-Z was like, that's your story?

    The documentary did lay out nicely the making of the single "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," starting from choosing the beats to Jay-Z making up the rhymes off the top of his head. He usually doesn't write lines down.

    Another interesting scene was when Jay-Z and his friends debated the value of rapping about violence and the effects it has. He says, "See what you [fans] did to rappers? They [rappers] scared to be themselves."

    This probably won't be a hit movie, because it's always more fun to see a concert live than in a theater, but it may make a fun DVD if they add more extras.

    Rumor also has it that this retired rapper is up for president of Island/Def Jam Records.

    Finally, I'm interviewing ex-Ashlee Simpson-flame Ryan Cabrera tomorrow. Does anybody have any questions for him?


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