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November 25, 1990 | SUE MARTIN
THE SHOW: "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"(NBC, Mondays, 8 p.m.) THE SETUP: Will Smith plays "the Fresh Prince" (also his real-life rap moniker), a kid from a tough Philly neighborhood whose parents send him to live with his well-to-do uncle Philip Banks (James Avery) and his family in Bel-Air. The frequent clashes between the young rapper and the upper-crust set provide sparks. And also some smooth dance steps.
February 26, 1994
Years ago Woody Guthrie used the traditional format of the "Talking Blues" to create "Talking Dust," "Talking Merchant Marine," "Talking Constitution" to express his anti-Establishment views. Later, Vern Partlow wrote "Old Man Atom," which ended with ". . . peace on the Earth or the Earth in pieces." Since then, many folk singers have used the format to express their own critiques of society--the Vietnam War, the population explosion--with great effect. Notably, these songs have been absent from the airwaves as "subversive" and "radical."
Even before AIDS-stricken rap star Eric (Eazy-E) Wright was laid to rest earlier this month, Wright's former lovers and business associates were haggling in Los Angeles Superior Court for control over his dwindling fortune. "It's sad and it's shocking," said the rapper's 26-year-old widow, Tomica Woods Wright, who has a year-old child by Wright and is pregnant with another, due in September. "A lot of people who claim to know (Wright) really didn't.
August 2, 2009 | Valerie J. Nelson
Baatin, a rapper who co-founded the progressive hip-hop group Slum Village, was found dead Saturday morning in Detroit. He was 35. Ty Townson, a family friend, confirmed Baatin's death to the Detroit Free Press. Details were not released. Baatin, who left Slum Village around 2003, had said in interviews over the years that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and struggled with emotional problems. He embarked on a solo career but reportedly had recently rejoined the group.
February 8, 2003 | William Lobdell, Times Staff Writer
Record producer Mikal Kamil recalls the first time he saw gangsta rapper Napoleon. Standing in a North Hollywood recording studio, the protege of the late Tupac Shakur held a Colt 45 malt liquor in one hand, a marijuana joint in the other, and was surrounded by about 15 members of his rowdy posse. During the introduction, Kamil was surprised to discover that Napoleon's given name, Mutah Wasin Shabazz Beale, was of Islamic origin. "You a Muslim?" Kamil asked.
January 12, 2007 | From Associated Press
School administrators in Riverbank, Calif., have banned clothing featuring the name of Mac Dre, a slain rapper who glorified drug use in his music, education officials said. Riverbank Unified School District board members voted unanimously Tuesday to add the Sacramento-based rapper to a list of names and labels banned at the district's only high school. Dre was gunned down in Kansas City, Mo., in 2004 and popularized the slang term "to thizz," to describe being high on ecstasy.
May 10, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Rapper Foxy Brown has pleaded guilty to menacing a neighbor with her cellphone last year. She avoided jail based on time served. Brown and neighbor Arlene Raymond got into a fight last July over Brown blasting her car stereo outside their Brooklyn apartment building. As part of the plea deal, the 28-year-old rapper wrote a letter apologizing to Raymond. Brown presented the letter to Justice John Walsh in a Brooklyn court on Thursday. Brown, whose real name is Inga Marchand, spent seven months in jail for a Manhattan case involving a fight she had with manicurists in a nail salon.
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