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Eminem/ Beautiful video review

07.03.09 | Emblog | In hip hop, detroit of

Global rating of the product:4 stars

Any writer who would pendown articles about Marshall Mathers without mentioning his hometown or the Detroit hip hop scene would be in the wrong. Eminem is deeply rooted into Detroit. In his brand new video release, the brilliant emcee will take you for a walk at the Tiger stadium in the middle of demolition works. Now that it’s gone, Eminem’s video offers some remembrance to the outside viewers who didn’t have a chance to see the monument. With its loads of abandoned structures, its cement buildings and his manufacturing industries, Detroit might seem austere to the outsider. But one has to remember that the D-town is also the place of birth of Motown records and that its hip hop scene is pretty much alive.

Like the magical Phoenix, the town of Detroit has the potential to rise from its ashes.
A lot of groupies might be obsessed with his external appearance, but Eminem is taking you for a walk into a world in which only inside beauty matters. His universe is made of symbolism and metaphors and you listeners have to catch the meaning behind his words.
Like Detroit City, Eminem shows us how an individual can dig into his internal ressources in order to resurrect his personal treasures.
With the tornado of negative events that disturbed his life since 2005, and Deshaun Holton aka Proof’s death in particular, Eminem was drowning in his sorrow, he often felt like life wasn’t worth living and sought some solace in taking pain killers.
Pain killers didn’t help him soothe his daily spleen; they just took him a step closer to self hatred and doubts, to the hell of another near death experience. In short, Eminem had hit rock bottom once again- to the point he doubted his own rapping abilities.
Maybe he was about to retire, but the little flame that ignited his passion for rap music was still burning.

In the Beautiful video, Eminem gets very introspective, so introspective that he is not reachable. He crosses people on his road, but avoids eye contact and conversation. When you reach the depth of desolation, only God can listen.

At the time Eminem wrote his song, he was facing times of trouble in which the demons of the past would resurface.
To all of you who would be tempted to judge Marshall Mathers, the artist sends an insightful message: “walk a thousand miles in my shoes”.

From his unstable upbringing to his present life, you don’t really know all he has been through.

While being very personal, Eminem’s message is quite universal. It reaches out to a wide range of people of all races and from all continents. It could be summarized in one sentence: “don’t let them bring you down”.

Rather than wasting your time on the external beauty attributes, let your eyes embrace the universal inside beauty of mankind.

The way Eminem handled this video is impressive. It was very emotional to watch it from the beginning to the end. As the outstanding artist he actually is, he resurrected his craft from the ashes. Wow. Remarkable piece of work!

Copyright© by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved

Wandering through the dark tunnel of addiction: an in depth analysis of Relapse’s narrative side

06.04.09 | Emblog | In hip hop, detroit of

Today I am dedicating this article to the readers who might have been disappointed by my latest Relapse review, because it lacked details about what I appreciated in the record and what I really disliked about it. Not that I am going to change my opinion about songs I really dislike, but some songs grew on me after a more attentive listen. Also, like I already stated it, the narrative side of the CD is still worth a look. Enjoy:)
I will put aside the songs I really don’t like in the album, so if I haven’t mentioned songs like We Made You and Crack A Bottle, you all know why!

Anybody who has been following Eminem’s music through the years perfectly knows the artist has been confronted with addiction problems since his childhood. The Slim Shady LP gives you a precise listing of all drugs he has been trying, besides the medication destined to hyperactive kids like Ritalin his own mom gave him. Any person who experienced addiction deeply suffers in his/ her inside world. Drugs seem to soothe the daily spleen of the sufferer who plunges into a fog of forgetness. However when he wakes up, the pain is there, even more acute than before. How do I know? I never had any addiction problem, except to rap music…In fact, I can relate to this addiction problem indirectly, because I have seen a person of my close entourage destroy herself through pills and alcohol. It is very difficult to help an addict, unless the addict becomes really conscious of his addiction.

Muhammad L. Lucious has been a fan of Eminem since 1999.He perfectly understands what Eminem is talking about in his music, as he has been through the same, traumatic experiences: he can relate to the nightmare of the world of addiction in the same way. Listen to his testimony:

“”Growing up in Baltimore in the Cherry Hill neighborhood wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Surrounded by drug activity whether it be users or sellers. Violence consumed my everyday life, and avoiding these things weren’t easy for everyone. Growing up without a father or a mother, only my grandmother was there for me. She loved and cared for me the best way she could but the outside world seemed too appealing to ignore. Being caught up in various activities that could have landed me in prison or in my early grave, i lost a lot of friends and missed a lot of things. one day, my best friend and i were walking around the streets at night, ended up being caught in the “wrong place, wrong time” situation. He was shot and i was severely beaten and injured. he died, but i survived…(unfortunately). It is what i thought then. After suffering a severe concussion and having my Achilles Tendons torn by knife blade, i was prescribed Oxycodone and Hydrocodone drugs aka Vicodin, Percoden, Percocet and Valium. suffering from emotional and physical pains i overused my prescriptions and went down a dark road of addiction. Of course, at first you never admit you have a problem, but when various health problems arise you have to face the ugly truth. To quickly wrap this up, i overdosed once in 2005 at the age of 13. young huh? Then, after sobering up, more issues arised in life that drove back down the same road. Which in common terms lead me to a RELAPSE, which caused me to have a AT DEATHS DOOR experience where in the hospital after a 2nd overdose, i hit the flat line, for 2 minutes and 34 seconds (so my doc says) you can be dead for up to 5 minutes before definite death, look it up if you don’t believe me. So basically I DIED. but by the grace of God the doctor was able to bring me back in time. and that was my Addiction Story. I call it “Ruin - Recovery - Relapse”.

Eminem had the courage to face his own demons…Relapse is his honest confession to the world.

Besides addiction, the dark themes of abuse are also mentioned. Not only mental abuse, but physical abuse. I have no idea if the physical abuse theme should be interpreted metaphorically or literally, but it gave me the chills. I felt unwell while reading the lyrics to Insane. To tell the truth, the song raised tears in my eyes. I was thinking about the numerous silent victims of incest. Child abuse needs to be stopped on a worldwide scale.

The introduction to Relapse, Dr West is nicely done. It then leads directly to the artist’s disturbed mind, opening on 3AM. The darkness of the theme is reinforced by dark instrumentals, piano notes are hammering into hell’s ballade. Violins insist on the dramatic side in which Eminem turns into a scary serial killer. You will never know what happened: either the pills created this madness or all the bloody crimes actually happened.
I still don’t like the accent- but I appreciate the lyrics and Eminem’s flow in the song. Efforts are put on the way of rapping-unfortunately spoilt by this strange accent in my opinion.

My Mom tells the story of addiction inside of Marshall Mathers’ family. Terrible story of a mom who makes an addict of her own son. Moms, take care yourselves and of your kids! Still don’t like the song, though.

Insane is probably the scariest song of the whole album. Its instrumentals will make many of you think of the Brain Damage song. The lyrics are…insane, well worked on. Em flows like crazy on this one…I’ll never know if his messing with our heads or telling the factual truth. Well done. I love this one despite its scary physical abuse background.

I won’t go into detail with Bagpipes from Baghdad, because it kinda wipes out the main theme. All I can say is that I found this song highly amusing and that I enjoyed the bagpipe sounds.

Stay Wide Awake is one valuable song for multiple reasons: the use of the instrumentals, the power of the words, Em’s stormy flow, I must say that it is excellent on this one!

Again, the scary themes of rape appear in Eminem’s album, but this time the artist slips into the skin of a rapist. Lyrically, the song is crazy. The instrumentals give a surreal impression to the listener.
Another song, maybe, is worth the listener’s attention : Déjà Vu

The expression, that comes from the French language, puts persons in “already seen before” situation. It is a quite painful expose of a family father struggling with his addiction and failing in stopping it. Embracing the face of death, waking up at the hospital, Marshall puts a lot of honesty in his narration.

I really value Underground. Lyrical creativity prevails in this one.
The last verse reveals to the world that the artist is ready to face the world, music critics as well.

During my journey into Marshall Mathers’ mind, I learnt a lot. I understood that, if you have the courage to face your demons, you will come out of this experience stronger than ever.
But it costs a lot. It won’t come to you spontaneously. Doing a public confession to the world costs even more.

After 4 near death experiences (left in a coma for 9 days, trying to commit suicide at Ronnie’s death, swallowing pills again at Infinite’s flop, history repeated itself on December 2007), Marshall Mathers is truly a survivor. He made me realize that we shouldn’t consider life as granted, but rather as God’s gift.

Marshall’s come back is a miracle in itself, if you consider all he went though and I am grateful for what I learnt from Relapse’s teachings.

Copyright© by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved

13 questions for Dina Rae: an exclusive interview

06.03.09 | Emblog | In Uncategorized

A few weeks ago, Dina Rae kindly accepted this interview. I’d like to thank her for that. Dina Rae is familiar to many people for being “track 13 girl” on Eminem’s albums. But the amazing artist has also a lot of collaborations with the Detroit underground hip hop scene at her active. She has done a lot of music of her own. Besides her music skills, she is also a gifted dancer. Often envied for her sexiness, the talented female singer has made a name in the music industry. Listen to what Dina has to say:)

1. What motivated you to become an artist and how did you get started in the music industry?

I was trained as a dancer at a young age, so that always gave me the creative outlet, but my musical career evolved because of me having a serious spine injury that halted my dance career and pushed the singer songwriter in me more to the forefront. As I child I always enjoyed musical theater, so I always knew I had it in me to sing. My vocal coach Cydney Davis, who has worked with many great singers such as Marvin Gaye, Barry White, and Joe Cocker trained me since the age of nine, so I was well prepare for my future as a vocalist. One day at Fat Lip of The Pharcydes crib, he began playing this loop on his turntable and heard me singing this hook I’d just wrote. Right then and there he demanded that I lay it down and record it and that was it for me!  It was over then! I knew at that moment songwriting and singing was all I wanted to do. I felt like I found my nitch.

2. Define your musical style within a few words…

2.  I hate to pigeonhole myself but if I had to sum it up I’d have to call it edgy Pop mixed with R&B. My sound is very Hip Hop influenced, so I also like to call Hip Pop. I like to curse alot in my music, but I think I’m pretty melodical and lyrical too. I love really hard beats as my musical backdrop, so I guess that’s why you can’t just call it your traditional R&B.

3. Can you enlighten the readers about your solo work?

 I would definitely say that I’m a mouthpiece for women. In my music I like to say all the things women can’t sometimes say because were either scared to, we’ll lose our jobs or we gotta “play our positions” as women. I have a bluntness in my music that if you know me personally, it’s how I would have a regular conversation with you. I would say that my explicitness and hardcore production draws the male fan base also.

4.You also did some interesting choreographic work…a few words about it?

I love choreography and dance that’s the root and the backbone of everything I do. My favorite experience with choreography was a show I did when I was young with Tina Landon and Janet Jackson’s dancers based out in Los Angeles. Currently, I’m in dance rehearsals with my latest material, choreographing my new show.

5. Most people know you as the Track 13 Girl on Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP…I myself discovered you thanks to the Drug Ballad song.
Your vocals create the softness into the rough addiction universe of the song.
Can you tell us how you got to meet Eminem?

I made a promise to myself never to answer this question again, but I’ll make this one final exception; lol! A mutual friend from Interscope Records basically linked us up at the time, when I ran into them picking up food in LA somewhere.

6.  You actually made impression on Eminem. How is it to work with a like him? Does he put working standards to a very high level?

I admire Marshall’s work ethic immensely and I have been inspired by it. He expects nothing but perfection when you’re in the studio with him; but he doesn’t mind if I get a little high from time to time. Just kidding, haha!!!

7. You also did some interesting collaborations with Detroit underground rapper Mu. A few words about them?

 Mu is one of the most lyrical and articulate rappers I know. He has co-written a couple of songs with me on the R&B tip. He’s a very talented artist.

8. You do have other Detroit underground emcees collaborations at your active…what is your personal insight on the Detroit hip hop scene?

 I keep up with my close friends and family in Detroit, but I haven’t been back to The D since Proof’s funeral. Everyone was and is so devasted by his death, I don’t know that Detroit s Hip-Hop scene will ever be the same without him. We can only keep his legacy going. I know I will.

9. What is the most difficult challenge you had to face as an artist?

As an artist I’d say that trying to release an album after working with an artist of Eminem’s caliber has been the most trying. There’s this misconception that because I sang on all these records with him I’m automatically straight, you know? But it actually works quite opposite. Don’t get me wrong I’m so grateful for the experience and opportunity of making history with him, it’s just that your identity is always next to, or compared to his and that’s hard to overcome. I don’t do what Em does; I do what Dina Rae does. Always have, always will.

10. Which ( mainstream or underground) artist earned your respect and why?

I’m really into Lady Gaga right now. She’s got that edgy dance thing, and seems real honest and integral with her art form. She was a hustler too and I respect that.

11.. According to you, what makes you appear as unique in the world of music?

I’d say I’m unique because of my diverse influences, in life and in music.

12. Besides your obvious musical skills, your sexiness is certainly a great asset too. Did you experience some envy or jealousy?

I think any halfway attractive female is going to get jealousy and hate from other females. For me I guess it was a lot of envy from Eminem’s female fans because he was grinding on my butt onstage while we were performing the song Superman during The Anger Management Tour Lolll!!!!!

13. Any upcoming musical projects/ collaborations for 2009?

Yes, I’ve formed my own label Purple Diva, Inc. that will be launching all my new music this year. I’ll be releasing a digital EP entitled The Return of The Real this summer, followed by my solo debut, Purple Diva, dropping in the fall. If you know what I’ve done and know what history I’ve been apart of, then you already know what you’re about to hear; nothing but hits! Dina Rae-The Purple Diva signing off.

Copyright© by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved

Eminem’s music through the years- viewed and reviewed like you’d not expect it…

05.31.09 | Emblog | In hip hop, detroit of

Eminem’s comeback to the scene after 5 years of absence causes a massive explosion of chain reactions. Never has the press spilled as much ink on the artist as it does now. The mainstream public supports the artist more than ever.

But do you really know what made Eminem and what the recipe of his massive success is? Do you know the story and the culture behind the man?

Who would have thought that this little kid with an unstable life, bullied at Detroit Roseville Elementary, not taken seriously at Lincoln High by his school buddies and teacher would become one of the biggest stars the face of the earth ever carried?

This white kid influenced hip hop to a great extent, not because he was white, but because he was that kind of white kid lost in a black man’s world. Bouncing back from Missouri to Michigan with his mother, he eventually settled in Detroit, living on the black side of 8 Mile, because his mom couldn’t afford to live on the white side. He still carries the strong black accent from the Detroit hood and while the media would wrongly classify him as a part of “white America”, the white kid “who could be one of their kids” was strongly immersed into black music and culture that influenced him to do what he did best: being a rapper.

First influenced by his uncle Ronnie’s passion for the art of rap, Marshall Mathers’ determination to make it in this field grew as the years were passing by.

His skin color, later thought to be an advantage used to be a big disadvantage at the time he was unknown from the public. Bullied at school, experiencing racism on a daily basis, Marshall Mathers had to struggle hard to become who he is now.

His friendship with a cool guy from Osborn High called Deshaun Holton ( Big Proof) formerly known as Maximum would increase his will to do something in rap music. Both friends would meet after school and enjoy rhyming for fun, juggling with syllables like acrobats in a circus.
At the time Eminem was still M&M and Proof went by the stage name Maximum, the two young men shared their common passion for compound rhymes. Overshadowed by Eminem’s overwhelming success, Deshaun Holton happened to be Marshall’s mentor, his guide, his everlasting friend in good and bad times. Proof was the man behind the D12 group along with his fellow friend and emcee Rufus Johnson, better known to the world as Bizarre.

Proof was an expert in freestyling and shared this passion with his friend.

His first experiment with Bassmint productions, an association of white rappers, in which he was trying to emerge wasn’t really successful. Although he already carried some good lyrical skills the emcee needed to be introduced and musically rooted into the black community- which eventually happened thanks to one of his friends, an emcee called Shortcut.

Detroit rapper Champtown who noticed the emcee’s rhyming ability, gave Eminem the chance to be featured in one of his videos named Do Da Dipity that also featured local talent Jermaine Harbin aka Uncle ILL.

Do Da Dipity wasn’t really a great debut, but rather an introduction to the black scene of Detroit.

Champtown is pictured in 8 Mile as the “Wink” character. The story behind the scenes is that Marshall Mathers cut his ties with the local artist because he seemed too much interested in Kim.

Marshall Mathers’ rapping skills in the “pre Infinite” days were really impressing. Anybody who read the lyrics to the Biterphobia song would recognize his astute wordplay.

Discovered by the Bass Brothers who lead FBT productions, the young emcee was striving more and more towards his ultimate goal: be recognized for his talent.

Although the lyrically strong Infinite album that-obviously-lacked some technical means, was rejected by the mainstream public, you could envision some good, promising talent. It was like a demo tape that showed some strong hip hop influences like Nas, for instance. But Eminem had yet to define a more personal style. He also had to drop some of the positive light in which he exposed some of his themes, as it faced rejection from the public.

What did the public exactly want? It can be summarized in two words: shock value.

Influenced by Bizarre and the Outsidaz of New Jersey, Eminem gave birth to a scary alter ego, Slim Shady, who would open up the door to legions of admirers and allow him to stalk the face of the earth with no remorse.

The well constructed Slim Shady Ep would be followed by the Slim Shady LP. Another element, that can be considered as a weakness and a strength at the same time, surfaced in Eminem’s music: the personal dimension.

At the time he wrote his albums, Marshall Mathers was facing a lot of anger in his personal life with his manipulative baby’s mom Kim, who constantly used their common daughter Hailie as a weapon. Piss Eminem off and you’ll be sure to be featured in his songs. That’s how Kim became immortalized in his albums.

Eminem went so personal with his public that he shared his dysfunctional past, the name of his former workplace, friends, wife, daughter…anybody close enough to be part of his life would appear in his songs. Some of them would have to support the artist’s ire.

With his growing success, the release of his masterpiece, the Marshall Mathers LP, some justified fears invaded the artist’s mind. The fear of a mad stalker acting crazy, as it appears in the song Stan is always present, as a dark shadow. Because of his personal approach in his music, Eminem exposed himself to a bunch of mad stalkers who never seem to understand that his warnings are addressed to them personally.

The pressure of the music industry, his hectic life inspired him to write Saying Goodbye To Hollywood in the Eminem Show…some people just don’t realize what an artist’s life is like…many people wish for a big fortune, but do they realize how you must feel when you cannot step outside without wearing a mask and being followed by 150 people…

The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show carried some genius songs like Drug Ballad that is so complex lyrically and instrumentally that very few people will understand its subtle structure. Some directed and justified anger towards the media and even his own label, made The Way I Am’s

The Eminem Show went very analytical and political. It punched the Bush administration right in the face. Square Dance carried some Southern rap influences and Till I Collapse was marked by a strong personal determination, encouraging people to carry on strength, no matter what.

While Encore still had some very good songs like Mosh and Like Toy Soldiers, it seemed to show a little bit of artistic fatigue.

Eminem’s pill addiction forced him to stop touring in 2005. A second divorce with Kim and Proof ‘s death in April 2006, a few days later, increased Eminem’s addiction problems.

After five years of absence, we learn from the artist’s mouth that an overdose nearly killed him in December 2007. Pain and artistic creativity often work close together…walking through the dark tunnel of his own addiction, Eminem was inspired to release Relapse.

Although I am not so fond of Relapse, I still value the artist’s narrative skills and his very personal approach of this addiction history.

Addiction didn’t kill him and Marshall Mathers came out stronger out of all this. After all, I am glad he is still kicking and pretty much alive on stage. Shouldn’t we all be?

Copyright© by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved

Exclusive Biba Adams interview!

05.24.09 | Emblog | In hip hop, detroit of

 Biba Adams

When Biba Adams asked me for an interview, I truly felt honored. This skilled Detroit lady is not just anybody: she has made a name in Detroit for her work and engagement towards her City and Detroit hip hop. If you come accross her articles, she will manage to raise emotions and transport you into her universe…many thanks, Biba, you are a great writer and journalist:)

1. What motivated you at first to become a writer?

I have always been a writer. I wrote my first short story at 9, and I would write a lot of stories and little novels most of my early life. However, I happened to luck up on doing a hip-hop column for Real Detroit Weekly (a newspaper here in Detroit) in November of 2003. I was trying to get a job as an advertising sales person, but I got the job of a hip-hop columnist instead. My first article was a cover story on Jay-Z.

2. According to you what are your main strengths as a person and as a writer?

I think my main strengths as a writer are the same as my main strength as a person. I am a very emotional and sensitive woman. I think my emotion and sensitivity make me a great writer because it makes people feel my words. I think people feel what I am saying and the feeling with which I write. I have the ability to help people feel my passion. I think that is a great strength, of course, it can be a weakness too, I could probably never write about politics, or sports, I am not a numbers person, I am not cut and dried. Music is emotional, and so am I. So, that’s why I do so well with music/entertainment journalism.

3. Did the city of Detroit influence your writing style? If so, to what extent?

I think Detroit definitely influenced me in general. Except for a short time here and there, I have always lived here. Being in Detroit, from Detroit, is a really cool experience. Detroiters are definitely underdogs, we are not very well-respected in national and even international media. People have this misconception of my city that we are all being held hostage, surrounded by criminals, that Detroit is an extraordinarily violent place. It can be a dangerous place, but can all urban centers. I have had a very happy and peaceful life here. There are a lot of abandoned buildings, but there are also a lot of extraordinarily beautiful homes. There are mansions in Detroit, in the city limits. There is a lot of water, so we enjoy beautiful shore lines and the serenity of living off a large river. We are a border city, so we can stand and stare into Canada. Detroit has so much culture, so much history, it is a beautiful place to live. That is what influenced me. I live in a really wonderful city. Detroit has influenced me, specifically, Detroit hip-hop has influenced me because it’s hard to hear so much amazing music and know that the world may never hear it. That’s painful, it hurts, and so, I’m driven to get the word out about my friends.

4. Not only are you an excellent writer, but you are also pretty much involved into the Detroit hip hop scene. What do you like in particular with the Detroit scene?

What’s not to like?! Like I said in one of my posts, and I say all the time, it’s a great blessing to be friends with and fans of a musical artist. I get to do that with dozens of people. These are people that I truly love. This is my extended family. My love for many of Detroit’s music artists is beyond superficial, many of us have been friends for ten years. We love each other, we love each other’s families, and children. We have dated each other, had kids with each other, we are all so interwoven and interconnected, we have been having one long connected experience. What we have here in Detroit is very special. It’s something most people could probably never understand.

5. Who is your favorite local artist and why?

My favorite local artist is Royce Da 5’9”. I think Royce is the best that Detroit has to offer lyrically. Royce is a consummate artist. He can be a battle rapper, he can be a skilled lyricist, he can slice with his words like a surgeons scalpel or like a chainsaw. He can also be a storyteller and is just an incredible artist. I also love him dearly as a person. I value his friendship, he is very funny, and very genuine. He is just an incredible person. I think he will be huge very soon. I envision him being a Grammy award winner. I want that for him.

6. You have known Deshaun Holton aka Proof personally. You are also the author of a very moving article about RIP Proof.
A few words about the man and the artist?

Proof was a wonderful person. He was the funniest man I knew. He had such an inner light. When he would walk into a room, people would just light up being in his presence. He could make a boring party, a better party. He was very sweet and very affectionate. He loved to kiss. He would kiss everyone on their cheek. And he knew so much about everyone, he was a secret-keeper, and he was not judgmental at all, I loved that about him. He was very genuine and a very good person. He is very much missed. As an artist, Proof was an incredible wordsmith, he would rhyme any word and he was a freestyler the likes of which most people could never understand. I remember that he would rap for hours. He was great. He was a good person. He was good to everyone and he made everyone feel special. I miss that.

7. As a testimony to your presence to Eminem’s recent come back concert in Detroit, you have written a very moving article entitled “ Relapse” in which you are exploring Marshall Mathers’ emotional side at the concert. Would you mind sharing your emotions/ impressions about the show with all of us?

Marshall is a very interesting person. He is very shy, actually, very reserved when you are around him. Because of how huge he got in such a short time, it affected him a lot of different ways. I didn’t know him before he was famous, when I met him, it was just before his second album, he was still somewhat easy to get close to, but even then he wasn’t very trusting, but he respects people who respect him. As far as the show and the album, I think it’s a great project. I know that it had to be hard for him to write and record without drugs, because they were such a big part of his life. Now not only is he drug free, but he doesn’t have Proof to lean on, he is in the midst of a new life. I think that Relapse is less about going back to drugs, but relapsing into his musical life. Relapsing into being a rapper and everything that comes with it. He is a good person, and I care for him deeply. I would love to work with Shady Records in a larger capacity. I hope that we get the chance to work on some projects together soon.

8. Who would you consider a model in terms of writing? Do you have a local or national / foreign writer who is a great source of inspiration to you?

I don’t really have a model in terms of writing. I am an avid reader. I read a lot. I love fiction, and I am a huge Stephen King fan. I love Harry Potter, I think those books changed my life. The visual quality of the work, made me want to raise the bar. I like to read music biographies about all different kinds of artists. I think that in terms of Journalists that I look up to, I would have to say, Nelson George, Bakari Kitwana, Anselm Samuel, Dream Hampton, Aliya S. King, and Kim Osorio, would have to be some that I really admire because they write about black music and they were very influential at a time when we, as fans, needed them the most.

9. Which publications/ books do you currently have at your active?

I am currently reading a lot of spiritual books because I am trying to be a better person. I read a lot of Deepak Chopra, I love his work and his teaching, I would love to spend time with him. His work taught me a lot. I am planning to start a new Stephen King, and I just pick up stuff. I am kinda reading a book called The Tipping Point, planning to revisit The Celestine Prophecy, and planning to read Conversations with God, and all of Paulo Coehlo books. That’s a goal. This summer, I will be teaching reading and writing to high schoolers, after that, I plan to build my business and travel. I hope to go to Brazil for three weeks, and plan to read a lot then.

10. What are your future writing projects for 2009/2010?

I am hoping that I get a grant to write a book documenting Detroit’s hip-hop history. This has been a goal of mine for about five years. Hopefully, I will get enough money to take a year off work and just focus on getting the book done. I am also working on some historical projects. Trying to have St. Andrews Hall declared a historic landmark, and get a mural done on the side of the building. I am trying to do a Detroit photojournalism exhibit. Just focus on preserving, promoting, and protecting Detroit hip-hop, that’s my life’s goal.

11. What would be your advice to aspiring journalists/ writers?

My advice to aspiring writers would just be…write. There are so many outlets for writers now with the internet. You can be a successful blogger, you can get in with a good site. I say just read a lot and work on your craft. I’ve been as successful as I have because I chose a niche, I focus on Detroit and because of that specialty, I get a lot of opportunity.

12. Where would you envision yourself-professionally speaking- within the next 5 years?

I would have to answer the question from the personal side first, I hope to marry the man I love and have his children, I hope we can build his business, and make that the center of our family life. Meanwhile, I would continue to work on my writing career and my music publicity career. In five years, I hope to have published my Detroit hip-hop music book, a novel or two, I would like to have been featured in all the major music publications as a writer and or interview subject. I hope to lecture about Detroit hip-hop history and enlighten people all over the world about the rich musical legacy of my hometown. Detroit, there is no place like my home. Peace, Isabelle, thank you.

Copyright© by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved

Exclusive Eminem Tees from MySpace and ShockHound!

05.19.09 | Emblog | In advertising


Exclusive Eminem Tees from MySpace and ShockHound!

Exclusive tees from our friends at MySpace Music and ShockHound. Quantities are limited. Like, really limited. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good

Isabelle Esling interview by C Mr White Cuatro ( a graphic designer and music talent from Detroit)

05.17.09 | Emblog | In hip hop, detroit of

1.What makes Isabelle..Isabelle? As a professional and as a person in general.

Good question! As a person, a good dose of enthusiasm, personal conviction, honesty and sometimes rage in specific situations. I try to always stay true to myself.

The same as above also applies to the professional person, of course. As a professional, I try to raise enthusiasm and interest and to share it with people. I am deep into what I am doing. I speak out my mind in any case, because I don’t say things to please people.
In general, people value that.

2.What is your profession and where do you think you stand among your competitors and or associates in your field?

I am a freelance music journalist. Along with this I am also a tutor of German and French. But let’s talk about what I like doing most, the writing thing.

Well, it is always difficult to situate myself in the business. All I can say is that I have improved my writing skills through the years and done some interesting interviews with artists such as Dirty Red ( who has known Eazy E personally) and Detroit emcee Dogmatic, a close friend of D12’s Proof…I’ve been published on some online magazines and written for Detroit’s ILL Mag too where I got the chance to interview Proof ( the interview got never published though), Purple Gang and Woof Pak…

It is really hard to emerge in this business, but I think I’ve done some good progress. I keep grinding, of course!

3.When did you decide to take on this profession and are you where you thought you’d be when you made the choice?

I decided to be a music journalist after writing an Eminem biography in 2002 ( kept in form of a manuscript till now), because I wanted my work to be known by people. But in the end, I find music journalism more interesting than authoring, because you are investigating even more. A journalist is a sort of detective, you know…but I love being a musical detective…couldn’t live without hip hop…

Actually Gavin Sheridan gave me my chance to prove my skills in 2003…

4.What drives you to wake up everyday and get out here and do what you do?

It’s the music and the determination to achieve something concrete in this field. One of my characteristics is a strong determination. I can get discouraged, I can feel disgusted, weak, I can fall, but I WILL NEVER GIVE UP.

5.Who is your favorite Emcee, RnB Artist & producer?

I have a few faves. The old Eminem ( I mean what he did in the past influenced me for a great part and motivated me to achieve something in my life), the D12 emcees, Eazy E from the Cpt, Nas, Ice Cube, but I also love many underground emcees like Trick Trick or I-Mac…
I am not so much into RnB, but one name caught my attention…and it is Ron Patterson, he’s quite good at it.
As a producer, I find Denaun Porter really competent. He is so much underrated!

6.If you were to compare yourself to a successful business tycoon whom would it be and why?

It would certainly be Dr Dre…I admire his competence in beat makings and producing. He’s pretty cool too and seems to have stayed down to earth, despite his giant status.

7.What are your goals for the next 5 years and how do you plan to accomplish them?

My goals are to achieve something as a writer in the hip hop business. Either I will start my own business or I will try to get more connexions to become a well known hip hop magazine staff writer…I know I still have to define my plans more precisely, they are still in the works…In any case, I want recognition for hard years of work and I know I’ll have to sweat for it for a while…

8.Who is your favorite LOCAL DETROIT Emcee, RnB artist & producer?

Again, I could name several names such as Trick Trick ( I love his gangsta style), Dogmatic and of course Proof ( he was amazing), I like I Mac who renamed themselves I Dash, Mu, Journalist 103 and many more…but generally speaking and particularly on the Detroit scene, I like it raw and gangsta…
In non hip hop artists, I think that Monica Blaire is very talented…she deserves to be known better!
Again, I really value Mr Porter as a Detroit producer, but should i classify him as local or not?

Copyright© by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved

Ann Arbor Needs a Skate Park

05.12.09 | technician | In ann arbor, midtown, skateboard

Ann Arbor needs a skate park. And there are at least 30 reasons why. Right now Ann Arbor skateboarders need to travel to neighboring communities like Westland, the Meijers skate park in Brighton, or the Modern Skate Park in Royal Oak in order to get their vertical fix. It does no good for the city of Ann Arbor when its citizens need to travel out of town in order to have fun and get some exercise when the city could instead be drawing skate tourists to itself. And how is it that a city like Ann Arbor doesn’t have its own skate park? There are many good reasons to build a skate park in Ann Arbor with reason number 30 being “If a city doesn’t have a skatepark, it is a skatepark.” Words to live by.

Even those of us who don’t live in Ann Arbor should support an additional skate park in Metro Detroit as a cost effective way to make Detroit a more livable place while improving its image and attracting a few more tourists. This Friday, May 15 you can have some fun and support this cause at the same time by attending the Ann Arbor Skatepark Benefit Art Show at the Vault of Midnight comic book store in Ann Arbor at 219 S. Main St from 7 to 10 p.m.

“For this free, public event, fifty artists will be custom designing and painting skate decks to be judged by a panel. Artists include Jim Mahfood, Triston Eaton, BLOKT, AZK One, Corryn Jackson, Jeremy Bastian, Jay Brant and many more! The winners will be selected on both youth and adult categories. All decks will be available at via live and silent auction, 100% of the proceeds will benefit the AASAC.

Free food will be provided by Trader Joe’s, and live music will be played throughout the evening by Mogi Grumbles, Charles Trees, and DJ Ornate.

All of the decks will be displayed at Vault of Midnight for two weeks before moving to the Ann Arbor Art Center as a touring exhibit. The Art Show will be part of a weekend of free events aimed at raising awareness about the AASAC and the construction of a free, public skatepark in Ann Arbor for the use of its residents.”

And just to get you in the mood here are some Detroit skate videos from Youtube:

Detroit City Skateboards - Team Montage, lots of Hart Plaza and downtown Detroit footage

City Skateboards Demo at West Bloomfield Skatepark

Skate Detroit - one percent skateboards, featuring locations in Midtown, Downtown, and on the river

Mayor Dave Bing

05.08.09 | technician | In election, mayor

So it looks like we have a new mayor again, this time Dave Bing, the former NBA star and industrial magnate. So who is Dave Bing? Although not a native son of Detroit Bing was born in the poor neighborhoods of Washington, DC in 1943. It wasn’t until in 1966 when the Detroit Pistons failed to get their first choice and got Bing instead that Bing and Detroit’s destinies became entwined. He turned out to be a pretty fortunate pick for the Pistons, becoming the NBA Rookie of the Year and then scoring the most points in the NBA the next year, and eventually ending up in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Not only was he a successful athlete who overcame two major eye injuries, he applied what he learned about teamwork and leadership to become a successful entrepreneur. He spent the down time during his years in the NBA by learning about business and finance both by reading books and by working for the finance and manufacturing industries. He got a job at the National Bank of Detroit (now part of J.P. Morgan Chase) after going in just to apply for a mortgage. After two years working in the auto industry for Paragon Steel he was ready to start his own business, Bing Steel. This would later become a part of the Bing Group and employ over a thousand people.

Not only was Bing employing Detroiters, he was serving as a positive African-American role model, raising money for schools, funding charities, spending 15 hours a week doing volunteer work, and redeveloping Detroit’s riverfront with upscale condos (until running for office). He’s been widely recognized for these merits.

“The easiest thing to do is quit on Detroit.” - David Bing

Detroit gave David Bing an opportunity to become an NBA star and then gave him an opportunity to make his riches and he’s been giving back ever since. He’s invested a lot of time, sweat, and money on improving Detroit instead of taking the easy route by quitting on Detroit.

Bing has already won the election so this isn’t an endorsement for the man. But he’s now our mayor. It would be easy for anyone to give up on Detroit’s $200 to $300 million budget deficit just as a would be for President Obama to give up on tackling the economic mess that he inherited. Here’s hoping that the team Mayor Bing puts together combined with his business community relationships and experience successfully leading companies and also his dedication and love for Detroit will turn out to be the best chance that Detroit has. At least until September when we have to elect a mayor again.

Ghostly International Presents: Deastro

04.23.09 | technician | In ann arbor, bookstore

Chicago-based photographer/videographer James P. Morse followed Ghostly International artist Randolph Chabot, aka Deastro, around Detroit for a day and edited the footage into “Ghostly Presents: Deastro” with visits to his home and even John King’s Bookstore. You can catch him for a night in Ann Arbor at Necto this Sunday before he leaves for a UK tour.

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