Monthly Archives: November 2010

Privacy – Intro to Theme Week

Image taken from

This week BreakThru Radio launches its new Web site and with it comes a new style to the editorial content that is featured on our pages daily. Theme weeks are the new modus operandi of BTR.

We are starting off the launch of our new site with a look into privacy issues that stem from use of the Internet. A hot topic in both the blogosphere and with mainstream media since scandalous lawsuits against Facebook and notarized slip-ups at Google, individual privacy rights while using a computer continues to be a murky sea to swim in. The driving question behind our work here at BreakThru Radio this week is: “Are you aware of what the Internet has on you, and what they are doing with that information?”

What’s difficult to wrap one’s head around is trying to figure out just who the Internet is. Labeling it as such gives off the idea that it has its own individualized identity when in fact that is not the case at all. Made up of an extremely complex and intricately woven web (it’s not called the “world wide web” for nothing) of marketing tools, software programs, advertising agencies, and incorporated networking companies, our lifeline to information has become more of a manipulative psychologist incognito than a universal library. The only thing left to do is either come to terms with the fact that the more you use it the more it will know about you, or go vintage and revert back to using obsolete items like a phonebook, encyclopedia set, television, magazines, and god-forbid, face-to-face conversations with your friends.

Tomorrow, Huffington Post videographer and BreakThru featured writer Hunter Stuart takes in in-depth look at the debacle at Facebook this past summer over their new and improved(?) privacy statement. “Did you read the new privacy policy this past May?” Stuart asks his readers. “If you didn’t, you’re not alone. And even if you did, you probably wondered about all the stuff you posted and uploaded before the new privacy policy took effect, and before the Terms of Service were changed.”

On Wednesday, I will be looking at the information Google has on its users, how long they store this information and what they use it for, and what you can do to limit ‘the oracle’ from knowing everything about you. Google and Facebook are enemy number one and two, not necessarily in that order, for privacy advocates. Is it just because they are the easiest targets? Or is it because they happen to be the most ambitious in learning everything it is you do while on your Mac or PC?

Thursday, BTR writer Amanda Decker will examine the details of Congressman (D-IL) Bobby Rush’s proposed bill The Best Practices Act. It is a bill trying to pass the house that is greatening the divide between those who feel the Internet should continue to act as free flow of information, regardless of what that information is (i.e. your personal information) or at what costs, and those who are trying to limit industry access to valuable marketing data. An excerpt from Amanda’s piece: “The Interactive Advertising Bureau whose board members include representatives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, Comcast,, Fox Interactive, and CBS Interactive had this to say about it: ‘[It] would turn the Internet from a fast-moving information highway to a slow-moving toll-road.’ The other end of the spectrum consists of the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), and Consumer Action. CDT President Leslie Harris called it an “essential” building block ‘for a modern and flexible consumer privacy law.'”

And, on Friday, Yale undergraduate Calah Singleton contemplates what it is that caused Chatroulette to go from an attempt at a new way for social networking into a forum of shared perversion. “The question really, is what makes Chatroulette different from the other forms of social media that have existed for years? There has been Internet sex as long as there has been Internet. But something about Chatroulette makes the Internet more scandalous; something that is talked about on comedy shows and parodied everywhere, while at the same time drawing a sense of revulsion.”

Make sure to log in to BTR each day for fresh videos from the video team, op-ed articles from the writing staff, and of course, brand new, break-through music from all of our DJs. Get to know what the Internet has on you, and how you can make some simple modifications to limit the amount of information that is being bought and sold about who you are and what your online habits look like.

Setlist: BTR Hip Hop Show

The luscious voice that opens up DJ Wayne Ski’s Tuesday afternoon Hip Hop Show doesn’t hold back what she feels for him or the beats he plays: “I got you. Can I get you more than once a week? I can’t get enough of that Hip Hop Show on”

So what is it that makes Wayne Ski’s Hip Hop Show on BTR separate itself from the rest of the Internet hip hop stations? It’s the delicate mix between classic and fresh that Wayne Ski spins that keeps his listeners thinking they just “can’t get enough.”

“Basically, the beats sound like New York City underground hip hop Radio in the 90s blended with the new sound mix show,” explains Wayne Ski in an email on the style and sound of BTR Hip Hop. “Heavy beats and dope rhymes. Boom Bap Rap as most people like to call it.”

The BTR Hip Hop hour on Tuesday afternoons is a “show that features new artists as well as underground hip hop legends [who are now] on the independent route.” This special blend helps promote new talent while tapping into the listener’s desire for the nostalgia. Take this week’s show for example, we get everything from the very scratched up and redelivered Bumpy Knuckles to the much more smooth and ‘opulent’ Gangalee. “The best part of the show is that I get to play artists who some people have no idea who they are, but once they check out the show they know exactly who they are.”

Another portion of Wayne Ski’s talent that shouldn’t go missed are his colorful mic breaks. One of BTR’s more full-personalities on the mic, I found myself listening to what he had to say about the music just as interesting and entertaining as listening to the tracks themselves.

Take, for example, a message he shares with his listeners at about the halfway point in his show. With a creative way of delivering what is happening in hip hop news and the latest rap music scene, as well as a sense of humor in keeping it real with musician-friends, followers, and fans; DJ Wayne Ski is never short of entertaining antics: “You don’t have to follow me. You can if you want to, but you don’t have to. But if you do, I’m pretty sure you’ll be entertained in some way. shape. or form.”

His programming technique is “simple,” he says. “Basically, I want to hear the studio shake when I turn a song all the way up. And of course I must get the crazy head nod going. Once that happens it’s going on BTR.” Wayne Ski explains to me that “most of the artist I feature I already have relationships with; so once they send it in–it’s on.”

Just like all hip hop, the music on BreakThru’s Hip Hop hour is not about sound only. In respecting the true values of the hip hop form, Wayne Ski makes sure to feature music “that has a message.”

“It’s not just about kicking it or having fun. I would like my listeners to challenge themselves to listen to what the artist are saying.”

Link to this article:

– Kory French

Liner Notes: If There Is No Father To His Style, Call Him ‘Bastard’

“To the public he was known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard but to me he was known as Rusty. The kindest, most generous soul on earth.”

-Cherry Jones–mother of ODB

This past Saturday (November 13th) marks the sixth-year anniversary of the death of Russell Tyrone Jones, the rapper more famously known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Strangely enough, on this past Monday (November 15th) he would have been 42.

It is a daunting task to try and write a thousand-word obituary on a man I hardly know anything about. Sure, I remember playing basketball to Wu Tang Clan tracks when I was in high school; but that was only as a result of the pressure and persistence of a very close friend or mine who demanded his hip-hop CDs get as much play time as my overdone, and inappropriate in comparison, classic rock repertoire.

It was not long before I began to recognize my own closeted affection for the Staten Island collective, soon thereafter, and much to the surprise of my good pal Chris, I was requesting the Clan each time we got into his truck to head off to football practice, drink rye and ginger ale at a bush party, or cruise the ‘dangerous’ redneck streets of my hometown. What was this kung-fu stuff? I didn’t have a clue. What I did know was this:

Two indisputable certainties: 1) I had no idea what this guy was rapping about, and couldn’t relate to any of it. And 2) It didn’t matter, because oh baby, I too, “like it raw.”

A guy who comes onto the scene with a name like ‘Ol’ Dirty Bastard’ backed by a group called ‘The Wu Tang Clan’ presents an immediate problem–or so one would think. And while I feel guilty now for once thinking this way, the more I learn about ODB, the less guilt I feel. It was shock that became his modus operandi, a style that would separate him from his contemporaries. I speculate that the reaction I got from his music was the very response he was looking for. He wanted his audience to hear his music and watch his performance with a “what the fuck just happened” state of disbelief.

A case in point (his most famous case, to be exact):

One does not jump on stage during the fortieth Grammy award ceremonies (1998) in Rockefeller Plaza to interrupt the “song of the year” recipient speech without full consciousness of intention and desired result. You see, in 1998 the Grammy’s were still not recognizing the rap-portion of the ceremony as a television worthy event; and this pissed Dirty off. Frustrated that the awards for hip-hop were handed out a day earlier, during a non-televised ceremony, despite the fact that the genre of music was over two-decades old and while immersed in American culture, ODB took advantage of this moment to share with the rest of the country the injustices of a biased music industry. While many viewers saw it as a form of “distaste,” others applauded Dirty for his stance against racial prejudices in a country and industry that is supposed to be a leader in the disintegration of exactly that.

A lot can be said about the life of Russell Tyrone Jackson that this article does not have the time nor space for. (As a side not, if you are interested I suggest Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB by Jaime Lowe, which was the primary research source for this article). I could have spent much of my time filling you in on all of his sexual escapades that led to fatherless and unsupported children. I could have gone into detail over his trouble with the law, time spent in and out of  the US’s notorious and discriminatory prison system, and the somewhat lengthy criminal record he managed to acquire over his thirty-five years in this world. Finally, I could have discussed his personal battle with drug and alcohol abuse, supposed and much disputed mental instability, and the official cause of his death: “Accidental overdose from a lethal combination of Tramadol [a painkiller] and cocaine.” But none of this gets down to the core of the man known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

Time is the ultimate equalizer. The further we move away from nineties hip-hop, the more we come to recognize it as a major player to a much greater subversive trend. What we often fall guilty of when thinking about these acts of subversion is that it is individual ‘people’ who make the parts to these cultural shifts. Ol’ Dirty Bastard was one of those people. In other words, while our language is mostly predicated on the idea that ‘hip-hop’ stands alone as viable, sustainable American culture, we should be thinking about the people that made it this way. It wasn’t some anomaly born out of thin air. It was a culture built on the character and subcultural styles of artists and performers like Russell Jackson.

Alas, forget my self-prescribed verbose haughtiness. It is said much better in the vernacular of the culture:

“What’s the world without Dirt? Just a bunch of fuckin’ water.”
– Rhymefest

Link to this article:

– Kory French

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Irrational Greeks Claim They’ve Earned Their Money


In addition to Nobel Prize-winning economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz saying austerity during a recession doesn’t work, and the ample evidence in Ireland and the Baltics that retraction is tantamount to death by a thousand cuts, for whatever reason these kinds of measures also aren’t very popular.

The way Evi Simopoulou sees it, the austerity measures imposed on Greece as a condition of a $150 billion rescue package punish everyone for the government’s failures.

“We didn’t eat the money,” said Ms. Simopoulou, a 29-year-old computer programmer from Athens. “They ate the money.”

As the Prime Minister George Papandreou struggles to convince the world that he has what it takes to push through the reforms to keep Greece competitive and the Euro strong, there is one main obstacle in his path: Greeks.

Although he has so far stayed the course, many are furious about the reforms, which have raised taxes, lowered salaries and left them with a pervasive feeling that they are caught in the cogs of larger economic forces. Their anger has spilled over into waves of street protests, incuding one in May in which three people died.

God, poor people are so stupid. They just have to understand that they are financially responsible for bailing out their country in the aftermath of happy time at Wall Street casinos located roughly five thousand miles to their west. It’s time for everyone to suck it up and pay a little more so elites in the Hamptons don’t have to sell their extra yacht.

Why is this so difficult for Greeks to accept?

The problem is we don’t have a great communicator running the show.  I wish Ronald Reagan was still alive, you guys.

– Allison Kilkenny

AOTW: Chico Mann

While guitarist Chico Mann takes a break from his band, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, he has developed a multi-layered, electronic fusion sound that’s been blowing up dance floors in New York City and Miami. Mixing Afro-beat, freestyle, Latin, and synth-heavy electronic beats, Chico Mann has brought sounds of far away and far past, with music of the future, just beyond our reach, and called is “electropical.”

Born in NYC to Cuban parents, Marcos Garcia was exposed to music and the business from birth. His father owned a Cuban music record label and his mother often wrote compositions for the artists whom he signed. Garcia was involved in piano and guitar lessons from very young, and though he was told to steer clear of the music industry, it seemed to be his fate. In 2002, after a few jam sessions with Antibalas, he was asked to join the band permanently and has been developing his sound ever since.

The new artist Chico Mann released his first solo album, Manifest Tone, Vol. 1, in 2007, and the following two volumes in May and June of 2009. In doing this, he introduced the world to a fusion of sound as blended as the city he hails from. “It’s an expression of uniquely American music in the sense that it has all these different elements hooked together in one stew. It’s also very urban, very Latin and very multicultural in that it draws from African and funk music,” he says in an interview with James Rawls for Spinner.

Now signed to Wax Poetics records, Chico Mann is releasing his second full-length album, called Analog Drift, on November 16th. These twelve club-tronica, Latin-Afro-freestyle tracks are impossible not to dance to, his cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” is just one example.  He recently wrapped up the promotional tour, which included a stop at South By Southwest, and plans to be back on the road in 2011. For the time being, check out to buy the digital CD, join the mailing list, and keep up to date on this revolutionary new artist.

Link to this article:

– Carly Shields

Setlist: Japanese Super Terrific Happy Hour

Japanese Super Terrific Happy Hour is BTR’s stretch across the Pacific Ocean and into that quirky, subcultural gizmo-techno world of Japan. In the words of two-man collective DJ Hanabi: “Our main focus with the show is to highlight the incredible ability the Japanese possess to copy a particular element of US pop culture, in this case music, so well that they actually become a parody.”

In a cross-country email, Hanabi elaborates on the modus operandi of today’s Japanese rock/pop/punk bands, making clear to his listener, and my reader, just what it is that makes Super Terrific’s playlist so unique, and in their own rite, cool: “Japanese bands tend to become almost obsessive in their desire to emulate the music that speaks to them most, yet they have no real connection to the roots of the music or the scene itself. Most of these bands don’t speak much English and therefore rely on visual and aural cues to form their approach but they often lack the essence of the scene and sound itself. For example some of the Japanese rockabilly bands we’ve played have the Stray Cats ‘look’ and sound down cold, but you get a sense that they have no real understanding of the rockabilly sub-culture or the music itself. Not that we do either.”

This is what makes the show so “awesome to [them].”  It is precisely these bands that DJ Hanabi feel best harness their talents and incorporate influences into their own, very original sounds.”

DJ Hanabi is actually made up of two people; John and Matt. They tell me they like it that way, but only because it was “a lot easier than coming up with another separate DJ name” than one they already record under. Their approach to each Super Terrific show is usually centered on a specific “genre of well known music and then finding the best and worst examples of Japanese mimicry.” What makes this formula most interesting is that Hanabi never overtly tells their listeners which tracks they think to be good and which they find sillier than anything else, because “of course, that’s subjective.” The explanation of selection-formula goes on, “Actually, we really do enjoy all the tracks we play in their own way. Sometimes we laugh our asses off when listening to some of these bands. How can that be a bad thing?”

Their attitude and sense of fun in the show is contagious. Before writing this article, I listened to their show while in a library. At times, I found myself snickering out loud to the disapproval of many around me.

“As to our performance on the show, we definitely wanted to stay away from the more typical Disc Jockey banter; and we certainly do not want to come off as pompous bastards who think they are way more cool than others because we happen to be lucky enough to have a radio show.” Personally, I found their mic breaks to be anything but “pompous” or “pretentious.” DJ Hanabi informs without taking themselves too seriously, a refreshing addition to online radio these days. They find a great balance between “snarky quips, sarcasm, and an aloof delivery” and informative DJ’ing.

Finally, DJ Hanabi represents the West Coast of BreakThru’s international DJ squad. Admitting that they are “quite happy to remind people we live in San Francisco” they are just as happy to remind many of their listeners that “they don’t.”

“Basically, we have fun with it and don’t take ourselves too seriously and yet we produce a quality show. We wish we received more fan mail though.”

Send Hanabi an email, will ya?

Link to this article:

– Kory French

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – It’s Not Propagandizing When the Right Does It


Remember back in September ’09 when the right lost their minds right before President Obama delivered a national address to schoolchildren, encouraging them to stay in school? Right-wingers claimed  Obama was propagandizing his secret Kenyan agenda…or something.

Well, if Obama’s attempt to prevent dropouts made wingnuts piss themselves, this will surely make their heads explode:

Now that the midterm elections are history, Sarah Palin is setting her sights and rhetorical skills on the Federal Reserve and its easy money policy.

On Twitter, the former Alaska governor and possible 2012 presidential contender said she would begin a round of discussions at school events to teach children about quantitative easing to prepare them for the results of the Fed’s plan to boost the sluggish U.S. economy.

In an effort to boost lackluster growth the Fed has been injecting cash into the economy by buying up government securities in what it calls quantitative easing. It announced a fresh round of $600 billion in purchases last week and the action was welcomed by the stock market which moved higher on the news.

But critics, such as Palin and conservative Republican Ron Paul who is likely to head a House monetary policy subcommittee when the new Congress is seated in January, say the Fed’s move will do little to encourage economic growth and will ignite inflation.

Mm’k. Someone’s going to have to explain to me how this isn’t Palin taking advantage of schoolchildren’s vulnerable minds.

On the upside, even a five-year-old can see the gaping holes in Ayn Rand’s work, so we don’t have to worry about the threat of future generations being converted to Libertarianism.

(h/t Digby)

Link to this article:

– Allison Kilkenny