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A Conversation With Jude Angelini: The Uncaged Bird

Subscribers of Sirius/XM radio know Jude Angelini as “Rude Jude,” the Hip Hop shock jock at the helm of the…

Subscribers of Sirius/XM radio know Jude Angelini as “Rude Jude,” the Hip Hop shock jock at the helm of the fantastic All Out Show on Eminem’s Shade 45 station. His story is the stuff of which Middle-Class American legends are made. The kid from Pontiac, Michigan lands on TV, heads to California to strike gold and ironically ends up making a living on the radio by refusing to compromise who he is. Angelini is brash, unapologetic, and hilarious; and whether you like it or not, he’s got a blue-collar story to tell.

Most recently, Angelini’s career took a bold step by way of two soul-baring memoirs that move with the concise, calculated pace of Hemingway, and cut directly to the core of what it feels like to wander Los Angeles, alone together with a phone buzzing with Tinder matches and a pocket full of “science drugs.” His tales are critical glimpses into his cold, chemical world, but manage to make it out the other side with a sliver of hope and the notion that you get out of this life what you dump in.

Ahead of his newest book, Hummingbird which releases today, Angelini took some time to discuss his influences, the writing process, and his take on Hip Hop in 2017.


Many people got their introduction to you via The All Out Show on Sirius/XM. But first, you did some TV, and a podcast, The Foreally Show?

The podcast got me ready for radio. Ross (the co-host) and I have been friends since we were 12 years old, so we just had to get our timing down. I did the Jenny Jones show as the character “Rude Jude,” where I came on and talked shit to the guests. I said what the host couldn’t. This was a pre-Internet time when talking shit was a personal thing, and people found it hilarious. But I wasn’t making any money. So I came out to LA to get some work. I worked a couple of shitty jobs, which eventually led me to the radio job.

What was Pontiac like growing up?

Being a kid there, you couldn’t be soft. There are moments in both books that deal with being punked and taking L’s, but you just had to adapt. Some of that shit haunts me to this day. I’ve been called a punk, a wigger; all sorts of names. Those experiences are reflections of what’s going on today. People do a lot of talking about “bullying.” Kids shouldn’t bully. But kids should also learn karate so they can whoop some bully’s ass.

What was the catalyst for your 1st book, Hyena?

Hyena came from necessity. The story I’m telling is mine. I’m talking about doing Ketamine and fucking bitches all the time, but it’s also an American story, a blue-collar story. But there are so many gray areas in America that “normal” is very different depending on where you look. People perceive me a Hip Hop radio shock jock, so obviously, I write for my fans. But it’s more than that.

Can you describe your writing process?

Hyena took a few years to write. I wrote an hour a day, five days a week. It felt like a regular job. Hummingbird, took eight months once I settled into my rhythm and routine.

Both books have that blue-collar appeal to them without coming off as simplistic. They’re nuanced and complex, but they don’t feel forced. Which writers were parts of your blueprint?

People have compared me to Bukowski, but I haven’t read much of him except maybe twenty years ago. He did show me you don’t have to be some master of grammar to tell your story. I’m not college educated, shit it took me five years to get out of high school, but that’s why my books relate to the common man. I also like Roald Dahl’s dark tones. Elmore Leonard is from Detroit; he’s another influence of mine.

You’re currently pitching the idea of Hyena to TV executives. How do you see it coming to life as a show?

I envision it going to streaming or subscription platform. People are moving away from regular TV, and I want to take steps forward with my work, not backward. Listen, there are brutal and raw moments in these books- and there’s no one to play me but me- so I sit down and pitch a mix of what’s on the pages of the book and me. There’s no other way. The more meetings I get, the more I see what stories get a reaction. Like when I read the story about my Dad telling me about eating my Mom’s ass as a way of explaining sex. Some networks think that’s crazy. But that crazy is my normal.

The new book, Hummingbird, takes the reader deeper into your world. It’s more personal than your previous work. Is writing a way to cope?

I always said that after Hyena I wouldn’t write another book. Writing it was tough, but selling it was even harder. You have to make people believe that your work is worth their time. Two of my homeboys OD’d on drugs that I gave them- those stories are in the new book- so I felt like I had to tell these stories as well. My writing is dedicated to so many people. So I wanted to give it back to them, in a way.
Your social media feeds make it clear you’re a classic rock, funk, and

Soul fan. What do you think of Hip Hop in 2017?

I don’t think about it. When you called me I was listening to Donnie Hathaway’s Greatest Hits. Now cats are making music for younger people. I don’t have the desire to keep up. When I’m driving, I’ll still listen to new rap out of Detroit, because that’s where I’m from, but new rap feels like a business. Kids are savvy, selling their shit to the masses. They’re using social media to stand on the shoulders of giants. I saw this Bieber/DJ Khaled video the other day, with product placements everywhere. Back in the day if you did that shit, you’d be called a sellout. But then KRS did it, Big Daddy Kane did it, and now it’s part of the game.

Your presence on Instagram is massive. Where do you find the content for “White People Wednesday”?

I just go to where the white people are (laughs). That’s where the shit is funniest. I find content on Reddit and Instagram. I make some memes, and I borrow some. I didn’t have an Instagram account until I wrote Hyena; I made it to sell the book. I have over 100 thousand followers on that shit, but I haven’t sold 100 thousand books, so I ain’t doing something right (laughs). Look, I always say when you see me with a flip phone- when I no longer have to post content- then I’ve made it; until then I’m still grinding.

Last one. Your ship is sinking, and the lifeboat only has room for you, one book, one record, and one drug. What are you taking with you?

Shit, that’s a hard one. I’m taking some sort of Methamphetamine so I can row that boat all damn day. Definitely, A Boy Scout’s survival guide, since I’m in survivor mode. And one record? Ok, since this is a rap thing I have to cater to that (laughs). Outkast, Aquemini. ———-

Huge thanks to Jude for his time. Be sure to follow him on Instagram @ onemorejude, and Snapchat @ Rude_Jude. Hyena can be purchased on Amazon.com, and grab Hummingbird today, September 19th here.

My name is J.D, the music fanatic, writer, blogger, and educator. I've been in love with hip hop since Bishop got too close to the ledge. If it moves me, I'll cover it. I've written an unpublished novel, created Shiny Glass Houses, and had my work featured on the Bloglin for Mishka NYC. I'm lurking in the shadows on twitter @ThexGlassxHouse. Read. Comment. Get money.
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#IndieSpotlight: N’awlins Rapper A. Levy Is Proclaiming Positivity Through His Music

“It’s a great time…even better it’s the best time of my career thus far.”

New Orleans rapper A. Levy wears many hats: hip-hop artist, audio engineer, t-shirt brand owner, father, and husband. His music is a mixture of lyrical storytelling, and golden era aesthetics, and contemporary production. “I’m influenced by a lot of things and try to touch on subjects I feel are neglected,” he tells AAHH in an interview.

The celebrated emcee started off his career making parodies and remixes of radio songs. “I’m from New Orleans,” he says, “so Mac, Fiend, Mystikal, No Limit and the Cash Money camp influenced me,” he says, also naming Nas, Outkast, and Kendrick Lamar who give him inspiration from to pen songs.

His journey has been long, with many drops along the way. “To date, I’ve released too many projects to remember,” he says with a laugh. “I started off under the name Young Duece. After a conversation with a local radio personality, I changed it to the most natural thing I could think of … my name.” Some of his past projects include Commercial Break, Best You Never Heard Of, Crashed Harddrive, Super Ugly, Crescent City Classic, and a few others.

“Right now, I’m working on collecting original production with no samples,” he reveals. “My heart tells me to do samples, but financially that’s not the wisest move when it’s time for radio, tv, movie and video game placements.”

He’s received a ton of recognition thus far. “The Source has covered me, XXL, 2DopeBoyz, BBC, performed in Thailand, London, Aruba and successfully did three national tours all in the last three years.” That has all been independent, too. “I’ve [also] been nominated for and won a few NOLA music awards,” he says proudly.

“I record mix and master my music,” he adds. “I book my shows and do my PR, all while holding down a full-time job. My studio — The Hut Studios –has been a local staple for the last decade for some of the best indie artists in the area. In addition to all that I also throw monthly showcases and festivals in the states.”

He is quick to note his primary goal as amassing as much influence as possible. “I want to put my city in the best and most accurate light possible. We’re a city full of lyricists, pop artist, and street artist, but to date, only one part of our story has been told prominently. I want to be a part of spreading positivity.”

“I’m signed to myself. I don’t foresee myself signing any major label deals. I’ve personally had horror stories and heard twice as many from my peers,” he says. Next up is more touring. Bigger and better stages. Festivals, TV, and radio are all in play right now.”

“It’s a great time…even better it’s the best time of my career thus far.”

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“Ye” Fails To Reintroduce Mr. West

At times, Kanye West’s polarizing media posturing is his strongest attribute. We can’t wait for the next idiotic gem to…

At times, Kanye West’s polarizing media posturing is his strongest attribute. We can’t wait for the next idiotic gem to rattle between his ears and tumble from his lips. That noise is great content; filling blog pages and gossip sites, sparking debate across social media and music platforms. But after a casual listen to Ye, his newest disaster, does his brand of pigeonholed creativity matter anymore?

This perpetual media circus is where Kanye operates best. He’s a freewheeling spirit; a madman at the boards, a producer with infinite vision and a MC with a caustic tongue. He’s a master at manipulating a turn of phrase while simultaneously dumping the world upside down-remember when he flippantly suggested that slavery was a choice? This sort of buffoonery is exactly what West has spoon-fed the public for the past few years; and still the world anticipates his every chess move with a panicked FOMO that only Kanye can induce.

West has mastered the art of celebrity, where nothing is sacred or left to our imagination. He lays low only long enough to manifest his next move. The past few months have been no exception. He’s been holed up in Wyoming and Utah crafting a series of projects aimed for release this month. Among them is a collaborative record with Kid Cudi, Ye,  Pusha-T’s Daytona, and an as-yet-untitled record from Nas. Kanye is apparently producing seven songs for each project, digging for samples through some 2,000 vinyl records he purchased and shipped out west.

This most recent version of Kanye is the one we cannot stop talking about. These days we’re constantly confronted by Kanye the enigma- the uncanny fool who can’t dislodge his foot from his mouth- until he releases new music. His art has a timely way of silencing the shit talking; of zeroing the critics back to his inevitable genius — which brings us up to speed in 2018.

Kanye’s production on Daytona will be ranked as some of the year’s best. On the flip side, his newest offering — the slim and trim Ye — is an unbalanced and easily forgotten mess. At a running time of twenty-three minutes it’s chaotic and disconnected, attempting to borrow the best working bits of The Life Of Pablo and Yeezus while ignoring any of the soulful introspection and self-depreciation that made us fall in love with the Old Kanye ages ago.

Take the album opener, “I Thought About Killing You”, for exactly what it is and you won’t be let down. West, the egomaniac, nervously vents about his punishing mental illness and nagging insecurities while never allowing the listener a second to process or feel what he’s living through. The song serves as a false entrance to a world that’s as contrived as the album cover, and hardly as deep as the internet will lead you to believe. Is Kanye really the poster boy that mental health is looking for? He certainly wants you to believe so.

For the album’s actual release, West invited hundreds of “influencers” to Wyoming for a listening party- the industry’s equivalent to a real time gallery walk. Kanye took his show on the road, and in the meantime alienated himself further from the culture he’s spent years crafting and molding into something people once truly believed in. Rather than hitting any impactfulmark by relocating his camp to The Equality State, he created an even larger gap between us and them.

Ye can’t help but put a serious divide between Kanye and his fans. There are moments that work, like the beautifully crafted “Ghost Town”, featuring a rejuvenated Kid Cudi and an incredible hook courtesy of 070 Shake (a star in the making), and the bouncy and biting “All Mine”, which contains plenty of chuckle-worthy bars like “I love your titties because they prove I can focus on two things at once”. But those moments of silly bliss are buried beneath cringe-induced, head scratching blunders which normally aren’t the defining moments of any Yeezy album.

By the time you get to the albums final three minutes, where Kanye recognizes his role as a father to little girls on “Violent Crimes”, you desperately want to believe in Ye, but the damage is done. Kanye West doesn’t want to get out of his own way, andhe might be too far gone trying to create, recreate, and monetize his Calabasas world to make something we can honestly believe in as common folks in 2018.

Kanye’s fall from grace is a marvel; complete with a public breakdown in 2016, a few hobo-chic fashion interludes, and a baffling reemergence into our consciousness with a pledging of love for Donald Trump. It’s without a doubt one of the strangest stories in all of popular culture. The problem is, Ye fails to captivate us as a re-introduction to Kanye West and this new chapter in his saga. It’s lackluster at best, which is a bar that’s far too low for one of hip-hop’s true trend setters.

Ye comes and goes without a single memorable moment. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Instead of debating the quality of the final product like we have so many times with Kanye releases in the past, we’re left with a mediocre soundtrack and the hollow images of famous people in Wyoming dancing around a bonfire.

 

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REVIEW: A$AP Rocky’s “TESTING”

Lifelong rapper, artist, and fashion mogul A$AP Rocky has at long last delivered his third album: TESTING. The project was…

Lifelong rapper, artist, and fashion mogul A$AP Rocky has at long last delivered his third album: TESTING. The project was quickly overshadowed by Pusha T’s synchronized drop that sparked beef with Drake, but still maintained relevancy with mixed reactions from fans and reviewers.

The project opens with an uncharacteristic bang on “Distorted Records,” and then settles in with a feature heavy remix of “A$AP Forever.” The next three tracks feel like a return to his previous album with trademark Rocky flows that lead into an interesting acoustic track featuring Kodak Black through a prison phone. The rest of the album seems to find its own voice and ends on a strong note with Flacko and Frank Ocean rapping over a distorted Lauryn Hill sample. Most had a positive reaction to Testing but some people claimed it was overhyped and even disappointing.

At first listen Testing is honestly hard to get through; it’s a dense project. This may have caused some people to write it off as lacking much progression from his prior work. But Testing is only dense because it’s Rocky’s most mature project to date. At 29 it seems as if the rap legend has finally honed in on his “too cool for you” style without even having any super notable lyrics. Flacko nails his verses on more experimental songs with consistency and swagger in place of lyricism. On tracks like “Brotha Man” and “Purity,” Rocky can be heard spitting/singing with the help of notoriously experimental artists Frank Ocean and Dean Blunt, but reels listeners back in with slaps like “Praise the Lord” and “OG Beeper.” The intro song to the album, “Distorted,” doesn’t seem to fit the project or introduce its vibe too well, but as a stand alone song it’s pretty decent.

And despite the awkward first track, once you’re a few songs deep the album does become cohesive. Rocky makes sure to pay his tribute to Bone Thugs and Three Six Mafia by blending in some chopped and screwed instrumentals, and somehow complements them with acoustic guitar and singing. It was this combo that really made Testing distinct from his previous work.

Overall, compared to Rocky’s electric, Ciroc infused debut album LONG LIVE A$AP, this project is more like a fine wine. I predict Testing will age better than his first two records because it’s scattered with gems that will easily skip your radar in the first few listens.

My favorite songs from the project are: “Praise The Lord (Da Shine),” “Brotha Man,” and “Purity.”

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