Why Do Rap Artists Love Suicide Doors?

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Date: Monday, January 9, 2012



Suicide doors—often referred to by automobile manufacturers as “coach doors” and “freestyle doors”—are car doors that are hinged on the side closer to the trunk rather than at the front. Sometimes rear-hinged rear doors are combined with front-hinged front doors (as in the photo above) to create a yawning effect when both doors are open. Popular in the early 20th century, suicide doors were largely abandoned by car manufacturers after the 1960s. They began reappearing sporadically, however, on new models in the late 1990s and early 2000s, around the same time they began appearing in rap lyrics.

Why did suicide doors fall out of fashion after WWII? It may have something to do with the fact that they’re not terribly practical. By some accounts, getting into and out of cars with front-hinged front doors and rear suicide doors requires careful maneuvering, since—if there’s no pillar between the doors—the front door must be opened before the back door can open. But the alternative, a rear suicide door that’s not secured by a conventional front door, can be dangerous: If the suicide door becomes unlatched while the car is in motion, the air flow will throw it open, making it very difficult to close. One automobile journalist has suggested that suicide doors may have been a murder weapon of choice among 1930s gangsters (and that the very name “suicide doors” may be gangster innuendo)—if you want to throw someone out of a car, it’s much easier to get his door open if it’s hinged at the rear than at the front. And suicide doors have been associated with 1930s outlaws in the popular imagination; consider the titular characters’ car in Bonnie and Clyde, or gangster-movie icon James Cagney in this photo.

This association might go part of the way toward explaining why suicide doors are so popular in hip hop lyrics, which often draw on gangster imagery. Songs like Jay-Z and R. Kelly’s “The Return” and 50 Cent’s “Gunz Come Out” place the term “suicide doors” in close proximity to allusions to gun violence. Suicide doors evoke an Al Capone-era vibe that jibes with the threatening demeanor rappers often cultivate.

More commonly, though, suicide doors are presented in hip-hop as luxury items. Relatively unusual on contemporary cars, suicide doors are a marker of an old or rare automobile—or one owned by someone wealthy enough to make complicated aftermarket modifications to his vehicle. Tity Boi mentions that his suicide doors are on a Bentley (“Call Tiesha”), while Wigs of Theodore Unit boasts that his suicide doors are on his “0-5 Benz” with “lazy-eye lights and the apple suede floors” (“It’s the Unit”). Gorilla Zoe’s “Take Ya Shoes Off” is an ode to a car that has not only suicide doors but also “mink seats bucket” and “suede on the roof”—a car so opulent that Gorilla exhorts everyone wishing to enter it to remove his or her footwear first.

Some romantically minded lyricists have used suicide doors’ capacity to open wide as a metaphor for sex. In “69,” T-Pain invites the object of his desire—for whom he has “been doin’ tongue exercises”—to exchange oral sex “in the back of my Lincoln with the suicide doors.” Juelz Santana’s analogy in “New Star in Town” is less subtle: “Let me open up your legs like suicide doors,” he pleads.

This request may not be a persuasive one, but Santana’s simile works (recall the yawning effect), and it highlights the symbolic richness of suicide doors: They can credibly evoke death, money, and sex—a lyricist’s trifecta.

Rihanna Named Top Selling Digital Artist

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Date: Monday, January 9, 2012



Adele may have ruled 2011 with the top album and single and Kanye West may be watching the throne, but it’s Rihanna who’s actually sitting on the throne, as far as digital tracks are concerned. The ”You Da One” pop minx has captured the title of best-selling digital artist of all time by Nielsen SoundScan, thanks to a whopping 47.5 million paid downloads of hits like “Umbrella,” “Rude Boy” and “We Found Love.”

Other artists have been in the game longer — such as Black Eyed Peas (No. 2 on the ranking, with 42.4 million), Eminem (No. 3, 42.2 million) and Beyoncé (No. 8, 30.4 million) — but RiRi has truly carved out her niche as a singles artist.

Of course, dropping releases at the rapid pace of one album per year doesn’t hurt. Check the top 10 best-selling digital artists below, and let us know your thoughts on where your favorites landed.

The 10 best-selling digital artists to date:

1. Rihanna (47,571,000)
2. Black Eyed Peas (42,405,000)
3. Eminem (42,290,000)
4. Lady Gaga (42,078,000)
5. Taylor Swift (41,821,000)
6. Katy Perry (37,620,00)
7. Lil Wayne (36,788,000)
8. Beyoncé (30,439,000)
9. Kanye West (30,242,000)
10. Britney Spears (28,665,000)

Jay-Z & Beyonce’s Bodyguards Control Lenox Hospital ICU

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Date: Monday, January 9, 2012


Over the weekend (Jan. 7), the music industry’s ultimate power couple welcomed their first child, Blue Ivy Carter. But not everybody is over the moon about Beyonce and Jay-Z’s new bundle of joy. One Brooklyn man is fuming over Bey and Jay’s presence at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital and insists that the celeb couple’s security denied him access to visit his premature newborn twins and wife in the intensive care unit.

Now, Neil Coulon is demanding an apology from the world’s favorite music couple, whose presence at the hospital seems to be having a disruptive effect. Allegedly, Bey and Jay’s bodyguards upset multiple New Yorkers by keeping new parents and their relatives out of the wards, waiting rooms and even hallways in order to protect Beyonce and Jay-Z’s privacy.

Coulon told New York Daily News “Three times they stopped me from entering or exiting the NICU and it happened once on Friday — just because they wanted to use the hallway.” The father continued, “They should have been more strategic about it. These are children with problems in intensive care and you’re just going to take over the hospital like you own it? “All I want is an apology.”

According to Coulon, the notoriously private celeb couple seriously crossed the line trying to ensure their seclusion in the hospital. “I know they spent $1.3 million and I’m just a contractor from Bed-Stuy [Bedford-Stuyvesant], but the treatment we received was not okay … My wife is just terribly upset. She had a C-section. She gave birth to twins … Nobody needs this … This is the NICU. Nobody cares if you’re a celebrity. Nobody is star-gazing. They just want to see their children. To have that circus roll into town and ruin our parade was unpleasant.”

Lenox Hill Hospital spokeswoman Anne Silverman responded to Coulon’s accusations saying, “We take patient satisfaction very seriously. This is the first time I’m hearing about it.”

Do you think Coulon and his family deserve an apology? And will Hov and B oblige his demands?

BREAKING NEWS: Beyonce’s Bouncing Baby Blue

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Date: Sunday, January 8, 2012


Beyonce has given birth to a baby girl. As E! News reports, the superstar welcomed Blue Ivy Carter late Saturday night (Jan. 7), delivering via planned C-section at New York City’s Lennox Hill Hospital. Reps have yet to confirm the story, and according to the New York Daily News, the baby’s name is actually Ivy Blue Carter.

Either way, famous friends have already begun tweeting about the momentous event. Russell Simmons congratulated the singer and husband Jay-Z early Sunday morning, followed minutes later by Rihanna.

“Welcome to the world princess Carter!” the singer tweeted. “Love Aunty Rih.”

The diva’s pregnancy has made headlines from the day Bey announced her baby news at the MTV VMA’s this past August. Since then, Mrs. Jay-Z has been accused of faking her pregnancy bump, reportedly built a 2,000 square foot nursery in her Manhattan penthouse, been given a crystal-encrusted baby bathtub for a shower gift and, oh yeah, released four music videos and a live concert DVD. Girlfriend had one busy pregnancy!

Congrats to both Bey and Jay. We can’t wait to see baby pics!

NAS’ KIDNAPPED CONCERT PROMOTER

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Nas’ concert promoter who was kidnapped at gunpoint in Angola is still stuck in the country — caught in a legal stalemate between Nas and the guy who allegedly kidnapped him .. and it’s getting worse by the day.

TMZ broke the story … Patrick Allocco — a U.S. concert promoter who booked an Angolan New Year’s Eve show starring Nas — was kidnapped after the Angolan concert promoter sent Allocco a $300,000 advance for Nas and the rapper ended up being a no-show.

We’ve learned Allocco — who was released from custody but is still prohibited from leaving the country — sent Nas the $300k, but now the Angola promoter wants not only the $300,000 back, but an additional $50,000 in expenses.

Here’s the deadlock. Nas is willing to send $300,000, but not the addition $50 grand. In addition, before Nas sends ANY money, he wants a letter from both Allocco and the Angolan concert promoter — releasing him from any liability.

So there’s a stalemate. And Allocco is stuck in a foreign land.

PUSHA T: ‘WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF’ VIDEO FULL OF CANDY

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Clipse rapper Pusha T has dropped off a drug-inspired visual for ‘What Dreams Are Made Of,’ one of the darker songs from his 2011 EP, ‘Fear of God II: Let Us Pray,’ which features the G.O.O.D. rapper amidst a mountain of coke lines, scales, straws, cash and bubbly, and even a live python.

The Jason Goldwatch-directed video was shot back in November, but premiered on Thursday (Jan. 5), thanks to Red Bull.

“[The clip] is arrogant, it’s a bit brash, it’s about excess, fast living and articulating a lifestyle, a lifestyle that we know very well,” Pusha revealed, while on set. “Lyrically, it’s about how our people fell victim to drugs, but it wasn’t all our fault: [Ronald] Reagan had a lot to do with that; don’t just blame us. If you love what I’m about and what I’ve been doing all these years, then it’s for you, and I’d be cheapening [the project] if I didn’t shoot a video for one of the harder records off of the EP.”

While the video generally illustrates the images conjured in the song, keen-eyed fans will note one item that stands out — a jar of jelly beans. When MTV queried as to the reason for the confection’s inclusion, Pusha explained that the jelly beans are a tribute to former president Ronald Reagan.

“Ronald Reagan was an avid jelly bean lover, so we’ve got to pay homage to him. We have to: He had a lot to do with this … the Ronald Reagan era was a tough time and a detrimental time to the black community, but we adapted,” Pusha explained. “I have a very mean couplet in this song that describes what Reagan did and how Nancy [Reagan] tried to be down too, so we decided to showcase that with the jellybean.”

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