The Guy Who Made the Brilliant 'Hypnotize'-Dinosaurs Video Wants to Go Full-Time

Update, March 26
ACTUALLY, NEVERMIND. Roberts canceled this campaign this morning. When asked about it, he writes to the Voice: "Decided that it wasn't the right move, and that I would be better off continuing to create work in my spare time." He's going to stay at his day job, after all. The original story is below.

Benjamin Roberts wants to keep hypnotizing people.

The 33-year-old Toronto man created a moderate internet hit recently with his YouTube video that cleverly combines Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize" and Dinosaurs, the Nineties ABC comedy. Now he wants to quit his "pretty awesome day job" and make similar videos full-time.

"I'm putting together a Kickstarter campaign to basically fund a salary for myself so I can do this full-time for a year," Roberts tells the Voice. "I'm trying to raise the average Canadian salary, which I'm going to use to make one mash-up per month for the next year."

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For Danielle Mastrion, There's Only One Way to Paint the Notorious B.I.G. in a New Light

Courtesy of Danielle Mastrion
Danielle Mastrion spray-paints a truck in front of her mural of the Notorious B.I.G. at the Bushwick Collective.
When news broke in May 2012 that Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch had passed, New York City was moved. And if New York was moved, so was Danielle Mastrion.

The painter and street artist was set to debut her first major public mural that week for the third cycle of the Centre-Fuge Public Art Project on the Lower East Side, when the tragic news caused her to quickly scrap her original idea in favor of a Beastie tribute. Midway through production (as she was using brushes, and not aerosol spray, because, you know, this Parsons-trained fine artist isn't going to veer away from her style just to fit in for her premiere), an omen appeared.

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Want to Buy Notorious BIG's Childhood Apartment in Bed-Stuy? Pony Up $725,000

It seems no one is immune to the apparent limitlessness of urban gentrification. And in the case against it, we now humbly submit into evidence Exhibit B.I..G.: Biggie Small's childhood Bed-Stuy apartment is on the market for a price as hefty as its original occupant, $725,000.

In much the same way Bushwick was once branded "East Williamsburg," Biggie's old apartment at 226 Saint James Place in Bed-Stuy is being billed by realtors as "Clinton Hill." The listing for it states that it's "Convenient to subway, shops, and restaurants."

Is this all a dream?

See also: The Top Five Notorious B.I.G. Trademarks

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Lana Del Rey's Top Six Hip-Hop Connections

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She's no longer an Internet phenomenon, but the moody singer Lana Del Rey has turned into something of an infatuation for rappers, who are more than eager to collaborate and canoodle with her. In honor of her headlining a series of shows at Irving Plaza this week, here's a short list of her notable hip-hop connections.

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Six Great '90s NYC Rap Demos

"Please listen to my demo!" That particular plea may no longer be heard coming from plucky upcoming rappers, what with the Internet age and all, but there's an undeniable pull about getting to hear the industry-ears-only dusty tapes that begat some of hip-hop's finest album moments. This week sees the release of a collection of Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit associate Latee's previously demo-only tracks; each is produced by future Jay-Z collaborator Mark The 45 King and hails from the early '90s, and the whole shebang is released as a premium-priced vinyl-only offering from the Diggers With Gratitude stable.

The Flavor Unit prospered from over the river in New Jersey, so here's a run-down of six great '90s New York City rap demo tapes that are now just a Mediafire muddle away. (Note: The Internet is filled with a lot of alleged and actually unreleased material; we've plumped for the perceived demos that come closet to offering up a stand-alone listening session, as opposed to one-off tracks. Curate this lot together as a playlist and you won't be disappointed.)

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Rakim (6) And The Notorious B.I.G. (3) Battle In A SOTC March Madness Meeting Of Hip-Hop Greats

​Sound of the City's search for the quintessential New York City musician enters Round Two this week, with battles in the Round of 32 daily. Keep up with all the action here.

Brooklyn's finest meets Strong Island's most prominent in a match up of two lyrical hip-hop powerhouses. Having steamrolled past the disingenuous hip-hop duo that is Black Star in the last round, Rakim is proving that age and experience are no barrier to success. The Notorious B.I.G, for his part, blitzed by Oneida and now looks to spar up to the MC who blazed legendary lyrical trails during hip-hop's golden era. Expect no pulled punches with this one.

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The Notorious B.I.G. (3) Takes On Oneida (14) As SOTC's March Madness Continues

​The Round of 64 for Sound of the City's own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—is a little jam-packed today, with six matches on the docket. (The schedule and results so far are here; the full, updated bracket is here.) Now we head across the river, where the Notorious B.I.G. (he of the currently gentrifying Bed-Stuy neighborhood) faces off against Oneida (they of the recently gentrified Monster Island complex) in a battle of Brooklyn old and older. Check out the arguments in favor of each below, and vote at Facebook for your favorite.

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The Top Five Notorious B.I.G. Trademarks

Today marks 15 years since the Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in Los Angeles, and even now there are constant reminders of his passing. I guess after that long, you get used to seeing reminders of him pretty often—the music, the bootleg t-shirts, the use of his image and most memorable lines by every streetwear brand. There were also certain items that always brought Young Christopher, and while this list would vary person to person (especially for those who knew him) but here are the five items that I think he made his own.

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The 10 Best Hip-Hop Album Skits

This next joint is getting lit for a tradition in hip-hop long since passed--not Iceberg sweaters, but album skits. There've been so many awful ones that the handful of good ones weren't enough to keep them from going to hell in a backpack. But a few were incredibly vivid--and funny. Of course, it helped if the rapper performing them sounded cool saying pretty much anything, a la Ghostface Killah ("It feel hot at night..."). Or they were performed by Dave Chappelle, who Talib Kweli brought on board to imitate Nelson Mandela.

As you read on, you'll realize that three out of the 10 skits collected here are Wu-Tang related. To anyone tempted to complain about that, I say: Fuck off. I'm from the Wally era.

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Barack Obama's White House Correspondents' Dinner Speech Runs Wild, Namechecks ODB

On Friday, we talked about how Beyoncé's participation in Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" program showed how the Obamas were interested in including a wider (and younger-skewing) swath of culture in official political life. On Saturday, President Obama's speech to the White House Correspondents' Association offered even more evidence. It was a shrewd move on Obama's part; though the event is ostensibly closed, Internet-disseminated videos of its speeches have been a postmortem fixture since Stephen Colbert's elaborate Bush satire in 2006. These speeches have become a way for presidents to temporarily drop the gravitas they're required to carry as symbolic heads of state and give the public an idea of their private character. Obama knew that the routine would be seen; moreover, he knew that he'd ordered the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, and in retrospect, you can see the swagger. He used the opportunity not only to utterly destroy Donald Trump, but to signal his cultural allegiances in subtle but powerful ways.

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