Friday, December 19, 2008
Last weekend I was in NY for the Notorious junket (and it was coold as hell. i also got stuck in a very small elevator for an hour and a half and it was quite tragic. i didn't even have an epiphany or memorable flash-back moment like they do on tv and in the movies. mostly i just wanted to GET THE HELL OFF).
Anyways, after seeing the movie, I had one clear conclusion: I feel sorry for Lil Kim.
I never was a Lil Kim fan. Her last album was cool, but other than that, I feel like she's largely responsible for female rappers going the way of the woolly mammoth. But damn, Biggie treated her like shit. I mean, yeah, we all knew that... but seeing even the censored version on the big screen was disturbing. I know Hollywood tends to exaggerate things, but it's a movie glorifying Big and his transition into manhood and it STILL made him look like he treated her like doo-doo-- so you gotta times that by at least 10 to get a better picture. She's like the epitome of an abused woman.
Then, at the junket, she was like the only person with a major role in the movie who clearly had nothing to do with the actual production. Yeah, I'm sure that things aren't exactly kosher with her and Faith-- but Naturi (who played her in the movie) said she didn't talk to her at all during filming and the director said she came by like one time. Wondering if there's not some bitter feelings there?
Anyways, the movie just showed how women, young women, can be manipulated and pressured to do things if they have low self esteem and no overall sense of self. Too bad that like 14 years later, the same thing is going on.
Best Song..."Royal Flush"- Big Boi feat. 3Stacks and Raekwon
Man, just think back to how you felt when you first heard this song leak. If you're anything like me, you listened to it like 7 times in a row. Then on the 9th listen you fully comprehended Dre's "they say change is dang-erous as a King standing on a terrace..." (don't front like I'm the only slow one) and you listened 10 more times in a row. You then ran and hopped in your bathtub and yelled "Go 3000!"
-"Warrick Avenue"- Duffy
-"Violet Stars (Happy Hunting)"- Janelle Monae
-"Daykeeper"- Foreign Exchange
Best Overall Album.... New Amerykah Pt. 1: 4th World War- Erykah Badu
I know a lot of people thought this album was weird, off-kilter, not as jamming as Mama's Gun or whatever. But just listen to the lyrics, on "That Hump" or "Master Teacher." I'm telling you. This is one of the those albums that maybe like 7-10 years from now people will get hip to and not understand why it wasn't more appreciated when it was released.
The Death of Adam- 88 Keys
-Leave It All Behind- Foreign Exchange
Best R&B/Soul Album....Foreign Exchange- Leave It All Behind
This really wasn't a good year for soul or whatever you want to call it. Really, I'm not even sure that FE's album really fits into this catagory, but for the sake of saving unnecessary confusion I'm saying it is. I know everyone loved the Raphael Saadiq album (Raphael is my favorite contemporary artist period and is severely underappreciated) but to be honest, I'm not feeling it like that. Yes, it's great musically, but I'm not interested in hearing him channel the 60s on his solo projects. I would've much rather have had a straight Saadiq project, ya know? Anywhoo. Foreign Exchange's production is elaborate and flawless... Tay's writing is complex and rich the vocals are soothing and emotive. This is a very moody, wonderfully sculpted project.
Jazmine Sullivan- Fearless
(Have you listened to her? This kid can't be 21. If she is, she clearly needed more parental guidance becuase she was definitely in some age-inappropriate relationships as a teen.)
Anthony Hamilton- The Point of It All
Best Hip Hop Album... 88 Keys- The Death of Adam
Now, I went back and forth between this, Q-Tip's Renaissance, Killer Mike's I Pledge Allegiance 2 and Face's Emeritus, but ultimately, the concept album wins out. Maybe it works best because dude pulled some of the best emcees in the game and got them all focused on delivering themed, in-depth verses (namely Redman). This jams though and shows what hip-hop is still capable of.
Killer Mike- I Pledge Allegience to the Grind
Best Verse... "I Gotcha" (first verse)- Killer Mike
I know this probably isn't actually the best verse of the year. Maybe I should just say it's my personal favorite because damned if I didn't ride down 85 blaring this through by blown tweeters, reciting this verse with all of might...
"...I'm the voice of Mike Vick sayin 'suck my dick!'/treat me like an animal and love them pits/hate to see me ridin but you love my 6/while your kids at the Best Buy buyin my shit/got me feelin like Tupac/hoppin out a new drop/got me feelin like a new pop/cuz I give the dope boys hope on the block/Michael Luther King to the sellers of the rock, ahhh!"
"Royal Flush"- Andre 3000's verse
Okay, I would do more but I've decided I'm tired and am now finished.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Been a couple of weeks, I know. Oh well. You don't come to this blog because I post regularly anyway. Wink.
I had to say something about this new Scarface album, Emeritus. Like Encylopeezia Brown says, every time you get tired of listening to hip-hop, Face drops a new album to make you remember why you ever liked it in the first place. This one comes right in time for Christmas.
I swear, every other day, I say I'm not listening to rap music any more. If it's not already in rotation, I'm not adding it. The shit sucks. And not because of the plethora of overexposed, inconsequential, under-achieving rappers clogging up hip-hop's music drain. I'm just grown, dude. And this genre unfortunately hasn't caught on to the fact that older artists make the best music like rock, jazz and even R&B has. It's like, even if you're 35 you have to still rap like your 19. It's retarded. But I'm being redundant. I said I wasn't gonna complain about it any more.
Anyways, this Face album jams- of course. I love Face because he is for real, the definition of consistency. He's like one of the dudes who I can still listen to the same way I did in '95, and not feel juvenile, immature or otherwise stunted in my growth while listening to him. Can't say that about many rappers... or artists period for that matter.
I've only been listening for a couple of days, but my favorites right now are "Who Are They" feat. Slim Thug and K-Rino (these dudes are really underrated). Also dig the Product song (if you weren't up on the Product and claim to like southern rap, shame on you). "High Note" jams too. Sounds like it could've been on Made-- Face is making love on the track, which is great. I mean, he always had a couple "girl" songs sprinkled here and there ("Goin Down," "Sex Faces," "Only Your Mother," "Heaven") but he's really been on the female tip lately-- and the results have been great. Dude's story telling is topnotch. If you rap and want to know how to make a song about relationships w/o sounding corny or degrading, take note.... speaking of making great relationship songs--what the hell ever happened to Field Mob? But yeah, check the album out should you get a second. Great plantation music.
*Just spotted this... had to come back and post because it went so well with my earlier post.
On a random(er) side note: Make sure you're at Sugar Hill this Saturday (Dec. 6) if you're in Atlanta. I've been looking forward to seeing the Foreign Exchange, Yahazarah, Darien Brockington, Stacy Epps and my favorite indie Atlanta rapper, my boy, Small Eyez for weeks now. This is gonna be a great show-- don't sleep, seriously.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It seemed like "hating" bloggers worst criticims of Soulja Boy were validated in late October when Toure released an interview with the Supa-manning rapper where he said, "Shout out the slave masters! Without them we'd still in Africa...we wouldn't be here to get this ice and tatoos!"
Insert: Hysterical backlash from every thinking person in America who caught wind of this.
But earlier this week, hiphopdx.com featured an interview with Soulja Boy about his inflammatory, insane comments. Soulja Boy claims that his comments were taken out of context and that he was actually being sarcastic because he didn't want to do the interview with Toure anyway. He says that he had seen the interview that he did with his pals, Bow Wow and Omarion and he knew that Toure would be out to hurt him.
"He was out for me to say something stupid so he can hurt me with [it]," Soulja Boy said. "And that’s what he did. So you know, it is what it is. Man, fuck Toure."
Now, I'll be the first to admit that Toure is a little annoying. Hell, who am I kidding? Dude irks the shit outta me. And yes, he does seem to like to try to bait artists into being stupid with his stupid questioning. But is it really his fault if they take the bait? And to be honest, I think it's easy to believe without question that Soulja Boy would say something so stupid. I mean, this is the creator of "Yah Trick Yahh!".
So what do you think? Was Soulja Boy really being sarcastic? Were his comments taken out of context? Or is he really a dumb ass? Or... do you not care any more because Obama won?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The following is a letter Cherry Jones, Ol's Dirty Bastard's mom, would like to release to the media (in her own words) -
Four years ago today marks one of the most tragic days in my life when I lost my son Rusty whom many of you know as Ol' Dirty Bastard. For the past four years I have sat back and watched certain individuals try and tarnish my sons beliefs. My son loved every single one of his children and every single one of their mothers and provided for them all the best he could when he was alive. My son was an extremely generous soul. In the past four years, my daughter has portrayed me very poorly in law, Icelene. While I am very upset with my daughter in law's false remarks towards me, I am more upset by the way the other children Rusty had fathered and cherished are not being taken care of properly. I am also outraged that it appears Icelene has been diverting money away from the other children and taking out personal loans against Rusty's Estate Assets. She has gone through numerous attorneys and her new attorneys have racked up numerous amounts of legal fees and have accomplished nothing. The fans want my son's last album, which they are not allowing Koch to drop.
I'm not a lawyer or a judge but the children's attorney, the Estates lawyer Donald David and Jeremy Shure and the Judge Margarita Lopez Toress seem to have no interest in stopping Icelene from looting the estate. In fact many of the mothers have recently hired their own attorney's for the children because some of them felt that the attorney that Judge Margarita Lopez Torres appointed for them wasn't properly representing their children. He hasn't showed up at depositions, he hasn't done anything to protect my grandchildren. How can you allow someone who has spent over six figures and taken out personal loans against estate assets to continue? Even the bonding company who bonds the Estate is fighting to get out because of the fraud she has committed on the Estate.
It also troubles me that Ferrar and Strauss, a division of Macmillan, are publishing a book about my son's life. After my son got out of prison, Dirty's manager, Jarred Weisfeld, and I received a call that Rolling Stone wanted to do an interview with Dirty. We said ok and allowed the person to interview him. She came back for one more interview, which took place at a concert. The article never appeared in Rolling Stone however it did appear in The Village Voice. After my son passed this author who knew my son for only a few hours decided to write a book and asked Jarred and myself to take part in it. We declined and asked that she not use any part of the interview she conducted with my son, in her book, but she did. I am asking all of Dirty's fans to boycott this book as none of the proceeds are going to his children and this authors motives and intentions seem to be to disgrace my son's legacy.
Also, quotes from lawyer, Robert Shapiro, in yesterday's newspaper, are shameful. The fact that an attorney who represented my son for less than a minute, would comment and speculate on my son's health to get his name in print is disgraceful. The world knows that Robert Shapiro was not really my son's attorney and his real attorney was like a second father to him and his name is Peter Frankel, one of the only people who went above and beyond the call of duty for my son and whom I love dearly for that.
I hope next year my son's final album will be released for the 5th Anniversary of his passing. It pains me to have to write this on the day of his passing but I needed to address this.
I know my son would have been at that rally in Chicago when the first African American President was elected and I'm sure he would have gone up on stage and grabbed the microphone as only he could.
Lastly today is a very sad day not only for me but also for my entire family including Dirty's father and his siblings and children. I will always love my son Rusty and I will always make sure all of his children are taken care of.
His loving mother, Cherry Jones
Friday, November 7, 2008
Add that to the fact that my girl STACY EPPS (please don't sleep on the Awakening) and my boy SMALL EYEZ along w/ Yahzarah are all gonna be peforming too and you have one helluva show.
Can't wait for this!!
(Tix are $18 in advance, $23 at the door)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I woke up this morning feeling...different. To be honest, I kind of felt like if I turned on the morning news, I would see chaos in the streets, everything turned upside down, clouds lying on the grass, or just... something. America just elected it's first black president. It's surreal. Just last year around this time, black folk were gathered in Louisiana protesting the unjust treatment of some kids who got in a schoolyard fight and caught felony charges because they were black.
My feeling of different-ness followed me to the gas station. Dude, we have a black president. A black president who is married to black woman. A for real black woman at that-- darker skinned, and just... black. As I pumped my gas, a lady was coming out of the store, talking to her friend about the voting lines yesterday. I smiled at her. You know, one of those knowing smiles where it's like you're exchanging some sort of private information even though the person on the other end is a complete stranger. The lady looked sorta taken aback. She didn't really return my "knowing smile" instead she gave a quick "good morning" and gave me the strange eye. Her look clearly said, "what the hell is this weird woman looking at me for?" Actually, in Atlanta it very well could've been the Smokey, "I don't do that gay shit" look. I frowned and finished pumping my gas. Maybe I was tripping.
When I walked into work it still felt like, well, work. My co-workers were excited, no doubt... but the truth is, I still have to meet my writing quota (yes, suh! weees still have writin' quotas, massa). I dunno, I guess with the election of America's first black president, I kinda expected there to be a party in the streets. You know, like carnival. Or like Kenya, at least (they declared Thursday Obama Day).
Then, I talked to my brother. My brother is probably one of the least emotional cats you'll ever meet. I love him to death for it too-- his perspective is respected because it's like, rarely tarnished by super-emotional reactions.
Super Excited Jacinta: Dude, isn't this exciting?
Brother: Yeah, it's cool.
Super Excited Jacinta: Don't you feel different?
Super Excited Jacinta: Seriously, don't you kinda feel like it's a new day or something? Brother: Um, well I think it means we're moving closer to socialism.
Excited Jacinta: Well, may be so. But it's still exciting... like something will change. Brother: I mean, there will still be racial profiling. Niggaz will still be getting harassed by cops tomorrow...
Not So Excited Jacinta: Yeah, you're right about that.
Brother: Anyways, I'm about to go teach P.E. I'll holler.
Semi-Deflated Jacinta: Peace.
I sat and thought about what he'd said, his take on the whole thing. He's a black man. He's a straight-shooting, young family oriented dude. Hell, he's actually a product of the generation that all of the news organizations so gung-ho about-- this new generation that "doesn't see race as a factor." Yet, he's been harassed by fascist police repeatedly... So, he has a point. Maybe this is just an opportunity for smug white folks to throw a blanket over years and and years of institutionalized racism, declaring everything racist dead because we have a black commander in chief. Maybe cops in NY will continue shooting black men for pulling out their wallets-- only this time, with no public outcry because racism is dead (see: black president).
Even still. Dude, we have a black president. I couldn't help but start smiling again at the thought. I remembered again the sight of Obama hugging and genuinely loving his black wife on live TV for the entire world to see. I started smiled harder. Then I talked to one of my home boys on the ever-annoying G-Chat.
Newly excited Jacinta: Dude, we have a black president!
Homeboy: I know... I still won't believe it til January.
Realistic Jacinta: Hahaha. I was waiting for you to say something sarcastic/realistic.
Homeboy: This shit is incredible. But yeah man....
I guess the reality is, people are surprised and hopeful. But at the end of the day, we're still way too scarred to forget what was going on just the day before Obama won. I guess only the future will tell how far we've really come in terms of race, and what this win will do for the black community, and the consciousness of the black folks (and white for that matter). I guess for the first time in a long, long time, I'm actually excited to see how it all plays out.
(Oh, and did ya'll see the HOLOGRAM on CNN? I ain't gonna lie- that shit freaked. me. out.)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Just got the news that JAX of Binkis Recs passed away last night. He was rocking a show at Lenny's (and if you've ever gotten to see Binkis live, you know they rock) and he passed out. He later passed away.
I didn't know Jax like that, but I know Craig (Flux) well. Heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to him and the rest of the Binkis fam. The Atlanta rap scene won't be the same.
Life is short. Appreciate what you have.
See a full story on Jax at Creative Loafing.
Monday, November 3, 2008
First Melo cuts his hair. Now Iverson is on his way to Detroit and Chauncey Billups is on his way back home.
The Nugget's season should be interesting... Here's hoping George Karl gets the hell on by the end of November. No offense to dude, but he's clearly done all that he can do in Denver.
Friday, October 31, 2008
See, this what ya'll get for constantly defending this little dude.
"Oh, he's only 17!"
"Oh, he's only for the kids!"
"Oh, stop hatin! He's smart, he knew how to work YouTube!"
Like I've been saying-- Soulja Boy's age is no excuse for the coonery. How old was Ice Cube when he first emerged and was writing rhymes for Eazy-- like 16? Mac Mall's Illegal Business was made when he was 16. L.L. emerged when was like 16. Hell, even Will Smith was a teenager when he came out. "Parents Just Don't Understand"-- now that's a song "for the kids."
This kinda shit is what happens when you consistently excuse people's coonish behavior, or write it off as not that seriuos. This little dude clearly needs some positive mentors in his life-- someone to knock him upside the head and help him understand the very basics of himself and his culture, before he goes out flashing his ignorance for the world to see. Which one of these rappers is gonna step up to the plate?
It's not enough to keep complaining about it. We all have to actively do something to address stuff like this.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Psst....(No downloads, google on your own- I'm on the Plantation folks).
Q-Tip-The Renaissance... Dude. This album has got to be one of the best releases of the year. Hell, it just might be favorite, and I've only been listening to it for a couple of days. If every artist that goes on hiatus came back sounding like this, we wouldn't have so many complaining ass bloggers. Oh, and ATTENTION SILLY RAPPERS: This album is a real example of songs "for the ladies." Please take note.
The Foreign Exchange- Leave It All Behind... I'm telling you, don't sleep on Phonte's talents, man. This dude is the truth. Having the ability to go back and forth between writing rhymes and writing full-on love songs takes more ability than you'd think, seriously. Tay gets his John Mayer on (complex simplicity with the writing) and Nicolay's production is so easy to listen to. Man, I listen to this all day on the plantation.
John Mayer-Continuum... I LOVE John Mayer. Seriously, he's the only white boy I know that could get it. I joke. There are a few.
Duffy- I actually don't have this album. And as depressing as it is, I absolutely LOVE "Warrick Ave" (Wale did a good job on his version too) .
John Legend-Evolver- This album has really had to grow on me. But I truly, truly dig John Legend and his cowardly lion-esqe-vocals. Once Again is one of my favorite albums of the 2000s. Anyways.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So I was at the anti-gun violence event the other day with T.I., Killer Mike, Shirley Franklin, Richard Pennington (the police chief) and hosted by Andrew Young. They were on the panel talking and anyone who's ever heard Mike or Tip speak know they're both funny, engaging, intelligent and able to articulate their points well.
This older dude standing next to me like whispers to his friend, "man these guys are really smart..." all surprised. And really, why shouldn't he have been surprised that two rappers were intelligent? Listen to the radio and figure it out. Which got me to thinking...
Remember back when rappers were smart?
Back in the day it was just normal for a rapper to be intelligent. It was damn near like, if you weren't smart, you couldn't rap, cuz you'd have nothing relevant to talk about. And by and large, super deliberate mediocrity didn't fly back then. I guess because the genre was just taking flight and attempting to be validated-- so you know, no room for BS.
KRS-1, Chuck D, Latifah, Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, LL... all of these people are intelligent. Even the rappers that the media wanted to present as being "thugs" and "gangsters" were smart-- Eazy E, Ice Cube... Like even if you weren't on no political, smart-guy thing, you still weren't looked at as being just stupid. Even the Fat Boys weren't looked at as dumb-- they were just silly--- characters to be taken lightly.
I think rappers started getting dumb around '97, '98-- you know, the dreaded two years that all hip-hop heads believe were the beginning of the downfall of this matrix we now call rap. Even in the 90s, artists like Eightball & MJG, DJ Quik, Common, Tribe, E-40, etc. were obviously intelligent in their own ways. Then... rap music started slipping from a musical standpoint and with it went the lyrics. Next went the thoughtfulness and finally, the intelligence.
I think we're starting to move back to the days of smarter rappers. Everything moves in cycles as we all know. I just can't wait until the day these happy-to-be-dumb rappers get the boot completly.
T.I. voted today and I still haven't. Dude, I'm worried as hell about getting caught in the voting traffic. Last election it was about a 2 1/2 hour process. This year... shied. Gotta get up early tomorrow and make it happen.
Oh, and if you're in Georgia and voted early, make sure you click the link below and make sure it doesn't say that your vote is still pending.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Matter of fact, Denver was one of the strongest markets for the Black Panther party and later the Black militants that were born out of the group, believe it or not. A lot of Cali transplants are there.
Anyways, this is a dope ass song- "Food Chain Letter #1" by Food Chain, produced by Mic Coats. Whaddup, Jae!
Monday, October 27, 2008
The debate is on, and we're half-watching it, but mostly still just talking amongst ourselves when all of a sudden Khalil busts out "Obama!" and points. I'm a little surprised, but his mom tells me that he knows both presidential candidates. To prove it, she points to John McCain and asks Khalil to identify him. "McCain," he answered easily, practically shrugging.
Then, yesterday, my mom calls me all excited. "Guess what Seraiah just said!?" Now, no doubt, I get one of these phone calls at least twice a week. I'm the oldest in my family and I have no children. So you can imagine how long my mom had been waiting for one of her three children to pop out a grandseed. Now that said Grand-Seed is here, most of our family discussions now circle around one of her many cute 1-year antics. Kinda lame, but eh. What are you gonna do?
So, my mom proceeds to tell me that my niece was sitting on the couch playing, when all of sudden she looked up and busted out "Obama!" Mind you, she's 1 year-old. Apparently Obama was actually on the TV screen.
Dude, I know this is a historical election, but since when did BABIES start getting involved and knowing the candidates?? Really. Forget Malcolm or Martin, Obama is the new Elmo. He's ALWAYS on TV. Anyways, I just found that funny. I'm gonna hate to see what happens if God forbid, dude loses....
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I'm hella late with this, but oh well. Got some cool pictures from the opening of Sk8tique in Little 5 this past Friday. It was hella hot, but cool. I ran into my boys Spree and later A.Leon outside and shared the feeling that I was in for an evening of semi-pretensiousness based on the line outside of the store. I mean, it was the opening of a skateboard shop, not the return of Visions. But once inside, it was pretty cool.
Speaking of cool... the Cool Kids (yes, that was a corny ass transition) were freestyling with Em, er, Asher Roth. I'm joking about Asher. He's a cool little dude, but damn if he don't sound like Eminem circa 1999... Or now based on Em's latest ditty. Should be interesting.
Then, I ran into one of my favoritest rappers, Mistah FAB (mostly because dude is just smart as hell) and my other favorite rapper of all time (aside from Face), E-40 and his big ass Sic' Wid It Chain. Which reminds me...
I was having a discussion with my boy, Bay Area Ali and Encyclopeezia Brown the other week about 40 being recognized at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors next year. Of course, we all thought that it only made sense that 40 be next up to represent for the west coast. No diss, but if they can honor Cypress Hill, surely 40 Wata is worthy, right? Then, I got to thinking. If they're only doing one west coast artist, maybe 40 should be skipped next year in favor of Digital Underground. Dude, Shock G is clearly one of the most underrated artists in hip-hop EVER. Think about all of the things he spawned.... As an old bio of his reportedly said, "he was Andre 3000 before Andre 3000."
Anyways, that was me off on a tangent. Check out some more pics.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
"We Saying the Same Shhh"- BigYo featuring Big Rube
This is for all the people who miss the quality and creativity of mid-90s southern rap music. You know, all of you folks who came up listening to Big Mike, Mr. Mike, Face, Geto Boyz, Ball & G, UGK, Tela, Skinny Pimp, Outkast, Devin the Dude, Goodie MOB... the cornerstone artists of southern rap music.
It's sad that now, when you think of southern rap, those artists are not the first folks that come to mind. You think more Joc than Cunninlynguist. More V.I.C. than Killer Mike. More (insert random 1-song rapper) than Nappy Roots or Big Floaty.
Anyways, BigYo is from Memphis, and it comes through musically. Plus, any song where Big Rube is rapping is good enough for at least a listen from me.
PROTON - FADE AWAY from PROTON on Vimeo.
I don't think I've seen Larry's hair since we were in college together (I think we were the most vocal folks in our Humanities class), but this is a cool video and a dope song. Download the mixtape.
New Jazzanova feat. Phonte- "Look What You're Doin To Me"
(From the forthcoming LP, 'Of All the Things' coming 10/24 on Sonar Kollektiv/Verve Records)
Friday, October 10, 2008
So, I saw Religulous last night. I dig Bill Maher. Always have. Still do, even though I sometimes don't agree with him. Let me first say that I'm a "Christian" (note the quotations), and I already knew what type of movie this was going to be. Again, I watch Bill Maher whenever I can (since I ain't got HBO) and am familiar with his feelings about religion. Basically, the movie was about how religion essentially has destroyed the world because people only use it to promote their own selfish, destructive, evil agendas.
Now, there, I agree 100 percent. I can't even list all of the atrocities that have been committed under the guise of being religious or adhering to some bogus, make-believe religious standards. The European Slave Trade in the name of Christianity is the first that comes to mind.
But beyond that, Bill ranted and raved about how the stories of the bible sound like fairy tales, calling on instances like Adam and Eve in the garden being tempted by the snake (the devil), Jonas in the whale (or "big fish"), Jesus' virgin birth to exemplify his point. He did the same with Muslims and touched a little on Mormonism and Scientology.
The few people that were scattered in theater I was at clapped and hooted at what they believed to be clever sarcasm from Bill about his overwhelming doubt and disbelief in such "bullshit." I think a lot of the people will leave the theater believing that they are somehow more intelligent, aware and analytical than the average believer because they have the wherewithal to question faith. *Note, I said "faith" not "religion." There is a critical difference between faith and religion. Faith is more about your spiritual walk with the Father, religion is simply a bunch of acts put together to make you feel like you're really doing something important. It's much more selfish and vain.
My thing is, not having faith or having extreme doubts about the legitimacy of any particular religion doesn't make you smarter. It does not make you any more intelligent than the average bear, it doesn't even make you different. In fact, it makes you very, very average.
Since the beginning of time, man has doubted God, defied God and tried to humanize God. Here in America, we've westernized God and Jesus. "Jesus doesn't care about ( insert random thing) He's too busy..." We say that because here in America, we're too busy to do simple things like care about societal ills or whatever else. But God ain't human, and that's precisely the point. We've also adapted to visualizing a white Jesus and applying European characteristics, tendencies and ideologies to Him, which is, well tragic, especially when you consider the extended behavior of Europeans.
I can only speak from a Christian perspective, but I can't tell you how many folks I know who claim to be Christians and never read the bible. How on earth can you really serve a God that you know nothing about? Or better yet, how can you love a God that you don't really even know?? um, no wonder you spend your time wallowing in doubt.
I think people look at religion, or Christianity in particular as something mystifying and all super deep, when really it's simple. The same way you don't just love your boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse just because your mama or daddy told you to, or because you heard they did something nice for you, you can't really love God just because you heard it was the thing to do. You love your girl or your man because you know them. You know their ways. They make you feel loved. They bring out your better qualities.
Even worse than the non-readers are the folks who take something another man (their preacher) says at face value, without question. Uh, last time I checked, that was in direct disobedience to what the bible says. You think I'm gonna listen to Eddie Long or Creflo Dollar or anyone else for that matter without double checking to see if they're feeding me self-congratulating lies? (Which too many of these prosperity preachers are, but that's another topic) Dude, seriously. We got to get a collective clue.
Anyways, after the film was over, I was mostly just left feeling the same way I feel whenever I leave the Velvet Room or some snooty industry event that I've chosen to wear my Adidas' to-- Like everyone around me believes themselves to be super cool, but really they're just dumb.
The bottom line is: I just don't think it's that intelligent to question the legitmacy of God and religion-- heck, everyone does. If you've never done so, you're lying to me and yourself. It should be natural. The real question is, what was your conclusion? Faith in what is unseen, but what you know is right? Or following the crowd and lingering in your very average doubt?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
My dude Emman "Small Eyez" Twe just recorded this banger of a track with Nicolay, featuring Antonio Dye-- "Soul Incredible."
I've been saying Eyez is destined for stardom for sometime now, and looks like things are coming full-circle for him. '09 should be something serious for him.
And speaking of Nicolay... Foreign Exchange Leave It All Behind became available on i-tunes on Oct. 7. I personally haven't been able to download it yet... but from the sampler it sounds great. Tay says that they are even going on a mini-tour in support of the project, which is great, especially since him and Zo didn't make any rounds with the summer release Tigallo and Zo Love the 80s. Anyways, I pleaded with him to come to Atlanta (well, mostly just suggested) so we'll see.
Don't think dude was just randomly bashing McCain. We talked about recent experiences he had in small town TX where racism was not only alive and kicking, but part of the everyday fabric of life there. (Much like in small town Kansas, where my dad still for whatever God forsake reason, still lives). I asked him about his survival tips for the Recession/Depression-- his answer was simple... "stop spending money on bullshit..." That's actually what prefaced his comment about not caring about shoes, cars, etc. The cool thing about Face is, he means it.
Can you name me one song where he brags about how much more he has than his fans/listeners? I can't even think of song where he just mentions his jewels, etc. Why? Simple: There's better shit to talk about. And he does.
Anyways, it was cool to see him playing the guitar too. He's left handed (like all smart people are *wink) and he was playing it backwards. Actually, he was supposed to play the guitar during the Isaac Hayes tribute, but for whatever reason, they never got him a proper guitar to play ("they" being label folk).
Anyhoo, Scarface is the man.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Check here for part 1....
A little over a month ago, I was covering a listening event with L.L. Cool J. The publicist had set up a little time for media to do some quick, shoot from the hip interviews. So, I'm waiting for my turn-- when a certain blogger kinda D-Bo's his way in front of me. My homeboy, who was also waiting for his interview after me, is like "dude, she was here first, then me..." The publicist slides up and clarifies that he actually had promised dude to be next, and apologizes. Everyone was cool with it.
So dude slides up into the booth to interview L and.... whips out a damn camera phone. Read that again. A camera phone... to do a video interview with L.L. Cool J. As surprised as I was by this, I was later told it really isn't that uncommon for cats to interview folks with camera phones these days. After all, everyone has a website or a blog--and who has the professionalism to invest in their craft?
Remember back when blogs were for folks who were writers or editors and needed a platform to express things that weren't necessarily fit for the publication or site that they worked for? Remember when blogs were folks who, even if they weren't writers by trade, still had insight into a particular field/business/subject that made them qualified to speak on it? Remember when blogs weren't for folks who think interviewing stars on freakin' camera phones is acceptable?
See, this is the problem with the scene in Atlanta. Everyone thinks they are the scene. These days there's as much media around as there are lame ass rappers. Unqualified "media" I might add- clogging up events, parties, shoots, etc. with their camera phones, getting "content" for make-believe, fledging sites and publications. It's terrible, really. Pathetic at best. Who are the pr folks who are legitimizing/accomodating these confused people? Like really?
And since when did it become cool for bloggers to provide no legitimate information about any particular subject? Since when did it become cool to simply hate for the sake of hating? That's all these celebrity bloggers do-- hate on artists. Yet, artists and publicists still clamor to be acknowledged by them. It's the sheep theory in full effect if you ask me.
Now, I'm not suggesting that every genre doesn't have its fair share of throw-away, lame, wack, sensationlistic publications/sites. But with hip-hop or "urban" music in particular, we don't have enough legitimate ones to balance or completely overshadow the rest. Our "big" publications are mediocre at best (with few exceptions). Now, with the market flooded with an influx of camera-phone bloggers/writers, things just aren't looking good. And I don't expect nothin to change any time soon.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday I got a chance to check out a cool exhibit at Atlantic Station- Dialogue in the Dark. Basically, it's an exhibit that tries to give you a sense of what it would be like to be blind. You get maneuvered through various rooms-- which recreate real life situations that you might face, like grocery shopping and walking across a busy street-- all in complete and utter darkness. There was a guide in the room, telling our group where to go-- what to feel for etc., but you pretty much had to completely trust that the knew what the heck they were doing-- because they couldn't see either (actually, most of the group leaders were blind themselves). Anyways, it was very cool, a little irritating/disturbing but overall a great experience.
Of course you know my analytical self couldn't help but draw some life comparisons. I mean, a lot of times these days I kinda feel like I'm navigating my way through the dark, just trying to feel my to the right direction. Not that I'm a lost soul or still stuck in an early 20s "finding myself" phase, I'm just sayin. There's a lot going on right now. My bank just got bought out. My job has been firing longtime employees left and right without any explanation. My Neon is thirsty for some 4.39 cent gas--- you get the picture.
Funny thing is, I've discovered that most folks enjoy walking around in the dark- or with their eyes closed. In some warped way, it makes them feel safe not knowing what is out there, or seeing reality. That way they don't have acknowledge and deal with the truth-- they can keep blindly following illusions. Meanwhile, they let our self-imposed "leaders" guide them-- even though they really can't see either. Dig? Not trying to be on anything deep- I'm just sayin, the great Willie D said it best-- "it's the blind leadin' the blind."
Anyways, if you get the chance- go see the exhibit.
FYI.... Johnson & Jonson is jelly jammin.
Friday, September 26, 2008
So I was at Killer Mike and Yelawolf's show last night- and realized just a few minutes ago that me and Yela have the same boxers. Cool, right?
Anywhoo, the show was good, even though the crowd was kinda thin- probably because Gripplyz and Supreme's show and Broke & Boujee were all going on at the same time. Nevertheless, Ashanti was ferocious on the violin (that they call a fiddle) and DJ Artime was still spectacular on the drums and the tables. That's why we voted Yela Best Live Hip Hop Act in Atlanta.
Mike's show was great too-- especially his spontaneous commentary. Although I was kinda mad he didn't do my current favorite song on the album- "Gotcha" ("just wakin up like a grown ass man, clutchin my nuts, the world ain't holdin my hand/standin at the window with a rifle in hand, getting my Malcolm X on lookin at this van..."--dope ass opening bars). I was also mad he only did the first verse to my other favorite song, "God In the Building" where he has one of my favorite lines on the album-- "the wages of sin is death, not the chain gang." That's why we voted him Best Local Lyricist.
But anyways it was cool-- great recession music.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I'm against the death penalty. I never understood how a system that is so intrinsically flawed could be trusted with the ability to decide whether a person should live or die. Actually, I've never understood how humans, who are so intrinsically flawed could be trusted with the decision to decide whether a person should live or die. Vigilantes-- I get. Trying someone with a jury in a courtroom that can never be impartial-- not so much.
Anyways, Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed tonight. Please call 404.656.5712, the Georgia Board of Pardons, and simply say "I'm calling to ask for clemency for Troy Davis." It only takes like 15 seconds once you get through, like literally.
Read more about his case HERE.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Anyways, I had some encounters with some big gospel stars who were in attendance. Let me just say that they were very stand-offish and self-important. T.I. is far more personable. Killer Mike is far more personable. Big Kuntry, Alfamega and even Bun B (who spends a lot of his time looking like he doesn't want to be bothered- and hell, who can blame him?) are all far more personable. So much for being Christ like.
After that encounter, the next day I was semi-harassed by a popular Houston rap artist not named Bun B, Scarface, Lil Flip, Z-Ro, Paul Wall or Mike Jones. He was upset because of an audio interview the plantation did with another rapper regarding some of his recent activities. Mind you, this was an audio interview-- meaning just the audio was posted, meaning there was no manipulation or sensationalism added on the part of the writer. Why on earth would you call a publication tripping on something someone else said in an interview? Like, really.
I'm so beyond being sick of rappers not named Killer Mike, Phonte, Bun, Scarface, Andre 3000 or Devin. Like seriously dude. The hell is wrong with ya'll? People are so wrapped up in their make-believe, Rapperville world that they've completely isolated themselves from actual reality. They've become the character that they are on wax, and think that everyone should relate to them as such. They've forgotten that for the rest of the free world, hip-hop is just that... hip-hop. Not life.
Needless to say, both of these events had me very irritated. I'm tired of posers. Tired of fakers. Tired of sheep. Then, this morning I came across this video.
Now I have a new word for them. Agents. I'm tired of agents. Wake up or get ran over.
This sounds like taking a bubble bath while it's raining outside, the room dimly lit by candles. It sounds like driving down the interstate with the sky overcast, your belly full and nothing but your thoughts to keep you company. It sounds like cleaning up your living room with incense burning and the football game on mute.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I dig this video and Kaos. Can't help but wish a chick woulda made the song... but then again, maybe it has more impact for a man to acknowledge this epidemic. Like it's validating or something.
Anyhoo, Nicole aka Severe does the damn thing breakdancing... I honestly don't remember it being this jammin the first time I heard at the Women in Hip Hop panel I was on at the A3C Festival. But yeah... cool song.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
It never fails to crack me up how artists turn themselves "on" whenever a camera is around. This is hee-larity courtesy of ya boy, Young LA. Also, PLEASE stop saying "swag." Like, seriously. It's dead.
Monday, September 8, 2008
So "Daykeeper" feat. Muhsinah is the new lead single from Foreign Exchange's (Phonte & Nicolay) upcoming album, Leave It All Behind. As I mentioned before, it drops in early October.
ALL VOCALS AND VOCAL ARRANGEMENTS: Phonte and Muhsinah
ALL INSTRUMENTS: Nicolay
Is Phonte not the hardest working dude in rap music? Seriously, he just dropped Zo & Tigallo Love the 80s, now he has this project-- and the coolest thing about it all is that he's not only doing hip-hop. He's like, dipping in and out of genres. Ain't too many cats doing that right now. 50 million lame ass freestyle verses on lame ass mixtapes, yes. Making credible music that shows the depth of your talent, no.
Anyways, this JAMS. Can't wait til the album drops. If you wanna read about Muhsinah, click here. She's dope.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Is it me, or does it seem like the best white artists are all from places other than America? I'm talking white artists that dabble heavily in, or just make soul/R&B/funk music.
Think about it. The Average White Band (one of my favorites) is Scottish.
George Michael (arguably one of the greatest writers of our time) is from England.
Simply Red is from England. Even Phil Collins is from London.
Then, even new school you have Adele, Duffy, Amy Winehouse-- all from the UK. Remy Shand is from Canada. Makes you wonder if America's music scene is just so limited and categorized that it impedes on the creative process. I dunno. I mean, I know we got Wild Cherry, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake and Michael McDonald, and Teena Marie, but after that I'm drawing a blank.
Anyways. There really wasn't much of a point to this. Just somethin' I thought about.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
First, Duffy's "Warrick Avenue" came on. I've decided that I officially love this song, but the entire video consists of her riding on a bus, crying over her lost love and the inevitable realizations that such a thing carries. Sad.
Then, Leona Lewis' "Better in Time" came on. She's really pretty but the song is very pop-balladish and pretty sappy, which I'm not really a fan of at all. But, I found myself paying attention to the words anyhow, which are sadly optimistic, if that makes sense. It's hard to be optimistic when you're really sad.
Anyways. The point is, don't turn on VH1 in the middle of the night. You'll end up feeling like Roberta Flack, and I'm not sure that's such a good thing.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Anyways. Here's a video the gig did on him, with me cameoing in the background. JJJJYEAH!
The hell is wrong with this nigga? Dude, he joined Gretchen Wilson and some other country cat on stage at the RNC for the weirdest rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" EVER.
As my boy pointed out, it's like dude- don't you know that 200 years ago they woulda been SELLING your ass on that stage? What did his mama and daddy think, seeing him up there?
It's not that I'm even against black republicans like that. I mean, it's all politics and bullshit and I'm not overly convinced that Bill Clinton and the rest are truly concerned about my plight as a black woman in America either. But come on, man.
We have the first legitimate opportunity to have a black man take control of the white house and your dumb ass supports white ass John McCain? Really? Go lynch yourself.
Which brings me to another video I came across on CNN last week. It features two young black republicans (one guy and one woman) waxing poetic about why they are republicans and how they are not uncle toms, well-dressed coons, or sellouts for supporting the republican party. The dude then went on to attempt to validate his coonery by insisting that he listened to Hip Hop-- Nas in particular. At the end of the segment, they gave a shout out to their buddy, John McCain, and insisted that everyone go vote for him.
So you listen to Nas, eh? I mean, don't get it twisted. I'm no huge Nas fan. I really don't think dude is as deep as he believes he is. And after I saw him wheeze his way through his show here about a month ago, I'm inclined to believe he should be retiring sometime soon. But for dude to insist that he listens to Nas is, well, a damn lie.
"Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?" -Jay-Z, "Renegade"
I know you don't have to share the political/social views of the artists that you enjoy listening to-- believe it or not, there was a time when I sometimes bumped Brotha Lynch Hung and I definitely do not enjoy eating children-- but come on, man. I'm not buyin.
But back to the RNC thing. It looked like one big ass Klan rally (except for Cowboy Troy). Or, should I say, the depths of middle America. I don't know how many of you have been through western Kansas, but that's really what it looks like. Sad. Oh, and Sarah Palin- stop with the beauty pageant wave already. I can't wait until the Manchurian Candidate's mom aka Hillary Clinton pounces on your ass.