The Backroom Verse

I don’t remember exactly when BET launched 106 and Park but I do recall enjoying their version of MTV’s Total Request Live when it debuted. It had a video countdown and AJ and Free were pretty decent as hosts. I had hopes of making it on the show and having my video crack the countdown, and I wanted to have an in-depth interview that would reach the world via BET’s platform. Some days I would imagine the questions they would ask me, and how I might flirt with Free and laugh at AJ, I was a young adult with a dream.

That was probably a decade ago when I watched the show daily to catch up on who was hot in the game and who was next to rise. They changed hosts, switched up the format, and the audience got younger as I got older. Finally in 2009 I was able to sit on the 106 and Park stage and judge Freestyle Friday while promoting my album My Soul To Keep. My dream of being a guest on that show faded away. I am no longer interested in appealing to the youthful masses, and the only time I view the program is when my peoples like Mickey Factz, J. Cole or Skyzoo have been featured.

Anyway, I had to really take a step back and appreciate my name being called to do a verse for The Backroom, which is somewhat like “The Basement” that I used to watch on Rap City. It’s a throwback to when rappers could show their pure talent by actually putting words together without worrying about marketability, sales or downloads. This was the reason I began doing music. Without reflecting on my past, I almost missed the importance of this present moment. Yesterday my segment on BET aired. I have been on national television before but it was different yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »


My Daughter’s Dream


A few years ago I wrote about the “pee dream” and described it as a frightening experience that creeps in during adulthood with the aim to ruin reputations. It’s the unconscious, nocturnal vision we have where we see ourselves in the bathroom and we’re ready to release urine and if we don’t wake up in time then we revert back to our adolescent days where bed-wetting was right up there with tying our shoes as the top obstacles in life.

But anyway, I bring this topic up because the dreams involving urination are becoming more and more frequent and I am not sure if I’m going to be able to keep on escaping a saturated mattress every night as I get up there in age. As for now, I am thankful that I have my wits and bladder in control.
That brings me to a thought about a dream I had the other night.
It was an interesting dream that had to fall in between the one I had about peeing in a fountain and one where I was at a urinal at a movie theater.

In the dream I was at home, but it wasn’t the home I live in now. It was a house…and it was pretty big… and it was a Saturday…and I was making pancakes. And my daughter walked in the kitchen. She was an 8-year-old daughter. At least I think she was 8. She looked around 8. Now that I think of it, she told me she was 8. She was asking when she could have her own phone so she could Snapchat with her friends. And I pretended I knew what Snapchat was and then I told her she could have one that only had a talk and text plan.

And she asked me how she was supposed to watch videos like her friends did. It opened up a conversation about what videos she had seen and what she thought about them. And since this was my first time being a parent and all of a sudden I had an 8-year-old, I thought to myself, maybe this is my stepdaughter. But she kind of looked like me, and the way she spoke to me, she seemed like flesh and blood. Read the rest of this entry »


Click

One day I was sitting in the crib and flipping through channels and ironically I landed on a movie with a plot that surrounds a remote control. Image I saw it as a sign, similar to cooking meth in the kitchen and Breaking Bad comes on…you would have to check it out. Anyway, I had never watched The Adam Sandler flick entitled Click because I assumed it might be goofy and silly with predictable moments and lighthearted comedy. I like Adam in roles where he’s semi-serious like Spanglish and Funny People but I figured that a story about a remote control that pauses and plays his real life had to be juvenile. Maybe you’ve seen it since it came out way back in 2006 when I was still counting daytime minutes so you might not be too interested in what I got from it. Or maybe you haven’t seen it and reading this could possibly spoil it for you. I guess those sentences were warnings to stop you from continuing to read but I didn’t mean to discourage you. I think you should keep going since you started reading already. Now I’ve wasted time convincing you. Which brings me to my point about the film itself; time is important. Read the rest of this entry »


The Reason I Retired

I get asked every once in awhile why I discontinued releasing music at the moment. My generic answer is that I need to take a step back or I’m not in love with the hip-hop genre anymore. Those answers are honest but they might be incomplete. The dream I once had as a youngster has changed. Music has changed, its popularity has reached new heights but the characteristics of a star artist with fans and respect are not the same as they were before. I don’t view any of these differences as negative.

 

Well maybe the lack of wordplay and substance can be described as a drop down from what was going on years ago. And possibly hip-hop’s obsession with mollies, combined with the lean-sipping sensation fused with an all-time high of auto-tuned sound alikes could be deemed as a far cry from the golden era.

But for the most part there are new artists creating waves of music that cross genres, leap over stereotypical boundaries and they redefine what rappers sound and look like.

 

So why did I pause my progression? The real question I have been asking myself is what was it all for? Read the rest of this entry »


Ramble #72 “Uncommon Courtesy”

 

You know what idea I don’t like? It’s not even an idea; it’s more of a concept. I don’t even think it’s a concept, I feel like it’s a tradition. It happens all the time, every day, in every city, state, and town. It goes down at your job, at department stores, public bathrooms, restaurants, everywhere that there is a door with someone going through it, there’s someone attempting to hold it. You’ve had it happen to you.

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You’re walking in some place minding your own business when someone else is either there before you or they’re exiting. And what do you do? You expect them to hold the door open so that you won’t have to do it. The heavy door that will take so much time out of your day must be held so that “your highness” can get through. “Oh no, not me,” you’re saying, “I don’t need anyone to hold the door for me.” But if they don’t, you will definitely give them a look, and an evil thought because door holding is protocol. Not holding the door is almost as bad as holding the door for someone that doesn’t say “Thank you.”

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Wars have been waged between strangers, strange people, and co-workers because someone refused to hold a door. And how long should you hold a door for someone? What’s the proper amount of time, or is there a correct distance from person to person to calculate how long one should hold the door for another? Does it matter if they are elderly or adolescent? Does gender play a role? Should I hold the door as I leave a department store for the pretty lady coming in…who happens to be accompanied by a dude? Is he her brother, or her man, or a friend? Do I hold the door for him as well or do I pass it on to him so he can grab it and take over so I don’t overstep my boundaries? Read the rest of this entry »


Ramble # 71 It Is (Part 2)

When I heard the news about Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old biological son dying because the mother’s boyfriend assaulted him, I cringed imagining what that pain would feel like as a parent. Then I felt a small bit of relief when I got the news that Adrian had never even met the child. That doesn’t lessen the blow for someone out there who lost a relative that had only lived for two years.

adrian_peterson_3x4And the kid had a father who was the caretaker, and that guy had to learn of his child’s death due to the hands of another man in a situation he most likely had no control over. How does one just accept something so tragic? How do you just wake up everyday with that weighing on your soul and just keep existing? I think if I knew some ancient Asian secret to cure my emotional pain and get over it, I most likely would deny it because there’s a time when we wallow in sadness as if it is therapeutic. Every bit of attention from others and every moment of mourning, as difficult as they seem at the time, also appear to be necessary.

There’s therapy based around this ideology that teaches subjects to embrace their private events, especially previously unwanted ones. The process aims to help individuals clarify their personal values and to take action on them, bringing more vitality and meaning to their life process, increasing psychological flexibility.

That term caught my attention simply because we stretch our bodies to become more flexible, we compromise our spending so our finances can cover what we need, we even expand the confines of our emotions so that we can reach new boundaries of love. But to alter our way of thinking, to modify our reaction to the factors that routinely bother us, doesn’t seem like second nature to most of us.
Read the rest of this entry »


Ramble 70 “It Is (Part 1)”

 

I had a show in North Africa years ago when my music career was a decision or two away from fame and fortune. Unfortunately, the Internet was not a haven for the grinding artist back in 2005. The people in the audience that could possibly research me today; had very little knowledge of me other than Myspace and the fact that I was on Virgin Records. The guy responsible for booking the show was named Josh, and he was an eclectic dude that actually moved out to Morocco from NY for a few months. He learned the language, hit up the Mosque, and adapted to using a hole in the ground as a lavatory.
I noticed a tattoo on his right forearm that read “It Is.” I was hoping it wasn’t “Itis” since that would be a little racist but funny.
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I wasn’t going to be the one to ask about it but as we rode on the bus to the venue, I was glad someone inquired about the tat. The answer was basically what I expected: Any occurrence, good or bad, grandiose or minuscule, just is. Sure you can get excited, yes you may react, at some points your emotion leads you to feel anger, sadness, resentment, pain, and unforeseen circumstances may alter your life forever. But acceptance is one of those difficult concepts to grasp that puts life’s ongoings in perspective. Sometimes I wished I hadn’t seen that tattoo, or read some books on Buddhism, or felt like a Zen master some days when my reaction or attitude seemed passive to normal humans…but this is me. I am a habitual “accepter.”

I’m not great at it but practice makes perfect. I used to find myself expecting people to reciprocate, act a certain way, or do what I would do in certain situations. And even more than that, I am on the other side of someone else’s expectations and desires. How many times do you say to someone, “I would do it for you, why wouldn’t you do it for me?” Read the rest of this entry »


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