Am I A Hater?

 

For the last two decades, the term “hater” has been one of the most overused and unfit labels for any human with a personal opinion. I feel like there are times when I don’t give a certain kind of food, or a television show, or an artist a chance because of something indescribable that just turned me off. Does that mean I’m hating on The Walking Dead if it didn’t grab me like everyone else? I believe when it comes to peanut butter, Tyler Perry programs and Wale, I may just fall into the category of being a “disliker.”

As a coach and an educator, I have the unofficial job of mentor/counselor for students. They often talk to me about social, scholastic, domestic and extracurricular issues. Then there are times when sports and music dominate the convos, and since I’m not completely out of touch, they assume I can almost relate. Last week two young ladies, one a senior in high school, and the other a sophomore, decided to share a musical selection with me and a co-worker. They didn’t only share the song, they sang these lyrics word-for-word:

 

“I just bought a pistol, it got 30 rounds in it,

Pull up at yo momma house and put some rounds in it,

Wet a nigga block and watch them niggas drown in it,

Hunnid round drum gun a nigga down with it,

I’m on that Slaughter Gang shit, Murder Gang shit

Slaughter Gang shit, Murder Gang shit

I’m on that Slaughter Gang shit, Murder Gang shit

Slaughter Gang shit, Murder Gang shit”

 

And then they spit the first verse…

 

“I’m on that Slaughter Gang shit

Take a nigga bitch,

Nigga yous a bitch ’cause I ran off with ya shit

I’m a real right blood and these niggas counterfeit

You don’t pull up on the ave pussy boy you get dipped

I bought a brand new drop and then I poured me up some drop

Young Savage real street nigga y’all ain’t on no block

Bitch keep your legs closed ’cause all I want is top

(At this point my boy and I stopped them to inquire if that last line about keeping legs closed and wanting top were cool with them. They laughed and said that no boy could ever say that to them, but on a song it was funny.)

I pull up and pew pew pew y’all gone call the cops

21″

The hook came back in… Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Tryouts

imgres
Whether it’s high school basketball or cheerleading or the school play or the dance recital, there’s something scary and equally exciting about a tryout. Even the word “tryout” sparks a bit of anxiety. It’s the youthful version of the audition. It places people in a position of authority and can crush dreams, inspire greatness and introduce politics simultaneously.
Now that I am assistant coaching high school basketball I have a different appreciation for tryouts. I am on the other side of the curtain. I can respect the fear in the young players’ eyes, the worry they have about doing well and the power that the coaches have when making decisions about who makes the team.
When I flashback to my first tryout I was in 8th grade and I had just started playing basketball. I was pretty terrible but for some reason I thought I could dribble. I got cut.

2010-06-19

And the funny thing about it is that I wasn’t upset. I was so driven to make the team and it had very little to do with basketball. All of my boys were on the team. In fact, anyone that was popular was on the team. It was like a rite of passage for any dude in Philippa Schuyler middle school with some type of social status to play on the basketball team. We only played about three games, with the student-faculty game being the biggest event of our season. Making the team was truly imperative for me.

With that said, I marched in Coach Davis’ office and demanded that I be on the team. I tried out as a forward and I told him I may be better suited to play guard. So he let me try out again and ultimately I made it. I did it. I didn’t accept no for an answer when I was probably not good enough to make it.
A year later I tried out again but this time I was a freshman at Brooklyn Technical High School attempting to make the J.V team. I didn’t even imagine trying out for varsity. I played all summer in preparation for that moment, but to be honest I just didn’t know how to play. I watched guys play in the park and I emulated them but no one taught me how to shoot, I never did a dribbling drill, and I had no idea how to play defense. I was 5’7” and frail. The only people I knew that were trying out with me was my boy Kijana who lived around my way and he was much better than me. And my other boy Steve who went to junior high with me was also at the tryouts. Steve was taller and bigger than me, he was also better than I was and he didn’t seem scared at all. To make matters worse I was unsure about what to wear to the tryout. I remember Coach Davis saying that he knew Mr. Rock, the JV coach at Brooklyn Tech so maybe it made sense for me to wear my Schuyler jersey at tryouts. Nah that’s thirsty…I thought to myself. I decided to wear the t-shirt from a tournament I played in over the summer thinking that would show that I had some experience.
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 # 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 #68 Colored TV

The other day I was watching a rerun of Family Matters, and at the same time I was flipping the channel to check out The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.

There’s something disturbing about seeing Jaleel White in suspenders and thick glasses in HD but the episode itself was the typical simple plot with Steve professing his love for Laura publicly, and it kind of sickened me yet I was entertained. I went back and forth to the young Will Smith at a pre-marital counseling session with Lisa, (Nia Long) the girl he never married and I flashed back to the days when these were primetime TV programs.

I remember being a young kid and catching Good Times, What’s Happening?, The Jeffersons and one or two other shows that had brown people in syndication, but on the weeknights and weekends there were actual shows that featured African-Americans or whatever you want to call them. I don’t mind the term “black,” although I don’t know if it should be capitalized or not. I mean I know; I just don’t always feel like it.

Black-Sitcoms
Read the rest of this entry »


Ramble #66 “Up-And-Coming”

It finally happened. I wasn’t sure when it would go down, but I’m actually writing words down again. Well I am truthfully typing them into a phone and a computer but you know what I mean. I wasn’t writing blogs or music this year until now.

I think I had to take a step back from it all because I almost forgot my mission. For the last few years I had been caught up in staying relevant, showing consistency, and ultimately I became a victim of doing something so long that I needed to see some grand result for the years of effort, and for the naysayers. I don’t know what a naysayer is but I’m guessing it’s someone that says nay quite a bit.
Read the rest of this entry »