(Unfinished Ramble 3) Ring Thee Alarm

 

Written on September 20, 2015

6:14 is the time my alarm goes off on weekdays. It’s an interesting time and I’m not sure why I chose it but it allows me enough time to do what I need to do and be where I need to be each day.

My life wasn’t always so structured. My days rarely began with the sound of an alarm clock for most of my adult life. Not since high school in Brooklyn did I need a sound to wake me up at a particular time so I could be somewhere. In college, my classes began late and once I graduated I would sleep late because I was usually up late every night. I was either in someone’s studio, at a party, or I was up writing songs with the hopes that those writings would put me in a place that I would never need an alarm clock again.

That part of my life lasted over a decade. It took me almost six years to land an elusive record deal that would satisfy my childhood dream.

Then it took me two years to place my career in a stupor, and my world in a depressed state that would not be relieved until I left the city of New York altogether. Leaving my city of birth actually saddened me more because I felt like the alarm clock life was coming. I smelled it; I assumed people wanted it for me, my mother foreshadowed it, my girl mildly advised it at times, I knew they were correct but I fought it off…until…

Until one day I was waking up at 6:14. Some days I would be upset; I used to get pissed when I hit the snooze button and mad that I was up an hour earlier due to a dream about urination that could have ended really horribly. I would even get down on myself for wasting my talent and not being rich enough to not need this alarm clock. All of that subsided one morning when I just decided to smile after my eyes opened. I was tired, groggy, my allergies were affecting me and I could envision just falling back in the bed without a care, but all I could do was smile. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »


Monday Ramble #37 The Mystery Of Mister Cee

For the 2nd week in a row I’m putting up my ramble on Tuesday. Primarily because I partied Sunday night and got a late start and secondly I couldn’t decide if I wanted to promote our radio show on online dating tonight or talk about the most popular topic taking over barber shops, radio shows, basketball courts and chat rooms; the mystery of Mister Cee.

I don’t have an opinion on this hot topic just yet so as I’m writing this maybe I’ll enlighten myself and reach some sort of point for even bringing it up.

Well people ask what I think about the situation all the time and I’ve said everything from “I feel bad for him” to “I think he wanted to get caught.”

I met Mister Cee a long time ago when I was a pre-teen and he was the road manager for Masta Ace. My brother was a part of Ace’s crew and producer for Biggie and I was fortunate enough to go to the studio and quietly hang around folks like Big Daddy Kane, Craig G and a few times there was Calvin Lebrun.
He was cool, humorous and most of all, he was down to earth.

Years later I ran into the world famous DJ here and there and we spoke about music.
He didn’t remember me but of course he acknowledged my brother, my grind and offered to help me out with my struggles to be heard.

One time at Hot 97 we spoke about the starving artists wanting their songs played at parties while the DJ is focused on keeping the party popping. I understood that point.

Another time at a video shoot, I eavesdropped on a convo he was having about New York rappers always rapping about the industry they don’t get love in, while Southern artists were having fun on records. I got that one too.

What does any of this have to do with his recent scenario?
It brings me to the moment in time where I heard Cee was arrested for being in a car exposed with a man. And I wasn’t surprised. Not that I saw him do anything like that but because I heard stories about him waiting outside of gay clubs and his prior arrests.
I brushed off these tales like I do most of the homosexual stories I hear about industry folks even though I figured anything was possible.

But once the police report was confirmed, plenty of questions arose. Will he confess? Will he continue to DJ? Who will hire him? And most importantly why is it an issue? The industry of music is one where there are plenty of men behind the scenes that secretly sleep with men in order to get further in their careers or because they simply like to.
This same business publicly condemns those who like the same sex and that fact is highlighted by our use of “pause” and “no homo” when we use phrases that double as statements with gay undertone.

So is the hip-hop legendary DJ wrong for his indiscretion or for his public show or is he under scrutiny for not addressing his supporters with a statement?
I say the latter, sure it’s your personal life and yeah you don’t owe anyone an explanation but if you’ve ever said “pause,” or alluded to the fact that “gay” was negative, and then you get caught receiving oral sex from a man, then I think it misleads people. As a public figure, one might feel he should let people know if the accusations are true, especially after his colleague Funkmaster Flex has boldly defended him.
As the line between personal lives and business cross, the listeners are continuing to tune into Hot 97 FM and they may even get a broader audience that’s waiting for a confession.
But what happens with Calvin? Will this just go away like Wayne’s smooch with Baby? Cee can’t put out a hot album and make us forget, similar to what Rick Ross did to his correction officer employment fiasco. R. Kelly was able to sing his way back in our hearts after we watched him urinate on a young woman.

But it was a woman, Ross had a job and Wayne kissed his…father? Oh well, this wasn’t on camera and Mister Cee doesn’t necessarily need record sales to survive.

But let’s think about the next step in this situation. Cee may choose silence, keep his job, endure the jokes and rapper punchlines that will suggest that he’s a man-lover and cleverly include “the finisher” and “going in” (especially in battle raps), but then one day he’ll most likely get disc jockey work again.

He may continue to deny the charges and claim he was alone in the vehicle, that the hip-hop cops are framing him and that the accusations made by Wendy Williams in 2007 were false.

Or things might change.

Maybe Mister Cee could admit that he is indeed attracted to men that dress like women or simply men that are men. Lil B’s ass-raping threats may become acceptable, homo rappers might surface and others will gradually come out, execs will defend him, he’ll DJ for Lady Gaga, gay people will start saying “play” instead of “pause” and homosexuality will really become what “Black” was during the Civil Rights movement.

Charlamagne said, “The hip-hop community, and black culture in general, is homophobic for no good reason; and this wouldn’t even be an issue if he could be who he was, comfortably, without people judging him.”

Some of us appreciate the homophobia that keeps artists’ lives personal and fear that curtain opening. Some of us would probably retire if gay became ok in the hood and behind the mic. But this is an ever-changing world we are in and in this moment, the hip-hop community could change with one arrest of one DJ and allegedly one young man. Stay tuned to see if The Finisher is finished or if he started a revolution.

What do you think he should do?