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 »
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.
And 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.
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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.
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 »
I would like to start this piece by saying that I am not good at many things. That sounds a little too negative so let me begin again, I am great at writing words that rhyme, I’m decent at basketball, I graduated with honors from college, I can keep my eyes open for a long time without blinking, I can read signs like “stop” and “yield” from hundreds of miles away, I can heal myself without (health insurance) ever seeing a physician, and I don’t have the best memory on Earth but I have at least two pin numbers, three phone numbers and my own social security number stored in my head. I hath amazed you, I know this, I feel it.
Aside from all that, I think one of my greatest attributes isn’t really an attribute, but I have an innate ability to store toilet paper before I need it. I don’t know how attractive that is or if it would work as a bragging right. I know some guys talk about their cars, or money, or jewelry. Not many of them can boast about having at least two family size packages of no less than 24 rolls of Charmin or Scott Extra Soft unopened in their linen closet as an unmarried dude. If they can, then I salute them. But this is my claim to fame since I am so bad at many other things.
I decided to run down some of my faults, not because I would like to improve on them but because I have time on my hands.
Sometimes I am on the phone with a business representative and after a transaction they give me a confirmation number. Or sometimes they have to spell out an email or a name and this is where the “assigning letters to a proper or improper noun” action takes place. You know the drill, “S as in Sam, A as in apple, B as in boy, etc.”
I don’t know how people come up with these so fast but I assume they go through alphabet-noun training. I love English, I knew the alphabet backwards when I was 38 months old, I’m a wiz at (cheating at) Scattegories, I’m moderately strong at Ruzzle, and I used to pride myself on solving word jumbles in the newspaper when I was young. But if I have to spell out my email or my name or something using nouns to represent each letter, I always get stumped and I feel crazy.
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.
“You sent me to voicemail?”
No I didn’t actually send you to voicemail. You were already headed to the
land of voicemail. As a matter of fact, all I did was help speed up
the process a tad bit. But the real question is, why is this an issue
that we must discuss?
When I call someone and I receive the obnoxious
notification that my call hasn’t just been missed but it has been
purposefully turned down, I don’t feel bad at all. In fact, I feel
acknowledged. It is one thing to miss a call, but it’s another thing
to have your call rejected. I always assume someone is driving,
eating, they’re already on the phone, or my most frequent reaction to
the voicemail sending is, “Who cares what they are doing? It is none of
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