Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 in review (In rotation: Nothing even matters, Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo)

Hey all, hope this finds you well on this NYE night. I wanted to get some thoughts down in my blog for the end of the year that have been swirling in my head all day. I guess we all wax nostalgic and pensive at the end of a year.
We lost a great deal of people this year, maybe more maybe less, who knows, but some important ones: Coretta Scott King, Gerald Ford, James Brown, Ed Bradley, Gerald Levert, Aaron Spelling, Steve Irwin, Buck O'Neil, Red Auerbach, Jack Palance, Bo Shembechler, Proof, J Dilla, and many others. May they rest in peace. It's funny, but I wonder at the same time as we lose these people and so many others, who is came into the world this year, who will change society as we know it. Time will tell I guess.

It was a year that we saw a shift of power in Washington, a vice president shoot another man and get away with it, Crash win Best Picture and 3 six Mafia became the first group to win an Oscar (never woulda saw that comin') for best song, Israel went to war with Lebanon, execution of Sadaam, poor showing in the World Cup for the U.S., an Amish school shooting, the US population reaching 300 million, PS3, XBox, and Wii madness, and a continuation of a war in Iraq. It was a busy year to say the least and God only knows what this all means. As I've been apt to say lately: this will all make sense some day.

On the hip hop scene, it was a good year surprisingly. For all the wackness perpetuated by all they Yung and Lil' whatevers out there, we also saw a year that dropped Nas' Hip Hop is Dead, Jay-Z's Kingdom Come, The Roots' Game Theory, Lupe Fiasco, Busta Rhymes, Ghostface, and Rhymefest. S.H.E. 's slowly but surely being resurrected and I'm holding on to hope.

Things accomplished: Well, I'm proud to say, I finally finished the Word this year in its entirety and brings me to the realization that there is so much to learn about the Father that a thousand lifetimes couldn't scratch His surface but it's worth every moment to see His love and power.
I stayed consistent with working out and eating right for the longest in my life. I had some tough times and good times this year as well. I learned early this year that I made the right decision even though the idea of facing the world on my own was daunting. I learned not to cast my pearls before swine and "never trust a big butt and a smile" as BBD put so eloquently. I was reminded countless times that He has a plan for me that includes countless blessings and miracles. I realized that I love what I do and I'm blessed to be smart enough to do it. I'm happy to have all the fam on the East Coast now and that I don't wanna live anywhere else, all my fam and friends are here and I'm very happy about that.

Goals for the new year: I want to be more of Him, less of me to start. I want to be more patient and wait for the moment to move and realize that it's all taken care of already. I hope relationships and friendships started this year continue to grow stronger and closer next. I want to get a job and get settled and get closer to being debt free and having a house. Most of all, I want to be a blessing to all that are in my life and cross my path. With that, I wrap up it up with peace and blessings to you and yours in the new year and may it be the best yet for all of you.....One.......

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas and other issues to discuss....In Rotation: Wildflower by New Birth

Wassup people? Merry Christmas to all as I write this from MD newly arrived today and very tired. It's been quite a week. I am already making a new year's resolution right now, no shopping for Christmas anywhere or anytime after Thanksgiving, it's madness out there. My sister and I decided to venture out today to take care of last minute stuff, bad idea. Funny thing, when people should have the most Christmas cheer and goodwill, they have the least. I swear people had boxcutters in the cheeks and knives up the sleeves. We made it out unscathed and have gifts for all.
Some housecleaning issues: I now will list the currently listening in each title since the music tends to influence my writing at the time. I've been killing this song recently since it is a quality song and was put onto it by a lovely soul. Also, I said last time that I wanted to go over the shouting match and potential beef between Yung Cheezy and Nas over the concept of Hip Hop being dead. Cheezy wisely squashed anything before it started so not really much to say about it. I am ecstatic about the new LP from Nas great concept and a tribute to H.E.R. to the fullest. True heads will cop this album because they're always seeking knowledge, quality lyrics, and beats that make you smile and nod your head all of which are encompassed in Nas' new one. Two black fists up for me. Now onto more important things.....
So, I'm growing up. I'm realizing it now, and damn if it ain't hard. Learning from past mistakes is crucial especially to avoid doing the repeat offenses which in the past have left me in positions that were tough to be positive (refer to "help restore my faith" entry in October) so I've decided to be quite cautious in how I proceed with the opposite sex. Not to say I've figured it all out, but I know a whole lot more than I did 6 years ago. I think the hardest thing is to distinguish between going slow and being scared. Right now I'm struggling with a fine balance, in the past I've fallen in love in days, hours even. I'm in control of that, but to the extent that anything promising but looks like it involves work or has the potential to not work for any reason, I begin to think it could fail in the end and pull away. I've reached the other end of the scale after years of falling fast only to get burned. My question: Can you really be open to something new after several bad relationships and endings? Is it really that each time you see something new with potential you begin to hold more back for longer and longer times? Does it get to the point where you feel you can only give the surface and nothing else and no matter the amount of time? I wonder about it sometimes. Do we reinvent ourselves constantly in order to appear tougher and harder so that when the inevitable heart break comes, we can say " I knew it was coming" ? Does that hinder us somehow from getting close to someone if we're expecting to be deceived? Lot of questions in my mind the past few days as you can see. Will they be answered? I don't know, you never really know some things. I guess I just don't want to miss out on a good thing because I'm looking at what happened in the past. I figure what's best right now is to enjoy the holidays with the fam and friends, pray for a blessed new year, and as the song says, believe that "this will all make sense some day."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

S.H.E. will be missed: Eulogy for Hip-Hop

We have gathered here today to witness the passing of a work of art, a creation who would put to shame any who would dare compare themselves to H.E.R., an inspiration for a generation that needed a direction after the death of voices that cried out for freedom and equality. H.E.R.timing was impeccable, born in the Bronx with roots extending back to the Caribbean and further back to the motherland, S.H.E. was influential even in infancy. S.H.E. was the daughter of the activistic, turbulent 60's and the free-loving, indulgent 70's, a perfect union between a celebration of life and a challenge to change it. S.H.E. was multi-faceted; with the speech of kings and paupers, moving with the rhythm of dual wheels of steel in perfect synchronicity, clothed in graffs identifying H.E.R. many tribes, and when S.H.E. danced.....S.H.E. danced in a break that pushed your imagination to the limit and challenged your every convention of what the body could perform. A voice for the hood, S.H.E. was unfettered, unshackled, speaking of the warm city nights, block parties, the everyday struggles, the skill of wordplay and scratching.....the joy of life despite all that the world could deprive of the youth of the streets. S.H.E. was young, free, and naive.
The world has a way of making your grow fast. Hip-Hop was no exception. S.H.E. began to travel, expanding H.E.R. horizons, spreading the gospel of the 5 tenets, crying out in the streets for anyone who would lend an ear and sit at H.E.R. feet to be taught about pride, wisdom, and activism. Along the way, S.H.E. learned from others, new voices, new cadences, new melodies, diverse methods of droppin' science, venturing even into the suburbs to reveal a world to young white privileged children that there exists a world where lights don't always stay on and cereal can be only eaten with water. It was this move that many would later come to regret.....
It was subtle at first, no sign of illness was apparent in H.E.R. Artists outside of the hood began to attempt to have their way with H.E.R. and she gladly obliged, eager to become universal, but they abused her, took her for granted. Normally, S.H.E. would have removed herself from the situation, but Mr. Corporate saw the value in H.E.R. and how every young consumer with mommy and daddy's allowance in hand bum rushed the stores to get their turn with H.E.R. Corporate salivated over the potential, but saw the changes that needed to be made. H.E.R. natural locks wouldn't work, it would need to be pressed and bleached, skin shaded lighter, the Africa medallions put away and replaced with extravagant diamond jewelry, bare feet covered in Gucci shoes, the coke bottle shape slimmed to a 36-24-36; all so S.H.E. could be put on the corner and sold to the highest bidder. S.H.E. had always known love, always sought it, and in this instance, it was the same, figuring that any attention was love. Mr. Corporate had his way with H.E.R. every morning before he put H.E.R. on the streets to make money for daddy. S.H.E. would still try to sneak back to the hood to grasp some semblance of the early days, but S.H.E. was encountered with rappers, a different breed from the emcees she grew up with. Rappers wanted to push death, sell death, glorify death, and rape and pimp H.E.R., claiming the a woman had no value except to serve the physical needs of a man. There were a few who gave H.E.R. shelter, trying to dress the wounds and allow time for rest and healing, while encouraging H.E.R. spirit with hope that one day all will be like it used to be, but they could not heal the wound in H.E.R. heart. Slowly, S.H.E. faded until S.H.E. was no longer there, how long it had been since S.H.E. had gone no one really knew, since most focused on the antics of H.E.R. many bastard children: Bling, Movin' Weight, Gangsta, Stuntin' and others; all the results of loveless acts of sexual abuse by those in the hood who claimed "to love and respect H.E.R. because they grew with H.E.R."
As we lay H.E.R. here in this ground, I'm reminded of what S.H.E. meant to me. The moment I first heard that voice, what it said to me, what it drew from me, and directed me to strive for for the rest of my life. I remember times in a room full of people when S.H.E. would come on and I felt S.H.E. was looking straight into my soul and revealed a part of me I never knew was there. There are times I hear H.E.R. in the middle of the night, thinking S.H.E.'s back, but I realize that it's "They Reminisce over You" playin' on the radio late or "Keep Ya Head UP" in the playlist rotation. For those of us who knew H.E.R., our hearts will always hold H.E.R. near and there S.H.E. will remain alive. I would like to acknowledge H.E.R. only children to come today who will be laying her to rest: H.E.R. twins Conscious and Conscience. We pray the work S.H.E. began will be continued through them.....let us pray..................................................................
Next up: Yung Cheezy's shouting match with Monie love on Hip Hop's state:
N***as will never learn; Lord, we still waitin' on that whole apocalypse thing...anytime now.....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oprah (even writing the title gives me shivers....promised myself I'd never do this....) here goes...

What up people? Doin' really well here, blessings coming my way left and right through people and circumstances and pray that I can be one to all of you as well. It's finals time here at Dook and tryin' to handle business and get things done and accomplished and maintain that GPA. Actually got
a little sentimental today when I checked out the pics of my undergraduate Alma mater Grand Canyon U. (Go Lopes!) and saw that good stuff is taking place as they are doin' big things. Rumor is they may be starting a med school so I'm hoping that comes to fruition one day.

Anywho, back to subject at hand, perfection is perfection so I'mma let you understand.....topic for today as you saw is about Oprah. I caught a clip of the showbiz report on (a daily web page visit) that apparently "ain't worth" 50 Cent has beef with Oprah saying that "she used to have black women's views, but now that her viewers are middle aged, middle class white women and now she has become one of them." Apparently this stems from what he feels is her disconnect and lack of respect for "hip-hop" which to hear those words come from his mouth makes me want to present what I ate for lunch earlier in a not incredibly appealing fashion. The report then went on to say that Ludacris felt slighted after he appeared for the show on "Crash" (excellent movie btw) and she attacked him for the misogynist lyrics in hip hop and his response was edited from the show. They then went on to show Bow Wow ( why did he drop the Lil' from the name; last time I checked he's still gotta look up to see down) an extremely credible voice of hip hop who says of course he agrees that he would like to see more rap stars on Oprah. Finally, Nas, the voice of reason in this madness, said essentially it was sad that 50 made himself look like a buffoon by attacking an icon because he wanted publicity, which I agree is exactly what 50 did. Sidebar: Hopefully, 50 heard this, comes up with a wack battle song against him and Nas comes and finishes him off and shows the true clown that 50 was, is and always will be. In the great words of Jigga: y'all respect the one who got shot, I respect the shooter...... back to the trial.

First of all, why is 50 so concerned about being on Oprah? He really trying to hit the soccer mom market? Is he imagining Dodge Caravans heading to Swanky Hills Elementary bumpin' P.I.M.P.? He figuring that Judy Everymom will be bumpin' Candy Shop while baking up angel food cake for the P.T.A. bake sale? Come on, there is no need for him to be on there. My closest friends and associates know that I'm no fan of Oprah. The difference between Oprah and God is that God doesn't think He's Oprah. I've never seen a woman so narcissistic in my life. However, I can concede that her show reaches a niche and it works. What sense does it make for her to have n***as on there who all they talk about is all the things he wants to do a woman while reminding her that her value is just above a mosquito and just below a dog? Yeah, sounds like something Suzy Homemaker wants to be playing on the Bose system in the in split level colonial style on a Saturday afternoon after the family trip to the zoo. It is about publicity and ego and sense. No benefit would come to 50 being on Oprah, Lord knows Oprah would not get anything out of it, and the ladies in the audiences would be clutching their purses seeing that big buck on stage. My biggest issue with the piece was the fact that hip hop and rap were used interchangeably. That is disconcerting and annoying because they are not the same, although that's for another blog. Now my GMG moment has been expressed, hope nothing but good things happen to all of you, and congrats to all the sorors that I know that crossed. Remember the mission and live by it everyday, it's not just a social thing, it's a socially conscious thing. Love , peace and blessings...... Next up: Eulogy for hip-hop......One......

Friday, December 01, 2006

thoughts about various subjects including a part for the fellas

Hello folks, as always, hoping this finds you well and blessed. I just got home from going out to Franklin St. For those who are not local, it's the place to be in the area if you live or go to UNC-Chapel Hill. It was a cool night, met an old friend I used to work with and always good to hear about a place you left and realizing you left at the right time. Timing is everything as the saying goes. Another plus tonight was getting hit on. It's been a minute and always feels good, not in an egotistical way, but I guess just realizing someone finds you attractive is gratifying, on some level you feel wanted and desired. We all hope for that in some way, preferably from that special person or soulmate if you will, but since I'm not quite sure of that person, the compliments satisfy a small part of that. It was a good way to end the weekend.

Now, on to what I decided to write about. I seem to focus a lot on the ladies and write to them. However, tonight it's to the fellas out there. This is inspired by a lovely soul who gave me the inspiration. Gentlemen, it's about timing as I said before. How is it that there are men still showing all their cards from the jump? Guys, let's get this established: on a second date, going on a romantic three hour cruise with flowers and all the romantic aspect is overkill. Subtlety is the name of the game, letting her know that she intrigues you, but you're taking time to know her, realize where she's coming from, learning her intricacies, realizing what makes her unique. Before that, there is no way love can come in a true form. Gentlemen, you have to look for the signs of interest, the women of quality are not making it known overtly that they desire to be around you, but covertly, she's dropping signals. Her body language, if she's into you, she's open, inviting, not in a sexual form but in a personal one. She's making a small part of her vulnerable and revealing, "Part of me really wants to be let out in front of you so that you can accept me and build a foundation for a relationship." The way she looks at your eyes, smiles at you, turns her body towards you, the relaxing manner that she gestures with, the way she leans forward to you as you discuss your backgrounds and your likes and dislikes. These are signs of interest. It's a dance in that we have to know the steps and play our part to get past the point of slight awkwardness to get to the heart of each other. It's an amazing process that is rewarding if you do it right and frustrating if you don't. If she's doing the opposite of all these, then there isn't a connection. Don't take it personally, it's a matter of chemistry, some people just work while others don't. It's not rejection, it's slimming down the available prospects. If the magic is there, don't force it. Jewelry in the first six months is too much. Flowers and heart felt expressions is too much in the first month, but do make sure to give small signs of interest. Smiles, listen to her, repeat back what you hear, observe her and get a feel for her, a slight touch of the hand, nothing crazy, just understated makes a world of good. It confirms a connection IF you see the signs on her end.

I'm tired, so I'm gonna wrap this up. Take some tips and enjoy the moment. I'll holla at y'all later. Peace and blessings. One.......