Obligatory Good Music Post #2 – J-Live

28 01 2010

I first met this brother back in 2002 at a video shoot.  It was for a song called “Underground Up” by Mr Complex.  We were all playing 2-hand touch football in the snow at a local highschool in Brooklyn.  (Who would of known that Wordsworth was such a good athlete?)  It was a fun day.

I have been listening to this man’s music since 98, and he is authentic hip hop.  Creativity!!!!!!  How many people do you know that can spit a rhyme and cut and blend records back and forth?  (Check his song Braggin Rights, and yes he does this at live shows!)  Yes, he is an accomplished DJ as well.

For those that don’t know.  I present, J-Live.





Know that you are a walking Advertisement…

26 01 2010

(Originally posted July 12, 2007)

So, what are you trying to sell?

If you advertise sex, that is ALL YOU WILL BE EVER SEEN AND USED FOR!

If you advertise business, you will COMMAND THAT RESPECT!

If you advertise tomfoolery, expect people to laugh at or with you!

Think about it, nobody ever wakes up in the morning and brushes their teeth with a tire…  they buy what will get the job done…  Why would I go to a stripclub looking for a wife?  Why would I go to a Hospital looking for a party?

If you are wondering why people are treating you a certain way (positive or negative) think about what YOU are advertising.

ps.  message to the dumb females online that have a million pictures of themselves barely wearing clothing, bent over in suggestive positions, and have profiles that essentially say, “Respect me, I aint your bitch…  Im a classy woman…”

Yeah, right!!!!  To quote my dawg Poison Pen… “…Find a roof or ledge and use it…”





Obligatory Good Music Post #1 – Substantial

22 01 2010

Its only right I start this section of the blog off by showing love to one of my personal favorite artists, my SiDai (Martial younger brother) and good friend Substantial.  The man has great music available for purchase via iTunes or your local record store.  Very few artists people have his passion for his craft, and to top it off, this song was based around real life events.  Check it out.





“Im pointing at the moon, and you’re staring at my finger…”

20 01 2010

Originally posted October 13, 2008

It is great to have heroes.  One should always have a teacher, for the day that one does not have something to learn, they die.

With that said, the most important part of this fact is this…  Do not get so enthralled in the teacher, that you miss the lesson.  The lesson is more important than the teacher.  The teacher is just the messenger.

This holds true in multiple arenas.  In everyday life we have a multitude of “teachers” and to trully learn one must look beyond the holder of the message.

Study the lesson, not the teacher.





Passion

17 01 2010

I first saw this on Pangea Day a year and a half ago.  Powerful.  Enjoy





HIP HOP’S (UNSPOKEN) TEN COMMANDEMENTS

13 01 2010

Originally posted Sunday, August 28, 2005

HIP HOP’S (UNSPOKEN) TEN COMMANDEMENTS
By stephanie mwandishi gadlin
StephGadlin@aol.com

Famed Kenyan author Mgugi wa Thiongo once remarked: “…Language
carries culture and culture carries, particularly through orature and
literature, the entire body of values by which we perceive ourselves
and our place in the world.”

Interesting perspective. If language carries a people’s culture and
therefore projects a people’s cultural values to others, explain to me
why are we allowing our young men and women in the recording industry
to use offensive, self-deprecating language disguised as song lyrics
to discredit an entire people . Surely, the ancestors are not proud.

Enough with the excuses already. I love hip hop as much as the next
woman, and my frustration is not another case of “playa hating,” or
“blaming rappers for society’s social ills.” That argument is tired
and quite silly. Nor am I confused about parental responsibility.
Yeah, I know…if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.
Blah…blah…blah. That is not this discussion. I simply want to
know how long will we make excuses for entertainers of any kind who
work hand-and-foot with compounded social ills to emasculate a group
of people.

Case in point: Dr Dre (Andre Young) was recently referred to as “the
original, true-blue gangsta-rap god,” by Talk Magazine (April 2001).
Writer Michael Daly offers a quote from Dre’s boss, Interscope Records
cofounder Jimmy Iovine: “Not since the Beatles or the Rolling stones
has any one individual artist affected society or popular music more
than Dr. Dre.” His boss then goes on to say: “…he impacts the
entire continent.”

Wow, that’s a lot of responsibility for a record producer. Young, at
age 36, has amassed about a $100 million fortune writing and producing
hip hop music under the genre of gangster rap-a genre he is often
credited with creating. His latest invention, Eminem, is now being
promoted as the conduit for white rage. He offers musical missives
about killing his wife, deranged fans and doing peculiar things to
homosexuals.

No one argues that Young creates the coldest beats known to man.
Brother surely has talent. The bass hook in Xxplosive on his The
Chronic 2001 album, was so off the hook, R&B songstress Erykah Badu
used it to rocket Bag Lady to the top of the charts. While Badu’s
tome expressed the plight of a impoverished woman, Dre’s lyrical
contribution to that mesmerizing beat included rapper Kurupt’s poetic
utterings:

“West coast shit nigga over dosage – imperial pistols ferocious Fuck a
bitch; don’t tease bitch, strip tease bitch Eat a bowl of these bitch,
gobble the dick Hoes forgot to eat a dick can shut the fuck up!
Gobble and swallow a nut up, shut up and get my cash Backhanded, pimp
slapped backwards and left stranded Just pop ya collar, pimp
convention hoes for a dollar Six-Deuce in a plush, six-deuce impala
Pimpin hoes from Texas to Guatemala Bitch niggaz paid for hoes, just
to lay wit hoes Relax one night, and paid to stay wit hoes Captain
Save’ Em all day (bitch) well save this dick Bitch nigga, you more of
a bitch than a bitch You ain’t into hittin pussy, or hittin the switch
You into hittin bitches off of the grip, you punk bitch”

When Talk Magazine asks the super producer the usual question about
his lyrical content, inquiring about the proposed views of a late
civil rights icon about the quality of his music, Dre responds:
“Martin Luther King would love this.” Is that right?

In another celebration of black musical success, wonder-lyricist Sean
“Jay Z” Carter often writes and performs head-banging missives that
have made him a wealthy and sought after celebrity. Take just one
verse from the hit song, “Big Pimpin.”

“You know I – thug em, fuck em, love em, leave em Cause I don’t fuckin
need em Take em out the hood, keep em lookin good But I don’t fuckin
feed em First time they fuss I’m breezin Talkin bout, “What’s the
reasons?” I’m a pimp in every sense of the word, bitch Better trust
than believe em In the cut where I keep em til I need a nut, til I
need to beat the guts Then it’s, beep beep and I’m pickin em up Let em
play with the dick in the truck Many chicks wanna put Jigga fist in
cuffs Divorce him and split his bucks Just because you got good head,
I’ma break bread so you can be livin it up? Shit I.. parts with
nothin, y’all be frontin Me give my heart to a woman? Not for nothin,
never happen I’ll be forever mackin Heart cold as assassins, I got no
passion I got no patience And I hate waitin.. Hoe get yo’ ass in And
let’s RI-I-I-I-I-IDE…”

What kind of women has he been exposed to and just whom is he talking
about? A white woman? Asian? Latino? Oh, I forgot, that’s not
allowed. In the spirit of unity, let us not forget the sisters.

Lil’ Kim (Kimberly Jones) offers the following thought-provoking
observation in “She Don’t Love You,” from her Notorious K.I. M.
release: “Is she drop-dead fine? Does she like it from behind? Is
she fly? Do she got a style like mine? Does she slurp it, rub it,
jerk it, ride it? Tell you how you feel when you inside it You love
me, and I know she know Cuz everytime I come around, she be like
“let’s go” Girls know not to leave they man around me I get my hands
on ’em. He puttin’ rent and a Benz on me…”

Charli Baltimore offers another view in “Pimp the One You Love,” on
her Cold as Ice release: “Off the hyped bit, always been the tight
bitch Keep these cats in line, pay that rent on time And we’ll talk
about extra keys to my spot When it’s extra V’s in my lot, extra G’s
in my knots So how I managed to get damaged on ‘chill with one nigga’
shit I was to break me off with some more figures bitch I don’t know,
just caught me at the right moment Vulnerable, nigga jumped up on it
With mind games, took me out of my frame I ain’t even want his
payback, my homey Tony Drapper He pimped for the guts and I was givin’
’em up Can’t tell me I can’t have any player I want And I burnt myself
out tryin’ to turn his ass out…”

I am sure fans of all four aforementioned artists will dismiss my
ramblings and random recitation of their song lyrics as being taken
out of context. Others might go as far as to tell me that these
artists are merely “storytellers,” much like a Eric Jerome Dickey,
Terri McMillian or Omar Tyree. And please, don’t get me wrong about
diversity in the culture either. I understand all rappers can’t be
Lauryn Hill, Mos Def, Common, or a member of Dead Prez. I also know
that new artists are more likely to follow the more controversial hip
hop icons than buck them. The more shocking, the more vile, the more
graphic, the more violent, the more sexist… the more money, the
more sales… the more bling, bling….. Right or wrong?

Yet, I refuse to believe that our young people willfully set out to
create songs to ridicule and embarrass their heritage, family and
community. I refuse to believe that Jay-Z sat down with a pen and
paper and wrote those lyrics on his own, and that those are his
beliefs. Nor will I ever believe that Lil Kim wants sex without love,
commitment and intimacy. I do not believe Dr. Dre hates his wife and
children or wants to murder or die in a hail of bullets. I refuse to
believe that many of our young brothers and sisters in the
entertainment industry have little integrity, self-esteem and love.

The more I think I about it, I am convinced there must be a hip hop
constitution that mandates how rappers represent musically. The
mandate, in the form of a recording contract, is actually a set of
commandments authored by the “music establishment,” otherwise known as
the “industry,” to ensure the artist’s marketability in an already
saturated genre.

HIP HOP’s (UNSPOKEN) TEN COMMANDMENTS

Commandment I: Thou must dis’ black women. You are allowed to
distinguish between bitches, hoes and “real sisters” only during
interviews when asked to clarify your statements. You must talk about
beating a woman up at least once on your CD or demo. On at least four
(4) but no more than five (5) singles/demos you must talk about having
rough and unprotected sex with a woman. You must also refer to your
girlfriend or wife as a “bitch” in an endearing way. All music videos
must reflect the aforementioned notions. You can talk about doing
things to other people’s mothers as acts of creative statement. You
may also refer endearingly to an unplanned child as a “bastard,”
“shorty,” “lil nigga,” or “lil G.” By honoring this commandment you
vow to never rally behind black females or support a strong family
bond. You see her only as an object for sex and to reap the
repercussions of your rage. You also believe she is only out to get
you.

(Supplement for females) Thou must dis’ black men. Female rappers are
allowed to distinguish against niggas, bustas, scrubs and punk. You
must lyrically emasculate them in every way possible. On at least one
(1) CD or demo you must destroy his character by either calling him a
homosexual or talking about his lack of money. You are allowed to
refer to your boyfriend or husband as your “nigga” in an endearing
way. All music videos must reflect aforementioned notions. By
honoring this Commandment you vow to never identify with the black
male’s struggle against white supremacy. You vow to never support a
strong family bond. You also uphold the tenements that all of his
problems are of his own doing. You see him as only an object for sex
and money. You believe he is only out to get you.

Commandment II: Thou must kill. You must “lyrically” take the life of
at least one other black person in order to secure a hit CD. This law
does not promote the physical killing of another person. However, it
is not against the law to assassinate another person on record. You
must only talk about killing your own kind, however, or other cultures
may sue you for inciting racial violence. You must express pleasure
in the kill. The kill must be graphic and extensive in detail. The
consumer must always be left with the feeling that taking a person’s
life (lyrically) was justified. Most of the lyrical murders must be
done by guns, however creativity allows for poisoning, stabbings,
beatings, stompings, and suffocating. You do not distinguish between
male or female kills. By keeping this Commandment you vow to never
claim acts of genocide publicly even when you are a victim of violent
repression yourself. You also agree to “lyrical” acts of
black-on-black violence, as well as prolific incidents of brutality.

Commandment III: Thou must covet. Thou must talk about lusting after
things that do not belong to you. You must have an unusual craving
for things that do not belong to you. Your desire must be so strong
that you unwittingly uphold the second commandment. This law does not
advocate you physically go after the material possessions of someone
in your community. By keeping this commandment you vow to never
promote a strong work ethic in your music or to speak against greed,
lust and impulsive behavior. In fact, you now believe greed is
healthy.

Commandment IV: Thou must have a lot of sex. You must have no fewer
than three (3) songs on your CD or demo that promote sexual
intercourse with one or a group of individuals. You cannot express a
deep sense of love or marriage. Thou shalt not talk about commitment,
bonding, and intimacy. You can only talk about sex in its purest and
rawest terms. Do not use “make love,” or “provide pleasure,” or
“pro-create.” You must never mention a sexually transmitted disease
in the context of these records. You can however discuss the use of
contraceptives, but only if you’re referring to sexual intercourse
with a hoe. (See first Commandment). If you are under age 16, you
may substitute sex with the “flirting,” and “fantasies about being
intimate with your teacher, neighbor’s child, or another rapper.” You
must be creative in your graphic detail of sexual intercourse so to
leave nothing to the imagination. The details can be slightly
skewered in order to circumvent radio censors. However, this does not
excuse radio edits from removing references to sex. Therefore stay
ahead of the game by using clever phrases with dual and triple
meanings. By keeping this Commandment, you vow to never promote
unconditional or agape love in your community; promote the black
family in a positive light; or uplift male/female relationships.

Commandment V: Thou must celebrate the drug culture. Thou must
condone and identify with the proliferation of drugs in the black
community. You should create endearing lyrical expressions to
identify various narcotics and mind-altering substances. Though you
are not to personally distribute or purchase illegal substances, you
may allude to it lyrically. (To protect industry investment, we
discourage musical confessions to crimes where the statue of
limitations have not run out.) You may allude to a war on drugs, but
only as justification to carry out the second commandment. You must
continually suggest that selling drugs or “slangin'” produces the only
legitimate income for impoverished black people. All music videos
must either glamorize this lifestyle by showing the “success” of the
narcotic trade, or glamorize prison living. You should refer to drug
addicted citizens in comical terms that illicit disgust, laughter,
fear, pity or retribution. You are never to question U.S. drug
policy. You can never promote healthy living and thinking. Nor can
you advocate moderation in tobacco and liquor consumption. By keeping
this commandment, you vow to never discuss the impact of drug
addiction among people of color; its impact on the community’s overall
health; its impact on the prison industrial complex; or, its impact on
the black family.

Commandment VI: Thou must rarely talk about God and spirituality. You
must lyrically condone atheism and a false belief system that negates
the existences of a higher being. You must routinely question the
existence of a god by lyrically challenging him/her/it to take your
life or to grant you three wishes. You are to refer to yourself as a
god who gives and takes life. You may lyrically create your own
religion (see tenth commandment) based on a ghetto belief system.
Thou shalt not talk about life and death as it relates to spirituality
or a sense of purpose. You should never speak of scripture or
religious texts. You are prohibited from acknowledging any spiritual
beliefs that may have been instilled you by family. However, you may
identify with a Jesus by wearing a large, diamond encrusted piece
whereby you may brag about its costs. Under no circumstance are you
to promote prayer, reflection, meditation, atonement, redemption,
sacrifice, mercy or grace. The consumer fan base must identify with
your lack of spiritual grounding by believing that the only gods are
sex and money. By keeping this commandment you vow to limit your
personal spiritual growth and development. You also vow to never been
seen publicly in a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other house of
worship and reflection.

Commandment VII: Thou must promote capitalism. On no fewer than four
(4) singles or demo records you must talk about money as if it were a
living, breathing thing. You must talk about making it, taking it and
the love of it. Your lyrics must always place money over love, over
women, over religion (see sixth commandment). You must never talking
about savings and investing. Thou can, however, say the words
“currency exchange,” “welfare check,” “first of the month,” and “food
stamps.” You must never talk about pooling of resources. Thou can
never equate capitalism with poverty. You must never mention the IMF,
WTO or Federal Reserve. In fact never mention banking or the stock
market at all. Do not mention technology. Do not discuss taxing. Do
not discuss the federal budget. (See Commandment V). You must
promote individual wealth over community wealth. You should talk
about all of your purchases, specifically naming makers/distributors
of expensive jewelry, cars, clothing and liquor. Once you become a
successful entertainer you should purchase a very big house and no
fewer than three (3) expensive cars. Publicly, you should live within
a lavish lifestyle in order to please your consumer fan base that now
lives vicariously through your music. Your lifestyle should include,
but not be limited to: living in exclusive communities, catering to
huge entourages, routinely eating at expensive restaurants, flying to
Europe for fashion shows, purchasing designer clothing only, ordering
platinum and diamond encrusted jewelry for your body and teeth,
purchasing expensive weapons and devices, frequent partying and
purchasing big quantities of expensive liquor and tobacco/cigars.
Thou should consistently ridicule those who cannot afford the
aforementioned items. By keeping this commandment you vow to always
promote a consumer culture v. a producer culture.

Commandment VIII: Thou cannot have a sense of history. Never ever
refer to any historical event that may cause the consumer to think
about his/her relation to history. Your role is to entertain, not
educate. Thou art prohibited from speaking of the following:
Trans-Atlantic slave trade; African holocaust: Reconstruction: the
civil rights movement; the Black Power Movement; the “real” Harlem
Renaissance, and so forth. You can never mention the following
people: Martin Luther King Jr., Hannibal, Mansa Musa, Harriet Tubman,
Sojourner Truth, David Walker, Nat Turner, George Jackson, El-hajj
Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), Jesse Jackson, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson
Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Steve Biko, Louis Farrakhan, Booker T.
Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Huey Newton, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale,
Kwame Ture, Ida B. Wells, Assata Shakur….unless you are making fun
of their names, causes or crusaders. (I.e., Rah Digga’s Harriet
Thugman). Do not mention Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean or Asia,
unless to disparage. By keeping this commandment you vow to never
promote a sense of awareness, a knowledge of self or the consumer’s
global relationship to kindred spirits.

Commandment IX: Thou must not advocate. Thou art prohibited from
advocacy of anything of social redeeming value. Your lyrics must
reflect a detachment from the social, political and economic reality
of your community. Your lyrics can occasionally ridicule people who
march, protest and advocate social causes. The consumer should never
assume that thou reads newspapers, magazines or books. In other words
it must appear that nothing that happens in the “real”
non-entertainment world, has any personal affect on your thinking.
Nor should the consumer of your CD or demo walk away with the belief
that you care about anything other than the Commandments IV and VII.
Never talk about the “industry.” By keeping this commandment
understand you must never appear at a non-entertainment-related event,
unless of course you are entertaining. You must never donate money,
resources or materials to needy organizations, families or causes.
When questioned about this you must defend your position by claiming
you are an entertainer and that’s all. You can never participate in
interviews discussing relevant social issues. Thou art not
responsible for the behavior encouraged by your music because thou art
not responsible for marketing and sales to minor, unstable
individuals, or mentally ill citizens. You understand that you cannot
attend rallies, sermons, marches, and picnics, festivals or workshops
that have nothing to do with entertainment or the recording industry.

Commandment X: Thou must promote all things ghetto. You may never
define the word ghetto or discuss its creation. You must uphold its
principals and create new creeds. You must lyrically create a
fictional account of ghetto living that inspires comradeship and a
sense of pride among its residents. Your lyrics must create a ghetto
dweller that is proud to live in the ghetto and takes offense at
others moving into it. You must celebrate ghetto life by reminiscing
about days in poverty and your mothers on welfare and about your
fathers who were not there. Additionally, your lyrics must offer the
mainstream a rare glimpse inside a “socio-economic matrix” while
allowing them psychologically off the hook for the ghetto’s creation.
You must celebrate ghetto language, ghetto living, ghetto housing,
ghetto clothing, ghetto hairstyles, ghetto sexual habits, ghetto
education, and ghetto economics and ghetto self-hatred. You must
romanticize poverty with tales of sex, drugs, money, creed and fear.
The ghetto must become a magical place. By keeping this commandment
you vow to create and then instill pride in a false culture of
poverty, crime, drugs, illegitimacy, ignorance and apathy. You also
vow to attribute the ghetto only to Black people. You also vow to
never leave the ghetto matrix psychologically, even when your economic
status changes (see seventh commandment) In other words you will
remember to “keep it real..”

By keeping the aforementioned commandments we, “the industry,”
guarantee the following:

1. Unlimited marketing success and cross-over appeal.
2. A guaranteed income
3. Fame beyond your wildest dreams
4. Unlimited (but recoupable) industry resources
5. Several music awards, citations and honors
6. Protection from community repercussions

This sacred scroll must be handed to every potential and current Black
hip hop artist in the nation. While some sign, many others I am sure
others have refused, as there is circumstantial evidence that supports
that. Occassionally a break through performer will offer lyrics that
make us think, act and believe as if we have purpose and are loved in
this life. Yet the majority of our youth must be forced to sign,
recite and then internalize these commandments in order to guarantee
their market success. I imagine if they do not sign the doctrine,
they are relegated to doing poetry readings at open mics, working
menial jobs, fading into relative obscurity and living in the “ghetto
matrix.” This must be the answer, because the truth is surely a lot
more painful.

stephanie mwandisi gadlin is a chicago-based writer who focuses on
cultural and socio-political issue. in a past life she served as
national press secretary to the reverend jesse jackson sr.
StephGadlin@aol.com





Peace and Blessings

13 01 2010

I had to do this to keep good track of my own personal blogs.  I will be in the process of moving them from a certain social networking site to this.  There is a lot to talk about yall, so I look forward to great conversations with everyone and anyone who want to talk.

Blessings