Hip Hop: Preach Muzak – I’m So Diggin’ This Dude!

To know me, is to know I have a deep, strong love for hip hop that goes back to my childhood in the South Bronx.  I love lyricism, and loathe BS lyrics.  The actual art of hip hop infatuates me, and I am always hungry to hear artist who respect the craft.

As of January, I literally live with hip hop music being created all day in my brother’s studio.  Artists come through daily with beats and rhymes, and they all think they are killing it.  Some are actually good. Some, well… I don’t want to be mean, so I’ll say, some are just not so good.  I’m super skeptical about anyone who speaks too big about their skills.  Let the lyrics speak.  My love for hip hop art, coupled with being in this constant studio environment, has fine-tuned and primed my ears for good hip hop.

I say all of that to say this: I found some good hip hop.

@Malika_Polter just put me on to Preach Muzak.   When I say just, I mean literally, about an hour before I started writing this. The first song I listened to was “Eighty Six.”  The beat was classic, laid back, drive-down-the-block-with-the-windows-open, dope!  Then he started rhyming, and I was done!  I stopped what I was doing, and started listening to his Youtube channel.  I downloaded The Rising Trilogy Vol 1 as well.

This dude is nice.

And say word – dude is nice to look at, on top of being lyrical.  Stop it!  That’s like finding a unicorn.  There’s only a few.  Nas, and Common, immediately come to mind. Kendrick is up there too. The above pic is cute, but does not do him complete justice.  Ladies, look at the videos.

On my hip hop score card he gets one star each for voice, lyrics, content, delivery/cadence, and beat.  Five star rapper.  Dig that.

I wish this brother the best.  It can be hard out here for a lyricist, in America these days.  Rappers who spit something you actually want to slow down and listen to. I’m mad that I’m just now finding out about him.  I would love to interview him, and pick his brain about his concepts and his writing process.

The Rising Trilogy Vol. 1

If you are a true hip hop fan, I’d highly recommend Preach Muzak. Get him in your life ASAP!

You can download him here.

Thank you for reading!

Peace.

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6 Ways to Make Yourself Feel Better Right Now!

thWQCMHPLHLife is harsh.  People are mean, and sometimes it seems like everyone’s aim is to break you down.  Don’t lie to yourself about feeling bad.   Acknowledge it, so you can change your situation.  All the things you need to be happy are on this earth. You may need to journey to find them, but ultimately, it’s all inside of you already.  We live in a puritanical society that teaches us, directly and indirectly that feeling good is a sin.  So many of us wallow in negativity because we think that type of sacrifice is what the Creator (by whatever name you call him her or it) wants.  I don’t know much about life, but the idea of helping each other seems to be the steadiest theme of life throughout the timeline of humanity.  We can’t get anywhere without each other.  It’s kind of hard to help others if you are trapped in a negative mental state.

1. Start laughing

Don’t wait for a joke, or something funny.  Just start laughing.  Smile, then laugh.  Laughing feeds on itself, just like crying.  The more you do it, the more you will do it until you are in a fit of it.  If you feel too silly doing laughing at nothing, or if you are just not in touch with yourself like that, then watch something on Youtube.

2. Masturbatescreaming.eu

Don’t underestimate the power of an orgasm.  Sometimes getting one out will change your whole mindset.  It relieves tension, which gives you a better perspective on things.  Now, please, only do this if you are in the proper setting.  Don’t be like the woman in my novel Confessions of a Serial Masturbator, who did it on the train, at work and some other places.  Please be sure to spare the public of your self-pleasure adventures :).

3. Take selfies

I remember I was feeling super shitty one day, and I started taking pics of myself, because I wanted to see my saddness.  I hated the way my face looked!  It was depressing.  After a few pics I started trying to make cuter faces, so I’d have better pics.  Then I started making funny faces.  Soon I was feeling so much better. I’d cheered myself up by mistake.  It’s a very helpful tool for me.  You can also just look in a mirror and do the same thing.  Only difference is it won’t be recorded.  All things don’t need to be.

4. Draw or write something

Whether you think you can draw or not.  Doesn’t matter if you write well, or not.   We are made to create, so creating something, anything, will make you feel better.  It doesn’t have to be good, or big, or shared with anyone else.  Just put pen, or pencil to paper, or pull out your phone or tablet or laptop and get to creating.

galleryhip.com5. Listen to music

Obvi right?  But It’s not always in the forefront of your mind to do it. It’s one of the fastest ways to recharge your mind.   Not just any music, but music that makes you feel good. That makes your body move and forces you to sing along.  Some of my go to songs are:

Sucka MC’s – Run DMC

The Don – Nas

Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz

Cult of Personality – Living Colour

Feeling  Good – Nina Simone

Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani

Crush On You Remix  – Lil Kim

You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – Sylvester

1 Thing – Amerie

Party Up – DMX

Nikka Costa – Like a Feather

That’s just a small cross section of the songs that immediately put a smile on my face, and make me sing and dance.  The full list is far too long and ever-growing for me to even attempt to list all of them.

6. Get one or a few go-to quotes

Usually, whenever I’m feeling down, it has something to do with me not living up to my potential in some form.  Feeling like a failure.  When I’m in that mental space, it can normally be traced back to me being afraid.  My fears stop me from doing the things I really want to do.  Fear of not having money to buy food, or to pay rent.  Fear of both failure and success.  Fear of change.  This quote is one of my favorite to help put life into perspective:

“Security is mostly a superstition.  It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

I’ve posted this quote before. Whenever I get scared, or doubt myself, it’s one of my immediate thoughts. I have a few of them. At this moment, this is my favorite.  I alternate as my needs change.  Yes, your mother’s quotes count!black_girl_thumbs_up2

I hope this is helpful to someone out there. By no means is a quick fix. These are just some ways that have proven helpful to me when I get into a funk. They lift my mood so I can proceed with life. To paraphrase Nas, we’re all in the grind.  That being the case, we all need to pick each other up when we can.  It’s hard out here for most of us.  But there is always opportunity to change.  Sometimes it takes baby steps, sometimes you’ve got to leap.  Life is a constant challenge.  There is always someone less fortunate, more fortunate or on your level.  We all need help and we all need to help each other.  We are created that way.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading!

Peace.

Review: Chris Rock’s “Top Five”

thZGKD46E7Two of my favorite things in the world are comedy and hip hop. Add a non-cheesy love story, black consciousness and social commentary to the mix, and you have Chris Rock’s outstandingly, wonderful film Top Five. I can’t say enough good things about this movie. I want to see it again! As soon as it’s available I’m buying it.

thCM48VEG9It had some great surprises, and at this stage in my movie-watching-life it is hard to surprise me. It had loads of cameos too by people who I love. Some whom Hollywood often overlooks. I don’t even want to give any spoilers. It’s so good, I just want you to go see it and find out for yourself! This may be the first movie that I’ve ever felt that away about, where I don’t want to give anything away. I will say this; DMX had me literally crying laughing.

I haven’t been so affected by a movie in years. It made me want to become a better writer. It was so real and true and earnest.

Top-5-Trailer-611x341This is one of those movies that I’m glad I experienced in the theater, with my popcorn and people around me who seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. People in the audience were agreeing, loudly, whenever someone on screen listed their top five. As any hip hop head knows, your top five is a major definition of who you are. I just love the fact that Chris Rock knows that, and that he chose to use that as the movie title.

Might I add, JB Smoove had a great role. He shined. Rosario Dawson is one of my favorite actresses and I just adored her in this movie.

Top Five gets five of five stars.

In case you care to know, my top five are:

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My sixth men are:

thVVRW8ORR th0W3M3AMWthNZ6UYQ3FI know there’s only one sixth man, but my team is special.

The order of the players are subject to change, depending on my mood–except for my top three. They are always in the top three.

Who are your top five?

Thank you for reading!

Peace.

My MCM – Mr. Nasir Jones

thITPA1UGW“If I Ruled the World,” Nas and I would’ve been married, had five kids and been divorced by now. Nas is the only MC that I’ve listened to consistently from 1993 to now. We’ve been rocking for a minute. He’s not aware of my relationship with him, but that’s ok. It’s real in my head.

thM1UI6LOYI was immediately taken by Nas, not just physically, but lyrically. He had that run-out-the-room wordism that makes you listen to him over and over again. I first heard of him in “Back to the Grill Again,” before ever hearing “Live at the Barbque” (which I didn’t hear until after Illmatic). So, I’d heard him in reverse of everyone else. Then “Half Time,” came out and I was done. I was so into him that my boyfriend at the time was jealous.

thX1TV3N9UBy the time Illmatic came out I was a full-fledged fan. I loved/love “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” so much that I would cry. Literally, by the time the third verse would come on I’d have tears in my eyes. It was like the most amazing thing I’d heard since “The Bridge is Over,” and “Check Out My Melody”. As far as albums go, Illmatic is one of three albums I can listen to without skipping any songs (36 Chambers and The Low End Theory, in case you were wondering, are the other two).

I have every Nas album except Nastradomus. He was in a different place, and so I was I. My life was weird at that time and I wasn’t listening to much music.

thX3P75C5QI make sure to actually buy his music. I spend that bread! Which says a lot because I am cheap. I didn’t have to listen to tracks before buying any of his albums either. I just trusted they’d be good.

Nasir1He’s so important to hip hop. Enough that I use him as part of a litmus test I use to decide whether I’ll get serious with someone or not. There are three questions I ask any man that I’m interested in. One of them involves Nas. Answer that wrong and I immediately put a guy in the friend zone.

thJAKN4R0BSo, he’s my MCM, beyond his looks. He’s one of my top three favorite MCs of all time (the other two are Rakim and KRS). He seems like a cool, laid back cat, with the right amount of eccentric energy to keep me guessing about him. I’d love to interview him some day.

Fun fact: Nas has a little cousin named Yara Shahidi.  You may know her as Eddie Murphy’s daughter in Imagine That, or as Zoe, the oldest daughter on Black-ish. She does favor him.

Thanks for reading!

Peace.

Nas Debuts “The Season” Produced by J Dilla

Remember earlier this month when I posted the Nas interview with Angie Martinez?  He mentioned he was dropping a single soon. Well here it is and it is FIYAH!  I’ve already listened to it enough that I know the words.  The beat is killer, of course it’s a Dilla beat. It’s lyrically on point with a sweet shout to Slick Rick, and friendly shots fired at Jay Electronica and Jay Z.  No malice at all, just addressing the rumors about them writing his music.

It has the grandiose, braggadocios lyrics that long time Nas fans love.  Think of a 2014 “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” and you’re halfway there.

th (10)Nas debuted the single at the Rough Trade Records meet and greet for Killer Mike and El–P of the duo, Run the Jewels.  According to The Urban Daily, twenty fans saw a Mass Appeal Records (the label that Nas founded) sponsored screening of the 70s NYC classic, The Warriors (“Caaan yooou dig iiiit?”), and were treated by a surprise visit from the nastiest MC to come out of Queens.

I just left NYC for the winter, so I’ll be bumping this in my car from Memphis to New Orleans.  To do any song real justice for me, as a native New Yorker, I like to sit on the train with it, bobbing my head, with my eyes closed. Getting off at my stop, running up the stairs, into the bustle of the street, and feeling that NYC concrete under my feet, rhyming to the cold air in front of me.  That’s golden.  That’s how I love to listen to music.  This song has that feel to it.  But it’s a head nodder period.  No matter the situation.  This is a sip on something, smoke-em-if-you-got-em, type cut.  You don’t shake your ass to this.  You can get it in to it though. It’s for listening.  It’s for standing on the block.  And it is in fact for riding in your car with the sun going down in your rear view. It’s so grown, as he mentions, “Now I’m 40 and a little change…” I’m not 40, but I love the grown man approach to hip hop.  That is straight sexy.

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He’s so right when he says, “The soulful sample compliments my rhyme so well….”  This song has done it for me.  Hoping to hear an album soon.

The lyrics get 5 stars.

The delivery gets 5 stars.

The beat gets 5 stars.

The production gets 5 stars.

No disappointments here.  And I know you were never gone.

Thanks for reading!

Peace.

Nas Finds His Roots on PBS

thDNFA5QAPThanks to Henry Louis Gates Jr., and PBS, Nas, Angela Bassett, and Ben Jealous, have found their roots. Turns out, Nas is a descendant of Vikings, on his dad’s side. He was very happy to find out the breakdown of his 84%African heritage, and surprised about the Viking lineage. DNA is amazing. Who we are never leaves us. Like a secret lying within waiting to be revealed. How exciting!

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Angela Bassett has a 77% pan-African heritage, as well as 20% European and 3% Asian. While, Ben Jealous is almost completely European. No big surprise there, after all, his father is white.  What was surprising was finding out that one of his great-grandfathers owned slaves.  The slaves were his wife and three children.  He was black, and did it to protect them.  Then he wrote a declaration of freedom for them, a year before all enslaved Americans were federally freed. If you have the time, watch the story below.  What an amazing and awesome account of American history. One of thousands that we will never know about.

The more I watch Mr. Gates’ specials, the more I want to find out about my own ancestry. I’m assuming I’m like 95% Sub-Saharan African, and like 4% European (if even that much, you know, because of slavery) and perhaps sliver of Native American (because my paternal side told me so). But knowing the actual story of my family, and finding out the particulars of who the people were that owned them would be amazing. It would answer a lot of questions. My family’s been in America since the 1600s, but I don’t know anything about their personal history. What a feeling a wholeness one must have when they find out. I want that feeling!

thVST0I21FNas mentioned that he’s thinking about buying the land where his family was enslaved. I’ve been thinking about that for some time. When I was seven, and unable to appreciate what I was seeing, my family went to the house in South Carolina, where my ancestors worked. It was a huge, white house, with a lily shaped pool, and a lot of land, in a swampy area. It is my dream to buy that house, if it’s still there. I wouldn’t want to live in it, but I want to own it.

Click the pic below to see the full episode below, which is available for streaming from now until 11/28/14.

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Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

Peace.

Nas Interview with Angie Martinez

I just had to share this Power 105.1 video. Given their history, I was surprised to see this interview.  I’m sure they’ve gotten over their beef years ago.  They may have even made public amends before this that I’m not aware of. But I’m such a die hard Nas fan that it’s hard for me to forgive. He seems fine and at peace, so I guess I’ll be peace too.

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This was a really calm and chill interview.  Nas and I have been in a relationship for years now.  Granted, it’s one sided, but still….  Anyway, he talks about releasing some new music, a little about relationships, and about Time is Illmatic (Which was AWESOME).

Enjoy!

Thanks fore reading.  Peace!