The world has been inundated this week with the latest story of R. Kelly’s alleged improprieties with barely legal girls looking for stardom after his promises of “helping” them with their music industry careers.  At first glance, the “sex cult” headlines caught my attention but then after delving fully into the original #Buzzfeed story, my disdain for Kelly turned into disgust for the piss poor judgment of the parents involved.  Yes, I said parents…as in multiple sets of parents, condoned the interaction of their teenage daughters with R.Kelly, initially.  According to the article, the parents, who are now claiming their daughter has been brainwashed, knew of R. Kelly’s sordid past but thought they could protect their child.  Both Mother and Father uprooted their lives to move to Atlanta to jumpstart their daughter’s music career and considered themselves to be “fiercely protective parents”.  Now, I cannot for the life of me figure out why any sane grown parent would rationalize any possible reason for their teenage daughter to be placed in a situation where R. Kelly’s old sweaty illiterate ass is a mentor! This is the oldest game in the book, and in this case his longstanding rumors of sexually deviant behavior is well documented over the whole damn internet.

This man came up with a whole docudrama called “Trapped in the Closet” explicitly detailing his pimp fetish yet these parents still thought it was cool.  I’m sorry but the parents get no sympathy from me.   This incident should be used as a teaching moment for parents of daughters on how to spot “game” from a mile away.  There are too many Mothers out there who refuse to be transparent with their daughters about their poor choices and cause the vicious cycle of abuse to be repeated.  Additionally, those Fathers need to come clean and show their daughters how to spot the sinister bastards of the world by admitting that they had “game” back in the day.  Transparency can be humbling but I find it necessary to connect to  younger generations.  I would rather be a little embarrassed by sharing my story with my daughter than being devastated by hearing that she needed to find “love” by becoming a masochistic sex slave.

Once I became a mature woman, and I had my first experience attempting to date someone much younger than me, I immediately knew what a deviant you have to be to seek out teenage girls.  I couldn’t even stomach the juvenile conversation, much less anything physical. Eww!  The only reason you seek out someone less mentally developed than yourself consistently is to control them.  R. Kelly has called himself the Pied Piper of R&B for years, clearly not by accident.  The whole premise of the Pied Piper folktale was that he lured the town children away to their death with his irresistible musical prowess.  Now, I don’t think that Kelly is smart enough to be considered a cult leader. I refuse to give him that title.  He is simply an ordinary predator with money and resources to convince naïve young women that only he can love them properly.  He convinces them that they need him as their “Daddy”, even though some of these girls have very present Fathers. I really struggle to understand that part.

This is the precise reason why we need to educate our children early to psychological games played by predators.  There are myriad forms of abusive relationships but many of them start with subtle manipulation like what R. Kelly used.  Promises of career help or VIP treatment  are common ruses used by pimps to get their stable together.  This is exactly what R.Kelly has done, assembled a stable of groupies who willingly traded in their dignity for this perceived VIP lifestyle.  Unfortunately they won’t even realize the psychological damage being done to them until they age out of the stable and are left to pick up the pieces of their wasted lives.   Sex trafficking is real and R. Kelly just gave you a celebrity face to associate with it.

Again I implore you, please educate your children about the professional way to network in the entertainment industry.  Also remember boys are victims too,(Jerry Sandusky, Bishop Eddie Long, James Cleveland, boy band manager Lou Pearlman and The Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad).  We all think that this won’t happen to our child because we are there to protect them but I have never met a parent that really knows everything their child is doing on their devices.  Obviously these parents thought they knew too…This is why the Bible says never to give the devil a foothold.  The Pied Piper of R&B is the devil and it seems that he has settled in for the long haul.  Protect the kids please, parents that is your Divine assignment.

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4 Life Lessons Learned from 4:44

4 Spiritual Growth Lessons Learned from Jay Z’s 4:44

Last week Jay-Z broke the internet with his latest release 4:44.  Being hailed as his most reflective masterpiece yet, the project is filled with honest nuggets of wisdom gleaned from his obvious maturation.  I have had this on repeat for the past week and came up with my summation of the top 4 spiritual growth concepts he conveys with his heartfelt lyricism.  Even if you’re not a fan, you cannot deny the gems he spits.  Like Jay said, “stop me when I stop telling the truth”.

  1. Maturity.  This is known in the Word as “dying to the flesh” which he addresses on “Kill Jay-Z”.  In order for us to achieve success in life, we must all come to a point where we decide to kill our unproductive desires.  Even if change does not happen as quickly as we like, the very act of choosing to pursue integrity as a way of life is stepping up to spiritual maturity.  Pursuing spiritual evolution is part of “adulting”.   Mental and spiritual evolution is always the precursor to a shift in our physical and material expressions of success.  Offering apologies, developing compassion, investing in ourselves, financial freedom and ongoing self-education are all signs that the maturation shift has taken place.  Jay talks about the critical voices in his head urging him to “die Jay Z”, die to the criminal mindset that no longer represents who he is.  “Let go your ego over your right shoulder, your left side is saying finish your breakfast”, a lyrical nod to the struggle of keeping his cold gangster demeanor to protect his ego.  Change is inevitable and we should embrace it.  When we resist change and become stagnant, we are consciously choosing to stay immature, usually to our detriment. 
  2. Transparency.  Vulnerability and transparency is what endears us to others, it’s also what many of us fear the most.  This is the reason conversing with someone who also shares their story with you causes you to feel comfortable in revealing your true self.  When someone else is as flawed as us, we don’t feel judged.  “You can’t heal what you never revealed”, sums up the reason everyone needs to seek out some professional therapy at some point in their adult life.  Unless we identify the root of our pain, become transparent about our struggles in safe environments, the bitterness will subconsciously permeate all areas of our life.  Despite all the braggadocio verses and gangster knowledge that Jay has dropped over the years, it is ironic that his most vulnerable album will turn out to be a classic beyond his own expectations.  All because he decided to publicly acknowledge his flaws and emotional pain.
  3.  Marketing is everything.  On “The Story of OJ”, Jay raps, “I turned my life into a nice first week release date.”  This speaks to the brilliance of taking control of your own narrative, especially in this age of social media.  Whether you are a public figure or not, people are going to gossip about you.  Why not get ahead of the story and profit from it if you can?  The paparazzi and even regular folks with cell phones are sure going to if possible.  Gossip and viral videos are big money these days and if you have a chance to make money from your own idiosyncrasies, please do.  Remember the “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” lady, Sweet Brown?  She enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame and got some cash before she fell off.  People were laughing at her country grammar and she was laughing all the way to the bank.
  4. 4:44 Pay attention to spiritual signs all around us, like the synchronicity of numbers in our world.  I believe that there is no such thing as coincidence, only Divine signs and wonders that seem coincidental to us.  The song 4:44 was written because Jay-Z was awakened at 4:44 in the morning with a prompting to write this powerful apologetic song revealing his shame and regrets for disappointing his family. Seeing repeating numbers signals that we should pay attention to inner promptings that we receive at that time because it usually means the Holy Spirit is trying to get our attention.
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Top 5 Black Music Month Releases in Wani’s World



To wrap up Black Music Month and to usher in the Holiday weekend celebrations, I wanted to give you my version of a must have playlist at the next cookout.  Just a warning that my tastes are diverse and the raw stuff ain’t for everybody.  In that vein, here is my current Top 5 list of HipHop and other good music that I have in heavy rotation right now.  Enjoy!

Mali Music. The Transition of Mali.  So, I’m an avid Mali fan and I was wondering what happened to him since he dipped into the secular waters and signed with a major label.  I was eagerly awaiting this project and he didn’t disappoint. Mali always brings the passion and transparency to his lyrics.  He seems a bit jaded with the fame and the industry on certain tracks like, “Bow Out” but he manages to bring it back to Praise on “Gonna Be Alright” and “My Life”.  The outstanding song to me was “Loved By You” featuring Jazmine Sullivan.  When her sultry honey dipped vocals slid onto the track, I think my headphones melted a little bit.  Overall, the entire project was 90% flawless and even sitting with the other 10% has me warming up to the songs.  I still think his last project, “Mali Is”, was his absolute best work to date but his Transition is very impressive.  Do yourself a favor and get some Mali in your collection.

Vince Staples. Big Fish.  Ok, for all my Boom Bap folks, this joint is nice!  The beats are all bangers for riding or clubbing.  The standouts for both production and lyricism are “BagBak” and “Yeah Right”, featuring Kendrick.  The title track, “Big Fish”, has the best bass line I’ve heard in a long while, coupled with Staples’ razor sharp flow when describing how to survive “while trying to get money from these sharks” is sonic fire.  I had heard buzz about Vince Staples ever since he was one of the XXL Mag’s Freshmen of 2015 but now I can see what the hype was about and he lives up to it.

DJ Khaled.  Grateful.  The title of his ambitious 23 track latest offering conveys the emotions DJ Khaled was consumed by after becoming a father to his gorgeous little boy Asahd.   If you haven’t yet heard “Shining” or “Wild Thoughts”, the Summer ’17 anthem, your ears are cussing you out right now.   I’m not a huge fan of trap music but Khaled balanced out the best of the trap MCs with some East Coast heavy hitters on this one.  Plus, I was about to X out Nicki, but on this joint…she’s BAAACCK.  Nicki is featured on tracks with Future and Alicia Keys and she bodies both of them.  I need her to keep this up, get back to the “Roman’s Revenge” spazzing out lyrics that made me a fan.  Finally, as if Chance The Rapper could get anymore endearing, he and Khaled made a new alphabet song that is so lit, it may put Sesame Street out of business.  The song is called “I Love You” and it’s like the Hip Hop combination version of Viola Davis in “The Help” and Mufasa showing Simba his future kingdom in the Lion King.  Clearly Asahd has taken DJ Khaled’s creative motivation to new heights and his fans are the beneficiaries.  Even if you aren’t a Khaled fan, you are bound to find at least 6 songs on Grateful that will move you either to dance or at least bob your head.  The list of featured artists is incredible, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Nas, Pusha T, Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris, Future, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Big Sean and T.I.  Even for all you mumble rap lovers, aka Trap lovers, he included Young Thug, Travis Scott and Migos.  To sum it all up…go get this.

Sir The Baptist.  Saint or Sinner.  What I like about Sir The Baptist is his willingness to embrace the Saint and Sinner inside him, as the album title proclaims.  He is the eclectic musical expression of a Preacher’s Kid.  He observed all the hypocrisies in the Church and decided to form his own relationship with God and accept his duality of good and evil.  He takes the whole church to task on “Deliver Me”, a haunting track about domestic abuse among the church elite, featuring Brandy.  This song alone is worth listening to this album. 

Jay-Z.  4:44.   The prolific, Jigga the game spitter is back on his NYC ish!  The transparency and maturity shown on this album is the reason why Jayhova is my top MC ever.  His body of work progresses as he lives and learns from his mistakes.  Being a fellow Sagg raised in New York, land of “keeping it stone faced”, I know how hard it was to be vulnerable on this joint.  Even his Mother got it on the soul revelations by sharing that she is a lesbian.  At 47, Jay is still at the top of his lyrical game while sending shots to Kanye, Jimmy Iovine and anyone else who thought he was a Daddy now and wouldn’t clap back. “I bought some artwork for one million/Two years later, that shit worth two million/Few years later, that shit worth eight million/I can’t wait to give this sh*t to my children/Y’all think it’s bougie, I’m like, ‘it’s fine’/But I’m tryin’ to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99,”.  Yep, break over, Hov is back.  A new classic.

I must also give honorable mention to:

Showbiz & AG. Take It Back. 

Big Boi’s Boomiverse 

Raekwon’s The Wild.

  They prove again that having bars is not relegated to the youngsters.  I’m always happy when “old school” MC’s show back up to add some much-needed heat to the game.  I can’t wait for the Mumble Rap style to fade away…It’s time people.  Until next time, Blessings and Be Grateful!


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