SO R. KELLY IS A PIMP…WHY ARE WE SURPRISED?

SO R. KELLY IS A PIMP…WHY ARE WE SURPRISED? 

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

 

TOP 5 BLACK MUSIC MONTH 2017 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.  https://youtu.be/f4tv1jLOh00

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.  https://youtu.be/0l9kzS_B7gg

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. https://youtu.be/fyaI4-5849w

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.   https://youtu.be/2HzB6aDVTqg 

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.  https://youtu.be/keqC9SLyVzQ 

Big Boi’s Boomiverse   https://youtu.be/TAhOumyEJOE 

Raekwon’s The Wild. https://youtu.be/GG62vuHd0dE.

  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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Head-Roc: Black Leon Album Review

Aural Appreciation Fridays: Current Music in Wani’s World

Head Roc: Black Leon Album Review

 The Black Leon Project by Head_Roc

http://www.head-roc.com

Since this is Black Music Month, as proclaimed by President Obama, I decided to start my music review feature by focusing on one of my favorite DMV artists, who should get more shine in my opinion. I’m all for diversity in music but I feel like the artists who display any sort of political opinion or overt pride in their Blackness get absolutely no airplay on mainstream sources, because of the corporate takeover of media. One of the reasons that I have always admired Head-Roc is because of his unapologetic love for his culture and his Chocolate City, before and after gentrification set in. I had the chance to pose some questions to Head-Roc, which he eloquently answered, and I will include below after my review.

Wow, what can I say about this dude. Me and Heady, as I like to call him, go waaay back like penny candies from the corner store! Back in the early 90’s, I began my foray into journalism by starting a newsletter called Strictly For The Underground. Back then, I tried to really immerse myself in local hip hop culture and I was always posted up at State of the Union on U St for the ciphers and DJ sets. There was a sea of wannabe MCs but the group that stood out to me was Infinite Loop, DC’s version of the Wu Tang Clan. As it turned out, Head-Roc was my neighbor, living right up the block from me on 12th St NE, so we ended up hanging out. I used to chill with him and his roommate DJ Marv on Friday nights after work just sitting around making mixtapes, hitting blunts and politicking about Hip Hop and life. He used to burn this really fragrant incense and I always liked the vibe of he and his folks because they were respectful and never tried to push up on me. One of us would cook, and he would supply the herb and the atmosphere. Even over the years, whenever I would run into him or one of the Loop crew, it was always love.

I have known Head-Roc from his early days of spitting that gully shit to his evolution into conscious, informative, revolutionary Hip Hop. One of the things that I admire most about Heady is his tenacity. As the business of Hip Hop has evolved it has become evident that in order to thrive on your own terms as an artist, it is necessary to create your own lane. Heady recognized this early on and has stayed on his hustle, bypassing all the traps of lyrical and beat trends and keeping it authentic, always repping DC and Black culture. As he matured spiritually and emotionally, it couldn’t help but be reflected in his art. From grimy to punk to his current project, Black Leon, which takes it back to the essence of soulful samples, Afrobeat horns and clever storytelling.

In the vein of Public Enemy and M1, Head-Roc spits that politically charged, revolutionary Black love hip hop that needs to be in rotation to encourage the masses.  His concepts of Black Rock Star Superhero, Sistar, and even Black Leon aka Napoleon is appropriate in a time when much of what we hear in Hip Hop is drug induced, misogynistic and lyrically mundane.  Yo, I like a good twerk song as much as the average club goer, but damn can we get some balance?

Conscious without corniness is his lane and he stays in it with each track.  This brother should be on tours at festivals like Afropunk, AFRAM and other diaspora oriented music festivals. One of my favorite tracks is C’mon Home, lamenting the erosion of Hip Hop anchored in Black Love and inviting artists to once again create from this perspective. His official theme song, Black Rock Star Super Hero, is about exactly what it sounds like…an audio graphic novel encouraging us to love ourselves and be our own saviors. The Afrobeat inspired Love The Way She Dance is a lyrically tantalizing take on a 21st century love song. Heady’s storytelling prowess shines through on Bully, where you can envision clearly how the situation went down at the bar. I’m sure many of us can relate to the drunken fuckery that can suddenly turn a chill situation into an “I might need some bail money” situation. His candor and transparency on Write My Life and INVANCIBLE give a chronological picture into his spiritual evolution over the past two decades.

I have always felt that baring your soul through your art is what makes it unique and relatable, which is what Head-Roc does on these songs. The Black Ink produced project, Black Leon is a must buy for music lovers of all genres because it is simply good music that comes from an authentic well of passion for both People of Color and DC, formerly known as Chocolate City. Support my Brother Head-Roc, the Black Rock Star Superhero, by adding it to your music collection and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • What was the catalyst for your switch to conscious music?

I’d have to say the catalyst was probably my relationship with my now ex-wife and mother of my daughter. This was some years ago now, about 2002/2003, and during the eve of the 2nd Persian Gulf War invasion of Iraq. She is of Iraqi and Palestinian descent, and so I have the experience of watching someone I love go through a hell I could not imagine… save to relate it to history of my own peoples as enslaved Africans and their descendants. It took some time, but once I began to understand how the histories of our Peoples connect with relationship to managing the challenges of living with the decisions of White Supremacy, I began to walk the path of social justice anchored artistic expression. First, I directed my art to support in favor of my ex-wife’s Arab heritage against the beast, and later I would do so for my own heritage as a descendant of enslaved Africans brought to the Americas to build European wealth.

  • If you were offered a distribution deal with a major label again, would you take it?
  • Why or why not?

Let me say that I am a businessman and so yes, I would entertain the overture by a major label to distribute my art. Of course, and it’s no secret, it’d have to be a situation and arrangement where the culture of all things Head-Roc is present in how business is done.

 

  • Do you find racism to be more prevalent in the US or overseas when dealing with promoters?

I’d have to say, for my experience, racism here in the US is way more prevalent as well as covert – making it harder to detect. I’ve been overseas (I Love It!) and have had a few instances where someone didn’t want to be next to me for no apparent reason other than that I’m Black – Maybe. Over here in the US, where I am a natural born American, I am, overtly or clandestinely, continuously under fire for declaring pride in my African Heritage, and pointing out the tremendous impact enslaving Africans to build wealth played in the founding and subsequent progression of this Nation.

  • How would you advise young artists to proceed when attempting to get paid for a gig?

As with any Profession, when you are first getting started there is a vetting process. Amongst your crew; artist peers; family; friends, open mic organizers, venues, concert promoters, the press, radio, etc. You have to make it through all the layers to be considered valuably marketable to invest time and resources organizing shows where all parties involved are taken care of financially. This “right of passage” process can take years, and sometimes decades, to accomplish. Once you reach that level, my advice to artists is be sure to hold true to the value of your request for financial compensation for your services.

  • How many members of the original Infinite Loop are still pursuing music or the music business?

One Two, Theory, and Grizz record, release and rock together as A.R.K. I’m working with Face (One Two’s partner in Organnic Symmetry). L.O.S from 13 degrees East (Theory’s partner with D-Man), DJ RBI is the Top DJ in Chocolate City, Jarobi (ATCQ) is Rhyming with Dres (Black Sheep) in EVITAN as well as enjoying being a rock star in the Culinary World. Platted Mind (Blas) is gearing up for a Solo Release.

  • What lessons did you learn from your daughter that you have incorporated into your musical style and content?

The lesson that I have learned from my daughter Jahmila is to remain genuine. Every Album I’ve released since my daughter was born, has been approved by her. She likes her daddy’s art expression a certain way; energized and crisp, not too docile or chill. That’s how she knows me, full of energy and always looking for and/or leading the next adventure. She likes the songs I create that pay tribute to the people we admire, and she like my “story” songs. I’d be remiss if I also didn’t not ad that she does like the songs where I big up myself and talk a little smack. J

  • Are you going to run for Mayor of DC in the future? City Council, Ward Council?

I have been asked many times these same questions by a few folks with the power and influence to help organize an effort that would result in a resounding win for the Citizens of Chocolate City. Right now, I’m focused on continuing my sustainability and securing my future so that I can remain a producing artist to the end. In that space, I am always looking for a Black Rock Star Super Hero DC local candidate to back with the weight and influence of the name and brand I have been building the last 25 years.

  • Do you think politics and musical expression, especially hip-hop, naturally go together?

Absolutely. In my research, observation, and opinion Black music in America is born out of political repression; meaning since our enslavers wouldn’t let us express ourselves in the normal course and flow of decent conversation, we had to revert to natures #1 soul expression: music. Hip-Hop is a link in the chain of development of Black music expression. Early Hip-Hop music has deep political expressive roots. Why? Because of it’s effectiveness to reach communities living under a system that worked to stifle Black/Brown expression. That’s its origins, and I am happy to play my part continuing the tradition as we move into the future.

 

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Food, Glorious Food and Art and Music: Baltimore’s Gathering of the Arts

Food, glorious food, and art and music. All of my favorite things in 1 place! This was the scene of Baltimore’s Food truck, art and music festival held this past weekend at the Hollywood Diner Food truck park at 400 E. Saratoga St near downtown Baltimore. I had a bit of a health scare earlier this month so I had to take a break from writing to regroup and heal but this was the perfect event for me to jump back into the action. Not perfect for the culinary temptations but definitely what I needed to entertain and motivate me.

Let me start by saying that although Baltimore gets a bad rap in the media, I have gotten nothing but love from the arts community and the folks that run www.artistscompound.com. The organizers of this event, aptly called “The Gathering”, created an eclectic mix of musicians, performance artists, visual artists, DJs and dancers to keep the event exciting for all tastes and ages. The festival location made it a beacon for, let’s say Bmore’s more colorful residents, some of whom clearly had love for the CoCo and that Drank..if you don’t get that reference, ask your kids. LOL. However, the unique mix of artsy folks, military vets and music lovers of all ages and races blended well together. There was the requisite hipster smell of patchouli in the air, but thankfully it was pushed out by someone hitting that good good and of course the delicious smells wafting out of the food trucks. The food options were definitely for “cheat day” only, especially for those of us watching our diets. The cheating was definitely worth the carbs! The GrrChe and Greek on the Street trucks had succulent selections like Greek fries tossed with olive oil, feta and parsley or a Jalapeño popper grilled cheese on sourdough. Since I was already in cheat mode, I even got grown and sampled a cocktail, a Strawberry Lemonade Vodka Punch. I couldn’t hang and passed it off to my partner but, the few sips I drank were quite tasty!

The selection of artwork was interesting but I was most drawn to a slowly sunburning Mike Ruzika and his son selling gemstones and crystals, custom cutting them to your preference right on site. I don’t think I have ever seen a vendor bring his stonecutter equipment to an event. Dude was serious about that thing and we got into a great conversation about crystals and their different healing properties. He even schooled me to something called “record keeper crystals” which are purported to contain wisdom and energy from the geological events that formed them. I am always drawn to unique information and his gems were beautiful, I will definitely be contacting him for some new jewelry pieces.

Now to the most important thing…the music.

There were 2 stages of musicians and DJs covering the gamut of genres from folk to Baltimore club music and everything in between. I started on the left side stage, cause it was closest to the food. Yep, being the foodie I am.  The performances consisted of a few bluesy folk groups whose music evoked the political mood of the country surrounding this upcoming election. The standouts, in my opinion were, the “Dido-esque” songstress Sara Hurwitz who alternated between the piano and acoustic guitar to convey her political angst. She kinda lost me though when she proclaimed that she does not vote…I mean isn’t that part of the problem? Another favorite was Conor Brendan and the Wild Hunt, whose voice was simply sublime. He reminded me of a mix of Adam Levine and John Mayer. A special shout out to the belly dancer Liz Slaterbeck and acrobatic dancer Lindsey Golden, whose eye catching costumes and performances added yet another dimension to this festival.

So, being the Hip Hop head that I am, I was ecstatic to see the DJs setting up on the second stage. I mean I was cool with the other music, but well, you know my steez. DJ Stylo got it started spinning a hot house set, until I messed up his groove by engaging him in a conversation about blending beats. LOL, Sorry dude, but you still worked it. However, my new favorite DJ, Styletto shut it DOWN with her set! She started it out easy with some current joints but then she slid into the Caribbean/Afrobeat set and I damn near lost my mind! She hit the Major Lazer, “Bumaye Watch out Fi Dis”, Sean Paul’s One Wine and then my current theme song, Rihanna’s Work. She had the whole crowd wining down to the ground…homeless, senior citizens and the youth going crazy. Of course she had to slip in some classic MJ and Crystal Waters for the old house heads in the crowd…yo, Styletto slayed Period. Let’s just say I got my steps in that day, despite the doctor’s orders to take it easy. I just can’t resist a good wining song, it must be the Trini in me.  Bmore Dance group took over the end of the evening with some Bmore style house dancing and B-boying. All in all, I must say this was a wonderful event, no drama and everyone unified by music, art and community love. Looking forward to the next Artists Compound event.

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The Diabetic Gourmet Update, 3rd week or so

So, I’ve consciously been on this #thediabeticgourmet journey for a few weeks now and I am happy to say I’m down 3.5 lbs, yes the .5 counts dammit. I have done this through a bread pudding binge, Amish market pastry binge, a couple of flare-ups and a full week of Starbucks crack-ucinnos. I can’t say that I have been especially disciplined with my diet but I have cranked up the strength training, which seems to be working. My little progress bubble was burst this morning though, when I woke up to hear that one of my favorite MCs, #PhifeDawg from #ATCQ lost his battle with diabetes and kidney disease, caused by the diabetes. I was up in here sad like I knew the brother personally. I felt like he was a friend in my head, because I can connect with him on a few levels; he repped Trinidad “Trini gladiator”, he was a “funky diabetic”, he was short like me aka “The Five Foot Assassin”, he was a New Yorker and he spit some of the sickest, wittiest verses in hiphop, especially on Electric Relaxation. My favorite line was “bust off on your couch, now you got Seaman’s furniture”, if you aren’t from NY then you probably didn’t get the reference.

Anyway, his death brought back the realization that this diabetes shit is no joke and I must stop bullshitting…again. I do currently have my blood sugar under control, but my last binge almost put me back up there. The silent killer in diabetes is the kidney damage though, which I tend to forget. I think that is my greatest health fear, kidney damage because after that it’s much harder to manage and in my experiences with friends, it only goes downhill from there. The crazy thing is that, I am a type 2 diabetic so I can effectively reverse my disease with proper diet and exercise. I know these things yet I continue to make questionable food choices, daily! WTF Once again, I have renewed my dedication to a better diet. This time around though, I’m going to be realistic with myself. Since I made it past the pastry counter and the Starbucks so far today, I am going to start with that goal. Little things right? LOL It’s a real challenge for me to get everything right on a daily basis. For instance, I could take all my meds on time, get in a workout, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch but then drink some Bucks and wonder why I can’t fall asleep until 2am. Or, run around all day buying healthy food but get home and don’t feel like cooking cause my Sjogren’s done flared up. Sigh…the trials of auto-immune shit. But, if you look at my medical record and all of my issues, you would think I would have died years ago. I remember my Doctor told me back in 2003, she had never seen anyone with numbers so high and still functioning. LOL I guess God had me then, and He has me now. I figure life is either too short or too long for me to continue bullshitting with my health because clearly I am still here for a purpose. I mean that life is too short for me not to use the gifts I have been given and life is too long to suffer through pain and sickness if I can change it with my actions.

Another thing I have realized about myself, is my hard-headedness has affected my soft ass! I basically have been bullshitting about my physical therapy too so my knees have been grinding again. As my trainer #GODA Brandon told me this morning, muscles don’t rebuild themselves. Dammit, I actually have to work on this? So here goes again for the umpteenth time, I’m like Diddy with this shit..I ain’t ever gonna stop. Well since it’s lunch time and I’m not in binge mode, guess I’ll go make a salad and stay in health mode. Until next time, Be Blessed!

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How I Got Rocked By A 9-year Old!

As some of you may already know, I’m a Hip Hop Head till I die.  So, when my friend Yolanda told me she was having a DJ jam session of sorts, called Digging In the Crates, at my favorite record store, Joe’s Record Paradise in downtown Silver Spring, I was most definitely in.  When I arrived, there were a few DJs milling around the stacks and there was a group of elementary school girls playing in one of the aisles.  I figured that their fathers must be among the DJs there.  After a while, I see one lil’ shortie rockin’ a Jay Dee t-shirt and a snapback, break away from the group and approach the turntables.Her demeanor was confident and unassuming.  I heard her friend ask “you going to DJ?” I was not ready for the turntable assault that DJ Kool Flash put down.  I’m talking that real Boom Bap, uncensored, grimy Hip-Hop that took me back to my NYC days when I first fell in love with the whole culture!  This girl blended seamlessly and even threw in some scratching to showcase her skills.  After about 4 songs, everyone in the store was in the back nodding their heads and marveling at her mature selection of music.  Just when I thought it was safe to leave, she launched into a House set!  Yo, I almost messed up my knee again because I can’t resist a good beat.After this experience I had to Google this phenomenon and I found out she is endorsed by some real HipHop heavyweights. Her mixtape is hosted by renowned producer Statik Selektah.  She is the youth DJ for the J Dilla Foundation.  She opened for Wu-Tang, Keith Murray and will be opening up for Smif-and-Wessun on the HipHop Unforgettable Tour on February 5th @ Fire Station 1 in Silver Spring, MD.  She released her debut mixtape called Ladies First back in November and it has garnered over 6K listens and downloads.  This young lady is the real deal!  Her mixtape was recorded live, no edits and a creative selection of the best female MCs you never heard of.  Do yourself a favor and get some DJ Kool Flash in your life!  I have provided the link to her mixtape, which is free on www.datpiff.com as well.  After experiencing DJ Kool Flash I am confident that the next generation will keep real HipHop alive and well.DJ Kool Flash – 1st Ladies Mixtape, Vol.1 – Hosted by : Statik Selektah @DJKoolFlash

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TRACKLIST

  • 01. Narubi Selah – Hookless
  • 02. Boog Brown – UPS Music
  • 03. Invincible feat. Wajeeb – Detroit Summer
  • 04. Lin Que feat. MC Lyte – Let It Fall
  • 05. Tiye Phoenix – Skybound
  • 06. Akua Naru – The Backflip
  • 07. Rapsody/Diamond D – Pump Ya Brakes
  • 08. Apani B – The Woman In Me
  • 09. Gavlyn – What I Do
  • 10. Rita J – Body Rock
  • 11. Dynasty feat Talib Kweli – Stay Shinin’
  • 12. Lauryn Hill – Repercussions
  • 13. Queen Latifah – UNITY
  • 14. Soia – Lost In Memory
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