Loyalty And Hip-Hop.

hip hop
hip hop
First grade: I had the fade with the duck tail. I was a “sporty” kid… and I had never wanted any ball, toy, or article of clothing as bad as I wanted this… So I stole it.
I left out of the Sam Goody Record store with a genuine Crest Kid smile:
Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony’s “E. 1999” ontape was mine!!!
… at that moment- I became loyal to Hip-Hop.
That was my pledge. I committed a crime in the name of Hip-Hop. I would later admit this  story to a college friend, and the homie replied: “It’s not gangster rap-unless you steal it, bro.”
I appreciate certain aspects of the industry, but I live for the culture.
  • The dancing at the bus stop while awaiting that late night bus cause you’re coming from that 1 chick’s house cross town…
  • Making beats on the wooden desk in the back of my algebra classroom with a pencil and a hair brush…
  • Freestyle sessions in the backseat of a smokey Buick in the middle of the hood- in the middle of the day- sweating bullets cause i’m the smallest and they made me sit in the middle seat. No one would open the door. No one wanted to break the flow…
We’re all loyal to Hip-Hop… to some extent.
Hip-Hop has a hold on America. It’s everywhere. I once wondered if the popularization of the art form would water it down… no…The popularization created a polarization: underground vs. mainstream.
 like water and oil- it … Both flow… They just have a different feel/ texture.
Jeff Chang’s “Can’t Stop, Won’t stop”, put a lot Hip-Hop’s influence on modern America into perspective for me; a great read for any loyal Hip-Hop head.
I’m loyal to hip hop.
And Hip-Hop is loyal to me.
When I’m experiencing women troubles (or “I don’t have a woman-troubles” ) I listen to Devin The Dude.
When I want to change the world ( Or just accept that im just another nigga in this world) I listen to 2Pac.
When I want to feel like an intellectual urban-ite I listen to Nas.
When I awake, I listen to Big K.R.I.T. … When I go to sleep, I listen to Curren$y.
When I reminisce about growing up in Oakland- I play hyphy music…
When I want to get away from Oakland- I listen to mid-90’s east coast gangster rap.
When I think of loyalty, I think of what has been there for me…
Family, friends, and even my sense confidence  sometimes escape me in my darkest hour.
But even when the batteries stop working on the Walkman or the faulty internet connection isn’t letting me download the newest mixtape… There’s always a Hip-Hop song playing in my head… My heart is a beat machine.
On a loyal note.. Today is Hip-Hop’s birthday… Happy Birthday Hip-Hop.
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Big K.R.I.T. Wus (T)Here.

 

I found out about Big K.R.I.T. (King Remembered in Time) like any other modern day rap artist: through a teen-aged pudgy white suburban co-worker. I first questioned, what was a kid from the suburbs doing listening to a rapper from Meridian, Mississippi? Then I realized there are some things you just have to accept. The kid’s first name is my middle name, Andrew. Aside from having a common name, we have a common interest in hip-hop artists.

I took heed to my namesake and downloaded the “Big K.R.I.T. Wuz Here” mix tape from the Datpiff.com … just like everyone else in this modern day of music transactions… The song “Moon and Stars” Big K.R.I.T. featuring Devin the Dude was my introduction in the world of Big K.R.I.T…The fact that he featured Devin The Dude instantly won player points…

I then listened to the full mix tape, aside from Mr. The Dude, I recognized two other artist: Whiz Khalifa & Curren$y. I became familiar with other featured  artist: Smoke DZA, Big Sant, and months later via Big K.R.I.T’s remix to “Moon and Stars” I was introduced to Killa Kyleon who is a lyrical problem! 

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I checked out Big K.R.I.T.’s youtube page… as everyone does in this modern day of music transactions… I was impressed with the videos for “Somedayz”  and “Hometown Hero”

But it was the video for “Children Of the World” that moved me.

In the song “Good Enough”,  Big K.R.I.T. says:

“I was just waiting on this moment in my grand mamma’s kitchen/ An artist from Mississippi- like, who would care to listen?”

… At that point, I was listening. He began to speak to the things that I was going through in my life…

No need to go into depth about my life- but the subject matter shown through his lyrics should give you a frame of mind…

… K.R.I.T. Quotes ….

K.R.I.T. Quotes about the Hood:

“He looked at me with so much pain in his eyes/ like he ain’t know: being Black and poor came with a price.”

” Bums warm they’re weary souls over warm flames/ Junkie can’t find God watch him find his vein / preacher walk right by-like he ain’t see a thang.”

“she short on rent, landlord tripping/ tired of eating noodles that taste like chicken… don’t really like hoeing- aint hard to tell, but when all else fails- pussy always sells.”

K.R.I.T. Quotes About Pimpin:

“I came out my momma’s womb breathing life into this pimpin.”

“…Cause I looked up to the pimps,/I’m not saying it wasn’t wrong, but they had the freshest fits/ the cars and the broads and the kicks… that’s something to strive for when you’ve never had shit.”

K.R.I.T. Quotes about women/ relationships:

“If I abuse myself daily, who can I love?”

“say she gotta friend, and word is she really dig him. I’m dealing with the pain. I lost her and I know it, I’m praying for the strength not to show it…”

“And even when I was at my worst/ like, ‘we got to make this work’.
My girl found time to leave me, too broke to give a fuck, though…”

K.R.I.T. Quotes about money:

“In a world full of kings- you’re worthless, if you can’t buy the finer things before you exit…”

” The junkie scrape change for the dollar menu/ that what he said but the rock is what he really into/ gave him a dollar anyway/ cause who knows/ maybe the dope boy’s babies baby needs some new clothes…”

K.R.I.T. Quotes about America:

“Obama cool, but he ain’t sending me no free checks”

“I’m feeling like ‘what the fuck?’ / they want my soul
Like my ancestors’ ain’t enough /
If I can’t trust my own government, who can I trust?”

“pass the collection plate / niggas thought shit was gone’ change on election date.”

K.R.I.T. Quotes about God:

“Did too much dirt to talk to god nowadays- get the dial tone.”

“I don’t understand- how you fit that many rings on a helping hand?… tired of deception but I’ll pay his kids tuition, cause I’m trying to get to heaven…”

“My conversations with God always seem leave him speechless.”

Over the past 6 months Big K.R.I.T.’s quotes have appeared in my facebook statuses and tweets… as most people do in this modern day of music transactions… it’s a sign of respect: it says, that the artist eloquently stated exactly what I was going through at that point in my life- almost like he was right there…Big K.R.I.T. wus (T)Here.


Rico Suave Presents: Suave Saturday’s

Terico Harper, aka Ricosuave has done it again!

RicoSuaveAtl

One of the most innovative artist  I have the pleasure of calling my homeboy, comes with music and videos consistently on what he has dubbed, “Suave Saturdays”.

His website ( http://www.ricosuaveatl.com/ ) is full of music, videos, and pics. And in this world of viral youtube videos, Ricosuave Atlanta’s own  “Rap Superhero” has created some very intriguing short motion pictures….

 

The video, “Mo Milli  (Famous Shit)” depicts Ricosuave doing some famous shit… or rather, taking a famous shit. (for the entirety of the music video)

 

Maybe the fecal matter flow isn’t your flavor, fear not: Ricsuave has no problem with addressing the popular media. In fact, he took one of the most popular television shows of our generation and showed his appreciation. Here is the  Martin Theme Song as done by Ricosuave.

 

Who doesn’t look forward to Saturdays ? Ricosuave just gave you another entertaining reason….

As it states in his bio, “Suave”…”Suave”…”Suave” Dun Dun Dun! The Rap Superhero has arrived!

Kristina Thomas and Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick Lamar, has emerged out of the plethora of new artist that are currently giving hip-hop a fresh fade…

The Compton raised MC caught my attention with the song “Heaven & Hell” / “The Get Away”. The video complimented the flow of the song in a harmonious fashion. I believe I first saw the video on the Thegrayway.net, which is one hell of a blogsite. Nonetheless, I fell down the magical internet rabbit hole and a handful of Kendrick Lamar youtube videos later- I was a fan.

The video “She Needs Me“,  was the one that stood out to me. A song! A real song! A concept, lyrics, video, and a beat… solid. And quite honestly, it was a fitting song for some personal relationship mumbo-jumbo… I digress.

To show my appreciation for the song, I put it on my facebook and on my twitter; you know, like any abuser of internet content via social networking… or appreciator of modern art…tomato- tomäto. And now the video is on my blog…

“She Needs Me”

Well, it seems my appreciation for art is pails in comparison to a good friend of mines (in fact I call her big sis) and talented artist within her own right. Kristina Thomas.

Kristina and Myself joking around at a club in Los Angeles.

Ms. Thomas, the Howard University graduate, USC graduate student, and  film producer extraordinaire, decided to take her favorite Kendrick Lamar song, “Growing Apart”, and produce what I have dawned as:

 

“a sensual dramatic interpretation of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Growing Apart'”.

The video is wild.  I could go on for days about how respectable it is that she took this initiative and how dope the idea came out as a finished product,

but good art speaks for itself!

Here is the video to “Growing Apart“.

 

 

Much respect to both Kristina Thomas and Kendrick Lamar.

good art is always appreciated.

Hip- Hop’s Art.

"Hip-Hop's Art".

rap lyrics got my head nodding away….

My Kodak snaps, graffiti shows on the digital display…

I wasn’t listening to Outkast, or Dre…

nope, today I’m on that fresh wave, new rappers play…

some Lupe, some Wale, Some Jean Grae.

hot singles from J. Cole,

and Jay Electronica spits cold

…Curren$y and Whiz influenced the music biz…

Pac Div, Nipsey, and Dom Kennedy…

Kid Cudi, Cool kids, Kidz in the Hall…

way down South there is Little Brother ,up North there is Big Sean.

……….and all you hear is Drake when the radio is on.

this is what the kids are listening to…

the internet gives it to you…

I thought it was ridiculous too: skinny jeans and retro shoes…

emo raps and auto-tunes..

But I’m glad the industry grew.

Something new.

innovation.

I’ve been listening to Snoop, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne for the past decade…

this wave came out of the blue…

this wave came bringing something new…

most importantly, this wave is made for the internet surfer in you.

downloads do what bootlegs used to do.

youtube is the music channel “The Box”.

twitter is word on the block,

The web site for all hip-hop is 1980’s, South Bronx.

blogs lay the laws.

links have their flaws…

and when the internets down…  everything comes to a pause.

It is a big game, it is Saw.

a lot of egos.. a lot of salt…

record sales are at a loss

it takes time to change people’s views and thoughts…

I just ask that Hip-Hop changes with society, but don’t change the art.

Paper Planes: “JETS, fool.”

Rappers are making it cool to smoke zig-zags again… parents hide your stash!!!

“Jets, fool.” Curre$y says, as the hard working artist from the Big Easy hops on yet another track. J.E.T.S. = Just Enjoy This Shit, And thats exactly what the 28-year old rapper seems to be doing.

The song is either about fast cars, new kicks, weed, or women. plenty of songs about weed and women. the subject matter rarely changes for Curren$y. He has made his brand, and established his following.

For a full bio on Curren$y, click here, but all you need to know is he has a long list of mix tapes. He has been to signed to both No Limit Records and Young Money Records, before signing to Dame Dash’s new label DD172 New York. He had a smash hit single back in 2007, a song called “Where the cash at?” featuring Lil Wayne. And he has done a number of projects worthy of notoriety with Pittsburgh, PA’s own Whiz Kalifa.

The one fun fact that’s not mentioned in his bio, but is a very important tidbit as to who Curren$y is… He’s smokes Zig-Zags! Only! In fact, he and Whiz Kalifa are the only two emcees that I know that openly endorse rolling in “paper planes”…

"Curren$y and Whiz look 4 a roll-up" by Ray.
"where's the roll-up?" cartoon by Ray.

I found just how big this “paper plane” epidemic was as the California sun was beaming down on the blacktop, I couldn’t hit a J for the life of me. And on top of my jump shot being horrendous, I kept smoking lay-ups. It was an all around unfocused day on the hoop court. I lost a game of 21, and my team lost in the 5-on-5 game. My mind was elsewhere. And my ass was soon on the bleachers, asking, “who got next?”, and with my next breath I got punched in the nose with the odor…

On the far end of the playground bleachers, some fresh High School kids were taking flight: rolling papers. Man, you know long its been since I saw someone roll papers outside? You know how long its been since I’ve seen someone roll papers, period?

I wanted to ask them if they were Curren$y and Whiz fans…But you don’t just walk up to a group of folks smoking weed in the park; the reward of having my question answered was outweighed by the risk of being looked at as a freeloader.

So now, as Curren$y’s new album “Pilot Talk”, flies off the virtual I-tunes and Amazon sales racks, I wonder how strategic of a move it was to push the “JETS” movement? I wonder if Curren$y knew that he was tapping into the crossroads of hip-hop culture and weed smoking culture? And I wonder if he  knew putting an old twist on rolling up weed would create a movement within the youth: “JETS, fool.”

Here is Curren$y’s “Breakfast” video…and yes, he rolls a paper plane in this video.

DJ Fresh and the Legend of the “Tonite Show”.

DJ Fresh is a DJ and producer who makes more rounds than his turntables.

His original home of Baltimore, Maryland is just one of the many places DJ Fresh has called Home. He moved from B-More when he was nine years old, landing him in the South Bay city of San Jose. It was at this time in his life, the nine year-old “fresh” kid decided to add the DJ to his name, and committed himself to his music.

DJ Fresh is now a veteran producer and DJ, who’s name rings bells- just as his beats rattle trunks. His resume boasts projects and performances with Hip-Hop heavy weights such as Nas, Common, and Raekwon. And his travels have lead him to the East coast, the West coast, and now, he is poised to go on an international tour with Lil Kim.

But before he made that move to embark on his next journey, I caught up with DJ Fresh, as the workaholic was poised to record yet another track for the upcoming Tonite Show project. He and rapper San Quinn couldn’t spare a minute to pause the track as they were grinding away on the next track for the upcoming DJ Fresh album.

In this brief video interview, Fresh gives us insight into the formula behind the Tonite Show series…The Tonite Show with DJ FRESH from New America Media on Vimeo.

DJ Fresh’s “Tonite Show” album series can been seen via advertisements floating in the bay area streets, and can be heard rattling trunks in the Bay Area and beyond.  He has teamed up with a number of talented producers, and formed the group, “The Whole Shabang”. The Whole Shabang production team works with the top Bay Area artists, such as J- Stalin, D-Lo. , and Messy Marv; amongst others. To get a taste of what the combination of talented producers and top artists sounds like, here is a three piece special:

A new track titled “I Am” by an up and coming artist, Young Gully

Secondly, a track titled “Hardest in the Bay” by D-Lo.

And lastly, an older track, but still one of my favorites, “We go dumb in the Bay” by Mistah Fab.

This article was originally posted on youthoutlook.org

“Uncle Ricky: can you tell me a bedtime story pleeease!!!”

3:34 am.My head is currently nodding in affirmation as I stare at my speakers. The lyrics were like sketch flip books: the animations ran through my imigaintion and I was engulfed…

teacher reads Easy-E lyrics to school children...
teacher reads Eazy-E lyrics to school children...

Recently, I picked up the book ” The Story Factor” by Annette Simmons. I perused the first 10 pages of the book, and took note on Simmons’ method of influence. The author say, lectures, and long winded speeches do nothing for most people, while a good story will pull most listeners to find the answers themselves, thus engaging and captivating the audience:

“We spend too much time talking to a person’s rational brain and we neglect their emotional brain…”.

It wasn’t the concept that blew my barn doors open and got me to thinking; it was the real life application.

For instance, If I tell you,  “don’t go down a dark street- it’s not safe.”, you might listen to me- but you will not be moved. But if I tell you, “about three weeks ago a kid that looks just like you was abducted on that dark street…”. I have tapped into your emotions, and now you have not only listened, but you have been moved. Even more so, I have not advised you to do anything, instead, I have given you enough information to make your own life decisions.

This is a relatively simple concept. We see it all the time in society. But the one place this concept is most readily seen in my life-isn’t seen at all:It’s heard.

Hip-hop has expanded my vocabulary, has given me rhythmic inclination ( I can dance… on beat), and now I realize, Hip-hop has given me some of the greatest examples of telling stories. Stories that influence, stories that move, stories that cause you to stare at the speaker and nod in affirmation as if the emcee was speaking to you… and these are just a few:

First off, if you know nothing about storytelling in hip-hop ,you need not go further than a man by the name of Slick Rick “the Ruler”. His long list of classic albums include hits like “Mona Lisa” and “Young World”, but the story that reigns supreme in hip-hop, is a track by the famed eye-patch sporting-British Emcee called,  “Children’s story“.

On the heels of Slick Rick’s first mention, it is only right to chase that drink with a second helping of Slick Rick. This time, it’s via a collaboration with the ATLien duo, known as Outkast on the track  “The art of Story Telling“. Outkast f. Slick Rick.

Two of the top rappers in the game, Nas and Jay- Z also have a couple of stories that standout to me as lyrical illustrations of real life situations.

Jay-Z’s ” Meet the Parents” is something like a hip-hop Shakespearian Drama:

while Nas’ “Rewind” is like watching a VHS backwards- right before you take it back to Blockbuster…

On the West coast…there are two or three tracks that are stories that I hold near and dear…

first is the track”Northern California” by San Quinn, which is a story about how the Bay Area came to its current position within the Rap game.

…and then there is a story by East Oakland’s own Yukmouth (1/2 of the Luniz- who made the song “I got 5 on it”), the track is titled ” City of Dope”  and gives an explicit account of the history of the streets of East Oakland as seen through a young man’s eyes, while coming of age in the crack-cocaine era.

Speaking of coming of age, the song “Southside” by Scarface,  was one of my favorite tracks growing up. In my teen years, you couldn’t imagine how often I used the line: “spent my day right off of (28th) broke and disgusted/ not a dollar to buy food/ but i’m smoking…so fuck it.”… ( I’d change the block Scarface references to  the block we hung out on.)

Speaking of smoking, and hanging out with the boys, and a classic lines in story rhymes… I give you Christopher Wallace’s contribution:  “Call my niggas on the cell/ bring some weed, I’ve got a story to tell”.

Notorius BIG ” I gotta Story to Tell

I noticed… many of my the story songs take a dark tone; they speak about death and portrayal, they speak of crime and sin. And I couldn’t end on that note…So, before this train of thought pulls into the station, I’d like to play one uplifting story: “Today was a Good Day”- Ice Cube.

alright, that’s the end of the story hour for now…yall go make like Ice Cube and have a good day… oh, and keep this in mind:

…Let us lead a life so that we have a story to tell at the end, a story that moves people. a story that influences people. and not just another story that people listen to…

4 Hip-Hop tracks 4 the 4 weeks of Black History Month.

As the month of February comes to a close…. I thought it would be fitting to have four tracks for the 4 weeks that are Black History month…I could have chosen a number of tracks…but these are the 4 tracks that have influenced me the most this month.

Cee-Lo “White Boy’s Plan”

Nas “Can’t Stop Us Now”

Nas and Damien Marley “As We Enter”

and as we march into the month of March…. this is the message we need to hear: ” they said my future was dark…look at me now….I’m beaming…”-Lupe

Lupe Fiasco “I’m Beaming”

…this is just my train of thought….

peace.

Pen