Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, July 14, 2006

This is not farewell...

Peace and blessings family,

Reading these words means that massa has found work for me and I have to get to it. The weekend will be spent constructively traveling and settling into new digs at the training facility. I will be here for the next few months so I expect my new duties and responsibilities to take time from me and change my current internet and posting habits.

This is not goodbye.

I will be offline for a few days but know that I have the power and equipment (and corporate too) to get here and keep in contact with all of y'all. I just know for the upcoming week or so it'll be harder for me to post due to time and resource restraints.

Plus I got my itenary.

So before I jet up outta here I have a few things:


Nobody likes a smart ass... Fuck that, keep on blogging, that's what it's made for.

I know it's hot out but you could have come to work with a larger shirt/blouse...

That new Dave Chappelle joint was funny...

Do not be ashamed to say you spent ten bux to see "little Man" this weekend. Don't trip cause' I got an advanced ticket. And I got a thing for Kerry Washington. And so what that the Wayans family is straight ig-nant.

That anonymous comment pissed me off from yesterday's post. I forgot that I changed templates and permissions and got hit with a long, chastising one. Normally whomever that was (from South Africa, no doubt. I got Sitemeter bitches!) wouldn't had the chance to get one in there. I hear you, thank you for stopping by and respect your opinion but next time:

I'm a grown ass man. This is my blog. And I like cussing dammit. Learned it as a child, perfected it in the military, gets off when it affects other folk because I personally know the power of the word FUCK. Makes some people cringe. I like that. Sometimes. Next time get your weight up and at least use someone else's name. Real talk for a minute: How you gon' chastise a grown ass on his blog nonetheless on what words he chooses? I write just like I speak, and if you ain't feeling my cusswords then fuck... I won't apologize cause it's who I am. Furthermore and no disrespect, you can always create your own blog and Doowhatchyoolike (can you see Humpty?) cause your response was long as fuck and had nothing to do with the topic at hand. That shit pissed me off and then I realized...

I forgot to disable anonymous comments and shit when I changed templates. Consider that a freebie.

Why did I have over 100 pairs of shoes and couldn't decide which ones to keep this past weekend?

Did I mention that the newest #3 wearing a Bulls uni is a bit tougher and polished than the last? Can I also say that for the next 2-3 years we'll be saying 'fuck D.Wade and the King" a lot with that smothering defense?

Pino: Y'all getting Alley-I. Still doesn't matter. Paul just signed an extension ant it ain't enough balls to go around for that offense to score.

Condileeza Rice still rocking the same do from the Clinton administration.

Tornado = New York as Rapture = Humankind

Nikki Indigo took you deep into Dallas with that piece, right? Go to her blog by looking over ----> there.

I got nothing else. I'll catch up with y'all in a week or so. Wish me luck and pray that I don't get lynched.

Thanks for paying attention to my stank ass.

Hassan.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Screwface List... And my dream

Damn, moving around makes the brother busy.

I need to make the ultimate playlist to get my mind right. I got the mind to hook up what I like to call my 'screwface list', that usually being a bunch of cuts on the iPod that make a brother scrunch up the face while at the gym messing with that heavy stuff. As I'm on the road, I see that need some screwface music to get that face going. I'll save the Conya Doss, Incognito and EWF for when I get to the restspot.

I'm digging thru the hard drive right now, blowing dust off of the M.O.P., OGC, Redman and some Three 6 Mafia cuts that give me the hardest of screwfaces. Yeah, that'll do it. That, the pro-black powerfist T-shirts and just the aura of the dread should keep em' away. I don't know what it is, maybe the Gnarles Barkley vibe I'm currently in is making folks wanna walk up to me and ask the strangest shit.

"Is that all of your real hair?"

"Oh my, are you from here?"

"What made you want to travel to this part of the US"

How long have you had your hair?"

"Does it hurt to have it looking like that?"

"I hear that you have to have your hair at its dirtiest to make it look that way. How can you go that long without washing your hair?"

(what?)

"Your English is full of clarity, like you were born here. Impressive."

"Oh, you're from here? Wow, I wouldn't have guessed by looking at you."

"Wow, is that an iPod? Where'd you get yours?"

"You sound so educated..."

(whatever. I must remember that we only make up 11% of the populous and most of em don't see much of us outside of TV. Gotta remember that. Please, can't forget that)

Don't know about you, but I like to left alone as I go to and fro. I speak, make eye contact and give the head nod in succession to the next cat, kitten or elder like I'm from Savannah, GA but when I got bags and am at the monitors trying to find out what terminal I'm supposed to be in I got 2 words for ya':

Stay the hell back

So I need to make my list and check it twice before I jap the hell out and you be reading about my ass in your local paper under 'National Headlines'.

Lord help me...

Here goes my list, watchu think:

Real N**** Roll Call - Lil John f/Ice Cube
Cell Therapy - GooDieMoB
Da Rockwilder - Meth and Red
Knock The Black off Yo Ass - Three 6 Mafia
Who Got Gunz - Gangstarr f/Fat Joe & M.O.P.
How About Some Hardcore - M.O.P.
Time For Some Akshun - Redman
Wild For The Night - Rampage f/Busta Rhymes
F*ck The Police - NWA
Got You All In Check (Whoo Ha) - Busta Rhymes
Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos - Public Enemy
GunClapp - Smif N Wessun
Reign Of The Tech - Beatnuts
Strictly For My N****s - 2Pac
Amerikkka's Most Wanted - Ice Cube
Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down - Brand Nubian
Throw Your Gunz - Onyx
Kick In The Door - Notorious B.I.G.
Read These Nikes - Geto Boys
B.D.S. (Bust Dat Sh*t) - De La Soul
Danger - Blazay Blah
Let's Get Dirty - Redman f/Fat Man Scoop
Come Clean - Jeru The Damaga
6 In Tha Mornin - Ice T
Fight The Power - Public Enemy
Never Seen A Man Cry - Scarface
Natural Born Killaz - Dr Dre and Ice Cube
Bring The Pain - Method Man
I Don't Give A F*ck - Lil John & The Eastside Boys
CANNON - Busta Rhymes f/Papoose
High Powered - RBX
No Escaping This - Beatnuts f/Greg Nice

Just a small sample of what I'm syncing to get the scowl back. In my traveling and maneuvering I've lost my frown and am smiling more and that's attracting people in my direction. If this keeps up, I'll start hugging folks and striking up convo with perfect strangers. I might even start playing with children in terminals, shaking hands and kissing babies like I'm on some ballot in 2008.

Wait...

That's a damn good idea.

Me, the Hip Hop demographic, a platform based on returning to values based on grass root support to build inward, thus creating a new cornerstone that infastructure can be built from within the hood, job growth and stabilization based on software and hardware certification to high school graduates and manufacturing and repair of related networking devices thus bringing our community closer to the digital divide. Building service related factories in the hood, keeping these jobs in the US and giving tax breaks to the companies that build em' and enticing them to stay with long-term bonds used to finance the facilities, creating more opportunities for entry level and non-degreed individuals giving them a shot at management positions based right in their own neighborhood. Partnering with labor unions to address the shortage of truck drivers and rail workers by mobilizing hiring drives in low-income areas. Proposing a payroll deduction bond program for working parents to contribute to a 529 education plan for their children. Yes, pre-tax dollars put in an interest bearing bond account that matures when your child is ready for college, sweet. Approaching corporations like Microsoft and Cisco to offer certification academies at the high school level, thrusting teenagers into networking by offering pre-college credit, scholarships based on certification and the opportunity at the many $30k plus networking jobs right out of high school. Hell, I might even suggest an internship program from the 10th grade until graduation, and a partnership with accredited institutions to offer an accelerated degree program along with those certifications. That'll put em at $40k before they turn 25. Oh, and open enrollment and better explanation of benefits for Medicare eligible retirees. Oh, and a father training academy for male parents under 21 years of age.

Maybe I'm dreaming and wishing too much for change... That music/screwface thing has my mind going.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Life in the country is fine

Blogging from the road is hard. I got photos but give me a minute... Left the USB cable back in never neverland.

Yeah, it's official, I had to move up my plans and get on the grind a little sooner than expected. Until late September/early October I'll be a hotel living, company-provided transport riding, chocolate coffee bean eating trying to stay awake, penny pinching budgeting ass brother in training.

Wish me well.

This is a significant change from what I thought I was going to do. Not only have I left Chicago, I also left my job, family and friends and all of my possessions that I could not give away or sell (minus sentimental shit and freedom papers), and that felt oddly good.

I think.

I've been eluding to starting over from scratch and it seems that I was forced into doing it like this thanks to a few situations and opportunities that presented themselves rather quickly. I'm looking at this more as a challenge now and I'm measuring myself in every step to make sure I'm where I want to be and I get what I want. I was in some type of Matrix induced haze (thanks Coreen) living in the Chi and I had no real support with what I was trying to do from those that I thought I was close to me. I don't fault anyone but myself. I know that everybody has their own shit to muddle thru, I just thought that the time, effort money and support I used to be right there for a lot of folk went unappreciated. People did shit for me and I do appreciate that, but, the bad outweighed the good.

Some people just can't see what I saw. I thought I saw God in a lot of folk but I was mistaken. Hell, I am the company I keep so there wasn't a whole lotta' God in me, so I had to break free, straighten up and fly right.

So, I got rid of all the things that attatched me to those places, people and things that ate me up inside. I'll start over. I'm traveling extensively in this new job, and maybe if ATL ain't the place for me to be then I'll find where I need to be and build my fortress of solitude there.

Trust me when I tell you that I'm a little afraid. This is where I step out on faith to replace that. Sister Serenity told me that fear is the opposite of faith so I'll replace my fears and put all things in His hands. Now if I could just stop cussing...

I can breathe now. I feel like I just lost 100 pounds. I actually smiled for my job profile photo today and It feels good to be here with myself, by myself. I wish I would have had this courage to step away years ago. Imagine where I'd be if I would've done that!

It's a good Monday, I hope all of y'all are having one. I'm sitting here laughing to myself, thinking about that whole first day of the rest of your life saying that some people use. That makes me smile even harder because I'm being forced to do something about it in every sense of my actions. In re-launching me I have to be on it every damn day. As it stands right now all I have tangible is this job and nothing else. I'll worry bout' the apartment in a few weeks. First thoughts had me not enjoying this, but I am enjoying what I do for a change and not drudging the whole work thing because that definately bleeds over into everything else.

Thank God for change because change is good.

Nah, just thank God. Sometimes We are given too much and we can get lost in that. Material possessions can always be obtained, you can always put people around you, but if you fail to put yourself with the right people in the right areas you will indeed fail. That's what I did. I put them and those before The Father and myself. The domino effect of BS was the sobering red pill that woke me up and convinced me to take myself out of the Matrix. No offense to those friends and fam back in the Chi, I still love y'all but you know everything was just wrong. I was wrong for being there so I'm correcting some things. I get the message now loud and clear and that is you can't be where you aren't either wanted or appreciated. Sometimes it's best to go it alone and I knew this, but I kept on pushing. With my actions, in time other things will be corrected as well we just gotta have patience. Now that I removed myself from the equation a furious burden was lifted off of me and I feel 100 times better about self and situation.

Life in the country is fine.

I love that song...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mork calling Orson... Come in Orson

Thanks for putting up with my long ass posts in the past week. Trust me, they'll get longer (probably) and more in depth (most likely) in the next few weeks. I'm sure you noticed the pre-mixedness about them, right?

No?

Oh, okay.

Good.

It helps to prep things in advance when switching zip codes. I'm already there, you just don't know it yet.

I need some housewarming gifts, I came empty handed.

Good thoughts, good weekend, and thanks for the support and comments...

Hassan

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bigger Than Hip Hop?

It's time to acknowledge that there is a rift, better yet a split causing members in our various beloved generations to make noise, airing out grievances in mainstream media.

I think that this is more of an internal thing and is something that we should address ourselves without assistance from others from the outside. Yes, I believe that we should still have a secret brotha/sista coalition complete with secret handshakes as well as nice digs in various cities to house said secret meetings to boot.

The whole Oprah versus Hip Hop thing will get overblown and overanaylized and if we ain't careful someone will take shorts based on bias and favoritism by the others, and because sister Winfrey is the end all-be all to most in that business hip hop can and probably will surely lose based on what cats like Luda, 50 and Cube are standing on.

No doubt, I've shaken my ass, bobbed my head and recited a lyric or two from all of these artists. I've seen the movies (except for 50's 'Get Rich' joint) with firm enjoyment and I definitely respect these cat's creative flow, writing style and business sense, but I have to admit that when it comes to respect, although these brothers and others (specifically Ice Cube over the last 20 years) although they have generated BILLIONS of dollars or revenue for their respective handlers, corporations and production facilities and have sparked all types of new business based off of their talent, wit and drive hip hop will only get respect from the streets and those obsessed with it outside of the hood.

Corporate America hasn't really respected Hip Hop as a viable culture outside of it being an ever changing merchandise maker. Billions have been invested, the input of those resources are only there because there is a guaranteed return based on a niche audience infatuated with how and what we do, and it ain't all of us in the hood pumping all that money in it like you think we are. There is a lust for to be a part and to learn our culture based on our people being able to invent and reinvent for survival and to most this is a brilliant thing. How we survive by creation is so impressive.

Imagine how Hip Hop culture started when music programs were non existent to nil in our school public school systems back in the late 60s and early 70s. I imagine how we created a style of dress, linguistics and a whole new genre of music based off our material shortcomings and resources in the hood. We took records and let the party emcee talk shit over the break part of the record while the party was going. The emcee sparked party participation to the point of frenzy and that response from the audience that he or she developed made them into distinct personalities, causing each of them to be known as that neighborhood's crowd movers and live-wire hosts in which they rocked.

Modern versions on how we dressed when we went to these parties can now be found in the windows of Macy's and other clothing outlets and it generates hundreds of millions of dollars as an industry leader and trend setter. Magazines, printed media and DVD culture spawned from mixtapes and breakbeat records generates millions. The cool lingo and street speak created by hustling culture and the code of the streets now influences major advertising and marketing campaigns outside of out neighborhoods and is mainstream as hell. It causes folks that do not look like us to speak in a manner that makes their parents and grandparents heads snap.

Just think: The Budweiser "WASSUP" commercial series is known as the greatest advertising campaign ever as voted by various respondents aged 24-64 polled from various backgrounds, cultures and financial brackets nationally as reported by multiple mainstream American market research companies from the year 2000 to present. People remember that catchphrase years later and it did what it was supposed to do, bring attention to a certain product or service...

That's impact.

It's also hoodspeak repeated on the regular by those that would have never heard it if it wasn't for that commercial series. Thanks Charles Stone III. This cat also directed the hip hop period piece "Paid In Full" starring Wood Harris and Mekhi Phifer back in 2002. Small door opens, larger opportunity awaits.

Damn. Why would we need validation from someone else when we have validated ourselves just by us being us?

We do influence other cultures by way of colorful language, clothing and mannerisms because we are uniquely American with African DNA. Because we are mutts in a sense of being bred, having split our pure blood ties from Mother Africa through years of rape, slave breeding and relations with other cultures we are a careful creative derivative from the norm, capable of existing within any time, space and culture. Without disrespect to who we are, we exist like cockroaches on this Babylon-ish planet, always able to reinvent and be fine whether it be negro spirituals, ragtime, jazz, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, soul or hip hop. And that's just culture based off of music. We pioneer so much in other realms as well but my focus right now is hip hop.

We exist within other cultures because we have no true biological American identity and links to our cousins back home have been somewhat severed. Outside of the digital medium we have today we were somewhat isolated from research tools to find where we came from, but thanks to Dr. Henry Louis Gates and great scholars of the like that link is becoming re-established thanks to DNA research, the internet, TV and plain old networking.

That's another post, another convo. We'll get there, but back to how this relates to Oprah and Hip Hop...

Ice Cube, Ludacris, 50 Cent and have all built their careers on the foundation of rap lyrics that aren't so friendly to certain folk in the community, competition and sisters in general. I personally have a problem with someone asking for love from the community when he or she is spouting off bullshit about the hood and those in it. Contradictory. I respect 50's gangsta businesswise I really do, but the fact that he's calling out folk on his record as stupid, bitch ass niggas, objectifying women as well as bragging about crimes and misdemeanors (as well as felonies), us buying his shit making him rich while sheepishly dancing to it makes me wonder if we'll ever hold them accountable for their actions.

Ludacris has bonified hits, but I cannot support him as well as he specifically points out women and carves out lyrical tales of dickery (yeah, I made that up) against bitches, hos and groupies. That shit is tired. There is a market for it, no doubt, but as these artists grow they must know by looking at their returns and numbers that the influence grows as well. To ask for even ground with Oprah and others in her arena isn't in my opinion the thing to do at this moment.

I can see Russell and other old school cats that have laid foundation and groundwork for political, social and artistic change getting respect like what some want based off of action over the years. I do know that some of these brothers looking for mainstream acceptance and others have set up non-profits and have foundations, but understand that is has to be manifested at a grass roots level first and change has to be made and influences have to be recognized by those receiving assistance in order to be recognized outside of the hood once again, over the years. Respect is earned with time and effort. Holding one's nuts on stage and rocking the microphone a respected force for change does not make.

Because Oprah controls her media empire she can pick and choose who she associates with and when. Not saying that these cats don't have the reach that Ms. Winfrey has, it's currently on a different level. They perform. She performs but over the last 20 years has planted seeds of change and provoked thought with her works and its spinoffs. Wanting the global spotlight to gain a wider audience is what we all would want if we were in their shoes, but understand that folks like Oprah, especially ones that control such a large portion of what their genre sees and hears based off of their own personal opinion is a generation or two separated from these cats and her listening tastes and understanding of the culture is based on what her and her peers deem as just as far as preference and tastes goes. Maybe she chooses to listen to Hip Hop that is not threatening or insulting to her. She has that choice, ya know?

Rappers creating songs like 'A Bitch Is A Bitch' and 'Move, Bitch' aren't ways to impress Ma and Pop Dukes or songs to have our children listen, learn or dance to. It does buy them the house and help them gain acceptance and privilidge based on revenues earned from its niche audience, but it's not enough. We realize that this is only entertainment, but in the same breath we must also realize that a lot of the lyrical content spouted off and actions performed by some of these cats are harmful in nature based on exactly WHO it influences. Hip Hop is marketed to young folks and its combination of the multiple facets that are its makeup within the culture is marketed as cool and the thing to do.

There are other artists out there on all levels within this culture that can help create balance within our culture. It's not all vulgar and disrespectful, we must understand that the huge marketing machines behind some of these artists know that sex and violence sells. We must maintain control over what we and our children listen to. The streets (and our kids) are indeed watching so the same argument used about movies and shows must be utilized. Hip hop cannot be the exception. There are multiple styles and versions of this culture aimed at different audiences and ages. We cannot go forward thinking that hip hop is only what Cube, Luda and 50 represents in their music when there is so much more from its related subcultures.

So Oprah doesn't have to do anything for these cats, and why should she when the legacy and love for an artist is based in the body of that artist's work. For someone considered outside the culture to look in and base opinion based off of foundation, it would be hard to want to get close to these particular artists. Not saying we can't grow as people and/or artists but..

How long will we condone these grown ass men and women (some married, with children) to pump that BS to us and we accept it as the mainstream with it being so available to our kids and elders? There is and should be a balance of music, arts and media available to us so we should be in control, buck the mainstream and dictate what's good to us.

I don't expect Oprah or anyone for that matter that has the ability to look from another perspective to accept something that is not quite geared for or to them. When one listens, he or she should be able to see things for what they are. Certain performers do what makes them money and gains them favor from their niche audience and have no concern for anyone else outside of that demographic. It's hard for anyone to take that shit seriously when all you hear or read is straight material bullshit in their works.

I ask again, how long will we condone this? How long will we have these cats represent us and we say nothing, turn our heads and walk away? Where's the balance in hip hop and why does Oprah have to validate it with certain folk?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Independence Of...

We'll start here:

And so the subject of political change has been the topic in summer conversation.

A lot of folk in the community have spent considerable time in the last few years pointing fingers at our president for staring a war he had no clue congress voted in favor of a few days after September 11th. Now we know he jumped the bandwagon and did something no other president since Roosevelt has and that's claim responsibility for said war, but as long as there are hundreds of senators and congresspeople combined that have the power to veto our commander in chief and we are salary paying constituents with the right to both bear arms and form a militia to overthrow corrupt government I believe that the war is our burden and responsibility.

We haven't done shit.

I am not ashamed to say that out people are blatantly misinformed and ignorantly ranting about who's fault this or that is. I am not here to correct folks or try to force my ideals and beliefs on anyone, It just makes my ass itch something terrible when I hear black folk in America go on about how it is someone else's fault about this, that and such, causing conversation and debate so heated that only releasing George W's name as root, cause and solution as far as removal goes from one's lips is the end all-be all one time fix to open the doors prosperity for all communities.

Bullshit.

As far as I can remember I've been in a fucked up situation as a black man in America way before America's first CEO president took office.

Shit wasn't better when Clinton was in office either, so don't even go there with me. And if you want to get into the cost of living/cost per barrel oil/gas debate with me, there is proof that under the Reagan administration the cost adjustments and undue increase of demand of billions of barrels of oil with the help of stateside petrol companies along with cooperation of the auto industry to support OPEC's efforts to maneuver itself as top dog supplier AFTER we run everyone else dry has been supported by every sitting president including the so-called 'black' one.

Black Americans have always been duped. And the jedi mind tricks by the Democratic Party in general must stop.

And proper understanding of how each party works is in order.

Still doesn't mean we support either. And yes, I voted Republican in quite a few elections based on actual research, thought and calculation, not just based off of general opinion of certain personalities that have created opportunities for themselves by being vocal and outspoken through various forms of the media.

Leads me to my question.

You are either a grown-ass man or woman. What in the hell are you personally going to do to make change politically in your neck of the woods?

Campaigns are starting, candidates are polling and we will fall for the same bullshit again if we continue to be sheep to TV ads, really bad speeches and personality contests. When in the hell do you plan on standing up and doing some grass roots shit?

There are school councils that need your help.

Neighborhood watch committees can help protect you from getting that ass whooped right in front of your home.

City council meetings do happen. If you're tired of seeing them coon ass, sellout niggers (I said it) that sell that shit out on the corner and endanger the lives of your kids, then go and ask for a better fucking streetlight. Just like roaches...

Know about community programs, church organizations and non-profits that want to help the community improve.

QUIT LOOKING THE OTHER WAY! As long as you let them sell drugs, operate unscrupulous businesses, let cops act corrupt and dupe you politically whether it is your councilperson or president YOU ARE THE FOOL. Complain about that, eh? SAY SOMETHING... Better yet DO SOMETHING!

Get up off your ass and RUN FOR OFFICE YOUR DAMNSELF. You might lose, but in trying you might inspire someone else to carry your dream forward. They might hold an office one day.

Congregate and START A NEW POLITICAL PARTY. Who in the fuck said that voting Democrat, Republican or Independent will do any good for anything? Is that really where your interests exist?

Take a class in poli-sci... Better yet if you have children, crack open one of them history books they got. Let's get a refresher in how things get done around here.

Support neighborhood businesses... And stay away from big box stores dammit!!! How is your community to survive otherwise without the services of small business?

Buy American... I know you ain't doing that one but I'll mention it anyway.

Keep in tune with exactly what the government does by going to C-Span a time or two. There are way too many publications and media outlets to not know what's going on and better yet, who actually has it going on. This way you can point the right finger at the right person.

Know who makes it shake in your neighborhood. City, District. State. At least find out who the gawtdam precinct captain is. Shit, is that a lot to ask?

REGISTER TO VOTE. You have no recourse if you ain't voting. No vote, no complaints.

I know that it's a lot to ask for but...

What are YOU going to do?