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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Monday, April 30, 2007

I'm Being Lied To

It's one thing to be told something in an attempt to protect you from yourself. You know, things said to you so your feelings won't get hurt. Having a handful of inconvenient truths. Best to be knee deep and happy in ones ignorance sometimes, right? There is another thing to be straight lied to. There is also the truth as well. Most of the time, the truth works for me, but sometimes you have to balance them both in order to function properly.

But what happens when you're not functioning at optimal performance?

I must confess, I am not at my best right now. I've tried to put myself into developing BrownBloggers to take my mind away from dealing with me getting back on track health wise and also with my finances. It's not helping, but I keep pushing on. For the first time in my life I'm suffering from pre-hypertension, and that's with my blood sugars being under control. Usually with uncontrolled diabetes one can really get in a bind with blood pressure. My blood sugars are in control and on point (no ketones either), but I guess with me coming off of a major injury and going thru rehab for it and making yet another career change (based on that injury) as well as relocating cross-country to where I only know a few people, that can take a toll.

I also lost contact with a handful of people that I used to rock out with before coming to Texas. That sucks monkey ass. Let's just say I gave up being with family and friends to be here and maybe I should have though long and hard before making a decision to relocate. I mean I have a support system here, but I read people well and already know that hands are on the rug, waiting to give it a nice tug if you know what I mean.

I also have recently come to terms with myself. Here are some of my truths:

  • I realize that I stay up all night because there's not enough alcohol and pain relievers to stop my joints from aching while I lay still so I try to keep moving around doing stuff. It keeps me busy enough to not deal with the pain most times
  • I know that I bury myself in busywork to take my mind off of the fact that I'm not where I want to be in life so I keep trying to do the things to get me there even if it means sacrificing those moments in which I should stop and smell roses and stuff. If I focus on anything else other than being free I'd probably self destruct
  • I know why I haven't spoken to my mother since August. We don't like each other and have expressed that in person over the years. Our feelings haven't changed and probably won't anytime soon so I respect her enough to keep my distance and not rattle my sibs. I do speak with them from time to time and right now they have no issue with us
  • I have accepted that I was molested as a child and I watched the adults around me and the church cover it up to protect the person that did it instead of protecting me and the other kids. On one hand (in a sick, disgusting way) I understand why that was done. The other knows that not protecting your children is the most unforgivable thing. Churches yield money and power for the ones that benefit from administering it. Selfish bastards chose that path instead of family. It has definitely affected how I think of trust and relationships as an adult and how sex comes into play. It doesn't.
  • I remember drinking at least a half gallon of liquor every other day overseas while in the Army in an attempt to cope with depression and anger. I replaced that with food when I got home and now 15 years after the military I've replace those things with writing and composing as a form of control. Thing is, I've had extreme writer's block since December and that piece below is the first thing I wrote since
  • I'm losing a battle (not the war) with diabetes and the next 36-plus years are going to be damned difficult to say the least. My leg circulation is poor and it's starting to make regular things like walking and standing difficult sometimes. I'm doing what I can to make myself comfortable but most of the time the comfort aspect is a short lived thing. No one outside of this disease can understand the amount of discomfort and pain a diabetic person goes thru even when sugars are controlled. No one.
  • I never feel like I have anything to give to anyone emotionally. A close friend always tells me "Know that you are loved". I don't think I know exactly what that feels like because it's been so foreign to me. I've always been an object to people. As a kid I was the golden goose, just smart enough to get my family out of the ghetto. As an adult I am supposedly a human quote machine, capable of composing song and/or verse for the bewilderment and amusement of others. Other than that, I see no real value that I have to other people, so I act accordingly. Oops, I probably just bit the proverbial hand seeing as all I do is offend and frustrate most of the time
  • I confused as to where to turn to. Drinking is too easy and plus I no longer like being drunk. Destroying things (and people) will put me in jail and as far as writing goes, the words aren't coming anymore. I wish I could just find that place to just release everything and start anew, but I'm starting to believe that such a place does not exist. I'm getting angrier and angrier with myself and I hate the fact that I don't know what comes next
  • I'm currently being accused of cavorting with the enemy if you will. From the inside. Now that I'm being accused I wish that I was because that would mean that I'd be actually experiencing enjoyment in some way, shape or form. I've always been open and honest with myself with all comers. Hell, even with me blogging all you need to know about Hassan is right here in some way shape or form so imagine if I knew you. Now imagine being accused of that shit by the closest person to you. Riiiiiight. I've been trying to keep in contact with who I can since my move and it has been difficult me being where I am and with my new setup communications wise, but it's hard when simple IM conversations are either misinterpreted or flat out untrue accusations are being made about you and who you contact. Hell, the offer is on the table for me to open my chat archives to clear my name. I'll even publish the shits (minus the names) on this very blog, but what good will that do other than clear the drama? What fun would that be? Being accused of sleeping with the enemy in in my own fort goes against everything I believe. Plus, that'll make me stupid... And a liar. And a cheat. The only thing I literally have in this world is my word. If that means nothing to those I trust then I am nothing to them.

Funny, my so-called birthday recently passed and I dreamt that I had a party that day and my wish was for me to die in my sleep. I got my wish and died peacefully with a smile on my face. The moment before I passed, all of the pain and angst flowed from my fingers and toes to the edges of the universe and I danced in my mind before signing off. That was the happiest thought I've had in some time now. The thought followed me for a week or so and I realized that the thought only manifested itself because of my current situation. The reason I left Chicago is because I thought I'd be better off somewhere else. Well, I'm somewhere else now and I wish that I knew where the real somewhere else was, cause I don't fit in here and it's starting to show. I just wish the I didn't have to be lied to because that doesn't make me feel any better. It just grows my anger inside and fuels so many other things things in a negative sense.

I'm slipping, y'all. I need help getting up.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Reason

I am not promised tomorrow
But I live
frantically searching for that spot

the one I'll never find,
but I still look
I'll never fully understand as to why.

At times I can't breathe,
reaching... grasping
Being able to see it and not having it
ain't enough

Living without it makes it not worth effort
most times
but the voices tell me specifically
It must flow through me

It slips, so I slip with it
I slide
I'm slipping

That means that I've already fallen
The faint shouts heard
somewhere in the deep recesses
tells me to pull it up

pay it forward
reload
come again

It's supposed to hurt anyway
play through the pain because

because...

There is a purpose
even in your exposure and eventual demise
so just do.

So I pull at my spirit
Become its motivational speaker
finding fodder to harp on
keeping me interested in me

my destruction is spare objects
meant for the next cycle
It's harder than I thought
But I still try

Happiness for me now comes in that effort
new values are found in disappointment
failure and the excitable sound of the crash

At least it causes gaper's delay

Damn... I made em' stop and look
That's enough I guess

2007 Hassan Ntimbanjayo, Ya Dig?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Market For Niggas

By popular request: Taalam Acey

Thanks Yazmar

Talk amongst yourselves...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Disappointed

Just when I thought that I would just stop doing my thing and enjoy life from the front porch...


People start to listen and respond. Years later.


I don't know if you've noticed, but I really took the personality away from this joint. I stopped getting personal with my posts with the exception of speaking about my general health and I hear all of my virtual play-cousins (I invented that) when they give me gems for optimal living. I have taken your advice and am doing all that I can to get back to regular.

Someone close to me pretty much told me to just relax because I seemed to be stressing too much, that maybe the move to Houston and my current situation versus what I want to do is possibly raising my blood pressure. Yes my pressure is somewhere in stage II hypertensionville but it ain't that. Someone stated that I am angry all the damn time, but one thing... I never get mad. I may show displeasure with things through my outwardly appearance, but it ain't that I'm angry.

It's because I am in a constant state of disappointment.

I see myself and I see the education, the talent and the options and I am disappointed that I am where I am right now. I will do more to get to where I feel I need to be, and that means being more outspoken for my family, cause y'all are all I got.

I see my peers in the Hip Hop generation and I am disappointed in how we are handling ourselves at this moment. There is no problem with Hip Hop or specifically rap music. I'm disappointed in how the entire Hip Hop nation is once again grouped into whatever is killing the nation at this moment. The overall ignorance that we are showing about a genre of music that we created disappoints me to the core. Example:

Movies: Filmed entertainment, full of stereotypes and degrading images of people, places and things. Also full of fun, comedy and heartwarming moments that we grow to love in the billions of dollars- The Fly, The Matrix, Birth Of A Nation, The Terminator, Do The Right Thing, Van Wilder, Austin Powers, Night At The Museum, Blood Diamond, Major League, Monkey Hustle, Shaft, I, Robot, Pretty Woman, Cotton Comes To Harlem, The Ten Commandments, Enter The Dragon, Apocalypse Now, Spider-Man, Earth Girls Are Easy, Love And Basketball, Alien, Close Encounters of a Third Kind, Star Wars, Brokeback Mountain, Shaft, Chocolate', Mulan Rouge, Happy Feet, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids... Did I jump around enough for you?

Television: Shorter versions of movies, same stereotypes and degrading images as well as heartwarming fun and comedy made for shorter attention spans and bundled in series (for the most part) for those that want to follow a character or set of characters in various plots and subplots. Also where sporting events and made for TV events (award shows and such) take place for the world to view- The Sopranos, General Hospital, Wide World of Sports, Grey's Anatomy, 24, Weeds, My Name Is Earl, Survivor, The King of Queens, Girlfriends, Sleeper Cell, Lost, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, Chappelle's Show, South Park, Aqua Teenage Hunger Force, Reno 911, Flavor of Love: Charm School, The Springer Hustle, Arena Football, One Tree Hill, The Game, Law And Order, Monk, WWE Raw and Smackdown, Tuesday Night Fights, Arena Football, The Office, 30 Rock, Everybody Hates Chris, Anderson Cooper 360, The View, Friday Night Lights, The Young and the Restless and so on.

Music: Unadulterated, uncensored form of singing, instrumental isms and spoken art in which artists (or those that try to be) attempt to wax poetic on whatever they see fit. Full of stereotypes and violence as well as heartfelt ballads of love and admiration. Long and short forms of musical expression are marketed to any audience that cares to listen- grunge, speed metal, hard rock, zydeco, hardcore rap, smooth jazz, gospel, blues, jazz, gangster rap, thrash metal, guitar ballads, folk, country and western, zydeco, New Orleans jazz, chamber music, orchestra composed, madrigals, chant, Christian rap, Harlem jazz, industrial, power ballads, new wave, punk, ska, world music, soca, meringue, dance hall, roots reggae, Kentucky bluegrass, old school rap, fusion, funk, rhythm and blues, doo wop, 60's soul, St Louis blues, Chicago blues, rockabilly, new school rap, house music, dance pop, adult contemporary, 50's rock and roll, underground rap, jazz fusion, neo soul, urban contemporary, old, guitar driven rock, hair metal, spoken word, scat, top 40 pop.

I'm disappointed that folks don't know the difference but spend money like we do. Or do we and just refuse to acknowledge that there are categories of entertainment? Genres if you will. What makes rap music any different than other forms of entertainment? Are we going after the porn industry? Think not. If we really want to censor our artists (can't call em' so-called, cause' people even buy stuff from the bullshit ones - that means artist support) under the 'urban music' banner, that means both rappers and R&B artists would get the hook. And so should rock artists, grunge cats, metal dudes, jazz artists, even Christian artists.

There has to be a Muslim or Jew that just can't stand DC Talk... Right?

Hip Hop is in the mainstream right now and it faces the same scrutiny as Rock and Roll, Jazz and Rhythm And Blues (originating from gospel music) before it, so let the chips fall where it may. I as a child of, current supporter of and peer of Hip Hop refuse to be painted with a broad brush stroke and be labeled as poison when it comes to influencing our youth. Whether white kid or brown, Hip Hop culture is a multi-trillion dollar, infrastructure building positive influence on society as a whole. To let a rapper (Rap music, once again is a sub-culture of Hip Hop) or twelve's lyrical content be the basis of unwarranted finger-pointing, blame laying and the reasoning behind the downfall of America's so-called utopia and also the cause of racist rhetoric is downright insulting. And I bet you Bob Dylan's acoustic guitar that I'm not the only member of this generation ready to fight for the respect and the fair market share we in the Hip Hop community deserve.

This ain't over. It's just getting started. I'm just disappointed that my voice wasn't heard a few years ago when I was saying the same damn thing I'm saying now. Check the archives. As a matter of fact, check out this very same fight when you google up what was going on in the 80's... Or What C. Delores Tucker was doing in the 90's... Or the self check we were getting into via allhiphop.com, okayplayer.com and such have been doing in the 2000's.

I know who I am, and I'm a little disappointed in myself to let this get this far.
Some of you guys have me a little disappointed in as well.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

An Open Letter To Oprah Winfrey

by Saul Williams


Dear Ms. Winfrey,


It is with the greatest respect and adoration of your loving spirit that I write you. As a young child, I would sit beside my mother everyday and watch your program. As a young adult, with children of my own, I spend much less time in front of the television, but I am ever thankful for the positive effect that you continue to have on our nation, history and culture. The example that you have set as someone unafraid to answer their calling, even when the reality of that calling insists that one self-actualize beyond the point of any given example, is humbling, and serves as the cornerstone of the greatest faith. You, love, are a pioneer.

I am a poet.

Growing up in Newburgh, NY, with a father as a minister and a mother as a school teacher, at a time when we fought for our heroes to be nationally recognized, I certainly was exposed to the great names and voices of our past. I took great pride in competing in my churches Black History Quiz Bowl and the countless events my mother organized in hopes of fostering a generation of youth well versed in the greatness as well as the horrors of our history. Yet, even in a household where I had the privilege of personally interacting with some of the most outspoken and courageous luminaries of our times, I must admit that the voices that resonated the most within me and made me want to speak up were those of my peers, and these peers were emcees. Rappers.
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Yes, Ms. Winfrey, I am what my generation would call "a Hip Hop head." Hip Hop has served as one of the greatest aspects of my self-definition. Lucky for me, I grew up in the 80's when groups like Public Enemy, Rakim, The jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, and many more realized the power of their voices within the artform and chose to create music aimed at the upliftment of our generation.

As a student at Morehouse College where I studied Philosophy and Drama I was forced to venture across the street to Spelman College for all of my Drama classes, since Morehouse had no theater department of its own. I had few complaints. The performing arts scholarship awarded me by Michael Jackson had promised me a practically free ride to my dream school, which now had opened the doors to another campus that could make even the most focused of young boys dreamy, Spelman. One of my first theater professors, Pearle Cleage, shook me from my adolescent dream state. It was the year that Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" was released and our introduction to Snoop Dogg as he sang catchy hooks like "Bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks..." Although, it was a playwriting class, what seemed to take precedence was Ms. Cleages political ideology, which had recently been pressed and bound in her 1st book, Mad at Miles. As, you know, in this book she spoke of how she could not listen to the music of Miles Davis and his muted trumpet without hearing the muted screams of the women that he was outspoken about "man-handling". It was my first exposure to the idea of an artist being held accountable for their actions outside of their art. It was the first time I had ever heard the word, "misogyny". And as Ms. Cleage would walk into the classroom fuming over the women she would pass on campus, blasting those Snoop lyrics from their cars and jeeps, we, her students, would be privy to many freestyle rants and raves on the dangers of nodding our heads to a music that could serve as our own demise.

Her words, coupled with the words of the young women I found myself interacting with forever changed how I listened to Hip Hop and quite frankly ruined what would have been a number of good songs for me. I had now been burdened with a level of awareness that made it impossible for me to enjoy what the growing masses were ushering into the mainstream. I was now becoming what many Hip Hop heads would call "a Backpacker", a person who chooses to associate themselves with the more "conscious" or politically astute artists of the Hip Hop community. What we termed as "conscious" Hip Hop became our preference for dance and booming systems. Groups like X-Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian, Arrested Development, Gangstarr and others became the prevailing music of our circle. We also enjoyed the more playful Hip Hop of De La Soul, Heiroglyphics, Das FX, Organized Konfusion. Digable Planets, The Fugees, and more. We had more than enough positivity to fixate on. Hip Hop was diverse.

I had not yet begun writing poetry. Most of my friends hardly knew that I had been an emcee in high school. I no longer cared to identify myself as an emcee and my love of oratory seemed misplaced at Morehouse where most orators were actually preachers in training, speaking with the Southern drawl of Dr. King although they were 19 and from the North. I spent my time doing countless plays and school performances. I was in line to become what I thought would be the next Robeson, Sidney, Ossie, Denzel, Snipes... It wasn't until I was in graduate school for acting at NYU that I was invited to a poetry reading in Manhattan where I heard Asha Bandele, Sapphire, Carl Hancock Rux, Reggie Gaines, Jessica Care Moore, and many others read poems that sometimes felt like monologues that my newly acquired journal started taking the form of a young poets'. Yet, I still noticed that I was a bit different from these poets who listed names like: Audrey Lourde, June Jordan, Sekou Sundiata etc, when asked why they began to write poetry. I knew that I had been inspired to write because of emcees like Rakim, Chuck D, LL, Run DMC... Hip Hop had informed my love of poetry as much or even more than my theater background which had exposed me to Shakespeare, Baraka, Fugard, Genet, Hansberry and countless others. In those days, just a mere decade ago, I started writing to fill the void between what I was hearing and what I wished I was hearing. It was not enough for me to critique the voices I heard blasting through the walls of my Brooklyn brownstone. I needed to create examples of where Hip Hop, particularly its lyricism, could go. I ventured to poetry readings with my friends and neighbors, Dante Smith (now Mos Def), Talib Kwele, Erycka Badu, Jessica Care Moore, Mums the Schemer, Beau Sia, Suheir Hammad...all poets that frequented the open mics and poetry slams that we commonly saw as "the other direction" when Hip hop reached that fork in the road as you discussed on your show this past week. On your show you asked the question, "Are all rappers poets?" Nice. I wanted to take the opportunity to answer this question for you.

The genius, as far as the marketability, of Hip Hop is in its competitiveness. Its roots are as much in the dignified aspects of our oral tradition as it is in the tradition of "the dozens" or "signifying". In Hip Hop, every emcee is automatically pitted against every other emcee, sort of like characters with super powers in comic books. No one wants to listen to a rapper unless they claim to be the best or the greatest. This sort of braggadocio leads to all sorts of tirades, showdowns, battles, and sometimes even deaths. In all cases, confidence is the ruling card. Because of the competitive stance that all emcees are prone to take, they, like soldiers begin to believe that they can show no sign of vulnerability. Thus, the most popular emcees of our age are often those that claim to be heartless or show no feelings or signs of emotion. The poet, on the other hand, is the one who realizes that their vulnerability is their power. Like you, unafraid to shed tears on countless shows, the poet finds strength in exposing their humanity, their vulnerability, thus making it possible for us to find connection and strength through their work. Many emcees have been poets. But, no, Ms. Winfrey, not all emcees are poets. Many choose gangsterism and business over the emotional terrain through which true artistry will lead. But they are not to blame. I would now like to address your question of leadership.

You may recall that in immediate response to the attacks of September 11th, our president took the national stage to say to the American public and the world that we would "...show no sign of vulnerability". Here is the same word that distinguishes poets from rappers, but in its history, more accurately, women from men. To make such a statement is to align oneself with the ideology that instills in us a sense of vulnerability meaning "weakness". And these meanings all take their place under the heading of what we consciously or subconsciously characterize as traits of the feminine. The weapon of mass destruction is the one that asserts that a holy trinity would be a father, a male child, and a ghost when common sense tells us that the holiest of trinities would be a mother, a father, and a child: Family. The vulnerability that we see as weakness is the saving grace of the drunken driver who because of their drunken/vulnerable state survives the fatal accident that kills the passengers in the approaching vehicle who tighten their grip and show no physical vulnerability in the face of their fear. Vulnerability is also the saving grace of the skate boarder who attempts a trick and remembers to stay loose and not tense during their fall. Likewise, vulnerability has been the saving grace of the African American struggle as we have been whipped, jailed, spat upon, called names, and killed, yet continue to strive forward mostly non-violently towards our highest goals. But today we are at a crossroads, because the institutions that have sold us the crosses we wear around our necks are the most overt in the denigration of women and thus humanity. That is why I write you today, Ms. Winfrey. We cannot address the root of what plagues Hip Hop without addressing the root of what plagues today's society and the world.

You see, Ms. Winfrey, at it's worse; Hip Hop is simply a reflection of the society that birthed it. Our love affair with gangsterism and the denigration of women is not rooted in Hip Hop; rather it is rooted in the very core of our personal faith and religions. The gangsters that rule Hip Hop are the same gangsters that rule our nation. 50 Cent and George Bush have the same birthday (July 6th). For a Hip Hop artist to say "I do what I wanna do/Don't care if I get caught/The DA could play this mothaf@kin tape in court/I'll kill you/ I ain't playin'" epitomizes the confidence and braggadocio we expect an admire from a rapper who claims to represent the lowest denominator. When a world leader with the spirit of a cowboy (the true original gangster of the West: raping, stealing land, and pillaging, as we clapped and cheered.) takes the position of doing what he wants to do, regardless of whether the UN or American public would take him to court, then we have witnessed true gangsterism and violent negligence. Yet, there is nothing more negligent than attempting to address a problem one finds on a branch by censoring the leaves.

Name calling, racist generalizations, sexist perceptions, are all rooted in something much deeper than an uncensored music. Like the rest of the world, I watched footage on AOL of you dancing mindlessly to 50 Cent on your fiftieth birthday as he proclaimed, "I got the ex/if you're into taking drugs/ I'm into having sex/ I ain't into making love" and you looked like you were having a great time. No judgment. I like that song too. Just as I do, James Brown's Sex Machine or Grand Master Flashes "White Lines". Sex, drugs, and rock and roll is how the story goes. Censorship will never solve our problems. It will only foster the sub-cultures of the underground, which inevitably inhabit the mainstream. There is nothing more mainstream than the denigration of women as projected through religious doctrine. Please understand, I am by no means opposing the teachings of Jesus, by example (he wasn't Christian), but rather the men that have used his teachings to control and manipulate the masses. Hip Hop, like Rock and Roll, like the media, and the government, all reflect an idea of power that labels vulnerability as weakness. I can only imagine the non-emotive hardness that you have had to show in order to secure your empire from the grips of those that once stood in your way: the old guard. You reflect our changing times. As time progresses we sometimes outgrow what may have served us along the way. This time, what we have outgrown, is not hip hop, rather it is the festering remnants of a God depicted as an angry and jealous male, by men who were angry and jealous over the minute role that they played in the everyday story of creation. I am sure that you have covered ideas such as these on your show, but we must make a connection before our disconnect proves fatal.

We are a nation at war. What we fail to see is that we are fighting ourselves. There is no true hatred of women in Hip Hop. At the root of our nature we inherently worship the feminine. Our overall attention to the nurturing guidance of our mothers and grandmothers as well as our ideas of what is sexy and beautiful all support this. But when the idea of the feminine is taken out of the idea of what is divine or sacred then that worship becomes objectification. When our governed morality asserts that a woman is either a virgin or a whore, then our understanding of sexuality becomes warped. Note the dangling platinum crosses over the bare asses being smacked in the videos. The emcees of my generation are the ministers of my father's generation. They too had a warped perspective of the feminine. Censoring songs, sermons, or the tirades of radio personalities will change nothing except the format of our discussion. If we are to sincerely address the change we are praying for then we must first address to whom we are praying.

Thank you, Ms. Winfrey, for your forum, your heart, and your vision. May you find the strength and support to bring about the changes you wish to see in ways that do more than perpetuate the myth of enmity.

In loving kindness,

Saul Williams


Friday, April 20, 2007

Please Stand By





I damn near deleted my blog today and didn't think anything of it. So now I'm contemplating just doing the blog reading and commenting thing on other people's joints and not contributing to the brown blogosphere like a lot of people do. I'm learning that you can talk til' you're blue in the face but folks will only choose to hear you instead of listening.

Try typing that shit. See how difficult it gets?

If I choose not to speak, then I get comments asking me to stick around or stay (like Frank's comment in this very post. I guess he stopped by during my recovery of the post/blog), so I ask you is it's even worth it to spend time doing this?

I'm starting to think not.

I thank all of those that take time out of their valuable schedule to come and check me out, that is major and I really appreciate that. That's real. I do take the time to get on my blogroll and read you guys' views and opinions on life and all things in general. I love the diverse reasonings, rants and raves. It makes me feel like I'm not the only one out there trying to find the Qwan, but it's tiresome in some aspects cause the Qwan ain't laying in the middle of the street waiting to be picked up and dusted off.

So until suitable programming can be found on this channel I ask you to stand by. I'm still building brownbloggers.org and moderating a few forums over there before I hand it over. And I'll still visit all my neighbor friends, so don't trip.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hip Hop Is Alive & Well And At A Venue Near You!

I never lost faith in my people, our sense of who we are and of course, hip hop. I still love it to the point where I never married or gave half on a baby. I thought I'd share a little Lord Quas (Quasimoto) and a few pics I snapped last night/this morning:


It's called 'Rappcats Pt 3'. I know you dug that. I wish it were longer though. I was feeling good about myself and and my love for the game, so I got out the house and did what any right-minded, brown blogging, socio-political ranting and raving hip hop head from the hood would do when real hip hop needs celebration. I got front row with De La Soul. For free.

Thanks A hot ass DJ (DJ Hier from Los Angeles) and a hot to def band backing the Long Island trio (The Rhythm and Roots All-Stars) rocked Houston for a little over three hours. Other than my aching knees from all the dancing, the hoarse voice from all the yelling and song singing and the ringing sensation in my ears, there were wishes of a never ending, peace loving night but alas, folks got things to do in the morning...

ON TO THE PHOTOS DAMMIT!!!

De La Soul @ Warehouse Live April 17/18, 2007

Pos got up close and personal a few times


This crowd was hype! And yes, it was a sea of hip hoppers, peaceful and stuffed full of memories


Maseo came from behind the tables and rocked it


The presentation was tight and the flow was non-stop



Dave kept giving us cues to chime in if we knew it... And we did, making his job easy


Pos was amazing with his delivery... One of the best emcees to hold a mic



There was the usual 'throwing our hands in the air'. We complied and gave mad energy

All in all, we had a ball and the funny thing is... Even with Willie D of the Geto Boys opening up for De La doing some of his greatest works, never was there a negative moment or violent episode. All I've heard in the past few weeks since the Imus thing is how destructive a force Hip Hop is. Although we all know how beautiful a thing this art form and subcultures are, some will try to place blame on anything to keep the status quo a few degrees below.

I dug this up and re-posted to prove what the pictures said if you didn't get it:

"Yet Imus and hip-hop really don't have much in common. Imus was host of a radio show that focused on the real news of the day, while hip-hop is a fictionalized form of cultural expression. Imus is real, featuring real guests and humor based on real topics. However loudly hip-hop might claim to be real, it is not real; it is a form of representation. This is why so few rappers use the names on their birth certificates when performing. Rappers are in essence characters performing a fictional life. Though the culture is rooted in the notion and style of authenticity, it is decidedly fictional. If not, the cops could arrest every rapper who talks about selling drugs or killing someone in his or her lyrics. So we should be judging hip-hop the same way we judge a novel, a movie, or a television show, and to do so means we have to afford hip-hop the same latitude we afford any other form of artistic expression."


Dr. Todd Boyd, a columnist for ESPN's Page 2, is an author, media commentator and a professor of critical studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His next book "The Notorious Ph.D.'s Guide to the Super Fly '70s" will be published in June.


Nuff Said... It's 3:30 and my ears are still ringing...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Get The Hell Out Of Here With That Nonsense!

Don't ever let em' take you off your square. That's what's up right now, the okee doke is being ran on your ass.

I am the living embodiment of Hip Hop and the terms, phrases, and narrative descriptive used in modern day were not invented in the last thirty five years so act like you know.

Don't act like there wasn't black folk on the defensive because an R&B or rap cat was on the offensive back in the day. We've always made strides to police self, we are not defenseless! C. Delores Tucker is rolling over in her grave over this ish.

Bandwagon jumping, house negroes... You just got your ghetto pass revoked. You know regulation and revolution starts at home. You've had your chance but were too busy getting your escalade detailed. Overtime called that ass in, huh?

How dare you say that Hip Hop is the major influence in what's going down right now. Oh, all of a sudden Music, Turntablism, Graffiti, and Breaking is soooooo destructive. How dare you comapre sexist, racist slander against my beloved to what some kid from the hood penned as his or her own truth! It may not be politiaclly correct, but just as I ask for us to divest from those that damage us in the ENTERTAINMENT industry, think about the divestment made after the close of the slave trade. Think of the lack of funding the school system and the systematic training of self hatred placed in the hood... You get a lot of BITCHES, NIGGAS, HOES AND MUTHAFUCKAS. You get what you pay for.

Now imagine all the folks that rose up from that and graduated high school. College. Grad school. Got their doctorate or PhD. Imagine a bunch of working class, church going, mosque attending, temple filling, tax paying, no jail record having, child raising, PTA meeting brown skinned people that make up 12% of the populous here and have over 900 billion to spend and have the power to make change in Washington DC... So now we're all bitches and hoes? Now because that's 'the primary way of communication' between us makes us all targets for reprogramming?

My momma never purchased a rap album in her life. My little brother has three children and doesn't buy that garbge. What kind of influence do they have on society?

What percentage of Hip Hop Music (it's called Rap Music) is actually vulgar? What ratio of folk in or outside of the hood actually buy these sexually and/or violent themed products? What do they look like? Where do they live? What's the demographic again?



You act like Planet Asia, Bahamadia, Tribe, PE, Lauryn, Del, Black Milk, Heiro, Common, Jurassic 5, Guru, Lupe Fiasco, Madlib, Rakim, Mr. Lif, Talib Kweli, Aseop Rock, dead prez, Little Brother, KJ 52, Blackalicious, Gospel Gangstaz, Brand Nubian, K-Os, Kardinal Offishall, The Coup, I Self Devine, The Roots, Saul Williams, Pharoahe Monch, Madlib, Freedom Of Soul, Baatin, KRS One, De La Soul, Dialated Peoples, Nas, Supernatural, Strange Fruit, The Spooks, Underground Movement, The Cross Movement, Slum Village, Jeru, Arrested Development, Outkast, P.I.D., Goodie Mob, Murs, Nappy Roots, Mos Def, Immortal Technique, Afu Ra, Werewolf, Last Poets, Jessica Care Moore, Rage Against The Machine, Spearhead, Poor Righteous Teachers, Sage Francis, Mr Del and countless others do not exist.

Keep letting the large, faceless corporations tell you what to do. The same conglomerates that own CNN, Fox and MSNBC and the same producers of unnecessary product that's peddled to you fund these bullshit artists and the negative images that's the focus right now. Don't stop at firing a morning drive DJ, cut the head off if you dare.

What good parent does not know what their child is listening to? What about other forms of entertainment have the same vulgar themes and aren't targeted? Movies? Video games? Television?

Uh huh, what I thought.

I ain't defending Tipper Gore, but wasn't she a catalyst for change to add labels to recordings that have explicit language?

Any why were those Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx records hidden back in the day?

What ever happen to home training? Restrictions? Ass whoopings and such? Not that you gotta beat your kid...

I ain't defending Uncle Luke but hasn't Hugh Hefner been doing the same ish for damn near 50 years? You mean to tell me there's no abuse or explotation going on over at the grotto?

I refuse to let the talking heads in the idiot box put words in my mouth to say that some 25 year old kid signed to a recording contract has me disrespecting my mother and sister.

Excuses, excuses...

I've never seen so many that have been wanting to say it, say it. Blog reading and newspaper articles have listed the N-word so many times, and to my knowledge that wasn't said two weeks ago. Is it because you want to say it just to get away with it?

Not all of y'all, just that chosen few. You know.

Imus didn't piss me off, all of the self-serving, closet racist ass individuals that decided to come out. I'm glad you did.

At least back in the day, my daddy and grand daddy knew who the foe was... I'm mad that it took this for you to rear your stankin' asses. Now I know where to aim.

The streets have never stopped watching. If you won't police it, we will.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lil Brother's Bornday

I can't believe this cat turns 27 today.

My brother Alonzo...

  • I remember when I used to change his diaper
  • chase his nekkid ass around the house to make him take a bath
  • Play fighting and wrestling all the damn time
  • us hanging out, thus keeping him off the corner
  • moving into him and my sis' apartment in when they were in undergrad
  • watching the crew cry at his high school graduation
  • dropping his ass off at Northern Illinois University
  • seeing the Sox clinch the pennant in 1993
  • doing the super bowl thing each year (that's us cheering the Bears on in the SB above)
  • seeing him fall in love
  • standing at his side at his wedding
  • being in the room when his first born was born
  • witnessing him as a father on the daily - and do it right
  • staring at him and Pops - marvelling at the resemblance
  • just being his friend


I am proud to even know you man. Even prouder to know that you are the college grad, husband, father, brother, son, youngest supervisor on the job and grandson in the greatest definition. I am proud that you call me brother. It has been a surreal, but blessed experience to see you grow, I hope to live to see you pass all that you are to your great-grandkids.

I love you bruh...

Happy Birthday

.

.

.

.

Don't Forget

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's All On You

I'm not going to delve into that situation. So many have eloquently given opinion and I refuse to touch it. Let's not beat a dead horse. Let it do what it do.

But you didn't think I wasn't going to chastise your ass.

Yeah, you.

Not you baby, I know we're here *points*, they know who they are.

900 billion dollars a year and you haven't realized our power? All the complaining about what other folks say and you haven't divested your own dollar from the bullshit collectives that support and promote that lifestyle, culture and language, which means you cannot complain.

It's bigger than Hip Hop.

Don't blame this on Hip Hop culture because Moms Mabley, Redd Foxx and Pigmeat Markham was doing it way before Snoop didn't love them hos. We had a place for it back in the day because I'm old enough to remember which makes me responsible for the current climate because folks my age have children that it influences which means if I'm talking about you it starts in your home.

We cannot police society as a whole but you can explain the difference between entertainment and reality. Folks are going to say and do what they want but understand that there is a difference between rap artists and radio talk show hosts. If you want the new Three 6 Mafia joint you can choose to buy it. If they don't sell enough copies, them or any artist for that matter will get dropped. See, support comes from the masses. If you speak on public airwaves then you have a responsibility to be as fair and impartial as you can because the public and other interests pay the host to speak and when one goes off on a tangent, he or she can and will be corrected.

It is what you tolerate and are not teaching your children. Forget the fact that the track is hot for one moment and think of the influence some cats have over your kids.

Exactly.

If you don't think that way about your own children, then why would you support someone that insults your intelligence and calls you a nigger or bitch while taking your money at the same time? And why would you let your kids think that was cool or respectful?

See, it all starts with you. You have that power. If you don't like how it's going down then let em know.

Keep your money in your pocket. And educate your children accordingly. Time to kick it old school cause this new stuff ain't working. Until you have control of your wallet or pocketbook and until your children have knowledge of self understand that you are not in control of anything, which means that folks can and will say or do anything...

Anything.

And when things like what happens happen and it keeps on happening, what does that make you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

300th Post

Wassup my virtual play cousins!
This one right here is my 300th post on Blogger. I don't know what to feel or say, I just hope that I have 300 more... I'm sure I do. This has become a part of who I am. Funny, because I'm working on placing the right words and phrases together in the form of a few grant proposals to make the blogging thing my job and my life thru the BrownBloggers Initiative. I'm working on making the site less corny and more about... Ahem... Brown bloggers.

shameless self promotion, huh?



My back hurts. It is actually a burning sensation in the lower left of the small of the thingee. I didn't sleep at all last night, I just laid there motionless. When I got up to make that midnight water run I changed underwear and lo and behold...

The pain subsided somewhat.

I guess the moral is that the body likes what it likes and for me, the Hanes boxer-brief joints are not the way to go.


Been in Houston for a month now and it's been rough for me health wise. I've not been sharing how difficult it has been for me to function since getting here. My body seems to be breaking down due to overuse and lack of sleep. My diet has been shit as well. I actually came down here on a whim, a wing and a prayer seeing as I only know one person here. A month ago I had pneumonia and failed a work physical and Chicago was kicking my ass (it was below zero and not letting up), so I just came. Glad I did. The warm weather from the gulf has righted my ship internally, but physically I am still in need of repair. I can barely walk without pain. I cannot sleep and things seem to be getting worse. In actuality I've been non active since getting here trying to rest up and recoup before getting back on the road.

Don't cry for me Argentina, I found a Bikram college of yoga here and a gym membership. A little hot yoga and some extreme cardio and weight training will help me get right.


Also got offered positions with the Fed and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. There are other offers on the table, but with the non-profit thing going full swing it's getting to be a little too much. I have to make a decision in the week and this will determine if I make Houston my home for a minute. I wanna make a decision but that means that I have to commit to something jobwise I might not be ready for, even if the money and security is damn good.


I could be in dire straights in my 300th post, but...

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Plural Thing




The Plural Thing: Spiritually Preparing for Your Soul Mate is the latest from Linda Dominique Grosvenor. The book delves into how to best prepare yourself to receive your mate, how to be equally yolked and how to be right by yourself.


Now I haven't read the joint yet but I'm buying it and I hope you do TODAY. Not only is this a good thing, it's supporting your own. Princess Dominique is not only a best selling author but a regular contributor to the brown blogosphere. Get over to her spot and, get lifted and don't forget to circulate the green dollar by doing brown business.




Ya dig?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Recognize.

39 years ago today a 39 year old man was killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

This wasn't just any 39 year old man. I know that you know this.

You do know this, or have you forgotten? You probably forgot. It's cool though, I know you got work and the kids and traffic and classes and thangs. Plus right now you're probably trying to score tickets to that new family flick that opens tonight starring 'Amerikkka's Most Wanted', Don Mega.

Or you were probably mourning the loss of Coach Rob... Didn't get that news either, huh?

On my way down to Texas I spent a day in Memphis. This was mere weeks ago and I just didn't have the time to get over there to the motel. Funny thing, when I got to Houston the first program I watched on TV was a documentary of Memphis and it covered the significance of that place and what happened in detail.

I'm glad I didn't go that day. My heart was too heavy.

In a day and age where we get too important for the good of everyone else by way of duty, responsibility and vanity we tend to forget to respect the architects. In this day and age where policing of ourselves is at an all time low, we seem to forget the events that shaped the way things are now and how good we actually have it.

Because we have it good and we need to let the world know by not removing the tag...

Maybe Aaron McGruder was correct in his assessment of our levels of what is important to us and how we respect the past. Maybe we do belittle other folks' fortunes to make our shit smell that much sweeter.

Maybe.

I come from Chicago where there are still vacant lots and abandoned buildings that once stood proud over the streets of the city of wind until, dare I call it an 'event' happened 39 years ago that destroyed them all and ran away even the red liners, land stealers and slum brokers.

They still haven't come back and those areas are still broken. Maybe some of those places are beyond repair. I was riding through Houston yesterday all air conditioned when I happened on a few of the wards here. I imagine that there are a few spots in that vast space of a shanty town where our people stay that was destroyed in the riots that haven't been rebuilt as well.

Almost made me cry until I thought:

Forget this. I know. Some of us know. Hell, we all should know. What makes anything else more important that rebuilding this?

Then I remembered that it starts at home.

Most of you will read this from your CRT at work. Some will get this feed via your wi-fi connection. Some of you will continue duties and responsibilities and then read this in the dead of night, the day will pass that ass up and you still probably won't realize that just 39 years ago we tore some shit up in an attempt to blow off steam, vent hundreds of years of frustration, mourn the loss of a point of light and try to find a way to get free while the so-called authority dug through the rubble. On the other side of those buildings and vacant lots we fail to rebuild. How far have we really come seeing as most of us either have really truly forgotten, haven't been taught or plum just don't care?

You better recognize.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Whatchu Know About It?

Hustling bus transfers
smoking shorted squares

ordering deli meat by the dollar, not by the pound
food stamp cards with PIN's that don't work right
coupon hustling

leaving expensive, hard to carry ish at the bottom of the shopping cart
stretching that kool aid... with more water and sugar
pushing pop bottles
letting go of your favorite CDs to cover that pawn ticket

in the lobby of the courthouse praying that the arresting officer no-shows

getting thru the line at county hospital in less than 4 hours
getting that extra chicken wing in your order
irregular sized joints... special priced to move
display models

the cable not being cut off
finding the right customer service rep that'll extend your due date

not getting that scrilla in the mail when you promised everybody...
traffic moving too damn slow on the way to that sure bet interview
seeing your old classmates at your worst...

not being able to get popcorn at the movies
spending your kicking it money to keep the lights on because...
getting sick and not getting the rest you need because the kids need you
missing the last slot in that pre req you need next fall
financial aid check short

not enough gas the day before payday
going to church just to get a hot meal at someone's house
hog head cheese
potted meat
hot dogs on sale for 99 cents... you know, breakfast, lunch and dinner?

hitting the back door at the back of the bus
hustling dubbed mix tapes
boosting for resale to make rent
getting a payday loan to pay off that other payday loan

celly getting cut off the week you're waiting for that call
merching your vicodin ($10 a pop... sheeeyit!)
moving all of your DVDs

giving plasma
your futon/bed/couch/table/bookcase

calling that spot to get in on that medical research ish
scalping your cousin's tickets to the game
coming home in the stealth of night to avoid the landlord

sitting with the lights off so no one knows you're home
using your overdraft protection

Bor.ders being your library
free internet at the public library... that lasts 45 minutes

or just bouncing that check because you have to

spending your last dollar on that lotto ticket

standing in the free cheese line
and actually using that powdered milk
and that cheese

the 99 cent menu
foam rollers masquerading as a mattress

scooping all of the free coupons BK and KFC outta the building vestibule
dark meat - 3 pieces for $1.99
the 10 cent sale
Buy one get one...

getting over on them cee-lo and craps cats on the corner
messing with the blackjack table with your last $100
copping wears from the goodwill and salvation army spots

not being able to express your frustration properly
crying because it hurts to be isolated and alone in partial poverty

being able to afford bullshit off the dollar menu but not the healthy shit
younger cats with ice, rims and fat pockets vs you and your degree(s) and being broke

washing the same 3 shirts over by hand, rotating them in the same workweek
stealing from the school cafeteria
getting drunk to forget your troubles
window shopping at the dollar store

getting your cousin to 'flip' your tax return
selling Sam's Club candy bars to get car fare...


no AC in July, sweating it out at 2am... on the floor
loosing the joints you put in lay away
that old-ass radio that can't get the station

sleeping thru the gunshots


not calling your mama when you know you need to, but just can't