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, August 27, 2007

I am an irresponsible child right now...

I have no idea what to blog about.



Been that way for about a week or so. Nothing to do with death or such, I'm just having a damn good time in getting back to the Chi and adjusting to the new job.

And my friends

And life in the big city

And eating right

And family


Things are exactly the way I'd like them to be right now. It's been a while since I've smiled inside and felt like things are the ways they should be. There are always events, places and people that affect the state of where i am in life and of course since I've been back a few things have happened that has had impact on what I like to call 'the whole Hassan'.



Of course there was the death of my aunt. Don't trip, it has had a positive effect on the whole Hassan. To me, death is expected and a part of the process so I don't get all out of sorts when it happens. Even if that person is close. hey, you die. Get over the fact that you might be old or diseased to the point where your life force ends... You never had control of it anyway so do what you gotta while you have the chance.



Moms and me are friends again. I'm even getting her to Dallas to hang out with my sis at the end of next month. She's been trippin ever since my lil sister and her fam moved to Texas.



I have my camera with me on the job but I've been keeping the experience to myself mostly. I am once again driving an 18 wheeler for a major transportation company and things are good. I am no longer an over-the-road driver going anywhere the wind blows, I drive the entire midwest region. I still get a chance to be on the open road with myself and my thoughts and that is the part of the he job that I love. There is nothing like being out there with nature, just the two of us... That's all I ever wanted. I mostly yell old school rap lyrics at the top of my voice (I am an XM 65 - The Rhyme head), drink protein shakes all damn day and take in the beauty of middle America and get paid for doing it while driving a trailer full of cereal or something. i should have been a truck driver years ago.



No boss over your shoulder...



I am hung over today. I attended the 'Rock The Bells' concert series yesterday

Talib Kweli
Jedi Mind Tricks
Immortal Technique
Slum Village
Pharoahe Monch
Nas
Wu-Tang Clan

That lineup says enough about how I feel right now.


ADVICE: All men over 35 should not mosh, stage dive or mindlessly yell out song lyrics in unison in packs with other men over the age of 35. Soreness, loss of voice and pains from over consumption of alcoholic beverages will occur.




I need a few days to recoup from the concert. I also need a few days to get back into a blogging swing, that's if I'm really feeling the urge to blog because right now... I'm just enjoying being free.

Oh, and Nat... Sister I read it. And I will do it... in a few days. I was just in the D a few days ago gathering info on the new stage show on Marvin Gaye. His sister is a treasure of information and style.

Peace y'all. be easy.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Family Bonds (and not Barry either)

Yesterday we buried my aunt. We don't mourn death in my family, we celebrate life, so after the ceremony and burial we dashed over to her home, broke out the grub and a little adult beverage (for those that partake in such a thing) and the elders formed a sister circle in the backyard as they always do, overseeing and mediating. All we needed was Maya Angelou and it would have been a scene out of 'Poetic Justice'.



A lot of people outside of the family don't know that she was legal guardian for my older brother and I for a quick minute back in the day when moms was doing her college thing. Many summer days were spent horsing around in her yard and sleeping in that basement... The memories are still sharp and crisp, it's the people that keep changing around me. That I'll never get used to



It was good to see damn near my entire bloodline all in one place. Kind of scary, not because of death but to see that much family in one place... If anyone wanted to end the bloodline all they had to do was bomb my aunt Barbara's house. There is a certified, real-life celeb or two in this family, thank the lawd we ain't got no stalkers, haters or paparazzi... We still think of certain folks as 'Big-Head', 'Fluffy' and 'Blondie' round these parts.



There was once eleven sisters and brothers that made up the original Harris clan out of Mississippi, now there are three. That is devastating to think about. One thing that has shone thru is out of all of the cigarette smoking, Cutty Sark drinking, fine haberdashery ladened suits and hand sewn evening gowns, hair that was fried, died and laid to the side, and all those verses of 'Straighten Up And Fly Right' sung folk that made up the Harris, Bluester, Poindexter and Williams folk... There was a lot of baby making over the years, and we were (literally) in the house. In mass numbers.


89% of family showing up ain't bad.



All three of the remaining aunts were outside in their sister's backyard. The music was bumping, the kids were playing, and us middle to old age folk were talking, catching up and exchanging numbers, taking photos and such (I got you on the pix later this week, y'all) and then my great aunt Ophelia spoke.



She got in our asses a little about the older folk having kids that don't even know each other. She put it on us to carry on family tradition and even went as far as to assign new officers in the family council. See, my aunts and uncles, grandmother, cousins and such had assignments. There was/is a family treasurer and an organizer. There is/was a medical officer (I swear there is the same setup in the Nation Of Islam!) and such. Anywho, she demanded in the sweetest way to do all of the things they did back in the day that made our family great and very large. This also kept us dependent on each other in the best way. She also requested that family that lived out of town get back to a central point on a more than regular basis and to do so not just when someone graduates or gets married. The kids these days shoot up too much in a short period of time and some of us haven't met each other so how can we recognize them?



My great aunt Ann also requested that we all exchange telephone numbers, home addresses and email info and cousin Eunice also requested a text message class for the old schoolers that have no clue on the IM/texting thing. Cousin Billy explained that it's hard to keep up with sprouting kids and photos and emails will be sent to chronicle the growth of family abroad. Cousin Johnathan suggested that every family member introduce or reintroduce themselves and the family and so upon close from the elders, we did. Most of us either grew up, hung out or spent many a holiday with each other but there was that 15% we've either never seen or never been introduced to so we spent the next 3 to 4 hours telling out immediate family stories, introducing or reintroducing ourselves and taking a gang of family photos in an effort to get our exchange on.



My cousins Ebony and Delecta have been secretly planning the next family reunion and everyone at my aunt Barbara's house yesterday has pledged on to contribute and be present and accounted for. In my immediate family's introduction, I was proud to represent my sisters Robbie and Heather and my older brother Herch (Robbie passed away-she would have been 40 a couple of days back and sis and big bruh could not make it). I also presented my younger brother Alonzo and his wife to the family and he told his family story (his twins are very popular amongst the emailing family members).



I was amazed and astounded with the love that we shared yesterday. I also got a chance to reacquaint myself with a few cousins I haven seen since high school and I got a chance to meet a few cousins twice removed that I never knew. I also took that moment to bury any anger and resentment I had about the situation(s) had with my mother over the past couple of years and in mere moments we were fine and back to normal shortly after the elders spoke.



We were also advised to inform the elder council when times got rough for us individually. Some folks have a little too much pride and cannot be helped if they never come to family which creates a bigger problem, so there was also private council for some and prayer for others. Family must help family and that new council established yesterday will carry on our strong family heritage of doing for each other in any way possible. I just wish this could have been done years ago because there has need a lot of separation in my generation based on lies, gossip and innuendo. Some of us thought that it was a little too personal back a few years ago and tried to break free only to disrupt the family bond. I'm sure folks long passed would have been pleased with what has happened and I'm glad I got my mommy back as well.


That's right, I said it. That's what we call her. So what I'm damn near 40.



Feels good to have family. We don't just pass by on the holidays, we build each other up round the clock all over the calender. We're all we got, might as well make it strong for the times we get weak. It was good to reaffirm family yesterday. I hope you have a strong unit 100's strong as well.



I'm back on the road y'all...



Be easy.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I'm Here! Now What Do I do?

I knew I was supposed to be here in some capacity.

I thought my father needed me, he may not to the extent I would like to think so but others will somehow.

Today I lost my aunt.

I used to spend many o' summer at her home in Indiana. She lost her husband, my uncle Henry a few years back and she hasn't been the same since. Sometime earlier this year her health deteriorated and she just couldn't hold on. She died in her home quietly around her children and a few of the church family.

I am pleased that she went out like that. I hope to die like that when it's my time.

I am in Chicago as a guest of the new company I work for, staying at a hotel near the second, smaller airport. I made way after processing benefit paperwork and such to hook up with my brother and made my way out to the house.

My mother was there.

We talked. It wasn't normal but we shared a conversation and functioned like human beings. If you don't know, I haven't spoken to my mother since this time last year.

And you wonder why The Creator puts you in certain places, huh?

Some folks think too much about where they're supposed to be or if someone or somethings by someone should be done or not done but I say just go where you think you're called and maybe just maybe... You're probably supposed to be there.

Even if you don't know the reason.

If you haven't been home in a while, go home. If you haven't seen someone in a hot minute, go and see them. If you feel that you're not supposed to be someplace, get the hell out of there. Just go where your heart calls you. It may hurt someone or jeopardize some things you think are supposed to be for you.

my heart told me to be where I am right now. All I could do is take the little pennies I had and get my ass back to Chicago. I knew someone needed to at least see me, and it was my mother of all people. I love her but honestly can't stand to be where she is most of the time because she does not address me as an adult. Some things you just have to tuck away or put to the side and just extend yourself in some capacity. I knew all of my family needed me, including my mother.

It's going to be one hell of a weekend, but that's what I came here for. I called it last week, I tell ya...

I gotta spend time with my loved ones and catch up with them distant cousins. And re-establish that missing connection with my mother.

And get my dad a suckling pig... And some wood chips.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Seldom Traveled... Rarely Experienced

Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude.


I remember that from P.E.'s classic joint "Show Em What You Got". Of course I don't feel free but I remember feeling what free was a little while ago when I was able to come and go as I please into cities unknown and performed in front of people that did not know me so I had no inside edge.

I miss being free.

I remember getting off of airplanes and walking with my head up high the the airport, people thinking I was someone, but not knowing if I was really someone. That confident strut of a level two tech support agent, or postal equipment operator of entry level college recruiter I really was manifesting itself into something unspoken but important. To someone else. It was just the strut I tell you.

But I strutted because I was free.

I now stand at the cusp of old freedoms reborn. I sit at an overused desk in a hotel room about to embark on yet another career opportunity, and it has nothing to do with rocking the microphone or speaking over a dope hand-slapped drum beat. But it does have something to do with seeing and doing new things in different places almost daily.

Hey you... Find out what your freedoms are and bring that beat back...

Remember that "BRING THAT BEAT BACK, MAN... BRING THAT BEAT BACK!!!" ?

Flav told me to show em... So I guess I gotta.

Time to get free again.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Post 351 - A Holding Pattern?

This is the last time I'll post while here in Houston. By the time the weekend gets here I'll be in Chicago. I was supposed to take a position with a Dallas based company but things didn't feel right and after a few phone calls and a talk with a safety manager, things were indeed wrong.

So I'm head back to the Chi.

I really didn't like Houston.

I'm not complaining, and there are so many wonderful things about Houston like my roommates and friends made here. They made me feel comfortable and accommodated me to the point where my gratitude doesn't measure as to who they are and what they did.

For letting me be me all up in yours... I thank you.

I did base my decision to come to Houston using logic and not emotion and that might have rubbed some the wrong way so me leaving serves multiple purposes and everybody ends up happy in the long run.

Being here didn't do it for me, plain and simple. I'm not blaming locale or people for me not feeling life on the outskirts of the bayou, but... I'm a city guy. I'm a sports fan. I'm a bar hopper. I'm a 24 hour diner... Diner. Not that I miss Chicago that much but I miss the big city. Atlanta, DC, NYC or even LA for that matter would probably do it for this 3am pancake eating, sportscenter watching wi-fi jacking insomniac but I'd prefer to go to where my father is and at least open a door to my mother and do all of those things that make me happy.

Like create stuff.

And sit in Al's basement recording the never ending rap album.

And politic with Ryan O about the spirituality of Hip Hop.

And convince my dad to NOT dig a hole in the back yard and roast a suckling pig.

And ride the train. Anywhere.

And hit the lakefront in the evening and just chill.

There's other stuff, but I think after a couple of weeks of doing Chicago stuff I'll be ready to hit the road and use the highways and byways to inspire me to continue to create.

You see, even though I have a love/hate relationship with Chicago there is something there that still sparks my passion. I have connected with my dad and I feel the need to be closer physically to him because I want to show him my finished literary work because he told me a long time ago to write because it helps express what can't be spoken. I want to prove to him that I have the talent he bragged about over many o' beer with his brothers and compadres.

This place is currently the center of the Hip Hop universe, even though most artist out of the Chi are cutthroat and are the snippiest crabs in a barrel. Kanye, Common, Lupe, Brat, Do Or Die, Rhymefest and others all had to go away from the Chi in order to make it, but the hungry emcee, DJ, graf cat and breaker still use the streets to hone their skills.

I'm going back home y'all... I gotta make it happen.

More to come in a moment... After I get settled.

And it don't stop

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Post 350 - Holding Pattern

After I promised a good friend that I'd post a couple of written pieces and a spoken word joint I found that time was working against me and I didn't post them. In an effort to actually have something to blog about, I will attempt to do just that in the upcoming days.

I hope.

I'm a couple of days away from getting my travel on so posting is not really on the radar. To be honest, I've given thought (once again) of shutting down operations for a while, possibly altogether.

I've learned from the people closest to me that the things that either come from my mind or my mouth have only been taken at face value. Upon further review it seems that no one can really remember what I said for the most part, meaning I've been wasting air speaking on things. So imagine what the rest of the world is doing when I speak?

You guessed it, absolutely nothing. Not that I expected anyone outside of my five was paying attention anyway. So what am I doing this for?

(crickets)

Exactly.

We all know that the world moves on without our ass. That our opinions and views are not really taken as serious as they appear in our minds. There will always be violence, racism and us killing folks that look like us, so what am I doing to combat that those processes in the grand scheme of things? Nothing really. I'm just like everybody else. I talk about how certain shit grinds my gears and it goes out into the universe relatively unheard.

But it has to pass the folks we 'know' first... Right? Do any of your people sang a little of your shit and hold onto it for review... Nah, because everybody usually has their own shit to deal with and that's important to them just as your shit is important to you. And that means you blow a lot of hot air (or burn your fingers typing unnecessary shit) and you don't really have to.

Now I don't have a problem with that and I certainly don't have a problem with those that stop by and chop game with my ass and info share, exchange ideas and big up the movement, what I tire of is how folks can stand right in front of you, or listen to you, or see or read you, nod their heads in agreement and then let that shit roll out of their other ear like nothing, knowing there will be a pop quiz shortly just to see if you really were paying attention.

So I've decided to enter a holding pattern of sorts to see if blogging is something I want to continue to do. If I have the time, I'll put up my works so you can check them out but I must say that seeing as I need to get back on the road and do my thing, my focus has to shift to that as well. That is where my head is at right now.

I am not the town crier, I am not a talking head. I'm not really a "blogger" in the sense of how bloggers relate their spin on politics and such to the masses, I am an artist who enjoys being in the midst of creation. I haven't been in that realm for the past couple of months, it's time to place myself back in that neighborhood and finish what I started. Than means getting home and putting my focus on what matters, that art y'all are voting for over there.

Happy born day Nikki... I wish you heaven.

Peace Y'all