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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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lemonade Was A Popular Drink And It Still Is...

It comes to this:

The fact that even though you've lived in four different decades but you don't feel it. The fact that some of your peers actually took that shit seriously and still hit the clubs with the reckless tenacity of a twenty five year old when you've realized that it ain't that much vodka and tequila in the world...

And the fact that the ass you're fixated with that's rocking to some banging ass rhythm track in staccato and seizure infused lighting, as well as the drink you're consuming has been created, crafted, written, mixed and in the tight, firm housing of a twenty three year old.

Times have changed. So have you.


I still love Hip Hop and all of its elements the same way I always have. A good record still feels the same in my head, causing me to nod incessantly as I wonder what in the world possessed the beat maker to sequence that joint like that! I still try to picture in my mind the processes that caused that particular jam to be irked out of the composer's soul. It still feels the same because that's how I approached it as a kid. I still try to figure the record out by letting the lyrical content paint its picture and the accompanying track provide rhythmic guidance.

It doesn't feel like 35 years ago when I first heard "DJ Riz is in the house and he'll turn it out without a doubt" on a bootlegged reel to reel over my uncle Butch's house, but I did. And it was. I also remember sitting in my friend John's bedroom in Colorado Springs watching 'Pump It Up' and checking the video for 'Who's Gonna Take The Weight', going ape shit over both the monotone, polemic lyrics from the emcee and the DJ's awesome cutting of the 'This Stuff Is Really Fresh' whistle/break in the chorus. I've always thought of my former rap partner/DJ MorninMan (nee: DJ Guillotine back int he 90s) as the 'Primo I knew' in the Midwest because of how he studied how he crafted his breaks. We tried to be GangStarr. No one can duplicate either Guru or Premier. They cannot be touched. That was 19 years ago. I copped that rap group's first tape more than 20 years ago. The group reshuffled and this was the second album of cuts that defined my listenership of Hip Hop as a young adult. It defined who I was back then.

Come to think of it, it still does.

We'll never get another GangStarr record again.

Keith Elam was 48 when he passed the day before my birthday last week. GangStarr had been on life support since 2003. I was a grown man before the first album came out.

Funny how time flies.

And now, like many more that have passed before me, I must find a way to continue to nod my head to them funky-ass break beats... With one less person to rock out with. One of my close friends lost someone personally closer this week as well. A distant friend also lost someone both distant and close at the same time a few weeks ago and my brother from another mother still grieves for a love supreme, lost mere months ago.

We find ways to push on.

I got chances to see Keith perform. We never met, but he found a way to get in my head and express what I absolutely could not more than 22 years ago. He still had the right gathering of lyrical content to keep me feeling like that little kid who had no earthly clue who in the hell Coke La Rock was when he spit that famous verbal gem over a Kool Herc break.

Keithy E The Guru kept me young. Guru of GangStarr kept my ass lively on older legs. Guru's Jazzmatazz refined me into maturity. Baldhead Slick kept me street by keeping my ears firmly pressed to them. DJ Premier kept me connected by perfecting what DST and Grand Wizard Theodore innovated all the way back in 75'.

I may be older and a little broken down, but I am still, without a doubt and forever will be Hip Hop.

Let me be the first to give the Master his props:

God bless you Grand Master Guru. Rest in peace.




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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nothing Really Matters, Nothing Is Forever

I haven't been that  damn busy, I just haven't written anything.

I must admit that during my down time the last couple of weeks I've taken the characteristics of a lot of my friends and fam's emotional output to cover my own. It's been rough trying to rationalize the cold, hard fact that a doctor has put your life on a clock. Or have they?

It didn't take lone for me to realize that things can't go well for me if I sit and do nothing. It was the last week of March when I found out that I have chronic kidney disease and I had an idea about how things would go if I reacted instead of thinking about being proactive in how I want live the rest of my life. I knew that I would have to fight habit, naysayers and deal with emotions from other family members when I revealed it to them, but I didn't know how I would react to myself.

And then about 2 weeks ago, I reacted:




Not a whole lot matters.




Naw, y'all... Not like that! I meant nothing outside me, mine or our happiness matter.

As much of a news junkie I am. As much Hip Hop I consume. As much as I travel and work my little business thing, nothing is more important than my health.

That's it. Nothing really matters outside of you unless...



And that's that piece. Roll credits.

Sorry, I gotta try and get some sleep now. Gotta go work.


More about Dorothy Height, Arizona, what if the Tea Party were black, the national guard possibly holding down Chicago's streets and other stuff that really doesn't matter to me later. I gotta get back in the swing of blogging for purpose.

I just wanted to say hello.




I just figured I'd upload a video I shot while hanging on Frenchman Street in NOLA a few weeks ago around 1 am. Good times, good times. 

Oh, and I love most of y'all.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

So Many Tears

I shall not fear no man but God
Though I walk through the valley of death
I shed so many tears (if I should die before I wake)
Please God walk with me (grab a ni*@# and take me to Heaven)

Back in elementary, I thrived on misery
Left me alone I grew up amongst a dyin breed
Inside my mind couldn't find a place to rest
until I got that Thug Life tatted on my chest
Tell me can you feel me? I'm not livin in the past, you wanna last
Be tha first to blast, remember Kato
No longer with us he's deceased
Call on the sirens, seen him murdered in the streets
Now rest in peace
Is there heaven for a G? Remember me
So many homies in the cemetery, shed so many tears

Ahh, I suffered through the years, and shed so many tears..
Lord, I lost so many peers, and shed so many tears

Now that I'm strugglin in this business, by any means
Label me greedy gettin green, but seldom seen
And fuck the world cause I'm cursed, I'm havin' visions
of leavin here in a hearse, God can you feel me?
Take me away from all the pressure, and all the pain
Show me some happiness again, I'm goin blind
I spend my time in this cell, ain't livin well
I know my destiny is Hell, where did I fail?
My life is in denial, and when I die,
baptized in eternal fire I'll shed so many tears

Lord, I suffered through the years, and shed so many tears..
Lord, I lost so many peers, and shed so many tears

Now I'm lost and I'm weary, so many tears
I'm suicidal, so don't stand near me
My every move is a calculated step, to bring me closer
to embrace an early death, now there's nothin left
There was no mercy on the streets, I couldn't rest
I'm barely standin, bout to go to pieces, screamin' peace
And though my soul was deleted, I couldn't see it
I had my mind full of demons tryin to break free
They planted seeds and they hatched, sparkin the flame
inside my brain like a match, such a dirty game
No memories, just a misery
Paintin a picture of my enemies killin me, in my sleep
Will I survive til the mo'nin, to see the sun
Please Lord forgive me for my sins, cause here I come...

Lord, I suffered through the years (God) and shed so many tears..
God, I lost so many peers, and shed so many tears

Lord knows I.. tried, been a witness to homicide
Seen drivebys takin lives, little kids die
Wonder why as I walk by
Broken-hearted as I glance at the chalk line, gettin' high
This ain't the life for me, I wanna change
But ain't no future right for me, I'm stuck in the game
I'm trapped inside a maze
See this Tanqueray influenced me to gettin crazy
Disillusioned lately, I've been really wantin babies
so I could see a part of me that wasn't always shady
Don't trust my lady, cause she's a product of this poison
I'm hearin noises, think she fuckin all my boys, can't take no more
I'm fallin to the floor; beggin for the Lord to let me in
to Heaven's door -- shed so many tears
(Dear God, please let me in)

Lord, I've lost so many years, and shed so many tears..
I lost so many peers, and shed so many tears
Lord, I suffered through the years, and shed so many tears..
God, I lost so many peers, and shed so many tears 





Tupac Shakur






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Friday, April 09, 2010

The Devil Made Me Do This

I'm up and cannot sleep (just like any regular night) because of the Devil.

I was asleep a few hours ago, but I've been fasting for the last three days only eating one 'solid' meal per and it's been a vegetarian meal at that.

Anyhoo, I've been supplementing with dandelion and horsetail root mixed with organic, unsweetened cranberry juice 4 times a day along with activated charcoal twice daily. Last night/this morning is when the fun began (faster's crisis).

The circulation in my legs below the knees was non-existent and I usually have them massaged and then throw on a pair of compression socks to keep my feet warm when I sleep but last night I decided to forgo that... Ever since I've been on this kidney flush things have been better, or so I thought.

There was immense pain going on in my toes and feet and I couldn't wake up to correct the action. Instead, a dark force came over me and asked me if I was willing to trade off the souls of a few people I know in order to stop the pain.

I tried to bargain and reason with this dark force because I immediately noticed that it never identified itself but was asking me specifically to offer up something I had no control over. My reasoning was right and correct in my assessment because I told it (not verbatim) "How can something not of this world (and I knew that it wasn't from round' these parts) ask little old ME to bridge something of this world off of this plane of existence just to ease an insignificant amount of pain?"

Whatever it was that had me immediately let me go and I was awake, sitting on the edge of my bed, rubbing my feet and needing to go to the bathroom to release.

What the hell?

And then I knew that 'it' was the devil, or some form of it/him/them.

It took three days of fasting (and those blessed herbs) to get that out of me. I knew it was always there. I know that there is more. I'm glad I'm doing the things I need to purge the unhealthiness out of me.

I know I ain't crazy... As crazy as this note sounds.

I just needed to document this and give a little testimony about faith, healing and herbs at 6 in the morning. I mean, really... What if I would have given into that train of thought? Would I have been healed of pain?

Did I mention that I'm not currently in any pain even after I refused 'the darkness' offer?

So lucid.
So real, that experience was.

I know I'm not bugging. This fasting and purging is REAL!

After going thru what I believe is my FIRST faster's crisis moment I can safely say that the Devil made me write this note.

Or whatever that was.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thursday

I hate waking up in the morning in pain.

Okay, I hate that I cannot sleep until damn near 7am and then waking up at 8:30 in pain. I also hate that when I go to bed (whenever that is) that I can't sleep because of pain. I don't like drugs because I'm up a lot and I either want to remember things or want to learn. I don't like the concept of sleep because I feel like I'll miss something.

I love having news radio, public TV news and the internet news sites going on at the same time while I'm up overnight. It takes my mind off of 'stuff'. I then watch Better Mornings Atlanta and Monsters in the Morning here in  Chicago before I turn in. I have to.

It's frustrating because of the shit I have to drag myself through with the affects of having what I got. I used to say that I'd be better off dead until I lost my writing partner and close friend. I don't understand death anymore than I did a year ago but I do know one thing... I wouldn't be alive if I were dead. And that means no travel or learning stuff that I could only use on Jeopardy.

Plus, I wanna continue traveling. Getting off the plane as well as standing out of the car justifies the pain when I stretch. Plus I expense acupuncture, reflexology and massage sessions. That's a perk I guess.

I'm tired now. I guess I'm going to lay down. It's a scheduled part of my day.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Going Green?

I wake up mornings knowing now that some goals will never be accomplished.

It just is what it is. Nothing is perfect, nothing lasts forever ya' know? I've never been the guy to scare easily but it just hit me a couple of days ago that my current state of health and my plans on working with, around and pushing this disease around determines how much longer I live.

If I do nothing and keep the same diet (which is pretty light in the ass right now whenever I actually feel like eating) then it's probably a wrap in 24 to 36 months. Just add dialysis and mobility issues. What the hell kind of life is THAT?

Yeah, I plan on doing something. Matter of fact, I've been a little proactive in how I treat myself by taking courses/classes in naturopathy and herbalism. That's the new direction, green. I figure after damn near 4 decades around the sun immersed in soul food - fast food - genetically manipulated - instant grown foods was probably too much. I knew back in the day before I got all gaunt and sickly that the human body wasn't designed for what I've done to me.

I just hope I get a chance (like 40 more years at a minimum, right?) to reverse all, no most, some of the damage Ive done to my pancreas, kidneys and liver by eating like a damn billy goat.

There is no guilt or anything, just pumping my brakes in order to get my ish together and live... Eating to live. I know now and accepted the fact that I can't eat and drink like I used to. I sat for a couple of days and teeter-tottered over trying to eat clean and then 'treating myself' to alcohol & sugar and the like and then I thought - it goes against everything I've learned and applied so far with vegetarianism.

For a moment it snapped my neck and made me pause when I knew that going vegan and totally detaching from the standard American diet version or vegetarianism. I didn't want to go so far down the green hole that I couldn't enjoy 'stuff' until I realized...

I am going to die because of what I put in my mouth, so I decided to go green. That's right, I'm embracing vegetarianism en route to going vegan. I set up another blog to journal my experience. Check me out over at



Pray for the folks around me...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Unplug

Neglected this blog is.

Sometimes.

I could rant about the loss of Marvin Gaye on this day 26 long-ass years ago with no heir apparent in sight...
I could write about all of the wonderful April Fool's jokes played on this day...
I could review the smashing mini-slate of a phone I copped (the HTC HD2 if you're asking) and how I got 3 places in line for iPads Saturday morning...
The term 'Negro" actually existing on my census form...
How now we gotta prove (in more ways than one) that racism actually took place Sunday before last and that our sworn representatives aren't lying just to drum up unwanted political and racial firestorms...

Not going to do it.

Instead, I'll be brief and go on about expectations.

Everyone wants to be rich. Either that or real nice-like. Good job. Nice home. Kids that won't rebel against you and will do you proud. A good tax attorney. Some people have dreams and write, sing, dance, slang crack rock or has a wicked jump shot just to reach what most consider the unattainable.

Some of us get close. Some of us actually score the touchdown. Others serve and help others up and receive rewards greater than a check in their mailbox with a whole lotta' zeros...

What happens when in all of your hard work and sacrifice you get upended by the very last thing you think would trip you up? What about your health? What if you had everything you wanted in life, only to know that eventually, sometime soon that would come second to you giving up everything in order to have a proper healing moment?

All of those other things don't really matter anymore, huh?

I spent much of 2009 witnessing my closest friend detach from the 'world' to concentrate and focus on her health. She never lost love. She never lost family and true friends. She even had the fair weather folk extend their hand in comfort as she slowly lost the ability to achieve all things material and then she lost her life.

It's hard to watch. It's easy to participate because you want to comfort a friend. You never think anything like that could happen to you even though it hits so close to home. I now have my moment. From this point, my focus no longer resides on the track with the rat racers. I now have my own health battle to fight.

Funny thing is, I am so prepared for this moment thanks to being a part of experiences (yes, multiple) that ended some lives and forever changed others. I no longer exist to compete with my contemporaries. I have a home and all of my necessities, I am able to get the things I want on top of that but this is no longer my priority. My longevity depends on my ability to learn from the past and adapt (and change) to live in comfort health wise. It will be a challenge because of  cultural conditioning...

But I'm up for it.

If you've read this far then I have an assignment for you. Diabetic Nephropathy . I gave you a freebie by linking the Google Health page to the name of this dis-ease. Look it up, then look at a friend or family member. If there is someone with diabetes in your circle, then do something about not letting them get to this point. The feast of materialisms and our participation in it is a reason we get to a point where it feels like bricks are crashing through your roof onto your living room floor.

But alas, I was prepared for these moments. Not many have been prepped to leave the Matrix, embrace change and apply the opposite of what we've been taught. I got a feeling from all of my waiting room visits, peers and total strangers I come across carrying heavy, life threatening burdens out of sheer ignorance (like I have) I won't be the only one affected.

What are your expectations in life, about life... Once you're forced to unplug?