Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Devil in a New Dress
Artist: Kanye West feat. Rick Ross
Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Friday, December 17, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Can't Stop This
Artist: The Roots
Album: Game Theory

Song of the Day

Title: Ordinary People
Artist: John Legend
Album: Get Lifted

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Blame Game
Artist: Kanye West feat. John Legend
Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Movie of the Day

Title: Style Wars
Starring: Many graffiti legends from the 80s.
Director: Tony Silver, Henry Chalfant

Song of the Day

Title: Ode To My Family
Artist: The Cranberries
Album: To The Faithful Departed

Monday, November 29, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Kalifornia
Artist: Mos Def
Album: The New Danger

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Glorified G
Artist: Pearl Jam
Album: Vs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Three Kings

For most of my life I have known three Kings
Dell, Dwight, and Derron
They are Johnson's and Kelly's
Just like me
And because of that fact
I see the struggle they see
In a sense
It makes me hate being white
And urges me to stand up and fight
Against my own skin color
Because of what was done
To my three King brothers.

Song of the Day

Title: Just A Moment
Artist: Nas feat. Quan
Album: Street's Disciple

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Room Up In Heaven

Through the depths of my soul
Something takes hold of me
I see a room full of my greatest influences
Having a conversation in heaven
2Pac, Jay-Z, Eddie Vedder, Salvador Dali, Ansel Adams
Black Thought, Kurt Cobain, Frank Lloyd Wright
And a handful of others
And I wonder...

With all their success
Do they still feel pain?
Have they fulfilled all their dreams?
Then I enter the room
And their eyes turn to me

"What brings you here, stranger?"
They ask
"I want to know something, have you found God here?"
They look at me funny
"We haven't seen him yet, I guess he still has work to do on Earth."
I scratch my head
"So why are you all here if you don't get to see him?"
I ask
"Because it gives us time to think and share ideas,"
They reply
"Soon we'll go back down to Earth and continue His work,
now sit your ass down and watch the show."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: The 6th Sense
Artist: Common
Album: Like Water for Chocolate

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Song of the Day 3

Title: It'll Be Alright
Artist: DMX
Album: Walk With Me Now...Fly With Me Later (upcoming album to look out for)

Song of the Day 2

Title: A Ballad For Fallen Soldiers
Artist: Jay-Z
Album: The Blueprint 2: Gift and the Curse

Song of the Day

Title: I Did It My Way
Artist: Jay-Z
Album: The Blueprint 2: Gift and the Curse

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm Out For Presidents to Represent Me

My first entry in this blog made a bold claim that the next President should be a Philadelphian. This was a tongue-in-cheek comment made to relieve some frustration from the Phillies' defeat in the World Series against the mighty Yankees. But honestly, I do believe the next President should be a Philadelphian, or at least someone who shares the same values as we Philadelphians do. And to be completely straightforward, I am getting frustrated enough with the state of this great land that I would like to just say 'to hell with teaching' and announce my candidacy for 2012. Unfortunately, some thing called the Constitution prevents me from doing so until I am 35. In the meantime, I suppose I will be writing and teaching kids before I take such drastic action.
So, I must ask myself, who should be our next President? Well, I hope that Obama gets reelected to start things off. And I firmly believe that Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter should be our President for 2016. I have been particularly critical of him and some of his Roc-a-Fella contingents' supposed association with certain secret societies, but it all stems from that love/hate paradox I discussed below. In reality, I know that he means well and his ambition and success is rooted in a dream much bigger than personal gain. The bottom line is who can argue with a man who said, "Let's stick up the world and split it 50/50." Enough said. We need to help second and third world countries, not kill their people and take their resources.


The most sublime paradox I have discovered in life is that people tend to hate the ones they love and love the ones they hate. I know I do, for it is part of the human condition. I guess this is because the two sentiments are polar opposites and opposites tend to attract. The end result is static. This paradox makes it difficult for society to progress. I figure the only way for society to progress and for all races and cultures to see eye to eye is to erase all the hate. In my experience, hate is bred by generalizing or typecasting groups of people. I do it often, but only in jest. Racism, classism, etc. is simply amusing to me. We need to move forward from such archaic ways of thinking. If America wants to wholly fulfill its destiny as the great melting pot we need to think collectively as Americans, not as individuals and groups divided by race and class.
The reason I thought about this love/hate paradox is I watched a film by Adrien Grenier from HBO's "Entourage" entitled "Teenage Paparazzo." It chronicles the life of a 14-year-old paparazzo named Austin Visschedyk and explores the relationship between celebrities and the paparazzi. Like certain paparazzi images and tabloid stories, I have made several entries in this blog that probably offended famous and powerful people. I did not do it out of spite. I did it because our society's obsession with fame, celebrity, money, and power is destroying our hope for the future. Young Americans hold celebrities in such esteem that they aspire to be rich and famous without regard to what these aspirations will contribute to the greater good. In "Teenage Paparazzo," a survey of young adults presented them with a choice of future careers. I don't recall exactly what the careers were, but let's say they were Senator, doctor, CEO of a Fortune 500 company, college professor, and assistant to a celebrity. The majority of the kids responded, "assistant to a celebrity." WOW. Somehow we need to readjust our youths' way of thinking, which is part of the reason I am strongly leaning towards becoming a teacher in the next year or two. This career choice is parallel to the love/hate paradox because I really don't like being a student, but would enjoy the other end of the bargain.

Song of the Day

Title: Regrets
Artist: Jay-Z
Album: Reasonable Doubt

Sunshine, geyeah

I sold it all from crack to o-pium, in third person
I don't wanna see em, so I'm rehearsin
with my peoples high to GM, from a remote lo-cation
in the BM, scopin the whole situation like, "Dayamm!"
Metamorphic, as the dope turns to cre-am
but one of these buyers got eyes like a Korean
It's difficult to read em, the windows to his soul
are half closed, I put the key in
Pulled off slow, hopin my people flee-in
Chink tried to knock the only link that tied me in
Coppers was watchin us through nighttime binoculars
This time they got us on tape, exchangin dope for dollars
Make me wanna, holler back at the crib in the sauna
Prayin my people bailed out like Time/Warner
Awaitin call, from his kin not the coroner
Phone in my hand, nervous confined to a corner
Beads of sweat second thoughts on my mind
How can I ease the stress and learn to live with these regrets
This time... stress... givin this shit up... fuck

Chorus One:

This is the number one rule for your set
In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets
On the, rise to the top, many drop, don't forget
In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets
This is the number one rule for your set
In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets
And through our travels we get seperated, never forget
In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets

As sure as this, Earth is turning souls burning
in search of higher learning turning in every direction seeking direction
My moms cryin cause her insides are dyin
her son tryin her patience, keep her heart racin
A million beats a minute, I know I push you to your limit
but it's this game love, I'm caught up all in it
They make it so you can't prevent it, never give it
you gotta take it, can't fake it I keep it authentic
My hand got this pistol shakin, cause I sense danger
like Camp Crystal Lake and
don't wanna shoot him, but I got him, trapped
within this infrared dot, bout to hot him and, hit rock bottom
No answers to these trick questions, no time shit stressin
My life found I got ta live for the right now
Time waits for no man, can't turn back the hands
once it's too late, gotta learn to live with regrets

Chorus Two:

You used to hold me, told me that I was the best
Anything in this world I want I could posess
All that made me want is all that I could get
In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets... (when I was young)
(repeat 2X)

I found myself reminiscin, remember this one
when he was here he was crazy nice with his son
I miss him, long as I'm livin he's livin through memories
He's there to kill all my suicidal tendencies
In heaven lookin over me, or in hell, keepin it cozy
I'm comin life on these streets ain't what it's supposed to be
Remember Newton, mutual friend well me and him feudin
On your life I tried to talk to him
But you know niggaz, think they guns can stop foe niggaz
Frontin like they're, Big Willie but really old niggaz
Hoe niggaz, this year I'm sho' niggaz think I'm slippin
I'm bought to send you a roommate, no bullshittin
for my hustle's goin too well to hit him
You was right niggaz want you to be miserable wit em
Anyway, I ain't tryin to hear it, I think I'm touched
this whole verse I been talkin to your spirit, a little too much

Chorus One: repeat 2X

Roc-A, Roc-A, Roc-A, Roc-A-Fella y'all

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Growing Up

I think the biggest part of growing up involves being able to recognize that no man is an island. We all think that once we leave the nest and become independent that we've become adults. I've learned that that is usually not the case. That's why I left the nest, fucked up a bunch of times, and decided to come back with some encouragement from my family and friends. I'm 24 now and living back at home and am not at all embarrassed to say so. With the way the economy is going it's probably a decent plan for the next year anyway. I cherish being around my family because those days are numbered. And I cherish being back in the area I grew up in. It brings back great memories and I love seeing familiar faces. The more I think about it, I may never leave the Philadelphia area. I can see myself spending the rest of my life here. The people are genuine, hard-working, and passionate. I've decided that teaching (and writing on the side) is likely to be my career path as I believe it is a great way to give back to the community and mold future generations. When I was a bike messenger in D.C. I thought it was a great way to interact with the community too, but there was no way I was going to do it forever. It's too damn dangerous. I had enough close calls with traffic in the four months I did it that I had to hang my helmet up. I'm attracted to danger in a sense, but I'm not that crazy. The job taught me a lot though and it made me fall in love with the city, even though I rant about the politicians all the time. Anyway, I just thought I'd pass a few thoughts along about growing up as there was an article in "The New Yorker" not too long ago about how my generation is either returning home to their parents or going back to school after finishing undergraduate degrees. It's an interesting phenomenon and I think the bottom line is that kids these days are reexamining their direction in life at an earlier age and not immediately jumping into a career they are not entirely sure about. It's like we're all having mid-life crises at 22 or 23. I know I feel that way sometimes, but it helps focus your judgment on what moves you want to make with your life and where they will ultimately take you. The pursuit of happiness is whatever you make it to be.

Song of the Day

Title: Mrs. International
Artist: Method Man & Redman feat. Eric Sermon
Album: Blackout 2

I highly recommend watching the video for this one. It's hysterical.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where Did It Come From?

Where did it come from?
This unbearable stress
I know I deserve this mess
But at the same time
I'm incredibly blessed.

I'm so happy I could cry
I feel so old I could die
But won't anytime soon
It's a beautiful paradox
Being an intelligent buffoon.

I want to give back to the world
My soul for all to see
By offering my spoken word
I hope one day I'll feel free
Free as a bird.

Song of the Day

Title: Goodbye
Artist: DMX

Poison (compliments to Nas)

Drugs and the lies behind the game
Misleading the youth in exchange for fame
I might be guilty of it once
But not anymore
Like showing love to a whore
Heroine needles washing up on shore
Killing an enemy just to even the score
I might be guilty of it once
But only in metaphor
Religions eternally at war
When will it end?
So our children's souls can soar.

Song of the Day

Title: The Resistance
Artist: Drake
Album: Thank Me Later

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rebuilding Bridges

In the past year, I've been going through some serious life changes. I started to lose trust in some people I consider dear friends of mine. People I grew up with and went to college with that, in reality, would probably never do me wrong. But it's a crazy world and admittedly I was missing my old stomping grounds. I was self-medicating and researching material I will describe as "higher learning." And it gave me some crazy ideas. And I acted on those ideas and it got me in some trouble with the government. I meant no malice, I was just acting instinctually and doing what I thought at the time was "right and just." If I could rewind time, then I would have done things differently. I burned a few bridges I didn't mean to burn. In time I hope to rebuild those bridges. For now I need time to think and examine myself and the world around me. And humble myself. Pride can be a killer and an acute cause of stress. Peace.

Party Crasher

That car crash last July
Really opened my eyes.
Is God trying to tell me
I was moving too fast?

Had to reexamine the world around me
And start to believe, maybe He found me.
Now I was never one to get religious
But damn the devil can be vicious.

So to the city I called home for five years
Sorry I went a little crazy
But my brain was a little hazy
It was time to do some party crashin'
And I might be a ghost, but not an assassin.
Power to the people, and that was only the prequel.
Violence is not the answer
But give Capitol Hill the truth
And that truth spreads like cancer.

Song of the Day

Title: One Mic
Artist: Nas
Album: Stillmatic

Dream On

"If people don't laugh at your dream, it ain't big enough." - Bizzle

Monday, September 20, 2010

D.C. (Dirty Capital)

I knew the Cap like the back of my hand
Something here just ain't right
Round-the-clock hustlers
About to give up the fight.

The homeless and the hopeless
And the dirty politicians don't want to admit wrong
Do they really wanna get rid of the dope fest?
In a concrete jungle where misery is the theme song.

When the drug trade is run by the government
How can you tell dealers to make an honest living?
How can I keep from being a walking contradiction?
I might be a hypocrite, but I can see through fiction.

Song of the Day

Title: Hollywood Divorce
Artist: Outkast feat. Lil' Wayne, Snoop Dogg
Album: Idlewild

Starts off like a small town marriage
Lovely wife and life, baby carriage
Now all the stars have cars, success of course
But it ends in Hollywood divorce, Hollywood divorce

[Verse 1: Lil Wayne]
And I'm a start
Yea, and I don't have to go to Hollywood
'Cause Hollywood come through my neighborhood with cameras on
I really think they're stealin from us like a sample song
I really wish one day we'd take it back like Hammer's home
The hurricane come and took my Louisiana home
And all I got in return was a darn country song
This whole country wrong
What would you write if you just put a little ice on
And cut your mic on
But you don't even write songs
But Hollywood make you spit like a python
I meant Cobra, I'm so not sober
I'm high like a Hollywood coffee or soda
You can call me a roller
Your grill's glistenin'
Spent a hundred thousand on mine to feel different
What's the real sense of it?
Bling bling, I know
And did you know I'm the creator of the term
I just straightened the perm
Aint let it sit too long, they just makin it burn
And make a movie of our lifestyle
But they earn like a dead body burned on a mantlepiece
That's why I try not to lie on wax like this candle grease
And I be's the little nigga
Cooler than anti-freeze defrost on your window pane - Lil Wayne
But in Hollywood it's Litt-le Wayne
Don't make me nut
So that's why I got a pre-nup
I do


[Verse 2: Andre 3000]
Yeah, Yeah
A is for Adamsville
B is Bowen Homes
See if I give a fuck if you like me you know I don't
If she ain't got a good head on her leave that ho alone
If she do got some good head on her let her sing a song
D is for what I serve, I don't be on no curb
She ain't no junkie neither, I ain't no dope dealer
But she keep comin back three stacks must be some crack
Put that pipe in her lap, she ain't know how to act
Now that I've got your undivided attention I'm
Gonna say this and run under condition one
Promise me you gon' stack, promise me you gon' ball
Promise me you'll invest three fourths of it all
For what? So your kids, kids, kids can have some cheese
Can't get with it? Get get get get get on your knees
Cause wealth is the word
Rich is round the corner from the curb
Don't like what I write? Shoot me a bird

[Verse 3: Big Boi]
(Starts off)
Tenth grade, the way was pave for me and Dre. to create
Like Dr. Frankenstein the arts and crafts
Now could we make a difference
Antoine Patton and Andre Benjamin
Been jammin for you crabbing rap niggaz and journalists
That's quick to misprint public and private business
Then retract back for deaf ears and think it's dismissed
Part two the sequel all new 'Kast
Just ain't the same gang of nerds on the internet
Slanndering your name behind that screen name
They're lame and their life is pretty plain
M&M's with no nuts
Won't show up face-to-face straight bitch made
Like puppies on the nipples of a mutt
Address it on a case-by-case basis like the judge
What about these lyin' ass hoes tryin to plot
Or these niggaz on the block who want the queen (Nigga please)
But even she can walk we'll miss her we ain't gon' fake it
But God don't make mistakes must be something bigger waiting


[Verse 4: Snoop Dogg]
I do, love you but you hate me at the same time
Lights, camera, action, it's game time
Do you take this here as your lovely wife?
To love her and cherish her for all your life?
I solemnly swear to dare share take you there
And me and you together baby we a lucky pair
It's been a long time, we walked a thin line
Others say they got you but you been mine
As I sit back and watch all them cat fights
Domestic violence - is that right?
But you love the dogg, gave me the spotlight
And now I'm growin up, showin up, blowin up
I never ever thought that we would separate at all
But you played me like a game of football
Used to feed me, need me, dress me
Now it's so messy straight cut out and left me

[Andre 3000]
Hollywood divorce
All the fresh styles always start off as a good little hood thing
Look at blues, rock, jazz, rap
Not even talkin about music
Everything else too
By the time it reach Hollywood it's over
But it's cool
We just keep it goin and make new shit

[Snoop Dogg]
Take our game, take our name
Give us a little fame
And then they kick us to the curb that's a cold thang

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Who Am I To Judge?

Who am I to judge? But when the shit hits the fan, I will not budge, I've been through hell like anyone else, just need some time to focus on judging myself. Split personality, so in reality, I'm only my own casualty. You can try me if you want, but I'm gonna keep it blunt, you know we all front.

Song of the Day

Title: Lucky Me
Artist: Jay-Z
Album: In My Lifetime: Vol. 1

How can you fairly assess something from the outside looking in?
There's gotta be them times you'll be wrong. Nah Mean?
How can a mother fucka go round and hate a nigga
he never even met that he dont even know and shit?
I think this rap shit is all beef

Y'all dont even know every day I'm livin with stress
Got up out the streets you think a nigga could rest
Can't even enjoy myself at a party unless
I'm on the dance floor hot ass vest
You think I'm freakin' these chicks right?
I'try not to brush against they chest
You get a lawsuit for shit like that, I feel trapped
Swear to everything when I leave this earth
It's gon' be on both feet, never knees in the dirt
You could try me fucka but when I squeeze it hurts, fine
We'll lose two lives, yours and mines
Gimme any amount of time dont let Ms. Carter grieve
at the funeral parlor drippin' tears on my sleeve
Told the judge didn't budge it was him or me
and I ain't trying to be hard but I'm guilty as charged
Put my mercy on this court and my faith in God
And pray hard none of my nephews wanna be stars...Lucky Me

Chorus: Karen Anderson

You only know what you see,
You dont understand what it takes to be me.

I hate all girls with alterior motives
That's why I'm twenty plus years old, no sons no daughters
Hate putting my life in the hands of fake promoters
Hear the hate in my voice right? I hate that you noticed
Niggas wanna strip to the bone for shit you own
Hate a nigga like that faggot, get your own
Hate that I can't roam the street without the clip and chrome
Knowing one day Im'a have to flip, c'mon
You know the shit don't stop 'til the Crist don't pop
And you have to kill a nigga and your wrist don't lock
I'm trapped the whole worlds against me in fact,
It aint no turning back. Bring It On
Hate the price of fame cause it cost too much
Can I live without y'all niggas saying I floss too much?
Hate the way you make this hate flow all through us
Steady looking for flaws through us.... Lucky Me

Chorus: Karen Anderson, Jay-Z

You only know what you see,
You dont understand what it takes to be me
You only know what you see,
(Since I was 4 years old, I been told, everything that glitters ain't gold)
You dont understand what it takes to be me
(And now that I've arrived
I see those truths unfold before my eyes in this world so cold)

Nigga see you in the street, pretend to be friendly
But I know any type of success breeds envy
I know in the back of your mind your conjuring ways to hen me
Leave my friends in a circle pouring out Henny
But G's is heaven bound so how I'm gon' receive
Anything y'all pour to the ground next time throw it up
And ain't nothing changed so even in my afterlife I show it up
Dont grieve for me my art remains
like a dart from the speaker to your heart
Spiritually through the portal now my words as a mortal
Plan to leave without a fight I plant a seed I give life
Though I can't see past the girls greed to call her wife
Next time your thinking heist better be precise
Cause I'm fully prepared. One of us is gon' leave here
I have no regrets even though I wanna see grow
My godsons Boogie, Sonny and Rimo

Chorus x 4

Friday, September 10, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Through the Wire
Artist: Kanye West
Album: The College Dropout

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Da Art of Storytellin' (Part 1)
Artist: Outkast
Album: Aquemini

Inspirations, Personal Dilemmas, Atonement

I've been looking for the right words to set the record straight about myself and this blog for quite sometime now, and I believe I am now ready to do that. My name is Shea Kelly and I am at what many would call a personal crossroad. That doesn't mean I think I am Jesus, nor do I aspire to be. I aspire to be the greatest I can be while staying as true to myself as possible. The purpose of this blog is to address several issues: the United States government and where it is leading us, contemporary art (writing, music, visual art, video/film, etc.) and its place in society, and most importantly, the individual struggle of everyone on Earth to find peace of mind and happiness and the external factors that affect that struggle. All of these things are correlated. There are many rumors out there circulating through the general public's conscience that a particular group called the 'Illuminati' are in some way in control of the aforementioned topics. I don't necessarily believe this to be true, but I can't help being curious about such a compelling storyline. This group, to the best of my knowledge, has been at war with religious institutions for centuries. This war has appeared to reach its tipping point if you begin to delve into its effects on the human subconscious. The signs are everywhere in pop culture and politics. This ordeal leads to some basic but paradoxically complex questions. First, what is best for the world and its future? Second, who is to blame for the apparent depravity of today's world? Third, where do we go from here and how do we find a comfortable balance between religion and science (what the Illuminati and Stone Masons essentially represent)? I don't have these answers, but I am trying to pursue them as rigorously as possible without compromising others' personal lives too much. In my comprehensive search, which I hope will bring world peace (I know that sounds corny but someone has to do it), I am trying to stay as neutral as possible which will naturally offend a few people. Sorry, but that's the way it goes. So in the spirit of neutrality I am now going to thank and simultaneously apologize to some of my inspirations: my father, my mother, my step-dad, my step-mom, Pa and Mims, my sister, my brother from another mother Dwight, my family/extended family (the Kelly's and Johnson's, Broll's, Lord's, and Overton's, etc.), the N.F.L./Morton crew, all my Strath Haven friends to whom I owe everything, all my Lville friends to whom I owe everything, all my GWU friends to whom I owe everything, all my teachers and coaches throughout my school years, and to all those I have met in person but forgot to mention - thank you. And now to the stars: President Obama, The Roots, Wu-Tang Clan, Beanie Sigel and all of State Property, Green Day, Nas, Common, Kanye West, Pearl Jam, Korn, Redman, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Rakim, Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Eminem, Blackalicious, Underwater Peoples Records, Phocused Records, Lil Wayne, 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Chamillionaire, Lloyd Banks, Incubus, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, John Legend, Lupe Fiasco, D'Angelo, Musiq, Outkast, KRS-One, System of a Down, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Silverchair, Nirvana, DMX, Jadakiss, Lloyd Banks, Snoop Dogg, The Game, The Bouncing Souls, Kid Cudi, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Clipse, and to all musicians, writers, photographers, graffiti artists, actors, dancers, hustlers, painters, graphic artists, filmmakers, athletes, businessmen, businesswomen, mothers, fathers, and all those who are doing what they love and trying to paint the perfect picture for their lives and the rest of humankind - thank you. We are all blessed and need to seek the truth to experience life to its fullest. Sometimes the truth hurts, but you have to roll with the punches. ONE LOVE.

Song of the Day

Title: Pursuit of Happiness
Artist: Kid Cudi feat. MGMT
Album: Man on the Moon: The End of Day

Song of the Day

Title: The Hypnotic
Artist: The Roots
Album: Illadelph Halflife

Song of the Day

Title: The People
Artist: Common
Album: Finding Forever

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Album of the Day

Title: Evil Empire
Artist: Rage Against the Machine
Review: Revolutionary band and revolutionary album. Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Perfect World
Artist: Method Man
Album: Tical 2000: Judgement Day

Album of the Day

Title: Backspacer
Artist: Pearl Jam
Review: Classic music as always from Eddie Vedder & Co. Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Better Days
Artist: Pearl Jam

Just A Thought

Life begins when you stop worrying too much about yourself and begin to help improve others' lives.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lost Souls

We're all lost souls
Trying to find our way
Thinking what we do is righteous
Doesn't necessarily
Give us the right of way.

Disregard religion
I'm talking spirituality
I've seen those that follow ancient scriptures
Lose touch with reality.

They say tough times don't last
But tough people do
Put the tough times in the past
And the light will shine through.

Song of the Day (a lot of people are gonna hate me for this one, sorry hoes)

Title: Ether
Artist: Bizzle

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Album of the Day

Title: Follow the Leader
Artist: Korn
Review: Buy it! Ill metal straight to the head.

Song of the Day

Title: Follow The Leader
Artist: Eric B. & Rakim
Album: Follow The Leader

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Retraction of Certain Statements

Early on in this blog I said some pretty radical things that may have lead people to believe I am some sort of heartless zealot. I would first like to say that I do not condone poor kids robbing from middle to upper-class yuppies. I simply have a prejudice against the types of companies yuppies work for and therefore see such acts as chipping away at corporate America. So, to any yuppies I may have offended, I apologize. Secondly, I am far from a gun nut. I support the Second Amendment, but my general distrust in the competency of most Americans to safely and responsibly use firearms makes me wish our streets were completely clear of guns. Anyone can shoot someone, but a real man fights hand-to-hand. So drop the firearms and learn some martial arts people. I mean, wouldn't it be super sweet if we had a country full of kung fu masters battling out their disputes UFC style? The police could referee the fights and yell "FINISH HIM!," a la Mortal Kombat, at the end of the fight. Anyway, those are my two apologies and you won't see me issue them often, so relish these two.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Patience
Artist: Nas & Damian Marley
Album: Distant Relatives


[Nas Talking - Intro]
Here we are
here we are
This one right here is for the people

[Hook] (Sample -MAMADOU & MARIAM, "SABALI")
Sabali, Sabali, Sabali, yonkontê
Sabali, Sabali, Sabali, kiye
Ni kêra môgô
Sabali, Sabali, Sabali, yonkontê
Sabali, Sabali, Sabali, kagni
Ni kêra môgô

[Nas Talking]
Ay yo D. Lets go all the way on this one.

[Damian Marley - Verse 1]
Some of the smartest dummies
Can't read the language of Egyptian mummies
An' a fly go a moon
And can't find food for the starving tummies
Pay no mind to the youths
Cause it's not like the future depends on it
But save the animals in the zoo
Cause the chimpanzee dem a make big money
This is how the media pillages
On the TV the picture is
Savages in villages
And the scientist still can't explain the pyramids, huh
Evangelists making a living on the videos of ribs of the little kids
Stereotyping the image of the images
And this is what the image is
You buy a khaki pants
And all of a sudden you say a Indiana Jones
An' a thief out gold and thief out the scrolls and even the buried bones
Some of the worst paparazzis I've ever seen and I ever known
Put the worst on display so the world can see
And that's all they will ever show
So the ones in the west
Will never move east
And feel like they could be at home
Dem get tricked by the beast
But a where dem ago flee when the monster is fully grown?
Solomonic linage whe dem still can't defeat and them coulda never clone
My spiritual DNA that print in my soul and I will forever Own Lord


[Nas talking]
Yeah, Sabali. Thats patience. That's what the old folks told me...
Discovering the World before this World. A World buried in time
Uncover with rhymes. It gets no realer

[Damian Marley: Verse 2]
Huh, we born not knowing, are we born knowing all?
We growing wiser, are we just growing tall?
Can you read thoughts? can you read palms?
Huh, can you predict the future? can you see storms, coming?
The Earth was flat if you went too far you would fall off
Now the Earth is round if the shape change again everybody woulda start laugh
The average man can't prove of most of the things that he chooses to speak of
And still won't research and find out the root of the truth that you seek of
Scholars teach in Universities and claim that they're smart and cunning
Tell them find a cure when we sneeze and that's when their nose start running
And the rich get stitched up, when we get cut
Man a heal dem broken bones in the bush with the wed mud
Can you read signs? can you read stars?
Can you make peace? can you fight war?
Can you milk cows, even though you drive cars? huh
Can you survive, Against All Odds, Now?


[Nas talking]
It's crazy when you feed people the truth you don't know how they're gonna react
You're scared of wrong doers, people that just ignorant
You're scared of the truth, be patient for now

[Nas: Verse 3]
Who wrote the Bible? Who wrote the Qur'an?
And was it a lightning storm
That gave birth to the Earth
And then dinosaurs were born? damn
Who made up words? who made up numbers?
And what kind of spell is mankind under?
Everything on the planet we preserve and can it
Microwaved it and try it
No matter what we'll survive it
What's hue? what's man? what's human?
Anything along the land we consuming
Eatin', deletin', ruin
Trying to get paper
Gotta have land, gotta have acres
So I can sit back like Jack Nicholson
Watch n-ggas play the game like the lakers
In a world full of 52 fakers
Gypsies, seances, mystical prayers
You superstitious? throw salt over your shoulders
Make a wish for the day cuz
Like somebody got a doll of me
Stickin' needles in my arteries
But I can't feel it
Sometimes it's like 'pardon me, but I got a real big spirit'
I'm fearless.... I'm fearless
Don't you try and grab hold of my soul
It's like a military soldier since seven years old
I held real dead bodies in my arms
Felt their body turn cold, oh
Why we born in the first place
If this is how we gotta go?

This goes to all the wisdom and knowledge seekers of the World
Sabali, Patience, yeah

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book of the Week

Title: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
Author: Jon Krakauer

I recommend that everybody read this book. It is written by Jon Krakauer and paints a wonderful, yet tragic, portrait of a great man and served as one of many bastions of inspiration for me to start this blog. For those that don't know, Pat Tillman was an NFL safety for the Arizona Cardinals who turned down a $3.6 million dollar contract to serve in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks. He was killed by friendly fire in dubious circumstances and the investigation into his death became very controversial. I encourage all to read this book as Krakauer unveils some of the military's seemingly corrupt practices and overall incompetence in its lower ranks (Tillman wrote about the young "grunts" and their shenanigans in bootcamp). So head to your local Barnes and Noble or what have you and pick up this great piece of literature.

Album of the Day

Title: Distant Relatives
Artist: Nas & Damian Marley
Review: Incredible. Buy it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Album of the Day

Title: Build a Nation
Artist: Bad Brains
Review: Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Society is Brainwashed
Artist: Ill Bill
Album: The Hour of Reprisal

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Movie of the Day

Title: Castaway
Director: Robery Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks

Album of the Day

Title: Unplugged in New York
Artist: Nirvana
Review: Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Life Be My Song
Artist: DMX
Album: Year of the Dog...Again

Monday, June 7, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Giving Up The Gun
Artist: Vampire Weekend
Album: Contra

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: The Rape Over
Artist: Mos Def
Album: The New Danger

Album of the Day

Title: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Artist: Outkast
Review: Buy it!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Clock With No Hands
Artist: The Roots
Album: Game Theory

Yeah, sitting in the staircase, holding back tears
Looking over mad years worth of photographs
Pictures of some places I ain't never going back
Some people I used to love, why I ain't show them that?
The skies was overcast, when I was sober last
My head is spinning, couldn't tell you if it's slow or fast
It's starting to get too clear, I got to go and grass
To y'all it's a shame but life is what we know it as
Waiting, navigating the plot, without plans
In the car, it's hard to read as a clock with no hands
How your man's goin' get up and stop with no yams
All it take is one break, it could pop the program
Whether sinning or not, my back bending like I'm sentenced a lot
I feel some brothers is beginning to plot
It might have been a close friend I forgot
Who started up and ain't remember to stop
I bet these niggaz going remember the shop

People think that I'm crazy, just cause I wanna be alone
You can't depend on friends to help you in a squeeze
We all deal with shit on our own
And sometimes the beef can grow, get out of hand
Yeah, you know it gets full blown
I never said that you mean the world to me
Maybe it's best that you never know

Yo, I'm like Malcom out the window with the weapon out
Searching for somehow to find a minute or the second now
Precious time is money that I ain't got to mess about
Need it from the horse's mouth or from my eye with less account
Lessons with my back to the wall, scoping my session out
Stay a little edgy at times when I ain't stressing bout
Haters don't know shit about me, they the ones that talk shit
Those that love me send it out, so I ain't got to force quit
Cause I'm doing better now, don't mean I never lost shit
I was married to a state of mind and I divorced it, man
I'm from where brothers moving product from the porches
People locking their doors, clutching to their crosses
The block hot by the law, there ain't too many choices
So what I do is for y'all, there ain't too many voices left
I watch my back, and watch my step
And I might forgive, but I will not forget come on


Yo, living in turbulent times
The blind leading the blind
Some call it evolution, some say intelligent design
You say you want a revolution, you out of your mizind
Your sons' destitute, and their pops all in the prison
My man's back in the jam, he like the back of my hand
He just attracted to scam, he right back in the can
I never sleepwalking, you dig
You get your shuteye
I'm on the first thing in, I'm leaving on the red-eye
My brother back in rehab, just had another relapse
But fin himself, it's been like he's been fighting an energy
Half telling me nobody true when they pretend to be that
So closer than friends, that's where I keep my enemy at
To many parties concerned, it's time to live it and learn
Until we're able to grow, forever bridges we burn
My thoughts free as a bird, that's just about to emerge
And every action is heard, it speaks louder than words, yo

Life is a Gift

Life is a gift
That no one should take for granted
Live and let live
Should be the creed on this planet.

Sometimes it's not that simple
And we tread on others
When things get ugly
Remember we are all brothers.

Whether black or white
Or anywhere in between
Pray for what's fair to all
And everything will be serene.

BP Oil Spill

After reading some of The Philadelphia Inquirer today, I was reminded why I rarely read newspapers. The latest update in the BP oil spill is that in may continue leaking until late August. Not what I wanted to hear. There is no sense in placing blame on people this late in the game, but I can understand why Gulf Coast residents are so infuriated with BP and the federal government. My heart goes out to those affected by the crisis, especially the fishermen. As for the other articles I read, let’s just say I don’t like reading about shootings, kidnappings, and fallen soldiers. Keep the peace.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fame and its Pitfalls

I wrote a poem not too long ago entitled "Fame," and posted it on the blog. I also recently wrote a poem about the penalties of being wealthy and famous entitled "The Root of all Evil." I wrote these two poems because I've been having an identity crisis for at least three months now. On one hand, I want to remain as anonymous as possible in my pursuits as a writer and occasional photographer. On the other hand, I am an ambitious individual and strive to be not only successful, but respected in my endeavors as an artist. Unfortunately, once you reach a certain level of success (i.e. celebrity status), money and fame can torment even the strongest individuals. Although I am far from rich and have accomplished nothing professionally as a writer, it has occured to me that I have inherited several titles that are quite overbearing, albeit flattering. The last time I visited D.C., I had several strangers refer to me as "Jesus," "Neo (like in The Matrix)," "The One (The Matrix)," and "Abe Lincoln." OK, hopefully this is sheer coincidence but something tells me it's not. My stay in D.C. wasn't nearly as pleasant as I wanted it to be with all this nonsense going on. How did these people even know what I look like? And what specifically have I done to earn such nicknames, even if they are partly in jest? Even if this blog has helped a lot of people see the world differently or inspired them in some capacity, no one is worthy of the aforementioned nicknames (again, even if they are in jest). I appreciate recognition when it's deserved, but not necessarily from strangers labeling me as something I'm not capable of being. It's absurd. Blasphemous. I don't perform miracles. I don't have a following of disciples. I don't have the power to help humanity free itself from "the machines." I didn't free any slaves (though Lincoln didn't single-handedly free the slaves). I'm just me. So treat me like any other stranger. I'm sure most affirmed and established celebrities would echo this request.

Movie of the Day

Title: The Thin Red Line
Director: Terrence Malick
Starring: James Caviezel, Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, Ben Chaplin, George Clooney

Album of the Day

Title: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Artist: Smashing Pumpkins
Review: Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Power
Artist: Kanye West
Album: Good Ass Job

Monday, May 24, 2010

Explanation of Seemingly Socialist Claims

I know I have made certain claims on this blog that may appear pro-socialist or pro-communist. I have made statements like, "share the wealth," which may sound like it advocates socialism/communism. I do not advocate socialism/communism, but I do believe our economy needs some fundamental work. I was reminded by the line in Lupe Fiasco's "American Terrorist": "the rich must be blind 'cause they don't see the poor," that our capitalist system needs to be refined and our social values need to be reexamined to have an economy where everyone has the opportunity to live well. I grew up in a lower-middle class household and it frightens me that the middle class is thinning away as the difference between the lower and upper class is becoming increasingly larger. Part of the problem lies in the American tradition of extremely wealthy families hoarding money for generation after generation without using that wealth to invest in businesses outside of their family's expertise. Doing so could create new jobs and open windows of opportunity for the middle and lower classes. Another part of the problem lies in our country's fame-obsessed psyche. If you think about it, our celebrity-obsessed culture has a negative impact on the economy's productivity and our social values. Why do we need to have reality shows focusing on NBA wives and the Housewives of Wherever-the-Fuck? Personally, I find intelligent, career-oriented women to be much more attractive. Not to mention useful for the economy. I think most men would agree. Anyway, the point is these people are lost causes when it comes to upholding a healthy capitalist system. I will continue with this entry tomorrow, I have to watch Housewives of New Jersey. Just kidding.

Wish for the Day

We've said this a few times, but our wish for the day is PEACE. Put down the arms and seek personal restitution through words and reason. ONE.

Ancient Aliens

I've been watching this series on the History Channel called "Ancient Aliens," and it has presented some interesting theories that challenge our current understanding of religion and the historical progression of culture and industry. The series basically provides evidence that the "gods" described in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism may have been extra-terrestrial beings. I have mixed feelings about god in the traditional sense, but certainly believe in some sort of "higher power," so these conjectures are right up my alley. There are six episodes in the series: "The Mission," "Chariots, Gods, and Beyond," "The Evidence," "The Visitors," "Closer Encounters," and "The Return." Check out your local listings. The last episode, "The Return," airs tomorrow at 8 pm.

Album of the Day

Title: Riot Act
Artist: Pearl Jam
Review: Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: American Terrorist
Artist: Lupe Fiasco feat. Matthew Santos
Album: Food and Liquor

(the lyrics might be a little off here, I couldn't find a good source for them)

Close your mind
close your eyes
see with your heart
how do you forgive the murderer of your father?
the ink of a scholar is worth a thousand times more than the blood of a martyr

we came through the storm nooses on our necks
and a smallpox blanket to keep us warm
on a 747 on the pentagon lawn
wake up the alarm clock is connected to a bomb
anthrax lab on a w. virginia farm
shorty aint learned to walk already heavily armed
civilians and little children is especially harmed
camouflaged torahs, bibles and glorious qurans
the books that take you to heaven and let you meet the Lord there
have become misinterpreted, reasons for warfare
we read em with blind eyes i guarantee u there's more there
the rich must be blind b/c they didnt see the poor there
need to open up a park, just close 10 schools
we dont need em
can u please call the fire department they're down here marchin for freedom
burn down their TV's, turn their TV's on to teach em


Now the poor klu klux man see that we're all brothers not b/c things are the same b/c we lack the same color that's green, now that's mean
cant burn his cross cause he cant afford the gasoline
now if a muslim woman strapped with a bomb on a bus
with the seconds running give you the jitters?
just imagine a American-based christian orginization planning to poison water supplies to bring the second-coming quicker
nigga they aint livin properly
break em off a little democracy
turn their whole culture to a mockery
give em coca-cola for their property
give em gum, give em guns, get em young, giv em fun
if they aint givin it up, then they aint gettin none and dont giv em all naw ,man, just give em some its the paper, then these cops must be al-qaeda


It's like
don't give the black man food, give red man liquor
red man fool, black man nigga
give yellow man tool, make him railroad builda
also give him pan, make him pull gold from river give black man crack, glocks to teens, give red man craps, slot machines...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

As The World Turns

As the world turns,
And my head keeps spinning
What is it about this planet
That keeps good from winning?
Why do I worry and stress?
It's not anyone's job personally
To clean up this mess.

As the world turns,
Something's got in me
It's tearing at my heart
And it wants me to start
Heading down a path I could never foresee
We're all put on this planet for a reason
Can I escape destiny?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Album of the Day

Title: Lasers
Artist: Lupe Fiasco
Review: Buy it!!!

Song of the Day

Title: My Angel
Artist: The Realest

The Root of Evil

Oh, what people won't do for the root of evil -
When men define themselves by the size of their bank account,
Or the car they drive,
Or the mansion in which they reside.
Take it in vain,
While the poor and forgotten struggle to stay sane.

Be careful what you wish for -
The root of evil.
Turns out you were happier being piss poor.
How did it ever come to this?
You wonder as you face the crowd.
The sea of followers with their idol worship
Can't save you now.
Guess it's time to take your final bow
For the root of evil.

Video of the Day

2Pac - Pain

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bad Call: Facebook Group 'Praying' For Obama's Death

I read a disturbing article today about a Facebook group whose purpose is to "pray for President Obama's death." Not cool. If there is anything I have learned in recent times, it's that our country's struggles cannot be solely attributed to the President. The picture is much bigger than that (see checks and balances to start). I assume this group is composed of Christian freaks and praying for anyone's death is certainly not a Christian practice. Then again, maybe it is considering most wars are religion-based. In any case, I hope Facebook removes this group and its 1,000,000+ members come down to Earth and realize the President's actions are often influenced by many "outside" institutions (i.e. banks). Do some research of your own to understand the pressure any President faces. And chill out with the anti-Christ and communist accusations.

Song of the Day

Title: Breathe
Artist: Nas
Album: Untitled

Movie of the Day

Title: The Edge
Director: Lee Tamahori
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, Harold Perrineau, Elle Macpherson

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Anything
Artist: Jay-Z
Album: The Truth (extra track on Beanie Sigel's album)

The System

I refuse to be the system's accomplice.
I say, write, and think too much,
Then the Secret Service comes with questions and such.
White, blue-eyes, and blond hair, and I'm on your list?
I stand for those oppressed by the system,
So you should know why I'm pissed.
Label me an enemy of the state,
Or a misplaced radical,
And I'll tell you one thing -
This voice will never go on sabbatical.

Song of the Day

Title: Hurt Me Soul
Artist: Lupe Fiasco
Album: Food & Liquor

Now I ain't tryna be the greatest
I used to hate hip-hop... yup, because the women degraded
But Too $hort made me laugh, like a hypocrite I played it
A hypocrite I stated, though I only recited half
Omittin the word "bitch," cursin I wouldn't say it
Me and dog couldn't relate, til a bitch I dated
Forgive my favorite word for hers and hers alike
But I learnt it from a song I heard and sorta liked
Yeah, for the icin, glamorized drug dealin was appealin
But the block club kept it from in front of our buildin
Gangsta rap-based filmings became the buildin blocks
For children with leakin ceilings catchin drippins with pots
Coupled with compositions from Pac, Nas's "It Was Written"
In the mix with my realities and feelings
Living conditions, religion, ignorant wisdom and artistic vision
I began to jot, tap the world and listen, it drop

My mom can't feed me, my boyfriend beats me
I have sex for money, the hood don't love me
The cops wanna kill me, this nonsense built me
And I got noooo place to gooo
They bomb my village, they call us killers
Took me off they welfare, can't afford they health care
My teacher won't teach me, my master beats me
And it huuurts meee soooul

I had a ghetto boy bop, a Jay-Z boycott
'Cause he said that he never prayed to God, he prayed to Gotti
I'm thinkin godly, God guard me from the ungodly
But by my 30th watchin of "Streets is Watchin"
I was back to givin props again and that was botherin
By this uncomfortable as a untouchable touchin you
The theme songs that niggas hustle to seem wrong but these songs was comin true
And it was all becoming cool
I found a condom on the ground that Johns would cum into and thought
What constitutes a prostitute is the pursuit of profit then they drop it
The homie in a suit pat her on the butt, then rock it
It seems I was seein the same scene adopted
Prevalent in different things with the witnesses indifferent to stop it
They said don't knock it, mind ya business
His business isn't mine and that nigga pimpin got it

They took my daughter, we ain't got no water
I can't get hired, they cross on fire
We all got suspended, I just got sentenced
So I got noooo place to gooo
They threw down my gang sign, I ain't got no hang time
They talk about my sneakers, poisoned our leader
My father ain't seen me, turn off my TV
'Cause it huuurts meee soooul

So through the Grim Reaper sickle sharpening
Macintosh marketing
Oil field augering
Brazilian adolescent disarmament
Israeli occupation
Islamic martyrdom, precise
Yeah, laser guided targeting
Oil for food, water, and terrorist organization harborin
Sand camouflage army men
CCF sponsorin, world conquerin, telephone monitorin
Louis Vuitton modelin, pornographic actress honorin
String theory ponderin, bullimic vomitin
Catholic priest fondlin, pre-emptive bombin and Osama and no bombin them
They breakin in my car again, deforestation and overloggin and
Hennessy and Hypnotic swallowin, hydroponic coughin and
All the world's ills, sittin on chrome 24-inch wheels, like that

They say I'm infected, this is why I injected
I had it aborted, we got deported
My laptop got spyware, they say that I can't lie here
But I got noooo place to gooo
I can't stop eatin, my best friend's leavin
My pastor touched me, I love this country
I lost my earpiece, I hope y'all hear me
'Cause it huuurts meee soooul

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Beautiful Struggle
Artist: Talib Kweli
Album: The Beautiful Struggle

[Intro] {*echoes*}
The revolution is here, the revolution is here people
I said it once, I'll say it twice
You gots to be ready
The revolution is inside of you
People, the revolution is here, yeah

The revolution's here
No one can lead you off your path
You'll try to change the world
So please excuse me while I laugh (yeah)
No one can change your ways (rock with me for a second)
No one can lead you off your path (come on)
You'll try to change the world
So please excuse me while I laugh

[Verse 1: Talib Kweli]
Yo, I heard it's said the revolution won't be televised
But in the land of milk and honey there's a date you gotta sell it by
Otherwise it just expires and spoils
And these folks jump out the pot when the water too hot
Cuz the fire boils inside
You go to church to find you some religion
And all you hear is connivin' and gossip and contradiction and
You try to vote and participate in the government
And the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans
You join an organization that know black history
But ask them how they plan to make money and it's a mystery
Lookin' for the remedy but you can't see what's hurtin' you
The revolution's here, the revolution is personal
They call me the political rapper
Even after I tell 'em I don't fuck with politics
I don't even follow it
I'm on some KRS, Ice Cube, Chris Wallace shit
Main Source, De La Soul, bumpin' "2Pacalypse Now"

The revolution's here (yeah)
No one can lead you off your path (uh uh)
You'll try to change the world
So please excuse me while I laugh (ha ha, ha ha)
No one can change your ways
No one can lead you off your path (uh uh)
You'll try to change the world ('scuse me)
So please excuse me while I laugh

[Verse 2]
Yo, I speak at schools a lot cause they say I'm intelligent
Nervous cause I'm dope, if I was wack I'd be irrelevant
I'm like the dope in your tracks until your high is settled in
You leanin' to the left, the laughter's the best medicine
But the troubles you have today you just can't laugh away
Stay optimistic, they can change, it's gon' come like Donny Hathaway
You have to pray, on top of that, act today
Cuz opportunity shrivel away like Tom Hanks in "Cast Away"
Everybody pass away, the past will pay, the family mournin'
Everybody act accordin' to the season that they born in
You fight in the streets, start bleedin' 'til the blood is pourin'
In the gutter, mothers cry 'til the Lord be livin' by the sword and
All that folks want is safety, they goin' gun crazy
The same reason Reagan was playin' war games in the '80s
The same reason I've always rocked dog chains on my babies
The struggle is beautiful, I'm too strong for you to slave me

The revolution's here (yeah)
No one can lead you off your path (uh uh)
You'll try to change the world
So please excuse me while I laugh (ha ha, ha ha)
No one can change your ways (yeah)
No one can lead you off your path (uh uh)
You'll try to change the world ('scuse me)
So please excuse me while I laugh (yeah)
The revolution's here
No one can lead you off your path
You'll try to change the world
So please excuse me while I laugh
No one can change your ways
No one can lead you off your path
You'll try to change the world
So please excuse me while I laugh

[Outro: Talib Kweli]
It's a beautiful thing that's happenin' right now
Right now G
Yo, I'm rockin' with my man Hi-Tek on the track right now
We fightin' the good fight
The Beautiful Struggle
Yeah, let's go

(So please excuse me while I laugh)

Friday, April 16, 2010

To Be Heard

Look through my eyes and see what I see.
Step in my shoes and walk my path.
Borrow my two hands and play my key.
Get inside my head and do my math.

All I ever wanted was the freedom of a bird.
All I really need is the chance to be heard.

Album of the Day

Title: Juslisen
Artist: Musiq Soulchild
Review: Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Criminal
Artist: The Roots (feat. Truck North, Saigon)
Album: Rising Down

Monday they predict the storm
Tuesday they predict the bad
Wednesday they cover the grass
And I can see it's all about cash
And they got the nerve to hunt down my ass
And treat me like a criminal

[Black Thought]
Look, it is what it is
Because of what it was
I did what I did
Cause it does what it does
I don't put nothin' above
What I am, what I love
My family, my blood
My city and my hood
Hater for the greater good
I'm back from Hollywood
And I ain't changed a lick
Though, I know I probably should
But, what I'm doin' is not a good look
I never did it by the good book, as a lifetime crook
All the petty crime took a toll on me
I look around at my homies that's gettin' old on me
But still somethin' gotta hold on me
Maybe it's faith
If it's comin', yo I'm willing to wait
I'm not runnin', I done ran through the mud
I done scrambled and such
I done robbed an odd job and gambled enough
Till I'm put up in handcuffs
And pissin' in a cup
If there's a God
I don't know if he listenin' or what


[Truck North]
Yeah, it is what it is
And that's how it go
Get treated like a criminal
If crime is all you know
Get greeted like a nigga
If a nigga saw your show
A public enemy, to send a eye in the scope
My city like a island where you can't find a boat
Have you wishin' for a raft
And prayin that hope flows
Some real (?) going down on soul (?)
Who lookin' for a chair and some real strong rope
Just to end it all here
Screamin' "fuck the mayor"
He see the faces at the bottom of the welfare
They act like I'm somethin' to fear
Trapped in urban warfare
And pullin' triggers at a college career
Can't ignore the call of the wild
That's drawin' 'em near
Try to make fast money last long some years
Try to laugh it off
Still couldn't lose the tears
To the rules, I will not adhere
Break the law, yeah... (echoes)


Who wanna challenge mine?
I'm sick of St. Valentine
I did the violent crimes
That's why I got this style of rhyme
Seek repentance to spittin' them sentences
To senseless experience is the difference
You can't convince this
In a crime sense, niggas is infants
I'm like a senior citizen
Still livin' but gettin' benefits
Put emphasis on hittin' my nemesis in high percentages
Crooked ass cops is the reason for my belligerence
And it gets deeper than that
Remember nights I used to sleep wit a gat
With a package of crack under my sneaker strap
D's sneak attack and raid me
It took a week for that
Beat the rat, but you're sayin' "look, he think he the mack"
Fuck y'all!
Niggas who thinkin' they might try us
Watch us inside riots
Blue cars and light fires
We already been knocked, scrutinized
Plus, cops rush to brutalize us
America's polluted by lust
Who could I trust?
If I can't trust you, then I might touch you
If I ain't got love for you
Then fuck you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Movie of the Day

Title: The Matrix
Director: Larry and Andy Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Hugo Weaving

Album of the Day

Title: 8 Diagrams
Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Review: Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Who We Be
Artist: DMX
Album: The Great Depression


They say in the land of the blind
The man with one eye is king.
In the land of Amerika
What can a third eye bring?
Well I'll tell you one thing
The truth can sting.

Crooked cops, politicians, and "leaders"
Spineless celebrities and preachers -
Calling all elitists with a questionable agenda -
Your time is almost up, hope I didn't offend ya.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Movie of the Day

Title: Shogun Assassin
Director: Robert Houston
Starring: Tomisaburo Wakayama

Album of the Day

Title: Reflection Eternal
Artist: Talib Kweli
Review: Buy it!

Do Yourself a Favor, Listen to The Roots Damnit

The lyrics to The Roots' song, "Why (What's Going On?)," speak for themselves. I posted the lyrics to this song below because it has always been one of my favorite Roots tracks. You can feel its message in your guts and your heart as it has a powerful relevance to the steadily devolving world around us. Too many people, especially in America, are too busy pursuing fruitless merits to take a minute and think about where they are heading. The difference between right and wrong, real and fake, truth and falsehood, is becoming increasingly more difficult to distinguish in the complex world we live in. A friend of mine once said that Americans won't believe anything until they see it on TV. This was insightful, but the truth is you shouldn't believe half of what you see on TV (and by TV, I'm particularly referring to the news). Keep an open mind, think freely, and do what you can to deprogram yourself from the system. If my life journey has taught me anything it's to be sceptical of the status quo.

Song of the Day

Title: Why (What's Going On?)
Artist: The Roots
Album: The Tipping Point

Sky's the limit so you know I'm gonna rise and shine
I gotta do my thing, I'm kinda getting a little tired of all that's hidden
That's the reason I'm a speak my mind, keep from going insane
Now work with it, we in the last innin'
The world keeps spinnin', my peoples steady losin' while the rich keep winnin'
It's like we neva smilin' and the devil steady grinnin'
killin' what we representin'
Even our children and women, 2K4, livin' above and under the law
Young teen joins the marines, says he'll die for the core
Inducted up into the goverment's war as if the land of money and oil
Funny how ain't none of it yours
I can't sleep yo I'm paranoid, it's code orange
It's far from right, I guess that's why it feels so wrong
To see the world get stripped out of every resource
And people pray to Coca-Cola now instead of the gods
What's goin' on?

Keepin' your head above water, hustlin' to survive
Some people chasin' a dream, others just chasin' a high
Some people blind leading the blind, they chasin' a lie
Some people chokin' backs broken barely makin' it by
But still they workin' all they live, they pushin' for the light
Givin' everything they got to stitch them swishes on ya Nike's
Puttin' pockets on our jeans, mining diamonds for them rings
Rewarded with small change and bullets in the brains
And it makes me feel strange everything we take for granted
At times I feel stranded on this planet of mine
Now should I pull the hammer, clap it out, and laugh about it
Or stand up, be counted while I cast my ballot
When the undertaker's busy and the prison's is crowded
People livin' in fear because they vision is clouded
But the sky's the limit, I ain't cryin' you a river
Gotta move me a mountain, I'm a git up and shout it

When I dream it's hounds on my heels gainin' momentum
I'm tired, can't get uninspired or quit runnin'
I can feel they only inches behind, I escape, I survive
Some how I gotta decide how much I want it
Or is anybody listenin' without a pot to piss in
If I disappear I wonder if the world will know I'm missin'
Who my support system, it's not the court system
Gotta letter it said that you're not avoiding prison
People 'neath the microscope 'cause we defining the culture
They smile and insult you like you shinin' their loafers
Them old heads say we need a modern day Moses
When the leaders is posers we needing some soldiers
It's the X generation, The anger is a nature
Got the writing on the wall so clear that I can taste it
Like a kid sniffing glue somewhere trying to escape
Cause we vulnerable and naked
Gotta show 'em we can make it

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Real Revolution

Early on in this blog I wrote that a revolution by the name of hip-hop was coming. I should have been more specific in saying that the philosophy of true hip-hop is driving the impending revolution. Let's face it: all commercial hip-hop is played out and programmed by the music industry. I'm guilty of listening to it and buying some of it, but it is nothing but puppetry for the masses to consume and perpetuate. Most beefs are staged and most rappers' images are fabricated for marketing purposes. Jay-Z even says not to fear rappers as they are no more than "DeNiro's in practice." What happened to hip-hop with a message and a purpose. Hip-hop with the intent to make change in the world for the better. Unfortunately it is becoming closer and closer to invisible in the public eye. And that's bad news for the future of the genre and the future of our children who are becoming brain-washed by the shallow, dispensable crap that is heard on the radio. Not to mention the music videos ripe with shadowy subliminal messages. The entire music industry needs a change for the better. The voices that speak the truth are not being heard and this trend has a negative impact on society in general. The revolution will come, but not until music with a purpose to drown out the material bullshit that is "pop" reaches the forefront of the industry.

Song of the Day

Title: Street Corner
Artist: Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck, GZA
Album: Made in Brooklyn

Friday, April 9, 2010


I've been listening to Blackalicious a lot lately and since it's been a while since I've done such I was reminded of how incredible their music is. For those that don't know, GET TO KNOW THEM! They are composed of MC Gift of Gab and DJ Chief Xcel and hail from Oakland. Their music is strictly and purposefully "conscious." They are the antithesis of everything that is played on the radio today and they deserve recognition from the industry. I have seen them live and they are great performers. Gift of Gab is one of the most skilled MCs in hip-hop and he demonstrated that in their show. He spit a freestyle for about a minute at the pace of Twista (the better- known Chicago MC) and everyone in the crowd was enthralled by his lyrical aptitude. If you want to get a good sampling of their music, I would recommend the songs "Shallow Days," "Make You Feel That Way," and "First in Flight." To summarize this entry, do yourself a favor and pay homage to hip-hop in its truest form, free of commercialized tomfoolery.


I've been weed and drink-free for a month now and I'm starting to feel pretty good about it. Unfortunately, I've picked up several packs of Newports in the process. I still feel pretty good about myself, and although I'm not shooting for a complete lifestyle change it feels empowering to be able to go without certain vices for extended periods of time. Now I just need to get back to the gym on a more regular basis. Spring is upon us and pretty soon it's gonna be beach and pool time and I need to get back in my typical form soon. I'm not a meathead by any means but I would consider myself a jock at heart so being fit for spring/summer is high up on my priority list. If only I could kick the cigarette habit. That would help a lot.

Album of the Day

Title: One Day It'll All Make Sense
Artist: Common
Review: Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Sparring Minds
Artist: GZA, Inspectah Deck
Album: Legend of the Liquid Sword

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Soul Searching

Soul Searching...
All I really want is to be myself
A little peace of mind
A little piece of me to share with others
A little bit of love
When my nerves need a hug.

Soul Searching...
Sharing images of my past
Never thought my creativity would last
When I was thrown in circumstances
I had to walk over and pass
Now my heart is stuck -

Between a rock and a hard place
Guess I'll escape through God's grace
Soul Searching...

Video of the Day

Lloyd Banks "Big Bully" from V.5 mixtape, samples Raekwon's "New-Wu" beat.

New Nike Tiger Woods Commercial

In an act that I can only describe as despicable, Nike has attempted to capitalize on the Tiger Woods sex scandal. They aired a new commercial yesterday featuring Tiger from the shoulders up, staring at the camera and blinking as audio of his late father "questioning" his recent sex-capades. I guess Nike wanted to make it appear as if a loving father was perplexed by his son's uncharacteristic mistakes and was checking up on him (the word "inquisitive" was used). However, the commercial comes off as nothing more than creepy and bizarre. I would post it here but there are no versions of the commercial itself on youtube. You can find videos of the commercial being discussed on various talk shows if you want to check it out.

Song of the Day

Title: 21 Guns
Artist: Green Day
Album: 21st Century Breakdown

Album of the Day

Title: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
Artist: Bob Dylan
Review: Buy it!

Movie of the Day

Title: Road to Perdition
Directior: Sam Mendes
Starring: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Common's "Misunderstood"

I posted Common's "Misunderstood" as the "Song of the Day" on Sunday because I have been listening to it a lot lately and have been relating to it far too much recently. The song emphasizes the universal truth that it is not easy being a human being, regardless of where you're from, where you're at, and where you're going. We strive as humans to be understood as individuals, but seeing as everyone is unique it is nearly impossible to fully accomplish that need. This paradox can make life frightening at times. The song concludes with light at the end of the tunnel by recognizing that finding faith in a higher power can help overcome the fear of being misunderstood.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Misunderstood
Artist: Common
Album: Finding Forever

Opening Day (Baseball!)

Tonight is Opening Day for Major League Baseball. The infamous Red Sox-Yankees rivalry will be featured on ESPN at 8:00.

60 Minutes

There was an interesting segment on 60 minutes tonight about HIV miracle pills and their administration by the U.S. government in Uganda. The pills were said to have been patented in 2004 if I remember correctly, so why wasn't this on 60 Minutes six years ago? Regardless, the segment was very moving. It made the Bush-administration a little more palatable, despite the seemingly contrived patronization of the U.S. by some of the Ugandan interviewees. But hey, I'll give credit where credit is due. Well done W., hopefully we will be able to fund these expensive pills for a long while.

Video of the Day

2Pac - Do For Love
I wasn't able to download this video onto the page, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yre5nBXAxyk. Great animation on this one.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Video of the Day

Raekwon feat. Method Man, Ghostface - New Wu

Song of the Day

Title: Our Dreams
Artist: Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon
Album: Wu-Massacre

Movie of the Day

Title: Three Kings
Director: David O. Russell
Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze

Album of the Day

Title: Valleys of Neptune
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Review: Buy it!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Movie of the Day

Title: Pumping Iron
Director: Robert Fiore and George Butler
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbu


Fame scares me.
It can turn friends to strangers
And vice versa,
Yeah it'll curse ya.
I'd rather write the script
And keep my soul legit
Then grab the spotlight
And squint to focus -
To regain my sight.
The fame will change you
Easily rearrange you
Putting your integrity in jeopardy
Needing a shephard to keep your record
Clean like a whistle.

Fame scares me.
Stay away from the flashing lights.

Another Thoughtless Suicide Bombing

On Monday there was a double suicide bombing in the Moscow subway. Two female Islamic militants were cited as the culprits. Prime Minister Putin has been dealing with terrorist cells in the Chechen Republic since he assumed office in 2008. Russian police killed several Chechen rebels in the Northern Caucasus mountains recently, an act which may have sparked Monday's bombings. When will it end? There is no reason to kill yourself and/or others over your system of beliefs. Diplomacy is a much better solution to solve soveriegnty issues than extremism and terrorism. NO MORE BLOODSHED OVER LAND!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More on Ann Coulter

We all know that Ann Coulter is kind of butch (she is straight, but not particularly feminine or elegant). She was an undergraduate at Cornell where she was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority. This would make you think she would be an advocate for women's rights and responsibilities, either in the professional world or within the family. Yet, she has been quoted as saying that taking away women's right to vote would keep the United States from ever having another Democratic President (this statement was primarily directed to "soccer moms"). How ridiculous is that!? She is a female, she was in a sorority, and because she is vehemently opposed to the Democratic party and their principles she thinks women shouldn't vote in order to fulfill her outrageous agenda. Listen Ann Coulter, if you truly believe this, make a run for a spot in Congress and push for a reform to relinquish women's right to vote. If the bill passes, your deed will be done and you can retire and enjoy the rest of your life not being able to vote. Your logic is full of holes. But thanks for entertaining level-headed Americans.

Shame in the Hip-Hop Game

Too many platinum chains
Too many hoes
Too many advising to throw them 'bows.

Will this corporate circus ever end?
Will the spiritual and the material come together and blend?
The listeners are beginning to turn their attention -
Just thought I should mention -
Because there's too much shame
In the hip-hop game.

Song of the Day

Title: Hey Joe
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Album: Are You Experienced?

Album of the Day

Title: Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star
Artist: Mos Def and Talib Kweli
Review: Buy it! A great example of hip-hop in its truest form.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Movie of the Day

Title: Poetic Justice
Director: John Singleton
Starring: Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Joe Torry

Song of the Day

Title: This Can't Be Life
Artist: Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Scarface
Album: The Dynasty - Roc La Familia

Album of the Day

Title: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Artist: Lauryn Hill
Review: Buy it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ann Coulter Needs A Dose of Reality

I hate to talk about politics and religion, but I was watching a few Ann Coulter interviews on youtube and I absolutely need to air this crazy b-word out. First of all, she claims to be a Christian and writes through the cipher of Christianity about the lies, injustice, and hypocrisy of the political left. This practice is in itself hypocritical in an American sense as the Constitution calls for separation of church and state. NO POLITICAL VIEW SHOULD BE FUELED BY OWN'S RELIGION ANN COULTER! To quote South Park: if you (Ann Coulter) don't like it (separation of church and state) you can get out! That will be round one of my "airing out" of Ann Coulter. I see through your trickery you foolish puppet to the Bible.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Sorry
Artist: Cam'ron

Album of the Day

Title: Game Theory
Artist: The Roots
Review: Buy it! It's all in the music baby. Read between the lines and set your soul free.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Peace, Health, Prosperity

Tonight I would like to extend a little prayer for peace, health, and prosperity for all mankind.

Movie of the Day

Title: The Book of Eli
Director: The Hughes Brothers
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Beals, Mila Kunis

Song of the Day

Title: Patiently Waiting
Artist: 50 Cent and Eminem
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin'

Album of the Day

Title: Malice in Wonderland
Artist: Snoop Dogg
Review: Buy it! And think about its metaphorical/conceptual meaning (my all-seeing eye knows!!!).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book of the Week

Title: The 50th Law
Author: 50 Cent and Robert Greene
Review: Extremely compelling. Preaches fearlessness as a business strategy. Buy it and apply it to real life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Lost One
Artist: Jay-Z feat. Chrisette Michele
Album: Kingdom Come

Album of the Day

Title: Legend of the Liquid Sword
Artist: GZA
Review: Puts commercial rap to shame. Buy it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I find peace in writing
I used to find peace in fighting
With myself and others
To pull my mind out of these gutters.
Whether pen to pad or fingers to keys
I have to find a way to fulfill my needs.

Life pushes and pulls and gets rough on the edges
But I must push back and resist its ledges
Before I fall completely
And the angels come seek me.

I'm blessed, secure, and healthy
But it wasn't always this pretty
There were times when things were gritty -
Witnessing finances lead to my parents' divorce
Getting bullied and questioning my life's course.

And as I got older my luck got colder -
Dodging a DUI, a near kidnapping and a nasty car crash,
Amongst other things.
My soul was getting diluted and ugly
And all I could think of was cash.
I cannot lie and say I don't want my words
To lead me to riches,
But what I truly want is for my writing
To help me find inner peace and

Album of the Day

Title: Black Dots
Artist: Bad Brains
Review: Buy it!

Movie of the Day

Title: Munich
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Claran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: Put It Down
Artist: Redman
Album: Red Gone Wild...Thee Album

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Karen and Big Dwight

Two guardian angels were sent to me when I was in first grade
Maybe it was kindergarten.
I was their experiment as they recently told me
And their experiment yielded quite an outcome.
Their son and I were two birds of a feather
One black, one white - with a lot of gray in between.
They opened their home and their arms to me
And treated me as one of their own,
With a lot of tough love.
When I got out of line I was sure to be reprimanded
Their ideals were sternly imprinted on my conscience.
Karen and Big Dwight, now parents 5 and 6 -
Always there for guidance when I get caught in the mix.

Song of the Day

Title: I'm Back
Artist: T.I.

Movie of the Day

Title: Fracture
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling

Monday, March 15, 2010

Song of the Day

Title: It's So Hard
Artist: Big Pun
Album: Yeeeah Baby

Illmatic Review

Illmatic, released in 1994, represents a milestone in hip-hop. Its influence on East Coast rap is unparalleled, as it essentially propelled New York to the forefront of the hip-hop world, paving the way for the careers of Nas’ eventual counterparts, Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z. The album is astounding in its lyrical potency and gritty street-life narrative. All of the tracks are comprised of effortlessly flowing, relatively simple beats and hooks, appropriately complementing Nas’ equally effortless rap ability, as most of the songs have a freestyle feel.
The album opens with a brilliant intro track, “The Genesis,” which sets the mood for the nine raw, street-life oriented songs to follow with sounds of a train rattling by on its tracks with Nas imperceptibly freestyling in the background. The album’s first real song, the candidly powerful “N.Y. State Of Mind,” begins with Nas starkly quipping “Straight out the f****n’ dungeons of rap, where fake n****s don’t make it back.” The track continues in this manner, recounting the harsh realities of the inner-city with lines like “The city never sleeps, full of villains and creeps, that’s where I learned to do my hustle had to scuffle with freaks.” The following cut, “Life’s A Bitch,” builds upon this somber mood, and features an outstanding, rapid-fire verse from A.Z.
After the first three tracks, the rest of Illmatic turns to more upbeat songs which are sure to have the listener’s head bobbing. The songs generally focus on the positive aspects of the New York hip-hop culture, narrating the intricacies and emotions associated with urban living, and paying homage to Nas’ stomping grounds in Queensbridge. In “Memory Lane,” essentially a nostalgic tribute to Queensbridge, Nas brags “The most dangerous MC is comin’ outta Queensbridge,” to a soulful hook with DJ scratches. The album concludes with perhaps its most dynamic track, the egotistical rhyme-fest, “It Ain’t Hard To Tell.” In this song, Nas substantiates his lyrical supremacy, boasting “I kick a skill like Shaquille holds a pill, vocabulary spills – I’m ill – plus matic.” This track closes the album appropriately, leaving an impression of Illmatic’s unsurpassed lyrical aptitude. This lyrical aptitude, combined with Nas’ equally impressive narrative ability and street intelligence, makes Illmatic a blueprint for what hip-hop should be: compelling music with honest themes, free of materialistic gaudiness, exploitation, and misogyny.

Album of the Day

Title: Wonder Years
Artist: N.F.L.
Review: Check it out on datpiff.com, keyword: los dollaz.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Miss Her

I miss her
Better yet, I miss us -
Before I let lust
Get the better of me.
In time, maybe she'll forgive me
Only time will tell.
While I cry at night
Staring at my cell -
I guess God sent me home
My time was up to roam.

Can I move on?
And would it be right
To give up the fight?
My heart says no
But everyone tells me yes
Please God, show me the way
And relieve this stress
Because I miss her.

Album of the Day

Title: Til The Casket Drops
Artist: Clipse
Review: Buy it! Seriously, Clipse is way too underrated and they deserve their comeuppance.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

If B.I.G. Were Alive

If B.I.G. were alive would he still be despised?
By the true crooks and criminals that were on his case?
Would he have to censor his self-identity to save face?
Would he be mad or sad at how far we have come?
Would he be Ready to Die with his hand on his gun?
Or would he light up a spliff and chill in Jamaica?
And find peace with the world and say "I forsake ya"?

If Pac Were Alive

If Pac were alive, what would he say?
Has this world made it far enough to let him speak?
Without being treated like an outcast, a thief?
Would the world be ridden of evil?
Or would the bloodshed continue - forever flowing?
Would God finally shed light on his words - forever glowing?
Or would he just be martyred again?
The ways of the world restarted with sin?

Song of the Day

Title: Memories Live
Artist: Talib Kweli
Album: Reflection Eternal

Friday, March 5, 2010

Robin Hood


Essay on Green Day's "Dookie"

Since its release on Reprise Records in February of 1994, and subsequent improbable climax at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, Dookie has played a critical role in Green Day’s humble ascension to stardom. The album has also been significantly influential in shaping the progression of rock from its post-grunge 1990s era to the emo-saturated alternative scene of today. This special re-issue of Green Day’s most essential album serves to honor their boundlessly impressive career.
Dookie’s commercial accolades far exceeded the expectations of the former Berkeley, California underground punk heroes. The album is number 193 on Rollingstone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” has sold 10 million copies worldwide, and won a Grammy for Best Alternative Rock Performance. Billie Joe Armstrong (guitarist/singer), Mike Dirnt (bassist), and Tre Cool (drummer) were essentially 70s punk revivalists, and with the tremendous sensation created by Dookie, they found themselves as the premiere forerunners of the pop-punk genre. Dookie’s success can be primarily attributed to the band’s ability to connect with the detached, neurotic, television-obsessed youth of the post-Cobain alternative rock scene. The band was able to combine snotty, unapologetic lyrics with exceedingly loud and catchy three-chord tunes, and deliver it all in an innately playful fashion. This sound, especially at their live performances, appealed to a legion of riley fans, both old and new. As San Francisco DJ Steve Masters said, “They have that awesome punk rock energy that makes me want to smash beer bottles on my head" (quoted in Dougherty and Small 94).
Over a span of ten years, this charmingly unsophisticated sound has evolved into the politically fueled, vivid rock opera of 2004’s American Idiot. Green Day’s progression and steadfastness in the mainstream is a result of their relentless diligence and underground roots, and is a testament to the relevance of their long, meaningful career.
Green Day’s roots began in 1987 when Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt (both 14-years-old) formed Sweet Children with drummer Al Sobrante. Armstrong and Dirnt were best friends since elementary school, and had been playing guitar and bass, respectively, since the age of ten (Wikipedia). Both grew up in Rodeo, California, a suburb of Oakland, and came from broken homes. Armstrong’s father was a jazz musician and truck driver who died of cancer when Billie Joe was ten (Wikipedia). Billie Joe’s mother remarried soon after, and he had a volatile relationship with his step-father (Wikipedia). Dirnt was born to a heroin-addicted mother and was given up for adoption at an early age (Wikipedia). His adoptive parents divorced when he was seven, and he eventually grew close to his step-father (his adoptive mother’s second husband), who died when Dirnt was seventeen (Wikipedia). The dismal circumstances of Armstrong and Dirnt’s adolescence would become a recurrent theme in Green Day’s frequently anxiety-driven music. “Why Do You Want Him?” from their first LP, 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour, is about Armstrong’s maligned step-father. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” from American Idiot is an emotional track which addresses the death of Armstrong’s father for the first time in Green Day’s music.
At the same time Armstrong and Dirnt formed Sweet Children, Tre Cool was the drummer for The Lookouts, a Berkeley-based punk group that frequently performed at Berkeley’s all-ages punk club, 924 Gilman Street (Wikipedia). The Lookouts’ guitarist, Larry Livermore, was also the founder of local independent label Lookout! Records. After hearing Sweet Children perform a small gig in Berkeley, Livermore offered them a record deal in 1988, and they released their first EP 1000 Hours in 1989 under the name Green Day (Wikipedia). In 1991, Green Day released 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour, a compilation of new material and previously recorded tracks from their earlier EPs. Soon after the release of 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour, Al Sobrante left the band for college (Wikipedia). Tre Cool, whose band The Lookouts had become mostly inactive, was asked to temporarily replace Sobrante. The addition of Cool worked so well he became the permanent drummer, and the new trio began to dominate Berkeley’s underground punk scene.
The pre-Dookie 1990s was a compelling period in American rock. The Seattle-based grunge genre dominated the radio and MTV. While grunge ruled the mainstream, Green Day was part of a flourishing underground punk contingent around Berkeley. Along with such peers as Operation Ivy and Rancid, Green Day frequented played at Berkeley’s famous punk Mecca, 924 Gilman Street. Their music was mostly influenced by British bands like The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Who, The Beatles, and The Sex Pistols. As a result, Billie Joe developed a quasi-Johnny Rotten, fake British singing accent which has become his penchant. He describes this peculiar voice as “an American guy faking an English accent faking an American accent” (quoted in Foege 26). In addition to their British muses, the young Green Day was inspired by American counterparts The Ramones and Generation X. On local indie label Lookout! Records, they released 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour (1991) and Kerplunk (1992), which were revered exclusively within Bay Area punk circles. However, Kerplunk! caught the attention of several major labels, and much to the disappointment of Berkeley’s underground devotees, Green Day signed with Warner Bros. Reprise Records in 1993 (Dougherty and Small 94).
After signing to Reprise, Green Day’s career and fate would take a drastic turn, for better and worse. Inevitably, they were shunned by the East Bay underground scene which embraced them. The band members were blunt and uncompromising in their response to their core fans’ virulent reactions: “I don’t come from the world where you can afford to turn down cash,” Billie Joe once said (quoted in Dougherty and Small 95). While being labeled as “sell outs” by the Gilman Street crowd, they were intent on maintaining their integrity in the spotlight. In Dirnt’s words, “Rock star means, like, a rich asshole. That’s a 1980s thing. No matter what anyone says, I’m too deeply rooted to just turn asshole overnight” (quoted in Foege 26) After working on material with their new record company and producer, Rob Cavallo, for over a year, Green Day released Dookie in February of 1994. The album immediately changed rock music, as its sound marked a departure from grunge, “framed by lean guitar parts and melodic bass lines, Green Day’s songs are the polar opposite of the fuzz-toned Seattle sound” (Foege 26). As Dookie gained more prominence throughout 1994, Green Day was able to redirect the alternative scene following the musical rift created by Kurt Cobain’s suicide in April of that year. Headlining Woodstock (where they playfully started an enormous mud fight with fans while performing) and Lollapalooza, the band became notorious for their powerfully energetic live performances and found itself rising to national fame over the course of one year.
Dookie was recorded in little more than three weeks, and Billie Joe’s vocals were done in a mere two days (Rollingstone). This urgent recording habit was symptomatic of their earlier independent releases which were recorded quickly due to low budgets. The album’s overall sound is masterfully summarized in a Time Magazine review as “a cathartic punk explosion” (Farley 72). The first single and biggest commercial hit, “Longview,” is an animated song about the boredom of lethargic summer days, and more specifically, masturbation. Armstrong describes the song as “cheap self-therapy from watching too much TV” (Rollingstone). The song skillfully changes between quiet, droning verses with an infectiously simple bass line, and a loud chorus with an invigorating guitar riff. “Basket Case” is the album’s most memorably frenetic track, with lines such as, “I am one of those / melodramatic fools / neurotic to the bone / no doubt about it,” and “I think I’m crackin’ up / Am I just paranoid? / Or just stoned?” The success of both “Basket Case” and “Longview” was propelled by their hilarious and self-degrading videos which spent a considerable time in heavy rotation on MTV. “When I Come Around” is probably Dookie’s most thematically meaningful songs, depicting a guy stalking a girl who was unwilling to accept his obsession with her. “Coming Clean” also has great lyrical substance, as Armstrong relates the feelings of his teenage self contemplating his sexuality. The album’s hardest track, “Welcome To Paradise,” is an endearing yet stark tribute to the band’s former Berkeley stomping grounds. The song uses a blaring guitar riff and the expertly harnessed ferociousness of Tre Cool’s drums to candidly depict life in rundown neighborhoods around the punk scene.
Over twelve years of existence, Dookie has perpetuated itself through its appeal to a wide demographic of young fans and musicians. Cool explains this phenomenon by saying, “We get older and our audience stays the same” (quoted in Pappademas). The greatest accomplishment of Green Day as artists is their ability to redefine and evolve their sound, thus continually making refreshing material which is appreciated by old and new fans. According to Spin Magazine writer Alex Pappademas, this effect was evident while Green Day was touring after releasing their latest album, American Idiot (2004): “On Green Day's current tour, longtime fans will have to fight for space in the mosh pit with 14-year-old newcomers-kids who got into the band via the countless other punk outfits who've learned from Dookie's example.” (Pappademas) These countless heirs to the pop-punk revolution which Green Day started, such as Blink 182, Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Less Than Jake, and Sum 41, are proof (whether good or bad) of Green Day’s extensive influence and significance in rock music. Blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus acknowledges the debt that the newest generation of punk bands owes Green Day, saying “They were a huge inspiration for us. Green Day breaking punk rock into the mainstream consciousness really helped us and opened up people's minds to our kind of music” (quoted in Appleford 34).

Song of the Day

Title: House of Flying Daggers
Artist: Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Method Man
Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Part II

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Quote of the Day (Obama on healthcare)

"If it's good enough for members of Congress, then it's good enough for the people that pay their salaries."

Album of the Day

Title: ALmatic: Nas Meets Al Green
Artist: Nas and Al Green
Review: Buy it!

Song of the Day

Title: Love and Happiness
Artist: Al Green
Album: Al Green's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Movie of the Day

Title: Jackie Brown
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton

Artist of the Day

Elizabeth Holtry is an artist residing in Frederick, MD. She has an affinity for depicting wildlife and her primary medium is oil on toile canvas. She is also a professor at Mt. Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD.