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

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

Release

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
Release.

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

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0955308/

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