Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Bristle while you twerk
Is it too much to ask that the trend of country-fried, niggnorant
rap die a fiery, merciless death? Between the toxic spawns of "Yung/Young's", "Lil's" and "Boyz" polluting radio airwaves 'round the clock, I can't take the shit anymore. The ear rape better known as Bammas 'R Us has to be a potent brain cell degenerate by the BPM, but everybody's too busy polishing their new grillz to a chrome finish to pay attention. The trend has always been to remain a few steps behind once the Mason-Dixon line is crossed, (ex. quality of public school education, evangelical bible thumpers, the Bush mafia, sweeping red-state endorsements of Dumbya's re-election) ... but, it really shows in the music.
It's almost as if making joints that birds love to squawk to is an innate gift. While it's a given that true originality doesn't exist in the industry, is it too much to ask that the conventional and expected content that people have come to expect for so long and seem to love with an unwavering passion evolve past its primitive appeal? From pimp fetishes to the slurred dialect, it's almost as if the affirmation of deep-rooted stereotypes are relished with pride. And don't even get me started on that trash christened snap music. It never should have been allowed to escape beyond its region of origin. It's like some deep, twisted family secret that should've never come to the light. Right up there with marrying your second cousin.
There are certainly exceptions to every rule and this is not a sweeping indictment of all things sprouting from the Dirty South. My loathing of bullshit like Dem Franchise Boyz, Mike Jones, Chamillionaire & the diarrhea anthem of it all, Laffy Taffy
doesn't negate the props I give acts like 'Kast, Cunninlynguists, Little Brother, Goodie Mob, Scarface, Supastition, Luda, etc. However, if being branded "a hater" because I don't like something and mention it in public, then fuck it, I'll be that... but it is what it is.
You can chop it, screw it or bounce it, but I'd rather light my pubic hairs on fire than to sit through a Rap City
countdown with the illiterati's greatest hits making up positions 20-1. I'm all crunked out and am dialing 911 in need of detox.
Labels: hip hop, music, rants
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
There goes the neighborhood
When you've called a particular slice of surroundings home for your whole life, it's natural to be protective of outsiders that gatecrash the turf. But I'm beginning to wonder who in the hell left the gate open because I'm noticing a steady stream of Section 8 refugees infecting my humble enclave. That reads terribly classist, but sometimes you can't sugarcoat dingleberries into Goobers no matter how hard you try. I remember growing up as one of the few Black families around here and as the migration of brown faces continued throughout the 90's, it was a given that White flight was bound to kick in sooner rather than later. And now I can literally count the few stragglers from yesteryear left on one hand including the chain-smoking Marge Simpson clone next door. At first I didn't mind the changes...hell, it was nice to add some new variables in the mix and not a summer went by without my huddle of girlfriends around the way scoping out fresh male specimen as the latest U-Haul truck pulled up to a doorstep. And I've renounced my place on the welcome wagon since these newcomers are the types to bring down a girl's property value. I'm talking screaming rugrats running up and down. Unfamiliar faces eyeballing me as I'm reaching for my house keys on the way home from work. Parking spaces hogged by the showoffs who feel the need to have all four
of their vehicles on the street simultaneously and Cheez Doodles wrappers carelessly strewn on my lawn. Being accustomed to peace and quiet is a thing of the past now that the elderly Guyanese woman next-door on my left flew the coop a couple of months ago only to be replaced with a Jamaican dude in his mid-30's who seems to think Vybz Kartel and G-Unit are appropriate when blasted at 1:00 in the morning. It's fuckery like this that just breathes new life into the mantra, "you can't let Black folks have shit." I've got one eye on the classifieds and the other staring out the front door. Summer's coming and it's gonna be trouble, trouble
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
It's the purging principle
The pursuit for fame, while seductive in the monetary perks of success, has always left me baffled. Why in the hell would anyone want to live in a world where everybody knows your name, privacy's a thing of the past and anonymity hits the pavement running? And as unrelenting and judgmental I am towards celebrities, I'd be a walking coke binge from slings and arrows being hurled my way. Just hearing the verbal diarrhea from people I ran into after getting my attack of the killer tonsils had me feeling even more self-conscious than usual. Backhanded compliments of the "Omigod, you look fab! Did you lose weight? Oh you were sick? Aw. Well.... you look amazing, though!" variety only served as fodder for the uncomfortable silence that soon followed. Never mind the fact I cried myself to sleep for half a week, the important part was I got all the benefits of retching up lunch without the nasty bile aftertaste. Gee, thanks. For the average person, it truly is cruel to be kind. Take that multiply it by 1,000 in high-definition scrutiny and there you have a taste of what it must be like to have those struggles played out in checkout aisles nationwide. In short, the media's a motherfucking bitch. Which leads me to the incredible shrinking diva-on-a-mission, Janet Jackson
. You always know when her project's on the horizon as the Pillsbury doughgirl cloak starts falling by the wayside just in time for the new video premiere. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm ecstatic that her snap-back warranty hasn't expired yet. She's been my visual motivation on my fridge for years and this latest metamorphosis is just what I need to step up my summer slim down. However, the extreme measures undergone to make sure that famous figure is camera-ready again has to take a toll. We saw where playing on the yo-yo string of scale fluctuations got Luther, is it going to take another exhaustion spell on tour to get Jan's head right? But then again when you've got a family like hers, it isn't that far of a stretch to see how winding up with a face full of Häagen-Dazs is almost inevitable.
Labels: body image, Janet Jackson
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Get the party started
Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game...
Ah, nothing like the return of America's national pastime to get me feeling excited at the dawn of another run towards the World Series. The annual springtime tradition resumes as the boys of summer take their limos for a spin and have their chauffeurs drive them to the stadium for a game. Today the sun was streaming over the city like an emerald-cut gemstone. The media horde was, well, hoarding for prime position with the local All-Stars better known as our starting lineup. The diehards were back in full force right down the pinstriped faces, heads, chests and God knows what else. Oftentimes, baseball's traditional season opener kicked off with the Cincinnati Reds. In recent years, the marketing geniuses at Major League Baseball have gone Pan Pacific in Japan to a Sunday night prime time prelude on ESPN, which suffered from a rain delay earlier this month in Chicago. However, with apologies to the Second cities, the baseball year does not truly begin until the New York Yankees play their first game in the Bronx. Even sworn enemies of the supposed "Evil Empire" would be hard pressed to deny there's something special about Opening Day at the House that Ruth Built.
Having a boss that's also a rabid Yankees fan has its privileges. He can sympathize when I slink in a bit later than usual because we were both up till 1 in the morning trying to catch the last out in a West Coast road swing. And when I came down with a mysterious ailment just before lunch today, he knew this was code for wanting to fly the coop. Coming in two hours earlier than usual had to tip him off. But on a beautiful, cloudless afternoon, could you really blame me? In the decade that I've spent rooting on my Bronx Bombers, I never had the luxury of being there for the curtain raising on the regular season. But I was bound and determined to make my debut in the tier reserved section for the 2006 campaign.
In typical fashion, the Yankees produced a little magic in their cinching their first "W" before a sellout crowd of just over 56,000 strong.
The hometown boys got off to a good start, then began to sleepwalk their way throughout the middle innings, keeping us unhinged waiting on the final blow to be struck. And with all the talk of our newest acquisition in Johnny Damon
, it wasn't until the eighth inning, when Captain Clutch came through yet again with a three-run moonshot by Derek Jeter
. The Bombers came away with a 9-7 victory, their ninth consecutive win on Opening Day in New York. It wasn't a pretty game, but in the end, it came with the sweetest conclusion you could've asked for. Start spreading the news, Yankees win. Thaaaaaa Yankees win!
Labels: baseball, New York Yankees
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I know why the Black girl screams
The only thing worse than feigning interest at my job is being confined to my humble abode. While sick
. I knew I was in for trouble this past weekend when I had to scrap my Sunday night ritual of seafood-topped pasta and wine in favor for split pea soup in preparation for HBO's must-see TV lineup. But instead of kicking back to relax, my throat felt drier than the Sahara and I was having a hard time getting into my groove because I was so damn aggravated with the oncoming discomfort. I'd been down this road before. The first time 3 years ago, again last year for a brief spell. But this was clearly on some next shit. By the time I woke up Monday morning, my tonsils swelled up to the size of golf balls and were covered with pus-filled patches which let me know the seasonal virus was back in full effect. Sufficiently grossed out yet? No? Well, it gets even better... since swallowing was now akin to a hors d'oeuvre platter of nuts and bolts, I turned into a drooling fool all over my house with only In The Kitchen
repeats on the Food Network to twist the knife deeper. And speaking of food, today marks day 3 of a forced hunger strike. Mama said there would be days like this, but damn. Seeing the scale go down is the only consolation for feeling miserable.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
The interruption of everything
It's been a long time. I shouldn't have left you. With a pic of Britney Spears to marinate to. Apologies to the God for bastardizing his rhymes, but it's the most concise and letter perfect way to do this reintroduction. Nope, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. And no, this isn't a cruel April Fools joke. This is the part where I usually regale you guys with a litany of mea culpas and halfhearted explanations for the tumbleweeds that's been blowing through this jawn for the past few weeks, but you know what? Don't hold your breath waiting on concessions of guilt this time around. It's not that I didn't want to post any updates... I've had a boatload of shit on my mind that I've wanted to chat 'bout (life, love and the pursuit of a new gig among them), but when I would sit down to put fingers to keyboard, it was a no-go. Straight blank out. Mental constipation city. 5 weekends in a row passed me by with nothing noteworthy that came to fruition. A couple nights ago, I watched a rockumentary on Showtime directed by actress Rosanna Arquette called All We Are Saying which chronicled the balancing act of work and art from a cross-section of musicians including Mary J. Blige, Chrissie Hynde, Andre 3000, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks and Steven Tyler. And the one thing that struck me was the commonality of expression or the lack thereof. Watching Sheryl Crow explain the transition from writer's block to inspiration that might be considered divine was like someone had asked me to pen the segment myself. The motivation to write is no different that a songwriter looking for just the right hook. And the urges fill in the blank spaces which I called back drafts would hit me at the weirdest times. Commuting home on the Lexington line. Waiting to get items rung up at Target. Unluckily for me, I never have anything handy to jot down a key phrase, much less a sentence, so as quickly as the moment appeared, it dissipated just as fast. However, now that I'm cursed with another bout of strep throat and dreading an impending date with a tonsillectomy on such a beautiful spring weekend, seems like there's no time better than the present to pick up where I left off. So please hold off on adding this site to the latest edition of the blog obits section, I'm not dead yet!