15.Mar – { An Emcee on Emcees }

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So…

As of late, I have been compelled to listen to either a lot of 90s RnB, or earlier rap.  This is not a “school v. school” piece where I rant about the lack of depth and/or skill set of today’s artists.  Truth be told (as I would normally tell) the young cats today actually have a lot of “go” on the mic.  The cadences and delivery aren’t so predictable that I can’t tolerate it, unless it’s a MIGOS type flow – but…something is missing, and I can’t put my finger on it. The rappers that do get frequent rotation usually fade into musical obscurity as it pertains to what I see as relevant or moving.  Often times they become really annoying and I just can’t deal with them anymore.

This happened with Mr. Folarin a couple of years back when he signed with MMG but hopefully his next “nothing” album is reminiscent of the old DC, heart-wrenching rapper that I grew to love to listen to.  Which brings me to the latest person that I can’t seem to WANT to listen to anymore – Mr. Lamar.  My thing with him is namely his “respectability politics” stance and how it is falsely portrayed in his rhymes combined with my petty hipster attitude to want to move on because everyone raves about him any time he does anything – but no one is listening to what he’s actually saying.  This sheepish waltz to the new school tune usually leaves me standing as a wallflower, shaking my head in the same manner I would after listening to OG MACO……YOU WAS RIGHT!!!!!!

(OG Maco pictured below)

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Now….J. Cole has been the one that has consistently poured his soul into his music, and you can hear it.  He speaks truth from the heart and you can tell he loves what he does.  If it was purely about the fame and money he would’ve made some different choices to get him off of the B-LIST but he has remained true.  On his born sinner album, his song “Let Nas Down” literally left my mouth open.  And when Nasir responded, I had to pull my car over and take it all in.  It touched my emotion as an artist.  I could only imagine how Cole felt when he heard Nas respond to him.  THAT IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT.  These other songs leave me with a feeling…especially drake – but I usually don’t feel like a CIS when I listen to his music.  Makes me question my entire existence.

So if you’re wondering who I think is on top with the new kids?

COLE.

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2.Mar — { Black Like B }

hippie anarchist

Many times over the course of my 33 years on this Earth, my “Blackness” has been challenged!  I know that I look like a woman of color, but in moments of conversation-turned-debate where my opponent no more facts to support themselves, I am stripped of my “Black Card.” Oh, Black Card, you invisible piece of fiction, you wondrous argument-ender and judger of all those who do not toe the acceptable line of what it means to be Black.

So the truth is: Our Black may not be the same. I was not born pre-Civil Rights. I was born of a Caucasian Mother. But my Father was darker than new asphalt, and I am a PROUD BLACK WOMAN.  Does it bother you that I am 53.4% White (Thanks, 23&Me), but still able to feel Pride as though I have 100% African blood pulsing through me?  Does it bother you that I have found a way to be ME, while still showing respect to the woman who bore me and rejoicing in the sense of pride I feels in my “Black Experience”?  What is it that makes us want to thumb our noses at the idea that Diversity is the most basic of bricks that built this free world?  Let me know if you know, but I am at a loss for words to describe the moments in life where my heritage is called into question.  I cannot talk Black, I cannot walk Black, I will not explain how Black I am because my hair, my shape and my AWARENESS got the memo and my antagonists did not.

Oh, how lovely it would be to see more of my Father in my features, to bask in the glow that is chestnut skin and the scent of cocoa butter… But I am still Black.  Black like Malcom X, Black like Condoleezza Rice, Black like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Black like President Barack Obama, Black like Trayvon Martin, Black like Nikki Giovanni, and Black like Cassie Rae Bailey.

Our stories will not mirror each other, our moments of weakness will not measure the same, our skin will not tan identically under the sun, but we will ALL still struggle at the hands of people who want our self-identification to fall under the same school of thought that only a brown paper bag could solve.  

But you don’t hear me though…