Oct.17 – { When We Decide to Share }

Hello, I wanted to take you into the mind of a creative soul.  Many of you may have friends or relatives that are creatives, or you may be one yourself.  If that’s the case then I hope this resonates and speaks to this topic well.

All too often people misunderstand when someone wants to show you their craft or let you hear their work.  Too often the requested audience of the creative soul misses the chance to connect or to tap into something that they may not even realize is going on.  The artist, be it visual or audio, is sharing a piece of their heart and soul.  This gesture may be mistaken as a single act of narcissism as to say “hey look at me, look what I did” (and on occasion there are those that do it for that reason) – But my experience as an artist, and knowing others that create – the intent behind that gesture comes from a different place.  The hours and days it took them to go into a certain place to create.  The mood-shifts and emotional stirrings that provoke environments of artistic expression that lead to their finished product.  The vulnerability behind them being in a place to FINALLY share with someone…and that someone being you – this in and of itself is a lane of intimacy that goes beyond any traditional sense of the term.  This intimacy is not always a romanticized intimacy either, but it can be the type of intimacy that forms bonds beyond explanation.  It is the type of reach that if not taken into proper consideration, you could insult and abrasively handle this show of intimacy with indifference and lack of consideration which would ultimately bruise the artist and cause them to either cloak the art…or ease your presence from the private showings.

Some creatives are weird, I get it…always doing something – and explaining it to the core and working on some sort of project that’s hard to explain to the onlooker – but if you just bare with them and get lost with them in their world, without judgment and with the same excitement, you will be blessed in the end.  More often that not, this is not how this is handled, which is why creatives prefer to vibe with other creatives.  It’s like “my dark sees your dark” or “my weird matches your weird” – and it’s all love.  It’s not forced, it’s accepting and free-spirited.  It reminds me of the countless hours I would spend at Hanzo The Phantom’s crib – vibing with St P@, Chelsea, Kandeaux the Savage, and Killer Matt.  We would talk concepts and interpret verses…go back and listen to old stylings and tell the origin story of the project and just listen and groove.  It reminds me of my recent sessions with Will Porter, where we just vibed and shared art, and music and concepts and he read me a chapter of his book and I just sat there and listened because I know the importance of that gesture.  Creatives don’t ask to be creatives, we just see the world through a different lens, and choose to communicate our interpretation via our intimate channels of art.

So…next time you find yourself in that space – shut up, listen, look, read, and vibe.

You’ll be blessed if you do.

  • Kenneth

Oct.12 – “Migos are Modern Day REAL EMCEES and You’re a Hater”

I’ve been wanting to write this piece for a while – if you have had the privilege of hanging around me then you’ve heard me rant about this at some point.  Cutting to the chase scene; If you grew up on 90s Hip-Hop and you hate on today’s rap, then you have become the haters and disgruntled OGs that we hated when we were growing up.  Imagine the old-head uncle running up on you telling you that rap was trash because they came up on 70s soul-music – comparing ATCQ to the Gap Band.  Yeah you’re him.  Go look at yourself in the mirror and spit at your image please.

Without getting too much into the history of Hip-Hop – I’m going to lay the frame-work from which the culture was built upon.  Then do some nice comparisons of our rappers of old to the ones of today and leave you standing there looking stupid as you read.

In it’s inception, Hip-Hop was trailblazed by the DJ – spinning and keeping parties rocking till the break of dawn.  They found the break beat on a record and stayed in the groove.  They creatively made a lane for the MC/emcee to get on the mic and MOVE THE CROWD. The MC kept the party going, they hyped the people up.  There were certain emcees that grabbed the mic, and when the people heard their voice – they knew the party was going to be lit (wait…they didn’t say lit back then…my bad).  In short..the first emcees (sans Zulu Nation and GM Flash and the Furious 5 coming with “The Message”) weren’t conscious.  They rapped about PARTY and BS….PARTY and BS…PARTY and BS – (sorry had a BIGGIE moment).  It wasn’t until the 90s that there was an onslaught of conscious vibe coming from the Hip Hop community.  You had sprinkles of it here and there but overall we had legends like LL rapping about his gold, his chains, his women and BOOMIN SYSTEM, Beastie Boys fighting for a right to party, the famed ATCQ made a song about LEAVING THEIR WALLET IN EL SEGUNDO!  But we want to judge someone for saying PANDA 90 billion times.  Here’s my point.  If you’re in the groove (unless you’re at some low-key backpackers gathering where purists bob their head to the stylings of J DIlla and GangStarr) then you want to get on them MILDs and that YAK (shout-out to our new Black Delegation House Leader; Shannon Sharpe) and you want to PARTY!  NO ONE WANTS TO GO OUT AND HAVE A GOOD TIME AND LISTEN TO BLACKSTAR OR COMMON.  Now the DJ can throw a set and sprinkle some of that in there…but let Sir OFFSET come on with his comrade TAKE-OFF and QUAVO and they will do what?  MOVE THE CROWD!

—————The NIGRAS will lose their ever-loving minds ———————–

DIGRESSION:  I had the chance to see DJ ESCO perform at “The Stage” in Seattle – one of the best parties I’ve been to in my life – and then Future came and just stood while his music played.  EPIC!

Ok – back to the point…

What really spurred me into talking about this, was recently I had the awesome tasking of blocking another annoying person on FB – He goes by the rap name “Japhia Life”.  He got nasty with me because I commented on his post because he was attempting to destroy Cardi B.  I’m like…chilllllll – “why are people mad at her because she makes music and people listen to it?“.  Most of the RAPPERs that hate her, are made because they haven’t reached the level of success that she has – and with her recent billboard success, she’s made history and accomplished something that only our beloved Lauryn Hill has done.  She gave the folks something to party to, and BODAK YELLOW is top of the charts.  So emcees….If it was THAT garbage no one would listen to it….like they don’t listen to your trash music….(or Casual Savage for that matter).

I could give you all a lengthy list of rap music from the 80s and 90s that talked about the same thing; Sex, drugs, and with a rock-n-roll attitude.  The fact that the older generation as a collective can’t stand them – shows you how HIPHOP they actually are.  This generation gets them, understands them and relates – and there are a couple of us old heads that do to – and that’s all that matters.

Lastly, I find it interesting that I now have this stance considering about 5 years ago this wasn’t the case.  I enjoyed a ratchet ballad or two from time-to-time but it wasn’t filled with sonic debauchery.  Till this day, if I’m around my sister Sydney and best friend Tina, and “No Hands” comes on – ISSA RAP.  My increased interest in “less than conscious” music grew as I actually became more conscious.  Years ago, I had a mind to be conscious and so the music fed that urge.  Now that I’m actually active in causes, and I write and speak so much on plight and etc…me putting on “Slippery” by Migos takes me to a happy place and helps me escape for a couple of minutes.  So, hats off to the new REAL EMCEES.

  • Kenneth

05.Oct – { The White Elephant in the Room }

I guess I’ll address the white elephant in the room…elephant because it’s huge…white..well because whiteness.

It is with great sadness that I write this concerning white people.  Mostly because so many of my friends are of the lighter shade of life.  Even my white adjacent friends (light-skinned black folks) don’t get the perks of the porcelain-hued – a little kink in the hair, or if it looks like you’re mixed with something, then the darkness of reality sets in -and you’re treated like the rest of the cattle.

Black people live in a perpetual bad dream – where sometimes we wake up from the nightmare only to be faced with hellish reality.  It’s like you’re asleep and you get Freddie, if you’re awake you get Jason, you try to cuddle with a doll…and the doll is chucky.  You kill yourself to escape, and you’re met by Pinhead (he was the scariest btw).

The fact that I’m now at a point that I have to assume that a white person is racist until they prove otherwise is disgusting.  And even if they prove it, they have to prove it over and over again, because what I’ve learned is that if you push some of them to a limit then they will go clean smooth David Duke on you.  The amount of times that my mouth has dropped at the response of some white people that I considered friends is alarming.  And to know that they did this because I was speaking truth is worse.  It’s like the empirical evidence and claims brought up by a victim of the American experience is offensive to them.  Are you offended because I say “white people” and you somehow think that it includes you?  Well good, because it does…Just as much as I’m included into the black populous of thugs, criminals, and sketchy individuals that get killed for existing.

The difference is, my true statements about what white people have done is merely stating fact.  Your speculation about blacks, gets us killed.  Your whiteness is LOUD, the LV shootings speak to that.  The fact that the black community gave you all the media and white public responses before they were made public, is ridiculous.  If white people EXPECT blacks to be violent…like I don’t know… at the showing of STRAIGHT OUT OF COMPTON – you all beefed up security and started checking peoples bags, as if we’re the ones that shoot up movie theaters. If someone of the muslim faith OR someone that resembles someone of the muslim faith has anything to do with an airplane, then all of hades breaks loose.  NOT TO MENTION that measures are always taken to beef up security and detain and question muslims or brown people with funny names.  Measures to unjustly stop, frisk, harass, or KILL blacks to neutralize the black threat to society are in place, SO WHEN ARE WE GOING TO STOP THE DEMOGRAPHIC OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE COMMITTED THE MOST ACTS OF TERROR ON AMERICAN SOIL?  WHAT MEASURES WILL BE PUT IN PLACE?

Answer:  Not never.

The people that have to make that change look too much like the people that are out here being serial killers, gentrifiers, eating people, wearing people’s skin, eating people’s faces, starting horrific slave trades, buck farming, passing jim crow legislature, attacking peaceful protestors of people that want equality, giving indigenous people diseases that didn’t exist, raping, murdering and pillaging, erasing and white-washing history, starting racism, perpetuating racism, being treasonous and then treating it like heritage (confederates), erecting statues to psychopaths (had Germany erected one of Hitler it would be distasteful but the “jews” are white so….consider their feelings), mass incarcerate people that don’t look like you for more financial gain, exist in privilege and then deny it exists, consistently kill leaders that help blacks progress (all of them), show a KKK movie in the white house….i could literally go on.

and on.

So I guess I say all of that to say – white people…please stop white people.

Stop yourselves – check yourselves – call each other out.  Fight with us or this cyclical crap will be america’s portion.  To the black – this country has never been great.  Please help me experience the greatness that you’ve seen and experience.  The old way of thinking has to and will die off – it is up to you to INTENTIONALLY raise your children to not carry on what has been – and unfortunately for you this means a relinquishing of power and authority.

I know I’m asking a lot – we are asking a lot.   But I have to get this white ass elephant out of our country.