Friday, September 28, 2007

Projects to Penthouses

"We eating joe, you still saying no cobbs"
Common, Southside feat. Kanye West

Some of y'all may have mistaken it for yet another hip-hop euphamism from the oft over-ya-head Com, but Chicago's 80's babies understand why this line was so dope.

Once upon a time in Chicagoland's grammar schools (elementary for tha out-of-towners), proclaiming "no cobbs" was the only thing that stood between a lil nigga on free lunch from coming up on your fruit roll-up, capri sun, lunchable, squeeze-it, teddy grahams... I could keep going. YES, it was that serious. As a free lunch youth from time-to-time, I was one of the few overzealous students who preyed upon the unsuspecting wielder of Now-And-Laters (known in the hood as 'Niahlatas'). As ridiculous as this sounds, if we caught you slippin and called "cobbs" before you could drop a fittingly preventative "no cobbs", the unwritten law of the classroom meant you got taxed...

As random of a sidebar as this is... I'm getting somewhere with it, bear with me lol. Last night I connected with one of my guys from Wash U that now resides in the DMV. Now I havent really kicked it tough with this cat in minute, but in real nigga fashion, we picked up where we left off. Interestingly enough, he's on the corporate tip now and as it turns out, has some of the same specific aspirations I carry in terms of investments and financial education. Reflection upon our dialogue was empowering and inspirational enough to make blog two days in a row.

Bringing me back to the Common line...

As young black professionals, ranging from a variety of backgrounds and demographics, we share one consistency... someone (mother, father, auntie, tt, madea, somebody nigga!) busted their hump so we could dream with no limitations. Sadly enough, it is our audacious conservatism as a people (it aint yo fault... look up Souls of Black Folks for more insight) that keeps us so complacent with simply surpassing the next nigga or collecting degrees. We are so worried about protecting the little bit that we've accomplished that we're afraid to stray the beaten path and go for ours.

The college degree in Black America has become a symbol of status, another marker of inter-social hierarchy and is losing its dynamism. By all means, achieve and tack as many letters onto your name as you can, but instead of simpy relying upon that to promote your bachelor eligibility in a swanky nightspot; start an investment group with your bourgie-ass friends (I did), promote financial education amongst your peers and the misguided youth, start your own business, travel the world, but by all means... don't settle!

In the last few weeks, my cousin was gunned down in wanton gang violence. He was the typical black child raised by the unforgiving streets, for lack of responsible parenting. Despite the path he walked and numerous jail stints, I loved him as a brother and did everything in my power to protect him. Whereas most of my family had gotten to the point of simply trying to protect his physical, I wanted to preserve his mind. As an elementary school dropout and repeat offender, he believed that his ambition for normalcy was unrealistic because he didnt have the stats behind him that myself or our cousins carried. His death showed me ever more, the importance of claiming our destinies and pushing it to the limit.

Y'all can keep callin' "no cobbs", but I'm over here eating. The pursuit of my passions will not stop, simply out of fear for what another man thinks.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What Money Do...

You know usually I hate bloggers (lol), because I always feel like only 10% of them are intelligent (Souls of Black Folk 2007) but I can't help but sift the masses of ignorance in the comments from the bigger blogs (, allhiphop, etc.). Recently, I came across one particular comment that caught my eye. Now I didnt care enough to go back and quote exactly or cite, but to paraphrase, someone asked...

Why after we just sat through a Super Tuesday showdown which produced 1.7 million record sales in a week for two millionaires, 'Ye and 50 are virtually tight-lipped about the weightier causes going down in the states (Jena), when less-mainstream artists are contributing their influence to said issues while they could be shamelessly self-promoting.

I'm not gonna get holier than thou' about it and initially it didnt phase me, but after seeing 50 all but dissapear from the rumor blogs and press junkets, and Kanye appear, solely to bitch about injustices against his ego... I felt some kind of way about it. By all means, your money is your money and your time is just that, yours. However, know that there is always a greater calling out there.

If the drama in Jena, or the hate crimes in West Virginia dont matter to you, then by all means, do you. I'll be the first to admit in true Kanye-fashion, I straight forgot and wore chocolate and tan on the 20th, but it is what it is. I just feel as though if they want to, these guys could have the ears, minds and hearts of 1.7 million people instantaneously if they felt the drive to rally support and social unrest behind these kids in Louisiana.

Now dont get me wrong, I'm not going to point fingers and single out the stars of Super Tuesday 2007... because hundreds of influential black artists fall in the same boat, but i'm a little sensitive because we as a country just gave 17 million dollars to Jean-Bernard Levy of Vivendi Universal (the beast that owns Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella AND Interscope/Aftermath/Shady/G-Unit) on the strength of two men's influence.

Recently super-producer, Timbaland provided a bit of insight into the concerns of hip-hop's nouveau-riche

Timbaland on "Super Tuesdays" & other niggas with money:

"To make it be some talk, I gotta go against my big brother. He's my big brother. [Who are] the two quarterbacks? Peyton Manning and Eli? When they have to go against each other, it's like, 'Do I really wanna go against my big brother?' Dre is my mentor. That would drive people to the stores. Like, 'Oh snap, Tim and Dre!' That would be big. I asked Jay-Z who he would go against. He said, 'The only person I would go against is my other homeboy: my friend Eminem.'"


"He [Jay-Z] wants me to do the next single," Tim said. "He just does it for fun. We talked about [his next album]. He says it's just a hobby, ain't nothing else to do. When a person tells you that, what you supposed to say? 'You crazy'? He said, 'I don't wait for nothing. I'm there. I'm doing it for the love of music.'"

Twista on the Jena 6 rallying efforts:

"I commend Mos for what he's doing. It's definitely time for more rappers to speak their minds, you know what I'm saying?" he said. "I'm going to be there to show my support. This is stuff that was always paid attention to in the early days of rap..."

I've recently downloaded Adrenaline Rush 2007, but I'm headed to Best Buy to get my copy on payday homie.

EXCLUSIVE!!! with a lil hate on the side...

I guess it has been getting a bit cool outside lately...

By the way, I'm mad at u Grease. I bought my first pair of selvage last week (they too, were APC's) and I called you for comfort (no homo) over the smooth $170 I dropped for em. Needless to say, you didnt answer. I've had to take solace in the number of Chicagoans that greeted me with "you must've paid a grip for them joe" this weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jay-Z = Next Kanye. Commence the hype.

The trailer (really, a trailer?) for Jay's new single, Blue Magic. If you haven't heard the song yet, don't worry. Payola will take care of that for you. (You could also scroll down and download it). The beat at the beginning of this video is BANANAS. I hope Jay spit to this one. I'm not sure how this whole "concept album" thing is gonna go. "Blue Magic" isn't exactly Jay at his best. Really, it's not even Jay at half-tank. Especially if this is sposed to be reminiscent of a Rakim joint. I mean really, if I were Rakim, I wouldn't wanna be associated with this. And if you heard the "I Get Money" Remix with Jigga, Fiddy, and Diddy, then you should be worried. Jay sounds hella rusty. But maybe I'm just being too harsh.

Maybe not.


Jay-Z - Blue Magic

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The 3rd Coming

Hov is back. Yes, you read right. The Jiggaman is in the studio recording a new album, and he's already 9 songs deep. The first single should be leaked soon. When I get it, you'll get it.

Until then, peep the NY Times exclusive. (Since when did rappers announce their albums dropping in the New York Times?)

And to hold you further:

Kanye ft. Trick Daddy - I Can't Say No

Jay-Z - Allure/Flashing Lights Blend

Funny thing about this is that, not long after listening to "Flashing Lights" and falling in love with the track, I made a 2 song playlist entitled "Hypnotize Minds". The two songs on it? Kanye's "Flashing Lights" and Jay-Z's "Allure". Guess I'm not as avant garde as I thought.

And lastly, it's September 20. This week, my kids have been reading about the Jena 6 and so I wanted to remind everyone about today's importance in remembering how our country is still effed up. (In case any of you forgot that after earning your degree(s)).

I'll be posting the Real Talk with Bill Maher ft. Cornel West and Mos Def soon. Be on the lookout.

Burying the Hatchet

In lieu of Kanye's first week sales of 957K, many are considering 50's 691K a loss, citing it as the beginning of a downward trend...

I must say this, 691K is never a "loss" in pop music period! I will admit that the combination of waning interest, public displays of sensitivity, and a lukewarm album are the reason he didnt break 1.1M first week sales of The Massacre, however, his public tirades against 'Ye made that 957K possible. Dont get me wrong, 'Ye might be the Jesus Christ Superstar of post-millenial hip hop, but we all know that no amount of gimickry, street cred, or bds spins can beat old-fashioned anticipation; and thats just what Curtis did. His dramatic interviews and soundbytes make us care about these two releases. Sad part is, he hipped the world to the fact the 'Ye had an utterly awesome album under his belt and built the fever pitch against himself.

To all those who thought 50 would trump 'Ye, I ain't mad at ya.

To those who thought 50 would catch a complete brick, I bite my thumb at you.

Unless Interscope folds, Dre TRULY retires from his extended vacay, and Eminem starts writing books about fatherhood in the vein of "The Cos", 50 will NEVER BRICK. On Get Rich or Die Trying, 50 Cent convinced White America that he was the face of the streets, single-handedly brought fitness back to the hood despite a McDonalds on every corner, made everyone from Ivy Leaguers to D-Boys nationwide believe Many Men wished death on them, sold 2M in India alone, and garnered the seal of approval from the two biggest entities in Hip Hop left of Jay & Nelly. [In case you forgot, the thumbs up from Marshall and Andre made Obie Trice go gold twice, and D12 multiplatinum] And as much as y'all hate, The Massacre spawned Disco Inferno, Outta Control & Just A Lil Bit.

Now to speak to the relevance of 50's market. Suburban & rural White America comprises 70% of this nation. Is it any wonder that he does Hannah Montana numbers!?

Mr. West, on the other hand, might have finally developed the necessary controversy and drama to move in on that coveted market.

The beauty of Kanye's icon status is that he has championed the niche market. By niche I mean, select cultural demographics within America's population that are not large enough to individually propel an artist to Nelly numbers, but will keep him visibly relevant and banking on tour. Examples include The Roots, Common & Talib Kweli, children of the Post-Native Tongues/Late 90's underground scene. Kanye is the king of the college students (dropouts & post-bacc med students alike), the 30+ y/o golden-agers (who were us, ten years ago) that hate snap and loathe uber-violence, trend humpers & streetwear fashionists or former backpackers-turned-capitalists (myself) , skate/rap pre-teens, the black bourgeouis (talented 10th), and select hoods around the states. Whereas this collaborative market has kept Com' with grammy noms and solid sub-platinum numbers; Kanye has been able to combine this group with media-freak status and Time/Rolling Stones critical acclaim to bat 2-3M every time.

50 has no real footing on this turf, but when you're number #1 in the 'burbs and middle America, you cant go wrong. This distinction is the difference between 50's combined first week numbers of 1.9M for Get Rich and Massacre and Ye's combined 1.3M for Dropout and Registration resulting in US sales of 15M for 50 and 5M for Kanye.

Realistically, Kanye is to be commended for striking multi-platinum in a realm where his peers (Mos Def & Common) have made their money of tours and endorsements, not units; but 50 Cent is a beast. Kanye may put the greatest effort into his product, but 50 does the best job of product placement. And to really keep it funky, this 1st week may honestly not reflect the final numbers once the dust settles.

I'm putting all my chips on the Good Life single tho... if that dont draw like In Da Club, I might just be deaf, dumb and blind. If 'Ye dont start doing High School Musical numbers this is what we might be left with...

"I don't believe Cam'ron, I don't believe Jim Jones, I don't believe Lil Wayne, I don't believe Baby, I don't believe Game and I don't believe Fat Joe. My best friend sells the most records and makes the most money ... I've seen checks for $5.5 million that 50 is generating monthly just from Vitamin Water," he stated. I could call 50 right now and borrow $5 million dollars. It's not a problem.

This new album, I'm calling it 'I'm 50 Cent's Tax Write-Off.' I really don't care if it sells or generates any money towards Interscope, because Interscope only cares about three people: Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. I'm not going to sit here and grow gray hairs over it. I'm gonna give you the best music possible because 50 is going to make sure I'm all right. I can do five shows with 50 and make over $100,000 being his hypeman. So me going on tour with 50, I can generate millions of dollars that a artist would make doing shows off their own album."
-Tony Yayo

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Kanye gets his John Tesh on

I'll be happy when i'm not posting kanye stuff anymore, but dangit, ole boy keeps making it too easy. Kudos to whoever his publicist is. Knowing 'Ye, its prolly him.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good Things Come in Small Keri Hilsons... or sumthing

I feel for Rich Boy, I really do. Polow taking his shirt off was the worst thing that could have happened to Rich's career, no homo. But seriously though... legitimate Keri Hilson camera time!!!

Can I Talk My S*** Again!?

Now being the 'Ye advocate that I am... I normally wouldnt bring these issues to light, however being that VMA Nom'd Justice didn't get their due props for best video, I gotta keep it funky. How's the Louie Vuitton Don going to bitch and moan about 'Stronger' (a truly dope video... if you've seen Akira and fantasize about Harajuku Cassie, otherwise... ehh) getting snubbed against Justice's "D.A.N.C.E.", but he clearly liked it enough to draw inspiration for "Good Life". What's next? Body paint and sparks flying in the video for "Big Brother", with a complimentary Jay feature... iunno bout it. Either way Good Life is a dope video, the video ho is doper, and Graduation is human crack in the flesh!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lauren London's got some comp

This may very well be premature, but either this youngin has a great stylist, or she's just bad. Oh yeah, nice video too. Very Parra-esque.

And hopefully MTV Jam of the Week is enough of a consolation for Yeezy.

Kanye West and Lil Wayne

"I'm a grown man, but I wear pampers"

This never gets old. Weezy kills 'Ye in this one. Maybe this dude shoulda wrote Weezy's verse for "Barry Bonds"

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Back again for the first time

This is it people. It's Sunday night. I'm on my way to bed. When I wake up tomorrow, I'll be a teacher again, in a new classroom with 30 new faces in front of me and 180 days to fill and fall in love all over again (no Jacko). I'm nervous. My stomach won't stop churning. The truth is that I'm much more prepared for this first day of school than I was last year. I know it, but I don't feel it. Not yet. Maybe it'll all come back to me once I see them, but I doubt that. It's more likely to come back when I see my former students than these unidentified beings on my class list. Nonetheless, the future is here. My mornings, afternoons and evenings will now be spent almost entirely in Southwest Philadelphia. All the stuff I said I wanted to do, I gotta do now. Time to show and prove.

Epictetus said "Only the educated are free." I'm ready to liberate. Let's not call it the first day of school. It's more like Juneteenth.

walk with me. (round 2)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The kids need you Mr. Garr...

"Plies is an interesting name for a rapper, how did you get that nickname?"

"Plies is a tool, You can use it to put the squeeze on things, like I'm doing to these niggas in the rap game. I got the squeeze on them real tight, they feeling the pressure, or you can use it to pull things out. I pull out all the bullshit and keep the real you feel me? It also a word you can use in terms of things goin' on in yo life, ya dig. You may hear something I say and say that it plies to me. Plies straight to me."

"I've heard of a tool called a Pliers and the term applies."

"You know what I'm trying to say my nigga, just buy my album, I'm from the South my nigga, we don't learn no grammar. My Album out August 7, 2007, cop three copies each, it's Christmas in July fo' real, ya dig?

-Plies Interview @ Ozone Awards

Nuff said... save the music y'all.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Let man's soul be a sphere

So I decided to buy a book the other day. The decision was a long way in the making, seeing as I had at some point over the Summer realized that reading was, indeed, fundamental. Checking out books from the library was cool, only thing is it gets frustrating cuz you can't (/not supposed to) write in a library book. So I came to the conclusion that I would actually have to take sneaker money and put it towards something more erudite.

Seeing as this is my first true foray into leisure reading for a very long time, I figured I should ease myself into the practice. A book of poems would be best, by someone I could count on for quality writing. The result: Riding Westward by Wash U prof Carl Phillips.

I won't say much about what I've read so far other than it's vicious. And intense. Yeah, that's it. No reviews here. I haven't even finished reading the thing. But can I shout out the cover art on this one? Is that alone not reason enough to buy the book? Well, if that isn't enough for you vultures, I guess I'll give y'all an excerpt.

P.S. I will pay 1,000 Zambian Kwacha to whoever knows where Phillips got the title for his book. (Without using the internet) I'll even pay it in US dollars.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

STL Stand Up

Jenny Owen Youngs - Hot in Herre

This is a white girl from New Jersey covering Nelly's hit. I'm still not sure how I always seem to find stuff like this.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Trickle Down Nigganomics

I'm setting up my classroom. That means one thing: Summer's over. Not officially, we have 20-something days till it's officially Fall. But Labor Day is this Monday, and like I said, I'm setting up my classroom. That basically means fun in the sun is done. So, since I'm bored and waiting for my couch and coffee table (upgrades abound, son), I'ma put some of y'all onto some ish.

Dunks are dead. This is very old news to the true sneakerhead, (as is the fact that--like hip hop--a good Dunk never dies), but to the masses, Nike Dunks are still the ish. People come to me a lot and ask me about Dunks as though they're discovering something. I try my best to help them without shattering their dreams, but Nike pretty much exhausted the creative possibilities of the Dunk model a few years ago. [stunting] I've only bought one pair of Dunks in the last 2 years and I've worn em less than 5 times [/stunting]. I say this not for the stuntastic arrogance of it, but more so to let you know that the golden days are long gone. Even more so for the Dunk SB game. So stop buying dunks to stunt. You're failing. You look like everybody else.

For the newbie sneakerhead, some words of wisdom: buy what you like. That may mean you buy those composition notebook dunks cuz you like them. Whatever, to each their own. An arrogant old head such as myself will look down on u, but hey, who listens to Al Sharpton these days anyway? Secondly, do your research. Don't get had by fakes. College provided me with hour upon hour of unstructured time with which I was fortunate enough to procrastinate with a purpose. The result: I know too much about sneakers and not enough about English Lit. I can spot a fake in the dark from across the street, but can't remember most books I've read. (Think about how many books I actually read.) Lastly, know that the sneaker game is not what it used to be. There is no reason to let capitalism force you to pay 2 times the retail price of a pair of kicks unless they were only released in some random place like Turkmenistan in a limited run of 274 pairs. Otherwise, chill. If ebayreseller24 wants $200 for a shoe he paid $65 for, come up with a creative expletive and tell it to him. It's not that serious.

There are exceptions though. I mean, you can't put a pricetag on love and if the shoe is one of ur grails, then honestly, it's fair game. That's how I got my OG Flightposites. But that's when u gotta make sure u do ur research. You may really crave some strawberry jam (hmm), but that doesn't mean you're gonna pay $12 for a 8-oz jar. Just means u might get it at Whole Foods (pause) and not at Wal-mart. Ya dig?

So yeah, Dunks are Dead, but if you still like what they're making, by all means, cop till you drop. But if u wanna be stuntastic, stop. Especially if ur only buying SB Dunks cuz of the "SB". Those ppl are losers. Don't be a loser.

Really, I say give up on the sneaker game altogether, unless ur buying OG (original) joints from back in the day. Buy yourself some jeans. Nice ones. And by "nice" I mean "These ain't Diesel, nigga, these is Evisu" type nice. And don't be a jerk and get a whole bunch of ridiculousness on the backpocket to announce what you're wearing. Do you really want everyone staring at ur butt cheeks?

Here. I'll name drop; you google:

Sugar Cane

This is by no means exhaustive and it's actually not as ballerific of a list as I guess I could make, but they make good stuff. And while ur at it, look up "selvage" so you can be a snob. (I'm being more genuine than sarcastic here). To conclude the ostentation (sidebar: pretensions of any sort annoy me, including this post), I just picked up a pair of APC's today. I have a pair of Canes and the LVC's were my first pair of raw selvage denim. They're fading nicely. If I win the lotto, I'll buy myself a pair of PRPS, but I since I don't play the lottery, I guess I'll have to steal them when I need street cred to get my rap career off the ground.

Oh look, the couch is here.