Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book It!

Language is the universal whore that I must make into a virgin.
-Karl Kraus

Those of you who know me personally know that I majored in English Lit in college, but I hate to read. It's not so much that I hate reading, but it usually takes a lotta work to get me to sit down and read anything longer than 3 stanzas of poetry or 5 paragraphs of prose. Why? Not sure, but I suspect it's my latent ADHD from childhood.

Irony notwithstanding, I majored in English Lit more for my love of hip hop than my love of books. I mean books are cool. They have pages and, when you're lucky, pictures, but it was Jay-Z's Blueprint, Mos Def's Black on Both Sides, Canibus's freestyle that began "I speak a frequency dogs would have trouble hearing..." that made me fall in love with language. Through that door, I entered the study of literary devices and figurative language. When I fell in love with the work of Shakespeare, it was because he had a lyrical dexterity and wit that reminded me of Brooklyn's finest, and the sensitivity of their Queensbridge neighbor.

My course of undergraduate study resulted in the purchasing of a grip of great literature, most of which I've never read. But 99% of the time, when I decided to read a book so I could get a paper done, I always enjoyed it. Iris Murdoch's A Severed Head, Gwendolyn Brooks' Maud Martha, Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, shoot, even Henry James' The Europeans. As labored a task it was to finish most the books I had to read, I was always happy that I read them once I'd finished.

There was a time when I really liked books though: 5th grade. Or more accurately, 3rd to 6th grade, but I think it peaked in 5th. This was mostly due to my affinity for science fiction and the fact that Bruce Coville seemed to have a limitless supply of such books. From Space Brat, I eventually graduated to the more complex Madeleine L'Engle and her A Wrinkle in Time series of novels, occasionally dabbling into the closely related genre of pseudo-medieval fantasy novels popularized by J.R.R. Tolkein. I was never a big Tolkein kid, but Lloyd Alexander's Newberry Medal-winning The High King is a book that I still have to this day. I think I stole it from the library in fifth grade.

All this to say, I haven't read for pure pleasure since the days when I only had hair on my scalp. Since then, I've gained a permanent 5 o'clock shadow and my attention span makes it hard to finish most books I try to read, even if I like them. I started reading Toni Morrison's Bluest Eye a year ago to make up for the fact that I never even opened it in my Black Lit class back in '04.

Still haven't finished it.

So when I decided, on a whim, to pick up Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao one day in October, I honestly figured it'd be another ordeal similar to my purchase of Carl Phillips' Riding Westward, a book begun, but never finished. (Yeah, didn't finish that jawn either.) I caught wind of Diaz's book pretty late, during an appearance on the Colbert Report back in June. I learned the following: dude is Dominican, his book won the friggin Pulitzer, and the story's protagonist is a Dominican dork that defies all stereotypes of what it means to be Dominican.

To be fair, that doesn't tell you much about the book (I wasn't gonna give you many details regardless), but I'll say this: I couldn't put this book down. (And any book that generously uses "nigger" colloquially and yet gets the Pulitzer is a winner in my book anyway.) It's a story that is amazing in its breadth and depth, and even more impressive in its method of narration. I have never read a book like it, and I hope I never do. It's easily one of the greatest personal reads since I read Giovanni's Room in college, and prolly one of the most enjoyable. It has an honest universal appeal. And the way Diaz describes some of the Dominican women makes me wanna pack my ish and move down to the DR inmediatamente.

Like all good books, it's a tragedy, one that is immediately obvious given the title, but the joy of course is in the doing, so I recommend you holler at a Borders or whatever the other bookstores are called and pick this up.

Finally, a cinematic adaptation (read: a movie) is in the works now. The rights were bought by the same producer who did No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood, which is to say, I'm looking forward to 2010.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And ya say Chi City

Too many quotables. Watch and enjoy.

Tell Everybody That You Know

I'm hella late for this, but The Paxtons have been grinding as of late. Of course, there was the party at Casa Frela in Harlem back on the 14th, but these niggas have been on a serious hustle since the release of the monster mixtape, Members Only. They got a chance to holler at Howard University radio station and even blessed them with some styles for free last month at Homecoming. In case you missed it, or in case you did catch it and wanted that good mp3, I guess that makes me a genie...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Still got big ears tho

This song has so many glaring problems. It's the kinda song that nobody likes except your girlfriend, and you kinda wonder if she's serious or just tryna get u back for that one time u farted on her leg. The video is even weirder, as it seems to make you watch with the hopes that Mya might do something a tad bit on the "My Love Is Like..." tip. She doesn't. Some dude dry humps for a combined 2.173 seconds, and she wears this corset that looks like an electric wire fence made out of silverware, but that's about it. Don't watch it and say you did.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I try to hold out on Holiday posts till Black Friday, so yes, Jeezy's "Black President" will be in full rotation till then, but if you're already in the mood for Christmas, check out my boo Janelle Monae in these new Gap ads:

"Winter Wonderland"

"Jingle Bells"

There are more, including one with her, Trey Songz, and Flo-rida, but you can get those yourselves.

All I Need is a Corner

Young Chris - Freestyle

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Now that's a real Obama...

A piece of a piece off thedailybeast.
I recently interviewed Jimmy [Jones] about the play while sitting on the lip of the stage, and toward the end of our talk, I asked him how he felt about Obama’s victory. Since Election Day, every conversation I have eventually turns to Barack Obama and our emotional reactions to this American epiphany. Jim confessed that the election inspired him to drop the word “nigga” from his vocabulary—where it was a nearly ubiquitous presence—and replace it with “Obama.” He gave me a few examples: “What up, my Obama?” “Yo, did you see them Obamas last night?” “Now that’s a real Obama.”

I was blown away. Black men have used nigga for more than three decades as a way of expressing a certain gallows humor. It is a way of saying, “Hey, if America thinks we’re the national boogie monsters, then fine, we are. Boo!” It stems from a peculiarly black sense of the macabre.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This guy too.

This dropped last wknd but got lost in the sauce of the wknd long celebration in NYC. In other words, you should have this by now, but if you don't, it's right behind that album cover.

Mr. West is in the building

Yeah, this too. Click that album cover.

You bring the popcorn

Luda's latest. Click the album cover to download.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taking it to the Suburbs

Paramore - That's What You Get

I like this song. And in case u didn't notice, blogger took down the Jay-Z "History" post. I'm seriously considering making that move to wordpress...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Rip and Run

Non-CDQ rips are the law of the land right now. Enjoy till blogger sends another takedown notice.


I was waiting for the group rip, but i really don't care enough to keep waiting. Click the album to download and disfrutar. The link is borrowed so some of the less bootleg-savvy may notice there a few hoops to jump through before you can actually download, but when your album's theme has something to do with the circus, I guess it's kinda appropriate.

Edit: Spoke too soon. Group rip's up. Click the album cover.

Put a [Link] On It

Not much of a point in waiting for the group rip. It's the webrip and the bitrate is pretty decent so disfruta. Click the album cover to download.

Edit: Deluxe Edition group rip is up now. Disfruta.

Happy Birthday Grandma

Since 1942, my grandmother has celebrated November 14 as her born day. This year, The Paxtons are throwing a party in Harlem, NYC on my granny's bday, November 14 (which is the Friday after tomorrow). She's not invited, but you are. Here are the reasons you wanna be in attendance:
  • It's at Casa Frela, home to Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy" video
  • Open bar all night
  • Free giveaways.
  • It's hosted by yours truly and DJ Jerome Baker III (sup to the Commonwealth DC collective).
  • It will be ignorant ignant--ridiculously so.
  • And oh, open bar all night
  • President-elect Obama wants you there.
  • No need to pregame, cuz u can forego the $5 donation if you bring liquor or any other substance to "keep the party going"
Since I'll be on the mic, I can guarantee that Jeezy's "Black President" will be played multiple times, if not consecutively, cuz it gets me hype. (You can CC: Allah on that one.) This invite goes out to all of yall, whether yall know us personally or not, cuz it's gonna be a lotta heads in this jawn. If ur in NYC be there. If ur in Philly or the DMV, hop on that young Chinatown to NYC.  A nigga like me might even take the day off from work. It's a celebration!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Best Political Team

...this all follows back to a convo I was having with my brother-in-blog this weekend in DC, but I'll fill you in. CNN has the baddest women on television!!! SERIOUSLY. Furthermore all DC anchors are vicious too. Ironically, at least half of CNN's current rank and file spent some time on DMV television sets. Now of course there's a logical explantion for that, having nothing to do with their Atlanta address. The creme always rises, which typically includes tv dimes or average chicks who's political knowledge and general awareness of current affairs is s**tting on the nation (as we say in the Chi). After you kill the game in the Nation's Capital, where else do you go!? Either way, here's my picks for The Best Political Team on Television.


Soledad O' Brian - PG
What more reason do you need? She's a vet in the game, killed the ratings with Blacks in America, and a People Magazine-certified sexy

Veronica De La Cruz - SG

Amy Holmes - SF
As versatile as it gets... and just plain BAD.

Betty Nguyen - PF
Experience Wins Championships.

Sara Sidner - C
Dont hate on the big girl... PFG's run the low post


Kiran Chetry - 6th Man
First off the bench... EARLY!

Abbie Boudreau - The Long-Range Threat
Doesn't she just look like a vicious spot-up shooter?

Alina Cho - The Import
Yao Ming anyone?

Fredricka Whitfield - The Veteran
Every good team needs veteran leadership and she's definitely been around the block a few times.

Naauma Delaney - The Rookie
Point guard of the future... peep game.

Sunny Hostin - The Benchwarmer
I couldn't ask for a more attractive splinter collecter.

Unlikely Hero

In the wake of Barack's success, I wanted to share something that touched me (pause) yesterday. While watching CNN for like 20 consecutive hours, I came across this clip.

Terrence J of 106 & Park, a show from a network that "us" (i use that liberally) college-educated black folk love to hate on, jacked a slogan popularized by Soulja Boy (or the DC go-go scene depending on who u ask) and attempted to help change the world. Though he fell short of his goal of 100,000 registered voters, 25K is nothing to sneeze at. Especially when battleground states like Indiana were decided by less than 24,000 votes. Can't knock the hustle.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Black President

We're taking a break for the rest of the day. Let's make history.

Medici Music

Since the last month has been so busy, I've been slacking on even listening to most the new music out. My trip back home gave me the opportunity to holler at the newest jawn from The Abstract. Let me tell you, this is vicious. (Track 5, "You"?--niiiice) I'm really waiting for the instrumentals to come out, cuz Q-Tip's latest is an aural treat. Click the album cover to download.

Swing Low

While most of yall were trick-or-treating Friday night (innuendo intended), I was on a Chinatown down to DC. I'm not sure if you know or not, but there's a big election and I wanted to make sure my vote counted, so I went back to VA to cast my ballot in what has become a crucial swing state. I knew I couldn't be home to vote on Tuesday, and since Saturday was the last day for early voting, your boy had to take a last minute viaje south of the Mason Dixon.

To begin, I got up at 5:30 Saturday morn to head up to the DMV cuz ma dukes told me the lines had been crazy all week. Since Saturday was the last day, I was sure the lines'd be even more ridiculous. I got there between 6:15 and 6:30 and found that there were already about 30 ppl waiting outside, cold and dark. The DMV didn't even open till 8 and by that time, the line had wound its way around the building and back. Since I was one of the early risers, I was outta there by 8:30, but for those late-comers, voting was an all-day event. I drove back by there when I was headed back to DC and saw cars parked everywhere and a nigga selling Obama memoribilia on the corner. If I didn't know better, I woulda thought it was some kinda block party.

All that to say, today's the day, and if ur reading this, I damn sure hope you voted.

Black President.

The only time I enjoyed listening to Khaled yell

T-Pain - "Karaoke"

No lie, I thought T-Pain deserved consideration when MTV did their first "Hottest MC's in the game" bit a couple years back because, autotune or not, the Pain be spittin.