16’s Candles Presents New Malik-16 Mixtape on MONDAY Feb.1st : THE ZOLOFT FILES volumes 1-2

You may have heard me mention this project before. It’s a collection of Thought -provoking and partially somber songs over industry beats written last summer during an uninspired period in my life which I guess turned out to be more inspiring than I thought. Actually it’s several installments of 8 song-long mini-mixtapes, but starting February 1st, I’l be running them concurrently, highlighting a song a day until February 16th.

Stay tuned everyday, as this is my most weighty set of recordings so far and by far my favorite mixtape since The Crazy 8’s (Go cop it on my site, WWW.MALIK-16.COM).

See you on Monday.

GangStarrGirl.com x 16’s Candles VLOG- Reenie checks in to wrap up First month of the year!

As I mentioned before in my GangStarrGirl post, the homegirl Reenie is joining us with a bi-weekly Vlog that recaps, blogosphere and pop culture happenings at each half way  point and end of every month. It should be fun. Here’s the very first installment 9from the bathroom – what you know about that?) You know it’s always something when the 2 of  us get together, but  I’ll let her tell you better…

(2) Classic Sounds…


In this second installment of the Classic Sounds review library, I want to focus on an album that’s heralded as a classic, but possibly not for the right reasons…

This album is one that is and was critically acclaimed, and cemented by many fans, southern rap heads, and of course Georgia natives as the foundation, but rarely mentioned.

You don’t hear much about the fact that all 3 videos from this LP actually all lead into each other. Or, the dope comic book that came with the CD. Nor, that the first song on this album gave birth to the name and tagline of one of the most popular Hip-Hop blogsites out right now.

In my mid 90’s quest for something new and fresh and deviating from the Champagne drenched, Italiano/player/mack syndrome that had just flooded hip-hop, I stumbled across this under-appreciated body of work and got a taste of what I wasn’t ready for. This album which went over the heads of many, actually hit mine directly and blew my mind.

But it wasn’t an initial blow (PAUSE). Much like the fledging public, I didn’t quite appreciate nor understand the genius of ‘Twan and Dre at the arrival the ATLiens.

Here I was: the kid with his finger on the record & pause buttons of the stereo. Master of the straight from radio to cassette mixes. There was a radio segment that used to come on at primetime called the “Battle of The Beats” (back when programmers were at least trying to pretend to attempt to care about breaking new music in). And sure, you may have heard of other battle of the beats segments in your region, but this was uber important because this was New York’s battle of the beats. And us being notorious for not being open to newness makes it even more significant when you consider that this was during the period of the much over-hyped East Coast/West Coast beef where every area inbetween fell in the shuffle and if it wasn’t immediate northeastern state hip-hop, it landed in the westside or “other” box. So more than ever before, this segment of programming was used to show that we can play fair, and introduce the New York audience to rap from outside their immediate (and close-minded) scope.

One of these such purveyors of outside hip-hop on one faithful night happened to be Outkast.

Now I  had a leg up on the general demographic of NYers who mostly at that point didn’t know the first thing about them. Truth is, I secretly hated Outkast but was a closet fan because I was familiar with them and their music from my previous 2 visits to The ATL area. I first got tuned into Kast between 94 and 96 when I was visiting my family and heard a song they did off of the New Jersey Drive soundtrack (ironic) entitled “Benz Or Bimaz”. I thought it was Das Efx at first due to the pace of the rapping and the fact that I hadn’t been exposed to ANY real variety of hip-hop region wise. But that summer was about to hit me like a ton of bricks as my cousins prepared me for the slew of southern hits that were about to smack me in my face in my time down there. See at that time, since everyone was picking sides and aligning with whatever coast, Atlanta radio favored California hip-hop and anything leaning from south to southwest. So you better believe I got my fair dose of “Po’ Pimp”, “Bout it, Bout it”, and other noteworthies from Scarface, Too Short, Mystikal and The Luniz. So once I realized how slanted things were going with this type of music that was so foreign to me, I built up a disdain for the simplified lyrics, R&B sounding beats and funny twangs. I wanted my New York Mobb Deep and Nas gritty narratives full of words I didn’t understand!

And NONE of this helped when it was revealed to me that the group behind the ONE song that I took a liking to on that radio was made by OutKast. Not THOSE guys!! As soon as I heard that, I stopped liking the song. I distincly remember seeing them previously while we were watching the first ever SOURCE Awards in Atlanta, and they won best new artist or best new group over a bunch of people who I knew and felt as though should have won. They came up and Dre was wearing a dashiki and sounding so angry as he accepted the award talking about “the south got something to say!”.  My reaction was, ‘who the fuck are you??!’  Of course I knew who they were…I saw their “Players Ball” video at some point the year before, but I just thought that was just some of that bammafied country shit from some local niggas from them gated communities that me and my cousins used to be at in Stone Mountain and Decatur.

You can see why hearing these guys on my New York station at this point was a mixture of foresight and reluctant acceptance for me…

The song being premiered was “Elevators“. I don’t even remember what song it was put up against in the battle of the beats. All I remember is wanting the Outkast song to win. And it did. I never heard anything like it. It was a deep groove that sounded like driving down the ATL backroads, but had a boom bap to it like it was spawned in the Bronx along with all my New York hip-hop. The lyrics were Crazy, yet and still the hook and the accents wouldn’t let you forget it was southern.

By the time the video for the song came out, I was sold.  But not enough to call myself buying a whole album of theirs. Leaving Middle school that summer, my boy Errol had bought ATLiens and kept going on and on about this song called “Wheels of Steel”. So I went to my local Mom and Pop record store (yeah, we used to do that), Rainbow Music on 125th street, where they had listening stations for new or popular CDs and gave it a go. I didn’t know what I was in for. The beats were nothing like the stuff I heard in Atlanta. I was expecting wah-wah guitars and funky worm synths with double-time drums, what I got was moody crunk and dj scratches on melodious backdrops.

Somehow I ended up borrowing Errol’s tape (Yeah, tape) and held it down for a few days before deciding to go buy it. I still didn’t jump right out and get the album because as you have and will see, I had other purchases to make that satisfied my more immediate New York hip-hop needs and wants. But I eventually copped it and it stayed in rotation in my tape deck until College came around.

Now I realize that Aquemini is the Starting point for many Outkast fans. I get it. It’s the media darling, I was there on the train that morning when it seemed like everyone was reading The Source and saw how it got a 5 Mic rating. I couldn’t believe I was even alive to bear witness to a 5 mic rating in my time. That’s how important The Source used to be. They were behind my inclination to check out ATLiens as well because I saw it get a 4 mic rating next to Ghostface’s album which was unheard of. I was thinking like, if their album is comparable to his, then I gotta do what the rating says and at least check it out. *Sigh*, young impressionable hip-hop fans…      Their rating pointed at the dj scratches, the hooks, the feeling, the represntation of Atlanta and a new voice for southern rap in general. They review had a tone of ‘nice try guys, come back harder next year and maybe you’ll have a hit on your hands’. Little did they know…

But what the review didn’t touch on, and what most reviews of ATLiens don’t, is the seriousness of this classic. The artistry of it and it’s cultural significance to hip-hop history is crucial and unmatched, making it even more important than Aquemini. There’s 3 angles here that this album needs to be taken from:


This is the sophmore album, coming off  platinum success, a 4.5 mic rating in The Source as well as a Source award, and establishing a name as Atlanta flag carriers and wavers, making a mark for southern hip-hop with content. This is also after the point where the Dungeon Family of producers and rappers were cementing their name and kast opened the gate for the second group, Goodie Mob, to become local legends and an equally respected southern group in the hip-hop world. Everyone was clicking up in the mid to late 90’s. This was the age of Clans, posses, crew, cliks, and families. To see the solidarity between such a large collective of multi-talented artists from a then untapped region was revolutionary. This was a milestone period. This wasn’t the Atlanta that we know it to be in the last 10 years where half of the hip-hop population is from or lives there. This was when Kast and Goodie stood alone on a national level amongst some local hometown stars and put the world on to how the new black mecca was the place to be. Right when Blacks heeded this and flooded the city for the job oppurtunities, Cheap property, warm weather, or simply to catch Freaknik before it officially died. I remember after visiting Atlanta again after the album dropped and these guys being such a name out there that they were playing album cuts on regular radio rotation like they were singles. I remember asking my cousins to turn Up “2DopeBoyz” as it played after some ’96 summer hit. They planted the seeds in the soil to the point that every last Atlanta artist that followed showed and continues to show them respect in a way that no other group gets recognized in any other region. N.W.A. to Cali would be the only other close example I could think of, and even they don’t get as much love across the board. In Atlanta, kast is king. Point blank.

But this was that time. And to make it even more significant, the whole crew had so many members who each had different talents, and none of them sounded the same. This was the perfect set up for Dre to start expressing some of that, as this album marks the first glimpse we get to see of  the artist then known as Benjamin or just Andre, departing from the norm and doing his eccentric thing. He’d began littering his fashion and verses with more spiritually influenced nuances. This had the effect of distancing him from Boi not by isolating himself like he would do in later years, but more like standing out so you wouldn’t limp them together as one indistinguishable group, as people tend to do when a duo isn’t that dynamically structured or the members don’t bring anything to the table that’s super memorable personality wise.

He secured the group from ever facing that kind of labeling or scrutiny for sure. No more would you not be able to tell them apart by who had the fro and who had the braids, or who had the darker Braves Jersey on. No. Now it was getting to a point where folk were saying that Dre was light years beyond Big Boi as a rapper. This doesn’t sound any better when you take into account that in recent years, both Dre and Cee-lo have revealed that during that time Dre was sharing writing duties with Boi, due to whatever it may have been…boi being too busy in the trap, too high, or just not motivated enough. Or maybe Boi came to Dre and asked him to finish verses fro him because he himself thought of Dre as the better rapper. Who Knows? He surely wasn’t ghostwriting for Boi. But here you can hear it, because I fear without Dre’s influence, the disparity between the 2 rappers style and content would have been more evident and obvious like it was on Aquemini, and the overall theme and tone of ATLiens would have been compromised.

Here, the boys sound like they are cut from the same exact cloth, bobbing and weaving through flows and topics. But yet and still the difference is still there. As it should be.

The beginnings of this difference can be seen in something as minute as Dre’s wearing a turban in the “Elevators” video.

This is also the album where both members emerged as producers. While the Dungeon Family beatsmiths and masters of evocative music, Organized Noize, have been behind most of Outkast’s biggest hits, the production team they formed themselves, Earthtone 3 took the reigns here. I’m usually a fan of when Outkast lets Organized Noize do their thing and falls back on production because I’ve seen the mess they can make when they take too much of the load (Stankonia anyone?). But they were responsible for half of the production on this album, including the hits.  Which leads us to looking at things


The music, yeah, let’s say music on this album was unexpected, unrivaled, and unprecedented. Not only were some of the directions taken on here unheard of for southern hip-hop, it was unheard of for all hip-hop. To this day, I’ve never heard some of these sounds utilized the same ways. Maybe they were really trying to capture the whole otherworldy vibe to play into the whole aliens thing, but the ethereal soundscapes took you elsewhere as you listened. Every track fell in beautifully with each other as it had some unidentifiable quality that tied it all together, but was so different from the next or previous track in huge ways. There’s no repeats here. No other percussion sounds that hit like sticks against fences the way “Elevators” did. No other deep, ominous piano chords like the ones on “13th floor/growing old”. Sampled voices, almost Gregorian chants and operatic harmonizing in the backgrounds made up some of the beats, while others incorporated futuristics synths and ambient effects. I do think in the end tho, it’s the vague voices you hear inside of the beats that bring that life out there and makes it feel like the album itself is the third member of the group. What’s crazy is that in the midst of all of this eclecticism, it’s still undeniably hip-hop. The drums remind you of that everytime. As well as the flows. Let’s speak on that for a minute…


What can I say? have you heard this album??? No wonder people started adding Dre to their lists of greatest MC’s.  We never saw his wave coming. Some of the stuff talked on in this album has never quite been said the same way, if said again at all. The boys have a way with words, mixing southern folk talk and ’round the way slang with sprinkles of SAT vocabulary. The expletives here serve purpose and aren’t just for randomness’ sake. You feel the profundity each time someone cusses on this joint. They teetered on gangsta consciousness, a move Dre later said was intentional, touching on social awareness issues while spreading a do what you do and learn later ethos. It was the perfect balance of  braggadocio and introspection. But what makes this album pop is that their kind of introspection moved you to do your own self reflection. Something about the southern wisdom in these 2 super young dudes (they were like 21 back then) was apart of the draw. Their warnings were like the old southern grandma that tells you not to mess with something and you do it anyway and get hurt and her response is like ‘I tried to told ya’. The depth here is immense. They touch on issues of over-saturation of commercial styling in hip-hop as well as lack of creativity. They lament on the impending loom of maturity, the plight of the ignorant negro and the state of black women and their changing roles in society from mothers to objects. The most important and dominant theme on this project is the boys place in the rap game, if not life, hence the whole aliens thing. They felt the pressure of holding their city on their backs and bringing the flyness and culture of it to the forefront, but they were aware of not exactly fitting into the neatly tucked boxes set up by the hip-world at the time.

It’s moments like on “Babylon” where Dre hits you in the head off the break with heavy shit, that you realize that the boys were waaaaaayyyy ahead of their time tho. He got the hip-hop quotable in The Source that year for his second verse off of this song, but I was always a bigger fan of the first because before the beat drops he starts off like

“I came into this world high as a bird,

from second-hand cocaine powder – I know it sounds absurd,

I never chewed it but it’s in my veins while the,

rest of the country bungies off bridges, without no snapback and bitches,

they say they need that to shake they fannies in thee,

Ass Club!

They go the other route, turn each other out, burn each other out,

where they goin’ a fine nigga like me can’t even get a backrub these days…

ain’t that bleak on their part?

But let me hold it down, cause they shut you down when you speak from your heart.

Now thats hard!

while we rantin’ and ravin’ about gats,

Nigga they made them gats! they got some shit that’ll blow out our back!

From where they stay at!”

And while Big Boi’s verses tended to lean more towards being street and pimpish, when he was on, he was on. His brief deviaition from topic was never one of non-focus that took away from the discussion at hand, just a reminder that he was different from his counterpart. The same way Dre began defining himself and standing out, so did mr. Daddy Fat Sax by reminding you were he came from and which elements he was comprised of. He has one of my favorite verses on the album on “Decatur Psalm”, a track that doesn’t feature dre at all, but has other Dungeon Family members CoolBreeze and Big Gipp with background from Cee-Lo. It’s one of those moments where even if you can’t relate, you feel him and agree.

He goes;

“Can you see what I be hearing?

talking to spirits when I sleep,

peep this out real quick-slick,

we gets on this beat.

Speak about that pimp shit, that walk-with-a-limp shit, hemp shit,

looking up in your grill I see a coward and a dimwit.”

And then further in the verse he concludes by saying

“I need to take my ass to the crib and drop the baby off,

cause them niggas at the corner store been looking at me for too long

-staring like accidents on highways,

high days are better than sobre ones,

– don’t need violence, but I know it’s bound to come.

So I put 2 in this guy to let ’em know I’m babysitting,

ya’ll don’t nothin’ bout BIg Boi cause that nigga steady pimpin’!”

Nuff said. It sounds even doper when you listen to the way in which it’s said.

So as I mentioned before, here are the 3 videos that were actually the singles from the album, making Outkast one of the ONLY groups I can think of, who made videos that ended with “to be continued” and actually picked up where the last one left off. Personally I hate the Video version of “JazzyBelle” with Babyface singing on it and a more r&b stylized beat to it, but the video is worth checking out just for the sake of completing the trilogy. Peep the Ancient Egyptian inspired imagery that blends in with the whole much talked about alien connection…

One of the GReatest Hip-Hop videos of all time.

And just because I don’t like the Babyface version (I guess they wanted to rock with each other at least once since they were on La Face records) that much, I’m including the original “JazzyBelle”.

And my Other Favorite “E.T.”

Really this whole album doesn’t have one weak song. The track “Ova Da Wudz” has a weak hook, but you can blame Witchdoctor for that. And even after you hear it a few times, you get used to it’s unorthodoxy and start loving it.

Encompassing all elements of a True Classic album, having commercial appeal while not sacrificing depth or innovation, and also having such chronological significance, I give ATLiens the highest rating I could possibly give a classic, 16 Candles.

And with that, I urge you to re-listen to it if you call yourself an Outkast fan or a hip-hop fan, or listen for the first time if you never have…

The 2011 Legalization of Cali Bud & The Death of the Good Girl

The Common Sense Act of 2010 and 2 other initiatives would see an end of the federal classification of Marijuana as a criminal substance, and the beginning of a possible new lawful industry in the state of California.

This is a law that has not been touched since the criminalization of marijuana in 1970.

Since then, several states have made provisions for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. New Jersey being the most recent at the beginning of this year.

What’s making this newsworthy however, is that within the past 2 weeks,

a bill passed by state assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco to legalize and regulate the sale and cultivation of marijuana for commerce was approved.

This is historic in itself, and makes strides towards the notion and inevitable conclusion of marijuana being totally legal across the country. This is further reinforced by Washington and other west coast states such as Colorado and Nevada following suit with actions to propose legislations to be discussed and up for vote this November. They are literally Sparking the revolution. This I’m sure will come to the delight of all of my boys who are sure to celebrate in true form and Pothead fashion this winter…

I speak in future tense terms because I can’t imagine any reason why there would not be a sufficient amount of votes or positive support for this to take action, considering that apparently EVERYONE smokes nowadays. Lawmakers included.

but more importantly,

the biggest draw would be the economic ramifications surrounding this and the promise of being on the horizon of a new business. These initiatives propose to:

Contribute billions in local tax revenue to California, create jobs, cut crime and funding to cartels (because you know WE don’t bring the weed into the country in the first place), and reduce prison costs.

For more information on this, I have included the link to this very detailed article which I came across that  breaks down the actual legal language of some of the bills most pivotal points


And here is the actual petition site for the act,


The act will obviously prohibit sale and use to minors and adults under the age of 21, much like alcohol – the most dangerous drug out there!! But it will remain to be seen if, just like alcohol and cigarettes, kids find ways around this. Mainly because they already do illegally. And this disheartens me….

If you know me, then you already know this much about me;

I don’t know anyone who shares those same sentiments, most commonly because most people are self absorbed and don’t care about what others do to themselves.
Also, because Iam a member of a pop culture obsessed rebellious-for-the-fuck-of-it generation of people searching for individual expression while falling into the same cliche cluster fucks of homogeneity. Like how everyone gets tattoos to be so unique, but it’s actually not because everyone has a gotdamn tattoo!! Similar to blogging huh?
This is the resurgence of the free Love era without the Unity or common accord in the name of peace. Just the Drugs.
we’re in constant insatiable pursuit of the biggest High.
we gave birth to the E-Pill boom and the weed and alcohol anthems. Our decadent decadence is the banner for the kids of now.

And in this, I have seen femininity re -define itself.
Now THERE, you see,
is where my dilemma lies.

I don’t believe I fit in this generation that I belong to.
sometimes I feel straight out of the Reefer Madness reel because of how I view the weed pandemic of popular Euphoria.

True enough, all of my heroes have engaged in the pleasures of the herb….even my parents. And it’s harder for me to name the friends and associates of mine who DON’T smoke than those who do. And I actually DO want it to be legalized for the fact that it is common sense to, and I’m for anything that keeps the law from spending valuable time on non-violent crimes that aren’t harming anyone directly when they could be focusing their energy on more worthwhile instances. For my friends who have made this choice and want to be undisturbed in that choice without the threat of impending jailtime if we get pulled over and they have a nickel bag on them. Also because Iam from the hood-hood after all, and Iam super used to it. I dont mind he smell, except when it’s on my clothes, and I never raise a big fuss about it when in the presence of it. Half of my family are smokers and I was haphazardly introduced to it in the process due to my male and female cousins.

But that’s probably where my dislike for women puffing started. I would see my cousin Leemah lighting up in Brooklyn and as a kid, knowing it was a drug, I could just not understand why she would do such a thing. Her using a “DRUG”, which to kids is a 4 letter word, especially in the 80’s amidst all of the anti-drug campaigning of that time was just inconceivable for me. Although, I had some kind of innate sense of awareness that this was not quite the CRACK that the guest speakers at my school were warning us about, I knew this was much more serious than the newports my mother was chain smoking on the daily.
Just why my mother’s cigarette smoking didn’t impact me the same way, I don’t know. Maybe because cigarettes have been so accepted in society for so long. Or maybe because I’ve never heard them referred to as drugs. Either way, blame it on some kind of pre-pubescent incestual kissing cousins weirdness, but I used to think my cousin was so pretty, and being that all the examples of drug users shown to me were so grisly and ugly, something in this picture didn’t fit.
Couple that with my father’s relentless coaching of me to never use anything as a crutch or rely on escapism to deal with adversity, and I was a walking TRUTH commercial.
It gets even muggier when you blend in the Ultra Old-fashion 1950’s fortified mentality towards male and female relations inadvertedly passed on to me via my dad, and the perfect stage was set for me NOT to mesh well with today’s woman.

Iam a victim of the mindset that a good woman carries herself a certain way. Though I know it’s arcaic and severely flawed, I have accpeted that. I’m not alone. It’s just that the other folks who share my point of view are either super Christian Jesus freaks or some other type of religious fanatics, or old gray bitter conservatives who hide their fear of women’s natural intellect and power behind veils of leftover Puritan morality warps. This is the same ideal behind how Presidents wives are judged, which is why you can’t have a first lady who’s an ex-stripper (or an American Idol contestant who is for that matter). And this is partially where I borrow my idea of virtous womanhood from. Certainly not from my mother with her loosie buying ass – ha! But seriously, just imagine Michelle Obama shaking what her mama gave her back in the day. Our image of her would be different. As a culture, we do this. We have the utmost respect for the honorable individual and root for the villain and the anti-hero at the same time. It’s a constant battle between our darker more suppressed urges that require regulation and taming, and our more polished projected selves that we display for external assessment. So even though I weigh my potential wives on a scale similar to those who make first ladies, first ladies, I do acknowledge that it’s these same twisted people who gave us Ms. America Pageants, the rise of Flapper culture and Playboy magazine. It’s mental masturbation at it’s finest. I still feel like it’s a great stance if you truly and fully believe in it and aspire to find that so called “Good Girl”.
It’s just that, I don’t believe in the Good Girl anymore…

As I came of age, in high school, I didn’t pay too much attention to the girls who were getting high because on average, I wasn’t attracted to them. They weren’t exactly the demure type. I guess in my eyes, their pers.onalities coincided with their habits in ways that didn’t make me react how I did with my cousin Leemah.
But it was when I got to college however, and saw the prettiest and smartest girls getting blasted, that I felt like I totally missed the memo. suddenly, I was an asshole for not having some kind of chemical indulgence and every hot chic I knew was spending the days between cramming, getting smashed. The paradox was too much for me. Almost akin to culture shock. Alot of this probably had to do with the fact that I was dealing with an influx of kids from all over, mostly priveleged suburban homelives where the drug and recreational life was a stark contrast to areas like where I grew up and probably less in-your-face. The exposure factor was different for alot of these kids, so the element of freedom and independence was a catalyst for experimentation.
And such a funny word, experimentation. During those days I witnessed girls go from straight to not so straight, and chics get alcohol poison, rape trauma and plenty of praise for the genie of the lamp.
I remember staying with my boy J.D. Back in D.C. When he was living with 2 chics, one who I became quite cool with (because remember, I don’t go around judging people by their smoking, just potential wives), but their daily exploits would surround who’s getting the weed and how much.
And these are all brilliant people by far. Like graduate early brilliant. So habits aren’t a fair measure of someone’s academic prowess or intelligence, just a testament to their decision making acumen.
And let’s not forget the pot-filled days living in the Doubletree Hotel in Post 9-11 Virginia where I met my future girlfriend. I’m all too familiar with the ol’ put the towel under the door move.

But beyond my college days, I’ve just noticed the growing trend and by way of that, the deterioration of the Cosby kid profile. Sure, I went to school with nothing but Cosby Kids, but this was the extended season that Cliff was never prepared for.
the hopes of finding a Denise that will one day bloom into a Claire Huxtable are about as realistic as Lisa Bonet blossoming into Phylicia Rashad.
I wonder if I should have just stopped priding myself on this great will power high horse I’ve been on and started hitting the bong with all my friends long time ago. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so plagued by thoughts of girls being less wholesome because they smoke or have spent the bulk of their young adulthood doing so.

My boys actually think that’s the shit. A girl that smokes means someone who won’t judge them. Who can share that psychadellic experience with them and possibly, supply or go half with them.

But am I wrong?
There’s nothing more unattractive to me, than purple lips or smoke breath. Nor is it sexy watching the future mother of my kids breaking up a crusty bundle of sticky dead plant with her feminine fingers, spitting, spilling cigar guts and sharing something that goes in her mouth with a group of people. Not to mention the coughing up of beautiful gold brown and green arrays of guck that is almost sure to follow.

My ex had a friend who did a whole bunch of shit that I didn’t want her to do, but she refused to smoke. She would say ‘why would I inhale something that I have to light on fire? How does it sound, me putting smoke into my body?’

Now it’s easy for me to wish that more chics thought like that, but every woman I’ve met who doesn’t engage in smoking or heavy drinking has some other thing with her that must be accepted. More often, something more extreme and behavorial than habitual. So what’s worse? And in a case like the one that I mentioned before with the future girlfriend who I knew as the cool smoking chic back in the Hotel days, I’m left with the decision to choose between the less of those evils. I mean, maybe I’m asking too much by looking for a chic who hasn’t spent her teens and 20’s getting fucked up, who is down to Earth, cool, street smart and doesn’t think dressing sexy is breaking out the lace shirt and mini skirt.

So in this day and age where weed is glamorized with every new rap song and Judd Apatow flick, I wonder where that Claire Huxtable candidate has gone. That girl who wouldn’t ruin your chances of being the next President with her younger day antics. The generation after mine is even more carefree and microwavable. We’re getting smarter and more advanced as a society, but much more not-give-a-fuck in the process.
And this is what I hope legalization does. I hope it finally ends this parade of being rebellious. This anti for no reason, drive for needing to let loose by letting go completely.
I hope it finally chills the fascination with buying, having and using weed by likening it to cigarettes so the average response is ‘so what, everybody does and can’.

In the meantime, to each their own,
shout out to all the girls I know who are super cool & smoke, but SUPER shout out to all my girls who Live above the influence and find their own highs.

I go into this more on my upcoming mixtape series, The Zoloft Files, but I will say that this is the last year that I will hold on to hope looking for the endangered species of the so -called good girl.

Ali – The G.O.A.T. of Cute Queens?? the growth of ms.Tatyana M.

Safe to say, Ashley Banks is blowing up like you thought she would.

Have you seen ms. Ali lately?

I mean, all adolescent boys like myself who grew up under the charismatic vice grip of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air couldn’t help but have the biggest crush if not more “impure thoughts” of the youngest of Banks’.

You remember that episode where she wanted to be a singer and she got on stage and sang “RESPECT” in that one outfit? or how about the episode that spawned the phrase “filthy McNasty” where she started dating  and looking grown in that mini-skirt?

But I was never on the Ashley Banks bandwagon. Either I was too young to really lust after her like that, or maybe I just looked at her like she was a kid and I was into fully developed and mature women. Around the time the rumor started spreading about Chili from TLC being her bigger sister and her being a relative of Muhammad Ali, I was thinking…damn, I’d much rather have Layla or Rhozonda over Ashley.

Or maybe it was because, as I mentioned in my Brittany Murphy Crush Alot post, that she went out with Former SeaQuest actor Johnathan Brandis, and her then Jungle Fever kind of made me think she was a corny Hollywood chic.

And I’m sure by now you’ve seen all kinds of threads across the internets about how she’s blossomed, littered with alot of these very pictures, but I’ve discovered in my more recent years that I’m much more of a fan of  Tatyana M. Ali than Ashley Banks.

Something tells me that she has an innate warmth, maybe it’s that smile or the dimples, but I get girl-next-door from her. Well, surely not any door in my hood, but you get the point. Sometimes she looks Eartha Kittish, other times she looks like a browner version of young Janet. But it’s all to the good because as you can see, the dangerous curves paired with the innocent appeal make for a nice tag-team. Add to that, the appearance that she doesn’t seem to come off as bourgie or seditty, more so genuinely cool, and it’s a done deal. But of course…I don’t know her.

It’s this presence tho, that makes her a part of the clan that I refer to as the Queens of Cute:

Those starlets and pretty women who don’t necessarily exude the sexual lure of say…an Angelina Jolie. Nor do they necessarily possess that hands down striking Beauty like say..a Halle Berry.

But what these Ladies do have is an undeniable gleam, a feature that makes you want to think of them as girlfriends rather than one-night trysts. A face that you want to take home and introduce to your mother. This is the category where your Ashanti’s, Hilary Duff’s and Lauren london’s fit. On the outside, that is.

You do understand the difference now right?

So I’m officially crowning Tatyana as royalty and cheering her on in the moves she makes… From the drama over the  “Buppies”  fiasco to whatever may come next…Even that Martin Lawrence – produced sitcom on TVOne entitled Love That Girl (props for the use of Raphael Saadiq’s song for the opening sequence) where she stars. Let’s see how long that lasts…

Hell, I feel so good, I’m throwing in her Debut music video from ’97 featuring Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz  (Yikes! bet you never thought you’d hear those names together. Or mentioned for that matter. And as you can see in the video, that Jungle Fever thing was still very much alive for Taty).

I think I like the second, cornier joint with Will Smith better!

(You know you liked it too!)

So here’s to you,

although you may not be Truly be related to THEE Ali,

you may very well be the Greatest Of All Time when it comes to the Cute Queens.


you were, and are now doubly so,

My New Crush!

Sex & The Chocolate City – Entry #9

The Worst Time To Be Single.

Top 5 WORST times to be SINGLE

I’m really single. To clarify, I’m not quote/unquote single, meaning I don’t have a defined boyfriend but do have a couple of boo’s on the side. No I’m straight up on the rocks single. There. Is. No. One. This is pretty rough considering it’s way too cold to go out and mix and mingle. Plus, with my hectic schedule and lifestyle, unless Mr. Right comes knocking on my door, there’s no way I’m going to find him. It’s called a single girl’s lull. But there are plenty of other times it’s bad to be single as well. Here’s the top five:

5. Summertime– Just think of all the romantic late night walks in the crisp weather, the picnics in the park, or romps on the beach. All the summer loving you won’t be having!

4. Weddings– Some would say this is a great place to be single, considering all the possible singles that frequent these events. But sometimes weddings can sadly remind you that you have yet to find someone to jump the broom with.

3. Valentine’s Day-Those big goofy looking heart shaped ballons, roses, cards, candy, blah, blah, blah. You can’t escape the day. It’s all around you. I once ran off to Jamaica thinking it was just a stupid American holiday and I would ignore it. Well wouldn’t you know Jamaicans are just as stupid.

2. The “Party”– You know what party I’m talking about. The party that you are 200% sure you’re ex is going to be at with his new girlfriend. I now understand the reasoning behind escort services.

1.Christmas/Thanksgiving– I find these to be the most romantic holidays… the lights, mistletoe, and the joy of the season. But on the other hand, no one wants to be the single girl at family functions, left to face the invasive judgmental question “So when you getting married?”

Can you think of anymore? Let us know!!!


Hot 16…Or More… EYES CLOSED Pt. 2

Picking up from where we left off last week for MLK day,

I introduced you all to a song that holds lots of significance for me. It’s also one of the very First original songs that I launched my career with and the song I’m performing in the EPK on my site(www.malik-16.com by the way).

What you didn’t really get to see is that I actually performed the first 2 verses of that song blindfolded, literally playing up on the song lyrics and the underlying theme.

It stands as one of my favorite performances ever.

The track is produced by my once creative partner in crime and business Terence “The Politician” Anderson and is just a great serving of real talk and motivational speaking in one dose.

You can check the link at the very bottom to download it for as long as it lasts.

And With no further adue, I give you Part 2 of that;

“My hood niggas only wanna hear that gangsta shit,

my good niggas on the horn like ‘Liky, save the kids!!’.

And my women-friends only listening to their favorite shit,

keep it simple then they might put it on their playlist…


You listen to thangs that’s on CD,

from niggas that ain’t ruff – they ain’t breathe,

anything Gangsta – they just read,

-off that paper and ya’ll believe what they sayin’ – cause ya’ll perceive,

livin’ this way of life to be,

one of the greatest – I don’t see,

they’re entertainers, not OG’s.

They speak your language, I agree,

but they ain’t gon’ bang, now patna’ Please,

they won’t endanger their safety with that shit they say on their songs – cause they gotta eat!

And they all got seeds,

that they gotta feed,

so they gotta be,


to make you go buy their LP.

They on them beats,

and you on the corner with quarter Lb’s.

Or that brick that they rappin’ bout,

shit that they flappin’ bout,

you cold – movin’ snow in the snow…

bet they ain’t trappin’ now.

There’s more roads to go than you know,

you just like faster now,

and you see what that has to offer you,

-you finna’ back it down…

And these conscious rappers is self-indulgent,

-they make the kind of music only a couple of folks dig.

They preachin’ to the Choir,

I don’t think that they know this…

when the mass of music buyers’ walkin’ round Blindfolded…

-on that…

Highway to pay the toll,

sucka niggas hatin’, tell ’em Blind Faith is all I know

– Jumpin’ with my eyes closed

They don’t know,

I’m ridin’ with my eyes closed

They don’t know.

See ain’t none of this positive,

gotta go get it how you live – that’s how it is,

cause runnin’ off 24 hours is,

not enough time on the clock to get – it poppin’ – this,


whether you at the job or on the block or strip,

you gotta start from where the bottom is,

and I got a problem with ’em hollerin’

(Keep it Real!!)

Cause it be the main muthafuckas that’s not that be constantly screaming they Trill,

and there’s a whole lot more muthafuckas that dropped ‘fore they topped, without seeing that Mil’.

Ain’t get that gold before crossin‘ that road,

lost their control and ain’t follow their goals,

so far as we know they might have sold their soul

-so it,

goes to show that the show must go on,

-a girl in a wheelchair told me go get your roll on.

(She said)

There’s struggle everyday,

all you got is your hope, so I’m,

back to my leap of Faith,

keeping my blindfold on…

on that…”

Hope you learned something.

Here’s the download for the whole track;


My Homie Reenie’s New Look!!! GangStarrGirl.com Re-Launch!!!

Click the Pic

My Favorite Journalist/blogger and one of my Coolest friends, Starrene Rhett, Officially re-launched her blog last week after months of delay.

But you don’t need an introduction do you?

She is actually the motivation behind and reason that I began blogging in the first place. She’s taught me SO much about the politics and ins and outs of this whole blogosphere and underground hip-hop world. before her, I was just a yahoo e-mail and myspace bandit lurking on hip-hop sites and message boards.

2009 was the biggest year so far for the “Hip-Hop Mary Tyler Moore”, complete with an Anniversary, a Black Weblog Award for best “hip-hop blog” (Even tho her blog transcends that by far) and her first event along with me – our First Annual Janet Jackson VS. Madonna party(Which will be better this year! mark my words). All that, and you can rest assured that this year will be even BIGGER for the Homie!

Look for her “Roc The Town” vlog on Roc4Life.com (Where our favorite renaissance woman TDJ will also be sharing her time), and another exclusive vlog for this very site in the workings.

The New Look of GangStarrGirl.com compliments her style much more than the previous incarnation.

She is the spunky, eclectic undeniable 80’s baby and ex-Harlem chic. The Psuedo feminist, risque fashionista with a fly -but- quirky sensibility. She’s a fine arts girl without the chemical imbalance and attention-seeking craziness. Down to earth and super clever, intelligent and picks to write about the stuff most bloggers won’t…Yeah – did I mention she ACTUALLY WRITES???

And you gotta love her sarcasm and penchant for guilty pleasures.

We’ll let the fact that she went to HAMPTON Insti..errr… I mean UNIVERSITY, slide.

She gains cool points back for going to New York’s Legendary FAME school.

Anyway, click the pic to go see what I’m raving about. It’s getting points for being one of the dopest looking blog sites this year without a doubt. That is, until my revision, coming soon…

Don’t mind if I use yours for a little inspiration right Reenie??

Shout outs to the designers out there. And all Gangstarrgirls worldwide.

Sex & The Chocolate City – Entry #8

I’ll be moving on…

I needed a break from the cold weather and stress so I flew down to Miami for a little sun and relaxation. Ok, I’m lying, I flew down here to get away from EVERYONE and mourn the end of my relationship in peace. My ex and I broke up in October but with everything going I didn’t have the time to properly get over it and move on. The issue was, I didn’t want to move on. It was almost as if I pretend we never broke up in the first place. It took me weeks to even tell my family about it or call him my ex. I guess I just never wanted to admit to myself that it was truly over. Now two weeks away from New York, I feel 100% better, rejuvenated, and complete ok with it being over. I know everyone doesn’t have two weeks or even two days to get away from it all, so here’s some helpful hints to get on with your life:

  1. Delete Everything: I mean it. Delete emails, numbers, unfollow on Twitter, and de-friend on facebook. The less you see you ex-boo’s name the better you’ll be.
  2. Beware of drunk dialing: If you’re not ready to delete your ex-boo’s name from your phone, consider this. Replace his number with your best girlfriend’s number. That way if you “accidentally” dial him while your sloshed, you’ll be calling your girl instead saving you the embarrassment.
  3. Ex-Cleaning: Clean your place so nothing reminds you of your ex-boo. Wash your sheets if they still smell like him, take down pictures, move any clothes he bought you to the back of the closet so you won’t see them, but most importantly, anything that’s his, either mail it back to him or give it to good will to avoid temping voodoo.
  4. Take a Staycation: Rent movies, buy a few new books, order in food and camp out on Isle de Bed.
  5. Take on a new project: Write a book, paint, or volunteer. Anything that’s NOT something you would do with your ex.
  6. Hang out the most Unromantic Places: Think Old Folks home. The smell alone should set you straight.
  7. Find a Temporary Boo: As the old saying goes, sometimes it takes a new guy to get over the old guy. But if you’re still in the breakup phase, it’s not a good idea to jump back into a new relationship. Enter The Temp Boo. He should gorgeous, have some type of accent, and be completely opposite of everything your ex-boo was. I suggest a nice Cuban or Jamaican. (I don’t condone using men, but in this day and age, all bets are off).


(Editors note: yeah…at this point I’d like to note that the thoughts and views expressed in the Sex & The Chocolate City column are not necessarily the thoughts and views of the entire site…i.e. number “7”…ahem…)

Go Visit The New WWW.MALIK-16.COM!!!

Okay Kiddies,

Back in Full Effect is the site bearing my name. The place where it all started.


There would be no 16’sCandles without Malik-16.com

This was my intro to the world, my first foray into the web universe and the branding of my identity.

This revamp marks the end of an era. As well as a new beginning.

This is the last time working with my beautiful collaborator Amina Brown.

In a way, we both grew a degree or so since Fall 2006 when this all started. Always the astute businesswoman and entreprenuer, I’ve worked with her from her start at Thirdeyedigital media to her own Avenue 8 Design comapny.

She’s taken off to pursue bigger and better things but her work with me is greatly appreciated.

Everything ever done on the site has been a product of us putting our heads together.

I remember my Behind The Rhyme section of the site, which was the springboard for the Hot 16 …Or More… section of this blog. I was ambitious enough to think I could put up monthly videos of myself rapping (In my closet of all places!) and breakdowns of the meanings and literary devices within the verses.

It was a dope idea. And Amina helped me execute it in a dope way, but all things must come to an end…

3 Mission statements, 5 mixtapes and 4 Site Intros later, and what I leave you with is this;

Malik-16.com – The stationary homepage, complete with all you need to get well acquainted with the best artist you’ve never heard of: Co-signs, EPK, Bio, a video explanation, exclusive downloads of my first 2 mixtapes, My now legendary Rap City appearance, and links to this very blog. The Spinoff in a sense…

Something Old, something New, something Borrowed, something Blue.

Click the logo to go visit the site and Learn a little more than you thought you knew about the man with the New York City train station bubbles in his name.

Tell a Friend.