Videos Bring Big L back to life!

Speaking of famous deaths, It’s high time some light gets shed on the death of one of the punchline masters and a true Harlem great, The late Big L.

It’s been 12 years since his murder, and this video goes into that,which has always been a pretty quiet point of conversation when it comes to the story. 

And story is exactly what Street Sruck; The Big L Story primes itself to tell. Check out the trailer for the documentary below.

With the full version of the recorded Stretch and Bobbito show where he and Jay-Z traded verses hitting the net early this fall, I guess the timing just seems right to hear his name popping up again and have history unveiled.

Watch for the track that my group, The Have-Knotz and I will be putting out soon paying homage to the legend.

Peace, Leslie

Life is funny.

Me and my Mom were JUST talking about Leslie Nielsen last week.

I was telling her how I finally got a chance to catch the groundbreaking classic spoof film, Airplane! starring the legend.

She mistakenly told me that he used to star on the hit show, Mission Impossible, as we talked about his earlier career as a serious actor, which made me want to research him. Little did I know that this research would be prompted by the news of hearing of his death yesterday.

What my mom was right about, was that Nielsen was indeed a veteran actor, with an acting resume full of stage and Big Film roles ranging from Drama to romance to thriller and suspense. From Forbidden Planet to The Poseidon Adventure, he’s been apart of history. His foray into television branded him as a go to guy for Man-in-uniform roles.

It wasn’t until the final quarter of his life and career that Nielsen began doing primarily comedy roles. However, what Nielsen did for the genre was groundbreaking. He almost singlehandedly helped usher in the spoof movie craze. He mastered the art of slapstick comedy with a straight face and was sought after for this quality because the classical training he embodied added a less deliberate comedic element and made for a funnier effect.

After the success of Airplane!, he went on to star in a short lived television series Police Squad! which earned him an Emmy nom, but also gave birth to the detective character Frank Drebin, whom he revised when the show got revisited years later as the movie, The Naked Gun; From The Files Of Police Squad! This cemented his iconic presence as the man when it came to taking shots at films that took themselves too seriously.

A true vet, Leslie starred in one of my favorite movies of all time, Dracula, Dead & loving It! by Mel Brooks.

It’s the kind of movie my cousins and I would rent every time we got together and still quote to this day! Just as I have sang the praise of Groundhog’s Day before, I will do so about this movie. It’s good ‘ol 90’s movie humor without the low-blows and raunch of all the Seth Rogen, Seth Green and Seth McFarlaneism going on today.

One of the greatest things about an acting career is that you can work until you can no longer work. I just heard Robert Duvall say that you don’t retire from acting, acting retires you. Well Nielsen showed no signs of slowing down and continued working right up until his passing. He died the way many of us glorify and idealize ourselves going…In His sleep. Dead…And Loving it, I’m Sure.

R.I.P.

(9) Classic Sounds…

Like…

Way before Drake, there were a multitude of charming rappers who stayed in their lane and played the radio-friendly ladies-man role with great results. Yes, that includes Light-skinned 80’s rhymesters who steered clear of the gangsterism that began seeping its way into the mainstream at the turn of the decade.

One such member of this cluster of Don Juan rappers, and albeit, a severely underrated and seldom-mentioned one, is none other than the “Overweight Lover” himself – Heavy D.

Although the career has been one of many memorable and pioneering moments, Heavy D & The Boyz‘ span over Hip-Hop has been a far cry from reigning. It’s one that I don’t think Hev is unhappy about tho…You’ll never hear the grunts or whimpers of foul-play coming from his corner. He rose to label-head ranks way before it became a popular hip-hop trend, made memorable theme songs and show intros like those for MadTv and the iconic In Living Color, and parlayed his fame into low-key acting roles that have sustained him for the last 15 years. Alongside Doug E. Fresh, Heavy D was my favorite rapper as a young kid in the 80’s…Mainly because of the sounds they could make with their mouths (Pause) and the light, catchy swagger of their songs.

All of the albums released under the group have been successful, but none generating bigger hits as this Platinum album, which was dedicated to fallen member, Trouble T-Roy. Though not as good as their previous classic, Big Tyme, this album solidified the group’s stance as a fixture in Hip-Hop and a selling force.

The album starts off with the classic dance track, “Now that we found love”. As some of you know, this was a mega-smash on the dance/pop charts and fell right in line with the wave of dance and pop influenced Hip-hop that was running things at the time, but receiving much backlash from hardcore advocates.

Somehow, Hev and co. managed to come thru the hate unscathed as he seemed to maintain some sense of universal respect for always being able to mix in with the harder rappers but never step out of his range. He chose to stick to a non-explicit ethos akin to his 80’s brethren The Fresh Prince, but he was always more accepted by the rap community than the latter. If there was some kind of flack for any air of corniness surrounding Heavy D’s steelo, it probably began here…

Tracks like “Let it Rain” and “I Can Make You Go Ooh” were cringe-worthy from their inception. Much like LL Cool J during the middle of his career, Hev began taking the Ladies man role a bit too far and started experimenting with different sounds and angles to get that point across. Something must be said for the pioneering of blending rap verses with softer ballad-like R&B tones, but even the wording became more sappy and similar to those words you would hear used in an early 90’s love song by Christopher Williams or Aaron Hall. Yikes!

This was, after all, the New Jack Swing era. And with the bulk of production being helmed by the Legendary Marley Marl, and group member Dj Eddie F, the experimentation was understandable. It was also affordable for an Emcee of Heavy D’s stature at the time (No pun intended). Yet and still, Hev fared much better when he didn’t try so hard. For an album that doubled as a solemn celebration of life, Hev made sure he kept it a party, with 80% of the subject matter being about his love for the women. That being said, cuts like “Do Me, Do Me”, where he employs a more laid back and playful flow over a more stripped down beat are more in the pocket. The same goes for the requisite reggae-infused track which has become a benchmark and staple of Heavy D albums, paying homage to his Jamaican roots – literally. On “Body and Mind”, he flips the light patois flow over a synthy Island groove that sounds more like ub40 than Shabba Ranks. He seems comfortable and natural, although the music is trash and would make any Yardie scream bombaclot!

The love songs don’t end there of course… Hev gets better on more topical women-friendly tracks. On “Sister, Sister”, an undeniable New Jack Swing anthem, Hev makes a stance to show appreciation to Black women and acknowledge all of their strengths and obstacles. It’s one of the most thoughtful and honest hip-hop songs ever, and because of its New Jack appeal, it would have made for a great single at the time. Too bad it sounds so dated now…

On “Cuz He’z Alwayz Around”, He tells a story of trying to get with a young Lady who may be mutually attracted, but her dude is always in the way, cock-blocking. Heavy is at his best, however, on the singles that made him famous. The hit “Somebody For Me” from the previous album even gets a mellow revisit at the end of this album. Joints like the aforementioned “Now That We Found Love” and the smash “Is It Good To You” which is a reworking of the 90’s R&B single by the same name (by Tammy Lucas), are prime examples of Hev just being the original radio-killer. I’ll never forget watching this video back in the day with my sister Veen and thinking ‘man, this is kinda corny but it’s so good!’ He glides effortlessly over sampled, groovy commercial jams, always ending with a clever and well-timed couplet.  Let’s not forget the man used to dance! This was the whole concept of the group; They encompassed multiple elements of the Hip-Hop code back then, quick rhymes, one dj, 2 innovative dancers and one big dude in the front dancing right along with them. This was groundbreaking, tho Hev probably was unaware just how so. Sure, he knew he was stepping out of the box by aiming to defy stereotypes and take the lover role as opposed to yucking up the Big Guy thing like the Fat Boys, but he probably could never know the impact it would have. He singlehandedly paved the way for Biggie to be accepted in his Big Poppa persona years later.

We’re still talking about Rap music here. And on a few spots on the album, Hev takes a break from romancing to just spit some bravado. On “The Lover’s Got What U Need”, Hev is in more familiar territory over an uptempo Marley marl flip of Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover” where he just has fun. But it’s on “Swingin’ With Da Hevster” where he re-enters a raw hip-hop arena that some may not have heard or expected him to go back into since the last album. You would swear this was a missing track from Rakim or Big Daddy Kane‘s files the way the beats thumps and Hev attacks it with the rapid-fire flow that he’s popular for, but only uses when he wants to. It’s so overlooked how fast Heavy used to actually go in (without sounding winded, like some other big rappers)! but he spits on this one. It should be noted that this album also spawned the big single “You Can’t See What I Can See” that was released after the 92 L.A. riots as a B-Side and saw him taking a more hardcore turn which would set the stage for the subsequent and harder album, Blue Funk. Though the track wasn’t included on the album, it was a big song for the group and gave Hev more credibility by balancing the softer songs. It was even debuted in the middle of In Living Color as a world premiere. 

And then we get deep on the title track, which was released as a single. Although this dedication to Trouble T wasn’t anywhere near as big or recognizable as the later dedication “T.R.O.Y.” (They Reminisce Over You) by Heavy D’s cousin Pete Rock and his partner C.L. Smooth, there’s a sentimental vibe here that made this album important. This song was necessary because everyone was waiting to hear Hev’s words about the tragic accident that took his group member’s life. Over The Jacksons’ “Heartbreak/This Place Hotel” sample, Heavy laments and recites an open letter that sums up the feelings perfectly. He also turns it into a song for anyone who’s lost someone or has to overcome some adversity. Peep the early Jodeci vocals. 

Speaking of letters, on “Letter To The Future”, Heavy kicks reality rap and picks up where his guest appearance on 1989’s “Self Destruction” by the Stop The Violence movement left off. Hev does a flawless job of painting a clear picture of where he stands and where the average knucklehead in the hood stands, and plays the role of elder who opts to shoot it straight at the reckless youth instead of preaching at them. With lines like “Martin Luther King had a dream (Who Cares!), that’s exactly what turned his dream into a nightmare”, he exemplifies how you can say alot by saying a little.

This album is a fine specimen of a group sticking to what they know. By turning a tragedy into a happy musical experience full of honesty and feel good lyrics, the mission seems to get accomplished. The dated sound, the inevitable cheesiness and the over-doing of the ladies man schtick might serve to bring the album down, but the memorable tracks are just that. Heavy D is a lesson in simplicity done right.  My favorite songs on here are the title track, “Swingin With Da Hevster”, “Is It Good To You”, “Letter To The Future” and the Classic clever Posse cut “Don’t Curse” featuring everyone from Big Daddy Kane to Kool G. Rap

Overall, this album gets 8 Candles out of a possible

4812 or 16.

4(Classic Just because where it stands in Hip-Hop, whether it be the time of it’s release, it’s influence, or the popularity of it’s singles overall)

8(Classic because it was solid for it’s time, but may be a little dated or less than amazing by today’s standards)

12(Classic as a complete release and probably celebrated widely on the surface, but possibly lacking one key element – be it one song that doesn’t fit, a wack guest appearance, lyrics, lack of depth or beats)

16(Classic all around)

As I mentioned in my review of the Luniz debut album, if I gave ratings in intervals, I would really give this album something closer to 6 candles because it really is lacking some key elements and could have been at least 2 songs shorter, but for the sake of the scale, we’ll keep it at 8.

Black Women Really DO Rock!!

Between the two polarized platforms showcasing Black-Woman-Strength that we’ve been hit with this month in the forms of the Televised Black Girls Rock Awards and Tyler Perry‘s Film adaptation of For Colored Girls…There lies much room for Epiphany.

I recently had one in light of these two events- because make no mistake, they are just that; EVENTS…regardless of them just being programs and movies.

Herein lies an unprecedented season for the world at large to see the dynamism of Black women from two unprecedented places and from totally different angles, if not opposing. The praise that Beverly Bond‘s Charity project turned ceremonious mantra and gala had received after airing on November 7th was almost unanimous. The professionalism and flow of it was unseen for an African -American award show – let alone one on BET. And although last year’s Precious had everyone talking, I think just the sheer quantity of talent and beauty and power presented by the stars of this month’s For Colored Girls makes it a film event like nothing before it. The fact that it was helmed by the most powerful, yet acclaimed and reviled Black man in hollywood just adds that much more depth to it.

Those things aside, what I think we can take from the two most importantly (and I say “we” meaning primarily those of us who are NOT Black women) is that the reason why they have made so much of an impact and garnered so much attention and chatter is because there is not enough of a sense of recognition that goes on in real life day -to-day.

On one side of things you have this incredible story that tells the tales of some of the most gruesome, dark, tragic instances of female vulnerability, angst and failure that perhaps can be universal but resonate so much more with women of color because of the setting. On the other, you have this glorious non-pretentious, effortless and ego-less show of solidarity in the form of an award show that finds female African -American entrepreneurs being lauded in the same breath as entertainers in a spectrum that ranged from adolescents to septegenarians. Yet somehow, both were mediums to exhibit the amazing resilience Black women possess.

The recognition of this, however, seems to get lost in the endless real-life shuffle that ensues between Black women and the rest of the world…Particularly with their Black Male counterparts. It seems that that very word gets broken into a compound one, and the focus is always more on the counter than the parts. Perhaps if we spent more time thinking about how we are parts of a whole whether it be a man-woman composite or Black whole, or just a HUMAN emotional whole, we would learn alot more and respect ourselves and our roles as 1 half of the other.

This was my realization…Or at least the reinforcement of one that I had a while ago.

I turned from the award show feeling proud and invigorated. I left the movie feeling an overwhelming urge to never cause hurt to another Black woman or see any Black woman who I know get hurt.  I wanted to start my own version of an award show that promotes and celebrates Black men making strides. I wanted to rally every Black male I knew, in a call to step up their efforts to let their Black Women know how much they are appreciated. This is what I wanted to do…In my mind…

I feel it’s probably a simpler start to express it in this blog post.

For all of that strength. All of that undeniable ability and power. All of the passion, the myths the fallacies and the bark and the bite…at the end of the day, they are still very much still women. There’s an emotional nature buried under however many layers each individual Black female comes with or has built up. There’s a core that is similar to them all and a fragility that’s not hard to find. The history of Black women in America particularly is a torrid one; full of road blocks, let downs, adjustments and evolution. Black men have done alot to offset and augment the identity of Black women over the last 80 years or so. There’s been a void caused by lack of responsibility mostly, and now what is ever-so-prominent is this constant invisible power struggle between the 2 genders. As the gap widens between education and economic status, and Black men find new ways of letting their women down, the outcome is smarter, more self-sufficient women, who are more guarded and less appreciated.

I hope this award show and this movie has the same effect on other men as it has on me. I hope its the catalyst to spark conversation as it has been so far, and pushes further convo into action that makes us want to see happier, gentler, successful, enterprising Black Women who are NOT looking at relationships as one big Waiting to Exhale scenario. I just wish men, of every color – but especially Black, from this point on will make a better effort to start to undo some of that damage that’s been done by saying the kindest thing you can to the next Black woman you see. I hope you open the door for her. Tell her she looks great without trying to holler at her. Tell her what an outstanding mother she is. Advise her if you see her going into a pitfall instead of saying “I don’t save them”. See your daughters when you see them. Commend her for an accomplishment. Support a dream of hers. Think before you have that one night with another chic behind her back. Call your Grandmother or your Aunt (I say that because I just called mine). Teach her a new skill without being domineering. It sounds idealist. It also sounds lofty and preachy and you’re probably wondering how hypocritical this is for me and when’s the last time I did all of these things.

I know it’s easier said than done. Black women make it extremely difficult to be nice to them sometimes. But once you understand and accept that a large reason behind them being that way is from mistakes that we and our fathers and their fathers before them may have made, then you realize how cyclical it is. It really isn’t about being perfect. Nor is it about the quantity of these random acts of kindness as it is the quality. Healing is a slow process. And no matter how solid the average Black Woman believes herself to be, the sum of our parts is much greater than any fraction of it. True enough, their fractional strength is enough to run the world, but wouldn’t having the world run for you be even better? It only takes one step at a time. I’ve seen each and every and one too many of those somber scenarios from For Colored Girls play out in my life growing up around Black women to want to bear witness to another that I could have aided in avoiding in someway. Even if it was with a smile.

Profundity comes from the damnest of places, and Raven Symone of all people left the Black Girls Rock awards stage after accepting her award prompting Black men to do a better job of respecting our women in a way that only a Black girl could. It’s our turn. The power is yours homie.

Hot 16…Or More…”TALKIN’ BOUT”

In the spirit of Jay-Z releasing his new Memoir/Book of Rhymes this week, I’m resurrecting the Hot 16…Or More…Segment of this blog. It’s a section that’s never gotten the love or recognition of other continuous segments that appear on this blog, never garnering comments – except for the initial post.

I’m aiming to change that. And like I said, being very much so motivated by Jay-Z’s foray into the rap-as-poetry ethos, I would hope you guys are more receptive this time. He’s actually approaching things from the same angle that I always have with this segment; giving you a backstory, and understanding of the mindframe surrounding the verses, and then highlighting the literary devices used and the key words and phrases within the wordplay.

I don’t have too many tricks at my disposal. I just do a lot of emboldening and italicizing and CAPITALIZING. All I can hope is that those things at least bring your attention to words or sentences that may have meant nothing to you at all prior to that. Either that, or I’m just hoping that the sheer act of reading the words that I recited just makes you go ‘oh! so that’s what he was saying!’

This time I’m taking you back. 

We’re going to start at the most logical place; My very first mixtape, The Crazy 8’s. This Track is actually from a time period that goes even further back…I began recording myself in 2003, making my own loops, doing my own pre-mixing and editing. And what resulted was a full scale collection of songs; some over industry beats, and some over original production by my boy, The Politician (Who’s apartment I was staying in at the time, and who’s recording equipment I was using). There were only a few people who heard this collection, but among the music what garnered the best reponse were 2 tracks that I’ve always kept around. One of those being the track that’s being featured today.

If you’re like me, then you remember where you were when the Lil John production Takeover began. The song “Damn” by the relatively obscure ATL group, Youngbloodz, was a bonafied hit and I knew it from the first time I heard it. I thought if I rapped over it early before it blew up, then I could really put my spin on it and give it my own identity with a hook as catchy as the original. I grabbed the instrumental off Kazaa or whatever we were using back then, and proceeded to flip it the best I could.

At that time, Being that this was going to be my first collection of music as a soloist, I was determined to showcase as many facets of my personality as a man and Hip-Hop artist as possible. I sang, experimented with pop-rap sounds, vented, tested my flows and even dedicated 3 tracks to bashing the chic who I was dealing with. This track finds me declaring my stance on self-preservation and guns and altercations. I felt like I needed to be as clear as possible that I was no pushover and that while my status may not be that of the SUPER-hood dude, I still am a dude from the hood and as such,  I believe in certain hood laws. Also, because of all of the other styles and softer tones of the other records that I recorded, I knew that I wanted to dedicate a whole track to this topic and just go hard so there was no mistake.

When I released my very first solo project, The Crazy 8’s in the fall of 2006, I still wanted to include this track because the point was to give the audience an introduction to as many of my sides as possible in the shortest span. I still felt that this was a side of me that needed to be established so I didn’t have to do another song like this. Looking back on it now, I don’t feel the need to make another. The point was made…And while I really and truly did feel this way back at that time, I find now that I may hold some of the same sentiments, but not be so willing to put myself in any situations that might call for what I’m talkin about. Nor do I feel the need to voice it as much. In any case, it certainly wouldn’t be a whole song about why I want or need to defend myself. I just wanted to draw a clear line between me and he folks who glamorize violence.

And with that, Here’s “Talkin’ Bout” verses 1 & 2

“Cause Niggas get plucked like guitars get strummed,

so anyday I can ending your bluff with a flick of the arm,

In anyway that you be wanting – I pump it and give bodily harm

to parts you thought ain’t exist, and I swear – it’s all in the wrist

– I make sure you ain’t gettin’ far…

I don’t like no Black-on-Black Violence,

but I can’t relax with you tryin’,

to stick up a nigga while I’m gettin’ mine – that’s why that gat got a silencer…

To hush you hoes,

a nigga like me, ain’t livin’ like he, was raised my mr. Cliff Huxtable,

the gun’ll be keepin’ me comfortable.

Shout out to Mr. Clif,

One of the pros,

tell me who’s fuckin’ with Mr. 6, teen when he spittin’ that Southern Flow?

uh-unh – No!

No it ain’t a long list,

I go beyond this,

and alot of your expectations,

I’m bombing on detonation.

Tick tick tick Blowe!

Now you need the squad for the track

this is it – now pardon my raps,

When I spit, you oughta take naps – rest

Yes…

See I put my heart on the track,

to do better – you better hope that you can get God on the track cause see!

(Hook)

That’s that shit I be talking about,

And I’ll be damned if you catch me runnin’ off at the mouth.

See that’s that shit I be talkin’ about,

and I’ll be damned if you catch me runnin’ off at the mouth.

So if you see me gettin’ Live,

you should know I got a reasoning behind,

I get it goin if you squeezin’ into mine,

So you should focus – nigga read between the lines…

I’d rather do than just talk about action…

You headed in the wrong direction,

I twist your head in the wrong direction – have you walking backwards – so talk with discretion…

What I spit is all for protection, it ain’t about representing no reputation or section – No!

Listen…

I just fuck ho’s – I don’t smoke shit,

I don’t get throwed, and no, I never sold shit!

But where you find them drug dealers is where my home is,

niggas be moving more crystals than a can of Folgers!

Gotta get that money man!

Since you know I don’t drink or smoke then don’t be surprised or don’t think I won’t put gun-in-hand!

And slap you with it if my health’s at risk,

I clap a nigga out of self-defense,

none of that runnin’ man!

But it ain’t no boastin’ or braggin’

muthafucka I hope you’re not askin’

to see the chrome that I’m rappin about – cause won’t be no flashin‘.

Long as you know I ain’t flappin’,

my mouth,

you’ll understand what I’m yappin’ about

– lights out!

Cause see!”

Hope you learned something…

Click the link below to Download the mixtape & hear the track.

http://www.malik-16.com/download_crazy8s.html

The Feared,Loved,Avoided & Unforgettable 10 Year Reunion

It’s come and gone.
The official marker of growing old: The Ten Year High School Reunion. And my acceptance and partaking of said event is inevitably my acceptance of that truth.

And while I was all kinds of excited and fearless about the whole thing, I still didn’t know what to expect. You might remember I made a 7 minute long satire about it on my depression themed mixtape and now classic, The Zoloft Files. I recently shared that track on Facebook to see if any of those preconceived thoughts and ideas were shared by my peers. I made references to school drug dealers becoming judges, promiscuous girls becoming international real estate tycoons, Teachers being richer than me, former crushes thinking I’m gay, and feeling inadequate in comparison to my former classmates’ stellar accomplishments. I even made a reference to the movie Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion – which was my only real idea of what the whole experience is like. This of course, was all satire like I said. My true notions and expectations had more to do with curiosity than nervousness or any self-conscious misconceptions. I was actually happy to have people have a new picture to take of me and remember me by than that awful yearbook picture. I wanted to see what legacy I left and image I had imprinted. Plus, I really couldn’t care about what these people thought anyway. There were no old bullies, no unrequited loves. There were a few long-lost friends….That was my biggest motivation. But all in all, I don’t think any of us cared per se, and maybe that’s what gave it such an easy-going vibe and cool undertone.

Saturday night was the rites of passage for us late 20’s-ers, and the embracing of the end of our youthful adulthood. Most of us are just finding ourselves, and there was a shared understanding of such. Much to my surprise, everyone spent a great deal of the time reminiscing and not asking each other what we all do for a living now, or how many kids we all have. Those with kids happily volunteered that info…some came pregnant.

One of my 3 favorite teachers of all time was there, Mr. Hannah. That made my night. He was one of the first people who I spoke to. Glad that happened. He remembered my name. How cool is that after 13 years??! I didn’t get to tell him that he’s one of my favorite teachers, but I think I did a few years back, so my conscience can rest a little. I really have to thank the conspirators behind him being there, Pablo, Matt and Shirley. And then I have to thank Shirley and Matt again for doing the job that I couldn’t. See, at one point, I took it upon myself, along with Sydney and Kayla to attempt to lead the charge in organizing this reunion. To this I laugh now, but it was a noble idea. We wanted to have it in the gym of the school itself. Now I see, that that may have killed the intimacy of it all.

I missed alot of folks who couldn’t make it; Cassandra – the girl who put me on to the wonders of using spoken word as a tool of expression for all of that confusing teen crap going on, Molly – the girl who really made me see I had talent, Ashante – my across-the-street-neighbor and coolest dude I knew who wasn’t in my immediate group of friends, Liby – the prettiest, coolest chic ever, Miranda – just my favorite person because she was one of a kind, Erica – my laugh out loud buddy, Rebecca – my blonde-haired, snarky partner in nerdiness, Kaleeba – my sassy sometimes-friend, Jazzie -Hope you had a good reason, Mike – where the hell were you?, Julie – WTF?, Brenda – I just wanted to see what the pretty Goth chic looked like now, Mark – the other coolest kid, and Jessica – My Freakin’ BEST FRIEND in high school for cryin out loud!! She just sucks!

I have a penchant for naming names. But I’m an honest guy, I blog, and you only live once. I like to paint clear pictures so you feel like you’re with me. This did get me in trouble however…see, a few days before posting that 1o year reunion track on Facebook, I posted up another 7 minute long track that I made on my first mixtape where I autobiographically summarized some of my experiences in high school and named names of my fellow classmates and some situations. Boy did I hear it from them! Maritza kept asking why I called her flaky, My homegirls Gina and Thalia asked why I put Gina on blast about some old high school drama, and the worst offense, my boy Dave kept mentioning that I called him a “lame” back then.

For these things I apologize. Sorta…

But none of this can compare to the meanest instance; speaking to my Supposed Prom date that night and hearing her tell me that I told her upon seeing her, that if I knew she was going to look as good as she did, that I would have taken her. What an ASSHOLE! Who says shit like that?? That doesn’t even sound like me – let alone 17-year-old me. Who was I to say something like that? I was welfare-braces guy who couldn’t get a girl back then except for the random horny chics. I had to have been joking. She was just sensitive. Yeah…that’s it.

In either case, I apologize sweetheart. And I owe you a prom night.

Yet some things never change. Our class produced so many couples; Plenty of high school sweethearts, a few high school sweetheart babies (shout out to baby Mason!). Everyone still looked relatively Young, a couple of fat-faces. It was really interesting to see the dynamics, how some of us would make it a point to speak to everyone (I see you Kristel!), and how some of us just did the cordial hellos and stuck to our same crews and cliques from back in the days. It was like old times. Some people came in with a fellow classmate and talked mainly to them the whole time. Our school was kinda racially sectioned off in some ways, as I imagine most schools are. It’s a relativity thing. In our time there, the population was largely Hispanic and Asian with sprinkles of Black and White kids. The Blacks and Latins tended to mix the most although there were always separate groups within that mix. The White and Asian students tended to be more homogenous. But everyone was cool with each other. I always tried to mix as much as possible. I found everyone interesting. But I knew I didn’t truly belong to any group.

My reputation was in tact tho. Everyone asked me about my music and the status of my career. I forgot that I was pretty damn popular, not in a cool-kid way, but in a ‘that kid is cool’ way. I can live with that. Anthony told me that I battled Juelz Santana on the corner where everyone used to chill outside of school before he was known and I killed him! I don’t even remember that! Even if it isn’t true, I was gassed! A bunch of people mentioned how they listened to my 10 year reunion track. That was Dope. Mission accomplished.

I know I could have spoken to some people more, but I tried. Small talk is not really my thing. I like flow. Shout out to Michelle for being super cool, Sylvia called me out because she keeps it so real! Anatoly was the life of the party, I told Jessica that she was the heart of the party. Shirley was beautiful, Suheidy – I won’t forget! Shout out to Angela for coming all the way from the Midwest to be there, both Dannys and everyone else who I can’t remember to name.

I stood in the middle most of the time, and looked around. We are the class of 2000. We changed the game. We caused the paradigm shift, as I was telling Shamari and Khalil on the way back, from the idea of being at a certain place by 30. We made 30 the new 20. We redefined the notion of having to have a career by 25 and having to be married and on your own by the end of your 20’s. Judging from the few convos that I did have about what people are doing now revealed that we are all works in progress. Most of the unmarried folks my age who I know are either living with roommates or living with family still and finalizing intricate plots to take over the World! It’s no longer about when we get there, but now it’s about HOW we get there and what we do once we’re there.

To close it out, so glad I got to drag Killa to this event and I saw my other longtime friends, Alex and Meriam.  Anthony asked me if it was anything like the song I made – My answer: Not at all. I made new connections, made a few promises, and now we’ll all see what the future holds.

Class of 2000. You look damn good!

All Hell Just Broke loose Today…