GWB film will finally give Wash Heights it’s shine…And I know the Star!!!

Much like my crew, The Balance, did for the area rap-wise when we released the video “DiMelo!” featuring almost every prominent rapper north of Harlem in Manhattan, there’s a film coming soon that will do the same cinematically for that very area. 

Washington Heights deserves it’s own spotlight and recognition on the big screen. As a region that is often used for locations in movies and seldom highlighted, it’s truly about that time.

Director and Writer, Jonathan Ullman has set out to do so. Using The Heights as a protagonist itself, the neighborhood is the primary setting for a fictional urban drama that gives a glimpse into life within the blocks steeped heavily in Dominican culture and often forgotten by the rest of the city. True enough, this is a lot less sunny than the depictions delivered by the In The Heights stageplay. No. This isn’t Broadway on Broadway. This is just Broadway. And with the void waiting to be filled, and a whole community waiting for a true-to-life reflection, this film can very well end up being this generation’s JUICE.

The IMDB site’s synopsis of the film reads,

“Near the shadow of the George Washington Bridge, a young Dominican teenager is hunted by a drug kingpin as his older brother must fight for both their survival over the course of a day in their Washington Heights neighborhood of New York.”

And with familiar faces like young Antonio Ortiz and veteran actor Luis Antonio Ramos, it feels more like a movement.

Most importantly, my boy Rayniel is the star of the film, bringing his career even closer to stardom. This blog didn’t exist when he made his national big screen debut in the indie film Sugar, but I was surely pumping and promoting it just as much as I will do for this flick. How ironic that Mr. Rufino is one of the many rappers from the Heights that assembled to make that “Dimelo” song and video a historic moment in Uptown history. It’s only fitting. The kid is super talented!

I’ll follow up once the trailer drops. In the meantime, check out some of the webisodes that update the film’s progress.

(11) Classic Sounds…


Whatta group. Whatta moment in time. Whatta pioneering history. These 3  embody what a rap career is all about. Take notes aspiring duos, trios and female hip-hoppers abroad, this is how you leave a legacy.

It’s been argued that the point of Hip-Hop is to inspire, entertain, provide social commentary, educate, make others want to be like you, gain fame, more importantly fortune, and make your mark on music history by way of timeless work. If that is indeed the case, then consider Salt N Pepa‘s mission accomplished. They certified their status as a sociopolitical voice with the album before this one, delivering such singles as “Expression” and “Let’s Talk About Sex”. By doing so, they also crossed over to the world  of pop, introducing them a broader audience and resonating with young women everywhere, leaving behind impactful classics.

The brains and beauty ethic worked well for the group. It’s dismaying that alot of their design came from the genius of a man behind the scenes. Herby Azor, former boyfriend of Cheryl “Salt” James and producer for other notable acts such as Kid N Play, had a vision for Salt N Pepa and shaped it and guided it as far as he could. As the main in-house producer and writer for the group, Azor intended to present the ladies as relatable NYC girls who could dish it out as good as the boys and look great while doing so. Their ascension and message was all planned out. Much like TLC, they were picked to be the voice of the new woman, from the mind of a man.

And this is where you can cry  foul, because Hip-Hop prides itself on its authenticity and honesty. It makes you wonder, how much of a legend can you be when your whole career was orchestrated for you? Is the talent in the execution? If so, then there’s a Grammy that needs to go back to Milli Vanilli because at one long period in the music timeline their execution had us all fooled. Alot of female emcees who have reached iconic stature have gotten passes for not being the main people behind the pen. Is it a pacifying double standard? Or is it that all is forgiven once you’ve made classics?

Then again, that’s why we’re reviewing this particular album to begin with. Very Necessary was a milestone album in several ways, starting with the fact that it was the very first album that featured the members of the group handling the song-crafting on their own with little input from Azor. The relationship between he and the group was deteriorating and the words were finally coming from the mouth of now, all 3 ladies. With Dj Spinderella making herself a prominent presence on the mic and formally turning the tag team into a trio, the group was ready to blaze a new trail, and in the process, gave us their most successful album to date, and the most successful female rap album by a group ever.

Things start off excitedly and surprisingly with “Groove Me”, a dance hall inspired track that borrows from a popular 90’s riddim that was huge at the time and capitalizes off of the rap-reggae trend that was prominent then. What’s refreshing about it is that the group actually used a current proven hit to rap over as opposed to making some mock reggae attempt. This is one of two times that the group ventures into that territory, paying homage to Sandra “Pepa” Denton‘s West Indian roots, and allowing her to tap into that side of things and living up to the spice in her namesake. The other song being the sultry “Sexy Noises Turn me On”. Where Groove Me is playful and bouncy, this track finds the ladies describing their bedroom instructions, with a focus on the uhhmmAural pleasures of love-making. It’s a very direct and grown up approach to a sex song; Devoid of raunch or overt detail, and aimed in a way that addresses one lover to another, complete with an advisory “You know you gotta wear a condom right??!” quip at the end. The added dude on the track with the patois vocals is almost unnecessary here, but it doesn’t bring anything down. The spotlight is always on the women, and they have been Showstoppers from the gate.

In fact, the wackest moments on this album come from the various non-descript males that pop up on tracks adding vocals that could have been done without. It happens on songs like oh-so-famous “Shoop”, which started the 93-94 reign of Salt N Pepa as Mega Stars and featured some Pete-Rock look-alike spitting an 8 bar vamp at the end of the song that’s only memorable because the song itself is. The ladies made their point very clearly without him, and once again, while he doesn’t ruin the song, his presence makes Pep and Salt look like Eminem rapping with Gucci Mane. One track where the male vocals do stifle a bit is “No One Does It Better”, where the obvious early 90’s hip-hop ingredients are present; Rip-Off G-Funk vibes mixed with New Jack Swing takes on mid-tempo R&B. To overcompensate for the inevitable lack of soul that comes with that, the singer always is one of a more churchy variety more so than a pop-ready one. This leads to a style of singing that doesn’t really match the feel of the beat and lends itself way too much to ad-libbing and riffing. Straight from the outdated Aaron Hall school of extra! The saving grace here is that the ladies kill it with the verses and big themselves up on their skills of passion. Especially Salt and Spin, where you find the now reborn and super conservative Salt ironically rapping that she’s “better than the good book” and clever lines like when Spin starts with “Well that true, that’s why you never have no beef, cause when the bugle is blown, it’s all tongue and no teeth”. It’s this kind of slick innuendo at times that’s slipped in between the girls’ bluntness that made them so dope. They were free, but measured. Explicit, but discretionary. Even Pepa, known for having the most aggressive appeal on the mic, stayed in step and everyone kept with the uniformity of things. Spinderella in fact winds up delivering some of the more in-your-face lines. Pep’s force is mostly in her delivery. It’s difficult giving them all of this credit tho, as I’m not sure how much of this was Herby Azor’s doing and how much was theirs.

It’s also a little tricky for me to tell you the extent of my affinity for this group. As a kid, they reminded me of my two closest cousins from Brooklyn, Limi and Rainy – who are sisters…Down to their voices and hairstyles. Same age and everything. Yet somehow, I always had a slight crush on Salt and it made me wonder if that meant I had a crush on my cousin (Yikes!!). Being that I was so young tho, I stayed away from their music because I thought they were doing too much. Little did I know what their pioneering in the game as female emcees would bring down the line…

Salt started sounding distinctively more nimble-tongued and Pepa started sounding harder at some point down the line after the second album when the 2 didn’t rely so much on the tit-for-tat rhyme style made famous by Run-DMC. And while I’m sure that the underlying differences that was the inspiration for their group name were always present from the onset, this distinction made it more apparent to the audience. You could now see why one complimented the other. But I’d go as far as to say that Salt out-rapped her partner on most of this album. Even if Azor was still behind a decent amount of the penning here, Salt’s delivery was refined to a champ level for rappers of that era, effortlessly putting words together and riding the beat like they were birthed at the same time. She sounds cool and confident on every go and incorporated more wit than the other 2. Whether this was done purposefully by the ladies to play up on the characteristics of their names, or whether it’s a measure of skill between them, I’m not sure.

In either case, the ladies work in harmony to get their messages across. In some cases however, those messages are mixed. Not so much contradictory, but definitely overlapping. As one writer named Geoffrey Himes who reviewed this album stated,

“With their explicit rapping about bedroom gymnastics, Salt ‘N’ Pepa are unlikely to be held up as role models in classrooms or churches anytime soon. For a sexually active teenage girl, however, the trio shows how you can get your pleasure without putting up with any disrespect”.

Perhaps that is the case, and songs like “Somma Time Man”, where the group describes a situation where an unreliable guy divides his time between them and other women, highlights that very questionable judgement. But this is not new territory for the group that busted out on the scene with the hit, “I’ll Take Your Man”. It’s not a shocker. It’s actually kinda ill to see them staying true to what they came in doing. It goes further on “None Of Your Business”, the Grammy award-winning single that finds the women being extra feisty and fiery about keeping nosy finger-pointers and categorizers at bay. They charter into deeper subject matter on “Heaven and Hell” and the closing skit, “I’ve Got Aids”. The former sees the group tying a string of cautionary vignettes together, to provide a commentary on the changing times and growing statistics, with Pepa taking the lead and shining thru the brightest on this one. The latter speaks to just how serious the AIDS and HIV epidemic had become, and the group touted themselves as proud unofficial spokeswomen for awareness at the dawn of the movement ever since the last album where they remixed their hit “Let’s Talk about Sex” and retitled it as “Let’s Talk About Aids”. These 2 tracks alone pack in so much depth, that they make up for the lack thereof on the other 11.

One thing that cannot be said about the group on this album is that they are redundant. For an LP that consists of mostly fare concerning garnering respect from the opposite sex and relations with them, they ladies manage to compartmentalize and approach different elements of those relations. So from bedroom behavior, to respect, to infidelity to appreciation, they break things down instance by instance, with a song for each topic and an endless supply of rules, demands and disses for men who aren’t on top of things. There’s no doubt that the battle of the sexes is in full effect here, but it’s best taken care of when the women ease off of the relationship drama and focus on what got them known in the first place; Their skills as rappers crushing the competition and pushing haters aside. They do it well too. Besides the song “Step”, my 3 favorite songs on here are “Somebody’s Gettin’ On My Nerves”, “Big Shot” and “Break Of Dawn”. It’s here, that you are reminded that before they are women, They are rappers.

It’s easy to forget that in the shadow of all that Salt N Pepa has done for females. Their angle has always contained tangents of feminist idealism, tho not exactly full-out rebellion against the basic dynamics of man/woman relativity. Their position was not to try to outdo or dominate men, as it was to stake their claim as equals with comparable abilities. As the aunties to TLC, they stood on the same ground, pushing buttons by placing controversial topics towards the forefront and turning out success by doing so and making it entertaining. They also God Mothered the act of using their sexuality as a means of empowerment, while not going as far as their subsequent torch bearers Lil Kim and Foxy Brown – who killed the art of balance that the group had perfected. The ladies always used just enough of their physicality to make you acknowledge their beauty as confident Black women, and more than that, to see the strength of their power to wield that as chosen. Yet they always chose to have limitations for themselves. And that’s the bottom line with Salt N Pepa… Through all of the mixed messages, the ever-present and non-changing theme coursing through their body of work has always been CHOICE. They wouldn’t be caught dead being the down-ass hustler’s wife smuggling drugs in their orifices, or the chic bragging about how much she can fit in her mouth for a new luxury car and brand name bag, but they would defend those women’s right to be that if so chosen. We know how I feel about feminism in general, and while I may not agree with that stance, or while Salt herself probably cringes at their old lines like “If she, wanna be a freak an, sell it on the weekend (It’s none of your business!)” and wishes she could take some back, you can’t deny their impact.

I won’t close out this review without mentioning the MONSTER hit, “Whatta Man” ft. En Vogue. I don’t really need to say anything about it, just good to see that the women could take a break from their instructions to show love to the real men. And Whatta man am I for giving this album its recognition as a true Hip-Hop Classic?? Yes. I’m patting myself on the back right now.

I give this album 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)

It’s becoming a trend with the last few reviews for me to give these interval ratings, but if I could, I would give this album 10 Candles. It’s pretty damn solid for what the group wanted to get across. Time frame considered.


Hot 16…Or More…”MY, NAME’s MALIK; I’MMA BLOW!!!”

This month, since it’s the month that begins everything and kicks off the year, I saw it fitting to set the first Hot 16…Or More… of the year off with the verse that kicked off the very first track on my very 1st mixtape, which began everything for me.

Like most of the material on the Crazy 8’s mixtape, I wrote this in the fall of 2003. I was in college and hungry to make my statement. I can still remember being in my homeboy’s dorm room laying this down. I had just finished with my earlier collection of songs from that summer and I was unhappy with the fact that I didn’t attack every song and that I never released it to the campus. So I set out to record a short set of tracks over industry beats to keep up with the rising trend of artists rhyming over whatever was hot at the moment and in order to reach a broader range of my peers. I also figured the low-risk move of rapping over other artist’s stuff was a good way for me to sharpen my skills and test new flows. And that I did.

The kid who’s dorm room I’d be in was a young rapper going by the name of Blaze, who I called myself taking under my wing. I liked his dedication to what he was doing. He made his own recording set-up at his desk and started putting a few sampled  beats together on his own to start pushing an album he began. He was a little younger than me, and because he lived in the same exact room that I had stayed in the year prior, I felt like it was all kismet  and my obligation to be his mentor on all things rap, dorm and girl related. What was funny is that Blaze is one of the most clever and independent young dudes I had encountered, so he never really needed me, tho he kinda took to the apprentice role at times. That relationship played into that dynamic here and there, when he would find himself asking me for advice, or credit me for putting him on to something. Needless to say, I was feeling myself during that time. My status on campus was that of an O.G. at that point, and new kids were looking to make their mark, bumping me out the way ever so slightly while showing respect. Blaze represented that. And because he was nice with it musically and enterprising, he actually inspired me and provided a kind of friendly competition. A little bit more than my usual partner in rhyme, Brandon Carter, because this was closer to home; 2 New York kids with similar rhyme sensibilities. Seeing the little following Blaze was gathering, coupled with the esteem that the younger cats were holding me to, motivated me to exceed whatever reputation I had built, but introduce myself properly since I had never officially released anything. I wanted to kill it on a high energy beat and showcase the flexibility of my flow. I thought Peedi Crakk‘s “Fallback” was a great choice because the pace matched that hunger. It sounded like something crashing in. Plus it wasn’t a beat that I had heard a million rappers over, but it was still current and garnered instant head-nod reaction. I wanted to sound technical but effortless. I wanted to start off A-typically. I wanted to impress new listeners and validate the beliefs of all the folks who had been looking at me as the man.

I wanted to make a statement. And this was it.

As you can see, the response was so good, that I thought it would still be the best possible intro 3 years later when The Crazy 8’s hit the world.



name’s Malik; I’mma Blow,

change the beat – I been so,

pa-tient-ly waiting for,

ways to lead off – I’m so…

Dynamic – you cannot Hammer the flow,

less the nail is in the coffin – the coffin is where you go!

So close the box,

I can go off the top,

I can blow off your top,

have you with your head in your hands – tell you hold your thought…

Better learn how to swim,

or be floatin’ pon de river – like you Elephant Man!

I put the river pon dem,

Niggas thug, til their Lifestyles go POP! Like them little condoms.

But my style stop, all them niggas flossin’,

Like ‘Lights Out!’ Pop! – got it gettin’ all dim…(hmmnnn…)

And I ain’t tryin’a set the mood,

cause half the time, these dudes homosexual

-but no, I don’t gaybash,

I stay grabbing their girls – bring ’em back; now that ho’s mo’ sexual


I think, therefore Iam,

and cause I think about Pussy, niggas think Iam Pussy!

No young,

I’m a kid who thinks out the box,

Mighty Joe Young,

I Gorilla-Pimp out the box – and oh! uhmmm…

Your girl like the fact I write rhymes,

And when I call her crib, she call it the HOT line,

cause I’m good at spittin’ all of them layin’-the-pipe lines,

we did it in the kitchen – I fixed her pipelines!

With a 2 finger movement,

if she got a leak – bring a tool in, to fix the pipes,

I tie her tubes – get a kiss goodnight,

if it’s plumbing, I’m the Super Man! – No Kryptonite.

It’s no spliffs tonight…

cause I do not smoke,

I do not drink…

But I hope…

That ya’ll do not think…

Cause I don’t drink,

and I don’t smoke,

that I won’t put a piece by your throat!

The punishment’ll fit the crime I figure,

cause it’s obvious that Lik is not the grimiest nigga,

In this business of industry thugs,

no Malik isn’t a thug,

Lik ain’t no dealer of drugs,

Liky is ill – just because!

They say the flow is heaven sent,

so if you wanna test him it’s your death an’ I’ll make sure you’re Heaven-sent!

So keep on bringin’ that bull to me,

and you won’t need Red Bull to give you wings!!


Hope you learned something.

To heardownload this track, click on the image of the cover below

Purse Snatchers?? Really Tho?!

There’s not even a need to give these clowns anymore light.

Just click on this link

Perhaps this is the reason why folks are running around parading as Superheroes like those I highlighted in the last post.

I know the recession has effected lots of environments and people in a multitude of ways. One of these ways I’ve noticed has been in a resurgence of petty crimes that I haven’t heard of since the late 80’s and early 90’s. It seems like every time I turn to the news there’s some report about these kinds of felonies and misdemeanors taking place. The alarming thing, and perhaps to compensate for the pettiness of these acts, is that they seem to be happening in waves and sprees. They occur serially and range from Gas station and convenience store hold-ups and subway assaults, to more serious offenses like cab driver robberies and murders, to building and park rapes. But this is a new low that’s actually an old low. Snatching purses from old ladies and knocking them down and busting them up??? WTF??!

What’s next? Stealing candy from babies?

Somebody call Phoenix Jones!

So you wanna be a SuperHero…

How much do I LOVE this???!

Tho this story is old, new updates are developing constantly surrounding the rise of these real-life costumed crime-fighters. I now understand the reactions of villains from all of the cartoons and comic books that I was into as a child; the sight of someone parading around in dress-up is laughable. No wonder the bad guys were never at a loss of derogatory names to mock their nemeses.

Still, there’s something admirable and commendable about brave men and women who put their safety at risk for the safety of others, regardless how lame. You may think they’re just losers who must live in the basements of their mothers’ houses, but take into account how trying everyday life is. Let’s assume they’re not unemployed nobodies and that they are regular people with 9 to 5’s and responsibilities who dare to add one more arduous task on top of the daily grind. That in itself is super-heroic.

As a child, I always hoped for this to happen and wondered why no one had the gaul to suit up and live that fantasy to come rescue us ghetto children from the misery that was the inner-city 80’s. Now as an adult, near the end of my 20’s, I see this realized – ironically, when I’m halfway jaded by everything! I guess being a New Yorker and the inherent inability to be surprised by anything that comes with it doesn’t help either. I must admit that while it’s late in the game, there’s still a level of excitement that exists for me. I’m still that avid comic-book fan that would get lost in the world of capes and spandex for hours at a time. I still march my way into the theater to see every single superhero-based movie from my youth. So this happening in real life is still awe-inspiring to me in a way.

And maybe those same factors are what contributed to this surge of super-sapiens. Maybe they’re all just a bunch of comic book nerds who had that same dream and question of why not? but just had the will-to-do to make it happen. Maybe all of these Marvel blockbuster films and franchises have opened the world up to previously unreal possibilities. Maybe Stan Lee’s Superhuman reality series on the History channel gave regular Joes some courage in their own abilities. Or maybe The Dark Knight was just THAT damn good and realistic. I must admit, coupled with Batman Begins, the movies did kinda come off as a guide to becoming a vigilante…That is if you have access to billions of dollars and are extremely Tech savvy. Or maybe crime is getting out of hand in the most unexpected places. Whatever the case, at the sociological core, this all speaks to the notion that humans just need to feel important…In some way or another.

The coverage that this all has received has been all of a similar tone. The stories wind up in the more fluff segments of the news, and reporters address the heroes in semi-serious ways. There’s even hints of sarcasm and brutal honesty that leans on the side of doubt. Just look at this clip of Robin Roberts interviewing this alliance of super-men in the Seattle area called the Rain City Superheroes, lead by the now notorious Phoenix Jones. Even the title is somewhat heckling 

And although this clip highlighting Ohio Crime-Fighter Shadow Hare goes a little easier on him and the hero craze, the tone is still evident. 

In a twist that lends itsef more to the fantasy however, this is often the reception from the media that heroes in the comics are met with. Understandably so, these guys make themselves easy targets and spectacles for ridicule. Even for attack. My Homegirl Starrene a.k.a. GangStarr Girl(not a superhero) just recently wrote a post on how Phoenix Jones got himself a broken nose and more than enough bruises while having a gun pulled on him a few weeks ago. Upon viewing the comments left under that post, I saw  a bunch of racially driven comments seemingly from one person claiming La Raza was behind the assualt and that Black people, Like Jones is, are “monkeys”. Shadow Hare has reported getting a dislocated shoulder while stopping a mugging. Things like this bring the reality back into play, and remind you that these are just humans who aren’t endowed with any enhanced strength and are susceptible to death just as any of us are. In fact, their presence might escalate that possibility. A gang full of like-minded individuals such as our ignorant friend there who made all of those comments would be more than happy to set out to make an example of a caped crusader in a heartbeat.

At least Jones has the decent sense to wear bullet proof gear and plating. I’m shocked and disappointed that so many of the costumes worn by these “superheroes” are so rag-tag, home-made and less than Super. I think that may also add to how seriously they get taken. It’s one thing to run around in tights, but at least let yourself be dressed in something practical and helpful. The majority seem to be wearing nylon and not much more, very ill-equipped and under prepared for true confrontation. I’ve seen cyclists and basketball players with more protection! I’m surprised that in this era of gadgetry and access, not to mention great costume design and e-commerce, that these heroes haven’t put more effort and thought into their personas. Even Bruce Wayne ordered his masks online in the Batman Begins film. The names don’t help either. From Master Legend to Dark Guardian, the whole thing just seems like a gathering of nerds asserting alter-egos that they’ve always wanted to bring to life  under the guise of half-hearted civilian care-taking. It all just looks like alot of role-playing and dramaturgy. The only ones I believe are Shadow Hare and Phoenix Jones and a few others…Dare I say Jones may even be the coolest

Either way, these folks exist. And there’s a huge concentration going on. If you don’t do anything else after reading this post, please at least visit the site of the world registry of superheroes to see how real this all is. You’ll get a good laugh at the very least.

I’m glad to see this somehow, and I’m interested in seeing how far this goes. Excelsior!

Fuck Snow!!!

So here we are again,

on the verge of another snow storm that threatens to blanket NYC in it’s angelic reminder of all that’s EVIL. Another day prior of worrying about how many inches will actually land and stick, subtracted from that which actually falls. We cross our hearts that we’re not Westchester, New Jersey or Long Island, but envy them for having drive-ways and garages and not having to truly dig their ways out of any thing in order to drive.

Regardless of what happens this week, you can believe that the news and weather media will do their best to try and scare the bejeezus out of us with warnings, advisories and special Mayoral addresses. I mean, what kind of city are we living in when the official news provider has journalists telling you NOT to go outside if you can help it.

More importantly, what kind of weather is this?

What the hell is snow? Whereas rainfall serves an actual purpose and balances out ecosystems, snow is just a granular form of precipitation made of crystalline water-ice particles. Sure, water can be extrapolated from the snow, but snow tends to fall within months and areas where there is little to no life around in need of it. Bears are hibernating, most trees are deciduous, most animals and insects are tucked away, living off of what they stored, and humans are just plain bothered and in perpetual avoidance of it.

Sure, some of you pretend it’s fun at first, and so damn beautiful when it’s falling down, but most of you haven’t lived in the rotten apple all of your lives and had to endure the painstaking task of navigating through it, sloshing through it, having it slow down your commute, envying other cities that shut down everything at the first inch of accumulation, and then watching it fester for weeks at a time-turning a delightful New York City yellow, brown, gray and ultimately Black. It’s like a personal ugly Autumn of crap, only followed by the final insult of turning into giant puddles that we get sploshed on us, or inevitably splosh in, despite our best efforts to dodge them. Similar to how people view and approach bringing life into the world; they romanticize the baby part and the beauty of the infancy, but don’t factor in the aftermath and the headache and heartache that comes with adolescence and teenage years. Snow is that. Headache and Heartache.

Having all of this said, I ask…Why do we put up with this as New Yorkers??! I’ve lived in NYC as an adult for 5 years now and upon the third year, I began to ask myself, why the FUCK have I put up with this shit so long?? Is it because this is THEE NEW YORK CITY? The hub of everything that matters? The city that never sleeps? The place where if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere? The most expensive city in the West, and quite possibly the GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD???

Is this why we get up and accept having our fingertips freeze off at 6 a.m. as we shovel our vehicles out of snowpiles that we can almost hear laughing at us? Is this why we go to work through 7-inch trudgery on the ground beneath us? Why we accept crazy looks from our bosses who got to work before us because they live in one of the aforementioned places above and got there before us because they drove the highway that was definitely cleared before they even woke up and didn’t have to deal with 20 minute train delays and wet socks? Why we accept dirty coats and jackets attacked by pasty white residue that just won’t rub off, and all of the acidic damage of salt? Is it why we accept weather temperatures that match the ages of our children for 4 months??

At it’s most insulting, snow is just a physical reminder of how horrible New York weather is. We have the worst elevation, air and climate system ever! Our summers are unbearable, and our Winters kick our ass. Why we don’t all migrate to Florida and California, I don’t understand. We put on our happy faces and make ourselves believe that we like it, or that we can deal with it, because we want to be here so bad. As Frank Sinatra Iconically stated, we “want to be apart of it”. That IT is everything. It’s what allows us to accept these small-ass apartments and extremely high cost of living. It’s why we don’t protest when the MTA raises fares on us every 6 months for reasons we still can’t figure out. It’s because of this place…The aura, the appeal. But I’m jaded to the appeal. I’ve been here forever and I’ve got my eye on having a winter home for these cold months. Fuck a summer home.


-The End

The REAL Malik Speaks on “The Game” via premiere party

There I was.

Our former columnist and favorite renaissance woman, TDJ brought me out with her when she was in my neck of the woods. The event was a viewing party for the premiere of the wildly popular dramedy, The Game on the BET network. What else could bring a bunch of New York transplants out in the beginning of what was poised to be the next snow storm of 2011 so far??

Not only was the venue the newly opened competition to my day job, but I found myself amongst a bunch of the so-called taste-makers and socialites of the new urban professional scene. Most ironically, I found myself exchanging light conversation with one of the very people who appear crossed out in the banner at the top of my blog, from the cast of the short-lived BET reality series, Harlem Heights (a show full of a cast consisting of only 1 true Harlemite – hence them being crossed out in my banner).

This type of scene, which usually makes me throw up in my mouth a little, was refreshingly cool and calm. I don’t know if rolling with TDJ has some kind of magic or something, but the last few events that I’ve been to with her have all had a down to Earth vibe to them with folks who would otherwise be pretentious or uppity, being very warm and friendly. It didn’t hurt that I was practically surrounded by women and I got to chill with one of my favorite writers, The Jaded New Yorker. There were a few random dudes threatening to steal my mojo, but here in particular, everyone came for a common accord, to watch The Game on multiple flat screens at the same time and share unified reactions and responses to the newness of things.

Even the guys paid attention. I’m assuming that since it was a taste-maker event full of the “Harlem Elite”, that these random dudes are writers or in the entertainment business somehow…I don’t know…I don’t concern myself with what men do on average. But the unison in the room was felt every time the commercial break was over and the show came back on as ‘shushes’ spread across the floor prompting everyone to be quiet and focus. And focus we did…

Our hostess for the evening, the vivacious Eb the Celeb captured footage and conducted interviews throughout the night and put it together in this clip. You can get a feel for what I was feeling here…

Oh yeah, and I guess the show wasn’t bad either. Just really don’t like when dudes have my name. There’s never been a cool guy named Malik on television. I HATE this character! Glad he gets all the flyest girls on the show tho…That ain’t too far from the truth!

Erica Hubba-Hubbard!


Can you fall in Love with someone you never saw or met in real life?  That’s a question you’ve heard before, but for the sake of conversation, let’s say I’m being semi-serious here.

See, Ms. Hubbard has a certain…Familiarity to her that conjures up an attraction that’s a tad stronger than my average crush.

I should have had my eye open since Save The Last Dance, even Akeelah & The Bee, but Erica wasn’t in my scope until I caught glimpses of the show Lincoln Heights a few years back. And logically so, given the fact that she looks like 2 different girls from my dating stream within the last 3 years, this would explain why she resonates with me now.

This tenacious actress is like an inviting version of one of my most not-nice chics. Her smile is warm. Her eyes are soft. Her shape is right in all the right places. Everything about her shouts Black Girl fine. Plus she’s From my favorite city away from home, a true Chi-town chic who reps often and gives back even tho her star is still inching up. 

Now, Most Chicago chics I know are super sassy and super freaky, so I’ll let my imagination work in favor of ms. Hubbard, but something tells me due to her humble and poised demeanor, that if that is the case, she knows how to keep it confined to one special place and doesn’t reek of sexual energy (Take notes LisaRaye). She sure doesn’t mind letting photographers take gratuitous backshots of her tho. Do a quick image search of her and you will find that not only are most of her pictures from red carpets, but a good portion of them are backshots with Erica not poking her ass out, but it just being that damn supple that it simply looks that way. So while she may not be doing any nude scenes anytime soon, this former Noxzema model is definitely not afraid to flirt with the camera a little bit.

I’m sure she’ll be playing up that side alot more in her debut role tonight on BET‘s latest attempt at original comedic programming, Let’s Stay Together where she plays the only single character, the fiesty Kita. This will also be her first major role as an adult character.

It takes some kind of beauty for someone born in 1979 to have made her career off of playing teenage roles. It says alot. And I’m saying that her familiar features definitely don’t scare me away. In fact, I’m driven in a bit closer by it. So as much as I hate watching BET series, I’ll be catching the premiere because

Erica Hubbard,


are My New Crush!

New York to Smokers; Kill Yourself By yourself!

You know the feeling well if you’ve ever walked down a busy city street and had that busy corporate chic, or that loud ghetto person, or the Euro-centric hipster blow back their cancer-stick smoke, bitch-slapping you in the face. Ahh…Metropolitan living…

For the life of me, I can’t understand what would drive someone in this day and age in American society to put a cigarette in their mouth. Maybe if this wasn’t the decade after 2 previous decades of startling revelations about Big Tobacco and very thought-provoking anti-smoking ads. It’s almost like picking up a crack pipe after the early 90’s. And we all know “Crack Is Wack!”.

Still and all, as evidenced by the overabundance of marijuana blowers out there, people just really LOVE inhaling carcinogens and bullying their lungs. Either that, or the majority of folks out there just have an oral fixation (no wonder so many chics I meet love giving head since the turn of the century).

It blows my mind how many smokers out there tell me that after a while, what they crave is the actual social motor function of pulling something in and out of their mouths more so than the actual nicotine addiction. That would be more psychological than physiological. Some are addicted to the calm that it brings them, albeit a calm that they never felt or knew existed prior to picking up that first stog. And even after. I’ve heard that that calming effect is not a guaranteed by-product of cigarettes, rather one that develops after becoming a full-out smoker and the nicotine has caused an habitual bodily response.

I say all of this because New York is taking great strides to eradicate the fumes from the public gathering areas and confine smoking to an at-home space in the long-run. Basically, a if you’re gonna kill yourself slowly, do it in your own place kind of campaign.

Last week, Great Neck, NY saw the passing of the toughest smoking ban yet in the country. The new law prohibits smoking on sidewalks, in front of commercial buildings and the park. It relegates smokers to light up only at home, in their cars or less open areas like parking lots. Offenders would see themselves fined up to $1,000 or even locked up.

This comes on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg‘s 2010 announcement of plans to extend New York City‘s smoking ban to include outdoor plazas, Parks, board walks and beaches across the 5 boros (yeah, I know how I spelled it. I like my way better…just like Iam, Tho and Thoro). If such an extension occurs, then smokers can say bye-bye to taking a drag at their favorite recreational refuge.

Without a doubt, the smokers have come out fighting and in an uproar, even garnering support from non-smokers who simply consider themselves liberal and see such bans as a violation of rights. Well let’s at least consider the health implications here, which is the basis of these legal actions in the first place. Remember my example of having the smoke blown in your face at the beginning of the post. I even know smokers who hate that! Now let’s factor in the secondhand smoke. According to a CBSnews post on the issue by Aina Hunter, “the city’s health department says 57 percent of nonsmoking New Yorkers have elevated levels of cotitine, a byproduct of nicotine, in their blood. That means they were likely recently exposed to secondhand smoke in concentrations high enough to leave behind residue in the body.”

So, if it’s not obvious, I’m all for it. My boy woke up on his birthday unable to breathe last month only to hear the doctor tell him he HAS to quit smoking…And he’s under 30! The quality of a smoker’s life is not more important than the quality of life in general. I think of my mom who’s been smoking most of her life, and picture her getting a ticket and being outraged, and me smiling…

Get a new habit New Yorkers. BlowPops are supposed to be cancerous too, but they’ll satisfy your oral fixation, they taste a hell of a lot better and are a hundred times cheaper! Aren’t packs like $12 now?? That’s gas money fools. At least pollute the air for a purpose.

Putting the “Can” in DominiCAN! – Providence’s First Hispanic Mayor

A long time coming indeed.

As one of the cities known for it’s heavy Dominican population, Providence, Rhode Island is finally able to put a representative face in office.

On Monday, January 3rd, Angel Taveras was sworn in as not only the first Dominican Mayor of Providence, but the first ever Hispanic Mayor in the history of the city.

A Providence native, the Harvard and Georgetown graduate has seen first-hand the highs and lows of the city’s development and has especially set out to focus on it’s financial state and budget obstacles.

Needless to say, this is a big moment. As an honorary Dominican by association with the majority of  my friends being of DR descent, I know very well how proud a people they are and I feel as empowered as anyone to see more Diversity in politics. Shout out to my boy Cesar out there in Providence – this is a good look. One for the minorities!! Let’s hope he does some good work…