(14) Classic Sounds…

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“Here’s an oldie but Goodie!”

That opening line from “Treat ‘Em Like A Prostitute”, the first track off of Slick Rick’s Magnum Opus is so appropriate at this time.

This classic LP  is the source of so many references, borrowed lines, borrowed swag, and is apart of that top ten of Golden Era releases whose songs litter the sound scape of 80’s themed stuff from movies to parties. You’ll be hard-pressed to find much pertaining to the urban lifestyle in the 1980’s without some Slick Rick song playing in the background or being mentioned. And it would more than likely be from this particular album.

Reason being is that Slick is of that oh-so-rare cluster of artists who only made 1 memorable album. However, that’s all that he ever had to do. This one album made an indelible and irreversible impact on the culture and music history period, to the point that it’s hit songs still get played in the contemporary party scene today…Re-looping it’s lifespan for each generation since it’s inception. It helped revolutionize and redefine Hip-Hop with new slang, new approaches to social situations, and a new voice most importantly.

This debut had been highly anticipated since the great alley-oop introduction lent to him by his partner in rhyme and then mega rap star Doug E. Fresh. His guest features and solo spotlights on the eternal hits, “La Di Da Di” and “The Show” helped cement him as a force to be reckoned with, but no one could have anticipated the bomb that he was about to drop.

As an outsider in more than one way, it almost appears as tho Rick’s immigrant status as a Brit and unmistakable King’s English has always been overlooked. When I was growing up in the 80’s I don’t ever recall hearing anyone trip off the fact that this guy was str8 up London rapping like he’d been in Brooklyn his whole life. As if he didn’t sound like a cartoon character. There was no masking his speech. Unlike other English performers – even fellow British rappers like Monie Love, his accent didn’t fade and slip out as he recited. It was here to stay. Now add to that a penchant for breaking out into random melodious riffs and interpolations of other popular songs, and Slick Rick was never intended to be the norm. He was far from conventional, but he wasn’t weird. He was just giving the Hip-Hop audience something that they didn’t hear before. And not because he was trying. But this was genuinely his interpretation of bragging, establishing identity and being stylish. This was his vision of cool. And we knew it was. Maybe the foreign thing played a huge part in his confidence, or maybe I was just too young to remember, but everything this guy did was accepted. Eye-patch and all.

This may explain his brazenness as well. Although many a rapper had dedicated their fair share of time to odes about the opposite sex and being the best, Slick took things from a different angle and delved more into situational relations. He demeaned his competition by not aggressively denouncing them, but by using witty jabs and sharp comparisons. Listening to him amongst his peers now can be likened to being in school and seeing how the other kids would settle conflicts with fist fights and then seeing that one kid who was the best snapper and would send other kids away in tears just with his words. This is also the case for how he approached female scenarios. Noted in rap as quite possibly the best storyteller, this was Rick’s chosen approach. It was always linear, yet easily digestible chronicling, full of characterizations and punch lines. Everything was and is a story for him. Yet what made him so bold was that at the time, the only rappers painting such vivid depictions of day-to-day life were the “gangsta” rappers. Slick was so appealing because he brought elements from each existing field of Hip-Hop at the time. He was topical, creative, a known party rapper with a talent for crafting the most compelling parts in a song to sing and rap along with, but he dealt with mostly street based issues and spoke about them like the hardcore rappers would. A good amount of curse words, which was not too prominent in the average rap recordings of the time. Even Rakim would use like 1 swear word per album. Around then, only Rick and maybe Big Daddy Kane were mixing that playboy image with the raw delivery and bravado, while still making time to speak on social issues.

Apart of that playboy image would be addressing male-female situations. And that boldness that Rick exudes is present from the moment the aforementioned “Treat Her Like A Prostitute” comes on. Just the idea to title the song in such a way, and furthermore, to start his debut album off with, speaks volumes to the balls this man had. And balls this man had indeed. So much so that he taunted his competitors to “lick” them on the closing track. The titles of his introductory and ending songs let you know the manner of hubris you are dealing with. Yet there’s a humble undertone in Slick’s ‘I-just-like-being-fly’ ethos, so consider these 2 songs to be the bread of a sandwich full of adventure and humor. On the former, Slick provides a cynical commentary on female infidelity based on crude accounts from stories that sound like something out of a Richard Pryor routine. On the Latter, Rick proves my point about his brash nature on this late 80’s braggadocio fest “Lick The Balls” with crazy sentences like “act trife, I’ll let my dog cold fuck your wife!”

Of course this was in the scope of a story. The tale being Slick at a show along with some less than comparable comp. This is also one of the only straightforward songs on here. In a similar but way more creative and intricate plot, on the song “KIT What’s The Scoop”, Rick and co. find themselves on the trail of a group of imitating rappers. Enlisting the aid of the high-tech talking sports car from the 80’s hit series Knight Rider, Rick catches the biters in the act, confronts and reprimands them, recapturing his style just in time to rock a show. This is rap as art to the highest level. The dialogue between he and the car (K.I.T.) is pure genius. 

Another interesting point in the Slick Rick profile is that he voices different characters in his rhymes. Most of the times this simply means that he softens his cadence to indicate that it’s another speaker or another pattern of thought, but sometimes this extends to include full on different personalities – even in adlibs. This is exhibited in songs like “The Moment I feared”, that finds him in a series of unfortunate mishaps where Murphy’s Law takes the wheel.  It’s when he characterizes female characters however, like on the über classic party hit “Mona Lisa”, or “Indian Girl” that he has gained the most notoriety. Where most males are unwilling to portray a woman or less than masculine roles, Slick presents full on conversational exchanges between his assumed characters. On “Indian Girl”, Rick uses all of the gross Native American stereotypes to tell an “adult story” that’s set to be a crassly humorous cautionary tale. Yet it’s exactly this kind of unabashed bluntness that separated him from the other rappers at the time. Only the super underground street rappers were reciting lines about having sex until “the pussy started yawning”, but by the same token this was a song that at its underlying core was about safe sex.

Blame it on the Libra balance, but Slick hits all of the angles on this album. He even willingly lets his cooler-than-thou guard down at times to play the victim in his stories. He also plays the grown man, but not the preacher on “Hey Young World”. For all of his finger waving and commentary, the song avoids that cheesy quality that lots of rappers like say a Run-DMC would display when speaking on social issues. It seemed to come from a place of experience and warning. Yet what set him apart from being a one-note rapper is that his songs with deeper content became as popular as his party songs. So much so that they get played in the same space. Anyone who knows the Slick Rick catalogue or anyone who has breathed air within the last 3 decades knows that “Children’s Story” is as popular as “Mona Lisa”. “Children’s Story” is hands down a lesson in Hip-Hop that I’m surprised not too many other rappers have taken a cue from. It’s an example from the Golden Era that was set early on for the rap generation of the future to learn that any song with any kind of subject matter can be made into a banger. It meant that you could be conscious and dance too. You would think this would catch on, but alas, we’ve had to endure 2 subsequent decades of deep-sounding, soul sample laden and gothic slow songs to get our thought-provoking rap fix. It wasn’t until “Jesus Walks” that another rap song tackling such hefty material got the same regard as a club hit and even still, that doesn’t get party play like “Children’s Story” does. By all accounts, it broke the rules. This is a song with no chorus, about a kid who sticks innocent people up, goes on the run from the police, has a shootout with them using an assortment of firearms (one borrowed from a dope-fiend), commits grand theft auto, grabs a pregnant woman as a hostage and ultimately ends up in prison by the end of the song at the age of 17. It’s dark and against 80’s format, but it worked because it was perfectly coupled with a thumping beat. It was the ultimate marriage of concise storytelling and great instrumentation. 

Speaking of beats, this LP encapsulated the entire 1980’s Hip-Hop sound. Using the popular synths and drums of that age, everything hits where it’s intended to. The party songs hit like party songs designed to rock any house jam. And the more subtle tracks are melodious. Just as the rhymes are evenly varied, so are the beat selections. So on a 12 track LP, this has the effect of a diverse spread of sounds, albeit of the Casio variety, but diverse nevertheless. From the twinkling on “HeyYoung World”, to the Blaring horns on “The Ruler’s Back” and constant scratches from the DJ all throughout, every song has its own lead sound, but nothing deviates too far to stand out-of-place.

With the exception of the sub par “Let’s Get Crazy”, which sounds like a song that was meant for somebody else, all the songs here are tightly knit. And even that is forgivable, because lyrically Rick doesn’t necessarily falter. This is a classic album that serves as both a great debut and a pivot piece for a new wave of rap styling. It’s well-rounded and crisp, full of wit and creativity. The most important thing about it being that it has proved to stand the test of time as a bona fide classic.

My favorite songs on here are “The Ruler’s Back” , “Hey Young World” and the ever-so-Dope “Teenage Love”

One of my favorite rap songs and videos of all time.

Overall, The Great Adventures Of… gets 16 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)

Mai,Mai,Mai….Jeannie In A Bottle!

Couldn’t express to you more how absolutely Fly I think this woman is!

Not only is she one of the Dopest make-up artists and stylists out there, she is also a very active super-humanitarian. But that only makes sense with her being a fearless Aquarian who loves life. And fearless is the word…Any chic who confidently rocks Blue hair is my type of chic! Especially the way she does it.

Jeannie (whose last name Mai, is pronounced like my – which she cleverly takes advantage of), has been grinding for a minute now; bouncing from celebrity make-up gigs to corresponding and judging on hit television programs. A proud Asian-American of mixed Vietnamese and Chinese heritage, Mai first became a celebrity in her own right after hosting the Orient-oriented news magazine show, Stir – which was nominated for an Emmy.

This Asian pride, which you should know I’m partial to – due to my own heritage, is the partial motivation behind most of Jeannie’s charitable efforts, as she lends her support to curtail child poverty and sex-trafficking in countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. Her secondary motivation is her platform for female empowerment, which finds her promoting female fashionistas on the rise and guest speaking on panels. She is most famous outside of her work for the Prayer Box that she started along a hiking trail in L.A.

You can read more about her at her blog http://iheartjeanniemai.com/about/ 

In the meantime, you can focus on my own dubious reasons for celebrating her on this very blog. Reasons such as appreciating her awesome symmetry and beautiful California glossed skin.

Her personality definitely screams Los Angeles, she’s tatted up, tan and toned as hell! But she comes off as a vivacious and down to earth kind of chic that would be cool to kick it with, complete with a wide bright smile and a sense of quirkiness that rounds it all out. Quirky and cool are always a winning match.

Now pair that with her…uhmmPair and then you have a Bad misses who will never be on the worst dressed list. The appeal of her mixed background gives her a look that highlights her exotic features but doesn’t present them to you before she presents herself. Her cheekbones make her look like the poster-girl for a Heart-shaped face! It’s a very soft exoticism that one wouldn’t get lost in as much as they would be intrigued by. The way she carries it is even better. Nothing is extra here. Just a warmth that kinda shines thru even the best eye-liner.

You can catch Jeannie on her show How Do I Look on the Style network, if that’s your thing. As I imagine, most men like myself would probably opt to admire from a distance rather than watch a fashion makeover show geared towards women. Tho I will admit that as I’m posting this, I did turn to see an episode, just to look at her and see the swag in action.

Now that I’ve put that out there,

Can I just say,

Jeannie Mai,

You

are My New Crush!

Where are they now?? – 16 artists who were kind of a big deal not too long ago…

This is a collaborative post that I did with the homey LoudPen, who is a great budding entrepreneur and fashion blogger. She also runs a music blog and you can check that out here and see her version of this post which is shorter. http://www.theloudestpenever.com/search/label/Guest%20Post

You all know by now that I have no problem making long posts, so quite naturally here is where you would find the extended version to drive the point home. This is my first collab and I’m so glad it was with someone like Pen who came to me with this idea on Twitter after noticing a shared thought process. Hope you enjoy it. She’s in the italics.

So back in December of 2010 (which BTW seems like forever ago) I was browsing through tweets as usual when I saw my homie & fellow blogger, @Malik16 tweeting about the disappearance of 90s rappers. Prior to starting my business, The Network, I was a music blogger. On The Loudest Pen Ever, I talked about the classic Hip-hop and R&B artists of the 80s and 90s. Almost every one of my former subjects is deceased, or on drugs, or in obscurity. For instance, I did a series on Jodeci and months later I saw tweets about Jodeci founder Devante Swing being addicted to crack and getting arrested for it. Recently, Nate Dogg passed at the tender age of 41 and so we lose yet another Hip-hop legend.

And what about other rap acts like Coolio? Or Mannie Fresh from Big Tymers? Or Juvenile? There’s also some disappearance on the R&B side, with no Babyface, Jon B, Next, Blackstreet, Teddy Riley and other random but great acts from the 80s and 90s. They’ve all just seemed to disappear. I don’t know what caused their individual disappearances but I do know the industry as a whole misses em. It’s not that I want more gimmicky rappers like Coolio or smooth R&B singing white boys like Jon B it’s just that I want that “flava in my ear”. Remember that track? Do you see where I’m going with this? I want that hip-hop and R&B that had a groove to it, something I could two-step to or rock with my boo to. Ya feel me? Where’s that music? With that said, I’m gonna pass the mic to Malik.

Let’s put this all into perspective, before we both start sounding old and waving judgmental fingers at the artists of now. Something must be said for nostalgia. I wouldn’t go as far as Pen and say that the industry necessarily misses the 90’s has beens of R&B that you now see ganging up together for revival concerts, my concern is more surrounding those flash-in-the-pan acts that have surfaced and seemingly drowned in the last 13 years. It’s hard for someone who came up on Hip-Hop in the 90’s to believe that we are more than a decade into the new millennium, and as with any other decade, there has been a fair share of Tag Team and Young MC-esque characters.

What makes these realities even more dramatic is when you think back and remember just how absolutely huge the wave of success was for some of these folk. And then one day, you find yourself humming something involuntarily in your head and saying ‘what is this song and who made it?’ Then you remember, ‘oh, I actually own this single or album on CD somewhere under the seat of my car, or in one of those plastic storage bins from Target or in those vinyl CD jackets that I never really open anymore’. Or maybe you were just watching Retro Centric one morning and remembered that Coffy Brown was actually a group, and not a pornstar. And that yes, you probably do know a song by a No Limit Rapper.

Having all of that said, me and Pen would like to invite you to something we’d like to call; “What do you think (insert late 90’s or early 2000’s has been here) is doing riiiite now??”

Let’s start with

16. Shawnna 

Technically, Luda’s last album, Battle Of The Sexes was supposed to be a concept album between he and the former first lady of DTP, but word is that she abandoned that idea to jump ship for T-Pain’s fledgling Nappy Boy label. We see what good that’s gotten her…As the wealthy daughter of Chicago Blues Legend Buddy Guy, as well as a 30 something year old mom however, it’s probably best that she NOT be trying to break out hard and play the rap game like a hungry M.C. She gets her chops in on a good Luda album cut every now and then. Do we really need another “Gettin’ Some Head” anyway??

15. Jayo Felony 

You probably don’t care, but this dude was someone to mention at one point. As one of the few rappers out of the San Diego scene, he was the head of the Def Jam west wing before Snoop reclaimed his spot as the Cali King. linking up with Snoop in the near future proved to be the smartest move of his career when he and Tha Eastsiderz collabed on the West Coast classic “If U Got Beef” at the height of the Gang-related rap resurgence. Later, dissing Snoop and Jay-Z proved to be the dumbest moves of his career.

14. Obie Trice 

I’m pretty sure the underground hip-hop heads and my Detroit folks know where this dude is releasing new music at, but come on man…He was signed to the highest selling rap artist of all time’s label and had 2 chances, full of high profile collabs, Timbaland production and one of the greatest co-signs ever.  Eminem even made sure that he began the video for the lead single off of his classic album, The Eminem Show with a 2 second drop of Obie Trice reciting the infamous line “Real name – no gimmick”. Guess there really wasn’t a gimmick. Further proof that the Em effect only works for Em. Or maybe dude is just too underground for his own good. In either case, at one point, he was that next dude.

13. Murphy Lee 

Speaking of rappers being introduced by another Mega-Star rapper, this kid actually defied expectation and broke the curse of living under one’s shadow. As the only member of Nelly‘s St. Lunatics crew that people know by name, Murphy amassed his own decent following. I even remember being in a girl’s dorm room in college and her having his poster up, claiming he was “soo cute”. His off-brand style of quirky punchline delivery didn’t put him in the lyricist books, but key appearances on Nelly hits like “Shake Your Tailfeather” and “Air Force 1’s” made him stand out. His solo venture fared well. But that was also 8 years ago…Not quite the “schoolboy” anymore.

12. YoungBloodz 

I was in high school when their debut GA anthem “UA” broke out. I was at a wedding in 2002 when the ghetto ass couple who was tying the knot danced to that as their second song. By then, it was pretty much a 4 year old throwback, and I remember thinking at the time when the song came out, who are these fake OutKast rejects??! Even tho they were loosely affiliated with and co-signed by Kast, I didn’t respect them until their hit “85” came out. Then it was pretty quiet until they hit their cash cow in 2003 by riding the Lil John crunk wave and gave us “Damn”. That song was the second hugest crunk song behind “Get Low” that year. I liked it so much that I rapped over it immediately, creating the track “Talkin’ Bout” off of my Crazy 8’s mixtape. They were In. Then it got quiet again. Are they Out??

11. Brooke Valentine 

Oh boy how I have a crush on this woman. I was living in Georgia and went out to buy, yes buy her one and only album after seeing an episode of Mtv‘s Cribs and falling in love with her body. Oh yeah, her voice is nice too. But my boy Brandon called it early on and told me that the crunk & B trend was gonna die quick and she would along with it. And while Ms. Valentine had so much more to offer the world than just chic-wrestling anthems, she didn’t get another chance to show it. Shame. Fortunately, she WILL be getting the spotlight in a future Crush Alot post here on 16’s Candles.

10. Bubba Sparxx 

I like this guy. I really do. I’ve always wanted him to win because he stays in his lane and represents something that is actually not present enough in Hip-Hop. I never got the sense that he was trying to be something that he’s not. He’s does the everyman thing with a cool slant, and does the White-boy in a Black world thing even better. Quite possibly the only non- angry or angst-ridden and decidely happy White rapper ever. He’s aligned himself with so many note-worthy names in the game and has tried almost every musical angle and came up with sustainable momentary hits but nothing has stuck. Haven’t heard from Mr. Mathis in a minute. Wonder if he’s quit…

9. BoneCrusher 

Sigh…Ironic to think that his breakout single is the one that helped launch T.I. into the spotlight back in 2002 and ’03 when Tip was rebuilding his brand. Maybe he just has uhhmmm…Bigger things to worry about besides finding venues to perform his one and only hit. Like all the weight that he didn’t lose on Celebrity Fit Club

8. Montell Jordan 

The guy who apparently has passed the torch of corniness down to Bobby Valentino was once a huge priority on Def Jam in it’s hey day. And I’m pretty sure you all have danced to one of his hits. And as much as I hate to admit it, this man had hits! Listening to every last one of his songs now makes you want to cringe due his elongated riffs and horrible lyrics and delivery, but if you ran past a greatest hits collection of his, you’d have to kind of make a Robert Deniro face at the selection and amount of popular 90’s joints.

7. Mr. Cheeks 

Maybe he’s just living a modest life and collecting checks from “Lights Camera Action” because it has now become one of those songs that will forever be played by dj’s all along the eastern shoreboard. That, along with the first 2 minutes of Queen Pen‘s “Party Ain’t A Party”, because Lord knows I can’t name the last time I heard anyone play a Lost Boyz song (even tho they are one of my favorite rap groups of ALL TIME). He can honestly tour doing just that one song for the rest of his days, like he did at my homecoming at Howard one year, high and incoherent as hell, forgetting the words. Like most people forgot him unfortunately.

6. Petey Pablo 

I recently got asked by a Carolinian why I know so many Petey Pablo songs. And truly, the answer is that every time I have ever listened to or read anything by this guy, it cracks me up! He’s like that crazy nigga you just make friends with to have on your side and not against you because you don’t know what he’ll do or say next. From reading about how he landed on Black Rob‘s “Whoa” remix as a new artist, to listening to his verses on Ciara‘s “Goodies”, Rasheeda‘s “Vibrate” or his own “Freek-A-Leek”, and then him calling Suge Knight a genius, it’s never a dull moment! On top of that, no matter what North Carolinians or the Hip-Hop world think of him in hindsight, he is single-handedly and still the first if not only rap act to wave the flag for NC (literally) and his song “Raise Up” is synonymous with putting that area on the rap map, much like Nelly did with “Country Grammar”, and Wiz Khalifa just did with “Black & Yellow”. Like it or not…

5. Trick Daddy 

One of my favorite rappers. He kept us fed every summer between 1998 and 2004 with undeniable hits that consistently reinvented the artist formerly known as Trick Daddy Dollars. If you thank him for nothing else, give him his props for giving us Trina. He’s also instantly credible. I believe EVERYTHING this nigga says!!!You can’t say there’s not at least one Trick song that you like. Maybe he just decided he’s too old or too hood for this game, but the absence is felt based on who’s picked up the Miami mantle. To forget this man and not give him his credit for putting real Florida rap at the forefront and being the King for a good run is as ridiculous as all of this Rick Ross praising going on right now.

4. Paul Wall & Mike Jones 

Maybe Grill money was better than rap money and Paul’s still living off of 2005 income. He is White after all. That means he knows how to save…

Now Jones on the other hand…Anybody still know that number??

Mike Who??!

3. B2K 

Do you remember how annoyingly popular these kids were?? Seriously, what the fuck are these guys doing with their lives right now?! It would be different if they got paaiiiid off of their string of seemingly non-stop hits in the early 2000’s, but the way they claimed they were getting raped in the wake of their break up (figuratively and apparently literally), the other 3 that are not Omarion are probably just regular California niggas right about now. Sure, they’ll say they’re doing stuff in the business, but Twitter fights with Chris Brown does not count as networking. And Omarion is not exactly the picture of Stardom at this point in time either. Consider this his spot as well… And I like the kid somewhat…

2. Lil Mama 

“It’s Poppin’?? It’s Poppin’!” But where?

I hope she’ll still be judging on this new season of America’s Best Dance Crew because it looks like Jay might’ve saw to it that her little MTV awards walk-on during his set with Alicia Keys was the last stage appearance that she’ll ever have.

1. Chingy 

No One. And I mean No One individual on this list was bigger than this guy in his Prime. He could do no wrong. I would find myself in the midst of female conversations about Chingy that I did not want to be privy to. With one of the worst names and voices in rap history, truth be told, his lesser known verses like the ones on album cuts that weren’t geared toward females and were full of gun lines, were actually better than some of his contemporaries’. But that’s a small factoid in the midst of so many wrongs. His 15 minutes were up when the DTP chain left his neck. Then the awful spell that he had the rap world under was broken and women came back to their damn senses.

*Honorable Mention* – The Bad Boy roster past & present

We know Faith is still trying to keep her legacy going, 112 has gone on to pursue solo endeavors, Mase went to church, to G-Unit killing folks, back to church, Loon is rocking Kufi’s and Sumis in the east somewhere, G-Dep is kicking himself in prison right now, and Aubrey is doing her best Kim K impression to stay relevant. But what about everybody’s favorite questionable Soulful Hookman, Carl Thomas? Remember how big “I Wish” was?? Is it just lounges and revival concerts now? What about Total? We know that Keisha (aka the pretty one) is married with children to Omar Epps, but what about the most important one – Pam?? She was the lead singer after all. What happens? Does no one ask for reunion shows? Do you just never want to sing again?? What’s Craig Mack been doing for the last 15 years? What did Diddy really do to Babs and Ness‘ contracts? Do the names Dream, Fuzzbubble, Boyz N Da Hood or Donny Klang mean anything to you? Wasn’t Tom Cruise just doing the Yung Joc motorcycle handlebar dance 5 years ago?? Wasn’t he in Forbes 3 years ago? And does Cassie even have to do anything now but show up at red carpet events and video cameos?? Wow. What a difference a day makes when you ride with Diddy. Word to Mark Curry. Brings new meaning to “We ain’t, goin’ nowhere”…

I’m sure you can think of plenty more to add. Feel free to share.

Hot 16…Or More…4THEMILLIONTHTIME

Once again, a result of my original intention to make a mixtape themed as my version of Jay-Z‘s legendary In My Lifetime Volume 1 album. This track was apart of the back to back series of 3 mixtapes that I wrote between the fall of 2005 and January 2006, including both How To Make A Mixtape volumes, and Westside Til I Die. When it was slated for In My Lifetime, before it turned into How To Make A Mixtape vol. 1, this was the lead off track. And much like Jay-Z’s use of it as his lead off track, my version is filled with bravado. I decided to take it for much longer than he did and make it into one long verse to make my introductory statement. The punchlines are filled with 2006-ish references and New York-centric talk that would have worked so well in the midst of the Mixtape blitz that was flooding the market back then. Hence the Kay Slay mention. When the idea to revisit my original Crazy 8’s mixtape around it’s anniversary and add 8 more tracks to it came to me, I surveyed what material I had laying around. After recognizing how many Jay-Z instrumentals got used for How To Make A Mixtape volume 1, I just decided that this one would be more fitting as one of the new 8 tracks for the Crazy 8’s Deluxe version. And even more fitting, it’s the lead off track for that bunch.

So here it go…

 

4THEMILLIONTHTIME

“It’s not a big debate – cause all the weapons ya’ll claim,

reflect on ya’ll frame,

It ain’t that I’ve been hatin’ – I just reckon ya’ll lame!

It’s not the kind of gauge behind the tech – it’s ya’ll aim,

You 6-shot niggas disrespectin’ my name!

(M-16!)

But what more can I say?

You got songs,

but we all can’t get on Kay Slay.

And all these rappers get it wrong with them songs they say,

It’s like these niggas gettin’ forced into the roles they play,

and then they really start endorsin’, when they know they’re fake,

with that coka, they Al Roker

Couldn’t hold that weight.

But hold thatWait!

I can do you one better,

got a Al Roker line – I’m about to predict weather

Whether you die or live, cause if you think you’re kinda sick,

once you lie inside a ditch,

you’ll really be under the weather.

Your forecast reads that I’m the shit! Flush better,

before I let the silencer sneeze, God Bless ya!

Gesundheit, good night,

with that cheddar – I’m like Kraft, and my craft is only,

getting better…

Look,

I’m hot!

and ughk,

ya’ll not,

cause a million mufuckas got the same as you got!

The language you talk is chump change – Chump, change up your flow!

Maybe then, you’ll get a million sold.

My acapella shit is cold,

so you fellas better roll,

like in-line skaters,

keep this in mind haters;

You can chill or stand watch as,

I fill your man’s heart with,

a heavier feeling than the Million Man March did.

Til his chest is out like Dolly Parton,

pardon the blood and guts,

but that’s really all that brothers want.

And I should be the guy to try and lift my brothers up – but why?

The truth is I don’t really give a motherfuck!

So I chick-chick blam ’em and kill ’em off,

lyrically,

and pick which hand I’mma use to flick ’em off.

Then I flip the kickstand up and willie on,

the track,

you’ll get dropped quicker than Def Jam did Milian.

-Call me 16 million dollar man,

-16 is;

(A Million)

dollar man, really ya’ll…

I break the glass ceiling til it falls – have you healing scars for months,

peeling like dutches – I’m so Blunt!

So uhh…Don’t front,

you know I gotcha Opin – damn it closed,

so what?

You’re overly exposed like hammertoes.

So fuck the haters – they get choked up,

not (from) emotions, but from hands-on-throat!

And yeah, that broke Hammer flow,

will get you nowhere but broke and alone,

so get whatever helps you provoke – grams or blow,

or be lookin’ like a dick, like Joe Camel‘s nose!

Oh, and it goes…

Remind my church people to pray on, like ‘say grace’,

then I find some church people to prey on, like say Mase

(And) If I fuck the same girl you just ate,

that’s the only way that you can say that you got the, same taste…

Your murder rap’s written in crayon,

you ain’t thug potential,

nigga you color pencil,

til’ I erase!

Cause you ain’t seen the pain of slaughtered brothers,

you just finger-painted and water-colored – you’re good with your art!

But you’re bloodsucking off the hood, pa,

so you should,

push that last album that went wood,

thru your heart!

You vampire niggas spend alot,

on them lies you make,

but turn the tide and they confidin’ in jake.

These niggas can’t bear the grind so they hibernate,

keep the CareBears in mind – niggas shine then shake.

Writin’ rhymes by the fire-escape,

with window-guards, til they start, thinking they’re Shyne behind them gates!

But that’s not quite the case,

cause if you turn around you’ll find them same guys at the gay pride parade.

And that’s about all that I can take,

so I just chase Banks,

like I’m in a Tyra race.

So I’ll, tell you the difference between me and them,

I’m counting up these 1’s,

til I’m seeing M’s

– Blowe!”

 

Hope you learned something…

 

Click the Pic of the cover below to listen to and download this track

Stealing Candy from a baby? Or saving kid’s lives?? NYC braces for a fast-food toy ban

My nephew would hate this, but there seems to be a movement astir to get fast food chains a bit more involved in the national efforts to fight childhood obesity. That was putting it lightly and euphemistically. Actually, several states are pushing to impose bans on the inclusion of toys in fast food value meals targeted towards children. The logic is that the toys add to a child’s enticement to get super-unhealthy food. And smack dab in the hot seat of this revolution is everyone’s favorite globally dominating chain, McDonald’s.

I recently came across a blog post that showed the varying Mc menu choices available at different locations around the world and it was so telling, yet so alarming. It was like a cultural study from a very surface level. This coincided with a recent trip of desperation to a nearby Burger King while I was rehearsing for a show with my boy Sol-Leks at his crib. I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve eaten from a Burger King chain, but that night I found myself standing next to their calorie chart while making my decision from what for me, are slim pickings. It was ridiculous! Almost to the point that I can’t believe there’s still places making food with this much crap in it. I thought the health craze got everyone slapping organic, gluten-free and ‘Only 100 Calories’ on everything. Wow. I called myself healthy when I decided to order their experimental Veggie Burger choice (I know right? Burger King has veggie burgers now??  In the Hood??!), only to see that that burger was like 400 calories alone. I’ve never paid attention to caloric intake because I always thought it was just some shit for chics to care about, but after recently reading the book Eat This, Not That, and learning a bit more about what the average daily amount of calories should be per meal, I’ve been a tad more receptive. The numbers next to the menu items, especially the signature ones, are sky-high.

If this is what they’re putting in the meals for kids like my nephew, then a bill banning the ever-alluring draw of getting an action figure or car with those murder burgers and die fries might not be the extreme killjoy that it sounds like.

California has led the legislature pack after last year’s Santa Clara County ordinance that bans toys from being included in kids meals with either 485 calories, 600 mg of sodium, or 35 percent of fat or sugar and up. San Francisco followed suit last fall. This was big and of course met with great contention and opposing feedback, especially from the restaurant organizations, but nothing poses to raise more controversy at the present than this week’s call from New York City councilman Leroy Comrie to implement the ban in the Big Apple. 

Comrie cites himself as an example of the negative and detrimental effects that fast food consumption fosters. As an obese man who claims to have grown up off of such eating habits, he personally attests to how serious the issue is and how concerned he is with the future health of the youth in the city. Though slightly more lenient than the Santa Clara standards, Comrie’s proposal targets fast food chains with kids’ meals containing 500 calories or more. The other side to that, are the fines that threaten to slap business with penalties from between $200 to $2500 for failure to comply.

Of course, as with most African-American political figures, his argument is littered with colorful remarks such as “we are not trying to hurt anyone’s bottom lines. We are trying to help people’s bottoms”. He is backed by other luminary Black council folk such as Harlem’s Inez Dickens, but how much weight this holds is yet to be seen. I think it’s super interesting that this issue is being brought to the media from such a source. In a way, it’s subject to ridicule due to whom it’s coming from. Also, in the face of government shut downs, poor mayoral ratings, school chancellor resignations and economic woes, this is going to get received as a low priority. However, by the same token (and I do mean token), there’s a level of validity here because of who it is delivering this message. Who better to express concern and promote forward action against obesity than a product of it?? An African-American product at that, who represents the very demographic that unfortunately is disproportionately targeted from super-young ages by the most popular franchises in the poorest and least healthiest neighborhoods??! And with findings like 1,090 calories in McDonald’s kid’s meals, 1460 at Burger King and 1,080 at Wendy’s, the man has done his homework and has a real point, backed by stats and numbers. For all of that,You can also just buy the toy at the counter if it’s that serious.

McDonalds stands to lose the most if this bill gets passed as its Happy Meal has become the iconic standard with child-oriented fast food. It is synonymous with the arches, with the fast food experience and children’s eating habits outside of the home in general. There are even sit-down restaurant chains who have modeled their fare for younger eaters after Mickey D’s. It would be an upset indeed in NYC if this bill sees the light of day.

Yet at the end of such a day, what’s being put on the table here is not a punishment for parents and children, but more so an incentive for establishments to rise to the occasion. Remember, this is not a bill to take the toys away, just to keep them out of the meals that can do the most substantial damage in the long run if eaten on a continuous basis. And for most kids like my nephew, in the hood, whose parents look to the Happy meal as a quick fix, or who will ask and ask for it until their request is honored, continuous is not a far-fetched word. I remember those days, when a toy in the box would make my face light up and change half of my whole day! I know how good that crap tastes too…I used to eat it every day I could for lunch when I was in middle school. Then I completely stopped at the age of 12 and never looked back. A toy ban would definitely be the end of an era, but maybe for the best…

Sorry Winnie.