V & D never sounded so GOOD together! Ms. Woods & Ms. Bozeman bring the alphabet closer!

We’ve come to this point where we’re almost at anniversary time, and there’s no way that I could’ve let this blog reach the 2 year mark without dedicating crush time to the special lady featured in the banner blowing out the 6 in 16’s Candles. But while we’re in the mood for something old and something blue, I also took the liberties of throwing in something new in the form of the beautiful V.Bozeman. This month’s installment is all about the letter women. 

Though I’ve been questioned about my fondness for Ms. Woodgette, I’ve always liked her since the days of  Diddy‘s play project, Making The Band. She had the best body, the best face and the most professional outlook on the business. She seemed like she was already in the game. In the years following, she has since become somewhat of a darling on the Black fashion and gossip sites that highlight pseudo celebs, and she seems quite comfortable with her place. But make no mistake – she also appears to be constantly grinding – tho it’s not 100% clear what it is she’s grinding on; Excersize, dancing, songwriting or performing. In the meantime, She’s filled plenty of space by filling plenty of pages and gracing plenty of covers with sexy layouts and images of her well sculpted and envy-inspiring body. No complaints will be heard about that. 

Newer and more defined on the scene, yet not more defined physically, is V.Bozeman…The stunning California native who made heads turn with a naked debut via the super-sensual and artistic video for her duet on Timothy Bloom‘s single “Until The End Of Time”. Her glazed deep chocolate brown body is just as striking as her voice and she boasts a vivrant sexuality that seems to stem passively from her aura. Learn a little more about her in this bio clip here;

Both ladies personify a kind of Black woman strength that seems feminine but a little hard-edged. It’s a confidence that’s more of a true confidence and not a false one that’s used as an outer shell. This could be attributed to their backgrounds from tough neighborhoods, but what’s more memorable is the voices that have gotten them from there to our blogs and video screens.

And their femininity is certainly something which they know how to flaunt. D’s mid section is something women die for. Her abs look effortlessly sculpted and her thighs entice everytime they’re exposed. She’s got a dancer’s body and southern girl’s gaze, with a northern sass. Her style is dancer-rebel, but in her photoshoots she switches it up and goes lingerie or dressy. So for as many shots you may see of her with her signature look of sneakers and tight pants with a playfully bushy hairdo, you’ll see the same amount of her with a gown or evening dress with her hair down or short. Those eyes are what gives her a doey effect, but have that fire and gleam that hint at bad-girlness

V. doesn’t have a shy bone in her body. Modeling and flexing her super toned and supple shape and accentuating her deep hue often shot with a waxy coat and favorable lighting for effect. At first glance, one might try to sum her up as an afrocentric chic, but she’s much more round-the-way girl with a spunky, punky yet earthy glow. And sorry, but did you SEE that ass??! 

The lust factor here is as high as the respect factor for these ladies’ bold and dynamic styles. They command attention and get it, by their own terms, on their own paths. The work they put into their bodies is parallel to the work they put into their craft – and both are to be applauded. You’ve GOT to love Black women. And the alphabet for that matter…

On that note,

D.Woods & V. Bozeman,

You,

are My New Crush!!

16 things you didn’t know about Cancer (courtesy of Johns Hopkins)

This is a post from an e-mail inspired by one of my most recent posts.

Last month, I blogged about how researchers were testing for Cancer treatments by using strands of the HIV virus and altering their function. I mentioned how this kind of information is a passion of mine as Iam constantly trying to provide the handful of you devoted readers with any and as much random information of this nature as often as possible. My ex sent me this newletter last week that claims to be from an official Johns Hopkins source after reading my blog recently. It offers interesting and conventional advice and precautions concerning the everyday things we do that contribute to it, as well as how we can avoid and eliminate such things.

I don’t know how official this is, but I wouldn’t be the passionate anti-Cancer blogger that I claim to be without at least posting this so you can share your thoughts and come to your own conclusions. If nothing else, truth can be extracted from it for sure.

Johns Hopkins Update – 
This is an extremely good article. Everyone should read it.


AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY (‘TRY’, BEING THE KEY WORD) TO ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHNS HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY .
 

Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins: 

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer
cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have
multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients
that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after
treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the
cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable
size. 

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a
person’s lifetime. 

3. When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer
cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and
forming tumors. 

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has
 nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic,
but also to environmental, food and lifestyle factors. 

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing
diet to eat more adequately and healthy, 4-5 times/day 
and by including supplements will strengthen the immune system.
 

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing
cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells
in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc, and can
cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc. 

7.. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars
and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs. 

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often
reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of
chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor
destruction. 

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from
chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either
compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb
to various kinds of infections and complications. 

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to
mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy.
Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other
sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer
cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply. 

*CANCER CELLS FEED ON:

a. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made
with Aspartame and it is harmful
. A better natural substitute
would be Manuka honey or molasses, but only in very small
amounts. 
Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in
color Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt.
 

b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the
gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting
off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk cancer
cells are being starved. 

c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based
 diet
 is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little other meat, 
like chicken. Meat also contains livestock
antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all
harmful, especially to people with cancer.
 

d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole
grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into
an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked
food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live
enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to
cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance
growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building
healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most
vegetables including be an sprouts) and eat some raw
vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at
temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).. 

e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high
caffeine Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer
fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or
filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap
water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of
digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the
intestines becomes putrefied and leads to more toxic
buildup. 

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By
refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes
to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the
body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells. 

14. Some supplements build up the immune system
(IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals,
EFAs etc.) to enable the bodies own killer cells to destroy
cancer cells.. Other supplements like vitamin E are known
to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s
normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or
unneeded cells. 

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit.
A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior
be a survivor. Anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness put
the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to
have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy
life. 

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated
environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to
get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen
therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer
cells. 

1. No plastic containers in micro

2. No water bottles in freezer

3. No plastic wrap in microwave.. 

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well. Dioxin chemicals cause cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don’t freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Dr Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital , was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn’t bad but you don’t know what is in the paper. It’s just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper The dioxin problem is one of the reasons.
Please share this with your whole email list…………………….
Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead. 

This is an article that should be sent to anyone important in your life. 

Hot 16…Or More…”BEYOND THE SKY”

‘Yo, you’re a deep guy’ Are the words that my homie Sol-Leks told me after hearing the first incarnation of this song in his fabled Wet Paint studios. I heard this beat that he made from a sample of Sam Cooke‘s A Change Gon’ Come” a year before and pretty much ignored it until it stayed in my head after hearing it a bunch of other times visiting the lab. It eventually ended up on my computer and I decided to record something over it. I started to play with the words in the sample about elevation and what’s beyond our human visibility. Then I wanted to get metaphysical. The verses were broken down from pondering on space missions and what we really know about what astronauts actually do, to observations on what people do for religion while searching for God and what they believe to be a heaven above the clouds, and finallY, to ghosts based on two recent deaths of one of Sol-Lek’s boys and my homie J.D.‘s boy who lost his daughter.

I put that version on Myspace in 2007 and wasn’t pleased with it. My voice wasn’t right and the verses were wordy and made the heavy subject matter sound even more off-putting by sounding more complex and nerdy than it needed to be. I left it alone until I was about to put out the deluxe version of my Crazy 8’s mixtape. I realized that I didn’t have any guest features and wondered if I wanted to make that a conscious choice in the spirit of the first 8. But I knew I couldn’t attack this song without throwing my boy Moser on it. Mos is a really deep dude and all of our conversations around that time were about seeking truth and conspiracy theories. Since I had upgraded my approach to the song now, I was headed in a more succinct direction and I knew he’d hit a point that I wouldn’t. Plus, with Sol-Leks on the beat and me and Mos on the verses, it was a certified representation of my crew, The Balance – so their presence could be felt on the project.

Mos came up with 2 verses and wound up recording both, but I kept this one because I split my long verse into 2. It was one of my earliest recordings with my GemStars family. He chose to discuss the threat of an impending bill that would allow government intrusion upon what they deem as ‘homegrown terrorism and violent radicalization’ and question the mysticism of the alien/God idea and the Mayan’s predictions of the world’s end. I took this opportunity to question the roots of American racism, the transatlantic slave trade and it’s feasibility and the faulty cause that’s attributed to the AIDS epidemic. In the second verse I go deeper about my wariness over religion, the environment and ancient history. Deep shit. People love it. Even better when I perform it and start off with the actual Sam Cooke song.

Now for the breakdown…

Beyond The Sky

“Still, get on that other shit,

cause they love it when I spit that government,

– I heard the Ku Klux was just set up to keep us fucking with each other over race!

So that sheet over the face…

Ain’t the ONLY cover-up,

it gets,

deeper than a mutha – and can anyone show me a picture of a slaveship??!

Even the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria get depicted in paintings!

While all we ever see is that same shit,

look like a diorama – tied up hands and feet – I wonder how I they lived,

on that transatlantic – hundreds of days spent,

how many slaves DIED up on the way compared to how many made it??!

And nowadays they give us this AIDS bit,

claiming African plainsmen fucking chimps and eating baboon brains man…

I’m all for evolution,

but how we went from being apes, to human beings

-wait!

Who eating apes??!  It’s confusing.

While we feuding over the word nigga – please!!

All the major cities finna drift to sea,

God if you listening…

Intervene…

(‘beyond the sky’)

I mean, lift us please…

(‘beyond the sky’)

Or at least…Send a beam”

(‘beyond the sky’)

 

VERSE 3

 

“It’s safe to say I’m a sinner,

cause your favorite religions,

got too much pagan shit in them,

for me to stay and it’s twisted…

Man made up them sentences

And ain’t it ridiculous homie?

When astrology’s the only thing making sense and it’s all based on the stars….

Exactly what I want to be,

but just the thing that scares me the most when the sky is sitting in front of me!

And since the gold is no longer backing the money – think the Federal Reserve got nerve,

look at your currency (word!)

Word to Number 5,

they just changed the number 5 on the fuckin’ $5 for like the hundredth time

-what’s the signs?!

When they start advertising shit on the moon?

And “going green” is now the cool thing to do…

After all the cancerous plastics and aerosols,

nuclear Arab wars,

smaller countries packing – we attack them,

what we asking for?

I don’t like those hieroglyphics,

undecided if I’m thinking ancient Egyptians was paying alien visits

-Since it’s the writing on the wall,

I been wrong before,

but I’m sure if I even believe in dinosaurs!

Sure it’s a great science of modern lies,

Greek shit on them dollar signs,

on my R. Kelly – I’m really believing I can fly…”

 

Hope you learned something…

 

To hear or download this song, click on the pic of the cover below

(18) Classic Sounds…

Like…

My big sister Veen‘s greatest contribution to my life besides my nephews is the enhancement of my music knowledge. She is single-handedly responsible for me knowing artists, songs and albums by name, as well as learning what a single is, who belonged to what click back in the early 90’s and how to learn song lyrics by not just hearing the radio, but listening to it.

As she got older, she branched out and started her family and the music notes and convo scaled down considerably, but what did happen as an effect of her dating the man who became the father of my 2 nephews and who I just dedicated an R.I.P. post to 2 months ago, was a music matrimony. Her love of R&B and Hip-Hop paired with his being in the business meant a whole compact disc library for young adolescent me to get lost in. Especially in the era of Columbia House CD ordering catalogues and the like. I learned about Prince from them, as well as a slew of all the contemporary urban music. If I’m not mistaken, this is where I first listened to Reasonable Doubt, reading the liner notes of every disc they had. I used to absolutely love going to their place! Not only because it had the most homely and lush decorative touches that I had seen in a small apartment (suede orange walls and deluxe carpeting throughout with a huge tv – before flatscreens took over), but mostly because of the snacks and entertainment. I fashioned my idea of adult apartment living to be like that.

My sister would throw on the cd’s from the Playstation or the Dreamcast (throwback right?) and let the default screen make spacey images on the tv while she cleaned up. One of these cd’s was the debut album of one of the most distinctive female rappers in history and one of the most unique rappers period. I remembered her ironically from watching videos with Veen a year and a half before and seeing her appear on a cut called “Da Ladies In The House” with a then burgeoning Lauryn Hill. Safe to say, I was intrigued.

After being in the habit of reading the liner notes and seeing that her album shared production credits from all the producers I loved and respected at the time from all the albums that I loved and respected, I was more than intrigued. Kollage is an honest attempt at just that; it’s more of a very concise effort to balance out 3 recurring elements than a collage of eclectic sounds, influences or moods. As a listener, you’ll see the pattern easily if you pay attention. The 3 modes are those provided by the 3 main revolving producers here (4 if you separate Gangstarr into the separate production entities of GURU and Premier), and they fluctuate from light and atmospheric experimental sounds to jazzy, funk guitar-laden grooves and the era-appropriate 90’s east coast hardcore sound. Although this is highly due to the chosen production styles of the men behind the boards, this is also a compliment to Bahamadia’s two different tones.

Assuming you know your contemporary Philly music history, then you know about the scene that spawned the famous Black Lily gatherings, shepherded by The Roots and giving rise to spoken word artists and neo-soul trailblazers in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It would be safe to assume that this has been an aspect of Philly’s music scene for a long time now. It would also be safe to assume that like half of all female rappers, Bahamadia probably started as a poet. This is usually easy to infer from her spoken word cadence that vacillates from stacatto to continuous and overlapping. Something that matches up perfectly with her voice which carries a moistness and quiet matter-of-factness to it. Yet she sounds right at home on the harder tracks and picks up the energy and force to attack the tracks and owns them. It’s on the brightest moments on the album where she finds the happy medium between the super laid-back and the energetic.

Those moments are those like on the intro “Wordplay” and the album’s main singles like “Uknowhowwedu” &  “3 The Hardway”  On the former, Bahamadia makes her intro and thesis statement by giving a synopsis of what to expect from her debut over a minimalist GURU beat that bounces on stuttering drums, and is buffered by horns and dominated by a funky bassline. Like his other contribution to the album, the harder edged “Total Wreck”, it’s clear that GURU was still very much in the vibe of his second Jazzmatazz installment. “Total Wreck” is another stripped down beat – probably the most purely boom-bap on the album, so naturally it sees Bahamadia on her more boisterous kick. In my opinion, neither of these songs are special, but they’re also not wack and don’t serve as agents of interruption to the flow of the LP.

She hits the mark and evokes more response on the other hardcore outing, the Dj Premier produced “Rugged Ruff”. On a signature Premo 90’s beat that sounds like it should have been on one of Gangstarr’s classic albums, Bahamadia makes you wonder why she didn’t just let Premo produce 90% of the album. As a matter of fact, he’s the soundsmith behind all of the best songs on the LP. She enters  like a God-send, taking those who have been listening thus far for a loop by raping Kool G Rap‘s rapid fire non-pause flow with super vocab and lines like “Scriptures glitters like diamonds or sparkle like magnesium/Premium equates the medium which blows me up like helium…pumped up more jams than technotronic/Find it more toxic than hydrocarbon…” 

The Poet-influenced mode is more dominant on this album however, providing all of the sleepy moments on the album when coupled with lackluster production. The experimental and spacey but dark “Innovation” produced by the Beatminerz seems to be the weaker of the twins from the two beats that they provide. Bahamadia sounds like spoken word legend Jessica Care-Moore or like Lauryn Hill after hiatus as she basically talks(not raps) off beat in a choppy style. It’s on the 2 efforts by N.O. Joe however, where the album has it’s saccharin heights. It gets downright cheesy on the requisite album love song “I Confess”. It sounds like something from a smooth jazz radio station with it’s horrible interpolation of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and doesn’t sound quite sexy coming from Bahamadia, although I do remember hearing it get a good amount of play on Philly radio. The other sapfest is on the album’s closing track “Biggest Part Of Me”, with yet another singing chorus which seems to be what everyone believed was necessary for a smooth or heartfelt song back then. Although the overall feel is corny, this is a great moment in Hip-Hop where you get the rare perspective of parenthood, especially from a mother’s angle. And what Bahamadia says in this song is actually really dope. It’s her testament to her children that’s forever cemented in audio history. It’s these 2 tracks produced by N.O. Joe that sound like they could have worked so much better if they were produced by The Roots because they incorporate similar elements in instrumentation. Ironically, it’s on the only song that features The Roots and is produced by them that her poet style doesn’t seem so snoozy.  On “Da Jawn” (which is Philly slang for everything practically – like “Joint” in New York slang) Black Thought and Malik B.‘s flows bolster the otherwise weak Roots offering and make Bahamadia’s mellow delivery seem right in pocket. The track where she shines the most in her poet syle tho, is the other Beatminerz contribution “Spontaneity”. Using the same sample they used for Heltah Skeltah‘s “Lefluar Leflah Eshkoshka”, the production duo strike gold this time around with the hypnotic and chimey track that allows Bahamadia to capitalize on her quiet storm by explaining her quirky style and whispering the hook. 

As a member of the Gangstarr foundation, Bahamadia had one of the most important co-signs of the 90’s. The extended embrace from The Roots added to that and made her one of the most significant female entrances into the game ever. More significantly, years later, she is the only major female rapper (sorry, QueenPen doesn’t count – even tho she has bigger hits), let alone rapper in general, who I have heard blatantly admit to bisexuality in song. It was on a mixtape by Outcasted female spitters Lady Luck, Babs and the Lady of Rage that featured Bahamadia on a track rhyming “last decade had a harem of dime women friends/bi on the sly/done a guy every now and then”. That’s balls. And maybe she’s at that point in her life where she no longer cares what people think. Maybe that’s also why this has been her only real full length album and has been followed by a few sporadic EP’s and side projects. Her signature beehive afro helped that heavily backed introduction with a style that was as unique as her rap presence, and tho she’s switched it up over the years and become rather obscure, her mark was definitely made. Call her sleepy if you want. But don’t sleep.

With that, I’m sure it’s become quite obvious after reading this review that my favorite tracks on this album are “Rugged Ruff”, “Spontaneity” and the singles “3 The Hardway”, and the super Dope ode to Philly hip-hop “Uknowhowwedu” . But the crown jewel of this whole album is “True Honey Buns”, a tale where she cleverly and slickly describes how going out with a friend who becomes loose in the midst of male attention speaks volumes to the challenges facing the female agenda collectively. Complex simplicity. You almost feel like you’re out at the club with them. 

And with that, this album gets 12 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 more like a 10)

And the cure for Cancer is…..HIV???

Devoted readers of this blog know how strongly I feel about cancer research and the fight against AIDS. You also know how often I’ve made efforts to post news coverage of any insights and developments into such. This particular post marries both in a strange twist of fate that many in the medical field are calling a breakthrough.

Researchers have done the shockingly revolutionary by using a benign strand of HIV to mutate and reprogram the attacking qualities of the virus into what they refer to as “serial killer” cells that attack cancerous tumors.

So far the method has only been tested on a particular form of leukemia in 3 subjects, but the scientists have high and realistic hopes that with further testing and development, it will prove to be effective not only for other forms of cancer, but for other crippling and lethal diseases as well.

It’s hands down the most ironic and eyebrow raising medical breakthrough in the last few years, to think that the world’s deadliest disease can provide the cure for the world’s most vast disease. If you watch the video within this link that I have included (http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-pick/hiv-virus-used-to-turn-white-blood-cells-into-cancer-serial-killers-20110811/), the doctors never mention the HIV strand by name or acknowledge where they obtain the samples from, but they all share a unanimous optimism that their discovery can and will provide a much less painful and dramatic alternative to the existing radiation therapies.

Your thoughts?

Beats Rhymes & Life – A NiteHawk story…

Sometimes you wonder why things haven’t always been a certain way that seems to make the most sense. When walking into a place such as Williamsburg’s NiteHawk Cinema, you instantly hate every movie experience that you’ve had before then. It’s a “could have had a V8” kind of moment where you’re immediately spoiled. I recently went to the theatre this past weekend to see their debut screening of Michael Rappaport’s documentary on A Tribe Called Quest, Beats, Rhymes & Life.

Now, sure, there’s been plenty of theatres with amenities and service features. This is nothing new. And yeah, by now you’ve probably heard or read a dozen reviews of Beats, Rhymes & Life. But what makes this different is that this is the first theatre like this in New York City. Brooklyn to be exact. And really, it’s not like any other. It’s laid back, with a bar and a hipster asthetic, but a feel that’s classic New York. Also, this is not any regular review. This movie holds a sentimental place for me because I went to see it with my boys and fellow members of my own erstwhile rap group, The Balance. How ironic that we’re sitting on the footage for our own documentary, 3 years in the making now.

Nitehawk was suggested by the homie Khadj about 2 months ago. He told me the scope of things and I looked it up to see what it was all about, but I couldn’t be prepared enough for what it’s like to really be there. Just pulling up to the theatre feels like pulling up to a Brooklyn hotspot. It looks clubbish. Then the ground level bar adds to the it factor by providing a hangout kind of atmosphere where one can go after or before viewing a film or if doing neither. This is only bolstered by the second bar upstairs on the theatre level where you’re greeted by friendly staff that will bartend and take your ticket order. The viewing rooms themselves are what the movie experience is made of; plush red and black seats separated by movable arm rests and triangular tables between them, with so much space in front of each row that you’d have to be Yao Ming to kick the seat of the person in front of you. There is no chance of that annoying ‘excuse me’ dance that people have to do when they have to get up out of their seats for something and shuffle through the row. You’re then greeted by an accomodating wait staff that will check your ticket, take your order and instruct on how to make further requests after the movie starts. This is what makes Nitehawk special; you’re equipped with a pen and pad on your table, complete with a ringed holder where you can place it to order more items cool and quietly without disturbing anyone’s experience – including your own. The menu is uniquely gourmet and quirky while maintaing a casual movie-friendliness to it. Things that stand out like the fried peanut butter and jelly bites and the other decadent deserts will keep word of mouth buzzing, and though there is not yet a way to get served alcholic beverages while watching the movie, the in-house drink specials without alchohol are memorable. Besides, you can reach the upstairs bar almost quicker than the bathroom by taking one step out of the screening room. Unfortunately, there’s only one bathroom so just hope for no lines (there’s also one at the downstairs bar). The brightest side to all of this and the cherry on top is the uber cool manager Jess G, who will greet patrons with a warm smile and is visible throughout – even handling service duties herself.

As far as Rappaport’s foray into documentary filmmaking, his obvious fandom comes across. He doesn’t waste our time with an introduction of himself, assuming that if you don’t already know who he is, then it’s inconsequential to the film. The film begins predominantly as a Q-Tip show, with alot of the focus on his thoughts on how the roots of Hip-Hop shaped the movement that fueled the group. And while members like Jarobi and Ali Shaheed Muhammad are introduced and interviewed one by one, their roles are never really explored or defined. This is not helped by the fact that a great deal of time is spent praising Q-Tip for his sampling and production genius. There is no real denying that Q-Tip is the nucleus and leader of A Tribe Called Quest, and he spends as much time refuting that notion as he spends crediting himself for most of the groundbreaking elements of the group. This is what allows the viewer to see the Tribe dilemma from all angles. It’s probably what is the biggest point of contention for any reservations or apprehension stemming from the group itself about the movie. You either love Q-Tip or don’t like him as much after watching the film, and apparently Phife leans more toward the latter. Although Phife is introduced and noted here and there in the first half of the film, it’s not until the last half where he gets the most attention when discussing his turmoil with Q-Tip and his battle with diabetes. Between Phife’s obvious underacheiver pattern and desire to stake his own claim in life (as seen by his foray into sports journalism) and the iconic lure surrounding Q-Tip’s career during and post-Tribe, it’s easy to see why the group fell apart. This is the climactic point of the film that brings the life out of it. Jarobi and Ali just come across as commentators and bystanders who either sway towards team Phife or team Q-Tip (in this case, Jarobi being Phife’s best friend, and Ali appearing to rock more with Tip by default). It’s wise to infer that alot of the film got scaled down and edited out as made evident by the slew of cameo clips in the ending credits from rappers and industry insiders who’s interviews did not make it into the documentary. This is probably disappointing to true fans who would have loved to hear more from artists like De La or Busta Rhymes who actually have a longstanding working relationship and friendship with the group, and less of Pharell drooling over them (which is cool by the way, because his commentary served as a highlight, but still…). A great job is done on emphasizing the importance of the group’s catalogue, but Rappaport seems to be a bigger fan of their earlier work. He uses a couple songs more than once throughout the film instead of throwing in some other classics, and when the film approaches their later releases, they just get glazed over. Rappaport ends things with footage from the group’s newer tour efforts and a suggestive blurb across the screen that informs that they are still obligated for one last album under their original contract with Jive records…Leaving hope for Tribe Stans still crossing their fingers.

At the end of the day, nothing beats getting that Midnight screening V.I.P. service (Thanks Jess). But more importantly, nothing beats seeing this kind of film with my crew and thinking about the similarities in our own story. We cracked up at the coincidences and the comparable traits between Q-Tip, Sol-Leks and I. We spazzed out as the classic verses dropped and rapped along, and Sek kept asking when me and WhoIsNumber5? are going to get to work on our documentary. A Dope moment in history and a great effort by Rappaport to document what no one else would…and get into theatres at that. Good to know that it came from a fan. I’m not even one of ATCQ, but their music is apart of my life’s soundtrack so it can’t be denied. I’m inspired to work on this doc, and to step up my movie theatre game. I suggest you do the same. And NiteHawk is an excellent place to start. Tell Jess hello for me.

“Ayo Shaheed, take us the F*ck outta here!”