Redhead drops “Talk White” single (featuring me!) for pre-order today on iTunes!!!!

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You see, my friends?? THIS is why it pays to share the wealth with your homies and help them along the way! Last year, I decided to extend one of thee ONLY songs that my erstwhile management liked of mine, into a collaborative effort with the perfect person in mind. Yep! the mad thinker Redhead himself, was who I saved this slot for especially, because we had yet to collab on an original music track.Months later what was born of this brainchild was not only an alternate version that would wind up being on Red’s last project, a Dope 4 verse upgrade also featuring my bro Bobby (who was also in love with this song), but a video as well. Now admittedly, the original version of this song was never one of my favorites, What Red added to it gave it new life. Now I’m glad I had the insane idea to spontaneously shoot a video to it guerilla style, laying in the middle of traffic and baffling pedestrians everywhere! 

The song has turned out to be Redhead’s lead single on his official label debut and today marks the first day you can pred-order “Talk White” (featuring me) as a single on iTunes. Follow the link here…http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/talk-white-feat.-malik-16/id553114161?i=553114224&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Dopeness! Very proud of the kid.

Look out for the official remix version of the video to hit Youtube VEVO early next month. And the 4th verse of mine you can catch on my upcoming project.

Libra season is coming….

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Family Time!!

                                        HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!

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For a guy a bit too deeply affected and easily – entranced by comic-book related stuff, my father has always been my personal hero. His approval is something that has mattered to me forever and even when I disappoint him, NO ONE is more disappointed than me. As someone who could have really used some super-powered help this summer, I guess it’s times like this that I have to acknowledge the irony of having that just a few feet away on a regular basis.

This has been an good month for family stuff. If I’m not mistaken, it started off with my favorite (yes, I have those) niece becoming a certified cosmetologist. Usually, this month means nothing more to me than unbearable heat and the return of the school year. This year’s August has been particularly trying (see 3 posts ago). Who would think that one fat baby could help change the tide and usher in newness? I mean…Isn’t that what babies do?? The birth of my brother’s daughter this week saved my life in a way. I was immediately humbled at the utter innocence captured by this picture text of my new niece. It made me think about how life is indeed rhythmic, and has ways of quieting you, or as Alanis Morisette famously put it, “Life has a funny way of…Helping you out”. Then there is the flip side of that quote in the song where she says “life has a funny way…Of tripping you up when you think everything’s ok” and it made me scared for a second for both her and for my brother. I thought about the world that she’s being welcomed to. I thought about how ugly things can be and how ugly PEOPLE can be, more importantly. It’s a beautiful paradox, this life, because it’s moments like seeing babies photographed on their first day of breathing that make it all make sense. I look forward to holding her and watching her push my quote-unquote biological clock (do men have those?) with my fingers crossed for the best possible future…

This all makes my brother the same age that my father was when he had me, which is pretty late in the game – not unlike one Jay-Z who’s in a similar place with the birth of Blue Ivy. Not bad company for my brother to be among at all. Yet it does put one in a place that I know my father found himself in, wondering what the Hell they could be doing embarking on such a responsibility during their midlife? The prospect of dealing with a teenager during the encroachment of senior-citizenship? That’s jarring for anyone. Safe to say, all of their hands are and were quite full. But when my niece is of a certain age, she’s gonna wonder what her pops was like in his heyday. She’s not gonna get to know the young, cool version of him that I know. She’s gonna wonder about the man, the motivations, the habits, the entrepreneur. In all reality, He’s just a reflection of my dad, who I wondered about as I came of age. I wondered if he made the same mistakes I made with women, if he cared about the things I cared about, if he failed as many times as I did and got back up. This didn’t ring truer until I asked him why this summer has been so crazy for me. No matter how human and how less “super” our heroes become as we get older, hopefully, they never stop being our heroes. I know my dad was a “G” in his heyday, so if he’s telling me that things go a certain way, I know he’s basing it off of experience. Thinking of Dad-as-man-before-the-existence-of-Malik got me thinking of this particular scene in the most iconic blaxploitation film ever: SHAFT. In a poignant montage of Harlem, brilliantly shot by Mr. Gordon Parks, the essence of 1970’s Harlem was captured as John Shaft perused the uptown blocks on a quest for answers, strolling past every landmark and notable staple of the neighborhood and pausing just breifly enough to highlight each one as his backdrop. And there, smack dab at the climax of this montage, as Isaac Hayes provided the soundscape, John Shaft stood – a hero in his own right, in front of the corner property of another hero that became a household name in Harlem. Shabazz Steak & Take, the most memorable of my father’s many chains of “Steak & Take” restaurants uptown, stands as proudly as Richard Roundtree in the scene that I decided to pause upon and freeze to share it. I thought it summed up so many things about the time my father was in his heights. I wonder how it must’ve felt to not know that you would end up in such a different place a few years later…That you would become a dad again and have a whole new cross to bear. I wonder, was he gassed to see his restaurant in a smash movie that is now legend? Or does he take in the gravity the fact that his restaurant is now a legend itself? I know he does. He has an ego. Most heroes do. Most Virgos do for that matter. But on a day like this, I feel this picture is perfect to capture what I think of when I think of my dad. It says “g”, legacy, icon, Man, Black, Harlem, Prime and represents a time before me, but a time that set the stage for me. More than that, it says, Hero, in front of a store that serves heroes, owned by a hero. Nuff said. And with that said, Happy Birthday Melvin, and Welcome to this place we call life Ariana Kaitlyn…

And just to bring “Family Day” full circle,

this month actually really started off with my Cousin Todd‘s birthday. He’s been pretty cozy with Ms. Kandi for the last year and change, so since it seems  they’ve become quite open about it and a bunch of Black websites have no problem putting their not-so-private lives on blast, I guess it’s cool now if I send a happy belated shoutout to my Cuzo and close out with a pic of the happy couple via one of such sites. Word is, they’ll be highly visible in more reality show madness to ensue this upcoming season. Watch what happens…

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Hope this post made you want to hug a family member tighter, call one up or just send a message to let them know you’re thinking about them. I write this as I wish my mom good luck on her next test. Til next time…

*New Video* Nemo – Elevator Music

The homie from Queens is back (Just when I thought I had a partner in the crime of retiring from rap), with a name change and a new battery. His new project is titled Elevator Up and he just dropped off the visuals to the lead single yesterday.

I’ll keep you all posted on the happenings as the EP drops. In the meantime, enjoy!

My SoundCloud page & a new track. 2 for 1!!

Just to make sure you kids have as many avenues as possible to hear music from yours truly, I thought I should keep you abreast and share my Sound Cloud page with you all. And since this is the ONLY other place where you can get my Moonlighting mixtape and my Collaborative mixtape with RefinedHype.com, I suggest you visit today. http://soundcloud.com/malik-sickstein

Thought I’d sweeten the deal by posting my most recent collab with my extended fam, Cesar Luciano off of his 9th Wonder themed mixtape which just dropped 2 weeks ago, The Petition. Don’t Sleep. 

When is it “OK” to feel sorry for yourself??

Pretty Sure that I put this blog on hibernation this March so I could focus on real life and all of the increasing responsibility creeping upon me, but in the last month or so, life has gotten, well…REAL.

Everything is new. I’ve been extremely humbled by things – which is amazing considering the fact that I didn’t believe it was possible to be any more humbled than I’ve already been. Music is not the same. Work is not the same – which means money’s not the same. And Love is certainly not the same.

Though this blog was never intended to be super personal, it was created as a space to vent and share my opinion on things as well as happenings in my life, mostly as an artist. “Artist” seems to be a strong word for someone who’s been as inactive in the past year as this blog has been. At this point, I’m not quite sure if I can actually be considered one or just a dude who raps.

If it sounds like I’m having something akin to a pity party, then that leads us to the point of this whole post. Sadness is a natural part of the human experience. It’s not as common or frequent as the expression of anger, frustration or confusion, but is the alpha and omega of all of those things if left unattended. However, because we have trained ourselves to deftly avoid anything that causes us anxiety, we try our hardest to suppress and clip the emergence of any sullen mood or melancholy output. We frown upon it and despise how weak it reveals us to be. We loathe it for taking us out of our otherwise selfish element of satiating our daily desires and the distractions that allow us to indulge and put anxiety-inducing forces at bay. But can it also be argued that sadness helps place our reality in perspective? If one is truly introspective enough, they may be able to count their blessings, to measure their privileges against those less privileged and subsequently “snap out of it”, by realizing that they could be worse off. If one is short sighted, they can feel absolutely worthless and wallow in despair. But is there a middle?

Me, I’m in perpetual quest to find the proverbial middle in everything. In my studies, we’re taught that clinical depression is a prolonged period of sadness with several forms. Its one of the few mental afflictions that appear to impact people similarly across cultures. In my teachings on being a man, we’re taught that men can’t afford to be depressed. There is no breaking down or losing it in the name of shit getting too hard. We’re not even supposed to cry. I took these lessons to heart more than anything I’ve ever learned in psychology. I was taught to never let a woman see me cry or she’ll lose respect. To a large extent, this is true. So you can imagine that I’ve definitely not let another man see me cry either. To this day, not counting my mother, I’ve only ever cried in front of one and a half women, and one was due to life-altering circumstance. Why I still hold on to this standard of manhood, knowing that it goes against everything I’ve learned scientifically and behaviorally, I don’t know. Maybe because I adhere to lots of conventional wisdom ideas of manhood steeped in poor tradition and cognition. This has worked for me and against me.

But when it goes deeper than crying, or even when its “not that deep”, when is it ok to say, ‘hey, some sucky shit just happened in my world and it’s having an effect on me’? I’ve been a subscriber to belief in the law of attraction since 2005, and if you ask anyone who knows me they’d tell you about my unwavering optimism and sunshiny disposition. Yet, if you asked anyone who’s listened to my music or really gotten into my head, they could also tell you about my cynicism, and questioning of the meaning of life. These 2 things don’t seem to work hand in hand now do they? I’m aware that you get what you put out into the universe and because of this, I’ve striven to put nothing but good out there. Recently, it feels like I got it Terribly wrong. All wrong.

The point is, that you’re supposed to learn from everything and everything happens for a reason. And when bad things happen that threaten to bring you down, they seem like they’re only happening to you and you only. Sometimes you need to dwell, and assess and recapitulate to become better for the next day. And in the midst of that, yes, you may wonder why the fuck this has happened to you in the first place. My life in particular is quite episodic. Calamity occurs weekly like my life is some kind of Everybody Hates Chris meets Curb Your Enthusiasm and My Name Is Earl hybrid. And it defies all Karmic law and recidivism of energy (Unless it means that all this tragic irony is leading to something equally DOPE!). It almost seems like someone has one of those voodoo dolls and instead of inflicting physical harm, this year they’re aiming at my external reality. I haven’t learned a damn thing so far except that life is hard despite my best efforts to be a person who looks out for his friends and family, tries to be a good boyfriend and not become embittered by the industry that has spurned him countless times. I keep hearing people tell me that it’s all about outlook, but when you’ve been the number 1 unofficial life-coach for everyone else for years, and you’ve been the beacon of positivity and known for facing adversity and enduring b.s. situations and then everything around you still collapses all at the same time, the question becomes, now, in this moment in time right here, is it ok to feel sorry for yourself just a little bit? Or does that still make you some kind of selfish punk who wants a pat on the back? When you lose everything but the roof over your head and the clothes on your back (“well, maybe not the ride”)…Is it ok then?