On Monday eye embarked on an intensive study on the kings of the electronic sound, German collective Kraftwerk. If Mrs. Yancey considers J. Dilla an alien, then these guys are definitely extraterrestrial hierarchy. In all my study of the earliest Hiphop recordings, the influence that Trans Europe Express and particularly the track, "Numbers" from Computer World had on Africa Bambaataa was never disclosed to me as foundational information. What a humbling knock to one who considers myself a purist. What an intrepid ride this should be! Their website has me wide open...
Recognize today as the born day of renowned author, James Baldwin whose collection of essays, Notes of A Native Son examined issues of race and contributed to my earliest style of formal writing in high school. Baldwin's work was greatly influenced by Richard Wright, who also contoured the psychological perspective of my writing. So much so, that my senior literary project in college was examining his Native Son character Bigger Thomas in light of Maslow's Theory of Human Motivation.
Baldwin also penned essays that analyzed the psychological depth of Wright's work, but ultimately drove a wedge between he and his mentor because of his overly-critical interpretation and pejorative comparison of Native Son to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Because of style commonalities, among other things, Baldwin has always struck me as someone eye would have loved to have known.
"Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent." -James Baldwin, "Autobiographical Notes" from Notes of a Native Son, 1955
One of the most controversial social debates taking place in America, breastfeeding - has parents across the country spastic over the public display of a healthy bosom on the cover of a parenting magazine. While narrow to only view this vital organ as a sexual object when it was biologically created as a source of nourishment, those complaining are mothers themselves, which strikes me as disconcerting.
Perhaps innate guilt regarding their own alternative methods of nourishing their own eats at them. What female in her right mind would think that feeding her child could be nasty or pornographic? The signs of a horribly confused someone whose perspective has been thwarted by twenty-first century indoctrination as to what the female body was made for blink rapidly. The derogatory nature of rap videos have had a great influence of the minds of our young and breast fetishism rampid, but in general, the society (demographic:10-70) has become enthralled with sexual relations & affecting stimulants (remember Viagra?). Huh' bruh?
Having proudly nursed all four of our babes - on public display (covered) and for private consumption - it sickens to entertain the general (U.S.) public perception that the human body primarily be viewed as a sexual object. The primary function of the female breast is to produce milk through the mammary glands. While scientists believe that other external functions exist, nursing babies is number one role. Fo' sho'! Parents - dialogue with your youth. They know the difference between themselves and a baby. Well, maybe. Depends on how we teach them to act.
Talks of a video for "Netsanett Ahun" ensue this afternoon. So very exciting. Yet, so very real as to how Something To Cope has an agenda of her own. With Count's music, these pieces are so much more powerful as a catalyst for the message.
Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Dallas Austin apparently co-executive produced the movie ATL, starring T.I. After watching it last night, it became clear that the message coming from the "black mecca of the confederacy" shouts economic empowerment. Take notes, music business chums. Jot the details, mi compadre escritor. A model is officially in place and the paridigm now shifts.
The laptop doctors saw fit to return Maczine, my fifth limb, to me this morning. Ouwee! We are all estatic to have her home. No more fighting over the family PC, or at least one less computer junkie vying for position. Maczine only kicks it with me, so it's my job to give all of the love & attention she needs. Starting now...
TUNNEL VISION My blog mysteriously disappeared. Well, most of it anyway. The meat. But, anyway.
So the marketing team for stock car racing got me out to watch their presentation meant to lure our children to the sport. We initally set out to see Superman since we had ties to the soundtrack, but changed to Cars at the last minute. We realized that on a Friday night, it would not be wise to get trapped in a crowd of Steel-billies with a loud verbally repititious baby in tow and other children who look to the public restroom as a frequent fun-break from the movie. UMH, umh.
The movie was indeed good and family-oriented (PG). While heavy on the selling, it only attests that car racing has become commercial like basketball, football, baseball and hockey. What was once backwoods has become mainstream since the passing of racing martyr, Dale Earnhardt. Well, to win me over, someone on their marketing team needs to demand better representation. We walked right pass the theatre, all the way to the other end of the corridor because we didn't see the shoddy sign. Backwoods mentality?
Another Saturday at the Frist club and it is no insecure fantasy of my mind that the patrons always stare at me as if a part of the Ancient Egypt exhibit. A lady once approached me while exiting, grabbed me by the forearm and proceeded to show me off to her circle of sister-girl friends as if she had found a walking Egyptian treasure. Kana thought it was flattering, but it felt more embarrasing than complimenting. It's weird the emphasis that some put on physical appearance. Even though commonly regarded as modelesque, fashion and facial features hardly even occur to me anymore. Unless it's a deformity, of course, then it catches me off guard like anyone else.
Otherwise, this industry has made a believer out of me that packaging likely does not wholly represent the quality of the "complete work". Neither does it define.
What feels really fulfilling is being true to self - whatever that day entails. Nobody looks beautiful all of the time. It's how we feel that matters.
Our children say so. You better believe it! Come September, all should have a chance to see for themselves. If Count finishes the music this weekend, then we go to manufactuting on Monday. Roughly seven weeks from then, we will have a real book to hold.
Please keep Mum Farrell in thought & prayer. She has been battling cancer for about a year now. We're arranging for a visit in the upcoming days. My husband needs to get there soon, we've been told.
For the past few weeks, the CD/DVD-R drive on my iBook has been freezing, so of course it has gotten bad enough to no longer procrastinate on getting it fixed. Five days they tell me. The technician almost saw me shed tears on the spot. We have been conditioned to make these machines our lifelines & to rely on them for what were once physical daily habits (e.g. communication, scheduling, writing). Parting sent me into an instant panic. But what's five days really on the scheme of things?
It still bugs me out sometimes that we are a part of it all. This business madness cannot be envisioned or imagined. It's like childbirth. You just have to do it to really understand.
One of the greatest blessings that has come to me by way of this music business is the direct inspiration that comes from knowing some of today's most talented artists. These are the luminaries folks. Experiencing so many of them makes me a better me. Something To Cope drew greatly from the inspiration that our friends, our colleagues bring to my world. They let me live.
Special love to the visual, conceptual & performance artists that inspire from the inside: Count, Kana, Tokio, Shiro, Jason, DOOM, Van,Dionne, Matthew Don & the Kid Capt. Nuff respect! RIDE OR DIE!
The cool peeps at Elemental finally took it THERE! Congrats Matt! We always give it up to the folks that help keep us afloat. Elemental Magazine has supported us since the early days. Now, we're pursuing space together.
The Google search for no garlic, no onion pasta sauce got underway about half an hour ago. Shocked to find out that any exist, eye am hopeful that a delicious dinner will smooth out a mostly rough day. Comfort food...finally!
Starting this Monday with a mysterious migraine headache, it's only well into the morning that the pain & accompanying symptom (temporary loss of vision, numbness/tingling of limbs) have begun to subside. Whew! What a way to kick off the day.
But, it's okay though. It's alright. To stop this show, Bush might need to send in the troops. Otherwise, the movement continues. Unfortunately, these record labels want me to get gully in order to get my point across, but not today. Not going...no, sir. They gon' get theirs, B. That's for sure.
The jig is almost up for this traditional means of releasing records through a label. Vinyl is basically dead, which completely signals the dawn of a new era. Do you realize that no medium of playback has been around longer, as a vital force? But thanks to the advent of Serato, wax will soon be no more. Some of the labels & distributors can hardly keep their doors open amidst this shift. Of course, records will always exist on a collector's level, but the masses are not having it. Music lovers are simply not buying it anymore.
Ask yourself - what's the last piece of vinyl you purchased? Even if you are a DJ - would you rather lug five bulky crates of records to the gig or a set-up that fits in your record bag, yet contains all of the music in your entire collection, CD's & MP3'sincluded? Jazzy Jeff, Spinna & Wolf have all endorsed Serato as the future, so you know what's up. Many congrats to the Stones Throw Camp for releasing the first exclusive digital 12 inch single. What a precedence! We've been trying to sell this idea to partner labels all year to no avail. My approach to the record label at this point: If you're not ahead of the times, consider yourself past (passed). Bow out gracefully ye' ole' record execs. Find a soft place to land (perhaps on the piles of money that your companies have made off the back's of the hundreds of talented Black youth that have come through this rap game). Heed to the legendary D.I.T.C. memeber O.C. - "Time's Up".
Keep It Gangsta-213 Superwoman-Stevie Wonder Lord Help Me-Donny Hathaway It's Real-Missy Elliott Real People-Common The Lord Is Real (Time Will Reveal)-Blackstreet O.G. Original Gangster-Ice-T Gangsta Gangsta-N.W.A. Gangsta Groove-Tony! Toni! Toné! Perfect-Snoop Dogg Miracleworker-Self Health, Wealth, Self-KRS-One Get Yourself Another Fool-Sam Cooke Somethin' That Means Somethin'-The Pharcyde Bag Lady-Erykah Badu Lively Up Yourself-Bob Marley & The Wailers
Did somebody turn the heat up? Sitting out here on the deck working makes me feel like brisket in the fire. Not as if the entire climate surrounding my life isn't too hot already. As mentioned yesterday, eye have been dwelling in a state of reflection - outward, now inward. What presents itself is not so pretty, but beautiful in that the eye can see. Dig? It's difficult as the mother & sustenance for such a large unit, to take the necessary space for self-improvement, but no excuse - just darn near impossible. Plato declared, "necessity is the mother of invention". "Old habits die hard", according to on Ole English proverb. Mama Olee declares growth on the horizon. You know it's time to do something when you start pissing your own self off. Word! Just keepin' it real...
Most adults who have a knack for fault-finding were once children whose parents pointing a secondary reflex. In my case, this is also true. "Gotta shake that shit, Oriana." To realize that my critical (often overly) tendencies are causing irrepairable harm to loved ones. Recognizing that this nastiness usually creeps out during bouts of extreme happiness (i.e. sick & vomiting day in & day out), it's going to have to start with my state of mind eye assume. Depression will completely screw perspective. Please keep me in your thoughts & prayers. Please feel free to take my open criticsm of myself to heart that it may help somebody, somewhere. To be a superwoman doesn't equate perfection. Believe that! Just keepin it gangsta...
Off to turn down the oven on my day. Birthday shouts to Semetrius & Brianna who are both 11 today! These kids are really growing up fast. What ever happened to Barney & sippy cups guys?
Have you ever had the desire to disappear into the blowing breeze at a moment's notice? Existing only in the most natural state...not forever, but for just a little while. Right now...that would be a welcomed journey.
For almost a week now, my stomach has been quakey every waking moment & my gang-reflex stays cocked. Oh Granny...
During my pregnancies, my Granny would spoil me like a baby, showering me with perfect grub, tons of help with the other children & unconditional love. No greater love - ever. Even today, she carries me. After the morning rainstorm, eye followed Nature's lead & went outside on the deck to "let it out". For nearly an hour, tears & self-pity overflowed; eye was "letting it out" about my current situation & begging the creator for more help & mercy. Feeling alone in that space, Granny made her presence known. We shared in truth & realization. She cloaked me in her strength & sent me back into the house to face my reality.
"ACCEPT, ORIANA! ACCEPT!"
Granny always told me that to have one or two "real" friends in life means you are lucky. She was my very best friend. If she be one of the only, eye can affirm overwhelming gratefulness for the experience.
Geez...writing verses never proved itself so challenging as it has the past few weeks. With children swarming at all times, it seems impossible anymore to get in the proper headspace to write. Almost nothing frustrates me more than procrastination, so it's not that. Writer's block is an illusion..so it's not that. Three weeks ago eye made Rawls a promise to knock these joints out in a timely manner. To not have this accomplished...man...aggrevating. Back in the day, a short alloted period of writing time would see me through thue progress. Now, these bits & seconds just don't add up.
Count lined up the entire (48 pieces) Something To Cope last evening in preparation for tracking. Zippededoda, Zippedeya! Looks like manufacturing is truly on the horizon, as promised. Where are you, Batman? Holla back, dunny!
Watermelons just aren't the same anymore. Are they coming from Chile, too? What ever happened to the seeds? The seedless melons come with a disclaimer to the effect of : You may find an occasional seed, please don't hold it against us. WTF??? Then, the meat in the seedless, a rare pink, tastes foreignly sweet. No longer the candy red sugary flavor from your childhood. Bogus, dude. Thanks for finding an authentic, hon!
BTW- All that fluffy nap-tural, negroid hair in the picture above - nada. Gone. No more. Five years since a haircut, pulling in my hair had become a stress outlet thereby leaving the whole left-side of my head a fingertip's length. Last weekend, the shears paid a visit.
In 1925, the Scopes Monkey Trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee. The biology textbook at the heart of the trial advocated the segregation of the races for the sake of improving the gene pool, supporting the social construct developed in earlier centuries to implement Aryan supremecy. It was with this trial that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution touted in The Origin of Species was dismissed as an educational stance on the matter. Here we see Christianity enter the newly established public school system as indoctrination.
"I Need You Now" by Smokie Norful happens to be both Magnificent's (1) favorite video to watch & preferred tune to croon. From top to bottom, runs included, Mags lays down vocals that rival any child singer eye have even seen. He even pretends to play the piano on whatever surface rests before him. You have to hear his rendition. Tripped out! We have to get this on video soon. You know how children will suddenly shift gears on you leaving you with only a memory of their remarkable antics. Maybe it'll be a good idea to set him up in the studio for an audio recording. We can work on the music later.
Children's electronic learning toys are now made with conscious style in mind. 7 girls have dreadlocks. 2 more girls have dreadlocks. How many girls have dreadlocks all together? Oh yeah, this a real word problem programmed for LeapFrog's Math Turbo Twist. Whoopi Goldberg endorses this line of teaching tools, so perhaps that question reflects her personal input. Yet another example of a famous person with no website. What's with these popular folks? Get with the times?
Maybe these are the elite thinkers of our generation? Those who avoid computers might just have a spidey sense for danger in the midst. Computers & technology bring out the best guilt in me sometimes. On that note, what would possess the world's second richest man, Warren Buffet to give away roughly 37 billion dollars of his funds to the Gates Foundation? Philanthropy? UMMMM...this one sounds way too good & simple. Ever heard of the Apocrypha?
We're headed to work in the neighborhood Earth Park (George W. Carver Food Park) this morning. Gotta get in that community service. Right, Sizwe?
Fortunately, Dallas Austin has finally been released from a Dubai prison, where he had reportedly been held for the last few weeks. BTW-Has anyone checked out the fancy, schmancy all-suite hotel where Naomi Campbell's birthday bash was being held? Good golly!!! Maybe modeling would have been a good career choice. Hmmm...
Well, at 32 that prospect most unlikely. Though every pregnancy someone suggests that my physique would be perfect for a maternity model. Maybe this go round. Just this morning, Dwight suggested that eye sign up at a local agency. Their models, showcased in one of the city entertainment pubs, certainly got a lot of exposure this week. Or simply put, a lot was being exposed. Huh bruh!
Humpday always feels like a manic Monday following a holiday. Even though we work EVERY day of the year, we cannot help but be affected by others break in pace. Hopefully, the music industry will modulate back into the week harmoniously so that we can move these records. That's what we are in the business to do. Not build fame or props. Not to knock the other man. But to sell units. Sad, but true.
It's a hard way to go for those artists who really want to contribute great music to a dying emotional people. It's all a numbers game now. The art - secondary. Labels will see your family hungry & homeless if you turn in a project that they in any way doubt will "do the numbers". Eye know. It would be so much better if these old washed up label heads would let the people decide. But that would mean training in the new school approach to the music and it's very unlikely that those old dogs are willing to learn anything new. My experience confirms this addage.
We are fighting to get this music to you every day. We are also working with the same intensity to bring you Something To Cope. Please bear with us. My promise is that it will all be well worth the wait.
For July, our home school (True Skool) curriculum will consist of only Chess & Mathematics. Closely related, the children should be well served by this intensive. It's interesting trying to teach at so many different grade levels, but it's challenging me to sharpen my skills so that they all get precisely the instruction needed. What we are learning:
Right now they are all working at roughly 2-3 grade levels ahead depending on the subject, with math being on the lower end. My goal is to level at 3 by September. Please keep us in your thoughts & prayers.
It was during my last pregnancy that Sonic chipped ice became one of my favorite snacks. Back again, as a craving this go round, 2-44 ounce cups get demolished in a days time. Freeze-dried...YUM!
Growing up, my mother had this compulsive ice chewing habit that lasted well into my adulthood. My youngest sister picked up this fetish & only in the last couple years has calmed her grinding machine. Me, on the other hand...in full effect!!
Kelly Rowland professed to have an obsession for the frozen treat in one of the first interviews eye ever caught. She admitted to bringing a special ice machine on tour. That struck me as so ghetto back then, making me nostalgic of my high school years. So completely tickeled by her forthrightness, at that moment we declared her as our favorite member in the group. She really sealed the deal on 106 & Park during the classic "fall" episode. If you haven't seen this, it's guaranteed to get a chuckle. Watch Kelly - not going down for nothin' & not even stopping to help her fallen sis - in true diva fashion. Business first. How American!!!
Of course, the US celebrates independence today from King George III in 1776. While congratulations due for suceeding, shame yet exists for continuing to deny Afrikans forced to this soil the same rights for nearly another 100 years until the passing of the 13th amendment. For this reason, it's really no Holy Day for me. We might activate some fireworks to publically display the contempt. Set it off!!!
Do you think those on the other side recognize their earthdays? If you have ever had to bear one near & dear transitioning beyond this world, you know well the uneasiness in celebrating special days without their presence.
July 2nd=Granny Born Day (Peace Be Upon Her)
For the past two years since she physically left this space, we have had fish fry's to commemorate the year that would be. This go around, we are looking at what would have been 77 years on this planet.
We visited Sylvan Street, where she remained a member until the end, in her memory this morning. This also the church where my baptism took place at 13, as well as our wedding. Granny was funeralized there, too. An abundance of memories within those walls. In a few weeks, the church will celebrate 125 years of service. Isn't that amazing? Eye imagine it to have been among the first established Black churches post-slavery in Nashville. Need to do my history...
Dilla really had a special ability to lay proper rhymes on his own productions. If only they didn't have so much derogatory content. He never got a chance to elevate his lyrical content to the same quality level as his music. Nonetheless, his kick-off on "Raise It Up" completely sends me into euphoria. Fantastic Vol.2 as a whole is such a timeless classic. The Shining, on the horizon, ya'll!!!
Ranking MF DOOM Today: Rhymes Like Dimes Curls Potholderz The Fine Print DOOMSDAY The Id's/Eucalyptus Mic Line/Coriander Rock Co. Kane Flow Quite Buttery The M.I.C.
*List comprised of both DOOM productions & verses, some featuring guests. **Listing & order subject to change on any given day, depending on how the beat drops.
Tokio - Good lookin' on sending the painting. Our whole family marvels at your talent. Thanks for your love!
Tee - Hold your head, money! The best yet to come!
eye rip raps; on same microphones poetry.
eye balance formality with artistic integrity.
eye close deals, book shows, then pen prose.
eye cook meals before heading to post bills .
eye read to the youth; record to the beat.
eye flow, consult, lecture, teach & speak.
eye blog & tweet; send messages to senders.
eye fool to the internet; slave to lender.
eye write for the love.
eye fight for the write.
eye am a writer.