Monday, November 30, 2009

Beanie Sigel: Before He Self Destructs

Damn. It's been about a month or so, & Beanie Sigel is making good on his promise of keeping his "foot on Jay-Z's neck". For all those who say it's for attention/promotion/career jump start, I'd be hard pressed to disagree at this point. Jay-Z has yet to respond, though. It kinda reminds me of the last "argument" I got into with my baby mom's. She yelled & screamed, in front of a church no less, even worked up some tears, telling me I don't do shit for my kids. Even though my daughter was living with me at the time. Odd, no? That type of blind flailing is always indicative of attention seeking melodrama, with little to no substance. Once I didn't respond-just looked as bewildered as I was pissed-she stomped to her car & drove away. Yeah, this Beanie/Jay situation is reminding me a lot like a scorned women's misguided passion...

"I'm looking for a response. I know I'm a bully but it ain't no fun if he don't swing back. Swing back, man."
-Beanie Sigel

I've come across a slew of bullies in my life. I've never heard one say "swing back, man." Bullies lack the nobility it takes to allow said bullying to be competitive. That would be like, instead of him taking your lunch money, he just stands there while you order yours, then tells you want he wants. A bully's sole intention is to discredit your humanity, one "punch" at a time. If Beans was really bullying Jay, he wouldn't want a response. Carusso doesn't slap Chris' books out of his hand, call him "Hambone", then hang around for a rebuttal. Instead he keeps walking, & does the same type shit the next day. Beans wouldn't taunt us with the possibility of information that would change the way Jay's perceived, if he was a true bully. That would've been the concept of the first track. 50's a bully. George H. W. Bush is a bully. Hell, for that matter Judge Judy is a bully. You think 'The Gooch' ever took his foot outta Arnold Jackson's ass & told him to do something back? No dice. Beans may need to watch some 'Everybody Hates Chris' & 'Diff'rent Strokes', respectively, take some notes & rethink his position.

At this juncture, this is really beginning to seem like a one-sided lover's quarrel. Peep the "delusional" factor. Anybody with the displeasure of having a B.M. knows that they have impressive imaginations. Some going as far as alleging abuse, & when DCS finds no tangible evidence to continue the case, the B.M. insists that paid professionals don't know what they're doing. Amazing, right? For the sake of their own "sanity", their irrational thinking must constantly evolve. Delusions, illusions, & fantasies play a large part in fueling their hatred. God forbid they gain some insight to the truth, & realize that maybe, their mind's just playing tricks on them.

"I played music for Jay, when I was working on The Solution album...There were song concepts on there. I had a song on that joint with no hook on it. I told him it didn't need no hook on it. He got a song 'I don't need no hook for this shit.' I had a song on there called 'Prayer,' he got a song called 'Pray.'"
-Beanie Sigel

If I had a nickel for every time some rap dude said something I said or told to somebody else, I'd have enough dough to buy a Bentley. I'd pull up to the lot in a U-Haul, open the cargo door & make it rain loose change. As complex & intricate as music can be, rap seems to gravitate to a limited amount of subjects. Sure, praying isn't that popular on the list, but DMX can say the same thing to Beans, if he wasn't busy continuing his legacy of crack-ish behaviors. & didn't Jermaine Dupri, or St. Lunatics or Nelly come out with a song entitled 'No Hooks' or 'What The Hook Gon' Be?' or something? Now had Beans let Jay hear a song about him losing his virginity, & Jay released a joint called 'My First Time', then that may be grounds for plagerism. Otherwise, it comes off more paranoid schizophrenia, less copyright infringement.

& just like my B.M. screaming "Bloody Murder!" in front of the Lord's duplex, Beans now wants to air out their differences for the world to see. Why? Nobody at the church stopped what they were doing to pay closer attention, even though I know for a fact that those folks were nosier than a motherfucker. Of the fist full of people who know about this "beef", probably only half of them are genuinely interested in it. It's one thing to have something to talk about via the 'Net on a boring Thursday afternoon, but it's something totally different to tune in & watch two grown men discuss why one is so miffed at the other, let alone settle their differences. According to Beans though, this is the only way this dispute can be settled:

"We gotta do it televised now. [The beef]'ll be over but our face to face conversation gotta be televised because the public wanna know. They deserve to know. The people wanna know. You gotta understand, there was people across the world that were putting up that dynasty sign, who believed in that Roc La Familia."
-Beanie Sigel

The only people who'd watch that shit, even if it were on public access television, are the same people who go to Ross or Marshall's to bulk up their already intense State Property wardrobe collection. & maybe Memphis Bleek. That same delusion has Beans pulling other niggas into the fray, but not even for his defense! He's literally finding Jay reinforcements.

"They say he got a record [that's] supposed to come out, the remix to that "New York" ['Empire State of Mind'] shit. He poppin' shots at me. He poppin' shots at 50. But, he put Nas on the record hoping that a nigga will respond to it and come at Nas. Nas gon' come right back. He's not gonna hold no punches. He's gon' come right back. He should come right back, but look at the moves. I seen it."
-Beanie Sigel

What the fuck is he talking about? Out of Jay, 50, Beanie, & NaS, NaS is probably the most likely to go all out. Why invite him to the party? Dude's in a real low place right now, between his ex-wife & bad career choices, & since we know pain births creativity, I'd expect nothing less than NaS laying a mushroom cloud the size of Texas at Beans' doorstep. We all know NaS' personal business already, so he literally has nothing to lose from a neo-digital rap beef. I wouldn't be surprised if he secretly offered up the goods on Kelis, in hopes of Beans taking her down a couple of pegs in the process. I would. But, like a baby momma, Beans obviously isn't thinking clearly. Jay-Z might be too far removed from the hunger of Hip Hip to respond, but NaS is in the same position Beans is in; in need of a career boost. The difference is that NaS is talented & has a legacy to uphold. Maybe Beanie should've named HIS album 'Before I Self Destruct'...

I doubt this whole fiasco will make it's way to TMZ any time soon, but for those of us Hip Hop heads who have a vested interest in the bruhaha, we'll be staying tuned. I'm sure this will pass, but I hope for Beans' sake that he takes this chance & mediocre buzz to get his name back out on the rap curcuit. As far as I can see it, 50 is winning. Getting his best "Don King" impersonation on, & keeping his name in our mouths as usual. I'm never mad at capitalizing, even when it's a bully doing it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fact, Fantasy, Fiddy, & Freddy...

*puts on bulletproof vest*

I like 50 Cent, the rapper. I really don't think he's that bad at what he does. He brags, boasts, fronts, stunts, flosses, shines & all the other coontastic buffoonery that makes a successful gangsta rapper. What he eats doesn't make me shit, & like the next man, I'm a sucker for an aggressive beat & suggestive lyrics. Throw in the requisite gun references & misogyny, & I'm sold. Coincidentally, I like Rick Ross, the rapper, for the same exact reasoning. Irrational, subversive fantasy.

See, I believe a lot of people have forgotten that, along with being a contact sport, Hip Hop is entertainment. Would Muhammad Ali have been as popular if he didn't bust a rap when reporters asked him questions? Would Iron Mike have been so much fun to listen to if he didn't attempt to use mutli-syllabic words surrounded by that hilarious lisp? Professional wrestling, anyone? Too much emphasis is put on the reality of the rap world, when the reality of the rap world is based on fiction. I never heard one person call out Will Smith when he rapped about stealing his Dad's "brand new Porshe". We all knew that was bullshit, because if it was my Dad, I'd be blogging from one of those Steven Hawkins machines. & he wasn't called a fraud when he told us Freddy was trying to gut him, on his street, as if I'm to believe Fredrick Kruger moved to Philadelphia. The only Black kid Freddy worried about was that one fat dude in that mental hospital, who was friend's with that heroin addict broad. Remember Freddy's finger knives became syringes? & home chick's track marks started freaking out! Oh shit, I know y'all remember that episode! That was the same one when he turned to kids into roaches, & trapped them like the 'Roach Motel' commercial!

"...but that don't come out."

Sorry, I digress. Why now then does that matter so much? By today's "standards", Kool Keith is the biggest lie Hip Hop has ever sold us. This nigga says he visits other planets, & has sex with 5 women at once. In his defense though, he made some pornos, so yeah, there's that.

When I do happen to have the debate on who's real or fake in Hip Hop, I always come to the same conclusion; I couldn't give a fuck less. Not to mention, if I decide to spend hard earned recession dollars on a concert outing, the last person I want to see is some maniac madman who, by his own repeated admission, is probably going to kill me & everyone I came with. If I were to take rap dudes seriously, I wouldn't want to run into them at the mall, or at the beach, or the barbershop, because quicker than I would recognize them, there'd be a shoot out, hammers popping left & right, weed holders chopping down niggas like trees, for absolutely no logical reason at all.

Hip Hop two biggest bad guys, 50 & Ross, aren't hated for lack of skill, or inability to entertain. It's because they are arguably the biggest douche nozzle's in the business. Ross is a delusional liar (lying about what he did do, as opposed to what he didn't to, if you follow me) & 50 is the consummate cyber bully who should've stopped when he acquired his mark (Law of Power, #47). Both of these men have proven they possess the talent to sell records, but stubborn arrogance is a quality I don't like in my salesmen. You ever go shoe shopping, where the guy helping you was such a pretentious dick waggle that you didn't get the kicks you wanted? Right, you smell my cologne then.

In an era where 11 year olds ask for MP3 players as Christmas presents, one would have to really give the consumer a reason to buy physical CD's. Especially when the bulk of today's musical content is centered around dance songs &/or silly pop cultural references (I'm waiting on Kid Cudi or Lupe Fiasco to do a song based on the 'Twilight' movies), & is as accessible a free porn. Gangsta music basically ran it's course throughout the latter half of the 90's, with only a handful truly carrying on tradition today. Even Scarface & Ice Cube called it a wrap quite some time ago, & started seeking executive positions. Perhaps it's time 50 did the same, for real, & not by claiming to be the boss, yet dropping a verse on his artists' albums like Puff Devil Combs. In all seriousness, 50 has enough asshole charm to be the next Byron Allen or Aresenio Hall. I'd watch him make other, less famous people uncomfortable, in between nonsensical jokes & sips of lukewarm water.

Ross still has a way to go before he can truly claim to have an empire, so he's not yet worthy of my advice. But, judging by 50's latest record sales, in comparison to his previous ones, there's an obvious glitch in his matrix. So, 50, if you're reading this, throw on some tight jeans, start smoking weed all day every, & perhaps in a year's time, you'll begin to reel us back into your universe. Or, you can just become a male stripper & take the table dancing community by storm with Game. I'm sure he still has connections with his old "business partners".

Giving Thanks

I'm not a big "Happy Holidays" type of guy. First of all, I don't have that many people in my life that I want to spend unnecessary time with, even if it does mean free food & gifts. I just don't consider that an even exchange. When I was stumbling through life drunk, I was the polar opposite. I thought I wanted to see everybody, all the time, & had to be the life of the party/get-together, unknowingly setting myself up to be talked about &/or frowned upon. Now, most times there's an extended-family related holiday, I'll go, find a corner, & nest, like a Wren, until it's time to go back home.

This past Thanksgiving Thursday was no different. My wife, my son & I went to my in-laws for dinner. Instead of nesting in a corner, though, I decided I'd take my boys out to play some basketball, & in the process, wrangled a few extra kids into our outing. I played ball with my sons for about 15 minutes, until I rolled my left ankle, like I do every single time I play basketball. At which point, I decided that sports & Timberlands are horrid bedfellows, & that I'd had enough of shooting over the heads of a couple of 3 foot tall little dudes. So, we meandered over to the playground area.

Once there, the gaggle of children that followed us were all playing in the sand, back flipping off of swings, covering slides with dirt, & a couple of the less coherent ones tried to make & eat dirt sandwiches. Of course I intervened, although that went against my inner-douche nozzle telling me to video it & upload their humorous antics to YouTube. No dice, though. Maybe next year.

My niece, who's quite the little ray of sunlight, stood atop the slide & proclaimed, "Today is the Lord's day!". All the kids laughed & went back to whatever they were doing. As we should all know, rays of sunshine generally refuse to be ignored, so she made the declaration again.

"Today is the Lord's day!"

Now, my youngest son decided to engage, & he responded, "No, everyday is the Lord's day." My niece then felt the burning 7 year old desire to school an ignorant 6 year old on what the Lord & Thanksgiving have to do with one another. By now, all of the children were pulled into this meeting of the minds, I guess because even swinging gets a bit mundane after an hour. My niece, bless her little heart & adorable intentions, wasn't prepared for what my son was about to lay out in front of her.

Children are like sponges. They soak up the good, as well as the bad. The bad, however, becomes more apparent usually, because we live in a society that readily emphasizes negative behavior, & rarely rewards the positive. The positive behavior is generally exhibited in such a fleeting manner that we don't get the opportunity to stop & deliver the necessary kudos, pats on the back, etc. Lucky for me, I wasn't doing shit else but watching kids be kids.

My youngest son, decided it was time for his cousin to be educated. He's a nozzle like that sometimes, but in a good way. He explained that Thanksgiving is wrong, & that we didn't eat with the indians & have a good time. He told her, & all the kids listening, that the White man came here & killed the Native Americans, took their land, stole their belongings, gave them disease & destroyed their people. I was flabbergasted. All those talks we've had while walking down the street, who would've thought that he was truly listening, let alone comprehending in a way the would yield results in an otherwise adult conversation. Obviously, he was, & very intently I might add.

Of course, once he'd said all that, he felt that it was only right to dispell the myths of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, ghosts, monsters, & ended his dissertation with a healthy dose of "there's no Hell, either". At this point, I felt he'd ruined enough pre-adolescent fantasies for one day & stopped him. The day continued on, & my kids & I eventually left without even eating, per my sons deciding they'd had enough "Thanksgiving" for the day. We left my wife there, came home & ate pizza.

I had to explain to my son the dangers of the truth, & when exposing actuality to lesser versed people, that aren't ready to learn, one must be prepared for incredible backlash. I know, I'm supposed to be teaching him not cry, & don't be a tattle tale & what not, but really, how far have those types of crippling theories really gotten "us"? I have verifiable proof that my son knows the difference between fallacy & actuality, & the gumption to let the truth fly if need be. That is integrity for your ass. Now, to maintain that standard I've already set, while successfully guiding him through the maze that is human life. Sounds fun, right?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Revolution Will Be Broadcasted (& Illegally Downloaded)

I'm young enough to remember when Mtv changed the music game. Word to Dallas Penn, videos already existed before the channel made them the prerequisite for any fledgling musician(s). But what that television station did was provide not only an outlet for groups to realize the physical manifestations of their audio creations, but also to give the fans an opportunity to put human beings to the sounds they enjoyed. Video killed the radio star, indeed.

On a side note, Michael Jackson & John Landis personally changed the video game immediately following. Do your homework if you ain't already knowing.

The music racket had been one-upped, & there was no turning back, like when vinyl pushed 8-track off the proverbial cliff, & pissed on him as he slipped into darkness.

Fast forward a couple of decades, & the World Wide Web did a similar move to the music industry, almost making the CDs, that once made the cassette obsolete, irrelevant. Here we are, faced with a mechanism capable of information transfer at a staggering rate & unimaginable reach. Communicational boundaries were literally erased, as people all across the glorious globe could now be connected with one another with essentially no effort at all. Once mankind truly had a grasp on the Internets full potential, nothing was safe from it's voracious ability. I seriously doubt that anyone could've foreseen the effect the Web would have on the entertainment industry, much less civilization as we knew it. Experts once thought that, with the up rise of the 'Nets, the music & movie companies would fall under, due to the 'Nets sheer strength. In theory, one would be hard pressed not to agree. Any & everything a person could want had become available online.

The 'Net created introverts where there were none previously. Shopping, entertainment, social activity, porn, all available at one's fingertips [||]. But, as the smoke clears, the industry that seems to have sustained the most injury is music. Downloads, file shares, album leaks, all play a part in the customers willingness to abandon physical LP's & opt for digital downloads, illegal or otherwise. & who would ignore such luxury? When I was younger, a trip anywhere required 5-7 CDs (at least!) & my Discman, regardless of my destination. Those of us who took our music seriously back then would even shell out upwards of a hundred bucks for the anti-shock or non-skip models. Now, a little bitty box can adamantly hold the majority of my musical library, with me not so much as setting foot inside of a record store. & if you want to get dry snitch-y about it, without so much as spending a dollar, either. The consumer, being catered to, never stopped to think about the artist, & how our decisions may effect them. Which brings us to today's flailing music market, where yesterdays mega-star is only moderately compensated & easily dismissed, regardless of talent. Not only can anybody "produce" an album, but the playing field has been leveled, & accessibility & visibility aren't the parameters of success any longer. YouTube (& the like) can & will make or break a nigga these days.

Now, thanks to the 'Nets, any music, especially the wack, overrated, unnecessary kind, is available on demand. This has the record industry--especially Hip Hop--in a frenzy. Theoretically, there's no reason to buy music anymore. Albums get preleased(c) before their time, & unless you're Jay-Z, Eminem or Black Eyed Peas, the amount of sales is affected. Although that sounds bad, it's actually not. With all music being basically free, we, the fans/consumers are able to sample what's out there & only focus on what we like.

I don't have to second guess ripping Mos Def's latest offering, right after I sneaked a peek at why even Combat Jack likes Gucci Mane. I can find out what the big deal is with Pac Div just as quickly as I can download (then trash bin) Lil Boosie. Point is, no star shines brighter than the next, unless we decide that. & with the opportunity to sample a little bit of everything on the veritable buffet table, the truly talented will undoubtedly be pushed to the forefront. & once CD's become completely obsolete (which they will--mark my words), the industry will be forced to start from scratch; more skill, less marketing.

While this may have an adverse effect on the amount of wack juice that we get exposed to, it also eliminates the radio-factor & let's the listener be in total control of the audio experience. Honestly, the only times I even think about radio is on holidays, to create a festive atmosphere for whatever the hell it is we're celebrating. I think that we've all concluded how much of a dichotomy the 'Net is. So, why not love it as much as we hate it, like an alcoholic parent.

[tony's note: the same evolution is happening to libraries as well. go figure...]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rap Crap: The Beef Edition

How come no rappers have fought yet? Really though. With the amount of beef circulating though Hip Hop, all the WWF-esque tactics that have gained popularity over the 'Nets, & all the blatant disrespect, you'd think that somebody would've gotten their ass handed to them by now. Sure, a WorldStarHipHop clip with some disgruntled weed carrier holding a gun & barking at the camera is entertaining, but how much of a point does that prove? That energy would better be spent throwing rocks at random rich nigga whips, in hopes that the target is in one of them.

Now, it's obvious that some beef is just a couple of blow hards exchanging witty unpleasantries (see Jay-Z/NaS or Kanye West/Taylor Swift), & I don't expect it to go any further than slapping & scratching, per se. Kind of like Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' video; you knew damn well none of those dudes were going to stab anybody, & run the risk of messing up their mascara. Eminem/Nick Cannon is one of those where, although physical threats have been made, I don't see it going beyond amusing little videos & blog disses. I'd put my money on Mariah slapping the shit out of Marshall backstage at a video awards show before Nick ever Tae-Bo's the rapper. Nick is like the consummate stand-up guy, & for that stereotype alone, he should've stepped to Em. Instead, he rattled off rants about Marshall being racist, as if Nick is any Blacker than Marshall. No dice.

Others are just a couple of guys, reaching middle age & wanting to show the world that Hollywood hasn't sprinkled fairy dust on them completely yet (Ice Cube/Common), or a situation where an older, seemingly out of touch MC is threatened by a younger, more virile MC & has to defend his position (LL Cool J/Canibus).

Some "beef" is the chosen vehicle for whatever unknown douche nozzle rapster thinks that swinging blindly at the competition will garner them popularity. 50 Cent's 'How To Rob A Industry Nigga' is the successful anomaly to this group, & it almost worked for a group back in the days called 'Illegal', who came out blazing at Another Bad Creation, Da Youngstas & Kris Kross. But with not one mustache between the entire bunch, spectators didn't trust them or watch for very long. & 50 has based an entire, successful career around that ethos. & I won't even go in on Jay-Z/50/Beanie Sigel/Game. That particular beef is being dissected everywhere right now, my 2 cents wouldn't even register. But 50 has single handedly changed the face of rap beef, taking it away from the recorded disses & darts & bringing it to cats' houses. Literally. His most memorable, yet distasteful, was sending his goons to videotape a rival's (DJ Khalid) mother asleep at her workplace. Oy vey.

Arguably, the illest rap beef ever was Tupac Shakur versus Notorious B.I.G., simply because of the outcome. Not so much that the so-called war was especially spectacular, but the surrounding dramas were eventful, & outcome was devastating, like the Vietnam War.

Then, some dudes have actual problems with one another, & thusly, some type of fist fight should've occurred already. Take 50 Cent & Game. The longer I don't here about them running into each other & boxing, is the more I don't believe they really have beef. Or Young Jeezy/Gucci Mane, a beef that extends beyond diss records & subliminal darts over banging tracks. There was an actual altercation, that has already left a man dead by Gucci's own hands. I grew up in South L.A., where niggas die. Hopefully those two brothers can be men, fight if necessary, but come to a conclusion to their problems for the safety of all parties involved. As far as the 50 Cent/Rick Ross fiasco, if I were Ross, I'd be hitting the gym daily, still recording (the better) music like I've been doing, but at this point in their bromance, Ross can't do or say anything to this man that can't be said through an ass whooping. 50 has teased & taunted this dude in ways that would've broken a weaker man long ago. I've often suggested that Rick is possibly the dumbest guy in Hip Hop, & by that standard, he's unable to fathom what Curtis does. Even still, it's about time to punch him in the nose, even if Rick does get his ass kicked. It can't be any worse than what 50's been doing all this time.

I'm not advocating any beef whatsoever, but, for all the mouth running & show boating, I sure do wish somebody would fight already. We remember fighting, what dudes with problems with each other did before cowards started throwing bullets instead of punches? I've said it before, & I'll say it again; Hip Hop is the only genre where you make enemies as quickly, if not more so, as fans. Other forms of music are just competitive, everybody wants to be the "winner", everybody wants to make the big checks & bring home numerous trophies from irrelevant, redundant award shows, yet, I'm positive that Carrie Underwood won't be dedicating any studio time to telling Taylor Swift that she sucks as a singer & her parents are closet racists. There's plenty of social stigmas as to why this is so, & all the psycho-babble in the world can't help me to understand why rappers feel they have to shit on each others space boots to get ahead. Back when I was under the impression that I could make noise on the rap scene, some nameless buffoon started beefing with me, & for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what his deal was. In hindsight, it was probably the same thing that other cats do, where they see an opportunity to piggyback another man in order to further their "career". But, the jokes on him, because I stopped rapping (sort of).

The thing with rappers fighting is that we know it won't progress to any street-level bullshit, & I doubt a cat would press charges. Domestic laws wouldn't apply if two "famous" jerks bumped heads in the parking lot of the Louis Vuitton store. So, why not? The era of the "diss record" has about run it's course, & frankly, it's about time for it to be taken to the next echelon, or abandoned altogether. Hip Hop is a completely different sport now than it was when I was coming up.

[tony's note: i'm sure I forgot some "important" beefs. feel free to remind me.]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

...Howard Cosell would be proud.

I don't usually drop about sports. Those conversations can be as circular as "who's the best rapper?" or "could Wendy Williams get it doggystyle?". Since I'm a creature of habit, this won't be about sports either, per se. More like sportscasters.

I'm a Lakers fanatic, so no broadcaster will ever touch the microphone of the late, great Chick Hearns. My man had more one-liners than Jay-Z. Following the vein of a true Lake Show supporter, I hate the Clippers. Always have. When they moved to Staples Center, I laughed at them, & hoped that somehow, Mike Dunleavy would have to drop a log in the same stall that Phil Jackson just pissed in, without bothering to lift the toilet seat. What was I thinking? The soft-ass Clippers probably use those paper butt guards when they squat. The Lakers, on the other hand, just shit on the competition.

See what I just did there?...

The best thing about the few Clips games I've watched has always been the announcers, Ralph Lawler & Michael Smith. They really appear to enjoy their jobs, with witless banter & personal conversation like two niggas waiting to be called at the Family Court building. I mean, neither of these guys are as incoherent as Stu Nahan, but entertaining nonetheless. Sportscasting has to be one of those "approach with caution" professions, because all you do is talk about what's going on to whoever's listening. Cats smoke weed & get drunk & do the same thing all weekend long, for free. & I know for a fact that I make off-color remarks all the time (like when Howard Cosell said "look at that monkey run" about a Black running back), so why would these dudes be any different? Plus, there's a 50% chance that one of them drinks heavily, word to John Madden. I'm surprised they're just now getting in trouble. I wouldn't have lasted a full season, especially in major league baseball. Eventually, the league would've grown weary of my "how many Dominicans does it take to..." jokes, & like that, I'd be narrating cat food commercials.

Ralph & Michael received a one game suspension during a game versus the Memphis Grizzlies last week. It probably wouldn't have gotten noticed if it wasn't for some douche nozzle viewer who emailed Fox Sports Network to voice their displeasure of the conversation. How much do you want to bet that it was some 50-something year old white lady, who calls midgets "little people" because it's PC? Fuck all that, they're
midgets. So, Grizzlies player Hamed Haddadi entered the game off the bench, & the two classy gentlemen did what two bros watching a basketball game would naturally do--talk to each other about it:

Smith: "Look who's in."

Lawler: "Hamed Haddadi. Where's he from?"

Smith: "He's the first Iranian to play in the NBA." (Smith pronounced Iranian as "Eye-Ray-Knee-In.")

Lawler: "There aren't any Iranian players in the NBA." (repeating Smith's pronunciation.)

Smith: "He's the only one."

Lawler: "He's from Iran?"

Smith: "I guess so."

Lawler: "THAT Iran?"

Smith: "Yes."

Lawler: "The REAL Iran?"

Smith: "Yes."

Lawler: "Wow. Haddadi, that's H-A-D-D-A-D-I."

Smith: "You're sure it's not Borat's older brother?"


Smith: "If they ever make a movie about Haddadi, I'm going to get Sacha Baron Cohen to play the part."

Lawler: "Here's Haddadi. Nice little back-door pass. I guess those Iranians can pass the ball."

Smith: "Especially the post players."

Lawler: "I don't know about their guards."

If you're anything like me, that shit was funny, especially when Lawler spelled Hamed's last name out, as if Homeland Security needs to be notified that the dude was here, in case there were pipe bombs in his locker. For all the, umm, greatness that America has achieved throughout the years, we sure can be some whiny ass babies. Whoever sent that email is surely an asshole. & what's worse is that FSN could've emailed her back a cordial "Blow us, sperm bucket!", & thanked her for her concern. Hell, I should've sent them an email that said, "ROFLMMFBAO!", but I was too busy laughing out loud.

We clearly need to get over playing poker with race cards all the time, & learn how to laugh when shit is funny. That shit was funny, & Howard Cosell would be proud.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Here's a little story...

TI is getting out of prison pretty soon. I'll admit, his story really intrigues me, & I just had a somewhat random thought. When his trial began, all the talk was about how he was a snitch, & a punk, & he must've cooperated with the police & the feds to get his sentenced reduced, blah blah. Never, not once, ever, did I hear anybody give him propers for having the balls to live out his lyrics. He had every intention of buying guns & bulletproof armor & silencers for the sake of going to war, with revenge on his mind. C'mon, that's gangsta! Granted, he never got the chance to carry-out his plan(s), but that was because his bodyguard was the snitch. He didn't go to jail behind riding around with a pistol just because, or getting caught with a misdemeanor amount of drugs; dude was getting ready to go out in a blaze of glory, word to Bishop. Not that I hand out kudos for ignorance, but if I were to do so, I'd call Cliff to the front of the line. Unlike 50 Cent & Tupac, who's street credit card was swiped in the victim lane, TI just happened to get infiltrated before he could make someone else the victim. Maybe he'll give us a song about it when he gets out. We know how much Hip Hop loves a rehabilitated convict with a story to tell...

Rappers going to jail is nothing new. But, when they go to jail for real shit, that makes all the difference in a career. Sometimes, it even destroys said career, & the artist's life in the process.

Almost 10 years back, I rapped with a dude named Regino, in a group called 'Tha Most'*. We did a little damage out here, hooked up with some cats called 'Kali's Finest'*, who were running around the L.A. underground gangsta rap circuit turning a few heads here & there. They had a guy in their ("our") clique, named Big Lurch*. Dude was a Texas nigga, pre-chopped & screwed & syruped-up Dirty South type cat who had a buzz rapping with a NoCal group called 'RBL Posse'*. KF Klik's studio was located in the heart of the Van Ness Gang's territory, so the majority of cats who came in & out were more or less Bloods, with Lurch being no exception. In fact, it was only a couple of us who didn't at least covertly claim a Blood affiliation. Not that we were Crips either, we just weren't Bloods. But, it was cool though, because it was about the music, & dudes had love for one another, like any crew should.

The big homies Big Gee & Wunder (Kali's Finest) were putting the final touches on their second LP around this time, so their was a lot of collaboration going on between the whole squadron. Regino & myself were slated to do a song with the homie Big Lurch, but between work, kids & police trying to shut down their side hustle *wink wink*, the song never emerged. I wish it had though. One day, I went over to the studio to cop some medication, & in the backyard, going at it like two wolverines, were Big Lurch & the unofficial third member of Tha Most, K-Borne. Lurch was getting served up, bolo's to the nose & jawbones, but that didn't stop him from squabbling. The fight actually stopped when K-Borne took a step back & looked puzzled at Lurch, who was yelling & screaming like a man possessed. K walked back inside, seemingly disgusted with the whole situation, rather than like a man who just beat the monkey piss out of another dude in front of a small crowd. I broke out to drop off my kids, & returned awhile later to find out what was up with the turmoil.

"Grands! You ain't know that nigga be gettin' wet, dog?!"

"Nah. Word?"

I'd always noticed that Lurch was always in his own world, but he never bothered anybody. The times I chilled with him, clowning, sipping some drank or standing in the driveway while I smoked my Newport, he was always a mellow guy. I'm pretty good with my radar, & obviously he flew right under it. After this fight though, I found out that he was indeed a sherm head, & had no problems letting niggas know. All of us blazed, some of us-especially me-were admitted alcoholics, a few dudes stayed off the X pills, but this dude smoked sherm (pcp, angel dust, water) like it was trendy. I'd heard mad stories about sherm stick smokers, thanks to Jay Felony*, various relatives, & of course, from watching 'Cops' since it's inception, but he didn't seem one bit like the type to flip a car over, naked & sweaty [||], while fighting off 6 police officers.

Once Kali's Finest started having personal problems & decided to go their separate ways, the entire crew followed suit. Everybody branched off to do whatever it is that men do once they've given up on a dream deferred. In hindsight, some of the most fun I've had in my life was during the time we were recording, smoking, drinking, playing PS2, doing shows, etc. I really felt like somebody, & even got stopped ot in the city a few times because of a performance the night before. Once in NoHo (North Hollywood), we even signed autographs for some little kids, & shared some positivity with them.

Time passes. One day, there was a rumor floating around the neighborhood that some dude ate his girlfriend. Literally. As per hood gossip, nobody had names or specifics, but they had the general locale of the event & an overview of what happened. & that was basically the extent of the information I'd got; some nigga ate his girlfriend. In a bad way. Supposedly, he was caught walking down Broadway, covered in blood when the police stopped & arrested him. Living in South L.A., you get used to hearing stories about people found dead or getting killed in bizarre ways. This story, however, was a tad more eerie than some anonymous gangster getting set on fire on front of his baby mom's house. Plus, when a rumor hits the neighborhood so intensely, from various sources, than there's enivetably some truth to it. Eventually, the buzz died down, & it was just another urban legend, about a crazy cannibal nigga who may or may not still be roaming the streets, in search of the next nigga to chomp on. Random folks that I knew, who don't live anywhere near me had even caught wind of the story, & knowing I'd lived on this side of Crenshaw, they'd ask me if I knew or heard anything about it. Yet & still, no one ever had a name.

A couple years pass. One night, I'm watching 'Dateline' or 'Newsline' or something to that effect. They preempt a story about a neighborhood that looks vaguely familiar, & the story of a man who killed his friend's girlfriend while he was high on PCP. Commercial break. At this time, I was still smoking weed & drinking like I hated my liver, so, being faded, I was drawn into the premise. When the show came back on, the story went something like this:

Antron Singleton, living in South Los Angeles, had allowed his friend & his friend's girlfriend, Tynesha Ysais, to come live with them during a rough patch. One morning, the friend left the residence & left Ysais at the apartment with Singleton. Reportedly, Antron was high off of PCP, & confronted the young lady in an aggressive manner. She rebuffed him & the situation escalated. What happened next was unclear, but according to the man, he was high, & the young lady was wearing a t-shirt with the 'Tasmainian Devil' on it. The man also said that the cartoon character attempted to attack him & he defended himself by stabbing it. In a strange turn of events, the man admitted that he then began trying to eat the character after he assumed it was dead. Afterwards, he went outside & that's all he remembered until waking up in police custody. The police reported receiving a call from a neighbor, hearing a violent scuffle, & when they arrived, they found a man staggering down the street confused, covered in blood, dazed & hallucinating.

Medical records showed that Antron had undigested human flesh in his stomach.

At the end of the report, they showed the man's face. I jumped up & grabbed my cell.


"Nigga! That WAS Lurch!!"


Regino had called me awhile back about the story when he'd first heard about it, & he had heard that it was Big Lurch, but the problem was that no one had seen him in quite some time, so he & I dismissed it. Dude was a little off, but hey, who's not? But that off? Who'da thunkitt? We both watched the remainder of the show in silence, then got off the phone.

That was one of the weirdest moments in my memories.

At the end of the program, Lurch, sitting pathetically bounded by shackles & behind 3 inch thick bulletproof glass, told the viewers that he was sorry for what he'd done. He added that they should stay away from drugs at all costs. He finally got the fame he had been searching for. Too bad it came this way. He received life in prison after being found guilty on all charges.

With all the misogynistic, drug addled gang bangers who live their lives by the sinister soundtrack that some rap music provides, one can only wonder how successful Lurch would be if he put out an album based around that unfortunate circumstance. Sadly, he'd probably do pretty well. That's street cred for your ass.
*-Google if you're that curious

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Conquer & Divide

Last week, my wife invited me to see the movie 'Precious'. I reminded her that I don't do well with emotional movies, & the subject matter that the previews alluded to made it clear that it was one of those kinds of movies that make me uncomfortable. So, I've been reading a lot of reviews on the 'Net, & boy, I'm sure glad I stayed at home & chilled with my son instead. Oprah & Tyler Perry don't need my money anyhow. Now, had they been giving out $10 with every ticket purchase, I'd have seen it at least 5 times by now.

The complaint I've heard the most referenced the contrast of the dark/light skin characters. You know the timeless "dark is bad, light is good" propaganda. I'm not one to play poker with race cards, so I'm sure that's not what I would've gotten from the movie. But, the child producing incest? That would've stuck with me, or at least tied with HIV being passed from father to daughter sexually. As I said, an uncomfortable movie.

Without getting overly critical, I've heard this light vs. dark argument within an argument my entire life, from both sides of the fence. See, I'm a light skinned dude. Your "typical" light skinned dude. I've been called Puerto Rican, Mexican, White Boy (I'm not that light...), the whole gamut of "insults". Not really insults, per se, but they were intended as such. The majority of my friends have always been of a darker persuasion. I'm not sure if that's some psychological kickback from being surrounded by a bunch of crazy-ass, gumbo cooking, 1/3 Black relatives growing up or what, but I've been like that since I was a kid. Basically, I've never once equated negative behavior with dark skinned Black people. If anything, I could say that light skinned Blacks are genuinely crazy, as a result of what I concluded started back in the slave days, when the slave master's slave children, who were light skinned, were separated from the slaves & forced to only mingle with each other. By that theory, however far-fetched, at some point, cousins would have had sex with one another in order to pro create. We've all heard about two-headed babies & other ridiculous birth defects as a result of relatives conceiving children together, which are mostly fabled stories that could be plots of science fiction movies. However, there is some truth, in that mental problems have been discovered in children that resulted from incest.

Regardless, at the risk of sounding like a bigot, some of my best friends are dark skinned. Some good, some bad, but there's no over tipped scale as to where the amount of melanin in their skin has anything to do with the amount of exhibited stupidity, or lack of for that matter. For every light skinned person that's perceived as "good" purely off of their appearance, I can show you a gorilla's handful of conceited yellow bones who think the sun rises & sets on their douchebaggery. For every dark skinned person viewed as evil primarily from the color of the skin, I can show you twice that amount of good people who just so happen to be a darker hue of brown. Good vs. Evil, Smart vs. Dumb, but definitely not Light Skinned vs. Dark Skinned, at least from my vantage point.

That's a definitive trait of the slave mentality at work. Conquer & divide, if you will. Especially if we base it off of a movie, which is only as forthcoming as it visionaries (director & producer). In that case, do Oprah & Tyler Perry truly feel this way about Black people? Isn't Oprah dark? I do think she's evil, but it has nothing to do with Africa, & everything to do with America, but that's a blog for another day.

& I can't partially mention Ms. Winfrey without pointing out that Tyra Banks & Wendy Williams have both appeared on their nationally syndicated shows in make-up that gives them a much lighter tone than God intended. Factored in with outrageous wigs & (for Wendy) admission of numerous plastic surgeries, what messages are tomorrow's women of color receiving? I'd be hard pressed to make an argument against Wendy not being the embodiment of Black female self-hatred. No shots, though. To add to that pot, baseball legend Sammie Sosa has undergone a process that has him looking like Ricky Ricardo's present-day corpse, hair & all. Just saying...

As I type this, racism is being edged out by socialism. Look around us. Between schools, jobs, & helthcare, the rich will definitely be getting richer, while the poor are left to either starve to death in the street, or die of 'Swine Flu'. If you think this has no direct, hands-on effect in the Black community, you should think less & read more. Even if the revolution is televised, half of us won't be able to afford the television sets needed to see it, much less be a part of it. We need to observe the conquer & divide strategy for what it really is. Beat "us" down, then keep us away from each other, that way, there's no chance of uprise & retaliation.

America is the hotbed for racism. We all know that. It's part of our history as Americans, & it's embraced as much as it is reviled. But, to acknowledge it, as Black people, & then turn around & allow it to fester within our own confines is self defeating, to say the least. Personal preference is completely different than blatant bigotry & ostracism. Once we can separate the two, perhaps there really will be some form of Black Power. Not money, or wealth or fame, but solidarity, knowing that we all have the same struggle, regardless of our respective pigment. Obama is just the tip of the proverbial iceburg...

[tony's note: i didn't say "nigga" one time...]

Monday, November 16, 2009

Choose Wisely...

I'm sure most of y'all have seen the pictures of Rick Ross' baby moms Tia & their son with 50 Cent & Floyd Mayweather. Really though, fuck that picture. Cats all over the 'Net have their opinions on why it is/isn't foul, or what Rick should do to 50 in retaliation, or why Mayweather's even embroiled in this nonsense when he should be in the gym preparing to get his ass handed to him by Pacman. Btw, I hope he gets beaten in a way that's unfamiliar to him. I don't even like boxing like that, but I love to see a bonafied douche nozzle on the losing end of life. Makes me feel better about myself.

The reason I brought that up because it's a great precursor to choices. The choices we make, that seem so unimportant at the time, truly do shape our futures. It sounds simple, & it is. So simple that it's complicated, like putting on a condom or taking care of a pet. Without meticulous foresight, all things can & will fall down. You think Rick Ross would have raw dogged that chick if he saw all this drama? Would one 5 minute session of physical labor have been worth all this? It started when he decided that he probably won't get her pregnant, or didn't care otherwise. That minuscule decision has snow balled completely out of control, & he's a fool if he doesn't ever sit & think about the exact moment that he made one of the worst choices in his life. Not the kid, per se, but the dilemma that his irresponsibility begat.

Which brings me to a story I had the displeasure of revisiting this morning, of the fall of Rae Carruth. I won't get into specifics, but this dude basically had his baby mother killed for whatever reason. Now, I'm not throwing stones, God knows about my past, but how could something go so horribly wrong all of the sudden? Answer: it didn't. It sucked from the beginning, & perhaps, like many a successful man before him, he ignored whatever signs God showed him as to the horrid path that lay ahead. One bad choice led to many, & alas, dude's behind bars, his son is mentally & physically handicapped as a result of the injuries inflicted to the pregnant mother, & some young lady's corpse rots in a box as we speak, umm, read, well, you smell my cologne.

Choices are a manifestation of the free will we all were blessed with. It's what separates us from animals & angels. Said choices also determine how hard, or easy life will be. I teach my son to think before he does anything, because tiny ripples can become tidal waves, so to speak. I know. I've been swimming for years, & some days I see no land in sight. Thankfully, I haven't drowned yet. But thats also a nod to the fact that I've learned how to surf said tidal waves, a skill that I shouldn't have had to learn, but am glad that I did.

Life pretty much sucks. True, you have the good & the bad, but the latter generally outweighs the former. My dad used to tell me, "Life is short, but long as hell if you make the wrong decisions". It took me years to understand, & I appreciate the fact that he at least warned me. Too bad I didn't listen. Or maybe, I didn't understand. Hopefully, my bad choices will be my son's better choices. Speaking of choices, thats the name of the brochure that lists all of the magnet schools in the greater Los Angeles area. We just good his in the mail. Let the games begin...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Iron Mike Strikes Again.

I grew up watching boxing matches on HBO, before pay-per-view was so fashionable. I saw dudes like Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Leon (& his brother Michael) Spinx, & Boom Boom Mancini step into the squared circle to prove a point to one another, if no one else. They did it for the love of blood lust, sportsmanship & pugilism, as opposed to paychecks, celebrity & a chance to start a record label. In the 80's, we didn't have MMA yet, so imagine how violent the fights were.

The greatest to emerge from those days was Michael Gerard Tyson b/k/a Iron Mike Tyson. Still to this day, this is a man I would not fuck with. Even without factoring in his old fights, or what he did to Mitch "Blood" Green in plain view of anybody walking down that street that day in 1988, the mere fact that he bit off (AND SWALLOWED [||]) a piece of another man's ear is enough for me to never want to give him a reason to hone in on me as a target of any sort. Apparently, paparazzi photographer Tony Echevarria doesn't know who/what Mike Tyson is, or his burning alcoholism is seeping into his professional life.

"Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was arrested on suspicion of battery on Wednesday [Nov 11] after a confrontation with a photographer at LAX, who was also arrested in the incident"-via AP

Now seriously, this paparazzi jerk who approached Mike at LAX recently was upwards of 50 years old. First of all, dude should have a grown up job by now. Adult males, following other adult males around with cameras-that aren't secret agents or legit photographers, clearly suffer from a mild case of arrested development, & are probably some type of registered sex offenders anyway. If you ask me, that paparazzi cat looks like a Chester to me, & Mike had his 10 month old daughter & his wife in tow. Plus, like I tell y'all, never trust a man without a mustache, especially a Black one.

[tony's note: neither one of them niggas have mustaches. just saying...]

Let's be real, here. There's far too many real celebrities galavanting through Los Angeles International airport to be bothering Mike Tyson to begin with. & it's not like he's the most coherent person. He speaks that common boxer dialect of broken, mismanaged english that sounds like he's drunk or too happy (except Lennox Lewis-his speech is exceptional), & if the guy didn't work for TMZ, he's even a bigger nincompoop than he looks to be. I really doubt 'The Enquirer' is dishing out big bucks for pictures of Mike. All of America has seen his face tattoo & baby toothed smile by now. Nothing new there. & it's not that he's irrelevant, it's just that he's crazier than an armless blind man with a porn addiction. Maybe Mr. Echevarria thought Mike had gotten soft since he sat on Oprah Windbag's Couch of Confession & told Evander Holyfield he was sorry. Crazy motherfuckers have feelings, it's good sense that they lack.

This situation reminds me of Kanye West's episode with the paps, when he grabbed a guy's camera & angrily threw it to the ground. & by reminds me, I mean I've forgotten how gay Kanye West is. Yeezy could've at least slapped the dude. That poor camera didn't do anything wrong, it was simply doing what cameras are supposed to do. Mike on the other hand, went full fledged neanderthal, & dotted the poor guy's forehead. Then, to add insult to injury, Mike made a "citizen's arrest" while the dude did all he could to keep from slipping on puddles of his own blood like banana peels. Mike's defense is that he was protecting his family, so apparently Mike thought he looked like a Chester also.

[tony's next note: tyson's daughter died a few months back. running up in his face while he pushes his newborn daughter is the ultimate "shit-for-brains" move...]

Really though, I hope Iron Mike doesn't go to jail for this. On more than one occasion, these glorified picture jockies have proven that they can be more than just an annoying nuisance, & a man protecting his family from perceived doom is an unstoppable force of animal instinct. For what it's worth, that paparazzi guy should be sending Mike a thank you card...

"Dear Mike,

Thank you for not killing me, or biting off my ear. Sorry about the misunderstanding. Let's meet up for raw meat sometime, my treat."

If he does have to serve time on a probation violation, it's not like jail would be the worst thing that can happen to him. First of all, there's a 98.41% chance that he can beat the scurvy out of every inmate. Secondly, he's not terribly attractive, so I doubt even the staunchest homosexual would risk blunt force trauma just to attempt sodomy on such a man-beast. At the most, Mitch "Blood" Green would put money on one of his son's books to try & shiv Mike when he's asleep. But, Mike seems like he sleeps upright, like a cyborg, so I doubt a sharpened toothbrush would do anything more than make him angry, like a Black Hulk with an unusually high voice. If the probation officer isn't a super douche nozzle though, they'll probably just settle out of court, the charges will be dropped & Mike will go back to Vegas & resume life as the freak of nature that he his. Just in case, I got them "Free Iron Mike" t-shirts, 2 for $5. Holler at me on the gmail.

[tony's last note: what the fuck ever happened to zab judah...?]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mighty Earl & The Boss Bacon

Racial profiling has been a long standing problem in Los Angeles, as well as most "urban" areas across the U.S.A., for quite some time. I just love how "they" give racism technical sub-divisions, like how they split up the areas of Disneyland. In short, police monitor/harass specific "types" based solely on appearance, with the bias that said individual is most likely doing wrong because of who/what they are. I don't agree with racial profiling, partly because I'm Black (a favorited target of the profile), but mostly, because I'm not a bigot (well, in most cases, at least).

Los Angeles has a new police chief in Charlie Beck (by his name, he sounds like he should be an alcoholic cartoon character), & his first order of business is to address civil rights leader Earl Ofari Hutchinson's allegations that the LAPD has ignored 8 years worth of complaints regarding the matter. I'm sure other major cities will soon follow suit, granted it has tangible effects towards resolution.

I don't subscribe to any fascist views, but I do, however, live in a city that's quite dangerous depending on location/date/time of day or night, etc. In other words, some parts of L.A. are screwed the eff up (including the well-to-do spots). If you own a television set, you have a general idea of where not to be when the sun leaves the sky. Hell, maybe not even when the sun is up, either. That just gives more people the opportunity to witness something they don't plan on "snitching" about to begin with. Funny thing about that though, is whenever family from other states come to visit, they always want to see Compton, Watts & the Slauson Swapmeet; three places where people I know personally have been shot, shot at, & beaten up severely, respectively.

Like most folks in urbanized environments, I've been the victim of a crime a couple of times myself. Some anonymous, like car burglary, & others, hands-on & personal, like being robbed at gun-point. I've also been privy to seeing quite a few crimes of various natures happening right before my eyes (life in the Big City, am I right?). Not to mention the amount of criminals I happen to be related to. There on my "side", per se, but that's just a matter of happenstance.

Every time I was a part of or witnessed a crime, the person committing the crime looked like me. I've never been held-up by a white boy, asian person, or a gay dude. Well, you can't really tell who's gay nowadays, but, you smell my cologne. My question is, is it racial profiling if all the people in the area happen to be one of two shades of brown? Theoretically speaking, if all the folks in a 10 mile radius are either Black or Hispanic, who the hell else are the police supposed to pull over to meet their monthly quota?

Like most Americans, I don't like domestic terrorism, & a lot of the goings-on in plenty of middle-lower class communities could easily fall under that umbrella. At the same time, I don't need the coppers running around town like The Gestapo in cold world Prussia. It's 2009, & there's only one minority; poor people. & within those environments of poverty, of course the crime rate will be higher. Does that mean that the police are coming down unnecessarily harder on the coloreds of these neighborhoods, or are they earning the income that we, the people, pay them?

I've never been a "Fuck the police" type guy, even when N.W.A. had me singing it on the school bus. I understand that some are good, & some are bad, like any other organization of differing humans. Perhaps Earl will get to the bottom of this before too long, but in the meantime, don't get it twisted.....I won't be riding around Beverly Hills all willy nilly after sunset, either.

I've been bumped up in basically every major metropolitan area of Southern California. Literally, dozens of times I've had to prove my innocence to the business side of a shiny badge. I'm aware that some coppers are misguided man-children who got bullied all through adolescent life, & feel the need to regress when they see a nigga minding his own business. That said, I tread lightly when they're around. At the least, I try not to give them extra reasons for bothering me, such as smoking weed in my car without my seatbelt on doing 75 in a school zone. All jokes aside, a lot of cats take no precaution as to what the poe-poe's job requirements are, then cry foul as their unregistered weapon lands them in the pokey.

That, friends, has nothing to do with the profiling of a race. That's what we call "slipping", & there's not too much of a justifiable agrument against that, especially not in a court of law.

With the race divide transitioning into the rich versus the poor, I'm curious as to where the one time's priorities will shift to. I'm sure they are as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

False Alarm

I just don't fucking get it.

I dropped my son off at school this morning, & as I walked across the street to retrieve my daily coffee fix, I paused outside of a Church's Chicken to light my Newport. I figured I'd finish it before I head to the doughnut shop, because if you live in the 'hood, you know smoking a square at the doughnut shop is like wearing a t-shirt that says, "HEY, I'VE GOT FREE CIGARETTES FOR THE FIRST 25 BUMS THAT ASK FOR ONE!". Which, I clearly don't. Or, I get hit with my personal favorite, "Do you have an extra cigarette?", to which my response is, "nope, just the normal twenty that comes in a pack". I usually say eff it & give them one anyway, because who am I to stop them from killing themselves? Misery loves company, per se.

As I'm puffing away the seven minutes off of my life span, I notice a kid bopping up the street towards me. I sized him up [||], & he seemed relatively harmless, as most kids seem these days. Skinny jeans make it harder to hide a weapon. He walks up & goes over to the bus stop, in front of me, while the Church's entrance/exit is to my back. I was thinking to myself, "damn, all these kids must shop at the exact same place," because they all wear the same shoes & what not. But, perhaps I'm just getting old(er).

The door of the Church's opened, & by instinct I turned around to see who or what was coming out of it. Another kid, appearing slightly less harmless but just as un-masculine, exited the building rather quick & aggressively. Like I said, the bus stop was in front of me, about 6' away, & the door was behind me. I'm old enough to know when something's about to happen. Sixth sense is mandatory in "urban" areas.

The Church's kid, who was about 6' 1", maybe 160 lbs, was focused on the harmless kid, who had his back turned to us.

"Aye Cuz!" the taller kid barked, as the bus stop kid turned his head & glanced. The bus stop kid's balls must have tripled in size at that moment, because he ceased to be harmless immediately.

"Grape Street Watts", he said calmly, with his chest out, as an apparent mixture of fear, assertion & pride washed over him.

"Great," I thought. Whatever was to transpire would undoubtedly happen within arms distance of me. If young dudes wore cologne, I'd have been able to smell theirs. All I smelled was underage weed smoke & hopelessness.

"Oh, okay", said the taller kid. "False alarm." The smaller kid stepped toward the other one & introduced himself, & they exchanged "pleasantries", before parting back to their corners. Then, the once harmless kid asked me for a cigarette. Normally, I don't condone youngsters smoking, but I have come to realize that growing up on the streets of South Los Angeles usually entailed growing up quite a bit faster than in many other cities. At the most, the kids were 16, but had probably had the stress levels of 40 year old men. So, I gave him a smoke. He said good lookin', & disappeared into the sea of unknowing young people, to & fro, headed to their destinies, however bleak they may be.

The first thing that caught my attention was that the kid in Church's was obviously in there looking for trouble. Not on the way to school or work, but willingly on a search to be detrimental. Equally as noticeable was the bust stop kid's backpack & appearance that he had somewhere to be. Yet & still, their differing paths crossed in a way that could've dramatically changed their lives.

Luckily, he was from the "right" neighborhood. What if he hadn't been?

It took a lot of restraint for me not to stop them from walking away & talking to them. Realistically speaking though, they haven't been listening to whatever guidance has been presented to them for years, so what the fuck is some nigga standing around going to get them to comprehend? At this point, we seem to have a total generation that is completely lost. Compasses, moral or otherwise, don't seem like they'll help much. I shudder to think that my son will have to grow up in such a declining society, but the future doesn't look bright, so the best I, & other like-minded individuals can do is to equip the children with the necessary weaponry for primal survival. It goes beyond getting a proper education. It means social skills, the abilities to observe & respond, thinking ahead & rationally, preparing for the worst & still, somehow hoping for the best. Not to get all ominous, but this might be the point of no return. & finality knows no color lines.

The school my son goes to is a pretty decent one. But I've heard the same thing from his kindergarten teacher, assistant principal, couple of administrators, various parents, & even his present first grade teacher; he doesn't belong here, he's bigger than this school. While that makes me, as his father, feel good, a part of me feels sad for the kids who, as they inadvertently said, don't really have a chance. As the foundation crumbles, so do the walls it's attached to.

I haven't given up hope just yet, but, it's not looking positive. & to think, I'm one of those people who still believes in something.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Katt Burglar

Comedian Katt Williams was a guest -- not a burglar -- at the Georgia home he is now accused of breaking into with a crowbar, his lawyer told CNN.

The house, on a horse farm in rural west Georgia, is owned by record producer Barry Hankerson, according to the police report. Williams has been living in the Coweta County, Georgia, home for nearly a month while filming a movie produced by Hankerson, attorney William Briggs said.

Williams, 38, was arrested early Monday after an employee of Hankerson's -- Daniel Paul Broach -- called police and reported Williams had broken into the home with a crowbar, the police report said.

A Coweta County magistrate set bail at $40,000 in a hearing Monday afternoon, which lawyers were working to post, Briggs said. The police report said about $3,500 in jewelry and collectable coins were stolen, which his lawyer said "we absolutely deny."

"Mr. Williams wears more than that in jewelry on his person," Briggs said.Briggs said Williams argued with the employee, prompting the burglary report.

Hankerson spoke with investigators Monday afternoon to assure them Williams had his permission to stay indefinitely in the home he was accused of burglarizing, Briggs said.

-as reported by

Let me say, live to the 'Nets, that Daniel Paul Broach is Imperial Ruler of the Douche Nozzles, if this story is accurate. That friends, is "hating" to the largest extent.

Perhaps Daniel was upset that his hair wasn't as luxurious as 'Money Mike's. Maybe he was this fat, unhappy, washed up wanna-be superstar who couldn't stand to see a man, barely 5' tall, with so much "success" in life. Then again, maybe he's a closet homosexual, who's long craved the sweet caress of Barry
Hankerson, since back in Aaliyah's hey day, yet, here's Barry offering another man rest in his humble abode. Meanwhile, poor, sexually-confused Mr. Broach is forced to watch those two cats sip Old English from pimp cups made of silver & gold, while he warms his Cup 'O' Noodles on the hood of his Ford Taurus.

I know Katt's antidepression medication doesn't mix well with the super-hydroponic weed he smokes like Newport cigarettes, but this time, I don't think he was on the wrong side of the law. Jealousy is an evil monster. All the "hate" that Katt speaks of & he didn't even see this snake ass nigga slither 'round his two-tone gators. That must be the result(s) of all that "good shit" he's puffing. Either that, or those big ass diamonds in his ears are interfering with his third eye sight.

Stay tuned, folks...

"& get the hell outta the way."

I try not to get into politics, religion & parenting with anyone other than my wife, for obvious reasons. People, in general, are noncomformist when it comes to their ideologies & beliefs, whether right or wrong. One's belief system is often the main idiosyncrasy of their personality, & allowing that to be swayed or changed would symbolize a less than concrete stance on who they are as individuals. Basically, who we are is what we believe, & that's what separates us from one another.

One of my mainstay beliefs is my faith in God. My background is deeply rooted in Baptist teachings, with a twist of Catholicism, but as I've gotten older, I've broken from the "traditional" system of thinking & traversed theology on by my own scruples & disciplines. Regardless of semantics, God is who/what/where I turn when I can no longer find solace in the mankind's problem-solving abilities. Granted, your higher power may not be God, but the point of letting go still remains intact.

I'd be hard pressed to always rely on my limited human capabilities to solve life's dilemmas. Even if what I've come to accept as actuality is completely juxtaposed to reality, sometimes it's good to be able to release secular worries to something, anything. As I've gotten older, & presumably wiser (?), I notice that more often than not, I tell people to "let go & let God". I'm almost positive I've heard that repeatedly growing up, but it became more incessant after rehab, & although there, surrounded by addicts & derelicts, it was another variation of the saying, the sentiment is no less relevant. Lately, I've been adding my own personalized spin, if only to emphasize my point even further.

Let go, & let God, & get the hell outta the way.

I guess my implication is that, if your intention is to truly give your situation(s) to God, you have to be willing to not only sacrifice power, but fully submit to your faith in God's ability to accomplish what you can't. I do realize that this doesn't apply to everyone, & depending on the foundation laid, we may be talking about to completely different entities. &, that's cool too. I'm not a preacher or reformist, so my plan isn't to get one to deviate from their principals. However, if I can offer a word or three to someone willing to listen, then why the hell not?

I'm not telling anyone to go find God. But I'm just giving testimony to what I believe can make life a lot easier. We all go through things, some of us more often than others, & advice from another problem magnets isn't enough sometimes. Just saying...

I'd love to turn this into a philosophical discussion on the existence (or non-existence) of God, but that's for the individual to decide. But, I'd be doing myself & others a disservice if I didn't at least put the thought(s) out there. Planting the proverbial seed, so to speak.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A dog's life...

I don't think we give DMX enough credit. I mean sure, there are the rap puritans who give him a lifetime's worth of respect based off of his first two (2) albums. Then, there you have the artsy folk, who herald his acting skills as underrated diamonds in the rough. & let us not forget about the thousands of senior citizens who still find the time to lose their minds, "up in here", in between the Electric Slide & Cupid Shuffle marathons at the retirement home. Bad hearts & replaced hips don't stop no party. In the general sense of the phrase, niggas really can't fuck with the Dog...

Arf, arf.

But, commendations & accolades aside, DMX is most likely best known for his running stint as Hip Hop's dumbest criminal. His rap sheet is just as, if not more, entertaining as his rap records, & we have crack cocaine to thank for both sets of accomplishments. Understand, I know all too well how detrimental crack can be; I have a healthy handful of relatives whose feet haven't touched the proverbial asphalt since the late '80's, but damnit if Earl Simmons didn't make it shits & giggles for all parties involved.

At the end of this year he was scheduled to engage in a bout of fisticuffs with an actor named Eric Martinez, for "promotional" reasons. I touched on it last month [||]. I still have no idea who the dude is, but apparently Earl does, because as sure as he'll be arrested again before next summer, he pulled out of the match a week ago. When news of the fight first leaked in August, DMX's response was that he's not even training for the fight because "that wouldn't be fair". That's douche nozzle/base head rhetoric for, "I probably won't even show up...". & it's been reported that he'd received an advance for his appearance already, so obviously, the promoters have never seen a Tyrone Biggums skit.

Hip Hop fans love "friendly" competition, so undoubtedly even Dark Man's fans became bloodthirsty at the mention of seeing him in action. Action outside of fleeing from police at 130 MPH or being escorted away in handcuffs. No dice. Now he's saying he rather not "mess up" his face. Word? I try & stay away from getting to in depth about another man's looks, but Boris Khodjoe he ain't (I'm not sure how I feel about knowing how to spell that dude's name right). Not to mention, X is a rapper, & usually, the uglier you are, the more respect you get. Look at KRS-One--niggas call him 'The Teacher'.

I was looking forward to a post-prison X jumping back into the studio, doing what he does best, but let's face facts, his best may be behind him [insert requisite jail joke]. Now, he joins the ranks of D-list celebs who are forced to live life by performing on horrid reality shows & at charity events. Maybe we'll see him on 'Are you smarter than a fifth grader?', although I doubt that he is, so don't keep your fingers crossed. Lil Kim opened the flood gates by shining on 'Dancing With The Stars', so perhaps there's still hope. & then again, there's always Hip Hop, but unless he's ready to don tight pants & invent some ridiculous dance to accompany his idiotic dog noises, that may not pan out either.

The saying goes "no news is good news", so I guess as long as he's not murdering canines for (blood) sport & impersonating detectives at airports, that's a good thing. There's also the one thats says "idle hands are the devil's playthings", so let's hope he finds something somewhat productive before he's life really does become a Dave Chappelle skit. If America is learning to love Mike Vick again, I'm positive Earl Simmons can slide in under the radar.

[tony's note: him & michael vick could totally start a dog rehabilitation psycho-therapy franchise. everybody wins...]

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chess Boxin' With Curtis Jackson

I've heard it said, numerous times, that in order to hate something, you have to had loved it at some point. & I'll admit, I was a huge fan of Curtis Jackson when he emerged in the 90's. He was like a breath of fresh air; he successful combined the degenerative qualities of the West Coast's gang mentality with the gritty, hustle aesthetic of the East Coast. It was a very simple formula, & I'm sure it had been experimented with previous to 50's efforts, but for whatever reason, his execution was flawless. It didn't hurt that he played the "victim-turned-victor" card repeatedly, either. His mom was murdered in the street where she hustled, he grew up father less, thusly turning to the same life his mother lived, only to be almost killed. Here is where his story begins to apex. He decided that he'd be the biggest thing in rap music ever. He seemingly dedicated his life to this ambition. & it showed on his debut album, 'Get Rich Or Die Trying", which still moves units to this day.

For plenty of rap fans & Hip Hop heads alike, this is where the love started becoming hate.

His assaults became the pinnacle of his "talent". What began as attacks on Ja Rule, spread to Fat Joe, NaS, Jadakiss, Jay-Z, among others, & most notably Rick Ross. Rick Ross is an uber-gangsta rapper who built his musical empire on borrowed drug fantasies & genocidal undertones. Oh, & thanks to 50 Cent, Rick Ross was exposed as an ex-correctional officer, contrary to the content of 95% of his music. The other 5% was based on his sexual prowess. Laugh out loud. Ross stuck to his audio guns, releasing good music, while 50 took to the 'Net with comedy skits, stalked Ross' mother at work, & even produced a porno with one of Ross' baby mothers, & helped the other one ink a book deal for a tell-all book on the most famous rapper the world never heard of.

50 has the unrelenting ability to strategically place himself in front of the cameras when it's necessary (i.e. around the time he's about to drop an album). For the most part, it's always been a successful move, except his latest album, 'Before I Self Destruct', was scheduled to be released last year, at the height of the Rick Ross onslaught. It never happened. The album was continuously pushed back to it's apparent release date, this November. & not-so-coincedentally, he's in the mix again.

Jay-Z, & his former artist Beanie Sigel have drifted apart due to Jay's "shady" business dealings, & Beans is set to let the entire world know about his ex-boss' wayward conductivity. Suprisingly (or not really), 50 Cent just happened to be there to scoop up a wounded Beanie & give him the platform to air his grievances. There's a lot of back & forth fact-checking between Jay & Sigel, but the true champion in this melee is 50. He singlehandedly put his name back into the street, like he's known to do, on the backs of two men, former friends, that have nothing at all to do with 50 Cent.

Now, if that's not politics in it's rawest, most uncut, I don't know what is.

With rumors of Beanie Sigel being signed to Curtis' G-Unit Records (which has proven not to mean a whole helluva lot these days), 50's chess playing is paying off tremendously. Beans, 50's pawn, is checkmating Jay-Z's king. One wonders what Jay's queen (not Beyonce, y'all) move will be. In all honesty, Shawn Carter is bigger than rap, so it won't take much to block any move by 50 Cent. The point is that, 50 Cent, regardless to what people think about him, is probably the smartest player in the rap industry. He came, he saw, & he's conquering from a business level.

I'll concede that he'll most likely never again "wow" me with a lyric or song concept, but I sense that he's off that (no pun intended). Seems like it's more about conquest, & until industry cats smarten up, dude will be like Hip Hop's Genghis Khan. When he released his book earlier this year, 'The 50th Law of Power', semi-sequel to Robert Greene's "The 48 Laws Of Power', many dismissed it as another cashocow being milked, similar to his mineral water venture & his acting career. But, if the proof is truly in the pudding, I wouldn't be surprised if Bill Cosby shows up in his next video.

50's not playing checkers, people. It's more like a hood savvy 'Monopoly'/'Chess' hybrid, & he's the only one who knows the rules. Or at least, that's how it seems.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Clifford's Footsteps

Remember when rap star TI became a completely different person? Prior to the murder of his best friend/personal assistant Philant Johnson, & being busted attempting to buy illegal assault rifles, TI was as much a part of the "problem" as every other rapper who raps without conscious. He glorified violence, materialism, genocide, bragged about his criminal activities & made no apologies about doing so. "Trap rap" was the term coined in regards to him, & many other MC's from his region based on their affection & glamorization of the drug dealer lifestyle. TI became the poster D(ope)-boy for the movement.

Suddenly, he had a couple changes of heart, most likely caused by actuality catching up to him in real-time. He found himself being bitten by the frozen snake he found in the woods. His friend died in his arms, his bodyguard sold him up the river, & already being a convicted felon, he was facing a substantial amount of his life being given to the "system" for his criminal charges. His outlook dramatically changed, seemingly overnight. He began lecturing the youth at school across the country, speaking at rallies about the importance of voting, & starred in an arguably successful reality show aimed at rehabilitating misguided kids before it was too late. He made it clear that he regretted what his life had become, & even warned kids about making similar mistakes on a few talk show couches. The album he recorded while awaiting his day of confinement has been hailed as his most successul, & ironically, his most uplifting & positive release. His relese date is in February, & that will be the hour which he proves himself a changed man, or that the last two years of his life was all merely song & dance.

Only a fool sees prison as a respectable badge of honor. That's like bragging about overdosing on heroin, but surviving. Being arrested is one thing-you can get arrested for indecent exposure, public drunkenness, disturbing the peace, etc. But being found guilty of whatever charges, & going to prison (not a holding cell), is reality at it's most intimate. Case(s) in point; my uncle got locked up for drug trafficking, did almost a decade, came home & has NEVER spoken about what transpired, except to say what degrees he'd obtained. My cousin, coincidentally one of the toughest niggas I've ever met, is serving 25 to life for armored car robbery & attempt murder, & within the last few years has found God & is now studying theology. A close friend of mine is doing a several years on an assault charge, & his letters reek of despair, loneliness & regret. Before he got locked up this last time, he made it a point to speak out about how prison isn't where any of us want to be. He was adamant in his disdain. Hopefully, this time will be his last. All three of these men are nothing short of "gangsta", yet it's obvious that prison time has affected them in ways that even a tumultuous street life couldn't.

Every other month, there seems to be another rapper going to jail. The oddity isn't in the fact that they've committed crimes & ultimately had to "pay their debt to society", but that only Clifford Harris has spoken in regards to this being the inescapable result of unwise decision making. I wonder if Lil Wayne will fully utilize his popularity & tell the millions of impressionable teenagers worldwide that, if they don't smarten up, this is what could happen? No dice, I'm sure. That's quite a bit of pressure to put on a man who earns a heavy pay load by being a negative influence.

Rapper Lil Boosie was sentenced to a year over a gun charge, & all he could do was brag about how "it's nothing". Never once did he tell his supporters publicly, "Don't do what I did". He softens the blow by making it appear to be just a stumbling block to be dismissed & forgotten.

There's a rapper in the Bay Area, CA, that goes by the name "The Jacka" who last year, released a mix tape dedicated to the incarcerated. I understand his sentiments, because I truly believe a man's heart can not be judged solely by his instinctive actions, but if you have to do the time, the least we can do is let kids know that it's not a movie, video game, rap fantasy or "time-out". It's punishment, & punishment should be treated as a tool for future prosperity, rather than glorified war story.

I know better than to believe an artist has the responsibility of mentoring their fans, but at least have some decency about it. C-Murder, convicted of murder, hasn't said one thing positive to the "fans" who supported him. His story ends with "live how you get it" or "die by the sword", when some of the youth would take a "think twice about what's important" to heart just as eagerly. I hear people talk about how there's a lack of guidance in our communities, & I disagree. The guidance is there, but it's dispensed from all the wrong people, places & things.

The thing I love about mistakes is that when I get through them, I can share with my people how/why it happened to me & how they can avoid it. & I don't have to take a goody-goody stance & denounce any aspects of life to help a lesson get learned, becaused I lived it. Hopefully more rappers will follow Clifford's footsteps, & educate the youngters to the true nature of voluntary enslavement, tax monies for prisoners & the infrastructure designed to empower failure.

Much respect to the dudes who did their time & came home ready to make a difference. The truth is, we need more cats to show the positive sides of negative situations. In the words of the Real Freeway Ricky Ross, "I'm out now, & it's time to make things happen".

Monday, November 2, 2009

"You've Got (HATE) Mail"

I don't expect anyone to like me, or what I write for that matter. Frankly, when I do get a proverbial back pat, I'm surprised & appreciative. I get a mild kick when somebody says "good job, Grand$", or anything to that effect, like most people would. But, when I got this comment Sunday afternoon, it really caught me by surprise...

***Mr.O‬ said....
I realize you will not blog for much longer simply because you can not write, do not have much to say that is innovative and all of your posts are the same. I love my kids, I suck at life, zzzzzz. You're like a Berenstein Bear (no shots) that is your lane you clearly are not that smart, be honest, but you seem to love your kids and thats what you should stick to writing about. You should not write about anything else because you lack any real depth, corporate perspective, where are your references, all you have is lame insults. You're a watered down version of your favorite writers. Honestly I'm simply being truthful you're a hack, probably well intentoned but a hack.

As far as reading your blog ban me, because im going to pop in and point out your idiocy constantly.
November 1, 2009 4:57 PM***

[tony's note: i printed that as is...the entire exchange is located in the comments of 'Sean Combs Wears Prada!'.]

Correct me if I'm wrong y'all, but that's quite a bit of hatred from a complete stranger, right? Not only does he know an awful lot about my content for somebody who thinks I'm a hack, but why even pay me any mind if I suck that immensely [||]? It's like that gallon of spoiled milk in the fridge that stinks to Jesus' sandals, yet one continues to come back & open the refrigerator door, pick it up, open the jug, & inhale the moldy stench. Then amazingly, repeat the steps soon there after. Personally, I say throw the shit out the very first time you decide, "Nah, this shit's not good at all...".

The whole process of subjecting one's self to anything so blatantly unpleasant is kind of bizarre
to me, but to each his own, or whatever. As an adult, I habitually stay away from things I don't like:

Gucci Mane's music. Penny loafers. Getting hit by cars. Fat women porn. Police. Stray dogs. Liars. The list is virtually endless, & it's not that hard, or at least it shouldn't be. But, Mr. O brought it to my attention that I'm not that smart, so then again, maybe I just don't know any better.

In case it isn't clear, very few things I say here should be taken seriously. I ASSumed by the title, that my snarky opinions would be understood as just that, unless I denoted otherwise. &, I've come to realize that those who truly fux with RAWIFDP know as much. Those who come here looking for truth & actuality should probably call their birth father or read the newspaper instead. I attempt to "entertain" people (or apparently not), nothing more. & if I happen to touch a spot where some realness shines through, that's an accidental bonus that clearly comes from a place of good intention.

After awhile, I got to thinking to myself, "Wow, maybe I do suck, & all these folks who read my shit, sometimes going as far as to give me props & respect on other websites, are just as dumb as I am...", but then I couldn't contain my laughter any longer. The good thing about the "Mr. O"'s of the (internets) world, is that they reminded us who write for the people, that for every 3-4 niggas who enjoy what we do, there's 5-6 cats who wait for a reason to piss in our cereal. But see, I wear my umbrella hat at the breakfast table, so I'm good.

It's not like I get paid, & I concluded long ago that I'll never be famous, or even remotely close to extremely popular. So in essence, I write because I like to write. I started my blog because I was nursing my brain back to functionality after almost drinking myself to death last year. Somehow, people started catching wind of what I was doing, & for the most part, it's been all love ever since.

There's a lot of people who dislike me already, & none of them are anonymous. They know me personally. Hell, most of them I'm related to. So, to have one more human in the long line of "Fuck Tony-ites" is no skin off of my back. Nobody likes to be "hated", but it's a part of life, so it is what it will be.

& for the record, I'm always accepting emails at

Like I always say, as long as folks keep reading I'll keep writing. Thanks for rolling with your dude, y'all...