Exponentially fresh.

The East Coast Avengers present DC the MIDI Alien’s Avengers Airwaves, and I present to you my thoughts on it via HipHopDX. Strong project for people who enjoy sociopolitical lyrics and beats that make you want to start riots.

[REVIEW] DC the MIDI Alien Avengers Airwaves (via HipHopDX)

Tonight I attended the listening session for Pharoahe Monch’s W.A.R., and wow, what an album it is. The professional sounding write up I did with all the info you need is now up via ThatsEnuff. I’m sure I’ll rant on how much I love this album at some point soon. Keep an eye out for this one. Certified banger.

[READ] Pharoahe Monch Prepares For Upcoming Album Release (via ThatsEnuff)

Fresh off the release of his Heart Failure EP, Brooklyn emcee Torae heads over to Tony Touch’s show on Shade 45 to spit some bars. Be sure to read my interview with Torae at TheWellVersed if you haven’t yet, it was a good one.

Well this isn’t quite a piece of news that I expected to wake up and see. Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation (UZN) have teamed up with clothing company C1RCA Select for some Spring 2011 pieces. Two sneakers (a high and mid-top) and a t-shirt are in the works. The press release doesn’t say much of anything about if the proceeds of the apparel will benefit the UZN’s work, but I’m sure there’s some sort of deal going on there. The real question is do people think this is hot? I’m not a sneaker fanatic like that but…these honestly aren’t too bad. I like the high top joints. Mids and I don’t get along so well these days.

This has been one of those weekends where I just can’t concentrate. Between watching old Grindtime battles and cooking everything in sight, I’ve found myself drifting toward my iTunes to pass the time and find inspiration. And this has been what I’m in the mood for.

I can’t tire of Pun. And when Wyclef says “you’re better off in D.C. with the mayor smokin’ crack,” it reminds me of home. Aw.

Big Pun feat. Wyclef Jean – Caribbean Connection

The song is just OK, but this video cracks me up for some reason. Every single time.

Gyptian – Beautiful Lady

This is the type shit that will have me drinking by myself in the afternoon on a weekday. “And you don’t have to cry, cuz nothings gonna pass you by, and you don’t have to hurry, go and take the time to dry your eyes and see if there’s someone who’s been waiting for you nearby, don’t run to him anymore, he will only break your heart, and then he’ll leave you standing all alone.” CMONSON.

Esther Phillips – Don’t Run and Hide

Oh, and doesn’t Mobb Deep strike you as the type of group that would pick a beat to rap over that might sample Esther Phillips? Oh that’s right, they did, on “Give Up The Goods.” So six degrees of separation caused this to be on repeat today…

Mobb Deep feat. Tragedy Khadafi – The Code Part 2

I personally think the guest feature from the girl on this track isn’t that great, I just don’t like her voice, but her aside I fucks with this song. It always gets repeated because I’m usually listening to it while I’m doing something that I hope will eventually make me rich. Then I stop, step away from the Macbook, and reflect on the fact that mo’ money mo’ problems was definitely not a lie. Hustlin is stressful, and getting cash, clothes, and cars really does have a downside. Tax season is one dimension of that, come to think of it. I usually don’t like when other people go in over notable singles and try to remix them, but this is an exception because it was done properly by not being corny. Young emcees who also want to get rich off of the things they do, please take note of this concept.

Joell Ortiz and Novel feat. Cri$tyle – Stressful

….that have all happened to me. My writing partners in crime have been telling me that perhaps I need to give this list shit a try (this is painful), and so when I woke up to #1 on this list this morning, I figured people make lists out of anything, so why not try my hand at random brainstorming in written form? This may not ever happen again and I may go hang my head in shame after this. When you wake up with a hangover, it’s the worst feeling in the world. There are few things that surpass that shitty feeling, but I can think of a few of them.

1. Your neighbor blasting Nelly tracks.

So last night I went to Taj in Manhattan for the homie DJ Crossova’s birthday. Knowing how the team does it I knew I’d be in for fuckery, but I did not expect a minimum of five bottles of Belvedere (at least two of which were those fancy black or silver bottles which, if I’m not mistaken, are like 100 proof), and cupcakes being tossed behind the back like a bride’s bouquet at her wedding reception. I’m dead ass serious by the way. Flying cupcakes with blue frosting. I’m on a mission to drink less, talk less, and especially do less talking after drinking, so I stuck to my two drink work night limit as I knew I wanted to come home and write (still didn’t happen). Thing is, when the bartender sees the promoter give you a drink ticket, or when you have your male friends pouring drinks for you at your table, your two drinks will be like 3 parts vodka to 1 part mixer. I knew I was straight, barely felt it, but also knew that it had been a while since I stayed awake until 5am, so I was a little worried about the next day headache.

I woke up headache free until I snapped out of my drowsiness and realized that my neighbors were bumping the song above at full blast. All I’m saying is there’s a reason I haven’t thought about its song since it bombarded all airwaves in 2002. I really didn’t want to wake up to it in 2011. Especially when I just woke up cold and alone and boo-less in Bushwick. Booless in Bushwick, sounds like a movie, huh? Ha. Fuck you neighbors.

2. A person you should have run away from quickly.

I had a conversation once about cocktail waitressing in strip clubs with a friend. She was of the “you should totally do it, it’s good money, sometimes you don’t have many other options” camp. I was like,”well, I know they don’t have to get naked but still, you’re basically wearing as much as a Hooters girl and I could use a month or two in the gym before I’d feel good about that.” Then she said something that has stuck with me forever: those lights in those strip clubs will make anyone look better than they really are, and once you see a strip club’s dressing room after the night is over, you’ll pretty much feel amazing about yourself. The same holds true for regular club lighting, or the lack thereof. And wow, those light filters those club photographers have on those cameras, it’s like instant concealer in digitized form (although I’m unlucky to be the extremely pale chick with nicely tanned latino friends who always turns out bright as a light bulb when the pictures come out).

Add in liquor, thirsty ass dudes, and women fresh out of relationships on “girls’ night out” steez, and there are problems. People will do one of a few things: go home with someone they just met who they felt was attractive, go home with someone they just met because they got too drunk to go home on their own, go home with a drunk close friend of theirs because either one or both were too drunk to get home safely, or they will go home alone. Everyone should always choose the latter, even if it means taking a cab home. Dude slumped over the trash can puking outside of Taj last night? I’m sure he went home with his friends.

But trust me. As bad as he feels post-puking session, it’s not as bad as rolling over in the morning and having zero attraction to the person that passed out in your bed before you could tell them you put a pillow on the floor for them, or before the liquor wore off and you realized you shouldn’t be making out with them because they’re about as attractive as that guy with the mohawk wearing capri pants with pleather leggings underneath them on the L train the other day. Guess what? Now you’re feeling repulsed in your own bed, and they’re going to wake up and want to take a shit in your bathroom and probably want to eat breakfast, too. Dealing with that situation is a whole issue in itself that maybe I’ll address at a later time.

3. A fire alarm going off in your hotel room.

This has happened to me twice. The first time was in Ocean City when I was way younger. My homegirl and I were down there, had just spent a night chillin at the pool and had just managed to get back in our room after locking ourselves out, and we had just fallen asleep. I woke up to this ridiculous noise and a strobe light flashing in slow motion from the alarm in the room. It was the most disorienting thing ever. You’re in a place you’re not familiar with, probably don’t remember where your important shit is, and it’s pitch black dark in there. You’re either going to have a seizure from the strobe or run into a wall trying to get out, neither of which is fun at all. We somehow got a grip on things after a minute, had to evacuate the hotel, and had to then stand in the parking lot for a very long time while the firefighters came with their ladders and axes and shit to scope out the building. All that and it was a false alarm.

The second time I was alone. On Christmas Eve a friend and I had crushed two bottles of wine and obscene amounts of Chinese carry out, and whereas they went home afterward, I stayed to watch some TV and be close to the Lincoln Tunnel to make my Southern escape as quickly as possible when morning hit. So I’m happily drunk and asleep when I start hearing this annoyingly loud beeping noise. Again, I amazingly had no hangover and suddenly a headache hit. I realized unlike the first hotel episode, this was only coming from my room, not the whole building. I’m standing on the bed trying to reach it to rip the batteries out, because clearly there is no fire in my room, and no luck. I actually laid back down and tried to sleep through it because Chardonnay will make you not give a fuck like that, and then the phone in my room started ringing. I ignored it once. It rang again. I decided I had to go pee and let it ring. While I’m in the bathroom peeing I hear a knock on the door and then a key trying to swipe it (thank god I always deadbolt that shit). I quickly grab a towel because I’m pretty much not wearing anything and open the door to see some wee little Asian man holding a smoke detector in his hand. He just walked in, ripped the beeping one off the wall, put the new one in, apologized and went away. I was towel clad, with empty wine bottles and way too much Chinese food for one person lying around on Christmas day. Not one of my finest moments. I would have preferred a lonely hangover easily cured with ibuprofen.

4. The feds knocking at your door.

Because the terms of someone’s probation suck ass and random searches of your crib are not what’s up, or because being interrogated by agents because your next door neighbor wants to move up in the ranks of the agency he works for never happens on your ideal time schedule. Need I say more?

Oh wait, I forgot one. Part 4 and a half: non federal cops knocking on your door because you were the last person to see somebody before they disappeared. That’s always fun. I love my life.

5. In relation to number four, the feds blocking off your entire neighborhood.

It was about 6:15am and I was walking (on time for once) up this big ass hill from my crib to the bus stop when I was in high school. I already hated that walk, but then I saw some black cars creeping up the hill. I look back down the hill and realize there’s at least ten of these tinted out black vehicles. I thought hmm, that’s a little fishy. Then they all stop, of course right next to me, a window rolls down and suddenly there are a swarm of men with bulletproof vests and assault rifles with handguns strapped down their legs running around like roaches when the lights go on. Man, I ran my ass up that hill to the bus stop so quick…dodging crazed old white men with guns and badges was not my idea of a balanced breakfast. I’ll skip the details after that but in a nutshell a suspected terrorist was on federal house arrest in my neighborhood and I guess he had tried to leave his crib, or didn’t check in with his P.O. Something like that. My neighborhood made it on CNN for that little incident.

Fast forward a couple years, and I woke up, got dressed, and was trying to get to class for a test (this was college now). I walk outside and notice a tinted out SUV double parked near this guy’s crib that I knew. No big deal. I get in my car and warm it up. I’m looking in my rear view and I see another whip pull up, and this time it parks in the middle of the street, right where I need to be. Oh, silly people, the bag of weed you want to buy isn’t worth blocking the street, but that’s cool, I’ll just go the other way. I back up, and look the other way down the street, and then realize I can’t get out that way either. Wait…what the fuck? I put my car back in park, get out and look around. Something definitely isn’t right. I look behind me once again and now there’s guys with assault rifles getting out of the cars. Are you fucking kidding me? They weren’t ambushing the guy’s crib with the type of fury that only suspected jihadists can create in an agent, but they weren’t quite standing around shooting the breeze (pun intended) either. I was like fuck this shit, I gotta go, I’m going to fail this class if I don’t get out. I decided to just get in my car and try to drive out anyway. They of course stopped me, and wouldn’t let me leave. It took about fifteen minutes of getting grilled with questions before they would let me leave my own neighborhood when there were a gang of guys with guns running around. I had to show them ID, proof of my residence, point out which house it was, put on my only child sad face and plead with them to let me out quickly or else I’d fail college, all that shit. When they finally let me go I get a text from my homegirl like “yo I seen mad cops go in your neighborhood, wtf, be careful!” Gee, thanks for telling me now. I got out, obviously passed college with no problem, and it turns out this time a gang member who had stabbed someone to death was hiding out in their friends crib a few doors down from me. Ironically, this is the same place where the aforementioned missing person was hiding as well.

I would have preferred a hangover.

Phil Ade goes in over an Ice Cube track in this video segment. SPECIAL thanks to the fam the Lab Ratz Crew who came through in a pinch as the dancers in this video…true story I’ve known some of them since I was like 13. Shout out to all my bboys and bgirls really doin it out there, I see crazy talent at the battles these days. Yes, I go to bboy jams. Yes, they still exist. If you haven’t been to one lately I suggest you hit some up!

Mr. Mathers, the latest winner of the Grammy for Rap Album of the Year, released a track with B.O.B. Guess this whole Shady 2.0 deal really is for real, not only are his newly signed emcees making a ton of noise, but I feel like I’m seeing new Eminem shit faster than I thought I would. I kinda liked him better when he wasn’t on his road to recovery though. But such is life.

[DOWNLOAD] Eminem feat. B.O.B. – Things Get Worse

El Gant teams up with the Brown Bag homie J57 and Tek from Smif-N-Wessun to bring you “Problems.” The track is also produced by J57…Get familiar with the Brown Bag team if you aren’t already. It was nice to see them out in full effect at Poison Pen and Lord Finesse’s birthday party last weekend. Soul Khan is killing dudes in the battles, and speaking of battles there is a big Grindtime event on Saturday afternoon, if you’ve never been to one you should definitely check it out.

[DOWNLOAD] El Gant feat. J57, Tek – Problems (prod by J57)

You always see outlandish shit on the L train. Fact. Yesterday was no different. I wish I could have snapped a picture on my cell phone but shorty was steady catching glances at me, so I couldn’t be on my secret-op shit. But I kid you not I was sitting a few seats away from a girl who couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, but looked, dressed, and carried herself as if she was a 22 year old diva.

She was sitting amidst her siblings, none of which were dressed age inappropriately. She had two younger brothers and a sister that looked like she could be the same age, possibly a twin, however not identical. Maybe this is just some hood shit but this particular girl had on boots with heels (the fuck eight year old wears heels on the subway?), extra tight jeans tucked into them, a peacoat (when I was that age I was not rocking the business professional peacoat, that’s for sure), had her hair all gelled up and curly, with a fucking tiara on her head and a fake Coach clutch in hand with a perfect all-black manicure. And every 30 seconds or so I could see her doing the “I’m better than you” eye roll and hand gesture. You know the one I mean. Every sassy diva chick has it. Tiara aside, which was an obvious testament to the teenybopper’s state of mind, she looked ready to hit the Wednesday night club scene. At eight-ish years old. Faux designer handbag, nails done, hair did, all of that.

It made me think of a lot of things. First it made me sad. She was an extremely pretty girl, you could tell she was going to grow up to be gorgeous, and if her father is around he’s going to be fighting the guys off by the hundreds. But it looked like she was trying to skip her youth. I know most kids do this, but this particular case was extreme. I don’t know what it was about this girl that made her like this, and her siblings avoided this trait, but who knows. It made me wonder what she’ll be like when she is sixteen or so.

But really, what is the underlying cause of this? Is it homegirl’s unique personality? Something about her parenting? Is it just the fashion trends of present and how they trickle down to kids’ clothing? Are the hormones that get pumped into meats like chicken actually causing kids to mature faster? I remember when I was working in a middle school (I was in college at the time) and I used to get stopped in the hallway and told to put my cell phone away by the staff, because they honestly thought I was a middle school kid. I was a junior in college, and not a particularly young looking one at that. But seriously, these kids were bigger than I was. A large majority of them definitely could have won a fight against me. I don’t remember this being the case when I was in middle school, but then again perspective is everything. Those chairs you used to sit in throughout elementary school didn’t feel small back then, but walk into a kindergarten classroom anytime during your teenage years and beyond and you realize how miniature everything is.

Except in this case this is the opposite. The kids seem bigger now. Not smaller as I’ve grown. I just don’t get it. What’s worse is that a lot of them have these grown ass attitudes to match, but they don’t have the smarts and life experience yet, which is a bad, bad combination. I’m not sure I have a point to this rant, just a bunch of questions that I may never have the answers to, but at the end of the day I hope that little grown ass girl on the train has a good life ahead of her. Most girls that grow up way too fast don’t have too many happy endings to their life stories. In fact, they end up making so many grown ass mistakes so young, that they grow up and don’t know how to deal with the consequences and act mad childish. Oh, the irony (please see the track below, it illustrates this perfectly). Only time will tell. But until then I need to sign up for Tae Kwon Do classes again because these little kids out here can kick my ass and I just can’t be having that.

Nas – 2nd Childhood