Exponentially fresh.

You know what one of the best things about the holiday season is? The parties.

But you know what can be the worst thing about a party? The bouncers. I make it a point to be super sweet to bouncers, because they are the gateway to places I need to be, and it doesn’t matter who I know inside that party, because the guy working the door does not give a fuck about anyone inside that place. So I smile. I stay patient. Sometimes I wait for lines of partygoers to die down because I don’t want to seem holier than thou skipping lines because I’m press or on a guest list. I have my ID ready. I move to the side if there’s some type of hold up. I’m like a bouncer’s fantasy, as long as they don’t pat down my boots. But let’s not talk about that.

So anyway, I show up to a spot ready to go. ID in hand, +1 by my side, and walk up to the bouncers. Convo goes like this:

Bouncer: What are you here for?

Me: [So-and-so]‘s party.

Bouncer: Do you have reservations?

Me: No, I’m on the guestlist.

Bouncer: Well what about [the person with you]?

Me: I have a +1 on the list.

Bouncer: Well you still need reservations.

At this point, another guy interjects and hands the bouncer the guestlist, in other words saying “fuck yo reservations.” Score one for me. It’s obvious this guy is already being a dick. After looking over the list, fronting like my name wasn’t on it only to have another bouncer point it out to him, and checking my ID, he decides to fuck with my +1 who was admittedly a little bit under dressed for the event. I wasn’t even putting up a fight, just a sad face because I knew I wasn’t going to leave my friend out in the cold or in my car while I went inside for a drink and to mingle, so my plans for the night were shot. Then the conversation went like this:

Bouncer: You see everyone walking in? They’re dressed casual. He…well, he’s a little too casual. You know, he’s dressed urban.

I said something snarky and flattering toward my friend, so as to help them not feel some type of way about the criticism of his appearance. At this point I just wasn’t digging the scenario so I bounced, but on the drive home my cranky ass self kept coming back to that word – “urban.” It has always sat negatively with me, and it seemed to be sitting extra negatively with me when directed toward someone I care about. But why?

I’ve spent the last few years of my life dedicating my attention, passion, time, and effort into the market that some people label “urban music.” In those last few years, I can’t recall one time that I referred to this genre of music as “urban.” My Geography degree taught me better than that. Urban has to do with high population density urban centers, technically, in other words – large cities. The counterparts to this being, of course, suburban and rural. And as someone who has lived in both urban and suburban areas and who has also spent quite a bit of time in rural areas, I know damn well that “urban music” is coming from places far from urban.

I also know that I spent my whole childhood dreaming of moving to New York City. I wanted Manhattan – urban – life. A tiny apartment until I moved into a swanky condo with a nice city view out of my windows, a nice car, a steady job, great public transportation at my fingertips and boredom a non-issue. I changed my mind and decided to be a Brooklyn resident once I finally made it up here, but it’s the same shit. I live in a a literally urban area, working in not-so-literal “urban” arts and entertainment. This has nothing to do with my race, religion or lack thereof, what I choose to wear, or who I choose to associate with. It’s numbers. Population. Fucking. Density.

Hip Hop (I emphasize this because it’s what I deal with, as opposed to R&B or other “urban” musics) originated in an urban area. I’ll give it that. But that’s about the extent of its legitimate association with the word. For the longest, thanks to some PR and marketing exploitation “help,” “urban” became a questionably PC synonym of “black.” Those of us who know better will still argue this was an inappropriate usage of the word even aside from its undertones of racism, since “urban” music of the last decade or so has been consumed by a shit ton of white people, overseen business-wise by a shit ton of white people, and even created by a shit ton of white people. Ironically even UrbanDictionary.com agrees with this, if you read the definitions of “urban” their users have submitted. And, additionally, even the most urban of urban areas, my own home of NYC, is still majority white according to census statistics.  This in itself makes people feel a certain type of way toward the word (what makes the “urban music” label any different than that of “race music” from the earlier portion of the 1900′s, besides the fact that Hip Hop didn’t exist back then?), and for good reason.

The thing was that my friend isn’t black. More like Latino of the light skinned variety. And, of course, this happened in the middle of fucking New York City, which again, in case it isn’t clear, is an urban area, so this is kind of an urban, you know, New York CITY party. In a nutshell I was confused as to what the bouncer really meant when he said it. The point he was conveying was clear – he thought my friend wasn’t, or at least didn’t look good enough to be at that party. It wasn’t his jeans, sneakers, or hat, because I saw other people go in wearing jeans, sneakers, and hats. But that’s what urban means now? General inferiority, regardless of whether an urban setting is in the picture or not (it was, so looking “urban” should be normal in this scenario), and even with its previously implied race not a factor? Switch out the word “urban” with “inferior” in the contexts I know urban is used. Inferior music. Inferior style or inferior fashion. Inferior lifestyle. Ouch. Would it have been so hard for this guy to have said underdressed instead? Or just simply “no, I’m sorry he can’t come in with those shoes on.” Nope, he took it there.

I almost got back on the bridge to drive back and punch the guy in the face, but I decided to come home and write it out instead. Karma will come around to that guy at some point, I’m sure. Maybe someone will puke on his suit tonight. Not that I’m wishing that on him or anything. But it wasn’t just an insult to my friend’s lapse in fashion judgment, his utilization of the word was insulting to the career path I’ve chosen, my passions, and my goals. And to hear that come out of his mouth at the doors of a party closely connected to the “urban music” scene blew my mind.  I know that this isn’t any new development or anything, but I was shocked to hear someone still using the word in such a context, and particularly in that setting. It’s time for “urban” to die as a classification. There’s nothing wrong with dressing a certain way, making a certain type of music, living in an area of a particular population density, being black, white, or any color inbetween including Butter Pecan Rican. It’s been inappropriately used for a while now, but it’s also downright rude when you see how people really use it.

So fuck you Mr. Bouncer. I do what I do, love what I love, and associate with the people I associate with, and I wouldn’t change a thing, no matter what your loosely enforced dress code is.

I love this group. I love Maimouna Youssef’s voice. I love this song. I love this mixtape. And now this wonderful track has a video.

If you’ve been to one of the 2dope charity BBQ’s during the summertime, you know you don’t want to miss this. Good music, great location, free giveaways, and more await you at this event. Frequent readers of my site know that I don’t usually promote events that involve cover charges, but the $10 you give at the door will be donated to The Remix Project. Charity acts always get my vote, especially when it’s fam like 2dopeboyz involved. Come out and support and have a great time, even if you’re a Scrooge like me.

And if you’re looking for something else to do while you’re out, the homie Eddie Huang of Baohaus fame put me onto “the WHUT?,” a club event happening at Submercer (147 Mercer St.) featuring Just Blaze, Stretch Armstrong, and more. Best part? No cover. Party on, party people!

I’ve been informed that this will be the last video off of their Lone Sharks LP.

[PREVIOUS] The Doppelgangaz Lone Sharks Review (via HipHopDX)

Ah, the woes of moving. That unnerving feeling of not knowing where any of your things are. That lack of desire to cook since you haven’t perfected the art of maneuvering around your new kitchen. The unpacking. The dust. The allergies.

But damn, it feels good to have a new home.

Just slightly over a week ago I moved my life from Bushwick’s Upper East Side (locals call it the Dark Side) to a location quite significantly more West, namely the Southeastern portion of Williamsburg. The parking blows over here but I live on a commercial avenue and am also walking distance from the other two commercial drags of this part of town. In other words? There is great food. Everywhere. EVERYWHERE. And shopping too, but this is about the food.

This particular portion of Williamsburg has a longstanding Italian population to the North, and a predominantly Puerto Rican population to the South, and given my new location I’m in a perfect place to reap the benefits of both. So after a day of being holed up in my “cozy” (real estate slang for “smaller than the chances of Drake freeing himself of his twinkie soft reputation”) apartment, a break in the rain beckoned me to take a walk around the neighborhood to satisfy some hunger.

I walked on over to Napoli Bakery, a Metropolitan Ave. gem. I intended to only buy one loaf, but I walked out with three: a classic Italian baguette, a loaf of heaven which they called sourdough lard bread, and a foccacia-style bread, thick and heavy with tomato and herbs sitting on top. The most amazing part? All of this was only six bucks. SIX BUCKS. Only a few days ago I paid half that price for just ONE loaf of bread which wasn’t nearly as good from Whole Foods in Union Square. Fail.

The Italian baguette was simple and delicious, crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and tasted very fresh despite me waltzing in about fifteen minutes prior to their closing time. For $1.50 this is the perfect accompaniment to any home cooked meal, and I’m sure I’m going to return for this at some point. But it was hardly the star of the show.

The lard bread, for which they have earned themselves quite a reputation throughout the neighborhood apparently, is well worth the fuss. It’s good enough to be consumed on its own, no butter or anything. Seriously. It tasted as if it had just come out of the oven. They claimed it was sourdough but it didn’t have an overwhelmingly sourdough taste to it, it was just…there are no words. Please. Go here. Buy one. They kindly slice it for you upon request as well. It’s possibly better than half the bread I’ve received in baskets in restaurants prior to a fancy meal. Seriously.

And the last of the bunch was the foccacia-looking thing, which was another that was good enough to simply eat on its own. This could feed me for a whole day I imagine, and I’d be happy to let it. Unlike the previous two, this was a dense, heavy bread, with the tomatoes on top lightening everything up. Yep, it was greasy. Yep, it was amazing. They also had a rosemary variation of this on the counter that I may return to try very soon. But I imagine if you threw some mozzarella, parmesan, and some red pepper flakes on this and just put it in the oven for like 10 minutes, you could probably sell it on the street as drugs. Incredible.

Dinner that evening ended up being of the candlelit variety, with bread and a bottle of Portuguese white wine from Blue Angel Wines not too far away on Grand St., and it was completely satisfying. If I had prosciutto, a good cheese, and some olives on hand, I probably would be able to survive on this for the rest of my life. Grand total for dinner for two, with a bottle of wine, and bread leftover the next day? $19. And people say New York City is expensive. Psh.

The shop also sells various Italian goodies, like pasta, olive oil, coffee, some desserts and drinks, etc., though the bread definitely reigns supreme. They’re also open until 8:30.

Napoli Bakery, 616 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn