I’ve been wanting to say this for a while now, but the timing never seemed right for me to say it without coming out like I’m just simply complaining about things. But hey, opportunities stay presenting themselves, and now the time has come.
So apparently this last weekend at Summer Jam, Peter Rosenberg decided to (in a nutshell) say that a Nicki Minaj single was wack. Wayne then flexed his Young Money arm and pulled his crew (well, almost all of it, besides Tyga apparently) from performing at Summer Jam. The day of the show. Event planning nightmare. Fan disappointment ensued. Etc., etc., you get the picture. (For the record, I didn’t think what he said was all that fucked up. Most chicks like Nicki Minaj’s music. Most men like her ass. What’s new?)
If you follow Peter Rosenberg at all, you’ll know that he’s the man behind Hot 97′s Sunday show “Late Night With Peter Rosenberg” in which he showcases the best (well, what he deems as best) in underground Hip Hop. This usually involves a lot of Odd Future, Low Budget and various DMV’ers (since that’s his origin), etc. It’s a usually predictable show, but it is a welcome change from the usual Hot 97 lineup of music. I’m not mad at him at all, and as an opinionated asshole myself, I feel he’s entitled to his opinion. Whether or not he should have exercised his freedom of speech while working for the station at such a large event is another story, but the man can like what he likes. Apparently Nicki Minaj is not in that category.
But I’d like to take this moment to expand upon something I think is going unmentioned in relation to this incident: it’s no longer cool to be a Hip Hop purist. You know, the type that still blasts nothing but golden era ’90′s jams on their iPod and still makes it to every Rakim performance within a 50 mile radius of their residence. This is going to sound ridiculous coming from me because for the longest time I was a self-proclaimed Hip Hop purist. I still am, in the sense that I have a great appreciation for that “real” shit, still blast it every now and then, and still concern myself with the news and current events pertaining to this scene.
In the last year or so, Rap music began to feel like work to me. It should have, since I made it the only thing I was working on. Some of the joy went away. In order to preserve my raw passion for this art form, I turned to new genre’s of music to provide me with entertainment. I’ve been getting deeper into House music, hipster shit, even music from other places in the world. There is more to life than DJ Premier. Rakim. Fu-Schnickens. People want to hate on Nicki Minaj or Drake or 2 Chainz or whoever the fuck they want to throw shade at, but when is the last time one of your favorite golden era types released an album? More specifically, one worth listening to? Yeah, I’m looking forward to that Wu Tang and D-Block collaboration as much as the next Hip Hop head, but I’m also not going to cry if it’s disappointing. The people we once admired are aging, they’re slowing down. Things are going to change and as growing humans we need to be open to that change.
To be honest, at this point the Hip Hop purist posse, “backpackers” we can call them, are annoying me these days. I never thought I’d get to this point but it’s true. Why? Because their whole stance is narrowminded. Fuck Nicki Minaj? It’s too easy, but go listen to her verse on Kanye’s “Monster” and try to tell me, as someone who assesses lyricism so thoroughly, that her verse was trash. I dare you. Fuck Drake? Fuck 2 Chainz? They’re so ignorant and untalented? Tell me “No Lie” was a shitty single. Tell me you don’t already know the words.
Hip Hop has changed. Just like a human who is born, grows, changes, gets old, slows down, and dies, Hip Hop is in a life cycle. Too much of the same is boring, and hating on shit for no good reason has never been cute. Should Nicki have backed out over Peter’s comments? Hell no, that was some extra shit, but at the same time, it was the perfect thing to do because all parties involved are getting a ton of press off of the debacle. If you think I’m going to be in NYC tonight and not listening to Funkmaster Flex’s show this evening, you must be crazy. Case in point. But not opening one’s mind and ears to new sounds is just doing oneself a disservice.
In other words, this whole “beef” is stupid. Hell, it might be a publicity/marketing stunt (and a damn good one at that). But what it boils down to is that shit changes, you either accept it or act like an old school asshole about it and don’t, and life goes on with or without our opinions thrown into the mix. Liking a Waka Flocka track or two doesn’t make me any less knowledgable or appreciative of the amazing Rap music that came before him, it just means I want a change of pace. And if that means I’m no longer a true-school Hip Hop head, then so be it. The same way I’d be mad if I paid to see the Summer Jam line up and Nicki didn’t perform (I still haven’t seen her live show, and whether or not I dig her music aside, I’d be interested to see her perform), I’d just like to enjoy whatever I listen to in peace. The same way us “older heads” (the irony is that we claim to be old but are really in our 20′s) are complaining about the ignorance the kids listen to these days, don’t try to front like you didn’t grind on some booty to “Back That Azz Up” when Cash Money Records was still poppin while you were in high school. Change happens, grow up and get used to it.
That’s my drunken, semi-relevant rant for this afternoon. Play nice out there in those streets party people, eyes is out.
There’s something about Valentine’s Day that bothers me. Maybe it’s all the pink frilly decorations in the stores (I can’t stand pink, seriously, I’m not that girl), maybe it’s the stress of feeling forced to go out of your way or spend beaucoup bucks to make someone feel special, or maybe it was those awkward creaky noises coming from my neighbor’s apartment late at night in Bushwick last year when I was trying to fall asleep all by my lonesome. Every year I try to just ignore it, but as fellow “Ignore V-Day” participants also know, this is impossible. We fool ourselves every year, then just get agitated at that foul stench of “love” in the air.
The turning point in my loathing of Valentine’s Day was when I decided to take the implied passionate love out, and replace it with that of the platonic variety. I promise you, we all have at least one friend who will be spending Valentine’s Day alone. So once upon a time, I went out to dinner with a male friend who was also ignoring Valentine’s Day. It was great. We had no reservations to anywhere, somehow found a restaurant with some open tables in the Lower East Side, ate Thai food, vented out frustrations about the personal life, but more importantly, said “fuck everything, at least we’re friends, and we’re not alone.” Stress free. Drama free. No grandiose gestures of passion. Just a great night out on the town, which is really my favorite kind of night anyhow. I couldn’t be happier.
I’m not about to turn this into some long winded rant like I usually do (I know I haven’t been writing here, but I’ve been writing elsewhere, a lot, and I should probably get back to that now…more to come), but I say all that to say this: you don’t have to be in love to show love. And once you accept that, you’ll no longer try to just ignore Valentine’s Day for whatever reason. Love comes in many different varieties, and no matter how alone you may feel today thanks to Hallmark standards of affection, remember that there is still love around you regardless.
This is officially the most twinkie-soft post I’ve ever written here. Happy Valentine’s Day readers, and I promise next post I’ll be back on my hardbody shit. Excuse me while I search for my cynicism.
It’s been almost half a year since I’ve lived in a healthy home with an equally healthy internet connection. It’s pretty much been one or the other – I was either living in an apartment that was making me sick but had fantastically fast and reliable internet service, or I’ve been living in a tremendously nicer apartment in a way nicer neighborhood mooching shitty WiFi from some unknown neighbor until they decided to put a password on it during the holiday break. Now I live in a great crib with nearly no access to the outside world, since I have no internet and also a phone that doesn’t want to work where I live. It’s been a way more interesting ordeal than I thought it would be.
“Just when I thought I had everything, I lost it all.”
Around the time I started this website, I felt like I was on top of the world. I had just signed the lease on the first apartment I would have entirely to myself in Brooklyn, had a salaried job which, though boring and time consuming as hell, was keeping me nicely paid, and I had just landed my first placement in a Hip Hop magazine (The Source, to be exact). I was happy. I was ambitious. I was content but not satisfied, striving for more, and sacrificing many nights of sleep to continue to climb my way up the ladder of the music industry and the corporate world. But in a similar fashion to throwing a rock in the air (word to my Palestinian relatives) and watching it fall, I guess things not subject to basic laws of Physics also sometimes get plagued by “what goes up must come down” logic.
Soon the job went away, which I still maintain was a bit of a blessing in disguise, the money flow deteriorated, my hustle went up, and doing things for fun became a distant memory. Everything was about maintaining the bank account, getting money, and chasing opportunities. I cut out the little things in life that made me feel good, and put that money and time into things that would keep me afloat or possibly blossom into something lucrative in the near future. Shit was rough but I was making it work, still managing to live on my own, stay fed, and stay out of debt.
What finally defeated me was the thing I had coveted the most – my home. Poor maintenance of the building I lived in was causing leakage issues (don’t get me started on the mouse infestation that resurfaced around the time I was moving out also), and sometime toward the end of the summer when I returned from an out of town trip, I came back to discover a fine dusting of multi-colored mold over nearly everything in my apartment. Green mold on the window sill. Yellow mold clinging to the walls. White mold growing on my furniture – my futon, wooden kitchen chairs, pillows, etc. Patches of mold on my clothing, shoes, handbags, and more. Mold on kitchen utensils I had sitting, and even on dishes I had stored in a closet in a box. Everything. I tried to rinse off what I could and try to get someone in to fix it, but with no one coming and nothing getting done, it was getting worse. General irritation soon gave way to physical distress, and my own home literally began to make me sick. I’d wheeze, cough, and sneeze myself to sleep. I’d wake up in the middle of the night because the allergy to the mold would cause me to itch. I ate so many Halls to keep my throat from hurting that I deserve a sponsorship from the company. The air would burn my eyes, making something as simple as staring at a computer screen become painful after a brief period of time. Headaches, trouble breathing, and flu like symptoms hit me nearly every time I entered the crib.
So much for home sweet home. After a city inspector came by and told me to get out of that place sooner rather than later, but with a couple months still to go on my lease, I stayed with some generous friends for a few days to begin my apartment hunt. I took every piece of clothing, bedding, curtains, etc., bagged them up, and with the help of my mother I washed everything I could. I salvaged everything that could be cleaned up, but much of the furniture didn’t make the cut. Even washing the clothes was making me sick. I was miserable for at least three months. In case you’re wondering why it never got fixed, it’s because I had to curse out the only maintenance guy my landlord would send after homie told me that Febreze would save my furniture from the mold that ate it. I was being forced to deal with someone who didn’t know what they were doing simply because my landlord was a cheap bastard. After a hellish apartment hunt (New York’s residential real estate market is one of the ugliest businesses I’ve ever personally dealt with), I finally found the miracle apartment I needed. It was clean, it was renovated, it was safe, and in a way better location. I lucked out. I coughed, wheezed, and sneezed my way through packing my belongings and moving into the new place, expecting everything to instantly improve upon moving.
The move happened around Thanksgiving, and just over a month and a half has passed, and though I’ve replenished my furniture supply and salvaged my wardrobe, I’m still not totally back to full speed. I’m so much more comfortable and my health is nearly back to normal, but something still isn’t quite right. The physical side effects of my situation were obvious – the mental ones, not so much. I realized that as much as that fiasco sucked out of me physically, I was just as mentally drained. At first I told myself I just needed a break, and vowed to take a couple of weeks off from writing. For a month I literally had no urge to write a single word, no desire to do what it is I feel I love to do.
“I look in the mirror, my only opponent, where the fuck is the press? Where the fuck is the prayers? Either they know or don’t care, I’m fuckin’ depressed.” (***note: I don’t actually know whether he says “Prez” or “prayers,” but prayers just sounds better in this context. President ain’t doin’ shit for me directly anyhow.)
So I basically dropped off the grid. Around the same time everything in my personal infrastructure started to crumble, I also lost a few close friends from my circle. I got antisocial. I spent the holidays with family and just hid out in my new neighborhood getting familiar with my surroundings. I shunned the music industry for a bit, instead choosing to do normal people things that had nothing to do with Rap. Going places where people had no idea who I was or what I did. I did this at the risk of knowing that it would set me back a bit work-wise, but I knew I needed the break. I was burned out. The funny thing about doing a disappearing act is that it tends to make you defensive when you’re ready to get out of it – see, most people in your life only speak to you when they need to. The ones who speak to you simply because they want to are the ones to cherish. It was funny to me how I could just drop off the face of the earth and get exactly what I wanted – no work. No other job I’ve done would let me just go M.I.A. without hassling me to get back to business. It made me question my worth as a writer and the value of what I’ve contributed to the culture thus far. I felt disposable.
It took me weeks to realize this. The stresses of my behind-the-scenes life forced me to step away, but this insecurity was keeping me from getting back into things. I’ve finally started getting urges to write things again, though now the timing is shitty since I’m at war with Time Warner about getting internet at the new apartment and am currently connection-less (fail. I miss you, Optimum Online!). I’m posting this from the Wi-Fi at a local 24/7 cafe, which limits you to one hour of usage, and of course requires you to buy something overpriced to use their internet (I’m cheap, but not cheap enough to sit in the cold in my parked car outside the door just to get it for free). The coffee purchases are adding up, and my patience is wearing thin. I keep hoping that once I finally get some high speed action in my place, things will go back to normal. I’ll pick up on those stories I left behind last year, I’ll sort through my emails, and life will go back to how it was pre-mold hell. I just know it’s not guaranteed.
So I wonder – how do I get back that thirst, drive, and focus? Perhaps forcing my once-hobby into a potential career path soured the experience for me. Maybe this is just a phase, I really was just stressed and tired, and things will go back to normal once the internet turns on. The love for and pride in what I do is still there, but I worry that one day the love will turn into the type you have for an ex-lover. You still love them deeply, but there’s no way you could ever be with them again, feel me? I know I’m not at the point of quitting, but I’m just in awe of how quickly everything can change. Health, home, friends, work, mind state. It was like it all happened overnight.
So that, the few loyal readers this site still has, is why neither you nor anyone else has heard much from me lately. At this point the blame lies on Time Warner for being nothing short of insincere, misinformed, and unprofessional, but for a while it was simply because I either couldn’t work, or didn’t want to. It will soon change, I have no doubt, but I think with the new year some new things may have to happen at UntitledType. I’m not quite sure what that will be yet, but the inspiration is slowly coming back.
Belated holiday wishes to everyone in the online world, and to anyone that has contacted me about business, submitted a track, added me as a friend on Facebook, etc., I apologize for not getting back to you, posting, or confirming your requests…I just simply am not able to right now. Kind of scary how reliant upon technology we are these days, but that’s another rant for another day.
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.
“We Found Love” is a song that on the surface I can’t stand. That pop/dance feel, the instant attraction the Top 40 crowd will have to it, thus making it a repetitive part of my part-time, part-legitimate hustle (if you have to ask, you’ll never know)…it was just a bad formula for me personally. But for some reason I saw someone tweet a link to the video, and I clicked. And I watched. A few times. Then the song got stuck in my head. Now a few days later, I’m watching it…again.
Somehow this shit speaks to me. First of all I fuck with Rihanna’s not-giving-even-a-fraction-of-a-fuck attitude. Frolicking around topless in a field in Ireland? Sounds amazing, but yeah, I’m too shy for that. I can’t even let the top down while sunbathing on my Bushwick roof where no one ever seems to go. Her disrespect and nonchalance…I dig it. In a weird way. Some of that shows in this video, but I relate to it not because I’m a disrespectful “cunt,” (I wouldn’t have the balls to wear one of those necklaces either) but because the video is full of cheap thrills. Emphasis on cheap.
As a young twenty-something in the U.S., I’m like most of the “99 Percent” in that money doesn’t come easy, and stress levels are high. I’m trying to live in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, dealing with questionable landlords, job difficulties like dwindling opportunities and hours, negligence of my own health just because I don’t wanna drop $25 on a co-pay to see my doctor, all that struggling youth shit. And I don’t even have it that bad. I know a ton of people in the same situation as I am, and you know what most of us do to deal with it? We try to counter the bad with some kind of thing that makes us feel good. Love, alcohol, weed. Maybe some other type of drug if you got a connect like that and won’t end up spending massive amounts of dough on it. Some of us turn to crime. Some of us freak out and end up depressed. For some of us it’s all of the above. I’d say that I know more people that turn to shit like this to relieve their stress than, say, working out.
This video is the twenty-something struggle. It’s so much more than just “oooh that guy she chose in the video looks a little too much like Chris Brown!” It’s our generation’s everyday lives. The duo’s drug-fueled shenanigans that they base their eventually destructive relationship around are commonplace. I recently met a guy on the train who, though I didn’t know at the time, had somewhat recently gotten out of jail. Something random happened, long story, and though I had never hung out before with him, I invited him to crash on my kitchen floor with me (where I’ve been sleeping due to some apartment issues). Here we were. Both under 25 years old, killing a bottle of wine, sleeping on a mattress in a kitchen, sharing our woes. He about trying to live a legit life as an ex-con and his hopes for the future, me about trying to find a better place to live when all my cards are stacked against me. The whole situation was reckless…letting a near-stranger into your residence, consuming alcohol around them, falling asleep with my iPhone, a few hundred bucks cash, and a kitchen full of knives around me, etc. Everything my mother would probably tell me not to do.
I woke up the next day alive, and smiling. Well, not quite smiling, I actually was really sick, but it just felt good to not wake up alone and to feel that someone else was sharing my struggle, and understanding it all. I ended up spending about 36 hours with this guy. We hopped in my new(ish) car and sped off to Manhattan at 1am to find food. We ate, and hung out in Central Park after hours since I’d never been there before and he swore nobody would rape, rob, or kill me as long as he was there. By 4am we were back in Brooklyn sitting by the water lost in thought. We sat in my car for like half an hour outside of my crib because it was warmer in my whip than it was in my crib. We had an honest conversation about where in the five boroughs it’s safe to sleep in your car, just in case my situation ever came down to that at some point. Again, we slept on my kitchen floor, we woke up the next morning laughing about how my neighbor was playing “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith at full blast, then he got up, took a shower, and left.
After he left I realized we had just based a whole two and a half days and beginning of a friendship around our hardships. Neither of us ended up on that Bushwick kitchen floor for a good reason, and we both did some seriously stupid shit just to solve the immediate problem and take our minds off of our general stress. I was grateful to this no-longer-a-stranger for making what would have been a horrid few days for me a whole lot better. He also told me something important: “un amigo es un peso en tu bolsillo.” Translated – a friend is a dollar in your pocket. How long does a dollar last in your pocket? Not long, right? Exactly.
For the twenty-somethings of the 99 percent who have nothing stable in life – no job, no solid living situation, maybe not even a healthy relationship, we are in a hopeless place. Much like everything around us, at times it feels like even our love crumbles to bits, kind of like those hopes of a better life after college. How do you foster a happy relationship when everyone is so stressed out? I’ve recently had a falling out with a few really close friends, all of us going through our own significant struggles, and I reached a point that I no longer even wanted to mend the relationships because I know I should be putting my time into other things like the pursuit of money, housing that doesn’t make me sick, or a better plan for my future. I had (have?) genuine love for them, but I think our situations helped fuel our collapse. Yet at the same time, none of us want to be alone through this. Companionship does make things easier, but when we all have our own serious problems to worry about, how good of a friend can we afford to be? It’s no wonder that I wasn’t surprised in the least when I read about the Occupy Wall Street crowd starting to partake in pleasures of the flesh down at the protest grounds. I get it. They’re cold, tired, fed up, and feel like they have nothing. Sex is free. It’s a stress relief. Especially with someone else who is sharing your same struggle. It’s all conjuring up thoughts of Woodstock and that ’60′s hippie movement, except probably with a slightly fewer hallucinogenics. I bet #OWS looks crazy if you’re on mushrooms. But I digress.
So what do we do? We drink away the pain, maybe pop a few pills if you’re as not-giving-a-fuck as our cunt necklace-wearing Billboard chart topper (I suggest you don’t though if you’re like me and looking for employment), dance the night away at some bar/club with someone you might never see again, speed down Broadway with your favorite music on blast, and just hope that things get better. Be reckless because we feel like we don’t have anything to lose. Wonder if we’ll even still be talking to our new friend by the time he gets off parole. Waking up wondering how we’re still alive considering the abuse most of us put ourselves through. And then smoke a cigarette because we’re doing too much thinking. The vicious cycle of the struggling youth, stuck in a hopeless place. Because just like the video, though we have these fleeting moments of happiness, the way we go about getting them isn’t solving any of our problems. At the end of the day, we’re still all fucked up, trying to find a place for ourselves in a society that doesn’t seem to have room for us.
There’s a lot to say about this Occupy Wall Street protest, as well as its various offshoots, but the fact of the matter is most of the talking is already being done which is exactly the reason why I haven’t felt a need to say much of anything.
And then Kanye West showed up. *Please note the above photo isn’t of him at OWS, it was from this year’s Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. I’m just proud of my paparazzi skills.
Oh my God Based God, there were so many witty and sarcastic things I wanted to say when I heard that news. Of course I didn’t need to, because the Twitter massive was already doing that for me. But there are some things that necessitate more than 140 characters.
Just so you know what kind of mindstate you’re dealing with, here’s my stance: I dig the core ideals of the Occupy Wall Street protest. As a struggling freelancer going against dwindling budgets and shit, trust me I know. As someone who has been having employment issues outside of my writing work, trust me, I know what they’re fighting for. That being said, I also know what naysayers are getting at. How I look like camping out in a tent in the street when I could be at home blasting out my resume to the job opportunities that are out there? And then there’s the point my mother brought up – it’s getting cold out…why not fill up the tents with the NYC homeless guys and give them a bit of really low-quality shelter? We can’t see who’s in the tents anyway and if it’s power in numbers, why not address two problems at once?
It’s great that people are coming together to speak out against something that really holds weight, and it’s even better that it’s getting the attention it deserves. Maybe some change will come.
But then Kanye West shows up.
Did he roll up in his Maybach? Complex already reported that he showed up in a Givenchy shirt that I’ve also heard has an MSRP of $355. Kanye West is the 1% they are talking about and alienating themselves from. For him to show up is just…it deters from the point. He just dropped, alongside Jay-Z who is arguably the greatest businessman Hip Hop has seen, what is perhaps his most pretentiously wealth-flaunting album we’ve ever seen in the shape of Watch The Throne. It’s a free country, he can show up, but really though?
This just gives me a good opportunity to speak about some of the #OWS flaws.
First of all, #OWS has suspiciously turned into a perfect Stuff White People Like post. In a way it’s advantageous, since that will make it easier to get media coverage since it makes it all slightly more shocking and sanitized all at the same time. When that many white folk are mad, people notice. Think I’m an asshole for saying that? It’s 2011 and Troy Davis is dead. Need I say more? All I know is that I’m broke, I need to get money, and camping out in a tent and holding up signs isn’t about to make me any. How are these people paying their rent? My guess is they’re all the sons and daughters of people with loot or sitting on a hefty heap of savings anyway (so getting arrested and getting your bail posted is light work), in which case I still wonder about how much they have to protest. The other people I know who are truly broke and suffering in this economy haven’t been out there either. Why? We’re too busy hustling our asses off to stay fed. In fact, even being near that area with all the police waiting for an excuse to arrest you or mace you scares me shitless. Even in a good economy a criminal record is going to make it way tougher to get a job. In a shitty one? Fuhgeddaboutit. And good luck browsing those Monster ads with pepper spray in your corneas.
And now it crossed the line and has become too large. It’s an entertainment spectacle now. Blogs are doing “Best Signs From Occupy Wall Street”-style posts, rumors of Radiohead concerts are flying around, and Michael Moore is showing up to mingle in the crowd. Now the media isn’t just covering the protest, they’re monopolizing off of it. The big names are coming out, the page views are rolling in, the advertisers want a piece, and the cycle begins. I also find it a bit backwards when they interview some of these people on TV and they’re all smiling and happy and shit. Protesting isn’t supposed to be happy. Get mad, dammit! And then there’s the obvious – when celebrities like Kanye West come through, it’s basically a slap in the protest’s face. It’s so shitty that 99% of you guys are feeling used, voiceless, poor, and disadvantaged. Excuse me while the paparazzi follow me into the crowd and take pictures of my $350 shirt and my chains. My concerts are still going to cost you a week of your unemployment payments to attend. I love me some Kanye, and I love Watch The Throne, but mixing that with #OWS is just confusing. Watch The Throne gives me delusions of grandeur just by listening to it. #OWS makes me feel even poorer than I already am.
Kanye does have a way with social commentary from time to time (really rare moments here people, but they happen), and if he believes in the movement then I’m all for him showing up and mingling. But do we really believe he relates to this anymore? As a child before he ever made a hit record, maybe. Now? Not so much. If anything Kanye West is the anti-#OWS. He’s proof that even in a craptastic economy, with the right determination, connections, talent, luck, whatever, you can still make it in America. You too can chop up a Maybach one day. You too can criticize our president on T.V. for disliking black people. And you’ll still be paid. And still ultimately pay taxes to the government.
My point? Kanye showed up. So what? He’s not the only celebrity that has undermined the message, or will in the future. I think the 99% could learn a thing or two from people like Kanye. If we paid more attention to how he got to be where he’s at, rather than the price tag on his shirt, maybe our panties wouldn’t be in a collective bunch over him showing up.
I just wish he would have brought Jay-Z with him, so Hov coulda rolled up and said “what’s up, motherfucker, where my money at?” That would have been great.
Well I’m feeling fine
I could’ve been doing time.
Well, I’m doing fine, thank you,
but I could’ve been pulling time.
I know a brother man doing time,
and he didn’t commit no crime.
So, thank you, I’m doing fine,
cuz I could’ve been pulling time.
I’ve been painting a picture of Angola, Louisiana
pictures of deals in back alleys where politicians often hide
But it’s much more important to me than Angola, Louisiana
Got a lot to do with justice but more with Gary Tyler’s life
I got a letter from his mother (that) said,
“Please! Say somethin’ to my son.”
Truth is: Angola, Louisiana, you’re the one.
I ain’t never been nowhere near Angola, Louisiana.
Down in St. Charles Parish where the sun won’t go alone.
But injustice is not confined to Angola, Louisiana.
It can walk in your livin’ room
as long as it surrounds your home.
I send love to brother Tyler, but after all is said and done;
Truth is: Angola, Louisiana, you’re the one.
I can’t tell a man not to defend himself,
not at this late stage.
I can’t tell a man he got no rights, nowhere,
not in this day and age.
This song may not touch a whole lot of people
persuaded by the truth,
but take a look at what’s goin’ on, people,
’cause this all could happen to you.
I’ve been painting a picture of Angola, Louisiana
Down in St. Charles Parish, where the sun won’t go alone
But injustice is not confined to Angola, Louisiana
Well, it can be in your living room
Brother Tyler, hold on, be strong, you’re not alone!
I got a letter from his mother that said,
“Please, say something to my son!”
Truth is: Angola, Louisiana, you’re the one.
Troy Davis was not the first person in our country to be executed while the existence of reasonable doubt concerning their guilt was apparent. I hope he will be the last. The loss of one man does not compensate for the loss of another. It is not justice.
This is going to deviate from my normal topics of choice (do I really have a norm at this site though?) but hear me out. I’m about to play myself and put my thirst on blast for a second but it has a purpose.
This afternoon on the J Train I laid my eyes upon one of the most attractive men I’ve seen all year. There’s the usual Puerto Rican/Dominican guy with a fresh lineup and that sparkle in his eye that will turn my head for a few seconds, but this was so next level. Dude was this perfect mix of light skinndedness (yeah, I made that a word, so what?), type Asian eyes, tall and lean without looking like a skeleton, with this simplistic style that just suited him so well. Retro Jordans were also helping his case. I don’t usually turn into a train creeper but I couldn’t look away. It was so bad in fact that I took the train an extra stop just to give myself time to muster up the balls to compliment his kicks. I’ve never done some absurd shit like that in my life. What drove me to that point?
The thirst is real. The thirst is insatiable. The thirst takes self respecting, logical people and turns them into fiends for a force over which they have no control: mother nature.
I recall telling my mother once that if I ever had a kid it would likely be an accident, and have been known to refer to my future accidental seedling as “Lil Shorty,” which besides being completely indicative of the fact that I should never have kids has also turned into an inside joke with a good friend. Amanda as a girl with career goals, drive, a butt that still fits in single digit-size jeans, and no budget to buy a whole new wardrobe should baby weight come into my life, does not have room for a kid in my near future. Mother nature does not understand these things. The thirst does not understand these things. As I stole glances at Mr. Model as I’m going to call him from here on out, all I could think about was how I didn’t even care if I heard him speak, I didn’t care what his name was, I didn’t give a fuck about anything except that animal instinct to just mate with him, for the sake of creating more gorgeous looking, light skinnded, slanty-eyed little baby boys that will one day turn heads on the J train as well. I just wanted the cycle of life to be filled with more people that looked like this beautiful man.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration (or not, I’ll never tell!), but my point comes down to this: at the end of the day human beings are still a part of that crazy ass animal kingdom and we have natural urges that we can’t control. Allow me to take this argument a step further.
Recently a few people I know have been facing relationship trouble. What relationship doesn’t have trouble? Monogamy is problematic and stressful, especially with these thirst-inducing Mr. Model types riding around on these trains. Why is it problematic and stressful? Because it goes against animal instinct. Marriage isn’t something we are destined to get involved in because nature dictates it, rather it’s a social norm. Now of course the world isn’t about to embark on a sexual free-for-all, and I like a good date with a guy who seems like he could be a long-term catch just as much as the next girl, but I can’t help but wonder how much more stress free life would be if this boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancee, wifey, boo, wife/husband shit didn’t exist. I’m no Biologist or expert on mammal behavior, but is there any other creature out there that throws the proverbial ring on the opposite gender? Why do we burden ourselves with something many of us put so much priority upon, but which isn’t necessary to our lives?
Furthermore, why do we fault our significant others for their thirst? So what if your man glances at the Mila Kunis lookalike walking through SoHo while you’re having a little shopping excursion together? So what if your girl did a double take at the guy driving in the car next to yours on the highway? Sure, it’s a matter of respect for the person you’re with, but at the same time they obviously don’t mean it to cause harm, they’re just victims of the thirst.
Mr. Model brought out that animalistic thirst in me. Sure, I pointed at his kicks, gave him the thumbs up, smiled as he accepted my silent compliment, and fronted like I was actually a sane, normal woman who didn’t want to follow him to wherever he was headed. But in my head I didn’t care about those kicks at all, I just wanted to vent as much thirst as possible without actually talking to dude, since my half assed hangover and kicks/t-shirt combo was far from attractive and I was not about to play myself. For the love of the deities if you think you are Mr. Model who was riding the J Train, got off at Chambers, unfortunately did not transfer to the uptown 4, 5, or 6 around 5pm today and were carrying a backpack and a garment bag which was hopefully empty with the fantasy intention of you taking off the clothes you were wearing and putting those in the bag because they, like relationships, are technically useless to your life when the weather is this nice anyway, you should immediately hit that “Contact” link at the top of the page and hit me up so I can take you to this all night loft party in Bushwick tonight. I had an extra ticket. It’s waiting for you.
The Internets Celebrities are back at it again with their NYC-themed video series, this time entering a curry eating contest. I really don’t want to know how shitty they were feeling an hour or so later. Their intern is a special breed. Watch the video to see what I mean.