Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

One if my favorite MJ joints of all times.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Worst of the Best & Best of the Worst

Hello. This is actually I list I comprise up back in July of 2008 that I never got around to finishing. Anyway, after posting so many blogs on hip hop, one thing I never did was open up to some of the actual songs that were hot from artists that I liked, but I hated the songs, although it seemed everyone else loved them.

Also, even though I'm perceived as a hip hop head, I'll admit it's some fun songs that I wouldn't consider the best & probably get me scorned in the hip hop community for admitting that I liked it. For example, I actually liked Ja Rule's music b4 he let 50 take him out of his lane. Also, I used to sing along with Ginuwine to that Nas "U Owe Me" joint. But hey my list gets worst. Those are just examples.

First off let me acknowledge the songs you might've loved, but did nothing for me in the beginning. Some grew on me later, others, well... I learn to tolerate it.

Top 10 Songs I Originally Hated by Artists I Love
1. 2Pac - California Love
I know I'll get a lot of flack for this, but fuck it. I hated it when it first came out, even though I was a Dre & Roger Troutman fan. The reason was I felt it was out of 2Pac's element at the time.. or at least what I was used to. Plus I felt it was a subliminal hit at the East Coast. I just hated this new image of 2Pac going from attacking corrupt politicians & other racist figures to attacking his own bruthas based on coast or opinions (at the time.) I felt like if Biggie & Puff had something to do with his shooting, it should've stayed btw those camps instead of dragging the whole coast into it & anyone who spoke indifferent. But aside from that, I didn't like the sample used with it. Now I did like the original beat on the album version by Dr. Dre using his traditional G-funk style.

2. The Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy
When I first heard this I saw Biggie as an overrated rapper trying to ride off the West Coast dick with an East Coast sound, plus I thought the Mtume sample was too obvious & played out (should've been left alone.). Even today, even though I like the song, it's definitely a dumb downed Biggie, but I respect it now. Becuz truthfully, even lyricist have to dumb down on occasions to get a point across (i.e. Nas' " I Can"). I almost didn't get the album based on this first single & verse on Flava In Ya Ear. Even though his verse was nice... from a battling & punchline standpoint, he was so-so to me lyrically. But after I got his album (thanks to a friend that let me listen to his) I realize. Damn, I underestimated the man. But this is still one of my least favorite joint on Biggie's debut.

3. A Tribe Called Quest - I Left My Wallet In El Segundo
Crazy thing, since I'm probably the biggest ATCQ fan ever now. BUt originally, I liked it from a comedic standpoint (the video), but I couldn't see myself wanting to play it on my cassette player. I thought it was corny at the time, especially the chorus. Then they came with BOnita Applebaum. I liked it better, but still antsy. After getting 5 mics from the Source, & everybody... I mean folks that actually listened to real hip hop kept co-signing them, I finally broke down in 92 & got both the first & Low End Theory at the same time. And crazily, I love that song now. LOL

4. MC Lyte - Ruffneck
Til this day, this is my least favorite MC Lyte hit song. I felt she let ppl get in her head saying she needed to come harder after mixed reviews of her 3rd album (Act Like You Know), where she first started wearing make up, & dropped "WHen In Love". I admit, I wasn't big on that song, but honestly, with the exception of that & maybe 1 or 2 tracks out of about 17 songs, that album was tight. But ppl judged her off one track & she jumped on that Onyx/MOP Hardcore bandwagon spitting extra hard... like she wasn't hard b4 her first 2 albums. But also Boss came out that year, so every female starting playing the "gangsta bitch". (sadly... even YoYo). To me, that joint & album was more of the disappointment than the previous. Becuz at least the previous showed growth & maturity of a tomboy becoming a strong positive woman. While she was almost forced to becoming a butch on that album. Although the album did have some great moments, as a whole, I wish she would've stuck to her guns.

5. Salt-n-Pepa - Push It
I respect what this song did for not only SNP, but female rappers in general, b/c they opened the doors for them to not only sell records but get major deals. This gave birth to a lot of copycat girl groups trying to make that next party record. But honestly, compared to the original joints off their first album, this song was wack to me. Ain't no way "Push It" topped "Chick On The Side", My Mic Sound Nice", "Tramp", "I'll Take Your Man"... hell the whole album... including "Showstoppers" (response to Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick's "The Show") that was done 2 years earlier. Even now, my mind goes blank when this joint bumps on the radio. "Shake Your Thang" should've got more exposure than that, cuz not only was it a party song, the lyrics were fun to hear & better crafted.

6. Busta Rhymes - I Got U All In Check (Woo Hah)
I get hyped like I'm on ecstacy when I hear this now. But back when this joint first came out, I thought it was retarded. It was just weird to me, especially when it first premiered, & that "Everything Remains Raw" came on. I was bumping my head as hard as his multiple figures in that Range Rover. Then he came when that kiddie beat & lost my mojo. It took me finally getting the album for this joint to grow on me. But I really loved it when he remixed it with ODB (R.I.P.)

7. Fugees - "Killing Me Softly"
I know a lot of females are gonna bite my head off for this. But I'm sorry. I love Lauryn Hill & I loved the original "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack. I even loved Al B. Sure's version. But I couldn't get into the Fugees' version. Lauryn killed it lyrically, but the beat was so simple, it killed it for me. Plus it was out of place on the album to me. I think if Clef would've played the original beat on his guitar (like the intro) instead of the 4 beats per bar, I would've liked it better. Every time this song comes on the radio, I go to another channel & I always skip over it when I play the album. Again, sorry ladies. But I blame Clef... like Canibus did for his first album. LMAO

8. Jay Z feat. Foxy Brown - Ain't No....
I hated this song based off the strength that it got more buzz than his first single, "Dead Presidents." When his first single dropped, I was all gassed & telling everybody to watch out for him.... he was mad nice. At that time, I saw him as the next Nas. But when he dropped this joint, I was like EPMD already used it & did a better job with it. And I love Foxy & her voice, but it like her verse never ended. Although I would've preferred just her verse alone on that song & take Jigga off. LOL. Then after hearing other joints, I hated this more, becuz to me, it was definitely meant for commercial status. But it worked, so I ain't mad at him.

9. Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead (feat. Will-I-Am)
Nas got lazy on this song (and the first few songs of the albums). With a title like Hip Hop Is Dead, I just knew he was gonna kill it & try to bring some resurrection to the game. But I should've known better off the strength that Will-I-Am produced it... even though I love what he did with Common (I Have A Dream). ANd to make matters worse, he used the exact same sample he used on "Thief's Theme" which IMO was a 10 time much better song lyrically & how the sample was done (much more gritty & sinister).

10. Eminem & Dr. Dre - Guilty Conscious
I thought "My Name Is.." was funny as hell, but I didn't see it as something I could rock with. Although I liked his delivery & lyrics, I saw him as a twisted white version of Will Smith during his "Fresh Prince" days or even Kwame. And when this 2nd single came out, I just thought it was predictable. Oh wow. A Dr. Dre/ Slim collabo. I did like the good conscious vs. bad conscious idea, but the beat was too typical of Dre to me & again, saw it as something funny, but couldn't take Eminem serious as a dope emcee. It wasn't until his 3rd single "Role Model" & a co-worker let me listen to her copy of his debut album that I started liking him.

Dishonorable Mentions
1. Ice Cube - The Bop Gun : Leave the funk to the pros (Parliament, George Clinton & so on...)
2. Common - Ghetto Heaven (remix): The original with D'Angelo was bananas. Why the hell they took it from the album & replaced with the wack version with Macy Gray IDK.
3. E-40 & Suga T - Sprinkle Me. I used to mock Suga T's high pitched. I used to think she was wack. But I heard her on a Lyricist Lounge freestyle & honey was straight fire. Plus this ended up being one of those songs that grew on me.
4. DMX - Get Me At Dog: he won me with follow up joints, esp. Ruff Ryders Anthem.

Top 10 Hip Hop Guilty Pleasures
1. Dem Franchise Boyz - "I Think They Like Me" feat. Bow Wow & Brat - Brat killing that verse is what won me.
2. Technitronik "Pump Up The Jam".)
3. Marky Mark - Good Vibrations (I liked it from a work out regime & club banger. But not from a hip hop perspective.)
4. MC Hammer - Pump It Up (That shit was slamming back in the days... especially with B. Angie B. singing on the hook.)
5. Luke - Doo Doo Brown (The stripper anthem of all times.)
6. B Rock & The Bizz - "My Baby Daddy" (hilarious. B/c I knew a girl that talked just like the chick in the song. But "T-bird, I luh you.")
7. Project Pat - "Chicken Head" (another funny track with a funny video. I might be wrong, but LA Chat was perfect for the video cuz she looked like a chickenhead.)
8. KP & Envyi - "Shorty Swing My Way" (Joint still makes me wanna dance.)
9. Sadat - "Funk Dat" (We had fun with this joint back in the days where we'd come with our own questions & yell.... FUNK DAT)
10. Snap - "I Got The Power" ( I actually liked this version better than Chill Rob G's version, b/c of the chick singing.)

Dishonorable Mentions (& I Don't Care)
C&C Music Factory - Make You Sweat
US-3 - Cantaloop (Actually this joint sounds better than it did back then. I can't believe cats actually hated on this. Might go back & get that album.)
PM Dawn - Paper Dolls (liked them until they disrespected my man, KRS-One)

I had to go & find this LMAO.....!!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Confess: I Love A Good Girl Fight

Throughout my myspace experience, I've received a lot of props & a lot of love from the sistas. Actually it was the women that showed me more love & support on more than one occasion. And even though I don't consider myself a dog, I am guilty of one thing I must confess. As a kid, I was always a sucker for a chick fight. Whenever their was any action cartoon where a fight existed, I'd always look forward to see the good girl fight against the villioness. (e.g. Wonder Woman vs. Cheetah on Superfriends. or Evil Lynn & Teila or the Sorceress on HeMan.) I guess it came from always being taught that boys were not suppose to Chris Brown.... ooops... I meant... hit a girl. So it was always cool to see a real bitch get her ass handed to her by another woman.

So you know, I was a huge fan of GLOW. True, the fakeness was sooooo obvious when they wrestled. But where else did you see women go at it. Seeing good girls go at the vixens. And every now & then, cheered for the ahem.... vixens like Hollywood & Vine, Spanish Red, & the Soul Patrol. But Tina & Ashley were unbeatable (Tina Fierri would later become Ivory on the WWF). But the Russian, Colonel Ninochka had them all beat. Even good guys fiend for a bad girl every now & then. LMAO. This was before WWF brought women wrestling back with divas like Jacki, Sable, Trish Stratus & Lita. I still would've love to see Chyna & Nicole Bass go at it back then.

But 2 of my favorite female fights have got to be Kill Bill (actually 3 of my favorites came from that movie (B vs. Elle & B vs. Black Momba being 2 of the 3. O Ren Ishii's fight was nice, but not as exciting... although I loved the fight scenes leading up to it with the Crazy 8.) But my favorite was Beatrice vs. GoGo, b/c it was so unexpected & she came closer than anyone to taking Beatrice out in a fair one on one. (Is it me or does GoGo remind me of Mya)

My next favorite girl fight is from Player's Club... Diamond vs. Ronny (extra for slapping that bitch, Trixie. LMAO) Acting might've been suspect, but that fight scene made up for it.

Here are a few girl fights I would love to see & who I think would win.

1. Wilma Flintstone vs. Betty Rubble
(The way Wilma used to beat up on Fred, you know she'd kick Betty's ass.)

2. Marge Simpson vs. Lois Griffin
Marge has suppressed anger dealing with an idiot for a husband, & a juvenile delinquent (Bart). I think if she released that, Meg got some competition. But Meg ain't no joke. Look how many times she whipped Peter's ass & anyone that crossed her? Plus, she has a retard for a husband (Peter) & a future terrorist for a son (Stewie).

3. Wonder Woman vs. Supergirl
(one chunk of Kryptonite & Supergirl's a punching bag. Plus Wonder Woman got her with experience & skills while Supergirl might be stronger. She's immature. Plus the way Wonder Woman's been upgraded from the beginning to now with the Justice League, there was an episode where she gave Superman a run for his money. lol)

4. Cast of Girlfriend vs. Cast of Living SIngle
(No competition there. Living Single would whip Girlfriends asses. Synclaire might be the weak link to LS, but Girlfriend got 2 weak nonviolent women (Joan & Lynn) & a prima donna. Regine might consider herself a diva, but honey still street. Plus touch her weave, & you know it's curtains. And you know Khadijah & Max can whip that ass (probably all 4 by themselves), while Toni's more worried about her weave. Maya's the baddest chick in girlfriend, but seriously outnumbered.)

5. Nell Carter (circa 80's) vs. Monique
This would be the battle of all battles here. Nell didn't take shit from anbody. Even though she was the housekeeper, she kept Karl Keninski in order... a cop. But Monique is a hell raiser too, especially when you fuck with Professor Olgabee. Plus she's a crazy psycho chick, so I gots to give it to Monique. But it'll be very close.

6. Batgirl vs. Catwoman
(Catwoman b/c she has experience on her side, plus she's manipulative & can easily catch Batgirl at a blank moment to get the upper hand.)

7. Old Vivian vs. New Vivian (of Fresh Price of Bel Air)
(Original Viv would whip her ass. lol)

8. One for the ages ///// Ginger vs. Mary Ann

Mary Ann's a country girl, she'd beat the hell out of Ginger, plus she wouldn't want to get her hands dirty, anyway.

9. Coral (from Real World) vs. New York (from Flavor of Love)

This would be a dream match cuz these are the biggest bitches in reality show history. They've been mostly all bark with no bite (esp. NY). But Coral have kicked ass in actual athletic events (RW/RR Challenges), so she definitely got fight in her. But I'd love to see Coral.... "not wrestle, but beat bitches (like NY) down." Plus Coral has kinda, ummm, grown on me over the years. LOL

10. Monica vs. Brandy (90's classic battle of the brawls)

Monica would destroy Brandy. Come on.... she's from the A. Country street chick. Gotta be bias, since I'm from GA.

Honorable Mentions

The Destiny Children: Beyonce & Kelly vs. LeToya & LaTavia. (Would be a great grudge match, but I can see Beyonce's father tossing a chair at one of the new girls to help his daughter win. Along with Michelle in the background taking cheapshots while pretending to be so holy singing gospel songs. LOL. So by the numbers game... Beyonce hands down.... oh yeah. & Kelly too. LOL

Lil' Kim vs. Foxy Brown. (Foxy... but then again, Kim wouldn't scared to swing at BIG or her own pops. So Foxy better keep a cell handy as a weapon. LOL)

Dark Angel vs. Lara Croft (tough call... but I love me some Jessica Alba)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Gift & The Curse of An Artist

You know, it's amazing what life throws at you. Things are so much easier when you're a kid when you can only sit back & imagine how you want your life to be when you grow up. But even while pursuing them & succeeding in it, instead of smiling for fulfilling a childhood dream, instead, you ask yourself, was it really worth it.

When I was a kid, I just wanted to draw. I didn't know anything about computers, until 9th grade using it for typing term papers. I didn't know anything about marketing, graphic designing or there was no such thing as a web designer. My only thought of an artist was someone who could draw or paint. And you know what? I was content with that idea.

Unlike 16 years ago, a lot of these cats now jump on the bandwagon seeing graphic design as simple as putting text, clip arts (not their own) & pictures together with colorful fonts acquired on CDs & also learning new tricks & filters in Photoshop & call themselves graphic artists. This is not a stab at graphic designers that can't draw, b/c even when I was in school, some of the best GD couldn't draw, paint or sketch, but they made up for it by being creative with cut & pasting. So it was still an art to their craft. But regardless, we didn't have the computer to actually do the work FOR us.

But I'm knocking the computer either. I just realize as much as I love it & how it's made my job a lot easier, it's also taken a lot of the fun away from my position. Becuz before I was a Graphic Artist or a commercial artist, I was simply just an Artist. And the beauty of being an artist was having the ability to express yourself through whatever craft you chose. You got a chance to let ppl see who you are & what you stand for just by your work. One picture could tell an entire story.

That was the beauty of being an artist. Even at 36, my art lets me return to my inner child. I wouldn't call it a 2nd childhood as Nas would say, b/c I never left my first. It was preserved through my drawings from characters I mimmicked at 5, to those I created on my own.

When I started in my profession, I loved it. The thrill of being paid to do something that I "thought" I loved. The reason I thought I loved it was becuz it was in the art field. But it wasn't the actual ART that grew up loving.

Unlike Art, in my profession, commercial or graphic arts, you spend your life trying to sell yourself to others & to certain markets & genres. And in the end, everything you do is please everyone.... EXCEPT YOU!!!! THE ARTIST.... In this profession, it's so easy to lose touch of you are as an artist & I understand why a lot of artists turn away from it. It's exhausting, becuz it's no longer about YOU.... BUT EVERYBODY ELSE.

And when you want to do things for yourself, you're stressed for time. And sometimes, you'll be so exhausted with trying to please a client with either a logo design, a brochure, a branding, or whatever for whoever... you put yourself in the backburner with incomplete projects that may never see the light of day.

When did it become this? Just wanting to be an artist looking up to ppl like Van Gogh, Michelangelo (during the Blue Period), Harlem Renaissance artists & being inspired by comics like Spiderman, X-Men, Justice League & even G-Force just to end up as hired help trying to please everyone but yourself & many times go unnoticed & never acknowledged like X-mas elves creating the toys that Santa gets all of the praises for.

The only thing that keeps my love fresh is my sketch pad nowadays, in an age when all a person needs is a laptop & certain softwares to be considered an artist. Leaving me with a closet full of mat boards, canvas, different pads, pastels, markers, color pencils, charcoals, oil & acrylic paintings that I'll never know when they'll ever get used again. I say when, b/c I plan on it. Because no matter how much technology grows in the next 20 years, it'll never replace the meaning of true art. And you know, I won't matter who doesn't like it or prefer more "technical" work, b/c I'd want my art to go back to being about me..... Not everybody else, except me.

And plus, if we end up becoming a 3rd world country with no electricity & have to go back to square one, I'd still be able to call myself an artist. And my hieroglyphics will be dope. LOL

Saturday, May 16, 2009

An Anti-Stereotype: How Black I "Ain't"!

Here's a blog I've been sleeping on for some time now. This was something I wanted to do for ppl to get to know me a little better & to show how "Black" I'm Not. When I say that, it's in reference to how throughout the years, we have allowed ourselves to be put in a box & looked upon as monolithic sharing the same brain, the same food choices, the same lifestyle & mannerism. Like all sistas in the ghetto are hoodrats. All bruthas are dogs or hoodlums. All fathers are deadbeats. And so on. While rather than proving the obvious of these theories, I rather speak on myself on how "Black I'm Not."

1. The Fried Chicken Theory: In spite of Flavor Flav infatuation with fried chicken, that ugly cat looking straight from a Minstrel Show does not represent me. I like it to a degree, but I can go without it. The reason why chicken has always been affiliated with Blacks is not becuz it's THAT good. It was more affordable, & actually pretty good compared to the other affordable slop Blacks were forced to endure as slaves. But personally, I like baked chicken much better anyway. I every now & then try different varieties of seasonings..... lemon-pepper, garlic-pepper, honey & cinnamon, teriyaki, mesquite BBQ, etc.

2. Watermelon Theory: I liked it as a kid, but hated having to keep spitting out & picking through seeds. Honestly, the reason why it was even a summer thing for us was becuz it was big & enough to feed everyone. But I'll take a raw fresh uncut pineapple before a watermelon any day. Expensive, but good as hell. Naturally sweeter than that syrupy shit from a can. Hmmmm. Not just for mix drinks for me.

3. Hot Sauce: If I put hot sauce on a dish, it's not good enough to go without. LOL. Seriously. My mom's collards used to be the bomb. But I didn't start putting hot sauce on them until I would eat others. Including my own, since I try to eat healthier & not put pork products in my collards. But I much prefer jalapeños & recently (if I can afford it) banana peppers.

4. Slave Food (chitlings, fat back, black eyed peas)... As a kid, I loved fat back. To me, it was bacon without the meat. LOL The smell of chitlings while my mom prepared it on New Years back in the days turned me off from wanting to eat it. For the past 10 years, I cut back on pork tremendously. I only eat pork chops & occasionally eat pork sausages & ham (very seldomly), but I won't buy it. Only eat it when I'm at my moms & she has it maybe once a month. But as far as a lot of traditional foods (I call slave food, b/c it was the scraps slaves were left to eat & they made them in to delicacies.) I hardly eat them if ever.

5. Malt Liquor.... I didn't drink a beer until I was 19, when I worked for my uncle at his BBQ pit. But he didn't sell Bull or Old E. Instead he had the Millers & Budweiser. Bud was okay, until I started drinking Miller. After that I hated Bud. Back then, I didn't keep change for the soda machine, so on those hot days alone in a hot BBQ pit, you get thirsty & drink what's available. So it was more of a thirst quencher with a slight advantage. But in college, that's when I got into the Malt Liquor (among other liquors. LOL) My friends & I used to go to a convenient store across from the campus every Thursday & Friday & grab some Ol' E & whatever we could afford. But out of all the beers my lips have touched, I'd still take a Miller Genuine Draft over any beer, b/c of the taste & it's not as heavy as the others.

6. Loud booming Music..... I get irritated when I hear music too loud. Folks might say, "that's cuz you're getting old... blah blah blah." But truthfully, I always hated it. Even during the golden age in hip hop or before when cats used to have Miami bass rap music bumping through the speakers. I loved some of those joints back in the days at skating rinks & parties (e.g. Give It All You Got", "Drop the Bass", earlier Southern bass hip hop music.) But If I couldn't hear the melody or anything else besides the boom, I didn't see the point, except to impress the other cats roaming the streets. But I wasn't impressed, cuz I couldn't hear the actual music. I faked like I did as not to be "down."

7. Rocking Jewelry.... With the exception of my class ring & a fake thick gold rope I stole from my pops during the Slick Rick days (LMAO)... I've never worn jewelry, not even a cross. I don't knock anyone who wears a cross, but personally I'd always questioned why wear a symbol that represented death. I'm sure so one has a logical answer for that. But I had an issue with that back then. But over all, with the attention I got with the fake rope (some good... some bad... BUT MOSTLY GOOD) I hated a spotlight. And that's what made me stop sporting it & jewelry altogether.

8. Music.... I'm definitely a hip hop head til death. However, before rap, during the 80's when a lot of respectable Black artists started doing more poppy tunes (e.g. Aretha's "Pink Cadillac", Whitney, "How Will I Know", Lionel Richie "All Night Long") I started liking the music of the white artists (e.g. Police, Simply Red) on those same pop stations more than I did the black music. Of course that was b4 BET & before New Jack Swing brought a little more excitement & soul back into Black music. Even today with hip hop going stale in the past decade, I find myself liking the videos on VH-1 over BET. Pink always come with some dope shit. That "Please Don't Leave Me" video is dope, playing off the movie, "Misery". I love Cold Play, Gorillaz, (some) Björk, Maroon 5, Linkin Park, Amy Winehouse (b4 she went crazy), John Mayer, & a few others. ANd it's a new group called MGMT who has a joint out called "Electric Feel" that I think it's tight. Reminds me of some Prince & The Revolution 80's vibe. Their videos kinda cheesy, but it makes me like it more cuz it has that old psychedelic vibe.

9. TV Shows.... Some shows that may be considered as corny to the stereotypical Black person, I can watch with no problem. Shows in syndicated such as "Friends", "Seinfeld" (after the Kramer incident I stopped, but recently started back after being out of work..... Besides George Castanza was my favorite character anyway. LOL), "Everybody Loves Raymond", & a few others. I actually watch "Save By The Bell." Although I'm tired of it. It's nothing else on when I wake up. Plus it comes on after one of my all time favorite sitcoms.... "Married WIth Children." Another favorite after Bernie Show (R.I.P.) is Malcolm In The Middle (love the theme music too) & That 70's Show.

10. Athletically Challenged..... Yeah. I said it. LOL. For the record, I can play football, volleyball & some sports. But I cannot play basketball. I'm one of those cats that passes, but never shoots. LMAO. I'll also foul like a mugg. I'm 5'9" 200 pound (short & thick), I sweat easy. LOL. All the gym & running can't help my game. I'll just sweat less. Baseball, I could play a little. (on the street). But in school, I used to choke & felt like Charlie Brown. If I was on outfield, I'd pray the ball wouldn't come my way. And damn!!!!! My issue was my left hand was much stronger & I could catch & throw with that one, but weaker with my right. If I caught the ball, I had to take off my glove to throw it or risk getting laughed at for throwing like a girl LMAO. But I eventually learned to catch with my right hand, which made me better. But still, those bad memories made me shy away from games.

ANyway.... That concludes this blog, which is not meant to depict what's Black & what's not. It's instead of destroy the myth that Black is an action word, when it's just simply what Cecily Tyson said on "Brewster Place".... Black is just Black.

What Stereotype Do You Not Fit?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eminem: The Greatest or Overrated?

Got my ears on the new Eminem album. Don't ask, I know it's supposed to be out May 19th. I'm broke! OK? LOL Anyway, it's not bad at all. It's pretty good. Not his best, but definitely better than a lot of crap on the radio now & actually like it over his past 2 albums, even though I hate his first single, but that's typical Eminem.

Now saying that... as I read all these comments on AHH about him being the Greatest Rapper Alive or he talks about real issues that other rappers don't discuss, I get a little aggravated. Not to discredit Em, b/c truthfully, I am a fan. I have all of his albums, including the D-12 joints. But calling him the G.O.A.T. is reaching. Best in this decade? Definitely in my top 10. But of all times? I'm too old with too much love expanding 30 years to agree with the average fan that was guzzling their mama's breast through the golden years of the music or swimming in their daddy's sack. So I can't hate. Music's supposed to expand. And it can't grow if new patrons don't carry the torch even further. Although lately, it seems the torch has been getting dimmer & taken to CEO's in corporate America to water it down, instead of the streets to bring more heat to the flame.

Well, I'm getting off track now. The bottom line, I think Eminem is a dope emcee & actually a breath of fresh air, b/c it's nice to hear someone NOT flossing. Violent, yeah... but from a more sometimes comedic place or more introspective, instead of crime boss imageries or thug mentality. It's more of that kid sick of being bullied & ready to Columbine a school. His violence comes more from someone scorn & just spitting his evil thoughts out of anger... verses spitting... a false realism of what hip hop is supposed to be now according to a new generation of fans.

Honestly, I relate more to Eminem than any mainstream rapper in the game. Who hasn't had a boss, bully, school teacher or family member you hated so much you wanted to cause them pain in your head? Who hasn't dealt with personal demons still faced & hard to get rid of. I relate more to that than riding around in chrome wheels, banging the hottest chicks, sipping the finest wines & my Timex digital is nowhere near the platinum/gold watches they sport. The only ice I got is in my freezer.

So, no, I can't relate to these Black rappers. And it's pathetic that in the very music we created, I relate more to a white guy in a trailer park than the millions of Black rappers who grew up in areas similar to mine or worse. And honestly, I don't know any Black folks who does. The few I do know are young cats poorer than dirt mimmicking the videos.. selling drugs to the side with rims more expensive than their car while still in their momma's crib in an apartment house or project. But even the Blacks I know that have money, they might have a nice ride, but I don't know them to have gold fronts, in goudy clothes, got 5 or 6 chicks riding. Might have a wife, but if there are others... they're kept on the low. But they're not sporting them like blue ribbons.

Either way, with so much going on in the world & with the problems that still exist in the Black community... why aren't there any mainstream Black rappers like me or coming as real as Eminem? Becuz of Black People!!!! We can blame the industry to a certain degree. BUt a lot of times, we put ourselves in that box.

Let a brotha talk about being picked on in school or being a nerd. No matter how nice he is on the mic... we're gonna call him soft. Let a black rapper talk about any thing Eminem discuss... like sodomy (like his Ken Kaniff skits) or one of his joints where his step father molesting him (Insane). We'd be questioning his preference making butt pirate jokes & all. If that's not true, look how many turned on Kanye when he admitted he grew up without a pops & developed some feminine traits from his mom & used to get called a fag. And it made him more conscious, but also turned him homophobe as a kid, until he grew out of it & began to support them. Cats quickly started questioning his sexuality after that.

And this is worst. Bizzy Bone was actually molested by his step father as a kid. He never spoke on it, but it came up when his step pop was arrested. Instead of ppl feeling some sort of compassion for the man (b/c that's a hard thing to deal with... especially for a male)... folks start questioning his sexuality. We box ourselves in, which is why every rapper either sounds like the tough guy that never had an ass whipping, overly macho to the point they're Superman with pussy their only Kryptonite. But look at rappers in history that brought about the other side & see where they are. The Kwame's, The Kid'n Play's, The Dana Dane's. ANd although some mainstream rappers have spit about real hardships or personal endeavors, they either go unnoticed (or hardly noticed) as their club joints dictates their sales. And then we wonder why they don't do more deep songs?

Even today with the so-called hipsters in hip hop some labeled as alternative in contrast to the gangsta norm. But it's not their raps that make them hipsters. It's their throwback 80's clothes that sadly were wack back then & geared more towards the Madonnas & Culture Club than it did the Run DMC's or even Afrika Bambaataa. But their raps might not be as violent & sometimes clever, it lacks substance & character. Which.. to me... spells another gimmick. Becuz they talk more about their sneakers than they do life, which is the same as what Diddy did in the 90's under a different term: jiggy.

Over all, the ppl angry about the overratedness of the man called Slim Shady only need to angry at the whole spectrum rather than the man himself. That man's just doing him, & we embrace him. BUt a brutha do it, we want to measure his blackness, his hood credentials & so on. Until we stop putting ourselves in a "black" box, by the next decade, half of the top 10 rappers in the G.O.A.T. list will be white, with Eminem on top, along with Asher Roth as pioneers. While Diddy (or whatever his name will be in 2020) will still be doing Making The Band trying to create the next white rap group.

Say it ain't so? White consumers already control the flow of record sales, not to mention, they own all the major labels force feeding us the crap pushing real artists on independent labels closer to the Matrix or either killing each other off verbally in Fight Clubs & overwhelming the game with mixtapes instead of albums. Plus, they did it to Blacks before with rock music & every other music genre that Blacks originated. That's the reason why Eminem jokes about being the Elvis of Rap, b/c he knows the history & the truth.

Before I conclude, this blog was not written to discredit Eminem or white rappers in general, b/c I am an Eminem fan. I'm just not a Stan. Plus, I applaud & support any emcee perserving the music with lyricism, creativity & emotions. But this to acknowledge as Blacks, we need to stop boxing ourselves into our race allowing for others to step in & do what we should be doing. Being ourselves & not what a label or other Blacks tell us how we supposed to be, what we're supposed to sound like, telling us what's real, what's black, what's hood & so on & so on. Hello... suicide goes on in the hood. Every brutha in the hood is not a gangsta or thug. It's not about keeping it real. It's about keeping it honest. Becuz there are more Blacks out their lost, suicidal, dirt poor, dysfunctional, abandoned, alone & bitter than there are Blacks wealthy, dressed to kill in extravagant cars & jewelry, being escorted by groupies of all genders.

Keep It Honest.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Where's the Inspiration??

Blog I wrote some months back.....

I was reading a comment from a post on a hip hop site. I can't remember what the subject was about. But you know... the same ole comments to usually comes in any blog or story related to hip hop.....


1. Pac this.... Pac that. Pac was the Greatest.... Pac Pac . Pac Pac Pac Pac Pac..... Top 5.... Pac...Pac Pac. Pac Pac..... I call these commenters the The Shakur Rooster for 2 reasons.....

1. they can't get off of Pac's cock in any subject regarding hip hop. and....

2. When they talk, they sound like a chicken.... bak bak bak bak bak bakkkkk! Except with them it's pacpacpacpacpacpac PAAAACCC!!!!

(SIDENOTE: I ain't hating, I was a huge Pac fan in the 90's, but DAMN!)

2. Old school vs. New School. (Sick of this debate. B/c some times, neither Golden age old heads nor 106 & Park knuckleheads are checking out nor supporting good music outside of the radio, b/c old heads are stuck in the past & new heads are letting soundscan dictate what's hip hop.)

But one thing a commenter spoke on that I truly admire was about the difference in rappers from different eras that made a lot of sense to me.

If you go back to old interviews of rappers from back in the days.... most of their influences expanded outside of hip hop from P-funk to James Brown & soul music. Then you had jazz that inspired rappers like Guru & Rakim, Stetsasonic, The Roots & so many others. Had reggae (Bob Marley) that influenced KRS-One... Rock inspired Run DMC, Ice T & Black Sheep. Alternative Woodstock type samples is what got De La Soul categorized as hippies during the Daisy Age.

Even spoken words from Gil Scott Heron & The Last Poets were influential for Public Enemy, as well as conscious soul music from cats like Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder. Even The Jacksons. But if you ask a lot of these new rappers what they're musically influences are.... hardly does it goes outside of hip hop... Which leads to the Shakur Rooster pac-ing..... What's sad is listening to their music, you don't hear the Black Panther influenced side of Pac or the emotional side of Pac. The bruthas got to fight & come together Pac. The anti-media telling the world what they need to hear Pac. NO!!!!! .... You hear the Bad Boy Killa Pac... The beefing with every rapper Pac. The Thug Life Pac. The we're selling millions over here Pac. The later Pac that I detested that probably contributed to his death. And for some reason, that's the "Pac" that these new rappers gravitate to when with the problems we've been having, we could really use another 2Pac (before Death Row) that was inspired by the Panthers & Malcolm X. But with all these Shakur Rooster, that part of him is never exposed.

The beauty of hip hop back then was its diversity. And that came from each artists being inspired by so many other forms of music that it was beautiful, & not just biting off what their neighborhood celebrity's doing. That's one thing that's definitely missing with these new breeds. Their influences doesn't go outside of hip hop. And with so many rappers singing with autotunes or doing singy song rhymes & R&B singers singing rap verses instead of love serenades these days.... you can't tell a rapper from a singer & it's all being attached as "hip hop." Back in the days, many veterans during their times were scrutinized for having singing or r&b on their records. Now it seems today, that as long as it's urban, it's hip hop, which includes r&b & rock (with urban producers). So contemporary r&b & hip hop has become synoymous, b/c rappers are singing & everybody's using auto tunes. Sucks, becuz even though I'm a hip hop head, 70's soul musicians were my biggest inspirations when I started writing. Becuz the soul put in those songs, was the soul that made me feel certain songs. And I think 2Pac had that same soul, but I think a lot of these Shakur Roosters are so caught up in the Thug side, they don't feel it... cuz it's definitely not in their music.

Although there are some real great soul singers out there like Choklate, Eric Roberson, Anthony Hamilton, Dwele... unfortunately they're in the same boat as underground emcees. Either forced to dumb down their music for the masses (See Jamie Foxx, John Legend's "Green Light"... Not hating... I like the song... but it's a Andre "Hey Ya" sequel) or having to settle for zero play on major networks & might get a little spin on the oldies soul station that older ppl (who're so disgusted with the trends, probably don't buy music anymore) listen to. So to me, it's not a question of whether hip hop is dying, but is it music altogether.

To me, the problem with hip hop is not one or two artists. Like T-Pain (for example)... I've actually grown to like some of his music, especially after his 2nd album. Even without an auto tune, it's nice if you listen to it. But it's with too many cats jumping on the bandwagon trying to sound like T-Pain (Like Ron Browz.... & Is it me, but why NY'ers hate on T-Pain but love him & call him the future when he's totally jacking T-Pain? hmmmm. Sounds bias to me.) So what we have in the media are a lot of monotonous music close-minded to anything that's ....

A. not on the radio...
B. not what is considered hip hop (Which is easier now... since all you need is street cred & a Black producer)
C. not "black" enough or ghetto enough (for you ignoranuses.)

Now let me shut up & enjoy this masterpiece I happen to come across. I discovered Nujabes on youtube after they had one of my favorite emcees featured on their joint. I found this by accident thinking it featured Kweli & HiTek (Reflection Eternal).... but I was wrong. ANd glad I was, b/c the music is beautiful & just another example of how good music is being slept on.... & not just in hip hop.

I'm out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hip Hop Heads Up Vol. 2 - Supastition/Kam Moye

What up. Another Hip Hop Heads Up. I said I wanted to do something like this every month.

Actually, this year so far has been a little slow when it comes to music, especially since nowadays gotta rely on youtube videos & word of mouth through cybersace (since I'm in the deep South where if it's regionally bias, but eargasmically wack to me.)

I'm from the South, so I'm not hating. (Remember, I did a tribute to Southern hip hop some months back.) But it's this regional sound-bites of one another that drove me away from pursuing rap 10 years ago. My lil' brother's still tryna get me to step to the mic, & I'm like... Although the skills & the love for the music are still there, but the hunger died, when everybody started serving "junk food." Seemed like everyone started getting greedy as soon as Master P got discovered after selling music out of the trunk of his car. Now the radio's constantly promoting crap & giving the South a bad name. While hip hop's gone from the Black CNN to the "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous." Sadly, it's some dope Southerners that may never see the light of success, b/c they're not a gimmick. And this brutha is one of them..

Kam Moye AKA Supastition hails from Charlotte, NC. Ppl may know him from his works with Little Brother. I've been a fan since the first time I heard "The Williams" joint from the OK Players compilation album & again, after peeping.. "Boom Box" from NBA Live Show on MTV. Immediately after those 2 singles, I went to Amazon & purchased his albums at the time "The Deadline" & "The Chain Letter." Both of those albums were amazing, but I was more hooked on "The Deadline EP", b/c I related so much to the subject matter (e.g. Soul Searching, Nowhere to Run).

B/c his debut, "7 Years of Bad Luck" was out of print, I literally went on Limewire & downloaded every track on that album & burned to CD, in addition to any other song he'd done & burned them into a separate one. Even after 3 years of becoming a fan, I still every now & then & peep his earlier works. I think they did finally re-released the debut & included another favorite that wasn't on the original... "Me Minus U." Btw that & "Mixed Emotions" this brutha got mad heart. That whole album was also

Last year, he dropped a free EP available for download called "Self Centered", which is also the first album he went by Kam Moye, which is his birth name (reason? peep "Where & Why"). I definitely recommend this joint for 2 reasons... 1. It's dope & 2. It's free. And being unemployed, I definitely appreciate that. (click the album cover above or HERE for a free download.) But he also released another EP under his Supa alias called "Leave of Absence." The beauty of both of these EP's, is that if it was 15 years ago, they'd be considered albums, b/c they're 9 to 10 songs & most likely, flawless from beginning to end.

Last I heard, I has a new label affiliated with Koch, so hopefully that will finally put him on ppl's radar outside of the underground, b/c he's definitely an emcee worth checking out. Whether he's repping Supastition the emcee or Kam Moye the man, he's the true personification of what keeping it real truly means. This is the kind of emcee the South should be embracing & stand by proudly.


ALso check out some newer music on his myspace pages. and

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Make UP to Break UP (Top 10)

For those interested, I've posted my Black History of April on my new blogspot page that can be accessed on the banner above (also the banner at top). But anyway...

I just happened to be checking out Global Grind site to read the latest news when I saw someone posted their list for top groups that should've never broke up. Kinda pissed me off b/c 2 weeks ago I wanted to do such a list after finding out Digable Planets disbanded again after reuniting & doing tours.

As a fan, it always suck to see groups break up. But looking at it from a humanistic side, it's worst. A lot of times, they started off as friends & it a lot of time demonstrates how fragile friendships can be when certain factors come into the equation. Whether it's money, fame, women, drugs... whatever.

Who are some of your top favorite groups you wish never broke up?

and also....

Have you had anything to come between your friendships?

Top 10 Groups That Should've Never Broke Up
in no particular order

1. A Tribe Called Quest
2. The Fugees
3. Digable Planets
4. GangStarr
5. Goodie Mob
6. Pete Rock & CL Smooth
7. Black Sheep
9. The Pharcyde
10. Wu Tang Clan

Honorable Mentions:
Organized Konfusion
Brand Nubians
Leaders of the New School

Friday, March 27, 2009

PH-1's Top 15 Favorite Female Rap Albums

A lot of ppl see me as a hip hopologist, which I hold as a compliment. But I see myself as just merely a die hard fan. But even I have slept on some albums during their great years (e.g. Lord Finesse, NWA, even Kool G. Rap). But one thing I've never slept on were raps based on region or sex. Dope music is dope music. PERIOD!!! But from day one for every 100 male rappers, there was always one female, which makes it easy to get left out of a list of great albums or hardly mentioned.

After my last Top 10 Favorite 1998 Hip hop albums, I had mixed feelings about including Lauryn Hill, only becuz it was more r&b than hip hop. But honestly, there wasn't many dope albums that year, so I included her by default. But acknowledging female rap albums period of all times, it's hard to include it. Now if it was best female album PERIOD or female R&B album or even best Female rap/hip hop single, then it's all good.

Not taking away from her as an emcee, b/c skillfully she can kill most these sistas on this list & most bruthas for that matter. But is it fair to compare a Lauryn album to an MC Lyte album? That's like comparing John Legend to Common. Either way, this is MY list of my favorite female RAP albums, so hey... don't bite my head off, b/c L.'s not on this list. LOL.

I also did this off the strength of a previous list of my top 3 albums per year in the 90's where I didn't acknowledge any female rap albums. One thing about these lists is that mine is liable to change in a minute, b/c nothing is set in stone for me. I love music period. And a lot of times, I do this to introduce ppl that yearn to hear an alternative from the stuff forced down our ears whenever we turn on a radio. It's not for me, b/c I have these albums. But if ppl have other recommendations... hey.. share them... exchange recipes so we all can enjoy the same delights.

Top 15 Favorite Femcee Albums of all Times.
no particular order

1. Salt-n-Pepa "Black's Magic" 1990
This might be a shocker to most, since this album don't get the accolades that the albums before (Hot, Cool & Vicious) or afterwards (Very Necessary) got. But one thing this album did that their previous didn't do & no album can do til this day.... release hit records even in a 4 year span. '89-90 - Expression & Independent, '91- Do U Want Me, '91-92 "Let's Talk About Sex" & "U Showed Me". And that's not including bangers that didn't get play like "Black's Magic", "I Don't Know" (w/ Kid'n Play), "Doper Than Dope" & Salt killing it solo on "Swift."

This also the album where they step up out of Hurby's choke hold (just an inch, but enough to let the world know they could write, they were no fad or just eye candy... especially since this was during their fat (oops.. I meant.. pregnancy) stage (although Salt was still fine in all-black). The only thing that hurt them with this album was the remixes that catered more to the UK, but made them appear selloutish over here. I guess the remix came as a result of re-creating songs that were 2 or 3 years old. But the original 1990 album version is a classic, although the original "Let's Talk About Sex" is no longer on it. (sucks cuz the remix omitted the 3rd verse, which was the best verse to me). Plus that album cover is phat!!!!

2. MC Lyte "Eyes On This" 1989
Although her debut is definitely a classic, this was the album that turned me into a fan. At that time, I was a fan of both Lyte & Antoinette, but more so Antoinette becuz of her sound. But Lyte killed not only her with this album, but all competition with this joint. The production was flawless, & her lyrics was amazing. Til this day, this still plays in my I-Tunes every now & then.

The main reason I loved this one more than the debut was becuz it felt more polished without losing the grit that made the debut amazing. She still had her storytelling rhymes... "Cappuchino", "Not WIth a Dealer" & my personal favorite... "Please Understand" where she spoke a lot of real relationship issues & how she dealt with them. The first verse was actually something that reign true with my older sister at the time. But the way she told it was funny as hell. But my favorite was a cut called "Rhyme Hangover".... (sampled Diana Ross' "Love Hangover") which really displayed her lyricism where she came across as a Doctor prescribe good music for those that need it. Classy. I can go on & make a whole blog about this album... LOL... so let me continue. (Just take my word for it... it's tight.)

3. Rah Digga "Dirty Harriet" 2000
The first time I fell in love with Digga was on the Lyricist Lounge joint exchanging bars with Bahamadia, "Be OK". That joint was crazy tight. ANd then later on Busta's 2nd album with Flip Mode. I was that groupie waiting on her debut to finally get released & was well worth it. She had a lot of tight tracks, but my favorite til this day that I play on repeat everytime is the "Straight Spittin' Pt. 2. Sucks her sophomore album never dropped in stores (although it wasn't as good as the first. I have the unreleased bootleg), & she's become another dope femcee from a crew to get suffocated in the overcrowded industry.

4. Foxy Brown "Ill Na Na" 1996
This was when Foxy was at her best & sexiest, even if Jigga wrote most of her shit at that time. It was a dope album. Actually my favorite cuts on the album was "Holy Matrimony" & "The Promise" that I think she did write. Although she's done later albums each with mixed views, this was the album where she set herself a part from other females, even Lil' Kim, although ppl were lumping them together. She came across more classy & sophisticated with her flow & one of the most unique, distinctive voices. This was before she got hollywood, then later hollyhood to the 3rd power.

But I still hope she come back strong, b/c dope female rappers that actually still RAP. (not sing or with a singy song flow... but RAP & tight with it.) is rare. Her unreleased "Ill NaNa 2: The Fever" is also another bootleg I got a hold of & it was actually tight. But fell into the curse of the "push back til eternity until label change & never see the light of day" that happens a lot with especially new artists & female rappers that labels don't know how to promote. Black Roses (her supposed next album) might meet the same fate as "The Fever" since it's been 4 years since it was supposed to drop & been 8 years since she's had an official album released... (Since Brooklyn Don Diva came out without her consent.)

5. Jean Grae "Jeanius" 2004
Don't act like yall didn't know. LOL. Actually I was torn btw this & her debut, Attack of the Attacking Things... & even the new "Evil Jeanius" (I recommend downloading, cuz her former label's did a "Suge Knight" on her...*) But the original Jeanius album is a masterpiece. I say "original", b/c the version that dropped this year (2008) had to be tweaked for uncleared samples. They did a decent job to try to keep the same vibe, but the original 2004 version is 9th in his element & brought out the best in Jean's flow. But it's another example of how the industry is killing the art.

6. Lil' Kim "Hardcore" - 1996
I almost put "La Bella Mafia" b/c that was a dope album. But the thing I love about this album was it's originality at the time. I just wish her remixes (Crush On You & Not Tonight) would've been on the actual albums instead of the originals (Although the original "Not Tonight" is funny as hell. Keep that...). But in comparing her & Foxy at the time, I think Foxy had a better album as a whole, but Lil' Kim had hotter singles. "Drugs", "Spend a Lil' Dough" (great storytelling), "Queen Bitch" & "MAFIA's Land" were among fav. joints. And that "No Time" video was the shit. To be honest, I liked the clean version better than the explicit one (it omitted my favorite bar... "I'll have you speaking in French... oooo la. wee wee." LMAO)

Even today, I'm still a fan. I might joke about the surgery & the clothes or whatever stunt she pulls. But IMO, she still put out good music. It's evident with her last 2 albums (The Naked Truth & La Bella Mafia), even her mixtape.... Mz. G.O.A.T. where she paid tribute to female pioneers & doing them justice while proving she can still rip the mic without her clothes following. Even Notorious K.I.M., although it gets a lot of flack, when had too many songs... 5 were fillers she coulda omitted & came with a better package. But Hardcore will always be the shit for me.

7. Mystic "Cuts for Luck & Scars for Freedom" 2001
For those never heard her album but aware of her hit single might think I'm being hypocritical acknowledging her & not Lauryn Hill. But although she does sing on her album, her rapping is more dominate... just like Mos Def. But the one thing I love about her is her emotions. She speaks from a personal standpoint which is something very few rappers do, especially women, cuz they're trying to come across as hard as the guys. There's only been a few females that show emotions in their music through wordplay. Foxy Brown & Jean Grae... off the top of my head are 2 examples... although they're both not acknowledged for it b/c their machismo takes away from their humanistic sides. She can spit with the guys, but her heart is what makes her album timeless b/c they stick out more than her boast songs. "Fatherless Child" & "A Dream" are true gems, just to name a few.

8. Bahamadia "Kollage" 1996
I was a fan prior to this album, after her first video in 94, "Total Wreck" & a year later on guru's Jazzatazz Vol. 2 "Respect the Architect", Big Kap's joint "Da Ladies" that also featured Lauryn Hill. I couldn't wait for her to drop. I even bought the "Uknowhowedu" single that had "True Honey Buns" on the B-Side. Funny thing, I liked the B-side joint better. I was totally blown away when it finally came out, b/c It was a lot better than I expected. Not only did her butter flow & clever wordplay make this album the masterpiece it was... but DJ Premier produced if not the whole album... a huge chunk of it. I don't think he did... Da Jawn which featured The Roots, but that is my favorite joint on the album. Then again, I always get jones for music when B & The Roots get together on a track. Always make me wish I was in Philly to absorb some of the soul that was being transported thru the music back then.

9. Queen Latifah "Black Reign" 1993
A lot of ppl praise Latifah's debut when acknowledging albums of all times. Honestly, when it comes to ppl rating classic hip hop albums, ppl never look beyond a female rapper's first album. BUt in my opinion, this has to be the best album she's done. ANd it came after the death of her brother, Lance, too. So she put her heart into this album. Just about every song on there could've been a hit single, but U.N.I.T.Y. was definitely needed during that era (even now).

I thought it was jacked up how she got a mediocre review from the Source (3.5) where they complained about the singing. Honestly, I think with this album it worked best compared to her previous. On her first, it was nice... but the singing didn't work at times with certain songs & often took away from her rapping. On her second, she was trying too hard to do both & a lot of times felt like she should just rap & stop trying to sing. This one, I think it worked better hand in hand. Where she stayed on point lyrically & added a singing hook as icing on the cake.. As much as I love Latifah, she is no Lauryn Hill when it comes to singing. But it does work for hooks (Just Another Day) with sometimes a ting of reggae (Weekend Love). But as far as heart, I feel her more when she raps & that's what she did with Black Reign.

10. Lady of Rage - Necessary Roughness 1997
The only thing that hurt this album was the fact that it came out at the wrong time. 1. 2Pac has just passed; 2. Everyone fell out with Suge Knight, plus he was incarcerated; 3. The east vs. west was in full effect & she stayed out of it. Folks might have a fit by me saying this, but fuck it. I always thought Rage was the illest lyricist in Death Row, but she never got her shine. She should've been the first female to go platinum, if Death Row didn't push her back & let Brat take that opportunity away. ANd that album was proof. cuz it was straight fire. This was also during a time when a new crop of females started selling records (Lil' Kim, Missy & Foxy Brown) either through sex appeal or, in Missy's case..., being animated. And if you weren't showing some sex appeal.... forget it. MC Lyte escaped the omission barely... thanks to Puff's "Cold Rock A Party," & Brat finally showing a feminine side, while YoYo, Latifah & SNP fought to stay relevant. (Luckily, Latifah still had her TV show, talk show & Hollywood later on). This was when the hard core female emcee, like the Rage's, Heather B's, Nikki D's, MC Lytes) started becoming extinct.

11. Heather B - Takin' Mine 1996

Most notably known for "The Real World", I don't think she truly got the props she deserved as an emcee. I was a fan b4 TRW, b/c she was a part of BDP & she was spitting fire back then. I still would love to get my hand on some of those tracks she was spitting while on TRW. But her first studio album definitely didn't disappoint. She was the true personification of hard core & hip hop at its grimiest, cuz every track she was on, she was ripping it harder than most men & with mad passion. So much so, you felt what she was saying when she used to spit, "If Heads Only Knew... how I feel about the rap game." b/c you was chanting it along with her & believing that shit.

12. Monie Love "Down to Earth" - 1990
She'll be known for "Monie in The Middle". But on that note, it's better to be a one-hit wonder rather than never being acknowledged at all. But the sad part is her album was actually pretty good. It was definitely for the Native Tongue heads & ppl might've been brushed off by the album cover with the colors & such. But she touched on a lot of stuff before a lot of rappers did. Not only was she the first rapper I heard spitting a fast flow, but she was the first rapper I heard period to speak on domestic violence (Just Don't Give A Damn) & women prostituting themselves (Pups Lickin' Bones.... 1st joint introducing The Beatnuts). She set a lot of trends that she'll never get credit for. But true heads know the deal.

13. Da Brat "Unrestricted" 2000
This album was Brat at her very best. She wasn't on Snoop's jock anymore, but went back to her Chicago roots with her flow while still keeping the mellow vibe. I was shocked when I heard "That's What I'm Looking For" b/c she was killing it lyrically & at the same time looking sexy as hell. It's easy to say she bit off Twista a little, but I see it as all Chi- love, & at the same time, it was the speedy rap that turned me on to her in the first place when she debuted on "Da Bomb" from Kris Kross' 2nd album. Honey stepped her game up on this album & probably came with the best material she's ever done... "We Ready", "Pink Lemonade", "Chi-Town". If this would've been her first album, I think she would be more acknowledged as a pioneer along with the Lytes & Latifahs, b/c this album deserved more praise than her first that only sold on the strength of JD. On this one, her music sold her.

14. Apani B. Fly - Story to Tell 2003
This was an album I honestly found by accident. I've always liked her off the cameos she did... (Pharoah Monch, "The Ass") but when I heard her & Jean Grae tag team on a joint call "Shut the Fuck Up (that samples another legend, MC Lyte), I started researching her & finding more treasures from her. I don't think this album was ever officially released (at least not in the U.S.)... but its definitely something worth checking out. Like Mystic, this is the only collection of work of hers. But like Jean Grae, she's done enough features on compilations & cameos that it should be a double album within itself. But 2 of my favorite joints on this album.. "Right The Wrong" reminscing on lost friendships due to time (something I can relate to) & "Picture This" talking about the hardships of the street. Whether she rapping about love "Tequila" or dropping knowledge "A Million Eyes" her word imagery overall is something that's timeless, & unfortunately is not something appreciated in this age of mother goose rhymes about tossing dollars.

15. YoYo - Black Pearl
This album was straight fire, that it still baffles me that it didn't get the props it should've. No way was this a sophomore slump when it was musically better than the first & philosophically & conceptually her best work. Homegirl Don't Play That was straight fire... ANd "So Funky" used the same sample as 2Pac's "Keep Your Head Up." (b4 Pac's came out) And her remake of Shirley Brown's "Woman to Woman" is hilarious at best. When she drop knowledge like on "Few Good Men," "A Long Way Home" & "Cleopatra", she's no joke & truly an Intelligent Black Woman that supports her man. I even liked the smooth out R&B collabo with The Good Girls (remember them?) called "Will You Be Mine."

But like Rage's debut, this album suffered from bad timing. It didn't get the props it should've got for 2 reasons... One. It was positive..... and Two. It had r&b samples & hooks that would've sold if the G-Funk era wouldn't have taking over the West Coast sound in the same year of 92. So in less than 6 months after this album was released, YoYo rushed a harder more gangsta album, "U Better Ask Somebody." which also dissed this album calling it wack. But I had to disagree. Honestly, I think this was YoYo's best album where she continued her IBWC movement from her debut with uplifting songs for women. But she also spoke on having real Black pride beyond the X-hats & dashiki's that were the trend back then. This album had everything that the first was missing & a lot more melodic & original than her later that tried to target the Boss market.. making the same mishap Lyte did with Ruffneck, (although that got Lyte her first Gold plaque, it was a far step from her earlier work.)

Honorable Mentions

The Conscious Daughters - Ear to The Streets 1993
Invincible - Shapeshifter - 2008
Antoinette - Who's The Boss? 1989
Nikki D - Daddy's Little Girl 1990
Sweet Tee - It's Tee Time - 1988
Mia X - Unladylike 1997
Missy Elliott - Under Construction - 2001