Happy Black History Month!!! Today We Salute… Now-N-Later Gators

Now-n-Later Gators… when you want to make more than a fashion statement but also want to let people know that you do not live within your means, slide on a pair of these jokers. Be them Apple Green or Banana Yellow when it comes down to the light bill or making a fashion statement at your god-cousin’s wedding the gators win every time.

Now-n-Later Gators are seen on the feet of Bishop Don Magic Juan while holding a pimp cup while standing behind Snoop Dogg all the time now, or on one of your deacons on Easter Sunday.  When you see the NLG’s you think you would never be caught dead in them, until you see the right color.  Everyone has a color they would give in to when it comes to the NLG’s.  Match those jokers up with a 7-button suit from the Steve Harvey collection and you are ready to go to the ‘real’ Blues Club or that one bar on the Black side of town somebody gets shot at every other month.  Number 1 reason for shootings at those clubs… stepping on somebody’s Now-N-Later Gators!  In the movie the Mack, when Goldie told Pretty Tony:

“Mr. Pretty Tony, I mean, you know the rules of the game. I mean, your bitch just chose me. Now we can settle this like you got some class…or we can get into some gangsta shit.”

He said it with Gators on his damn feet!  Anyone that know’s those lines JUST read that quote and could hear Goldie’s voice in their head… you know what I mean babeeeeee.

Oh I couldn’t help myself, much respect to Richard Pryor!

Nobody can ever tell you the name of a store that sales the gators, they can only give you directions.  No matter where you go the directions are exactly the same.  Head south on 8th Avenue, make a right on Martin Luther King Drive, and before you get to the rib joint, right after the check cashing place, and across the street from the liquor store is the place that sells Now-N-Later Gators, you won’t be able to see the shoes in the window.  Just look for the picture of Steve Harvey in the window with the words “Steve Harvey Suits Sold Here” written beneath all 183 of his teeth.

Now & Later Gators with the matching brim are the official uniform of the life of the party. Those gators and that brim can be found starting the Electric Slide… AGAIN, or fast walking back to his Caddie at 3 in morning after ‘handling’ some biznezz, or talking to your girl at the Steppers set you took her too and eating a plate of rib tips. You did not even know they had rib tips at the Steppers set, but the brotha in the Now-N-Later Gators did and now your girl does too.

Happy Black History Month to the NLG’s, pimps, extra’s in 50 Cent video’s, wanna be hustlas, people that don’t have their priorities together and make bad financial decisions and really dark-skinned Baptist ministers… you guys allow Now-N-Later Gators to be something to strive for in our community.  Thank you Now-N-Later Gators for allowing breaking your foot off in someone’s ass, look so mutha-fuckin’ good!

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Happy Black History Month!!! Today We Salute… C.P. Time

My bad for posting so late, I got caught up… Thanks for holding me down.  Since I am late in putting this together let’s just go ahead and salute something found in every situation involving more than 4 Black people… Colored People Time (CPT)!  If you have to be some place on time, I hope you are not depending on Black people to help you get there.  If you do find yourself in a situation where the meeting starts in 15 minutes and the Black person you are riding with has noticed the bakery you are passing just opened and there isn’t a line, start getting your lie together.  That’s even if it is that simple as realizing you are going to be late.

Most CPT’ers cannot put a finger on why they are always late.  They eventually get to a point where their tardiness is their excuse for being tardy:

“Come on let’s get to the meeting”

“I ain’t in no rush.  They know I’m always late”

True, people have come to expect the CPT’er to arrive late, pushing anything that needs to be discussed with them present to the back of the agenda.  CPT’ers cannot tell you exactly why they are late, they leave on time.  They stopped to get gas, an Egg McMuffin, and a card for everyone to sign for the boss’ birthday.  That is not enough to make them real late.  The 10 minutes they spent checking their lottery numbers at the gas station, the 3 minutes it took for the attendant to check those numbers again, and the additional 5 minutes it took for them to get today’s numbers (no quick picks for a CPT’er) all before they got to the 10 second transaction of “20 dollars on pump 7” never factors in to their thought process.

The 4 minutes they spent staring at the McDonald’s menu, trying to figure out what to order, after spending 10 minutes in line complaining about ‘how can someone get to the front of the line and not know what they want’?  Only to order the same Egg McMuffin the CPT’er orders every day, add to the situation that this is a CPT’er we are talking about which means they stopped at a Black owned and operated McDonalds where the ‘fast’ in fast food in considered something to aspire to, not something to be applied today.  So add another five minutes to the standard 3 minute Micky D’s wait time.

Picking up the birthday card from the pharmacy was the easy part, walked right in, grabbed the first card in the birthday section that made reference to ‘Our Boss’ and the CPT’er made their way to check-out.  Oh, the magazines are here, and the new Jet Magazine is out.  If it is a woman CPT’er, they have to read that article about how Toni Braxton or LisaRaye overcame something, if the CPT’er is a brotha straight to the Jet Beauty of the Week, a check of the Top Singles and Albums, and one more good look at the Beauty of the Week.  By the time they arrive to work, the ‘birthday breakfast’ for their boss is about over and everyone had to awkwardly step out to sign the card without the big guy seeing them do so.  What is usually 30 minutes of errands for most people before work, the CPT’er turns into an hour and 47 minutes of randomness and a written warning from HR.

Let’s take some time to recognize some famous CPT’ers:

Dr. Dre: Made his fans wait 7 years for the follow-up to The Chronic and is currently putting those same fans through a 13 year wait for his ‘final’ CD Detox.  It now takes Dr. Dre so long to complete projects that beats he has made for Detox just end up on the albums of people signed to his label, if they stay.  Contracts of some of his artists expire before he gets around to working with them. Last year he finally released a song that is listed as being from his upcoming Detox CD called “We Need A Doctor”… as in, “We need a doctor, to hurry the fuck up and release his album”.  Ironically, Dr. Dre is from Compton, California a city also known as the ‘C.P.T.’, can’t make this shit up folks.

Halle Berry:  Made brothers wait 13 years into her acting career before she showed us a titty.  Then she couldn’t stop showing her titties.  Most amazing thing is (other than her titties, honestly very nice.  I don’t know how they are holding up post babies), once she started showing the C-cups to us she won an Academy Award.  So she made herself wait too… she could have popped a titty out back in 1998 in Bullworth with Warren Beatty and saved herself the shame of begging Billy Bob Thornton to make her feel good.

The Black community’s recognition of their own economic power:  Real talk, still waiting on this.  Hold tight, this should have been here by now.

Kobe Bryant: It took Kobe Bryant 5 years to realize what most basketball fans already knew, he is no Michael Jordan and needs a star center by his side for him to win titles.  It took 10 years, even though his daddy Joe “Jellybean” Bryant screamed it at him in 2002, for Kobe to realize he DID need a prenuptial agreement.

Black Entertainment Television:  In what is an absolute record for CPT’ers… 25 years!!! 25 years is how late BET was to getting to something.  It took 25 years for BET to arrive to the conclusion they didn’t give a fuck about reporting the news, even when the news meant something to Black people.  When every cable network carried Corretta Scott-King’s funeral, BET put its big black middle finger up, took a swig of Hennessy and aired 106th and Park again.  Bye Ed Gordan, Bye Tavis Smiley, Bye Jackie Reid (that one hurt me most of all), bye accountability to your community.  Hello butt naked hoes in rap videos!!!

Happy Black History Month!!! Today We Salute… The Hater

Today we salute the most controversial person of all the people we will honor in Black History Month… The Hater.  People say the best way to deal with the Hater is to ignore them, but Haters are not to be ignored, they refuse to be ignored, they will not let you ignore them, and you should not ignore them.  The Hater is confirmation that what you are doing is impressive.  So keep doing it!  Remember when you were good at baseball and everyone told you how well you were doing?  What happened?  You didn’t want to play baseball the next year, instead you learned how to smoke weed with your friends without getting caught.  Remember when your teacher told that you were good at Biology and that you should think about being a doctor?  Now you are pulling double-shifts at Wendy’s trying to keep a roof over your head and looking at those ‘you can still get a degree’ commercials they show during Judge Judy in the afternoon, like you still have hope.

You need the Hater; there was that time your brother told you that you would never beat him.  Within a year you were kicking his ass up and down the block, he started locking his door at night out of fear that you would walk in at 3 in the morning and resume the ass whupping.  Think about the time your friends said you couldn’t dance and laughed at you for hours, then days, then weeks about it.  That became a running joke on the block, so much so you stopped hanging out and stood in front of your TV watching Rap City and 106th and Park until you learned how to do the Bankhead Bounce, the Harlem Shake… the Roger Rabbit.  By the time the Spring Dance rolled up, you were killing it on the dance floor (if you did learn the Roger Rabbit, you were hurting the ankles of the person dancing behind you), man you were coming in 2nd and 3rd place at lunch hour dance competitions!  How about that time your ex told you that you would never amount to shit?  Well, the jury is still out on that one, but you are still trying to prove them wrong!  See, praise does nothing for you but a Hater can turn your whack ass into a star.

You think Barack Obama always wanted to be president?  Hell no, that brother wanted to be Dr. J, but you try being the only Black dude walking around a private high school in Hawaii, he got sick of being ignored by everyone but the basketball coach.  As soon as he could, took his but to the main land, started off in Cali, then finished up hitting the East Coast, finally settling in Chicago where a brotha has to be a brotha.  Before you knew it that dude was walking around the hood talking to people like he grew up on the South Side, eating rib tips, and eventually got him a big booty sista as confirmation of how you do the damn thing!  You see how he walked up to the podium after they killed Bin Laden?  You don’t “learn” that walk… you EARN that walk.  You earn it by putting Haters in their place.  He has Haters now, Mitt Romney, let the unemployment rate dip below 8% in the next couple of months, when people come to see Obama talk they are going to have to wait a couple of minutes from the time he gets to mic to when he says his first word.  Long enough for him to take off his hat, get a swig out his glass, and put on his sunglasses… so he can see what he’s saying!!

Remember how George Jefferson was walking during the opening credits of “The Jefferson’s”?  Remember how hard he was pimping as he escorted his woman into their new building up to their ‘deluxe penthouse in the sky-i-i’?  That was the first time George had ever walked like that, if you look really close you can see and lip read Weezy’s mouth you can see her saying “why in the fuck are you walking like that”?  He had no idea that was the first time he had ever walked like that.  People called it a ‘pimp’, that was not a ‘pimp walk’ that was George stepping on every Hater in his life.  With each step he crushed another Hater, “take that Archie Bunker”!

People focus on their ‘swag’ now; you cannot have swagga without having Haters.  When you see a 16-year-old kid walking around dressed like a fake member of Young Money, claiming that is their ‘swag’ they do not have it.  When you have Haters you do not need to dress a certain way, you just carry yourself a certain way.  You do not need skinny jeans that would just give the Hater another reason to hate on you.

You eventually realize there is nothing you can do about Haters, but appreciate their hate.  The Hater will talk about how your brand new, fresh off the lot, BMW 650i “ain’t all that”, then turn around and ask you for a ride to the ‘sto’.  A Hater will clown you about your new higher paying job, then send you an email at your work account asking if “y’all hiring”.  The Hater will disrespect your new home, tell you it is too small, that the neighborhood sucks, that they wouldn’t be caught dead over there, but they never miss a cookout and is the last one to leave.  The Hater looks at your watch and say “its a’ight”, then pop up 3 weeks later with a fake TAG Heuer and act like it the most expensive thing in the room.  Don’t get upset and challenge the Hater, you might beat the brakes off the Hater all the Hater will do is get up, wipe the blood from their lips and tell you his little brother and sister hit him harder than that when they were kids.

Let your Hater be your motivation, matter of fact any time you have spent too much time with your Hater go home and put on “Motivation” by Kelly Rowland.  Zone out for a few minutes and let your success show itself to you.

The saying ‘behind every successful man is a great woman’ is only partly true.  It should actually be gender neutral and more to the point “Behind every successful person, is a Hater… still hating on them”.  Keep doing you, you are fine and close to reaching your goals.  We need our Haters, so today let’s celebrate the Hater in our communities.  Call your Hater today and thank them for everything they haven’t done for you.  The only thing The Hater has ever done and will ever do is give birth to some hating ass kids. But if you do not know who The Hater is in your life… Hi Hater!

Happy Black History Month!!! Today We Salute MC Shoot U

After the death of Tupac Shakur hip-hop lost its way, the Bling-Bling days, then the Mafioso days, and most recently the “How dare you pick up a microphone without having a parole officer” days.

One of the hottest rappers of the last 3 years has ‘kept it real’ without any question.  He has an arrest record that has to be kept on three different hard drives; he has spent so much time behind prison bars walking down the street on a bright sunny day is his biggest fear.  MC Shoot U has been signed to 8 different record deals before he ever officially released a song.  He lost 5 record deals because within days of agreeing with the labels he landed back in jail and they expired before he was released.  He lost 1 record deal because he liked the watch of one of the lawyers looking over his contract and said “fuck it” pulled out both of his guns and robbed the lawyer along with the other 13 people in the room.  The other two record deals were lost because the Feds raided during the signing and he never got to finish writing his name.

Like most present day rap artists, Shoot U’s buzz began on the streets before record labels even had a clue to his presence.  A couple of mix tapes sold out of the trunks of cars, a good YouTube following, and it is possible to become hip hop royalty.  Shoot U, born Nathaniel Webster Adams, got a following from his mix tape as well… yes that is mix tape singular as in one (1).  Shoot U refused to spend money to press CD’s so he made people listen to his songs at gun point and just stole the $5 dollars he would have sold his CD for from them after the tape popped off.

For The Source Magazine’s Unsigned Hype review of Shoot U they wrote:

“This is the realist artist coming today, no other rapper around today can record songs so rich in street culture and so terrifying that you forget he is actually holding the entire Source staff at gun point until we finish our positive review…  Help!”

Crimes committed by Shoot U became easy to solve, when a victim made a complaint and informed a detective they were robbed to a soundtrack the cops knew who their man was.  Clifton Jelks remembers the first time he heard MC Shoot U “2004, sometime in the Spring, I saw him free styling near the tracks… I had to try to make the next train to get to work.  He had a gun.  Now I like my music raw as anyone else, I remember hearing NWA and being afraid to go to Compton.  I remember seeing Mobb Deep in concert and having to fight my way out the place  to get to my car and I will never forget how hard I pee’d on myself when Shoot U held that gun to my head and rapped about it.”

Innocent bystanders came outside on the wrong day

8 at night on a Thursday

I’m gone spray

It’s they job to get outta MY way

Be it a murder or a robberay

Aint no reason for the crimes a nigga commit

Guns illegal Car Stolen

Except for the bullets

Aint nuthin I own legit

From the street anthem “You Shouldn’t Have Been Standing There”

Many rappers call themselves ‘street reporters’ and rap about crimes they saw happen or heard about.  MC Shoot U rapped about things he actually did.  Shoot U’s career ended because… well, he rapped about the things he actually did.  His only album was released the week he was arrested for what would eventually lead to a life sentence.  The album titled “I Killed Willie Banks… REALLY, I KILLED WILLIE BANKS” it produced one hit song “I Be Selling Dope At My Girlfriend’s Place (2247 S. Bishop)”.  Ironically, MC Shoot U was arrested at 2247 S. Bishop on Chicago’s South Side, police said they received a tip on his whereabouts.  The streets miss you Shoot U… ONE.

“I Ain’t Having It In 2012″… Yeah Right

So for the last few weeks I have had to listen to mindless chatter about what people are changing about themselves in the year 2012 and get asked if I made any resolutions (yes I did, next year I promise not to slap the shit of people who ask me if I am making resolutions.. SLAP).  My favorite one was while I was on the L heading downtown, some woman was on her phone talking loud to someone, who I can only assume had this woman on speaker phone so everyone in the house could get a good laugh out it.  The lady on the train had to take time out of everyone’s day to let us know that she “ain’t having it 2012”.  I am looking at her thinking “yeah you are, you’re having all of it”.  I believe she is going to put up with the same mess in 2012 that she did in 2011 and probably 20-plus years prior based off of the lack of restraint while talking on the phone while rolling on the Green Line and the 22 oz Schlitz she was halfway finished with.  So if you have told people you ‘are not having it in 2012’ let me be the first to tell… Yes you are.  You are gonna have all of it this year, like you did last year and the years before, and you are gonna take it like a porn star.

I have a problem with resolutions because people plan them out, think about it for weeks and months like it is their prom and picking the wrong dress will get them talked about once every ten years for the rest of their life.  What is wrong with thinking about things you want to change about yourself, you are probably asking especially if it is designed to make you a better person.  Absolutely nothing, except when I think about something I need to change about myself on October 29th, I begin changing it on October 29th and on November 19th it is a part of my life.  Why on the 19th? Most of you know this, but some of you have no clue to why that date (probably you jag offs that made resolutions) psychologists and researchers have determined that it takes 21 consecutive days of conscious effort to do something different to make it a habit.  Going by the 21 day rule, if you are going to change something about yourself in 2012 you should be done by the 22nd of January.  What are you going to do the other 343 days out the year?  I would knock out 16 more fucked up things about myself if I was as fucked up as you!

So let me help you upgrade yourself, I will even make it easy for you.  Instead of dealing with the thing you want to change I will deal specifically with 17 things that you really do not want to do or be, okay?  Let me explain, the biggest thing going into a new year is losing weight.  Well most people do not make this goal (probably because they thought about doing this in October, put it off 2 months and ate themselves into a bigger pair of jeans during the holidays) so to help you help you make your resolution come true, instead of you promising to lose weight in 2012 I say your resolution should be to not be a fat ass in 2012.  So my list is not a ‘how to’ list but a ‘how NOT to’ list… heck let’s start with the weight thing.

Onmysquare’s 2012 “How Not To” list:

1)      How not to be a fat ass:  First, close your mouth when you breathe, nobody should be at work with you and take a look over at your desk 4 times a day because you sound like you fell asleep.  People should not sit in front of you during a lecture and have the creepy sensation like you are getting closer to them as if you’re Jason Voorhees.  You can be a fat person without being a fat ass, the Notorious BIG was fat, but not a fat ass.  Luther Vandross, Big Pun, Oprah Winfrey, Melissa McCarthy… all fat none a fat ass.  Newt Gingrich, fat ass, you would think a man with a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s would be able to see if Macy’s had Purple Label shirts that fit him.  Being a fat ass has very little to do with weight but everything to do with how you present yourself when you carry a little extra weight.  To pull this resolution off, when you get dressed think America Ferrera or Queen Latifah not Kirstie Alley after her Jenny Craig contract is up.  Guys think Alec Baldwin or Forest Whitaker not Tracy Morgan or the fat guy from Lost (how are you on an island for seven seasons and never lose a pound?).  Another thing every time people talk about going out to grab something to eat, stop suggesting buffets!

2)      How not to stink:  So you have decided you want your do something about your appearance, you want to dress better, take a little more time when buy shoes, in other words you want to look like you don’t stink.  Because people who look like they stink, do.  Here’s what you do, I love to dress and can do it on the cheap.  Easiest thing to do is layer your clothes; layering for men keeps us from looking like mommy let us pick our clothes today, yay!  You do not have to invest in slacks, if you do no pleated pants.  Keep it flat front, trust me.  Rock button-up shirts, solid colors or tight stripes don’t go outside your lane on this one.  Put a sweater over it, tuck the shirt in a shirt not tucked in and hanging from under the sweater will cause you to look like a fat ass.  Make sure your jeans fit, not saggy, not too tight (read my first post for more information on this).  Now how not to really stink, shower!  Put soap and water all over you and rinse, apply to any area that folds or creases please!  88% of all stink comes from areas you think nobody should be able to smell, rule of thumb should be if people CAN’T see it/people CAN smell it.  Use deodorant.  You can stop right there, you would be surprised how much the smell of soap turns women on.  If you do want to roll with cologne, apply one spray to your stomach after the shower as you dry down.  After you put on a shirt, you can take another spray down the back, if it is a strong cologne like any “Aquas” I stop there!  The most you can take it from there is a small splash to neck.  NO MORE THAN 3 SPRAYS!!!!  NO MORE THAN 2 IF YOU SIT CLOSE TO PEOPLE AT WORK!!!!  People may not run to you and tell you how nice you smell, but trust me they refer to you as ‘the good smelling guy’.  A little smell good makes women want to get closer so they can get a better whiff, too much is stinky.

3)      How not to overload your schedule:  So you decided you are going to stop drinking or cut back.  Well you are not hanging out at the bar anymore or meeting the girls out for drinks, now you have to find something else to do.  People make the mistake of finding too many things to do when they stop drinking.  “Oh I was at Bar Louie 5 nights a week, I could learn how to play the piano and join a book club with that time”.  Dumbass!!! If you could have learned how to play the piano you would have stuck with it when you learned the scales in the 4th grade.  Read??  You fuckin’ drunk, you don’t read!!!  Now you have picked up way more than you have time for, before you know it you’ll be bringing a box of wine to the book club.  Look, until the judge orders it… keep drinking.

4)      How not to go to jail:  You’ve decided you are going to be a calmer person, let the small stuff go.  When she says something about you, let her.  When he breaks a promise, so what.  You are not that irrational person that goes off when you feel you have been wronged.  People will not say they are afraid to tell you anything for fear of being yelled at… I know, I know, one time someone tells you that you left the lights on in your car and slapped the ship out of them.  You are not that person anymore.  What you are is a future resident of one of your state’s fine correctional facilities.  Look, you are not a stable individual you yell at people and hit people you love because you do not have the capabilities of keeping that shit inside and dealing with it in healthy ways.  What’s gonna happen is you are going ‘let things go’ for months, then one real hot day in August when your air goes out and no HVAC person can get to your place and fix it, you are going to go see Tyler Perry’s new movie, because you like him, you are an irrational person so you relate to Madea, and the theater has air conditioning.  Well you decided to go to a Tyler Perry movie on the weekend it opens, you didn’t know it was this many Black people in your state.  One person blows their horn at you as you walk through the parking lot, because Black people never read the part of the driver’s manual that says ‘pedestrians have the right of way’, two people asked you for change and they both had on new Nikes, one person called you outside your name because you didn’t want to buy a bootleg of the NEW Tyler Perry movie you are on your way to see.  You have done well, until you get to the ticket booth and the high school kid trying to make enough money keep up with his Xanax addiction tells you politely, “sorry Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Hell is sold out”.  Who knew your arm could fit through the small slit where the money/ticket exchange takes place, who knew your arm was long enough to allow you to grab his neck and choke that lil’ fucker until pills pop out his ass!  Who knew his father was an Assistant District Attorney and his colleagues figure you need to be the poster child for cruel and unusual punishment.  Who knew… I did, keep being you leave this resolution alone.

5)      How not to raise lame kids:  First, don’t name them Blue.  Second, let your kids be who they are and when they make a mistake, beat their ass.  So this year you are going to be a better parent, get your kid involved in more activities, be their friend… blah, blah, blah.  So you have decided to pass your insecurities off on your kids, awesome.  You sucked at sports and blamed your dad for not being around to teach you how to catch a football.  Maybe your hand/eye coördination sucked so badly that if your father did stick around to build you into a first round draft pick, his shame in your lack of athletic ability would have drove him away from you anyway.  Okay your pops fell in love with some strange ass outside the home and got a 2-bedroom in the next county for him her, and her 2 kids.  Maybe your mom should have learned that trick with her tongue and dad would have never left.  DO NOT take your kids to do anything they have not expressed interest in, yes you can visit some museums, musicals, plays, soccer matches, and if your kid asks about it you can suggest the best way to learn is to get involved, but DO NOT do anything with your kids based on what your next door neighbors are doing with their kids.  Their kids are going to be screwed up in the head because they were never allowed to express themselves as people and are Menendez Brothers plotting on their parents.  Let it go, forgive your father, but give your mother hell for not letting her inner-whore go twice a week.

6)      How not to infect the gene pool:  You decided you want to start a family, raise some kids… yawn.  Look at yourself in the mirror.  Do you have tattoos on the side of your neck?  Do you have on a shirt from any of the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies?  Are you in the Tea Party?  Do you own more than one Maroon 5 CD?  Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  Does everything in your house come to a stop when “Meet the Browns” come on?  Are you in high school?  Are you still high from last night?  Are you still high from this morning?  Are you about to go get high?  At this moment do have one or more babies crying in the other room due to lack of attention?  Do you find Dane Cook HILARIOUS?  Do you like thugs?  Do you believe you can turn a hoe into a housewife? Have you seen 2 or more “Madea Goes To… “movies/plays?   Is your name Britney Spears?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes… you should not have children, you should walk into the woods and get lost or let a bear eat you.  It is in the best interest of the gene pool.

7)      How not to like bad music:  You feel like life is passing you by, so you are ready to get back out.  There are clubs open now that you have never been to, there are hip people walking around everywhere and you want to know them.  Before you know it you’ll be walking around in MMA style t-shirts, joining a gym but walking on a treadmill for 4 minutes and walking around striking up conversations before you hit arms… again.  You’ll head out to some club with some of the trainers from the gym and by the end of the week you have techno music pumping from your car and find yourself looking forward to the next Nickelback CD.  Idiot.  Just keep getting old, it is infinitely cooler to be the 55-year-old guy, comfortable with his age, knows a little about a lot, and likes to see people 30 years younger than him be 30 years younger than him.  Just let yourself grow up, you get cool again.

8)      How not to smoke crack:  First and this should go without saying, stop hanging out with Bobby Brown… Second, if you find yourself in a puff-puff-pass session with DMX do not smoke anything he rolled.  So you decided to quit smoking and you are making a big deal about it, such a big deal about quitting smoking that the addiction must be really strong, you keep talking about it to the point I say to myself “cigarettes can’t be that bad, are you giving up smoking crack”?  So I am going to treat you like you are trying to get over a crack addiction.  Considering my knowledge on crack addiction is limited to After School Specials, “Say No To Drugs” campaigns in the 80’s, and post 2004 Whitney Houston… I can only assume you’re fuuuhhhhked.  Good news is, if you can actually go 21 days without taking a hit of crack, you may have actually been able to quit smoking.  Good luck with your addiction!

9)      How not to annoy your family:  You want to spend more time with your brothers, sisters, and mom.  Be a good brother/sister/son/daughter.  I got good/bad news for you, your family has become use to not seeing you.  Seeing your family more would actually piss them off, because they are going to assume you need to borrow money and building up the courage to ask.  I suggest you just think about them more often, put up some pictures of them around your house so when they come over they realize you love them.  Real talk, ain’t nobody feeling you like that to see you more than they see you now.

10)   How not to live on a budget:  You are gonna get your finances in order this year, live within your means, and buy only what you can afford to while paying your bills and saving.  Why?  Fuck it, file bankruptcy.  Next.

11)   How not to be dumb as fuck:  I see you, ready to read more, take some classes get a degree.  Nice, my friend, self-improvement is honorable.  What is that book?  Confessions of a Video Vixen, oh wow a book by Zane… you’ll learn something reading that.  What classes are you taking?  Getting an MBA, awesome!  What night are your classes?  No classes?  Oh yeah you’re right you do not have to necessarily take a physical class at the University of Phoenix.  So you are going through an MBA program but not going to sit in classes with people who you can make life long connections with that can benefit your career.  What are you dumb as fuck?

12)   How not to get hit upside the head with a purse by an old lady or get jumped by a group of Black guys:  You have made a resolution to help more people, change starts with you, you can make a difference if not in the world but in your city.  You are going to volunteer at a senior citizens home, sure the first few weeks are great, you bond with a sweet lady drink coffee and talk about the news with her.  You miss one week, because you had tickets to see Nickleback (dumb ass), you return to the senior citizens facility to spend time with your buddy.  She is not in her room, you sit and wait.  A few minutes later she walks in with her cup of coffee getting ready to watch the evening news, sees you sitting there.  Throws her coffee at you, burns your arm! She throws anything she can get her hands on at you, including her purse which cuts your eye.  The nurse comes in calms her down, another nurse comes in and gets a bandage over your cut and tells you that your old lady friend is senile and does not remember things well past 9 days.  So you figure you’ll just go home and relax.  You also decided you would use public transportation more often, since you were cut and needed a little treatment you stayed a little longer than usual.  Embarrassed by your cut you tilt your hat a little over your left eye to kind of hide it.  Bad ideas, as you walk to the bus stop, the thugs in the neighborhood are out on the block and they all have their hats tilted to the right.  Not knowing any better you foolishly walk through the brothers, saying “what’s up”.  “What’s up?  Did this muh’fuhka just ask us what’s up?”  Now you are getting beat on like Vanilla Ice giving up his publishing rights to Suge Knight, all because you decided to make a difference and like bad music.  See this shit never ends people!

13)   How not to lose shit:  In other words you decided you are going to be more organized; it takes you 30 minutes to find things that you should find in 2 minutes or less.  Let me tell you something my mother told me that can help you out… “Why don’t you throw some of this shit away?”  You have too much shit, you don’t have to become more organized you need to toss some shit.  Spend a day; throwing shit you don’t use anymore into a trash bag, throw that shit out the house, you won’t have a problem finding the shit you need.  You are not unorganized, you are filthy.  You made the wrong resolution with your trifling ass!

14)   How not to be rejected:  This is the year you are going to find the love or your life and get the job you always wanted.  What the fuck ever!  You did not try to find a job in 2011?  You didn’t blow a relationship with someone you liked a lot last year?  You turned down a six-figure job or something last year?  Your ex didn’t break up with you because you got caught giving head to somebody you met in a bar one night?  Face it, you are a loser.  I am not saying you will not ever get a great job or find someone who brings you joy but your history clearly states otherwise.  If you do get any of these things it probably won’t be because of anything you set out to do.  Guys you want to find love with someone awesome that you never thought you could have, focus on getting a better job… Rich guys marry hot chicks.  Ladies you want to find love from an awesome guy, I have no advice for you.  You see how many women are kissing other women in bars these days, the pickings are slim.  Buy some flannel shirts and the next time the lady at the gym that works out in blue jeans, boots, and has a haircut like your brother says hi to you don’t smile and keep it moving… chat it up a little.

15)   How not to set yourself up for failure:  You didn’t like my suggestion about filing for bankruptcy, you set a budget and been saving money.  In the words of former NBA Power Forward Derrick Coleman “woopdie, damn, doo!”  Now you are feeling yourself, going on a nice vacation, a cruise to an island.  Taking care of yourself for once in your life and feels good.  Dumb ass, you’re doing the same dumb shit that got you broke in the first place.  You saved $1000 in 9 months and used $400 of it to pay the balance on the trip.  Spent $200 on clothes and instead of limiting your drinking to all-inclusive package on the ship, you decide since you’re are on the island you’ll buy some drinks for the cute locals.  Later you find out that someone there stole your debit card information and as far as the credit agencies are concerned that is your responsibility now.  How is bankruptcy looking now you fuckin’ failure!

16)   How not to look like a pussy:  Way to go!  You are going to save the environment, going green!  Recycling, cutting back on fuel, might bike to work on nice days.  Trading in your Jeep for a Prius… you come up to a stop light for the first time.  Look over in the car next to you, the hottest chick you have ever seen, she sees your eyes and smiles.  Then she checks out your brand new Prius, frowns runs the light to get away from you.  Women don’t date pussies!  Women like their men sensitive to a point; you’re driving around in a Prius, crying for dolphins and the ozone layer.  Have you ever see a football player get out of his car on Sunday before the big game in a Prius?  The kickers and punters drive F-150’s and BMW’s, you drive a Prius… you look like a pussy.  Tim Tebow drives a Range Rover and he prays for the guys trying to rip his head off… BEFORE THE GAME!!!  Instead of spending time working on this resolution why don’t you put your time to better use, like waiting for your testicles to fall.

17)   How not to make resolutions:  Be you, always.  If there is something you do not like about yourself find out the cause of it and then embrace it as a part of who you are.  If you feel you need to lose weight, ask yourself if you can love yourself as you are, if your answer is yes the pounds will fall off.  Your love for who you are will fix anything wrong with you.  Happy New Year.

The Soundtrack To My Life

Track 1: “Fuck the World” Tupac

{They try to say that I don’t care}
I woke up and screamed, “Fuck the world!”
{They tryin to say that I don’t care}
Got up and screamed, “Fuck the world!”
Haha, fuck the world! Fuck it
I hear my niggaz screamin fuck the world!

They wanna know if I claim the click, that I’m hangin with
And if I’m down with this bangin shit
Well homie I don’t give a fuck if you Blood or Cuz
Long as ya got love for thugs
But don’t try to test me out, stall that
Homie this is Thug Life nigga and we all strapped
I been through, Hell and back, and if I fail black
Then it’s, back to the corner where we sell crack
Some of you niggaz is bustas; you runnin ’round
With these tramp=ass bitches, don’t trust her
But don’t cry, this world ain’t prepared for us
A straight thug motherfucker who ain’t scared to bust
Fuck the world!

Yes this is the first track on my soundtrack!  My life is not Love Jones, Nia Long is not coming back to Chicago with the hope we may kick things back off and it ain’t gonna end with Tom Hanks kissing Meg Ryan.

My mother raised me in a rough city but provided many opportunities.  She had the opportunity to move us out of the area when I was entering high school, but she believed I was better ready for the world by growing up in Gary, IN. She was right, I have been in slums and élite communities, fit into both.  It is easier to make the social élite feel comfortable with your presence than the hood.

I was a good student, stayed out of trouble, but my friends were thugs.  I was cool with the smart kids, had classes with them.  I was captain of our academic super bowl team, but I was a back of the bus fighting until I got to my stop kid.  I was going to college, but I fought, figured out my hustle to make some cash, and made more cash by looking out for the older dudes when they were breaking into cars.  I have lost so many friends; I am desensitized to random acts of violence.  Hell I shouldn’t even be here, sometimes I think about how a cop car drove past right at the moment some guy put a gun to my head.  I do not know if he would have shot me, but I grew up in a city called “Murder Capital” if you put a gun to someone’s head you finish that shit off.  So I can only assume…

I been through, Hell and back, and if I fail black
Then it’s, back to the corner where we sell crack

I have had a lot of good, I graduated from Indiana University, I have had some great opportunities, I have a good job, live in a great neighborhood.  But I still have “FUCK THE WORLD” pumping through my veins.  I have been through a lot, I have had way too many friends shot and killed.  My best friend killed during lunch on my 18th birthday, my little sister dead, sat up in lock-up while a cop wrote up some bullshit charges on me, held back for what I am perceived to be, family on dope, passed over for opportunities I am more than qualified for.  So yes FUCK THE WORLD and thank you for reading this, but catch me at the wrong moment, fuck you too!  It is nothing personal, it is me screaming… we all have to scream and Pac through this song screamed for me.

Track 2: “Healing Hands”- Citizen Cope

I will never forget your healing hands my love
I thought my heart had stopped
I swore I had given up
I will never forget your healing hands my love
You gave me daylight you gave me sunlight

Turn the tape recorder on
He just left Jackie O for Marilyn Monroe
We’re all bought and sold
For tobacco, firearms and alcohol
What’s a pocket full of gold
Without a woman that you could hold
Can’t afford to be on the back burner no more
Now I got a lot of places to go

After the rough opening and shoving my middle finger up your ass, I have to fall back quick.  What better way than to smooth the ride out with my man Citizen Cope (aka Clarence Greenwood) who I remember from the hip hop group Basehead.  Cope is the cat singing “Sideways” on Carlos Santana’s Shaman CD.  I will never forget some, sometimes there is a touch that you will be able to recall years after they touched you for the last time.  Hopefully you find and hold on to someone who can touch in such away for the rest of your life.  You can be rich, but lonely… you can be poor but with someone who loves you in your life you can feel like a million bucks.

 

Track 3-“Mother Pray”-Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama

Around the old homeplace her cherishing smiling face
Was always bringing comfort joy and cheer
And when she used to sing to her eternal King
It was the sound I loved to hear

If I could only hear my mother pray again
If I could hear her tender voice as then
How happy I would be
It would mean so much to me
If I could hear my mother pray again

There will be a few recurring themes in the movie on my life, one will be the joy I receive from a song written, produced, and performed by Prince, another will be I am not a very stable person, and more than anything else my love and respect for my mother has been the driving force in my life and her death tore me and continues to tear me apart.

My best friend kept this track from me, he knew I would eventually get to it seeing how I enjoy Ben Harper, my friend did not want to be the person responsible for me hearing this song knowing that it would move me tears.  When he saw I had the CD, he told me that saying “I wanted to tell you that was out but I knew ‘Mother Pray’ was too much for you to handle”.  It was.

I remember walking into my mother’s room and seeing her in prayer.  I could tell by her brow if she was praying for our protection or because she was appreciative of God providing for us when we needed His protection.  Those moments always ended with me throwing my arms around her and getting a look from her that seemed to thank me for understanding why we may have struggled at that moment.  More than anything, I loved hearing my mother sing… anything.  Her voice was beautiful, powerful, a rich alto that could make it to soprano with ease.  I have prayed to God to let me hug my mother one more time, I would give Him anything he wanted to let me tell her I love her one more time.  I keep a journal of hers kept tucked away, because she wrote in it before falling asleep and still smells like her perfume.  Needless to say, some days I take that journal a give it a good whiff so I can feel close to the woman who sacrificed everything for me.

Track 4: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”-The Beatles

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

My closest friends know I am a Beatles fan, since my high school locker, I have had a picture/poster of the Beatles or John Lennon in any space that was deemed ‘mine’.  At work there is a picture of the Beatles on my desk at home John Lennon sits in my living room.  They represent, to me, talent coming together with personal growth, hope for something better for something other than yourself and being all those things at the right time.  Then recognizing when it was over and being comfortable with letting the moment go when others thought you stupid for doing so.  I feel to know the Beatles you have to learn George Harrison, who wrote this song, his laid back style did not make him seem to be a leader.  He seemed comfortable letting John and Paul get the attention, but his wish to give his life greater meaning showed his place in the group because the other people followed his steps.

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a beautiful song and sometimes you just need some beauty in your life.  I wish I could write something this moving and simple, something that when I am gone stands as my eulogy.  What makes this more remarkable is that George wrote this as a test to himself that all things happen for a reason.  He said he would write a song based on the first words he randomly looked at from a book he randomly picked up.  George grabbed a book, opened it and saw ‘gently weeps’.  I cannot say there is a reason for everything, but this story makes a strong case for it.  Though I do not think everything in my life was meant to happen, I do believe that everything that has happened to me has been an opportunity for me to learn more about myself.   Just like George, I want to take time to learn about myself.

 

Track 5: “Fool to Cry”-Rolling Stones

You know, I got a woman
And she lives in the poor part of town
and I go see her sometimes
And we make love, so fine
I put my head on her shoulder
She says, “Tell me all your troubles.”
You know what she says? She says
“Daddy you’re a fool to cry
You’re a fool to cry
and it makes me wonder why

Some songs speak to my soul, I consider myself a Rolling Stones fan own CD’s and if you were raised in Chicago or spent any time in the clubs here you know that “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden” still gets play from DJs here.  Chicago may be the one place outside of London where Black people run to the dance floor when a Stones song comes on.  The first time I heard “Fool to Cry” I walked into Potbellies on Wabash and Van Buren for a sandwich.  I knew it was the Stones but I never heard it and the song stuck in my head all day.  The song caused me to pause; I waited until the song was over before I ordered.  I will admit to my tears, but not every situation that my tears flowed were worthy of them and later I feel stupid for allowing myself.  It would be nice sometimes to have someone love you so much to be that honest and tell you how foolish you are for crying.  Can you imagine how reassuring that is to have someone believe in you so much that they feel a situation is not worth your tears?

 

Track 6: “Seven Nation Army”-White Stripes

I’m going to Wichita
Far from this opera forever more
I’m gonna work the straw, make the sweat drip out of every pore
And I’m pleading, and I’m pleading, and I’m pleading right before the Lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me and I will think no more
And the stains coming from my blood tell me go back home

The best guitar riff of the last 30 years aside (outside of Slash’s on “Sweet Child O’ Mine”)… “All the words are gonna bleed from me and I will think no more”… This line completely explains why I write.  I do not write because I am in love with it (I am), not to make a name for myself (I wish), but so I can stop thinking.  When I need to let something go, I write about it, so I can stop thinking about it.  I write about social ills so I can stop worrying about it, I write about women so I can let her go, I would like to have a day without thinking.

 

Track 7: “Sometimes”-Bilal

Sometimes, wish I knew life with no pain, yeah
Wish I held the keys to this game
Sometimes, I pretend ‘cuz I’m afraid to be, ‘friad to be
Sometimes, I hope I live to see twenty five
Sometimes, I wish I could be like Moses
Round up my people, move out the ghetto and live a better life

Sometimes, I wish I didn’t try so hard
Sometimes, who knows truth any way
They don’t know nothing, who needs that approval

The sun in your hands player
Move at your own pace, listen to your own mind
Do your own thing, yeah, yeah
I’m saying it because I love ya
And I wanna grow with you, yeah, yeah

But you wanna run in the other direction
So I got to stay on my path until I win, I win, I win, I win
I wanna win, I wanna win, I wanna win, I wanna win

When things are bad, I mean real bad, I mean grab a gun and think about bad things bad… I need this song.  I spend every waking moment of my life wishing I could change myself and the conditions of others.  Wondering if I will live another day, wondering if I even want to live another one.  To know pain much more than happiness is a horrible way to go through life.  What makes it even worse is to know that I could have changed this, I let these feelings happen because sometimes I did not do what was right for me or my people.  Sometimes, one time, just one muthafuckin’ time at the right damn time I should have done something with the purpose of getting the win.  Fortunately, with each day I realize that I am given more opportunities to get my win.

 

The next four songs could be called the Paisley Interlude, Prince is my favorite artist.  Honestly I could “Girl 6” this soundtrack and every song could be performed, produced, and/or written by Prince.  I should “Batman” soundtrack this, have Prince lay down 9 tracks of music that sounds like what he was doing five years earlier, give Sheena Easton one last shot at the pop charts, and get him to give up his publishing in the process.  What I will not do is “Graffiti Bridge” this… because that would mean my movie sucks.  Although I snatch the first Prince song is from “Graffiti Bridge”.

Track 8: “Pink Cashmere”-Prince

Girl, can u understand
I never used 2 go dancing
I…I was the kind of man who rather stay at home

Now, when I think about
How much I miss u
I wanna jump for joy
And thank him I’m not alone (I am not alone)

Ooh, Im making u a coat of pink cashmere
U got 2 know how I feel about u baby
How I always want u near

Im making u a coat of pink cashmere
Im gonna count every minute of every hour
Until u r here (til u r here)

Shouldn’t every man feel this way about a woman?  Shouldn’t every woman have a man that feels this way about her?

Track 9: “She’s Always in My Hair”-Prince

Whenever I feel like givin’ up
Whenever my sunshine turns 2 rain
Whenever my hopes and dreams are aimed in the wrong direction
She’s always there tellin’ me how much she cares
She’s always in my hair

She’s always in my hair, my hair

Whenever I feel like not 2 great at all
Whenever I’m all alone
Even if I hit the wrong notes
She’s always in my boat
She’s always there tellin’ me how much she cares
She’s always in my hair

She’s always in my hair, my hair

9th Grade, English class, Mrs. James teacher… the first person to look at my writing and tell me I was good at it.  The first person, not my mother, to tell me to believe in myself, stand up for myself, to put me in situations to grow and show my talents.  I only had her that one year but she stayed on me all four years.  Senior year she pulled me into a program that she organized with guys from all over the city, that challenged me to perform and in the long run led to lifelong friends.  She was at my college graduation, visited me at my first job, came to my early shows, was at my mother’s funeral, found me in New York City… She is always in my hair.

Track 10: “Do Me Baby”-Prince

Here we are in this big old empty room, staring each other down
U want me just as much as I want u, let’s stop fooling around
Take me baby… kiss me all over… play with my love
Bring out what’s been in me for far too long
Baby, u know that’s all I’ve been dreaming of

Do me baby, like u never done before
Give it to me till I just can’t take no more
Do me baby, like u never done before
I want u now, I just can’t wait no more, can’t wait…

Here we are looking for a reason for u to lay me down
For a love like ours is never out of season, so baby please stop teasing me
What ya do, I can never love no other, ure the best I ever had
Whenever were not close to one another, I just want u so bad

Of course any movie about my life would have at least one gratuitous sex scene.  There are so many songs to pick from, but I am a freak!  There is nothing that lays it down, stands it up, bends it over, or rides the rhythm as hard as Do Me Baby.  “Adore” is lovely, “Scandalous” is sexy, but “Do Me Baby” is forget the bullshit take off your clothes and let’s catch our breath in the morning music.  This scene will feature the lovely Nia Long.

In my other gratuitous sex scene (the studio had to talk me down from 8 scenes) will have D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” playing in the background and I would have broken up with Nia because I am the type of person that loves you until I find your physical flaw and by the time we get to this scene I would have found hers.  Though stunningly beautiful I would have had enough of trying to figure out of if she was cross-eyed or if her eyes are just set too close together and replaced her with the lovely Kerry Washington… HELLO!

I obviously have a ‘type’

Track 11: “Joy in Repetition”-Prince

Up on the mic repeating 2 words, over and over again
Was this woman he had never noticed before he lost himself in the
Articulated manner in which she said them.
These 2 words, a little bit behind the beat.
I mean just enough 2 turn u on.
4 everytime she said the words another one of his doubts were gone.

Should he try 2 rap with her? Should he stand and stare?
No one else was watching her, she didn’t seem 2 care.
So over and over, she said the words til he could take no more, (no more)
He dragged her from the stage and together they ran through the back door
In the alley over by the curb he said tell me what’s your name
She only said the words again and it started to rain (rain, rain, rain)
2 words falling between the drops and the moans of his condition
Holding someone is truly believing there’s joy in repetition.
There’s joy in repetition.
There’s joy in repetition.
There’s joy in repetition.
There’s joy in repetition.

This is my favorite Prince song and Rolling Stone called it the ‘perfect song’ in its review.  All lyrics are up to the listener to find meaning in.  Some people believe the repetition of the beat is where you can find joy.  Some believe it is the love interest of the song repeating ‘love me’ is where the joy lays.  Well, to me there is one thing that involves repetition that brings me joy… and that brings me to gratuitous sex scene number 3.  Which is an “8 Mile” style Eminem/Britney Murphy quickie featuring me and Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child, starting to see the type now?

 

Track 12: “Still Fly”-Big Tymers

Gator Boots, with the pimped out Gucci suit
Ain’t got no job, but I stay sharp
Can’t pay my rent, cause all my money’s spent
but thats OK, cause I’m still fly
got a quarter tank gas in my new E-class
But that’s alright cause I’m gon’ ride
got everything in my moma’s name
but I’m hood rich da dada dada da

There is always one song on a soundtrack that has no reason for being on there outside of the fact that it just sounds really good and kind of cool, “Still Fly” is my “Wanksta”.  There was no reason for “Wanksta” to be on the 8 Mile soundtrack except for the fact that 50 Cent was Em’s new artist and the track was hot as hell! Don’t lie, we all like to look like we can buy the bar even with 3 dollars in our pocket and 19 bucks in the checking account. Other examples of songs that did not fit, but so cool you did not question their inclusion on the soundtrack:

Moulin Rouge “Lady Marmalade”, question… does anyone have a version that does not include Christina Aguilera doing her impersonation of what she thinks a Black singer sounds like?  I assume the only reason why they didn’t bring Patti Labelle in to sing her parts again was because with Missy Elliott there could only be one other woman in the video nobody wanted to see in a bustier.

City of Angels “Mama You Got A Daughter” every John Lee Hooker song is cool!

Above the Rim Okay, every song on this soundtrack fits the category.  Considering it is a basketball movie based in New York City, at that time Wu Tang Clan and Black Moon would have been better choices.  However, the entire soundtrack is West Coast/Death Row, which was the ‘hot thing to do’ at that time.  Honestly, I love this soundtrack my all time favorite and unfortunately the beginning of songs on soundtracks having nothing to do with the movie.  So to pick one song that does not fit but is so hot you roll with it… “Afro Puffs”, ha you will not be able to get this song out your head today.

Garden State sure Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” seems to be the obvious choice, but there is a really good reason why this song is included that I will not go into, because I have given enough clues on how big of a nerd I am.   The song that stands out is “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay, only because it is like every one of their songs.  You are afraid to admit you like it out of fear of being beaten to a bloody pulp by your really cool friends.

In my opinion there are only 4 perfect soundtracks that feature songs with lyrics, where every song serves a purpose:

Trainspotting

Superfly

Grease (another nerd clue, but you know the words too!)

O’ Brother, Where Art Though?

 

Track 13: “W-4”-dead prez

What a nigga gonna eat when the refrigerator empty?
Work all week let the bossman pimp me
Can’t pay no rent till the fifteenth, landlord call the police to evict me
Lookin’ for a job in the want ads
Have you ever been to jail? Know they gone ask
Ever took a piss test that you didn’t pass?
In between jobs in the past? How you get cash?
I done worked over hot ass stoves, I done picked up trash off roads
Winter time in the streets and the cold
Many times had to sleep in my clothes on the floor
What you know bout bein’ po’ seein’ most of yo kinfolk be on dope?

I been workin’ all my life but ain’t got nothin’ to show
I ain’t tellin’ you nothin’ you don’t already know
I been workin’ all my life but ain’t got nothin’ to show
Wanna run up in the white house and kick in the door, woh ooo oh

My J-O-B
Is just like a plantation
They owe me
But got me fillin’ out this application

I dig everything dead prez has ever done, from burning dollar bills during shows, to telling brothers how to cheat the system, putting Mary Jane in one of their videos, not waiting on record companies to press their CD’s to get music out to us.  I appreciate they live what they speak; they have the same hero I have, Fred Hampton.  Without a doubt dead prez is everything I wanted to be as a person but was too afraid to do.  “W-4” sums up my life, at moments, and my feelings about working to just pay bills.  I listen to this song often because I often question my life choices.  How am I walking into work at 9:00am every morning knowing this is never what I wanted to do in life?  This is that Andy Duphrane “crawl through a river of shit” moment in the movie.  The moment in the movie where the Kid’s father shot himself in the head trying to kill himself, somehow survives, and he has to go on stage and prove not only that he deserves his slot at First Avenue but that he is really the most talented performer there.  The even though Rocky loses the fight he wins the love of his life moment.  It could be the Denzel Washington in “Training Day” moment, where the Russians kill me at an intersection and instead of feeling sorry for me you sit there looking at the screen saying to yourself… “Yeah, that mutha fucka had to die”.

Track 14: “U Know What’s Up” Donnell Jones

Ooh, say what, say what, say what
Ooh, girl u know what’s up
Ooh, say what, say what, say what
Ooh, girl u know what’s up

I’m diggin’ u and I’m feelin’ u
U know what’s up
Said i’m diggin’ u and I’m wantin’ u
So tell me what’s up

Peep her thighs and I’m zonin’
Right around two in the mornin’
Lookin’ fly with a sundress on
Think I feel a bone comin on
Girl u got it wide open
Want all day and in hopin’
Baby don’t front
Back seat Jeep, u know what I want

My movie takes place mostly in Chicago; very few songs represent SUMMER TIME CHI like “U Know What’s Up”.  The vibe of the song is how we roll in the summer and this verse hits on exactly how it is on a summer night.  Leaving the club a little early, you either hitting one of the after hour spots or you hitting baby with that summer dress on.  I have never enjoyed winter, considering we get seven months of cold weather in Chicago, 2 and a half months of iffy weather, those 2 and a half months of nice warm weather must be pretty damn good to keep you here… those 2 and a half months are that damn good to make you put up with January and February they have to be.

This is also where gratuitous sex scene number 4 was, until the studio got me to agree to cut it out to avoid an NC-17 rating.  It featured Keri Hilson… sorry fellas.

Track 15: “U Don’t Know” Jay-Z

That’s another difference that’s between me and them
Heh, I’m smarten up, open the market up
One million, two million, three million, four
In eighteen months, eighty million more
Now add that number up with the one I said before
You are now lookin at one smart black boy
Momma ain’t raised no fool
Put me anywhere on God’s green earth, I’ll triple my worth
Motherfucker – I, will, not, lose

“You don’t know.. what you’re doing, doing, doing, doing..”
Put somethin on it

I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell
I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well
I was born to get cake, move on and switch states
Cop the Coupe with the roof gone and switch plates

This has been my theme song for the entire 10 years since it was released.  It came out right when I decided to go live in some other places and challenge myself to do different things and see where I stood against other people.  It was in the car rolling with me on my way to Miami.  Bought me up on stage through the Midwest, playing in the background when I was writing in Atlanta, banging in my ear buds when I landed in NYC and disturbing the neighbors when LA called for me to come out and write.  The song gets me on two levels, anywhere I have been I made it, may have been a struggle but I claimed more victories than L’s “Put me anywhere on God’s green Earth, I’ll triple my worth” and the very next line… “I WILL NOT LOSE”.  It has been on the display screen of every cell phone I have had for a decade and when I feel like quitting, that saying pops up in my head and I can run another mile.

Track 16: “Who Would’ve Thought”-Marvin Winans and Donnie McClurkin

I know You, Lord, since You’ve entered in
Oh yeah
I can’t believe the things You’ve done
You came and you saved me, changed me and forgave me
And then You took me in as one of Your own
As one of Your own

Now when I feel my world is falling apart
Oh yeah
I can just bend my knees and pray
You know what?
Feels so good to feel this love in my heart
Who would’ve thought I’d get to know You this way?
Say who would’ve thought I’d know You this way?
So glad I’d know You this way

This track serves two purposes, I think any CD/Album worth its salt should have 15+ songs, so here is the +.  Also, every Black movie is legally obligated to have one ‘inspirational gospel song’ on the soundtrack.  Well I am Black and this is the soundtrack to my life, so I have to fulfill my contract.  All Black movies have to give a mixed message, lots of sex, a little violence, drinking, cussing, and then we justify it by putting Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, or Marvin Sapp on the soundtrack.  Hey Tyler Perry does it and he is rich, so that makes it right… right?

Side note, I love this song.  Marvin Winans, Donnie McClurkin, and John P. Kee are my favorite voices and you can feel their joy coming through the song.  You can also get a feel for the brotherhood they share, which can be rarely seen between Black men.  It’s talked about in fraternities and on the streets but it is just that talk.  Hypocrisy is as rampant in the Black community as single mother households and under-employment.

Track 17: “September”-Earth, Wind, and Fire

Do you remember the
21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Ba de ya – say do you remember
Ba de ya – dancing in September
Ba de ya – never was a cloudy day

This fulfills another Black movie obligation.  All Black movies must feature at least one song by Earth, Wind, and Fire and if using only one song by Earth, Wind, and Fire it must and can only be “September”, the original version with Maurice White singing lead.  If you do something stupid, like pull a “This Christmas” and allow Chris Brown to remake the song their attorneys will squeeze your nuts until you hit those Phillip Bailey high notes.  Also, you can only use the song during a family reunion or wedding reception scene and everybody must have a huge smile on their face while doing the “Electric Slide” and the scene fades to black and the credits roll.  Maurice White makes so much money off this one song he just sits his ass in Los Angeles while the rest of the members tour with some dude singing his parts.  Maurice said ‘F this, I’m rich… Let my brother Verdine hit the road.  He could use the money for relaxers and more skintight leopard skin pants.”

 

Bonus Track: “Roses” Mos Def featuring Georgia Anne Muldrow

I have found, just the perfect feelin
Finally cause I’m grateful
I can feel your spirit, comin closer on me
It is grand, just to be reminded
Reminded of the good things
Living in a new day, that no one can tear down
You don’t have to, cut up no roses
Please just leave them living
Got my pencil, got pretty paper
Please don’t worry we’re forgiven

Yellow for friendship, red for love
Black for the universal stars above
Pink buds that I bought her on Valentine
She said it was forever then she changed her mind
I said a little prayer then I cleared my eyes

 

Fin

(That’s that film school shit right there Joe!  ‘The End’ is for suckers)