This is the 1st installment of what will likely be a pretty regular feature of this blog, Essential Verses. Essential Songs, Essential Albums, etc will come. But first up, Essential Verses: “Beneath dilapidated wood…”

♪♫ "On & on, and on & on... my lyrics get strong when I put this on." ♫♪

Before he was 3000, and before he was regularly included on the lists of the elite emcees, Andre Benjamin dropped  a guest verse on a Goodie M.O.B. single released in ’98 that signaled the arrival of that dude everybody would be really talking about once Aquemini dropped later that year. Read the rest of this entry »


  1. Erykah Badu is the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Period. Nobody in the last decade has put out more hip-hop-heavy soul bangers than Badu. And Mary J. Blige  can’t even rap. She is damn near one soft sax riff away from exile to the island of Adultcontemporaronia. Marrying ugly and making up sh*t like “dancerie” don’t make you hip-hop.

    Yes, yes, y'all.

  2. Ass never gets old. Badu’s windowed-seat aside, look at this. Just look at it. I have no idea who she is or what she does for a living. Doesn’t even matter. She could rescue pets from shelters just to throat-chop ‘em in the car. Still great. Here too. And here. These women could be selling guns to terrorists. She could be Osama’s beard-dresser. Who cares. And another. I swear it seems with every year that passes, Ass somehow manages to get newer. It’s like a paradox or something.
  3. Robin Thicke needs to cut his f*cking hair. Dude cannot be out here singing these sweet R&B tunes to black women, looking like Jason Priestly’s more handsome brother. Not in this era. Jon B. knew better. Timberlake gets it. Even Chico Debarge figured it out, and he’s just half a white dude. You can crossover, but show some respect to the men of the women you are singing to… Got them dreaming about running their fingers through that silky shit… smh. Probably smells good too. Fuck that: I take hair any higher than a Caesar on a white R&B singer as a direct threat to Black Power. Read the rest of this entry »

One compelling theory as to why your sound is pussy.

Some weeks ago I caught DJ Babu  in Chicago. If you don’t know, Babu is the DJ 1/3 of the rap group Dilated Peoples (filled out by emcees Evidence and Iriscience). Dilated Peoples, if you don’t know, are a popular underground hip-hop group from California, of whose records regular folk will most likely remember either or both of these  This Way (ft. Kanye West) and Worst Come to Worst. Among heads, Evidence is known as probably the only dude to go back at Eminem and come out better for it. Among goatee-aficionados, Iriscience is known as probably the only black dude to place regularly in the annual Captain Lou Albano Chin-Off. And among turntablists, Babu is known as a beast on the wheels (as well as the inventor of the term). Now I’m not really the biggest fan of Dilated as a group, but Babu also is a member of the Beat Junkies, and most importantly was one of the two DJs responsible for the sequence, blends, and cuts on the greatest mixtape of all time (disagree? fight me). So I check for Babu when I can.

Babu, hip-hop standard-bearer and spokesmodel.

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Nine, easy.

Artie Lange, the comedian that some of you know from Mad TV, fewer know from Howard Stern, and most of you know as that fat guy from somewhere (maybe on television?), was released from the hospital today after being treated for 9 self-inflicted knife wounds. Nine. He stabbed himself, nine times. Reports say 6 of those wounds were “hesitation wounds” while the other three were “deep plunges.” That is three deep plunges to the chest, and six more attempts at deep plunges. This was all apparently a suicide attempt. Wow. A quick read of his wikipedia page gives a few lowlights of this unfortunate fucker’s life (worst among them, the MAD TV “Pig Story”), which make less a mystery of the recent headlines. Still, goddamn. 9 times. Somebody get this dude a rap deal.

Sky's The Limit.

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3 weeks ago I experienced The Worst 90 Seconds of My Life – seriously. I will share this with you all, primarily for your edification. And while I concede that there may be significant humor in what I will detail, I assure you that 1) the following account is true without exaggeration and 2) there was absolutely no humor to be found in any of this at the time.

Books, Music, and Shame.

It happened in Borders Books, Music & Cafe — the one on 95th Street, east of Western. Walking into the store, I stopped to hold the door for a woman approaching from behind me. She noticed and hurried her gait to meet me. I smiled, noticed hers in return, said she didn’t have to rush and then let her walk in ahead of me. It was one of those moments that while it lasted gave natural suppression to the misanthropy which too often stalks my paces with the public. Pep in step, I proceeded towards the rear of Borders, where the philosophy and psychology shelves lead into self-help and those popular new-age texts of wish-think feelgoodery, browsing along the way for titles I might purchase as gifts, later and for less at another store. Passing the magazine racks, I felt a gurgle. “No rush,” I thought, and meandered on the way to the Borders’ restroom.

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This is something I wrote for a family friend in the Spring of 09, upon his matriculation into a college-prep leadership program. The prompt was to give age appropriate advice, so I wrote what I wished someone had known to tell me when I was still in high school. My posting this was triggered by another friend’s recent issues with motivating her son. This is for a teenager, but feel free to copy, edit, revise, etc. and deliver any relevant portions of it to any young person you think could benefit from it. If it helps your purpose, tell them you wrote it.

———————

I’m writing you to wish you well and to congratulate you on the successes that have marked your path to this point. I also want to share with you an insight that for me was very hard won, which I hope will be of due service to you at this point in your life. I want you to pause here and take note of the fact that you are in a position to take advantage of opportunities that young men all over this country and all over the globe, of every race and creed dream of — you have the opportunity to live up to your potential. Far too often a trap that young people of your ability fall into is the snare of ego and leisure. When our gifts allow us, for example, to get an A or a B with less effort than our peers may have to put in to get a C, we can easily fall into this trap of self-congratulation, accepting grades (an external and often capricious measurement of your work) as a stand-in for the only real measurement worth a damn in this world, which is whether or not you honestly, truly invested yourself fully in the task at hand.

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Full House began its epic 8-year run on broadcast television in the fall of 1987 on the ABC network. It debuted as one of probably a dozen new sitcoms programmed to start that fall in response to the resurgence of the sitcom format led by The Cosby Show, which had debuted on the NBC network 3 years prior to both critical and popular acclaim. In hindsight, there wasn’t much that September to distinguish this Franklin/Miller-Boyett production from the rest of the ’87 class to most viewers; but at least one 8-year old was watching, and  he  had a seat in the front row to witness the birth of a new media age and to the philosophy which has virtually changed the currency of our world. That philosophy, of course, is what the enlightened among us have come to know in decades that followed as “The Tanner Rules.”

But what are the “Tanner Rules,” exactly? We live our lives by them, but so often do not focus on the source of the principles we take for granted. I write this blog in an attempt to refocus you, and hopefully in the process to rededicate myself towards achieving a greater understanding of the fundamental social text of the last 25 years.

Read the rest of this entry »

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