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May 27, 2005



** UPDATE **

She came in fourth, the best finish by a woman in the 89-year history of the race. Danica Patrick also was the first woman to lead a lap of the race — and she was in front for 19 of the 200. Plus, she was chosen as Rookie of the Year.

This is Danica Patrick. She's 23 years old. Her hobbies include driving race cars in competition. There hasn't been a woman in competition since 1992, when an Italian woman name Giovanna Amati couldn't get her ride onto the starting grid. Oh, yeah, Danica's racing in the INDY 500 on Monday, and she's the fourth woman to compete in the race and if she wins, will be the first-ever woman to do this. So since racing/driving is akin to battle, I guess you could call her the Roxanne Shante of this shit. The haters have Danica's name all up in their mouths, saying that racing is a man's game because it's physical. It's obvious they never saw me outrun 5-0 in my Malibu Classic circa 1991, or push any of my myriad whips (owned, begged or borrowed) up and down the 'Shaw; not to mention me in Kenji's electric blue 'Lac with the racing engine, pummeling through the streets of Venice Harlem. Danica, I got your back, mama. Show these m'fuckas what a wisdom can do behind the wheel of a souped-up, tricked-out racing vehicle. All eyes on Danica.

Update - Patrick turned in the fastest time in the final qualifying round Friday, completing the four kilometer circuit at the Brickyard at a speed of almost 363 kilometers per hour (362.986).

May 25, 2005


"The Songstress" by Lester Kern

Back in the day, I had a studio in the back room of my crib in Oakland. My man at the time, TLE (the original Last Emperor), moved in with his equipment and I gave him the back room to use to make beats, or record vocals with his folks from around the way. I helped him buy Del the Funkee Homosapien’s old SP1200, and later on I added a portable DAT machine to the collection of equipment. So while I went to work in a San Francisco highrise, often for 80 hours a week or more, TLE stayed in the crib and made beats. Sometimes I’d come home to a house full of his homies, other times he’d be back there alone for hours hitting the keys. But as “house husbands” go he was fine, we had a good relationship for the most part, and he cleaned the house and cooked Enchiladas some nights; which was cool. When he left, he took the equipment…of course. Since there are no prenuptial agreements for live-in boyfriends, I had to let the DAT go.

Over the years I’ve watched the homies fuck with SP’s, MPC’s, Korg Triton keyboards (shit, keep it real, Casio keyboards!), Technics 1200s, mixers, ASR’s, EPS’s, ProTools, Frooty Loops, Reasons, DAT, CDR, analog, digital, acoustic, Fender Rhodes keys, four-track recorders and multi-million dollar digital boards – and everything in between. I’ve been in the studio with DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, and so many others. I've managed the office of a recording studio in Oakland where Tupac, Mac Mall, Too $hort, Master P, The Luniz, Mystic, Digital Underground, and most of the Bay Area legends recorded their hits. I’ve been to Ice-T’s Hollywood Hills home studio with his DJ Evil E, and inside Miami’s Hit Factory studios with Irv Gotti while waiting to interview Ashanti. I've sat in the studio with Just Blaze, blazed in the studio waiting for Tragedy Khadafi.

I've brought homemade hoecakes to the studio to feed Lord Scotch, Kurious Jorge, and GM Grimm during a historical session. I’ve witnessed Doom sample my oldies collection and turn it into myriad albums and singles; plus mix and prepare to master two LPs in my Brooklyn studio apartment – The Downfall of Iblys and M.I.C.’s Escape from Monsta Island. Not to mention the times I've spent with the Hit Squad in the original home studio where EPMD cut their biggest records... I've seen and heard it all, live and in living color, and half the story will never be told.

But until yesterday, I’ve never had anyone make a beat, specifically for me, and pass me a mic to lay down a rough vocal.

It’s the moment I’ve been preparing for most of my life. Ever since I started singing at the age of 5, or songwriting not too long after, I’ve been waiting to make a song. I’ve sung so many hooks for so many records that so many people will never hear; and I’ve written so many dozens of songs over the years…I even have lyrics and melodies I wrote at the tender age of 13 on deck. But only yesterday, May 23, 2005, did I finally start to make a record. I’ve been gotten over my nerves when it comes to belting ‘em out. Ever since Evil Dee asked me to sing for Dru Ha, then Dru Ha made me sing for Buckshot and Tek and Steele, one after the other, in San Francisco when they were touring Enta Da Stage...I’ve been over my nerves. I sang “Feel the Fire” for all of them, and I remember them looking at me like “Damn, this b&%ch can really sing!” Of course, nothing ever came of it. I recorded some vocals in Oakland with A-Plus on the beats for Vanylla Chile, who’s Saafir’s sister…and it was a dope collabo! Alas, not released ever that I know of.

So this is not the speaking that I did for Grimm’s LP or Madvillainy… This is my first solo song, and as of today it’s just a rough cut, basically in pre-production. But it’s laid. And as I write this I’m sure my producer’s working on tightening up the beat and adding some drums, an 808, maybe some cuts; so I can get in one of the bigger studios and lay for-real vocals. I’ve been rocking so many elements for so long, but singing and songwriting I’ve been rocking the longest, and rocking the hardest, of them all. So I’m sending massive props to DJ KAY-A for sittin’ down and crafting that beat from some Love Unlimited Orchestra samples I had in my Adidas bag. Even though I’m laying vocals, this is strictly Hip Hop. Just a collaboration between a B-Boy DJ/Producer, and a B-Girl who’s universal and loves to sing. I can’t wait to hear what it’s gonna sound like when it’s done…but I’ve waiting this long, and I’m still here. It’s time to show and prove what I came here to do. And to all the snitches, bitches and haters; it’s all TRUE.

One Love

May 24, 2005

Sex Degrees of Separation (Dreams of Catching Dubs)

Milk + Ice Cream =
Creamy, Dreamy, Frothy blended sensation =
brings all the boys to the yard...>

NEW SHIT...Check the link & the original Milkshake visuals right...chea

Most of the time, sicko psychos sic their cats/dogs on haters and perpetrators; sometimes they drop cyclical elliptical references bordering on the obscure. Then there's that whole kevin bacon thing (nh, jic).

When I worked at the sauce, I had a son in the ad department. We'll call him Jay Dub. He was the whitest of white boys, and proud of it. He also loved Hip Hop with all his heart and soul, and proceeded to be the most knowledgable
3H (Hip Hop Head) second only to myself in residence at 215 park avenue south. One night, during a particularly harsh and wack "closing" we were all working so late it was early, I stumbled upon a strange, curious, fabulous, and immaculate website called Catchdubs. Looking for information on P-Diddy's bro-hawk, I clicked a Kelis link and found a version of the Milkshake video you won't see on cable (which is now unfortunately a dead link, http://www.beyondourreality.com/kelis.mov). Not the wack one filmed in my former Williamsburg weekend brunch spot Relish, with Nas as the sexy line cook. The one where Kelis had milkshake all over her like a western version of Bukake.

It was like Whoa. I showed the video to all my doggies -- jay dub, the grown & sexy
F.E.D.S. Magazine homies, Gotti, Boogie, Tory. All had a newfound respect for me, I was already so super-cool in their eyes - but somehow me turning them on to a scantily clad Kelis, dripping with vanilla milkshake, shaking her not-so-little thang-thang on top of a bouncing lowrider...well, it changed my office status somewhat. After a few days, even the lovely ladies of the sauce were coming up to me askin' that burning question..."MJ, where's the link to that Kelis video?" Catchdubs, ladies, Catchdubs.

I had a dream a while back, one of those dreams where you wake up in the dream, but in fact you're still dreaming and asleep? When I woke up (but not really) I was Kelis, and I was asleep and having a nightmare that I was sexing up a not particularly attractive white magazine publisher. Then I (Kelis) woke up, turned over in bed, snuggled a little closer to my incredibly handsome, sexy fiance
NASIR JONES, and went back to sleep to dream of milkshakes in a rainbow of flavors. Then I (Miranda) woke up like whoa. WHOA.

So today I got an IM from
FWMJ, my new favorite person, who's been loyally reading my blog after getting turned on to Pyramids 2 Projects by young I.D. at Hieroglyphics Imperium. In passing, he mentioned he'd read the Madvillainy post on CATCHDUBS via a link to my site. With the exception of finding out that two of my favorite authors (yes, people who write and publish books, tomes, literature, biographies, BOOKS!) are also "readers" of P2P; and that my mentor is reading, albeit less than weekly {and is he retiring a la Jay Z to let a young, up and coming, HOT blogger like myself hold The Roc??}...the discovery of the fact that I've been mentioned on Catch Dubs is one of the high points of my career thus far. All night I've been alternating between "I need a pet cheetah," and "OHMIGOD, I'm on Catchdubs!!".

Then it got deep. Jay Dub vamped out from the sauce and headed to
The Fader quite some time ago. Turns out Nick, of Catchdubs Fame, works there as well? Well, well, well...I'll be damned. I read something that said Doom said Kelis is one of his best friends. One of MY best friends, Tragedy Khadafi, has a son/sun/thun named Nas from QB; whom unfortunately I've never met although I once saw him get jacked for his chain at a concert in SF a la P-Yayo's Chain Ripping Episodic... Plus, even more likely than the Jon Faddis/Buell Neidlinger collabo Madlib and I guessed about is the extreme possibility that my "daddy" also jammed at some point with Mr. Olu Dara Jones.

I've also met Yasmin, who often does Kelis' hair, through mutual friends of ours, loyal Sneaker Pimp'n partygoer Courtney (Royce 5'9"s sister) and Talib Kweli. She liked my
piece, so I gave her the hookup to order her own. Designed by KEL 1st - a coincedence, you say? Kelis, KEL 1st...I think not. I'll visit Brooklyn again soon and get some braids from homegirl - who does a mean, mean weeve - and possibly I'll just happen to bump into Kelis. And I love the gal (no lesbo), think she's a peach, dig her music, love her Chinese-Jamaicanness, and don't even begrudge her marriage to the former love of my life, Mr. Illmatic. But still, we both B-Girls, so if we bump heads we'll have to set it off, and battle it out. All skills to the yard.

It's the only way to show and prove, for all time, that my Milkshake is indeed better than Hers.
And even if I lose, please believe that my Milkshake remains...better than yours.

* another degree... I explained, dear readers, how I discovered catchdubs seeking puffy/diddy's elusive Mr. T-inspired mohawk. So boom, at Kelis' listening session (replete with free milkshakes in strawberry, chocolate AND vanilla {Star Trak/Arista PR Department rocks) they played a track that didn't make the album. It was produced by Diddy and curiously sampled a 90s classic by Souls of Mischief, produced by my favorite producer's favorite producer, Adam 7 (A-Plus). Pooofy didn't sample the sample, he sampled the SOM banger. I mentioned this in my Kelis review for the sauce...but when the album dropped it was sans this track, thus cloaking from the de(a)f, dumb & blind the degree of Pharrell-Kelis-Diddy.Bop-A-Plee/SOM/Hiero. This now concludes 360 degress of Milkshake...back to our regularly scheduled program, How'd We Get From the Pyramids 2 the Projects.


Opus III...Does Anybody Care?!

First Big Move...

Keep your eyes on the prize for what's next. I'll let ya'll know when it's time for the garage (band) sale. Anybody wanna buy some autographed MF Doom shit?

May 23, 2005



<...Looking for the Perfect Beat…>

Reminiscing on the “glory days” of Hip Hop, we remember the foundational MCs who dropped solid LPs (you know, where U never have to fast forward, but you wear out your rewind?) & the DJs who were expert diggers, masters of the scratch, jugglers, and painted musical Graffiti with their routines and mixtapes. Funny how I spent so much time in L.A. in the clubs, at the shows, and in the streets seeking MCs who could do this one thing...it had me trippin. Crazy how I scoured every DJ in the industry AND in the streets in NYC looking for the perfect beat.

This week I’ve been blessed with not just one, but with both of these phenoms – in a place least expected…Minnesota.

I Self Devine, who’s known for his work with the group The Micranots and his O.G. Graffiti styles from L.A. to the Twin Cities; laced me with a listening session of his upcoming LP “SELF DESTRUCTION”… This is that ol’ boom bap, kickin’ some real raw deal shit from one of the dopest MCs with one of the most highly-anticipated solos in a long time. There’s no filler, or miscellaneous guest appearances…this is just pure Hip Hop. The album drops in early August, I’ll post up again when the first single’s about to drop. (Some production by Vitamin D and Jake One...shouts from me to Walt Liquor, wherever he's at.)

Desdamona, myself, and Unique, a dope Poetess/MC from Central Touring Theater in St. Paul appeared on Siddiq’s RSE Radio on KFAI last night (check the archive here). After we dropped in to check Brother Ali, Toki Wright, Freeze, Illumious 3, Orikal, and a few other local cats performing at that little club in the basement. It was cool to see such a diverse group of MCs on one stage in one night. DJ Stage One hooked me up with an advance copy of his mixtape, STREET CINEMA, and I was basically waiting for him to start spinning. It was getting late, but he finally started mixing sometime after 2 a.m. I was sleepy, yawning, tired from dancing and generally exhausted from the stress of the upcoming event. As usual, he dropped some of that old illmatic shit, and I was stuck off the realness, unable to leave the spot until long after 3 a.m. Don’t worry, I took a cab home this time instead of trooping it on foot!

Came home, got fresh, laid it down, turned the lights down low, and threw the mix CD into the Hello Kitty walkman. I closed my eyes and just listened. I knew this kid was nasty, I’ve seen him transform a lil’ something just fucking around at the club. But this mixtape is straight wildstyle. I had just been thinking on how true DJs do their shit a lot like my Graffiti guys (and gals) – doing the knowledge to old-school styles, digging through the racks for paint (digging in the crates, blowin dust off that O.G. shit), and combining styles, flavors, and colors in a way no one else would think of.

Stage One’s new shit starts off with an interview (most likely from the Style Wars director’s cut DVD) of DEZ ONE talking about how he went from Graf artist and street-scientist to becoming DJ KAY SLAY a/k/a The Drama King. Then he cuts to another O.G., MIN ONE, and a piece of an interview where he explains his downfall from King of Graf, to drug addict/hard timer, to where he is now - "I've got a little family now, and I'm doing good."

Of course Stage used to be a Graf artist too. Are you noticing a fucken pattern here? This is the Star Wars of mixtapes, with an interstellar variety of beats, cuts, blends, genres, samples, and crazy drops. I’m telling you, the kid Stage One is sick wit it and, mark my words as always, he’ll be a DJ with a household name sooner than you can name this tune…

I'm just an addict
Addicted to music
Maybe it's a habit

I gotta use it
Even if it's jazz or the quiet storm

I hook a beat up
Convert it into Hip Hop form

I write a rhyme in Graffiti and
Every show you see me in
Deep concentration

Cause I'm no comedian
Jokers are wild
If you wanna be tamed

I'll treat you like a child
Then you're gonna be named
Another enemy
Not even a friend of me
Cause you'll get fried in the end
When you pretend to be...>