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July 29, 2006

Streets are Watching/Their Eyes Are Watching God

Meditating in the bath a few nights back, right after listening to 18 With a Bullet, I had a strange feeling about one of my dearly beloved friends. The next day another friend told me he'd been shot a couple of weeks back, but that he was recovering.

Last night a few people on MySpace posted bulletins that Prodigy of Mobb Deep was murdered in Queens near 43rd. I still haven't been able to clarify if that is truth or rumour.

Today I went to the location where my friend was shot to assess the energy level, and cleanse what I could. After coming home this news story appeared in my email box -
5 Murdered in New Orleans - and then right after perusing The Bishop on the Israel/Lebanon violence and the lack of Hip Hop blogger/media reaction I happened upon this news piece about an alleged Muslim-against-Jew shooting in Seattle.

There's a pattern here, and it isn't for the faint of heart. Random violence. Black-on-Black violence. Violence overseas and on this soil based on race/religion/ethnicity. Rumoured "rap violence" again. There's a maelstorm of hatred that makes the recent weather patterns look like Spring rain. I don't know if Paris is burning but you can almost smell the singed Cyprus trees from here.

A Halal butcher and a Kosher butcher follow the same ancient guidelines when killing a
chicken - all over the world. In other religious practices, such as Santeria, the blood of a chicken is for certain rites and the meat becomes an offering to the Saints. In Indonesia the chicken has great significance during the Hindu cremation ceremony.

In the 'hood the poorest kids eat the grimiest chicken fried in yesterday's grease, no one cares how the meat is slaughtered, or even if it's authentically chicken - only in America.

And only in America, to paraphrase Malcolm X, can all these chickens come home to roost.
To quote my dear friend Aziz, "If you ain't fam, you food."

Are you ready for war?

The Internet Rumour...R.I.P. Prodigy (Mobb Deep)?

I read this in a bulletin on MySpace when I came down to blog. I was upstairs listening to Tragedy and Littles on the Reloaded CD, which I haven't heard in months, so if this is true I had QB on my mind. The last time I was supposed to see Prodigy was at B.B. Kings, but he had an episode of his sickle cell anemia acting up and he couldn't come out to perform. I hope this is yet another internet rumour...if it's true, God bless P's life.

(I found this notation later this morning on MySpace..."Sorry..... it was late, I was drunk, and I read it from some-one else's bulletin.I think it was a fake! Plus, whoever write it, doesn't know how to write too good.")

R.I.P. Prodigy MOBB DEEP

Police are searching for the person responsible for shooting a man outside a Queens, New York home. The victim, 32 year old rapper Albert Johnson also known as Prodigy from the gangster rap group Mobb Deep, ran for help and collapsed moments later and died from bullet wounds according to 5 local witnesses.

Emergency crews responded to the scene and tried to save his life, but by the time they got there he was already dead. Crews closed down 43rd street in order to search for evidence and witnesses, causing major backups. It's out of the question whether the shooting appeared to be rap-related. Albert Johnson leaves behind his wife and two children, an autopsy is yet to be issued

KEEP ON MOVING (the time will come for the rain)

Los Angeles. Hot summer night in the city. Insomnia squeezes, but it don't choke. Back II Life acapella in the headphones. I'm down, take a look around. Sirens blend in the background...187? 211? 2:40, the beat finally drops in. However do you want me? How (ever) do you need me?
Flashback to the basement club in Minneapolis - Stage One used to play this cut sometimes. I was so happy just to walk to the club at night by myself. Listen. Then walk home alone. Solitary refinement.
Flash further back to NYC. Tuesday nights, Bar XVI, Evil Dee and Mr. Walt. It was just a little hole in the wall. Same shit, hope over the Williamsburg bridge by myself, walk in the spot, kick back. Listen. Go home alone.
This year I feel like I'm wasting away inside this house, my youth is slipping away from me, and I can feel it. Steady, are you ready?
Flash way back to 1989. When I was with Stephan. When we were in love. When he was still alive. My first time hearing Soul II Soul I was with him. Why when I was 15 did I have love, a man, a car, and a home? I don't have any of those today. Cold fresh air, feel the melody that's in the air.
I know why Stephan and I broke up. But I'll never know what made him tie a noose for himself, or take that last slip into darkness. I'll always wonder. What made me strong enough to carry on? Even after so much has gone wrong for me, after the bottom has dropped out of my life time and time again...I'm still here.
I live at the top of the block, there's no more room for anything more. I'll state my name, my claim to fame. Look, it's more writing on the wall. Tell me...however, do you want me? I wonder?

Back to life? Back to reality.

Reciting a lil' poetry for ya'll...>


People said this relationship could never work
We don’t have enough in common
They’re too far apart, the dates of our birth
True, U and I come from two different worlds
Fate brought us together in the same universe
Shipwrecked on this multifaceted lovers rock
A blessing and a curse
Two of a kind
The broken-hearted patient and his vigilant night nurse
So many enchanted evenings, melancholy, spent apart
Encapsulating in letter form what is inside two hearts
Her soulfulness enough to make even a thug cry
His brilliance alone can light up the night sky
Though everyone would trespass against us
Without understanding, they’re on the outside, looking in
Still our friendship grows across space and time
Despite physical separation, our souls intertwine
With all due respect for He who brought us together
Our bond will endure through even the worst weather
Eventually we’ll arrive at the one place we can be together…

July 25, 2006

Bastardization of a B*Girl

Some Fake Shit VS. THAT REAL

Will the REAL B-Girls please stand up? Or bust some floor work?
Big up ASIA ONE, PEPPA, G.I. JANE, LADY CHAMP, and all the rest!

Bastardization of a B*Girl - Part I
On a telephonic two-woman consciousness-raising session this morning, Rachel Raimist soon-to-be-PhD and I did our usual brainstorm-connect-feminist-powers-activate mindmeld and magical things started happening. I suddenly received an email from California's largest adult-entertainment company asking me to interview for their office manager position; she simultaneously received a mysterious e-missive from an anomoly/anonymous video-network insider to make immediate contact.

Outside looking in, we've been there, done that. On the surface, we've scratched underneath it, next. Behind the scenes? We've both made that scene, and then some, for far too long. But undercover? Don't think I won't do it. The spook who sat by the whore...oh wait maybe I've already worked that job...

Cryptic femisms to the side (aren't they always?), HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

For years I hesitated to label myself a B-Girl because I am neither a Bronx girl nor a Break girl, although I do possess a modicum of footwork and what a professional B-Girl would call "Hip Hop Dance skills". But I'm a purist. Of course I'm a dyed-in-the-wool, to-the-heart, Mi-Vida-Loca B-Girl in more ways than one; I have the Hip Hop tattoo on the back if you're confused about my pedigree.
So in the name of sisterhood, and trying to retain the bit of Queenliness/Royalty that we women of the Hip Hop Generation posess, a few years back I said fuck it; if you're down for this struggle and you're not a total bitch; if you didn't start listening to Hip Hop when Diddy re-invented the re-mix ghostproduction...you're a B-Girl.

Because, here's the rub. B-Girl is one of the only positive attributes we have left. I'm blessed with cultured, refined gentlemen around me who address me as Queen. But let's fact facts, most women my age (and most are younger by half) are getting called another B-word, and it's bitch, if it's not beee-yotch.

A B-Girl is bold. A B-Girl is beautiful. A B-Girl is someone who cares about this culture. A B-Girl might listen to Nelly as a guilty pleasure, or watch a T.I. video 'cause he's Plan B. A B-Girl might have a pair of tight jeans, or a favorite pair of heels or sandals; she might employ a weeve or braids or other hair magic to acheive her look now and then. She might get her M.A.C. on every once in a while just to remind ya'll she knows how to give good face.
A B-Girl, above all else, is intricate, mysterious, complex, and BEGUILING. She might use her skills to pay the bills, but she ain't got to use what she got just to get what she want. A B-Girl knows that she might not get what she wants, but she shall proceed to get what she needs.

B-Girl Asia One talked about Headspin Janet as one of the first B-Girls. Crazy Legs RSC mentioned her name as well. Historically B-Girls got their start in the Bronx and elsewhere in New York. Some were down with Rocksteady Crew, some were Zulu Queens. And those ladies could Break...in some cases better, stronger, and faster than the B-Boys.

I think Headspin Janet passed away, and some of the other First Ladies of Breaking have also gone back to the essence. And I know that as sick as BET's "B-Girls" have made me to my stomach, this shit probably has them rolling over in their grave.

So if you love Hip Hop, and you're tired of tired hoes masquerading as cultural constituents, I think it's time to hit up BET and let them know where Hip Hop lives.

And while this B-Girl flick isn't my favorite representation (especially now that some random chick will be the "star", at least it shows the true struggle of a break girl. And like Julia Phillips said, "if you can't be best, be first".


In the neverending search for a career move, I've been looking toward using the family name, the Father's (in)fame, and the Hollywood inside game to a) make much more money, b) break out of the horrid/torrid "urban" mold that I've been so wrongfully pigeonholed into and c) tell/sell some of the incredible stories I've lived, witnessed and seen my friends and homies live through. Shit, people see The Source Magazine on your resume and think you're a) illiterate, b) bankrupt, c) a sex-industry worker or d) all of the above. Of which I'm none of the above.

Not for nothing did I a) grow up in Hollywood AND Laurel Canyon, b) spend all that time at Spago afterparties as a pre-teen, c) traverse and travail to Ojai with the family of Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters) and d) save a treasure-trove of mental pictures of various Hollywood and music-biz types sniffing freeze-rock-sugar-cane-blow. I might have been six years old, but trust me I have a memory like an elephant and a mind like a steel trap. Fear me.

After the infamous Neil Portnow liked me until he realized I was my father's daughter so I didn't get the Jive/Zomba gig which was bad, but now that he's El Jefe de los Grammys y NARAS or whatever the fuck it's called today it's even worse...I gave up on THAT side of the family.

So today my poor Mom had to regale me with the story of how she sent a scathing personal letter to an old family friend who is a huge Hollywood producer about how she left her cell phone ringer on during my Grandma's funeral and that she should basically burn in hell for all eternity because of this fact. Mom, don't feel bad, I WANT to work for a woman who leaves her cell phone on during funerals. Trust me she makes the last 15 years of Rap & Bullshitty Business look like nothing with that very act. And when I become the next Kathy Nelson and I'm music-supervising ALL the huge blockbuster films, guess whose tracks will end up in my circular file? You know who you are. Anyways I left a message for the big-time Hollywood producer lady and we'll see if she calls me back.

About an hour later, my Mom calls my cell again (twice in one day, this IS a record) and says, oh oh oh I forgot someone. Linda Perry. Do you remember her? She was at Lorimar Records. Well, of course there's no more Lorimar Records. There's not even anymore a Lorimar Pictures. But, lo and behold, Linda Perry has a
MySpace! Of course she does, 'cause she's 4 Non Blondes Linda Perry. And Aguilera Linda Perry. Linda Perry Rocks! And even though my Mom stopped playing drums after appearing on only one album, Marty's Garage, and she may not be rich, or big in Hollywood, or current on her record labels and movie studios, one thing is true. SHE ROCKS TOO.

p.s. I'm at the library posting this and two really cute teenage girls, one with naturally red hair in a fly cornrow design, vocally admire my chain. So I say well my friend KEL, he's a graffiti artist, and he's sort of famous, he makes these... And the redhead girl says, "Oh, my Daddy is a graffiti artist too. He's from WCA. His name is WISK." I LOVE L.A.