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Highly Favored

Highly Favored

“Highly Favored”

God’s favorite but I ain’t special.
I just sacrificed too much to settle,
as I levitate past each past level.
Why waste time & wrestle –
with anything that’s unsuccessful.
I don’t believe in being regretful.
But maybe my ambition will have me fall like the devil.
Then everything’s in vain like the blood in my vessels.

Still I’m highly favored.

Down for my cause so I’m up early.
Thoughts orbiting earth got me feeling worldly.
I wonder if it’s too late –
to ask for something to compensate – for all the time I put in –
with this mental pen.

My subconscious been in the game I’ll just be “Ab honest” –
as I fulfill my self-made promise.

I’m all action and I’m cautious of those who just make comments.
Keep that love I don’t want it.
You characters are child’s play I read you like comics.
Then write about it for weeks,
I go on a streak, you ever seen a poetic comet?
That refused structure I can’t write sonnets –
but each word’s impact is atomic.
And my radius radiates,
All the candidates –
that deep down have what it takes –
or at the very least those who can relate – to staying true, to, who, you are not because it’s safe –
but because whatever you love to do has no cost,
and you know you already lost,
if you’re not getting paid to do what you love –
Who wouldn’t love to be A Real Boss.

God’s favorite but I ain’t special.
I just sacrificed too much to settle,
as I levitate past each past level.
Why waste time & wrestle –
With anything that’s unsuccessful.
I don’t believe in being regretful.
But maybe my ambition will have me fall like the devil.
Then everything’s in vain like the blood in my vessels.

Still I’m highly favored.

In this game they try to play you.
But you live by a code where it’s like you’re cheating the way you save you.
It’s a movie playing out with all the insight your parents gave you.
And you’re cut from a different cloth so they can’t waive you.
They ACT like it’s all love but in the end “watch em” hate you.
But you can only control your character relying on what raised you.
And the bar is set high, above the sky, don’t “let em” grave you.
Deading your dreams over what little dollars they think will enslave you.
God said,  “trust me and I’ll amaze you.”
So when the devil’s on one, playing pranks, it don’t faze you,
And when your high-definition vision’s clear absolutely nothing can daze you.

God’s favorite but I ain’t special.
I just sacrificed too much to settle,
as I levitate past each past level.
Why waste time & wrestle –
With anything that’s unsuccessful.
I don’t believe in being regretful.
But maybe my ambition will have me fall like the devil.
Then everything’s in vain like the blood in my vessels.

Still I’m highly favored.

Hip Hop Matters

hiphopmatters

     HIP HOP MATTERS

The art of empowerment still lies underneath the catchy club-friendly hooks, the radio driven lyrics, and the auto tune. After Q-Tip’s twitter history lesson directed towards Iggy Azalea in December, it was apparent Hip-Hop has become one of the most diverse cultures in today’s society. However, with the help of Hip-Hop’s hit makers, it is still placed in a stereotypical box. The art form was created so the underprivileged could have a voice, an outlet from the streets, poverty, and drugs, but, in 2015 Hip-Hop is a worldwide phenomenon that still scares upper-class America. With its roots in the inner city is Hip-Hop responsible for uplifting the “Black Lives Matters” movement? Or is it responsible for reinforcing the stereotypes that have caused unjust murders? Or is it just music?

It is unreal how in the 70’s the Black and Latino youth in the Bronx created a culture that started from basement parties and street corners to become a global money machine. Initially a political and social movement, Hip-Hop became the voice of the community, but rhyming over rhythm has transformed into the music of the mainstream as it clearly generates millions and millions of dollars. There are still a lot of socially conscious artists out there that are advocates of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, but will the radios play their music to help it gain momentum? I doubt the sponsors would support that but with each crime committed against young black lives, we should be able to count on the artist we support to propel our social injustices to the highest platforms of exposure. However, I’m sure we will continue to hear the allure of fame, fortune, and women dominating the airwaves and the clubs because that’s what drives the masses to spend their hard earn money.

I hope some form of a political/social agenda resurfaces from the Hip-Hop leaders, yet I know our culture will never continue to flourish financially if the ideologies of successful Black America were able to set the stage for an intervention. Our culture needs to prove that applying all the misconceptions of African-American men to each and every one of them is wrong. As the black entertainers make millions can they still shine the light on the burden of being black in America? Or do we have to force America’s attention on social injustices through social media, mixtapes, and YouTube? Probably both and with the world of music becoming an internet based business, artist have more control of their content and the ability to reach the audiences they appeal to without interference from the powers that be. However, will the talented individuals use these tools purely for profit with no intent to create a purpose within the communities they come from or will they take on the responsibility of speaking out on the issues of violence?

“Alive-ing”

It’s about more than surviving,
Live a little while I’m alive-ing,
Yeah I struggle, to keep thriving!

Took a few L’s in life but my minds undefeated.

Failure’s never been greeted,

in fact it got seated

in the front row

as I played the fool like a genius.

It’s deeper than you can see- I low keyed it.

Took advantage of the misperception until my act was depleted,

But by then my plan was completed.

It’s about more than surviving,

Live a little while I’m alive-ing,

Yeah I struggle, to keep thriving!

Diagnosed with an addiction to the grind – it can’t be treated.

And as my bucket list gets deleted,

Yesterday’s me is the only one who completed,

With the pace of my achievements,

Although a few days it got heated.

And that energy white sheeted,

most of my demons and that’s just what I needed,

For this big ego of mine to keep eating

And that process gets repeated

Because…

It’s about more than surviving,
Live a little while I’m alive-ing,
Yeah I struggle, to keep thriving!
So live a little while I’m alive-ing.

“Schemas, Who Am I?”

After writing personal statements, bios, filling out “about me” sections, answering interview questions, and writing a preface for my poetry book it is easy for me to understand myself, but it took a long time to understand this fluid construct of a “self-concept” that consist of my conception and expression of my individuality. These descriptions of myself are based on my self-schemas, which are a collection of long lasting memories including beliefs, generalizations,experiences, academic performance, gender, social, and cultural roles. A self-schema is based on any physical characteristic, personality trait, behavior, or interest I have as long as it is seen by me to be important to who I am. These schemas interchange and interaction with each other depending on cultural backgrounds and environmental factors. They also represent how I expect myself to think, act, and feel in a particular situation or setting.

 

For instance as far as my interest, the two most prominent self-schemas I have are my professional schema and my poetic schema and they happen to be on the opposite ends of the  schema spectrum. My self-schema as a poet would never interfere with my self-schema as a professional because the poet in me doesn’t wear slacks or speak standard english, while the professional me is motivated by performance and money rather than the power of manipulating words. I realized the strong tendencies of my subconscious as it only attends to and remembers information that is relevant to my self-schemas. For example, my professional schema self-perpetuates itself as I chose  to engage into activities based on the stereotypes of what I think a professional is and my poetic schema is always searching for inspiration and new words to learn. During the day I refine my resume and cover letter, search job sites, read articles about career improvement, and of course work but then I go home and proofread a poem, research literary techniques,listen to hip-hop for inspiration, and read poetry by Langston Hughes. I am bias towards both types of information but I’m only interested in the professional details when I’m in a professional environment and vice versa.

 

However as I start to market my poetry book, my professional schema has collaborated with my poetic schema to learn how to creativity promote a self-published book. My professional self has been able to assimilated certain information that is useful for business aspects of publishing in a way my poetic self would have had trouble understanding. My poetry schema could careless how many people buy the book, how much it cost to make it, and it definitely could careless how much money I make from it. My poetic schema just wants the poetry to be out there, but my professional schema knows it deserves to have a modest price attached to it, simply because of all the time and effort put into crafting it. Also, the professional schema funds the poetic schema, so it tends to want a return on its investment.

 

With this understanding of my self-schemas it is easy for me to realize why I became who I am and why I like what I like. Not many people are conscious of the underlying mental processes that reduce the amount of information their brain has to interpret and how stimuli in the environment is perceived. Also, they are not aware that our schemas guide our focus, influence our memories, and judgements. As a poet it is vital to me to understand how I came to act and think the way I do. This allows me to accomplish all my goals, whether they are career driven or for my own personal gain. Before I had this understanding, it was a world of distorted reality, unrealistic rigid expectations, and I could only fulfilled the limited prophecy my overall “self-concept” had created. Since this construct will never be static, the question will always remain, “Schemas, who am I?”

The Poet’s Pledge

I pledge,

that I know I am blessed to have a spirit in a world of soulless selves.

I pledge,

that I know my unconscious motivation to conquer each and every environment is a gift of immeasurable proportion.

I pledge,

I will be governed by principles instilled in my soul from the divine power.

I pledge,

I will follow my own philosophies without judging those you follow the Zeitgeist of my generation.

I pledge,

I will engage the world through an eclectic approach that gives me a multitude of perspectives to understand what lies beneath the dogmatic train of thoughts that influence the sheep like mindsets’ of many.

I pledge,

I will use the days in my life to create art.

I pledge,

I will create written expressions that convey themes derived from my existence as it collides with these so called “American” dreams.

Foundation (Year 1 in Review)

It is amazing to me how quickly 365 days goes by when you’re constantly in motion. Driving 20 plus hours on interstates, with only junk, from Denver to Atlanta was the best decision I ever made. Through sheer culture shock I’ve made all the necessary moves to go into year 2 as scheduled. The people of Atlanta have welcomed me in multitude of ways, although their motives were the first thing I noticed and not southern hospitality. They reinforced the notion that if I put my all faith in God and myself I will always intrinsically grow despite the despair, disrespect, lies, and neglect of negative people. Coming to the city of cities with unforeseen circumstances waiting for me was a calculated gambled that proved to be invaluable in the sense of truly getting to know myself ( Socrates would be proud!). My hometown built me but I had to leave so I could construct my foundation; My roots needed to be nourished by more culturally rich soil so I planted my life in the rolling hills of the A. I’ve been motivated by corporate America, small businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals, college students, and even the hustlers to grind one goal, one class, one word, one connection, and one paid hour at a time.  With blind faith I know my journey will forever be a continuous struggle to accomplish dreams my mind hasn’t created yet, simply because I’m in an environment where inspiration is in every cardinal direction. No longer can I rely on the excuse of race, or misperception, or even my past because they have no effect here. I can’t be rescued by a safety net if I fall because it was removed before I decided to tip toe across the high wire act of adulthood far from where my life began. Out of my comfort zone I’ve constantly developed skills out of necessity; A trait that can be traced back to the beginning of my ancestry. At times it seems as though I’ve been stagnant but really those were moments of impatience or rare instances of boredom. In Denver, I handled my business but it there really wasn’t anywhere to balance that out without running into the same crowd. In the Atl,  almost every bar, festival, restaurant, event, game, lounge, BBQ, mall, and club has some sort of appeal.  The well-shaped pretty women, great food, and the perfect music are plentiful. In fact, it’s ridiculous and I see why so many people become distracted and taken under by that world. I love that aspect of the city ( who wouldn’t) but I guess because I’m older that materialistic reality just extrinsically fuels me to take the necessary steps to be able to balance business with pleasure and eventually make business pleasurable.

“Old” Tweeners:Turning 26

26

What’s distinctive about turning 26?
I can’t think of anything, can you?
Are you too old to go “up on a Tuesday” a year after your quarter of a century celebration or are you too young not to?
Does it matter how you celebrate when your 21st and your 25th were extraordinary?

 

I’ve come across a lot of people who feel like the best moments of their lives are over by now, but there also seems to be an abundance of people relishing the arrival of “old” age. Why would  the 26th year be distinctive when the conventional American has either:

A) accomplished all their goals,
B) hasn’t accomplished anything (yet?),
3) or is somewhere between absolute failure and comprehensive success?

What about the “Tweeners”? The individuals who  have accomplished a lot of their goals, but have a surplus of empty boxes, to check off, on their bucket list. The people who on a day-to-day basis self-improve. The folks who continue to impress their childhood friends each time they ask, “what you been up too?” The young professionals who have stable situations, yet hear the ticking of that biological clock and feel that pressure from society to do whatever it is they haven’t done. What about the ladies and gentlemen who must improve some aspect of their existence before they consider settling down into true adulthood?

What do the 26 year-olds that embrace their individuality yet find comfort in the cultural commonalities do? Are these people too busy or too self-absorbed to have children? How are the people that can pay all their bills on time with no assistance from their parents or the government supposed to feel? Happy? Mad? Hungry? Sad? Should we be miserable like those who give up on their dreams because they had to make sacrifices or didn’t have the drive? Should we be content like the people who are psychologically, socially, and physically contributing adults but may have lost their sense of self due to the greater good of their family? Or should we be in a state of bliss like our full-fledged grown up counterparts that are happily married with children, a nice house, and a solid career?

So many questions can be overwhelming, yet I’ll be able to answer them because there’s so much more life left to live. I must say I’m happy to be somewhere in the middle of the adult spectrum as I’ll celebrate being 26 for the rest of this year. I’m blessed to be kid free, college educated, and a self-sufficient adult who can depend on family for any kind of help; However, I pride myself on being able to act grown when it counts. I still chase my childhood dreams as I gain career accomplishments, so (HELL) no I don’t want to go back to the responsibility free world of an elementary school student. I have no desire, deep down inside, to go back to the days of being a “cool” kid in middle school. I definitely have fond high school and college memories but wanting to go back is laughable. I’m excited and eerily surprised I’ve made it to my late 20’s; I’m going to appreciate getting “old.”

Are you?

Hip Hop’s Side Chick

I Love Hip Hop

I Love Hip Hop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Peter Gunz is the 2013’s representative of men that are highlighted by popular American figures such as Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, and Brad Pitt.

The Hip Hop concept of a “Side-Chick,” is not new to our society, but the world’s reaction to the media’s popularization of the old fashion love triangle would give anyone the impression that producer Stevie J created the phenomenon. In reality, dishonesty and manipulation have been reinvented and promoted through episodes that are supposedly focused on Hip Hop music, but instead the television appearances provide the audience with insight into the personal days and nights of Hip Hop’s movers and shakers. These hours seemed to be filled with deception, animosity, and the extortion of the “playa” stereotype. The consumers bash Hip Hop’s males for acting like assholes, but simultaneously they promote these bad guys all over their social networks. Subliminally, they put money in these adulterers’ pockets, which adds water to an already overflowing tub of modern minstrel shows.

The hatred and disgust the audience has toward the men causes the ratings to rise repeatedly. Networks feed off of the popular belief that women can’t hold their cheating men accountable, and that women don’t cheat. If the creators of the shows decided to show men and women in a good light who would tune in? If the couples weren’t having issues on every episode why would Americans watch? If the show were really about music what would separate it from other popular media outlets?

The network wants you to think that men that create Hip Hop music treat all women like dogs, because it is good for their business. The male cast doesn’t mind enhancing the negative image of black men as long as their empty pockets are being filled, and reality television stardom is creating new opportunities for their, otherwise, dead careers.

For several seasons all we have seen are a collection of womanizers who are recording artists and music producers. These artists don’t really showcase any music; rather they help VH1 increase the value of the side chick drama. The three-way love story is the perfect expression of drama and has created revenue for, both, the exploited characters and the producers of the show in the expense of urban America’s image. People talk bad about these men but fail to accept the fact that humans from all genders, cultures and colors lie and cheat on one another, not just the men that make urban music.

The modern day mistress has become one of the network’s go to archetypes. Every season, every episode, and every act is filled with “baby-mama drama” and/ or sideline hoes, which reflects American culture and all the examples of this same scenario in real life. However, when something takes place in Hip Hop it becomes infamous in mainstream society no matter what it is. These “Side-Chick” shenanigans are so appealing to the general public because art is emulating the nature of humans. Season four of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” brings, yet another, three sided relationship to the forefront of popular culture. The only difference is the people, the location, and a few minor details.

Although it isn’t directly related to music this story of a “Side-Chick” is one of many that inspires the lyrics and rhythmic sounds of our favorite recording artists, and producers. No matter how you feel about VH1’s portrayal of women, African Americans, or urban music the writers and producers try to show the audience the lives behind the creation of the melodies and lyrics.  Although they show a limited view of the rappers and their lovers’ lives, it is good to see the private side of the music industry. It helps the audience understand the sadness in a signer’s voice, or the anger evoked by that bass heavy instrumental. The camera lens tries to capture what inspires the music talents’ creative juices by showing their emotional reactions to intense situations.  VH1 illustrates that some of the songs we vibe too were inspired by lying, cheating, and implausible moments.

The network captures the lives of the artist it is as it reveals how they interact with the people closest to them. As a result, every Monday America tunes in to watch the falling and rising industry stars’ personal trials and tribulations. Whether you believe the show is more staged than real, or vice versa, the bottom line is that VH1 has found a niche that is definitely entertaining but by no means was created by Hip Hop. Time after time we have seen families, on television and in real life, being ruined over sex that should have never occurred and still Americans are entertained by this unfaithfulness. We have become obsessed with men trying to balance out wives and girlfriends on national television, and we promote it as we tweet about it for hours and hours after the show is over.

As Peter Gunz’ name trends on twitter we must realize his position is shared by millions of individuals, of all races, cultures, sexual orientations, and ages, but the ex-Grammy nominee has become the poster child for infidelity. He has perpetuated old stereotypes that say black men are animalistic and can’t be civilized, but he represents a percentage of men that can’t be described by specific physical characteristics such as the color of their skin.

As you watch VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop” please keep in mind, even though every man on music related reality television cheats, not every man in reality does. For every Stevie J there is an Ice Cube. For every Peter Gunz there is a T.I. Before you write a Facebook status comparing these Hip Hop characters on television to the real men in your world be mindful not to overgeneralize, and remember there are plenty of Hip Hop couples, actually making music, who are raising families without side chicks or boyfriend number 2’s in the background.

 

Young Tenner

Young Tenner, remember the name if you haven’t heard it already. As a member of the Box Boyz but mostly as a solo artist Young Tenner has created a name for himself around Aurora, Denver, and beyond. With 2 mixtapes, 12 videos, and a rapidly expanding fan base Tenner has proven he will continue to gain momentum in 2014. The #Afterhours mixtape, set to drop this December, is highly anticipated because the strength of his two smooth streets singles Sexy Smoker, and Way She Smokes. He has worked with his sister, Lady V, Lkeys, A.p., and basically every artist coming out of Colorado. He is a business man running an after hours spot, selling custom clothing, and his music. Tenner’s vision has captured a concept, and he has craved his own lane in Colorado’s congested rap game. Some critics may say Tenner only raps about women,weed,  and the streets but Tenner makes quality music about life for his fans. Obviously, his fans respect the streets, love to party, and smoke after the club.

Watch Young Tenner’s video, “Sexy Smoke (remix)”:

1. What does Tenner mean?
My name is really Ten, like the number, but Tenner is something different and it had a better ring to it, so I rocked with that.
2. What are you trying to accomplish with “Sexy Smoker” and the “Way She
Smokes?”
I wanted to be a sexier side to weed smoking, which inspired my 2014 SEXNTREES EP, which is all smooth smoking music.
3. What is your niche is this rap game?
I got own sound and background, and I strive to be something different and original.
4. Why should fans support Tenner?
(Fans should support Tenner) so the world can finally get a taste of Colorado—weed, streets, and everything I have to offer. They should support me so our Hip-Hop scene can be acknowledged.
5. Tells us about the afterhours spot and the After Hours’ movement?
I’m just not an artist. I work hard at giving the city a place to go and enjoy the“303” lifestyle. After hours is one of those and I love giving people a place to go when there nowhere else to go. Afterhours mixtape just reflects on the up’s and down’s, and the lifestyle of “Late Late” nights.

6. What happened to Box Boyz?
Everybody just took time to work on the themselves, but we a recently get back in the lab and we are working on a new BOY BOYZ project.

7. Who is your favorite Colorado M.C.?

I have no favorite, but I listen to more local music than anything else. There are so many names I don’t know where to start, but I can say I take pride in the quality of music coming out of Colorado right now.

8. Who is your favorite M.C.?
Young Jeezy.
9. What is the state of Colorado Hip-Hop?

I say we’re at a state were we are ready to blow. Once we get a crack in the door I believe the world will catch on to our music as a state and our sound.
10.What are your thoughts about weed culture in Denver?
I think it’s a beautiful thing, me being a “weed rapper.” I feel that it’s going to be the thing that breaks down the door for people to start respecting the Colorado music scene.
11.What are your thoughts on Legalization?
The legalization of weed in Denver is giving us some much-needed attention. Now, I think we’ll be able to really grow, and do things you usually see in the bigger cities.

Young Tenner’s Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/boxboy10

Listen to Young Tenner’s Greatest Mixtape Your Never Heard:
http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/tenner-tenners-greatest-mixtape-you-never-heard-mixtape.80817.html?song-7

Crazy!Sexy!Cool!

CrazySexyCool

CrazySexyCool (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CrazySexyCool is the perfect  combination of adjectives to describe TLC. Their biopic debuted on VH1 last night, and it revealed the “behind the scenes” moments that hampered, but eventually propelled the 90’s R&B/Hip-Hop African-American all girl group to unparalleled stardom. Most of the dirty laundry aired previously during a behind the music episode, but the movie’s perspective on the group’s rise is by far more entertaining.

Watching the movie informed fans of the three women’s trials and tribulations, but also brought back great
memories attached to their timeless classics. In my opinion, the biopic was well written as it wove in the group’s mega success but not without including their journey’s wrong turns. Of course there are things that could have been done better, but overall the film grabbed the audience’s attention and doesn’t let go until the ending credits roll down the screen.
Director Charles Stone, and actresses Drew Sidora (T-Boz), Lil’ Mama (Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez), and KeKe Palmer (Chilli) pulled off the impossible, as they showcased the career of one of music’s greatest talents, while paying tribute to their struggles and their record-setting singles, and albums.

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