Archive | August, 2011

THE EXPERIENCE ~ Rappers’ Beef Turned Chicken?

31 Aug














The rap beef we once knew as genuine has become Filet Mignon. The melodramatic nature of rappers’ feuds is beginning to bother me. A few days ago, as I browsed through entertainment articles using my Google search engine, I ran across articles with content on the recent beef between Rappers Jay Z and Lil Wayne.

Apparently Lil Wayne made a sly remark on his leaked Carter IV album in response to a remark Jay Z made on his H.A.M. track, “Really you got baby money,” which observers believed referenced Wayne and Cash Money Records. Wayne’s leaked album revealed the following response, “Talk about baby money, I got your baby money/Kidnap your [bleep], get that how much you love your lady money,” apparently referring to Jay and Beyoncé.

Rap beef used to be about the things behind the scenes listeners might not have been so aware of: drug lord’s territories, who was in which set, who had more clout in social circles. I am not suggesting rappers return to these times; however, the over sensationalized beef that has been widespread among key rappers has to stop. Remember, there was a time when beef was not apart of rap, as pointed out in the documentary “Beat Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” (check out my review here:

Rapper 50 cent. This cat is famous for his rap beefs with artists like Ja Rule and Fat Joe. Members of his own team have said the drama was largely publicized for profit or to boost album sales and the artists behind the beef were actually cool behind closed doors. Young Buck is at the forefront of these accusations, and I am a believer.

Admittedly, I have fallen victim to these devices and engaged in the rap beef frenzy myself. When news surfaced of Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj having issues, I immediately knew what side I was on. I even posted a few clips in support of the legend, Lil Kim. The emotions that Lil Kim’s Black Friday surfaced in my being were nothing but fury turned to disappointment. 

While some speculate the beef was in fact real, this is not the point. I just want these issues to stop altogether. I saw these emotions exchanged between myself and supporters of Nicki Minaj and realized I was fighting for nothing; similarly, the commentary, which could be found on blogs and you tube videos surrounding the beef, did not help the situation at all. These are not feelings we want our future leaders to be harboring towards one another on account of two of their role models having problems with one another.

Corporate America has made rap into such a joke. I understand it is a recession and record sales suffer, especially in the face of bootleggers and free downloads to leaked albums; however, this is no excuse to use violence as a form of entertainment. I cannot fathom the thought processes that go behind the planning of these beef ploys, and if the beef is in fact genuine I have two words for these rappers: GROW UP!

What do our youth have to look up to? During the East Coast-West Coast feud, violence was rampant, but rappers emerged from that era promoting conscious rap and a message of peace and cordiality. Why can’t rappers be happy for one another? Even the feelings are not genuine, treat business as business and leave your manhood in your pants! Who cares who the best rapper alive is? Prove it to us through record sales and lyrical content, not who can woo the most fans using slick remarks on tracks and public stunts (i.e. why were Jay Z and Lil Wayne separated by security guards at the VMA’s? Can two grown men coexist in a professional setting for more than two hours?).

Stop embellishing the wrong sides of the rap industry. Rappers who claim they have built an empire should realize there are other empires in other spheres of the planet. Would there be a U.S.A. without there first being a United Kingdom? Having one empire is never fun, but even worse are wars and rumors of wars. Keep the flowery disses to yourself and use your wit to come up with some good club bangers; we are surely lacking those today.



29 Aug

We posted about Tyler the Creator some time ago (Click here for the post). We enjoyed his video innovation; however the message of the group has been topic of controversy among many, especially since he grabbed an MTV VMA award at the show last night. So we ask you:


THE EXPERIENCE ~ Beyoncé the Anti-Baby Mama

29 Aug

In a society where our young one’s idols are rapping about promiscuity and artists like Lil Wayne are boasting of his several concubines and children, we have a savior. No, it’s not just Jesus Christ. In fact, he’s a she. Beyoncé Knowles and Jay Z have pointed to the Hollywood likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes saying, “Yes, we can do it too!”

There has been a surge in teen pregnancies, especially among minority women. The purpose of this post is not to bash or blame the young mothers in our society for the gifts they have brought into this earth. Rather, we want to celebrate the young women doing the best thing for themselves and our community: practicing abstinence and patience. Abstinence means waiting until after marriage to make that important decision of having a child. Beyoncé has said many times that she will not pursue a pregnancy until she is comfortable with her situation and even gave herself an album goal whereby she would mark when the time was right.

During her performance on last night’s VMA’s, Beyoncé Knowles was graceful and looked like woman of power. Jay Z stood in the audience, undoubtedly a very happy and accomplished man. Beyoncé ended her performance by revealing her treasure to the millions of viewers and rubbing her stomach in such a delicate and classy way. Many cried; however, I hope that you understood the over-arching theme. Abstinence and patience is key to bringing a baby into this world, especially in the minority communities, where poverty and government dependency makes its way into many toddler cribs across the country.

I grow tired of shows like Rock of Love, Teen Mom, and Jersey Shore where the cast promotes sex and promiscuity over stability and responsibility. It is not fun having a child born into this world when the situation is not yet ready. Take action and stop the cycle.

Ladies, this movement does not only apply to you. It applies to the many men who think it is somewhat cool impregnating man women, simultaneously.  If you cannot support one, what makes you think you deserve to spread your sea of semen across an entire population? Let’s stick to this list:

1. If you and your “man” have not considered marriage, think about the circumstance you are in. Suzie Orman, a financial mogul, calls this process “standing in your truth,” in her masterpiece best-seller The Money Class. Are you both financially stable enough to support another life? Do you have a savings cushion set aside in some bank account that you can use in emergencies? This fund should consist of at least six months of savings.

2. Ask yourself whether you are ready to be totally selfless, because that is what it takes to support a baby. Sacrifice is key.

3. Determine if you have reached certain goals in your life and you are where you want to be. Have you completed your bachelors degree? Do you have a GED?

The cycle of poverty and ignorance stops here! Unite and spread the word! Kudos to Beyoncé and Jay Z for their awesome portrayal of family values.



THE EXPERIENCE – Prisoners in a Natural Disaster

28 Aug

In the midst of all the worry and fear of the approaching Hurricane Irene, one demographic in New York has been left silent. According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “We are not evacuating Rikers Island.” The prison is host to over 12,000 inmates and city workers; the 12,000 also consists of pre-trial detainees, the mentally ill, and juvenile offenders. A larger percentage of the inmates are minorities, many being black.

In response to the extreme threat that this natural disaster presents, over 300,000 residents of the five New York boroughs evacuated their homes, and not voluntarily. Many of these residents are in coastal areas like Coney Island, Far Rockaway and Canarsie. This brings to question why our city is neglecting one island.

They’re just prisoners right? They must deserve this! WRONG! Although just prisoners, this is America. Why have we left these people to fend for themselves in the prison system, which in New York just so happens to be one of the most corrupt systems in the U.S. The states of New Jersey and North Carolina responded to the threat of Irene by evacuating thousands of their prisoners.

In Trenton, NJ the mayor evacuated over 500 inmates from a state prison in preparation for Hurricane Irene, and federal authorities are transferring immigration detainees out of an Elizabeth facility. In Raleigh, North Carolina, the state Correction Department has evacuated 1,300 inmates from two coastal prisons ahead of Hurricane Irene. Why has the state of New York not caught on to the trend? As a resident and native of Brooklyn, NY I am simply outraged. 

State officials are saying there is no real threat for Rikers Island and that is it located further inland near islands that are not in Zones A, B, or C. No real threat? Outrageous! Samantha Levine, the mayor’s press secretary, wrote in an email, “A full Corrections Department staff will remain on Rikers Island and the facility is a fully self-sustaining entity, prepared to operate and care for inmates in extended emergency conditions.” As if a last-minute evacuation of any island will go well, with bridges, public transportation and roads being flooded and closed. There will be NO escape route Mayor Bloomberg. Do you see an issue here?

What ever happened to human rights? You are wrong if you assume they are left at the prison door. Let’s take a look at the circumstances in New Orléans during Hurricane Katrina. Many inmates were left for dead even after Hurricane Katrina struck the city. Many were awaiting trial, so they weren’t even pronounced guilty. Although Hurricane Irene is nothing above a Category 1 storm, the flooding and wind damage that can result from the storm is still something of a threat. So do we just let the prisoners waddle in the water within their cells? I think a long letter of outrage to our Mayor Bloomberg is overdue. 



25 Aug

We are all about free music and what a better place to host than New York? The Afro Punk Festival will be held in Brooklyn, NY and the QuickSilver Pro event will be in Long Beach.  MAKE SURE TO ATTEND ONE OF THESE EVENTS and tell us about your experience by writing on our SHARE AN EXPERIENCE part of the website.

Between the two events, there will be live music (appearances from Matt and Kim, Janelle Monae, Santogold, Gym Class Heroes, etc.), food, surfing and fun! How often do you get such great artists for FREE and surfing in New York?! Here’s the info:


From QuickSilver’s website: “There has never been a world championship surfing event in the State of New York, and it has been more than 20 years since an elite level professional surfing event has set stakes in the sands of the United States’ east coast. The decision to create the $1 million Quiksilver Pro New York was made with equal respect for the world’s best surfers, the global surf industry, and New York’s surfers who embody the pure motivation that inspires every surfer on Earth.”

Saturday — September 3rd
Live Music 1:15pm – 7pm The Village, Long Beach, New York Band Schedule:
1:15 pm – Rudy
2:15 pm – Mat Mchugh/The Beautiful Girls Solo & Acoustic
3:30 pm – Saves the Day
5:00pm – Matt & Kim
6:15 pm – Girl Talk
Sunday — September 4th
Day 1 8am Call Event Site, Long Beach, New York Men’s Surf Competition window starts today!
Live Music 1:15pm – 7pm The Village, Long Beach, New York Band Schedule:
1:15 pm – Bigger
2:15 pm – The English Beat
3:30 pm – The Ettes
4:45 pm – Portugal, The Man
6:00 pm – Interpol
Monday — September 5th
Live Music 1:15pm – 7pm The Village, Long Beach, New York Band Schedule:
1:15 pm – Wildlife
2:30 pm – The Wicked Tomorrow
3:30 pm – Blackbells
4:45 pm – Civil Twilight
6:00 pm – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Tuesday — September 6th
Live Music 3:15pm – 6:30pm The Village, Long Beach, New York Band Schedule:
3:15 pm – Withersby
4:15 pm – Flight’s Kool
5:30 pm – Badfish, a Tribute to Sublime 
Wednesday — September 7th
Live Music 3:15pm – 6:30pm The Village, Long Beach, New York Band Schedule:
3:15 pm – Mike Krum
4:15 pm – Temporary Grace
5:30 pm – The Benjamins
Friday — September 9th
Live Music 1:15pm – 7pm The Village, Long Beach, New York Band Schedule:
1:15 pm – Hugo
2:15 pm – Charlotte O’Connor
3:30 pm – Wavves
4:45 pm – Neon Indian
6:00 pm – The Flaming Lips/QTIP
Saturday — September 10th
Live Music 1:15pm – 6:30pm The Village, Long Beach, New York Band Schedule:
1:15 pm – Rye Rye
2:30 pm – The Sounds
4:00 pm – Taking Back Sunday
5:30 pm – Kelly and Friends + Max Weinberg Experience

THE EXPERIENCE – FILM REVIEW: “Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest”

25 Aug

Earlier this evening, I was able to take a trip, with a friend, to Sunshine Theater in New York City and enjoy the masterpiece director Michael Rapaport put together. Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest brought viewers into the onset of the rise of Hip Hop; it revealed the huge role the group had in the movement and its listeners. 

There were no dull moments throughout the documentary. Rapaport engaged viewers using perfectly executed transitions; the film explored the early formation of A Tribe Called Quest through their rise to stardom, their influence on other early Hip Hop stars, internal conflicts, and ultimately their return tour in Japan. Rapaport referenced other well-known Hip Hop groups of that time: De La Soul, Wu Tang Clan, Jungle Crew being a few among the many who influenced the genre. 

Pharrell Williams, one of my idols, contributed on the commentary section of the film. His charm was well placed in the film. Q Tip, Fife and Ali taught viewers a lot about the personal struggle within a group dynamic. They revealed emotion and the more human side of the music industry, which we are often blind to. Viewers gasped, laughed and were silent, much due to the amount of knowledge that the film dropped. Who knows that legends like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and many more lived in Queens, New York at one point or another?

I have gained a new-found respect for A Tribe Called Quest and their craft; The film showed him producing masterpieces from samples of old Minnie Ripperton vinyl records and the inspiration and  hard work behind his success. Viewers can appreciate art in music and that is what A Tribe Called Quest embodies. 

THE EXPERIENCE – Bags for Men? What is Acceptable?

23 Aug

I have often been faced with the dilemma of what bag I can carry in public without awkward glances and jeers from friends. Between duffel bags, book bags, pouches, wallets, and carry-alls, men face some real difficulties in selecting a bag that is suitable. This may seem like a small issue to some, because fashion is not at the forefront of their daily lives; however, for the fashion conscious male, which I would argue a large percentage of men secretly are, selecting a bag can turn into a monster of a thing. 

So, what kind of bag is acceptable for a male? With men like David Beckham and Terrence Howard sporting controversial bags, the “norm balloon,” as I call it, seems to be expanding. I will only address the least and most controversial bags. The duffel bag vs. the carryall. If you want to talk about your experience with other types of bags, please post on our SHARE AN EXPERIENCE part of the blog! Let’s discuss on THE EXPERIENCE:

1. The duffel bag:

Duffel bags are commonly found in the hands of a lot of athletic men. These are acceptable and can even compliment an outfit, especially for the working man. The typical 9-5 working male wants to stay active and escape from the crevices of the cubicle, but also doesn’t want to haul around a heavy book bag filled with gym attire. The duffel bag is perfect for the occasion. Stick to real leather, nylon, or canvas. These materials are durable and you won’t have to spend a ton if you look on sites like or for instance:

2. The Holdall

This is where the problem arises for the fashion conscious male. Holdalls are like purses in construction; however, they are NOT purses. They have a time and place. Men who are not confident in themselves usually face the dilemma of carrying the holdall. To them I say: “Those who watch you sport the holdall are usually upset they can’t have one themselves.” Now of course, if you live in Gowanas Projects, for instance, and are sporting a holdall, the time and place consideration, for you, is important. But some men in the hood can possibly pull the look off. It is perfect for a winter night at a lounge or a business conference where a briefcase was not adequate to hold the contents you had in mind:

P.S. The BEST way to distract anyone from the type of bag you are carrying, is to buy an expensive monogram bag, i.e. Louis Vuitton or Fendi. This is not possible for many, unless you count canal street as another source of the aforementioned, but if you can afford it, I say why not???