Archive for the ‘get out your seat and jump around’ Category

Unless you’re a president of some nation or the leader of some over-achieving guerrilla faction, rarely do you get the chance to put the world on stop.

rick rubinBut then there are people like Rick Rubin.1

Go ahead; look at that face. That grizzly-Jesus-lookin’ mofo is a pioneer of modern music because of his influence on hip hop. From what I understand, his gameplan was as follows:

a) make music I like, even if I don’t look like the kind of dude who should like it

b) make you like it, too, even though you’re not supposed to

c) be happy.

To have had this mission in the 80s with music featuring black artists, when up until 1983 the Billboard music chart gods, for instance, had filed most of the music by black artists as “Black” Singles, Records, etc., is nothing short of remarkable.

And I miss his era.

Look, I’m not gonna get all “there are X-number elements of hip hop” or “I know real hip hop” with this. Hip hop (“HH”) is a wedding reception celebrating the marriage of soul and inner city blues.2 And, like at any wedding reception, you’ve got all sorts of different people at different tables. There’s a table for the wedding party; and a table for the cousins you don’t really remember; and one for your coworkers that insisted on being there, etc.

At HH’s reception, it’s the same thing. You’ve got a table where the giants of the industry sit and there are all sorts of other people there who have been invited because that’s just what you do. It’s like a sprawling family reunion. That’s how you get people like Russell Simmons — a co-founder with Rubin of HH’s groundbreaking label, Def Jam — in the same room with someone like Chingy. And people drink heavily at this party. Hell, I’m sure Souljah Boy was the result of a night — and pregnancy — of really, really heavy drinking.3

But it’s not a secret that something’s missing lately. And I don’t know what it is. It’s like: friends – check; money – check; soundboard – check; microphone – check. But while I totally think a bunch of these young artists should get paid if they can, you can’t convince me that doing the stanky legg is anything like It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock.

I was watching the 2009 Hip Hop Honors last night and Lyor Cohen was telling the story of how he decided to sign Warren G — most known for Regulate, a track with a famous Michael McDonald sample — to Def Jam. Cohen said he walked in to Warren’s house and there was barely any furniture; a TV and one chair, basically. But when Warren took him to the space where he made music, Cohen looked down at his turntables, saw a copy of Carole King’s Tapestry spinning and knew this was the kind of guy he wanted to sign; someone with versatility who wasn’t afraid to like good music and not care who made it.

And that’s what I miss. I miss the almost tangible sense that HH artists were multifaceted fans of music; that they appreciated sounds they “weren’t supposed to” like; that they found a way to convince us that these were sounds they were supposed to like. Because at the end of the day, all of our talk about what “real men” listen to, or white people listen to, or older generations really “get/understand,” is nonsense.

It’s just about whether it’s good music. It really is that simple.


1Great article, though now dated, about Rubin here.

2Just an “oh, by the way,” but one of the best songs ever: Marvin’s Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler).

3I kid, Souljah Mom. I kid.


Read Full Post »

Gimme an F: “F!”
That’s right an R and then two E’s.
I need a Verse: “Verse!”
Just soul clap and sing with me:
“We want it Fri, day! ‘Cuz Friday the Verse is Free!”
Welcome back, ya’ll, to the Change I Wish to See.

The funny thing about this whole FVF thing is that it’s kind of like public nudity. There’s always the risk of you seeing more than you want to. There’s the guarantee that I’ll be self-conscious of every nook and cranny.

Actually, I guess that’s a lot like everyday, since I like to keep the outright lying to a minimum.

But on Fridays, it’s like the spotlights are a little brighter. And so I’m probably breaking one of the top 5 stage rules — Patrick? Any verification on stage decorum? — by admitting that for the last few weeks, including today, I’ve written new stuff but I simply can’t say any of it out loud yet. I imagine you’re not allowed to take the stage and say “never mind” but that’s sort of what’s going on today.

Wow. Great lead-in, me.

Anyway, there are still a few things in store for today.

First up, what are you listening to right now? Yes, right now. If it’s silence, or your boss screaming at someone in the background, or even some band not called The Noisettes you should start listening to The Noisettes right now.

Start with this (which Universal won’t let me embed).

And then listen to this:

Second, actual FVF.  Since today is officially the first day of my second lease with this domain — best 10$ ever — I figured I’d dig through the archives from the past year.  Below is the first full song I ever put in a post.

Happy Friday.

” señorita “

it’s a saunter
when she steps on the floor
she can feel all the stares.

they all want her
just one look in their eyes,
you knew somebody would dare.

one by one, she refused them
sat ’em down, brokenhearted
pushed their egos aside.

had no time for amusement
none of them knew the music
she was crying inside.

oh… senorita
what lies beneath you
is haunting me
it’s the song I wrote for you
it’s you I sing

it’s a whisper
but she shakes when she breathes it
like she’s screaming aloud.

blink and miss her
she moves in secret ways
under the gaze of the crowd.

she’s confused them
cloaked in red
seems a shout for romance.

but for her it’s acoustic
private, reclusive
a plea for a chance.

oh… senorita
what lies beneath you
is haunting me
it’s the song I wrote for you
it’s you I sing

Read Full Post »

Nothing — I really think it’s true — makes me happier than a rich, full, big-soul sound on a track.  But I’ll get giddy about that another time.

So I went spelunking through YouTube for a performance of this song I think you should hear.  It’s “From My Heart to Yours” by Laura Izibor.  And I found it:

But as I was sifting through videos, I couldn’t help but notice some of the comments random users leave.  At first, I thought maybe they’re just empowered by their relative anonymity.  I think I was wrong, though.  I think a solid 90% of them would be exactly the same if I met them in person.

For instance, check out this user comment under some other video:

cumuffin1That’s right: someone got his… “cumuffins.”

Now, obviously, there are two problems here: 1) who would ever want a cumuffin?  That’s just nasty; and 2) who writes “cumuffins” and really thinks it means “comeuppance?”

The two are not. even. close.  Barely even phonetically close.

You can’t fake that kind of third-consecutive-inbred-generation approach to thinking.  Whoever wrote that is likely the brother of his mother, the uncle of his own son and his father’s cousin.¹

Part of me wants to start leaking Reading Rainbow clips onto YouTube with the hope that LeVar Burton can teach a few people how a few silly things — like vowels and consonants in their proper locations — can change a statement from wishing someone got their due to wishing someone ate baked goods made with seminal fluid.

But I know I can’t do that.  It would be illegal to leak Reading Rainbow, blah blah blah.  But, also, what would we do without stuff like cummuffins?

¹ I kid, person who may have a defamation lawyer. I kid.

Read Full Post »

Gimme an F: “F!”
That’s right an R and then two E’s.
I need a Verse: “Verse!”
Just soul clap and sing with me:
“We want it Friday! ‘Cuz Friday the Verse is Free!”
Welcome back, ya’ll, to the Change I Wish to See.

Remember Self-Destruction?

Yeah.  That’s all I got on that.  It’s not really relevant to this post at all, other than the fact that rhymes are at the heart of this FVF.

Today is a second entry in the Sucker Free Sundays series my college roommate and I used to host.

What can I say about this series…?  We were corny — sometimes witty, sometimes clever, but usually corny.  And we loved it.  Were the rhymes a little self-indulgent?  Only if you think we took ourselves seriously; which we didn’t.  It might make a little more sense if I admit my “stage name” — which was also my AIM screen name (hardcore, kids, hardcore) — was “proksei.”  It was a play on “proxy,” because that made sense at the time.  It was like a more creative identity that I could use as a substitute… or something.  I honestly can’t remember the reason.

Happy Friday.  And thanks for stopping by this week.

Without further ado…


an introduction

eh yo, i’m fantastic,
supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but ya’ll already know this.
only been a year and i’m on top of the game,
like Miles Davis i can play this off the top of my brain.

i rhyme lovely. just sit back and focus;
i’m leading kids to glory like it’s Mr. Holland’s Opus.
and check “proksei,” call me “Roscoe”
’cause i’m servin lines like they’re chicken and waffles.

i’m so sick, no disease can ever test me.
it looks like Harlem shakin when i’m seized by epilepsy.
a Jersey kid, with candy-coated vernacular.
i run shows like they’re spectacles, so i guess i’m spectacular.

got a jones like Indiana, to write suburban anthems;
penning rhymes, operatic, like i was the phantom.
mid-Atlantic refugee, but you can call me “fabulous.”
fresh across the border, spitting rhymes like a catalyst

i, speed reactions, double as aspirin
and i read minds like they’re in closed captions.
it’s the, brainiest, the randomly spontaneous,
a virulent strain of streptococcus, yo, i be contage-ee-us.

but i’m, zestfully clean, that means i’m clean but full of zest.
my vibe’s electric relaxation from A Tribe Called Quest.
yeah i’m the pro-k-s-e-i on the mic:
the mic-guardian when dudes ain’t using it right.

¹For the record, I am not actually infected with streptococcus. Actually, I also am not epileptic. Just so we’re on the same page.

Read Full Post »


This is the last day of April.  That means the last 10 words you just read qualify me for having posted an entry every day for 30 days!  Take that, NaBloPoMo!


homer-simpson-faulenztWould you like to try that again?


That’s more like it.

Let me be honest for a minute: it sucked.  It required writing posts on the weekends.  Hell, I even wrote a post while at a party, because I knew that since I had forgotten to write that morning, and was guaranteed to be heavily intoxicated within the next couple of hours, the last 23 days would have been for nothing if I failed to get something up.

It was a chore.  Somebody owes me a drink.  Anyone?  Bueller?

Actually, maybe I’m not the one who deserves a drink.  Maybe it’s you.  Do you do this 7 days a week regularly?  If you’re there, let me see a show of hands.  *waits*


credit: PrimoVox

Drop your hand if any of the following doesn’t apply to you.  You work approximately 40 hours a week.  You have friends that don’t blog 7 days a week.  You go out at least one night a week.  You are in a relationship you’d call “serious.”

If your hand is still up, I’m convinced: you’re a superhero.  Miss Bianca would [insert unfortunate situation] me if for the next 335 days, I was guaranteed to be sitting in front of my computer every night.  [Insert unfortunate situation] me.

Also, having to write that much content made me suck at blogging.  The number of unread posts in my reader was absurd.  I was always at least a day behind to return the commenting-favor to way too many people.  The creativity fell to pieces some days.

But all in all, it was a great month.  You made it a great month.  All of you (*aww shucks*).  Look at just a little of what happened because of you:

  1. I guest-blogged for the first time.
  2. A cheetah found a home.
  3. You accepted my Paul Rudd man-crush.
  4. We asked DC — actually all of the cities we’re from — to get out of the funk we were in.  And the City Paper listened.

I even met hundreds of you in real life.  Ok, maybe just a couple dozen, but still: awesome.  Thanks for putting up with this here blog.


don’t let me catch you.

This is post # 2.

And this goes out to the asshat that messed with the wrong goddess, er, uh, lady and recently hacked into a certain celebrity’s MobileMe account:


Hey asshat,

Did you know that this woman jump-started my puberty?¹

And you what?  Tried to steal her identity… like we could possibly confuse you for her because you had her list of contacts.  Or maybe you just wanted some VIP access to events.

You think my anger is completely manufactured solely because it gives me a reason to mention Salma Hayek?


Don’t let me catch you on the street.  Salma is off limits to you and your innerwebs-freak ways.

That is all.


¹TMI? What? It’s Thursday anyway.

Read Full Post »

… a long time coming.¹


Disney finally has its first black princess.

Her name is Tiana.  I’ve seen all of her predecessors’ stories.  We’ve had Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel and Belle.  And if you expand the “princess” category to include any animated lady in a leading role, then there are also characters like Alice, Megara and Mrs. Incredible.  We’ve even had leading ladies of color with Jasmine, Esmeralda, Pocahontas and Mulan.  In other words, we’ve seen everything but a black princess from Disney.

But I’m not going to wallow in the fact that it’s been 72 years or why it’s been that long or why the gist of Tiana’s story includes:

She must journey into the dark bayou to get a magical cure from a good voodoo queen.

Why?  Because “the implied message of Tiana, that black American girls can be as elegant as Snow White herself, is a milestone in the national imagery.”  That’s why.

As a kid, when I thought I was going to be an animator, I actually dreamed about this moment.  I even drafted characters and a story-line to send to Disney that featured black characters at the helm.  So I’m just going to enjoy this moment and get ready to pre-order my movie tickets.  I’ll worry about “what the story means” after I see it.

Thanks, universe.  Just when I was beginning to feel concerned, this is a genuinely good way to start the week.  In a world where children learn that even the little things, like “flesh-colored” band-aids, imply some shade of beige is the standard, I’m grateful we’ve got a new story to tell.

¹Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come. Listen here.

Read Full Post »

It’s that time of year.

credit: law_keven

credit: law_keven

Mating season.

A time when we strip off the sweaters, head somewhere with drink specials and a dance floor and find a strange body to grind against.  Hell, even some of us in relationships try a little harder come spring with the ones we love.  I can’t explain it.  We just do.

The first move I make is on the iPhone’s song cache: out with The Weepies – “Not Your Year,” in with Nikka Costa’s “On & On;” bid farewell to Natalie Cole’s “The Very Thought of You,” welcome Maxwell – “Sumthin’ Sumthin’;” hibernate Damien Rice’s “Amie” to make space for John Legend feat. Andre 3000 – “Green Light” and Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain – “Blame It.”  Feelin’ on your butt, what?

I blame it on the Vitamin D (in the sunshine).  The whole mood changes.  My mobile playlists are seasonal.  And if they were color-coded like those iPod silhouette commercials, the spring and summer shades would be colored “sexy-time.”  Sexy-time.

Whether the time is spent with someone familiar or indiscriminately — you know, with someone you wouldn’t even recognize once the bar’s lights come on — sweaty, heated grinding against someone else is the reason for this season.  That’s what it’s made for.

“But what is grinding?” I assume you ask for the purpose of this post.

Well, like any good reporter I have sources.  But for good reason, I will not reveal info that could jeopardize their identity.  So, I had to resort to the interwebs to explain.

It is when a female places her buttocks (clothed) onto the zipper area of a man’s pants. Then, she vibrates vigorously and the authorities appear… People of any age may take part in freak dancing, but it is most common among those between the ages of 12 and 35 years.

Thanks, Urban Dictionary.  Though, of course, same-kind-of-buttocks-to-same-kind-of-zipper are cool, too.

But just in case you needed visual assistance, the good people at ClubDanceLessons.com have provided instructional YouTube clips:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

But there are rules to this game.  And if you’re thinking you’re just going to follow the guidelines for New Year’s Eve dancing, you’ll find yourself sorely misguided.

So, if you’re high on the Vitamin D, too, here are some new suggestions:

  1. Fellas: the freak is something to be done, not something you should aspire to be.  Do not put your hands in places you have never seen.  Also, the tongue is not involved.  No one wants to be surprise-licked; that is not what she meant by “spontaneity.”  And if you hip-thrust her violently, she might hit you.  So, to recap: unless the lady says the words, “Enough pretending; let’s actually have sex on this dance floor,” you are not allowed to try to actually have sex on the dance floor unbeknownst to her.  One-sided, creepy dance-sex is a crime.  Say it with me, “A crime.”
  2. Ladies: do not bring your 6’4″, 225 lb., former Division II college football player boyfriend and then ignore him for some grinding time with us or use grinding time with us to get back at him for talking to that other girl.  You know he has an anger problem.  You know that he’s not allowed within 100 feet of the last bar you went to.  But we don’t know that.  And we like our teeth and noses.  So if you’re already spoken for or speaking for someone else, just let a brother know.  It’s a bar, not a Tool Academy.  Leave your tool at home.
  3. On behalf of both: just because we’re freakin you, it doesn’t mean we actually want to make happy-time with you.  Adults are funny people.  Sometimes we have fleeting needs.  The hip-rubbing we did doesn’t mean we want your number, that we’ll give you ours, or have any intention of hitting up Jumbo Slice afterward with you to start working on the impending hangover.  It was a moment.  Maybe it was nice and sweaty, maybe it was even gropey, but still just a moment.  Let it pass.
  4. Fellas: do not make this face.

    It's like I'm farting to the beat.

    It's like I'm farting to the beat.

  5. Ladies: don’t be a taker. That drink he bought you doesn’t “earn” him your time or pelvis.  However, if you take it and drink it, it does mean you should at least consider dancing with him.  Note: consider.  He left his house fully expecting to do all the leg work in the approach phase.  He got the drink, walked up to you and said “hi.”  You smiled, took the drink and then turned back to your friends immediately.  He’s confused.  This often happens when you’re not looking for anyone at all or when you’re looking for someone a) taller, b) more handsome or c) less awkward.  But you could actually just say, “No thanks.”  You don’t have to be a giver.  It just sucks when you’re a taker.
  6. On behalf of both: this is not Save the Last Dance or Step it Up 2: The Streets.  If you get way too focused, like you’re going to battle us on the floor, and you start clearing out people to do what you saw on So You Think You Can Dance, we are going to turn and walk away and/or laugh at you and twitpic the bejesus out of you.  Because you’re not that good.  If you were, you’d be an actual dancer, somewhere doing actual dancing.  But you’re in a crowded bar with us, at 1130 on a Friday with barely enough room to hold your drink.  So bring it in close and easy and call it a day.

This has been a public service announcement.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »