Monday, June 30, 2008

my best friend > yours

It's Monday.

Bump J feat. Kanye West, Rhymefest & Keyshia Cole – Pusha Man (Remix)

KiD CuDi feat. Wale - Is There Any Love

How are you going to call yourself my best friend and not be up on Wale? I'm mad. By request....

"If now isn't a good time for the truth I don't see when we'll get to it."
-- Nikki Giovanni

Sunday, June 29, 2008

love him like I do

iPod Jr. has a fire "New Gospel" play list that I've been playing tough. Every morning and evening on my daily commute I listen to this song and today I looked it up to find a youtube version to post and lo and behold there is a video! From months ago! Around 2:15 I dare you to not catch the spirit. I let it play until the end the first round and then just run it back from 2:15. I know this is going to sound crazy but sometimes in the morning, as I'm driving around West Houston where the drivers are angry and speeding, I feel like if I catch the spirit hard enough it might diffuse into the other cars and they'll have a better day. Plus, it's hard not to let cars in and be kinder when you have gospel blaring at 7:45 AM. So maybe. If not, at least my day is better!

Somebody told me
that we overcome by our testimony

Bet you wouldn’t believe
how doubt and fear used to paralyze me.

But God’s hand led me thru a test
and he brought out the very best of me

Now I’ll never forget
to tell the world what you mean to me

Saturday, June 28, 2008

stay in my element, braveheart intelligent

I laugh hysterically every time. Around 2:50, starting with the Rerun character, it's pure madness.

Mozilla released Firefox 3 this week. Its interface is cleaner, it's noticeably faster and the "Awesome Bar" is truly awesome. There were more than 20 million downloads the first week: get yours here.

N_a_s feat. Stic Man - Association
Luda - Big House
Ye - Stalker Song (Never Letting Go)
R_a_p_h_a_e_l Saadiq feat. S_t_e_v_i_e - I Like It <----
oooooooh when that harmonica hits if you're not up swaying and snapping something is wrong.
A-Trak feat. L_u_p_e - Me and My Sneakers (or Mastered?)
T-P_a_i_n feat. Wayne - Can't Believe It
Lil Keke feat. Tre Virdure, Slim Thug, Paul Wall - Money in the City
G_y_m Class Heroes feat. The D_r_e_a_m - Cookie Jar
KiD CuDi - Embrace the Martian
David Banner feat. Wayne - Shawty Say
I saw a few minutes of "Hip Hop vs. America II" where everybody was ganging up on David Banner and he was doing a fairly nice job defending himself, basically saying it wasn't his job to raise people's kids and he does a lot of community work so it counters garbage like "Play." Uh-huh.

“I will say this to all the women: If you want to change what’s going on - pick better mates. In most cases, with these men, you know what type of men they are when you lay down with them. You have to make a decision for yourself to pick a better mate. If you want to change this society, close your legs.” - David Banner

If you don't appreciate the talent that is the man called Blu let me know ASAP so we can fight.

"What's rich, really? I hang out with rich people and they don't think that they're rich enough. I'm rich with God, I'm rich with my kids, and I'm rich with my work and that's way more powerful."- Lee Daniels

Thursday, June 26, 2008

shut up and let me go

Ting Tings - Shut Up and Let Me Go from espionage on Vimeo.

Seen @ Ye's blog. Is it just me or are music videos getting better? I watched this at least 5 times in a row yesterday when I first saw it. And I love it. What I don't love is how he's started putting all these nekked women up on his blog like he don't "feel like this but [dudes] don't know this stress / [he] lost the only girl in the world that know [him] best." Whatever Ye, keep making that platinum and gold for me. Read his latest rant here - this time about the Bonaroo festival.

Today is National HIV Testing Day. I meant to post this yesterday but today at noon you could have gone to one of several Houston locations to get tested for HIV and get a free ticket to see Plies, Day 26, Mario, Bun B, Fat Pimp and more. You can text your zip code to 566948 for a test center near you. Go get tested. In NYC they're doing this mass movement to try to get every adult in the Bronx tested for H.I.V. because the Bronx has a higher rate of deaths caused by AIDS than the other boroughs. Go get tested. You never know. It's 2008 and people still say things like "I wouldn't have slept with such and such if I thought they had AIDS." How can people not know AIDS doesn't have a face. I know chicks who walk around plain as day and get drunk one night and confess they have herpes. WHAT?! and WHY did you just tell me instead of your partner?!

I used to work with this amazing person (at Hobby Lobby - haters go home) and you would have never known she had AIDS until she started deteriorating so quicky and kept going on leave because she was in the hospital. I left before she did and that was the last time I saw her. Isn't that insane!? AND one time on Montel (I don't have cable in college - haters go home.) this little girl had AIDS and they had no clue where she'd gotten it from. No blood transfusion, no sexual abuse, nothing. So she started all these foundations before she eventually succumbed to the disease. Go get tested. You never know. You may think you know, but you could have no idea. I don't care how you live your life, you aren't immune. Wouldn't you rather give your body a fighting chance?

While we're pushing for a better world check out the i'm Initiative. I saw an ad for it on Pandora and was sucked in because this guy looked hilarious and I thought the i'm Talkathon was legitimately some guy blogging and AIM-ing and facebooking for 30 days straight...aka my life.

The i’m™ Initiative from Microsoft™ makes helping social causes easy. Every time
you use Windows Live™ Messenger or Windows Live Hotmail®, our free webmail service, we'll share a portion of our advertising revenue with some of the world's most effective social cause organizations. Exactly how much will we share with
our partner causes? Well, that’s up to you and the growing masses of registered i’m Initiative users. The more messages you send, the more we give.

C_o_m_m_o_n feat. P_h_a_r_r_e_l_l - Announcement
Ye - Gotta Pose

A few videos to wrap this up:

Wale: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Mmmm Miles Bonny. Can you dig it?

Do you remember? Erykah Badu is timeless.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

for the love of money

So while I'm splashing around in the playground that is Corporate America I like to listen to Pandora -- especially the Outkast station. I strongly urge you to try it out. Every station I've created (Alicia Keys, Kirk Franklin, Estelle, James Morrison, Stan Getz, and Outkast I think are all of them) has been fantastic but it's like Outkast fools the algorithms or whatever is used by the Music Genome Project. Yesterday it went off on an R&B tangent and today it was suddenly hard rap from 1996-1998 and two days ago I think it turned into house music. It's a good way to get exposed to some music you never heard before -- and it saves iPod Jr.'s battery power.

Speaking of amazing new electronics, check out my new baby:I walk into work the other day, all geeked about my new phone which, for the record, is a very classy "wine-red." I haven't had a colorful phone since the era of Nokias that got out of hand with the face plates. I whip it out for my coworkers so they can ooh and awe and the first thing I hear is, " got a maroon phone?!" I go around all day "hookin em horns," all proud because I'm the youngest in the office and still in school, holding my own, and my silly behind has to sit there defending my color choice to my Aggie colleagues. Ain't that bout a.... but it's really sleek and cute, and I knew it was time for a change when the other night in the club I flip open my phone to text and my friend, who has to be 3 years younger, has the nerve to say, "Oh no girl, we have got to do better." Why does she need a Blackberry? Just to check her Facebook!?

True story: The other night I went to a Class of 1998 high school reunion at The Ivy Lounge. I didn't go to that high school, grow up in that city, know anyone who did, or graduate anywhere near 1998. With that said we had a good time and more importantly they played a lot of fantastic music from 1998. Do you know what a good year that was to graduate high school!? That was the hey day of Puff Daddy, Biggie, Mase, Usher, not to mention every great Texan rapper to ever lay something on wax. That was the first stop of several that evening and at the end of the night I finally admitted Dallas' legitimacy as a city. It's nowhere near the level of Space City, but it's tolerable when you have good company.

A few things you can read to expand your horizons today:

-- An article from a UT faculty member about the importance of bouncing back in the face of hardship as a key to thriving as opposed to simply surviving. Outstanding.

Then there's the gold medal level of resilience, which Steinhardt refers to as "stepping up." This is when you do whatever it takes to meet a challenge and in the process you advance to an even higher level of functioning and wellbeing. You are thriving rather than just surviving.

"When we talk about resilient people," says Steinhardt, "we refer to 'the three C's.' These individuals see challenge as an opportunity, not occasion for fight or flight. They have a strong value system and are genuinely committed to the people in their lives and to the activities in which they're involved.

"And, finally, they have a sense of control and believe they have the power to influence things and make things better—they don't feel like victims and lack initiative. A resilient person is like a tree that's branches are flexible and bend with the wind rather than crack and break under pressure."

-- Does Obama back ethanol? I think it's tragic it takes our big country forever to get the wheels in motion for fossil fuel alternatives and when we finally do we're all "Doh! We use corn for food too?" Rising food prices, apocalyptic flooding in the bread basket, crazy subsidies, and government guidelines for the amount of corn that has to go towards ethanol's enough to make you want to splurge on a hydrogen car.

-- My faithful readers will know I've been keeping an eye on the election in Zimbabwe. Last time we tuned in Tsvangirai had more than likely won the election by a slight majority. Since then Mugabe, the incumbent candidate, and his supporters have been persecuting and terrorizing all supporters of the opposition. Tsvangirai has had to flee the country during this time and finally the world has started to take notice as the run off election approaches. There's a lot of international pressure for Mugabe to stop the terrorism but does Mugabe really care if he's not a knight anymore in the eyes of British? Or if America is recognizing the election? Or if Mandela says he doesn't like him? In a similar vein I'm reading a GREAT book called "What is the What" by Dave Eggers. It's the story of a Sudanese refugee and his journey as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It's an easy read and so horrific and terrific at the same time that I have a hard time deciding if I'm too overwhelmed to continue reading it. Here's an excerpt to whet you palate:

With one hand still gripping the handle of the gun, he now puts his hand to my chest. "Why don't you sit your ass down and watch how it's done?"

I take two steps backward and sit on the couch, also a gift from the church. An apple-faced white woman wearing a tie-dyed shirt brought it the day Achor Achor and I moved in. She apologized that it hadn't preceded our arrival. The people from the church were often apologizing.

I stare up at Powder and I know who he brings to mind. The soldier, an Ethiopian and a woman, shot two of my companions and almost killed me. She had the same wild light in her eyes, and she first posed as our savior. We were fleeing Ethiopia, chased by hundreds of Ethiopian soldiers shooting at us, the River Gilo full of our blood, and out of the high grasses she appeared. Come to me, children! I am your mother! Come to me! She was only a face in the grey grass, her hands outstretched, and I hesitated. Two of the boys I was running with, boys I had found on the bank of the bloody river, they both went to her. And when they drew close enough, she lifted an automatic rifle and shot through the chests and stomachs of the boys. They fell in front of me and I turned and ran. Come back! she continued. Come to your mother!

....and by request - Happy Birthday Biggie! :

Friday, June 20, 2008

I pray for wisdom like Solomon

*screams* Video for Noel Gourdin's "The River" came out. If you don't know this song don't deprive yourself for one more second. I've been listening to this steadily for a long time and I take it as a sign of better times in music that he's getting enough attention to make a legit video. Check out his MySpace for more great greatness. Seen over @ SoulBounce (which also has new Anthony David!)

There have been a few articles recently about the state of affairs in America in the NYTimes that have stuck with me...

The first is a Thomas Friedman (my favorite columnist ever) piece, "
Obama in the Nile." Apparently, in the Middle Eastern region, people are amazed that a black man of Muslim heritage, especially one named Barack Hussein Obama, could be our next president. Reading the article made me swell with pride for our country: a country with an ugly, tarnished and unforgiveable past but one that has risen from the ashes many times before and is built on the idea of the "American Dream." Get it O-ba-ma (who recently became "the first major party candidate to reject public financing and its attendant spending limits")

In his history of 19th-century America, “What Hath God Wrought,” Daniel Walker Howe quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson as telling a meeting of the Mercantile Library Association in 1844 that “America is the country of the future. It is a country of beginnings, of projects, of vast designs and expectations.”That’s the America that got swallowed by the war on terrorism. And it’s the America that many people want back. I have no idea whether Obama will win in November. Whether he does or doesn’t, though, the mere fact of his nomination has done something very important. We’ve surprised ourselves and surprised the world and, in so doing, reminded everyone that we are still a country of new beginnings.
The second is "The Great Seduction" from David Brooks and it basically touches on how Americans have lost their ever loving minds with credit cards and all around over-spending. I hate to say it but the sub prime housing crisis is not solely on the evil doers who scammed grandmas into fixed rate mortages -- why did that grandma think she could get the Beverly Hills house on a hillbilly salary?! No offense to hillbillies... But Americans have led the way in ridiculous spending habits -- you know if you can't pay your rent you should not be buying that new Fendi. It's a great article and a wake up call. Just educating yourself on the latest 401 (k) options (see article 3) isn't enough, we need to educate our peers. The class divisions are getting deeper and wider with every paycheck -- shouldn't we all be doing our part to bring up everybody? A chain is a strong as its weakest link?

The agents of destruction are many. State governments have played a role. They aggressively hawk their lottery products, which some people call a tax on stupidity. Twenty percent of Americans are frequent players, spending about $60 billion a year. The spending is starkly regressive. A household with income under $13,000 spends, on average, $645 a year on lottery tickets, about 9 percent of all income. Aside from the financial toll, the moral toll is comprehensive. Here is the government, the guardian of order, telling people that they don’t have to work to build for the future. They can strike it rich for nothing.

Finally is more of a super informative public service announcement: "A Primer for Young People Starting Their First Job." Educate your minds and then share the wealth.

D_o_n_d_r_i_a - Can't Stop

(A really talented young female who found fame with JD through YouTube)

M_a_r_i_a_h feat. Wayne and Akon - Bye Bye (remix)

K_a_r_i_n_a Pasian - 16 at War

I posted this a while ago but it's been getting more recognition lately and has grown on me like...mold on bread? HA, I got nothing. Anyway it's a FAB song, although when modifying it for singing in my car "21" has an extra syllable so it doesn't flow the same...

NERD feat. S_a_n_t_o_g_o_l_d and Julian - My Drive T_h_r_u

John L_e_g_e_n_d feat. A_n_d_r_e - Green Light

I can't get enough of 3000 these days. Have you ever been listening to music when you're sitting behind a lens that powerfully restricts what you want to listen to? More specifically what happens when you don't want to hear songs demoralizing sex and "love?" What happens when you don't want to hear songs idealizing relationships OR songs about breaking up (well....less often...)? I'll tell you what happens: you end up splitting your time between gospel, Outkast (with that I'll include Goodie Mob), and jazz. I don't want to hear Marvin just as much as I don't want to hear Whitney, Kelly, James, Donny, and Wayne. Sometimes my girls Carrie, Taylor, Mariah, and Bey might get me energized but ehhhh...still. The other night in the club I was so geeked when something came on besides all the bust-it-baby-esque songs, even if it was Jeezy. If only Houston clubs did the Houston throwback mixes like everybody else... I heard some old Z-Ro driving around Detroit and subsequently nearly killed myself and my coworker.

W_a_l_e - Hey Mr. Carter (remix)
*screams again* Mr. Carter is one of my favorite tracks off the not-the-greatest-ever Carter III ( which has sold well over a million -- I almost said a millie. Time for the remixes to cease and desist.) Wale is certainly included in my list of tolerable, listenable-despite-my-mindset artists (as is Blu, the Roots, etc -- I feel like that goes without saying though?) and his Mixtape About Nothing has been getting heavy play on Ipod Jr.


"The Seven Deadly Sins: Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle." -- Mahatma Ghandi

"Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is the right thing to do." - Justice Potter Stewart

"It is not an adequate ethical standard to aspire to get through the day without being indicted." - Richard Breeden

"It takes less time to do a thing right then to explain why you did it wrong." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

" A person of character takes as much trouble to discover what is right as the lesser men take to discover what will pay."-- Confucius

Accusing the times is but excusing ourselves.-- English Proverb

"Character is how you act when you think no one is watching, but conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone may be." -- Michael Josephson

"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." - Sophocles

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." - Ephesians 6:12

But Ephesians 6:12 said it wasn't flesh and blood that we wrestle against

Principalities, powers of this world

Rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness

In high places, so throw that whole armor of righteousness

Monday, June 16, 2008

in the middle we stay calm, we just drop bombs

So life in Corporate America is lavish but a bit hectic for a summer blogger. You know you made it (for however briefly) when your new apartment and your latest room at the Hilton have the same shower curtain. I check my Google Reader (read: RSS Feeds) like once every few days and the last few times I've had "1000+" new items and therfore new music will be sparse for a while. However, life is grand and I'm so blessed and highly favored that nothing else even matters. I hope everybody with a daddy gave them a hug on Father's Day as 24 million children grow up in America without fathers. In a belated honor of Father's Day I'm going to paste a few passages from an article by Ben Stein from a few weeks ago in the paper because I know y'all don't click on all my links and this is important...

"I picture our kids bravely taking moral stands on global warming and the polar bears, refusing to “sell out,” get a job or learn anything useful. I think of what I could write to them about their parents’ work. I would start with a short phrase from Hart Crane, the genius poet.

“O, brilliant kids, I was a fool just like you. I was in my mid-40s before I properly thanked my father for his decades of hard work — paying for me to laze around in the cars he bought me, to get drunk in the frat house whose dues he paid, to spend the afternoons with my girlfriends looking at trees and rivers while Pop worked and got so anxious that he took up smoking three packs of Kents a day.

“O, brilliant kids, you get to put on the garments of the morally righteous and upstanding while your parents work — because mothers work now and always have worked — and your parents must say, ‘Yes, sir,’ or ‘No, sir,’ to those who hire them. O, golden children, you get to talk about how you’ll never ‘sell out,’ and meanwhile your parents stay up late in torment, thinking of how they can pay your tuition. Because, brilliant kids, work (business) involves exhaustion and eating humble pie and going on even when you think you can’t. And you are the beneficiaries of it in your gilded youth.

“Be smarter than Ben Stein ever was. Be a better person than I ever was. Right now, today, thank your parents for working to support you. Don’t act as if it’s the divine right of students. Get right up in their faces and say, ‘Thank you for what you do so I can live like this.’ Say something. Say it, so that when they’re at O’Hare or Dallas-Fort Worth and they’ve just learned that their flight is canceled and they’ll have to stay overnight at the airport, they will know you appreciate them.

“Get it in your heads that if you throw away your moral duties to your parents, you are thieves. You were born on third base and your parents put you there, and you think you hit a triple. It’s not true. It’s time to give back.

“ `Attention must be paid,’ as Arthur Miller said. So start now, and make it a habit to be grateful to your parents. Say you’re grateful and mean it. Do it now, however young or old you are. Do it on Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, every day.”

How I wish I had done more of it. Now it’s too late — but it’s never too early."

I was going to insert a couple of Oukast videos *here* but Sony/BMG has the embedding game on lock. So please visit my affiliate's site:

Softly as if I played piano in the dark

Found a way to channel my anger not to embark

The world's a stage and everybody's got to play their part

God works in mysterious ways so when he starts

the job of speakin through us

we be so sincere with this here

No drugs or alcohol so I can get the signal clear as day

Put my glock away I got a stronger weapon

that never runs out of ammunition

so I'm ready for war okay


And I replied that I had been goin through the same thing that he had

True I got more fans than the average man

but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat

like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' foot then I don't eat,

so we like neck to neck

Yes we done come a long way like them Slim ass cigarettes

from Virginia, this ain't gon stop so we just gonna continue

from the other side of the pond

The past few days I've had Duffy's "Mercy" stuck in my head. It doesn't help that American Gladiators is currently using it on a commercial that comes on about once every 15 minutes on NBC. 2dopeboyz posted a ?uestlove remix of the song and thus we begin the post of extraordinary British singers. (inspired by Buns Rivera - may you have a successful hunting trip over there)

Duffy -- I need a late pass on this one. Her voice and look have a cool 60's quality to them while still being unique: think Amy Winehouse without the extremes. I've been listening to her album for a couple of days [*update: weeks] now and, despite mixed reviews by the media, it's really grown on me. Besides "Mercy" check out "Warwick Avenue" and "Delayed Devotion."

James Morrison - and oooh this man's voice will make you feel like if you concentrate hard enough you might be able to hug the music. The first time I heard him I was listening to a mix of Valentine's Day songs like two years ago and he was randomly in the mix with a bunch of old school artists and I was for sure I had slept on him for decades. Not so! Check out "You Give Me Something" and "Wonderful World." This is the video for "You Give Me Something" but the original version from the UK I believe which is that much better than the US version.

Amy Winehouse -- I know, I know. We're all aware that crack is whack and it has destroyed an otherwise amazing talent, but her (previous?) voice (*recorded) is undeniable. "Tears Dry On Their Own" is what hooked me, but the video isn't nearly as good as the song by itself. Just close your eyes... Peace be with that woman's soul. Everyone has "Back to Black" by now but "Frank" was her first album and has a few hits like "F Me Pumps" and "Send Me Flying."

Estelle - I've blogged on Estelle before. I'm sure the links are dead but see previous posts for more infatuation. Here's a link to a song she did with the a-maz-ing John Legend.

There are a million others I didn't mention but who I still love (Craig David, James Blunt, etc) but this post has been in the works too long and my schedule hasn't been too kind to blogging so whatev.

Friday, June 6, 2008

the way you haunt my dreams

Do yourself a favor and get familiar with a classic:

One of my favorite Ella Fitzgerald pieces, plus I love how Louis just pops out of nowhere in the same light, airy mode as Ella. I was listening to some old Miles D and something in "Stella by Starlight" reminded me of this song. "Can't Take That Away From Me" is a George and Ira Gershwin song from the late '30s and has become a jazz standard.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I walk these roads with grace

Summertime: so far, so good. Over-hyped, sensational NBA finals? Check. Seeds of change already being planted with only 228 days to go? Check. 3 months of new adventures? Check.

New Dwele video:

I love the concept, unfortunately life doesn't always mimic art....just sometimes: B_e_y_o_n_c_e - N_e_w S_h_o_e_s

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

gotta feeling sometimes that makes me wonder

Life is a bit crazy right now but I'm happy, healthy, and alive. It all works out in the end. Can't hold me down. I've got to keep on moooooving. Until I post some more just picture me rolling around this new city with my windows rolled down, letting the sun shine in, singing...