How To Get Over It.

 

A few days ago, I was on a roof, talking to someone I really look up to and respect from a music journalism standpoint. I’ve been involved in the music industry to some extent since I was about 22, and it has been a wild ride. Anyway, I had the bright idea to bring up a writer (she does more than that too) that we mutually know. He says “Oh yeah I know her!” and I calmly let off ….

“She doesn’t fuck with me, at all.”

I felt the slight tinge of anger in my voice when I said it….and I noticed something.

I’m still pissed off.

 

We used to date. This much should be obvious by now. We used to date for a WHILE. On and off. “You’re great” one day, “fuck, I really hate you” the next. I didn’t really know what I was angry about, but I took a little time during the aforementioned conversation and on the train ride home to figure it out.

I was mostly upset with myself.

We have been done since May; when I say “done” I mean, we literally don’t speak. I bought that situation back into life(during one of our multiple stretches of not being cool), knowing it was the absolutely wrong decision to make. The reason it wasn’t a good idea….well, I may not have enough time to explain. To put it plainly, constantly breathing life into a corpse of a situation like the one we had, was top 5 stupid. We are a solid fit on a certain level, but our difference in ideologies/completely contrasting life experiences lead to resentment. Add in the leftover anger from our constant splits and long gaps of not speaking, and of course it’s a mess.

But knowing all that, I still did it. I still visited. I still gave her a weekend of my time. Predictably, it didn’t go too well. I was super lonely and kind of bewildered by life; I grabbed for what I knew, for what I could trust. I didn’t really tell my friends what I was doing because I knew they would scold me, and I wasn’t trying to hear that shit. In just about every friend circle I have, I am the one who makes the rational, well thought out decision. Yet, here I am, messing with my former fellow intern who really doesn’t even like me anymore. All because I wanted to be comforted and be amongst something familiar to me. But don’t get me wrong; she definitely held me down and kept me focused when a lot of other people wouldn’t, or couldn’t. So I also felt…indebted in a way.

I was there for 3 nights and 2 days. So I’m trying to spend time with her and….she kinda doesn’t care. I passed on a party back home to come out here for her. I told her “yeah I moved some plans around a little to come out”…..she turned, looked me in the eye and said….

“Don’t change your plans for me.”

This was after asking em to come see her for MONTHS. I get it though; she got to the point of no longer caring; she had to wait too long.

That was it. No “thanks for doing that”, no fake concern, nothing. Just “don’t do it”. I was taken aback and I kind of started to scramble to save face/find out why she felt that way, but that was a waste. Nothing to explain. She no longer feels you like that, and you probably should’ve stayed in NYC. But that was early on in the trip; I was in for the long haul now.

I went to my friend’s birthday celebration that afternoon. It was fantastic; I got to see my dude happy, it felt like undergrad again. I was on a roof, my shirt was inappropriately buttoned , I drank Ciroc out of a bottle for some reason, I had too much pineapple and rum; wins all around. Except………me and the girl in question were supposed to go to the movies after this party. I told her I wouldn’t be too drunk when she came to get me.

I stepped outside, I couldn’t even see the street, let alone her car. All I remember is throwing up out of the passenger side A LOT, her stopping at a gas station, then me barely taking my clothes off and going to sleep. I also vividly remember saying “I’m sorry” until I felt stupid. I was super embarrassed.

I go out, I get drunk, I am somewhat of a hooligan. But I rarely, RARELY throw up. I also don’t get belligerent and ridiculous very often. I was all of the above, and I hated myself for it. Since I NEVER do this, especially when I made a promise concerning a later engagement…..something was amiss. Looking back, I think I was really stressed about “our” situation and subconsciously tried to drink it away. What we needed wasn’t another date; we needed to stop this shit for the both of us. I also DEFINITELY planned to have sex that night, but no one is climbing on me with vomit breath and a dirty ass shirt. I was also, too drunk to have sex. I’ve literally been too drunk for sex TWICE in my life, this being the second time. If I can breathe, I’m going to put it in there. Not the case that night, and I’m sort of glad it went that way. Sexual contact only would’ve worsened what was already a mess.

The next day was awkward. We ate. We watched movies. We argued about some super stupid shit that she offended me with. I got on that bus home and knew it was over. I felt a little sad because clearly, I cared to some level (and it ended so abruptly and terribly). But I felt more of a relief, because I knew I was in the wrong place, with the wrong person. A few days into that next week, I was at peace with it. Well really, mostly at peace. Her name being bought up this weekend allowed me to finally forgive myself for whatever strife I put her and (REALLY) myself through. Life has looked up since, and I am thankful for that.

Rav Report Live: GoldLink @ Westway.

 

I’ve been a fan of GoldLink’s for a few months now. I pushed him onto my Twitter followers, albeit cautiously. I tend to be an early adopter on artists but I thought I saw something in him that perhaps other’s didn’t. I was wrong, as every song of his that I posted (or reposted on my Soundcloud) someone asked me about him. I was put on by the writer of this interview (I know her, does this count as a flex??? Probably.) His first widely released project “The God Complex” is where I began listening. From there, I knew I had to catch him live at some point soon. As per USUAL, cool ass DJ Toy threw me info about him performing in NYC yesterday…so I had to go.

 

So I made my way to the Westway (REDUNDANT SENTENCE!) from a birthday happy hour in Midtown. Now, I’ve never been to the Westway. The Westway is DEEEEEP. I felt like I was sneaking off to Shredder’s lair for some raps. Seeing as how I’ve been to a good amount of events in SoHo/TriBeCa etc., I am almost used to this feeling. Regardless, I just walked towards the water and kept my eyes peeled for people who were dressed like they stepped out of Tumblr. This strategy will never fail you if you’re trying to find a show.

I get to the front door and I’m a LIL’ antsy; just hype to see GoldLink. I get in smoothly (and the bouncer dude laughed at the stupid abbreviation on my ID), and the first person I see is Rob aka Octavion, who I’ve known since undergrad and was def in my friend circle at ODU. From there I bump into more of my friends/peers from VA and its just a snuggly little reunion. Yaaaaayyyy. Shoutout to Serge and Mike too. I also slid to the bar and got rum and coke number 1. I took it easy because I’ve already had enough alcohol in my body to dissolve myself from the inside this week.

Another reason why I came to this vent was to check out Gianni Lee(link). I’ve seen him DJ at Trillectro (what up, DC), but I wanted to see him nearly a year later, in a more intimate venue. I was thoroughly impressed, as he dabbled in his own mixes and even played reworks from his peers. Overall, I appreciated what he did, as he definitely kept the energy up.

 

Next, DJ Kidd Marvel came on the set. He’s GoldLink’s DJ, so he dove right into shit that would push the crowd into a frenzy. I was pretty amazed at how this crowd reacted so positively to Threatz and Awwsome, by Yung Simmie and Shy Glizzy, respectively. I’m kind of a Glizzy stan at this point, so I was definitely happy to see NYC appreciate that.

 

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While he’s doing this, Toy walks by for the second time that night and says loudly…”ITS SO HOT IN HERE….I HAD TO BRING MY …

Toy's Fan.

….FAN!”

Now when I tell you, she whipped this fan out of her pocket (or pulled the shit out of the shadows) and opened it one smooth motion before she finished the sentence….son. I think she rehearsed it. ANYWAY,  Marvel caught me off guard when he bought GoldLink out. I was totally unprepared. Or still stunned by Toy’s fan based sorcery.

GoldLink comes out with a leopard print hat on, a black tee (that we would later find out was ALEXANDER WANG..yes HE TOLD US!), and some tiny ass cut off shorts. Definitely above the knee. Troy Ave is DEFINITELY not doing any songs with him, lets take that off the table now. I personally thought his fit was perfectly normal; would blend in perfectly with people from around the nearby area. Actually, if he was your typical SoHo street runner, he’d have on some silly ass Power Ranger intergalactic SNEAKER BOOTS. But he didn’t. Thank you, GoldLink. Another interesting thing about this is he usually performs while hiding his identity. He’s starting to warm up to the idea of showing his face; very cool that he chose to do so here.

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The guy is a ball of energy. He’s just cruising through songs from his (fantastic) Soundcloud page and “The God Complex”. He does “Creep” which he asks before he starts “HOW MANY CREEPY NIGGAS IN HERE??”. I stayed silent, because I am the ULTIMATE GENTLEMAN and know nothing about those things. Still, I rocked, cause I liked the song. He did “On & On”, which is just smooth and worked the crowd over. As I keep watching him rap, it’s hitting me how HARD it is to actually rap these songs with such dexterity and stay on cue. He did this for the duration of his roughly 30 min set, with no slip ups. He even calmly rapped through some mic volume issues, restarted the song, and most importantly… he wasn’t rude about it. I hate seeing rappers flip out on the sound guy; he just swam through it.   As you can see, I was standing in the sexy bordello section; my phone wasn’t ready for all that. Speaking of sexy, there were SOME baes present. One of which came with her dude and as soon as GoldLink came out, her jaw hung agape the rest of the show. So hopefully, he didn’t MISPLACE her.

 

As his set comes to a close, he goes into “Ay Ay” aka “the video that had all the titties and butts in it and is NSFW“. The first time I saw the video, I actually was at work. I saw the first 15 secs or so and had to scramble for an escape like I forgot my homework in high school. The song slaps; he did it justice live. Another one of the later  songs he performed was “Wassup“, which flips “Indian Flute”. Don’t you dare ask me what Indian Flute is either!!! I really dug that he closed with these songs. he also did a song from his upcoming EP, with Chaz French. Chaz is linked to my friends and he did his thing, so I’m all about that.

While I must admit, I was disappointed by some song omissions (namely “CTRL”, “How Its Done”).  However, it was his first headlining show in NYC. His job was to complete a condensed set and impress; he did that. I really think he has something and will be a big deal, very soon. He has talent, energy, thinks outside of the box and really loves to make music.

Also, Kevin Liles wasn’t too far away from us. TAKE THAT AS YOU WILL. No, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say….I mean…he’s Kevin Liles. I was too busy trying to be cool and not play myself.  I was also lucky enough to meet Rome Fortune in the venue. I’m a fan of his and very proud of his progress. I stopped, showed my appreciation, and that was that. Very cool guy and I’m really glad we got to chop it up for that limited time.

 

Overall, it was a good night. I finally got to catch GoldLink, I managed to not get drunk, and I made it home without disintegrating from exhaustion. WIN WIN WIN.

 

To wrap it all up….

 

Drunk Levels: Low  (2 Rum and Cokes). I barely wanted to drink. If they had orange juice straight, ida had that.

Bae Levels : There was some work in there! I think one who looked at me a lil strangely…so clearly…..she wanted me(or I’m just ugly). I’m not gonna factor in the girls I knew who were already there cause that would juke the #BaePowerRankings stats. So uh let’s say somewhere between 6.5/7 out of 10? Yeah.

Show quality : 7/10 -8/10. Only real complaints are that it was short/song omissions. As a performer, he did great. He’s a real showman, too.

Venue : I’ve never been to Westway before but its nice. It’s a little tight inside but I never really felt uncomfortable. It also used to be a strip club…so center stage is a catwalk. Yes, GoldLink threatened to strip on it while Ginuwine played.

Until next show! As always, if theres a show in NYC, hit me on Twitter. Always open to suggestions for the next Rav Report Live.

 

 

a few things.

 

 

2014 has been good. 2014 has also been…. strange. The only way to survive when you are literally rebuilding your identity and getting in touch with your sense of self daily….is to try to stay level. I’ve soared just as much as I have struggled (ok, maybe I’ve soared more), but I see things differently.

I’ve admittedly been struggling to write, as I teeter on the line between “trying to write the very things you are experiencing as they happen” and “revealing too much and fucking your life up”. I haven’t really written anything in a while (other than a poem/song while on a bus), so I’m just gonna play the list game. I hate lists, and I hate when people acknowledge they haven’t written in a while. *SIGHS*

 

Having the purest of intentions will always help.

I can hear you sighing and rolling your eyes from here. When I say things like this, people pile on me with their examples of things not going their way when they had pure intentions.

“It didn’t work out with me and my ex who is a goober but….”

“I keep trying to pass this class but….”

“My jumper is broken and none of my friends pick me to play 5 on 5 help. I shoot every day even in the rain SON! I deserve this!”

 

The real problem here is, I’ve noticed human beings have this innate feeling that things are just supposed to go in their favor. Not the way life works. I too have been guilty of this, but I know better now. You can be the best person ever, you can always do the right thing, you can still take the hugest L ever. What defines who you are is whether you use that as an excuse to be a shithead. Don’t be a shithead. Understand that you don’t “deserve” anything but respect and love. Everything else, you have to work towards. But most important of all, you have to be honest with yourself, and do the right thing. Try your absolute best, pour yourself into what you do, and let that be it. If it doesn’t work, admire yourself for your efforts and try again. Or take your energy somewhere else. That’s a call YOU will have to make.

 

 Don’t be a shithead.

I’d like to think I’m a pretty nice guy nowadays. I can honestly say that being nice to people and spreading as much postive energy as you can just feels better. Having people around you who are happy, comfortable and smiling….can’t really be beat. I now think people who are always out to abuse and torture people have deeper issues that need to be addressed. A high percentage of those people are hurting over something else; I certainly was.

 

You don’t owe anybody, anything.

Not an explanation, not a conversation, not a phone call, text, email, smoke signal, tweet…none of that.  I’ve noticed that people have come to feel that I “owe” them contact. I do not. if I don’t wanna talk, I will not. If I don’t wanna attend something, I’m just gonna tell you no. I’ve grown tired of feeling obigated to give people my time when I don’t want to. Minutes, seconds and hours are valuable. Don’t waste yours just because you feel like you “have to”. You do not.

 

and lastly….

 

Most people will not get “it”.

When it comes to the choices you make in life, a lot of people will disagree. Most of these people, I don’t care about them because they’ve never taken a stand for anything. If you’ve never stood up in your life or put your neck on the line for something you believe in, why would I care about your thoughts? Sometimes, its not that cut and dry. Sometimes people you love will disagree. Friends, family, something more…it’s bound to happen. With that said, you still have to push on and do what your heart desires. Most of the time, those very people who disagreed come around when they see your conviction and passion. A lot of people don’t step out and go against the grain because they are scared to death. By pursuing what you really desire, you become an outlier. So, of course people will treat you strangely. It’s not about them and it never was; this is solely about you. When you are trying to grow and lighten your load, the journey is strictly about you. Don’t let ANYONE distract you from that. First you help yourself, then you help the world.

 

See you soon.

Hitched, Part 2.

****Read this first.*****

    Over time, I started to notice…things. Well, just one thing. Whenever there were other girls around us, she acted “off”. I remember it clearly; when we were walking to go eat on campus, a girl from one of my org’s stopped me. We exchanged small talk, regular chatter. I guess this went on a little longer than she liked: She just walked away and left me. All I got was an “I’ll meet you there”. I wanted to introduce them to each other but she hung back so far when saw her, I couldn’t even tell where she was standing in the crowded student center. To be totally clear, I had a crush on that girl that stopped me at a point. My current situation really dissolved my interest in even going down that road. Maybe she “felt” something. Either way, I started to feel that we might be in trouble.

   My 22nd birthday came up. My 21st birthday was a mess, so I promised myself I would make my next one memorable. Me and my roommates brainstormed and we decided to have a party. We had liquor, I let the people know; no way this would turn out wack. I told “her” about it and she never really sounded too thrilled. I kept bringing it up, hoping she’d see how badly I wanted her to show up. Hours before the party, she said “I’m sure there will be more than enough girls at the party, you don’t need me to come”. I was sick over this. How could someone so important to me see her presence as disposable? She was always uncomfortable with my popularity(ugh, my friends were way more well known) at school , and that comment sent it home.

    The party went down. It was a success. I nearly got into a fight, plenty of girls came and it closed with the cops trying to arrest me (A+!). Seriously, it was a good time. With that said, I had a strange little moment there. My VERY first college boo(“A”) and her best friend (“K”) came. This is no big deal, as we were cool and put the past behind us (lol oh pls). They came through fly as usual, danced, drank, enjoyed. Once A walked away, me and K were talking. She out of nowhere murmurs to me…

“If you and B didn’t date……”

    She looked me in the eye and I knew what she was trying to infer. Ive known her forever. She’s been (and still is) an attractive woman. However, I didn’t hesitate. I defused that immediately and moved on with my night. I was very serious about whatever it was me and “her” had, even when it was on the rocks. My feelings and heart were tied up and I really just wanted to put my energy towards that.

    A few days later, she texts me back again. She tells me she doesn’t wanna come chill, doesn’t want anything to do with me, all that. I’m pretty much being dumped via text, and I don’t even know what I did. I’m not taking it well but my ego prevents me from chasing down the “why” of situations like these. If you want to let me go, cool. I won’t beg you, I won’t play myself. I simply asked her what lead to this and she once again bought up my popularity and how that was too much for her. I responded back calmly, accepting things for what they were. In the ensuing days, she continues to hit me up and make me feel stupid about the whole thing. How I shouldn’t have liked her so much. How I made it all into something it wasn’t, how all of our time didn’t really mean much. It was bizarre, because I wasn’t chasing her after she dumped me. She just kept coming back to me and killing me with the same knife. Me, in my state of need for her, kept responding until I simply was too bothered by all of it.

      I was totally fucked up over this. Non of my friends knew how serious it was for me, or that we even split. My roommate asked me “whatever happened to….” and to this day, I don’t know how I didn’t get out of that conversation without embarrassing myself.  Partner this bad heartbreak with the melancholy feeling of a pending graduation, trying to enjoy myself before it’s all over, and the incredible amount of violence going on at my school (guy got killed and his body was in the street a block away; on a separate incident a kid got stabbed up in the parking lot right outside of my window), I was stressed about everything. I’ve never really admitted this, but I honestly felt like I was going to get killed my senior year. I ended up adopting some beefs because of my loyalty AND a lot of students were ending up in crazy situations with locals after parties.

       I don’t really know how I decided to stop sulking. I do know that I found solace in my coworker’s bed sheets. We worked together on campus and I kinda knew she always liked me. I was sorta on the fence but as we got to know each other I warmed up to the idea a little more. She was cute; dark skin, big smile, infectious laugh. We hung out at the office, we talked on campus, worked on projects together. As fate would have it, she happened to live in my building. I saw her in the hallway while I was washing clothes, so I texted her when I was almost done. I ended up walking into her apartment and next thing you know, our lips meet. We didn’t have sex until maybe a few weeks later. Once we started, we didn’t stop. She was in an ODU office with me, amongst very important people, and no one knew what we did behind closed doors. There was a certain forbidden air to it. This went on until about a week before I graduated, when she disappeared quietly back home to northern Virginia.

     There was also someone else, who is memorable because she was a big “first” for me. She was at my apartment for a kick back. I was doing my homework; I wanted no parts. Me being involved would’ve thrown the ratio off. Nevertheless, I’ve known her for a few years but we’ve just been cool. I noticed that she kept walking by my door and peeking in. She eventually comes in and one of the guys (who I know WELL) pulled her off of me and out of my room. He had a huge (unrequited) crush on her, and I knew this. Never one to lose his cool in this situation, when she came by again, I took her by the hand and walked her into my room. She giggled and walked in curiously.

        I’m just running my fingers over her, admiring her form. She was sort of defined , smooth light skin and had an edge to her voice. She reveals to me “I’ve always liked you and thought you were cute, why didn’t you say anything?” BULLSHIT DETECTOR WEEEE OOO WEEEEE OOOOOOOO. I could’ve just been overcome with modesty, but I still think she was lying. How did I answer? With a lie of my own. “I’ve liked you for a while too!” First and last girl I ever lied to. It was pre-sex bullshit; going through the motions to make each other comfortable with things that aren’t true. I never subscribed to that again. Regardless, she chose to link up after Spring Break (which was next week) instead of doing anything that night.

   Our night came to pass. She came at 6 am, and slid into my building silently. I didn’t sleep, I just stayed up and waited for her. She hands me this, I take ONE swig, she is in my bed. It goes down from there, as Spongebob Squarepants plays far too loudly from my bulky silver TV. The next morning, I kept the lie train going and told her I had study hall. The truth was I didn’t want her in my spot all day. I eventually felt like shit about the pointless lies and vowed to never do it again. I also considered telling dude who pulled her out of the room what happened, because I wanted him to suffer. But I didn’t. So he may be reading this and just found out. If so, yes, her. :) !

    The final part of my story that connects back to Hitch is simple. He approached women and all that they have to offer as “catching up on lost time”.  In reality, he was trying to cover up the pain of finding his girl in the rain with the resident cool guy on campus. She basically left me for her ex, then a FOOTBALL PLAYER. So she hated my popularity, then went to an athlete. Yep. I finally decided to entertain girls who I knew were interested in me, because I was fucked up. I was trying to patch the holes in my boat with lust. It never worked. Those girls didn’t particularly give a shit about me; they just liked what I projected. One of those girls I mentioned actually told me in bed “You were cute on that (ORG REDACTED) poster around campus, I had to have you”. It was never about me, just like it was never about them. I wanted to feel alive, after feeling as if I was literally dead on my feet. Casual sex is fine; just know that it doesn’t heal your pain. The emotional rawness of being discarded by someone who literally illuminates your days to girls who keep your nights shrouded in darkness is a lot for any 22 year old, especially one with a lot on his plate.

  I had to mature. I had to live. I had to understand that just wanting to have sex is fine, and so is wanting to put your all into a woman who’s special to you. Even though my clear blue sky turned gray, I didn’t want to be afraid the next time the sunlight chose me. With knowledge that it all ended so badly, I thank her for it. The highs, the lows, the jagged separation. My experience taught me to value myself and to appreciate the love in every waking day. Even the cold, lonely ones.

Hitched, Part One.

I was watching Hitch one day and once scene in particular really stuck out to me. Mainly because I felt it; I related.

I wasn’t a nerd. I didn’t catch her with someone else. I was a roving, insensitive asshole who always meant well. I just went about things the wrong way, using my foolish paranoia and insecurities to fuel my decisions. But once we were done, the way I felt about women (and life!) changed forever.

It was late in my senior year. Everyone has that one class that kicks their candy ass; mine was this weird Psych research stats class. Everyone used to fail it; the class GPA was putrid. I too botched it the semester before, but bounced back rather strongly. Anyway, we had this class AND lab together; it was somewhat preordained that we would cross paths. I knew who she was; she caught my eye long ago. I asked my guy Phil (who I always saw as an older brother) about her, and he gave me the rundown. She’s quiet, he’s seen her around, knew her friends. One of his friends tried to get at her for a while but she was never with it. His….shortcomings and & inabilities didn’t have anything to do with me. That story didn’t deter me. If my chance came around, I was going to take it. Or try my very best to do so.

That chance came early in the class. When everyone in the lab had to partner up and she came to sit next to me, I knew. I sort of knew we wouldn’t be just friends; partially because I just desired her that much. I didn’t know how it was gonna happen, or when, or if I even had control of the situation (I surely did not). I focused on not saying anything corny and not giving away how excited I was to just speak. We chopped it up. We shared laughs. We had common ground (both from the North, same majors, similar music interests, same big city edge). She had big, curly black hair, deep, expressive eyes and grinned as I spoke as if everything I said was as vital as air to her lungs. She was Dominican/Puerto Rican, which was a change for me. Even back then, I only loved my hashtag BLACK hashtag QUEENS, but something about her had me tied up. She was just so fascinating, and edgy, and determined. She was older than me, so I looked to her for her subtle wisdom. She was so modest, never really knowing that what she had to say was very important to me.

We were cool, that was about it. I couldn’t really gauge if she liked me or anything (I was 21-22, didn’t really gauge this well until MAYBE 25?). One specific turn of events woke me up to her intentions. I came into the Student Center to handle some business. I was a member of our college radio station and I was on the executive board for SGA. I had people telling me when I arrived that a girl was looking for me. I had no idea who but I soon pieced it together. She was swinging by my office, with her freshly injured/broken foot in a walking boot, trying to surprise me. Our campus isn’t tremendous, but you do NOT want to traverse it with one foot that actually works. She did this more than once and once I caught wind of it, things changed for me. Now I had to think “MAYBE SHE DOES LIKE ME”. The fact that “maybe” is there shows you how modest and how easily thrown off by female attention I was. I simply didn’t know how to read these situations well.

While that event showed how serious she was about getting to know me, my moment was coming. On a snowy night at Phil’s house, I was cooling with him and his female neighbors. This is my first time meeting one of the girls and we’re vibing pretty well. I remember kind of marveling at how smooth and flawless her deep brown skin was; her little voice so confident talking to this upperclassman who’s slowly building interest was becoming apparent. It’s going well then SHE
starts texting me. She wants to hang out. I quickly agree to meet at my apt, even though the weather is trash. I go back to talking to everyone. Naturally, I linger a little too long and get the “I’m here” text. I tell Phil I have to leave, and he sees in my eyes why. He lets me go and I hear that tinge of disappointment in his voice. I leave that girl and her chocolatey skin, somewhat knowing we’ll never really meet up again.

To make you understand, Phil’s crib is 5 blocks from mine. It’s snowing. I walked when it wasn’t bad. I’m late. SO I RAN. I think my lame ass actually fell doing this. Luckily it was dark and no one was outside. I get a half block away and stop to catch my breath. I didn’t want her to know that I really ran blocks, just to see her. I calm down, walk around to my building, let her in, and we go upstairs.

We chill out. She shows me her drawings. I remember flipping through her sketchbook slowly. I eyeballed every line, every area of shading, just taking it all in. I’m so honored she even shared this with me. We ate. We talked about Prince, and religion, and positive energy. She was changing who I was. Before our talks about doing the right thing and your energy mattering in the grand scheme of things, I pretty much said and did what I wanted to. I had respect for people, but I was just so rude. I didn’t understand how much my energy mattered to the people around me.I was moody, I shut down easily and kind of had a simmering anger to me. But she was talking me into a totally different direction. I valued our time spent and so did she. I always remembered feeling so freed of everything with her.

Thing is, as all of this was happening to me, I was pretending. No one knew how much I liked her, or even that we had something going on. Phil knew we were “talking” but I didn’t share details. I looked up to him(and still do), and girls loved him and his housemates (who were also like family to me). I was slightly a fish out of water; this was new to me in a way. At that time, I didn’t want to look “soft”. Soft. Soft for really liking a girl. My mindset was way off. My other friends used to ask about her when they saw her around. “This Spanish girl was looking for you at the station.” and “She’s cute, put me on!”. I just calmly brushed off both. I couldn’t get defensive, because now they’d know how I really felt. Little did I know, my silence as it came to “us” would hurt me.

 

Part 2. Soon.

By robbyrav

Rav Report Live: Kelela @ Rough Trade.

If you know me, or follow me on Twitter *points to sidebar*, you know that I am a Kelela stan on the low.

I listened to her album , CUT 4 ME on a whim sometime last year and I was SUPER impressed. For an alleged music snob who hates everything (I don’t!), this was big. I ran this album into the ground for months until I got tired, didn’t think about it, then bought it back to life.

I was lucky enough to catch her in October at the CMJ edition of Fader Fort out in Brooklyn. The Internet was also on that bill. Needless to say, crazy show. I also wanna put this out here, I was pretty drunk off of Captain Morgan Black by the end of this, so that was probably why I was in the front row, turned into pure putty while Kelela was singing. Yeah. The drinks. It’s not because I’m soft and partial to women who sing. Nope.

Fast forward to last week, and I remember that Kelela is doing 2 shows in Brooklyn. I HAD to attend at least one. I kinda had a lot going on that weekend (COOL GUY ALERT!!!!) so I saw that there were still tickets on Friday and took the plunge. I was flip flopping between this and the Natural History Museum party with Machinedrum , but an industry buddy (who I actually met at CMJ, and is a pretty nifty DJ) told me “IM GOING TO KELELA!”. I go to plenty shows alone, but if you have the chance to go with other people…you should take that. Plus she’s is also a stan, so it works out.

So that was that. I set out into a semi crappy weathered night and head to Williamsburg for the show. I step in and my first thought is “wow, there are a lot of bad, weird black girls in here, right now”. I move around a lil’ bit and hit the bar and get a rum and Coke, because I’m a cool guy who drinks boring shit. I’m drinking and watching the stage, which has a DJ duo just going to WORK. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the transitions but they seemed to get better as the night went on. It’s a guy and a girl, who I later recognized were Shayne and Venus X of GHE20G0TH1K fame (if you know, you know). They were really playing some daring stuff (BMore club) and songs that will at least make you smile if you arent a lame (Aaliyah – One In A Million). Everything was working. The people were beautiful, the energy was good, I was starting to get into it (AND INTO MY RUM!).

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A little later, she texts me that she’s in Rough Trade, so I set out to find her and her friends. I start to walk over and I look up and see…Dev Hynes. Now as someone who loves Solange and pretty much followed Dev from his work on “True”, this was kind of a big deal. Dude’s a real talent and I had basically a few seconds to decide “Am I gonna walk over and say what up or am I just gonna drift over to my destination.” I opt to not be a bitch and quickly show my appreciation to Dev (very gracious and humble guy) and head over. FULL DISCLOSURE: I was guzzling Rum and Coke number 2 so I’d bet money I shook his hand too quickly and was probably talking too loud. SO WHAT. Also, someone on Twitter linked me to this. Dev is wild, son.

I get to her and her friends, introduce myself, and Kelela takes the stage immediately.

Let me be frank.

Kelela is fine.

Anyways, here’s some footage cause I’m tired of typing.

When I go to shows to see singers, I’m specifically trying to see can they recreate records live. If I found out Kelela was CB4, I might not have recovered. LUCKILY FOR US, she is not. Not at all. Her song “Send Me Out” is one of those test your vocal chops tunes, and she killed it. There were actually a group of girls next to us were just standing there dissing Kelela the whole show. While that shit is kinda weird, Send Me Out shut them the fuck up. So thanks Kelela, good lookin’. She’s powering through basically all of the songs you’d want to hear off of her album, including reworking a few with different edits (such as “Keep it Cool”).

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While doing this song, the j appears. Now mind you, this is an alt r&B show, of COURSE there’s weed right? But I’m gonna tell you something about me.

I am a rookie smoker. Possibly less than rookie. I could count on my hands the amount of times I’ve burned and still have enough fingers left to shoot a jumper. Or toss a frisbee, for our shoes off in the grass buddies. I’ve never really put time into learning the intricacies of smoking, because its just too ill. It literally feels too good; I feel like if I learn to roll, smoke in any situation and light roaches etc, I’m going to become Redman. I’m just gonna keep doing it. So, I stick to rare recreational settings where I don’t have to do too much but pull.

Anyone who’s been in the presence of weed will tell you, you got about a split second to decide are you gonna hit or not. I hastily said yes.

“Yo, you gotta relight it.”

 

I don’t know how to relight this shit, man. I’m in the dark, cant even see my fingers, trying to open the lighter, light the j, and pull in one smooth ass motion. I failed, almost burnt my upper lip off, and inhaled wild weed flakes into my mouth. Was like chewing mesquite wood chips. I’m so fucking wack. I got away with this with only one person peeping me PLAYING myself. I’m now in the dark, watching Kelela, constantly touching my possibly singed lip. If I fuck my lip up, my sex appeal gon’ be on E, and I can’t afford that. Luckily I was ok.

 

A little after this, Kelela walks into the crowd.

 

This is how close I was.

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I did not walk over there, because…well I don’t know. Seeing her up close confirmed my “Kelela is bad” thought, word to dude who was less than 5 feet away who refused to make eye contact. SHOOK!!!!! (As I notice this 10 feet away.) She thanks us, goes backstage for few, and comes back to encore a bit then close with “Do It Again” , which is a favorite of mine.

Show ends, I linger a lil bit, say my goodbyes, and skate up outta there.

It was a good night, Shayne and Venus did their thing and Kelela was very crisp and has a good feel for the stage. Most fun I’ve EVER had while trying to burn my face off with a lighter.

To summarize it all:

Drunk Levels: Low to Moderate (2 Rum and Cokes)

Bae Levels : A lot of weird brown/black baes who definitely talk about the eco system and co-washing in the same breath…..and thats my type of scene

Show quality: 8/10 -9/10

Venue : First time being at Rough Trade, and I loved it. I’ll be back.

 

If you guys like, I’ll keep doing Rav Report Live for events I go to. Any shows in NYC you think I’d like (even ones I wouldn’t), let me know!

Progression (aka Yeezus).

So earlier last week, a friend of mine shot me a flurry of texts that basically ended in “I have Yeezus tickets, I wanna go with someone who actually likes it….” I originally had plans with my DOG, KWAME but I got his blessing. He already saw Yeezus, knows how I feel about Ye’ and knew I needed to go. So I squared that away and I was on board.

Now mind you, I’ve been to Glow In the Dark. GITD changed my life. This was my first big concert and I was maybe 21-22. I paid damn near 300 for my seats (as if I had that, who was I fooling) cringed, and went after my spring semester ended. I vividly remember watching the whole thing thinking “Holy shit, why can’t I feel like this every day?” GITD was a culmination of Ye’s ego, imagination, and talent, all in one cohesive story that felt like a child’s well developed day dream. He has an IMAGINATION. Around this time I noticed that my own imagination was dying, and so was everyone else’s. He was “free” more or less. Kanye’s energy that whole show told me he wanted to be there, and there’s nothing else he’d rather do with his time. That was deep to me. At that age, I had only begun to understand passion and how it fuels you. Ye was operating off of passion and love, and I wanted that. The technology at the show was also out of this world, and directly affected what I wanted to do with my life.

So needless to say, seeing Kanye’ perform is kind of a different thing for me. I saw him at Watch The Throne but that’s a different type of experience from a Kanye’ solo show. I had to take part in this.

I get to Nassau Coliseum , we get the tickets (just happened to be GA floor, YES!), we linger a little bit, then we go in. First off, to get to the floor in NC, you have to go down like 6 -7 ramps, deep into the basement of the building. It’s basically like a bomb shelter, with tight ass hallways. We get down there, give in our tickets and walk in. (sidenote: My ticket number was “143” aka shorthand for “I Love You”. I wanted to keep it but they wouldn’t let me. I’m just into symbolism, from little things like that to the more grandiose.)

The show starts about 40 minutes later and I’m pretty into it from the get go. I’m really not the wild out at a show type unless its just that kinda night. I  like to digest what I’m seeing, rap/sing along, and just enjoy the show. New Slaves/Clique/Black Skinhead….I’m engaged. Then something happened.

When it come’s to Kanye songs, Coldest Winter (and Streetlights) are somewhere in my top 10. These two songs are just honest, poignant, the kind of things anyone who’s ever had to deal with loss or feelings of inadequacy can relate to. He walks out to the edge of the mountain built onto the stage. It raises into the air, and he lays flat on his back and goes into Coldest Winter.

Right before he starts singing it, he tells us it’s about his mother (which I’ve heard before and always wondered if it was true). My heart sank a little, because I could never imagine losing my mother and feel for everyone who has had to deal with that. I only have one living grandparent, so, it’s affected those amongst me.

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During this whole performance I’m staring up there, thinking how lucky we are to have someone willing to make music like this. We’ve had Kanye for too long; it’s to the point where we write off what he does. If we’re gonna be honest, from the gate, he was a talented guy making honest music. He was so self confident that we couldn’t tell if it was arrogance or someone willing themselves to the top (which he did). He has Grammy’s, sales, notoriety, fame, but I don’t totally really think that’s enough. His…”talent” for falling in and out of public favor has somewhat affected how people view him. He’s said shit I found corny (ie his reactions to Kris Humphries/ lyrics about Amber Rose post break up), but I’ve kinda got over it all. Sometimes he loses himself in interviews, but I’ve never felt that he meant any harm. He’s been coming off to me as someone trying to find themselves, and last night made me feel like he’s progressing.Once he took his mask off, he was….happy. Last hour of the show was pure glee; you could feel how positive the energy was from every in the house that night. He was at ease; anyone who has lost that knows how vital it is to have.

With all of that said, Kanye always makes me feel motivated when I see him perform.  Kanye gives his all, every time. A lot of things have happened to me fairly recently that make me feel like I should try harder …with everything. I’ve become somewhat concerned about not using what I have to the best of my abilities. I don’t really feel like I lacked talent (you can be modest if you want), but I do know I lack drive and motivation, sometimes. My life did not improve until I continuously pushed myself to the edge, and I think that’s the “secret”. I’m uncomfortable; shit is weird….but that’s fine. I’m becoming better and I see and feel it.  If you don’t squeeze every drop out of what you have, can you really complain about your results?

Life isn’t something you just stumble through. YOU control your reality. Just try to grow daily and keep stretching as far as you can. I get that in order to reach a point that you can only imagine, you have to prepare yourself for that and be disciplined. Kanye always worked, no matter what went on around him. He saw who he wanted to become, and he believed it enough for all of us. Is that not what success is?

Smash REAL Fast.

You know what I never got?

Male cliches about dating and sex. Mainly sex. ‘Cause I’m in my mid 20’s and thats what every discussion turns into. Let us move along.

Sometime last week, a friend dropped the dreaded “She wanted to have sex too quickly” (wtf is too quickly, that’s like saying “Damn, this french toast and bacon with extra syrup has arrived in 3 minutes, I am UPSET”) arose. Now, don’t get me wrong, being a dude and not wanting to have sex immediately isn’t out of the norm. It’s pretty normal actually, I think (I don’t have any friends). But that’s not the issue here.

He DID want to have sex. As has every other dude who has bought this same situation to my attention.The issue here is she has now become a “hoe”, because she wanted to have sex with YOU, as soon as POSSIBLE.

This logic becomes more flawed to me the more it comes up; perhaps it’s time I express my thoughts and feelings.

To put it plainly, you’re probably attracted to her. I don’t know you, but you probably are, random guy. You agree on a date with a woman, you might even want to hit, my man! Let’s not waste time lying! Suppose the stars decide to align in a way that makes her wanna have sex with you “quickly” (what that means depends on who you are). Are you telling me you’re horrified and disgusted by her behavior? It’s cool if you are, but why?

You two want the same thing. If you don’t know what to do here (pls), you can decline. Declining is an option. NO ONE DECLINES HERE, BUT THEY CONSTANTLY CALL HER A HOE AFTER. If this way of operating is so filthy to you, are you not aware that you’re wading in that same muck once you remove your Green Lantern briefs?

Is it impossible that she likes you and is at ease in your presence? Aren’t you a SUPER COOL GUY who gets girls with ease? Shouldn’t sex come to you quickly, like that second drink you hideously overpaid for on vacation? So which is it?

A) You are not the Casanova you pretend to be.

B) Don’t believe a girl would want you sexually ’cause she just digs you like that, it has to be a charity case.

C) You’re just a loser IDK I got nothing.

Which brings me to “SHE DOES THIS WITH EVERYONE!!!!!”. This comes with 0 proof, 84 percent of the time. You really think she’s enamored to the point of sex with every dude she has a dry ass grilled chicken dinner with (with a WEAK ASS mixed drink on the side)? There’s also a bigger problem here….

You probably do this with everyone too (or desire to).

So, this is an interesting time to become the Morality Police.

She may really do it with everyone.

YOU DON’T KNOW. YOU STILL HIT. YOU DON’T ACTUALLY CARE.

The saddest part that gets overlooked is “She does this with EVERYONE!” is your first thought when offered sex. Your self-esteem is shot, and you are totally unaware of this. But no, really, she probably doesn’t do it with everyone. Men tend to horribly overrate sexual promiscuity while indulging in it and trying to say “Its different”. It’s not. You like to have sex? Go have sex. One less person bitching on Twitter about infantile things.

Actually the idea of “what is sexual promiscuity” lies on such a wide range that the term nearly no longer makes sense. Think the term made more sense in less liberated times (I’m not even sure these are “liberated” times, if I may be honest.)

Lastly, while still on the topic, waiting to have sex is not a gold medal of chaste. It just means, you want to wait to have sex. I’d like to think both genders have done it. However, this is more about women. I know for a fact, that dudes still use “She made me wait, she must be trustworthy/a good person/not juggling multiple sexual partners” in their grading system. No.

I tend to believe that most women who overlook your tendency to not brush your hair & wear jean shorts enough to have sex with you, wanted to do it beforehand. Some girls will have sex with you as soon as they decide they wanna do it; some will wait months/years/decades. It is, what it is. In my mind? When they make that choice doesn’t really change my view of their “purity” (Purity. LOL. You break 21, you’ve done some CRINGE-worthy shit, I PROMISE you).

I don’t think “OMG SHE IS HAVING SEX WITH ALL OF NYC THATS WHY SHE OFFERED IT TO ME SO SOON HELP PLS” nor do I think “She’s making me wait until Jay Electronica takes that fucking Ewok robe off and gets back in the studio before she’ll let me smell it! She must be a good girl!”. The urgency with which they have sex has nothing to do with whether they are a piece of shit, or not. JUST TRUST ME. It just means as I said before, that she likes sex. We all like sex. C’mon.

Before I Leave…

 In HS, a close friend of ours was parading around his girl and was bragging to us that she was a virgin. He couldn’t wait to 360 windmill in her paradise of VAGINE.

One problem. She was having sex with someone in our circle. Or better yet, she did it months ago. But she was making Close Friend #1 hang on, and he was excited to cash in soon. This girl he put stock in, and added points to because she was a “virgin”, was really just a liar, who had sex with his associates then struck it from the record. So there’s that.

I also grew up with a girl who was making some dude wait for months to have sex. She is well known in my hometown, for you know……having sex. Getting plowed. Getting excavated by the wee wee hammer. I knew, everyone knew, she was not shy about it.

Anyway, he didn’t know. He stuck around because he thought she was a “good girl” (whatever) and didn’t have a lot of sexual partners, thus making her more desirable in his opinion.

She was holding out so she could recover from Chlamydia.

Y’all have a nice day, though.

Washed!

For those unfamiliar, when two rappers are on a song and one’s verse(s) happens to be glaringly better than the other rapper, we say they got “washed”. This is a regional thing; I’m from NYC, you probably say something different in your hut in Des Moines, Iowa. “He got cornhusked/irrigated” whatever you bumpkins prefer. Moving onward.

But what happens when you’re a singer and you are washing other singers, or even WORSE, rappers? I take mental notes of when this happens, and I’m going to show you a few of my favorites. This happens more often than it should, actually. *begins lecture*

HOW MANY DRINKS.

Now, I am teetering on a Miguel stan. BUT. BUT! He didn’t have to add Kendrick to this. “How Many Drinks” is a wonderfully catchy song about Mig inquiring as to how many watery Cran and Vodkas does he need to purchase for you to come home with him and get UOENO’d. I wouldve preferred the original album version with him harmonizing and hitting mad wild notes as you don’t notice he’s singing about getting hoes loose off Peach Ciroc. Did Kendrick get “washed” per se? No. Could he have just stayed home? Sure. Never did I hear this song and think “You know what this smooth tune needs??? Kendrick Lamar rapping about eating the love box.” Kendrick is still the man though. Please don’t tell security to grab me by my lengthy tank top and Jazzy Jeff me out of your show.

Remember You.

The first time I saw this online, I thought “Yes! Wiz and The Weeknd!” I hit play and listened to a rapper get ran off of his own song. Wiz had 0 business on this (yes, I’m aware it was his single). Abel drug-yodeled Wiz right up outta here. From the moment Abel said…

Girl, take pride in what you wanna do
Even if that means a new man every night inside of yoOoOoOoOoWhoOoOoOoO (OH!!!!)

….I became concerned for Wizard Khalifa. Very concerned. Just got uglier from there. Abel also said he’ll “smoke anything thats handed” to him but let’s overlook a famous singer possibly smoking wet/sherm/The Shenanigans and lets focus on him cooking Wiz. Wiz’s verses were cheeks so I’m not gonna quote em. Just know: The Weeknd ate the first verse and you can cut it off after he does the hook.

Sex Room

Ok. This song is terrible. Sex Room, as I will tell anyone who will listen, is in my top 20 favorite songs ever. That explosion you’re hearing sound is my credibility disintegrating, but so what? Every time this shit comes on, I am  Richmond goon yodeling Trey’s every word, cause he killed it. The whole premise of the song is corny and Luda’s bars are super forgettable but soon as I hear that “OOOOOOO OOOOOO OOOO OOOOOOOOOO” I’m going in. Trey Songz ate FOOD on the last part. Son was just yelling “OHHHH OHHHH” mad loud in the background while dropping gems such as “Lemme get a vowel  I.O.U./I.E.U. MEANS I EAT U”. Flames. This was at a time when Trey was still the RnB filth lord (that spot has been usurped by this guy).

sidenote: Sex Room finished and it started to play the rest of the album…this shit was a trainwreck. If only it was actually the Shawnna/Luda collab album it was supposed to be.

double sidenote: I googled “Shawnna” and there was an image tab that just said “Ass”. Props to Google for being just as scummy as me and knowing what I was here for. *exclusive footage of me when the page loaded*

And now, for the star of the show.

UPGRADE U.

YEAH. YEAH SON. I was playing this stupid loud in my freshman dorm, being a stereotypical #Black and making the walls shake(not via sex, because Robby at 18? Getting girls? #LOL!). Everyone was prolly like “oh he jamming that cause of that beat and that Jay verse”…….

NOPE.

I was listening to Beyonce get BARS OFF. Don’t get me wrong, Upgrade U is possibly a top 5 Jay feature verse. He did work….but he stood NO chance against….

Audemars Piguet watch
Dimples in ya necktie
Hermes BRIEFcase
Cartier top clips
Silk lined BLAYYYYYZZZUUUUHHHHSSSSS

Beyonce singing her ass off about being the ultimate equal to her man in love AND business? Touching. Then she gave him wild high fashion bars back when I had 0 idea wtf an Audemars was (a 19 year old Meek Mill heard this and then spent 2 years straight telling us about his watch. There were more RAPS but you listen to the whole song and you’ll see what I mean. She bounced back nicely after Hov Knowles went off. Unlike that one time he hopped on that Kendrick song and got put in the dumpster.

Listen. Enjoy. Appreciate singers washing people and be great.

What I’m Listening To (Vol. 1)

The entire “Feel Good” album is great (if you follow me on Twitter, you saw me losing my composure about it last night). But this one…THIS ONE! Feels like I’m dancing in a mid 90s house music party (in some small ass jeans) and I’m eyeballing girls like this.

Big fan of BOY/FRIEND. When I first got ahold of Leather Weather , I played it for a good month and a half. Only thing I was listening to really. This song  is a standout off of there. I also spent lots of time at work with my headphones on at work singing this shit , like I can sing. Probably gonna do it again today!

Big fan of JB3. Saw him live at Apple Store Soho this summer and was blown away (also blown away by the ridiculous amount of natural/earthy black women…..looking like freshly made Hershey’s bars). He performed this live and I was completely sold. Great song from a great artist.

Danny Brown fan since the Hybrid *adjusts glasses and scoffs*. Really like this short cut off of “OLD”. Album is damn good too.

FLAMES. Not even describing this….hit play even if you don’t like FBZ.

If you’ve been to a club in the last few years you’ve heard this. Regardless, I accidentally played this off of my phone in a meeting….I stared at my phone like …damn technology BETRAYED ME!

and last but not least…..

Look. I didn’t know what to expect from Mr. Tesfaye on this go-round. HOB is a legendary…Thursday is “ok” (I really mean it’s wack)….Echoes of Silence is a frisbee. Still , I took the plunge because The Weeknd is a talented guy , no matter how you slice it. Then this started playing and my head exploded. Son is emoting on “ninja assassin running over roofs in the dark to come kill you for that late ass library book” keys on the bridge parts. How can I front on him???

By robbyrav