mortality. (love your people.)

I saw my grandmother get cremated.

I was still a child. My dear grandma Lorna. I saw it. I was about 16, maybe. It was right after her funeral ended. I don’t know how I even ended up witnessing this in the mausoleum…but I did. The shit hurt me so much that I didn’t even cry. Until this moment right now, I wasn’t even sure that what I saw was even a “thing”. Denial. Everything I just read about cremation after funerals… matched exactly what I saw. Just a casket rolling into flames. As my family talked to the mausoleum staff. Beautiful service. Beautiful woman. Terrifying imagery. She died so suddenly that I didn’t get to process she was gone; that cremation skipped my emotions to the end of the book. I feel like she’s still with me all the time, and I’m 27 years old now. I tend to find it corny when people say the deceased are “still with them”. But I get it now. I get it today.

That situation made me avoid funerals as much as I could, going forward.

One of my good friends in HS lost his mother a few years ago. I love that guy. I didn’t go to the funeral. I couldn’t. Mentally, it was not an option. I felt bad for years. Felt like I left him hanging (because I did). Cowardly shit. I should have been there at that tough time.

I saw him 2 months ago, after not seeing him since then, pretty much. It was all love, smiles, daps and hugs. I’m thankful that he didn’t take that personally. If he did, he didn’t express it to me. If he saw me and flipped on me, I’d deserve every part of it. But…he is a better man than me, clearly.

My best friend from college, my dog, my brother…he lost his mom too. Maybe 2 years ago. I knew she was sick, but the news blindsided me. He dealt with it quietly. Much love to him. Amazed at how strong he has remained since. I handled this better than the previous death I mentioned. I had to. Couldn’t fail my friend.

Most recently, my best friend from HS let me know about two weeks ahead of his mother passing. I knew the funeral would be soon. I knew I would have to go, to support, because of love, because I aim to do what’s right.

I was fucking terrified of that funeral.

I tried to convince myself that I didn’t have to go….selfishly. I just didn’t feel like I could take the trauma of a funeral. I let that go in a matter of days. I committed to going because I love him and his family. They have both been there for me at my absolute WORST. When I didn’t know what to do, he helped. When I went through an absolutely disastrous break up, he was right there with me. Broke, drunk, unappreciative; he accepted me and held me down.

So I was going. No matter what. I haven’t even been to a funeral since I was 19(my grandfather). I don’t go to church. I had no idea how funerals even play out.

But I went.

The funeral went perfectly. There was a lot of love in that room. I got to sit with my friends…so it wasn’t so bad. I went up to my man, as he stood inches from his mother’s open casket. He thanked me for something I put on this blog and said he appreciates it because I spoke from the heart. That familiar hot and teary feeling covered my eyes. I put my head down and just said “thank you, we’ll talk”. My eyes were as big as half dollars, trying to keep those tears in. I sped away to my seat. I spent the night blown away at how warm and inviting everyone was. I spoke to my boy, his girlfriend, showed his family love, then made my way back to the train and went home.

I texted my girlfriend and told her the funeral went well. She asked was my friend ok. I told her he was good…then I disappeared into the night, whisked away by the 2 train.

Condoms are USELESS.

But what if my boy Mooj is wrong??

What if “it” really is all about COCK and TITS and ASS and BUTTHOLE PLEASURES and JAGGED HEAD DILDOS????

Here’s something you don’t know about me: most of my life, I was the 40 Year Old Virgin.

Let’s set the scene: picture a lanky, frail, 18 year old black kid. He’s in Walmart with his dad, furnishing his freshman dorm. EXCITE! Now let’s continue. Right before my family left, he gives me a HUGE ASS box of condoms and tells me “take this”. His eyes are beaming with pride. His young, promising son is going to lay his meat down all over Virginia and terrorize his city. He also told me “You have potential, these girls might try to trap you!”. I take his knowledge (and all these damn rubbers) and start the college experience.

 

NO.

 

I was a fucking DWEEB. I wasn’t getting ANY ASS but my pops definitely thought I was a teenage Bill Bellamy. I was an ultra-virgin because I looked funny until I was about 16.5. I got my first kiss somewhere around there; we clicked teeth because I was a DEPLORABLE kisser. In that lil space between then and graduating high school, I was attracting girls I didn’t really like. If a girl I DID like noticed me, I turned it over in the red zone when I coulda just….*raises eyebrows* ran it in there. So I was TOTALLY in over my head.

I had a  freshman year(college) bae early, but I botched that because I was so, so insecure. I let some other girls convince me she was getting PLOWED by dudes from a  nearby school….and I got cold feet. She was fine too…SO YEAH! I’m a moron. I also tore that girl’s bra tryna unleash her chest; I can still hear the cup separating from the fabric in my nightmares. Even worse, the rumors were false.

I always thought that sex should be special. Even as a kid. My parents explained sex to me early, they gave me a book about it; I understood it. I wanted the first time I had sex to be special, with a girl I really liked. I wanted to see stars and constellations whilst inside that thang. So I held out for “The One”. There were girls who liked me but I was so overwhelmed by the idea of sex, I couldn’t even make a play for them. Or I would boss up and get at them, but I couldn’t keep them interested. I didn’t know anything about consistency, or what women seek, or even when they liked me (I still kinda don’t but I am MUCH better).

So I wanted something special, but I was also scared and overthinking things.

I have a CRAZY fear of STD’s. A day or so after one of my early makeout sessions, I had a pimple on my lip. I SWORE I HAD HERPES. AM I GONNA RIDE THE VALTREX HORSE??? IS IT GONNA COVER MY FACE?? IS IT GONNA GO TO MY WEE WEE?

No. It didn’t. It was regular ass acne because my skin is greasier than the bottom of a Five Guys’ bag. Still, I was nervous. In addition to STD’s, I was afraid of accidental pregnancy, sores, my dick falling off the next morning…you know, RATIONAL shit.

To make things even MORE interesting, about halfway through my college career, my dad became a Born Again Christian. His parents were always very religious, so I wasn’t surprised. The thing about this is…it changed his views on pre-marital sex. I’m 21 at this point. I’ve engaged in FILTH but I haven’t actually had SEX. INTERCOURSE . THE OL’ IN OUT IN OUT. He’s telling me I shouldn’t have sex before I’m married. The same guy who gave me enough rubbers that I could put 6 on my meat, the rest on my fingers, and still have enough for next semester. I looked at him like he was absolutely crazy.

I turn 22. I go through a bad breakup. AFTER that, I finally have sex with the ensuing rebound. I was TRASH. She still gassed me and positively subtweeted that “Madden on Rookie” stroke I was doling out. I ALMOST hated her because she was annoying as hell and NEVER stopped talking ….but she was cute. I kinda fell in it by accident. She had her eye on me and called me one day. She said “I had a dream we were having sex, but I don’t know what to do, since I’m celibate”(what a weak ass opening move). I responded, cool as a fan: “Call me back when you actually wanna make that a reality”. She hit my phone in less than a week and…YEP…ROBBY HAD SEX.

I remember thinking….”That’s it??? I was stressed out over THIS???”. I simply didn’t wanna wait anymore, I just wanted to have sex. I’m glad I did it but….I quietly wished it was “special”.  Most guys just wanna get in there; I held out until I couldn’t take it anymore.

Before I had sex, I didn’t feel it was central to everything. After I had it….I still felt the same. It’s important, its vital, but I think my semi unique experience with it allowed sex to not steer every fiber of my being. I obviously liked it more going forward. I love sex as much as I hate spoken word aka…A LOT.

In case you were wondering:

(posted in order of pleasure)

1)Jerk Chicken.

2)Experiences In The Love Canal.

3)Grapefruit Juice.

4)Breathing.

 

And my dad only knows I’m having sex off of assumption; never outright told him.

 

Crazy, right?

 

Moms and Sex

Robby Rav.:

Inspired me to tell a story of my own. Look out for my next post.

Originally posted on Twenty-Something 'N Counting:

I stared straight ahead. Although I know I’m an excellent liar, like most good writers are (yeah, I’m tooting my own horn. So what?), I didn’t want to risk giving myself away on this one in the slightest way. DENY! DENY! DENY! Thats my number one rule when my mother tries to talk to me about sex, and more specifically, if I am having any.

As my friends and faithful readers already know, my mother and I have a relationship thats more so on the estranged side. We have moments when we tolerate, dare I even say enjoy, each other’s company. Then there are times I’d rather live in Baltimore again than to spend another moment in her house or her presence. Many times I try to keep our topics of conversation limited to whats for dinner and how much I owe her for my portion of the cell phone…

View original 1,259 more words

By Robby Rav.

one take rav.

I’m sitting here.

I’ve wanted to write for months.

Anyway, this lady on the news is angry that they are planning to tar down a historical mansion in Teatown. The board for the estate don’t have enough money to maintain the upkeep of the house.

I feel her pain.

But my first thought was…. “fuck all that.”

Very insensitive but ….it comes from a good place.

That mansion is an earthly thing. It is preserving the past, sure. However, the past never goes away. The past is not trapped in the earthly objects you hold so near and dear. They exists as thoughts, emotions…..memories.

I’ve been throwing shit away that years ago meant EVERYTHING to me. Memories work that way: they convince you that you haven’t changed, that you still are tied to the thing that you possess.

You are not. You are a soul. A soul in body. Doing stuff. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Shitty stuff. The soul has no need for things you can touch, fold, and look at longingly when you are by yourself.

Every time I throw something out (or give something away), I feel liberated. Which makes me think did I ever need all of this stuff? I love clothes. I give them away and never regret it. I give of myself and don’t see it so selfishly. I don’t have anything to prove anymore; I never really did. It actually kind of pisses me off that I ever felt the urge to prove my worth to others.

You can see someone’s self-worth not in what they possess, but in how they treat themselves.

I’ve treated myself like shit, many a time. But I always thought I was great. No matter what.

I don’t have shit, really. But I have EVERYTHING. My life is full of love and happiness, even when I feel miserable, even when I wish things would go my way a little more. But don’t they already go my way? Don’t I get to wake up everyday? Don’t I have family and friends who love me, even when I’m a dickhead? Don’t I have a girlfriend who looks me in the eye, sees me struggle & suffer, and still treats me like I’m a king?

I didn’t always have those things. But I always had clothes. I had more money than I knew what to do with. I had women in my life who probably weren’t out for my best interests but would definitely draw the applause of peers and adversaries alike. That’s the dream. That the 20-something black male dream. But fuck that dream. It never made me feel good. It never made me feel fulfilled. It made me feel stupid.

Those earthly, empty things made me feel whole. I was empty as fuck though. I still dedicated my life to my family and my friends and just making people smile and laugh. But I didn’t have that level of dedication to myself. So I always felt stretched thin. Having the outside world think so highly of me is moving; brings me to tears. But that gripping “man, this shit ain’t right, you gotta figure out a direction” feeling didn’t go away. I always had to “prove” something. Prove I could drink. Prove I was cool. Prove girls liked me, because they didn’t for most of my life. Prove.

Nothing felt right until I had literally nothing. I was never really into material shit, but when they no longer became a regular option, everything was different. Getting your job taken away from you and not knowing what you want to do, but knowing you have talent. Knowing that if you really didn’t give a fuck about how people viewed you, it would be put to the test. I’m surviving it, I think.

I feel full, now. I still worry too much. I still have minor issues. The difference is, my problems don’t feel so large and looming. I’ve learned how to stay in the sunlight. All i need is my loved ones and belief that I will be ok. I will be ok. Every breath I take is proof of such.

Fuck My Ex (or why I won’t).

I see them everywhere I go.

Sometimes it’s girl’s who just look like them.

Sometimes it’s….actually them.

It’s haunting either way. Some people are cool with their exes; I’m not. I swear I’ve tried; it’s never worked. I’d like to think my love is a burning, intense one. I can’t scale back, I cant turn the oven back on to the same heat as before, I can’t just cool down and be friends…it never works.

I am simply too much.

So my exes burn out. From the land of the living to ghosts in 2 blinks. They are wisps of smoke in a burning building.

They reach out to me when I wonder how they are doing, or they appear on my timeline, or at a party. They make their presence felt. I don’t know if I manifest it or what (I’ll discuss me and my spiritual ties in another post…or I won’t!), but it happens. I don’t really reach out because I don’t have the urge to. Anytime I did have the urge, they appeared, we spoke, that was that.

When my exes get in touch with me, I aim to keep it short and sweet. This is because its very rarely just a friendly conversation; It always takes a turn. A few times, I’ve steered the vehicle; most times they’ve whipped it off road. I don’t need them back. I see myself out.

This may also be why I will probably never just be “ok” with girls I seriously date still being very close to their exes. That post relationship purgatory is an opportunistic place; usually someone wants something more than a friendly chat. I also may need to trust more. Who knows.

I was never much of a rekindler. I was never good at it. The last two times I did it, I fucked it up.

I blew it the moment I opened those doors. In my life, for me, PERSONALLY, I don’t have a reason to re-stoke those fires. And when I did, shit went bad. Mainly because I refused to believe that I made the right choice the first time (I did). My other reason is because bringing girls back from the dead is a lot like breaking a vase and gluing it back together. The flowers will still look great, it might even hold water like it did before….but one day, you’re gonna get real close and know it’s a lost cause. Best of luck.

So while my exes exist, they don’t exist on my plane, really. They might be alive in a girl’s face or style of dress, in something I read, in using something I learned from them. They also are “dead”, when I wake up in the morning and go live life. They are all great women (all of them), but I respect their place. With respecting their place, comes trusting in your decision to leave them. I trust it. I didn’t always; that took growth and knocking on doors I had no business standing in front of.

And those doors lead me into a few burning apartments. The same fire that kept us warm many a night, engulfed us.

I just happened to be the one who came back from those ashes, not afraid to get engulfed again.

a coincidence, I promise.

I started in July 2013, after not having a job for 5 months. I quit my job at #WellKnownTechStoreThatRunsThePlanet in February of that year for a multitude of reasons. For starters, they had been (predictably) treating us like shit since they were forced into a company wide pay raise. Our hours were getting cut sans any explanation or heads-up. We were being micro-managed to death about a job that wasn’t THAT difficult. Working there became stressful because of management and the disastrously low levels of morale in the building, not the job itself.

Nonetheless, I left #ThatStore and became a Soundrop employee in July, as previously stated. I really was a paid intern at first ( I just never had to get coffee or any fake character building bullshit like that). It was me and another dude in the Social Media Specialist role. He got a job elsewhere and left; I picked up his slack. More money (the very little we got), opportunity, all of that good stuff. I was asked to build our social media strategy from the ground up. I put my passion and vision for Soundrop into it. I didn’t even know what I was doing. I just knew what worked, so I rolled with that. I knew in my heart that the amount of work I was putting in surpassed my compensation, but I did what I had to do.

As I’m really rolling and improving at my job, discussions about my future at Soundrop began to happen. A lot of positive things were said about my contributions, but I wasn’t 100 percent sold. I’ve been involved in the industry in different ways for a while now; things fall apart quickly. I didn’t get too excited but I continued to work and push more of my ideas into the very fabric of the company. In my heart of hearts, I knew things weren’t right. There were internal power struggles, doubts about the direction the company was taking, ridiculous situations concerning me being paid on time…I just couldn’t buy all the way in. While being aware of all of this, I knew the end was near. I simply continued to work and apply to other jobs, to little fruition.

Alas, one morning in early August of this year explained it all. My boss turns to me in the office and tells me in no uncertain terms that I’m being let go, effective immediately. They just had no use for my role in the new direction they were taking. She then let me know that she was leaving soon after (and she did). That was it. The Soundrop that I knew was…done for. My boss helped me with some other opportunities. They didn’t end up panning out, and one of which involved me moving to Atlanta ASAP (something I wanted to do, but my heart wasn’t really in it). She was the only one who assisted me in any way or spoke to me after I was let go. No emails from my CEO or anyone else. Soundrop doesn’t even exist on US soil anymore. We were a small, close-knit yet “clique-y” collective who accomplished some cool things. But once everything changed, that was erased.

All of this ended so abruptly and uncomfortably, and it sucked. My work email account recently stopped working; imagine getting prompts that your password doesn’t work every time you turn your computer on. That was the extent of any type of severance or being wished well; deactivate your account and shuffle you out of the door. I was told I would be instrumental in our future, but does that even mean anything at this point? I’ve been told this at quite a few stops; nothing has ever happened. I’ve been relatively pissed off concerning how I was hung out to dry for this company, but I kept it to myself. At the time I was let go, I definitely knew it was time for a mutual split. I just hate how it was handled and how something with such promise went to shit. Things going sour in the music industry (or any industry) are just part of the game. Doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. I will continue to work and remain hopeful; its the only option.

Oh.

Hire me, too.

clark kent.

I was worried all week.

At that time, I was worried most weeks.

Afraid that I’d wake up, and she just wouldn’t want to talk to me anymore. That she’d find someone better. Not that I don’t treat her as well as I can; or treasure her presence like a clear night sky or a warm summer night. But there’s always better. Always.

Afraid that we’d just stop talking over something stupid. Or there would be something about her that I just couldn’t deal with. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because there’s always a shoe. I was so concerned that I was fraying at the edges, making mountains out of molehills. Except this was a little worse; the molehills were purely of my imagination.

So….I pick up my phone and begin to type frantically into IMessage. This is a summary of what I said:

“We’ve been talking a few months, and we’re getting serious, but im not ready to get married soon, even though we aren’t even official yet, and I’m concerned about the marriage thing because I lowkey feel overwhelmed by the fact that you’re a little older than me and so focused, yet, I’m younger and a fucking mess(P.S. I’m not admitting this last sentence until after the fact).”

The actual message read like the ramblings of a madman. She’s asking me “What are you saying?”. I’m explaining. It’s hitting me….I have no idea what I’m saying. She keeps working with me, even though I’m clearly losing my mind and don’t know what point I’m even attempting to make. Her response, amongst other things, is why she is very, very special to me. (more paraphrasing)

“We are hypothetical, it could all end out of nowhere. I don’t want it to, but I don’t worry about what’s next. Of course, I’ve thought about how you might ask me to be your girlfriend one day, but I don’t dwell on it. I just try to enjoy what we have. I also haven’t really thought about marriage, thats years away. I’m not ready for that either!”

Relief. I felt relief. But through that entire text conversation, I felt myself getting more and more upset. Not because of her or anything like that; but because of something going on internally. Around the middle of the conversation, I was blinking back tears and admitting that I felt so stressed and out of sorts because….I’ve really never gotten to this point with a girl I really liked.

I didn’t know what to do. There was no bullshit between us; all of our times are good. In the absence of negative energy, or me being pissed, or her doing some ridiculous shit…I filled it with worry. I was afraid. Afraid this would go how it usually goes; things go well and then things just go to shit. I’d like to say I’ve become numb to it; I have not.

Regardless, here I was, destroying a good thing for absolutely no reason. I called her later that night because when you text someone a shower of emotion, its the LEAST you could do. I also had to do something else I’m not familiar with: talk her out of rinsing her hands of me.

We planned to go on a date that weekend and she texted me (the same night of this discussion) that maybe we shouldn’t see each other that weekend because “maybe you need to figure things out”.

Ok. Full disclosure: I was begging like fucking Keith Sweat. NEVER IN MY LIFE, HAVE I DONE THIS. Girls do not cut me off, ever. It legitimately happened ONCE, my entire life. Either we just agree to go our separate ways or I end it. If a girl wants to go, I accept it, I keep sliding. She wanted to allow me time to sit down and all I saw was “this shit OVER, ROBBY!”. I couldn’t allow that to happen. Her reasoning behind canceling was due to her feeling that I was insincere about wanting to be around her, and I understand why.

My original text message was the type of shit guys say to girls when they want to create some distance. I didn’t want distance. I wanted clarity on my own made up concerns. Only I had the answers.

To bring things up to speed, I’m still working through the paranoia from my past, and pouring myself into my current situation. I never believed I was self destructive, but I clearly have the traits. I will work through my shortcomings, because she is important enough to me that I will address them. Life provides you with plenty of good things, but to squander them because of your own fears is paying the universe a disservice.

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.