“It’s a big difference.”

I heard an oddly familiar, but very loud beep. I assumed it was an alarm at a nearby house and brushed it off. Then I heard another, similar sound, followed by my mother yelling that there was a fire in the basement.

My mother is strong as fuck. I hate referring to black women as “strong” because it robs them of the room to be delicate, to feel pain, to be vulnerable. On the same token, I’ve watched my mother not flinch during shit that would’ve killed me, seen her stand up for people whose voice wouldn’t have been heard otherwise. She is a wonderful woman with a gigantic heart who ALWAYS sees the bigger picture. And that is strength, to me.

But she was concerned. I could tell from her voice. It’s the same way she sounded as she saw me spiral through a depressive episode for years. Just like back then, she saved my ass, yet again.

I ran down the steps, leaving everything behind. I was in disbelief, almost if my mom was mistaken. But nope, it was real, the dryer that I put my clothes in just ten minutes ago went up in flames, quickly overwhelming the basement, if the smoke that was seeping upstairs was real. My mom tried to go back downstairs to the fire, and I yelled (without cursing, because yes, I wanted to) for her to not do that and just leave the house. I told my dad the same; I also told him to just close the basement door instead of running down there. That move was done to save my mother’s cat Cathy from accidentally running downstairs and dying.

I get my parents outside of the house. I’m standing outside, hoping the fire doesn’t reach the boiler and blow the house up, and that the cat doesn’t die. I’m also extremely concerned about me or my family contracting Coronavirus outside, as the entire neighborhood is outside now, talking to us. My parents, thankfully, were masked up. I wasn’t, but kept my distance when I remembered. Long story short, FDNY put the fire out, the cat was fine (but scared, hiding in an upstairs closet), and the house is intact. We can’t stay there for some months, but we’re in a nice rental crib, my family is good, shoutout to the insurance my parent’s busted their asses for over the years.

My mother said I saved her and my dad (and by proxy, the cat’s) life. I decided to just be modest and not think about it. I talked to my girlfriend about it and admitted that I agreed with my mom’s sentiment, but it was a lot to stomach. The entire time I was trying to get my parent’s out of that house, I was thinking that the house was gonna blow up and they were going to die. That’s all that was on my mind. But I got them out, got outside and called 911. I was semi-hysterical but I was much more composed than I expected. But my mom thinks I saved them. And that conflicts with my idea of heroism.

My father is a hero. He saved my neighbor’s life when I was a kid, when she fell taking garbage to the incinerator on our floor and cut herself on the glass in the bag, leaving blood all over the hallway. I don’t know how he realized what was happening from inside our apartment, but he got to her and called 911, and saved her from bleeding out, and got his kids, who didn’t have local friends, a close friend down the hall and a family that embraced us. And he saved my friends lives too, with the way he has always been welcoming; they love him and admire him the same way I do. Because he’s a hero. And he’ll never admit that shit, because that’s not his style.

My mother is a heroine. She spent a lot of years in the New York Board of Education. She was a teacher, administrator, assistant principal and principal. I’ve seen the kids and adults that spent time in her schools, the lives she’s touched. They have an unending respect for her, as does everyone who has ever worked with or known her. She’s saved a lot of lives, directly and indirectly. She’s won awards for her work in schools, she has had students that would and have put their safety on the line for her. But she also would never admit any of this, because she is modest, and humble.

I have done a lot in my life. I am not modest or humble or anything of the sort. But I try to be my best self each day, and all I really want to do is help and do what’s right. With all of that said, I am (still) taken aback by the idea that I saved my family, because I just did what was correct to me, while being terrified. I understood that my fear could cost me the lives of my loved ones, so I acted as if I felt nothing, besides urgency. I do truly believe that I am a star that hasn’t evolved yet, but I’m no hero. I’m just someone who is trying to do his best, who experiences ups and downs like anyone else. And perhaps that’s enough. But, maybe, just maybe, I need to accept the love when I get it.

lone star.

I was exhausted, but it was time to go home.

I had been up for far too many hours, making sure I didn’t leave anything in my hotel. I crammed a hoodie into my big (and bright) ass suitcase and zipped it closed, then called my Uber. I didn’t have the energy for this; add in that my arriving flight was really rough and I already kind of don’t like planes, flying home bothered me a lot more than I’d ever admit.

I hurried downstairs when the Lyft arrived; I went to the front, but he was in the back. Once we got that straight, he hopped out of the car and ran up to me, taking my bag. Dude was tall as hell, like 6’6-6’7, lanky and West African, as evidenced by his accent. I get in the car and he’s pretty cool, even though I really don’t want to talk to anyone at 5 am; all I wanted to was somehow go to sleep and wake up back in NYC.

Once we realized we were both from New York, he started treating me like we had been friends forever, which is kind of a custom amongst black people from the city. New Yorkers are mean as shit, but when two cross paths far from home, it’s usually all love.

We’re riding and the first thing he wants to talk to me about is girls; this happens to me A LOT and I don’t know why. He’s telling me all this wild graphic shit about his female passengers having sex with him after his shifts, meeting women back in NYC, all this other shit. Im kind of evasive because I don’t know son, I have no desire to impress him with filth recaps and I spent pretty much the entire weekend with one woman, who showed me around the city (which I’ve never been to before) and was really sweet to me in a genuine way.

Here I was, riding to the airport, coming to terms with the emotions I was going through, this surging feeling of  “I’m into this girl, this is one of the best weekends I’ve ever had,” and what that means for me, who hasn’t REALLY felt anything close to this since 2015. I was uncomfortable, but in a good way, like a different version of myself was blooming, like these simultaneous feelings of caring, appreciation and endless yearning were changing me. All of this is in my mind while he’s playing me explicit videos of some girl back in NYC; he’s fucking my vibe up while showing me shit he absolutely shouldn’t, on some weird macho bonding shit.

I get out of the car, tell him peace, get my bag and leave. I rated him way too high on the app, mostly because I was just bewildered by that whole ride and was very out of sorts. He was talking my damn ear off, as I tried to piece together what was up with this medium crush that had certainly evolved into much more over the course of three days. I head into the airport and theres this pretty black girl behind me, kind of short, sort of caramel-ish. I nod and hold the door for her and feel her holding my gaze a little. I let her go on her merry way and we laughed at some random thing that I don’t remember. I remember how strange I felt, how the only thing that I was thinking was “we absolutely have to treat women better and think about how we engage with and think of them.” The driver talking about women as if they were just notches in a belt, just sexual conquests and little else was really getting to me.

I got on the plane and couldn’t shake this feeling of finality, like something was going to end,  like I’d never see this newfound object of my affection ever again, or something far less drastic but nonetheless important, the version of myself that overthought my own happiness. The former was pretty terrifying; the latter, way overdue.

Perhaps I’ve become afraid of things going my way.

By Robby Rav.

the wrong way.

In 2017, I was about two years deep into writing professionally and finally quit my 9-5, that I hated, to pursue writing in a more complete way. The stars aligned for me and I got an opportunity to work somewhere “real,” a place that would give me valuable experience (and solid money) to write about music. I took the job and hit the ground running.

Career-wise, I was finally moving, but internally, I was a dumpster fire. I was still struggling badly with anxiety issues, triggered by the many things I went through prior to 2017: being unemployed for two years, 3 break ups (with 2 totally destroying me), becoming sworn enemies with my best friend, the endless sting of loneliness and more. All of the pain I was suffering through had taken a toll on me; I was callous. All those nights reading rejection emails, being extremely broke, while trying to face how alone I really was, along with being in such a dark and lonely state that I questioned my desire to exist, for the lack of better wording, fucked me up.  Even in moments of joy, I felt nearly nothing. I was emotionally spent.

My inability to “feel” things was hurting me in a multitude of ways. I didn’t really want to go out because of how depressed I was and I definitely didn’t want to talk about my life. I didn’t really have money, so the simplest of things became a struggle. Once I got hired,  I struggled to fit in at work because I was the “outsider” who was only there once a week and had far less industry experience that everyone else. So my life and career are changing, but I barely have any friends I trust, in or out of music. Then, my friends I came up with, they can’t really relate to what’s happening to me, and I can’t properly articulate it to them.

I didn’t know I was doing it at the time, but I was masking my struggles by getting too deep into the mix. Once I started to get a little money, I was either drunk too many days out of the weekend, or smoking too much weed. My life was just a blur of intoxication and sex, outside of my professional life; I thought doing too much would bring my youthful exuberance back. Too many of the women in my life didn’t treat me how I wanted to be treated, in addition to some of them being situations that were alive past their expiration date. I was having sex, just so I could feel wanted, to feel like I mattered. When you’re in an emotionally desperate state and use something like sex to try to fill that void, you accept, entertain and cause too much bullshit.  I was too sad and felt too worthless to even really notice new girls who liked me, so nothing was really going right.

One particular night when I was too drunk and too high. I was on the train going home and felt a wave of paranoia wash over me. I imagined my train derailing, which inched me towards having a panic attack; I was afraid I was going to have a full breakdown on the spot. Once I managed to calm myself down, I began to feel sad again. I realized I almost always felt sad once I sobered up; weed and alcohol didn’t erase that I was broke, lacking real affection in my life and concerned about how my career would play out. Poisoning my body wasn’t doing shit for me; I had to clean it all up. I spent a lot more time sober after this, once I became conscious of how self-destructive I was being. I definitely slowed down with the girls too, because I wasn’t feeling fulfilled; I felt empty after the escapades. That life just wasn’t for me, at the time.

I got let go from that job, got another one in a month, worked there for 2 months and got my current job, the place I really wanted to be. Those final 3 months of 2017 could have gone terribly for me, but from the minute I was let go, I truly believed in myself and knew that no matter what, I was going to be ok. The time had finally come that I could look back on my life and truly believe that I could get through anything, then I did it. To be fair, I’m not 100 percent as we speak, but being aware of how I stayed afloat while facing career and personal turmoil at the same time, I knew I could accomplish anything I wanted to.

Things worked out.

By Robby Rav.

Subtraction By Subtraction.

It’s not hard to have sex. But know yourself before you indulge in it.

After my TRASH 2015 that included two rather bad splits and other low moments, I had to look in the mirror. What is it that I’m doing that gets me into these situations where I get tied up with a girl I like, then things just go sour?

My solution was not letting myself get so emotionally wrapped up in dating, to just chill, to just “have fun.” I’ve done this before; everything worked out, for the most part. This second go-round was disastrous, not in results or quality of sex, but in the long-term effect on my mindset.

It wasn’t that my approach changed, I was a little more subtle. I’m not really sleeping over, I’m not cuddling overly long, because I don’t want you to feel as if I’m trying to nudge you into a relationship. I’m not exactly a hopeless romantic (this is a lie), but I couldn’t really operate like this. I tried, I really did…but it was not me. I was having sex and holding back my emotions because I was tired of situations falling apart.

My newfound “strategy” definitely had some rough spots. Do you know how weird it is to have good sex but also think “wow I really enjoyed just laying there and talking to you after?” My life was lacking affection (and still is), and I couldn’t say how I felt out of fear of misconstruing things. I’m Steve Urkel masquerading as Stefan Urquelle, but I’m ACTUALLY both guys. My issue is I repressed the more emotional aspects of myself because I was tired of getting stuck in doomed pseudo-situationships. My actions must match my words, and in my head that came down to cutting out cuddling and other #smooth romantic shit that I really wanted to do. Maybe I was wrong.

When you taper down your emotions, you start to attract and pursue women who are on the same page. The problem there is, some of those girls don’t give a shit about you. They might enjoy having sex with you, MAYBE even like eating chicken with you beforehand, but you are of no importance besides your filth and ability to be on time. For some guys, this is a dream situation. I was one of those guys for a couple of months; then, it was trash. Making things worse, I have a bad habit of making situations better in my mind than what they actually are, which leads to disappointment.

Things had gotten so filthy that I said to myself “I wish I could go on a wholesome date.” All I was doing was working, going to the gym, getting drunk, and having mostly-emotionless sex. That is a very jarring change from my early 20s, when I was just hoping and wishing to get my wee-wee dampened.

In the midst of all the struggling, this is what I wanted. This is what I ALWAYS wanted. Even as a child, before I knew what sex or kissing or anything really was, I vividly remember telling my dad I wanted women to really like me. He told me it would happen, just do my damn homework. That was sound advice! But I eventually got there, and it forces you to look at yourself in ways you may not want to.

If multiple women are interested in you, thats great. But the reality is unless one particularly moves you, everyone else has an expiration date. The very poor handling of the pain of my past loves has kind of ruined my view; I couldn’t just relax and “live.” This has bled into a lot of other aspects of my life. If things are going well, I can already see when it’ll going start going poorly, and I tend to fixate on it.

I knew things needed to change this year, when I started to think “I am attracted to this girl and it’s not a sexually based thing.” We’ve done nothing. Not one date, no drunken kiss, NOTHIN. It was her personality, her earnest curiosity about me, and doing just enough to show interest but never making me feel like she’s swarming me. That’s slightly out of the ordinary for me nowadays; at some point in my life, women started doing too much as it came to me, and it bothered me.

Things went wrong somewhere, and I really think it started when I started to safeguard my emotions, for fear of misleading, because I didn’t want to get myself into something I didn’t want. And now, I’m deciding to be more like myself, and deal with things as they come.

 

Songs I Like This Week! (Vol. 8)

And, just like that, I have returned.

Onto the songs.

Rich Homie Quan – Money Fold

 

At one point in my life, I was a RHQ stan. You can say it was due to RICH GANGGGGG running my life at the time or something else, but the guy was talented. He had a weird stretch where I just wasn’t feeling him, but 2017’s Back To The Basics is a nice comeback play. “Money Fold” reminds me of a previous song of his (“Real”) but it’s also good in its own right. Any song where Quan can kick it off with some outrageous shit (“I GOT ME LIKE….FIFTEEN HOES!!!) is gonna get me on board. The keys and the overall boisterousness of the beat harkens back to a looser, more confident Quan; back when things were all good between him and Young Thug.

The Boy Illinois – Dancing Like Diddy

 

I’ve known Illi for a long time now, thanks to Twitter and Niketalk (tap tap pull for my real ones). He’s always been talented and had a feel for making catchy music while still making it very clear he can rap. “Dancing Like Diddy” is no exception. The song is fun as hell, that looped vocal sample and Illi’s energy really make it an enjoyable listen. You can also tell he’s acutally going to dance in the video. He just signed to Priority Records, so you will certainly see and hear more of his work.

Gunna – Another Wave (ft. Duke and Shad Da God)

 

The first time I heard Gunna rap was on “Floyd Mayweather,” the song off of Young Thug’s Jeffery that was fire when it didn’t have Travis Scott yodeling on it. He really stood out, and didn’t sound ridiculous rapping next to Thug at all. I checked out his most recent tape Drip Season 2 this week, and its not bad at all. “Another Wave” sticks out to me; beat is great and Duke and Gunna have excellent chemistry. It’s just a good (semi) posse cut; “I just want some knees!” makes me laugh every time. The beat sounding like a Sonic The Hedgehog level with 808s seals the deal.

A.Chal – Perdóname

 

I interviewed A.CHAL about a year ago and have been a big fan since. His music is unique, he blends his Peruvian heritage/spiritual growth into his work; managing to stand out in the glut of moody alt-R&B singers is tough, but he has done it. “Perdóname” means “forgive me” in Spanish, so you can guess what the song is about. It’s a very syrupy, pained take on not having the same goals as a woman in your life. From the first verse, he expresses remorse over things falling apart because she wants more than he can give. By the second verse, he’s spinning out of control over the prospect of losing her. Dating is tough; no matter how smooth you are, your emotions will get tied up at some point. Check out A.CHAL’s latest project, ON GAZ.

Jealousy, also a male trait.

 

How would you feel  if someone you were dating and really liked, had a crush on someone famous, and that person was….accessible? I don’t mean “he retweeted her once”, I mean, they’ve met, or he frequents the same clubs she does, or even lives in your city. Would you care, or would you just brush it off?

Let me just save you some time: I cared. I cared for a very long time.

From about the time I was 19, I wanted to be in the music industry. I was always into music, but I couldn’t rap, sing, make beats, or play any instruments. Thus, I always wondered where and how I would fit in. I eventually found my way.

Working towards this dream, and talking all over the internet about being in the industry, thrusts you into different circles. Now I’m amongst like minded individuals, who want to do things in entertainment, in journalism, who like being in those scenes. And some of them are hot girls. A LOT OF THEM, ARE HOT GIRLS.

One would think that if you’re dating women who are constantly amongst famous and handsome dudes as part of their careers, maybe you’d have your jealousy under control beforehand.

LOL.

 

About 4 years ago, my girlfriend and I were talking about when she interviewed A$AP Rocky. She started giggling and talking about how he dresses and my jealousy switch flipped to ON. She saw me tensing up and she said “Oh Robby, come on. He was just really nice to me. Ferg is the one who made me blush!” She laughed at me, at how ridiculous I was being over all of this. She kept teasing me then gave me a kiss, so I would stop being so jealous. I immediately thought “WOWWWWWW I gotta give up A$AP now?? This love shit is COSTLY!” This was just the beginning.

In the summer of 2014, me and my relatively new date were walking around LES, trying to get a drink or 3. We end up bumping into her friends and they all decide to go to Beauty and Essex. If you’ve never been, it’s pretty nice in there, and I had only heard of it up to that point, so why not? We get in, we talk and drink a little, everything is cool. We go in the back to the couches and sit down, and there is where things went left.

In walks Mack Wilds. You know who Mack Wilds is (or you should). He’s an actor, singer, and most relevant of all to this story, he’s from NYC. Now I knew beforehand that my date had a tremendous crush on him, but I didn’t know how deep it went.

When she saw him, I kid you not, she started reapplying her lip gloss and checking her make up and hair. She was also hyperventilating. This situation is now in the red, and I don’t know what to do. I legit remember the sweat forming on my brow, and me thinking “AM I ABOUT TO GET MY DATE STOLEN BY SON FROM THE WIRE???”. I strongly thought about just leaving her ass in there, but I didn’t feel like that was a real way to go about it. I let it play out; he didn’t come over or say anything. We eventually left, I told her bye, and I got up outta there. She apologized soon after, and we even kept dating after that, surprise! Still, that shit was harrowing. I really don’t feel threatened by other dudes, but I felt threatened as HELL that night. I also liked his album! And The Wire! And The Breaks!

There was the girl who just LOVED Jesse Boykins III. Not to trivialize her as just some girl who was obsessed with a singer; I liked her a lot, and that feeling was mutual. I’m also a fan, but her tendency to constantly bring him up started to rub me the wrong way. On one date, she just went off on this tangent about how he just moved to Brooklyn, and how she hoped they’d cross paths. I mentally checked out and let her go on…until I just decided I had enough. She tried to make it seem like she wasn’t doing too much, and I was kind of uncomfortable for the next half hour or so. Now that I think of it, I’m starting to wonder if she was trying to make me feel….jealous? If so, she succeeded. After we stopped dating (it ended poorly), I kind of avoided his music for a while, because I actually couldn’t deal with it.

But why am I like this? What was I afraid of? Is my ego set so that I couldn’t deal with losing a girl to someone famous? Maybe I didn’t really believe in myself. I think once your self esteem gets to the right place, you tend to not move so fearfully. Crushes are crushes; this doesn’t mean they’ll be acted on. I feel like a part of it can even be an inferiority complex, where you feel you can’t match up. In my experience, those girls liked me enough to not just choose someone else over me, and maybe I shouldn’t have sweated it so much.

I shouldn’t have let jealousy get to me. I never acted out, but I spent a lot of time behind the scenes, quietly upset and fearful that I’d lose out to someone who was just more….everything, than me. I think what I had trouble grasping, was that women can sometimes see you as much more than you appear; you can be more than your outward appearance, your job, your social status. If a woman really feels strongly about you, it’s not as likely that she’ll just discard you for a famous dude. I feel like that’s a lot of guys’ worst nightmare, but I’ve looked it in the eyes a few times, and I’ve come out better for it. Don’t be afraid of her celeb crush sending a tweet and sweeping her off her feet while you’re at your regular ass job; she probably really likes you and values you more than him. Just treat her right, listen, and don’t answer her questions with a question; you’ll be ok.

The Return of #AskRobby.

It’s been 3 years since I’ve done #AskRobby. Three whole years. A lot has happened since. I will use this time to answer random questions I fielded off of #TheTwitter.

Grew up in Brooklyn, live in Queens, if y’all dont know.

Brooklyn was the shit growing up. Brooklyn is now a gentrified shell of itself, that I am complicit in, because I still hang out there and spend money there. It’s still beautiful out there, and definitely safer than it was when I was a kid, but its still very jarring, and I feel like shit if I really think about it. I really do wanna move back next year, but I don’t wanna be on the outskirts.

Queens is nice and quiet and mostly safe. But it’s far as shit from everything. It has, however, retained more of its soul than Brooklyn has; this won’t be true for long, as Astoria and LIC have become destinations. I love both places but its crystal clear where my heart lies. I really do have a thing for NYC, but I sometimes think I really need to leave it behind. With that said, the things that are happening with my writing career, I pretty much benefit from staying here. Conundrum!

First off, this shit ain’t happening.

 

But if it does, I’m gonna be somewhere biting a hard copy of Keef’s “Finally Rich” in half. Right down the middle. Like a Hungry Hungry Hippo who’s a fan of a mediocre team that causes him lots of emotional pain. I think we’ll be good this year, but even if we aren’t, Odell will likely unveil lots of #urban #youth dances.

 

It’s gotta be spastically dancing to  Crystal Water’s “Gypsy Woman” as a kid (my parents were way into House, this is the song that sticks out in my childhood memories) or playing with my MC Hammer doll and watching the 2 Legit To Quit video. I pretty much every “Gypsy Woman” flip is hard (and there are TONS). As a little Robby, I wanted to be Hammer. I remember holding the doll in my hand and staring at the haircut like “I WANT A CUT LIKE THAT!”. It also came with a cassette….I definitely made my parents play the hell out of the tape. Now, my shirt is never really closed, just like Hammer. Those repeated listens of Crystal Water’s biggest hit has to have lead to me thinking Broke With Expensive Taste is a GREAT album.

I was MAYBE six years old, and my mom gave me a notebook to write in. Just to write whatever I wanted. It was night time in Williamsburg, and the sky was kind of always purple in the dead of night over there. It started raining, so  sat my bedroom window and watched the rain hit the glass. Next thing you know, I’m writing shitty poetry about raindrops. BOOM. WRITER IS BORN.

I highkey did not like writing until I was damn near…..17? My favorite English teacher convinced me I was good and I kept at it. Tons of random personal blogs later and it became real. Also, I never really went back to poetry, I might’ve written all of 4-5 poems in my entire life, it’s not really my medium. I put 2 poems on IG a few years ago to pretty good reception; I might go back to it soon, ya never know. I’m a romantic poem guy, I can’t help it.

You ever had one of those Big Bites from 7-11?

Ok, so, I sorta don’t understand what exactly this tweet is asking. I could ask for clarity but, no, clarity is not what we do here. I’m gonna guess this is a “how many women have you recklessly  let it off in” question. The answer to that would be 0, I am way too paranoid about my skeet to just let my meat Uzi off sans any sort of birth safeguard. I don’t have time for kids, that would really cut into my “lying on Twitter/eating buffalo wings” schedule. You Twitter people are #too #wild.

(Naw deadass, how do you people just leave it in women then go to sleep peacefully??? My nerves are too bad for that shit, the hell wrong with y’all)

img_0306

I don’t really expect either team to end the season in the upper half of the Western Conference (what a mild ass take this was). I am not of the belief that Russ is just gonna go bonkers and turn into even more of a monster because now he’s “free” of the “burden” of the best scorer in the got damn NBA. I think the Thunder will have an ok season, but this “RUSS MVP!” shit is terribly overblown.

The Rockets have D’Antoni, Harden, Back From The Dead Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson. A lot of 3’s are getting a shot, a lot of running will be gunning, and no one is playing any defense. They GOTTA be a top 3 League Pass team off the strength. I don’t think they are gonna win a ton of games, but they are gonna beat more asses thank people think.

Thunder will have the better season as a team, but Harden will have the superior individual season. He finally has people to pass to who will actually make jumpers, as opposed to clanging the absolute shit out of them on national TV.

Biggest lesson I learned this year is that patience actually works. I frequently feel urges to make impulsive and poorly thought out decisions, to get what I want. In reality, just waiting, working towards something, and believing everything will align is enough. The point is: you have to do all 3. I wasn’t doing all three until late 2015. There are aspects of my life that are extremely aggravating, but I personally feel like I’m living the dream. I am well on the way to having whatever I want, and I have found most of the things/feelings/situations I sought after, because I was patient. I also recognized the important of improving yourself for the journey that lies ahead; there is a magic in getting ready for goals you can’t really see yet. Being ready so you don’t have to get ready is very very important.

This was fun. Let’s do it in another 3 years.

Songs I Like This Week! (Vol. 7)

I know, I know, it’s been a long time. *WEAK ASS EXCUSE HERE*. Onward to the jams.

Travis Mendes – How Close (Closure Edit)

 

Travis is a singer-songwriter, most recently known for his work within Jon Bellion’s band/collective. I also, went to elementary school with Travis! Seeing him on the road with Jon, and becoming more of a success by the day is a real inspiration. Travis recently dropped an EP of his own (“Closure”) and this is surely my favorite song on it. How Close is about the familiar feeling of knowing someone is perfect for you, but feeling that urge to pull away. Being wrapped up in them is inevitable; Travis captures that emotion perfectly here.

Bricc Baby ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Kid Ink – Lie 2 Kick It

 

This is pure ignorance. Dolla $iiiggggnnn kicks it off with a smooth body shaming/”you BROKE and wear fake clothes” combo and Bricc Baby accuses you of not letting your gun off, for starters. The beat is Mustard at his most menacing in years, and dare I say it, Kid Ink kinda snapped (#KidInkTrutherGang, more on this later). The minute I heard this song, I KNEW. I just KNEW. I feel like Mustard over-saturated rap with his sound; he definitely benefitted from laying low a little bit. I’ve listened to this song every day since I stumbled across it, because I enjoy shit that sounds like an unsafe neighborhood in California.

VanJess – Adore

 

Adore describes a perfect night of sex and related filth, from a woman’s perspective.  A really sultry rnb song, thats just perfect for this time of the year. Their voices are perfect for the subject matter, and there’s some quality lyricism, hinting at roleplay and rough sex, without hitting you over the head with it. There’s magic in a little subtlety.

PNB Rock ft. Fetty Wap – Spend The Night

 

I decided to check out the Fetty Wap & PNB Rock collab tape that dropped this week (Money, Hoes & Flows) and its a pretty fun listen; they have really good chemistry and seem to enjoy working with each other. “Spend The Night” is an overture to convince that special girl to stay over and let you slap your meat off inside her. I swear half of the hook is inaudible, but Fetty’s melody game is ridiculous, as always. The production also sounds like riding a carousel on Mars, perfectly tying Fetty’s off kilter singing and PNB Rock’s abrasive lyrics together perfectly.

Kid Ink ft. Jeremih & Spice – Nasty

 

First off, shoutout to my man David Drake. He put me on via his monthly column. I LOVE THIS SONG. It has everything I look for in fun ass songs: filth, steelpans, a simple hook that can be yelled while drunk, and extreme catchiness. I can’t wait to embarrass myself to this after Dark And Stormy number 4. I am also a Kid Ink truther, it’s not lost on me that he always finds a way to get to a hit….and he’s done it again. I listen to this song every day, and I am not exaggerating. This is a super fun, dancehall-tinged (ok it’s an American ass take on dancehall that gets away with it via Spice’s involvement) song that should definitely light the summer up.

Maxwell – The Fall

 

I grew up on Maxwell. My mother loved (and still loves) him; his music has always ben a special, nostalgic thing for me. As he has matured in his subject matter, I’ve grown as a man. What gets me most about him is his vulnerability, his unwavering commitment to singing about his difficulties. The Fall is about the interplay of feeling like someone loves you when they are with you, but not knowing where you stand when they aren’t. While being aware of the inconsistency of things, you’re also waiting for the other shoe to drop, for things to “Fall” apart. I’ve been there, it’s real, it’s very real. The song is just extremely well written and the fullness of the percussion is incredible; I have to see this live.

“yall aint having SEX?”

Sex is important.

Sex is really important. But guess what?

I dated someone and did not have sex with them for almost 3 months. I didn’t regret it. I didn’t plan to wait 3 months. She didn’t ask me to wait 3 months. I just did it. Allow me to set the scene.

It’s the wonderful summer of 2014. The birds were chirping, my skin was LIT, my natural hair journey was just kind of warming up, it was a good time. I won’t say girls ALWAYS liked me, but something about that particular summer was a turning point. I was happy, I was meeting good women with regularity (perhaps because I was becoming a better man), I wasn’t as uptight anymore; everything was different.

One day on Twitter, I was just freely talking about music, as I usually do, and found myself in agreement with a very pretty, very brown, very tall young woman. I kind of knew who she was, since mutual friends of hers always spoke about her to me like she was a local celebrity; just far enough that you can’t touch, but just close enough that you could fantasize. Anyways, our convo is interrupted by a retweet that says….

Why don’t you two go on a date???

The person who wrote it was one of our mutual friends. I was with it, but I was patient enough to get a read on it first. I’m quietly watching it unfold on my computer and she makes some remark about my skin, with the chocolate bar emoji.

 

IT’S LIT.

 

I DM’d her, we exchanged info, we text for a little bit and then meet up a few weeks later. We had chicken….because if you ever went on a date with me, you ate chicken with me. We’re in the restaurant talking about what we’re into, she’s regaling me with tales of punching girls in the club, I’m thinking “her butt wasn’t that big on IG, and I didn’t know her cheekbones were this perfect”; it was a fun night. I couldn’t really get a read on if she was into me or not, she seemed sort of passive, like her mind wasn’t there. We hugged and went our separate ways, and I just decided to let things play out.

She texts me a few days later “we can go on another date, if you want, I had fun”, which was such an out of the ordinary “test the waters” move that I was sort of…intrigued? Most women are really forward with me and don’t leave anything up to chance. She proposed the idea of another date to me almost as if she wanted to say “I mean, I wanna do it, but if you don’t, whatever!”, and I was very intrigued by this. Of course, we went on a second date. And a date after that. Then like 4 more after that. Then some more.

With the passage of all of this dating time, you are probably wondering “Robby, where’s the filth?? What’s this sappy bullshit??”. We went on a bunch of dates and I was very attracted to her, but I didn’t feel the need to try and run a 40 yard dash into THE COOTIE. I barely even mentioned sex. I made a few suggestive comments here and there, but nothing crazy. I was….really enjoying the courtship aspect of dating her, totally outside of the realm of getting my meat moistened.

Look. I really like sex and filth, and all that comes with that. But in that summer, the summer of 2014, I felt a bit…..waterlogged by the filth. Whether it was women already in my life or women who were about to be, somewhere along the line, I just kind of stopped thinking about sex so much. Sex permeated enough of my life that I started to see it as more like an option, as opposed to something I NEEDED to have. Sexual contact became iced tea, as opposed to OXYGEN. Sex always feels like oxygen when you’re not having it (or not having enough). When you’ve had your fill of it, your perspective on it changes.

Of course I was curious as to how sex between us would unfold, I’m no saint. But, I learned a lot about myself. The inner peace I felt when I didn’t feel so wrapped up in sex with her (and I eased off the filth with other women, too). I figured out that I really do like and appreciate the wholesome aspects of getting to know someone, just making her laugh, trying to figure out who she was. I wasn’t doing things with wanting to have sex in the back of my mind. I knew it would happen eventually, I just wasn’t ultra-concerned with needing it immediately. I felt…free. I only needed to focus on her as a person, not how she could possibly pleasure me.

Unsurprisingly, this whole not having sex thing definitely had an effect on her. I wasn’t outright saying “NO, DON’T TOUCH MY WEE WEE!” or anything, but I wasnt forcing the issue. We hung out maybe every other week or week and a half, we texted often, we were in good standing. We were both clearly happy with each other’s presence, but we weren’t having sex. I could tell she was getting a little antsy, because one day she called me when she was out with her friends, and asked me in a super serious voice:

DO YOU LIKE ME?

At this point, we were dating for about 2 months, I pretty damn clearly liked her, but considering my intimacy hadn’t gone past kissing her hi and goodbye and a few drunken makeout fests, she was questioning things. She asked if I was I bored (I wasn’t), or if I was playing with her (nope, and don’t play with a black woman’s emotions). We hashed that out and got off the phone. Everything was ok. She didn’t outright ask me “Why havent we clapped genitalia?” but I felt it in her voice, the way she let her words hang in her hybrid northern/southern lilt.

But why did she feel that way? Why did I feel like sex was kind of the thing that confirmed you at least liked me past “concert buddy/pizza partner/inappropriate text sender?” I feel that we both had kind of been taught that sexual contact consummates how you feel about someone, if you actually like them in the first place. This isn’t necessarily true; my feelings at the time were real, before the sex. I even kind of questioned if she liked me, because we hadn’t had sex and she wasn’t pushy about it. Strange how that worked.

One day she told me “come over, I’m making tacos, I’m gonna have tequila, don’t bring anything”. I wasn’t rushing to have sex with her, but I’m not a rookie: tacos??? tequila???? You want me to dine on the #other taco, more than likely. Once I started to feel “sex may be on the table tonight”(maybe literally HEH HEH HEH), I REALLY wanted it. So, I put on one of my finest tiny shirts, put on the perfect amount of cologne and went over there. As I walked down the block, I felt something I hadn’t in a while.

I was nervous. I was anxious, which is typical before having sex with a new girl, but I was NERVOUS. What if I’m terrible after all this time? What if we don’t have sex (I’d be fine with this, its always the woman’s choice)? What if we aren’t sexually compatible? WHAT IF THE TACOS AIN’T FIRE???

Luckily for us both, none of my worries came to fruition. The tacos were fire, the sex was fire, I tequila’d myself until my forehead was damp and my eyes were blurry, it all went smoothly. I felt a sweeping sense of relief, and the easygoing energy in the room was refreshing.We were both happy to finally have that experience; all of that tension was eased. I really like sexual tension, but relieving it is great too. We kept dating and having sex after, even got into a relationship (that I am no longer in). All in all, we had many good times.

She then used the afterglow to reveal that she had been talking to her friends about me, trying to figure out why I was taking my time to have sex with her.

“Maybe he has a really small dick, and he’s trying to make sure you really like him before he lets you see it!”

 

girl pls.

 

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By Robby Rav.

Songs I Like This Week! (Vol. 6)

 

 

 

WASSUP, DOE???????

I had a grand week, hope you did too. Onward to the tunes.

Skepta – Ladies Hit Squad (ft. Double E & A$AP Nast)

I watched this well done documentary about Skepta not too long ago, which really helped me understand his motivations and how serious he is about his career. I’ve been paying attention to his new output and this song/video dropped on Valentines Day.  The video is really beautiful, and the visuals match perfectly with the otherworldly feel of the song. There’s a dormant horror movie/dream sequence aspect, sonically,  which was a large part of early A$AP music. The Double E verse accurately sets the tone, but Skepta’s verse is fantastic; he’s clever, funny, and manages to catch the beat at the EXACT perfect spot. Nast’s hook is really good, and is extremely hard to forget. I want him to re-record the hook with more energy/clarity, but it really may be perfect this way.

 

Nyemiah Supreme – Clickin

 

I’ve been a fan of Nyemiah’s for a while. Her older music had an edge that I feel she lacked in recent times; on her new project ALPHA, that aggression has returned. She really sounds clear and refreshed, her self-esteem is through the roof. On “Clickin”, its good ol’ rap braggadocio that we don’t hear from women enough. It’s just fly as hell, from the Japanese influence, the falling keys to Nyemiah’s perfect rap voice. Made me wanna hop on a flight and flex for no reason whatsoever; good songs produce action. And she’s from Queens!!!

Rome Fortune – Love

 

Rome has been making music for quite some time now, and is currently reinventing himself. I wasn’t really into the music he made as he got to this point, but I think he’s really found himself now. Rome sounds very comfortable rapping (and singing!) over a beat that sounds like a party in Ibiza got teleported to Atlanta. He mentions some pretty heavy things, such as his financial situation, supporting his children, and thoughts of suicide. Overall, the song is passionate and very sincere, which will always matter to me.

 

Jane Handcock – LA Nigga

 

I stumbled across this song because an RnB blog tweeted her tape Truth Be Told. Jane is a well-decorated songwriter who decided to release a project of her own. “LA Nigga” is a story of her struggles with a current lover, when things were once great. While things arent going well, she still acknowledges that she’d rather be with this person more than anyone else. Jane is literally pleading with herself, as she tries to reassure the man in her life that he’s the one, and also convince herself that she can’t help but stay. The rawness of Jane’s voice really sells the song; you can feel the doubt and vulnerability in every word. The production wails and creeps in the night, turning the feeling of trying to hold it all together into sound. I’m really enamored with this, and interested in Jane’s future.

Azealia Banks – The Big Big Beat

 

Yes, #MyProblematicBae has done it again.Azealia says a lot of toxic shit on Twitter and is rather out of control offline, but this music shit is definitely her calling. “The Big Big Beat” marks Azealia going right back to her house roots, except she’s vocally better now, and just as slick of a rapper as ever. The song just soars, it feels like a 90s house era that I was much too young to be involved in. The production is incredible (as always); Azealia’s ear is CRAZY, and pretty much always has been. I really want 2016 to be the year that Azealia just works and doesn’t say (too much) crazy shit, but I now understand that’s just part of the package. Her antics become increasingly difficult to look past, but the music is great. What’s a guy to do?