Songs I Like This Week! (Vol. 4)

Happy new year and all that there. Hopefully your 2016 is going swell. ONTO THE TUNES!!

 

Ye Ali – Ring 4x

 

I’ve known of Ye Ali for quite some time now, first due to this song. I saw Ring 4x (aka RING RING RING RIIIIINGGGGG) all over my TL for the past two weeks or so, but I didn’t actually listen until I saw it reposted on Soundcloud timeline. Vocally, he sounds derivative of #SomeGuyFromSaugaCity here, but I cannot deny this tune.  The tempo and the subject matter are in complete synchrony. There are plenty of songs about women blowing up your line; this is an extremely catchy one. The hook is pretty much perfect and the song as a whole would make the lamest of lames feel like a ladies man.

 

Freddie Gibbs – Hot Boys

 

Pretty sure I was speechless off first listen. Had no idea what to expect, and got my head blown clean off. Pretty much Gibbs bringing the “Packages” flow back to life over one of the CRAZIEST beats he has rapped on in his entire career.  He is legit rapping over some goddamn late 90s RPG flute with 808s under it. Shit prolly shorted my headphones. Help.

 

Your Old Droog – Basketball & Seinfeld

 

First off, shout out to @NicholeGunz for retweeting this onto my timeline.

Now, I have never really been into Droog, I believe I got into a mini argument with him way back about that “IS HE NAS????” controversy (people had full blown “HE IS NASIR JONES” conspiracy theories, holy shit). HOWEVER, the guy can rap. He kills this song, which chops elements of the Seinfeld beat into a slick 80s jam. I barely watched Seinfeld, but all of the references I understood were great, the beat is fantastic, Droog’s obscure NBA player game is way up….everything is good. The very idea of the song is very cool, and the execution is even better.

 

K Camp – WCW

 

As you may know, I will pretty much listen to anything K Camp is tied to. He recently dropped K.I.S.S. 3, which is pretty good (and short, which I appreciate). WCW tiptoes between appreciating the woman you’re with and also just wanting sex from her (which isn’t exactly mutually exclusive). It sounds like a sweet love song but it isn’t. K Camp is spending whatever to put a smile on her face, and I support that.

 

Lil Uzi Vert – Enemies

 

I was avoiding Lil Uzi for a while because….. Imma come clean………I hate his name. Between that and that he reminds me of a couple guys who already exist, made me steer clear. His name kept popping up, so I gave Luv is Rage a shot.

I love this damn tape! He’s a better rapper than I originally gave him credit for and the tape is excellently produced. Enemies is a quickly paced and boisterous trap song about brushing off those against you. The production is attention grabbing to the point that it really does work me up into a good angry froth, as I think about people I hate. Songs that speak to the worst parts of my personality always win with me. Uzi’s use of empty space between the hook and verses is excellent; it really sends the emotion of the song home. It’s not a dark song about dwelling on the opposition; its more about why they don’t matter.

 

Kodak Black – Like Dat

 

I’ve kept an eye on Kodak’s output from afar over the last 5-6 months or so. Once he put out a full project after he got really popular (Institution, which I recommend), I jumped all over it. Like Dat has a really hypnotic hook, the beat is nuts (CHIMES!!!), and the flow he chose just fits perfectly. I also feel that Kodak has an excellent rap voice; the very overt grit of it with the sparkle of this beat are a match made in heaven. I also am extremely amused by “THATS A BORING CAR!!!!!!”.

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So, I got curved this one time, right…..

I’ve taken a few L’s with #da ladies, in my life.

It happens.

I am now one with the Sauce, so these were just stumbling blocks along the way.

ALONG THE WAY TO GREATNESS.

Walk with me.

My Very First Curve.

Her name was Courtney.

I was in 3rd grade.

It was Valentine’s Day. My birthday. Me and Courtney had afterschool together, so we were upstairs in a classroom, gluing shit together with the other kids. I had the huuuuugest crush on lil Court (or NeeNee). Light skin (THIS IS WHEN I WAS STILL A COLOR STRUCK YOUNG BROTHER….EVERYTHANG YELLA.), big brown eyes, two thick braids wrapped around the back of her head….she was THE ONE. My little 3rd grade heart swore she was gonna be my boo one day. I dont even know what that woulda entailed…holding hands??? Whatever.

Anyway, I made my corn-muffin complected QUEEN a Valentine’s Day card. Glitter, Hearts, The works. I was nervous as shit making it and put all of my effort into this more than likely trash card. She somehow comes up to me and asks me what am I holding. Fear wraps me like my small ass private school cardigan. I try to hide it and turn away…she reaches for it, I get away…she gets a hand on it and….

She reads it.

No emotion on her angelic little face. She basically tells me “its not like that!” then………SHE THROWS THE CARD IN THE GARBAGE.

SPIKED MY SHIT IN THE TRASH! I can still see the card in the trash like it happened yesterday. I think one of the teachers even saw the card and asked her about it. That day is when I learned…Earth is a cold, cold place.

The Two Piece Curve

I had a crush on this girl I went to school with in HS. She was Guyanese. This is relevant.

Guyanese families don’t play that shit, for the most part. You can’t bring Jamal in ya house for dinner. Grandma is not going to feel you on that one.

Nonetheless, I was head over heels for her and she actually liked my funny looking ass too. We spent a lot of time together at lunch, at breakfast, around school. Just all of that cutesy stuff. I was still afraid the cheeks at this point, so I wasn’t gonna escalate it to the #SmashLands. All good.

One day on a school trip, I’m sitting next to her on the bus. My soft ass teen heart was fluttering. We’re talking and she just stops me out of nowhere.

“I can’t bring you home with me.”

It’s because I’m black, as she later explains. Her family just wasn’t partial to an American black kid like myself, or kids of my “ilk”. My mom is Trini/St. Vincentian, but I don’t particularly look it (only to girls who are lying to me and trying to flirt), and I was raised pretty American, outside of my visits to Grandma Lorna’s and Papa’s (my grandfather) house. I was sorta crushed, but I got over it. I let it go. We remained cool. I still liked her. It was what it was.

FAST FORWARD!!! I’m like…22? I get the bright idea to ask her to go to Outback (I secretly have a Kookaburra Wings obsession). She said she would be down. I took my ass out there……..never showed up. Stopped answering her phone and all that. VOICEMAIL AND EVERYTHANG. Bruh.

She just didn’t like my black ass.

The College Party Curve (Pajama Jammy Jam)

I was like…19-20. At my school, the Pajama Jam was THE event. You HAD to be there, no matter how lame you were.

Enter scrawny, young Robby. I put an outlandish amount of thought into my pajama pants-based outfit. I had to be #flee. I had to. I HAD TO KILL THEM.

I hit the party with my roommates, we split up like the savages we were. Lots of girls. A lot of foolishness. A lot of fine black girls grinding on my virginal loins.

But there was ONE….ONE….that I decided I wanted really bad. I don’t even remember why. It was some animal attraction shit. Or I was just a horny sophomore.

I pulled up on her, slid up behind her….she turned around….and time froze.

She looked me in the eyes and let off the most GUTTURAL laugh I have EVER heard.

Right in my silly ass face. Laughed like she saw Rick James grind his feet into that couch for the FIRST TIME.

I just walked away. Defeated. I’m pretty sure I heard that laugh in my nightmares.

The “You Were Almost A Legend” Curve

In high school, one of my homegirls was a lesbian. She was humping the whole school. Things were #lit. Anyway, she had a girl she was messing with, on and off.

This girl evidently saw my pictures on Sconex (basically Facebook for high schoolers who were trying to hump each other) and starts telling my home girl that she….wants me? That I’m handsome? That she’s gay but she’d go straight for me???

THE HELL?

She hits me up personally and expresses this same sentiment directly to me, and I’m pretty flattered. We talk for a long while, I accidentally see her butt in my phone, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES.

We keep talking over time and she finds out I’m a virgin. She slides it out there that “you could practice on me, if you want”.

SHE WANTED ME TO PRACTICE ON HER “NEVER HAD HETERO SEX” LOVE BOX. PRACTICE. WE TALKING ABOUT……PRACTICE.

Being the young filthball I was, I agreed. She wanted to meet up first, and we set a date. We had never met up to this point but we clearly shared pics. She was an attractive girl.

Pizza date. I was hype. Put on my little ‘fit, threw on my Nike winter jacket, I WAS KILLING THEM, FO’ SHO’.

I get to the spot and she told me she was gonna be a little late. Cool.

Half hour passes. She’s not picking up. Then she’s sending my calls to VM. Hour passes.

She’s not coming, dog. I ate my pepperoni pizza slice, and went outside…AND GOT SOAKED.

I came home and tried to tweet her…SHE BLOCKED ME.

She was not about what was she was talking about, and powerfully curved me and disappeared.

She’s kinda huge in NYC on Twitter now and still has me blocked.

STILL.

STILLLLLLLLLL.

I would have been famous like MJ amongst my friends for that sex that I never got. And I wanted it. BUT ALAS….it was not in the cards.

I tell you that, to say this………..keep on trucking. Rejection is no big deal, success is on the way.

bullshit.

Man.

Everything is crazy.

I broke up with my girlfriend about 4 weeks ago, I’ll probably never publicly explain why, just know it was fucked up. No one cheated.

While breakups are terrible, the fallout that comes with them may actually be worse.

I’ve kinda had to weather the storm, so to speak. I am definitely lonely, and I sometimes feel a vague listlessness that is just “there”. I’m doing MUCH…MUCH better now than I was at first, but I did what I had to do.

In the first two weeks, I had to clench my jaw so I wouldn’t throw up, on a daily basis. I was consistently nauseous. That is how much the shit was bothering me.

So, I dealt with that, I didn’t do any dumb shit, I didn’t diss my ex then, and I will not now. My healing regimen is solely based on seeking inner peace and making sure I’m around people who love me. I didn’t know being amongst people who put your well-being first felt like this; its been quite some time.

I’ve learned that people don’t actually know me, at all. People who have known me forever.

When some foul shit happens, they accuse me of being motivated by things that have never meant anything to me.

I was told I broke up with my girlfriend because I wanted to be single for the summer.  Not a chance.

If you think I broke up with my girlfriend because I wanted to get my meat moistened by other women and have more time to listen to Young Thug, you are a moron.

“You don’t work through things” “You don’t care about your girlfriend”. “You’re selfish”, “You’re unfair”.

There’s an underlying problem with all of this shit throwing. When you date someone for a year, there will be things you have to overcome between the two of you. I did it. I did it multiple times. I didn’t say a word publicly, because I respect her up to this very moment. To say I don’t care, or I don’t work through things, or I’m not loyal….when I’ve TRULY given all of myself, is amazing. Even worse, I’m all about justice and always have been. So “fairness” is paramount to me, even though very few things about reality are “fair”.

I’ve had to listen to these things, while I mourned my own relationship. I was even spoken to as if I enjoy breakups. Ive been dumped twice, I’ve initiated break ups twice(only two were “actual” relationships). All 4 were extremely trash, albeit this one isn’t as bad as the last one. If I could AVOID breakups, I would. And good lord, did I try to avoid this one.

I’ll never tell you what to tolerate and not tolerate in your relationships. Do know, however, that if you tolerate something you actually can’t deal with, it’s going to kill you from the inside. Then your choice becomes “do something about it” or “die”. I hope you won’t choose the latter.

I will never be that person who bends their moral and personal standards so far that they are no longer themselves, Just to keep the peace. Just to be happy. Just for “things to be ok”. My ex is a good enough person, but I can’t get down with certain shit she does, that she is not willing to change. So, I went on my way.

I knew in my heart and soul I could not deal with said transgression long term. So I made my choice. That should be fine with everyone. It’s not. Oh well.

When I say “transgression” do know I don’t mean “STOP MAKING ME SLEEP IN THE WET SPOT!!” or “HOW MANY TIMES ARE WE GONNA WATCH LOVE AND HIP HOP, OMFG!”. It was SERIOUS. You can ask anyone who dated me (no you can’t, you don’t know them), I’m really not a nitpicker, I’m going to let you live. I just want you to be safe, I want you to be happy, I want you to be alive. I don’t care about anything else, honestly. I want you to operate as your best self, even if our visions don’t align on what that means.

People are treating me “differently”….because I broke up with a woman. It’s unbelievable. It’s irritating. It’s a SUPER minority (I’m talking less than 5 people here), but it exists. I haven’t really paid attention to it recently, but the fact that they even EXIST makes my blood boil.

One of my very close friends told me “you always run, you should talk it out, you don’t love your girlfriend???”, the MINUTE I told him we split. No “are you ok?” or “whats been going on with you two”, just that, scolding. Chastizing. Then acted like I was ridiculous for requesting empathy first and disagreement later. He went on to say that “I always take the moral high ground and expect it from other people”, as if what I ask is too much or the wrong thing to do.

Took him two weeks and two separate arguments to admit he was wrong. I just stopped speaking.  We probably won’t be speaking too much going forward, because he’s done this repeatedly, and questioned my character in such bullshit ways. He told me to not break up with a previous girl and said I was being hasty, and “omg she’s so cool and so smart how could you” etc., etc and basically went to war with me over MY breakup. Never mind the fact that said girl came back in a few months and said “you were right for dumping me, I understand why.” So if she understands, why can’t you? And if I’m of such poor character, wouldn’t this be coming from someone else? It NEVER has. It’s all so crazy.

Her “mistake” that did us in, opened my eyes to other weak points in our relationship that I didn’t make enough of a stir about, that I let spin out of control. I am an enabler, in that sense. That means I wasn’t without blame for what my relationship became. But it simply was past the point of fixing. So I stepped up and handled it. Predictably, she said some totally out of line things in the aftermath, that just solidified my decision. I don’t lose sleep over those words; I don’t lose sleep over being vilified by people that don’t matter. I can only be true to myself, and I live that every day I wake up.

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.

break from queens.

SXSW.Austin. 4 AM. On the Thursday of that week , I had a bizarre argument with a friend of mine who’s been around since high school(Kwame). Since we were 15. He was the cool one that everyone knew. I was just the semi awkward kid who talked a lot of shit. Grew together and have been through plenty. Ten years.

Poof. Into thin air. Why you ask? I had managed to make him feel….ostracized by my actions. Not taking into account when he wanted to chill in Austin or what he wanted to do. We discussed beforehand I’d be with other friends AND them in Austin , but things kinda broke down somewhere along the way. Honestly , I knew a lot of people in Austin this weekend (he didn’t). I was stretched kinda thin and I also had a few things eating at me during the whole trip. Well really , one ongoing thing involving a girl that I probably won’t admit to until years from now. Mainly because it makes me feel embarrassed (it shouldn’t) and I’m not even sure whether I’m intrigued or repulsed by what our relationship has become. With all that said, my attitude should have been better.

So here we are , arguing. I’m in a nice crib in Austin with my dude, at SXW…just how we mapped it out. But look what it was becoming. An argument.  I’m not even sure I was upset. I was really more confused than anything. No one was happy and no resolution was met. We kinda went through the motions the next few days. I grew angrier at the whole situation over time (I hated that the issues weren’t aired out as they happened, as opposed to held onto until it exploded). I covered up how “off” the whole shit made me feel and tried to enjoy my last few days of SXSW. I left alone on the final morning.

What really bothered me about the whole ordeal is he accused me of putting him by the way side for my “other/new/cool” friends. That stung , mainly because I don’t have any friends from before we met that I’m still cool with. I moved from BK to the very edge of Queens as a child ; a few friendships died with that trip. They felt I dipped on them because we left a 2 bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house. Things were different. I had to “start over” per se. My WORST fear since I decided I wanted to be in the music/entertainment industry was losing touch with who I once was and my humble beginnings. His accusation felt like the start of me going off the deep end.

Me and Kwame spoke about 2-3 days after I got home. Tempers flared. I expressed how I felt, angrily and moved onward. I heard him and understood where he came from too .The thing about me is …I value those close to me. But inherently , I feel as if being “alone” is part of who I am. If I have to step away for you to see what point I’m making, I will do it. For however long that needs to be.

We spoke quickly in April , due to the urging of my ex. I contacted her on Easter because I “felt” something was wrong with her. We don’t speak consistently and I don’t see the reason to…but I could feel my heart pounding through my eyes when I woke up. I KNEW something was wrong with her and I was correct. Once we discussed that and got that straight , she told me “go talk to Kwame”. So I did. It was awkward but more peaceful than before. Halfway through , I kinda felt like “Why did I do this?” I was content with not speaking. I have a tendency to eventually be “ok” without people. This is a positive AND a negative , in the same breath. I also knew that the nature of our friendship was going to be “different” after this. Don’t think I wanted to deal with it. In addition to not talking to Kwame, I wasn’t really speaking to anyone in that friend circle. Didn’t want to make it awkward for everyone.

3 months pass. Three months. I did not talk to my best friend of 10 years….for 3 months. We spoke every day , about the dumbest of shit to the most serious of things..and now nothing. No real words until July. He reached out to me and was just very honest. He understood where I was coming from , told me what had been going on in the last 3 months. Very heartfelt. Very painful. From there, we started on the road to recovery. Things seem to be mending and going well now. I couldn’t tell you if our friendship will just be A-OK again but thats my dog. I love the guy and he’s held me down and looked out in situations where most wouldn’t.

So while I’m dealing with all this , I have other unpleasant shit going on. I quit my job in Feb on a leap of faith. I simply couldn’t do it anymore. It was taking too much from me. I couldn’t think , I wasn’t creative , I wasn’t even happy anymore. It was literally taking my soul. I had a great relationship with most of my coworkers; all love. But how did I leave? In silence. I emailed HR quietly. Turned in my stuff. Waved off and and all uproar. Just daps and hugs and contact exchanging and off into the sunset.

So…….I was broke. Not immediately. But soon after. Maybe 2-3 months. I didn’t regret leaving ; I had to. That job was turning me into someone else. I’m not a miserable guy. I am moody and intense; as soon as those feelings within become mainly negative I lose myself. And I totally lost myself , at that point.

So I had no money , not on speaking terms with my best friend , I’m INCREDIBLY lonely, I can’t go anywhere, and the wound of that nearly 8 month old, self initiated break up is still fresh , because my ex intermittently pops up via retweets or IMessage. So just add everything together…misery.

Me being the person I am , I didn’t tell a lot of people how shitty and worthless I felt. I didn’t want to come off like I was yearning for sympathy; I wasn’t. Life is difficult for everyone; how you perform under duress says a lot about who you are.  For this part of my life , I was not performing well at all. I was holed up at home doing nothing , being unhappy about everything. My hair length at the moment? It’s because I was sad. My hair represented how I felt; I grew attached to it. It was something I could “control”. Ive noticed when I have more hair i feel more liberated. And that’s one thing I definitely didn’t have at all…liberation. I felt trapped; by my own circumstances and emotions, with no real solution in sight .

Sometime in July, a ray of light appears. I got hired. First music industry job…ever. First time being paid to do something I like to do…EVER. The job itself has been going well and might really be the best experience I’ve had job wise. My contract is up soon , so this ride may end soon. Even if it does , I’m more than happy with what I’ve gained from it.

I made a series of decisions as it comes to my life , because it’s just time to do that. Had to choose my own emotional well being over speaking to my ex; decided to chop it up with Kwame like old times ; actually accept invites to places because I have some money now. I decided to use my qualities to be a positive guy , regardless of what’s going on. Things had to change. I had to exile myself in order to “gain control”. I’m usually in control but everything hit me at once and I completely lost it. I’m still not 100 percent but I’m much…MUCH closer than months ago. These things take time.

I’m learning how to be myself again. Before everything was so serious and heavy. Back when I just wanted to have fun and make people smile. When crappy situations didn’t weigh on me and push me off my center so easily. I feel different. I feel….good. I will only feel better moving forward, because I chose that path. I’ve become more self aware, and things are finally starting to brighten after such a rough patch.

Thank you to everyone who stuck with me.

P.S. I blinked back tears for most of this so I’m gonna do 3 sets wide pushups in front of a dirty bodega while listening to this. Probably shirtless.

Canal Street.

   I was on the train sometime earlier this week. This huge Latin dude with long , shaggy black hair and burlap sacks as clothing came into our car. If you’re a New Yorker, homeless people on the train asking for assistance is nothing new. I see people all over the car go into their “omg its a homeless dude” routine. Some fake sleep (the extremely fly white girl 10 seats away) , or suddenly pretend their reading material is SUPER interesting. He was really loud and usually this annoys me; I was at ease that day for some reason. By the time he comes over to me , I dig in my pocket for change. As soon as I reach into my jacket , I remembered I have a bag of Lays(PRODUCT PLACEMENT) Potato Chips in my pocket. I felt guilty for even having the chips , as I’m a fake healthy young goon. I nervously croak out to him “hey…hey…I have some chips! You want em?” “That’ll work!”. I hand the bag to him and he takes it graciously and ambles further down the aisle. He comes back and plops down noisily in the seat across from me. I noticed an older Jamaican woman in nurse garb look at him like he was the ASSIEST of assholes as he POPPED the bag open. She kept staring as he chewed. I moved on from the scene.
    He eventually gets off. A well dressed older white dude take his seat. This whole scene and experience kinda touched me. The train is the great equalizer. Everyone from the established(or those who look it) to people who don’t know where they’re sleeping tonight…all in one place. We all have somewhere to go; coincidence(destiny?) put us on the same route.
   Really , seeing the homeless dude and giving him the chips reminded of an experience I had in 2011. I was fresh out of college , on the way to my internship at Power 105. I was BROKE as shit and relatively miserable. I was glad to have the opportunity to be in the building with all of those talented people, but I had no job. They were doing well ; I was struggling. There’s almost always a person with a cart with food on it on my train. They start explaining their doing it for anyone in need and they’ll appreciate donations etc etc. I didn’t really pay attention. Next thing I know? The person with the cart rolls up to me and offers me food DIRECTLY. Just me. No one else.
    I was SUPER embarrassed and I never get embarrassed. All I felt was anger. I quickly said “Nah , I’m good” and then had to refuse again ; they kept pushing the sandwiches and snacks on me. I hid how i really felt and somehow stayed respectful. I could feel other people’s stares ; I felt even dumber. I didn’t need food but something about my energy bought that person to me.
    I was definitely in need ; I had no money but that wasn’t what I was really lacking. I needed hope. I needed signs that chasing the dream was “right”. I didn’t get it that night or even that month. I don’t fully have that now. I’d like to believe I’m on the right path but I don’t have much to show for it yet.
So I’ll just have to ride along until my stop arrives.

Ten Days to listen to #10Day.

Now , I was pretty late to the party.

I first heard Chance on Childish Gambino’s “They Dont Like Me“. I was impressed by the rhyme scheme he decided to go with and how crazy his voice sounded. He held his own and did what he had to do on there. Didn’t think much past that.

I managed to catch the “Juice” video a few months ago late one night (I’m always up late yet fall asleep very easily) and thought “this is sorta interesting.” Admittedly , I wasn’t super impressed but immediately thought dude can rap , I’ll revisit this.

Fast forward a BUNCH of months and its March. I’m getting ready to head to my second annual dose of “SXSW teach me things about life”. I typed in my Notes app “LISTEN TO CHANCE THE RAPPER”.  10 Day is Chance’s debut mix tape, which he recorded after a 10 day suspension from high school. In pure cool guy fashion , I couldnt get to Chance’s tape unless I listened on the plane. As I took that good “middle seat on a 4 hour flight” loss, I settled in and finally hit play.

What a great decision , Robby.

First off , my mind is blown that he’s this young (19 years old as I write this) and this confident. #10Day clearly feels like he did whatever he wanted to. There’s no fear , no sense of holding back his creativity.  His beat selection is good , he can actually put coherent words together , he’s descriptive, he sings and most important of all??

He’s happy and serious all in one breath.

Happy ass rap annoys me and makes my skin crawl. Thus if you hand me a B.O.B. cd….just call me Uncle Rico. The thing is , Chance is happy about life and shows hope but is no stranger to the darker parts of life. He makes them both work seamlessly in a world where all the big rappers are extremely moody. I love some moody ass rap….because I’m sort of a dark dude (SKIN JOKES SKIN JOKES!) , but that burns you out. Chance is just…refreshing.

Every time I hear this song I grin. Does this not just sound like a HS crush at a sweaty basement party your mom would probably kill you for attending? It’s just fun. Everything from the catchy bars and the carefree energy to how easily Chicago juke/footwork music is worked into the song. It’s perfect for what it’s supposed to be. Chance is a young kid having fun , which we all are at heart (or what we should try to be.)

Then you have a song like “Acid Rain” off of his upcoming tape Acid Rap.

My big homie died young; just turned older than him
I seen it happen, I seen it happen, I see it always
He still be screaming, I see his demons in empty hallways

Jarring.  To hear someone just clearly rap about being haunted by visions of a murdered friend says so much. I immediately knew Chance had quite a personal story of his own to tell. He comes off as somewhat of a tortured soul with lots of talent. Aren’t we all tortured souls? The thing is , we won’t all turn that strain and suffering into art. He spends the duration of Acid Rain rapping about the darker realities of being a Chicago teen , even with his newfound and building stardom. Self doubt , fear of the future; things any 19 year old has come face to face with. Chance chooses to go that route and is never preachy. It’s just…real. He gets vulgar like anyone else but it nothing like the drill music from the likes of a GBE.

Which is another interesting thing about Chance. He has shouted out Chief Keef on multiple occasions , even leading a “SOSA FREE!” chant at SXSW on the day Keef was released from Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. Chance’s music is nothing like Keef’s but he understands the balance needed. Chief Keef needs to exist , even as violent and dark as his music is. Keef and Chance speak for a generation of teens that in reality, aren’t all that different. Being that both hail from the inner city of Chicago , things are tough out there. Chicago is not a scene out of a Wild West film to be ridiculed and ignored; those wonderful children have hopes , goals and dreams like anyone else. Regardless of what side of the tracks the teens fall on , they need outlets. Keef’s music is very angry and aggressive but guess what? So are those kids. They are frustrated, displaced teenagers seeking guidance and answers. Chance like Keef , is a talented kid from Chicago with a lot of painful things going on around him. He just expresses himself differently and didn’t end up so firmly planted in the street. Clearly , teenagers like that exist in Chicago and everywhere else.

I say all of that to say this: Teenagers from Chicago are not inherently bad people. They are putting themselves into music and creating a world for themselves that they could’ve never imagined. Keef is doing it. Chance is doing it. I’m proud of both. Chance is a better rapper in the classical sense and is excellent at relating his personal life and experiences to other people. With that said, I truly believe Chance is next and I’m excited to see what his future holds.