Tsunami Season

Summer 2018 is looking like a hot one and I’m not talking about the weather. Bop after bop keeps raining down from the heavens above and the recent catalog of music to hit the charts this year has me in summer mode already.

An ANTHEM! Yara. Issa. Tracey. Latitia. Misty. Black Girl Magic. And they all looked gorgeous. I.S.S.A. R.A.E. That bitch is gorgeous. She has the most beautiful smile to me… and her skin lawd! Ugh… but I digress.

I’ve sincerely been an Aubrey “Drake” Graham fan since the jump, like since “Best I Ever Had.” Coincidentally, Drake has also always managed to release music at pivotal moments in my life. Nothing Was the Same came out the year I graduated high school. If You’re Reading This, when I made the decision to change my major, change universities, and change the direction I wanted my career to go in. Drake, for me, is synonymous with growth. It’s just like he and I have been on the same wave from jump.

As his music has changed, it has stayed the same, yet he always manages to come back sounding fresh and in-pocket. “Nice for What” is no different – an anthem for all the girls out here getting it.

As I gear up for some major changes in my life while also coming into my own, this new single will be a mainstay on my summer soundtrack to remind me to continue to keep piping up on these niggas and that I don’t necessarily have to be nice to these niggas.

Janelle Monae came in hot with a new single, “Pynk.”

A new project “Dirty Computer” is expected at the end of this month and the singles she’s released thus far have my expectations on ten.

“Pynk” is a sexy, erotic summer jam, an ode to pussy if there ever was one and I’m here for it.

Tessa Thompson made yet another cameo in the video, adding more fuel to my growing suspicion that Tessa and Janelle are an item.

When Tessa’s head popped from between those lips aka Janelle Monae’s legs…

 

I knew.

Best friend and I are headed back to Afropunk this year. We were both a bit skeeved after last year’s festivities but, y’know… a bitch will be in town or whatever so why not? The lineup looks absolutely amazing and Janelle Monae is one of the names headlining so I know her set is going to be out of this world.

Last but not least, the generous queen has come bearing gifts. After an interview with Zane Lowe, Nicki dropped two new singles and from what I heard, it looks like we’re about witness the second coming of Nicki Lewinski.

Bars. For. Your. Ass.

The general consensus seems to be that we’ll be receiving an album from Nicki just in time for the summer. At least I sure hope so. The 2018 summer sound wave is already gathering steam and in effect and something is telling me if we get a Nicki album, on top of everything else, it’s gone be tsunami season.

Gimme Five on the Black Hand Side

In honor of Living Single being released on Hulu, I have to take a moment to acknowledge the greatness that is Queen Latifah, in another installment of “Give ‘Em Their Roses.”

I relate to Khadijah James as a writer and and entrepreneur. She was hard working, honest, and had some of the flyest fits out of the cast.

The queen has been doing the damn thing for a loooong time. Bow down, bitches.

We all (should) know that Queen Latifah’s introduction into the entertainment industry was as an MC. She blasted on the scene in ’89 with All Hail the Queen and the rest was history. If you’re talking about the golden age of hip hop and you leave Queen Latifah out of the conversation, just stop talking.

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In the pantheon of great female MCs, Queen Latifah’s got one of the most distinct voices to ever be pressed into wax. It’s up there with with MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill, and Missy Elliot.

Like a lot of her male counterparts, Queen La took her success in hip hop and parlayed that into an acting career. Most recently, she starred in Girls Trip along with Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Tiffany Haddish, but her catalog goes way back.

Who can forget her performance as Cleo in Set It Off?

Queen Latifah stays booked. From crime thrillers to comedies to dramas to musicals, she’s done it all. One of my favorite performances of hers is from Hairspray as Motormouth Maybelle.

(Perhaps one day, I’ll delve into my love of musical theater)!

Another one of her most compelling performances was in the HBO special, Bessie.

Queen La will forever be one of the GOATs. She’s talented, funny, and that black hasn’t cracked yet. And for that I say…

Giver her her roses.

Bardi Season

So, the video for “Finesse” came out and quite honestly, I stopped watching it after Cardi’s verse. But from what I did see, my bitch Cardi looks like she’s just getting started.

Cardi B: I like her. I like her attitude. She’s fun. Personally, I was never one for the whole reality tv world in my youth, so I’ve really only been exposed to Ms. Cardi in the last few months. My first time actually hearing words come over her mouth in full sentences was her interview on The Breakfast Club last year. I’m swear I’m not making this up lol.

Her thing with Offset is cute. She did an interview on Fallon, which was absolutely horrid, but she handled it well. I don’t really know much else about her outside of what I’ve laid out for you here.

Now, the good folks at The Read addressed her latest personal scandal. Thanks to a very recent follow to the Shade Room, I already knew what that was about. And Cardi is… lacking in the ability to not give a fuck about the opinions of others. This fame thing ain’t no joke and it’ll just take some getting used to.

I’ve never been famous, but I can imagine that it can be a bitch sometimes.

But she’s on a role and if she can keep up the momentum, I think she’ll learn to relax into her glow up.

She’s on my list.

Watch out for Cardi in 2018.

I Can’t Live Without My Radio

Let’s kick off the first post of 2018 with some culture.

I was scrolling through IG and Charlemagne the God posted this.

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As spicy as Charlemagne can be, he has his moments.

Every now and then I write about some of my favorite artists making their way through the radio circuit promoting their newest latest… or trying to save face… or just deciding to drop in. A lot of great artists have been interviewed on The Breakfast Club.

In the context of hip hop, DJs have mythological status. They have a special place in the culture.

I feel like disk jockeys are always portrayed as being “that nigga.” They get respect, they have clout, they usually have a way with words.

They are some of the most memorable characters in television and movies. Of course, Martin and Senior Love Daddy are fictional, but it’s plenty of very real DJs that live and breath this same air that pushed the culture of hip hop.

From people like Stretch and Bobbito who were pioneers of the “urban radio” movement to the vets like Angie Martinez, Ebro, Sway, Heather B, Big Boy, and DJ Envy and Angela Yee, and Charlemagne and allem at the Breakfast Club, they get my respect. The culture owes a lot to them.

Moral of the story: It’s so dope to watch hip hop grow and evolve. DJs were the first foot soldiers of the genre. Somebody had to spin those records, right? Somebody had to play those records at the block parties and the basketball parks.

And even though Charlemagne says some spicy shit from time to time, you can’t knock his influence. He’s been working a long time to afford to be that inflammatory and for that, he gets all my respect.

More plz

2017 was a look for music. I’ve been blogging about a few of my faves throughout the year and even some shit that I loved to hate. But there’s no doubt that the range of sounds and styles that are emerging are nothing we’ve ever heard before. Music is constantly evolving and I got a feeling that some dope shit is afoot.

Batter up:

We got HERstory from the BK rapper earlier this year and there was no shortage of bars. M.A. has the bars for that ass and that’s a fact but she continues to talk her shit and still mind her business which is just such an attractive quality in these days and times.

I’m here for Young M.A. I really hope she’s got some hot fire for your asses in 2018.

Next up:

C’mon, I’m always excited to see what he’s going to do next. Coloring Book was from May 2016 and I know he’s been cooking since then. That joint he dropped with Daniel Caesar on Colbert is timeless and I’m ready to see some new collabs. Chance just brings a new flavor every time he steps on a track and I watch his IG stories on a daily basis.

He’s goals.

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Say what you want about these dudes but I fucks with em. I like their attitude. Their dreads are starting to thrive. Their jewelry game is always on point. They seem like they’re having a good time and I’m having a good time watching them have a good time. I can’t say I condone their habit of jumping random niggas for no good reason but hey, everyone has their flaws.

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“hey aubrey, wya?”

Questions that need answers. I’m always excited for some new Drake to drop. He seems to have the Midas touch and I’m not mad about it. I hope he’s bringing more bangers in 2018.

This guy Smino.

He had an album drop not too long ago and even though I’d never heard of him, I knew from jump he was the newest latest. I like him. He’s got style. And his remix of Anita featuring T-Pain makes me smile.

More please.

I need more Daniel Caesar in my life. I’m usually not an R&B type of bitch but young Danny does it for me. His 2017 debut Freudian is still on replay and if he’s joined forces with Chance the Rapper, there’s really no telling what kind of flavor he’ll bring in the future. It’s a yes for me. I want more.

Now, last but certainly not least. I’m sure y’all saw the pictures of Bey out here with the laptop and the braided ponytail so I guess it’s about that time again.

She’s coming for your necks and that’s all I have to say about that. 2018 is shaping up to be something to watch. Let’s all head into the new year with high hopes and wigs secured.

 

Issa New Year: Get Into It

Let’s be real: 2017 came with its own special steaming pile of bullshit. I don’t need to go into detail. Y’all can just look back at the Shade Room’s feed for the past year. This one was really one for the books.

But so is every other year. If there’s one thing I’ve come to realize is that the bullshit don’t stop. It can’t stop and it won’t stop. It’s here to stay and as long as niggas are alive, the bullshit will persist.

So let’s talk about things that really matter. It’s a new year and although its a lot of shit that can just stay in 2017, it’s also a lot of things that I’m excited to see pop off in 2018. This is my theory and I’m sticking to it: chaos feeds the engine of creativity. As the world slides deeper and deeper into fuckery and chaos, there’s always a few individuals that rise above and attempt to bring everyone who’ll listen with them. And when you pay attention to them instead of the asshats of the world, it’s almost seems like a good idea to be optimistic about the future.

My last few posts are going to be my personal picks for who I’m looking out for in 2018. I’m looking at musicians/artists, film, television, internet influencers, activists, allem. It’s also awards season which I kind of live for. The grammy noms are out and I’m pretty much here for the line up. I hope this is setting a precedent for what we’ll see with the rest of awards season.

Regardless, I’ll be here, behind my computer. Watching. Listening. Judging.

 

Songs in the Key of My Life

This time of year always gets me in my feels. Tis the season for reflection on all the fuck shit that went down and lots of celebrating with weed and alcohol for just how in the hell you managed to make it through.

My last few posts of the year are probably going to be tinged with a touch of nostalgia cuz bitch, I can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel and to that I raise my hand and say hallelujah.

I was poking around on SoundCloud and found some old jams that I used to listen to in my dark days. When I think about it, music is a big factor in how manage to make it on the day to day. I generally don’t keep much company so music, the occasional sex-capade, and a decent amount of weed are what keep me going.

I’m one of Chance the Rapper’s biggest fans. Not even on some bandwagon shit, I found Chance’s music at a difficult transitional moment in my life. I was leaving high school, starting college and more or less trying to figure myself out. In his early days, he released a project with Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, something like a mixtape and on this particular mixtape was this song “Wonderful Everyday.” It was Chano’s own remix of the Arthur theme song and it always just touched me.

Gives me the feels every time.

Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon was my saving grace. I had been a fan of Cudi since middle school. His music just spoke to me. The shit he talked about going through were things that I could identify with and I always felt like if we ever met irl, we’d probably vibe.

Last but certainly not least, J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive.

I mean, do I really have to explain myself?

The third anniversary of the release of this project is coming up which is crazy because I distinctly remember sitting in the dark, alone listening to this album, crying during my freshman year because a bitch was especially in her feelings. Freshman year was… whew.

Honorable mention goes to, Big Krit’s King Remembered in Time was like my bible in high school.

I’ve grown more appreciative of my southern roots over the years. This place irks me but it also produced Krit which has to show for something. He’s refreshing… Not to mention, his new shit, Forever is a Mighty Long Time, is some fye.

I’ll probably be doing a post on my faves of 2017, but until I️ get around to it, kids.

Gotta blast.

The Day is On Its Way

Have I ever told y’all how much I love Chance the Rapper?

He recently performed a new song with Daniel Caesar on Colbert’s show and… ugh. I love him.

Its a three verse ballad articulating his toils in fatherhood, being a celebrity, and grappling with troubling matters of our times.

Chance never ceases to amaze me. I love his live instrumentations, the deep gospel influence, his flow. When he performed at the BET Awards last year with Pamela Mann and Kirk Franklin, even my heathen ass could feel the spirit moving through the computer screen. He has a way of making music that just hits you on a spiritual level.

I hear the seams snappin’. And I’m the team cap’n

Chance has never been shy about his activism. The thing that I like about him is that he’s a smart guy. He uses his platform to do some real work.

  • Police brutality
  • Homophobia
  • Urban Poverty/Neglect
  • Racism

Some of the “first world problems that niggas make up” that Chance and other activists are constantly addressing, yet… these hoes (i.e ‘Merica) keep on playing.

He warns, “Keep on playing we gone shake this shit up.”

When I think about the times we are in, I don’t get sad. I’m not even mad, truely and honestly. In the grand scheme of human history, this series of events comes about cyclically. Be it a Henry the VIII, a Hitler, a Stallin, a Napoleon, a Mao-Zedong… a Trump.

Just as sure as we are here, the day is on its way when the jig is fucking up. Though it’s hard to see it now, evil never truly triumphs. Maybe this is attributable to the vitality of the human spirit, or a collective low tolerance for bullshit – regardless…

The day is on its way

It could not wait no more

Here it is.

 

 

 

You Better Work

If y’all didn’t know, I’m a film student. In my last semester, lawd! It’s a bitter sweet feeling – mostly bitter – but that’s a different post.

Film production is one thing. Classes on writing, directing, editing… the usual. But there’s also a set of classes based in film theory.

Because films are not just films and (more broadly) art is not just art. It’s all cultural fodder.

Or at least, that’s how I like to look at it.

Every film, every album, every canvas does a certain cultural work that – when you look back on them as a whole over time – says a whole helluvalot about the world we lived in.

Now this is going to appear to go left for a minute, but bare with me here.

I’ve been listening to that new Uzi.

Sorry not sorry.

I don’t care how fast he says it, I don’t buy that lucier shit. I’m terming this cultural click bait. 

Issa gimmick.

That lil nigga from Seattle isn’t a fucking devil worshipper, and if he is, so the fuck what. That’s on him.

This new shit bumps and I enjoyed listening to it. Sorry not sorry, bih.

The thing about a Uzi, a Yachty, a [insert XXL freshman]… they’re in this bitch.

They’re here and making their presence known and having a wang-dang-mutherfucking-doodle with life.

Yeah, they say problematic, dumb stupid shit sometimes. So does everybody.

But if you watch an interview from any one of these people, they kinda sound like they know what they’re doing. They know the wave they’re on and they’re taking full advantage. As high-falutin’ as you may think their antics might be, they’re not on some bullshit.

And you can say that about a Kendrick, a Cole, a [insert “conscious” rapper] as well.

They’re voices of the culture. And they know it.

They have the juice and it seems as though folks can’t do anything but be mad about it.

Now, when we all look back on this moment in history, I don’t know what we’ll say, honestly. I can’t break down the cultural work that these individuals are doing because I can’t do that right now. I think that is something best done in retrospect.

But they are certainly doing it.

Moral of the story: Y’all gotta chill and let these kids be kids. It’s a wave. It’s a moment. Let it be.

History will tell us what she thought of these 20-teens kids when she’s good a goddam ready. Don’t doubt that the cultural hindsight will be 20/20 and one day – not this one – we’ll be able to know for sure if they actually “ruined hip-hop”… or if they really ushered in a new era of youth culture and music.

I’m leaning more towards the latter.

If you like it, listen to it. Twerk to it. Enjoy it.

If you don’t, that’s cool too, but y’know… don’t be a hater.

 

 

Not an Album Review

Honestly, I can’t say I have ever called myself a Jay-Z fan.

His was a wave that I missed, as fate would have it, and I never really got into it.

And I’ve heard shit about Jay-Z being a top pick for the hip hop heads of the internet. How innovative he was, how he sold drugs then turned to rap and just fucked the game up, how he married the baddest bitch, Queen Beyonce – yeah, I peeped the resume and still, I wasn’t a believer.

But this shit right here.

This shit right here.

This shit right here.

This album is being touted as Jay’s Lemonade. I think that’s a pretty accurate summation of this record.

And for the same reasons I loved Lemonade, I love 4:44.

I think it’s a beautiful thing when people show that they’re human. It’s becoming an increasingly prevalent habit for us to forget it. Jay’s made the transition – in my catalog – from a figure to a full form human being.

 

I’m not lost on Jay’s ability to produce a banger. I saw a couple of his videos on 106 & Park when I would sneak and watch it as a young, black tot.

The production on this album though! It’s amazing.

To paraphrase Anthony Fantano, the internet’s busiest music nerd, this album kind of sounds like it could’ve been released on Stone’s Throw records.

And Jay isn’t on that typical get-money-fuck-bitches tip that I’ve come to know him for. He actually talked about someone other than himself for a good chunk of the project. Blue, Bey, his mother, his marriage, his thoughts, his feelings, legacy.

I just admire growth. And to that, I say kudos to Mr. Carter.

I gotta say, he really surprised me with this.

*throws up the rock*