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September 2003

Posts from August 2003

Out Of Mind

I Have So Much Trouble On My Mind

I have a lot on my mind, but I have nothing to say, so I'm going to leave you with THIS:

  1. Bay:: Area
  2. Boarding school:: never attended
  3. Riddle:: me this
  4. Hunger:: for more money
  5. Allergy:: pollen
  6. Sponsored:: By (Mennen)
  7. Spin:: magazine
  8. Interest:: music, women and money
  9. Scrabble:: board game
  10. Mold:: old bread

When I'm bored, you can catch me reading editorials and looking at pics featured on The Crusade. (Look at all of those industry nerds.)



OutKast's Soon To Be Classic CD

I'm Jonesin' right now for some new OutKast shit. After hearing a new song from GooDie MoB member Big Gipp (featuring Kast's Andre 3000) called "Boogie Man," I'm ready for some futuristic crunk from the ATLien duo.

The new OutKast double-CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Below will hit stores on Sept. 23, so mark your calendars and save your money. Support great rap music, ya heard!

So far, Dre has been generating a lot buzz with his music that he's presenting on his half -- The Love Below. Pitchfork Media is raving about Dre's "Hey Ya," a leaked single, which is making the rounds on the internet.

"Songs that cram as many moments of sheer surprise and joy as "Hey Ya" has don't tend to retain their impact over time. But this track not only had my neck snapping on first listen, but leaves my head bobbing and a smile on my face with every subsequent play. This is pure pop for Now people."

Word. I like that phrasing, "This is pure pop for the Now people." The time is now for some ebullient hip-hop.

But HardCore has an inside track on what you are going to hear on Speaker Boxxx/The Love Below.

"[The] double album [is] like none you've ever seen or heard before. Expect the extroverted Big Boi to take you on a journey that'll encompass everything that's going on in the world today - from the 'hood to Baghdad. Conversely, expect Andre to take an introspective approach by bringing you into his world, and exploring his deepest secrets, pains, and desires. Andre actually sings on every track on his album except one, an eight minute continuous rap that has no hook. That's right y'all, dude is on some very different sh*t. The album . . . [will] boldly challenge your concept of what a good hip-hop album is supposed to be."

Well, cot damn! I'm ready to hear this joint!

And check this out – OutKast has a BLOG!!! Holy shit, who knew? I doubt that Big Boi and Andre 3000 are blogging on here, it looks like a 'Kast fan or a "Stank Head" is doing all of the writing. But isn't cool, though?

Another excellent OutKast site is the one over at Hip Hop Logic. To check it out, click HERE. Everything you want to know about OutKast is here - from bios, old-ass pictures, interviews, lyrics and all kinds of information about 'Kast.

Also, to listen to 'Kast's other two singles, "Ghetto Musick" and "She Lives In My Lap" (my favorite song from Dre), click THIS.

I'm ready for some OutKast. It's a no-brainer that the stankilicious duo will indeed have the Best Album Of The Year.

And for hip-hop right now . . . that's a beatuiful thing.


Blues People

Amiri Baraka

I just found out about the death of Amiri Baraka's daughter, Shani, on Tuesday. This is such a tragic story. I am an admirer of poet and cultural thinker Amiri Baraka (real name: LeRoi Jones). I have several of his books in my personal library – my favorites are Black Music and Blues People: Negro Music in White America. These two books, in my humble opinion, are required reading for music journalists. Read these books so you can better understand the importance of strong music criticism.

But back to the original topic . . .

Black men . . . we must stop abusing our Black women. I send my condolences and prayers to the Baraka family.

Thousands Gather To Mourn Shani Baraka, Daughter Of Poet Amiri Baraka, and Friend, Rayshon Holmes

Ras Baraka shook his head as if to clear it as he stood next to the casket of his sister, Shani, on Saturday at a church in Newark, N.J. Thousands had come to mourn her death and that of her friend, Rayshon Holmes, both shot to death last Tuesday, allegedly by Wanda Pasha's estranged husband, James Coleman. Ras, the son of poet Amiri Baraka and a Newark deputy mayor, pulled himself together to denounce domestic abuse.

He later broke down as he neared the end of his speech, his cheeks wet with tears. "Does anyone know why this happened?" he asked. "Can anybody explain why this happened? Has anyone seen my baby sister? He killed my baby sister. My god, he killed my baby sister."

Suspect in Baraka Murders Turns Himself In

A suspect in the fatal shooting last week of Amiri Baraka's daugher, Shani, and her friend surrendered to police in Piscataway, N.J., authorities said. Though James Coleman has not been charged in the deaths of Shani and Rayshon Holmes, police named him as a suspect for the first time since the bodies of the women were found in the Piscataway home of Coleman's estranged wife, Wanda Pasha, Amiri's other daughter. Rayshon was a friend of Shani.

Shani Baraka, a Newark schoolteacher and high school basketball coach, had been staying with her sister in Piscataway earlier this year and returned last week with Holmes to collect some belongings when they were both shot multiple times in the head and body, according to police and family.

Coleman and Pasha had been married for three years when Pasha kicked him out of the Piscataway house in January, alleging repeated abuse. Police had been called to the home at least five times since September 2001 for domestic violence complaints, authorities said. In April, Pasha got a domestic violence restraining order against Coleman because he continued to harass her, police said.

My Random Thoughts

The Wheels In My Brain Are Always Turning

I have to thank Timi for this . . .

This "free association" game is from Unconscious Mutterings:

  1. Only you:: R&B group 112's very first hit single
  2. 33:: My age on Sept. 21
  3. Foundation:: Hip-Hop
  4. Accidents:: That damn Blackout of 2003 (see entry "Blackout 2003")
  5. Hometown:: New Jerusalem
  6. Natural:: The Black Female Body
  7. Bombastic:: Beats & Rants 2.1
  8. Bachelor:: Me
  9. Far away:: My mind
  10. Tony:: The Tiger

What does all of this mean? I don't have a clue . . .

[Blogger Note: Don't forget to check out some new music in the "Hot Joint" sections]


Blackout 2003

New York City In The Dark

I survived the Blackout of 2003.

On Thursday, Aug. 14 New York City was paralyzed shortly after 4 p.m. by a power outage from points unknown that literally cut off all electricity in major cities such as Toronto (Canada), Detroit (Michigan), Cleveland (Ohio) and in the New England areas, as well. Apparently, something – either a power surge or a lighting strike – tripped the circuit breakers designed to prevent an overload, and blew out all of the generators out of commission.

"I view it as a wake-up call," said President George Bush, describing the blackout as "an indication we need to modernize the electricity grid."

I was at my desk frantically typing up my daily news stories – and way behind in my deadlines – when the lights went out. Then all of the sudden . . . everything went bzzzz. The lights were off and my computer went black. All of my work was gone.

"FUUCK!" I yelled out.

I thought it was a nagging power outage and that everything would be back on line in a minute or so. I figured something like this would happen: As temperatures soar to 100 degrees, power consumption would be at an all-time high – with air conditioners, fans, cooling systems running at full capacity – which, could cause a brief city-wide power outage. But I would never expect a 24 to 48 hour-long blackout.

When I looked out the window and saw that every neon sign on 42nd street was out and throngs of people were roaming the sidewalks bewildered . . . I was like, "Houston, we have a problem."

My building had to be evacuated – and I was assed-out on the streets of NYC on a sunny afternoon.

I was among the 50,000-plus commuters who were stranded outside of New York's Penn Station Thursday afternoon waiting for the trains – NJ Transit, Long Island Railroad, subways, etc. – to start running again. I bought two small bottles of Poland Spring water for $3 a piece. (Those damn vendors were making a profit off those bottled waters during the blackout.) In my messenger bag, I had some granola bars. That would be my dinner for the night – water and Quaker raisin-nut granola bars.

Cell phones didn't work at all. But lucky for me, I have text messaging on my celly. So I "text messaged" (e-mailed) my brother to tell him that I was okay. For the rest of the afternoon, I sat on a parked car near a local firehouse – just a few blocks from Penn Station – and played games on my celly. The fire station had the radio on blaring the news and I was able to find out what the hell happened to all of the lights.

By nightfall, anxiety had filled the air. People were wondering if they would ever get home to their loved ones. It was also hot. Things cooled down a little bit when it got dark, but it was still unbearable. I was able to keep cool with my bottles of water.

That night, I began to set up a little sleeping area on a corner not too far from the Madison Square Garden Theater. The venue is right next door to Penn Station. Plus, that's where most of the people were congregating at. So I set up a little spot on the corner. The only light I had was the backlight of my cell phone. I was actually reading VIBE magazine's 10th Anniversary issue with the backlight of my cell phone. Plus, there were some scented glass candles lit on the ground – thanks to a couple who bought them at a store just minutes after the blackout – which provided some reading light for me. My ass was literally sitting on the hot block, waiting to get on a train – talk about hanging out on the corner.

It was about 10:30 p.m. and it was time for me to hit the bed, er, I mean the streets. I was ready to catch some ZZZs right on the corner. But thank God for the lady with the bullhorn.

"The trains are running," she yelled through the mouthpiece.

"Thank you Jesus," I said to myself.

There was a mad dash for the doors and I said to myself, "There's no way, I'm going to make it home any sooner by bum-rushing the doors." So I sat my ass down and waited until the crowd thinned-out so I would be able to walk through the doors and hop on a train.

By 11:15 p.m., I was heading home to New Jersey. A little funky and a little dehydrated, I was so happy to be on an air-conditioned train heading to the garden state.

By 2 a.m., I was sitting at home with a tall glass of cold water and watching complete coverage of Blackout 2003 on CNN.

There were other diarists who also survived the blackout of 2003. Blogger Michele Catalano reports on the front lines of what it was like living in the darkness out in Long Island, New York. HardCore is in Detroit and as of this posting, some people reportedly won't have any utilities until Sunday. Web designer Jason Kottke offers his observations on the blackout. And finally, surf over to textamerica's "Blackout Site" and check out all of the fascinating pictures of Blackout 2003 via people's own camera phones – it's amateur photojournalism at its best.