When I was little I found a letter she wrote to you but never sent. She said she couldn’t understand why you hated her so much.
Years later in a text, I said to some nameless man, “There’s no way you love me. This isn’t how you treat someone you love. You hate me, and I don’t understand why.”
I poured into him the love I should’ve given myself, but how does one pour from an empty container?
Is that what she did? Did my mom give you everything? Almost gave her life to give you life and you tried to take hers all because you changed your mind?
And how did she do it? How did she make us whole when one cannot pour from an empty container? I’ve come to learn it’s us who filled her. We filled her completely in the dark spaces you could never reach.
I won’t spend my life searching for the love you never gave her.
Look what she did without it.
“Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”
She made magic. Gold. Life. Three times over.
Confession: I have a really hard time listening to Up North music with Up North beats. Rather, I can listen to it in small doses, but it’s hard to really enjoy it. I’m not sure when this came about, because I remember the days when the North reigned as the supreme leaders of rap. That’s where it was born after all. I think the shift in the industry happened at the 1995 Source Awards, in the heart of the East Coast versus West Coast beef when one Andre 3000 said, “But it’s like this though, I’m tired of them closed minded folks, it’s like we gotta demo tape but don’t nobody want to hear it. But it’s like this: the South got something to say, that’s all I got to say.” That is arguably the catalyst to the South’s takeover of the sound and energy of rap music, which is still prevalent today.
As an Atlanta native, I look to music to be entertaining. I need to be tricked into the consciousness of your lyrics via Metro Booming or Zaytoven. If it’s a Saturday morning (when most Black people wake up to clean their homes) I’m not really trying to listen to you talk about how you’re regretful of that time you forced a chick to get an abortion over a string quartet my guy. I won’t get any cleaning done. I’ll end up doing a wall slide thinking about how that poor girl’s life might’ve turned out. In the words of Chris Rock, “If the beat’s alright, she’ll dance all night.” Hence, I have no patience for rap purists (Joe Budden and the like) who believe “real” rap music has to involve pain and struggle. I have to note that I rarely hear that from Southern rappers, where even the oldheads embrace younger artists. Groups like Migos and Rae Sremmurd, can flourish on a large scale, because they have the support of the South where we don’t mind just being entertained. To relegate black artists to expressing only one lifestyle is harmful to our growth as Black people, and our cultural influence for that matter. There’s room for expression of the Black experience on every part of the spectrum from gang culture, to the repaying of student loans. We are not a monolith and our music should reflect the diversity within our culture.
Requirements for real hip hop according to rap purists include:
-Rapper must be from the streets. To have sold drugs or still dabble in street pharmaceuticals is a plus.
-Must look dusty. If you look clean, you may be gay, and if you’re gay the rap world certainly doesn’t want anything to do with you.
-Beats chosen must evoke sadness, but must also be treated as an afterthought to the lyrics.
-Lyrics must use metaphors, similes, complex and simple rhyming patterns, and must be free styled. If you can’t freestyle, then you can’t rap.
-If you are a male, you must not be intersectional in your discussions on race and/or class. Black men are the only people who are suffering and everyone else must be an afterthought.
-Must praise and exoticize every race of women who aren’t black. Black women are meant only to be your first baby mama, who you will later degrade and disregard when a foreign chick deems you worthy.
-If you are a female you must talk about yourself in the most sexually explicit way possible for the first few years of your career. You must present yourself as extremely sexual and sexy, or the polar opposite, almost androgynous. There is no in between. This is the only way anyone will be interested in you as a lyricist. After you’ve proven yourself in that realm, then you can start rapping about what you want to, but you must take shots at other female rappers, otherwise you ain’t real. Because real hip hop is all about beef. You must be ignorant of the lack of privilege black women have in this world, and use every opportunity to tear the next female rapper down, because there can only be one.
-Speaking of beef. You must develop a certain level of paranoia and cynicism about the industry, which leads you to find enemies where there may or may not actually be any. You will need to take subliminal shots at other rappers, and see which ones stick in the blogs. No one, including you, should be able to pinpoint the exact source or cause of the beef, lest it lead to a truce. Because real hip hop is all about beef, even though two of the greatest rappers were murdered before they could squash their beef. And while the hip hop world will eternally mourn the loss of those artists, they will also hype you to end up in the same fate. You have to sacrifice your whole ass life to be real, and after you’re gone people will say what a shame it is.
-You must always be a struggling artist who is miserable. If you find joy or success in the world, then you’ve gone commercial, and lost your street credibility. And we all know how easy it is to feed your family based on street cred. Success makes you suspicious to those who never achieved it.
Only a few hours ago this room was alive with animated conversations, punctuated by laughter, induced by liquor. But not now. Now it’s still. Quiet. The only audible sounds are our heartbeats and the brief pauses between our breaths. We’re standing so still, and so close that it feels like entire days have passed. My head rests so comfortably on your chest as if it were always meant to be there. My whole body feels warm and loose, and the only thing holding me up is you. Now I am awkwardly aware of my hands. Where do I put my hands? I know where, but I’m terrified to move. I just want you to…move first? If you lower one hand just a little pass the small of my back and put the other one around my neck, then I’ll have permission melt into you. I know I’ll lose myself completely in you. And won’t that be a shame after I worked so hard to find myself in the solitude of this crowded city?
Sometimes I miss you so much that I read the words you wrote to me that day. You said I was beautiful and smart and funny. I feel ashamed now for craving your approval in that way. For feeling satiated by the sentiment as if I weren’t all of those things before you told me I was. Maybe this is why compliments make me crazy. Suddenly, I don’t miss you so much.
We spoke a while ago about improving your at-home wardrobe in a way that makes sense here. The principal of practicality also works for loungewear. The reason we basically live in leggings, yoga pants, and sweatpants these days is because they’re comfy and convenient. You can binge watch your latest obsession from the comfort of your bed, and then run a quick errand without having to put together an ensemble. Sure you look like you’ve been on a week-long bender, but at least you’re comfy, right? Wrong.
I am so elated at the news that Gucci Mane and his fiancé Keyshia Ka’oir are finally getting their own show. As a long standing fan of Gucci, save for that year or so wherein he dissed everyone he could think of, inclusive of my one and only Nicki, this is a long time coming. The show will reportedly follow the months leading up to their highly anticipated wedding day 10/17/17, because, of course. I have such high hopes for what we will see during the show.
First and foremost I am hoping to see a lot of dope cameos, including a reconciliation betwixt Gucci and Wacka. I need them to be on good terms for the culture. Surprisingly, I’m looking forward to Keyshia’s looks. I never fully understand them, but they are fun to look at nonetheless. According to all of the island gyals I know, that’s just how Jamaican girls dress. Very dance hall, colorful, and over the top. I’m on pins and needles just thinking what her dress will look like for the wedding. Will it even be a dress? Who knows?! I’m thinking we’ll get an MTV Cribs style look at both of their closets. I truly live for Gucci’s style. It’s a chicer version of hood rich fashions, i.e. heavy on the designer labels and very flashy.
As an aside, it’s
interesting frustrating to me when fashion magazines pick up on rappers like Gucci’s, sartorial tastes and discuss them in this surprising way. Fashion is a huge part of Black culture. The street dudes who have an eye for fashion are always taste makers. They have the cash (by whatever means) to afford high end designer digs, thereby creating these aspirational looks. So it should never be a surprise when street rappers are well versed in terms of fashion.
My biggest hope here is that Keyshia will teach us how to flip a check. I mean where is her New York Times Bestseller?!
Here’s my concern. I am still scorned by the debacle that was The Game. That show was just never the same after it went over to BET, so hopefully the good people over at Viacom step it up for the Wopster’s. They are after all Atlanta royalty, and even more so since Tiny and T.I. are on the skids. I want a Kardashian level budget. I want A1 production quality. I want Zayotven-produced transition music. I expect to twerk a little before each commercial break, and if I don’t I will be at the Viacom offices with picket signs.
Sooooo, has anyone caught a glimpse of Michelle Williams’ Instagram lately (the Black one, formerly of Destiny’s Child)? No? You didn’t even know she had one? Well you’ve been missing out, because the girl who was once the subject of #poormichelle is having a fashion glow up like no other. Out of nowhere she appeared on the scene giving you looks, hair, waistline, and poise. And these aren’t your run of the mill Fashion Nova, House of CB ensembles. Her looks make a bold statement with different colors, patterns, textures, and volumes.
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