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08/16/2012 / Chika Dunu

Hip-Hop: Luminous and Dark at THE SAME DAMN TIME

 

Charles Hamilton continues to leave people scratching their heads whenever he opens his mouth and it has nothing to do with his rhymes. The Harlem rapper recently sat down with MTV News where he attempted to discuss his relationship and the core of his and J. Cole’s beef.

According to Hamilton, there were times where he felt he was looked down upon and had to retaliate. Understandable. But then the interview went left. Fast. He then switched gears and began talking about supernaturality.

“Ultimately it’s a very supernatural situation. Thank God we’re in 2012 and not like ’98. It was a very supernatural boy who cried wolf situation. So once his boss and I had a supernatural conversation about it, I was like, Put it on my tab kid. However you want it, foot it, cap it, put it on me, pause, and he did,” said Hamilton. Huh?!

Something is not right in the water. That can be said based off his demeanor.

Hamilton sat in a slouched position and his eyes were low, hidden under the brim of his black bucket hat. His lips were dry and it looked as if he were crying. A lot. As of late.

I loved “Brooklyn Girls”–perhaps I’m a liitle bias because I’m Brooklyn born and raised–but it was a great record. I saw the potential in him and so did XXL Magazine when he made the cut of their pivotal and coveted annual top ten freshman class in 2009 (alongside Wale, another rapper he’s had a tiff with).

Sidebar: Is it Roc Nation jealously?! Having the backing of Jay-Z?! Hey, I’m a Brooklyn girl. Sorry.

It all went downhill soon after. He was punched in the face by his (ex?) girlfriend which was documented for all to see online, dropped by Interscope Label, arrested for assaulting a police officer, entangled in many one-sided rap beefs with Eminem, Wiz Khalifa, Tyga just to name a few. And just like that, his name faded into oblivion.

In all of this ruckus, the most telling came when Hamilton checked himself into NY Presbyterian Mental Hospital. “Basically my stay here is like identical to my stay in the industry,” said Hamiltion in an interview with Bossip.com in 2010. “Some say the industry is like high school but its just like a [mental hospital].”

The industry is crazy. We’ve all witnessed the demise of many of our favorite artists. So comparing the industry to a mental hospital seems fitting. It’s hard to believe when all we are fed is, the damn-I wanna-live-like that side: glamourous videos, overflowing liquor, girls you can only dream about, and money to the ceiling.

News Flash: A lot of these rappers are living FANTASY lives.

Yes, most of your favorite rappers aren’t getting dropped from their labels like Charles Hamilton. Oh and let’s not forget to mention, most of your favorite rappers AREN’T getting Jay-Z/P.Diddy money. A lot of them are barely making it, living off advances that are to be repaid. It’s not all flashing lights. To have longjevity in such an industry is tough. Kudos to those who have. Kudos to those who are trying to leave their mark. Go get it!

But this is for those on the blogs, watching music videos, reading the magazines vying for the life: Please don’t be fooled by the chain. You’d have to be crazy.

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08/13/2012 / Chika Dunu

Azealia Banks is Money…

Azealia Banks. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia.org

Azealia Banks definitely doesn’t hold her tongue for anybody. I respect that.

In the male dominated world of hip-hop, Azealia Banks is proving that she can spit with the big dogs, and will not hesitate in telling ’em to “sit” when disobedient.

Azealia Banks found herself in a (yet again) Twitter beef, this time with her Harlem neighbor, Jim Jones. It all began when Banks tweeted the definition of VAMP, in which a fan (presumably of Jones) tweeted that Jones had released a record called “VAMP Life” and is the founding member of the VAMP movement. Banks, thinking otherwise tweeted to Jones that he was not indeed the originator and to “quit acting like a Harlem n—ga,” in which Jones responded with something along the lines of get your money up. You know, the typical.

I like Azealia Banks. Her catchy songs and her evolving sound and look makes her intriguing and interesting. So does her “I don’t give a f-ck” attitude. But for her sake, I hope she slightly cools it down so people won’t say “I don’t give a f-ck” when her album drops.

Banks recently sat down with Vibe Magazine, where she spoke candidly about her Twitter quarrels. “Of course, because it’s e-thugging…Who wants to look like that?” she said when asked if she regrets her Twitter spats. “But how else am I gonna reach y’all? I don’t have a T.I. to get on a radio show and defend me; I’m the one behind me.”

Bingo!

“I’m the one behind me.”

I get it.

Hip-Hop hasn’t been as good to women emcees as they have been to men. Men can put out garbage tracks and it’s deemed a hit, and if its not, there is still room for redemption. For women emcees, it seems to be a one shot chance. Oh, let’s not forget, its a ‘one woman rapper at a time’ policy. But for me, it’s more than hip hop when Azealia Banks says “I’m the one behind me.” It’s a black girl thing.

I don’t mean to make this a race issue. Perhaps I’m reaching; I don’t know. But every black girl has been told, have said, or have heard a woman of the same hue say something along the lines of  “I’m the one behind me.” Black and brown girls are taught from youngins’ to not depend on anyone (i.e. man) for anything and to always stand as a strong black woman, for he will leave you at the drop of a dime. However, this at times can become blurred with the angry black woman, the quick to roll the neck and snap the fingers woman.

But I get it.

When there are viral videos of your “brothers” chuckling and laughing at the insults spewed by Caucasian girls, or are constantly called ugly and undesirable, or are constantly told you’ll live a single miserable life, or are constantly called b-tches and h-oes, or told that “you look baby mama type,” avoid backhanded compliments from your sista etc, I understand why Azealia Banks says “I’m the one behind me.”

But she doesn’t have to be. Everyone isn’t the aforementioned. There are people that will encourage her growth and success. She’s dope and is immensely talented. It’d be a shame if she isn’t heard because she continues to perpetuate stereotypes.

I want her to win.

Become bigger than the “212.”

08/08/2012 / Chika Dunu

Ode to Richard Wright

Author Richard Wright. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org

FEAR of what the world holds after graduation

experts say journalism is a dying profession

But either you fight or FLIGHT or do both

It shall work out; it must. I have FAITH (FATE)

08/06/2012 / Chika Dunu

Batman, Sprinkles and Death Row

Rainbow sprinkles tends to make people smile, but don’t expect a smile on the face of Wade Burnham. It makes him kill. So for his last meal, he prefers a Little Debbie ™ brownie with walnuts on it along with chicken parmesan and a cherry coke.

Wade Burnham sits on death row at the Rick Perry Penal Institute and is expected to die tomorrow by lethal injection but there is no anxiety. “I am not scared of death. I’ve lived the right way. I’m in peace; the maker is calling and home is in heaven,” he explains. Lived the right is laughable depending on you ask, but to many that would be a great exaggeration for the man who is guilty of killing 14 prostitutes.

Born in Midland, Texas to an absentee dad and a mother, who later turned out to be his sister, a “twisted childhood” is the best Burnham can describe it. A loner and constantly ridiculed in school for being cross-eyed, he dropped out at 15, married at 19 and divorced six months later. A Vietnam veteran who was dishonorably charged under special circumstances, including smearing his semen on the face of higher officials sees nothing wrong with his actions. “In my judgment everything is justified,” he says.

Judgment is right and for his actions he’s spent the majority of his adult life in prison. Burnham’s first murder (which he refers to as a calling to rid the world of prostitutes and diseases), though nervous was captivated watching the life rush out of his victim. He didn’t stop there, murdering 14 night-walkers in the states of Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. “It’s like peeling an orange. It gets easier as you go.” After each murder, he obtained trinkets of body parts storing them in his refrigerator. For him it was a daily reminder to fulfill his life purpose. “The skull was motivation,” he says nonchalantly. “Prostitution symbolizes everything wrong with humanity. I did the world a favor.”

It can be said the imprisonment of Burnham is the real favor to the world, but who’s to say. Clad in an orange jumpsuit and with his hands clasped together bonded with metal handcuffs, Burnham shows a tint of vulnerability. “Jail’s been difficult. I really have no friends in here,” he admits, his pupils contracting. “But for the last five years, it’s been peaceful. I read; I’m a big fan of Batman™.” He also maintains internal peace by not smoking or drinking.

Tomorrow Wade Burnham will “walk with angels,” but today he shuffles with correction officers back to the cell he consumes for 23 hours a day. The hunch in his back and the gray in his hair indicate his age and perhaps time spent in solitary confinement. Referencing Batman, he understands that the city calls for his death and he’s fine with that because “God calls on him.”

08/05/2012 / Chika Dunu

Brooklyn Boheme BANGS

The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosted Brooklyn Boheme in a double feature with Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It as part of BAMcinematek series, “Brooklyn Close-Up.”

Directed by Nelson George and Diana Paragas, viewers are taken on a reminiscent journey of the pre-gentrified days of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, through many conversations, and with an aerial viewpoint, that pans the beauty of tree lined neighborhoods of expensive brownstones.

Narrated by George, who enlists his celebrity friends in Chris Rock, Rosie Perez, Spike Lee, among others, all speak nostalgically of their days in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, during a time that was artistically creative and freeing. ”

George, who holds most of his interviews on the benches in and around Fort Greene Park sits with Rosie Perez, recalling all the fun she had attending Wesley Snipes’ parties (whose parties are said to have been bigger than P. Diddy’s at the time). “Wesley’s parties was so off the hook, that sometimes I used to get scared,” the actress recalls with a laugh. “Like what the hell is gonna go down tonight?”

Chris Rock who takes a walk on his old stomping ground along with Nelson encounters a white female who now lives in his old apartment, which ironically show times have changed. A place that was once brimming with artistic creativity was no longer. It was now an expensive section of Brooklyn that was coveted by out of townees new to the city. This is synonymous to gentrification.

Spike Lee who refers to the emergence of gentrification as the “Christopher Columbus Syndrome,” rhetorically asks how can you discover something that’s already there, responding with “get the f-ck outta here!”

Either way gentrification is on the rise. Former residents are returning to their old stomping grounds and everything seems unrecognizable. Newcomers who knew nothing about what made Brooklyn special are looking for places to stay in the borough. Perez doesn’t know if she’ll leave, for it’s been her dream to live in Fort Greene. Spike Lee has left and so has Chris Rock.

Rock and Lee had the beautiful choice to decide whether they would leave or stay. For most, they are being told to “get the f-ck outta here!”

08/01/2012 / Chika Dunu

Is P***Y Ever That GOOD?

Rihanna’s “cake” is apparently too sweet for hip-hop heavyweights Drake and Chris Brown. Picture courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Rapper Trina rapped “so good it make em wanna tattoo my lips on em,” on Ludacris’ My Chick Bad Remix. She isn’t the only one with this problem (depending on who you ask). Apparently, Rihanna has the same problem.

A night that was to celebrate new signee Teyana Taylor to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D music label turned into a segment of VH1’s reality shows: glass throwing.

According to published reports, Chris Brown, Meek Mill and Drake were all partying at Club W.I.P located in SOHO when things took a quick turn for the worse. What began as a nice gesture by Chris Brown, in sending over a bottle of champagne to Drake ended with a gash across the chin of Brown and four injured bystanders.

But the question in all of this: Is pussy  ever worth getting a possible aggravated assault charge over?

We have heard (or know of) females who’ve sliced tires, threw bricks into windows, stabbed into flesh, give beat downs, take lives and lose lives over community d-ick. But dudes fighting over vagina? Don’t they live by the motto “bros before h-oes?” Dap each other up on smashing the same girl after have plotted on accomplishing said feat? I’m confused…eh not really. It’s all pride.

Chris Brown is the only known ex of Rihanna. The constant subliminal riffraff of his once (or still) love Rihanna has to be ego bursting. It’s a guy thing. This is why cheating is a “chucking the deuces” moment for many men. The thought of another man being involved sexually with “their” woman is a no go and must go their separate ways.

With that said, nothing is ever that good to trade in freedom for a tiny jail cell and no longer see that coveted vagina. Had they not got the memo that jails are filled with all men? I suggest they ask their fellow rap peers for a refresher course.

Rihanna is hot stuff, I get it. But fellas, stop acting like “she’s the only girl in the world.”