Me and The RZA Get Busy

Being bitten by the writing bug is interesting. I run into
other Black movers and shakers on Friday or Saturday
evenings and they glaze over when I say I am going
home to write.

Its bugged out because this morning I created a
substantial addition to the “Crack Essays” file.
My eyes opened before the alarm went off at
6:30am this morning. I am not a morning byrd.
I am a grumpy byrd pre-Peerless. So, awaking
on a Saturday before the alarm is monumental.

The other side of the glaze over is the sense of reward I feel
when I sent Filthy a draft and he responds with
“M” this is incredible and I be like. Damn? Word?

All of these things are on my mind when I read about
the RZA and his work ethic. He speaks in an
interview, saying,

People you put your trust in, from women to partners, and then they forsake you. Even the Wu-Tang Clan, when Wu-Tang Clan pulled out of the Rage Against The Machine tour, it broke my heart, because I recorded the Wu-Tang Forever album with democracy. I let everybody do what they wanted to do. The other albums were more like how I wanted it, and it came out better, people say…… When they started backing out, it really hurt me and shit, so I backed out. I feel like I did everything for Wu-Tang. That?s why, when Bobby Digital came out, I started chilling. I started having a good time. But then when they forsake me?and some brothers did, some brothers didn?t?if you have four people who aren?t into it, it?s not going to work. (via Grand Good)

The RZA’s statements struck me for a few reason’s.
One it reminds me
of how every crew has a visionary
and how the visionary has to reconcile
that vision with what the crew seems to be capable of.
It reminds me of how the crews with the greatest
potential fail
to reach it because of infighting.

It reminds me of my new found writing discipline and
how I run into folks and they look at me like an alien-byrd
when I talk about writing on a Friday night.


There are a serious of Boom Bap tasty treats
floating around these internet’s.

Kate Richardson analyzes the new Roots video by
Rick Cordero through a feminist theory lens.

In an interesting excerpt she writes,

At first it seems as if Cordero might be taking the video in the pleasant hug-a-loser direction, but that sweetness is but an introduction to the birthday girl sitting on the floor and opening each dude’s gift as he stands above her, holding it at his crotch. One guy brought her a sausage! How sweet!

Cordero shoots the sequence in a more or less shot/reverse-shot pattern, but despite this lukewarm attempt at representing the female perspective, the sequence still comes off as uncomfortably misogynistic.

Ivan at HHIR has an video interview up of Mary and Jay.
At about 2:30 in Jay speaks about the package
that distinguishes he and Mary from the thousands of
others that have record deals.

Mary mentioned that she has no problem letting
people see the sad sh-t. On its face, that may seem trite
and a complete cliche. But, think about how many times
a day you don’t tell someone something because you think
they may reject you, or keep it to yourself out of fear.
We feel Mary because she lets it all, for better or for
worse, hang out.

Having spent 3 hours this morning writing about my family
and crack, I will tell you that there is no OTHER more vulnerable
feeling, other than being naked in front of someone for the first time,
than telling the truth because you can’t hold it back any longer.

Jay mentions that what distinguishes him from other cats
is work ethic, god given talent and real life experience.

Say word.


Doc Zeus has a retrospective of the Pen and Pixel era up.

Man them sh*ts were horrible. But its hip hop just the same.

Like that drunk uncle who is both irritating and embarrassing,
yet still yours.

We used to see these ads in The Source and squint with
the sour lemon head face at how bad they were.

Silk the Shocker, Mercedes, Master P. All bad.

Master P wants to apologize for some sh-t.
Apologize for those album covers blood.


Why are we scared of hard work?

You encounter any visionaries lately?


Thoughts on Men, Emotions and the Feedback Loop

It wasn’t until December that I learned the extent to which SJ
was looking
at the front door.

We were talking, something that we did 2 or 3 times a day,
and he casually mentioned “This is the best conversation
that we
have had in like 6 weeks”.

I was like errrrrk record scratch.

I knew the relationship was going over a rough patch,
but sh-t, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being good, I though it
was at least 4.5.
Apparently he was on some 2.5 type
I have always contended that without feedback, you just
can’t get better.

To be fair, I was not in the place to do something
constructive with the feedback. Anger at life got in the
way. But there is something to be said for stating,
“, yo, this, this and this is a deal breaker and
if it doesn’t improve, I’m out. No threats, just putting you on”.

I also know that this is a culture that teaches, rewards
and instills
in men that emotions are feminine and to
be avoided at all costs

The lack of feedback reminds me of how, in law school,
there is this expectation that you are suppose to just “figure out”
arcane jurisdictional rules
with other students who
are fumbling around just as blindly as you are.

There is nil feedback. In fact you have to fight for it.

That being said, the only way you learn is by constantly
participating in the feed back loop, like a second seed team thats
gunning for the upset

You practice. Play. Review your success. Watch last week’s
game tape. Review your mistakes. Watch your
opponents game tapes. Takes note. Adjust your strategy.
Turn around, start over gain at practice.

So yeah fellas. Mentioning the extent and scope to which
you are unhappy would really help us in deciding how we will
respond if at all. I am sure that the ladies could stand to do the

This post is brought on in large part by the fact that Filthy is here.
Last night he continually asked me, “How you Feel?”

For him, it’s reflexive. For me that sh-t was annoying.

Now you know me. I am more inclined to answer a question,
an inquisitive in the gristle question, provided I know that
the other person is going to reciprocate.

Upon reflection, I get it. The “How you Feel’s?” are
an effort to instill a continued Feed Back Loop and
I ain’t mad at that.


Men and Emotions and looking at the front door.

You give feed back or you just let ’em dangle in the
wind and keep and eye on the door knob?


Back to the My Life Album

I was suppose to go to Dallas this weekend.

I called SJ last Wednesday.

The ticket was purchased during the post
break up “lets see” era.

I asked him if I could still come. He replied
neutrally, “ummmm, don’t know if you want to do that.
I would love to see you but, it just may not be…”

I told one of my homies I wanted to go. I want to go to Dallas.
Homie: Ok. Why?
: I want to say goodbye in person.

Homie: Hmmp. I can see that. But….
: But what?

Homie: Its natural to want to do that. What do you
expect to get out of it?
: I want to see him and say good bye in person. But…

Homie: yeah… He prolly gonna make me mad, and we will fight and I
will end up at the airport early.
Homie: Ok….
: Whhhhhhhhhhhat?!?^&?& ***Gets irritated. Say it!
Homie: Don’t you think by going to the epicenter
of the pain
you may hurt yourself further? Yeah. You have a point.

Sunday evening I caught it. I was good until about 6pm.
It was warm all day. About 62 degrees and sunny.

My momma stopped by the Whole Foods
to kick it with me. I thought she was gonna clown me
about how boogie it was, but she didn’t. She liked my hat.

Around 7pm, walking home, after I blogged, I just felt
unshakably blue.
Upon reflection, I should have posted this last night.

I mean I had quite a weekend. I got my stuff out of storage.
Old clothes can be like old friends. Snug and comfortable.

I saw dig dug. Mis favorito, even though those Gemini’s in him
drive me nuts.

And I learned that Filthy is coming to visit Cali, he got people
in The Bay.

Then at 7pm, it was like the sadness socked me in the grill.
I missed him. I missed my friend.
Not because I wanted to talk to him per se, but because so many
things happened this weekend that, in the past, it would
have been so natural to share.

Spiritual things, transformative things. In a way, Sunday night was
about accepting that they won’t be shared, at least not the
way they were before puddle Friday.

In a lot of ways, I imagine that the conversation
that I had with myself last night is the same one
that cats have when they are about to serve a bid.

Hold ya head.
Even if your in pain, its temporary.
It’s uncomfortable, but it will pass.
This isn’t harder than anything else you have done before. (~gotty)

Erykah’s joint couldn’t hold me down anymore,
I had to take it back to the My Life album.

And I’m good better now.

Black Wonkett on Why You Need to Read "Trapped" by Daniel Brook, Part II.

Now that we have established that $250K is the
new $100K.

Let’s revisit why our social workers, teachers, and
filmmakers are choosing to go into finance.

Daniel suggests that young people
don’t want to be investment bankers because they
want to be rich
, they want to do it because they want
to live in the city and and they are scared of being poor.

Thats real talk.

Daniel posits that tuition costs are high because
the trustees can set them high. When he wonders
aloud, “Where is the sticker shock, and refusal to pay?”

I think of the “keeping up with the Jones’s
syndrome” and how that can impact a family’s decision to give
their children the “best education” even if that means saddling
the child and the family with $150K worth of debt.

I understand that school is expensive.
However, Daniel wonders out loud why Dartmouth and Harvard’s
tuition is within $500 of each other when they are both located
in two different states, with two different costs of living.

And don’t get me started on their billion dollar endowments
and their rarely criticized tax exempt status.

I am obsessed with school finance. But, you knew that.
So it was interesting to learn from his book that
U.C. Berkeley used to be free
Yes. Cal was tuition free for 100 years. It was only in the
the late 1970’s that Cal instituted in-state tuition.

It wasn’t that long ago — not as long ago as you’d think — that UC Berkeley cost $212.50 a quarter. When it went up to $236, there was serious debate in the Daily Cal as to whether it would cause the unfortunate to drop out, at the least, or cause blood in the streets, at the most.

It’s a quaint story that doesn’t mean much in the post-Proposition 13 world of public education. But these numbers mean something: Spread over 30 years, from 1975-76 to 2004-05, Cal has gone from $637 a year to $6,730, an increase of about 1,060 percent. Then as now, education at the University of California is tuition free for residents, a tradition since 1900 that was reaffirmed in the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education. What students pay are “fees,” a sleight of hand similar to the way executives who are fired have always decided to “spend more time with family.”

CUNY was free until New York’s fiscal crisis in the seventies and the city
and the state decided to charge working and middle class students tuition.
According to Wikipedia,

CUNY has historically served a diverse student body, especially those excluded from or unable to afford private universities. CUNY offered a high quality, tuition-free education to the poor, the working class and the immigrants of New York City until 1975, when the City’s fiscal crisis forced the imposition of tuition. Many Jewish academics and intellectuals studied and taught at CUNY in the post-World War I era when Ivy League universities, such as Yale University, discriminated against Jews.[2] The City College of New York has had a reputation of being “the Harvard of the proletariat.”[3]

Filthy astutly pointed out, that a city that decides to charge
poor and working class students tuition, in the middle of
a recession INSTEAD of charging more to corporations,
is pretty clear about its priorities.

Accessible, high quality k-16 education is
connected to
health of a city, and the health of the
families that reside within

Daniel closes his book with a reflection on Thomas Jefferson’s
vision for this country. He writes,

“Jefferson understood that his Aristocratic birth and private eduction had given him the ability to pursue his talents. Cognizant of his good fortune, he understood that a just and dynamic society should not leave th flowering to talent to chance. The gifted, not merely the high born must be able to contribute, both for their own sake and for the sake of society and humanity.”


College debt makes investment bankers
out of teachers,
social workers and it’s
a problem for all of us.

We need teachers, bankers, lawyers,
filmmakers and social
They are the thread that hold the cities

New York and SF is looking
at a New Gilded Age and it doesn’t
have to be this way.

We can change it.
They have ideas.


The Silent Treatment

Tonight I saw The Savages.

Great Movie.

Horrible audience.

Seeing a neurotic movie about putting your dad in a nursing
home and preparing to, as if YOU CAN prepare to, watch
die, should be seen in with particular kind of audience.

I felt loud in the movie because I laughed. I chuckled at, cheered on
disagreed and identified with the characters.

I was on some “hell naw dude” and “she did THAT sh-t blood?”
and it was like crickets.

Watching that movie was like quiet, bad, sex.

Whereas movies in New York are a cross between
church and theater. Call and response and audience
participation are in full effect.

For instance, the last movie I saw in the theater
was “Vantage Point” at one my top 5’s spots to catch a
film in NYC- the jawn on
17th and Broadway.

At first the movie seemed intriguing like a espionage
laced version of 24.

Then half way through it went dumb over the top.

Two thirds through, people were actively smacking their teeth,
talking sh-t to their homies, not rudely, but loud enough
to express their discontent enough for the rest of us to
nod in agreement.

Filthy stanky a*s fell asleep two thirds through.

I realize now, that going to concert, can be like going
to the movies, in that the audience can impact
the overall experience of how we perceive the event.


Bad crowd experiences anyone?

Awkwardly quiet movies are like bad, quiet. sex.

My homie Slinky cracked the f-ck up at that analogy.