Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gray Days The End of May Days

Yesterday was Nice and Smooth is Blazing Hot outside while today is cool as a cucumber. It's warm enough though, that you don't need a jacket which I can appreciate. However the lack of sunlight reminds me of school trips in elementary grades. Cloudy skies remind me of those great trips that were threatened to be canceled due to rain. Some times we still went on the trip even if the weather was questionable, other times we didn't.

This lack of sunlight makes me very tired. Very Very tired. Who needs a power nap?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Janelle Monae Performs Tight Rope on Letterman

She made me smile, that's all I can say. The homage to James Brown was super on point. I'll cop the album tonight and come back with my thoughts, I didn't want to listen to the leak and risk not purchasing.

The People of Hakodate Are So Nice

I turned 31 this year. Every year for the past 4 years or so I've had a party with some great people and great music, but at 31 I shifted gears. I decided for this birthday I would celebrate in Japan. So for my actual birthday Shino and I took a trip to Hakodate which is a southern city in the northern island of Hokaido in Japan. Hakodate is a port and actually was the first port in which the western world entered the country. At a time when Japan was a closed country, and still living in the shogun era, America "convinced" Japan to open the country. Do to the western influence many of the buildings have a western influence and can create quite a surreal backdrop. The city ultimately reminds me of San Francisco with it's many hills and trolley cars.

On the day before my birthday Shino and I took a trip to a public bath for some relaxation. Because our history with public baths were attached to hotels we thought there would be soap and shampoo provided, wrong...WRONG. So I'm in the male public bath rinsing off before getting in the bath (shaking my head). Once I'm in the bath I started soaking up the hot water as well as the atmosphere. A Japanese gentleman (Kowata san) approached me in the bath and started a conversation in English and a little Japanese. He was a very nice guy and when I was done with my bath he even offered some soap for me (which was much needed).

Once out of the bath and reunited with Shino, Kowata san told us about a lounge downstairs from the baths. We then joined both him and his wife for a very nice conversation about why we were in Hakodate. We were planning to have sushi that night as Hakodate is famous for it's fresh seafood. Kowata san and his wife invited Shino and I over to their home for sushi. We took them up on their offer as they were right in the neighborhood and not far from our hotel. This lovely couple treated us to a delicious sushi dinner and great company. We talked with them for hours, and watched a music special in Japan in which Kowata san was chosen out of hundreds of amateur musicians to perform in Tokyo. He is a mailman by day and trumpet player/band leader by night. I even shared a beer with Kowata san due to it being customary in Japan to drink (only a lil though). We finally bid them adieu around 1am and walked back through the quiet streets of Hakodate to our hotel. I was now 31.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Detroit Police Raid Gone Bad

The citizens of Detroit Michigan mourn the loss of a 7 year old girl Aiyana Jones due to a police raid gone wrong. The worst part is the apartment this little girl was in was the WRONG APARTMENT! I'm sorry but does this happen to any other community? These cops were filming an episode of "The First 48", and they felt the need to get wild? Politicians will attach themselves to this situation to get a better position in the future but will it be for actually changing things besides their bank statements? Seems like business as usual in the good ole US of A.

Prayers to that poor family who have to mourn the senseless death of their child. Stay strong Detroit.

Read the full story on

Old School Mondays

People seem to forget what it is to truly be an artist so I'm gonna show you fools. Lets get a little reminder of when folks just went there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Song of the Day : B.D.P. - 13 and Good

This song is from one of the BDP albums I actually don't own. I've always loved this song and the questions it poses. At the end of the song KRS doesn't give you his answer for what is right or wrong, you have to decide. I can dig that. Remember when you could put out a story song like this or the Lost Boyz song Renae and have it get play? Those were the days...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jay-Z Saturday Night Live Medley

I can appreciate what Jay brings to the table when it comes to his shows. It's more about the his presence than the actual performance. The audience is immediately drawn in to him because they are watching Jay-Z. Hell I did my best Jay impression when I did Encore during the HHK Championship.

Watching him here on Saturday Night Live he still seems to be doing him. The lovely lady who joins him at the end to fill in for Alicia Keys is none other than Bridget Kelly. She's a new artist on Jay's Roc Nation label and fits in well for the performance. Her voice sounds pretty good and she's definitely easy on the eyes. I can't say as much for the vest Hov is rocking, but that's neither here nor there. Kudos to the band for doing 4 much on the 99 problems joint. Also on a side note, is that Young Guru Baseline's engineer DJing for Jay?

Enjoy the show people.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Surprise Party In Tokyo

My second full day in Japan I was supposed to get dinner with my good friend Hiro, Shino and her sister Chiho (that's too many o's). Before going to Japan I decided that I would celebrate my birthday there this year. It would be like taking the Freaky Deaky Fun Fest on the road. So when I told Shino about this idea she told Hiro and he asked to receive a list of my friends in Japan so he could email them in Japanese that I was coming. I thought nothing of it at the time.

Once I actually arrived, one by one I kept hearing about another friend who would not be able to make my party. I scheduled it to be the Saturday before I was to come back to NY (a full week into the vacation). I didn't stress about it because I know people are busy and sometimes folks just can't make it out. I did get a little sad thinking about some friends not making it out but I was determined to have a good time.

As the evening came Shino, Chiho and I got dressed and ready for dinner. I was told that we would meet Hiro at our friend Ryo's lounge Ripple in the city and then go to eat. Cool. On the train ride over she told me that my friend Miwa just sent her a text that she would also not be able to make my party next week. Things just kept getting better... Once we got to Ripple, Hiro met us downstairs and pushed me to go up the stairs first. I didn't think much of it because most Japanese folks are extra polite so, not big deal right? WRONG. I get upstairs and there's a GANG of people up their and, one person as far as I knew was currently living in Arizona which freaked me out. I looked around and figured out what was going on. That's when everyone yelled SURPRISE!

I saw a bunch of my friends, some of which I was told I wouldn't see because they were too busy. I couldn't believe I was having the second surprise party ever in my life. My friend and writing partner Motoko even popped up with a cake(not inside the cake she held it). That threw me way off because Motoko was just in Japan about a month ago so there was no way I expected to see her there. She came just for my birthday party and helped plan it. I was stuck.

Hiro and Mo did a great job putting together the party. My hang out crew from my first trip to Japan 5 years ago were there and one of them is now engaged to be married. Then the music started and the food came out, as well as the presents. I'm normally not a guy for getting gifts because they make me feel awkward and on the spot. This year I got probably the most gifts ever for a birthday as an adult. Thanks to everyone for the time and thought power spent on me. I don't deserve it.

The guys from Funny-Brand put together a really dope performance piece for me. They are truly crazy. Hiro and the guys did a lil human pyramid building and at the end got me to join on top. It was awe inspiring. They are my family and I love those guys deeply. I can't wait til they come to NY so I can return the favor (no pyramids tho).

Thanks to everyone who came out and enjoyed a great night at Ripple with the birthday boy. Yall made 31 extra special for me. I'm still trying to get my hands on the video shot there and better pictures. Enjoy.

Lena Horne R.I.P

A beautiful woman from the planet of Brooklyn, Ms. Horne was a woman who was simply before her time in regards to film. However maybe the world just didn't deserve to enjoy her huge talent. Ms. Horne's singing was great but what I will most remember about her was that smile. She had one of the most amazing smiles I have ever seen.

I first saw her in action on the Cosby Show when I was a kid. I knew about her because she was pretty famous and I guess I did see her in the The Wiz before then BUT it was the Cosby show that put me on to her. That showed me that she was an icon. That single appearance gave me a glimpse into her personality and why people idolize her.

May Lena Horne be remembered and rest in peace.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Back From Japan With Tales to Tell

Peace True Believers,

I returned from Tokyo, Japan Monday night feeling refreshed and ready to accomplish all. My time was well spent with friends whom I now consider family. I've been learning to read and write hiragana and katakana as well as a little kanji and it helped a lot with reading signs. I have so many stories to tell and they are so dope, I want to get each their own shine.

My first full day in Tokyo, Shino took me to a flower festival in Ueno. The view was simply beautiful. There were a lot of people there taking pictures and purchasing things from the vendors. We walked around for a lil bit while being closely trailed by a mother and her energetic son. The little boy repeatedly left his mother behind as he was eager to cover more ground amongst the large group of strangers. They day was rather sunny which was a big contrast to the gray cloudy weather I arrived to a day before.

After a nice walk through we found a cool cafe for some tea while we waited to meet up with Shino's sister Chiho. Once we were all linked up we walked down a number of streets, taking in the sights of Ueno and it's many different flowers. At one point we found a type of puppet store where there was a man using a hand puppet to illustrate a woman's face. He did a very good job and captivated everyone who walked in.

After the puppet show we felt it was time to head back home but decided to take the long way. So we walked down to Ueno park which had tons of people in it that day. On the way to the park we passed what seemed to be a large school facility. The architecture was striking and the gift shop located in the rear was very nice. After walking through the park we got back on one of the many Tokyo train lines and went home. It felt good to be back in Japan.

I'll have plenty more stories about my trip to Japan so just stay tuned people... stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My Interview with Shing02

Photo by Richard Louissaint

On April 18th the Museum of Natural History held a joint exhibit involving the embrace of Bollywood and Japanese Anime by the American public. Amongst the walls which house dioramas of ancient civilizations in North America and other parts of the world, a Japanese rapper named Shing02 was rocking the mic with his DJ Icewater on the decks. It makes sense for Shing02 to perform in this venue due to his song “Battlecry”, which is the opening theme for a popular anime series “Samurai Champloo”. I got the chance to sit down with Shing02 to discuss the meaning of some of his lyrics, his relationship with the late great producer Nujabes, and how he likes his Japanese cuisine. Being that I just got back from Japan I'm just getting this up but, enjoy.

Pt. 1

Pt. 2