Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Independence Day

Cant forget to big up Barbados and all the bajan crew on its 39th Independence day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Subway Stories

Ok before you guys begin to think I'm on hiatus or sick or something let me jot down a few lines (although truth is I am a bit under the weather today).

Got a few subway/transit stories for you so here goes with the first one.

It was a dark and stormy night, this evening on my way home. How ya mean it cant be night when its evening? A who telling the story not me? Ya see how dark the place duz get at 4 o clock? Man these days by 7 o clock is like midnight outside. I reached Kennedy station, surprisingly without dropping into the deep subway slumber I am accustomed to, around 7 o clock only to find that as usual the Scarborough RT had broken down. Worthless piece of crap I mumble to myself as I stood there waiting for my bus to arrive watching the mad scramble down the stars from the RT platform. I don't usually take the RT but when it breaks down it usually means a massive influx of slightly dazed and lost persons searching for another way home which usually means the replacement buses they run in its place or any other bus that comes into the bus bay including mine. Chaos and pandemonium as passengers shout at overworked bus drivers and each other. Nerves are on edge and tempers flare because everyone wants to just go home after a long hard day on the hustle at work. So Kennedy is not the place you want to be and definitely not on a cold damp day like today but hey what's a brother to do.? Damn TTC cant live with it cant live without it.

I'm waiting silently, watching the drama unfold while keeping an eye out for my bus as I stand close to the bus bay doors waiting for its arrival. I'm in my own world as usual, although the ever present music is absent, just trying to keep warm while keeping up my mean mugging. What am I mean mugging for well even if it wasn't tired cold and potentially coming down with a bug I'd do it just because its Kennedy station and a brothers gotta look hard like he's ready to throw down at the drop of a dime when he steps into that spot. Aint no happy go lucky dudes up here, we stays grimy son! WHAT! What you haven't noticed that everyone looks hard at Kennedy station? I noticed that last year when I got here and I've already perfected my Ice Cube scowl since moving to these parts. Its all about survival of the fittest, adapt or be ghost. Word!

Lol, ok its not that hard but hey everyone mean mugs man I aint lying. Maybe its cause we out in the boondocks and the trip from downtown takes so long that by the time you reach Kennedy brothers just got issues and it shows on your face. ha ha.

Still, Its cold and rainy tonight. The temperature is in the double digits which is good cause two days ago we were in the negative double digits but as I said a brother be sick so I'm still a bit cold tonight. I'd usually stand outside on the platform but I cant deal with the cold air so I'll chill inside until the bus comes. What that does mean is I'll get on the bus but probably way after the mass of humanity has taken all the seats and most of the standing room.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe bus arrives, I spot it early and I'm out on the platform in a dash. Nowhere to run to though as the crowd rolls thicker than Wu Tang on stage. Doggone it! The bus is filling up quickly, if I don't get on I've got to wait about 15 minutes for another one. Its never this crazy at 7 o clock oh right RT breakdown. damn!

I manage to get on and get a standing spot close to the door. For once the standing room is packed because usually dudes just stand at the front door and refuse to move back into the bus. Its like everybody feels they be Rosa Parks or some ish. Move to the back of the bus you clowns! Plus what's truly annoying is that two bus stops later it usually empties out. Lazy ass Torontonians its only a 5 minute walk let people who are going further get into the bus nuh man.

Barely made my way into the bus and I'm almost standing level with the driver. We are at crush capacity, think sardines or slaves on the middle passage. I try to squeeze further into the bus but as I mentioned last paragraph those folk who stand at the front have me boxed in. They wont go further in and I cant squeeze past them.

The driver complains that's he's not moving until some folk get out. Easy for him to say that we've been waiting for this bus for a while now no one wants to get out. No one past the white line he says. Damn I'm on the white line! Two folk nearer to the door get off and I'm still on the white line. I aint moving. Anyway I guess the two who left were enough to get the show on the road when this last minute cat jumps on and tries to somehow get past me onto the bus. He's trying to crawl past me using a non-existent space. Its not working so my man starts elbowing me like Alonzo Morning boxing out in the paint. What da? I somehow manage to turn around and glare down on him like I could kick your ass little man. Damn that patented Ice Cube scowl comes in handy. No words exchanged but that was that no more elbows. Thank you Cube, you the man even though you fell off and went Hollywood. Still I swear one of these days I'm going to have to throw two box in someone on the bus.

Anyway we set off. Its raining "bucket a drop" as my bajan people would say. As predicted at stop number 2 the bus loses about 8 passengers. I'm buffeted from the left and right as they attempt to blow past me out of the bus. I can only small up myself when a woman coming from the right and a fella from the left. I don't know what wunnah expect me to do.

The trip continues. People get off and some get on but at least I've got some breathing room now and we are less packed than before. I've moved down somewhat into the bus as space became available. My stop is coming up but I'm stuck behind some tall dude with a knapsack taking up the entire corridor and some chick on a cell phone who although she's like 5 foot 2 decides that her feet must stretch out across the walkway. I gine tell ya this as God is my witness if she doan try an move them two big ugly hooves she got deyso I gine mek it my business ta mash she corns on purpose on my way out. Ya think I lie? Chupse! Looka how she gine skin out she feet into the corridor ta throw down people. I serious though some of these young people aint got no damn sense at all ya kno!

Anyway I say excuse me, she moves her feet but I still have to push my way past knapsack boy to get off the bus but at least my transit trip is over for the day ..........until tomorrow. Damn!

(I still have like three more subway stories but this went overtime)

ps: Got the chance to link with two of Toronto's finest bloggers this weekend. Madamoiselles Solitaire and Starfoxx. I must say it was totally my pleasure to make both your acquaintances and you guys seem like alot of fun to hang with. Star I know I'll see you around Scarberia, we gotta link again. And to my likkle sistren Soli all the best on your Journey out west, Toronto will miss you but we know you are off to do big things. Stay grounded, stay focused and stay vigilant. Glad I got the chance to meet you before you took off. Don't worry about a thing, God got ya back and he will protect you on your journey and in your new home. Knock em dead sis . One love.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My Uzi weighs a tonne

I got so much trouble on my mind

My wife summed it up quite accurately last Saturday night when she said its not been good to be a black person in Toronto this past week.

True enough the acts of this past week have left many of us with a heavy heart and grieving for our youth. First we had the arrest of 16 or 17 black teenage students, all between the age of 15 and 17, at a local high school all suspected of assaulting a 16 year old girl. This case has some serious racial overtones as the accused are all black and the victim white. While the police say they have video of the assaults I'm sure many will question exactly what went on as most of the accused are athletes, the girl waited over a year to report the case, her peers don't seem to believe her and well just the whole racial overtones will cause all sorts of doubts and issues to be addressed with regards to this case. I'm taking no sides here, until I see the evidence. If the accused did the deeds they are accused of my thoughts go out to the victim and her family and I say punish the criminals with the full extent of the law. If they are innocent I grieve for the stress and image tarnishing they have had to absorb. I just hope that justice is actually done in this case

when the slugs penetrate you feel a burning sensation
getting closer to God in a tight situation

Then we had a shooting of a teenager on the doorsteps of a local church at a funeral which ironically was for his best friend who was also a shooting victim. That was probably the last straw for a lot of people. That the church, a sacred sanctuary, a place of peace was defiled in such a manner has really captured the attention of all here. and made a lot of folk mad as hell.

Its like jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.

Sunday in between my mammoth leaf job I had the opportunity to watch the underground DVD that's been floating around Toronto (I'm not calling it by name) showing some of the hoods and what's "real" in the streets.

John Wayne couldn't understand the reign of the tech

Let me tell you this. I've always been lead to believe that 'real bad man naa tell people dem bad' so I'm a bit skeptical about some of the claims these kids are making in this video. Plus there is a clear absence of some of the more well known rougher neighborhoods in this video so some of it may be just kids talking just to get a rep but yo the guns in the video are real enough son. Real! I'm talking pump shotties, semi autos, tech nines and other burners in abundance. Plus the attitude while it may be boosted by some additional street bravado for the cameras seems to tell me that these kids just don't give a .....

(On another note I've heard that since this dvd a whole bunch of the dudes in it have been arrested. They may talk a lot of yang about snitching and informer this an that but that video was probably like Christmas come early for the policemen.)

Which led me to another of my thoughts and I've had this for other places I've lived but never before for Toronto.

There really are different Torontos. There are some distinct realities in Toronto and all are true realities. My reality does not conform to that of these kids any more than my reality conforms to that of say a movie star or an NBA player. Yet all are true realities kind of like DC alternate universes occupying the same space and time (unlike 2 mcs) . Which is why these kids can go around shooting and retaliating and acting a fool. Its not normal in my reality thank God but that's their reality and its the norm for them. The problems of their reality have been around for a long time its just that now realities are colliding, worlds are about to implode and people in my world are noticing and are now quite obviously worried. Sad but true.

Totin techs for reps, smokin blunts in the project
hallways, shootin dice all day

If these kids in the video are any indication of the majority of kids in these neighborhoods I'm predicting we're going to be seeing that Paris type ish happen here soon. Why? These kids really don't have any hopes. Their dreams of getting out of the hood revolve around drugs, basketball and hip hop. Every other dude in the dvd was trying to freestyle. Its like Biggie said 'either ya slanging crack rock or ya got a wicked jumpshot'.

While some of them might be fronting like they are hard I truly believe that a lot of these kids really are a wild ass, ready to die, nothing to lose bunch. Life aint worth a dime. Its really scary because when someone has nothing to lose they are the most dangerous of beasts and one must expect the unexpected.

Limited education, limited social and community services to keep idle hands busy, lack of positive role models, over crowded stigmatized environment, lack of legitimate employment avenues or a drive to pursue them, a quest to get rich or die trying by any means necessary and easy access to high caliber weapons have led to this reality. Its a second class have-not reality. Its inhabitants match those in mine in that we are all trying to make a living, and get some money but where we diverge is that they go about these tasks by illegal means simply because some don't have the skills to acquire what they want by legal means.

I believe the children are the future

Now before I finish I just need to say that my goal here isn't to paint entire areas with one brush. There are good and bad folks in all areas, all worlds, all realities and there are probably a good number of positive black youth out there in these areas trying to do their daily grind and go about making their mark legally. The problem is that we have an abundance of youth with no hope, with access to guns and with no compunction about using them. It will only get worse before it gets better. Things done changed.

Winter's Here

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWe had our first snowfall on Friday so that was a sure sign that its time to break out the long johns, the toque, the boots and the winter clothing. You've heard of tupac well from November to April Jdid changes his name to twopants cause I aint leaving home without some sort of long johns or something to keep my legs warm.

Oh well at least Friday's snow wasn't the type that stuck to the ground like this picture shows but I know its only a matter of time.

Today I'm tired. Worked yesterday and then raked 11 bags full of leaves from out front. Yea I know I complained about raking last week but this week was ridiculous. My back hurts and I'm starting the week even more tired than I finished the last one.

Got some stuff to blog about but its late so I'm keeping this post simple and wishing everyone a great week ahead. More snow predicted this week in the t-dot but a so it go. Have fun.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Music - Prodigal Prodigy

I from where **** pull your card, and argue all day about
Who's the best MC's, Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas

Where I'm from - Jay Z

So another musical Friday. Today I'm going to talk about the who's the best debate minus Biggie. That's right y'all Nas vs Jay Z. And before I start I got to say that this blog was inspired by a post I read over at MizJJ a few weeks back when Nas and Jay had just reconciled their differences.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSo lets all sit back and think about the Jay Z vs Nas thing. Not that I'm trying to start a new beef after the old one has been settled but sometimes it definitely seems like its not clear which cat is the best; the Brooklyn born Jay Z or the Queens raised Nas. I was supposed to do a bit of research on this but time hasn't permitted it so I'm going to just drop it freestyle off the dome today. Oh and this post isn't meant to be definitive or to solve the issue its just some thoughts on the issue.

I'm letting it be known from jump that I'm biased in this debate because I've been a Nas fan from the start. From his cameo Live at the Barbeque followed by his stint "waving automatic guns at nuns" with Mc Serch I thought Nas was an mc who lived up to the hype on his debut. Not many mcs can say this.

Illmatic was a classic, not only that but anytime you're talking top 10 hip hop albums ever Illmatic has got to be in that list along with BDP's Criminal Minded and PE's It takes a Nation of Million to hold us back. The other cats can fight for the other 7 spots and note I'm not rating these albums in any order or as being the top 3 I'm just saying no way you find 10 other other albums to knock them completely completely out the top 10.

To cut to the chase Nas is and has always been undeniably talented but compared to Jay Z, Nas has never been as focused. The clear inheritor of Rakim's throne, one of the big problems with Nas was that he started on the top. Illmatic was an undeniable classic! This 'likkle' baby faced yout just dropped a bonified classic straight out the box. New York state of Mind, One Love, The World is yours, Life's a .... since "that buck that bought a bottle could have struck the lotto" while he was 'drinking moets with medusa' on Halftime. The brother just took it to the top from the word GO. And of course anything he has done since has had to suffer to live up to that comparison.

Its like a kid whose big brother is a high school superstar be it in an academic or athletic arena. When that kid comes along and starts performing in the same field that big bro got acclaim in he's always compared. Look at Marcus Vick , Mike Vick's younger brother. Well so it is with It was written and all the other albums that Nas has dropped after the big brother Illmatic. They have all been solid maybe even great albums for the most part except that Nastradamus debacle but compared to Illmatic they have all paled.

Somewhere along his career it seems clear that Nas lost focus but as a young man growing up with the acclaim and the rewards that he started to garner that was bound to happen. He went from Nasty to Nas to Esco and just seemed to be trying to unsuccessfully grab the flavor of the day in order to make it big. It didn't work.

Still he seems to have rebounded quite well and his last few albums have been solid efforts. Mind you I think Street Disciple was sort of a failure not because of its lyrical content but because it was a double album. I guess that something the big three of Biggie, Nas and Jay Z have in common none of them have been able to successfully pull off a double album. Don't give me any chat about Life after Death because that could have easily been a lot better if they had made it a single lp. I guess in hip hop bigger isn't always better.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOnto that man Jay Z though. I think Jay's claim is that he stayed focused throughout his career. He started out at an older age than Nas did so maybe that helped but with Jay Z I think we saw him get better and better no lapsing as he went from album to album.

Again in all honesty though there are quite a few Jay Z albums I do not like that much. I almost gave up on the brother after In my Lifetime Vol I. Volume II was something that I threw in my cart as I bought the Aquemeni album just because since I said to myself the brother makes good singles but never carries an entire album (plus at that time I was rocking the Black Star lp 24-7 so Jay and Outkast took a back seat).

Sorry I didn't think that much of Reasonable Doubt to be honest. I know its considered a classic now but it just didn't move me considering the era in which it dropped. As much as he had a few good singles I just didn't like the way the albums Reasonable Doubt and Vol I were put together. Yea Where I'm from, Who you wid, and Dead Presidents were all dope singles from the first two lps but still, I'm looking at overall product and to me I just wasn't feeling Jay.

Volume II changed that for me but I've still had an on off relationship with the Jigga man.

Izzo has never been the great to me that he has been to many. Probably because I pride lyrical skills above all. Dude had skills but still I got the impression that he was toying with the fans giving us just enough to walk that line where he could appeal to all audiences at once. That's the talent of Jay Z, he was able to reach the masses and still get some critical acclaim. I guess that's why 'he's business, man, not a businessman' as he knew how to work the crowd but as a lover of just pure lyrical skills I felt a bit betrayed by Jay. Like he was holding back cause he thought his work would suffer if he didn't dumb it down. Which actually may be a smart move business wise but artistically annoys me.

I didn't care much for Volume III, I loved Dynasty, I disliked the Blueprints 1 and 2 but the Black album was my joint. His lyrics here were top notch and he really made me feel the emotion of that album. Jay worked the game quite successfully for his entire career which is something he has up on Nas plus this retirement business going out on the top of his game was a great move. (Now will he come back or not I have no idea)

As another thought on the Jay thing I think Jay also had the benefit of timing. As I said previously maybe that's why I wasn't feeling Reasonable Doubt back in the day. It was good but the product back then was so good it wasn't stand out. But as time went on the rap product's quality decreased in general while Jay got better. Hip hop needed a savior in the wake of a lackluster Nas and a dead Tupac and Biggie. Question to ponder. Would Jay have made it this big were Tupac and Biggie alive? If you say yes take into consideration the ego and big personalities of pac and big and get back to me.

So in conclusion (since I've gone on and on and on) I think Nas is the better lyricist. Is he the better mc? Jay Z definitely moved a bigger crowd and since m.c could stand for mic controller or move the crowd who gets the pick? As Guru said 'the question remains'. Remember I said I wasn't trying to solve that riddle.

I think Nas was the prodigy, the kid with all the talent in the world but did he live up to his potential? No. (Oh don't get me started on potential I despise that word.) Considering his debut lp he really hasn't given the world what we expected of him although his career has been better than the average mc. He lost his way like a prodigal son, making him a prodigal prodigy perhaps (Check the ill alliteration son! What!) but he came back and his career isn't over so lets see where this rap thing takes him. Jay on the other hand was the smarter dude, the hustler, the businessman more than a journeyman in terms of skills but yet not seemingly the natural that Nas was so he put in work. Overtime even to get his status up there. Now he's President of Def Jam and 'got the flyest girl in the game wearing his chain'. What more can I say!! Both of them are successes in their own right. Both of them are top notch mcs. Nas brought the poetical lyrics, Jay Z moved the masses though yet somehow didn't completely pander. Quite the skill.

So you choose Jay or Nas? I like them both and I've got to think this though a bit more.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Confessions Part ?

I actually don't know how to put this in writing or if I should be exposing this on the net so bear with me while I ramble.

Well my wife's been gone for a few weeks now. Off on business and vacation and I've been left here all by my lonely. Toronto's an awfully big city when you are all alone. Cold and somewhat frightening.

Well you know how it goes when a guy's girl aint around and he's all on his own with time on his hands and nothing to do. Temptation is always around the corner. Yep good ol temptation its always there just lurking, waiting to strike, or more like just biding the time to find an opening to slide right in and take a spot when your vulnerability's down. Especially when you are a guy.

Well with the wife away temptation caught up to me this week. Sigh! So many women so little time.

I really cant explain it but take my word for it, it just kind of happened. What can I say? It wasn't like I planned for it to happen or anything, it just plain did. Temptation got the best of me.

Yea ok I didn't put up much of a fight to the idea so I'll take the blame. Not that I was trying to shift the blame its just that I'm trying to say what I have to say without making things too difficult.

And sadly this is not the first time that I've given in to temptation. Yea what can I say almost everytime my wife goes away and those temptations come around I give in. Yea I'm weak I guess but cant I be forgiven I'm only human. I'm only a man. I just cant say no to those beautiful women. All they have to do is open their mouths and speak the simplest words to me and I'm caught up. It is my one weakness and I've known this for a long time.

Especially M. What a woman! I've known M since before I met my wife. We had a thing going on, well more than a thing that makes it seem frivolous and casual. Words cant even describe it. I'm telling you it was something deep. It was real love. Even during my courtship phase with my wife, M was always there in the background of my life waiting till my wife wasn't around to just show up. She soothed me on so many occasions, she brought me joy, when I was stressed or tired. Somehow I just couldn't let go of her during this courtship, she became an addiction. Even if I was hanging out with my soon to be wife at night whenever she left I'd have to somehow find M just to hear her sweet voice before I went to bed.

My wife sort of knew about M but she didn't realize that anything was going on or if she did she assumed it was just a passing phase and it would soon be gone. M never drew attention to herself so we were able to continue our relationship without anyone knowing. I kept it on the hush (I would use the word downlow but that got all sorts of different connotations nowadays and I man doan play that). Sure M and my wife met and actually got along quite well. But while M knew all about my wife, my wife was oblivious to my relationship with M besides the fact that she was an acquaintance. She didn't realize that she was in fact sharing me with M.

Oh boy things could get complicated.

When we married that was it for me and M. I saw her occasionally but it just wasn't the same as my wife wasn't too fond of that. Even though she didn't know the extent of my relationship with M she put her foot down and said no more M. You don't need anyone else but me. But the truth be told, I really missed M and any chance I had and my wife wasn't around for a couple of days I'd fall back into the same old habits and M would somehow end up with me back in the bedroom.

Yea I know our bedroom oh man that just makes things worse doesn't it. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that but it was so good what M did for me on those nights when I would otherwise be lonely. She was a voice to listen to and a shoulder to cry on. I honestly loved M. Over and over I'd fall asleep comforted by her presence.

And no I didn't see M when the wife was around if that makes it any better although I'm sure it doesn't. Somehow I was always able to resist her charms when the wife was around. Strange isn't it? Does that make things better or worse I'm not sure or does it even matter.

Well as the years went by things changed. I still see M occasionally but as I said things change. I've gotten over her and I'm just not feeling her as much as I was 7 or 8 years ago when my appetite for her was insatiable.

But that doesn't mean I'm not giving into temptation any more. Nope on the contrary I'm messing with not one but two new girls now. Younger chicks too. Lets call them K and T. I've only met them recently and I cant profess to love them the same way I loved M but when the wife is away they get the job done ...if ya know what I mean wink wink! I've been alternating between the two. I don't feel like I have anything emotionally invested in either and I'm not sure I can keep up with these young girls cause most times in two twos I duz be sleeping. They now warming up and I man duz be getting ready to catch a serious snooze. Then again I not as young as I used ta be and I cant be expected to keep up with these young yams but what can I say a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Ok that was the wrong thing to say. It makes me seem like a punk. I'm a little ashamed though which I guess is why I'm confessing. Don't get me wrong I'm not apologizing just confessing. I'm not sorry for anything that I did or that I'm doing? Why should I? I don't think I've done anything wrong! Things happen I told you. When the cat's away the mice will play isn't that what they say and like I said earlier Toronto can be a pretty cold and lonely place by oneself.

What!! Don't you dare judge me until you've walked in my shoes.

Sigh but like I said temptation just got the best of me. Its an addiction I just cant help myself. Oh well could be worse, I could be messing with a white girl. Sorry!

Oh yea and shhh dont tell my wife.

Ok now did you guys figure out I was actually talking the fact that when the wife is away I listen to music at night in bed or y'all thought I was talking about something else? Wait wunnah think if it was something else I would confess juss so on the internet? I know I aint got no common sense but I aint mad? M = Mary J Blige and T and K are Toya Alexis and Keisha Cole whose respective albums I've been listening to lately. Don't ask me to name any of their songs though cause by track two I'm out like a light. Did y'all catch the Real Love, My life and Bring me Joy hints I dropped in there? Oh wait, I feel all y'all did think I was talking about something else ya know :-). Shame on you for besmirching my good reputation. lol

Could have done this blog a bit better with some xtra time though but oh well, I'm tired, its past my bedtime and it doesn't have to be perfect. Anyway I gone to listen to some more music and go to sleep. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Image hosted by Photobucket.com4 hrs of raking and I've only done the backyard. I am so tired and my back is aching. This North American thing naa mek it ya know.

First its the waste-of-time grass that keeps you going all summer and then its the useless, non-fruit bearing, trees shedding leaves that kills your back in the fall. I've about had it up to here with mother nature in this country! I'm serious. I'm close to the edge. I'm about to go Texas chain saw massacre on my backyard any day soon.

Damn useless trees! I mean doggone it all if I'm going to have to rake leaves till the cows come home at least give me a golden apple, a mango even a few ackees (guineeps) or something for all my hard work.

Instead I got trees that just produce leaves. What good is that to me? Man cannot live by leaves alone. It aint even to say it is leaves that I could use to boil pieca bush tea like Cerasee or Wonde-wirl or something so and its not like the tree got a bark that I can boil up and drink like mauby. Chupse!

Wonderful just wonderful! But see wunnah, wunnah trees an grass that laughing at me and got me working so hard when my weekend come, wunnah wait deyso cause wunnah aint know that there is a bag of cement just calling my name. A bag of cement just begging me to mix it like my name was DJ X. So alright go ahead and feel wunnah got big man ta mek joke off of. As Rupee say 'enjoy yaself in the mas cause ya neva know it might be ya last' and as the old people say 'Day duz run till night ketch it!'

I'm going to bed now and hopefully I wont be in too much pain in the morning.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Music Fridays

My humps my humps my lovely lady lumps?
Black Eye Peas latest single My humps

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWell as a West Indian I am a born pea-ologist. I know about all sorts of peas; peas and rice, rice and peas, stew peas, split peas, pigeon peas, green peas, dry peas and of course the black eyed peas.

So today's musical blog I'm going to tackle the Black Eyed Peas, the group, not the ones that go well in a plate of rice with some stew chicken or with pieca pig tail on the side. lol

Now I remember back in 98 when this group first started making waves. I personally wasn't feeling them that much as I saw them as trying to be a poor man's version of the Legendary Roots crew doing the live instrument thing. One of my sistren, who dislikes hip hop with a passion, actually thought they were kind of cool though so it made me sit up and take notice as to who these guys were because with the praise coming from her either they weren't rap at all or they were really really good.

Well turns out they were neither in my opinion, they just fell somewhere in between. It was a three man squad lead by producer rapper Will.I.Am and featuring and Taboo (And don't ask me which one is Taboo and which one is Apl cause I really don't think anyone cares). They dropped their first album Behind the Front featuring lots of live instruments which was/is kind of uncommon for hip hop. Interesting I thought! The single Joints and Jams was kind of catchy as was Karma.

Ok well maybe they can improve the rapping and be somebody I thought. They got potential. Enter Bridging the gap their second album. A slight improvement or a slight lapse depending on how you look at it. To be honest again, I must have listened to that joint like twice maybe before it got shelved. I think it was better produced than their debut but it definitely didn't move me.

apparently it didn't move many other folk either because brothers probably didn't even go wood with the record sales.

Suddenly its 2003! Guess who's bizack? Black Eyed Peas in the hisoouse! Wait a second that looks like them but.... there is a girl in the group singing? What! Fergie?? Isn't that that chick that does the weight watchers ads that was married to British royalty? No another Fergie! Oh! What? Huh!

Still, Hey Mama with the latin tinged flavor is kicking like a Shaw Brothers film. Lets get retarded morphes into lets get it started and is playing in NBA adds and dudes are rapping not only with Janet's strip accomplice Justin but are on the Superbowl half time show. Say word!

Oh man they stepped it up a notch. They brought their A game, they left their nines at home and brought their skillz to the battle. Their rapping must have improved!

Emphatic NO!

Actually they have gotten worse.

I could appreciate the first two albums. It was uncompromised hip hop. Not the greatest mind you but they were sticking to their vision, doing their own thing. But I guess reality, bills and baby mommas must have stepped in because in order to stick around the game homeboys sold out like seasons tickets to the Toronto Maple Leafs! Ok well maybe sellout is a harsh word to use but lets say that there has been a conspicuous dumbing down of their music. Can anyone recite a Black Eyed Peas lyric from the last two albums that's not part of a chorus? Lets see "Lets get it started in here" no, umm "hey momma its that beat to make you move momma get on the floor and" and definitely not "my humps my humps my lovely lady lumps" sung as Fergie suggestively feels herself up in the video.

Sigh! Actually I could deal with Get it started, the hey mama and even don't Phunk with my Heart a rip off of Lisa Lisa's I wonder if I take you home that they did for the first single for this years Monkey Business album but My humps? Are you kidding me! Come on if you want to sing about your feminine lady parts could you not do it in a better way or at least a somewhat more adult way which is not to say swear or use vulgarity but humps and lady lumps just sounds like nursery rhyme talk. That's what passes for a song these days? Come on now. Those lyrics are making me long for the intellectually deep days of yore when the Spice girls ruled the airwaves. Maybe I'll have to dissect the metaphysical meaning of the Pussy Cat dolls 'don't Cha'. sigh!

And no I'm not blaming Fergie for ruining the group. She's eye candy who can sing a bit and who was apparently added to the roster by the record company and chosen over another candidate based on looks. Hey don't hate her cause she was born pretty.

My issue is dumbing down your music to sell. Yea I know everyone has a price and everyone does it and maybe one day (soon dammit soon, I'm waiting for the call now, if I'm not home leave a message) someone will offer me something to sell out for. But if you needed to dumb things down couldn't you have scaled it down a tad and not all the way down like you have now? Or better yet not dumb it down at all. Yea I know that's naive thinking on my part. Yet can I not hope for someone out there with some artistic integrity? And while I'm at it can I not also require my entertainment to be more than just catchy hooks. Lyrics somebody want lyrics? Yes me I want lyrics. I want to be moved by music, I want to say whoa that's deep son, that made me think, that spoke to me. But I'm not going to get that from My humps my humps. Sigh oh well one can hope!

The faith in me shall set me free (reflections)

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSpeaking of which. I know the Mad bull and B.Art had a few pieces a while back on the man Jah Cure but I must say that his song True Reflections is one big bomb tune. I still think he's guilty and needs to just do his jail time like a man. I cant give you special treatment or believe you more than joe average because you are a celebrity but still not only is Reflections a great tune but the bredren has a very haunting voice that tugs away deep in you. Serious ting!

Anyway until next weeks Musical Friday, I'm out. Have a great weekend guys.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

one of those days

Quick Tirade. TTC(subways) had a minor delay this morning on my way in. JUst wonderful. That means I got to b pushed and buffeted by all of those I am so late for work folk on the platform at St George Station.

Actually I usually just take one train to work but recently I'm working at another office which is in the core so I've got to transfer at St George and go to the heart of downtown. And being the observant fellow that I am do you know what I've realized. The business suited folk on the south bound train are the most obnoxious, unmannerly pushy, annoying as all hell people on the subway system. Joe Average on the Bloor line is a hell of a lot more better behaved.

This morning there was this short dude who was pushing and pushing his whole body into me. I was tempted to drop som bows on his ass. Dammit the train just arrived and folks need to get off first. pushing me into a crowded train where folks are trying to come out doesnt help.

So great start to the morning and now I'm here my computer isnt working. Son of a !

Have a great day folk. I miss you guys.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Common and Ordinary People

So in my last post I kinda hinted (I think) that I have a couple of half finished blogs. Well if that wasn't clear yea I have like a million half finished blogs that haven't seen the light of day. Some that I thought had great potential others that sucked, some which just I decided need to be put in another forum or format other than a blog. A so it go.

Anyway at some point I plan on doing a Chappell thing and just airing a few of the ones that didn't get posted so maybe I'll start today.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSaturday night I had the pleasure of checking out Autumn Leaves on Steel which was a steelpan soloist show held here in the T dot. All of the performers were truly amazing but the best was the special guest performer Ken 'Professor' Philmore. Yo the bredren was wicked on the tenor pan! He played hits like Michael Jackson's Rock with you, Earth Wind and Fire's Fantasy and recent soca hits like Soul on Fire and First experience by KMC. Trust me, the man really gave an outstanding performance making that tenor pan really talk.

Another song he performed was Ordinary People by John Legend which led in my mind directly to a tie in to this previously unreleased blog (from June sometime).

Ok Now Jdid focus man, focus.

Now in the same frame of mind that I gave you all Two words I bring to you Common and Ordinary People. Same frame of mind? What's he talking about? I teaching wunnah some more bajan (Barbadian) slang. LOL. Why? Simply just felt like it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNow I don't know if all of you folk are music buffs like me but if you are you may have noticed that two of the hotter names out there in the r'nb and hip hop world are the singer John Legend and the rapper Common.

Both appeared on the cover of last month's (that being May or June not sure) Vibe Magazine, along with rapper/producer Kanye West who produced most of both men's albums: Common's Be and John Legend's Get Lifted.

Oh as an aside Bajan calypsonian Rupee is also featured in that issue of Vibe talking about roast' breadfruit and flying fish a true bajan dish as opposed to this whole issue with Rhianna and her Calalloo (I tell wunnah already Bajans don't deal wid no callaloo). (Aside: See told y'all I had mentioned Rhianna in a blog before.) Still bajan folk making big moves it seem so not to be left out I thought I'd help the cause by introducing some more bajan slang. Yes the whole world soon will be speaking bajan when I take over the Universe (breaks into evil villain laugh, then starts choking and coughing.)

Ah em! Onto business.

John Legend has a popular song called Ordinary people which is about drama in the lives of the average man/woman I think. To tell you the truth I've never really listened to the words just the part of the chorus that says something about taking it slow.

Then a few weeks back (um June I think) when Common's album dropped and we were all discussing whether it was actually a classic or not I thought about his name Common and also for some reason linked it to John Legend's song ordinary people. Why? Well because these words Common and Ordinary have an alternative (from the mainstream) but similar definition in the local bajan vocabulary and I was thinking if either Common or John Legend were bajan Common wouldn't have that name and John Legend wouldn't have a song called Ordinary People. So let me school y'all on these words bajan style.

Now Common in the bajan venacular is used to represent someone acting vulgar or someone without class. (Actually I lied this definition is also in the regular English dictionary its just not widely used) I'm guessing its that strong bajan British link acting up again because we all know about Brits and their class issues and 'commoners' and their House of 'Commons' those not of noble birth I believe.

Anyhow let me give you an example of the word in use in bajan ' Wait! Dat is miss Browne daughter cross deyso? Wuhloss wha yesterday she was out hayso cussing and behaving suh common dat I had ta say ta myself she mek she mudda roll ova in she grave.'

Common in this sense being used to denote behavior not at all becoming of a proper young lady.

Common is also used alot with the word class; as in common class behavior, again not what one with any sort of proper upbringing or 'brouhtupsy' would indulge in. Or as some would say carrying on 'like a bank holiday beer'. Right bajan sistren?

Ordinary also bears the same treatment in Bajan. Ordinary can be used to describe again something not fitting in with a certain class, standing or bearing. Causing a scene by acting in a belligerent way to draw attention via your language or your actions can be denoted as behaving ordinary opposed to acting extraordinary hmmm. Again seems to be an issue involving class structure (inherited from the Brits) as various forms of indecent actions can be described as ordinary behavior. Actions which would be deemed as shameful are seen as ordinary.

So that was a big long winded way to say that all in all common and ordinary mean about the same thing in the bajan venacular. So lets me give you an example of both words in use "I doan understand why dat common class fella cross deyso behaving so ordinary doah." See how both words fit hand in glove.

Ok so here is where I lost focus and the blog fell apart and I wont try to patch it up, I've gone on long enough so I'll just stop here and you can meditate on Common and Ordinary to go along with the other bajan words I've thought you; Ruff Dry, Obzocky and Backtofront. lol.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Music Fridays

No Time. I want to post but just don't have the time or energy at the moment. Had another Music Fridays post all in my head too but alas its not to be.

So quick quick thing before I jet. I started before work and its not Saturday yet so its still music Fridays lol.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAfter abandoning their format of having two Strictly the Best volumes, one with more of the faster dancehall vibes and the other with more of the slower culture stuff, last year it looks like VP records is going to return with two volumes, volumes 33 and 34, this year.

I'm glad cause last years really sucked. It just wasn't a well put together cd considering how solid the Strictly the Best series used to be.

Oh and one of the wickedest things about the Strictly the Best series is the album covers. Every year it features a dancehall scene and they are always pretty nice.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOn another note has anyone noticed that the T dot rnb scene is blazing these days? Well at least in terms of cd releases. Underground legends like Jully Black, Melanie Durant and Divine Brown have dropped albums all within the last few months as have Andrea Lewis and Toya Alexis. Y'all remember Toya Alexis right. Sistren from Ajax who did two reality shows (first the one that produced Sugar Jones and then Canadian Idol) and didn't go anywhere. Yo she was straight up robbed on Canadian idol first season but then the kids who were voting were voting for the pretty boys while is why that hack Ryan Malcolm won that year. Needless to say I haven't watched the show since.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAnyway can T dot and Canada support that many rnb divas? Their albums are selling mighty cheap even in HMV. Can they even go aluminum? How about copper? Don't get me wrong all the sisters are talented. I've only heard the Divine Brown and Jully Black (my favorite) albums and they are on par with the US output but like everything in the music business it usually comes down to promotion. Are these singers being promoted? I mean I didn't even know Toya Alexis had an album until I went into a record store the other day and just sort of saw it on the shelves.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comTalent is one thing, marketing is another. I'm happy that these ladies have all been able to drop some product on the market and I wish them well but I would really hate to see their efforts flop because of poor marketing. Next thing you know their careers would be over and through no fault of theirs.

I mean T dot's hip hop artists have done their thing for a while now. Back in the day we had Maestro and Michie now its Kardi and K-os and to some extent big Sauk, Choclair, Brassmunk and quite a few others. Its booming actually.Image hosted by Photobucket.comEverytime I'm on Yonge or Bloor street some kid doing the hip hop entrepreneurial bit comes up to me trying to get me to check out his music. Maybe these ladies need to do their own bit of hip hop promotions for their rnb releases.

Anyway big up to the T dot rnb ladies and I hope y'all have some success with your albums. Like I said I've only heard the Jully Black and the Divine Brown so far and I like what I've heard. Actually Jully reminds me of Mary before she got happy. You know that grimy street singing feel.

Divine Brown has a rich soulful voice and her "Old Skool love" track sounds like a throwback to the 60s. Anyone remember R Kelly's Turn back the Hands of Time which you would swear was recorded in like 1965 well that's the same type of vibe Divine has on Old Skool Love. Didn't realize there was a video until I peeped the site.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comToya can just flat out sing. I haven't heard any of this stuff but I know home girl has some serious pipes. Melanie Durrant (I think she's west indian, probably Trini) has sort of an artsy vibe from going on that one single she did way back with Mr Com to the Sense and Andrea Lewis' first single just sounds like fun. By the way I swear I have met her somewhere and I'm not just saying that because I remember her from tv cause I've never watched Degrassie ever. Oh wait a minute she's only 19. Ok too young for who I'm thinking of but I swear I've met like her older twin or something back in the day.

Oh and finally catching up with some comments from last week it wasn't my intention to just throw in the bit about Rhianna or to not mention her for so long. Problem was I've got a half finished blog somewhere from a few months back where I mentioned her and it just never got posted. Yea it was another one of those attempts to teach y'all some bajan like the Two Words post but I just wasn't feeling it. I may have to do a week of half finished blogs. Hey Chappell did it in Season two why not.

11:50 and I'm home free. Cut it close but made it.

Till next music Friday.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

NBA its fantastic

Image hosted by Photobucket.comUnless you are a Toronto Raptors fan.

Lets face it. The C-raptors have been one of the worse NBA teams in recent memory, we would be well on our way to becoming the Clippers of the East if Atlanta wasn't so bad (sorry had to find a silver lining somewhere). Maple Leaf sports isnt trying to win anything but then again they do the same thing with the Maple Leafs hockey squad and have probably sold out every game since 1970 so why change the way they operate?

I guess that's what you get when your sports group is financed by a Teachers Pension fund. Hey I cant blame them, I wouldn'’t want to risk my investment on these bums too much either.

Actually if you think of it on another level aside from the Toronto Argos in the CFL, who one can watch for an entire season for the price of one nose-bleed tickets to a Leafs game, there are no actual competitive sports teams in Toronto. Toronto may be the worst sports city in North America.

Aside from the Leafs and the Raptors the Jay pretty much suck too. Rogers bought the Blue Jays and has played cheap ball umm I mean money ball for years now quite satisfied to competitive for third sport in the AL East and the Raptors and Leafs have not really challenged for championships in recent memory.

Indeed, when Joe Carter, Robbie Alomar. Paul Molitor, Dave Stewart, Dave Winfield and the rest of the World Series champs of 92 and 93 left Toronto that signaled the end of Toronto seriously competing for accolades and championships.

Well at least with Hockey one can afford to be mediocre in Canada as the core audience would probably pay to watch hockey even if three Billy goats, a Chihuahua and an ostrich lace up the skates in Maple Leaf colors. Such is the fanaticism of that sport in Toronto. With Basketball however that naa gone mek it! The Raptors have lost their competitiveness of late and it's showing in their ratings and their attendance. I for one have not been to a game in the past two seasons after having been to at least one in all the other previous seasons. I just cant handle the aura around the team right now, that's my excuse. The Raptors while not whipping boys have not really competed. They have been nowhere near the top of the league in any category of late except in the number of players named Williams (Alvin, Eric, Aaron at the current moment).

Our former GM was fired quite rightly after failing to put a competitive team together but our new GM came in and traded our star player Vince Carter for what amounts to a bag of magic beans. Well hopefully we will find some Golden eggs at the top of the beanstalk but in the meantime what do we do?

Oh don't get me wrong, the Vince trade was the way to go, we needed to be rid of his punk ass in order to rebuild. Vince is a great athlete but clearly wasn't playing to the top of his ability when he was here. Maybe he was Jdid or maybe he just stopped trying but he was adding to the aura of mediocrity and he had to go. The issue isn'’t his leaving its what we got in return. Couldn't we have gotten more for him than two Williams, draft picks and Alonzo Mourning who we knew would never play here but still ended up cutting and yet paying so that he could pursue his dreams of a championship next to Shaq in Miami?

Misteps like these, the Arajoa draft pick last year, and possibly the questionable picks this year and the ability to trade away some of our baggage for players we need (like a real Centre) have led one to wonder when we will or rather if we will ever get our act together.

I still hold out hope that the Villenueva and Graham picks can become solid contributors if not stars on the team and wont judge the GM too harshly for making those picks yet but looking down the lineup I get the feeling that we are no better than we were last year while every other team in the east has actually improved. New York picked up a true centre in Eddy Curry, Shaq has J Will and Toine, and the list goes on but aside from our new rookies we made no other moves. What gives?

All that to say that as much as I love basketball this is going to be a long season as a Raptors fan. I'’m not giving up though, I love this game too much. I may actually even go to a game just to see the rookies play plus if the Raptors suck I'‚ve still got Detroit to cheer for.