The gangsta, the killa and me

So I’m at work the other night and as usual one of my least favorite customers showed up for his nightly workout.  He is one of the handful of people who I see and automatically think ‘insta-punch’!  He is one of those kind of people.

This also for some reason made me think of the old rap group Westside Connection.  I haven’t heard from those guys in forever.  Damn shame they stopped making music.  They were bad ass.  Well anything with Ice Cube is gonna be pretty freaking ridiculous.  And it was through this group pairing that I started paying attention to Mack 10.  WC not so much.  I don’t know why.  This may need to be rectified soon.

So in seeing this particular person, I thought about WSC, particularly the song “Potential Victims”.  You have no idea how much I’d love to say screw my job at some points.  Then jump over the counter and beat the everloving crap out of some people.  But I really like my job and I respect myself enough to not get myself arrested.  I can’t make bail anyway.

The first time I heard them was that song “Bow Down”.  I was a senior in high school by then.  And in California no less.  You could not walk down the street and not hear this song blasting out of someones car window eventually.  I, being a person who loves funky bass lines and beats, totally dug this one.  I listen to it now and wish I had let it inspire me to be great.  And by great I mean an asshole.  I didn’t have it in me back then and that was when I needed it the most.

When “Gangstas Make The World Go Round” came out I always got excited.  I looked forward to hearing that song.  It was like the greatest song ever.  Considering I didn’t know any real gangstas, never saw one up close, didn’t go where they were known to be, I really wonder why that is.  Again, it has to be because of the music because I had no idea what they were talking about.

Is it insane that it took me getting extremely annoyed to think of these guys?  These guys were hardcore and all, but they were also very organized and put a lot of thought into their albums.  They’re songs weren’t totally about mindless anger and violence.  They were more into being masters of their domain.  So taking that into consideration I need to be more in control of myself and not think about tearing the flesh off of some persons face when they make me mad.  And if I can’t, I need to start figuring out some angrier music.

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Thanksgiving mix

Well here we are on Thanksgiving 2011!  Can you believe it’s almost 2012?  Time sure flies when you’re living.  Know something that always bothers me about this particular holiday?  It’s not the food.  Heck, that’s my favorite part!  It’s not getting to hang out with relatives both awesome and annoying.  My family is huge and both of the aforementioned, but they’re mine and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  It’s not the sitting with this same family and taking time to reflect on life, each other and our history and giving thanks for all of it.

No.  The thing that bugs me to no end about Thanksgiving is that even before the turkey legs, dressing and gravy hit the table, everyone, everywhere has already broken out the Christmas music!  I was sitting in Starbucks a week ago for my weekly write in and as I walk in to order my chai tea latte, I hear a really bad rendition of “Walking In A Winter Wonderland”.

The clerk at the counter thought that I was pissed off about something.  I’m assuming my face had this disgusted WTF look to it.  I got my latte, got a seat in surprisingly my favorite leather chair and thought to myself, ‘why?’  Why does this happen every year?  It’s like…it’s like, ‘It’s Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas!’

Where is the Thanksgiving music?  Are there no songs out there about giving thanks, reflections or chowing down on turkey legs anywhere?  Well damn it, I DO have a Thanksgiving themed mix that I have for myself that make me think of what I think T-Day is all about.  Here is some of it.

William DeVaughn – Be Thankful For What You Got
Sister Sledge – We Are Family
Martina McBride – Blessed
Prince – 1999
India Arie – A Beautiful Day
Floetry – Blessed 2 Have
Kool and the Gang – Celebration
MC Hammer – Gaining Momentum (this song makes me think of mom)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sade

For reasons that I can’t explain and really don’t want to dwell on I used to not like Sade.  I remember my parents played their music all the time when I was a kid and I’d turn up my nose.  My dad told me I was crazy.  Which was true and still is.  But this wasn’t a manifestation of crazy.  This was sheer stupidity.  I was a stupid, stupid child.

I have of course since done a complete backpedal of my stance on their music.  In fact I think it was in later teens that I started really listening to them and appreciating the sheer raw talent Sade Adu has.  She has one of the purest sounding voices of any artist I have ever heard.  Also one of the most sensual.  I could easily develop a girl crush on her.

I didn’t realize that the name Sade though named after her is actually the name of the whole band.  I never knew that.  So I feel proud that in my research I have learned something significant.  Thinking on it, it makes sense because the music has a whole lot to do with why I like them so much.

During my time of not liking Sade, I do remember that “Smooth Operator” was the exception.  I have no idea what it is about this song that just puts me in a mood to go to a bar that plays lazy bluesy jazz and drink a glass of scotch.  I feel sophisticated listening to it.  I don’t know what it made me think of as a kid.  I just know I liked the song.

The song that made me really really sit and listen and love was “The Sweetest Taboo”.  It has a lot to do with the bassline.  Whoever is on bass guitar owned this.  It makes my heart beat a little bit faster when I hear it.  I don’t know why it captures my spirit like it does.  It just does.

The one song that I could listen to over and over again is “By Your Side”.  To me this is the most beautiful songs ever created.  As I’ve admitted on rare occasions I’m a closet romantic.  This is the kind of song that you dedicate to your ‘One’.  Hearing it makes me want to be in love and have someone to dedicate it to.  And for me, this is a big deal.

They had a concert here earlier this year.  Which put them back on my radar.  Then I started hearing that song “Soldier of Love” off her newest album.  And I really had to do some serious scrambling to find her music so I could finally add it to my collection.  How I went on without it makes me wonder how many other questionable decisions I’ve made musically and otherwise.  Any lover of jazz, blues, soul or adult contemporary music who does not have Sade in their music library is a charlatan.   Yeah I said it!

I’ve come a long way from a closed minded stupid kid.  I like where I’m going and love where I’ve been.  Sade makes me feel like the sophisticated grown up that I always wanted to be, but haven’t got there yet.  They keep making music I’ll keep buying it.  And I’m sure they’ll be making it a while.  I have this running joke with my friends that Sade Adu is a vampire due to the fact that she has apparently not aged in 30 years.  Why is she still so BEAUTIFUL?!  Well vampire or not, I hope to have more of this as I get on in years.

Mary Mary

I have to admit, I don’t really listen to Mary Mary all that much.  It isn’t that I don’t like them at all.  Every time I happen to hear them, I like what they’re doing.  It’ s just that when I think about sitting down and really listening to more of their stuff, something…I hate to say more “interesting”comes along, but there is no other way to describe it.

I remember when they first came out with “Shackles”, I was surprised they were playing gospel music on a contemporary radio station.  The song is great.  But I did not pay all that much attention to it.  At least not the first billion times they played it.  The song grew on me.  Then I outgrew it.  I still like the song, but I can die happy if I don’t hear it too often.

After that, I swear, as of this writing I don’t believe I heard from them again.  I am going backwards to see cause I very well could be wrong.  Like I said, that last song played on a contemporary station, so it very well could be one of those situations where I hear a song, love it, but have no idea who sings it or what the title is.  That happens to me quite often.  I hate that.

What made me think so heavily about them because once again thanks to radio, I heard a song off of their latest cd.  The song “Walking” is the bomb.  It’s so uplifting and happy and positive.  I can’t help but smile like an idiot and sing along whenever it comes on.  And now that I’ve acquired the cd this happens a lot.

Yesterday for the first time I heard their song “Survive”.  That song is my new personal anthem.  It describes in perfect harmony how I look at my life as it stands right now.  I’ll admit that there are those out there who are far worse off than I am.  I know this.  But I will not diminish my person struggle and hardships.  Why should I?  This song is all about looking at everything that you’ve been through, seeing how you got through it, and came out of it a better person. I hear this song and think, ‘Yes, I DID it.  I survived!’  This song fills me with happy.

And it is that song and the happy feeling it gave me that is making me go back now, through all their music they’ve put out over the years and it’s a lot more than I thought, and see what I missed.  I’m a little slow in realizing their talent and greatness and their ability to uplift people through music, but I’ve got it and I’m anticipating to be washed away in a stream of joy and happiness.

New music that isn’t really new.

It’s been an not nice couple of days.  Last week was one of the worst weeks in sporting news history, I’ve got a relative in the hospital, my periods going(TMI I know, shut up and deal) and I find that I’m losing valuable hours at work this holiday.  Suffice it to say, I’ve not been in the greatest of moods.

It’s during these times I turn to new music for solace.  What do I mean by music?  For me, new music isn’t necessary new as in what’s current.  Not totally.  New as in it’s stuff that I haven’t heard yet.  Things I’ve always wanted to listen never got around to, but will at the moment take the time to sit and listen to and expand my music repertoire.  Can’t be a music blog and leave out musical experiences.   Today I wanted to listen to some rock and metal cause sometimes they’re more musical than lyrical.

At this time I’m listening to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” because that’s one of the songs Youtube gave me when I put him in search.  And listening to it, I feel that it’s appropriate for me right now.  Cause I do feel like I’m going off the rails.  I literally hate the world right now.  And I also wanted to point out that I didn’t realize that the beginning riff and beat was from this song.  Some rapper that I can’t remember the song had it and that’s how I first heard it.  This is proof that everyone listens to everyone elses music.  Now I got to get up on my Ozzy Osbourne.  Apparently I’ve missed some great stuff.

A band that I’ve always wanted to hear, but never took the time to was Slayer.  Hanging around a friend who is in a band and plays this kind of music, made me go ahead and seek it out.  I listened to the song “Criminally Insane” because that’s just an awesome name for a song.  I LOVE the music.  Have no idea what the hell is being said, but the guitars were kicking my ass.  It’s great.  And added to the itunes cue.

And I finally got around to listening to Smashing Pumpkins.  I remember they were huge during my time in /middle/high school.  But I was too busy listening to Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” and Alanis Morrisette to pay attention.  I chose to hear the song “1979” cause that’s the year I was born and is therefore awesome.  Billy Corgan is creepy looking in this video.  But I really like his voice.  He has a unique sound.  I’m trying to draw a comparison and I can’t.  Anyway, hearing this song alone makes me want to check out more.

And just like that I feel a bit better.  Trust me, I’ve heard a lot more than just these songs here.  But I don’t got all day.  It’s good to get away from stuff you hear every day and get a new sound.  There is just so much music in the world it’s difficult to keep up with it all.  Which is great for me, it gives me something to do and more to look forward to.

Heavy D RIP

 

Heavy D!  The “Overweight Lover’s In the House”!  Sadly, not anymore.  He has left the building.  I didn’t find out he died til this morning when I checked my Facebook.  I can’t believe it.  He was the man.  He was a big guy and yet he was surprisingly light on his feet.  I don’t know how he did it, but it was spectacular to watch.

Heavy D and the Boyz.  That was back when hip hop was awesome.  His music was about having fun, dancing and hanging out.  No bitches.  No hoes.  No smoking me out.  No slugs to the chest.  None of that to be found with them.  Where have all the good times gone.

Anyone remember “We Got Our Own Thang”?  I do!  Mostly the video.  Just watching him get down was too cool.  And hearing him say ‘diddlydiddly­diddly dee’.  Watching the video brings back memories of Trouble T-Roy.  Well, now they can do more funky dance moves together again.

Girls the Girls they love me.  Well being about 12 I have no idea if this was true or not.  But I did like the song “Grylz They Love Me”.  I had no clue what any of this meant back then.  I have for some time and am pleased as punch that he could deliver the message without being vulgar or too graphic.  He was on to something with that.  Sad no one has learned from it.

Didn’t he kinda remind you of the Kool-aid Man on the “Now That We Found Love” video with that red suit?  If he would have snuck in an ‘OH YEAH’ somewhere that would have been epic.  Or MORE epic.  Didn’t realize that was Aaron Hall.

Dude, I remember him fondly when he did that song “Candy Rain” with Soul For Real!  It’s weird that I love the version with him in it better than with just them.  For me, he made that song that much more great.  He lasted a long time.  They didn’t.  That’s very telling.

The man was a tour de force.  He rapped and he acted.  Y’all remember when he did “A Different World” back in the day.  I don’t, so I’m gonna have to catch that show again.  I do remember he was on “Living Single” a few times.  I miss that show.  I didn’t know until the story on his death that he’s going to be in that movie “Tower Heist” that’s out.  I’m going to go see it now.

Heavy D.  A man who made great music that an 8 year old to an 80 year old could listen to.  He was fun, he was energetic, he was a class act.  He will be very very missed.  Rest in Peace, Heavy D.

Evanescence

 

Evanescence.  Meaning ‘the event of fading and gradually vanishing from sight’.  That’s what the dictionary says, so we’ve all learned something today.

Evanescence!  An AWESOME rock band that I’m happy that I caught on to.  I’m listening to them now.  They released their latest work last month.  I’ve only heard the latest single “What You Want”.  I can’t wait to hear the rest of it.

Fallen is one of my favorite albums.  I listen to it all the time.  I was telling a friend the other day that if I was a song written that perfectly described me it would be “Imaginary”.  That is my favorite song on the track.  The whole sentiment that my imaginary world is preferable than the real world is spot on.  I have my own music video for it that plays in my head when I hear it.  Staring ME!

That song “My Immortal” is one of the most beautifully vocalized songs I’ve ever heard.  This is the song that in a sense immortalized Amy Lee for me.  Her vocal talent caught me off guard.  It was like someone smacking me in the face to get my attention.  He voice is that arresting in this song.  However, I can’t listen to this song as much as I used to.  As weird as it sounds, I’ve burned myself out on it.  Same with “Bring Me To Life”.

‘Fear is only in our minds, taking over all the time’.  This is what is told to us when listening to “Sweet Sacrifice”.  I think my girl crush on Amy jumped about ninety nine thousand points.  At first this was merely a kick ass song.  Now that I have actively tried to change myself for the better, this is an anthem.  Showing no fear is hard sometimes, but it’s necessary to get to the things you want.

And this may sound really stupid, but I don’t care.  I liked the song “Lacrymosa” before I even heard it.  That’s because it made me think of a video game series that I like alot.  But upon hearing it, the music gave me the shivers.  The theme of letting go of a lost love or them letting go of you is something I can kind of relate to.  It all goes back to high school.  To Alabama.  Yeah! It’s past time to let that go now.

I don’t say this a lot, but I want to see this group in concert.  That has got to be one of the most profoundly intensive experiences ever.  I love these guys.  And like I said, I eagerly await purchasing their new album.  Now excuse me, my theme song is on.