Tag Archives: rap

Hearting Cardi B…again

If you a pusssy you get popped,

you a groupie you a op,

Bet you come around my way,

you can’t hang around my block.

And I just checked my accounts,

Turns out I’m rich, I’m rich, I’m rich.

I put my hand upon my hip,

I bet you dip, he dip, she dip…

So I woke up Monday morning and spirit told me I needed some music. I woke up my iphone and looked st 4:44 but then I was like, lemme listen to a woman’s voice for a change. I’ve switched to Tidal since 4:44 dropped and I’m still rebuilding my playlists there. I pulled up Solange and played “A Seat at the Table while putting on my make up and dressing for work. But when I hit the street, I played “Bodack Yellow.” And when I got on the train I played “Bodack Yellow.” And when I got off the train I played “Bodack Yellow.” And on my way to buy breakfast, I played “Bodack Yellow.”

You get the point…

Turns out my girl Khalilah, who has loved Cardi for much longer, was on that Bodack Yellow wave length that morning as well.

It was instinctual. I think it may have been the culmination of residual collective feminine energy that I got from the our weekend Soul Sistah Series “Spirit of Intimacy” event. In this case, Cardi B on “Bodack Yellow” just delivers on a gut level, a power level. It just hits on all the right places. And I know many will say it’s ghetto, ratchet, ignorant, maybe even exploitative. But I can’t help what I feel. With music, I listen with my heart or I try to. And I can’t deny it. The more I listen to Cardi B, the more I really like her, the more I really hear an authentic, fighting but sweet person inside. Even in her decisions to alter her appearance, I get authentic, no bullshit reasoning. Plus, I never knew a woman could have a deep and cute voice at the same time. LOL!! She’s so hood and tough and adorable.

Who does that?

But I’m not intimidated by her toughness. I respect her gangsta. I’m inspired by her. And as I said before, I never in a million years expected to even like her.

I’m discovering that Cardi B has more than just a couple of marbles rolling around in her head. She reminds me of girls I went to high school with that I looked down on and reduced to a stereotype because my colonized mind couldn’t imagine that their values were worth considering. She also reminds me of girls who made me laugh about silly shit in high school and whom I harmonized with in class on some fluffy pop song in a moment of candid downtime.

Ultimately, Cardi is a real woman, who pushes and punches through all the haterade to defy the forces who tell her who she should and shouldn’t be and what she does and doesn’t deserve in life. Many years ago, I was easily one of those people.

Today, I need Cardi B in my life. I need Bodack Yellows and Pop Offs to get my energy up sometimes and feel unstoppable. You see male rappers do that as well, but a woman like Cardi B. puts the Pussy glitter as gold in the mix. And then all I can do is feel dope as hell.

LOL!

Thank goodness for evolution.

 

Advertisements

The Get Down Gang

I’m not really sure how “The Get Down” turned out to be as good a show as it is. I haven’t had a chance to go through all the credits but I’m pretty sure Nas, Nelson George and Grandmaster Flash himself are among the list of producers.  I was pretty sure I would never watch it because I was not looking forward to what I felt was the dominant casting of light skinned Blacks in the leading roles in order to capture viewers. But I wanted to spend time with my husband and he invited me to join him to watch it. So of course I said yes, with reservations.

We’ve only watched the first episode, which is an epic hour and 45 minutes long and I’m already blown away, not so much by the characters initially, which take a minute to really grow on you because of creator, Baz Lurhmman’s traditional A.D.D. direction of editing. The attempt to crunch visual story telling, which mixes old 70s footage of the Bronx with set recreations of circa 70s Bronx, with what was going on in hip-hop, politics, the economy and the neighborhood, while also telling a young love story and the genesis of a rise to fame through mythical hip-hop iconography is dizzying and trippy as fuck.

Of course, I kinda like that.

Just about every frame has something critical to communicate to the viewer. It appears to be cut specifically for the purpose of nostalgia and also drawing connections from the past to the present day sense of Black musical trends and the culture and style and politics that shape it.

I don’t know yet about the episodes to come but there are very few long takes in “The Get Down” episode one. It’s all about movement, color, story telling, and emotionally hyperbolic placement in the artifice, magic, substance fueled, kinetic, beauty of Black people and culture in 1970s Bronx.

Cadillac
Cadillac something what he wants

There is a dance scene where Cadillac, one of the main character’s opponents, shows everyone just how much power he has by claiming the dance floor. Wearing an all white suit, Cadillac attempts to shift the course of budding romance between lead character Ezekial and Mylene, the girl whose affections they both seek, through the power of dance. This incredible scene made us think about how dance is primarily social, tribal, spiritual and a form of communication that conveys celebration, love, intimacy, challenge, violence, domination, attitude, posturing and more.

There are many things that blew me away in this episode, like the way that the paths between the mythical Shaolin who scales roofs and jumps from building to building risking life and limb for an album and Ezekial, the young, unrealized wordsmith (MC,) converge to form the beginning of a life changing relationship.  It speaks to the importance of having a gang or a squad a team of people to support one another and to belong to.

Also, the dialogue tends to go from verbal to lyrical to musical at any moment and I was often left wondering if I was listening correctly or hearing correctly. “The Get Down” is not only a nostalgic and visual feast for the senses. I was uniquely impressed by the heart in it, particularly in the friendship among the young men. I really look forward to seeing how this energy, along with the pace and epic scope of such an ambitious first episode can be maintained for two seasons.

If I gotta slap a pussy ass nigga, I wanna make it looks sexy too!

So much of what I learned about Kendrick in this interview with Jay Rubin were things I suspected from having listened to this work thus far and from listening to DAMN like so many times since it dropped. I don’t even know how many times I’ve listened to it.

As a fellow Gemini, I recognize several core elements of Lamar’s personality off the bat. I can tell a bit about who his musical influences are. I can tell he loves film and visual mediums. By now I’ve heard him use his voice to morph into numerous different characters and personalities which is a very Geminian trait; exploration of self through multitudinous expressions, experimentation, ease with adaptation and emphasis on the craft of storytelling.

I’m fascinated by his ability to use his many voices so purposefully, to not get lost or overwhelmed or scattered which is often one of my greatest challenges with expression. I mean, I’m sure he’s challenged by it but at the end of the day he puts something out that is cohesive, wildly original, unapologetic, alive, authentic and uncompromising. As Rubin says, you don’t have to agree with it to be able to respect it because you know it’s something he truly connects to. That alone is deeply inspiring to me.

The first song of Kendricks that caught my ear was “Hood Politics.” It was playing in a small Black owned Wine store in Harlem that I had wandered into with my friend Cece  one evening. I remember trying to make out the words in the hook so I could file it away mentally so that I could look it up again later. I feel like he did three or four distinctly different things on that track that morphed into one another in unexpected and not altogether cognitive ways. Similarly to the structure of some Bjork’s tracks, I was excitingly jarred by the disjointedness of it. I wanted to hear it again. I wanted to listen closer, take it apart, decode it, ponder his choices. It’s really rare that I feel like I hear something new, which is not to say that that I don’t hear anything I like and even love. But new?

Of course nothing is ever really new upon closer inspection. But fresh new interpretations of the old are definitely worth examining deeply because they often signal the beginning of new movements, a shifting of collective consciousness towards what it means to truly not give a fuck about oppressive establishments, governments, systems and regimes. It makes those of us seeking out definitions of freedom, perk up and take notice. Someone understands. Someone else feels similar. Someone else has made the leap of faith that comes with baring your soul at the risk of perceived failure. Though it seems impossible to me that being authentic and vulnerable could ever truly be met with failure. How can you fail when you’re being real?

Check out out Rubin’s interview with Kendrick here.