Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

A little thunderstorm bounce--this song takes me places...Don't we all have scars?

"Where the Wild Things Are"


“The birthday party,I mean, it was out of control...” my co-worker began. "I mean, the kids, they were running around like wild Indians."

As both of our eyes rested on the watercolor painting of Lakota women that serves as my desktop screensaver, she knew that she had once again stepped all over my precious little toes.

Not interested in any sort of “teachable moment”, I shot her the look, I have been serving up for years. This look took a long time to perfect. Perfectly blank, as not to allow the other person to be able to read my true emotions,while simultaneously signaling,that it would be best to stop talking to me, immediately.

She and I had had a previous run-in just a week earlier, when much to her dismay, I could not provide her with my background knowledge about what constituted “soul food” and what did not. I guess because I didn’t offer much assistance, she boldly posited that could it be,

“Like turkey-necks, right?”

American culture has been constructed around many binaries, which it uses to classify and place value on its population, the two most dominant being, male/female and black/white. People with an ambiguous racial presentation, like gay, lesbian and transgendered people, challenge the notion and truth of these binary ways of understanding the world. With our very existence people like me challenge the validity of these binaries as systems of domination.

“Mulattoes” with their presence, necessarily, undermines white supremacy and its tenet of preserving the bloodlines of white people. Similarly, traditional, patriarchal, gender- roles are undermined by males and females, who cannot be “properly” classified as "men" and "women". [For an excellent analysis of gender and homosexuality taboos, please see Gayle Rubin’s, “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economy of Sex”].

So even in 2011, when the President of the United States of America is a black man of mixed heritage, some members of the dominant society remain uncertain of how to talk to a woman like me.

Where exactly, is the line, when you’ve gone your whole life without even acknowledging it, let alone respecting it?

Writers that choose to speak openly about their experience of race in this country are often pressed for “solutions”, I have none regarding how to fix their problem. It isn't my responsibility to fix or “educate” misguided whites. Self-actualization and improvement is the job of the individual who is lacking.

The greatest knowledge is self-knowledge. So, what I am here to do is teach people how to respect me and I am doing that every day...

One stank look at a time…

I'ma let my brother Mos speak now...



Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer of Love Part II: Happy Birthday to Me


Love was once described to me, by my son’s father, as a hoop.Love not limited to the temporary, romantic version, but rather the deep and sustaining love, that resides in the universe and transcends the things here on earth. From him I learned the meaning of the phrase, “one love”.

Once we offer that type of love to all those we surround ourselves with, life becomes easier to bare. We can share the best of ourselves with others while preserving and protecting our inner core. We can show love and be shown love in return.

I am twenty-eight years old today and I can sincerely say I have been shown plenty love in my day. Enough, that even those who have hurt or disappointed me, are very much appreciated. Afterall,it has been in my most vulnerable moments that I have gotten the closest to the Divine.

To quote a kindred spirit, "I just want to eat good, drink good and fuck good."

Maybe it can't always be that way but it's sure good when it is. And when it aint, there is joy to found in,as Emily Dickinson called them,"the corridors of our mind",where memory lies.

Nothing can break a spirit like that. So I keep a ferocious heart.

Love,
Gypsy

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What the Water Gave Me: Hue New Orleans

Every artistic journey continues from where we left off and provides an open door into the next one...


I attended the opening of Ayo Scott’s, “Hue New Orleans”, exhibit at the McKenna Museum of African American Art and was struck by this painting, “Creole Welcome Mat”. It is described as a love poem to his wife’s culture and its influence on him through her.

Pieces like, “Royal Street Entrance”, showcase spaces that hold all our secrets and invite us to fall into the world behind their doors. “Royal Street Entrance” and another darker toned piece that is the image of an Uptown home’s front porch, serve as bookends to the dream-like quality of the others.

Doors, windows, porches and balconies factor heavy in Scott’s psychedelic journey through New Orleans. No wonder— as they do, so powerfully, evoke possibility, holding behind them the power to accept or reject the person standing on or before them.

Once we enter that door on Royal Street and fall down the rabbit hole,we experience the love, loss, pain and triumphs of post- Katrina life in New Orleans. This surreal experience ends,in a sense, on a dark Uptown porch and yet another begins…

I look forward to what is to come…

Check out the exhibit running at the McKenna Museum of African American Art,2003 Carondelet St. It runs through July 30th.



"What the Water Gave Me"
Frida Kahlo 1938

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Respect is Just the Minimum"





***
"Hip-hop is not very black or masculine these days...niggas used to grab their dicks on stage, now Nicki Minaj is."- Killer Mike

***
This is when intelligent men and the interviewers really begin to piss me off. Why isn't there someone writing in print that would challenge a statement like that? Especially,when this theory is somehow, inextricably, linked to the lack of entrepreneurship in the black community.

That’s the kind of pseudo-intellectual bullshit being kicked by men all around the hood near you. People lap it up, eager for any explanation as to why things are, what they are, for a lot of us trying to make it-- or God forbid, "come-up".

***

I've been told that I focus on the wrong things by many men. My answer to that has always been that they let too many things go over their heads. Why does Killer Mike see a deficiency in hip-hop, based on his false,(in my opinion), perception that it isn't very masculine?

Why is femininity considered the inferior of the two expressions of gender? Why is one of the biggest insults to be called a woman or worse yet a pussy? When we all know how great it is? Why, in our community when women were the ones who raised us?

***
Then to Respect magazine:

I respect this publication for choosing to present hip-hop for its artistic content instead of exploiting it.

But I was disappointed because I saw only a few photos with women in them at all. Because Respect doesn’t choose to go the route of King or even XXL [which is not explicitly a men's magazine] with its Eye Candy--does that mean we have to be invisible all together?

Is that really the only way we can understand the dynamic between men and women?

***
Killer Mike's message of promoting black people to take ownership of their communities is a powerful and useful message.

Why can't we own any of the corner-stores in the neighborhoods we live in?

Like Killer Mike says rightly, even if you generating only a couple grand a month, realistically, a lotta people ain't making that much working for another motherfucker...

Now that's some real shit I can get with.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Someone to Put This Weight On"





Sometimes love is like that--heart hanging out and ugly. It can be more complicated than you know or way more simple than you'd like to believe.We learn to compartmentalize our feelings or we try to forget and move-on from relationships gone wrong.

Most of the time, it works-- but sometimes you just need to let it out.

Sometimes all you can say is how you feel.

Politics as Usual


Anderson Cooper is annoying me. This “gotcha” style of journalism he’s adopted when covering national politics isn’t working for him. I much prefer to see him running through disaster laden streets in designer clothing.

In case you hadn’t noticed he’s no Tim Russert. Cooper lacks the breadth of political knowledge necessary to use the tactic Russert employed so effortlessly. As a result his zingers are sometimes hollow and many times miss the mark.

For example, questioning the sincerity of the President’s position on same-sex marriage [he had accused President Obama of playing politics], based on the fact that it had changed since 1996, is pretty ridiculous. If nothing else, it is definitely the weakest card in a deck full of much better arguements.

I am as pro-gay rights as they come. But somebody needs to talk to the spokespeople in the gay activist community. Get serious, and get real. In the upcoming 2012 election Barack Obama is the best friend you have,like it or lump it.

The fight for gay people's full recognition as human beings with equal rights in our country is often compared to the Civil Rights Movement of African-Americans.Some would disagree,I happen to concur--with the acknowledgement of how racism and White privledge affects the degree of this comparrison.

Some food for thought...The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863-- the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.

Plus as a dweller in a pretty transparent closet, Cooper does have balls calling anyone a hypocrite…

”Does he [President Obama] want to have it both ways?“

Touché Mr. Cooper.



This is how it's done...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Keeper of the Sunlight

Tawodi (Hawk)
[I went out for a smoke and had some company]




Mid-Morning Reflection:
The Cherokees say the hawk brings with its spirit, the gift of illumination—his keen sight—the ability to see the whole of things down to the tiniest detail. The hawk is a messenger bird. He comes to remind us of who we are and our duty to answer the call.

In a great field, the hawk’s vision is sharp and clear. He need strike his prey but once—surely and swiftly. Eyes on the prize, always aware of his surroundings but never distracted by them.

This is the way of the hawk.

I have been marked.

This is a Public Service Announcement: Makaveli Lives




Live from the past is an interview with one of the brightest minds of our generation. This is why, fuck the bullshit,there has never been such a combination of passion and intellect, surface and substance--before or since Tupac Shakur...

Near and dear to my heart in this clip are his take on black men's self-confidence and that cracker-jack theory of the Illuminati.

His assertions are dead on, when it comes to the destructive role sexuality plays in the lives of young black men.This is the only time I've ever heard a black man address how a basic lack of self- confidence plays into a lot of young black mens' expression of sexuality.

And when it comes to the Illuminati--Pac says it just about as well as it can be said...

Listen, Mourn, Rejoice...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tupac Back?



While I am enjoying the reign of the Maybach Music empire just as much as the next person, this latest installment has left me a bit perplexed. It isn’t the questionable grammar that bothers me. English nerd that I am— I am so pro-Ebonics, so pro-pigeon English, so pro-patois, it isn’t funny. It's just: what exactly does Ricky Rozay have in common with 2Pac as an artist?

I mean, I get that he was a major influence and role model for Rick, as he stated to several press outlets after performing at a concert held in honor of the late rapper’s 40th birthday. But beyond that, am I missing something?

Video in question: Tupac Back


This post is not meant to throw shade on my boy…just saying. Here are couple collabos I love…

Window Seat(remix)


Devil in a new dress

Love is Stronger than Pride


The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Me, and Senor Xolotl - 1949 (Frida Kahlo)



The old people have a belief:

for every person to whom you offered yourself to truly (in love, friendship, business, etc.), if they have wronged you, you have done them a service. They believe a piece of your good spirit now lingers in them always.

That’s altruism to the highest degree.

While no amount of spiritual generosity or preparation can quite take the sting out of rejection, betrayal, deceit, etc.—this principle can heal the broken heart. Slowly, yes…but surely.

Altruism doesn’t ask that we offer ourselves up willingly to those who intend to hurt us, but it does require that we don’t allow the wrong-doers in our lives to, to paraphrase Ms Lauryn Hill, “worship” the hurt they have caused. We do this by not building any altars in their honor in the first place. It means that we understand and accept that the only person’s acts we control are our own.

What I’ve learned isn’t how not to get hurt by people (still working on that), but that I am not bound to be what I have been treated as—an innocent, criminal, whore, Madonna, victim, the list goes on and on. I define who I am and what I intend to be.

Like my grandpa told me when I was kid and a bit of a crybaby....life will never stop dealing blows, so lose the glass jaw…

Happy Monday.

Stronger than Pride



Cut from Lauryn Hill Unplugged…please ignore the reference to the Illuminati (PLEASE!). This album sucked musically but lyrically unbelievable…

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Veni Vidi Vici


He was so excited about this shoot. One of my favorite pics of Tim (top row, first from right)... Happy Father's Day My Love,My Muse and My Forever.

Thought I would include one of his favorite songs...

Feel it in the Air

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Corridors Surpassing Material Place


Just something to gaze upon...sometimes we must create through and because of our pain...

The Two Fridas (Frida Kahlo,1939

I've decided to expand the focus of Life in High Times to include my take on literature,pop culture, politics and art as I see fit. I've got a big mouth and I intend to use it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Big Momma Thang: Rethinking Two Hip Hop Icons





February 1997 issue of Source (lord knows I remember when this was taken away from me in Religion class...)

***
I was taken this week with the article, “The Diary of Kimberley Jones”, appearing in the June issue of Vibe magazine. Lil’Kim is a fascinating figure and I was excited to see someone writing about her, without her current beef with Nicki Minaj, playing in the foreground.I did gain some major insights into my perception of Kim's urban legend,but I was disappointed by the cacophony of exclusively, male voices, offering their two-cents about what Lil Kim has meant for females in hip-hop.

Also included in this month’s issue of Vibe, was a small snippet commemorating Foxy Brown’s crotch grabbing cover in 1998.




As a result, I’m working on my own “Deconstructing Kimberley Jones and Inga Marchand” pieces (look for that soon).

***
I was a little girl who bought the Hardcore and Il Na Na albums at thirteen and came of age in an era where “sex sells” was almost the only way to be a female in the rap game. The nineties were an uncharted time in terms of hip-hop; it had not yet, so completely, become a part of popular culture. Jay-Z was still far from sitting on a project bench with Oprah, no matter how much money he had earned.

We forget how young these girls were when they stepped on the scene. Foxy was just sixteen years old when she appeared on the “I Shot Ya” remix featuring Keith Murray, LL Cool J, Prodigy and Fat Joe. It’s hard to imagine such a young girl being able to spit the lines “sexing raw dog without protection/disease infested” in this day and age, with our 24 hour news cycle and rappers appearing on Bill O’Reilly almost regularly. And don’t forget, Lil Kim was not much older when “Player’s Anthem” dropped.

I will let you all ponder that while I keep writing…

I Shot Ya


Player’s Anthem

Sidebar:
Questionable message not withstanding, this is one of the best flows ever put down by a female…yet to be topped in my opinion…


God damn…the girls used to go hard on that beef shit…skip through CNN..Fox was the only reason to listen to that song.



****
Lagniappe

Quiet Storm Remix Feat Lil Kim
Legend has it she put this down on the first shot...wrote it in a couple minutes. Stick with your first mind, hanh?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One Gyal Army: Patwa

I would really like to see this girl make it. Love her voice, sound and presentation. There is something so effortless about her, just thought I'd share...enjoy.

What Can I Say



I'm a Lady

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Silent Icon:Cassie Ventura


 

This is last summer’s t-shirt but I still think it’s the hotness. I decided to post this on the heels of the June issue of Vibe (see the magazine for the “Art of Seduction” spread featuring Cassie).

For a woman’s whose greatest hit was pretty damn mediocre and is best known as Diddy’s “unofficial girl”…Cassie exudes a cool inner confidence (no ass shots necessary) that has kept, at least, her face relevant.



Can’t Knock the Hustle…

Cassie's Greatest hit



Cassie's best collabo...


Little heard... Cassie Ft Nicki Minaj
“F U Silly”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hey, Lupe [philosopher-king]: Reality Bites





Lupe Fiasco has started a fire with his comments in a recent CBS video-interview. The interview comes on the heels of his successful, much anticipated and delayed, third studio album, Lasers and the hit single, “Words I Never Said.” The song criticizes, amongst other things, the use of murder as an act of resistance by fundamentalist Muslims, the apartheid state of Israel, and Barack Obama for supporting the Israeli war in the Gaza strip. Lupe took his criticism a bit further on CBS by labeling the United States, and by extension Barack Obama, as the “biggest terrorists of all”. He further clarified his assertion by saying that he felt the United States supports policies that are the root causes of fundamentalism.

The controversy in the media seems to rest on the semantics of the word “terrorist” (you tell me what smallpox blankets are…). However, for me, this was not the part of the interview that left me the most fired up. While I couldn’t agree more, in principle, with Lupe Fiasco’s “Words I Never Said”— I must take issue with his chosen approach to reality, especially, when it comes to voting.

I do appreciate Lupe taking a principled stand. I do not oppose his right not to participate in a political process, that supports and sponsors the killing of the innocent, nor do I deny that America was built and functions, to this day, on the backs of those who have the least in its society.

I do, however, love Barack Obama.The master’s tools may never dismantle his house, and maybe Barack isn’t the social justice Messiah, we had all been hoping for. But it is foolish, at best, and dangerous, at worst, to pretend that there is no real difference between he and his predecessors or the opponent that he will face in 2012. There are real consequences to the upcoming political season. The policies and rights, my generation has never known a life without,are under attack from the right and truly vulnerable.

Being free means being unafraid to break from the crowd and leave the chorus, I commend Lupe for having the courage to speak his mind and put the word “Gaza” on a track. He is a passionate advocate for the aspirations of a people for freedom and I more than salute that, I humble myself before it.

But before we can withdraw en masse from the current political system, we have to be able to offer our people a viable alternative… And that we are definitely lacking. So the reality is there ain’t no Santa Claus and its him or them…

I choose him.
Peace in the Middle East...Free Palestine







Words I Never Said



Lagniappe

Check out two poems from Palestinian poet, Suheir Hammad.

Gaza

Daddy's Song

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tenders to Your Cotton Money: Morning Inspiration...





Remember in these strange times to keep your head up and never forget who you are...

"To thine own self be true...."-William Shakespeare

Dear Love Machine: Keep the Sunshine...Save Me the Rain: Lil' Wayne Unplugged




In any artistic movement there is always the authentic, the genuine article—the inspiration behind which the art is made. When it comes to the Cash Money Movement, which began in New Orleans, in the treacherous early nineties, that genuine article has always been Juve or B.G. Who better encapsulated what it meant to be a “street nigga” in New Orleans, at that time, then B.G.? (An obvious answer is of course Soulja Slim, but I’m speaking only of the Cash Money roster). What better album is there to tell that story than Juvenile’s, 400 Degreez?

400 Degreez exploded on the national scene and is an undeniable classic and one of hip-hop's most important albums ever. But in that movement there was also the conduit, the artiste, who took the authentic and was able to flip and make it genius. That artist was and is Lil’ Wayne, Dwayne Carter.

My only real criticism of last night’s Unplugged special (airing in anticipation of the Carter IV's release) lies not with Wayne’s performance, as he lived up to his promise of being “flawless”, but with the set design. I was hoping for that close, intimate, setting that we typically see on MTV Unplugged (think Jay-Z, Nirvana or Lauryn Hill’s specials). Wayne’s set was more concert-like, which deviated from the signature “Unplugged” look. There were a few emotional, introspective, moments that I felt would have been even more powerful on a smaller set.

The Cash Money story is a narrative I can’t stop writing about. And if you haven’t already been able to tell, I am a veritable “Wayne-head”. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish he wasn’t such an ardent advocate of colorism, coke, lean and Blood affiliation. But I do recognize a true wordsmith when I see one. I am in awe of his mind,talent and complexity...yet I ache for his shortcomings.

From the young kid, a peer, who I used to see at house parties in New Orleans East to MTV Unplugged, to being one of the most significant new artists of our time…the journey goes on forward…

Set List (Aired)
1. 3Peat
2. Mr. Carter
3. Shoot Me Down
4. Miss Me (verse from Drake’s song)
5. A-Milli
6. Fireman
7. Hail Mary (2Pac cover)
8. Hustler Muzik
9. Drop the World
10. Single
11. Lollipop
12. Nightmares of the Bottom
13. 6ft 7ft (feat Corey Gunz)

MTV is actin’ bad with their copyrighted content…So just audio and a real bootleg video! Plus pics of Young Money's Shanell...Enjoy…special re-airs next Sunday,June 19th

Hail Mary (2Pac Cover)
6ft 7ft feat Corey Gunz


And for old times’ sake…two of my favorite songs

So Much Death

Ghetto Children


Sidebar...I'm feeling Shanell's steez...judging from her look, I think we're soul sisters...I had one of those ear to nose peices before Katrina (that bitch!)...




Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Project Music"

It's Sunday in New Orleans and to me that always meant a good drink with friends and family and some bounce music...after mass, of course, for the faithful...

So in honor of all things sacred and profane...

Iberville (4th Ward)


R.I.P. Anthony "Coo", "Messy Mya" Barre

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Naked at the Feast": Kola Boof Goes H.A.M.





A couple weeks ago,Sudanese–born author,former captive-mistress of Osama bin Laden, and agent provocateur, Kola Boof attacked rapper, Wale with such a ferocity— I am still thinking about it. The rant came on the cusp of the publication of her latest novel,The Sexy Part of the Bible, which deals, in part, with skin-bleaching in West Africa.

Kola’s use of the term “niggerstock” in her rant, to describe Wale and the mentality of self-hating blacks,ruffled the American sensibilities of many black people. But it is Kola's job to provoke and that she did by raising valid points in her sparring with Wale.

The fact that @wale is Nigerian makes it all the worse, because he’s setting the wrong example globally for our race. A loser. There wasn’t a single Black woman in ‘Pretty Girls’…so what in the f-ck was he saying about African women?? His own race? @wale and all the rest of these Self-hating Niggerstock Bastards don’t celebrate Black Beauty bec. they can’t C it”

Why wouldn’t NIGERIAN children want to bleach their skin afte watching a WALE video?? How could they not? Think about the IMAGES in Wale’s videos….and then look at why Nigerian kids, both male & female, want to skin bleach. HIS VIDEOS!! partly. Just remember….that KOLA will kick your f—ing a– @WALE


Many people have taken issue with Kola’s assertion that there were no black women in “Pretty Girls”. In the eyes of many black Americans this is simply untrue, there are, they’re just light- skinned. However, what Ms. Boof would have us understand, is that our concept of blackness in America has been informed not by Africa but by white supremacy. The one-drop rule was created to keep people enslaved, even those fathered by the owning class.

I recently had a conversation with a “white” friend during which she informed me that her grandmother had been a full-blood American Indian. This fact, however,has no bearing on her current racial identity as a white woman or the way she is viewed by society as a whole. Had her grandmother been black instead, no matter if she looked exactly as she does today, upon that revelation – she would be deemed “black” by society.

Kola Boof rejects the one drop rule and the notion that you can represent blackness with a picture of Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Halle Berry or any other light-skinned or biracial woman. Her concern seems to lie not with building up our numbers by including anybody with one drop of black blood but in strengthening our core. Black is beautiful and we don’t acknowledge that by paying homage to white supremacist ideology such as the one drop rule.

Wale has come out in defense of himself by partially acknowledging Kola’s point. The women for the “Pretty Girls” video were chosen by a casting director and he was not totally pleased with the outcome of the video. He also contends that in his video “Sweetie” he made sure that this did not happen again.He also, offers his song, “Shades”, as evidence to his feelings about black women.

While some may take issue with Kola’s method of asserting herself on this subject you cannot deny her rage. Take this quote:

"My desire to slit the throats of everyone in my path...is the rage that Black women the world over suppress on a daily basis.That is the core from which I write."


I would love to talk with Ms Kola about where the uniquely American "blacks" like me fall in this debate from an African's perspective

And I always respect, a bitch willing to go hard...

I’m harder than ANY f—ing rapper. NOVELIST, POET….Bin laden’s Ex-Mistress….and **HARDER** than any f—ing Rapper. These punks are snot nosed wimps. Wale….is a f—ing Nigerian Cl-t-B—h. F–k Wale.

Ouch…videos below… plus more information on Kola Boof from her perspective...

Pretty Girls

Sweetie

Shades


http://www.kolaboof.com

In her own words...pardon the visual distortion...





It has been since confirmed that Kola Boof was truthful in her assertion that she had a sexual relationship with Osama bin Laden...she remains unable to leave the United States beacause of this association..she maintains that the relationship began against her will...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hey Barbie...Can I call you Barbara?


This video came on MTV Jams this morning and I decided to post it since my son said,

"Oooh that's my song, that's the one right there."

Pretty sweet that Wayne clearly wrote this song with Nicki in mind. Not the most profound lyrical content I've ever heard but shot out to Nicki for being able to rap on this track at all...that's talent folks. Besides, Marley says she rocked it!







The New Magdalene: Man Down< Rihanna Up







So what is the artistic value in shooting your rapist on film?

The same question was asked of the comedic value of Dave Chapelle shooting a slave master on cable television in 2004. I say, killing the images of those things, like patriarchy and racism, that slaughter our ability to live freely is the duty of an artist of a certain kind. A woman is not her chastity and bondage is an unnatural state for human beings. Our souls desire freedom and our bodies belong to us, ALWAYS.

"Man Down" is an important video and there aren't too many of those being made these days. Rihanna is an artist that raises a point that should not be glossed over or condemned on face value. Sure, we can love our enemies but let's not forget who and what they are. Our flame-haired, firearm-toting, anti- heroine reclaims the power of the Magdalene, refutes her reputation in history as a prostitute, and puts the shame back on her attacker's body.

I agree...instead going lying down, let's lay them down.

Get free...



And because I never get enough of this skit...Dave Chapelle's "Time Haters". Pardon the German subtitles...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer of Love: Welcome to Life in High Times



New Orleans
June 2011

Sitting in a bar one night, Lil’ Wayne’s, “Miss My Dawgz” began to play. The night was muggy and despite the air conditioning in the lounge, the constant in and out of people made the air inside damp. In other parts of the country it was still spring. In New Orleans, summer was just beginning-- and I was hoping for a new one.

I had spent the last year and a half in a haze. My son’s father passed away in the winter of 2009 , suddenly, at the age of twenty-seven, while I was at work, and our one year old son was up the street at nursery. I moved through the days of the seasons that followed, hoping that as time ticked by, he might pop up from behind any corner of the house, announcing that it had all been a cruel hoax.

So, while I couldn't yet fall to sleep at night, without listening to the last voicemail he left me— I thought I could begin again.

Of course, I was not looking for love, or a soul-mate, or even a friend. I had believed that after watching that casket close,that I was made of stone. I was just thinking, or at least sincerely hoping, that I was ready. Ready, for whatever would lay beyond the life no longer possible.

***

/I aint got time to speak the history/ but I miss you and I know you missing me/

***

My eyes began to sting a little, and so I stared, swirling my little stirring straw, into my Maker’s on the rocks. I thought of all the people, places and things that have come and gone over the years. I remembered the first apartment Marley’s father and I lived in, with nothing but a mattress and stereo for furniture.

“You know if you listen to all the Cash Money albums as a whole,” said my friend, into the silence that had fallen between us, as we listened to the song play.

***

My other, my partner/ I was teacher, he was father/I skilled, he schooled/we chilled, we moved….

***

“Even the ‘life after cash money’ ones,” she laughed. “It’s a love story, that journey.”

“You aint never lied,” I replied. “That’s why I get goose-bumps every time I hear this one.”

Later that night, I sat on my porch and replayed all the mistakes I’d never make again, berated myself for all the times I knew better than what I did, and chided myself for smoking the cigarettes, I keep saying I want to quit. I sat in the crackling silence of the Gentilly night and wondered what was next.

***

Yea those were the times my brother/Now I recognize real and I honor my brother/

***

I’ve heard that good music is the cure for any ailment, particularly a bruised, broken or un-healed heart. Hip-Hop has always been about love, suffering and the search for more to me. It, like us, like life, is never perfect, not always correct, proper or appropriate. Things happen when they do and we are not always prepared for the outcome, we are just responsible for what we make of it.

Follow me on this journey forward into love, pain, and the battered streets of New Orleans. Say a prayer with me for all those things that keep us pushing forward…