#MNR: DIVE BAR AURA
“Various shades of Black, leaning off the roof of the Ac(ura). Don’t know how to act, wildin’ with a nonchalant pack.”
“While my Nikes match my Lo hat.”
Y’all know how many years I’ve spent making sure my Nikes match my Lo hat? Shit, me either. It’s been a minute.
PRAYERS TO MAUI.
Salute to all my folk out there who read the Monday Night Raw blogs in an ardent manner. Y’all are one of two the reasons why I fire up the old Mac every Monday night and make love to the keyboard. I cherish the support. The other reason why I do what I do is because there is an insatiable fire that burns within my soul. It compels me to create. I try my best to bring words to life every mother effing time. It’s my desire. My passion. I couldn’t ever possibly have an audience of zero. I write to delight my own soul first. I read my blog for the 74th time as soon as CEO texts me that we’re live...I read it like I’ve yet to lay eyes on it. Every time I finish reading the blog, I thank the Lord for the talent he has bestowed upon me.
Ok y’all. I’m done being gracious. Let’s get this shit jumping like David Thompson. Hell yeah, that’s my kinfolk. And if you think I’m lying, prove it.
I finally copped a bong. I wanted to invest in a sophisticated, $200 type of bong. But in all fairness, I also want Lauren London. I ended up settling for a considerably less expensive bong which I purchased on eBay. I put entirely too much flower in my Woods and papers. A bong will take me to the upper room much faster than a J or L, and with much less flower. I burn way too much greenery. I don’t live on a rapper’s budget. I need to call my boy Gary Payton and see if he wants to sponsor #MNR. CEO and I are cool with free GP in perpetuity. It’s my favorite strand. And furthermore, we know how to work that, you heard?
Proper. What you say, Hammer? Proper...
Shout out to the Lincoln Tunnel XBL, a 2.5-mile contra (against the flow of traffic)-flow bus-only lane that runs along Route 495 from the NJ Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel helix. It speeds up the morning commute by an estimated 15 to 20 minutes. It runs from 06:30-10:00 on weekdays. Anyone who’s ever approached the Lincoln Tunnel helix knows that you can sit still for a good while at damn near any time. The traffic sucks ass. The XBL all but ensures buses make time in the morning. I love it, and I wanted you all to know about it. Fuckers.
“You love to hear the story, again and again, of how it all got started way back when.”
Last week the dominant culture of my lifetime, hip hop, turned 50. A half a century ago in Sedgwick Projects, #BXNYC, a Jamaican immigrant named Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell brought his records and turntable set to the recreation room and made shit happen. I don’t know exactly what he did other than play records, but it was the start of something amazing. Here we are, two-and-a-half scores later, and hip hop has permeated every single aspect of life. I remember listening to commercial jingles growing up, and every score was rock inspired. I used to eat my cereal and wonder, “why don’t they ever have a rap jingle?” I remember when the Grammys didn’t televise any of the rap category winners. Look how far we’ve come. Nas’ label Mass Appeal threw a 50th birthday concert in Yankee Stadium (it had to be in the X). Damn near everyone who was anyone touched the stage. Lupe Fiasco set it off (fittingly). The stream is available on YouTube, completely free of charge. Check it out. Hip Hop is here to stay. Big ups to every aspect of hip hop: DJ, MC, break boys/girls, aerosol (graffiti) artists, and the unofficial fifth and sixth elements – the clothing (style) and beatboxing. Where would I be without you?
Big ups to MY favorite MCs: LL Cool J (my 7-year-old, 1985 GOAT), Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest (the ones who made me truly fall in love with this thing of ours – RIP Phife), Ice Cube (my favorite from the west side of things), the BIG fella, Makaveli the Don, Redman (Jersey’s GREATEST), The Roots (The World’s 8th Wonder), Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (my personal GOAT; thanks for changing my outlook on life), Run-DMC (there’s no culture without y’all), the Wu (Wu-Tang is forever), Mobb Deep, CNN, Big Pun, Black Rob (RIP), Cam’ron, Snoop Doggy Dog, Curren$y Spitta (the only favorite I encountered as an adult), and the originator of hip hop/R&B soul, the GOAT Mary J. Blige.
I can’t forget my favorite DJs & producers: DJ P-Funk (the VUU resident DJ for my era at 1500 N. Lombardy – RIP my guy), Grandmaster Flash, Jam Master J (RIP), Erick Sermon, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Doo Wop, DJ Clue (the GOAT of my high school era), Mr. Magic (RIP), RZA, Kool DJ Red Alert, Large Professor, Dr. Dre, Jay Dilla (RIP), DJ Premier, Marley Marl, Havoc, Pete Rock, DJ Quik, DJ S&S, Timbaland, the Neptunes, The Ummah, Q-Tip, Ron G., Doo Wop, Daz, DeVante Swing, Mr. West (we still love you – fuck what they say), Mr. 10, DJ Green, DJ Showtime and the newest on my favorite producer list – Hit-Boy.
Special shout out to my favorite b-boys and girls: Rocksteady Crew, New York City Breakers, and The Lockers (Los Angeles). The Lockers was Fred “Rerun” Berry’s crew. If you don’t know of Rerun, you don’t know what’s happening. Y’all like that pun? Yeah, you did.
Much love to all the aerosol art wizards: King Kase 2 (my personal GOAT; RIP), Skeme, Phase 2, Basquiat (bet y’all didn’t know he was a tagger -- #SAMO), and my guy, the incomparable Dez, better (later) known as DJ Kay Slay (RIP). Big ups to the movie Wild Style, the documentary Style Wars, and The Writers Bench on the 2 and 5 line @ 149th St. and Grand Concourse (#BXNYC). #ALLCITY
Beat Street and Krush Groove together have a unique place in my heart. My mommy took me to the theaters to see both. Yeah, she was absolutely, 100% hip hop (back then). I cried when Ramon (Ramo) died. The scene with the Fatboys crushing the Sbarro’s buffet to their song “All You Can Eat” will never escape my memory. If you know the movies there’s no need to explain which event happened in which movie. If you don’t, ask your mom, pop, or gma/gpa. RIP to Ramo and Shareon.
A unique set of shoutouts go out to the originator of the rap video show, the GOAT Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box, the aforementioned Mr. Magic -- host of the first rap radio show titled “Rap Attack” on the former WHBI-NYC, the now defunct KDAY-LA -- the first all rap format radio station, and The Source, rap’s first exclusively hip hop-themed magazine (honorable mention to Word Up! and Vibe).
Most people think “Rapper’s Delight” by Englewood, NJ’s own Sugar Hill Gang was the first rap single. Technically, it was not. The first official rap song/single was “King Tim III (Personality Jock)“ by Fatback Band featuring Timothy Washington on rap vocals. It was released on 3.25.1979, half a year before “Rapper’s Delight” was released on 8.2.1979. Even though the former was well-received and charted (peaked at #26, R&B chart), the latter is far more famous and renowned. But I’m true to this shit. It’s imperative that Fatback Band and Timothy Washington receive their just due from me and the hip hop community. Salute to all ‘em. “Rapper’s Delight” blew the roof off the culture. We’ve been an open-air market ever since.
Salute to all the playgrounds, parks and clubs that made the culture what it is today. There are too many to name. Plus, I’ve never been to any of them. My only regret is not making a Sunday night appearance in The Tunnel. You got me on that one, Brandi.
Salute to “fresh,” “word,” “dope,” “fly,” “phat,” “wavy” and all the other slang that hip hop introduced and were made staples in our culture.
Salute to the fly clothes, sneakers, hoodies, jackets, coats, hats, and boots hip hop made a staple in popular culture and fashion. Salute to Dapper Dan (IYKYK). Salute to Uptown Harlem.
“And just cool out, cool out and listen to H.E.R.”
Y’all have no idea how many hours I spent playing sooooo many amazing albums front to back since Low End Theory (the first album I fell in love with). My high school friend Kristy said in tenth grade that you have to listen to an album in its natural order upon first listen. No skips. I agreed with her 30 years ago and I still agree with her to this day...and it sounds so nice, hip hop you’re the love of my life.
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