#MNR: GUARD YOUR GRILL
“I’m just about broke to the letter. It can’t get any worse, shit can only get better.”
“Anytime, anywhere. I will go anywhere. Won’t you trust me, baby? Stay with me. ‘Til death do us part, you’ll always be right in my heart. Won’t you please stay with me? Baby, please believe in me.”
Big Bubba Drakeford, Englewood 4th Ward Legend (courtesy of Mary J. Blige)
When we view classic albums in retrospect, we find that they rarely (if ever) spawned out of nothingness. There was usually at least one underlying conflict and/or the way the conflict was resolved that fueled the passion for the work. This passion creates the spark that makes the album indelible in our hearts and music history. Picture it: Yonkers/Manhattan, 1994. For Mary J. Blige and her seminal sophomore release My Life it was exactly that – her life. She dealt with the hangover of a highly successful debut (What’s the 411?), dealing with newfound fame and the twin pains of heartbreak and drug use (I will stop short of calling it abuse). The collective pain bled through the speakers and made her uber empathetic, as many could relate to the ups and downs of relationships and the ways in which we cope. Mary channeled this pain, and with the artistic genius and direction of P. Diddy, she dropped what I feel is the greatest album of my lifetime that isn’t titled Thriller. Fleetwood Mac circa 1977 is another example. The group dealt with a two-fold breakup: the breakup of a relationship between two band members as well as original members leaving the group. Fleetwood Mac was the literal embodiment of internal issues. To many, the band was in absolute turmoil and their best days appeared to be in their rear view. Some pondered whether they would disband. So how did the band respond? They dropped one of the most acclaimed albums of the period (and all-time), aptly titled Rumors. Don’t stop – thinking about tomorrow...
Now, let me connect thoughts like Magnetix.
If the right person looked at mine and CEO’s lives through the right lens in perfect lighting, that MF would swear that CEO and I are on the verge of dropping a super-classic album. The genre? Prolly a rap/R&B hybrid, heavy on the blues. At the moment, shit just ain’t right – on a few levels. But I do know one thing for certain: trouble don’t last always. We’re going to get through it, just as we always have. The bright side is having a brother that you can call and just talk about life to. There’s no fake machismo, overwhelming masculinity or faking. We’ve been brothers for way too long for the superficial shit. If we need to vent, we vent. If we need to shed a tear or three, tears we shed. There’s no judgement, there’s no belittling. It’s a relief and a blessing to have someone to speak to before pressing the red button. We are blessed. And irrespective of the curveballs life throws us, we’re still ’02 Barry Bonds & ’21 Aaron Judge (insert two mechanical arm emojis).
Unc once told me that I’m not a survivor. I’m an “endurer.” I’m going to continue to stay faithful and endure. I know my and our day is coming. I will remain undaunted and patient. The Lord is always right on time.
I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE THIS A POLITICAL BLOG. I REFUSE TO. BUT FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE, I SEE ONE SIDE INTRODUCING POLICY THAT CAN HELP ALL AMERICANS. ON THE OTHER SIDE I SEE A CREW OF SYCOPHANTS BLINDLY LOYAL TO A RAGE-FILLED LUNATIC; A LUNATIC THAT SEEMS TO BE GUILTY, BY LETTER OF THE LAW (GEORGIA AND/OR THE DOJ). THAT IS ALL.
For most of America, the kiddos are now back in the schoolhouse. I immediately think of the Cosby Show episode when Claire and Heathcliff were more than ecstatic that all those chillun were finally back in school after a long summer. I imagine that’s how most parents feel. As an educator, it’s another trip around the sun. Day one makes it feel like the school year will take forever, but before you know it, the end of the school year is near, and you admit that the year went by fast. Another crop of young minds graduate and begin their journey as young adults. It’s simply a cycle, like most things in life. But it’s a beautiful cycle. I’m relieved that the new school year has begun. It’s time to make the donuts.
Someone please do me one huge favor. Please. Go on YouTube and watch FOX 26 (the Houston affiliate) interview with Z-Ro and find out why he felt it was cool to dry snitch on Trae tha Truth and his brother for putting the beats on him. Trae said the ass-whooping was an internal matter, and not some fuck shit. I don’t co-sign jumping a MF if y’all have/had a rapport at some point. But damn it, I need to know why Z-Ro went on local television (FOX at that) to dry snitch. Ain’t that man from big, bad Houston, Texas? Home of the players so there will never be no plexus? Like I said, please watch it for me and let me know what Z had to say. Perhaps he wasn’t dry snitching to the good folk at FOX. Perhaps he went on to speak about some new Houston-area business he owns, and the question just happened to pop up in the line of solid journalism and A-1 news reporting.
INSTANT UPDATE: Smmfh – I watched a snippet. The interview is with my guy Isiah Carey, the brother from the FOX 26 Houston affiliate that pops up on my timeline from time to time. Side note: check out The Isiah Factor on YouTube – Isiah is an interesting brother. Having said that, the fact that Z-Ro went on The Isiah Factor is the only reason I’m not talking extra crazy. But...yeah. Z-Ro was on Isiah’s show telling (sighs). For the record, I’m not a member of the Keep it Real Choir. I’m not the type to accuse someone of dry snitching if they’re everyday taxpaying civilians, as snitching doesn’t even apply when members of the community report misdeeds. As taxpayers, they deserve to live in safe neighborhoods. But being a rapper kinda eliminates your civilian status. You’re automatically in it if you spit shit about street life. You can’t keep it real AND tell. It’s the dictionary definition of a paradox. What do y’all think about the situation? Leave a comment.
I watched an interesting documentary on YouTube regarding the misconceptions regarding “Patient Zero,” the moniker falsely attributed to the person once believed to be the super spreader of HIV/AIDS back in its nascent stages during the early 1980s. I don’t want to give away too much information, as someone reading may be interested in viewing for themselves. But as a person who has done a deep dive into the history of the disease, I’m certain that watching the documentary will be informative, fascinating and terrifying all at once. The documentary is titled Patient Zero: The MYTH of the AIDS Super Spreader. Sadly, what’s often lost in these types of stories is the humanization of individuals involved. Gaëtan Dugas, the Canadian man who was falsely labeled as Patient Zero, was more than a statistic. He was a beloved individual whose name has been reduced to shit over the past four decades, quite undeservedly. The documentary is put together in a palatable way, making its findings easy to understand and interpret. Check it out if you want to be properly informed.
“Dying is the hardest part of living your life.”
Fatal Hussein (RIP)
The battle rap community lost one of its shining stars over the holiday weekend. Pat Stay, a 36-year-old Canadian battle rapper, was fatally stabbed while trying to break up a fight in his hometown of Dartmouth (Halifax), Nova Scotia. Word of his death sent shockwaves throughout the battle rap community, an esoteric community of which I am a dedicated member. Pat was different, in a couple of ways. First, he was 6’5” in a community where many of the competitors are well under six feet in height. Do you know how crazy it can get when a man over a half a foot taller is invading your personal space, towering over you and barking on you at the same damn time? And believe me, the talk was different. Pat wasn’t the gun-bar type of battler prevalent in the culture (I’d say about 75-80% of battle rappers incorporate gun-bars into their raps). His brand of violent braggadocio was more of the bar fighter type. But perhaps Pat’s greatest gift to the culture was the way he implemented his own brand of unique and witty comedy into his raps. His comedy could instantly diffuse those aforementioned gun-bars from the most believable of competitors. His stature alone made all his talk believable, and his comedic timing only added to his arsenal. Yeah, we may have believed that [insert gun-bar battle rapper’s name] is a wanton killer, but we definitely believed that Pat would beat shit and piss down his legs before he could “up” his Sig/chopstick/whatever firearm he incorporated into his bars. Pat was different. Pat was special. I’m not saying all this because he’s gone. I’m saying all this because it’s the truth. Don’t take my word, though. Go on YouTube and see for yourself. Check out his battle versus the GOAT of URL, the gun-bar king Tay Roc. Then watch his Shotgun Suge battle (a competitor of similar physical stature). Put eyes on his Real Sikh battle, his last on URL. Watch his complement battle versus Rone. Watch the way he owned the crowd when he battled in Germany. You’ll see exactly why we love him the way we do. Rest up, Pat. We’ll see you on the other side.
RIP BERNARD. I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU AS A GENTLE GIANT, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHAT THE NEWS REPORTS REVEALED. A LOT OF PEOPLE AT DM HAD MUCH LOVE FOR YOU. THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE. I PRAY FOR HEALING FOR YOUR BROTHERS AND MOTHER.
I recently reconciled with a close family member who I’ve been beefing with the past three years or so. Knowing that “some” beef is everlasting, try to avoid unnecessary drama whenever possible. It’s usually never as serious as it appears to be at surface level. Sly Stone taught us that blood is thicker than mud. Time lost can never be recouped, and it’s too late to reconcile when one party transitions into the afterlife.
I wanted Spida, but it WASN'T worth emptying the cupboard for another 6’1” guard with questionable defense who would have only elevated our win ceiling to around 47 games (as projected by whoever does the projecting). Is Donovan Mitchell a star? Absolutely. Is he a superstar? I don’t think he is (at the moment). In my opinion, there are only a handful of true superstars in each professional sport, the true “cream of the crop.” A basketball player who has never been named to any All-NBA team or advanced past the second round of the playoffs is not a superstar. But that’s simply my humble opinion. I’m all for the youth movement, at least until another disgruntled star or superstar who is a better fit decides to call 33rd & 7th Avenue home. I’d acquiesce because I’d have no choice, and because Leon Rose was hired to reel in stars like he did when he was a first-class agent, not to rebuild. I’m certain Rose would pull the trigger to save face with Lil Jimmy Dolan. I heard through the grapevine that Jerry West told the Knicks front office to KEEP Quentin Grimes at all costs and not to include him in the now failed Spida trade. If Jerry West says to hold on to QG it only affirms what has become a growing sentiment amongst us Knicks faithful – that Grimes will be a monster in short time (fingers crossed emoji).
Stay blessed, paid and dangerous. Time is Illmatic. I’m gon see y’all real soon unless you see me first. Chow.
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