The Sunshine State 

Venice, Florida. I saw a sign yesterday, while hanging out poolside at the tiki bar of my Gram’s 55 and older community (which isn’t a bar at all, just a thatched escape from the sun), which read “I live where you vacation”. That’s when it dawned on me, it might be scary to apply for that job, or sign that lease, or sell that car, but what’s really holding us back?

Fear is the catalyst for so many of our comfortable routines. We find solace in stressful situations because we are creatures of habit. As I write this I’m listening to Wifisfuneral’s When Hell Falls, a record I would have entirely ignored a few weeks ago. My pride as a “hip hop purist” forces me to skip even the most innocent precursory listens because my habits dwarf my desire to experiment. The new class of rappers is trash. Hail King Kendrick. These sentiments are senseless, and my lifelong quest for new music only staggers when I allow routine to play a part in whether I press play or not.

It’s all relative. If we died today, would it be with a smile on our faces? Would we have really lived, or just mimicked our way through the days? If you’re tired of the snow and cold, pack your bags and go. If you’re in a dead end situation at home, pack your bags and go. Rent, mortgages, kids, none of those issues are anchors, they’re just factors in the complexity of your world.

Play the lotto. Order a double. Turn your music way up. Plan ahead, but leave some room for a left turn. Live like all this shit is temporary, because we don’t grow roots, even when it feels like it.  

Good Friday Indeed

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So it goes.  I completed all 10 days of the cleanse. It was a mental battle and I lost 12 pounds. More than the weight loss, it was rewarding to see it through. I think I’ll do it again in 6 months or so, but in the meantime I aim to be on my bike as much as possible. I did 10.6 miles yesterday, and it was glorious. But really though, I ate cold pizza for breakfast, so don’t get it twisted. We eat what we want around here, as long as we get up off the couch once in a while and sweat.  Spring makes me Schmoney Dance in the these streets.

I’m off from work the next ten days and heading to Florida on Sunday. Sunday should be an interesting day, to say the least. Kendrick dropped Damn last night. Twitter went ape shit…your boy included. It’s a powerful narrative, entirely different from To Pimp a Butterfly, but none less fascinating. It’s a concept record of epic proportions.  The record recalls the energy, pain, and passion of a life lost in the intro. The narrator tries to help a blind women who takes his life with a single bullet. Oddly enough, the record dropped on Good Friday…

His producer tweeted a pic of Morpheus from The Matrix with a quote that said something like, what if this wasn’t the real version?  Kendrick also modified his Spotify pic to stand in front of a blue brick wall. The internet buzzes even harder. Could we have heard the “red pill”, and if so, are we in for a second installment? Could the “blue pill” be coming on Sunday, Easter Sunday, the day Jesus came back from the dead? Is Kendrick hailing himself ‘the rap Jesus’? And if so, does anyone have a problem with that? On “The Heart Pt. 4″ (which didn’t make the album) he claims, ‘Dropped one classic, came right back, another classic right back”, and claims the next project is TOC. TOC…The Other Color? I’m over here twisting my imaginary Illuminati mustache.

All hip hop heavyweights have the double album under their belts. Big, Pac, Jay, Nas….a double entry from Kung-Fu Kenny makes perfect sense. Either way, Damn stands alone as a precise collection of songs less concerned with the immediate cultural climate (like we saw throughout To Pimp a Butterfly) and more focused on the energy of today’s musical landscape balanced with his industry-leading story telling prowess. Calling Damn a record with a heavy “trap” influence is a stretch, but it certainly is a project which continues to support those claims that Kendrick is the greatest rapper alive.

That being said, I’m completely enjoying Playboi Carti’s self-titled debut while I pound these keys.

Enjoy your weekend all. And keep your eyes peeled for Nation, the second half of Kendrick’s opus this Sunday. You heard it here first.

The Master Plan

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This shit right here? It’s the focus of my next 7 days. The actual Master Cleanse plan calls for 10, but fuck that noise. Why?  It’s rather simple. I’m cleansing to reset my system. I’m cleansing to prove that I can. And finally, I’m cleansing to take a step back from alcohol. Not for nothing, I also want to test myself. I’m strong, and I’m smart, but I’m nothing if not a creature of habit. Habits in food. Habits in drink. Habits in music. So now we rage against that habitual machine. It will also be eye-opening to experience the mental and physical hurdles that billions of staving people on this planet encounter every day.

Unrelated, Moonlight won the best picture Oscar after that now-famous royal Academy fuck up. So that was cool. The movie was a pretty cold glimpse at a story normally left untold. Every day I walk the halls of my building knowing there are of kids amongst the masses who think and feel differently than the “norm”. We work hard to accept those differences as merely part of the “norm”, but the sum never adds up. Moonlight is a necessary piece of art for a demographic, and world really, that still struggles to accept homosexuality. Kudos to that team for having the balls to make a gorgeous film without limits.

The Neon Tangerine continues to melt down in Washington. His dementia seems like it’s got the upper hand, and it would probably behoove me to start a dead pool in my office. If nothing else, this administration is pure comedy gold. Huge shout out to Desus & Mero on Viceland and from the Bodega Boys podcast for continuous coverage of the daily executive shit show from Capital Hill.

I’ve been on a huge U2 kick lately. What’s happening now is what happened a few years ago with Pearl Jam. When I was an angsty early 20-something, I couldn’t appreciate what Vedder and the boys were all about. Now that I’m a grown man, the song writing and guitar tones of U2’s entire catalog is mind blowing. They were once a punk (ish) band from Ireland singing because it’s all they had in the world. I can feel that now, and it’s worth it.

The Pretenders. The Replacements. Run The Jewels. Vince Staples. Ryan Adams. These are a few of my current favorite things. Specifically RTJ3 and Prisoner from Ryan Adams. Tremendous records. Also give After The Party by The Menzingers a run through. I thought they hit the wall on their last (2) records. After The Party is a look in the rear view as your twenty’s give way to the real shit storms of adulthood. Good stuff. Leave me a comment and tell me what I need to be hearing. Peace.

Bringing It All Back Home

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Where do we begin? It’s 2017. I married my true love. I went to the Caribbean. Ran off to Vegas for a few days and a new tattoo. We have a toxic tangerine with his finger on the button. Rappers are still mumbling, and terrified of homosexuality. I’m still employed. My tax return is on the way. For what it’s worth, life is good.

A few days ago someone posted a pic of her screenplay revisions on IG. I sent her a message and asked how it was going. She said, good…still have the blog? Still have the blog? In theory, yeah I still did. I own the URL; paid for that baby cash. But the content? Nowhere to be found. My last post was early October 2016.

I’ve been truly struggling with the direction of the site. I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more…feel me? Chasing the next hot single. Sharing that fire new video. It got depressing. Trolling the “best” hip hop sites to skim a little here, lift a little there. I just got bored, and truthfully I’m still bored. I’m listening to a third of the new music I used to. I’m reading more. Watching more Netflix. Taking care of my two crazy little cats. Waiting patiently for my right foot to fully heal so I can play basketball every day. I’m enjoying being married and sharing quality time with my core group of friends that have become just as important as my family. Life is about living…and we out here.

State of the union? Hip hop is painfully boring, so I’m barely hovering on the outskirts. Target commercials. Sprite commercials. These are your heroes, and who am I to hate? These kids are getting money, one simple syllable at a time. Get money young guns. Get money. But that wave, while super important to a whole generation of kids, just doesn’t speak to me in a way that merits my minutes at the keyboard. So I’m waiting on that rainy day for a little tiny speck of inspiration. Hasn’t hit yet.

I have not and will never bore you with a lifestyle brand of daily blogging. Y’all don’t give a healthy fuck about what I had to eat this morning, or what bar my people and I took over last night. You have your own wings to eat and your own spots to dominate. So instead, I’ll post some thoughts, some new music that you need to hear, and some creative pieces that are either brand new debuts, or some gems from the vault. Either way, it’s about creating and the time is now to bring it all back home.

It started when I was 13 with a marble composition book and a head full of confusion. Then the novel (an unpublished first-take disaster), the blog, and some pieces here and there published by some fantastic sites. Now there’s this. A little space to share some words and music and maybe a little bit of inspiration.  Lets be strangers together.

Updates and Implications

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We’ve come to a bit of a crossroads.  I’m not sure there’s a need or want for this site to continue in its current form. There are a million blogs out there and we’re all chasing the same ‘next big thing’, so what’s the element that keeps people coming back? Is it the insight? Maybe the syntax. I’d like to say it’s the desire to ingest some genuine sentiment and/or discover exciting new content.

We’re going dark until November. When we relaunch, it’s going to feel a bit different. You’re going to see more creative pieces. More features. Less up to the minute content. I’ll always share what my current soundtrack happens to be, what I’m hearing and what you need to hear, but that info will accompany the issues and topics that are consuming my mind right then and there. I imagine of fusion of music and prose where one truly leans on the other. Lets see where this takes us.

Comments? Suggestions? Please feel free to reach out…

See you in November.  -El Hefe