In My Write Mind
5.31.2005

Grrrr...

*Sigh* EJ has tagged me yet again with a MEME...this one's on music. And I will comply. However, before I go anutha furtha, lemme just say from henceforth and forevermore:

***I HEREBY DENOUNCE ALL MEMES AND, GOING FORWARD, WILL RETURN THEM TO THEIR SENDERS EMPHATICALLY AND WITHOUT FEAR OF RETRIBUTION!!! FROM THIS POINT ONWARD, I WILL NEVER RESPOND TO ANOTHER TAG, FORWARD OR QUERY REGARDING MEMES, THUS RENDERING THEM NULL AND VOID AS STATED IN THE WILL DAWSON PA.TRIOT ACT OF 2005.***

Thank you.

Now...*ahem* on to the MEME. LOL

1. What is the total volume of musical files on your computer?

128.0 kbps (whatever that means...lol)

2. What song are you listening to right now?

We Belong Together, Mariah Carey, The Emanicipation of Mimi or, as I like to call it, the "Lovers and Friends" remix...lol

3. Last CD I bought?

Tweet, It's Me Again (I really haven't bought any new music lately. Between Honey and the OSWs, I'm pretty much taken care of musically here at work. *shrug* )

4. Five songs you listen to a lot and which mean something to you:

Cross My Mind, Jill Scott, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Volume 2.
I think we allll know that this woman can sing the phone book to me and I'd be A-OK. Since I've been driving a lot the past two weeks, it seems like I always catch this song on the radio. It made me pull out the CD and just listen to her reminisce about that person whom she loved but just couldn't stay with for whatever reason... Sooooo...amazingggggg!!! Still sends chills up my spine. And it causes me to think on similar experiences. Sigh. I lubb me some Jilly.


I Love the Dough, Notorious B.I.G. featuring Jay-Z, Life After Death.
There's just something about this song that puts me in summertime mode. Like you should be driving down the FDR or I-95 with this song blaring through your speakers. Well...since I live in Harlem...and thus have no use for a car...my home stereo speakers with the windows wide open will have to do. It means a lot to me because the flow is sick, with BIG and Jay rattling off metaphor after metaphor ("cases, catch more than outfieldors"...classic!...I miss B.I.G.), sounding like the kings of Brooklyn that they are. Plus, shiiiiiiit...e'rybody lubb da dough! Don't front. LOL

Fields of Gold, Sting, The Best of Sting 1984-1994.
I used to work nights. And during the days, you could always catch me at my boy Greg's house. Eating his mom's spaghetti, flirting with his gorgeous cousin, making his mom and sister laugh, playing video games. And we would always hit up the matinees. We'd sneak in some beef patties and coco bread and relax. The people at the booth knew us, that's how often we'd be there. LOL He had a girlfriend who lived in Brooklyn, and when we'd go pick her up, he would always rock The Best of Sting. And he would sing that song, "Fields of Gold", off-key, proudly...and loudly, each time it came on. It stuck with me. He died from complications due to injuries suffered while riding a motorcycle back in 2001. I miss him. And every once in a while...I play the song...and sing it...loudly, proudly, and yes, off-key. R.I.P. Greg.

A Song for You, Donny Hathaway, These Songs for You LIVE!
Ahh, Donny. I've always loved "A Song for You." Most people see it as depressing, seeing that he's singing about a lost love. Not me. I see it as inspiring, if only because of the emotion he pours into each note. Dude is acting out his life in stages during this entire song!!! And the live version? Yeah, ummm...I'm gonna need you all to peep that version. I think it's even better than the original. As does the crowd he sang in front of back in 1971. They literally go crazy with each note! I came across this song on Music Choice earlier this year and it made me appreciate it even more. Shout out to Donny. May he rest in peace! This song stays in my rotation!!!

I Really Love You Girl, Bobby Brown, Don't Be Cruel.
This song takes me back to summertime in St. Albans. My boy El and I would ride around pumping the "...Cruel" cassette like there was no tomorrow. And I still have the tape with the faded lettering to prove it. LOL This song was one of the most overlooked of the collection. I asked someone a few weeks ago if they ever heard it, and they gave me a blank look. A scrunch of the face even. And then, in true TDS fashion, they ask me to sing a few bars. Lawd...whyyyyyyyyyyy? I didn't do it. Instead, I refer them to the internet to look it up. Sure the composition is uneven and Bobby is screeching a lil bit, but I still love the song. Dude really, really, really loved this girl. LOL "I think I have found the girl for me...and she'ssss the only one I neeeed...we fit together like a hand in a glove...and there's never a dull moment...when we make love...." Go Bobby. Go Summertime. Yup, I still listen to it. Hey, hey...don't be cruel. LOL

scribbled by Will at 5/31/2005 04:47:00 PM
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5.26.2005

Back to the 5ives...

**Soundtrack: We Got Our Own Thang, Heavy D. & the Boyz, Big Tyme**


Wow, these High 5ives have been MIA as I've been prepping to go to, ummm, MIA. A lot has been going on over the past few months. Life decisions, family matters, work crap...name it, I've been going through it. Thus, the hiatus. But, as with everyone else, I just couldn't stay away for long. With that said, I'm due a random ass post before the long weekend.

So here it is...LOL

1. Let me get to this first and foremost. I think you guys know that I watch a looootttttt of television. With the invention of TiVo, even when I travel like crazy, I still gets my TV on. So I've been home this week catching up on some shows. Below is my synopsis of three season finales:

  • Desperate Housewives--Listen, back in December, I came clean that I watched the show, so don't act all brand new on me now. LOL I peeped the season finale and I have to say that I was OK with how things played out. Bree's husband died (was actually poisoned by the pharmacist who has the hots for Bree and will.not.be.denied), John the gardener came clean to Carlos about laying the pipe to Gabrielle (I still don't see what the fascination is with her, btw...she's not fine...LOL), Mike the plumber FINALLY made it known why he was in town, avenging the death of his ex-girlfriend who was killed by Paul and Mary Alice (the lady who shot herself in the pilot) when she tried to take the baby back from them that she'd previously sold them in a crack-induced haze. LOL Zach (the baby that was sold) finally snapped, pulling out a gun on Susan and holding her hostage til Mike comes back. Ole Zackie plans on killing Mike for killing his dad (which he was told happened by a nosey neighbor), not knowing that Mike could be his birth daddy. LOL Lawd, this is turning into a full-blown soap opera. I can't take it. I may not watch next season. But if I do, it will be because of Betty Applewhite. Yep, that's the name of the new neighbor on Wisteria Lane. And pssst...she's black. That's right, folks! Alfre Woodard has joined the cast. I swear, they got ONE TIME to discriminate against her and I'm OUT. LOL Bitches.

  • The Contender--The show that nobody watched. Sigh. It was a good show. I mean, how can you go wrong when you have Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard in prominent speaking roles?!?!? That comedy alone kept me coming back. Sure, the boxing stories got so syrupy I had to watch with my insulin at the ready, but still...you got sixteen boxers going for one prize of $1 million. And they get to knock the bejeezus out of one another along the way. God Bless America. The real reason why I tuned into the finale is because, ladies and gentlemen, Sly and Sugar would be let loose for TWO hours WITHOUT EDITING. This was LIVE TV. Imagine my joy when I found out they would BOTH be doing color commentary for the final two fights. Lawd, it was good times. They did NOT disappoint. With every punch, all you heard from Sly was "Uhhhngggh!" Sugar would co-sign, and then throw in such gems as "That's gotta hurt" or "He's got to feel that one." I swear, when I'm running HBO10 one day, I'm hiring these guys on.the.spot. They need to make a Contender video game with these guys giving play-by-play just so I can download it to my phone.

  • LOST--I was definitely the most disappointed with this show's finale. It was cool to see the annoying science teacher blow up and splatter into a cajillion pieces. It was even cool to see the white guy singing Bob Marley songs. Hey, I get it. He's down. But ummm...the show may have LOST me near the end...when a potential rescue boat approached the raft...and demanded that they hand over the little black boy. *blank stare, remote in hand, feeling face turning flush* Yes, I know he was the only child on the island, and it could've been ANY kid. But it wasn't. It was a black boy, being taken away, for purposes unknown. I swear fore Gawd, if I see one clip in the fall of that boy doing ANY KIND OF SLAVE LABOR...*seething* Woo-sah! Woo-sah!...*collecting myself* I will boycott ABC and all of their affiliates forever. They have been warned.

2. My niece and her two children live with my mother in Queens. They moved here from California last year. Back home, they had two dogs. Here, they had none. Which is just the way my mother liked it. She under no circumstances wanted a dog. And it's her house, so ummm...that was that. Right? Well, my niece, in her infinite wisdom, decided that her kids needed a dog. Sooooo...she went out and got one. And brought it to my mother's house. Where she stays. With her kids. Sigh. That was a few weeks ago. And it's alllllll I've heard about for the past few weeks. From both sides. My niece says she thought my mom said OK. She deserves a pimp slap for that. I don't live there and I know she said no. LOL My mom's stance? Either the dog goes or my niece does. So far, both are still there. This.could.get.ugly. *calling moving companies on behalf of my niece*

3. In response to allllll the blogging that's been going on since the DC trip about me somehow snubbing my homies Xquizzyt1 and Rhapsodi. *deep breath* Yes, I have both of their numbers. No, I didn't intentionally snub them that evening. My phone was going haywire and I couldn't make a call. I promise. And I was drunk. Not drunk like my homeboys...LOL...but drunk nonetheless. So when X called me on it the next day, and suggested that I could've used someone ELSE'S phone to call them...she had me. Dead to right. But again, I say...I was drunk. That is all. And thanks, Cee, for helping me fix my phone that night. Good lookin'! Moving on...LOL

4. My good friend Nikki is getting married this weekend. I cannot wait to go to this wedding. Why, you ask? Aren't all weddings the same at this point? To a degree...yes. But this is Nikki...from Brooklyn. And Nikki loves to have a good time. The drinks should be flowing and oh yeah, there's going to be some food there, too. LOL Seriously, I cannot wait to see what she has in store on Sunday. If this wedding is wack she will never hear the end of it. So if you read me on Tuesday and I say that I STILL have a hangover...this, my friends, is why I love Nikki. LOL

5. I would be remiss if I didn't take this time out to congratulate a few good bloggers on their new jobs! I always say that good things happen to good people. I also always say It's about damn time. LOL So Jazz, Rhap, Golden and Yolie...CONGRATULATIONS on your new gigs, my sistas! And a special shout to Suezette for graduating! Ya make a big bro proud, I say!!!

Now if y'all will excuse me, there is yet ANOTHER blogger meetup this weekend. *shaking my head* They shoulda never gave you nuccas buddy passes. LOL

Peace!

scribbled by Will at 5/26/2005 11:46:00 AM
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5.25.2005

Set Up, Set Back: The Story of...Soul Train

Never before has one show had such a history. Thirty-four years. THIRTY-FOUR!!! And over the course of those three-plus decades, we've seen the good (the artists/dancers), the bad (the outfits/hairstyles) and the ugly (the last three hosts/the lip synching). It's been a wild ride, for sure. And throughout it all, the one consistent track that has kept people aboard the train has been the need. The need to be entertained on the weekends. The need to see "our folk" given ample air time. The need to see what NOT to wear outside your house. The need to see the proper formation of a Soul Train line.

Until now, that is. Sadly, over the past decade, Soul Train has become a parody of itself. The top-shelf talent of the 70s, 80s and early 90s has given way to little-known artists and second-tier rappers, all LIP SYNCHING!!! *sigh* to album tracks, giving Soul Train less credibility than a Corey Clark interview on ABC. That's not even to mention all that the show has done over the past ten years to openly campaign for the banishment of light-skinned brothers from television screens worldwide. It's just ain't right. In fact, it's been wrong for more than a minute.

In either case, it's definitely been a wild ride. But is it time for the Train to be officially and mercifully derailed?

Today, we take a look at the rise and fall, the ebb and flow, the yes and no...the Set UP and Set BACK of the self-proclaimed "hippest trip in America..." Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you an IMWM exclusive:

The Story of Soul Train



*Cue T.S.O.P. theme music*



THE HISTORY

Back in 1971, D.on Corn.elius wanted that Dick Clark money. He saw the success that American Bandstand enjoyed and knew that he could take that idea to the 'hood and give the people what they wanted. To see black people on TV. So with some seed money from Sears Roebuck Company, he did the damn thing, producing a local Chicago show he called The Soul Train. He hosted it, picked the dancers, slept with the female soul singers, waxed the studio floors. The only thing he didn't do, apparently, is take diction classes. But no matter--he was making his dreams come true.

Then, in true Soul-Glo fashion, Afro-Sheen approached "The Don" with an offer that he couldn't refuse. They would be a sponsor of the show, thus getting hit off lovely with customers while providing product and dollars to the show. It was a marriage pomade in heaven. With this financial backing, the Soul Train accelerated quickly, moving to Hollywood and into syndication. Everybody and their mama wanted to be on the show. It was "practically a free ticket to R&B (and pop) success", according to the show's web site. The shows' first guests? Gladys Knight & the Pips, Eddie Kendricks, The Honey Cone and Bobby Hutton. The weeks that followed introduced us to legends-in-the-making such as the Staple Singers, Al Green, Bill Withers, Lou Rawls and Bobby Womack. (Who knew it would go from Bobby Womack to a Bobby WhoKnowsCrack?!?!?!)

In the words of Randy Jackson, Soul Train was da bomb, yo! Add in the dancers, who admittedly back then were a lot more tame and um, shall we say, colorfully costumed than the scantily-clad mamas we see today. But it worked! Kids and parents alike could be in their TV rooms literally cutting a rug while watching Junior Walker and the All-Stars, or work up a sweat dancing to the latest tune by The Emotions. It was must-see TV. And it would stay that way for more than twenty years. Black America was set up lovely.

THE RISE

To be clear, Do.n Cor.neliu.s was more wooden than a backyard deck during the summer. His movement, his "put-me-to-sleep" voice, his ridiculous questions...the stuff of Saturday Night Live sketches. But, it worked! People--artists and viewers alike--were comfortable with Uncle Don. That's it...it was like one of your uncles was hosting the show. So you felt equally embarrassed when he stumbled and proud when he got to shake the hands of your favorite artists. AND he got to hang out with the dancers?!?!? I had afro-envy. LOL Check out some of the show lineups from the 70s. This stuff is head-spinning, for real.

April 15, 1972--The Isley Brothers, Love Unlimited, Millie Jackson
October 21, 1972--Gladys Knight & the Pips, O'Jays
February 16, 1974--Marvin Gaye, The Whispers
November 15, 1975--War, The Main Ingredient
October 1, 1977--The Emotions, Maze feat. Frankie Beverly
November 15, 1980--Shalamar, Mtume
May 29, 1982--Patrice Rushen, Cameo

The lists go on and on. I grew up with all of these artists. I grew up with this show. Throw in regular appearances by The Jackson Five, Rick James, Deneice Williams, Smokey Robinson, Atlantic Starr and Debarge...Lawd. EVERY soul artist has been on Soul Train at least once. Which means we got to see them perform in living color way before music videos were born. Soul Train was definitely (pardon the pun) on the right track. Throw in the Sprite Scramble Board with the ridiculously easy answers, the world-famous Soul Train line (where the amount of splits rivaled that of Hollywood marriages), the dancers mugging for the camera while doing some of the worst moves this side of Elaine Benes...and the lip synching. Can I emphasize ENOUGH how unneccesary this was? I really would like to sit down with Don one day and ask him WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! I always wanted to see my favorite artist in concert form, not jumping around the stage mouthing the words to the tapes I could play at home. It's mind-boggling at best. But still, I looked forward to each week.

How could a show that had soooooo much momentum go so horribly wrong? Impossible, right? Wrong. Sadly, wrong.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

With the 80s came the invention and onslaught of the music video. Even black people were getting their shine on with the emergence of new cable channel BET *retch*. It didn't STOP Soul Train from attracting talent, but seriously, if you had the choice of watching artists lip synch to story lines as opposed to lip synching with a fake smile on their faces on a soundstage, which would you choose? Exactly. And with the birth of rap, Soul Train tried earnestly to incorporate the new genre into its content. BIG mistake. I wasn't trying to see The Fat Boys lip synching!!! I could do that in front of my mirror!

Don't get it twisted...the artists still came. The 80s introduced us to New Edition, who during one stretch in the mid-80s appeared on the show seemingly every other week. And The Don didn't discriminate. Culture Club, Teena Marie, Sheena Easton and Elton John all got shine on the Soul Train stage. They had soul. With 1987 came the first ever Soul Train Music Awards show, a tradition that is loosely followed to this day. In fact, I think the ONLY thing that links it to the original is that it still airs in March. That's it.

Then came the 90s and the single-most "beautiful" episode in the history of the show. May 19, 1990. The day that the guests were *deep breath* Tyler Collins and En Vogue. FIVE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN for an entire hour!!!! I can still remember hyperventilating behind that one. Lawd. Good times! Soul Train was STILL da shit.

Then...it happened. The end of Soul Train as we all knew it. In fact, let's start a new section right about here.

THE END

The year was 1992 A.D. in the year of our Lawd. The Don, everybody's senile uncle, who had helmed the show from its inception all the way through Season 27, stepped down as host. Afros everywhere were at half-mast. He was comfortable. He was unintentionally funny. He was, dare I say, an institution.

But fret not, you say? The show was always about the music and it could survive a change of hosts, you counter?

Yeah...OK. Notsomuch.

Season 28 saw the deplorable Mystro Clark take over for The Don. From the despicable suits to the "sufferin' succatash" lisp, it was a *ahem* train wreck. And no one in control saw this. This dude kept the job for TWO YEARS!!!! He finally got let go. And you would think that an upgrade would be on the way, right? RIGHT? *sigh* Ladies and Gentlemen...Shemar Moore. The dude wore less clothes than the female dancers, pranced around trying to mack four at a time, and wore shades to mask the fact that he was reading EVERYTHING directly from the cue cards. And badly, at that. He lasted for FOUR YEARS!!! With Shemar, you either loved him or hated him. I'ma let you guess which side of the fence I fell on. Blech!

Some cat named Dorien Gregory is the host now. Along with the other replacements, he's lightskinned. I cover my face at the mention of this for fear that I would ever be lumped in with these losers. They've set back our movement "light" years. Slave owners are seeing video of this and kicking us back into the fields. I burn in the sun! DAMN YOU SHEDORISTRO!!! (That's their names combined...LOL)

Truthfully, I don't think I've watched a full episode since The Don left. Clearly, the show has seen better days, like a Dianne Reeves song. LOL The hosts have been horrible. The talent has dropped off significantly. I swear to you, I just looked at who's scheduled to perform on the June 4, 2005 show...*deep breath*...Mike Jones, Corey Clark and a Ciara music video. COREY CLARK?!?!?!? WTH?!?!? And now they play music videos. What, Omarion's little brother Ohellno wasn't available? I hear his birth video is HOT. *shudder*

THIS is how far Soul Train has fallen off. It's been over to me ever since The Don stepped down. Kaput. The pits. Somebody pass the shotgun so we can put it out of its misery. What started out as the hippest trip in America is now, sadly, the arthritic hip that trips over its own beard. And I hate that.

Soul Train was born the same year as me. So we've always had a bond. I've watched it forever. Now that it's turned into a shell of its former self, it makes me realize just how horrible the music industry is. How lacking in soul it's become. Soul Train couldn't be further off track. Derailed even.

Just like America did to us, we as black people have been set up, and now set back. When will we ever learn? *shaking my head*

I will now go hang myself. Choo choo, bitches.

scribbled by Will at 5/25/2005 09:25:00 AM
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5.24.2005

A Few...

OK, I got tagged by EJ Da DJ, and am NOT one to shrink from a meme, so below, please find 10 of my favorite things in no particular order:

1. Family (it's been a rough year, and now Father's Day is just weeks away...*smh*)

2. Writing (duh!)

3. Red Stripe (It's BEER!!! LOL)

4. Music (as you can probably tell from all the musical posts I've done over the past few months)

5. Food (italian is my favorite...did somebody say lasagna?)

6. Sunrises (just beautiful to see, with the different shades of orange...love it!)

7. Making people laugh (a nucca got gifts...lol)

8. Kissing

9. Reading (yes, I'm a geek...as if y'all didn't already know...lol)

10. SEX (couldn't be a favorites list without that, dammit! lol)




Oh, and just for fun, let's say I tag NO ONE and end this meme right here...hmmm, how about that? Peace...bitches.

scribbled by Will at 5/24/2005 07:37:00 AM
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5.19.2005

Over the Hump...

The guest of honor had her songs all picked out. She started off with a nod to A-Town (Alabama...lol) with Usher's "Yeah!", then turned it up a notch with Prince's "Adore" and, after a seemingly endless parade of songs and stylings, wrapped up the evening with what has become her anthem, Salt N Pepa's "Push It."

There we all were...co-workers, colleagues, friends...in the same spot as before. Except this time, it seemed different. It meant more. You see, we were there for a celebration. It was the guest of honor's birthday. And celebrate we did. But not just her birthday. Nope. This night, at the spot we always frequent for "All-Star Karaokethons", it was much more than an annual acknowledgement. It was a celebration of life. Of laughter. Of making it to another Hump Day.

Of making it over the hump.

Just seeing her sing, seeing her smile, seeing her having a good time at a party thrown in her honor, made the night worthwhile. She needed this. And we all needed to make sure she had it. Because it proved that she'd gotten over the hump. Gotten past all that took place during her birthday month. All that happened before this Hump Day.

Just three weeks ago, all was not good. The week before Mother's Day, her mother disappeared after going out for a leisurely walk to a neighborhood grocery store. She already suffered from shortness of breath on occasion, always equipped with an oxygen mask to help alleviate the dizziness, to balance out her breathing. On this day, she never returned home. One week before the day she was to be celebrated by her loved ones. She was missing for three days before being found on a Brooklyn street, half-naked, a victim of kidnap and rape. She would say later that her attacker attempted to kill her using the cord from her oxygen mask, thus trying to take her breath with the very device that helped her breathe.

Needless to say, our co-worker, our colleague, our friend was beside herself with worry. Her mother, her best friend, had been taken and abused, taken advantage of. For any of us to imagine the type of pain and hurt and fear she experienced would be impossible. We did what we could. We prayed for her, for her mother. We prayed and gave thanks that our relatives were safe and sound, knowing we wouldn't be able to bear anything like that happening to them.

When her mother was found, very shaken, abused, but alive, those prayers were answered. But by no means did the prayers stop. She still needed to heal and needed all the help possible to do so. She arrived home just in time for Mother's Day, just in time to be celebrated and cherished. That Mother's Day, for that family, meant so much more. It was her first step of healing. It was more than a celebration, just like this Hump Day, when we could see our friend finally get over the proverbial hump. When she was able to let loose and enjoy herself for her 27th birthday, singing songs like there was no tomorrow. On this third Hump Day of May, we finally saw her happy.

She was finally able to relax. Her mother is doing better, going to therapy to deal with the trauma. We still pray for her. For the family. There's a long road ahead for them in order for them to recover from such an experience. They might not ever recover. But taking steps to do so is necessary. Steps like her mother is taking through therapy. Steps like the guest of honor took last night, crooning at the top of her lungs on her special day.

That made us all smile, made us glad that we could be there for her to help her celebrate much more than just a birthday. We all gathered at our usual spot, ironically a place called Proof.

For last night, on the third Hump Day in May 2005, we were able to see proof that she was finally getting over the hump. And that's definitely something to sing about.

scribbled by Will at 5/19/2005 07:15:00 AM
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5.18.2005

I'd Be On A Roll...

Sigh.

Excuse me as I get misty for a moment. It happens every time I hear the song. You know the one...by the Native Tongues, i.e., De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and the Jungle Brothers. The one where Monie Love and Queen Latifah make cameos that set the party off. The one that sounds like one of the greatest studio sessions ever.

Yup. That's the song. The "Buddy" remix. In my opinion, one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever made. And also one of the most important, if only because it solidified the Native Tongues as a unit well before Tribe's Scenario remix propelled them into the stratosphere.

"Buddy" was, and still is, da shit.

And to think, back then, in 1989, when they were getting things in order to record the remix, back when I was a naive young rapper just out of high school trying to make my mark in the industry, serving as a backup dancer for Dr. Dre and Ed Lover road shows at Green Acres and Roosevelt Field Malls, you'd never believe that I had a chance to be a part of one of the greatest collabo records ever made. Yup. Me. A kid from Queens who was struggling to follow in the footsteps of legends like Run DMC and LL Cool J. After giving my demo to any and everybody I came across, I finally got it in the hands of Trugoy of De La. And he liked my flow so much that they decided to give me a shot on a little remix they were doing called "Buddy." I was a fresh voice. I was different. I was a potential NATIVE TONGUE!!!

I was lingual, yo.

When I got the call, I was hyped. Ok, actually, hyperventilating is a better description. LOL They told me I had 16 bars and told me to listen to the original version to get a taste on how the song would flow. Told me to bring the fire, and that there was no real structure. And I was ready to bring the pain. 3 Feet High and Rising was my favorite album. The cut "Potholes in My Lawn" was the soundtrack to many a basketball game as my crew wrecked shop. The cut "Me, Myself and I" was my absolute favorite joint. These guys were my idols. A different type of group--a laid back collective from the suburbs that kept it real. It was a perfect fit!

My only regret is, before I headed to the studio, I let some of my friends listen to the verse I was gonna drop. And they critiqued it. Harshly. Told me to add a word here or there, to drop this phrase and replace it with that, and to change my original inflection to sound more "relatable." I was like, this is rap. I'm not auditioning for voice over work. LOL So I stuck to my guns. Was gonna do it my way. Besides, that's the style that made them notice me in the beginning. Why should I change?

Finally, the day comes. I get to the studio and look around. There were no craft service tables. No sodas. Just a water cooler and some Dixie cups, the smell of weed and a big ass booth where all the artists would record their parts. After gandering at the booth, I turned around. Oh shit, it's the Jungle Brothers. Oh sniddap, it's Phife and Tip! Yoooooooo...that's fuckin' Queen Latifah, headdress and all. LOL I was in hip-hop heaven. And there was a straight up party going on in the studio that night. Jokes, jokes and more jokes. I just got in where I fit in...which was in the corner of the room.

I was even more hyped (read: hyperventilating) now. Ready to let loose a barrage of verbs and adjectives that would place my tongue with the Natives. I went over my verse in my head over and over again (couldn't bring no paper...didn't want the rest to think I was a rookie...lol), ready to step into the booth and make some history. So after going to the bathroom (several times...nerves) and getting introduced to everybody (one more bathroom trip after THAT), it was my turn to step into the booth.

My verse was to follow the verse that ended with "without Buddy I'd be on a roll..." And I was flowing, rocking back and forth, getting in tune with the beat, just one with the music. And I missed my cue. Just.plain.missed.it. The studio engineer yelled CUT.

Asked me if I was OK.

I was busy clapping, listening to the track and bobbing my head.

"Huh? Yeah, I'm fine."

"That was your cue to do your verse."

"Oohhhhh...my bad. OK, I'm ready now. Roll that back."

So they roll back the track, play the last verse over again, and it comes up again...

"without Buddy, I'd be on a roll..."

My time to shine. And I start my rap. Off beat. Wayyyyyyy off beat. You know why? Because I start doing the "Uhhh...yeah...Come on..." I was Puffy before his time. The director yells, CUT!

"What was that?"

"I'm sorry. I was just feeling the beat, warming myself up. Getting myself hyped."

"Nigga, you do that on your own time. Just spit your verse and get out da booth!"

"OK, OK. I got dis. One more time. I'm ready now."


"ROLLBACK!"

"...without Buddy, I'd be on a roll..."

My verse:

"It's the Biscuit, don't risk it, just see what I'm about/Come and
see my Buddy he'll be sure to turn you out/Chillin' wit da Tongues and I'm down wit da Soul/Making true believers with my form of mind control/Straight from the Mecca, Jamaica, in Queens/Been rappin' in my basement since I was in my teens/They gave me the chance, I give you the flow/Go head try and take my Buddy, too late, too slow..."


I DID IT! I LAID DOWN MY VERSE! I was DONE! AND IT WAS HOT!!! Afterwards, everybody was giving me dap and, in between their pulls on the blunts, told me that my future was bright. They didn't hate, they congratulated. I was on Cloud Nine! I got respect from the people that I admired. Got validation and was on my way to a hot career.

Or a hot breakfast...because that's all I can remember from that dream. Seems I woke up after that part and had to go to the bathroom. Sigh.

I mean, sure it was all a dream, but dammit...the verse was still hot. LOL

And at least I know now that, if I were ever given a chance to get up in the booth, I'd be no joke. Hell, I'd be good!

Yup, in my dreams...my tongue would be Native.

"I'd be on a roll..." Sigh. Somebody pass me a tissue.

scribbled by Will at 5/18/2005 08:19:00 AM
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5.17.2005

*BRAND NEW* Just One More...

...that's all I ask. One more moment to soak it all in, to embrace the smells and the sights. One more opportunity to feel like it used to, when things were stress-free and the most you had to worry about was whether you wanted a bomb pop or an Italian Ice. One more drive through the neighborhood, chatting with people who were like family. All I want is one more.

One more great summer. Is that asking too much?

I want to take it back like a VH1 Behind the Music special. I want to break down what made the summers of the past so special, interview people that played a starring role and get their input. I want to bottle their words, their memories, shake it up, and pour it out just one more time. I want to go places I used to go, do things I used to do, never entertain the thought of sleeping in as I run roughshod through my last great summer, all the while inhaling every moment.

Do it fast, take it slow.

That's my motto for this one last great summer.

That summer would definitely lead me back to St. Albans, Queens, coming from where I'm from like an Anthony Hamilton song, where those past summers made the most impact, the most sense. Gave me the most memories. I want to go back to where I grew up, to the house with the stucco front and the yellow siding. The one with the garage in the back and the blacktop driveway. The one with the barbecue pit and the tables with umbrellas. The one with the rose bushes and the tempermental water hose. I need to go to the back yard where I prepared to hit the streets, working on my hitting stance for the afternoon softball games, where I perfected my left-handed jumper; where I played with our pet stray dog and where I was forced to cut the lawn.

I want to go back to the time where I got my first summer job, working for the NYC Dept. of Transportation in downtown Manhattan, coming home with a healthy paycheck (at that time, anyway) and big plans for the weekend. I want to go back to summer camp at the Y, where I learned to swim and paint and co-exist with others for extended periods of time. I want to go back to Cambria Park, where a day spent playing baseball, basketball and football with reckless abandon was the norm. One more day of taking on all comers, of winning at everything and never getting tired.

I want to go back to my dad teaching me how to drive in his 1983 Ford Fairmont, hearing him yell at me to focus as I drifted into different lanes on the parkway. What I wouldn't give to hear the Fairmont backfire one more time, one more summer time, as our neighbors would dive for cover.

I want to go back to when I could drink milk without consequence, when I had so many choices for breakfast, often choosing Frosted Flakes as my #1. One more morning of my mom's big breakfasts, one more BBQ with my sister's famous potato salad, with my dad on the grills' 1s and 2s.

I want one more summer of hanging out at my boy's house, planning my visits for when his gorgeous cousin was off from work. One more freestyle session in the basement of someobdy's house, with their parents laughing at our lame attempts at rapping and telling us to wrap it up. LOL I need one more summer, to take it back to all-day NBA Live tournaments, where you could make up your own players and make them do whatever the hell you wanted them to. That was the era of such virtual players as Issaul Goode and Framwhey Downtown. One more summer of parking lot pimpin' at the skating rink.

I just need one more great summer.

One more great summer of music like back in the day, where hip hop was like an energy drink and R&B was like a cold soda, both quenching your thrist. One more universal joint that EVERYBODY was boomin' in their systems, followed by the inevitable and often even-better remixes found on the B-sides of the "cassingles" or on the "maxi-CDs." One more hypnotic beat, one more lonely summer night's love song. One more super concert that had everyone feenin for tickets.

One more great summer. One more great time. One more two-month stretch of cultivating crushes, of culminating kisses at the beach at night. One more summer rain. One more summer reign. One more time, let me experience the humidity, the sprinklers, the trees, the soul food, the feeling of being free, young and unshackled. That's all I need.

Just one more...this year.

And then next year, I'll more than likely ask again...:)

scribbled by Will at 5/17/2005 07:24:00 AM
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5.16.2005

On A Higher Plane...

I've never been one to believe in the statement that "everything happens for a reason"; that there are no coincidences in life, that everything means something. Blah on that. I mean, you're telling me that COP ROCK happened for a reason?!?!? Ben Affleck becoming a star is more than mere coincidence?!?!?

I'm not buying that. At all.

So I've lived my entire life not subscribing to the fact that everything means something...except when I board an airplane. Then, like no other time, I get the feeling that the person I sit next to was put there for a reason--to teach me a lesson, to be a source of conversation, to annoy me to the point that my family looks great by comparison--there's always something I take away from the experience.

Like the time I was on the flight with the teenaged girl who was flying for the first time. She was nervous and cool at the same time, explaining to me that her grandmother would be waiting for her when we landed in Atlanta; how she appreciated me keeping her company while we flew and asking if I wanted some gum or to listen to her CDs when she was done; her asking me to pray with her and to hold her hand when we were about to touch down.

Or when I met an elderly couple on the way to Cleveland that wintry day a few years back, fresh off their wonderful trip to New York for shopping. Turns out they were heavily involved in the local Urban League and we had some mutual acquaintances. They gave me their address and we kept in touch for over a year, exchanging holiday cards and them shouting me out for my birthday.

Then there was the time I was on a flight back from Atlanta, sitting next to a fidgety young white boy who was travelling to New York for school, this being the first time he left his family for an extended period of time. He was nervous, kept asking me questions about the city, how to get around on the subway, and the best places to eat near Columbia University. I was happy to oblige, giving details of what he should expect, what to look out for, what to do. Being the detail-heavy writer that I am, I left him feeling assured that he was well-equipped for the road ahead, for the city that never sleeps, for the adventure of a lifetime.

That...was the day before 9/11. And to this day, I think back to that plane ride, and that young man, and wonder how fidgety he was after that experience, after the day that changed the world. I wonder if he went back home soon after; if he stayed and got his education. On a day that changed the playing field, brushed back even the most seasoned of New Yorkers, I often wonder if that kid took that high and tight pitch and stayed at the plate. Seriously, I wouldn't blame him if he didn't.

Those are just some of the experiences that popped into my head tonight as our plane sat on the runway for over an hour waiting to be towed into our gate. Those are some of the thoughts that danced around as a rare Los Angeles rain danced on the wings of the jumbo liner.

I think back on those conversations, those random people who were brought into my life for a reason...if nothing else than to let me know them. It's that wide cross section that makes everything seem reasonable, not so coincidental. Makes me want to be a part of their stories, to wonder how big a role I played in helping their stories progress.

I have no such story for this flight, unfortunately. The dude sitting next to me was way past needing my help. His constant fits and starts, tosses and turns, snorts and coughs made me believe that he needed the help of a professional. My synopsis was confirmed when, in an effort to get comfortable...he sat on the floor. Of the airplane. At 26,000 feet. I.couldn't.make.this.up. Sigh.

Those are just some of the things that kind of make me believe in that statement, that everything happens for a reason, at least for a second. At least until I land, when my feet are back underneath me, when I remember that everything cannot be explained, like Ashanti's singing career and Lil Kim's face.

Then, I realize that I was right in my assumptions. That something must be in the air, that the cabin pressure must play a big part in those scenarios, those times when myself and the people next to me are on a higher plane.

scribbled by Will at 5/16/2005 08:57:00 AM
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5.11.2005

'Tracking the Hits, Volume 2

Here it is...The Continuation!

In My Write Mind: 'Tracking the Hits, Volume 2

is in effect over by


Check it when you get a chance...



More '90s Soundtrack Grooves!
(FEEL ME ON THIS!!!)
OSW--It's All About the Music!
Major shouts to My Write Hand for the help...
and of course, to EJ for the opportunity...




HAPPY WEDNESDAY, E'RYBODY!
OH, AND I SEE YOU, ATLANTA!
(*me thinks a Red Stripe or three may be in Ms. Thing's near future...lol*)



Peace.

scribbled by Will at 5/11/2005 07:37:00 AM
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5.06.2005

For Sweater or For Worse

***From the IMWM ARCHIVES...originally written May 2004***

That sweater...it was an oversized contraption bought on sale at Alexander's a month earlier as part of a back-to-school package that included notebooks, glue and some shiny Alexander's Air Wack tennis shoes.

The wool that formed the turtle shell around my neck bruised me to the point where it put hickies on my neck like my name was Lil Shawn. It made my back and arms itch. It easily dwarfed my spindly body, going past my waist, more resembling a winterized dashiki. And while it was clearly made for an older child, it served its purpose as I would someday "grow into it."

It was all of those things. And yet...I loved it. It kept me warm against the cold October wind; it made me feel as if I had a shield on that no one could penetrate--an itchy, oversized shield--but a shield nonetheless.

And there I was, on the train with the one person who over the years would cause both some of my greatest joy and my greatest frustration: my mom. We were on what was one of our special trips to Manhattan--this one to see my very first Broadway play. I was downright giddy despite the itching that forever reminded me of what I had on.

Sure, the E train was full of pedestrians that afternoon that hovered over me like malodorous trees in a funky forest. Sure, once we reached the street, the buildings and Broadway lights overwhelmed me as we navigated through the tourists and shoppers on a crowded Saturday.

But none of that mattered. In fact, the play we went to see that day could've been anything--The Wiz with Stephanie Mills, Cats, Annie. You see, the play meant nothing to me compared to who I was there with--my mom.

She made sure that we had quality time at least one Saturday each month. Sometimes it was shopping at Gimbel's, followed by lunch at their cafeteria or at Chockfull of Nuts; sometimes it was a Broadway play. But it was always just me and her. Those memories will walk with me forever. As will the memory of that sweater.

Because just like the sweater, my mom kept me warm and content and made me feel invincible to the world as long as she held my hand. And, like the sweater, our relationship grew "itchy" over the years, with me at times feeling choked just like that turtleneck...and undoubtedly occasionally doing the choking.

No, the choking wasn't physical. It came in the form of stubbornness, both of us thinking we were always "right" instead of compromising. The more we butted heads through the years, the more being "right" became all wrong, adding more unnecessary "itch."

This relationship was strange, like a Prince song, but it truly wasn't bad by any stretch. In fact, it could be said my mom was my best friend when I was young. She taught me a lot, including how to treat a lady, giving me instructions on everything from holding open doors to walking on the right side of a woman while on the street. She walked with me to elementary school until I got the hang of it and showed up at every PTA meeting, even encouraging me to write and to use my imagination.

All of those things have contributed to me being the man I am today. As did the time that I saw my mom cry for the first time. It was right after my brother's death, and as I sat upstairs in my room reading a book, trying to come to grips with my older sibling never recovering from a seizure, I heard what sounded like sobbing coming from downstairs. When I reached the kitchen, I found my mother, in the dark, with more hurt in her voice than any human should ever know. I didn't say a word, just put my arm around her and held her for a while. It was on that night, a night when all of the choking was from holding back tears instead of being stubborn, that the sweater began to fit, that I began to "grow into" our relationship.

Eventually, those outings to Manhattan faded away. It wasn't easy to let go of those special days when I had it all as a wide-eyed pre-teen in the middle of the biggest city of them all with a mother whose love could fill a city twice its size. I felt somewhat betrayed, like I was losing a part of my mom's attention and her love along with those trips. It's the same way my mom must've felt when her youngest son decided it was time to leave the nest and find a path of his own. She felt abandoned, like she was left high and dry. Another "itch."

Sometimes, when I'm on the train, my mind tracks back to that day almost 30 years ago, when that sweater and my mother were all I needed. Times have changed, as have my mom and I. But I still smile at that memory.

I love my mother. She's my hero. She molded me, taught me, encouraged me, and loves me more than any woman probably ever will. Maybe I don't tell her that enough. She probably needs to hear it more often.

I owe her at least that much. And speaking of owing, maybe I'll pick up some tickets and a MetroCard and take "Will Mommy" on the train to see Puff Daddy on Broadway. He's just as stubborn as us, so we should be able to relate.

Now if I could only find that sweater...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL!!! ENJOY THE WEEKEND!

scribbled by Will at 5/06/2005 08:00:00 AM
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5.04.2005

'Tracking the Hits, Volume 1

I see you, EJ da DJ! I appreciate you, mayne!!! *pounds to my dirty souf partna*

This week's OSW...

In My Write Mind: 'Tracking the Hits, Volume 1

...is up and running. Check out these hits from movie soundtracks of the early to mid '90s. Head on over to EJ's spot and bob your head to these joints.

***Shouts to My Write Hand for assisting with the compilation!!!

It's alllll about the music! Hope you enjoy!!!

(Now it's back to work I go...lol)

scribbled by Will at 5/04/2005 06:36:00 AM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)



The Write One


Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
More About Will
Even MORE About Will


Previously...on IMWM
It Was Written

September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
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