Me Too, Kanye. Me Too.

Yay. Another hit song from somebody I won’t remember tomorrow. Hooray.

While I think that Kanye straddles the line between petulant child and idiot savant a bit too often, dude is definitely a brilliant artist. I won’t call him a musician because as of yet I’m not sure he can play anything other than a drum machine. But what makes him so brilliant as an artist is his vision. In fact, that’s what separates him from nearly every other artist out there in hip-hop, in my opinion. Kanye has figured out how best to tow the line between capturing the cultural zeitgeist, finding an innovative way to promote it, and dropping music that somehow manages to sound completely unique and niche but intended for mass consumption at the same damn time. That is a rare talent.

To take it a step further, the only thing separating Nas from Jay-Z is Kanye West. Kanye has enabled Jay to extend his run at the top much longer than it likely would have lasted. He’s allowed Jay to venture into musical waters he’d otherwise never venture without somebody like ‘Ye there to create it. I don’t know this for fact, but Jay’s taken a hell of a lot more chances with his music since Kanye showed up.

Vision. I get it. It’s allowed the man to focus on the experience of music moreso than just the sound of it. You don’t just get an album. You get the visuals, you get the package. Hell, even the simple cover art for every single they’ve dropped since the G.O.O.D. Friday’s experiment of 2010 was ahead of its time. No need for anything too crazy. It’s all about the experience. Which is why I understand why artists like Kanye and Andre 3000, get so bored with, well, everything.

“…I’m just underwhelmed in general…” ~ Kanye West, Cruel Summer promo video

“…I’m tangled in my chord, eh, bored…” ~ Andre 3000, “Mighty O”, Idlewild Soundtrack

I get it. I don’t think there’s been a time where I’ve personally been this underwhelmed by music that I hear. And to be honest, some of that output includes the music coming from the Grammy family too. I even find Cruel Summer to be underwhelming. Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of “Mercy” (outside of saying Lamborghini mercy because its just fun to say) or “New God Flow” when they dropped. “Clique” is perfect. Period. But I’ve listened to the album a few times and have yet to want to listen to it again.

I wonder if I’m just suffering from art overload and malaise. I consume an insane amount of music and create my own. The more I hear the less enthused I get by current musical output. It’s like the 9th Wonder Production Returns theory all over – the more you get of it the less good it all is. And it’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some of it. There are definite pop smashes that I enjoy in the moment. But I forget them shortly after they fade from public consiousness like that Cobra Starship song I loved so much featuring Saba. Or anything by Carly Rae Jepsen. But I won’t remember those songs in two weeks if I don’t listen to the radio.

It doesn’t translate solely to music either. Many things that once excited me have managed to create a sense of boredom. From reading blogs that used to rocky my socks that now bore the absolute living f*ck out of me to fashion, because believe it or not, I like fashion. Which could just mean that I’m getting old. Or maybe I’m just getting crotchety. Of course, I still manage to get excited for some things in the music world. While I wasn’t holding my breath for Cruel Summer, I know I will be for a new Kanye West album. Or even a Jay album. I would be for an Outkast album but I guess Big Boi would too. I’m waiting for Kendrick Lamar to drop and am truly excited about that, but, that’s about it.

Even while waiting for those projects, there will be lesser known items that will come into my purview and make me smile again. You know, it just hit me as I was writing this. Because I feel like I’ve grown up along with nearly every great movement in hip-hop, I got to sit live and direct for a lot of music that absolutely made me and everybody else appreciative for its existence. And that’s what I feel is missing now. That’s what creates the underwhelming feeling. The innovation is missing. Nobody is making anything, that I’ve heard, that truly makes me appreciative of the artistry that goes into it. People either aren’t taking chances or don’t know how to take chances. Sure, there’s dope music that is safe, so to speak, but it doesn’t resonate after you’ve heard it the first time.

There are no more Madvillainys.

So when I do hear something that resonates I’m happy as hell and I truly feel lucky to have heard it or been apart of it. And that doesn’t happen often enough anymore. I’m not going to say the music lost all of its integrity, I just don’t feel much of it in my soul. For instance, the last bit of music that truly hit me in my gut, was a little known outfit out of Chicago, called Milo & Otis, composed of a vocalist/poet/etc and a composer/producer, with an album called The Joy. I would recommend you give it a listen. Instantly, I was hooked. Instantly. It’s the only thing I’ve listened to since I got it. And I’m appreciative of that. Something that makes me want to hit repeat.

I think that’s what Kanye was getting at with his underwhelmed comment. Which is why he is winning. He is making music that folks will play on repeat because it resonates and achieves the goal of being compelling. He’s trying to make himself give a f*ck. Could be the Gemini in us (pause?) that gets bored easily but that’s what I’m looking for too. The reason to listen again.

I’m tired of being underwhelmed, but I do at least believe that more quality is on the way from somewhere. Whether it’s the Milo & Otis’s (for me) or the Kanye’s of the world, I know there’s talent out there. I just have to do my work to find it. Maybe it isn’ the destination, but the journey.

Maybe I like clichés.

Maybe I’m just bored.



We’d like to do our first shoutouts to folks who have contributed money to our ongoing efforts to create a TV pilot based on VSB! Thanks so much for your donations and support! You’ll be hearing from our lawyers mothers…eh…we love you! Thanks for sleepwalking to the following folks:

Karmella Haynes
Kimberly Sewell
Alexis Gomez
Sally Rainey
Tracy Cox
Yolanda Allen
Denise Gayle
Simona Noce
Marcus Williams
Mecca R. Shakoor



Why Dating Me Could Suck

This would be me if I was white and she just asked me how I feel about the Kyoto Protocol.

Quite obviously, I am the bees knees. I’m very important and I have many leather bound books and my apartment reeks of fresh mahogany. And ladies, when I get married, it’s going to be on top of a mountain, and there’s going to be flutes playing and trombones and flowers and garlands of fresh herbs. And there will be dancing till the sun rises. And then my children will form a family band. And we will tour the countryside.

You won’t be invited.

I’m all that. Silverfish handcatch swag.

Yet, I realize that there are things about myself that could drive any woman to drink. I know that we spend a lot of time in this corner of the internets explaining why we’re all perfect beings who listen to classical music and sh*t fairy dust couplets of Shakespearean sonnet, but alas…we’re not all without flaw. Personally, I’m just an ordinary people. I don’t know which way to go. My iPhone tells me one thing but my heart tells me something else.

All yokes aside (*rimshot*, no Rusty Trombone), we all love to explain why we’re great dating partners and why everybody else is the problem. Well, today I decided to let you in on the unawesomeness that can be PJ3. Basically, the things about dating me that just might suck. Or at least could drive you absolutely batsh*t. And by you, I mean women in general. Keep in mind, I don’t think that I suck, just that I understand why some things about me could suck to other people who indubitably suck for not being as fawesome as I am. Just like that, I undid all the goodwill.


1. I get absolutely booooooooooored with politics and deep discourse as a rule

I have a friend who likes to be apart of nothing but deep conversations. Can’t knock her hustle but I’m so not that dude. In fact, I often bore of depth and purposeful rigamaroll. I’ll write about it on occasion and spend time really digging, but at the end of the day, I’d rather talk about why it’s impossible to move as much weight as so-and-so claims. Or pop culture. I love waxing philosophical about pop culture and the characters involved. Basically, while I can speak about things that require reading, I’d rather spend my afternoon talking about ninjadom.You can keep your C-SPAN dreams. I will talk about why we won’t make it as a people though. Ad nauseum.

2. I’m insanely insensitive at times, especially when it comes to race matters

Sometimes I even surprise myself with the sh*t I say outloud. People tend to find it endearing, until they hate me. You think I just write like this? Naw son, I talk like this normally. It’s not a game. Ask all the El Salvadorans I keep calling Mexican. Point is, I’m going to say something insensitive…often. Sensitive ninjas need not apply even though sensitive people love putting in applications for stuff that will burn them. What’s in your wallet?

3. I can seriously eat at the same places

That drives folks crazy. One thing I hate f*cking around with is my food. I do not like ordering sh*t I don’t understand and then not liking the sh*t I didn’t understand in the first place. Basically, I’m a foodie’s worst nightmare. Of course, I’ll try anything once. But its hard for me to appreciate your $35 presentation of sorbet…which I really think you should call sherbert and come in rainbow colors.

4. Speaking of food…I’m always ordering chicken fingers

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, beyotch.

5. I really could do a movie night 7 nights a week

Now I wouldn’t actually force that upon anybody. And also, my movie night isn’t codeword for bone. My Netflix queue is gangbusters, my dealer. I have every bad black movie flagged and I really want to watch them. It’s perfect bonding time because Bad Black Movie Watching is a communal activity and contact sport. Add some liquor to the mix and it’s all good like a Sunday in Baltimore. And just to prove to you that I’m not just trying to swagsurf you out, I may put you out afterwards. Point is, I can see why this could get old for anybody real quick.

6. I hate doing cultural sh*t just for the sake of doing it (same with going out out)

I’ve learned that a lot of people, especially in DC, like to do sh*t just to say they did it because it exists. Can’t knock the hustle, Jay, but eees no me. If I said it, I meant it, bite my tongue for no one. Call me evil? I’m unbelievable. You want to go see that exhibit of the first insecticide repellant plant in African-American history (what?). Naw duke, I’m trying to go get my “Rack City b*tch…rack, rack city b*tch on…”

That’ll do pig.

Well there you go. I put some of my non-sense on blast. Won’t you be my neighbor? What about you might drive other folks crazy?