7 Songs To Get Your Morning Up, Up On The Down Stroke

I don’t know about you folks, but sometimes its hard to wake up in the morning. Folgers doesn’t quite do it. Some of you get your K-cup on. Some of you think K-cups are Aretha Franklin’s bra line. It matters not, the point is mornings can be a drizzag.

And if you ain’t get no zig zag, then you aint’ gettin’ no drig drag. <—— name that movie.

Well this morning whilst draggin’ a bit and after making my way through the urban jungle that is dropping my kid off at her school in the morning and ducking and dodging bad fashion, tattoos, and way-too-young-to-be-carrying-that-baby muvas, I ventured to my favorite place while in my car: XM Radio. Well this morning BackSpin was on some other stuff. It’s like God sent the auto DJ to play whatever would wake me up, help me hop up out of bed and turn my swag on (never mind that I was already on my way to work).

And then it happened. A song that made me realize that there are certain songs that are so hype, that even at 8am or 6am, if it comes on…you are going to be as hype as possible and will set your day off properly. The song? Glad you asked…

1. Luke – I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown)

This song is ONLY rivaled by its kissin’ cousin “Scarred”. When “don’t stop, pop that p***y, let me see you doo doo brown//i wanna rock i wanna rock i wanna rock…” came on I rolled down my window to let in the crisp 50 degree September air and serenaded my SE DC neighborhood with “face down, a** up…” Well you know the rest. Point is…if this song was my (or your alarm) how much easier would it be to wake up and get your Insanity on right before you passed out from getting your Insanity on. Don’t end up in the hospital people. Shaun T isn’t real. Don’t die. Moving on….

2. Black Sheep – The Choice Is Yours Remix

Honestly, while I love this song, the most hypest part is the “engine engine number 9, on the New York transit line, if my train jumps off the track, pick it PICK it PICK IT UP…BACK ON THE SCENE!….”

True story…I HATE IT WHEN DJS PLAY THAT PART AND THEN SEGUE INTO THE DAMN FATMAN SCOOP F*CKERY. I hate it like Bernie Mac hated the back of Forrest Whitaker’s neck. And Black pepper. I’m mad about it right now. If you ever want to piss me off…play that at your party. Seriously, I need to go take a seat somewhere and have a talk with my self about myself.

3. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

F*ck what you heard, this song is a great unifier for a few reasons. It’s so unbelievably hype that you can’t help but want to jump up and down. I’m jumping up and down right now adh;fajdlkj’agjfldfakld’faldk’gh08rqeij

See? I couldn’t type properly while I did it. When I heard this song in the morning the other day, I sh*t you not, I forgot I lived in the hood. My neighbor looked at me like I was crazy…I was like this lady….

Then she asked if I had any O-Town. F*ck out of here.

4. Master P – Make ‘Em Say Ughhh

The entire “No Limit” catalog could probably do this for me with special shout outs to Kane & Abel’s “Gangstafied”. I really should make this my alarm music.

5. Mark Morrison – Return Of The Mack

One of the greatest songs in the history of the Earth. Seriously, doth thou know a single individual who DOESN’T like this song? If they do, you shan’t trust them for they art enemyeth.

6. B.o.B. featuring T.I. and Juicy J – We Still In This B*tch

It’s the most subdued hype song ever. Real spit, this used to be my morning go to…every.single.morning. Just to get my life together.

7. Boston – More Than A Feeling

You may judge me. I’m okay withat. Boston’s self-titled debut album is sonically beautiful. But this song will have you ready to go pick a flower and holler at that chick you procrastinate on every day. Speaking of which, I went to a screening for a fairly terrible movie the night before last. Well Anika Noni Rose is in it and she was there. I didn’t go speak to her because, well I was drinking, and if there’s one thing I do well, it’s drink (see my Instagram page: @panamajackson), but after seeing the movie I half wanted to go holler just to see if I could pull her because she looked that good in it. She’s also 41 (!!!!!!!). I thought Princess Tiana was like 22.

Well that’s 7 songs to get your morning started off right. It’s been quite a week for me so music has been carrying me through. What songs do you think will get the morning started off right?


Worst R&B Singers Who Rapped, Like…Ever

Trust me, one mic wouldn't help you here. You need more than one.

No Jon B. All you need is not just one mic.

Between Spotify and Complex, I could blow an entire day coming up with playlists and then reading some of the worst, entertaining lists of all time. Seriously, Complex has some of THE most asinine lists known to man. Well since lists and music are two of my passions in life – they’re my lady jams – I decided to put together a fun list that nobody seems to have thought about because, like, why would you.

But how did we get here? Let’s start at the top. Spotify rocks for many reasons, but mostly because you can listen to entire albums without having to wait for your song to come back around like Pandora. You can make lists, plug and play, and keep it moving. A few days ago, I decided to give a particular album a run. And this album included a rapped verse by the R&B singer who made the album. On the opening track. And it was terrible. And it made me realize that lots of singers decided to give rapping a try. Many of them were worse than Kobe Bryant in a song entitled “K.O.B.E.” featuring Tyra Banks. Y’all remember that right?

So the inspiration for this list is number on the list.

1. Jon B

Evidence? The song “Shine” from Cool Relax, a dope album even 16 years ago. Jon B. doesn’t get nearly enough credit for inspiring all the white boys out today, but without Jon B there is no JT or Robin Thicke. His music was dope, his songwriting was great and he was best friends with Myra Munkhouse. But he ALSO RAPPED on the side and on this particular song he actually said, “…got the type of body that got my mind manifested…”

Not only does this make zero sense…it makes zero sense. His entire verse, which maxed out at like 8 bars, sounded like what happens when you give monkeys microphones and a set of Beats By Dre headphones with Hit-Boy beats preloaded. Point is, Jon B, somebody you aint listened to in a hot minute, is one of the worst rapping R&B singers…ever.

2. Everybody who raps in New Edition

Which included Ralph, Bobby, Ronnie, and Biv. I’m pretty sure Johnny Gill never spit a hot 4 nor did Ricky from what I can remember. I can be proved incorrect obviously. Look, I love NE. You love NE. We all love NE. Good rappers they were not. I loved Bobby Brown but he even sucked on the “On Our Own” from the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack and he was the best rapper of the group. Or Ralph Tresvant with his “Ralph’s Rap” over “Sensitivity.” Point is…dope rappers…they were not. Hell, they weren’t even the best singers. Though I love them. Go NE!

3. Tyrese aka Black Ty

I like Tyrese. I think he’s entertaining. And as a singer? The man has hits. Legitimate hits. And he’s now in a group with Ginuwine minus P-90X and Tank, who has managed to make the same song over and over again. By the way, Tank’s version of the “I Can’t Make  You Love Me” is bawse. But Tyrese released a rap album. And it was bad. The entire album was him rapping about rapping.

4. Brandy

Y’all remember when Brandy was hellbent on becoming a rapper. On the Norwood family show she really tried to convince her momager that she had what it took to be a rappity ass rapper. Of course, nobody thought this was a good idea. Cuz yeah, this happened.

5. Blondie

I’m gonna cheat a bit here and throw the first rappin’ ass white woman on here from her song “Rapture” which KRS-One sampled for his song “Step Into A World”. I loved the song, but she was a terrible rapper. Even back then. Yeah. I said it. And yes this may make me a bad person, but “…DJ’s spinnin’…I said my my” is one of her lines. Even Soulja Boy go that sh*t.

This is harder than you may think…but who were the worst R&B singers who tried to rap? And open it up to anybody you can think of who was terrible. There’s a method to this madness here. Trust me.

Panama Jackson, checking out, don’t you want to know what this is about? Stick around then scream and shout! Wooooo….




Think Like A Stan: The Four Stages Of Meeting Fellow Music Snobs


***Hello, everyone. This is your Champ here, and I’d like to welcome my homie Nat Lavender to the VSB pulpit. It’s her first time and shit so give her a hand***

Music has always been one of the easiest forms of social capital to exchange. And by that, I mean you can’t walk two blocks down the road without tripping over some asshole who wants to stop you and share their half-baked argument about how Kanye making an entire album of Kim Kardashian’s fart sounds is really a self-effacing tribute to the darkskinned White woman.

As a music lover, I sometimes find it difficult to connect with others who have both reasonable taste in and good ideas about music. That’s why I’ve written this handy-dandy not-really-a-guide-but-I’m-the-DJ-here-so-it-is-today about the process of bonding with fellow music lovers.

Meeting People

The most common dilemma with meeting kindred music aficionados is weeding out the bad ones. This will be the most infuriating and hilarious part of the process and is something you’re most likely doing at all times anyway. This stage will be marked by gems like “I don’t listen to rap because it’s too violent” (maybe from a country fan who enjoys listening to songs about women revenge-killing their boyfriends).

This is where you might meet the chick confidently telling you that Jay-Z isn’t in the Illuminati because she’s the president thereof, and if you want she can send you pamphlets, and since they’re responsible for the molly trend in hip hop she can send you free samples if you want, and isn’t this conversation GREAT (the correct responses are no thank you, yes please, and PLEASE don’t stab me, in that order).

Screening Phase

Once you’re done surfing through red flags and lust-fueled denial about the direction of LL Cool J’s career, you have a smaller pool of people who’ve managed to convince you that their taste in music could probably make them more qualified to manage artists than Diddy. But since that’s true of just about anyone, you still have some work to do. This is the point where you very politely don’t slap the White dude who tries to (wrongly) correct your pronunciation of Spottieottiedopaliscious and give him his strutting papers. You might also not-so-politely tell him that long ‘o’s are for wack niggas, except when they aren’t.

During this phase, people will give you the safest of their opinions—liking ‘classic’ rappers, hating easy-to-hate artists, building love shrines to overrated dead people.

They’ll probably tell you that they like Dilla, even though your mama, your auntie, your neighbor’s dog, and the confused kid down the street who gained 100 lbs. working at Krispy Kreme will probably say the same. The point is, there isn’t anything flawed about these opinions, but you legitimately will not learn a single thing about them as a person. You’ll be doing a lot of acting like you give a damn about mediocre albums, too.

Note: This is also where you’ll meet a lot of people who “thought I was the only one!!!” to listen to world-famous musicians, because something about hipsters and special snowflakes and intellectual autofellatio. AVOID THESE PEOPLE AT ALL COSTS.

Third Date

Finally, after noticing a suspicious correlation between J. Cole fans and people who only eat vanilla ice cream and moving past the psychic death of someone telling you Wiz Khalifa has the best flow in hip hop, you find people who really have something to offer in their collections. This is when the relationship starts getting fruitful and you can really start sharing. Maybe they heard an amazing Hiatus Kaiyote remix that you never would have looked at because… let’s be honest, you’re probably not looking for remixes to anything White people made, even if they’re talented. This is like the person who tells you about the pho at the Thai spot that you never would have found/ordered because real niggas don’t mess with that ‘Asian fusion’ stuff. His mama named him Clay, I’ma order pad thai. Or something like that. You beautiful ‘alternative’ people, you.

Trouble in Paradise

Finding a like-minded music lover has its downfalls. For one, you’re bound to run into irreconcilable differences—Houston rap vs. Tennessee rap, A$AP Rocky’s mouf vs. Waka Flocka’s mouf, Miguel vs. women who lack spinal injuries—but this isn’t the real danger. There is no greater spawning ground for unadulterated assholery than a meeting of two self-proclaimed music lovers.

Posturing over music tastes alone is one thing—you can easily find yourself outgunned by a gaggle of rabid Lil B stans who refuse to admit that he does sonically sloppy shit because ‘OMG BUT HE’S BEING SO SUBVERSIVE.’ But with your newfound soundmate, you can posture together, and everyone knows being a douchenozzle with support is the best way. Soon, you’ll find yourself loudtalking no one in particular about how “OMG KEITH SHE’S NEVER HEARD DAFT PUNK MAYBE WE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO THEM!” Look, this I’m-totally-being-ironic-even-though-I’m-definitely-not moment will not go over well. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself sinking into a pit of Portishead and Chance the Rapper and White people who wear keffiyehs and losing all your friends and you’ll never know where you went wrong. But OH MY GOD did you hear this amazing new Kid Cudi it’s like he’s trying to make bad music now and we’re so countercultural and edgy and shit.

Real friends let other friends know when they’re being distasteful music snobs. And knowing is half of pretending you know everything.

***Nat is a Cleveland native and longtime reader who spends most of her time reading psychology articles and attempting to confuse White people. She thinks she’s a paradox, but suspects she’s just really lightskinneded. You can find her @PurpleLikeRawr***

What’s Your Religion?

jesusFor the record, and before we begin, “Jerry, let the record refleck…” that I’m not using the term religion in the Bible/Torah/Talmud/Qu’ran, Holy Trinity and you’re out, type of way.

Naw, we’re going to use it in a different way. Allow me to explain.

Can I kick it?

Yes you can.

Can I kick it?

Yes you can.

Can I kick it?

Yes you can.

Well I’m gone.

For years and years, eons even, religion has been the source of more conflict than a Chris Brown interview. It’s gotten to the point where people have to write articles about the difficulty of interfaith relationships. On Love & Hip-Hop: NY we see how Consequence, his teeth, and Jen the Pen can’t seem to live happily ever after because he has turned his religion into an immovable object. She is not a Muslim. He is. He refuses to allow their mixtie son to even observe non-Muslim holidays, etc. Like Christmas. Because that’s his word.

See it’s not enough that two people have religion. Religion has to be shared. For the record, I understand this. I get why folks wouldn’t want to cross their God-sabers. Different faiths come with different rules and guidelines. Shucks, one religion says don’t eat that swine, one says don’t eat that lamb, one says don’t eat that monkey. I’m paraphrasing. In fact, it seems we only all agree on chicken. And I’m pretty sure I’m making that up. Eat mor chikin.

I’m losing my religion here. Back to the lecture at hand. The point is, two folks can have that old timmmmmme religion, but if it doesn’t match, well, you get chaos. I think at times its almost better (should this interfaith or faith-and-not situation arise) that one person has it and the other doesn’t give a flying f*ck. But people always give f*cks. It’s what people do.

So as Jesus said to the guy he was asking, “what’s your religion?” (that doesn’t have to be religion)??

Well for me, it’s music. Music is my religion. You know, when I’m not being religious. How does this work? Or what brought this to my attention?

Have you ever, ever, ever in your long legged life seen a long legged sailor with a long legged wife? No? Me neither.

But in the midst of a conversation recently with a person who is a music head/snob like I can be at times, I discovered that while we both were extremely fond of music as a whole, our tastes varied so widely that it was eye opening. For one, I discovered that this friend is one of those mainstream-rap-is-not-hip-hop people, a camp I’m staunchly not in. Then came the kicker. In the midst of a convo about Kid Cudi and my assertion that he is the best accessory rapper (you know makes everything sound better by virtue of his presence) in hip-hop and citing Kanye West’s beautiful masterpiece, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, she posited that she wasn’t even familiar with it or his work for real.


Say heffa say wha?

Say heffa say wha?

Oh no she didn’t.

Oh no she didn’t.

It was totally amazing to me to think that somebody could be unfamiliar with one of the biggest artists in hip-hop critically lauded albums…as a fan of the artform. Even hip-hop heads respect Kanye’s artistry. Not this one. Nope. She gave no f*cks. And for me, it seems like willful ignorance. It’s like people who buy Zune’s (do they still exist?) because they don’t want to purchase Apple products. It’s impossible to not be familiar with Jay-Z. It just is. But to specifically not pay attention to Kanyeeevel. I ain’t even say you had to like him, but to not pay attention or even know songs on one of the most lauded albums in years, hate it or love it?


While that’s all well and good, it made me realize that music could be just as divisive a force as regular religion for me. I’m the kind of person who can appreciate and love pop music. Cobra Starship “You Make Me Feel” is just as dope as any underground song. Same with Rihanna’s “We Found Love”. I siiiiiiiiiiiiiiing, because I’m haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaappy. But I can’t discriminate because I’ll miss out on too much.

But…but…I have to respect other people’s views and means for listening. And try not to judge. Lord knows when it comes to music there isn’t an argument I’m not willing to have. And girl I’ll house you. And judge your tastes. I’m like a Dilla Donut, workinonit. It’s hard though. You can’t send me some crap that’s hot because its not mainstream. Ya bish. Just because 12 people know it doesn’t make it exclusive. It probably makes it trash.

Hashtag gospel.

Hashtag yeah I said it.

That was harsh. I apologize. See what music made me do? Plant a flag. Iron Flag. Two people with vastly different tastes in the same thing can get along. Clearly. If Mary Matalin and James Carville can get along and be married then its possible. But it also helps if you just agree to never discuss those things at home over dinner. Or in a boat. On a moat. In a chair. Over there. But people who are passionate need to outlet their passion. It ain’t passion if you ain’t passionate.

Message. Knowledge my brother, use it or lose it.

So music is my religion. Clearly. It’s uplifting and encouraging and can be as divisive as North Korea making the quadratic formula the official language of Mongolia.


Also notice I never said anybody was wrong or right. It’s religion, we’ll all find out when we’re dead. Word to Father Abraham.

It’s Friday. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night.

What’s your religion?

Talk to me.



DC: Thursday, March 21, 2013: Re:Mix Live – The Motown Edition

Remix Live Promo 002


For those folks in DC, I’d like to invite you all out to new type of event. On Thursday, March 21st, we’re bringing you an event entitled Re:Mix Live. It’s a new type of producer/DJ showcase that’s not so much just about the performers but about engaging the audience. We’re using this first show to focus on music from Motown. All of the music that will be remixed and recreated uses music from the great Motown catalog. This way, nobody is just sitting around while producers play music you’ve never heard before using samples they’ll never tell you about.

No, at Re:Mix Live, you’ll get to see and hear the art of remixing and sampling done live and in front of you as we pull old songs and turn them into brand new ones on stage…not just instrumentals, but new songs with lyrics, etc. It should be an experience, not just a show. We’re excited to try something new and add it to a landscape of sparse hip-hop shows in DC. But even moreso hip-hop shows that are just for heads. This is going to be for everybody who loves music.

So come on out, Thursday, March 21 and help us try something new hip-hop and music-wise in DC. We’ve got a great lineup of producers and DJs, and hosts that will keep the crowd involved. Peep the flyer for details and see you then!

Re:Mix Live

Thursday,  March 21s at Liv Nightclub (2001 11th St, NW)

$10 21+//$15 under 21

Doors at 7PM, Show at 8PM