Another Question About Cheating.

I’ve always felt like the wives and girlfriends of athletes and politicians, and well, men in power really got a raw lot in life. I think that they are almost guaranteed to date and/or marry a man who is going to step out on them at some point. Of course, not all athletes, politicians, etc are going to cheat. I know this.

Conversely, they are also privy to many riches and to a status that most people will never know or achieve. And I’m sure that there’s a certain long-term cost-benefit analysis that goes into marrying certain men anyway.

This might be a good place to mention this, I’ve spent time trying to decide if a man who married a politician woman or whatever really felt any type of way about their woman stepping out on them and my guess is that most of us just wouldn’t sweat it. Not that women can’t cheat, obviously they can, I just think that the male mentality of being a woman’s end all be all makes us all think that we’re immune to being cheated on…which is why we totally lose our sh*t when we find out that our woman has cheated on us. Men…we so dumb sometimes. Patriarchy, you’ve got to love it.

Anyway, the point of those few paragraphs above is this: I get the impression that in nearly all of those relationships, the woman says at some point: “do not embarass me.” Basically, wear condoms and be discreet. Remember your family and don’t bring anything home that you didn’t leave with. Nobody wants to be the last person to find out something. In fact, I’m willing to bet all of your paychecks that the main reason a woman won’t stand next to her husband after some scandal breaks is because she found out about it via newspaper or somebody else telling her as opposed to her husband. Nobody likes to be the last to know, but especially if you get questioned about something and have no clue what the asker is talking about.

Don’t embarass me.

Which leads to my main question here: is it worse to be cheated on, or to be the last one to know you got cheated on?

Perhaps this is an easy answer since if you know before everybody else, you can control the release of information better or at least be able to get ahead of the situation. You can make sure that you’re taking care of home and attempt to close out everybody else from speaking on your situation. But that also assumes that cheating is a forgivable offense to begin with, right?

But I don’t know, I mean it definitely makes the act worse if you’re the last to know, but shouldn’t the infidelity by itself be enough of a transgression? Does it even matter how you found out that you got cheated on assuming that its both true and verifiable?

How did this all come up? Believe it or not, I was watching the movie Rio and somehow, during the course of that movie, THAT idea came to my head. For those who haven’t seen Rio, it’s a movie about two blue macaw’s who have to smang in order to preserve the species, except one can’t fly and Jamie Foxx is a yellow bird with a bottle cap hat. Oh, and And I became curious. Is there any connection? Not really. Total non-sequitur? Absolutely. Point is, don’t question my authority.

So, anyway, to the peanut gallery: what’s worse – being cheated on or being the last to know you got cheated on?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. NO NO NO aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Conscious? Rappers.

Somebody asked me to teach this class so that means I'm smart. Ask me something important about US-Sino relations. The answer is the same though..."ballin'"

And for the sticklers, I”m aware that the actual lyric goes, “…dumb rappers need teaching/lesson A (don’t f*ck with B.I.)…”

Many moons ago, Chuck D likened hip-hop to the Black CNN. In his estimation, there was a time when hip-hop was largely reporting the thoughts, situations, and circumstances of the inner city. Well, times they are a changin’. Most rappers today, and specifically mainstream rappers are doing as much glorifying of those circumstances under the guise of “telling it like it is” as they are lying about the fact that most of them haven’t done or been apart of 90 percent of the non-sense they’re rapping about.

Which is why, understandably, when we get rappers who seem to not only read, but are able to articulate their societal views and sometimes revolutionary rhetoric into lyric form, we all exhale. Nas’ Illmatic is a poetic masterpiece even if its proprietor is about as articulate as a 3-year old explaining quantum physics when it comes to defending any stance he may or may not have taken in rhyme form. Oh well, it isn’t like they get called out on much of what they say anyway. Only a select few rappers get asked their true opinions on anything in an arena where actual pundits, wonks, and analysts get the chance to debate back and forth. That list generally includes…well…Lupe Fiasco.

I’ve made my opinions on Lupe Fiasco pretty clear. I’m not a fan. Dude is the posterchild for unrealized potential. He’s the 2000s version of Canibus. All of the lyrical ability in the world without the ability (it seems) to get those incredible thoughts out in a cogent and coherent fashion. He’s all flashes of brilliance and unfinished concepts. Yet somehow, people seem to think that young Wasalu is some sort of political activist or “intellectual” along the lines of Cornel West or Micheal Eric Dyson (two brothers I’m not fans of either).

I guess I hate everybody. So everybody wins.

I can’t tell you how many random interviews I’ve seen where Lupe has been asked his opinion because of how well he puts verses together. I guess it makes sense. If you can write that well, you should be able to transfer that intelligence into spoken word. Fair enough. And he’s not inarticulate. He’s just not as quick on his feet as he is when he’s got hours and months to write a verse.

You know where I’m going with this. In his song, “Words I Never Said” he calls Obama a terrorist (as well as the entire American government) then goes on Bill O’Reilly to defend his position and states some mumbo jumbo about US foreign policy motivating terrorism, states that all presidents are terrorists, etc.  Admittedly, the O’Reilly Factor’s editors had a field day with the tape so who knows what may or may not have been said between the cuts.

Here’s the point though: A lot of folks were up in arms at this non-voting armchair politician but some people came to Lupe’s defense with his statement about Obama and US foreign policy being at fault for terrorist acts. Except much like Lupe, 90 percent of people sounded like conspiracy theorists with completely unsubstantiated claims. Most people were basically pissing in the wind. But some good points were brought up, namely, we’re only mad because it’s Obama he’s talking about.

Fair.

If somebody said that about Bush, nobody would question it. True. And you know what, that’s also idiotic. In Jadakiss’s song “Why” he says, “why did Bush knock down the towers?” and folks were all like, “yeah…why DID Bush knock down the towers?”

And you know what? That was stupid too. I remember Jadakiss got some kind of recognition as being a thinking man’s rapper after that and when folks asked him about it he sounded like a dolt stammering his way through his times tables trying to defend what was a ridiculous statement to begin with. The only difference in the two situations is that 1) all Black folks basically hated Bush anyway so nobody was really going to question that; and 2) nobody outside of the hood cares about what Jadakiss has to say about anything that affects our lives. Somehow Lupe gets placed into this thinking man’s realm and media outlets reach out to him for his opinion on real sh*t despite the fact that I’m fairly certain nothing he’s ever rapped about has transcended the world of conjecture and random musings. But he’s a rapper…that’s rapper sh*t. Which is all well and good…until we get called out on it.

This really isn’t even all about Lupe. Any number of so-called “conscious” rappers generally are as misinformed and uneducated about any number of things once they get past generalities and vagueness.

I don’t even know if these rappers hold themselves to the same standards we hold them too. I’m sure Lupe thinks he can hang with the Sean Hannity’s and Keith Olbermann’s of the world, but learned professors can’t even hang. But these ninjas don’t learn. Maybe that’s our fault for blowing rainbows up their arses. Pun. Pause. 20 Seconds.

In fact, the only rappers I’ve ever really seen hold their own in policy matters have been Ludacris, KRS-One, Chuck D, 50 Cent, Bun B and ironically Cam’ron until the “no snitching” scandal. I’ll stop here, but I wonder…

…do we hold our conscious rappers to too high a standard? Or do we have any real expectations from them outside of rapping that differs from what we expect from the Rick Ross’s and Lil Waynes of the world?

Basically, do you think that the rappers we label as being smart from an intellectual framework are actually…smart?

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka YOUNG P DA FLY THIEF aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Rap Game/Blog Game

“…this rap sh*t is really just like selling smoke…”  – Andre 3000 (of Outkast), “Myintrotoletuknow” Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

“…So we cook it, cut it, measure it, bag it, sell it…put that CD on your tongue, yeah that’s pure man…” – Kanye West, “Crack Music” Late Registration

On Jay-Z’s second album, In My Lifetime, Vol 1, he has a song called “Rap Game/Crack Game” where he draws the various parallels between the dope game and the music industry. As evidenced by the first quote, Jay’s song wasn’t the first time such a parallel had been drawn. Kanye West tackled the same idea, though somewhat clumsily and definitely with less focus on his classic second opus.

Point is, various rap artists have made the connection (no pun intended) between the vocations.

And now, there is another parallel just waiting to happen. You see, it turns out that that that blog game is a whole lot like the current music model these days. This whole process that we’ve been going through here at VSB has illustrated it for me quite clearly. And being the benevolent soul that I am, and since I do believe that sharing is caring, I decided to do what writers do and write. If I was a rapper, I might drop a song explaining it. But I’m not and I know my father. Anyway, let’s walk through the process using the current internet based music model.

As the dead ninja Tupac said, “follow me!”

1. WordPress/Blogger/MT4 vs ProTools/Logic/Reason/FruityLoops, etc

The barriers to entry to music are minimal these days. Five hundred dollars and computer are all that you need to have a studio in your home. Hell, I have one. You don’t even need hardware anymore. A software package like Ableton Live will do it all for you. Basically, ANYBODY can become a music producer nowadays. And with an additional hundred dollars you can get a decent microphone. Now, I’m not saying they can be a good rapper/producer, but a rapper/producer nonetheless. The same goes with blogging. All you need is to sign up. Period. You sign up via one of the CMS platforms and write your first sentence, and voila, you are a blogger. Not necessarily a good one, but a blogger nonetheless.

2. Blog Posts vs Releasing Songs via Popular Aggregator sites and New Music Cartel afficionados, etc

For those of us who have long given up our aspirations to rap (too many degrees, too old, can’t go back to jail) without losing our aspirations to write, blogging is the best thing. You can write freely. Whenever, wherever, whatever. And about anything. The point is that hopefully whatever you write will connect with somebody who will like it enough that they will either talk about it or share it with others.  This is akin to rappers releasing songs on to the net. From Wiz Khalifa to Crooked I, these rappers drop song after song hoping that one of them will resonate enough for folks to check out their work wherever they can find it. Whereas bloggers have their own websites to drop knowledge, the rappers use as many sites as possible, which is easy since the big ones all post the exact same sh*t anyway. Basically one song gets posted 100 times. Us bloggers hope that as many people as possible come to read and then comment, letting us know that folks reading.

And don’t get it twisted. If a blogger tells you that they don’t care about feedback they’re full of sh*t. We’re narcissistic by nature. We write because we feel like what we have to say is important enough for somebody else to want to read. Just like song downloads, comments indicate to us just how much people give a sh*t about what we’ve written, even if the numbers are skewed for various reasons. Point is, if a blogger didn’t care about views, he or she wouldn’t be blogging. Even people who try to be as anonymous as possible get excited the very first time they get a comment. It’s exhilarting to know that somebody, anybody gives a flying f*ck what you have to say. Word.Life.

3. Twitter, Facebook, Digg It, etc.

Nowadays, rappers, writers, scuba divers, skinny dippers, dopeboys and gang bangers all use Twitter, Facebook, etc for the same purpose. Promotion. Hell, folks were selling a certain strain of “legal” weed on Ebay. Point is, right now, it’s all self promotion and it’s up to you the writer or the rapper to figure out how to use these tools to your advantage.

4. Self-published book vs Mixtape

So Far Gone may go down as one of the best mixtapes ever because of what it did for Drake’s career. From Thom Yorke and Lykke Li to Bun B and Trey Songz, SFG was a self-generated, self-promoted, hands on affair that Drake wanted to put out to the public that made him a superstar. For the degree’d ninja, books are the new mixtape. Yes, every last one of us writing arse ninja arse bloggers is trying to secure a book deal and probably secretly hating other ninjas who are doing it like we are who manage to do so. It’s all competition. Competition for eyes. The thing is, every rapper is putting out a mixtape. If you don’t have one and you’re a rapper you’re failing. Bloggers on the other hand just assume that if you keep writing a book offer will come. That’s why we f*cked up the game by dropping a book. Anybody can blog, but apparently not anybody can put out a book, despite how many people have books out there. Have you BEEN to Barnes & Noble? Everybody has one. But for some reason bloggers miss out here because self-publishing rarely crosses ninjas minds. But au contraire, books lend legitimacy. You drop a book and wait for the reviews (mixtape reviews or all the fans saying how dope it is) and all of a sudden, news outlets come calling. Bloggers are cool, but bloggers turned authors are better because you can’t hold up a printout of a website on national television as a means of crediblity. But you know what a news anchor can hold up? A book.

Hello television. Hello radio. Hello nurse.

4. Radio spots, television appearances, interviews

Bloggers and rappers have the same plight now. You drop a book and hope somebody gives a sh*t. The difference is this: rappers use the downloads word of mouth to dictate how good they’re doing. Bloggers? Perception and word of mouth. Dropping a book to the reading ninja crowd comes so far out of left field, especially self-produced that the work it took to do it adds a layer of significant legitimacy. The excitement of your homeboy (cuz face it, at VSB, Champ and I are your real friends) doing something for the teams lends to the perception of doing what Drake’s SFG did. Now all of a sudden folks come calling about doing interviews and television spots and placements in internationally syndicated newspapers. Wiz Khalifa is a prime example on the rap side. His Kush and Orange Juice took him to heights I’m not even sure he expected to go. But rappers and bloggers who are trying to make it in the game go through the same thing, proving that you’re a marketable commodity, ultimately to get to…

5. A major distrbution book/album deal

Being the hottest ninja on the block or in your blog circle is great, but once you have a dope mixtape or book and you realize that its taking off, the goal is to get it to as many people as possible because really, up until now, you’re not making any money.  All the work has been free of charge. But if you secure distribution from a major label or major book publisher…all of a sudden you’re making real money doing what you love. Of course, the hope is that a major comes to you because of the following you’ve created via your website or mixtape releases. Majors put you in all the outlets. Here’s where it starts to differ though, rappers ain’t making no money off of album sales because nobody’s selling albums and record deals are so backloaded on the incentives most rapers never really make dough that way. They make money off of shows which is great because they’ve cultivated an audience through their hard work. Just like bloggers turned writers or authors with deals who then manage to actually possibly make money. Ask JK Rowling, the Jay-Z of the writing world.

Rappers and bloggers/writers are one in the same nowadays. All of college educated ninjas who wanted to rap while in college but realized it wasn’t going to work but had to get our words out started blogging and then for some of us it took off. But the hustle is still the same. Rappers and bloggers have the exact same path to stardom. It used to be that the degrees are what separated them, but not anymore since so many rappers have been to college now.

Rapping and blogging. Same hustle.

We both spitting that dopeness. I mean…

…are you not entertained?

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST

NOTE: For all XM/Sirius Satellite subscribers, The Champ and Panama Jackson will be live with Shawna Renee and Cocoa Mode Radio on Power 169 tomorrow morning, March 10, at 930am talking about their book and other relationship issues. Come on join the chorus, the mighty mighty chorus.