Archive | January, 2011

Profound Hip Hop Quote: Week #4

29 Jan

“But I don’t walk this way to portray
Or reinforce stereotypes of today
Like all my brothas eat chicken and watermelon
Talk broken English and drug sellin’”

—Boogie Down Productions, “My Philosophy”

Unless you were born in the 80s or earlier, there is a high probability that you have never heard this song let alone know who BDP was. I was first introduced to BDP in grade school and eagerly followed their music and then the music career of the front man, KRS-One, into the 90s to present day.  Oftentimes, I would memorize BDP’s songs, such as “My Philosophy,” and “Criminal Minded.” Nevertheless, it was always more than just memorizing; it was also about analyzing.

Rap music came into my life at a very early age.  Yes, I loved the rhythm, fashion and style; most importantly, I loved the idea of it making me “cool” and accepted amongst my peers.  After hearing “My Philosophy” as a youngster and most recently hearing it in my “old School” Ipod shuffle, it reminded me of how those very lines impacted my life.

For years, even presently, I will have the occasional person ask me, “Why you talk like that?”  or bring my “race” or “culture” into question.  Sadly, I’ve even had former employers say that “I’m an exception to the rule” or not like the “others.”  Interestingly, this song is over twenty years old, but the concept still reigns true today.  Why must people act, dress or talk a certain way to be accepted by their people or all people for that matter?  Have you ever felt the need to assimilate to appease the masses or your “own” family or people? I know that I am not a one-dimenisional stereotype and should not be treated as such.

What way do you walk?  What image are you trying to portray?  Is it necessary to live up to the negative stereotypes?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:

Instead of brothers, BDP uses brothas, and instead of selling, BDP uses sellin’. It is not uncommon for rap lyrics and many types of creative writing, to use a specific type of vernacular or common day speech because it is the voice of the writer or the persona or it has a better flow or sound because of the syllables or meter in the line. Keep in mind that many rappers who are well-versed and considered lyricists tend to familiarize themselves with the standard grammar rules prior to breaking the rules in their lyrics.


Life’s Persona #6

28 Jan

Life, life, life…

For me,

simply put…

Life is

what “I” make it.

by Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Ten Things I Miss About “Childhood” Snow Days

27 Jan

Tanya Harris aka Anonomz in the Snow1. Trying to catch snow on my tongue.  If I tried that now people would look at me like I was crazy.

2. Full body snow suits.  Even though they might have been a hassle putting on and taking off, they really kept me warm and helped making snow angels much easier.

3. Snowball fights with the neighborhood kids was always fun.  Now most kids have simulated snowball fights on their Wii or Xbox.

4. Attempting to build the biggest  snowman ever.  Today, I just created a big mountain of snow by digging out my car.  Looking at  my hard work is cool, but it’s just not the same.

5. Homemade snow cones with fresh-fallen snow and a fruit punch Kool-Aid pack.  I know I’m not the only one who did this…am I?

6. Sledding at the neighborhood park with the sturdy wooden sleds with handles on the side.  It was so much fun, but  now I’m concerned about sliding down hills or getting stuck while trying to go uphill in my car.

7. Playing hide and go seek in the snow by tracking people’s boot prints.  It was always fun trying to throw someone off the tracks by either covering my tracks or walking all over the place.

8. Helping my mom and grandmother shovel the sidewalk while sneaking a taste or two of fresh snow…yes, I confess… I was addicted to eating snow when I was younger.

9. Simply admiring the beauty of the neighborhood turned into a winter wonderland rather than have parking spot wars with cones, chairs, recycling bins and anything else people use to hold spots.

10.  Homemade hot chocolate with tons of marshmallows prepared and served with love by my mom after playing out in the snow for hours. Yes, I can make it for myself, but it’s just not the same, and it’s usually not after playing in the snow for hours.

I can’t wait to have these experiences when I have children.  Let’s hope they want to do more than play video games and watch TV.

Do you have any snow day childhood memories?  Please feel free to share.

All the best,

Tanya Harris aka Anonomz

Life’s Persona #5

27 Jan

Life, life, life…

Life is life.

Life is a heartbeat

a pulse

that can have a fast or slow pace.

Life is waking up

opening your eyes

inhaling and exhaling

breathing easy.

Taking deep breaths when needed

taking each day at a time

while treasuring every moment.

by Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Life’s Persona #4

26 Jan

Life, life, life…

Life is beautiful.

As beautiful as watching the sun kiss

the ocean before it sets

on a private beach with

a gentle breeze

and the arm of that special

someone draped over

your shoulder pulling you closer.

Meet all of your expectations

and more.

The absolute trifecta

who encompasses

the body, mind and soul

that connects perfectly with yours.

by Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Life’s Persona #3

25 Jan

Life, life, life…

Life is crazy.

Crazy as the deranged guy

on the Broad Street Line

with eyes darting in different directions.

Having shouting matches with his own reflection.

Proclaiming to be Jesus Christ resurrected

as his reeking stench of beer and piss

pass through the train car

he pulls out a jar to relieve himself

asking, “Who wants a little Jesus juice?”

“How ‘bout you?”

by Anonomz

Life’s Persona #2

24 Jan

Life, life, life…

Life is a bowl of cherries.

Wild black cherries

presenting the perfect marriage of bitter meets sweet

on a hot summer day

Tasting so juicy, so ripe.

Trying not to get stains on crisp white linen.

Attempting to come up with a

more sophisticated way

to dispose of the pits

rather than simply spit

them in your hand


or right back in the bowl.

by Anonomz

Life’s Persona #1

23 Jan

Life, life, life…

Life is a bitch!

A sexy bitch

with an exotic tramp stamp

on her lower back

enticing you to hit that

with hopes of no strings attached

for ten maybe fifteen minutes of raw passion

that ends

far too soon

as you find your croonin’

for a little more of her affection

oblivious to her infections.

by Anonomz

Profound Hip Hop Quote: Week #3

22 Jan

“Life ain’t meant to come around twice. Yeah, that’s why I gotta get it right!
They say I got it honest; now I gotta give it light. But sleep on it; that’s why God give you night!”

—Lupe Fiasco, “Real”

It was about four years ago that I heard Lupe Fiasco’s CD Food & Liquor. I was enlightened and found many of his lyrics to be thought-provoking. Specifically, “Real” encompasses so many profound lines, but the ones I resonated with the most were about life and God’s role in our lives.  Regardless of your religion, if you believe in heaven, hell, or reincarnation, you are who you are in this life for a distinctive reason.  Actually, I don’t know the reason why I am who I am or why I am here; perhaps you don’t either. Nevertheless, we must all make wise choices and be cognizant in our day-to-day actions. Nobody is perfect, including me of course. But I am constantly thinking about how my decisions and actions not only impact my life but the lives of others and try to conduct myself accordingly, which is not always the easiest feat.  Do you think before you speak or act?  Do you consider how what you are doing today may not just impact your tomorrow but may impact your next week or possibly next year or even the next week or next year of someone else’s life?

Lupe Fiasco also addresses what he “got honest” from God and sharing it with others by giving “it light.” Do you think about the gifts God has blessed you with and how you are utilizing them for the greater good?  Think about it…today only comes around once…bringing us all one day closer to the end of our lives on Earth.  I want to make sure that I am sharing my gifts and talents with the world  and hope to leave it better than when I first got here.  How about you?

Life is a journey for us all, and as much as we would like to get it right, we might have some missteps along the way.  Perhaps what we consider to be missteps are actually leading us in the right direction.  Wow, that’s something to ponder!  Regardless of where you are presently, all hope is not lost; focus on the positive as the story and journey of your life unfolds.  I’m right there with you on my journey too.  As Lupe Fiasco says, “But sleep on it; that’s why God gives you night!”

Please feel free to share your thoughts


Bonus English Lesson:

Lupe Fiasco’s line “That’s why God give you night” is an example of incorrect subject verb agreement. It actually should be “God gives…”Oftentimes in rap lyrics and in many types of creative writing, the writer may employ grammatical errors because it is the vernacular of the writer or the persona or it has a better flow or sound because of the syllables or meter in the line.  Keep in mind that many rappers who are well-versed and considered lyricists tend to familiarize themselves with the standard grammar rules prior to breaking the rules in their lyrics.

Profound Hip Hop Quote: Week #2

15 Jan

“Swallow your pride before you choke on your issues.”
—Murs, “Everything”

How often do you say, “My pride won’t allow me to do ‘X’ or ‘Y’ even if it might be the appropriate action to take? Maybe ‘X’ it is forgiving a person who wronged you, or ‘Y’ is accepting help from someone when you really need it.  This line from Murs’ (If you’ve never heard of him, he’s released a few top notch CDs with Ninth Wonder) rap song really struck a chord with me. Even though I do make a conscious effort to practice forgiveness and do not consider myself to be prideful, I do often struggle with swallowing my pride when it comes to asking for help.  I convince myself that I can do it all alone or sometimes feel too ashamed to ask for help or that I am having difficulties if I underestimated how much work something would take because I brought it all on myself.

To use an analogy derived from Murs’ line, perhaps I struggle with reaching out for help because I hear my mother’s voice  from childhood saying, “You asked for all of that food, and you’re not going to leave this table until you’ve cleaned your plate!”   We’ve all got to eat to survive, but it most instances it is the swallowing of the food with the proper nutrients, not the junk, that sustains us.  As an adult, I have learned that forcing myself to eat because I can’t admit that I put too much on my plate  may not only cause me to choke but may also make me sick on the stomach resulting in everything else I enjoyed or managed to eat to come right back up.  This is a scene I don’t want to envision for myself nor for my family and friends who may be in a similar predicament.

Do you struggle with pride?  Has it hindered you, the progress of your relationships or success in anyway?  I know it has for me occasionally and probably will in the future. Sometimes it is best to swallow our pride…isn’t it?

Please feel free to share your thoughts


Bonus English Lesson:

Murs’ line is an example of an idiom because it is a common phrase made up of words that cannot be understood by their literal meaning.  People cannot really swallow their pride…can they?