Archive | June, 2011

Profound Hip Hop Quote #25: Rappers Need Love Too

25 Jun

“Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
But I love a whole lot more than I hate about them.
They look good feel good and smell even better,
So why you acting like your mama didn’t use that leather?
B word this H bomb that.
And in the midst all of this I wonder where your moms at?
Cause if she ain’t one, then tell me where the hate from.
You just calm down and maybe you can date one. 


—Murs, “Love & Appreciate 2”


MursMurs is by far one of the best lyricists and storyteller style rappers that I’ve heard in a long time.  Even though his hair is a bit much to take in, I love how he does what he wants to do and doesn’t get wrapped up in having the “perfect” image.  On numerous occasions, Murs has paired up with Ninth Wonder, a producer I’d love to work with one day, and released classic albums that belong in any true connoisseur of real hip hop’s collection.

Love and relationships are two themes that have made appearances on most of his albums.   In 2008, Murs included “Love & Appreciate 2” on his album “Murs for President,” which is actually a follow-up to “Love and Appreciate” on his album “Murray’s Revenge,” released in 2006.  In these particular lyrics, Murs speaks not only for himself as a man but for men in general.  We’ve all heard the cliche phrase, “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them;” however, Murs admits that “he loves a whole lot more than he hates about them.”  Men may groan about what their women are doing to aggravate or frustrate them with their male friends occasionally, and women are definitely known for doing the same, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the love and appreciation you have for one another.

However, Murs, does take it a step further by indicating that there does come a point where some men do cross the line with how they treat and interact with their women or women in general.  He juxtaposes the mothers of these men and the women with whom they are involved or wish to be involved and questions how men treat women .  The implications is that women should be treated with the same respect these very same men would give their mothers. Even though Murs is speaking directly to men, this stance also reigns true with women.  I’ve heard women who often refer to men as dogs or bums even when they’ve done nothing to substantiate being referred to as such.  Is this love and appreciation?

It is necessary to not only show love but appreciation for one another, and how can this be done when you use derogatory words to represent the person you are with or would like to be with.  Is it ever acceptable?  Some people may say, “Well, I only say those things to her or him when I’m angry.” I say that it’s never acceptable, even in anger.  In order to have love and appreciation, one must give respect at all times.  Remember, you get what you give, and if you are still in pursuit of that special person, if “you just calm down and maybe you could date one.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Even though I love rap music, if a person was attempting to learn the English language or grammar rules, a rap song would definitely not be the best place to start.  One of the reasons is that several rappers include not just slang but dialects which usually contain blatant grammatical errors throughout their lyrics.  Murs is no exception.  In the following lyrics, Murs has a very common grammatical error which is actually a dialect with the “to be” verb as been dropped from the sentence.  He says,   “So why you acting like your mama didn’t use that leather?”  But if this sentence was put into standard English it would say, “So why are you acting like your mama didn’t use that leather?”  I love slang and dialects, but keep in mind that there is a time and place for standard and what is considered non standard English, a dialect or vernacular of some kind.

He’s More Than Just A “Baby Daddy” Ten Songs Representing Different Fathers

19 Jun

Unfortunately, Father’s Day cannot hold a candle to Mother’s Day!  Father’s Day is comparable to the boy scouts trying to compete with the girl scout cookies by selling tubs of over-priced popcorn. (Side note: I purchased a small tub of popcorn to support the boy scouts for $10, and when I asked the troop leader why the prices were so high, he remarked, “The girl scouts have monopolized cookies and we don’t have a choice but to sell our goods for much higher prices just to make a small profit.)  Whenever I take my mother out for mother’s day, I must book my reservation months in advance and still endure that standing room only crowd at the restaurant’s mother’s day brunch.  Conversely, reservations are not always a necessity.  On one particular father’s day, my fiance, his siblings and I took his father out, and I repeatedly stressed the importance to him about making a reservation well in advance to ensure that we would not have a long wait.  Upon arriving at that restaurant, I was surprised to see so many empty tables and booths.  I thought, “Where are all of the fathers and their families?”

On Mother’s Day, I compiled a list of R & B and rap songs celebrating moms, so it’s only right to put together a list of songs celebrating dads.  There’s only one problem though; most R & B and rap songs I located don’t necessarily celebrate dad but acknowledge his absence and unwillingness to be a father.  Of course, not all dads are “dead beats” who don’t provide for their children.  There are many who are wonderful role models who even become father figures to those children and even adults who are fatherless.  Please be sure to praise your fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, father-in-laws, uncles, nephews cousins, best friends, etc. who are exceptional fathers.  Musicians do excellent jobs producing songs that reflect societal and familial issues, and this list of memorable songs representing the plight, journey and love of a father does just that:

  1. Father & SonThe Loving Father: “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross“When I and my mother would disagree, to get my way I would run from her to him. He’d make me laugh just to comfort me, yeah yeah. Then finally make me do just what my momma said.”
  2. The Unconditional Love Father: “Daddy” by Beyonce: “Even if my man broke my heart today, no matter how much pain I’m in I will be okay cause I got a man in my life that can’t be replaced. For this love is unconditional it won’t go away.”Father & Son
  3. The Wise Father: “Joy” by Talib Kweli featuring Mos Def“Unless your language is relating to what they going through so busy ignoring them, you can’t see what they showing you.  And you wonder, why we called baby-daddy’s and baby-momma’s when we grow up, we can’t act like adult mothers and fathers, yo. I’m so blessed to have a boy and a girl, everyday they bring joy to my world.”
  4. The Protector Father: “Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith: “From the first time the doctor placed you in my arms I knew I’d meet death before I’d let you meet harm.  Although questions arose in my mind, would I be man enough?  Against wrong, choose right and be standin up.”
  5. The Grateful Father: “The Day” by Baby Face “It was like falling deep in love.  I heard the angels cry above.  I felt a blessing straight from God the day that you gave me a son.” 
  6. The Admirable Father: “Your Joy” by Chrisette Michele: “No one loves me just like you do.  No one knows me just like you do.  No one can compare to the way my eyes fit in yours.  You’ll always be my father.  And I’ll always be your joy.”
  7. Father & DaughterThe Stand-Up Father: “Be a Father to Your Child” by Ed. O.G. & Da the Bulldogs: “Be a father; if not why bother son.  A boy can make ’em but a man can raise one.”
  8. The Cycle Repeater Father: “All for You” by Little Brother:  “So the next time it’s late at night and I’m laid up with the woman I’ma make my wife talking ’bout how we ‘gon make a life, I’m thinking about child support, alimony, visitation rights. Cause that’s the only outcome if you can’t make it right. Pissed off with your children feeling the same pain. So, Pop, how could I blame cause you couldn’t maintain. I did the same thing…The same thing.” 
  9. The Denying Paternity Father: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson:   “Billie Jean is not my lover. She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one.  But the kid is not my son.  She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son.”
  10. The No Good Father: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations:  “Hey Mama, is it true what they say, that Papa never worked a day in his life?  And Mama, bad talk going around town saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife.  And that ain’t right.

What type of father are you, or what type of father do you have?  To all of the positive fathers, Happy Father’s Day to you.  Please enjoy this R & B and rap father’s day playlist, and feel free to share your favorite song representing fathers with me.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya Harris


Profound Hip Hop Quote #24: Rappers Need Love Too

18 Jun

“Back when I was nothin
You made a brother feel like he was somethin
That’s why I’m with you to this day boo no frontin


—Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige, “You’re All I Need”

Method ManThe Wu-Tang Clan is one of my favorite rap groups of all time.   These guys were like the “Justice League” of hip hop during the 1990s and 2000s.  Each member has a special power such as lyrical ability, producing skills or just stage presence.  I have always resonated with their grungy, diggin’ in the crates, raw, passionate sound, especially Method Man’s.

Of course, I could not help but think about my affinity for Method’s song “You’re All I Need,” featuring the talented Mary J. Blige, as a meaningful and heartfelt rap “love” song.  What initially draws listeners in is the chorus and sample from the original classic performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell–bridging the gap between past and present generations.  However, instead of selecting the memorable chorus to represent this song, I decided to go with lyrics from the song that echo the importance of being supportive towards one another unconditionally within a relationship.

Most women expect a lot from their men, and men have the right to expect a lot from their women as well.  Nevertheless, from my observation, there appears to be an imbalance.  Oftentimes, most women are willing to give their men the support they need; unfortunately, they are rarely acknowledged by their men for their unyielding encouragement.  In “You’re All I Need,” Method gives praise and appreciates his woman’s actions, “Back when I was nothin you made a brother feel like he was somethin.”

Sadly, I also have  witnessed some women tearing down and even emasculating their good, caring, hard working men.  They utter scathing phrases such as, “You ain’t nothing!” “You can’t do nothing for me” “You’re such a loser,” etc. right in front of family and friends without hesitation.    It’s much easier to be there for somebody who has everything than to be there for a person who is striving to obtain the better things in life and to accomplish concrete goals.  Would you be more indebted to a person who is only there for you when you can give them all that they want or with a person who works with you and supports you even when everything may not go as planned? “That’s why I’m with you to this day boo no frontin.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
It is not uncommon for rap lyrics and many types of creative writing to drop the “ing” sound on a word to demonstrate 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. In this instance, Method Man drops the “g” from “nothin,” “somethin” and “frontin.”  Also, he uses the all too common slang word “boo”  as a synonym for his “lady.”  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 #23: Rappers Need Love Too

11 Jun

“I just want you to know
Your whole being is beautiful
I’ma do the best I can do
Cause I’m my best when I’m with you


—Common featuring Mary J. Blige, “Come Close”

I love hip hop music and culture! The raw passion of some of the artists, their lyrical finesse and swagger is what ultimately captivates me.  I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with rap music from the days of Pre-K to present day; however, one attribute has remained constant: the love!

CommonAs I continue my month long tribute of the best rap “love” songs, I must acknowledge that I’ve had a multitude of crushes on different artists, but one that continues to persists is my enamored feelings for Common.   I have been following his career since he appeared in The Source under “Unsigned Hype,” seen him in concert on numerous occasions and am still an avid fan.  It’s not just his urbane look or swagger that attracts me but his humbleness and sincerity that comes across in his lyrics.  Common has released many rap “love” songs over the years, but one that I really resonate with is “Come Close” featuring Mary J. Blige.

Though Common is a strong man, his song displays his gentleness and vulnerabilities as he exhibits the necessity to have a strong woman by his side.  Wow, how often does a rapper do that?  He acknowledges that this woman of interest is not a mind reader by explicitly stating, “I just want you to know your whole being is beautiful.”  Sometimes a woman needs to hear what her man is thinking and not just assume.  Such a statement also helps to make her feel wanted, that is considering that the comment is sincere.  Furthermore, Common does not simply say, “You are beautiful,” but “Your whole being is beautiful.”  When is the last time you complimented someone of were complimented on your whole being not just your looks alone?

In two months I will be starting the chapter of marriage in the book of my life.  Quite frequently people say, a relationship or marriage is a lot hard work and requires dedication and some give and take.  Common also provides some terrific advice by stating, “I’ma do the best that I can do.”  Do people really put forth their best efforts in relationships or just get comfortable…maybe too comfortable over time?

When you “Come Close” to experiencing love or are immersed in it, do you think about what makes your relationship so sacred or special?  Have you thought about what that special person has done or will do for your life?  The media often uses the term “power couple” to describe the hollywood elites, but cannot common day people be power couples.  The ideal situation is to be in a relationship where you both bring out the best in each other.  Can say to the person you’re with, “I’m my best when I’m with you?”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Common often incorporates poetic techniques such as slant and assonance rhymes, and this song is no exception.
“I just want you to know
your whole being is beautiful…”

In this instance, Common uses the “Oh” sound as part of his rhyme.  Some people may argue that this is not a rhyme; nevertheless, this is a common practice among past and present poets and allows that writer to manipulate and play with the language.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #22: Rappers Need Love Too

4 Jun

“When I’m alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall
and in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call
Telling me I need a girl who’s as sweet as a dove
for the first time in my life, I see I need love


—LL Cool J, “I Need Love”


There’s no denying that rap music and rock n’ roll are both synonymous with sex, drugs and money, so it is quite refreshing when a rapper pours his or her heart out on an abstract topic from time to time.  In a little over two months from now, I will be getting married.  With the feelings of love and excitement increasing, I thought, “Why not put together a compilation of some of the best rap love songs of all time?”

LL Cool JOf course, I must start off with a classic from my childhood when I first starting having crushes on boys and thinking about how it would feel to be in love.  Any female who was around during the late 80s who was into rap music more than likely had a crush on LL Cool J, and I was no exception. Enormous posters of him, along with a few of my other crushes, covered  my bedroom wall, and when he released the song, ” I Need Love,” I would often gaze at his pictures totally mesmerized and  fantasize about being the girl in the video.

LL’s song presents a thought-provoking revelation that most people will have at one point or another in their lives.  To begin with “When I’m alone in my room…” may involve some deep meditation.  In 2011, nearly 25 years later, there are a plethora of technology and media outlets to distract us from being pensive and thinking about what we really want and need out of life.  LL is “staring at the wall…” not texting, tweeting, updating his facebook status or checking the status of others.  When is the last time you had some “alone” time to think about what you really want or need in your present or future relationship or life for that matter?  It’s extremely difficult to “hear your conscience call” if there are too many distractions let alone brain chatter.

Even though I am no expert, as a result of being in a long term relationship and observing the relationships of others, I’ve learned that everybody is not looking for the same attributes in a significant other.  Over time, people may even realize that what they previously wanted is not what they presently need in a relationship.

Studies have shown that love is a necessity, and it actually plays a significant role in how healthy people are and even their ability to recover from illnesses.  It does not necessarily have to be romantic love, but being in love, feeling love or even giving love can add years to one’s life. Have you experienced love or being in love?  When is the last time you displayed love to those who matter most in your life?  We all need love!

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
LL Cool J experiences an epiphany in his rap song “I Need Love.”  He proclaims,  “For the first time in my life, I see I need love…”  An epiphany is a moment of sudden revelation or insight.