Archive | July, 2011

Profound Hip Hop Quote #30: All I Want is You!!!

30 Jul

“Cause they don’t smile
Or smell like you
No they don’t make me laugh
Or even cook like you
And they don’t photograph
Nah, they don’t sex like you
Let’s face it, I can’t replace it
That’s why all I want is you now….

—“All I Want is You” by Miguel featuring J. Cole

Miguel and J Cole

Love is so abstract yet extremely powerful, and it actually all starts in the mind, not the heart.  For the past few months, I’ve been reading a book entitled, “Making a Good Brain Great,” by Daniel G. Amen, M.D., and there is a chapter that addresses how the brain works when it comes to relationships.  Initially, the sex hormones lure people in to one another, but then there is this intense attraction causing  one’s brain to release adrenaline, dopamine (which is like a high from cocaine) and serotonin.  Oftentimes, this stage does not persist with the same level of intensity as the relationship progresses which partly explains why the passion in some relationships does not last or why one (sometimes both) of the people seek out a new partner in hopes of getting back that intense high again.  So what is it that keeps couples not just together but together happily?  Oxytocin, known as the cuddle hormone, and Vasopressin are the hormones that assist with this life-long attachment.

Even though in Miguel’s song featuring J.Cole, “All I Want Is You,” the issue is that the woman he loves has chosen to leave him, not only does the heart want what it wants, but so does the brain.  No other woman can satisfy him like she can, and he cannot stop thinking about her.  Are you presently experiencing a high level of “love” hormones making you passionate about the one you are with?  It’s such a wonderful feeling to not only be in love but to feel the high that comes with being in love.  Also, according to Dr. Amen, having new experiences together and keeping the passion going is not only healthy for the relationship but for the brain as well.  People are more likely to improve their health and brain power by being in healthy and happy committed relationships with the ones they love rather than seeking out those potentially short-lived adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin highs with one night affairs or flings.  The song may be entitled, “All I Want is You,” but the love, passion and gratification that one can receive from being in a long-term committed relationship is a necessity to me.  How about you?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Miguel utilizes imagery through the five senses and juxtaposes his woman to all other possible love interests to demonstrate how much he loves and wants her in his life and how she has him completely consumed.
Sense of sight and smell: “They don’t smile or smell like you”
Sense of hearing and tasting: “No they don’t make me laugh  or even cook like you”
Sense of sight: “And they don’t photograph”
Sense of touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste: “Nah, they don’t sex like you” 


Profound Hip Hop Quote #29: Don’t Let Me Fall

23 Jul

“Well it was just a dream
Just a moment ago
I was up so high
Looking down at the sky
Don’t let me fall
I was shooting for stars
On a Saturday night
They say what goes up
Must come down
But don’t let me fall.

—“Don’t Let Me Fall” by B.o.B.

B.o.B.I have a tendency to mainly listen to underground artists with a few sprinklings of the mainstream.  Perhaps one of the reasons is that most of the rap music being promoted today either sounds the same or has limited sustenance for me, or maybe I’m just getting old and turning into one of those “back in my day when music was good” type of people.  As a person who loves all different types of music, I know it is not fair to discount all mainstream sounds, so I do occasionally listen to the radio to hear what’s new. Actually, I require my English Composition II students to analyze a song of their choosing as poetry, and it gives me the chance to be exposed to different types of music or some mainstream music that I might not otherwise hear.

Last year, a student of mine selected B.o.B.’s, aka Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, song “Don’t Let Me Fall” to analyze as poetry, and I quite impressed.  We’ve all heard the cliche phrase “shoot for the stars,” but is it potentially missing the stars that stops some of us from even making the attempt to shoot?  Maybe, but I think one of the major reasons is being addressed by B.o.B.   What if you shoot for the stars and make it?  Then you have an even bigger concern: trying not to fall from the sky.  Hey, there are people who don’t fly on airplanes because they are terrified about falling out of the sky; therefore, the thought of figuratively falling out of the sky or not being successful with one’s dreams may be frightening as well.

“They say what comes up must come down,” as B.o.B.  points out; nevertheless, how you come down or even when you come down can depend on your own actions.  If you come down unprepared, well, you’ll hit the ground like a brick, and there may be no recovery from it.  However, if you pack a parachute, you’ll be ready just in case.  If you use a glider, the wind can guide you, and you might have even more air time and get to enjoy the breeze as you decline.  Let’s face it; to fall has a negative connotation.  Who really wants to fall?  But sometimes it’s necessary so that you don’t run out of oxygen, and other times you need energy to keep flying. Sometimes it’s just a matter of refueling or coming back down to pick up or drop off passengers along the way.  Also, it’s excellent when you have a solid support system including God, family, friends, co-wrokers, students, etc. to lift you up even higher or to help you if you begin to descend.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
B.o.B.  uses figurative language to demonstrate his success.  He is not literally flying high in the sky, but the impact of the potential fall can be emotionally damaging.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #28: Ready to Self Destruct?

16 Jul

“I don’t understand the difficulty, people
Love your brother, treat him as an equal
They call us animals mmm mmm I don’t agree with them
I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what your proving them
Take heed before I lead to what I’m sayin’
Or we’ll all be on our knees, prayin’

—Stop the Violence Movement, formed by KRS One, quoted lyrics by Heavy D “Self Destruction”

Self DestructionAccording to the homicide statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 176 homicides this year (including July 15, 2011).  (Crime Maps & Stats)
Of course, this data does not account for other violent crimes such as armed robbery, rape and aggravated assault.   Is there something about the summer or hot weather that causes people to be even more violent than in the winter?  Is it that more people are just outdoors, so they are bound to resort to violence to address issues of contention they may have.

What about when it comes to people of color?  Are some people innately more violent than others, or does the environment in which people are raised or presently residing play significant roles in how they behave?  Last year, there were 306 homicide victims, as reported on Interestingly,  60 of the homicides involved people who were classified as white, and 242 of the homicides involved people who were classified as black.  This means that nearly 20% of the senseless deaths were white people, and nearly 80% were black people.  I am no sociologist or statistician, but this information is alarming.  In regard to neighboring counties and townships, many of them do not have “murder maps” because homicides at the rate they are occurring in Philadelphia would be considered an anomaly in those areas.

What conclusions would you draw if you just went according to the data and did not get to really know the people involved, their plights and struggles? (Not that this in anyway justifies the actions of these violent acts)  “Self Destruction” is a classic rap song where KRS One brought together some of the most renown rappers of the late 80s and early 90s for the “Stop the Violence Movement.”  Even though some of the slang terminology utilized in the song and some of the allusions may be dated, this song sadly still reigns true today.  Most people have heard the phrase, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”  Heavy D uses this very same message in his lyrics, “They call us animals mmmm  mmmm I don’t agree with them. I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what you’re proving them.”  I’ve heard people refer to blacks and latinos animals.  There are even teachers who do not think twice about using such a derogatory term.  Perhaps you don’t care about what “they” think, but do you care about your family, friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, etc. who may eventually wind up on their knees praying and mourning the loss of a loved one?  We’re all in this together, or at least we should be.  Don’t let our people, neighborhoods, towns, cities and nations self-destruct!

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Heavy D chose to drop the “g” from the words “sayin” and “prayin” for dialectical and meter  purposes.

Sonnet #9: The Truth

10 Jul

Tanya Harris You are everything I want in a man.
In truth, you transcend what I imagined.
Let me satisfy you all that I can
take you on journeys you cannot fathom,
continually display what true love means
even if you may not often say it.
Reflections of you, my countenance beams;
many methods you use to convey it.
You genuinely care about how I feel.
Minds’ connected: my thoughts you complete.
To me my love you’re a wonderful thrill
I’m here to stay; I refuse to retreat.
Will still be in love beyond year ten;
married life I want with you to begin.

Tanya Harris aka Anonomz
Written for and Inspired by SPF

Profound Hip Hop Quote #27: I’m Back With Power!!

9 Jul

“Listen, dude, for you that ain’t in the cards
Think the power is in the gun, but over all it’s in your heart

—TI, “I’m Back”
    View Video

TI "I'm Back"TI, aka Clifford Harris, was dubbed the Jay Z of the south, yet has had his share of run-ins with the law and difficulties staying out of trouble. Nevertheless, there’s something special about this guy. Perhaps it’s that we both share the same surname or that my paternal grandparents also hailed from Georgia.  Actually, his profound lyrics and innate “swaggerability” (Yes I just made up a new noun) are two attributes that have made me a follower of his music.  Regardless of what has went on in his personal life, lyrically speaking, this guy is alright with me.

Ironically, TI’s trouble with the authorities has, more times than not, been associated with firearms or artillery charges of some kind, but he elicits a positive reaction from listeners with his lyrics from “I’m Back.”  These in particular lyrics, “Think the power is in the gun, but over all it’s in your heart,” address an issue all too familiar with people living in the inner city and even in rural areas: gun violence.

Even though I’ve never been fond of guns mainly because of the inauthentic power they instill in people who can impulsively take another person’s life within a flash, I do understand why guns have become so prevalent over the years.  Some people carry guns for protection, others carry them with the intention of committing a crime or causing harm, while others simply get an adrenaline rush of power by having guns in their possession and just going to shooting ranges to practice.

However, who are these people without the guns?  What do their hearts reveal?  Is it anxiousness, fear, confusion, desperation, anger or even worthlessness?  Whatever it may be, people must eventually deal with the matters of the heart because that is where the true power begins, and when it comes to violence, let’s hope “for you that ain’t in the cards.” Address those issues first rather than seeking power in an inanimate object that can potentially cause a lifetime of heartache for animated human beings who are passionate about making this world a better place.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
In TI’s profound lyrics, he chooses to omit the pronoun “you” in the second line of his lyrics, “You think the power is in the the gun, but over all it’s in your heart,”  causing the listeners to refer back to the antecedent, “dude” so that they know to whom he is referring.  Also, as a result of TI excluding the pronoun you, this particular line can refer to anyone who believes that the power is in the gun.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #26: Rapping Up Violence

2 Jul

In our community it’s funny how the unity,
it seems to fall from tragedy instead of love from you and me.
As we move from war to peace
and back again while mothers all cry in the streets
from the gunshots.” 

—Nicolay & Kay, featuring Chip Fu “The Gunshot”

If you’ve never heard this song before, it is a “must hear!” 

Nicolay & KayThe summer is supposed to be a time of fun with people enjoying the weather, going to the beach, the park, enjoying family and friends, vacationing, etc. Sadly, the opposing force to these moments of jubilation is violence which plagues some cities more than others.  According to the homicide statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 159 homicides this year (including July 1, 2011).  Even though it is 21 percent lower than it was in 2007 (the homicide rate was 202 by July 1st), this is still a relatively high number. Actually, from June 1st to July 1st of this year, there have been 37 homicides; that’s more than one per day! (Crime Maps & Stats)

Yes, it is true that many rappers choose to promote and glorify violence, but that is not always their agenda.  Some actually are quite positive and influential in their communities and want to put an end to gun violence or any type of violence for that matter.  One artist in particular who addresses the need to do something about gun violence is Kay, a Houston, Texas rapper who paired up with Nicolay, the ultimate producer extraordinaire from the Netherlands to compose the classic album “Timeline.”  The production of song, “The Gunshot,” featuring Chip Fu, alone is enough to captivate listeners; however, most people would be able to resonate with and enjoy the profound lyrics of Kay as well.

It is unfortunate that many people with whom I have come in contact with can attest to having a direct or indirect experience with gun violence.  My first experience with gun violence was during my senior year of high school where two of my classmates, in separate incidents, were brutally slain.  Kay makes an observation that is unfortunate as well, “In our community it’s funny how the unity…it seems to fall from tragedy instead of love from you and me.”  Why do many of us wait for violence to strike before we take action?  Why not rally together in masses and take back our neighborhoods from violent offenders rather than have to undergo candle light vigils and teddy bear and balloon shrines for innocent bystanders and children caught in the crossfire?  Can some of these senseless tragedies be prevented with the love and peace from the community to stop the mothers from crying in the streets from the gunshots?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
In order to make a poem or rap more complex and rhythmic, the writer may employ an internal rhyme, which is a rhyme that occurs within the line of verse.  For example,  the word in the middle of the line will rhyme with the ending word in the line.  “In our community it’s funny how the unity, it seems to fall from tragedy instead of love from you and me.”  In the second line, Kay actually uses assonance, meaning that the rhyme focus is on the vowel sound, specifically “tragedy” and “me.“, rather than the entire words rhyming.