Archive | November, 2011

Profound Hip Hop Quote #45: Ready to Camp Lo for that “Luchini”

26 Nov

“This is it (What?!)
Luchini pourin’ from the sky
Lets get rich (What?!)
The cheeky vines
The sugar dimes
Cant quit (What?!)
Now pop the cork and steam the vega
And get lit (What?! What?! What?!)”
 

—“Luchini” by Camp Lo


Camp LoWhile listening to the funky jazz influenced rap song “Luchini” by Camp Lo the other day, I pondered if it could still get hip-hop heads out of their seats rapping along with the chorus today.   If you were into rap music during the mid to late 90s, you should have definitely had Camp Lo in your rotation.  Both Sonny Cheeba (Salahadeen Wilds) and Geechi Suede (Saladine Wallace) possess lyrical finesse and laid back styles which caused me to be an instant follower of their music.  Actually, just this year, they partnered up with Pete Rock to release “80 Blocks from Tiffany’s,” but these brothers will always be known for  the classic song “Luchini.”

What is it that makes “Luchini” so profound?  It’s the vernacular the duo uses as they get heads grooving to their flow.  Almost every line of their rhymes requires some decoding and translating.  People might know the lyrics and be able to rap along, but if you were to ask them for an interpretation, many would draw blanks or make educated guesses and possibly be wrong.  First off, some might not even know what “luchini” is; however, if forced to conjecture, the assumption would be that it is about money since it’s “pourin’ from the sky.”  Also, the following line says, “Let’s get rich” which indicates that “luchini” is some form of riches.  In the hook alone, references are made to “cheeky vines,” “sugar dimes,” “pop the cork,” “steam the vega” and “get lit.” It’s no wonder the main word to follow the lines is “What!”  However, this is what I love about this song; a hip hop dictionary is in order for anyone who is not or was not up on their slang, vernacular or regionalisms during that time.

This song not only has a catchy, “rap along hook” and mellow yet funky beat, it also demonstrates how simple colloquialisms can be lost in translation; nevertheless, the slang terminology is what gives people their own unique way of communicating and definitely one of the key features that made this song stand out from the rest and stand the test of time.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
To use the word “What” after most of the lines in the hook is an example of a chant or in this instance and “call and response.”  It has a significant contribution to the song and works as a tool to engage the listeners.

Thanks for Giving: Ten Things for Which I’m Grateful

24 Nov

Tanya Harris FranklinWhen is the last time that you reflected on the positive moments and people in your life?  How often do you think about all for which you are grateful?  Of course, Thanksgiving is more than just turkey and football, and for those who are familiar with the history of Thanksgiving might scoff at the idea of observing a time that eventually lead up to the demise of many natives of the land which we call the home of the free.  Nevertheless, this is also a time to express gratitude and even help those in need and show them how much they  are appreciated.

Even though I actually have been keeping a gratitude journal for the past few years, I’d like to take this time to express my gratitude and rejoice in  all that God has blessed me with to anyone who will listen (or in this case read) with a general list.

  1. Spirituality:  Not only to want a spiritual connection but to actually have a spiritual connection and relationship with God is awesome.  Sometimes there’s so much  going on in our lives that we do not stop to talk with God and try to handle everything on our own.  It’s nice to know that even when no one else is around, God is.
  2. Life: I am grateful to be alive.  Some people I know complain about life and utter the phrase, “Life’s a b***h” or “Life is hell on earth.”  But I am a fond believer that life is what you make it.  Why can’t life be a “bowl of cherries?”  I truly am grateful for all that this journey of life encompasses: The good and the bad which can be peeled back to display the good.
  3. Family and friends:  Having family and friends who support and love me and have time for me, regardless of how few or many there may be, keeps me motivated and brings happiness to my life.
  4. Love:  There were times throughout my life when I did not feel loved nor did not even think that I deserved to be loved.  However, as I matured and grew to love myself, the love that I have been receiving from others has not only lifted my spirit but made me even better at displaying my love for others.
  5. Career:  Having a career that I absolutely love and being able to have a positive impact on those with whom I come in contact is a wonderful feeling.
  6. Cognizance:  No, I do not know everything, but I am extremely grateful for the knowledge I do possess and always try my best to use that knowledge to not only improve myself but to be a positive influence on others too.
  7. Ambition:  Does ambition come from within, or is it something we are taught?  I think it could be a combination, but I certainly am glad that I am an ambitious person.  Without ambition, there is no way that I would be where I presently am in life, and I am confident that this ambition will benefit me in the years to come.
  8. Second Chances:  When it comes to certain occurrences in life, there are no do overs.  However,  I am extremely grateful for second chances and for the motivation to try again when I think about how many mistakes I have made throughout my life.
  9. Nature’s Beauty:  There are instances when I am on the go, feeling down or even in a good mood, and I stop, even if for a moment or two, to observe nature’s beauty.  To see the beautiful blue sky and fluffy clouds and the colorful foliage this time of the year is a lovely landscape view.
  10. Gratitude:  It might sound silly or a bit redundant, but I’m grateful to have so much gratitude.  There are people who really have to search their hearts and minds to think about why they should be grateful, and I am blessed  to have an bountiful list of reasons.

Please feel free to share that for which you are grateful.

All the best,

Tanya H. Franklin

Profound Hip Hop Quote #44: Nobody’s Safe Chumps: Serious As a Heart Attack!

19 Nov

“I must stay focused and keep my mind open
The world’s mass confusion, there’s mad guns smoking
For punks trying to get respect and yearning
Mess around and catch a bad one from Erick Sermon”

—“Nobody’s Safe Chump” by EPMD

EPMDEPMD: Erick and Parrish Making Dollars was and still is one of my all-time favorite hip-hop duos.  It is all about the business with these guys who actually have an album scheduled to release in 2012.  However, being all about business often causes people to neglect other areas of their lives and may eventually present problems that “nobody’s safe” from: health issues.  Last Saturday, November 12, it was reported that Erick Sermon, of EPMD suffered from a heart attack.  Even though he is expected to recover, he is only in his early 40s and should not have to worry about having a heart attack.  This news comes shortly after the untimely death of Heavy D.

With these two incidents so close together and with both of them being fully aware of the  risk of being unhealthy, overweight or obese, I thought it would be good to reflect on how nobody’s safe from a heart attack, cancer, diabetes or any other ailment; however, there are so many steps that we can take to either lessen our chances of having a health problem or at least lessen the severity.  I’m no doctor, but it should be obvious that if you eat junk food regularly, do not exercise, smoke and drink excessively and even have toxic relationships, then you are increasing your chances of dying young or experiencing a painful death at the hands of a heart attack due to the decisions you are making.

Of course, it is difficult for many to be health nuts, but “you must stay focused and keep your mind open.”  I’ve never smoked, consumed alcohol or used drugs before; however, I have battled with junk food.  For the past few years, I’ve been on a serious health kick but allow myself to have pizza, a slice of cake or any of my other vices in moderation.  The issue for most is “out of sight out of mind.”  If our skin was translucent and we could see the damage we were doing to our organs and how we were damaging our bodies, I think more people would be more conscientious when it comes to their eating habits and willingness to live sedentary lifestyles with little to no physical activity. I know it certainly does help me when I think in those terms.

Having a heart attack has to cause “mass confusion.”  I do not know what Erick Sermon’s eating habits or lifestyle is, but he, as well as Parrish Smith are one of my favorite rap duos of all time.  I hope he uses this brush with death to promote healthy living so that his loyal fans will be able to enjoy the upcoming album.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin


Profound Hip Hop Quote #43: Tell Me The Way I Am

12 Nov

“And I am, whatever you say I am
If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?”
 

—“The Way I Am” by Eminem

Eminem
Who and what dictates who you are?  Is it your actions, what you say, your appearance or what others say about you?  More than likely, it is a combination of all four.  Just because you may believe you are a nice person, does that make it so?  What have you done or said to demonstrate how nice of a person you are?  If others who know you well were asked to describe you, would they say that you are a nice person?

Released over a decade ago, Eminem’s song, “The Way I Am” is quite inflammatory as it addresses the issues that he has with the media’s perspective of him as a rapper and person.  Eminem might have controversial lyrics; however, those very same lyrics are usually quite profound.  In this instance, the actual chorus can be applied to anyone’s life. 

Most people would like others to have kind and positive words to say about who they are.  Nevertheless, is it necessary to care about how other people may perceive us to the point where we live our lives for them?  Do we sometimes allow the perceptions that people have about us to dictate our future behaviors: better known as the self-fulfilling prophecy.  For instance, are those mothers who tell their sons, “You ain’t nothin’ and ain’t never gonna be nothin’ just like your dead beat father” setting them up to actually be nothing because they believe they are what their mom’s say they are?

You are who you say you are, but be mindful of your actions, appearance and how you say what you say because it does play a significant role in how others will perceive you.  Also, do not allow the negative perceptions that people may have of you to dictate your journey in the future.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Profound Hip Hop Quote #42: He Had His Own Thang “RIP Heavy D”

9 Nov

“Don’t clock anybody, let them all clock you
Don’t be down with anybody, let them all be down with you
Stay self-managed, self-kept, self-taught
Be your own man, don’t be borrowed, don’t be bought
Started with a pow and I’m going to end it with a bang
We’ve got our own thang”
 

—“We Got Our Own Thang” by Heavy D and the Boyz

Heavy D And The Boyz Dwight Myers…The Overweight lover…Heavy D!  If you grew up listening to rap music in the late 80s and 90s Heavy D. and the Boyz should have received some play in your tape deck or CD player. Promoting positive and fun-loving messages, this group was a breath of fresh air, and Heavy D. proved that overweight brothers had something to offer and could get down and dance with the best of them.

Upon hearing about Heavy D’s untimely death, in pensive mood, I thought about what made him and his lyrics so special.  Then it came to me.  The title of one of his very songs sums up what it was: “We Got Out Own Thang.”  During the early 90s gangsta rap started to become more prevalent and devastated the market of fun, light-hearted raps with uplifting messages.  Despite the shrinking fan base or potential promotion from record labels, artists such as Heavy D and the Boyz, Fresh Prince and Kid and Play kept going strong.  In “We Got Our Own Thang” Heavy emphatically wants listeners to be themselves and not succumb to others or fall victim to peer pressure.  “Don’t clock anybody; let them all clock you.  Don’t be down with anybody, let them all be down with you.”

Furthermore, Heavy addresses those who want to be nothing more than carbon copies of the originators as well as those who are willing to perpetuate false personae if the price is write.  Perhaps some present day  entertainers who call themselves “rappers” should take heed to this advice.  “Stay self-managed, self-kept, self taught.  Be your own man, don’t be borrowed, don’t be bought.”

Heavy D indeed did “start with a pow and end with a bang” and went on to be a quite successful record executive and actor.  It truly saddens me that Heavy D. and the Boyz have yet to receive praise during one of the Hip Hop Honors award shows.  Let’s not allow those other artists who have paid the way to go unacknowledged and then receive homage posthumously.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
Heavy D uses slang to drive his point homethe word “clock”  In this instance, it is similar to “jocking” or fawning over a person.