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One of the best features of Esquire magazine is their popular “What I’ve Learned” series.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, go here and read up. You can gain a lot of wisdom depending on the interview you’re reading.

I wanted to take a stab at doing my own so here I go:

I stole this idea from Jason. He who blogs at Basement Elevation. I know swagger jacking is wrong, but it was too good an idea to pass up. After you read mine, go read his.

I don’t see myself as the best writer. I think I have talent and potential, but I feel it’s my perspective on things that separates me from other people, not necessarily any particular gift at prose.

I can’t see myself doing anything else but writing. This has spurred frustration from people who always looked to me to become a lawyer, a politician, or some other prestigious profession. Thank God it’s my life and not theirs.

I know that as outgoing and social as I am, there’s still a very shy and awkward quality to me. I’m kind of crazy, but in a way that doesn’t warrant a prescription. I’ve come to appreciate that.

I’d rather be considered weird than boring.

Cynicism is what happens to closet idealists who can’t take disappointment anymore.

Humor is the perfect coping mechanism.

Honesty isn’t nearly as popular as people pretend it to be. Liars have it way too easy.

The word sheep can perfectly describe the majority of the population. That and a yawn.

I wish people would stop equating going to church every week with being a good person. One is not a prerequisite for the other. I shouldn’t have to constantly explain why I’m not Satan in slimmer packaging because I’m no longer a regular church goer to people who don’t know very much about their own faith anyway.

God is with me even if everyone else isn’t.

Is there a point in not speaking your mind? If there is, please never share it with me.

I’ve found that whenever I plan something out for my life it never goes the way I intended it to. Never. It may behoove me to finally start planning in generalities to give myself leeway. Or maybe I should stop trying to plan everything altogether.

I try not to have any regrets, though I still secretly carry a few with me.

Letting go is a concept I’ve yet to master. To my own detriment.

Marriage is probably not going to happen for me. That’s fine. Living in sin sounds more fun anyway.

My nieces make me smile. They are living proof that cycles can be broken.

Listen to your gut. Living by fear will do nothing but lead you to becoming a loser bitch.

I won’t be satisfied until I helped facilitate real change.

I know I am meant for something great. I’m just not sure how long it will take me to get there. Here’s to hoping not much longer. I’m hella impatient.

Edit: I am a damn good writer and I was rude to prescriptions. Sorry, I had to update. — Me, 03.10.12

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Disclaimer: If you were expecting a more formal concert review similar to the way I have done album reviews, yeah I didn’t feel like it.

Up until twenty minutes ago I completely forgot that technically I’ve seen Lil’ Wayne perform twice via the Ruff Ryders/Cash Money and Cash Money Millionaire tours. That recollection totally botched what was supposed to be my opening sentence. I was going to talk about how I was did something I never thought I would do (paying to see him perform) and play it all up but dammit I’ve already seen the little Gremlin years ago.

Eh, it wasn’t like he was the headliner on either bill back then so I’m sure ya’ll still get what I’m trying to say. I’ve never consider myself to be that big a Wayne fan. I ignored him almost as much as the rest of the world ignored Turk. I’ve always been aware of his growing buzz (and ultimate takeover) though I still never really cared that much about him.

Over the last two years he’s kind of made it hard to ignore him. His latching on to every person’s song can only be rivaled by T-Pain and he drops mixtapes every other second. Between that and finally watching him perform (at least on his own) I now understand his appeal.

He may have been higher than this summer’s gas prices the whole time but Wayne can put on a show. He’s a charismatic crack head who really knows how to excite a crowd. And might I add that he’s quite a uniter. I’ve never seen so many hoodrats, homos, and white folk in such close proximity. As soon as I stepped into the Toyota Center I went to the bathroom and saw them gambling near the stalls. Everyone black, white, gay, straight were getting hustled out of their money. That is progress my people.

Anyway, I’ve heard from a few old Wayne fans (you know when the block was hot) that this isn’t the Wayne they used to love and jig to. They complain he’s too left field for them now. They don’t want to see him on a guitar (which he donned for “Prostitute Flange”) nor do they want to hear him sing. In some respects, I can understand that but I’m glad he’s decided to try new things. If he didn’t he’d be like the rest of the Cash Money roster. Where are they now again?

I won’t say that I’m a stan or anything, but I realized I knew more of his songs than I thought I did and would pay to see him again. I was actually pissed he didn’t perform my favorite song, “Me and My Drank.” It might be ignorant as hell and a glorified love song for addiction but I love it. In fact, about two weeks ago I performed in the parking lot outside of a club.

As for the other line up, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with them, too. Who knew T-Pain could actually sing on key without the aid of a vocoder? He reminds me of someone that used to sit at the band table and make a bunch of corny jokes, but he’s entertaining. The Britney midget, the ugly clowns, the muscle butt women dancing on those huge wooden legs – it was like Ringling Brothers at a hole in the hall and for T-Pain, it worked.

Now on to Keyshia Myesha. I love her. So much now. She didn’t sound like her throat got into a fight during sound check and her dancing was not off. In fact, she was even doing some of my moves. Somebody’s been in dance class in an effort to keep up with their mama. Holla.

As for the new image, I think it initially threw people off in the audience. When you think old school glamour you don’t think chick from Oakland that used to rock Big Red’s hair color. I think everyone got over it as soon as she went through her catalog.

If you’re wondering how Gym Class Heroes and Keri Hilson were, yeah I guess we were walking around talking about people while they were on so we missed them. Oh well.

If you have a chance to go to the tour I would recommend it. For those of you worried fear not: I did not have to run from any bullets before, after, or during the show. Besides, even if you have to do that it’s good exercise.

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George Bush ought to be happy about this video. It proves he’s not the only one who has had a hand in ruining Christmas. They really don’t make classics anymore, which is why I’ll never let go of “Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto” and “Player’s Ball.”

Despite Juelz foray into bastardizing holiday classics I will let the little bit of holiday cheer that thee private student loan industry hasn’t already stripped for me remain.

I’m feeling so festive I wanted to share what gifts I would pass along if I had Santa’s credit card number:

Aretha Franklin: Diet hog maw. Or gastric bypass.

Amy Winehouse: Rehab. New teeth. Self esteem.

Brutha: A new song. So I can never here, “Here’s my brother and I love him like myself” ever again.

Mike Tyson: Prescription drugs that don’t cause massive weight gain.

Aubrey O’Day: A clue.

Solange: A charming personality. Or a muzzle.

Kanye West: A hug…from someone else.

Brandy: Album sales.

Ashanti: A buddy pass to my gym. That is, unless she loves it. If so, scratch off gym and put me down for a catfish po’boy.

Britney Spears: Her rhythm back. Or three years of seclusion.

Ciara: A clue. The number to Rihanna’s stylist.

Janet Jackson: A time machine.

Foxy Brown: A psychiatrist.

Janelle Monáe: A guarantee that Puff Puff won’t treat her like Cherri Dennis.

Every other artist signed to Bad Boy: Their royalties.

Lil’ Kim: A new face – a Black one.

The Debarge Family: Therapy.

Mya: A seventh chance at stardom.

Pamela Anderson: Dignity.

Usher: His career back.

Ne-Yo: A different set of subject matter to write about.

Jamie Foxx: A consistent hairline.

Sarah Palin: A book you can’t color in.

Khia: Sanity.

Mariah Carey: Wine. (Red wine if she’s pregnant.)

Anyone that’s worked with Chris Pokes: Their innocence back.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta: A husband that isn’t already someone else’s for Kim, an affordable home for Nene, a trip to a real designer’s home for Sheree, and a synonym for ‘elite’ for DeShawn.

As for me, money, a book deal, and a show will suffice. Oh and if you can get me an mp3 of Aretha’s cover of “Touch My Body,” that would be great. And also *******. Oh and a vote. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?

If you’re going to be stingy and not give me any of that can you just join me in my efforts to retire the word ‘swag’ in 2009?

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Juan Williams is one of those Black people I wish you could bitch slap the Black off of. You would think after years of saying some of the most insidious comments about race, class, and politics on Fox News Juan might be compelled to finally start making an ounce of sense.

That’s what I get for still holding on to optimism. Some people can’t be saved especially those that work for Fox News. Juan has to earn that paycheck so he has to make sure he utters the most nonsensical bullshit to secure airtime.

“How many lives have sacrificed to the cause of liberating Iraq?

Liberate Iraq? I don’t recall Iraqis ever asking us to “liberate” them via an invasion and occupation. Besides, wasn’t the whole point of the war to stop Saddam from using his nonexistent nuclear weapons?

I wonder how many Iraqi lives were lost in a war for profit that was guised as an effort to thwart nuclear war.

“We’d never treat their leader in that way.”

Not that I’m a fan, but we executed Saddam Hussein. Of course, we’re the reason he had all of those chemical weapons to begin with, but I suppose that doesn’t matter now.

“The act of an ingrate.”

I can’t stand when Black people in particular say some bullshit like this. Earlier this year Pat Buchanan wrote that Black people ought to be more grateful as white people have done more for Blacks than other race on Earth.

And last year Pope Benedict told Brazilians that despite what history tells them Christianity was never imposed on them by a foreign culture, then proceeding to bash their way of life pre-colonization.

This is the exact same thing to me.

“I would’ve punched the guy.”

And he probably would’ve shoved his socks down your throat.

Juan Williams, today’s fool of the day.

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Before puberty came along and dashed my dreams of becoming Bobby Brown (a sober and jail free version), I could sing. Pretty damn well for a kid, if I do say so myself. Even at the age of 8 I was writing songs and singing them in my room thinking one day I could be on stage like the greats — Michael Jackson or maybe even Vanity. I didn’t even listen to my mama when she would say, “Yeah you sound alright, but go do your homework.” I knew she was hating and her negative vibes weren’t going to stop me.

Nature damn sure did, though. All of a sudden my voice cracked like Mariah Carey after Glitter and hasn’t been right since. Damn shame, too, because I really wanted to sing. I still do on occasion. On some days, if I focus really really hard and drink lots and lots of water I can manage to hold a decent note while singing D’Angelo’s “When We Get By.” I ended up having a throat ache soon after, but that’s OK because for those three minutes, I still had it.

But I don’t dare try any of this in public. Why? Because I know I would sound like a damn fool. I wish Kanye West could say the same. I understand that he’s hurt but I need him to accept that his singing voice could give a dolphin a seizure. Thanks to Auto-tune it works on studio versions, but that’s not something one ought to try live.

Now I’ve been taking up for ‘Ye since folks have been giving him a hard time lately for going atypical on them, but either he gets singing lessons, a working vocoder, or a better distractions or he needs to just go back to straight rapping. He’s giving us high school talent show. I don’t know what kind of high school some of you readers went to, but my shit was hood as hell. I still remember them booing the girl who performed “Amazing Grace” — and she only got to line two of the song. I can only imagine the reception Kanye would get performing this.

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I get the feeling when Nene told people to check out her past she imagined reporters would dig up on pictures of her pussy poppin’ on a handstand. In her mind she likely pictured a camera crew showing up at her doorstep with old pictures yelling, “Nene! Nene! Did you really used to strip to Big Daddy Kane?” to which she would quip back, “Oh yes, darling I did and I was fierce. And hunny don’t let the kids, the age, and the marriage fool you I am still bad.” Then she’d probably do two snaps and go about her business.

Too bad it didn’t turn out that way. I ultimately got sucked into this show and Nene quickly became my favorite cast member. She’s like that drunk aunt you wouldn’t want to see too often but around the holidays you’re dying to see her with that gin in her system. She’s funny and doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously unlike the other ones who keep going on about how “elite, wealthy, and elite” they are. Stop laughing, ya’ll! Saying that makes them feel good about themselves.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Nene was lying her ass off as much as the rest of them. Those that usually claim to be the realest turn out the be the biggest liar of them all. Word to Officer Ross.

In her defense she did say she’s keeping up with the Jones’. Have you paid attention to the news lately? The Jones’ are probably ducking bill collectors, too.

The thing about this show is that most people ought to know it’s essentially just a cheap sitcom without all of the formalities like a script, writers with benefits, and the like. I mean real socialites would never appear on reality TV and extra rich people don’t like folks all in their business.

What we have here is a case of penthouse dreams with Section 8 checks. No offense to my Atlanta readers (including my friends from Georgia — love ya’ll), but it’s a bunch of brokies just like that fronting Atlanta. But to be fair to them, at least they keep their rented house and Rent-A-Center furniture away from the cameras. Live and learn, Linnethia.

Although she invited this scrutiny herself to a degree by appearing on a reality show, why the hell is this news? Don’t the local news reporters of Atlanta have something else to report on? Maybe a crime wave, a declining job market to shed light on, or a T.I. to keep following around? You would think Nene’s husband owed someone at the station a check.

Leave her alone.

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I haven’t been this excited about a shoe since those padded leather Js came out in 7th grade. Iraqi television journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi knows how to make his presence felt. Showing the soles of shoes to someone is equivalent to spitting in someone’s face in Arab culture. The ultimate fuck yo couch indeed.

When he threw his first shoe Muntadar screamed, “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog.” When he went for Plan B he yelled, “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.” Unfortunately, Bush is a lot quicker than people thought. I guess we should have put the economy in a boot and chunked it at him. We’d be much better off.

If you’re wondering why he’s so testy, well beyond the whole illegal war thing Muntadar had been kidnapped and beaten by a militia. Coincidentally, when Saddam Hussein’s regime was overthrown, Iraqis took off their Forces and beat the Hussein statute to the ground. Now Iraqis are hurling their shoes like missiles at Bush. So much for we’ll be greeted as liberators. I will give Bush credit in finding humor in a journalist’s attempts to leave a Stacy Adams imprint in his eye socket. If only his quick reflexes and humor weren’t overshadowed by his abysmal record.

I’ve noticed some people have expressed sympathy towards President Bush. Some people believe Supershoes should have showed respect for the leader of the free world. I’m not one of those people.

That leader of the free world started an illegal war under false pretenses and has destabilized a region that was already under immense turmoil. Lives have been lost, people have been displaced, and I myself still worry that one of my relatives will come home in a body bag due to some jackass starting a war that’s only benefited the stock portfolio of his second in command.

Lucky for Bush he caused such a severe recession that people won’t go rushing to Finish Line to hook Muntadar up with another shoe to throw. I wonder if he’ll able to avoid a fate that doesn’t involve a toe tag.

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I try my hardest not to be a word Nazi. Not only is such a person annoying, but you have to be almost perfect to get away with pretending to be captain of the Vocabulary and Grammar po-po. Still every person has their limits and I definitely have a few. There is nothing more irritating to me than a muthafucka that doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re.

Actually there is: There’s the jackass that will try to pop shit your way and can’t even use to, too, and two correctly. I swear one day I’m going to record a diss track against English teachers across the country. Or randomly bitch slap people with a copy of Hooked on Phonics. Whatever gets the most results.

I’m also not the type to correct people. There’s something really pretentious about it so I avoid doing it. The only time I will say something usually centers on “conversate.” If I love you I will pull you to the side and say, “It’s converse. Please never say ‘conversate’ again. Ever.” Now if I could give a less fuck about you I will let you walk around thinking “conversate” is a real word.

I may be the typo king at times, but you will never find me sending a text or email that looks something like: “It wuz gud conversatin wit u to, fam.” Jesus be a sore thumb or a keyboard killer. Even worse than that is what these kids (that may make me sound old, but I don’t want to be associated with that group) are now typing.

Y’know, L!k3 Thiiz nd 5h!t. Or TyP3 LyK3 DiS nd $h!T. If you are a member of the Soulja Boy generation, I somewhat understand and I say a prayer for you as often as possible. But there are people old enough to remember literate rappers who still TyP3 Lyk3 DA+.

What is wrong with them?

Th3y {\/}@d (ru3/_ @nd $h!t
!m (r@(k!n9 d@ f{}ck [_]p

I wish their keyboards would commit suicide.

I wear contacts. Are people trying to make me go blind deciphering that bullshit? I don’t know what dsylexic inspired this trend, but I want to end. But I know it won’t, which makes me so {\/}
@nd $h!t.

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Kevin Federline is a second rate dancer who was fortunate enough to catch a woman – who despite being a superstar – has a family history riddled with mental illness and was seemingly on the rebound. And as we’ve all learned he then married her and proceeded to successfully push just enough buttons to cause her to lose what little bit of sense she did have and gain a steady check via custody of their two sons.

So not only do we know he’s an untalented loser bitch, it’s clear his only claim to fame is the woman he helped almost ruin. I say all of this to make the case for why people shouldn’t care what this jack ass thinks about Black people one way or the other.

People tend to hate what they fear, or in this wannabe’s case, mock what they secretly envy. He has a Black baby mama and launched a rap career. Why should I care if he’s making fun of Black stereotypes when he perpetuates some of them himself? I’ve had this debate with a couple of my friend’s and for me personally, I feel as if Black people have bigger fish to fry.

Sure, we can sit around stewing around over Kevin Federline but I don’t see the point. There are always going to be idiots who try to guise their true prejudices in gest. I’ve never put collard greens on my plate and everyone knows strawberry or ‘rnge’ soda is better than grape.

If he wants to act like a joke let him. It won’t be long before Britney regains custody of her children and he’s back to begging Shar Jackson to hooking up their digital camera to shoot video blogs on YouTube.

But to be fair to Kevin, this may not even be him in the clip. I kinda don’t think it is him, but since I’m not a fan I wanted to pop shit anyway. If it’s not actually him in the clip, that makes it all the more worth dismissing because who hides behind Kevin Federline? A coward worth laughing at.

There are always going to be racist people of every color. Not all of them are worth our attention. So put your white powder away.

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While people are still laughing at Keyshia Cole for dressing like the chick that gave JJ Evans VD on that episode of Good Times at the De La Hoya fight, many have been distracted from news of her true crime: Fucking up a Mary J. Blige song.

As odd as it may be in hindsight, Mary J. Blige’s My Life was my shit. It doesn’t matter if I was 10. The album was good. And one of my favorite songs from the album is “I Love You.” When word leaked that Keyshia Cole was going to remake the track with Lil’ Wayne, I had a feeling it was going to turn out awful.

But to call it awful would be like saying the U.S. economy is only slighty bad. Or that O.J. Simpson is only a little stupid.

I know the remake was intended to pay homage to Mary, but after listening to it I can’t help but wonder if Mary owes Keyshia money or slept with her man? You would think it was a diss record. You mad, Keyshia?

I happen to like Keyshia Cole. I like the fact that she’s trying really hard to better herself. Sure, she’s been looking like Betty Boop and the Roadunner in the process, but you can’t knock a girl for trying.

But back to this song. I don’t get the logic. She’s already compared to Mary, and when she decides to cover one of her songs, she goes and records something like that? She was smart enough not to include this on her album. It would have been even smarter to destroy any record of this song ever being recorded.

She better be lucky Mary is fine, fine, fine, fine, fine now. If we were talking ’95 Mary she might have cracked open a crack pipe and cut up Keyshia. Man down.

I would place some of the blame on Wayne, too, but given the fact that he’d add his rhymes to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song if offered, I already knew he didn’t care if the song sounded good or not.

But Keyshia ought to know better. I don’t want to encourage Black on Black violence, but I wouldn’t be mad if Mary and Kendu jump them.

As I write this, D’Angelo’s cover of Prince’s “She’s Always In My Hair” just came on my iPod. Now that’s a remake. Granted, I can barely understand a word he’s saying, but at least his mumbles are on key. Live and learn, Keyshia. Live and learn.

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