Cover Your Mouth Instead Next Time

I’ve never paid enough attention to Leona Lewis to have any other thought of her besides boredom and indifference, but now I officially hate her. OK, maybe not hate but I would be lying if I said I’m not tempted to call immigration the next I get word of her being in the U.S.

When covering a classic there are two very important questions an artist should ask themselves. The first being the most important: “Will I mess this up?” The nearly as important follow-up question is: “Will I piss off fans of the original enough if I mess this up?

Leona Lewis, you have failed to answer both questions correctly.

I don’t know who that man was that slapped her and while I don’t excuse him for what he did, I’m tempted to Tweet Coko and ask her to grow her nails back for the sole purpose of scratching her up. Or at least put some fear into her heart.

Read the rest of this entry »

Try Again, Gucci

Because of a friend in search of a burgeoning trending topic, I’ve had the phrase, “Party, party, party, let’s all get wasted” stuck in my head for days now.

It doesn’t help that for one reason or another (OK, one: I listen to Gucci Mane daily) I’ve very recently started to randomly yell out, “GUCCI!”

In the middle of conversations. GUCCI! While trying to be deep thought about my work. GUCCI! On the phone with my mama. GUCCI! While I was praying last nite. GUCCI! As I type this blog post. GUCCI!

I think it’s becoming a problem.

I have to be honest with ya’ll: Up until the other day, I can’t recall ever hearing the song “Wasted.” Trust, I have downloaded several of his mixtapes.

I blast “How Bout U” really loud in front of white people. I fast forward to Kandi’s part on “Gucci Bitch.” I love “Trade Em In.” I’m well are of “Freaky Girl.” “Watch Cost A Bentley” is a recurring morning jig. And when I’m in a classical mood, I turn on “Go Head.”

So, I’m aware of Gucci’s work. But, when I saw the names Plies attached to “Wasted” I instantly ignored it. Gucci Mane is about as insightful as a big rock, but listening to Plies just makes me feel wrong. I can’t get over the fact that he sounds like an English teacher in interviews and a slave on wax. Never listening to the radio helped me avoid the song.

But after seeing #partypartypartyletsallgetwasted on Twitter so many times, I finally gave in and listened.

That’s my shit.

Now that I’ve actually heard the song I’ve confused about the point of this PSA. Was this supposed to make me appreciate sobriety more because it doesn’t? In fact, I wanna get drunk and watch Oprah now.

If you’re gonna drink like the white boys you gotta do PSAs like they do, too.

See the use of sarcasm, Gucci? Because of it I instantly want to go vote now. For what, I’m not particularly sure, but I know I wanna vote right this instant.

Yours makes me wonder if you’re about to go smoke weed and chase it with a bottle of E&J. I need you to do better next time.

Thank you for trying, though. At the very least, I’m sure one person took one less sip of that brown because of you.

P.S. GUCCI!

Let Me Try To Be Nice-Esque

I admittedly, haven’t given Chris Brown many compliments on my site. Well, not about his music anyway. Two years ago I wrote a review of his sophomore album, Exclusive, in which I explained my thoughts on Chris the artist:

It’s not that I dislike Chris Brown. He has many redeemable qualities: He can dance, and his performances are filled with a degree of energy lacking in a lot of today’s large crop of dull performers. I even get the feeling that he’s a nice kid, considering that I often see him with the biggest grin on his face. But, I’m not a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, nor am I voting for the superlative of “Friendliest”. I’m looking at Chris Brown as a singer and an artist, which therein the problem lies. There’s something about his voice that I just can’t get over. He can carry a tune, though in some instances I often wonder if he needed to take weight training classes beforehand to do so. This wasn’t a problem on his debut album as his pre-pubescent vibrato meshed perfectly with the fairly innocent material he was given.

This new album, however, is an attempt (by his pressing handlers, no doubt) to transition the young R&B star from teenage idol to adult superstar. Unfortunately, these transitions tend to be only believable when the artist comes to the table with maturation and their own vision of where they should go musically and visually. Exclusive seems aimless, an album where Brown is doing what he’s told versus being the anchor of his own ship. This album comes across as the brainchild of an A&R rep, with very little input from Chris Brown.

At the time, I would write he sings like his balls don’t hang, but they wouldn’t publish such a thing. Anyhow, my general opinions about his music haven’t changed, sans maybe he’s not as giddy as he smile suggests.

I don’t like this song. It’s the male equivalent of “Upgrade U” and Beyonce-devotion aside, that song irks the hell out of me. When I listen to my ign’t music I know what I’m getting. When I hear materialistic melodies like these by singers who boasts of crooning about genuine emotion and feelings (as most pop/R&B singers profess to), the second I hear these sort of songs I think to forward the mp3 to the IRS.

But, since I haven’t been nice to Chris lately (ever?) I’ll say this: The video is visually stimulating. Pretty colors, his choreography seems less and less like it’s been influenced by ADHD, and I’m sure this will help push a song that’s already a hit even higher.

Is that nice enough?

Wait, let me try something else.

Eh, I hope the video helps bring back focus to his career versus his controversy. That is, if he learns to shut up on Twitter and let his music speaks for himself. Seriously, can someone stop him? Posting videos of he and Rihanna is not going to help transform him from Ike Jr. back to Chris Brown. Someone needs to take his Twitter privileges away and send him to a writing session. He’s much better writing songs than he is writing tweets that’s going to piss off a judge waiting for him to violate probation.

OK, I’m done trying. The video is cool, I’ll never watch it again but I don’t regret seeing it. I can’t say the same for 95% of the videos I didn’t bother to finish watching this year. Or last. I’m at least curious to see him perform this live, and I bet he’s gotten Usher to run an extra mile this morning.

…and I’m even curious to hear his album (maybe the third time’s a charm).

Do I get an A for effort an F for…well, stans ya’ll got that.

Do The Fat Al!

I forgot I downloaded it, but last Friday I finally extracted DJ RPM & Mr. Boomtown – The Texas Takeover Part 2. Included in the mixtape were the following gems:

Big Bucc: “Tatted On Her Back”

Damm D: “Beat It Up”

Fat Pimp feat. D’Ray: “Stupid”

Tum Tum feat. Street C: “Posted With Gorilliaz”

Trai D’ feat. Fat Pimp: “Booty From Behind” (R.I.P. Pimp C)

Candi Redd: “Independent Bitches”

Lil’ Woo: “Do Dat”

As you can see, we’ve got a lot of creative folks in this set. But, the song that stuck out most to me was a song entitled “Do The Fat Al” by The Gutta Twins. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough you know I love a song that comes with an instructional dance.

Thankfully, I was able to find an instructional video with an actual fat person doing the dance.

Do ya’ll see him breaking them boys off in the video (no Bow Wow)? If homie did that dance at least three, four, maybe eighteen times a day he would walk around with the weight of three less people (obesity is a disease we must end, folks…same for yaki hair).

Will I be doing this dance? I’m not sure yet. A part of me says, “Hell no, don’t I do enough stupid dances already?”

We all have that side of us inside. It should be ignored. Completely.  No rub ya belly, swing ya chain, and do the Fat Al.

Just go run a lap and read a newspaper after you’re done. I’d normally say watch the news, but honestly, the Fat Al is actually more intellectually stimulating than 90% of what’s found on cable news.

P.S. Although I threw bougie-inspired shade to songs from this mixtape, know that I will or likely already have danced to all of these songs. Tweets is watching.

Find An App For That

My e-sister from another creole, Fresh, posted this over at C+D the other day. One of the first posts I ever wrote on this blog was about Teairra Mari, mainly on how her much older handlers were tailoring her image. As fate would have it, her decent albeit overly grown, overly sexual, profanity-latent debut album failed to make an impression with audiences. Not because it wasn’t good; rather, she was a minor too young for grownups and too grown for the teens (well, making it commercially viable to them anyway).

Now that she’s grown enough to do whatever she is without blaming it on her daddy, I’m not going to tell her to get off her knees.

Nope. Not gonna do it. I’m only going to suggest to her that if she wants to go this route look into booking a field trip to Magic City and get up on game.

I feel bad for Teairra. She’s a pretty girl with a decent voice who has loads of potential. Yet, here she is failing to perform classic hoe shit tricks on stage in New York.

Teairra looks like she’s at her dude’s house playing Janet Jackson.

If someone gave me a lap dance like that I wouldn’t give them anything but a tip to go to college.

If her label won’t pay for a trip to Magic City, someone please send her some YouTube links, a Janet Jackson DVD, or even a clue if you have one to spare.

Something.

Watch Out, Bruce Wayne

Nicki Minaj intrigues me. Not necessarily because of any set skill, but as the only viable female emcee I can think of instantly you can’t help but wonder how she’ll fair if/when she actually drops an album.

She looks like she was created in a Mattel lab and speaks in an accent that sounds more inspired by the Queen of England than the Queens borough that bred her.

I can see why some people may not take a liking to her, but she’s not actually a bad rapper. She shows potential in “I Get Crazy,” a few other select tracks from her mixtape, and the remix to “5 Star Bitch” where she makes more of an impression than the baddest bitch herself.

It’s enough to want to give her a chance. That is, if you don’t happen to find her incredibly annoying. I get why some consider her something along the lines of Lil’ Wayne’s annoying little sister. I don’t get her language, the hip-hop Barbie angle she’s pushing, nor her speaking voice. Still, I want to like her. She’s all we have and at least she’s trying to be interesting. Everyone needs a gimmick anyway.

I’ve been wanting to write about her for a while now, but I was looking for something that will help sell her to both you and me.

This ain’t, though.

I had to watch this video a couple of times before I paid any attention to what she was actually talking about. I was too busy being distracted by the lower half of her body.

Pause. Or something.

What has she done to herself? I made a vague reference to rumors that she’s gotten butt injections last week, but damn ya’ll, why is she giving me Batman Returns villain body?

Does she not remind anyone else of The Penguin: The Thinner Years?

Why would you do that to yourself? She’s already gotten a reputation for having obese genitalia so why take it one step further with a botched butt? I’m going to hold out hope that her body will heal and that her debut single will set her career off. You would think a person who models themselves after hip-hop’s two biggest pinups would learn about the dangers of cosmetic operations (and being out of their minds).

P.S. Don’t ask me what a Waka Flocka is. I don’t even want to know.

He Said I’ll Die Poor

For someone who’s been told that they look unapproachable I always manage to find myself in unwanted conversations with some of the craziest sum bitches alive. A few of them I share a blood line with so I tend not to have a choice in engaging them. Other times, though, random crazies just seem to find me at a time where there’s no escape route.

Such was the case for me on Friday, when some older man in a Fila jumpsuit decided to crash my time and my conversation while out at dinner.

I, along with a friend, were out at Crustacean. It’s a European-Vietnamese restaurant in Beverly Hills. If you’re wondering, no, I didn’t finally give into those go-go boy dreams nor have I signed my deal with Young Money. I don’t sell coke (no cola) either. I kept hearing about this place for so long that I wanted to try it. You know, be spiffy for once and not eat meat that wasn’t grounded or came from a fast food window. Next time I go there I’m selling plasma first. That being said, shout out to Wendy’s for still being the spot in this here recession.

Anyhow, so my friend and I are at the table looking at the menu as a part of me tries to figure out whether or not I should bust my ass on the floor to get this meal comped. Well, not really. I lost my health insurance months ago. I’m no fool: Dinner is one thing; seven million dollars for generic aspirin is another.

Now, your crazy uncle (not mine, see above link) who got in my space. So Mr. Fila spots my friend and I and asks my friend, “Are ya’ll from LA?”

She says she is, and tells him that I’m from Houston. He then asks me if I know Brad Ford…or whatever his name was. I say no and Fila Fool screams, “You from Houston and you’on know Brad Ford? What you, a medical student or something?”

I have no idea what one has to do with the other, but if you know who Brad is, feel free to clarify for me.

I tell the man I’m a writer and he proceeds to sit down.

Mistake #1.

It’s sometimes best not to tell people in LA that you’re a writer. One, because who isn’t a writer here? Two, some people might instantly think, “Oh, you can write my life story.” As if anyone besides the life side of his brain gives a damn.

Second scenario is what happened to me and for twenty minutes this man proceeds to ramble about the details of his life. As if I care.

I can’t even begin to tell you what all he said because I looked attentively but tuned him out for 98% of the time. The only reason he got that 2% was simply strategical. I needed to know just what level of crazy I was dealing with.

At first, the man was actually talking to both of us. At one point he pulled out two IDs. One had a residence in the hood (as told to me by the homie) while the other was some address in Beverly Hills. Why was he doing this? Your guess is as good as mine.

The man went on and on. He’s rich. He’ has a house in Manhattan. He came to LA on a Greyhound Bus with twenty cents in his pocket. He can walk into this “fine establishment” in a Fila jumpsuit. Because apparently he’s that dude. Ya heard?

Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Blog on Essence.com

Wanna read it? Here it go: click me.

Now Or Never

I could write about the mystery of Nicki Minaj’s ass, the debate over the melanin-challenged winning pageants on the campuses of historically black institutions, racist Rush’s attempt to create his own master-slave fantasy via competitive sports or some random other foolishness, but I’on wanna. At least not today anyway.

Over at the now defunct Aliya S. King blog I took part in an online fiction workshop with the accomplished writer and published author (whose first novel will be released next year…yay). I got feedback on my contribution – a short story – and I’ve decided to go ahead and post it here for additional feedback.

I’ve become a lot more confident about my fictional work (ya’ll remember) recently so I wanted to share. This is literally the very first short story I’ve ever written. I’ve gotten my notes from Aliya and others so I will revise and plan to add on. Who knows what it could turn to.

Still want to get your feedback, though, so see below. This is the version that I submitted to them. I’ll probably be doing more entries like these in the future. Need to show off my versatility as a writer. And shit. Hope you enjoy.

Again: Be gentle. It’s my first time.

“Now or Never”

By: Michael Arceneaux

Read the rest of this entry »

Shut Up

I’m suspicious of people who suddenly rant about a community that they have no formal connection to and never pretended to care about previously.

I’ve never seen Adam Carolla on any black programming. I can’t think of any time I’ve seen him stand next to a black person. Well, there’s David Allen Grier but after Chocolate News in my mind he was placed into the racial draft and traded for Chelsea Handler. Anyhow, here is Adam ranting about how Tyler Perry is an embarrassment to black people with his stereotypical portrayal of Madea. This coming from the person famous for his role on The Man Show. You know, that brilliant piece of satire.

As I’ve mentioned previously, while I respect Tyler Perry’s ascension in the entertainment industry, I understand some of the criticism leveled against him and his work (but in principle, I say this about all filmmakers and creative people — people will always have something to say about your work, such is life). But, coming from Adam Carolla, his rant sounds like nothing more than some salty comic mad that Tyler owns his own studio, has his own brand, and making more money than him.

Being friends with Wanda Sykes is one thing (someone filled me in about another as I typed this), caring that much about colored folk on camera is another. I don’t believe him. The same goes for him calling Oprah to choose better pillars for the black community. Adam Carolla does the same level of sophomoric bullshit. For every Madea there’s an Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and 50 versions of The Hangover.

Nothing necessarily wrong with low brow humor, but really, start at home, Adam.

And did anyone else find it incredibly transparent when he quipped, “If YT critic says this he’s racist.” Thou doth protest too much? Even if he did suddenly develop some genuine concern about the images of people of color in media the fact that he had to argue whenever a white person says anything about black people they’re automatically branded a racist. That is, was, and always will be a crock. More times than not the type of person who makes that sort of comment feels a certain type of way.

The kind of way that would lead to comments like “Tyler Perry only makes money because he’s black.”

Because as you all know, being black is like a winning lotto ticket in this country.

May Madea meet his head with her frying pan.