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Nobody knows the troubles DJ DMD has seen, so while I can appreciate his excitement about overcoming his obstacles with the help of his new BFF, the King of Kings, I really wish he had found a new beat to testify to. If you know someone from Houston with a permanent tan, chances are they’ve done the Southside to “25 Lighters” more than once around you. It is a classic record, so much so that plenty of people outside of Houston know it and adore thee with the rest of the natives. Now, since that’s DJ DMD’s biggest hit, I can understand why he wanted to use the original to spread his new message.

Hell nawl all the same, though.

Like my homie who sent it, as soon as I heard the beat, I got up to drop down. Unfortunately, my Southside didn’t make it past the west because I heard the word “Bibles” and several layers of confusion smacked me shortly thereafter.

I just can’t get into Christian rap, y’all. I wasn’t here for the sanctified versions of “No Hands” and “Motivation” and I’m definitely not hearing it for “25 Bibles On My Dresser.” Why can’t us heathens have secular music to ourselves? You don’t see me taking “Amazing Grace” and spinning it into “Amazing cakes, how phat thine ass.”

Why do you even have that many Bibles on the dresser anyway? Isn’t one enough? Or are you like one of those people who wear the black and white suits and hand out tiny versions of the King James remix of the New Testament across the street from a junior high school?

Let me stop. I already feel there’s a 30% chance a lightning bolt will be striking me overnight. Let me not tempt fate further by boosting that stat.

Fear of the wrath of God aside, the fact remins that there’s always been something conspicuously corny about holy hip-hop to me. I didn’t like it in Sister Act 2 and I don’t enjoy it now. It’s a matter of taste, but I prefer gospel music sounding like slavery or screwed and chopped (specifically Mary Mary’s “Blame It On The Jesus (It’s The God In Me”).

Can I get a amen?

Wait, I hear thunder now. Just hit a Facebook like if you feel me. That said, despite my feelings about this religious spin to a rap classic, I’m leaving this here. Maybe some of you will enjoy it. Perhaps the spirit of God will touch your soul, something, something, praise the Lord and heaven, I need a hug.

Whatever, you know what I mean.

Meanwhile, I’m about to blast the original. Blessings to all.

P.S. Please don’t touch Lil’ Keke’s “Pimpin’ The Pen.” Like ever.

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I enjoy entertaining Chris Brown’s attitude problem about as much I fantasize about feeling the burn while urinating, but even I am somewhat bothered by the way in which the narrative surrounding his most recent social media panic attack is being shaped.

The singer, who has repeatedly shown himself to be far more ornery than your average man in his 20s, got into an intense back-and-forth with former news producer and comedy writer Jenny Johnson. Their rift started when Chris posted a photo of himself with the caption, “I look old as fuck! I’m only 23.” In response, Johnson wrote back, “I know! Being a worthless piece of shit can really age a person.”

A friendship was not born.

True enough, the insults hurled at Johnson were misogynistic and vile, but it is not lost on me how those who share Johnson’s hue and gender are framing this as if she is some damsel in distress. On The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck said that Chris’ comments “seem like verbal rape.” Hasselbeck has long proven herself to be as sharp as a gummy bear, but it should go without saying that the issue of rape should never be used for the purpose of metaphor. If you want a strong reaction to a point you’re trying to make, intellectualize accordingly.

Should you be unable to do so, embrace silence.

Speaking of points, somewhere along the way, Jenny Johnson felt compelled to tweet: “I have zero respect for a person who seems unapologetic for the terrible crime he committed and shows no signs of changing.”

Also, Jenny doesn’t seem all that funny when you really look at it. One of Chris’ fans created an image depicting all of the tweets Jenny has sent Chris since 2011. There are many, many tweets – all one-sided until yesterday – in which a person who apparently feels so bad about what is rightly described as a “terrible crime” that she jokes about it all the time.

Jenny jokes about domestic violence, Elisabeth Hasselbeck downplays rape. Yes, misogyny is deeply embedded in society, but let’s not be so linear in our finger wagging. Instead of trying to solely write on this from the basis of “Chris Brown attacks a woman…again,” call it what it is: ignorance begets ignorance.

Read the rest over at The Shadow League.

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As everyone gathers around to bask in the American pastimes of gluttony and gratitude, some of your favorite stars want to share what they are most thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving. The sentiments may not appear genuine, but the shade is real.

Pat Houston: I’m thankful for the gift of opportunism. Some people may look at the Houston Family reality show and say, “Pat, you ain’t worth a damn.” But you know what? The check Lifetime cut me goes much further than your two cents. Yeah, Whitney’s ghost will probably be haunting me on Christmas Eve, demanding I change my waves and give to the poor, but I can afford a prescription drug to drown that noise out. Can these critics say the same?

NeNe Leakes: Well, hunny, I’m just happy to be rich. Very, very rich, child. I ‘member those days when I wanted a fancy bag and I’d have to whisper in my uncle-ex-husband’s ear, “Buy mama a bag, bag.” Then do something a little strange for some change. Not anymore, sugar. Guess who’s got her own, now? Yes, hunny, I am Miss I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T., do you know what that means? And shout out to all my haters. Be mad if you want, buy I’m getting Anglo money, flexing my bill collector accent. BLOOP.

Rihanna: As I celebrate my 12th number one hit , “Diamonds,” and put a deep fear into the heart of Mariah Carey that I’m going to snatch her treasured all-time singles record, I would like to thank my fans, the Navy. Not only do they support me, but they love me unconditionally. I can show up on stage and say, “What’s up, bitches?! I am gonna half sing & quarter twirk and all y’all gonna love it.” And you know what? They’re gonna love it. It’s like I passed them the blunt. As much as I love Beyoncé, I’m so glad I don’t have to sweat out my press like her and still make enough money to buy Mariah Carey a new jaw after, again, I snatch that sales record.

Ciara: I’m thankful that Beyoncé hasn’t dropped a new album, this year?

Rihanna: Why? We’re both still doing better than you. Can someone pass the mic to someone with reasons to actually be thankful, this year?

Read the rest at The Shadow League (and Happy Thanksgiving, y’all).

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5.  Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta: Some will boo and hiss at this choice, but that’s what their remote control is for. Meanwhile, I loved every single second of VH1 and the trap’s answer to soap operas and telenovelas and I am not the only one. Please, please hurry back with the second season. Monday’s aren’t the same without my stories.

6. The return of R&B: For a good while now, EDM (electronic dance music) had placed a chokehold on R&B—with many of the genre’s stars abandoning more soulful sounds in favor of music meant to serve as a backdrop for bar hopping in Belgium. However, this year has featured a number of solidly R&B works from artists like Miguel, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, Frank Ocean, SWV, and more. Thank God.

9. More women in hip-hop: Some may not enjoy Nicki Minaj’s rhymes, alter egos, or Judy Jetson-at-the-swap meet fashions, but her success has helped pave the way for newcomers like Azealia Banks and Angel Haze. Rap has long needed this big boost of estrogen, so yes, thank you Nicki, Roman, Martha, and whoever else takes space in your head.

10. Rihanna: Britney Spears may have found a bit of sanity, but you’re only still politely applauding her career choices in recent years. Christina Aguilera has gone from would-be Mariah Carey sequel to Ursula the Sea Witch’s latest victim. Then there are the other newer girls, only you don’t care that much about them, now do you? Enter Rihanna, the best pop act we have—at least until Beyoncé comes back. People may not approve of Rihanna’s choices, but her making them in the public eye has driven thoughtful conversations. She’s the most interesting pop star we have…and she didn’t even need to rock a rump roast on her chest achieve such a feat. Plus, her new album will have most of your folks twirking well into Spring. If for no other reason, can’t we all be thankful for that?

Full list at EBONY.com.

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Okay, America, I know you’ve had your fun with PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” but when will this stop being a thing? Don’t get me wrong now, I understand the allure. When looking at PSY’s video for this seemingly never-ending single, you instantly say to yourself and your friends, “Hey! Look at that funny Asian man doing that dance that the guy with the perm who used to be Prince’s friend did in the ‘80s!”

I’m not mad at the song’s success. Korean pop has been trying to inch its way onto our shores for quite some time now. It was going to happen eventually. Now that it has happened, shouldn’t that damn song go back from whence it came? It’s been huge on Billboard and watched 700 million times on YouTube. Who else needs to hear it?

Well, apparently y’all needed to hear it with MC Hammer, hence how he teleported from 1991 to join in on the fun. Isn’t that just super? No. The answer is no. In fact, if Hammer was going to resurface on national television for a gig, it should have been to perform “Pumps and a Bump.”

I’ve got to admit, though: PSY is a very energetic performer. Technically, he was one of the better performers at the American Music Awards. However, the AMAs served as an unintentional three-hour telethon for VH1’s Save The Music program. So there you go.

More at The Shadow League.

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I was all but ready to lay into Lil’ Debbie and Riff Raff over their track “Michelle Obama,” but I noticed that five minutes after I turned this video off that the damn song was stuck in my head. That “presidential tint, Michelle Obama” part to be exact. Ugh, that is so catchy. Damn these people. Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I didn’t turn the video back on and bounced to that beat. Fine: I’m bouncing as I type this.

Yes, I’m ashamed, and no, that doesn’t excuse Kreayshawn’s kinfolk for this fuck shit. Still, if I were a southern rapper I’d be trying to buy that beat. T.I. could use a bop-friendly track like that right about now. Y’all better tweet him the link to this. For real.

These people ain’t shit, but that beat knocks. Don’t lie. That said, like that “Drop That Ass For Obama” track, folks gotta cut this out.

And as for these “rappers”: How would you like it if I wrote a song and rapped “Bob Dylan Dick ’cause I’m gon’ rock ya mama and soon as I finish off your papa?” Who am I kidding? They’d be like, “Who is Bob Dylan? Is that 2Chainz’s grandpa?”

On a scale from one to David Petraeus how ain’t shit would be if I added this to my iPod for my gym playlist? What can I say? Birds gon’ bop.

Nah really, sometimes a beat just overcomes you. Just like Hocus Pocus when Bette Middler and Carrie Jessica Parker had the room singing:

Ah say ento pi alpha mabi upendi
Ah say ento pi alpha mabi upendi
In comma coriyama

Same thing, right?

No? Alright, I’m sorry Black people. This too shall pass. But, if you find yourself singing “Presidential tint, Michelle Obama!” in a few minutes, it’s okay. I’ll be here. Still catching the beat.

 

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As I started watching this Alicia Keys performance I couldn’t help but start singing “W-W-W-W-W-W-B.” After the laughter the anger surfaced. I absolutely hate “Girl On Fire,” y’all. Like, I don’t understand how this song gets any airplay besides the fact that the person behind the monstrosity is Alicia Keys. It’s not catchy, it’s not at all interesting, and yo, Alicia sounds so bad throughout it.

Who in her circle heard this song and went, “Yeah, baby! That’s the move! You’re about to win the world over with this one!?!” I assume the person leading the charge vacations inside her regularly, which would explain the inclination to not share the harsh truth. Whatever, when you love someone you tell them to toss that track in the trashcan at the bottom right of your screen and move forward if compelled. Love is blind, but it damn sure isn’t deaf.

I won’t pretend to be the biggest Alicia Keys fan around. I mean, I’ve seen her in concert multiple times and have purchased three out of four of her albums. Sidenote: I want my $4.99 back for that last mp3 download of The Elements of Freedom, Alicia. You suckered me with that sale and I could’ve gotten some chicken strips with that money and been far more satisfied.

Anywho, somewhere along the way Alicia abandoned what made her worth giving a chance.

(more…)

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I tend to ignore Rihanna ballads for what ought to be obvious reasons, but I have to say I was quite impressed with her performance of the new track “Stay” on SNL over the weekend. As much as I adore thee, this walking venus flytrap doesn’t always sound the best when performing live. But yo, listen to her, y’all. She sounds good and not at all like a goat climaxing.

East Coast, where you at? Can she get a hand clap? West Coast, where you at? Can Rih-Rih get a hand clap? Dirty south, don’t you hate that they call us that? Never mind, back to the matter at hand: Can Rihanna get a hand clap?

If I had gone by Twitter’s description of Rihanna’s SNL set I would’ve been stuck on the debate as to whether or not she was “Whitney Houston high” as someone described her to me (I didn’t get that, FYI). That or I would’ve been lost in the Ecco the Dolphin themed graphics she had up during her vocally pleasant albeit demure rendition of “Diamonds.” Speaking of those throwback graphics, I hope Rihanna and Azealia Banks aren’t out here trying to make that fetch. Let’s not and say we did.

Now, granted this performance isn’t as electric as the question of sexuality-loosening performance she gave two years ago, but this is still very much a nice surprise. Certainly better than the lazy pussy pat bit she did earlier in the year on SNL. I hate when I feel like I could perform a song better than a pop star during a caffeine high at the gym, you know?

Anyway, I love “Stay” and if this is a preview of Rihanna’s future, I may tip to the next tour. Okay, probably not because she refuses to stop dancing like sweating is an inconvenience minus the occasional video. Maybe that’ll change yet in the meantime, bravo, Rih-Rih, all the same.

She will be getting my money for her new album, though. Yes, meanness aside, the record sounds good and hood. What is not to love? And she has the nerve to get me into one of her ballads finally? Somewhere Mariah Carey is throwing glass at the help in a hellish fit over the reality that with yet another album comes the inevitable: Rihanna snatching her singles record. The shade will be legendary. Stay tuned.

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It should be surprising to no one that the person behind a site called The Cynical Ones isn’t going out of their way to wobble on over to the hear the wisdom of someone who reminds me of that mean, older lady on the block who takes discipline way too seriously and acts like a sprinkle of Tony Chachere’s can treat knife wounds.

That’s not to say that Iyanla and her Oda Mae Brown meets Mama Odie hustle can’t serve any purpose. I guess it’s effective in the case of someone like Evelyn Lozada, who essentially needed some sassier woman to offer her the verbal equivalent of cutting a switch from a tree and taking her to task. So yeah it can work if you’re into that sort of thing.

However, that style of self-help shouldn’t be used in the case of someone with legitimate mental health issues. As soon as I heard about Maia Campbell signing up for an episode of Iyanla, Fix My Life, I asked on Twitter, “Isn’t Maia Campbell bipolar? As it relates to fixing her life shouldn’t she lean more Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman less Mama Odie?” I was half-joking then, but after watching clips from Maia’s appearance now I’m just bothered.

Here Iyanla is telling Maia to “own her stuff,” but when you’re bipolar you might not necessarily be able to own “your stuff” without proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment. As in, Iyanla, Maia isn’t just some drugged up celebrity who can’t own up to her transgressions; this is a person who may not conceivably be able to understand her actions to the degree in which you feel she ought to. Therefore, she needn’t be chided on camera. Maia may have signed up for this own her own accord, but that’s because she used to be fame and continues to covet it. That’s not Iyanla or her producers’ fault and they’re not necessarily wrong for booking her, but this feels exploitative all the same. Iyanla just doesn’t seem qualified to handle that severe a mental health issue.

And for the record, it makes me cringe to hear Iyanla assail someone for not owning up to their mistakes.

A few months ago I asked on the site, “Why would I want Iyanla Vanzant to fix my life when Oprah had to fix hers twice?” To put it more pointedly, I watched Iyanla’s on air reunion with Oprah and I was mystified by how she refused to acknowledge her actions in her downfall. She babbled a bunch of pseudo psychological nonsense as Oprah repeatedly dragged her by the unshaped up hairs on her head back to reality. That’s what I meant behind that quip: Who is she to be getting people together when she’s on OWN largely due to being a means to an end i.e. Oprah building her network off the backs of Black women?

Earlier today I saw someone tweet the following quote from Iyanla: “I went to law school not to study law, but to train my mind.”

Ma’am, what? That sounds like some bullshit you say in a dark room full of 20-somethings into snapping their fingers at the slightest instance of something seemingly profound (overeager beavers, let it happen naturally). That’s that shit I don’t like and why I’d rather rock with someone with depth and a medical degree. Hell, I’d rather take a teaspoon of ‘Tussin for my mental health treatment than turn to her.

I wish the best for Maia, but I sure hope someone close to her finds her a real therapist because based on the clips I’ve seen, Mama Odie ought to be selling Maia seem incense or a brown sugar scented candle and nothing else.

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While touting her new E! special, Nicki Minaj told USA Today, “I’m not trying to have a façade. I’m showing exactly what goes on in my life. I think people will be surprised at seeing that.”

Through no fault of her own, there was reason to be skeptical about Nicki Minaj: My Truth; most “inside looks” into the lives of today’s mega pop stars prove themselves to be as carefully story boarded as anything on VH1’s Monday night line-up. To her credit, Minaj has lived up to the standard she set and validated remarks like “You’ll see by the first episode that I didn’t care that the cameras were on.”

However, the honesty she’s shown thus far on the three-part mini series isn’t always easy to watch. Despite having pledged allegiance to #TeamMinaj since watching Minaj proclaim her greatness on the streets of NYC five years ago, even I can’t dispute critiques of the rapper as a “whining, demanding diva over the most frivolous things” and an “egomaniac convinced that she is doing so much for the world.” Recently Minaj used Twitter to big up the production company behind her 2010 MTV special My Time Now for not “trying to sell a story,” but her on-air behavior on her latest TV foray plays into an unfavorable narrative about her that’s been brewing all year.

Watching Minaj lay into employees over a side of greens, articles of clothing, her set and other trivial matters just felt unnecessary. Yes, you get an understanding of why she can be snippy—she’s under tremendous pressure from juggling a bevy of responsibilities— yet that’s no excuse. All it does is remind me of interviews like one she gave to VIBE earlier this year in which she went into condescension overdrive over not having things go the way exactly as she wanted them to.

Read the rest at EBONY.com.

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