July 29, 2011

The Listy List

It's that time again. You know what time. When I fill you in on all the random and ridiculous things that occupy my life and times. The odds, ends and off the wall stuff that comprises This Bug's Life. Without further ado... The Listy List.

Hot Like Cajun

So the mercury climbed big time in NY a few weeks ago for two long days. It was hotter than the devil's balls out here; hitting record-breaking temps of up to 110 degrees. Now picture that with no AC. That's right. I have no air conditioning at my place by choice. I always got through summer with a spritz bottle and a high powered fan. But this heat was life changing. I had an epiphany- or I might have just been delirious from the heat, I dunno. I got through it with popsicles, multiple showers and more creative uses for ice cubes than Do the Right Thing. Oh, the pool helped too til I almost drowned. More on that later.

Let Me Out

I've had some time to ponder it and without the aid of a very expensive therapist I realize I have some serious trust issues stemming from my childhood. You see, my two older sisters thought it would be fun to zip a six year old into a suitcase. (Honestly, I thought so too.) They just didn't bank on my hair getting caught for two agonizing minutes. When they finally got me out they convinced me that our trip to Disneyworld the very next day would be nixed if I told my parents what happened. Those lying bitches...

Got ta Got ta , Na Na Na!

Okay, I really don't see what everyone is so open about when it comes to the new Kanye West and Jay Z song, Otis. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it's wack. I actually like the energy they both came with but the sample for Try A Little Tenderness is damn near the whole song. C'mon already! I like hip-hop samples to be a bit of a brainteaser. You sort of recognize it but not quite until you look into it. Now that's a song. Call me overly critical but production-wise they should have tried a little cleverness.

Sugary Coco Goodness

This Bug is officially addicted to Coconut M&M's. I know I'm late but I don't care. I'm about to cop a lifetime supply and stash them in the freezer because I know that 'limited edition' means they're testing it out on folks and it may never see the light of day again if the sales disappoint. I usually hate all coconut related chocolate. Mounds and Almond Joy sounds more like a movie I'd like to watch when no one else is around. But those little brown, white and green beads are what I believe little girls are really made of. Sugar and spice can't hold a candle to them. It's Yumma!

Dip, Dip Dive..

Let me start by telling you all that I know how to swim. Got that? I can swim. So no one was more surprised than me when I took a dive off the board and didn't have enough air to get to the surface. I went from assenting to struggling in seconds flat. Then I panicked. From underwater I heard the whistle blow and before I knew it- a really hot lifeguard came to my rescue. Really. Hot. I came up dripping wet, gasping for air, my string bikini top heaving between breaths... He held me up from behind against the corner of the pool until he was sure I was okay. Rumor has it that I did all of this on purpose just to get felt up by the Adonis statue with a pulse...but really I still don't know what happened down in that deep water. Truth is- I was scared shitless.

Fiyah Burn, Ya Betta Learn

A word to the wise: Smartphones are stupid. For all the fantastic apps and convenience they supposedly provide- it hardly seems worth it when my overly sensitive touchscreen calls people at ridiculous times of the night, shuts off all of my networks whenever it feels like it and uploads pictures to social networking sites that are not fit for anyone's eyes. Try not to harp on that. Just know that my phone is appropriately named the Torch because there's some hot stuff in there and sometimes...that's exactly what I'd like to do to it with some lighter fluid.


Speaking of social networking-I almost never entertain ignorance online but a friend of a friend (and I use that term ever so loosely) made me pull out the big guns last week. Foolishly drawing comparisons between someone reacting on instinct and a group of adults publicly abusing a child was worthy of my wrath. I'll spare you the details but I will say that I verbally kicked her soapbox right out from under her. I didn't want to do it but she was so blissfully ignorant that I was forced to make her miserably knowledgeable about what's right, wrong, racist, funny and not fucking funny at all.


I don't know if it was the sexy strappy leather, the jewel and pearl embellishments or what- but when I saw them, I had to have them. They're ethereal- if one can even describe a pair of shoes in that manner. It's kinda like what a mermaid would wear on her feet. If she had feet. Either way, this mermaid has them now. I know what you're thinking. Mermaid, Schmermaid. But did I mention that I really can swim?

Subtle, My Ass...

I wish I could tell you that this ad isn't from a real catalog that came to someone at my place of business. I wish I could tell you there is no such thing as adhesive patches to stick in your panties so you don't clear the room out after having Cheddar Broccoli soup for lunch. I wish they didn't seriously charge $19 dollars for a trademarked product they had the nerve to name SUBTLE BUTT. I wish the tiniest part of me didn't wonder for a split second what that patch must smell like at the end of the day once peeled from its right place. I wish these wouldn't make a great stocking stuffer for some people I know. I wish...

And now, a peek into This Bug's twisted sense of humor. Enjoy or be offended. Either way, blueberries are the bestest!

Peace Out, Cub Scouts!

July 26, 2011

We Only Said Goodbye with Words

Amy Jade Winehouse
Sunrise: September 14, 1983 Sunset: July 23, 2011

There's something to be said about knowing that a tragic end is coming. It's one of those inevitable things that you don't want to be right about. Amy Winehouse is gone. Was I surprised? Not entirely. Was I hit in the heart by the news? Absolutely. Because knowing someone will go eventually doesn't make it hurt any less. Because Amy's Back to Black album nursed me through one of the most difficult times of my adulthood. Because for all the naysayers and mudslinging she remained to me, an unpolished diamond worth a hundred times more than the rhinestone pop stars who dotted the charts. Ms. Winehouse wrote and sang from a broken place that longed for healing. She was pissed. She was tired. She was indignant. She was vulnerable. She was me- sans the battles with alcohol and substance abuse. But to say I haven't come close to the edge and heard ominous pebbles kicked down a scary cliff before I caught myself would be untrue. I identified with that in her. That- and not wanting to fuck myself in the head with stupid men. She was honest and unabashed in her music. Her flaws made her priceless but sadly, a prime entrée for the media feeding frenzy. I'll miss her big beehive hairdo. The tough girl tattoos. The wantonly applied eye make-up that made her face like hard candy- bad for you, but still so sweet. Mostly, I'll miss knowing her haunting voice which sang my own truth when words eluded me is still among us. She's gone but her music is here to stay. It stayed with me and will for all time. I can only hope she has in death what seemed unattainable for her in life; some peace from all inward and outward demons. As my brother-from-another put it, "She was family to my family." So the loss is felt that much more. Just for her I'll pour a neat shot of Vodka into a chilled glass and go back to black, if only for a moment.

Rest in Paradise, Ms. Winehouse.

July 13, 2011

An Instinctive Travel to the Movie Theatre

"Before Quest, did you really know what live was?"
Every now and then- you're blessed with a film that's more than a film. It's an experience. It draws you in, takes you to familiar places and then takes you somewhere you have never been before. It answers questions and it raises some. That's what Beats, Rhymes & Life does. Michael Rapaport's documentary on A Tribe Called Quest feels like equal parts homage and exposé. From the start, I was instantly reminded about what I have always loved about ATCQ. It's all in the music. Rapaport doesn't introduce you to these Queens natives in the customary way. The vibe allows them to introduce themselves. And if you've been a lifelong fan such as myself- it's akin to meeting up with close cousins for the first time in years. A reminder of your youth and what made you who you are. It's an overwhelming love for family. Q-Tip. Phife Dawg. Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Jarobi. Or as the mechanical yet lucid tour guide of Midnight Marauders so eloquently spoke it; A. E. I. O. U and sometimes...Y. Viewing this film, you'll learn just how essential that elusive Y has always been, too. One of the many revelations of this gem.

No two ways about it, their catalog is stellar. Save for the final album where it was obvious to me upon first hearing it that the chemistry between Tribe was dwindling- everything they put out prior to that is unforgettable. When Tip shows how he came up with the beat for Can I Kick It- you can literally feel it move through you. Rapaport blends archival footage with real-time sound and trust me, it never disappoints. It documents the formulation of Tribe with an even hand for the most part. Twenty plus years of soul stirring beats and conscious rhymes through a life (and sometimes wardrobe) less ordinary. Very few talents have ever been so misunderstood while being fully embraced simultaneously. For posterity and the sake of nostalgia there are times when the music simply speaks for itself; making it impossible to forget how important the Native Tongues were and still are to Hip Hop collectively.

And then there are other times. Times that are particularly difficult to watch but are engaging nonetheless. Phife's grueling health issues and its effect on the group as a whole is just one of those moments. Q-Tip's reasoning behind engulfing himself in music- never to look back. Jarobi's unconditional love; and the discomfort you can feel watching Ali Shaheed's stoic neutrality while his brothers-from-another feud are all heartfelt. To say that any one of them are painted in an unfair light is up to you, the viewer. There are no identifiable villains in this one. Only reluctant, if not unintentional heroes of a movement unbeknownst to even them at the time. To date, only Phife has publicly endorsed the film while the remaining three withdrew from the premiere and all press junkets in support of it. One source stated that Rapaport originally wanted to title the movie Beats, Rhymes & Fights- an overt reference to the crew's upheaval before their eventual split. Whether that was an aim to sensationalize their differences for box office numbers or just his personal assessment after two years of being up close and personal- we'll never know.

What you will know is this: Native Tongues got rhymes galore. There are firsthand accounts of how vital this group is from many of their contemporaries. They are celebrated so widely because there's nothing but pure love for Tribe at the core. One of the most memorable scenes of Beats, Rhymes & Life is Questlove's spot on description of Phife's opening line to Buggin' Out. This is not a movie review. Make no mistake. It's not no Parkay, not no margarine...Yeah, I'm in the zone. But truthfully, I am not recommending that you see this documentary. I will only say that it is required viewing for anyone who knows where Tip left his wallet or what kind of furniture Phife can provide if allowed. Those who know that babies babble on when looking for excuses. For the heads who still know Bonita's measurements to this day- this one's for you.

July 7, 2011

Take A Bow

Take a bow, the night is over
This masquerade is getting older
Light are low, the curtains down
There's no one here
(There's no one here, there's no one in the crowd)
Say your lines but do you feel them
Do you mean what you say when there's no one around (no one around)
Watching you, watching me, one lonely star
(One lonely star you don't know who you are)

I've always been in love with you (always with you)
I guess you've always known it's true (you know it's true)
You took my love for granted, why oh why
The show is over, say good-bye

Say good-bye (bye bye), say good-bye

Make them laugh, it comes so easy
When you get to the part
Where you're breaking my heart (breaking my heart)
Hide behind your smile, all the world loves a clown
(Just make 'em smile the whole world loves a clown)
Wish you well, I cannot stay
You deserve an award for the role that you played (role that you played)
No more masquerade, you're one lonely star
(One lonely star and you don't know who you are)

Say good-bye (bye bye), say good-bye

All the world is a stage (world is a stage)
And everyone has their part (has their part)
But how was I to know which way the story'd go
How was I to know you'd break
(You'd break, you'd break, you'd break)
You'd break my heart

I've always been in love with you
(I've always been in love with you)
Guess you've always known
You took my love for granted, why oh why
The show is over, say good-bye

Say good-bye (bye bye), say good-bye
Say good-bye

July 6, 2011

Cookies or Comas

Jean Grae. Cookies or Comas. The mixtape. I will not steer you wrong. To say this girl has lyrics for days would be borderline disrespectful. The punchlines. The metaphors. The all-encompassing rhyme spitting phenom that is pure..Jeanius. I just had a listen at datpiff.com and I'm ready for more. I fux wit Jean. When she's not dropping the most random thoughts from the mind in 140 characters or less- she's dropping jewels on her blog. This latest mixtape is a testament to her talents, witticism and way-the-fuck-out-thereness. Her reflective answer to Kanye's Blame Game was a sweet surprise. And if you need smelling salts to revive you after listening to Killing 'Em featuring Pharoahe Monch- don't feel bad. I damn near passed out when it hit me in the eardrum; for the MC Lyte sample alone. Wow. I didn't even peep 'til just now how those two admissions allude to the very title of her mixtape, but I'm telling you the truth, People. And the last track? Ho Lee Shit. Download it now. Thank me later. This is Jayne Neverow and I endorse this message. Peace.

"a super jerk, call me Clark Kent at sperm bank, with girl mags,
I'd be like SPIT if I burned tags,
I burn flags, burn, man, not books or bras, Fam.
Swing bars, multiple partners, Tarzan,
marzipan, that's it no reference, no depth shit,
Breathe and let the bars stand." ~Track 1. Casebasket

July 3, 2011

True Monuments Don't Fall

When I first viewed the above video some months back, my first thought was immediately this: They couldn't have chosen a better name for this collaboration. Monumental was poised to be a much anticipated blend of talents. Smif-N-Wessun plus Pete Rock equals pure unadulterated sensory overload at its finest- in my humble opinion. Something to be celebrated and lauded in these dystopian Hip-Hop times. What passes for dope these days mostly inclines me to shake my head in disgust. But this was a breath of fresh air I couldn't wait to inhale. So much so, that I had no idea I would be shaking my head in disgust where this collaboration was concerned. But not in the way you would imagine.

On June 28, producer Pete Rock and partners in rhyme, Smif-N-Wessun gave a show that served as their album release party at NYC's Tammany Hall. According to a press release later given by the trio, the venue got packed quickly and other supportive fans were turned away at door. A minor tiff between would-be attendees and security arose but was settled without incident. Approximately half hour later- New York's Finest showed up, rushed into the venue and began dragging some patrons out and macing them. This spilled out into the street where all hell proceeded to break loose. The footage below captures only in part the melee that ensued. Billy club swinging, choking, roughing up of women and at least four officers on one man at once.

Contrary to previous reports, no one who performed was hurt that night but several people were in fact assaulted at the hands of NYPD. I watched the above and other videos from that night with such incredulity until it hit me that this is in fact New York and therefore this is nothing new. I could have easily been at this event. Any one of my peoples for that matter could have been. Any one of us could have suffered a similar fate. Shit, that IS us. Period. I take issue with any abuse of authority. Be it Parent vs. Child, Teacher vs. Student and especially Police vs. Civilian. Never has the adage 'Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely' been more true. Only punks find strength solely in numbers. They took every opportunity to taint what I believe would have been an otherwise peaceable gathering and turned it into pandemonium. When all is said and done, Hip-Hop is left holding the bag. Further bolstering accusations that those belonging to this culture are violent by nature and cannot come together long enough to keep the peace. But I know the truth.

I personally know a few people who will say that the cops were in fact provoked and justified in their barbaric actions. That all of this could have been avoided had the crowd simply dispersed, but all that does is excuse the injustice of what unfolded that night. I refuse to believe that with all the rigorous training that is required of law enforcement; that they still cannot come up with a more effective method of diffusing a crowd without resorting to swinging wildly at it with their issued weapons. They boldly abuse their authority under the guise of protecting and serving. After viewing the footage- it's clear to me who they served and the people's protection seemed to take a backseat to unleashing their own wrath. Being recorded by numerous onlookers did nothing to discourage their assault. I was incensed by the sounds and images of what took place that night. But moreover, I was hurt.

I'm hurt because if one is familiar with the vibe, you know that Pete Rock and recently even Smif-N-Wessun are far removed from anything that would incite this type of violence. Though I doubt those who purported this nonsense can even name a song by any one of them. I'm hurt because what was supposed to be a monumental event was toppled by corruption and ignorance. Because evil never seems to take a holiday once NYPD officers suit up for work. Quite simply, because my people were hurt; for showing up and showing love to three artists they deemed worthy. Now where, pray tell, is the justification in that?