Category Archives: Music

Penmanship on point

I haven’t jotted down lyrics in a while. When that inspiration hits though, I need to grab pen and pad and just let the words flow. I was waiting in line at the bank today, which can take a while, and I was already playing around with a couple of rhymes in my head when I spotted a sign with “Balance Books” on it. This kicked my mental engine into action and I began to piece together the notions of today’s rappers who flaunt their ability to write hooks and make lots of money quick and easy. This is a dig at those rappers who spit some bullshit verse or hook on a pop single and somehow think this qualifies them as real lyricists.

I also wanted to highlight my appreciation for actually using a pen and pad* to write stuff down. Even though technology has certain advantages, I just can’t see myself tapping away at a keyboard or touchscreen. The flow would be struck down by spellcheck and typos. Handwriting is also a very personal form of expression. With a background in graffiti and tagging, I appreciate how a person actually writes letters rather than chooses a jazzy font. That said, I haven’t been writing for a while so my handwriting is a bit off.

*My personal preference is a Moleskine Classic Notebook and Pilot V5 Hi-tecpoint pen (black ink)

Too many rappers celebrating money making hooks

Their math don’t add up like crooked balance books

Look, it’s been a while since I bust a wild freestyle

Back in the day Busta’s wild style made me smile

But I cut my lines form a different cloth

No sloth with these words

The phat always rise to the top

Penmanship on point to get these rhymes right

Disable microphones so Siri don’t bite

I’m a writer not a typer with a sixth sense for bars

My scroll bars are scrolls, God

Sacred testaments expressing my temperament

Leave you wondering where I went?

10 Life Lessons I learnt from the Wu-Tang Clan

Back in 1997, the summer I turned 18, I was finishing school and I had no idea where I was heading. What I did know was that I loved Hip Hop and in particular the Wu-Tang Clan. The rap super group had just released their sophomore album ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ and it was a double disc extravaganza of stanzas that solidified their legend status and tore away any of the glitz and glamour that was rapidly infecting the culture. ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ dropped at exactly the right moment to shine a light for all the fans who were finding it hard to associate themselves with vinyl suits, blowing wads of cash on fizzy wine and sing-a-long hooks. RZA said it best as he closed off ‘Bells of war’ (Track 8, Disc 2) “Pick up the Wu-Tang double CD and you’ll get all the education you need this year“. So, what has the Wu-Tang Clan taught me? Here are 10 important life lessons from the Clan.

Continue reading 10 Life Lessons I learnt from the Wu-Tang Clan

NPR Tiny Desk Concerts

 

I came across the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series a couple of years ago with Oddissee rapping a few tracks off his awesome album ‘The Good Fight‘. It was linked via Ambrosia For Heads, a Hip-hop website and I quickly became a fan of Oddissee and the concert format. Getting musicians to perform live is nothing new, but squeeze them into a tiny office space and things get up close and personal. I’ve picked a few of my favourite Hip-hop acts who really shine and show what it is to be a skilled lyricist as well as a musician. I’ve been to a few rap concerts in my time and they usually disappoint because of three things:

  • Terrible sound settings
  • Lack of crowd engagement
  • Rappers/DJs cutting one another off or not finishing songs

Enjoy the following NPPR Tiny Desk Concerts by Oddissee, DJ Premier and Common.