“For the Cratediggers”

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Cratediggers.  A title loosely used but some.  They like to call themselves this because they swing by a record shop and pick up the latest Blu on vinyl.

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This is for the CRATEDIGGERS the ones who have spent countless hours sifting through dusty records.  Flipping covers to inspect the instruments & producers.  Inspecting the records for warped wax and scratches.  Wearing masks to avoid dust irritating the ever living shit out of your allergies even more. The ones who have dealt with tight backs, sore asses (and not the fun kinda sore) and dusty fingers in order to find that hidden gem.  Spending an entire day going from record store to record store in order to come up on everything and anything.  The record hoarders.  This one is for you…

My love for vinyl was instilled in me at a young age.  My grandfather was an avid music lover.  Some of my earliest memories was sitting with him playing Fania and other salsa records.  He taught me how to handle the records “like a baby mija“.  The soothing sound of  static when the needle hit the record became my lullaby.  It was what comforted me while my mother was working graveyards and my father, being my wild child father all the time, was not around.  But not only my grandfather, my father, was heavy into classic rock.  So Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd records were also shot up in my veins.  Cooked in with my uncle’s Michael Jackson and my aunts Latin freestyle records.  Then my mother’s soul records became the cut to the drug in my life called “wax”.

All these records filled my early developmental years.  But people don’t always talk about the positive effects of drugs.  Doesn’t Excedrin take away your headache?  I mean, vinyl gives me that high and relief.   But when I became a full fledged addict is when Hip Hop was introduced.   It happened.   When my mother was playing the Charmel’s,  I figured out “C.R.E.A.M.’s” sample.  I suddenly became fixated on figuring out samples.  Yes, pre-WhoSampled and all that cheating shit.   It was like freebasing wax.  So my “dig” habit was born.  When I dig, nothing else exists.  Every problem, worry, care in the world disappears for those hours and all that exists is me and the smell of old records.  The dig.  The hunt.  I become fixated on searching every nook for that record.  This became my dragon.

I remember having $40 to get me to the end of the week.  I would eat a dollar cheeseburger and chips & dip once a day to make sure that I was able to swing by the record store to get something… anything.  Addict huh?  So, if my therapist were to read this right now, she would tell me that it is my “addictive personality, inherited from my father is what causes me to become fixated on things”.  Yeah, she’s right.  But better this than coke right?  Better this than gambling right?  But both hit the pocket book for sure.  But we keep on keeping on.  Cause nothing beats the high I get when I find that gem.  That one that I have been looking for.  So this is my mother fucking therapy.  Some seek comfort in a bottle, I find comfort in my records.  Plus my records don’t lie.

I recently read, J57 was quoted saying, “I think a lot of the younger kids that are learning to make beats may not have the same love for samples that somebody from my generation or older has.  They’re probably ripping stuff off YouTube 99 percent of the time, so they kind of aren’t connected to the record.  It’s not even a real thing; it’s not physical.  Think about this: when they were little, guys like Lil’ Wayne were really big at the time, and a majority of what they were doing was sample free.”  Even Audible Doctor was quoted, “I can understand why there’s a [decline] in the culture of digging.  It’s easy not to, especially when there’s no real cultural upbringing surrounding vinyl.  [Younger producers] don’t understand the importance of how special vinyl is. They never bought it.  They were never around it.”  So we have two, which I feel will be legendary, underground producers stating that there is a lack of digging in today’s producing.   Which made me question if the cratedigging culture is really endangered?  I must write!

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So on social media I see a handful of serious collectors.  Ones who collect more than just Hip Hop records (even though those do hold a very high percentage in my collection).  I see fucking vinyl everywhere… at Urban Outfitters.  Shit we went into Barnes & Nobel the other day and were surprised they had a small selection of wax.  For fuck sake, I see a bunch of assholes looking through vinyl when I’m digging.  So how can vinyl be on the decline?  Technically it’s not.  It has actually increased.  But speaking to a few old school vinyl collectors, this increase we feel is more for nostalgia.   Not for practical use or production.  Why else who they be selling vinyl frames?  My grandfather saw a vinyl in a frame I received once as a gift.  He told me, “Take that shit off the wall.  Records were made to be played not hung.”  Word.  Okay, yeah if you have a signed Freddie King record, then okay.  But seriously, why do you have a framed Dilla record unless he cried on it  or spooned with that mother fucker?

Then I turned and looked at myself.  Why do I collect?  I mean, I’m not a producer.  I don’t make beats.  Then I realized, yeah, I am an educator.  I have recently put someone on to digging for samples.  I am a collector of origins.  So one day, my children can see where the music I loved came from.  Unlike your when hard-drive is fried or the fall of civilization occurs and ITunes and digital music isn’t at your disposal, vinyl will still be played.  The same echos of drums, horns, strings, and melodic voices that carried through the air into my ears as a child will flow into the ears of my children and children’s children.  Generation to generation.  Vinyl to me, is forever.

So have your children put music into their hands.  Have them hold a record.  Have them look at the covers.  Teach them the physical connection to music.  Just like hands to drums.  Keep everything as organic as possible. Get them off the Guitar Hero and and their IPod for a moment.  Teach them young.  It’s our responsibility to carry on tradition.

 

Peace.

 

Rebecca – Live Elements

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“My Rebirth… My Wu-Tang”

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So when I found out Wu Tang was going to be at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas, my first thought was, “Mannnn fuck all that noise, the Brooklyn Bowl is small as fuck! I’m not going to have some guy rub his weak ass boner on my ass.” But then my sister had some guy wanting to slip her the eggplant for a while that worked there and wanted to comp us for the show. So my reaction then became, “Oh fuck it, it’s free.” As the days progressed I still wasn’t that excited for it. I don’t know if the over-saturation of Wu Wednesday’s on IG or the fact that these broads are rocking Forever 21 Wu shirts; but I felt like maybe I have finally became desensitized from the group that once moved mountain for me. But when that cock sucker (who will never fuck my sister) never came through, it was the day before the last show. The moment of panic set in. I was holding onto the fact that I am one of the lucky ones who has seen Wu Tang all together including my ODB (RIP) enough times to let this one go. But then I just said fuck it and paid the rape price of $60 + a $22 convenience fee. I thought to myself, “Method Man better swing in on a rope with a Batman costume and land in my vagina for this price”. But whatever, I did it. And I’ll sadly report right now that Method Man didn’t land in my vagina.

So getting back to the fucking story yo, let me take you back and let you know… this is “My Rebirth … My Wu Tang”. I was lucky enough to experience this venue with an old school head like myself , we’ll call him DOOM guy. We arrived at the Brooklyn Bowl. We were there dumb early with the expectation that the Friday venue would’ve been crazy packed. Our age became very apparent when we were the first ones in line and right behind us was a couple over 30’s. It was pretty dope to vibe out with some people who understood what Wu Tang meant to us back in the days. We laughed and made jokes about the young people around us having no idea what the fuck it was like. We chopped it up with some of the bouncers. And even a LVMPD came up to us trying to “relate” by saying when he got this Wu Tang assignment that he thought it was an Asian band. Yeah, okay buddy, little did he know I have two blunts in my bra.

So getting into the venue, our age became even more apparent when dope old school shit began to be played. You can see the old heads dancing, singing, and bobbing their heads to this while the younger crowd stayed still with their heads in their phones. But as soon as something dope was played it was followed with some pop gum Nikki Minaj bullshit that made me sad. Very sad. Seriously, if Brooklyn Bowl is seeing this, fire that fucking DJ. That cunt is a fucking retard. Her lack of transition was fucking horrible. I would’ve been more entertained if she got on stage and began to do that ping pong ball trick everyone talks about. I could probably have gotten a random IPod from the crowd and have done a better job. That bitch deserves horrible things. I understand that it’s Vegas and you want to get everyone “turnt up” but come the fuck on. We stood dumbfounded. Shit made me bipolar son. I was dancing and singing one minute and wanting to slice my wrist the next. I’m just not used to that shit.

So eventually we became so fucking tired of the emotional roller coaster from the DJ we ended up standing there pissed the fuck off. Everything was irritating me. All I could do was tweet pissed off things and post videos of the stupid shit I was seeing around us. I needed to get blazed ASAP but it was impossible with LVMPD all around. We had to wait. But yes, I understand Wu is late. This isn’t my first fucking rodeo, but the shit around me made me realize why I stopped going to venues. If it wasn’t some girl there making out with her man;  it was some guy standing there like an asshole, with his asshole haircut, and his asshole plugs in his ears, and his asshole skinny jeans, with his asshole face.  Or  it was some molly’d up ass fucker dancing around like what? An assshole. With his asshole girlfriend. I fucking hate people sometimes.

Finally the opening band came on. Sure, it was dope. Some New Orleans jazz is always welcomed. But after the 3rd song we were over it. We wanted Wu. So we are again thrown into the barrage of dumb pop songs while we wait. As I’m standing there I realize no one really gives a fuck. Only DOOM guy and I were the ones around us like, “Yo no one notices how long it’s been? People will wait forever. Can you please at least play some fucking Wu Tang?” A few real Wu heads around us tried to start the “WU TANG! WU TANG!” chant with it only be make a small impact. We were out numbered. We were surrounded by the enemy. Fake heads. The assholes I spoke of. They’re were there in abundance. I felt like I was the only one screaming out for Wu Tang. DOOM guy had more patience than I did.

Then it came. Out of nowhere, each member started coming out. One by one. You want to know what that moment was like for me? It was like seeing Jesus rise from the tomb or wherever that nigga was at. It was like seeing a baby getting rescued from a burning building. It was like seeing my bank account with endless zeros. It was like seeing a baby panda being born and landing into the hands of ODB. It was everything good in this world. Everything that made me mad just suddenly disappeared. There was my Wu. The ones that made me fall in love with Hip Hop. The ones that changed my life. There they were. After so many years. Only a few feet away from us. Then my ass jumping up and down tried to see if somehow I missed Method Man. Y’all bitches need to understand that most of y’all loved this nigga when he went Hollywood. I loved this nigga at 12 years old when he had that chipped tooth and was a nappy headed n shit. My love for him is infinite. If you ask anyone in my family who I have loved almost my whole life, they will say Method Man. Anyways, I won’t lie seeing that Meth wasn’t there. It hurt … but only for a minute… Like anal sex. But I easily got over it.

I don’t care what people say. Wu still brings that shit. With their classics and other classic projects, they delivered that raw Hip Hop. That shit that gives you chills. It was easy to spot those who didn’t feel the Wu like we did. Where we were spitting lyrics verbatim other only came through from CREAM. But whatever I don’t give a fuck anymore. That shit was so fucking amazing. Like in that movie Ted, where they see Flash Gordon, this was our Flash Gordon. It was like motherfucking Christmas morning.

Then it happened. RZA began to shout out for people to represent their age group. As he went through the age groups, 18-20, 20-25, ect. I’m like damn son they aint going to show love to us or what? But like RZA’s ass read my mind he asked for anyone over 30. At this moment, usually I would get sad as fuck. Like, damn son, I’m getting old. But I was proud as fuck. We made crazy noise. Saying shit like, “That’s MY mothafuckin’ childhood!” and “That’s OUR shit!”. Because you know what? Fuck you. That is our shit. DOOM Guy hit the nail on the mother fucking head. I usually don’t like to pull the “Old school, pre-internet head” card but I’m about to waive that mother fucker. Cause yes, you love Wu. I’m happy you do. Cause every generation need to love music. It’s not going to stop me from listening to Miles Davis because I never was there. But Wu Tang. That is our shit. It’s what raised us. It molded us. It moved us. It became us. I’m talking to the generation born from 1984 and before. This was our shit. I’ll never forget the day my brother brought me 36 Chambers on wax. I was 12. Up until then all I listened to was records from my family, like salsa and classic rock, some jazz and some oldies. But as soon as I heard RZA shouting “Bring da motherfucking ruckus” and then Ghost coming with “Ghost catch the blast from hype verse” I was done. It was over. I immediately wanted nothing but Hip Hop. They made me the person I am today. It made me the person I was growing up. If it weren’t for the Wu, I would’ve been one of these fast ass little girls more concerned with partying and boys. Instead my life became Hip Hop. Graffiti and Hip Hop. I was obsessed. So yes, when someone says they love Wu Tang, and it’s okay to love them, but you will never love them like WE love them. Because unfortunately, you will never know what it was like to have them raise you in their prime. For you to be moved by them at that time. To imitate their style, verbiage, and just let them completely take over you at that young of an age.

But with being older, we see our heroes getting older. They don’t move as fast, they have slowed down, we never escape father time. But not matter what age, they still bring that ruckus. And they breathed new life into me again. Like reminding me why I do this. Why I’m here. Why the people in my life right now are here. To most in attendance, it was just a Wu show, but for me it was a spiritual awakening. What I needed to get my ass back into what I was born to do. So thank you again Wu. Without you, I don’t know what I would’ve been. You gave me the escape at the darkest times of my life. Your songs take me back to memories that I will always relive. I will never forget Septemember 19th, 2014. And even know we are all getting older. Grey hair, laugh lines, not understanding Bae and Yolo, we still not matter what age we’ll be at will always bring that mother fucking ruckus. Suuuuuuuu!

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Peace.

Rebecca – Live Elements

My Two Cents: Skyzoo & Torae “Barrel Brothers”

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Okay, so I waited a little while to even cop this album.   Mainly because I heard “Blue Yankee Fitted” a while ago when looking into possibly posting it on IG and I wasn’t really impressed.  I was just like ehh whatever…  and honestly like

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Bet ya’ll yawned.  Anyways, my interest was revived when I saw two serious heads talking about it on IG.  I know they don’t like bullshit so when I saw that they were being fan boys about it, I figured I’d give it the old college try.

First, let me say that we all have our “tastes” and “preferences”.  I never really dug Skyzoo’s shit.  I don’t know why, just not my cup of tea.   But again, seeing that Torae on this project, I had a little more hope that Skyzoo would come harder.

Again, I’m not like most of these “review” sites that are going into a long winded review of the album saying the same old shit.  I give you the real.  For real for real.

So some may be asking now, ‘Well bitch?  Do you like it or not?”.   I like… I really, really like it.  This shit truly surprised me.  Not like if Rihanna came out and said she had a penis this whole time, cause I would’ve been like, “Ya, I can see that”.  But this, was expecting closet weed and actually getting  a high grade hybrid sativa dominate strain.  Moment of silence.  *Bows Head*

To some it up, Skyzoo and Torae were able to bring a dope dynamic that we don’t see with many emcess these days.  One didn’t outshine the other.  And yes, I now I have an a different outlook on Skyzoo.  A new found respect for this emcee.  Bar for bar, this album is dope. And with some of the illest production from Oh-No, Premier, and Apollo Brown, shit knocks.  I believe that Barrel Brothers found a happy medium with this new generation flavor with an old school sound.   Although, I feel like some tracks could have been left out, over all … yes.

So if you ask me, this shit is definitely vinyl worthy and will be added to my catalog.  Also will serve as a comfortable way to introduce and transition people stuck in the 90’s to indie hip hop.  Kinda like taking Shemar Moore for a spin before you Wesley Snipes it up  if you get my drift.

Now go get it.

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