Thursday, July 28, 2016

That New SchoolBoy Q: BlankFace LP

    The most recent studio album from the West Coast Rapper has just been released a couple of weeks ago. He's giving us the gangsta gangsta gangsta, intense, dark feel he's given us a taste of before. However this mood is continuous throughout the album. He recounts the lifestyle he was forced to lead being involved with gang activity and being a drug dealer. Schoolboy Q listeners have heard this story before but this album is still refreshing, new, and reflective of the times though filled with reminiscing. 

 Musically, Q pushes the envelope yet stays within the mold he's created for himself. The dark feel of certain tracks on his previous album "Oxymorron" such as "The Purge" is prominent throughout Blank Face LP. It is scary, deep, and cryptic. I feel a heavy KanYe influence musically as well. Today's generation of Hip-Hop grew up on Mr. West. Q seems to pull inspiration from College Dropout and Late Registration with the use of sampling and certain instrumentation. Standout track include "Drug Dealer" featuring E-40 and the first single "That Part" featuring the GOAT himself, KanYe West. Overall, SchoolBoy's music is pushing Hip-Hop music forward.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Michelle Obama at The DNC

Last night was The Democratic National convention, just a week after the Republican National Convention at which Melania Trump, Republican candidate Donald Trump's wife, infamously recited a speech which plagiarized a large amount of Michelle Obama's DNC speech in 2008.

As far as drama goes, one could understand that Obama's speech at the DNC would be some sort of rebuttal and dismissal of the RNC incident. She delivered a beautiful inspiring account, as usual, with a few references to what the Republican Party represents as of late. Here is a summary of the speech, thanks to AJ+


Monday, July 25, 2016

New Hair Tutorial!: 6 large Bantu knots with short locs!

     Bantu knots, chinie bumps, spacebuns, what have you! I've twisted up my hair in this cute simple style, which love because my hair is at a comfortable length at which I can keep it out of my face and off of the back of my neck. Check it out !

Saturday, July 23, 2016

OOTD: well maybe of the month

Yes, yes a new Outfit of the Week! and the first in a while. This look is suitable for the current hot whether, both cute and sporty.

Here I am wearing a Keith Haring Crop Top from Forever 21 paired with Urban Outfitters Urban Renewal shorts, and Nike Air Maxes. A tutorial for the buns I have in my hair is coming soon !

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jasmine Mans at The Nuyorican Poet's Café

    Sunday, July 10th Poet and Performer Jasmine Mans headlined a night of spoken word and song at The Nuyo. Other featured performers include Amy Leon, Andre Richard, and Myself Kearmonie.

    To kick off the night Jasmine opened the floor to any audience member who would like to share their own work as part of an open mic segment. With what has be all over the media as of late, she urged us to keep in our minds and heart the Black Lives Matter movement here in the U.S.
A handful of folks from the audience, from as young as 16, shared their work reflecting their own identities and especially highlighting Black Death, the war on Black people, and their own personal experiences.

Poet Steven Willis, on the Open Mic

     As soon as the open mic concluded, the room went dark and then I took to the stage to start the main event. Performing 3 of my own pieces with the most energy including "Harriet Tubman", that feeling was certainly reciprocated by the audience. Moving along we heard from Musician André Richard. André wowed the audience as he created a song, live right in front of us, using his own voice, guitar for its strings and it's body as a drum. He sung about 3 of his own original songs all having their roots in reggae music. Then we met Singer, songwriter and poet Amy Leon. Amy performed several poems paired with song and even brought André back to the stage to play his guitar as she freestyle a song just for us. A classic voice with range and just enough raspiness to make you feel something, to bring soul into the most dull room, Amy Leon is someone to look out for.

Amy and André

Jasmine and Amy

  and Finally, the poet everyone had been waiting for and the reason for the event Jasmine Mans took to the stage. Having read new pieces and performed a few fan favorites as usual Jasmine did not disappoint. Paralleling her poetry with dialogue created a warmer space. She shared her opinions on the state of the world today and being Black in America as well as her own personal stories that influenced the poems she shared with us. To close out her set Jasmine invited Amy Leon back to the stage to perform one of her latest singles "Burning in Birmingham" along with her reading her own poem about the infamous church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama September of 1963 which resulted in the death of four young Black girls. Jasmine finished her piece and walked off the stage leaving Amy to finish the song fully and then go into her own poem which goes along with it.

     Overall the night was a reminder in the need for this work, this art and that we are still here and we the privilege, right, and blessing to speak when there are so many who have been silenced. Here are some more photos from the event, captured by Kolin Mendez, a complete gallery is up for viewing on their website

To keep up with Jasmine Mans you can visit her website and to see what I'm doing visit my official website

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Coloring Book, the Christian Religion, and the Black millennial

     "Coloring Book", the highly anticipated 3rd mixtape by Chicago MC Chance the Rapper is a journey, of self reflection and praise with the accompaniment of lively instrumentation, choirs, and an overall heavy gospel music inspiration. Chance first grabbed the attention of millions with the release of his second mixtape "Acid Rap". With "Coloring Book" Chance sticks to the unconventional sound he's always brought to Hip-hop through project and singles, with more of a spiritual undertone, Coloring Book is the representation of Religion, more specifically Christianity and the Black millennial today.

"I get my word from the sermon 
I do not talk to the serpent 
That's the holistic discernment"

     Chance's alt hip-hop personal style merged with gospel music was first introduced to us on his last project with the social experiment "Surf"(2015), with single "Sunday Candy". Songstress Jamila Woods, featured on "Sunday Candy", also makes an appearance on coloring book with "Blessings", on which she proclaims "When the praises go up, the blessing come down".

     For us Millennials(those born between the mid 80's and early 2000's) religion is something that was forced upon us in a subtle way. By now certain practices are what we were raised with but eventually made the choice to break out of. Especially in the Christian/Catholic faith(s). The Bible is important, but attending church on the regular basis is not as mandatory as it once was. We all have adapted our respective faiths to our lives accordingly, especially when it comes to what faith is, and what faith truly means. These days there more people recognize the difference between religion and faith. Your faith is what guides your spirituality, which is simply a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves and what that means for ourselves. Religion is a system, it has a name, it has rules, norms, and practices attached to it. One can be spiritual without being religious. One can pull ideals from a certain religion and not be religious. One can have their faith grounded in a certain religious foundation and still not take part in it's practices. 

     Chance seems to represent the less than religious youth who's faith is still very important, on the basis of Christianity. It can be assumed that he was raised a Christian. This album is filled with praises to God lyrically and musically. Songs that stand out with strong Gospel influence are "Blessings", "How Great" and the last two songs to close out the album "Finish Line/Drown", and "Blessings" (another song from the one aforementioned), there are also religious references on other songs throughout the mixtape. The use of a choir(s) is reminiscent of College Dropout, the first album by Chance's predecessor himself KanYe West who is featured on the very first song of Coloring Book "All We Got". Chance's growing friendship with West is known based on his feature on KanYe's latest album "The Life of Pablo" with "Ultralight Beam". Another track presenting listeners with a gospel feel, features a testimony from Kirk Franklin and probably one of Chances best verses of his careers, accompanied with the proclamation "This is a God dream".

   "Coloring Book" is closed with the use of a choir singing "Are you ready for your blessing", on "Blessing", along with voice over from Kirk Franklin as well. Chance is "Blessed" and he knows it. "Coloring Book" is available for streaming on Apple Music.


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