Tag Archives: hot 97

merry christmas: best selling words on good and evil

Dear Readers,

I’m in the subway, still a little dewey and aglow from the Bikram yoga class, Souls of Mischief on the ears and Khalil Gibran’s, The Prophet in my hands.  This profound and succinct Lebanese poet is hailed as the most widely read writers in the history of the world, behind only Shakespeare and Lao Tzu.  It was this section, On Good and Evil, that’s been echoing in my head like a sick break.  Lines like this got me shaking my head in recognition, “But you who are strong and swift, see that you do not limp before the lame, deeming it kindness.”  I’m sharing the whole section here, on this holiday of triumph.  Trumpets.  Gabriel.  Angels.  Be with us.


From Khalil Gibran’s, The Prophet.

And one of the elders of the city said, “Speak to us of Good and Evil.”

And he answered:

Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil.

For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?

Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts, it drinks even of dead waters.

You are good when you are one with yourself.

Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil.

For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house.

And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom.

You are good when you strive to give of yourself.

Yet you are not evil when you seek gain for yourself.

For when you strive for gain you are but a root that clings to the earth and sucks at her breast.

Surely the fruit cannot say to the root, “Be like me, ripe and full and ever giving of your abundance.”

For to the fruit giving is a need, as receiving is a need to the root.

You are good when you are fully awake in your speech,

Yet you are not evil when you sleep while your tongue staggers without purpose.

And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue.

You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps.

Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping.

Even those who limp go not backward.

But you who are strong and swift, see that you do not limp before the lame, deeming it kindness.

You are good in countless ways, and you are not evil when you are not good,

You are only loitering and sluggard.

Pity that the stags cannot teach swiftness to the turtles.

In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness: and that longing is in all of you.

But in some of you that longing is a torrent rushing with might to the sea, carrying the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forest.

And in others it is a flat stream that loses itself in angles and bends and lingers before it reaches the shore.

But let not him who longs much say to him who longs little, “Wherefore are you slow and halting?”

For the truly good ask not the naked, “Where is your garment?” nor the houseless, “What has befallen your house?”


No wonder The Prophet is one of the best selling books of all time.

Merry Christmas folks.  I’m Hindu, with Buddhist and Santeria leanings, not even counting the philosophies of Sun Tzu and Rumi, but that doesn’t mean I hate on the little-itty baby Jesus.  With holidays, I figure the more the merrier, my folks are over here tucked into my Brooklyn apartment, we’re about to head out into the sun filled chilly city.  Sending everyone love.  And fyi, Hot 97 is JAMMIN on the classic 90’s right now.




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Reeeemix: Oh You Fancy, Huh?

Dear Readers,

There’s this song that’s been on high rotation since the summer, called, “Oh You Fancy, huh?” Blogs, tweets, even Yahoo Answers been buzzing on the Fancy Phenomenon.

“Nails done/hair done/everything did.”  The Fancy phenom is about handling your business, not for the next dude or female to notice you, but because you can and you can so damn well. But mainly, it’s about the ladies taking hours to get ready for the club, flossing the cleanest whips, looking magazine right, yes, the Fancy Phenomenon is about being the best you possible, but it’s also about showing off in a specifically capitalist way, in ways all geared towards the buying of more products.

Consumption used to be a name for a sickness.  Now its the name of the game.

I hear all that, I understand.  But from the perspective of a “Real Love” Mary J. Blige type, here’s how I would remix “Fancy,” if I could:

Work done/school done/everything did; Rent done/food done/everything did; Prayer done/run done/everything did; Song done/blog done/everything did; Oh you SLEEPY, huh?  You Sleepy, huh?

Lol, here’s a look at the making of the Fancy video, featuring interviews with Drake and T.I. with two adorable boys.

Like T.I. said, “we’re might full of ourselves all of a sudden, aren’t we?” But that’s before the jakes put bars like snakes all around him, and now T.I. on the same “Gucci, Prada, Chanel” as every other high rotation, capitalist song shell. For the self-proclaimed real heads, hip hop high rotation can be a crying, shake your head shame. But not always, there are still some gems on the Hot’s and the Power’s.  Cuz we sure been jammin to “Fancy.”

The death of Hip Hop will be delectable debate fodder for generations to come. Creation and destruction, at least in Hinduism, always go hand in hand.

Stay tuned,

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talk it out: jayz’s DOA, the hip hop mental health project, and a roopa singh poem for mr. powell

[here goes jay-z’s new cut, highlight of yesterdays hot97 summer jam: DOA, death of autotune, produced by No I.D. im not generally a fan of hip hop elders dissing new music movements, but my fav line so far: “i know we’re facing a recession/but the music yall making goin make it the great depression.”]

dear readers,

i spit some poetry last night at a benefit for the hip hop mental health project (hhmp). rha goddess found hhmp out of a one woman show, called “low,” which she created based on her own sister’s struggle with bi-polar depression. we got a taste of rha’s art, and man, what a tour de force. we covered substantial ground in that room, one woman talked about her father’s suicide, saying she’d never been able to talk about it before. talking can accomplish so much, esp when its intentional and courageous.

the inspiring performance line-up included: kevin powell, irum malik and shekeima cooks from yo-tv representing a film they produced on depression and young people of color (about to debut on hbo, go yall!), kristen, and more.

for those who don’t know, kevin powell is a core shaper of generation hip hop and politics. he’s authored 10 books, ran for congress twice, and still spits a soul churning poem. i was honored when kevin asked me where he could see the poem i spit. so i’m posting it here. but first, a short inspired by powell’s dear momma piece.

“powell and dear momma”

kevin powell and his mom
and the song
in the middle of his long
ing the awning of his childhood yawning
like a skyscraper with no legs
to run from the eternal night
see when we cover our own light
we shun our own bright
as the animal bright
as the animal


“roopa singh: immigration poem (recently heard at mnn, sawcc, hhmp)”

five boroughs full
give me your tired your poor your hungry
so I can job them, rob them
scrape quarters to
call them on a calling card
remind them of your voice
immigration is not only a choice

there was a little boy alive and dead
tell me your story, this is what he said
cinema road, gorakphur
his father a lawyer, a prayer
the homefront, a rajput lair
theres a well, temple, spire, neglect spirals
he tags on the wall, scrawls pictures, equations
whole nations away hope glimmers
make it to america, where everyone’s a winner
his youth, traded to the highest bidder
and does it make me a sinner
I don’t call him pitha ji, baba ji, I don’t call him papa
I call him dad

five boroughs full
give me your tired your poor
so I can job them, rob them
bridge over troubled water
call them on a calling card
remind them of your voice
immigration is not only a choice

rajasthani brahmin
two spirit shaman
nani ji sang, drummed, played, prayed, braided songs into the black chords of their hair
her 5 daughters all dared to sing
her 2 sons got the milk
the girls got the silk
my mom, the tomboy, played in trees
stared out between the branches
horizons roads
whole journeys
wings spread wide
together mom and dad collide
love marriage, intercaste, light skinned, dark skinned
abandoned by their families
they had a boy

five boroughs full
give me your tired your poor
so I can job them, rob them
bridge over troubled water
call them on a calling card
remind them of your voice
immigration is not only a choice

never be another
he was my brother
a musician, a james dean, a sid and nancy scream
till the backbone of his self esteem
into too many times
and not enough rhymes to tell the story
a tenor with no glory
used to be a singer
now he gives his family the middle finger
cuz he’s alive but his minds half gone
all the lights aint on

so I shine bright
for all of us
cuz I believe change soon come
but the story aint done
ten little Indians
and then there was one
this ones a girl
lets name her roopa
american born
India not scorned
she grew against the grain of the san diego desert
grew amongst the rajasthani hills and california valleys of her families minds
strong like 2pac
rose in the concrete
got too freaky between the sheets
at a young age
but hey
we all go through stages
now she rages, rhymes, just tryna figure out how to have a good time
with hip hop as a story
and India as her glory
desis and proud
brown is beautiful
im down to shout it loud
we got style, swagger, khana, sub jugai se ana
America wali
got a kahani
a story

five boroughs full
give me your tired your poor
so I can job them, rob them
bridge over troubled water
call them on a calling card
remind them of your voice
immigration is not only a choice

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