"Let's Talk About Pep"=My Newest Guilty Pleasure

Tuesday morning. 1 A.M. I just came home from a typical long ass day and was trying to chill out. I don't normally watch too much TV in the week because I'm always out so when I come home, I normally just watch Sportscenter to see the NBA scores and highlights but no....something new was in store. My bro was laughing hysterically and I just had to see what was so funny.....

I see its this show on VH1. VH1 always has "hit or miss" programming on, but I'll acknowledge that damn near all of the shows are entertaining in their own way shape or form (despite how many attention whores and imbeciles get on these shows....). Off top, the women were older and attractive, so I peeped game. The cast is:
  • Sanda "Pepa" Denton-formerly of Salt-N-Pepa, multi-platinum duo (didnt know she was Jamaican either O_o)
  • Jacque Reid-a co-host of the DL Hughley Morning Show on 98.7 KISS FM
  • Joumana Kidd-a television journalist and ex-wife of NBA star Jason Kidd
  • Kali Troy, a.k.a. “Kittie”-formerly best known as the voice of “Cita” on the BET animated series
Upon researching stuff for this entry, I see the show is billed as "“show about sex, dating, and finding Mr. Right". Me being a young 23rd year old hot blooded male, I'm watching it 1.) to see attractive older women with disposable income (shoutouts to Joumana, ex wife of Jason Kidd) and 2.) to see how these women go about their quest. Not only that, but I saw Pep deep throat a banana on The Surreal Life so.....

I have a habit of taking things too seriously. It's a flaw...but when I saw the show, I had nothing to do but laugh. It looked like a train wreck. I actually feel bad for Pep and the crew. They seem like they mean well. Some of em had gone through divorces and bad dating situations. Live/learn. I know it's entertainment, but still. The thing is, I see Pepa doing things that some women my age and younger do. I felt bad because Jacque...who seems to be the most levelheaded one is reduced to speed dating...but hey...w/e works right?

One particular scene, her and the girls are outside of a club hollering at a brolic, barechested sanitation worker named "Animal". It's like watching The Older Single Women's Guide To Desperate Measures. Funny shit.

In another scene, Kittie finally meets up with a guy she'd been talking to online for three years. Phone sex and all that before meeting in person. They poly for a bit then head back to the crib. She comes out in "more comfortable attire" and this dude won't take his shirt off. He goes as far to suggest them watching TV. Understandbly, the mood got killed and she kicks him out telling him to "take his glass". He goes "I'll email it to you". Priceless...

It's not intellectually stimulating but the shit is entertaining. I had my share of jokes on Twitter about this..but on some real shit...I kinda feel bad for Pep...it's like "Grow up" already. Her "history" might work against her as well as she ends up meeting a dude who knows her ex husband Treach very well. I've always said that the degrees of separation in NY are 5-6 and if you're in the "industry", it's about 1-3. Classic example.

It's like watching the MILFs you wanna meet in bars and let have their way with you...but then you're watching their everyday lives and you're like.

But who am I to judge? Either way, I'ma be tuning in. Good job VH1....

Disclaimer: I am well aware of the fact that this show does not represent the romantic life of every older attractive female. :-)

Ebonics Appreciation

Simply for the fact that we're college educated but don't want to sound like it all the time. Growing up in NYC, you become exposed to all types of slanguage, god. Here's to it.

Disclaimer: Adjust to your settings. Don't be the guy who can't talk properly on a job interview or the dude who's so formal he seems like robot...

And for good measure...........

Illmatic >

Illmatic: supreme ill. It's as ill as ill gets. That shit is a science of everything ill.-Nas

On April 19,1994, the landscape of hip hop changed. Forever. The bar for lyricism was raised.

This album defines 90s hip hop in its purest form to me. No disrespect to Only Built for Cuban Linx, Reasonable Doubt, Ready To Die, Life After Death, etc, but peep game:

Backstory: Nas had it coming. The opening verse on Main Source's "Live At The BBQ" was manhandled by the precocious lyricist from the Queensbridge projects. "Halftime" put him further on the map and he ended up linking with MC Serch, which then lead to him getting a contract from Columbia. He was infamous for saying lines like "when I was 12, I went to hell for snuffin' Jesus" and for his vivid lyricism which had gotten him comparisons to Kool G Rap and Rakim. Illmatic dropped and was critically acclaimed. Commercially, the album took a while (try 7 years and a few months) to be certified platinum. Either way, there was a new kid on the block....

Album: The album begins PERFECTLY with a convo amongst Nas, AZ and Jungle: "Ayo Nas, what the fuck is this bullshit on the radio?" (sounds all too familiar).."It's Illmatic"...On "New York State of Mind", DJ Premier throws a sinister instrumental complete with piano sample to Nas who begins his narrative with the infamous rhyme: "Rappers I monkey flip em with the funky rhythm I be kickin/musician and flippin' composition of pain, I'm like Scarface sniffin cocaine with an M-16/See with the pen, I'm extreme" Rife with lines like "I'm a addict for sneakers, 20s of Buddha and bitches with beepers/In the streets I could greet ya, about blunts I teach ya", the song is a display of lyrical dexterity unmatched by someone of his age bracket. A then unsigned AZ nearly steals the show on "Life's A Bitch", proclaiming "Fuck who's the baddest, a person's status depends on salary". He also had the honor of being the only guest feature on this masterpiece. Nas recounts days of his "youth" with proverbs like "The buck that bought the battle coulda struck the lotto". When you pair the two pitbulls with Olu Dara's smooth saxophone exit, it makes for a helluva track.

The legendary Pete Rock produced piano tinged "The World Is Yours" where Nas shows the state of mind of an introvert with superb rhyme skills: "I'm the young city bandit, hold myself down singlehanded....born alone, die alone...I need a new nigga for this black cloud to follow...."

The thump and bells of "Halftime" provide the perfect audio backdrop for Nasir go off with verbal explosions like "another dose and I might be dead, I'm a Nike head, I wear chains that excite the Feds" (which spawned slogans for countless streetwear brands). 5th track of the album and I'm not bored yet. No filler. I mean it's impossible to get bored when you hear lines like "in the darkness, I'm heartless like when the narcs hit/word to Marcus Garvey, I hardly sparked it". "Memory Lane" shows us glimpses of Nas' past. He was a bit of an enigma so this track captures him as a person effortlessly as he pays homage with his stomping grounds with a "coming outta Queensbridge" sample on the chorus (Interesting to note that DJ Premier's synergy with Nas on the album is arguably more noticeable than anyone else's).

The eternally classic "One Love" captures Nas at his most emotionally vulnerable over a Q-Tip produced backdrop as he writes a kite to an incarcerated scarface relating the events that have gone down since his boy's imprisonment. This track is THE song that displays Nas' uncanny mastery over narrative tales. You can't help but identify with him: "Sometimes I sit back with a Buddha sack, mind's in another world thinking how could we exist through the facts?" The scenario in the third verse was brought to life in Belly (quite cleverly, Mr. Hype Williams)

"One Time 4 Your Mind" is probably the most laid back we've seen Nas on the album. I bet he really did "contact 11 Ls and max in heaven" writing this Large Professor produced song. Just effortless and polished, yet still rough around the edges. The ruckus starting "Represent" gives Nas a chance to kill it for one last time over a Primo beat. Straight filthy rhyme schemes: "This nigga raps with a razor, keep it under my tongue/The school dropout, never liked the shit from day one/cuz life aint shit but stress, fake niggas and crabs guts/So i guzzle my Hennessey while pulling on mad blunts/the brutalizer, Buddha sizer, accelerator/the type of nigga who be pissing in your elevator...Nowadays, I need the green in a flash just like the next man/Fuck a yard God, let me see a hundred grand/Could use a gun Son, but fuck bein the wanted man/but if I hit rock bottom then I'ma be the Son of Sam". That's what makes the album so perfect. It's raw and unadulterated.

My friends, this is how you end an album. Everything about "It Aint Hard To Tell" is excellent. The "Human Nature" sample. The suave saxophone on the chorus. The relaxed yet aggressive "criminal slang" that gives "mics menstrual cycles" that "should be locked in a cell". Nasir goes the fuck off in a lyrical barrage that has been unmatched since by anyone in that particular age bracket.

Effects: Well for one, the album is Nas' undisputed magnum opus. EVERY album since then that he's released has had fans wanting that Illmatic state of mind, something that Nas acknowledged on "We Major": "Nas, what the fans want is Illmatic still". It's a gift and a curse that MCs like Raekwon and Jay could attest to.You had Ghost/Rae saying on "Shark Niggas" in so few words that B.I.G. (although not named, you could tell who they were talking about) stole Nas' album cover idea by putting a kid on the cover to Ready To Die. This album also raised the standard for East coast lyricism and caused an East Coast renaissance along with Ready To Die, an album to be released September '94. This album put QB back on the map, as The Infamous was to be released in 95 and the Juice Crew had faded out. It filled a void perfectly. With the previously mentioned comparisons to Rakim (the God MC) and Kool G Rap,Nas exceeded expectations as the album was critical acclaimed by many publications and effectively carved his own lane in hip-hop. The highest honor given to Illmatic was a "5 Mic" rating from The Source that you can read below(5 Mics meaning the album was perfect. No filler or BS at all. You're THAT MC if you got one of those.).

Bonus: You can also read about the making of the album here. It's from the April 2009 issue of XXL. Very interesting to see how classic albums are made. Also here, you can DL Nas' demo tape from '91. Hearing the demo after listening to Illmatic is the perfect bonus. You could easily see the kid had "it".

I also need to check this out. My old Music professor Kyra Gaunt contributed to this book by Michael Eric Dyson.