Mac, Kicked Incredibly Dope Shit: 9/8/18

I remember the first time I heard people talking about you. As an Eminem fan I was immediately biased to give another "white rapper" some credit. To my dismay, you surpassed any expectations I could've had. The first time I thought I was in love, it was that senior year high school kinda love: where you think that those feelings will last forever. Well forever is always cut short, isn't it. Yet, I remember everything about that day I heard All I Want Is You: what I was wearing, how I felt, how the sky looked, but mostly I remember your words. Seeping into the deepest parts of my mind and heart. It's not everyday that our lives are touched, and then we have those moments of significant clarity and euphoria. You gave me those moments with your music. 


Some of favorite memories in college and with my best friend consisted of jammin' out to your art. I think that what hurts me the most about your death is it's unsettling timing. I feel like I can speak for most people when I say that you inspired more of us than you could've ever imagined. I want to know how you can save the lives of others and not yourself. Mac has suffered from addiction, drug abuse and depression. I can't relate to the addiction or drug abuse, but when it comes to depression - those feelings aren't just thoughts that can be erased. The truth is, we don't know much about his experiences or his life, we only know what we're told. Well, I choose to ignore the headlines and the series of articles that will come to follow. Anyone who has listened to his music will understand his struggle with the same issues we all face. At 26 years old, you could say he had the world at his feet, but does it really seem that way? With the constant judgement of the entire world, especially in your private life? I say despite what we may or may not know about your trials, you weren't ashamed to admit that you had a problem and I'm happy I got to see you perform - like I said, it was one of the best moments of my life. 


Swimming, your latest album was released in August.  Listening to it now, it's all starting to make sense. I wouldn't necessarily classify it as a cry for help, but on the contrary - it's as if he's in the mood for self destruction. "Self Care" the video shows him in a coffin and as he breaks out, he goes into a state of oblivion. The imagery is the world crashing around him, talk about poetic. In "Jet Fuel"  he talks about being here, longer than he expected too, yet he was rescued. Mac also describes being in the clouds and not running out of jet fuel. We can all make assumptions about what this fuel is, but I think we hear and see what we want too. Deep down maybe it's better than facing what we're really afraid of: ourselves. Maybe it all just became too much for him, and none of us can or should be mad at that. 


At the end of the day, we all have this idea of perfect and what it's supposed to be. My mom says I'm never really in the moment, I'm always anticipating something better - instead of just living. Well maybe she has a point and it's time to really start to living.  I'm sad that you are gone, but like I pray with Mphatso, I hope you're finally resting. This world is made up of both the beautiful and ugly, I can say with a smile that your music made all the ugly parts beautiful. 


Shine on Malcolm. 

Self Care

Summer of 2018

Invasion of Privacy - Be Careful

Thank you CARDI. I had to say that before I divulge into why she's it. She demonstrates power, beauty, with never straying away from who she is. I love that, it's so rare to find. A genuine love for who you are while still realizing that you got the "juice." 


"Be Careful" surprisingly I didn't really listen to this track until Coachella. I mean I had heard parts of the song, but I had to take a moment to listen. "You even got me trippin'. You got me lookin' in the mirror different. Thinkin' I'm flawed, because you ain't consistent." Those words cut deep because it has always been part of my nature to blame myself for a man's mistakes or lack of security. I'm learning not to do that, it's not an overnight process. I've realized that some people don't deserve all that you have to offer, so let them leave. 

Nice For What

Drake, he does this every time. I swear to the highest heavens, he is the only current musician that has an ability to reach people through his music, but more importantly through his influence. He empowers women, and as a man - that's important. It's not rare, necessarily, but let's just say a man should have the ability to do both. Reach men and women through various ways of perspective. Drake has delivered time and time again, that we really shouldn't even be surprised anymore. But through his delivery, approach, and vicious technique - Drake, we salute you. 

What I'm Currently Listening To

Love Lies

Khalid and Normani collaborated to create a beautiful and delicate song for this new movie to hit theaters soon. It's titled, "Love, Simon." The song's first verse is strong and passionate. 

"Don't be afraid to tell me if you in with it. 

I see your focus, yeah, you're so independent. 

It's hard for me to open up, I'll admit it."


The song gives both a man and woman's perspective on this roller coaster we call love, but the song pertains perfectly to the film for that ultimate yearn for self love and self discovery.


According to the previews, it's about a typical teen, only not so typical. He is having a difficult time telling his friends and family that he is gay. The film has not come out yet so we can only assume how difficult it must be for a handsome, young man to break the societal judgments of the average love. 

Love moves us, allows us to feel and evolve as people. In 2018, some people are still living through these stereotypes. Hopefully, he can provide insight to so many men and women who have not yet found the courage to pronounce who they really are to the world yet. 

God's Plan

"Bad things, it's a lot bad things that they wishing, they wishing, they wishing on me." 


Ladies and Gentleman, DRAKE IS AT IT AGAIN. 


This is just a small sneak peak at what Drake does, he gives us a tiny glimpse of magic before the real stunt. Even the music video that goes with this awesome song, God's Plan - Drake shows us just how much you can make a difference in other person's life. With prominence and grace, Drake goes out and gives money to different families. Why? I think it's because Drake is finally coming into his own. He recognizes his value and influence, so why not use it to benefit somebody else? Somebody who really needs it, which is why the song makes so much sense. "I been moving calm, don't start no trouble with me. Tryin' to keep it peaceful is a struggle for me." 


After it's all said and done, how do you want to be remembered - by the people closest to you, or better yet the people who barely know you at all. I think Drake has high aspirations and why wouldn't he, he's been able to be extremely versatile within his music: which is why so many people love him. He's got no boundaries, I think that's how we all need to be. 

The Black Panther Album

Well Kendrick, damn. 


He took his time producing this album, you can tell. There are so many hits, but honestly I listened to the entire album on a road trip to Pennsylvania and I was soundly impressed. Several songs have a steel drum background which reminds me of African and West Indian "soca" music. Kudos. 


"Ways" by Khalid and Swae Lee might be my favorite song on the album. It's groovy, calming, and full of charm. There's just something I love about Khalid's voice, but the collaboration with Swae Lee made it all that better. 

"Power girl, I really wanna know your ways."


"I Am" by Jorja Smith is another song that completely blew me away. Jorja is full of soul. However, she's got a beautiful blend of constant power and energy that is refreshing. The song seems dark, but to me it's quite on the contrary. "Don't be scared to put their fears to shame. 

When you know what you've got, sacrificing ain't hard." 


Understanding your self worth really is the key to ultimate happiness, but it's with humility that makes all the difference. 

At least that's what I believe to be true.

Composers

Music Heals All

"Music is the only thing that makes sense anymore, man. Play it loud enough and it keeps the demons at bay."


I cannot begin to express how much music takes a role in my life. Not to mention, I don't think words could ever really suffice. There is just something about music that is completely transcendent. It can take you back to a different time, place, feeling, or even love. Some artists just take my breath away. Through every key, soft melody, subtle background noise, and it reminds me of why it means so much to me. When I was younger, I couldn't express myself without music. I would translate songs for hours, memorize lyrics, replay choruses - just trying find what ever it is that I thought was missing. Until I realized that music has always been that missing piece. I find my inner voice through albums I've listened to my entire life, and surprisingly even new albums too. I always hold onto that concept: music can and will change the world. In many ways, it already has. It changed mine. 


"Every song has a CODA, a final movement. Whether it fades out or crashes away, every song ends. Is that any reason not to enjoy the music? 

The truth is, there is nothing to be afraid of. It's just life." 

- One Tree Hill 


Favorite Artist(s) Top 10

  1. Billie Holiday
  2. Bob Marley
  3. Drake
  4. Kehlani 
  5. J. Cole
  6. Norah Jones
  7. Eminem
  8. Mac Miller
  9. Lauryn Hill
  10. Frank Ocean 

Favorite Band(s) Top 4

  1. The Beatles
  2. Paramore
  3. Valencia
  4. Hey Ocean!

Favorite Albums of 2017

Sweet, Sexy, Savage

K. You really did that. The entire selection of this album was placed in a specific order delicately. Time and effort was definitely thought out. I appreciate the timing because it was more appropriate in my life more than ever. I was feeling a sense of loss in my value and self worth - I couldn't appreciate my abundance in blessings. 


"Piece of Mind" speaks to my soul. There are events that we don't have to take ownership in, but it's the healing process that is important. 


"Everything Is Yours" had me weak, maybe even trembling the first time I heard it. When she says, "I wish I could say that you knew my worth" it reminds me of the many times that I lose my voice with a man, but I am slowly and surely overcoming that. 


Thank you for the music, it healed me.

American Teen

Khalid. Another Rockstar. Another album that came at a perfect time, when I needed to hear that message. 


Every track speaks to me on a different and personal level. I see myself in the beginning of college to my life currently. It's transcendent - how music can take you back to a particular moment, thought, person, chapter of you and what you've endured. 


"8TEEN" I think that most of us can attest to his beautiful tribute of endless possibilities when you're just a kid, but almost an adult. 


"Winter" these words had me broken, yet hopeful. The night is darkest before the dawn. My collegiate career had some pretty dark days, and it was usually in the winter. How ironic, but not really. The strength it takes to move forward doesn't come easy, and I appreciate you for acknowledging that real love and hurt can only heal through time. 

Freudian

Daniel, honestly the community didn't deserve such a blessing. I wasn't ready, I can promise you that. My dearest friend, Mphatso - she would've loved you. You've got this soft pitch that makes you really listen. Really feel each word. Your music reminded me of what love is supposed to feel like, and isn't that what the music was intended for? 


"Blessed" reminded me of that honesty that most of us are not ready to hear. 

"If I could, I swear I'd go back, make everything all better." 


You really hit the heart, like cupid struck his arrow right through the entire organ. In the climax of the song when it gets silent in the background. "And I'm coming back home to you." Thank you for that moment, I replay it over and over again because I believe in that feeling - "you are home to me."


I believe that most of us know that home is where our heart wants to be. 

Ctrl

SZA, BOO you "slayed" the whole damn thing. We're all in debt to you. Thank you for being able to share the millennial woman's perspective on how difficult it is to be in a relationship nowadays. Most of these so-called relationships are nonexistent. We're either caught in a limbo or afraid to settle. That's not everyone's experience, but let's just say the majority of women I know at the age of 25, are still searching, still hoping, and still praying for a man like their father. 


"Normal Girl" tells you how I feel, how she must feel. We all want to make someone proud, for me it is most definitely my parents. And yet, I relate just the same in wanting to make the guy I am with - well, proud. Proud to be with me. Proud to be seen with me. It's more important to us than you know. 


"Supermodel" the intro just came out fire. "My greatest fear that if I lost control, that I would be fatal." wow, can you just say that again for the people? I think men forget to love us, the way we really need to be loved. I don't think it's necessarily by fault, but lack of attention. Sza, you said what they didn't want to hear and that's why you're my girl. 

Trip

Jhené’s album really spoke to me on a spiritual level. I needed some clarity after a few unsettled and broken relationships. 


Music always brings me back to level ground. Heals me like no other thing can. 


What’s your song of the day off the Trip album? @jheneaiko I’d say mine would have to be "Sativa". I've always been fond of her when she works on a specific collaboration. Each introduction tells a story of a girl named Penny trying to make her way. In the end the journey does become the destination. 


"New Balance" speaks directly to the heart. Jhené lost her brother, I'm not quite sure how. The song unveils how dark our mind and souls can be. Then something changes, we meet someone - and they change our entire perspective. I remember tears coming down my face in my car because you could hear the hope and clarity in her voice. 


That's what I need. 

There's Really a Wolf

Russ came through with the tracks. I appreciate an artist that can be versatile - each song is different. 


Different beat. 

Different vibe. 

Different message. 

Different sound. 

Different technique. 


That shit matters. 

"Ride Slow" makes me wish I could ride slow with the windows tinted so dark that you can't see at all inside, nothing but smoke coming out of the roof. I love a song that can create detailed imagery. 


"What They Want" I really just appreciate you for "y'all ain't fooling me at all." Please let them know, and the collective "them" are the people that you know can't stand to see you shine. They can't stand that glow, but that's why it's important to make waves. 


Russ, you definitely gave me a new sound that I could rock too, and for that I salute you.