A Woman’s Evolutionary Guide to Drinking

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(This big-ass beer? Ain’t nobody got time for that!)

Does anyone remember how much fun it was to wake up in the morning with a killer hangover, after having too many vodka cranberries at Ladies Night? Do you recall the awesome feeling of knowing there wasn’t enough Target-brand acetaminophen to cure the pounding in your skull? That you regret having to go into the office, knowing you rather soak yourself  under the shower head for an hour? Well, those are awful feelings and at this point, if you’re over 30, you have officially outgrown this agony. So there should be no reason that you’re drinking anything that doesn’t have a cork in it. Let me tell you why.

Like a fine wine ( which is the only libation you should be drinking), we get better with age. So why drink anything else? Just as our taste in men, fashion, and heel heights have evolved over the years, a woman’s palette also changes as she gets older and accepts more responsibility in life. It is for this reason that she requires the proper alcoholic intake to handle her day-to-day activities. I mean seriously, how can you make sound decisions on how to passive-agressively ignore your ex on Facebook and finish annual reports at work with the fuel from butterscotch schnapps? Only a Bordeaux can handle such responsibility! So if you’re still ordering Kettle One and OJs at the lounge, please stop. You’re only going to hurt yourself in the end. If you follow this 100% accurate guideline to the womanly way of inebriation, you will be able to continue drinking properly until you head off to Shady Pines with Sophia Petrillo:

High School: Obviously, you shouldn’t be drinking if you’re not 21, but this is when everyone starts anyway. I remember my first sip of alcohol (outside of a sip of Disaronno from the china cabinet) was a wine cooler. I’m pretty sure it was of the Bartles and James variety. This is the only acceptable time to drink a wine cooler, when you really don’t know what you’re doing. It has about 2% alcohol volume, but you still swear you’re getting a buzz. If you live in an urban area, this is the time you may have been introduced to St. Ides coolers and Cisco.

College: This is the land of beer kegs. The abundance of barley and hops is similar to the amount of coursework you don’t do. But remember, you’re a young woman and should govern yourself accordingly. You have now graduated from wine coolers, and now you’re drinking malt liquor beverages like Smirnoff Ice. It’s basically Sprite you can’t chug. In fact, they have the same effect on you- absolutely nothing. But that’s okay, because during college, you are introduced to the world of “liqueurs”, not to be confused with actual “liquor”, which actually gets you drunk. Schnapps. Amaretto. Rumpleminze. These are recipes for a sweet-ass stomachache, which you will confuse for inebriation. I drank so many Midori Sours in college, I actually collected bottles and lined them up in my dorm room. It was sick time, with even sicker fake hangovers.

Post college: Okay, now you can officially get cray. Yes, you’ve had sips of vodka here and there in school, but now you can really appreciate the finer drinks in life. No more Skol or Crystal Palace ( no matter how broke you are, don’t you dare dip below Absolute!), you can now sip Grey Goose and tonics and Belvedere martinis. Life starts to get a bit more real and your pockets get fatter, so you can now appreciate shots. Patron. Red-Headed Sluts. Washington Apples. No Buttery Nipples here, woman. You can now pound down Jager shots and still live to tell about it. That’s the beauty of this time in a woman’s life- you can drink and do so many other bad things with abandon, and bounce right back. I use to be best friends with a groupie and this was one of the most exciting times of my life. I drank from Thursday through Sunday, and was still able to work ( even though I had the shakes).

Unemployment: BEER. Lots of beer. The only time it is acceptable for a woman to consume large quantities of beer.

Current Time ( Dirty Thirty and beyond): You’ve arrived in life, and need to have the proper drink in hand to navigate the world around you. What other way can this be achieved, other than with a nice bottle of vino? Wine is the greatest thing to ever happen to women besides Shonda Rhimes and Spanx. It requires a sturdy and adult woman to truly enjoy it, that’s why it’s offered in boxes. Reds. Whites. Champagne. Prosecco. Moscato. Pinot Noir. Chardonnay. Shiraz. Merlot. Malbec. I feel like I just rattled off the guest list for my 35th birthday party. Just a few sips can put you in a good mood, and there’s a reason you can’t take it in shots or chug it. It has various uses, such as a sleep aid, or “hanger” reducer. I am in no way suggesting alcohol abuse, but it would be a crime to drink a Pinot Grigio with a burger. There are rules and levels to drinking wine. Why do you think sommeliers exist? People have to be TAUGHT how to properly appreciate vino. No one takes a class on how to down tequila shots. It is for this reason that wine is my drink of choice: because I enjoy the finer things in life and I like to take naps.

 

Laugh at my life more over at Hot Mess Life

 

Perfect Man Mondays

desmond

(He’s perfect: Chocolate, chiseled, and doesn’t talk back)

During a rousing discussion of what women do wrong when searching for their Mr. Right ( over an excessive amount of German beer), a male friend decided give my group of girlfriends some stellar advice. He stated that if you listed 100 things that you wanted in a man, and he had about 70 of them, then you were good. Keep him. Love him. Don’t let him go, or sweat the other 30 descriptors he can’t live up to. Unless he can’t live up to “not a murderer” or “does not like musicals”, my friend said that you should be able to tolerate a man’s (or woman’s) 70% job. Stop being picky and deal with it.

So I decided to list 100 things I would want my ideal man to be. They may seem a bit too specific or petty, but if I have to live the rest of my life with someone, shouldn’t it be with a Crossfit champion who has an affinity to cook me omelettes in the middle of the night?  Just think- if you could create your “perfect” partner, no matter what people thought of your requirements, what would you want them to be?  I’m not ashamed:

  1. A man.
  2. A man with all of his teeth ( veneers are ok, but not horse-like).
  3. An educated man (if I mention the joy of scheduling classes Tuesday-Thursday, 9am-10pm, I want him to understand).
  4. A man who exercises perfect grammar/spelling in all of his text messages.
  5. A man who works out ( and appreciates that I don’t like to).
  6. A man who likes to take naps.
  7. Speaking of sleeping, a man who is totally okay with not sleeping in the same bed all of the time, even after a night of lovely love ( I may snore, he may fight in his sleep, so why stress each other out? Cuddling all night is exhausting).
  8. A good kisser.
  9. A man who understands my need to watch ratchet reality tv shows to make me feel better about my life.
  10. A man who gives good hugs ( nice arms are acceptable).
  11. A man who laughs at my corny jokes.
  12. A man who smells great ( even if you smell like bacon or gasoline, that’s cool too).
  13. A man who can fix things on my car (even the air filter thingy).
  14. A man who doesn’t say “huh?” when I use one of my big vocabulary words during a conversation.
  15. A man who won’t rub it in when my team loses.
  16. A man who won’t judge me when I eat everything at brunch ( and will stuff his face too, just to make me feel better).
  17. A man who won’t make me feel bad that I go to brunch ( I can’t help it if I love mimosas and french toast. And waffles. And bacon. And chicken).
  18. A man who will drive me around.
  19. A man who can cook.
  20. A man who is just as sarcastic as I am.
  21. A man who has enough friends ( not online) to hang out with and leave me alone sometime.
  22. A man who is not afraid to tell me my hair is jacked up.
  23. A man with a body similar to D’Angelo in the “How Does It Feel” video when he takes his clothes off.
  24. A man who reads more than magazines.
  25. A man who doesn’t smoke.
  26. A man who drinks anything other than Hennessy. In a snifter.
  27. A man who doesn’t take selfies.
  28. A man with a nice firm grip. On life. Handshakes. Whatever.
  29. A man who knows what a blog is.
  30. A man who reads my blog.
  31. A man who does not own a cat.
  32. A man who does not own a pair of skinny jeans.
  33. An honest man.
  34. A man who likes to go out. Not oontz-oontz clubs, but cool bars and lounges instead.
  35. A man not addicted to social media (we don’t need two crazy people in this relationship).
  36. A man with an accent.
  37. A man with kind eyes.
  38. A man with great style. Classic and cool ( sans jerseys).
  39. A man who likes ice cream ( but doesn’t eat as much as I do).
  40. A man who knows who Linkin Park is.
  41. A man who likes his family.
  42. A man who has been out of the country before.
  43. A man who won’t make me run with him. I’m more of a wogger ( walk/jogger)
  44. A man who can clean floors exceptionally well.
  45. A man who is kinda hot.
  46. A man who tips well.
  47. A man who doesn’t talk during movies.
  48. A man who can appreciate taking me to said movie at least 30 minutes early, so I can secure a seat in the back and watch all the previews.
  49. A man who shares his Netflix password.
  50. A man over 6 feet. If you’re under, you need to be pretty hot.
  51. A man who doesn’t call or text me before 10 am.
  52. A man who eats meat.
  53. A man with a great laugh.
  54. A man with no sparkly jeans in his closet.
  55. A man who owns more than one suit.
  56. A city guy.
  57. A man who gives good massages.
  58. A man who cherishes family.
  59. A considerate man.
  60. A man who always has a piece of gum when you need it.
  61. A man who will pump your gas ( or at least offer).
  62. A man who can swim.
  63. A man who can dance.
  64. A man who is okay with getting a tan.
  65. A man who loves football.
  66. A man with a cute dog.
  67. A man who appreciates curves ( these thighs ain’t going nowhere).
  68. A man who loves his momma.
  69. A man who owns a tie.
  70. A man who won’t judge me for going to twerking class.
  71. A man with a master plan.
  72. A man who can pick me up and make it look easy.
  73. A man who likes bacon. Turkey bacon does not count.
  74. A man who take Halloween as serious as I do.
  75. A man who also thinks Game of Thrones is weird.
  76. A man who DVRs Sportscenter.
  77. A man with a boat.
  78. A spiritual man.
  79. A man who has car concerts by himself.
  80. A man who planks.
  81. A man with at least one cool hat.
  82. A man who can appreciate a great Pinot Noir.
  83. A man who knows what Pinot Noir is.
  84. A man who doesn’t get mad if I beat him in Fantasy Football.
  85. A man who would propose to me on a Jumbotron.
  86. A man who knows the key to my heart is a good steak dinner and a concert, and not a pair of earrings.
  87. A man who thinks my impressions are awesome.
  88. A man who likes chocolate.
  89. A man who can drive in the rain when I don’t want to.
  90. A man who will wash my hair.
  91. A man who will buy me flowers as a romantic gesture, but leave a dirty note in it, so I can laugh the rest of the day.
  92. A man who can play Cards against Humanity.
  93. A man who owns stock.
  94. A man with a gym membership.
  95. A man who can kill a snake with own hand.
  96. A man who kisses me on the forehead.
  97. A man who loves short women.
  98. A man who can look sexy in a t-shirt and jeans.
  99. A man who shows empathy towards others.
  100. A man who loves a hot mess woman.

 

Triple Threat

sportsfan

 

( My first drunken sunburn opened up my life to college football)

Thought I had it in the bag. I’m a rare commodity: I’m a cute girl who loves football- a lot more than most men I know. Everyone said that guys would flock to me once they figured out I was a sports fanatic. That my idea of an ideal first date would be going to a Heat game and dinner at a steak house. In fact, my dream marriage proposal would be on a jumbo tron at the Super Bowl. I should have no problem in the boyfriend department, right?

Wrong. Now, I’m going to shock a lot of my friends right now and mostly embarrass myself, but I HAVEN’T HAD A BOYFRIEND IN 10 YEARS. Now, I’ve had a couple of “situations”- 1 month here, 2 months there, but never someone I claimed as my man. I don’t want to sound jaded, but it is damn near impossible to find a decent guy in Miami! There’s too much variety down here in the 305- guys from the Midwest and East Coast get down here and nearly piss themselves when they see all the toys they can play with! And these dolls aren’t just “Made in the USA”. No, the tags on these Barbies in the MIA are “Made in Brazil”, “Made in Venezuela”, even “Made in Jamaica & China”!

Now, I’m not a bad looking woman. Granted, I’m closer to my Before picture than my After, but I do ok. But guys never approach me, never want to date me, never want to meet me at the end of an aisle and impregnate me. I saw a frightening woman on an episode of “Bridezillas” who not only had an ex-husband, but also a new fiancee’ who was the former best friend of another ex…. FIANCEE’! So if SHE can get at least 3 men to propose to her, why can’t I keep a boyfriend for at least 6 months???? And that chick was a 5 at best- I’m at least a 7.

basketball fiend

( big head, little legs… story of my life)

And the thing is I have an advantage over the Barbies from around the world and the wildebeest on reality TV: I KNOW SPORTS. I watch the same Sportscenter 3 times in one day- especially if my team wins. I can name at least 30 current Miami Hurricanes in the NFL alone. I play fantasy football and have been to World Series games. I can tell you who scored the 10 millionth point in NBA history ( Ben Gordon, a PISTON at that!). I have a tattoo of my school logo on my pelvic area ( It’s all About that U !). With all that being said, I should be a shoe-in for lifelong love and happiness, right? Wrong.

It’s the exact opposite. I meet a guy and for some odd reason, he is not enamored by my ability to talk about the NFL playoffs-he’s confused. He thinks I’m either a lesbian or I have Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder feeding ESPN highlights into my ear. Here’s some reactions I get:

“You like sports? Do you also like the ladies?”

“Shell, you’re cute and some of the most amazing legs I’ve ever seen on someone who’s 5’1″, but you are like one of the guys ‘cuz you like to drink and watch the Ravens!”

“You want me to take you to a Heat game? Is it going to be outside?”

The ironic part of it all is that quite a few of the men I’ve gotten serious with aren’t even into sports. I get a pair of extra tix to a Dolphins game and ask if buddy wants to go, and he complains that it’ll probably be too hot and doesn’t want to deal with the people. WTF?? Those “people” have BEER & CINNAMON ROASTED ALMONDS. Granted, it’ll cost you around $20 bucks, but that’s besides the point.

So where does that leave me? Manless, with no one to go to the Marlins game with. What else do I need to do? Pretend to watch football and have no idea what’s going on? Ask if the pitcher has gone on the field yet? Inquire about how many free throws they get to kick through the uprights?

Screw that. I’m not going to apologize for the fact that I’m a sports genius. I’m not going to dumb down my knowledge of all the black guys who play in NHL. I won’t turn in my football season tickets for a Prada bag. I won’t be upset if some lame ass guy doesn’t know the difference between the SEC, ACC, or BCS. If it means that I have to use my stat sheets to keep me warm at night, then so be it.

* And in case you thought I was joking, here it goes: Ed, Ray-Ray, Tavares, Willis, Andre, Roscoe, Antrel, Calais, Santana, Sinorice, Rocky, Clinton, Phillip, Dan, Damione, Greg, Vernon, Brandon, Vince, Jon, DJ, Reggie, Kelly, Frank, Bryant, Kenny, Brett, Jeremy, John, and Kellen. And I don’t need to give last names. I’m that good.

My Window Ain’t Shut!

 window(yeah, my window looks rough, even with some flowers in front of it)

We have been taught that everyone does their own thing on their own schedule. No one should compare their lives to others, especially when it comes to the monumental events that happen in life. Back in the day, everybody did things on the same schedule:

  • Dating when you’re 15/16
  • Getting married anywhere between 18-22 ( divorce never being an option)
  • Having kids at an early age
  • Women staying home, figuring out how to make a full course dinner 7 days a week
  • Men working in the city, riding fancy trains home at night back to the suburbs, like the guys on Mad Men

This was the life schedule many adhered to, and it was the acceptable way to live your life (at least here in ‘Merica). If there was a deviation from this plan, an individual was most likely frowned upon, and the town wondered what was wrong with them. A 25 year-old woman with no suitor? She must be mentally unstable, or not come from a good home. A man living with his girlfriend, even though they’re at the ripe age to marry and have 6 kids? Oh, they must be heathens.

Fast forward to today, and society is much different. Yes, we still have women who are following the old-fashioned tradition of marrying young, having babies, and staying home, but we also have the hit television show “16 and Pregnant”, so there’s that. We still have men out there who are snatching up women at their ideal birthing age and marring them, which is great. However, we also have swinging bachelors who are 44, but also have 34 children out-of-wedlock. Please, look for the latest episode of “Iyanla, Fix My Life”, and you’ll thank me for it. Now, that I think about it, you actually will be pissed off.

There has been an obvious preconceived notion of a certain “window of time” in which life-changing events such as these are supposed to happen. You date early, you find your mate in college, marry young, and have babies. And this is all done before your Dirty Thirty birthday. Currently, we have so much more freedom to do whatever the hell we want, and most people couldn’t care less. I have friends who have been divorced twice over, and just now are finding their true love. I know women who had their first child at the awesome age of 33, because they did it when THEY were ready, and not when they were “supposed to”. Although the times have changed, many people still hold on to that traditional way of thinking, assuming that everyone must find love at a certain point in time, have children soon thereafter, and never get divorced. And if anyone hasn’t done any of these things before, let’s say, 35, they may be looked upon with pity, and have people thinking they don’t have much time left. Their proverbial “window” on love and happiness is closing quickly, and it’s about to be shut, leaving them inside with 32 cats and a DVR filled with shows from the OWN network and Lifetime movies.

Now let’s talk about my hot mess life ( this is my blog’s namesake for a reason). I’m “30-whatever”, still single (thanks, last boyfriend!), and no children. I have had countless discussions about the course of my life when it comes to these scenarios, and everyone has an opinion. Luckily, my mother hasn’t given me too much flak for not settling down yet, but she did ponder about me having a baby the other day when I lay my hand on my stomach after eating too much pizza. My two very best friends are great examples of doing these on their own time, and I haven’t felt any pressure from either to follow in their steps. One has the husband, the cute ass baby, and brick house, and she did it on her own time- she rocks! The other is still single, and it’s awesome, because she does what she wants, with a rocking career and car she drives way too fast for my own liking.

However, I’ve had discussions with others who send these questions to me on the daily:

  • “How old are you?!?!”
  • “Why don’t you have kids?”
  • “You’re 30, and you’ve never been married?”

They’re usually followed up with a discussion on windows of time, some even suggesting that I don’t have much time left, because I’m slowly reaching a new age-box on formal forms, and once I reach the 35-44 box with no rugrats and a husband to annoy me, I may be deduced to a life that will be soon featured on an episode of “Snapped”.

But I have to believe that there are others like me out there, who still have their window open, even if it’s just a crack. My love/family life has gotten to this point through a series of both fortunate and unfortunate events, but I know there are men out there like me who have gone through the same crap, yet they still remain hopeful. There has to be someone out there who also went through college without a care in the world, tried dating during their early career years, and failed. There has to be a guy out there who is just unlucky in relationships, maybe even gave marriage a try, and it didn’t work. Now they’re looking 35 in the face with a cute kid and no one to call their own. And no, we are not crazy people who can’t get a date. Our windows aren’t closed, we just haven’t looked through each other’s yet.

 

See more hot mess at Hot Mess Life

What Are You?

My life-long identity crisis came full-circle during my most recent trip home. My mother, grandmother, and I went to visit my uncle, who is extremely territorial and will not open his front door until he can confirm your identity. When we arrived at his house, I gave my horn a quick honk, waiting for him to come outside. I see movement through the window blinds, but no opening of the door. Hmm, that’s strange. I do it again, and I receive the same peep-through-the-window treatment. Finally, he comes out of the house and says that he thought I was a “strange white girl in a red car”, and didn’t know who I was. Technically, I am white female in a rental car he’d never seen before, but I never thought I would be so unrecognizable that my family would mistake me for a stranger.

For the majority of my life, I never even had to question the fact that I was Black. Yes, I do get called Twinkie ( yellow on the outside and white on the inside), and I have green eyes, but that’s the beautiful wonder of my ethnicity- we come in all shades, spanning across the color spectrum! I thought it was absolutely amazing that I could be birthed from a woman with gorgeous, chocolate skin and have a hue with yellow undertones and eyes that sometimes scared people. Yes, the majority of my family was a darker shade than I, but that’s normal, right? Then, about 8 years ago, my granny told me I was White.

My first reaction was, no wonder my jokes are so corny. Soon after, I started to think about the underlying feeling that has always been there that just needed confirmation. I’m in a situation where I am never going to know the other side of my identity, but that fateful day I had the courage to ask if I was in fact of another persuasion. Ever since then, I’ve been wondering, along with everyone else who confuses my genetic makeup, just what I am.

Before the rest of the world ever wondered what island I came from, I was subconsciously obsessed with my own color. I remember my aunt having a checkers set with brown and white pieces. She said I would always insist on being the white checkers and would ball my eyes out if I had to play as the brown ones. Then, in elementary school, I didn’t realize that being one certain color was a big deal. There were many instances when I was told by several classmates that I was white, but it was never delivered as a compliment, but more as a verbal assault. Was it bad to be white? Was I super cool because I was Black? I’m sure my mind didn’t wonder about this too much, because there were much more important things to ponder, like boys and Trapper Keepers.

I was given this information of my background at a time where most would consider me a full-fledged adult. At this point, most people have a hold over their identity, so did it really even matter that I now find out about the other half of me? Getting confirmation that I was multi-racial created a flurry of emotions within me that I didn’t realize existed. For one thing, I couldn’t wait to tell other people who I was a Black & White cookie. I was eager to check off the “mixed-race” box on forms. I even told people I was Irish, even though I didn’t really know my father’s origin, but it sounded like the coolest White person to be. I giggled with excitement when checking both the “White” and “Black” on my online dating profiles. To say I was giddy about my newly discovered identity would be an understatement. But why? I believe that I took some sort of pride in knowing that half of me was no longer a secret, a guess, or an assumption. But then again, it was still a mystery, as I did not know my true identity, which is still evident today as I continue to grapple with just who I am.

When I cam to Miami, an entirely new ballgame was in play. Down here, if you’re tan, you’re Hispanic for some reason. You can look like one of the Children of the Corn and people will still approach you with a “Que pasa?”. I’ve been mistaken for Dominican, Cuban, and even Jamaican-Chinese. It wasn’t that these assumptions made me re-think who I was, but it made me ponder more what others thought of me. Even though I had accepted  my racial ambiguity, there were ( and still are) times when I am not so sure how comfortable I am in my not-so-new skin. I’ve had people tell me that I’m “not really black”, and even though I’m bi-racial, I get upset. What does that even mean? On the flip side, there is a guy who constantly says to me “but you’re a white woman” whenever we discuss racial issues, and it enrages me. Why is it so important for outsiders to identify who I am?

During the same trip home in which I was mistaken for a white girl in a rented Toyota, the discussion of my father’s ethnicity came full circle with my grandmother. Knowing she couldn’t’ tell me exactly where Pops came from, we began jokingly pondering his country of origin. Being in Michigan, I asked if maybe she though he was Polish. Could I be the secret heir to the Polish Cultural Center in Sterling Heights? What if I was Jewish? It would explain my affinity for bagels and latkes. After a few playful jabs at me, calling me “Mrs. Kowalski” and “Bynumstein”, I knew that it didn’t matter what my genetic makeup was. Am I proud to be Black? Yes. Am I proud to be White? For sure. I am also proud to be a Hot Mess. I embrace my ethnic confusion to others, my diverse hair, my cat eyes, and ability to tan in 30 minutes. There will always be a part of me that feels incomplete, not knowing exactly who I am. But if anyone else ever asks me again “What are you?”, I can gladly say, “I am me”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hip-Hop Anonymous?

There’s a reason why I don’t listen to rap music on the radio anymore. For one thing, the 2 radio stations I dare listen to play the same 10 songs, and 9.5 of them are basura. So I’m relegated to listening to sports radio and even Republican news channels, just for some humor.  Because quite frankly, there’s hardly any good hip-hop music out anymore- at least that get’s played on 108.7 JAMMZZZ. And I throw the terms “hip-hop” and “rap” out there extremely carelessly. If we’re really being honest with ourselves, the majority of this mess streaming through your radio waves and on the top of your iTunes playlist can hardly be considered RAP or HIP-HOP. Even if you feel yourself bouncing to the beat, the lot of it can hardly even be called music.  so I’m here to break it down to you and truly dissect the game, in to what I like to call the “Real Breakdown: Explaining the Difference between Hip-Hop, Rap, and This Shit” (to be known through the rest of the article as TS, as I don’t like to curse too much). Below is a general definition of each genre, so you can get a basic understanding of all three, which will help to do differentiate between them and make better musical decisions in the future ( P.S.-you’re welcome):

(picture from the Roots concert)

HIP-HOP:  Music genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted (from Wikipedia- pretty accurate). This is where it all started. When I think of “hip-hop”, it’s the purest of this art form. As the music started to slowly take form in the 70’s and into the 80’s, hip-hop was a fusion of rhythmic poetry and astounding band work. Yes, there was usage of a BAND. Real instruments!  Bandz don’t make her dance, they make real hip-hop music. True hip-hop music takes control of an audience, and always sends a message. The message doesn’t have to necessarily be political or profound in that sense. A message of happiness, pure joy, fun, and love can come from an awesome hip-hop song. At the concert shown above, I never had so much fun listening to an MC spit fire rhymes over an acoustic guitar. And that’s what hip-hop is- the perfect fusion of  actual music and rhyming, with an equal emphasis on both. This love affair between instruments and lyrical flow will never be present at a Gucci Mane concert (we’ll touch on his “type” of music later). Speaking of MCs, I need to make sure that everyone understands that MCs, Emcees, whatever you wish to call them, are restricted to the worlds of hip-hop and rap. And everyone that “raps” is NOT an emcee. The term is derived from the phrase “Master of Ceremonies”. These are the guys who took control of the circus, shows, etc. These individuals tell a story- an intricate, interesting, intellectual one at that. If the whole of your album consists of a 3 songs about bitches, 2 about gold chains, and 1 about the Bugatti you rented from Exotic Car Rentals for your music video, you’re not an MC  and you’re most certainly not telling a story anyone wants to hear. You’re more like the kid who wants to tell everyone about all the cool stuff he got for Christmas, but we all know that it’ll be forgotten within the next 6 months.

emjay

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(pictures from the Eminem/Jay-Z concert I went to- they were performing Renegade)

RAP: Often interchangeable with hip-hop, Rapping (also known as emceeingMCingspitting (bars), or rhyming) refers to “spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics” (taken from Wikipedia-again, pretty accurate).  I consider the world of rap to be more focused on the rhyming aspect of the art, and this is a good thing. A rap artist is very good at telling a story with words that most of us can never imagine. How Eminem was able to spit his flow on Drake’s “Renegade” is beyond me. The type of mind power you need to be able to rhyme all these words together and still get your story or point across is absolutely amazing.  Before the slow demise of the art, this is where most of the music came from, and also the most popular. Rap music has been able to transcend the entire world, and although many would like to deny it or pretend that it doesn’t exist, rap REALLY is the most popular music we have in the world today. I mean, how many times have you gone to a rap concert, and there are more White and Asian people there than Kanye’s entourage he brought along on tour? I went to the Eminem/Jay-Z concert pictured above and it was 80,000 strong, and it was like a United Nations of Rap forum in Comerica Park. It’s absolutely awesome and amazing. Unfortunately, there are also “rappers” who are giving the genre a very bad name, and many who shouldn’t even be called rappers at all. Don’t get me wrong, many are very talented, but they are hovering over a faintly drawn line between the art-form known as “rap” and just complete bullshit. Which leads me to…

rap

(lyrics from a 2Chainz song-because I wouldn’t be caught comatose at one of his shows)

This Shit (aka “TS”): Real human beings will never mistake this for hip-hop, but TS is often disguised as rap music. In actuality, it is the product of extremely lucky producers and”beat-makers” who are forced to join forces with asinine figures who claim to be “artists” and sort-of rhyme  a few words together, knowing that a million-dollar hit is on its way. Sadly, TS has completely taken over your radio, MP3 player, The Cloud, BET, and really bad All-Star Game performances. Hidden behind ridiculously sick and catchy beats, TS will sneak up on you when you least expect it, and next thing you know, you’re chanting the words to a Trinidad James song. “Gold all in my chain/gold all in my ring/gold all in watch/don’t believe me just watch”… Are you serious?! No Trinidad James, gold is not all up in your watch, your watch is MADE of gold-get it right. And you realize that rhyming “watch” & “watch” is not working, right?  Because IT’S THE SAME WORD. And don’t let me get into the line about the effects of “popping a Molly”. Did Talib Kweli ever rejoice and rhyme about the delicious effects of smoking crack?  I don’t think so. But man, are we bopping to that BEAT. It is pretty ridiculous. So Trinidad James, thank your producer for that fame. Because you are certainly NOT an “artist”-you’re just an employee for Def Jam, so just make sure you have your ID badge with you when you’re walking through the office. Now that I’ve separated the Froot Loops from the Great Value Fruity Spins, you may find yourself wondering which category your favorite MC falls into. Once you get a good look at the list below, you may even be shocked and awed that your beloved MC is in fact NOT and MC, but a purveyor of TS, and has a tiny shovel in his back pocket to collect all the crap he’s been pushing through your XM Satellite Radio:

  1. The Roots: HIP-HOP- they are the art form personified-this BAND is the perfect mix of rap poetry, fantastic instrumentals and a good time. They are Jimmy Fallon’s house BAND for a reason, and still one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to
  2. Eminem: RAP-This guy can spit like nobody’s business. The winner of battle after battle, Em is hands down one of the best rappers of all time, and he’s White. And that doesn’t matter to him, because he gets respect because he’s true to himself. He always has a message, and whether you agree with him or not, at least you can understand the words that are coming out of his mouth.
  3. Jay-Z: RAP- Like Eminem, Jigga is a wordsmith. he’s turned himself into a global icon, and has people all over the world in mosh pits showing him their chi-chis and throwing up the ROC. Out of everyone else, I believe Jay has truly made rap the voice of this generation, worldwide.
  4. Lil’ Wayne: RAP/TS: Weezy is a special case. Although no one can argue that his lyrical content is some of the most creative yet crazy, he’s slightly insane and on the verge of falling completely into the TS category. His last 3 albums have all been pretty much the same stuff: and just because you make it a “Part 2″ or the “IV” installment of the same CD, doesn’t make it that much greater-you’re starting to bore us.
  5. Nikki Minaj & 2Chainz: TS TO THE MAX- When I thought of the Total Shit category, I created it with two recording company employees in mind: Nikki Minaj and 2Chainz. They are the luckiest mofos alive to even have the stardom they’ve managed to achieve, outside of the Kardashian clan. I don’t know if they’ve won any actual awards outside maybe some Source or MTV trophies, but if they have, they need to give them to their producers and marketing teams, because they are further from real hip-hop and rap than I am from finsihing a 5k.

A Few Other Examples, In Case You’re Wondering:

HIP-HOP: Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez

RAP: Drake, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Kanye West, T.I.,

TS: Wiz Kalifa, Waka Flocka, Chief Keef, The majority of Cash Money and YMCMB

Take A Picture, It Really Will Last Longer

partial selfie

( this is the most anyone’s ever gonna get out of me)

Last week, there was a disturbance in sky. And by sky, I mean the vast universe that is Apple and its iCloud. Hackers infiltrated the remote computer servers that allow over 300 million Apple customers to wirelessly back up all the data on their devices. Included in those millions of people were about 12 celebrities that had nude photos of themselves shared with the world, as the computer thieves infiltrated the cloud and this was apparently, a REALLY big deal. Basically, we have people all over the world backing up their personal photos, emails, college papers, and contacts onto an entity that was named after something you can fly right through ( if you were an airplane or bird). Yup, sounds pretty safe to me.

There has been quite a bit of public opinion about this “invasion of privacy”, with the majority opinion leaning on the side of feeling empathy for everyone who has been violated. Many individuals who have spoken out on the other side of the fence stating that anything in the cloud is up for grabs and you need to keep your panty pics to yourself, have been blasted, with many being called “slut-shamers”. You can throw me into that group, but I think everyone should chill just a bit and take a step back to think about what happens when you parachute your personal crap into the air. I’m not saying that it’s right for hackers to pluck your “nudes” from the iCloud, the Sky, or whatever, but no one should be surprised that these idiots have the capacity to steal the photographs you upload to your PC ( which does NOT mean “private contraption”). I think people tend to forget that your Smartphone/iPhone is a baby computer. Your computer is also a computer. And what are those? Giant universes of evil, debauchery, imagination, and joy, disguised as a small piece of metal you can fit in your messenger bag ( especially if you have WiFi).

Should you be able to take naked photographs of yourself? Perhaps even share them with your significant other? Of course, but you also need to comprehend exactly what you’re doing. SENDING NAKED PICTURES TO ANOTHER PERSON. BACKING UP SAID PHOTOS TO A REMOTE COMPUTER THAT YOU DON’T OWN. If the person you send your pictures to decides to share them without your knowledge, they suck and you have a right to be upset. Even if you don’t actively share them with another person and they’re sitting idle on your computer, don’t be shocked that these images could resurface out in the public eye, with that eye being the World Wide Web and anyone with a warrant. Has Law & Order SVU not taught you anything? If Olivia Benson and the Hot Asian Guy who always uncovers something on a hard drive can find naked governor photos, some hacker can find your butt selfie you sent your ex on your S5.

Do you remember when we kept our privates, well, private? There was a time where someone had to ask your father for your hand in marriage before any skin was shared between two people. “Relations” eventually became more casual, and many felt comfortable showing their birthday suits to people outside the walls of matrimony. Previously, if you wanted to commemorate a naughty occasion, you took a good old-fashioned Polaroid. One take. One shot. One copy. If you gave it to your lover, they possessed the only copy. If you kept it, it was only for your eyes to see. You decide to burn it? It now belongs to the fireplace. However, the popularity of the personal computer, social media, and camera phones  have thrown discretion out the window that the paparazzi and other creepers are peeking into. These entities have now convinced everyone that it is necessary to document their nudity on devices that many tend to forget can be hacked into.

Celebrities  have it tough. Not in the sense that they have a difficult life being so rich and have the ability to buy everything in Target, but in the sense that the concept of privacy is absent from their lives. I feel for them, because like Us Weekly says, “They’re Just Like Us!”, eating corn and going to Whole Foods. I cannot imagine a life where you cannot hide from the paparazzi, who are willing to stick their neck out just to capture you eating a cheeseburger. With that being said, there has to be an acknowledgement of the absence of anonymity that comes along with the territory of being famous.

Again, let me be clear: Just because you’re a celebrity, does not make it acceptable for someone to violate your privacy, hack into your phone or tablet, and view your naked pictures. Just don’t be shocked, appalled, and surprised that it happened. There’s an extra level of caution you need to take when you’re in the public eye, even if this means never taking naked shots and having them on your iPhone. Unfortunately, it comes with the territory, as sleazy magazines would be willing to pay $20,000 to see Angelina Jolie’s booty pics she sends to her hubby Brad Pitt.  If someone found my photographs in the Cloud, they would probably give them back. I may know about 4 people who would want to see them, but no hacker trying to get a payday would care about my behind. They’d be lucky to get $50 bucks from my ex-boyfriend.

 

-KEEP IT A HOT MESS