Lynne d Johnson



« November 2004 | Diary | January 2005 »

12.28.04 06:08 PM

my nas story


Damn, I been digging dude since way back. I remember it like it was yesterday. Having fallen out with hip-hop for a moment for the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and such others, there wasn't much I was feeling or checking for save Method Man and Onyx that year. Well, I suppose the entire Wu - aight. Yeah, I remember that year, '94. Two of my other favorite albums of that year wouldn't hit 'til later in the fall. You remember them too, don't you. Digable Planets Blowout Comb and then Mary's My Life.

My falling out with hip-hop is deep, tangled, and is built upon history, upon history. Yeah I'm old school, but I bet you don't know how old. For me, rap was before wax. Before Fatback Band's "King Tim III" and Sugarhill's "Rapper's Delight." I got snuck in by my older sister to a Kool Herc jam at the T-connect - so this history runs deep. But I never thought about holding hip-hop accountable, or offering it critique until a breaking publication by the name of The Source let me pen a couple "Ear To The Street" pieces in '92. Then for me hip-hop went dark.

Wasn't feeling the music. The spoken word/rapping thing I was doing was off again, on again. This newfound field of hip-hop journalism wasn't welcoming me with open arms, and I had to go get a regular gig. But at that regular gig, while I was all caught up in Nine Inch Nails or Pearl Jam, this brotha' tapped me on the shoulder one day and told me he had a tape that I had to hear.

The walkman never sounded so good. In fact, the walkman wasn't ready for Nasty Nas' Illmatic. It had never experienced such gifted lyricism, such adeptness at rocking the mic. The harsh realities, the pain-filled life. Fuck what ya heard, this was the blueprint in rare form. And it found a place in my heart. It brought together what I liked best about cats like Slick Rick and Kool G Rap, qualities that would later be credited to BIG and 'Pac. The art of poetic storytelling - and Nas was doing it, and doing it, and doing it well. He also flowed sick with the overlayering wordplay and skitter skatter verbal gymnastics of cats like Kane and Rakim. Dude was a breath of hip-hop fresh air.

I lived for Illmatic. Later in life, I'd come to quote Nas: "Nas responds to his people turning to heroin, crack, and weed, by stating, "Life's a bitch and then you die/that's why we get high/because you never know/when you gonna go." Courtney Love looks at her drug-fueled relationship with Kurt Cobain and sings, "Somebody kill me/give me pills/If you live through this with me/I swear I will die for you." Beck asks, "I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?" Biggie Smalls says, "I'm ready to die and nobody can save me." Is it really that different?"

For years, I kept the cover of the last issue of YSB, the one featuring The Firm - Foxy, Nas, and AZ. In my mind, they were the illest. I didn't understand the career move on Nas' part - flying solo he was superior, but as all that glangsta (glamour + gangsta) became commonplace, I guess he had to follow suit. Having frequented a titty bar or two, I'm not one of those prude chicks, yet I do have bouts of hip-hop feminism, so when dude got down with Bravehearts on "Oochie Wally," baffled I was. Hurt I was.

Still, the lyrical dexterity - ill. But I kind of slept on son during the I Am, Nastradamus, It Was Written days. A few tracks left residue: "N.Y. State of Mind, Pt. 2," "Nas Is Like," "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)."

And when Hova tried to call him out, though I got love for Hov, I had all my dubs on Nas, b/c I've always been able to envision him seeing with his 3rd eye. Stillmatic, The Lost Tapes, God's Son - I was feeling kid again. Then there's Street's Disciple, which is definitely not a classic in the sense of Illmatic, but it is just what its title states the story of the streets from someone whose lived it - and Nas has always proven that he can deliver those types of rhymes well. You may think once someone "makes" it that their rhymes should elevate and not just bling, that there should be a message in the music, there's a load of them in these two discs.

And so the story goes. When I received the invite to check out the taping of Nas' Life In Rhymes - I was like word? You know I'm there. Publicists are sharp. When they visit your office and see that the only art work you have up are images of NAS - they think they can read your mind. They figure you don't think any other artist is worthy of your wall space. Perhaps they're right.

Here I'm thinking this is some press shit, I take one of my new worker bees down to the spot only to find out we're in the audience. Wow! To not have to work and watch the artist do the damn thing. The artist you love to hate and love again.

It's an intimate setting @ Bowery Poetry. The producers balance out the crowd. Balance - white, black, hispanic. Put all the young sexy looking ones up in the front. Space out the rest. Damn, I'm prolly' the oldest fan up in here. But it's hot. Young gunnah sitting next to me - gots mad NRG. His book of rhymes clasped between his sweaty palms, 'cuz all he wants is an autograph. He and I, spit rhymes back-and-forth, Nas gives the nigger nod - respect felt. I try to muster up the words to express my feelings. None come. No one impresses me. And yet. No one makes me quiver. And yet. Damn, fo' real, fuck what ya' heard. Yeah right, he came before lots of them. They were influenced by him, no matter whether the industry felt him or not. You heard him, in each one of them. And that's part of the story. Part of the realness.

This is like two weeks ago, and I still don't have the words. Stuck words. Can't muster. Thoughts. Random. Fuck what ya' heard. Nas is nice. Fuck what you heard. Fo' real, this is one of the greatest MCs of all time. It was And I don't care what them otha motha's say.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.28.04 04:43 PM

oh no he didn't...

hardcore's trynna' come at me with full force and take us back to the old days:

"by the way, peace to lynne luvah luva at vibe
i az'd her like a nas song the shit was fire
turns out i jay-z'd her, she chose to retire"

y'know i'm gonna' have to spray fire on dat azz once the '06 hits

edit: so of course i meant once '05 hits - you'd think i'd let him taunt me with disses for a full year b4 i'd set it off

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.23.04 01:37 PM

the year of the comeback

This year was the year of the big comeback - but oh so maaaany failed. I saw three of my favorite all time hip-hop groups put out albums, first there was The Beastie Boys with To The 5 Bouroughs, then you had Brand Nubian with Fire In The Hole, and you had De La Soul with The Grind Date. Now the Beasties arrived with much fanfare, but not enough to knock out the likes of Usher and Ciara. And well, your favorite white boy always got the charts on lock, even though this album is less stellar than usual. Besides, didn't Jigga already hit us with the "Encore."

But anyway, since TRL and 106 & Park rule, it kinds of makes sense that the cats I'd really hope to do well in this hip-hop game wouldn't. I'm aging out of this shit, slowly but surely. And yet, I'm not saying any of these youngin's ain't got skills. I'm repping Urban Legend to the fullest, same way I did with Trap Muzik. A legend just might be in the making, but King Of The South - not. At least not yet. You ain't finished paying your dues yet son. But those skills are dandy - no doubt. You ain't half bad looking either. Matter-fact, you could get it. Showing my age again...damn. I meant, the goodies are up for grabs - or some such nonsense.

On the real, I can't name one great album this year. I'm going back into the vault and measuring them up, but I'm feeling empty. I wasn't fulfilled. Lots of party jams. Lots of things I want to hear bump in the clubs. But if I wasn't in the bidness, would I put my 10-bill through that Apple iTunes one-click motion for anything? Dunno kids. I'm feeling really empty musically. A lil' unfulfilled.

Of course, I got my off the beaten path kinds of shit that I like, you know the artists with no distribution and no marketing budgets. And then there's those mixtapes. I'm always loving those, but still I can't say I got a greatest album this year. I gots to think about that one real hard and looooong. I'll let you know when I figure it out. And until then I won't be putting down no lists.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.22.04 04:49 PM

gmail giveaway

i've got some free gmail accounts to give away - first come first served basis.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.22.04 03:55 PM

reggae in orthodox

aight so i once saw this kid locally on UPN 9 news, and i thought he was kinda' nice. but who knew jimmy kimmel would pick him up. and i know jimmy's supposed to be a comedian but some of the questions he asks really irritate me. anyway, check out the orthodox jew who is a reaggae dj. (that's something else that pissed me off that jimmy did, he kept calling this kid a rapper. in dancehall, son, the mic spitter is a dj - a toaster, but never a rapper. that ish is for hip hop. RESPECT!)

click here to check this dude out

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.15.04 02:10 PM

holiday's movies wishlist

I've had so little time to do anything the past few months, that in the coming weeks, all I want to do is go to the movies and see:

1. Hotel Rwanda starring Don Cheadle

2. House Of Flying Daggers starring Ziyi Zhang

3. Ocean's 12 starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, and Julia Roberts

4. The Incredibles

any other recommendations?

Update: And BTW, I already saw Ray about two weeks ago, and thought that it was pretty damn good!

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.11.04 01:02 AM

ISPs are so dead

so now that i've finally gotten my dsl again in my new apt - i'm feeling all cocky - as if i can live solely off of gmail and my web host - since my dsl provider is not my ISP

i've got one of those other mega ISPs - and no not aol - that i've had for years, but who needs to spend all the extra $$$ especially when most ISPs charge you extra oodles just to get decent storage or webhosting if they even offer it besides hotmail and yahoo have both increased to 250MB free, which still can't compete with gmail's gig

but totally expiriring my isp - i don't cuz if dsl ever bonks out or i move again and have to go w/out service for awhile - dial up would be nice

but damn i forgot during those time periods you can always use one of those free offers from behemoth A, B, or C just to get the dial up until you've got your dsl or cable again

at first i didn't see the big deal about gmail, but lo and behold i finally agree with mr. jt - and have basically realized it's the only way to do email - unfortunately, i used up my last invite on myself, b/c i didn't like my original username

and you've just made a trip inside my head - as i was thinking to myself

but seriously, come jan 1 - i'll probably dead the ISP and only use my own domain and gmail for email - the email switch will happen whether i dead the ISP or not - the spam is outrageous - so basically if you're one of those people whose in the practice of emailing me @ that ISPs domain, update your info - i'll send out the office really soon

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.06.04 06:49 PM

mommy, what's a blog?

of course i know - and it appears that many want to know now what a blog is - that is according to Merriam Webster - the word "blog" was the most researched term on its site in 2004.

also now blogger and livejournal aren't the only free web hosted blogging tools - check out MSN Spaces, competing with Google's Blogger and AOL's Journals. but if you want to play with the big boys and girls - register your own domain, get at some code like MT, WordPress, PMachine, Postnuke - design your own templates and start blogging.

and for those of you still wanting to earn big bucks off of this blogging thing - "On Monday, a squad of around 15 independent bloggers will begin inserting mentions of Marqui's hosted communications management services into their blogs for money.

The bloggers will get $800 a month to mention Marqui with a link once a week in their blogs and post its emblem on a page. They'll get an additional $50 per qualified sales lead they send to Marqui." - "Marqui Product Placement in Blogs," Susan Kuchinskas,

and - "In another example of how businesses are exploring the use of blogs to promote themselves, HighBeam Research has hired Weblogger and Internet personality Christopher Locke to tout its soon-to-be-unveiled blog content tool via a new Web site,

The Chicago-based company selected Locke as a colorful way of drawing attention to its new tool, which will offer bloggers a subscription to access to its content archive of 33 million articles. He will be paid an undisclosed amount to recruit and oversee a "crack team" of a few dozen high-profile bloggers who will use the HighBeam tool on their own sites as the company completes beta-testing of the product." "HighBeam Picks Locke for Blogging Initiative," Rob McGann, ClickZ News

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.03.04 03:14 PM

defined by urban

perusing the urban version of webster (i suppose) came across a lil definition that had me ROFLMBAO fo' real - seriously, literally. and does the fact that i found the ish funny as all hell, mean that my hip-hop feminist pass gets revoked?

don't even ask why i looked up this particular term, but this is the definition that most appealed to me out of the 10 listed...

4. chickenhead

a head bobbin skank hoe who be swallowin cum and mucus membrane for the simple reason of there being nuthing bettter to do or to get a crack hit or some extasy or some g or just to swallow some cum just for the good taste of it and the goood feeeling of the wind blowing through her hair when her head be bobbbin like a wild rooster fucking chicken

shaniquiqua snappped her vertibre when her chicken bobbin glass dick smokin ass was riding the pooonanie like a wild boar rooster fucker

- I didn't make this shit up.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (2) |

12.03.04 01:44 AM

firefox rules

aight, so i'm late to the party again.

i've noticed it for a minute, but didn't have time to think about it, and though bloglines does an integration thing with firefox here, firefox is dope all on its own with its RSS-auto discovery. but that kind of takes us back to adding sites to our favorites/bookmarks in a way, doesn't it? yet it's still a hot feature enabling you to click that little RSS button on the bottom right of the browser to subscrie to your favorite site's feed.

it's great to be a geek sometimes.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

12.01.04 11:38 PM

Beyond The Down Low Hits Bookstores Soon

New York, NY - Nov 30, 2004 Keith Boykin's new book, BEYOND THE DOWN LOW: SEX, LIES AND DENIAL IN BLACK AMERICA, is becoming one of the most anticipated books of 2005. As the first popular nonfiction book to separate fact from fiction in the story of black men who sleep with men but identify as straight, BEYOND THE DOWN LOW has created a buzz among booksellers and the national media. Scheduled for a February 2005 launch date, the book has already generated requests for appearances on national television shows, for interviews in major publications, and to excerpt portions of the book in major magazines.

Keith Boykin, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, is one of the nation's leading commentators on race, sexuality and politics. A former top aide to President Bill Clinton, Boykin has appeared on CNN, Fox News and NPR, and he has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today. In the fall of 2004, he was a featured contestant on Showtime's reality series American Candidate. He is the author of One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America and the Lambda Literary-Award winning book, Respecting the Soul. Boykin is president of the National Black Justice Coalition. He lives in New York City.
Selected Quotes from Beyond The Down Low

On Keith's Personal Life: "There was something about Mike that I found both intriguing and terrifying. He turned me on and turned me off at the same time. Every time I looked into his eyes, I knew at some level that I was looking into my own, and the experience scared me to death."

"What was I doing in this man's house? And what would his wife think about all this if she saw us together? How do you bring home another man while your wife is at home, lock him in the bedroom and not tell her about it? I knew he was a smooth talker, but this was hard to understand."

"I met Yvonne in my first year of law school. She was almost everything I thought I wanted in a woman: attractive, intelligent, articulate, spiritual and physically fit. She didn't drink too much. And she didn't smoke cigarettes. She was a modern woman. She would have made a perfect wife. A perfect wife for someone else, that is."

On The Down Low: "America's recent obsession with the down low is not about the truth. It is about avoiding the truth. The truth is, more than a generation after the so-called sexual revolution and decades after the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, we are still a nation in deep denial about sex, race and relationships."

"Quiet as it's kept, there is a dirty little secret about the down low that most of the media have not discussed. Here's the secret. The down low is not only about closeted gay men and bisexuals. Straight men and women are on the down low too. In fact, if gay men and bisexuals have now popularized the down low, then heterosexuals might have actually perfected it."

"By chance or fate, I found myself in the thick of the down low story when it first broke in the media in 2001. I had known, or come to know, all the major players involved in the story-the reporters, the advocates and the critics."

"Like many observers of the scene, I tried to stare into the soul of Dina McGreevey as her husband made his announcement. I wondered if her eyes would betray her disappointment, or if she would reveal an inner peace that suggested she had known all along."

"We may wonder where these men get off by endangering the lives of women, but we should also stop to think about the ways in which we contribute to our own oppression by participating in a culture that drives these men underground."

On AIDS: "While black America struggled to explain the heterosexual AIDS cases, far fewer people seemed concerned about the thousands of black gay and bisexual men who were already dying in cities all across the country."

"For some reason, we in the black community just can't seem to stay focused about AIDS. First we denied it affected us. Then, we ignored it because we thought it only affected a few of us. Next, we preached morality because we thought it only affected the ones we didn't like. Then, we tried to figure out which secret laboratory developed it. And, finally, we dramatized it by creating a self- destructive story line about victims and villains. At what point do we just deal with it?"

"AIDS doesn't care if you are the biggest slut on the street or a virgin on a first date. It only takes one time to be infected. You can sleep with a different person every night of the year and never get infected, or you can sleep with only one person one time in your life and be infected the same day."

On J.L. King: "'This is J.L. King,' the voice replied. I had heard of J.L. King before, and he surely must have known that I knew him. In fact, I knew a lot more about him than I could say on the phone call."

"He had called with a purpose and a proposal. Then he told me the purpose. He wanted me to help him write his book."

"As the conversation ended, it seemed to me that money was the primary, if not the sole, motivation behind the book, the media appearances, and the lucrative speaking engagements he was doing. It was as if money was everything to him."

"After a life spent deceiving everyone around him, King may now feel the need to make amends for the lies of his past, but that has not stopped him from sensationalizing serious issues into dramatic parody."

"As the only one who was talking publicly about this secret lifestyle, anything he said was taken as fact because no one could repudiate it. He had constructed quite a clever ploy without any other evidence to back up his claims, King skillfully turned his individual life stories into a public, and soon to be profitable, truth."

On Racism: "The down low fit perfectly into larger cultural dynamics because it confirmed stereotypical values that many of us already believed. For some whites, it confirmed their hypersexualized perception of black people, and for some blacks it confirmed their hypersexualized perception of gay men."

On Black Women: "Before we consider who is married, incarcerated or gay, we have to remember that there were 2.7 million more black women in the population than black men. That is a big part of the problem. Even if every black man in America was single, straight and not in jail, there would still not be enough for all the black women in the population."

On Black Men: "Most black men are not in jail and not on the down low. Millions of black men are hard-working, law- abiding, tax-paying citizens. We are not all saints, but we are certainly not all criminals either. The mass media have constructed an image of us that reduces black manhood to a cultural commodity to be bought and sold in the marketplace. But we are more than XXXL T-shirts, oversized jeans and basketball jerseys."

On Sports: "From my experience, I can think of no place in America that is as homophobic and as homoerotic as the sports team locker room."

On Hip Hop: "Privately, everyone in the industry knows there are gay and bisexual men in the hip hop world, but publicly the industry seems unwilling to admit the presence of homosexuality, except in stereotypical expressions. Several of the most powerful men in hip hop are gay or bisexual. Some have arranged marriages. Some date women and sleep with men. Some have never really tried to hide. And some just don't talk about it."

"The rap artist 50 Cent becomes a legend for being shot nine times as a drug dealer. The rapper Shyne goes to prison on gun charges and ends up with a record deal behind bars. And R. Kelly's album sales soar after he is busted for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a minor. We can forgive all that, but we can't forgive an artist for being gay?"

On The Church and Religion: "In fact, if you want one explanation as to why men are on the down low, look no further than our local churches."

On The Need For Love: "As long as we focus our energy primarily on what someone else has done to us, we limit the energy we have left to do for ourselves. If we turn our attention outside, we lose sight of all that we can do inside. Most important, we have to love ourselves before we can love anyone else."

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |


This weblog is powered by Movable Type 3.3 and licensed under a Creative Commons License.