Ready is Relative

“Great people do things before they’re ready”. Simple quote, but yesterday morning, during my daily wake-up ritual of opening up social media (don’t judge me), it was the first one I saw, and it hit me hard. It ended up shaping not only the course of my day, but it also impacted my interactions. Maybe there was something in the air, but a lot of my friends and colleagues seemed to have awakened with a restless motivation. You see, the status quo didn’t, and doesn’t seem to working anymore, and being just to be is no longer good enough. So many people expressed that they were living, but aren’t actually alive. The realization that there is more to life hit them just like that quote did for me. Are you feeling it too? Because here’s the thing: that restlessness is a clear sign that you are ready and in need of a change, and that change is imminent.

Train Tracks

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Maybe you work in corporate America, and you spend the majority of your days attending mindless meetings. You know, those meetings that aren’t held out of necessity, but more so because you had an empty spot in your calendar? And you end up spending those meetings daydreaming, unfulfilled, disenchanted, disillusioned, and disengaged. You find yourself starting to wonder what the point is, and whether there is truly more than what you wake up and do, day in and day out. You have ideas, you have dreams, but you don’t feel like it’s the right time to go after them. So instead, you sit in your meetings and push the daydreams out of your mind, because you know, security and responsibility and all of that. But of course, when you’re ready, then you’ll make the right move. However, at which point do you decide you’re ready?

Corporate Cat

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

That’s the issue many struggle with. Everything has to be done at the “right time”. I’ve realized though, that the right time doesn’t really exist. Tomorrow isn’t promised, yet we constantly push everything to that day. Recently, a friend of mine who was jaded in her corporate role, decided to take a chance and follow her passion. She was afraid, even terrified at times, and she needed somewhat of a push. She definitely wasn’t ready, but she decided that not being ready wasn’t a good enough reason anymore. Don’t get me wrong; she does admit it can be difficult at times, but the most important part is that she’s happy, fulfilled, and feeling as if she’s being true to herself and her heart.

Photo Girl

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

If it scares you, yet thrills you…if it makes you want to curl up and hide away in a safe comfort zone, but the thought of NOT doing anything is more daunting, then chances are, it’s time for you to explore it. Maybe you can’t take the risk, maybe you’re afraid to jump, but if you take that approach, you’ll fail at it 100% of the time. Sometimes, the fear of trying is trumped by the fear of never knowing. Make today the day you try.

“When I Spit Them Lyrics…”

Today’s post was going to be serious. I swear. I read something earlier in the week that got me all pissed off, and I couldn’t wait to vent. I started the post, and planned on finishing it this weekend. But my weekend was so relaxing, and I couldn’t bear to get myself all worked up. Instead, I’m going to talk about something just as important, if not MORE important (kidding) than my original post.

I was having a discussion with someone, and Jay-Z’s “Renegade” came on. We started discussing how Eminem killed his verses, and that began an intense discourse about the best rap features of the last ten years. I came up with this top five list, and it’s my list, so you can agree, or not agree, I don’t care. These are the top five rap features according to ME, in descending order.

5. Andre 3000 on UGK’s “International Player’s Anthem” 2007

Andre 3000

3000

3000 is a hot rapper. We know this. He can pretty much be guaranteed to shine on any feature he’s put on. He’s the king of the double entendre, and he didn’t disappoint in this song either. Whether it was “cc’ing” or “see, seeing” all the girls, or “giving up the pussy cat that’s in his lap”, he delivered his verse smooth, and made sure it was the most memorable on the song. Actually, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve switched the song off after his verse. I know, UGK blasphemy. But it is what it is.

4. Ludacris on Young Buck’s “Stomp” 2004

Ludacris

Luda wants you to stay off…you know.

Everybody’s favorite underrated rapper. Luda will never get as much respect as he should have, in my opinion. He’s lyrically one of the best around, yet slepted (a made up word) on so often. But not on this song. I will never forget the first time I heard it. Or rather, the version that included Ludacris. I had a mix tape of the version T.I. was on, and it was ah-ight, had a nice little beat, nothing extra special though. But hearing that song with Luda’s verse at the end, in my 1994 Montero (you couldn’t tell me nothin’ in that car) made me actually scream. For you youngins that don’t know, Luda and T.I. had a little beef going on back then, so it was amazing that they were even featured on a song together. Oh, they were featured together alright. When Ludacris’ verse came on, ending the song, by dissing the hell out of T.I., on the SAME DAMN SONG, all you could do was scream. He ended the verse with, “So please stay off the T.I.P. of my…”, well, you can guess the rest.

3. Nicki Minaj on Kanye West’s “Monster” 2010

Nicki Minaj

“Monster” Nicki Minaj

I’m not a Nicki Minaj fan. I’m not with all the gimmicky clothes and wigs, the stupid metaphors, blah blah blah. However, I will give credit where it’s due. Her verse on this song made the entire song. You forget who’s even on the damn song, besides Jay-Z, which is a given on most Kanye West singles. The veterans on this song should be embarrassed by their lack of preparation. My thing is, you heard her spit her verse; why didn’t y’all get back in the booth and tighten your bars up? We’re supposed to believe all of you are monsters on this song? Really? Like the monsters from Monsters, Inc.? The only one who put a little a fear in my heart was the one screaming how she was gonna “eat your brain”. There was enough inflection and emotion in that verse to make me double check the locks on my doors at night.

2. Eminem on Jay-Z’s “Renegade” 2001

Eminem

Eminem is a Renegade

Ok, I cheated a little bit. I said the last ten years, and this one came out eleven years ago. But whatever, Idon’tcareIdon’tcareIdon’tcare. Eminem falls at the bottom of my list of dope MCs. I know I’m in the minority in this one, but I just can’t rock with him. I can count on one hand how many of his songs I actually like. But this song right here? Jay-Z who? When I was listening to this song today, rapping along, I recited every last one of Eminem’s lines. And I could only remember a handful of Jay-Z’s. Don’t get me wrong; Jay is one of my favorite rappers, and is definitely in my top three, but he couldn’t prove it to me on this song. Em murdered the hell out of this song, bottom line. I appreciate him so much more on other people’s ish (see 50 Cent’s “Patiently Waiting“).

1. Jay-Z on Kanye West’s “Never Let Me Down” 2004

Jay-Z

Jigga Man

So, to support my claim that Jay-Z is one of my favorite rappers, he’s my number one favorite feature. It was actually pretty close with he and Em, but I play favorites. This song, no lie, gave me chills when I first heard it (and sometimes still does). This was the height of Roc-A-Fella, and this song was so much an illustration of how powerful they were in the rap game. The entire song is a great song. I listen to it now, and hit repeat a couple of times. Jay-Z rapped about 65% of this song, and it was a flawless 65%. It was so much more than a song. I grew up listening to Jay, from his Reasonable Doubt days to now, being the most successful rapper from the PJs. Hearing how well his words flowed together just let you know that this wasn’t the height of his career. He was going to be even greater. His last couple of bars sums it all up: “Hov’s a living legend, and I’ll tell you why/everybody wanna be Hov, and Hov still alive”. You ain’t never lied Jay.

The Great Revival

So it’s as if someone heard my desperate cries. I complained, I pouted, and thought our city might be hopeless. In my post, “The In-Betweens”, I discussed how there was nothing, nothing to do for us 80s babies in Hartford. In response, a friend of mine created a site, Hartford Soultree, where she listed all the great things that are happening around the city. You’d think this would be enough, but no, I needed MORE. In reality, what I really needed was to look for the great events, instead of waiting for them to come to me. This isn’t a large city, where things to do are right outside of your door. If you really want to see the best the city has to offer, it isn’t always going to be right on Main St. It’s going to be in those tucked away spots…that’s where the fun is going to happen.

Image
My former classmates have made my search slightly easier, by posting events on Facebook. Last year, I went to a great event in Philly, by the Raw Artists organization, and I kept thinking, man, they should have something like this in Hartford. Well, they do. Next Thursday, October 4th, The Russian Lady will be holding a Raw event, featuring the fabulous ladies of Hartford Prints! You can support the event by buying tickets here. Hartford Prints! Ladies

If you’re looking for fun and cultural events this weekend, you can find it all throughout downtown. iQuilt, a local organization, will be hosting Envisionfest Hartford, a one-day festival reminiscent of the downtown festivals of my youth, like Kid-Riffic. More information on this great event can be found here. And when you’re all cultured out, head on down to the Duck Pin Alley on Farmington Ave for an after party.

Envisionfest Hartford

Andddd, if that isn’t enough, a wonderful organization I’ve discovered, Civic Mind Studio, has brainstormed and came up with an awesome project. Every Sunday, beginning on October 7th (through November 18th) there will be an open air market on Pratt St, which has remained an important part of Hartford’s history, reminding of us the bustling city Hartford used to be. If you like the idea of projects like that, check out the organization’s website…it seems they’re open to your ideas.

Hartford Hodge Podge
Hartford Hodge Podge

I admit, I had almost lost all hope in the place I grew up in, the place I had once fiercely defended against naysayers. Instead of trying to fix the problem, I, like many others, decided it would be easier to ignore it and move on to greener pastures. I am proud of my fellow Hartford men and women who are involved in these projects, who decided that our city was worth saving. I hope the rest of you natives give it another chance too, and help me support what can be the start of a great revival.

The Riverfront

The Creative Corner

A lot of my colleagues will submit creative works to me, such as photographs, poetry, music, etc., that they’re proud of and want to share with the world. I’m all for the support of fellow creative peeps, so I decided to create a tumblr page to share some of that work with you, as well as some of my own. Check it out here.

Multi-Racial Misfit

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