A Low Down Dirty Shame

I become myself a little more each day

There’s Just Something About Her [Part V]

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I remember the first time I saw her. It was a late summer evening and she crossed in front of me. It was one of those awkward moments in which two people are clearly not trying to look at each other, but notice one another noticing each other anyway. I had never really been a believer in love at first sight, but at that very moment my heart changed. All the dark corners of it seemed to light up and I regained some sort of passion that I had locked away for so long. What was this affect that she had on me?

Weeks later I found myself going out of my way to get next to her. Just to feel it. Just to feel that heart racing, I know my cheeks are probably red, I’m not gonna…I’m not gonna——dammit I just smiled feeling. I had never really been a fan of the whole butterflies in my stomach feeling, but she made it feel like a good thing. It was something I couldn’t get enough of. What was this affect that she had on me?
Later still we exchanged banter, both looking for witty ends. For every smart comment she made I had one to throw right back. For every smart comment I made, she made one too. It was crazy, because in a room full of people our whole conversation went over everyone else’s heads. They could sit and listen to it all and not even have a clue what we were talking about. I had other friends in the past that I could speak in code with, but never like this. I never had this strong of a connection, and never did it happen so quickly. Flirtatious comments turned into flirtatious conversations which evolved into something that resembled erotic poetry through text messages. I’ve never been one to speak so freely. What was this affect that she had on me?
I remember our first kiss. I took my index finger and placed it under her chin and raised her face to mine quite gently. She started to blush and hid her face in my chest and said so softly, “Well…” as she laughed a little. I laughed too and I put my arms around her, and in that moment it seemed like nothing else mattered. We played the kissing game for a while. Never crossing over into a stronger physical bond. Even though we talked about it, and the situation met opportunity several times, we just didn’t. On a rainy day, abnormally warm for late December, I drove to her house. She came out and got in my car and we drove a little ways and parked. We sat and talked for what seemed like hours. We used to share everything, no secrets, total disclosure. We were sitting there quietly for a few moments…and then it just happened. That bond that we had never shared…happened. I remember looking into her eyes and telling her that I loved her, and we held each other tightly. I had never felt this strongly towards anything in my life. I didn’t even know it was possible. What was this affect that she had on me?
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. So much so that I just wrote this. I don’t know why really, we haven’t spoken in months. Not so much as a warm handshake exchanged. Yet and still, I think about her. I’m in this weird place of not being able to move on and get to know another woman, because they just aren’t her. Not as much behind their eyes when I look at them. Not as much to say when I talk to them. Not as funny. Not as smart. Not as beautiful. I still have so much love for her, and that is something that will never go away. What is this affect that she has on me?
…and if I had it to do all over again, I’d do it all the exact same way. The reason is because at the end of the day I can say that I did it my way. Fuck societies views, fuck what anyone else has to say, I did this shit for me. I only have one chance to live my life. There’s no rewind button, and I refuse to look back on the things I’ve done with a bunch of woulda, shoulda, coulda statements. 

…and if I had it to do all over again, I’d do it all the exact same way. The reason is because at the end of the day I can say that I did it my way. Fuck societies views, fuck what anyone else has to say, I did this shit for me. I only have one chance to live my life. There’s no rewind button, and I refuse to look back on the things I’ve done with a bunch of woulda, shoulda, coulda statements. 

There’s Just Something About Her [part IV]

As he stood there, in front of a room filled with family and friends he paused. He stared down the aisle, and all he could think about was her. He thought about how much he loved her. He thought about just how much she meant to him. All of the things they had been through together, all the late night conversations that made every day better, and all the smiles that they had shared. He really wouldn’t be half the man he was if it wasn’t for her. On his wedding day, his heart raced and his eyes couldn’t help but tear up. He remembered the day he met her. When she walked in the room, it was as if the entire world stopped. Everything else just stood still. It was like she was all that mattered in that particular moment. He lost my sense of hearing, save for the beat of my own heart, which seemed to grow louder as she progressed in his direction. He found himself entranced by her eyes. From all the way across the room they had his stare fixed. He felt like they were reading his thoughts like a marquee across his forehead. Piercing, but not in a bad way. Her aura was phenomenal. As she continued to walk time began to catch up and he noticed that everyone had stopped their goings on to catch a glimpse. Today was no different. As he gazed in her direction, the love that he felt for her was all that he had on his mind. 

He stood there, at the alter, now across from his bride. The preacher began the formalities. As the words began to come from the Reverend’s mouth, the man spoke up. “I can’t do this.”

“Excuse me?,” the preacher asked in amazement.

“What are you doing?,” his bride to be asked in shock. There was a stirring in the crowd. People began to whisper amongst themselves.

“I can’t do this.” He turned and walked out of the church. And she followed him. But the ‘she’ that followed him wasn’t his affianced. It was his best friend. She was the one that those thoughts were about. It was ‘she’ that held his heart. After all the years of fighting a feeling, he couldn’t lie to himself anymore. He was head over heals in love with her. He couldn’t help it, because there was just something about her.

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My name is not Birdie, it’s Bryan.

I just got off the phone with my father. I called him just to tell him that I loved him. Over the span of my life there have been two constants  God and my father. A person asked me today, “If you’re gone tomorrow, how do you want them to remember you?” It sparked the whole conversation with my father because it really made me think.

If I leave this world tomorrow, I want people to remember me as a person who lived with his heart more than his head. The man that (though as foolish as it may seem) would pay someone else’s bills before his own. I want to show people that I have a genuine love for all, not just a select few. I want to be remembered as a man that seeks God in all his actions; a man that prays for God’s will and means it. I want the people that surround me to know, that while I may not always be the best at showing it, I’m grateful. I have such a sense of gratitude towards all those who show me that they care. I don’t want anyone to think I’m perfect, because I’m far from it. My little brother once told me that he wanted to be just like me, and I felt honored. But the reality of it is, I want him to be so much better. I’ve learned many of my lessons the hard way, because my head is made of stone. I don’t want him to have to go through the same things that I went through. I want those who remember me to remember a person who caused more smiles than tears. I want to be seen as a man that never intends to hurt people, though I know that at times I will. A man that knows that it’s okay to cry sometimes.  I want them to remember a man. 

Above all else, I want them to remember that I couldn’t teach myself these things. My father raised me to be this man. After you read this, ask yourself the question, how do you want them to remember you? And after you figure that out, go hug the people that are responsible for making you that person. 

Album Review: Jesus Piece

In his fifth studio outing  Game delivers distinctly west coast sounds via “Jesus Piece.” I’ve been listening to it over the past week and it seems to me that the creative powers that be really decided to bless Jayceon Taylor this time around. With a majority of recent hip hop’s biggest names (Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Kanye West, J. Cole, Big Sean, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Future, and others) making guest appearances on the album, Game leaves little to be desired. The album is 13 tracks heavy (with bonus tracks available), and tells a story about gang life and the contemplation of religious factors. From the “Scared Now” opening track, to the closing “Celebration,” it’s easy to picture the lyriclly vivid wordplay that the self proclaimed “Handsome Ass Nigga” employs. On a 10 scale, I have it penciled in at a 9, pushing 9.5 hard. Be sure to BUY “Jesus Piece” in stores Tuesday, December 11.

Thorns in the Bed of Rose’s

The first time I watched him play, was in a losing effort against Kansas in the NCAA Championship game. My first thought, this kid is going to be an NBA force. I didn’t know his back story. I didn’t follow college hoops well enough to care. I didn’t know that he was the projected number one pick. All that I knew was that Derrick Rose could play. Plain and simple. I had no idea how much he would exceed my expectations.

Number one pick. Rookie of the Year. Three time All-Star. All-NBA team. NBA Skills Champion. Oh yea, and an MVP award. That would be an impressive career total, except for one thing. He’s only been in the league for four years. He hasn’t even played 300 games in his NBA career. His stats combined with his tenure don’t make him impressive, they make him anomalistic. 

My favorite player? Yes. So when I saw him fall to the ground in game one of the playoffs earlier this year, my heart fell. It wasn’t a regular meeting with the hardwood. Rose regularly finds himself being helped off of the pine, it’s the nature of his game play. This was a much more concerning fall. And when he didn’t spring right back up, I knew what came next wouldn’t be good. I waited for the MRI results like an impatient family member. I don’t think I was ever so emotionally tied to a player. Torn ACL.

In the past, a player making a comeback after a torn ACL was much less likely. However, with advancements in today’s medical field, a comeback is definite. But the questions still remain. How far has medicine come? Did the surgery repair perhaps the most important ligament in such an explosive player’s game? Will his rehab see him return in 100% condition? If he does return as he left, will he trust his knee? Perhaps the most popular question amongst Bulls fans, WHEN will he return? Very far, yes, yes, yes, and as soon as possible but no sooner than he can. At least these are my hopeful answers. 

Man’s Bestfriend

A breed that was once a beloved dog among people of all walks of life has seen that image turn into the complete opposite over the years. The American Pit Bull terrier has played the role of war hero, Hollywood star, and family friend. More recently, however, people have generalized the breed as a non-productive dog in today’s society. Riding off of the actions of irresponsibility on behalf of a small percentage of owners, the dog has become a monster in the eyes of many.

About 20 years ago, a small group of people decided that the breed needed a new direction, a new outlet. One that no longer focused on the negativity. A direction that could display the dogs in a positive light. Through selective breeding, they would attempt to get rid of the dog aggressive traits, and build the perfect companion. The result was the American Bully. The outcome was a loyal community.

I recently caught up with a friend of mine, DogMan Trill, who has been making his mark in the bully community as one of its elite breeders. Even though the American Bully has been established for a number of years, I thought that he would be the perfect person to sit down with and clarify some points of confusion, talk about the struggles of stereotypes, and help show these amazing animals for what they really are.

You have some amazing dogs from what I’ve seen. How long has it been since you first established your breeding program?

I started out 5 years ago. I’ve forever been a dog man, since 10 or 11 years old. My heart has been with the pit bull breed. In the last 5 years I have gotten into the bullys. I’m still building my foundation but through intensive research along with going with my gut and my liking I believe I’m off to a solid start.

What bloodline(s) have you incorporated into your program, and what made you choose those?

I deal with Razor’s Edge and Gotti in my program. I really don’t discriminate on blood. I use what I like and what may compliment that. I really can’t say I love Edge more or Gotti more, I just use both as I see fit to bring my vision to light.

How many breedings do you like to do per year?

I don’t really try to have a set number of breedings per year, but three, maybe four would be my max. You would never want to overload yourself or breed for quantity  It’s quality first over here at BFB(Bestfriend Bullyz). Each breeding I do is well planned out, sometimes six months to a year in advance. If I don’t feel like or can’t find 2 dogs that compliment each other to my liking I won’t do the breeding. It’s not really about money with me. It’s more about the quality and look of dog I want to create. When I’m dead and gone I want the line that I created to still be noticeable and reputable. You know, you can have 200 litters a year and rake in money, then in the years to come as those pups start to grow you really see how poor quality they are. That’s not what the Bestfriend Bullyz camp is about. My dogs are like family ‘round here.. [laughs] but not to get off topic.

For the less educated on the American Bully breed, how does it differ from the traditional American Pit Bull Terrier?

You know I grew up around the original pit bull. They were still a loyal companion, they just had a lot of drive to them, a lot of bite to them. I don’t blame that on the dogs because that was how they were bred. They had attributes in them that served the purpose for that point in time. We’re talking 1800s and early 1900s. Society had a use for those dogs whether it was hunting  hogging, competition, etc.; All on a 30-60lb frame. These days you have the bully, which is basically a designer dog in my eyes. They still work and perform, but a lot of the gameness was bred out. I’d say the overall temperament was bred out or down. Now you have a more docile animal. You know, it’s less of an aggressive attitude  and more of an aggressive look. Thicker bone, more muscle mass, broader heads, thicker muzzles, broader chest, more pronounced shoulders. It’s more of a look these days. 

When the BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) was implemented, the American Bully wasn’t mentioned in it. Some people differ in their beliefs of it being a separate breed from the APBT. Do you find yourself effected by it?

Where as dealing with pit bulls, a lot of times it was as though they protected their owners. Well now it’s the owners protecting their bullies. We’re protecting them from thieves, other animals, and the BSL.  

What’s the hardest stereotype to get past in regard to the breed?

It’s like now so much stigma has been put on the breed that every time we turn around, we have to defend it. I just say be responsible with your animal so we can keep them negative people out of our face. To learn, or to really know about the breed, just do your research  Your OWN research. Use the internet, books, etc.. Go to shows, be hands on, speak to people directly. Just soak in what you get. Keep it bout the dogs though. There are a lot of politics in this game.

One place that the negative notions of the dogs are not an issue is among the enthusiasts. The best place for interaction with fellow breeders, owners, and people who love the breed is in the show circuit. Have you had the opportunity to attend/enter any Bully shows with your dogs? If so which ones?

I’ve been to a couple ABKC shows and a couple more fun shows. I haven’t really showed any of my dogs as of yet. I’ll only show what I produce. I spend all of my time in the lab. I do see shows in the future though.

In most shows, there are a few categories. The main ones being Standard (Males 17-20” at withers, Females 16-19”), Pocket (Males under 17” at withers, Females under 16”), XL (Males over 20” at withers, Females over 19”), Extreme (for males and females with heavier frames and mass), and Classic (for males and females with lighter frames and mass, more resembling the traditional pt bull). Where do your dogs fit into these categories?

Bestfriend Bullyz is structured to produce extreme pockets. That’s the dog of my liking. I like them short and wide. The tallest dog in my yard rite now is 16”, and we’re aiming to shorten her up on her next breeding. BFB, we keep em short but keep em operable at the same time.

To wrap things up, what would you like to tell the readers about your dogs, the breed in general, or your upcoming endeavors?

They say dog is MAN’s BEST FRIEND. So here at BESTFRIEND BULLYZ were striving to produce a TRUEMAN type of blood. Bringing size, girth, and bone without compromising movement or prey drive. A nice thick, loyal, protective companion.


Hoptown’s Finest

Some years back, while sitting in the computer lab of Germanna Community college, I turned in my seat after being completely disrupted by two very loud individuals. They were both very apparently country boys, and proud of it. The first one to come up and introduce himself was Julian “Juice” Green, hailing from “them southern parts of the Northern most Carolina,” as he put it. And the second was Johnathan “JGoodness” Goods. One just as outspoken as the other, I quickly found out that he was a representative of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. I went on to form close friendships with both of these loud mouthed country dudes, and still stay in touch with both of them to this day.

Fast forwarding to the present, I contacted JGoodness to sit down with me and do an interview. It’s been a little while since we really chopped it up on a music level, and this interview is by all means overdue. He called up the rest of WCMG and I took some time to get to know them and their roles too.

Okay, so for those outside of our immediate circle, elaborate for our readers a little on how you and I went from acquaintances to brothers. 

JG: Birdie you was that tall, intimidating, over protective boy friend looking dude. [Laughs] The first person I met when I moved here was Juice in the gym. He said he went to Germanna so I enrolled. I had seen you a couple of times in the mall, but had never spoken any words. I saw you in the café at Germanna and we spoke and found out that we like the exact same things. From music, to hooping, to shoes, to women. Plus you told me difference between fake Js and real ones [laughs] and you really put me on knowledge to the fashion scene.

One thing that I would like to give you credit for is getting me back in the studio after a lengthy hiatus. Have you been anyone else’s guide towards the mic over the years? 

JG: Yea, my bro Young West. He is also in the military. I started him rapping a little over a year ago, and that dude is a beast. The camera guy Tez is featured on a couple tracks, my DJ “DJ cannon”—-But let me explain my role. These cats been freestyling and writing for a while, but never put it on wax. I just told them to put it on wax. Be free and have fun you know.

How did you transplant from Hopkinsville, KY to Fredericksburg, VA?

JG: Long story short, my aunt who raised me from the time I was in 4th grade passed away. I quit college in KY and my cousin who lived in Fredericksburg, whom is also the mother of CEO DruFamous, allowed me to move in with her to go to school and not get stuck in Hopkinsville.

Now, as I recall it, when you left VA you went into the military. How is that going? Where are you stationed now?

JG: Man, I love it! I meet a lot of people from all over, so I get a chance to get their style of living and music, and incorporate it into my music. I love it! It has helped a good deal as far beat selection and versatility. A majority of my friends are from Cali, so I got used to that Cali funk, but I’m stationed Charleston SC right now and it’s a completely different style. I like the location. It’s a big city, has 3 major colleges, and it’s close to everything. Atlanta’s 4 hours away, Tampa is about 4 to 5 hours, Columbia is an hour away, so great location.

One thing that I know about you is that you always have fun; You’re an optimist. We can clearly see that in the “Up and Coming Talent” Video of the week, “Ballin” which you did with WCMG. What does that acronym stand for and who is involved in that movement? 

JG : WCMG stands for World Champs Music Group, and we have a huge roster but all of them play the roles.

DJ Justin: Cannon DJ from Memphis, TN

Alex Lock: Management 

V05: Rapper/A&R from Hopkinsville, KY

Young West: Rapper from Dayton, OH

Champ: Rapper from Meridian, MS

Drastic: Rapper from Jackson, MS

Richie Loud: Rapper from Hopkinsville, KY

Fresh Boi: Producer

Ric & Thadeus: Producers/ Engineers from Hopkinsville, KY

Knavo: Rapper/Engineer from Hopkinsivlle, KY

Tez Get The Camera: Videographer/Engineer from Hopkinsville, KY

Feroshus Aka RO: Singer/Producer/Rapper/Engineer from Aken, SC

Lo: Singer/Rapper from North Carolina 

Joseph: Rapper from Washington, DC

Ras 1: Rapper/Singer/barber/A&R from Hopkinsville, KY

Ok well quick question for V05, which hat do you like wearing more, rapper or A&R and why?

V05 : Basically, the way I see myself as an artist is just…hell I love music! I love writing. I love recording. I bring that crazy ass flow to the track. I’m like a mix between 2 Chainz and Luda, right after you add Lil Wayne in the mix [laughs]. But for real, I love producing too. I ain’t really no Ric & Thadeus when it comes to that, but I do a little bit. I also keep an ear for music. I’ll basically listen to anything. You never know Where you’ll get an idea for that next hit from. I take pride in my A&R position, because this is what some people are made for. If I don’t like your verses, or your hook, or your beat, I’m going to tell you. Straight like that. You have to keep it 100 in this business because 50%, 60%, or even 99% ain’t enough. I need your all. #AndThatsOrDie.

Tez, how did you get started in the filming process?

Tez: One day we were all in the studio, and the team had just recorded Ballin’. V05 said, “Man we need to video that up asap.” So JGoodness said, “Tez Get the Camera!” That name kinda stuck. Every show they had, or anytime they were in the studio they said, “Tez get tha camera!” Goodness showed me more about the programs and software, and from there I just made it my duty to grind hard on my visuals and play my role as the camera guy. 

Richie Loud, how long have you been rhyming and what’s your main source of motivation?

RL: I’ve been rapping for ten years. My main motivation is to leave a true legacy behind, and be remembered for something great.

Knavo, I’ve tried doing the engineering thing and I know how difficult it is at times finding that right sound. As an artist as well as an engineer do you find it easier to find your own sound or is it easier for you to work when you’re not on the track?

Knavo: Well, I’ve noticed that when I work on projects myself, as with my upcoming solo tape (The Legend of Archie Punch), it’s easier for me to find the sound I’m trying to achieve.

Ric and Thadeus, how did you two team up on the procudtion end and is it easier to work with another producer or solo? 

R&T: We teamed up back in grade school. It was 5th grade I think. We originally planned on starting a rap group, but we didn’t have any beats. So naturally, we picked up production and just never went back. As far as solo vs. collaborating, it’s easy to do both just because we’ve been at it for so long. I mean, we can both make hits independently  but when we actually get on a track together, it’s usually some next level shit.

Okay, back to you JGoodness, what projects can we look forward to from you in the near future?

JG : Well as of right now, we’re trying to put together a group project. In the works we have V05’s project, Richie Loud’s Project, Lo’s, Champ’s, West’s, Joseph’s; we’re working mayne. I don’t have any limits on these artists. They can do whatever they want, when they want. Plus we’re kicking off the “Day In the Life” projects again, so Tez is about to put in a bunch of work. Ric & Thad just dropped a beat-tape. Check them out at www.ricandthadeusmusic.com. Fresh Boi is putting together a beat-tape. We’re working. 

This One’s Dedicated to Dino

This week’s “Do You Remember” video is H-Town’s Part Time Lover, from the OST to Above the Rim. I’ve always loved this track. It reminds me of what R&B was, and takes me back to that great place. While H-town may not be the most memorable 90s rhythm and blues group, they are a good example of an art form that seems to be in a state of remission. Some of my readers may even have been conceived to an H-Town track, but that’s neither here nor there. 
While I love music from all genres, it seems as though too often in its current state that the lines between what genre songs belong to become heavily blurred. Today’s songs leave me with questions. Is this R&B or pop? Is there a difference anymore? Are you singing or are you rapping? What do you sound like minus that autotune? Does Justin Beiber count as R&B? Intriguing as they may be, these are not questions that I want to ask. I rather enjoyed knowing that Tupac was going to rap when his track came on. I liked the fact that I can’t recall any Jodeci songs sounding like Hanson. 
Call me old fashioned but I was completely alright with the lines that were. I am an advocate for unity, but allthewhile its seems our music is loosing its originality in conformity. A large percentage of all the music on the radio today sounds exactly the same as the next station over. Where have our genres gone? And more specifically, where are the old school, smooth voice, slow it down, baby making hit, R&B singers been hiding? I know you’re out there. Please come back.

The Lyricist and The Lioness

The album that I waited in the most anticipation for this year was Nas’ Life is Good. Though always one to speak his mind, it had been quite some time since we really heard Queensbridge finest speak his heart. And after a very busy series of personal events through the last year, I knew that I would receive what I had been waiting so patiently for. With his eleventh studio album, Nas more than delivered.

A particular track captured my attention upon my first listen to the album. “Cherry Wine” featured a soulful posthumus appearace by the great Amy Winehouse. Nas’ ever-so-precise lyrics flowing well over a skillfully put together instrumental, complimented by the sultry vocals of the late songstress, makes for in my opinion the best track on a great album. With a video premiering just a few days ago, Nas featuring Amy Winehouse with “Cherry Wine” is this week’s “People’s Choice” video of the week.