#InternetKilledtheRadioStar: Lose Control

This video felt like an event.

Missy was at the top of her game coming into her sixth album The Cookbook. Ciara was coming off an impressive debut season with her album Goodies. Fatman Scoop was still yelling over records from here to London.

Brings a tear to my eye how fast time passes.

This is when they still invested a ton of money into music videos. The production design, the concept, the dance sequence. I don’t know if we deserved Missy’s entire je ne sais quoi. She was a visionary. I feel kinship with Missy. She gets it.

#RhythmandBluesVariety Hour: Another Shame

This is included in the collection Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Obsessive lust is a bitch. I never want to feel that way about anyone again. But damn if it wasn’t inspiring.

Another Shame Written 5/10/06

Now what have all my efforts been for

If I’m gonna go running back to your door

Cause I’m a fool for you, you’re not a fool for me

And I don’t understand what can possibly result from this

This shit that I put myself through

Damn it I was supposed to be through

A long time ago

 

I rehabbed my senses

Built my defenses

Contemplated my reasons for having this disease

And tried to put you behind me

Tried to redefine me

But I couldn’t shake the stigmata of you off my very being

And I’m still blind for you while I’m very much seeing

 

That you still got me by the reins

You’re back to driving me insane

And you know it’s a shame

 

(Shame, shame, shame)

That I keep running back to you

Why do I do what I do

(Shame, shame, shame)

That I have such a hold

And I can’t let go

(Shame, shame, shame)

That I want you back after all this time

That by denying you I was living a lie

And you know

You know it’s a shame

 

What has all my misery been for

Now that you’re back I yearn for you even more

I hate how I run back into your arms

I think you’re causing my sanity some harm-

Ful intentions

Got me inventing new ways to get out

Damn it I want to get out

Away from you

 

I’m your slave

Can’t change my ways

Hypnotized by your eyes

And I’ve failed to realize

The shit that happened to make me leave

Make me grieve

Over this affair that will never die

I can’t leave you alone, why do I even try

 

And yes you’ve still got me by the reins

Back to the pleasure of driving me insane

And you know it’s a shame

 

(Shame, shame, shame)

That I keep running back to you

Why do I do what I do

(Shame, shame, shame)

That I have such a hold

And I can’t let go

(Shame, shame, shame)

That I want you back after all this time

That by denying you I was living a lie

And you know

You know it’s a shame

 

 

#InternetKilledtheVideoStar: Wannbe

Yo, I tell you what I want.

I want to celebrate this shit.

Quite honestly, while impressive, this isn’t one of my favorite videos. It was done in one take in the Midland Grand Hotel in St. Pancras, London. Sporty Spice did a back handspring (which earned her my devotion). They ran around and fucking up rich people’s stuffy shit. Ginger Spice had red hair. It’s definitely a memorable video, but not one of my favorites. Nevertheless, the Spice Girls invaded America in January 1997 and “Wannabe” is now considered one of the most memorable songs of the last 60 years.

It also brings me back to simpler times.

#InternetKilledtheVideoStar Vol. 4- California Love Part 1

Let me preface this by saying that after almost 22 years of this song, I cannot stand it anymore.

I’m from California, I live here. I can do without hearing this song ever again in my life.

Even on the rare occasions that I do decide to be amongst the peons, if it comes on, I’ll groan but dance. But in my personal time (which is all of my time, quite honestly), fuck no, I will turn the radio off, change the channel if they play a snippet, if the video happens to play on those rare occasions someone plays videos, I will turn. I cannot willingly do it.

Even when pulling up the video for this song, I put it on mute. I didn’t listen to it. I refused.

With that being said, the video is dope as fuck.

What was dope about it?

The Mad Max post-apocalyptic aesthetic full of Black people having one massive fight in the Thunderdome, yes, the actual Thunderdome from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Because people don’t ever think we’ll make it to the future. Our ancestors were the first, we just might be the last. Also, because Hype Williams had the juice.

Hype Williams. Hype Williams had an amazing run. He’s still doing the damn thing, but that initial run, my God.

That Jada Pinkett Smith gave them the idea.

That this video has a “To Be Continued…” at the end of it, and the shit was actually continued.

You know how many videos there are with a “To Be Continued…” at the end and they don’t get continued? I really think motherfuckers were putting that at the end of their videos thinking they were doing big things and they weren’t doing anything but annoying the fuck out of people who expected a continuation of some sort.

The casting: Chris Tucker when he was still funny. Tony Cox, George Clinton, because funk will survive the apocalypse and Roger Troutman on the talk box.

All in all, I cannot stand the song anymore, but this video deserves props if only for the visual.

 

#InternetKilledtheVideoStar Vol. 3: Human Nature

Sorry, this ain’t about the song written by the Honorable St. Michael Joseph, of the Gary, Indiana Jacksons, First of His Name, Last of His Kind, Walker of the Moon, Ruler of the Neverland Realm.

Instead, we are visiting another song with the same name by the Honorable Madonna of House Mononym, Appropriatress of Vogue, Master of Disguise, Queen of Titillation, Mother of Gaga. Let’s look at “Human Nature.”

This video stuck with me as a child. You got pale ass Madonna rocking black cornrows akin to an extra in Hellraiser, wearing black leather getting groped and felt on and giving us soft BDSM vibes. As a child too ahead of the curve, I liked it.

Then I got older and listened to the lyrics and they were Madonna’s “Fuck you!” to everyone who criticized her brand of sexual display from the SEX book and her previous album Erotica. I felt those lyrics because I understood where she was coming from, and I still do. As a society, we are too hung up on a biological urge and how it’s done and who it’s done with.

And then I got even older and realized that Madonna was given a lot of leeway in the early 1990s, while Janet couldn’t even show her face in public for a while after her titty came out at the Super Bowl in 2004 and I got a bit angry.

But I think that justice usually comes slow, because Janet is out here having babies at 50 and still looking like she’s 35, and Madonna is angular.

I know, misogyny and ageism isn’t cute.

Point is, this video was dope for it’s time. It’s showing it’s age now, or maybe I just know more. The Bedtime Stories album did produce two of my lower end of the spectrum favorite songs in “Take a Bow” and “Secret.” While the song itself is nothing too remarkable, this video, again, struck a cord with my pre-perverted mind and it has a place in my mental Rolodex of why I got into the arts.

 

#InternetKilledtheVideoStar Vol. 2: Virtual Insanity

This is the song that predicted all of this shit. Tell me, I challenge you, that we are not living in a world of virtual insanity.

Granted, Jay Kay, the lead singer of the funk/acid Jazz band Jamiroquai wasn’t really getting into cell phones and computers and all of the goodness that we enjoy today, but the song invokes feelings of a changing world, a changing atmosphere.

And the video was mind blowing.

This video had people so confused, asking so many questions, wondering about the very fabric of space time, that the director Jonathan Glazer released a video explain the techniques he used to make things that were moving look like they weren’t. This is one of the videos that I will site as sparking an interest in visual arts when I was a kid.

The video is the perfect compliment to invoke the feelings of, “Something’s not right,” that the song discusses in its lyrics. Bask in this 21-year old visual.

A Not Quite Defense of Inconsideration

Earlier this year, yet again, iconic musician Ms. Lauryn Hill as she insists on being called was late to a show. Two hours to be precise. This time, she left us with a reason, and that reason was, as it was posted on Facebook, as follows:

I don’t show up late to shows because I don’t care. And I have nothing but Love and respect for my fans. The challenge is aligning my energy with the time, taking something that isn’t easily classified or contained, and trying to make it available for others. I don’t have an on/off switch. I am at my best when I am open, rested, sensitive and liberated to express myself as truthfully as possible. For every performance that I’ve arrived to late, there have been countless others where I’ve performed in excess of two hours, beyond what I am contracted to do, pouring everything out on the stage.

Because I care so deeply about the artistic process, I scrutinize, have perfectionist tendencies, and want space made for spontaneity, which is not an easy process, with the many moving parts on the road. Some days we are more successful than others re time.

Now, many people, including myself initially, called bullshit. And it is bullshit because you don’t have people pay to come to see you and you disrespect their time and money by being two hours late. As a consumer, I consider both of those things to be valuable (one much more than the other) and to have them both be wasted is the best way to secure my everlasting dislike of you.

However, because I was thinking of it like a consumer, I didn’t think of it as an artist, as a creative. I didn’t emphasize with her from the point of view of a person who needs to be constantly recharged, especially in a world that seeks to drain every last bit from you. Like her, I am at my best when certain conditions are met. I’m my best at night, when the distractions of the world are minimal. I am my best when I am rested, fully charged. I could rarely get a charge with the type of work I did and due to that I self-medicate(d) a lot just to get through. Even now, even still, I often find myself lacking the energy to be creative, even though I am no longer under the stress I put myself under, because even the distractions are draining (yet I refuse to put them down, but that’s another post for another day).

So what I’m saying is that I understand where Ms. Lauryn Hill as she insits on being called is coming from. Sometimes I can’t be creative right on the spot, on command. For me it’s different because my creativity so far does not require me to be in front of a lot of people, so I can use the excuse. I understand having to be in the right place mentally, emotionally, even spiritually and if that’s what Ms. Lauryn Hill as she insists on being called needs to do in order to perform then I support it, because I get it.

Still, you should not leave people waiting for you for two hours and then come out so late that the venue has to cut the mic because of curfew. When it is time for me to perform to higher expectations that come with running a television show, writing novels or delivering a finished cinematic product, I, knowing how I am, have to do what I can to work within, around and in spite of those character quirks. If I know I have to be in a particular head space to perform, to operate, to let the creativity flow freely through my body, then I will do what I can to get into that space long before it’s time for me to go on. If my office has to be right, my home life, my work life, what ever it is. I will fight the attempts, I will resist the attempts to get me into the zone, but when such a responsibility rests on your shoulders, maybe it’s just me, but I know that I have to rise to the occasion. I could be simplifying it. I’m not 100% in the industry right now, and the only pressure I have is myself, whereas she probably has tons more pressure on her.

Overall though, I can’t condone keeping people waiting, especially when they paid to see me. I can be an inconsiderate person at times, but that’s just downright rude. I’m glad she knows herself, as do I. But because we know ourselves, we have to be prepared and that doesn’t mean getting prepared two hours into a show. No amount of making it up to fans can get them that time nor money back.

P.S. A perfect example of me having to be in the right head space: Ms. Lauryn Hill as she insists on being called committed this faux pas back in May and I’ve just now, in July, had the mind to even write about this subject.

P.P.S. The featured picture is courtesy of Ms. Lauryn Hill’s Facebook page, which you can access here: Ms. Lauryn Hill on Facebook

#RhythmandBluesVarietyHour: Living in Insanity

When I say I’ve been dealing with this monster in my head for years, I mean it. This piece goes back to college, but I probably had the melody and some of the words for it down in high school somewhere.

If I have to say so myself, this is one of the most honest things I’ve ever written.

Continue reading “#RhythmandBluesVarietyHour: Living in Insanity”