The Roots of My Passion: Hip-Hop Music

As my articulate works blossom, you will witness my passion within the music community, mainly hip-hop & rap genres. You are probably wondering how the hell some woman from the small-town USA demographics and mentality would turn out to have such an admiration and love for the hip-hop community and the black community.

We didn’t have a lot of diversity where I am from, but we had a very few biracial kids we grew up with and biracial cousins in our own family. So that in itself taught me the basics of acceptance. For my passion for the hip-hop community in general, I blame my brothers (laughing). As early as I can remember, specifically fourth grade, I remember Andy (the oldest) driving us to school half the time rather than riding on the bus. It all depended on his schedule, to be honest, but we would listen to different music, but preferably Hip-Hop and R&B, because that is what Jon (my other older brother) only listened to while growing up.

We would listen to The Lox, Boyz II Men, Da Brat, Will Smith, 2Pac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, etc. I was rapping along lyrics that my mom would probably have flipped about if she knew that was the type of music my brothers listened to around me. Can you imagine a ten-year-old white girl from an area where it’s so tiny that two towns had to join to be one school district? Let alone with only two biracial kids in the entire school at the time blasting “Gin & Juice” by Snoop Dogg in her big brother’s car? Yeah, that was me (laughing).

Three music albums would define my fandom and passion for Hip-Hop and other similar genres. The very first album and artist that would draw me into hip-hop would be Est. 1999 Eternal and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. My brothers introduced me to the next album, the Dr. Doolittle Soundtrack, released in 1998, produced by Timbaland. I was twelve at the time. Ginuwine’s song “Same Ol’ G” was my jam considering my last name started with a G, and I even had big dreams back as a kid. Aside from Ginuwine’s song, that album has fire after fire for each artist’s single put on that album. The second album would be Tupac’s two-disc Greatest Hits collection album released in 1998, only two years after his death. 

The rest is history, and the exposure of hip-hop culture through access to MTV, BET, etc… would open my heart and eyes when it came to enlisting. My experience with the military truly cultured me with diversity and various backgrounds that represented the melting pot of the United States of America. The fallacy that felt so real within our military community made me believe that as long as we carry the US Flag with pride (or whichever coalition forces worked with us in Iraq/Afghanistan), you were my brother and sisters in arms.

I never comprehended or understood the miseducation and various issues as a child, or even right away with the military. However, the music and entertainment that was presented to me never stopped me from enjoying the events that provided and supported each soldier’s, airmen, etc… with salsa nights and hip-hop nights. These events were meant as morale boosters for those homesick in a war zone. It was a different atmosphere that I didn’t know really existed before the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I sensed it, considering I was one of the few white folks going to every single hip-hop night throughout my tour in Taji, Iraq, back in 2006-2007.

My love for hip-hop would expand lyrically through artists like T.I., Kanye West, Eminem, Twista, etc. Of course, Mike Shinoda would release his album, “Rising Tied,” under his Fort Minor brand back right after I finished Advanced Individual Training, and I would play that album non-stop all through my deployment. The females would get so damn annoyed with me in the barracks, because “Where’d You Go” was my song during that deployment, and I would also have it as my ringtone for my phone at the time (laughing).

My battle buddies from Waco, Texas, whom I would bond with, would introduce me to artists like Tech N9ne as we pass the time with Spades on a nightly ritual working overnights at the dining facility. I would be more stoked when Bone Thugs, who are my all-time favorite hip-hop group, would release an album called “Strength & Loyalty” to help me get through the rest of my deployment in 2007.

Thank you for reading my blog. In return, I give you a playlist of Hip-Hop and R&B music that helped me through my deployment on Spotify!

The Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

Almost a year ago, (July 29th, 2020 to be precise), I was nominated for the Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award from Ospryshire’s Realm! Unfortunately between the pandemic and the social issues, I needed to adjust myself to prioritize my mental health and well-being, so I took some time away from my blog. I have now returned and it was only right to include this award within my new arsenal.

Ospryshire’s Realm is an authentic blog that highlights this young, black, and gifted individual’s journey in a well-complicated world, and I’m honored to receive this award from that individual. Thank you, C.M.B. Bell for the nominations.

Unfortunately, because it’s been a year since I have been around, I have no nominations at this time. However, as the old saying goes, “Rules are meant to be broken.” Seriously, if you know of other bloggers who are legitimate with their writing, please post them in the comments so I can shine a spotlight on them too!

Here are the rules:

-Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

-Post the award logo.

-Post the rules.

-Nominate up to 20-30 other bloggers and notify them.

-Notify Vincent of your nomination, via comment.

-After notifying Vincent, he’ll check out your blog, follow and give you your unique award for the good work on your blog.

-I’m not sure if we are supposed to have some questions for the nominees, but I received some, so I will answer them.

1. If you could get one singer, band, or composer to score a movie based on your life, who would it be?

I feel the perfect singer, band or composer to score a movie based on my life would surely be either one of my all-time TV/film composers, Sean Callery (LFN) or Nathan Barr (Trueblood).

2. Which three countries would you like to visit that you have never been to before?

I am always looking for places that will influence reflections into my life and where I am at in my journey. One place I always wanted to go to, and I almost was able to go last year was Kenya. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, studying abroad was cancelled. The other two countries I would love to go to is one of the countries that represent my bloodline and heritage, Sweden or Norway, and I would love to visit Chili or Peru.

3. What is one thing you wish you could do right now if COVID-19 didn’t happen?

Travel abroad and re-evaluate my purpose in my life.

4. Describe how you feel at the moment when you post this award post in a haiku form.

True Recognition
I Am Honored, Speechless, Blessed
Shit! What an award!

5. Which fictional character would you want to hang out with for an entire day? What things would you do? What conversations would you have?

Oh, man (laughing). I could go so many directions with this question. I could get the silent treatment by Michael Samuelle and go kill terrorists with the operatives of Section One (LFN), I could go get myself killed by hanging with Eric Northman or Bill Compton (Trueblood), but have sophisticated conversations with these century old vampires, or I can just go and chill at Disney with Goofy and the gang, tell jokes, and giggle. Yeah, that one sounds so much more relaxing to me (laughing).

In The Spotlight w/ Marcus Porter

As I sit here sunk into this black leather couch surrounded by anthem beats and blue saturated walls writing these questions, I am witnessing and studying Marcus Porter in his own process. Honestly, it’s the usual vibe of productivity, we are just missing two of our team members. The show must still go on, while I marinate in Marcus Porter’s lyrics and story.

The pandemic really was tough on everyone. How were you able to keep yourself afloat, mentally and physically,  during our lock-down?

During the pandemic, I was able to sit back & create without having to feel rushed. But, of course, I also did a lot of reading and anime watching

Anything you discovered about yourself during the pandemic? 

 I discovered my love for all types of art again. I had lost it because I wasn’t focused on it or trying to seek it out. But once I did, I fell in love again.

I have had the privilege to sit in the studio with you recently. You have a very intriguing writing process when it  comes to your songs. Can you tell the audience how that process goes? Which comes first for you, the hook, the  verse, or the beat?  

 The beat is usually the first thing that comes, and sometimes it’s just a simple four or eight bar loop. Then I typically start humming to myself until I find something that sticks. Sometimes it’s the hook first, but lately, it’s been the verses to come then the hook. But I always write from my heart.

You just dropped the single, “Born Black”, how did that come about? What influenced the song?  

“Born Black” came about during quarantine when George Floyd was murdered. So the song is a reflection of my own life experience. It was also influenced by many others who’ve dealt with racism, mistreatment, & death simply due to their skin pigment and social injustice. I was born black. Along with others, we’ve been seeking, fighting for, and addressing our shortcomings when it comes to black women & protecting them from the nonsense we deal with.

What do you want your audience/listeners to take with them after listening to “Born Black?” or any other song  you create?  

I am fighting for everyone and know the struggles we face, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I just try to be relatable and give them good content and sound to vibe to no matter what the scenario. My music represents my experiences and who I am as an individual.

Performing in Portage, WI. 6.19.2021

“Born Black” isn’t the only song you have with a feature on your upcoming album. Who else is featured on this  upcoming album? 

I have a few different features for the project. They are Chakari, K.I.L.O., 1neofMani, Juciee Monroe, Jay B Coolin, The King, so it’s pretty stacked on it. Each one came through and did their things; I appreciate them all.

You’re not just a musician. You engineer first many, many local artists. What came first for you as an artist? The  producer or the musician? 

The musician was always first, but I engineer because there weren’t many around, and I had an interest in it and wanted to create the best-sounding project I could. So I went to school to really learn the skills that have made me a better musician, from producing to the final master.

How and when did you discover that music is what you wanted to do with your life? What’s your story? 

I’ve known music was my calling since I was about 7 or 8, but I really knew right before I went to high school. I was interested in sports, but it was fading because all I wanted to do was write and make music. So my story is… Dad is a DJ, and mom did some drumming in drum core, and they made this young man who loves to create music and help others however he can.

What type of story are you trying to convey in your music? What do you want your audience to take with them  after experiencing your music?

The story is my story, but also everyone else’s too. I write music to have self-reflection. If you feel what I’m saying, then you’ve been there or are there, and I’m on the journey with you of this thing called life. I want to be as relatable as I can while still giving you a vibe.

If you want a taste of Marcus Porter’s story, make sure you check out his new single “Born Black”

Film Review: Black Widow

The film itself was a refreshing take on Scarlett Johansson’s character. Although, she didn’t take the film by storm herself, the supporting cast of Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour assisted in the success of the film. It was a whole team effort, The Russian avengers, so to speak.

The easter eggs presented ideals that fans wanted to see and be teased about for Phase 4, including but not limited too, the prison scene between Alexei and Ursa. Unlike WandaVision, it was a delightful placement to represent the mutants in the universe. Even non-verbally, admitting the existence of the X-Men, which fans have been wanting to see for years since the negotiations between Marvel and Fox came to surface.

The adlib deliveries were also a beautiful layer that Marvel and the actors has come to know and succeed in when Superheroes are in their heuristic situations. The additions to the Marvel Universe (Florence, Rachel, and David) fell right into place during this movie, as if, they’ve always been around. Humanizing them also provided texture in the film.

I doubt individuals had high hopes with this film hitting it out of the ball park, but from my perspective, the film itself did succeed beyond expectations and it was worth the wait for the release. Now to go on and place it rightfully in the timeline, and go back to the ritual of watching the Marvel films and television series “in order” chronologically.

Top 10 #BLM Films/Series:

Since May 30th, our global society has been transforming itself into a chaotic wake up call with the issue of police brutality and the continuous evidence of minorities not having the same equity of life as those who fall under white privilege.

I’ve had my share of unlearning the white man’s knowledge of American History, and growth over the years when it comes to American History, and I continue to put aside my own trauma and issues to sit and radically listen to my peers to hear their stories and allow them to provide me facts and evidence of their reality, while I proved my own radical listening, empathy, and understanding.

Right now they are tired. They are tired of talking without anyone listening. The are tired of the questions from those who simply have a hard time comprehending. They are tired of the “All Lives Matter” debacle that goes against the reality of blacks being 3x more likely to be shot and killed by police. They are simply tired.

I have a responsibility of a film maker and a film lover, to take the time to put together my top ten favorite strong black lead films and/or series that provide legitimate educational value for those who want a better understanding of the systematic oppression our fellow Americans have suffered through for the past 400 years, as well as, some of the greatest icons in black history that may or may have not been in your history textbooks growing up.

All I ask from this list is be aware of the fictional aspects of the films and take the time to dig into a deeper research of the events within the topics and figures provided with each film. I am asking, for those willing to listen and learn to do with empathy, while watching these stories, and don’t forget the Kleenex, because you will need them.

  1. Roots (Hulu): An adaptation of the 1977 mini-series, Roots chronicles the history of an African man sold to slavery in America, and his descendants. 

  2. Harriet (Rent/Vudu): The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman‘s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

  3. MalcolmX (Netflix): Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

  4. 13th (Netflix): An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

  5. I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Prime): Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.

  6. Selma (Amazon Prime): A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

  7. The Hate U Give (Rent/Vudu): Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.

  8. DETROIT (Hulu): A gripping story of one of the most terrifying moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ’67.

  9. Just Mercy (Rent/Vudu): World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

  10. When They See Us (Netflix): Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.

    Honorary mentions: Marshall (Netflix), LA92 (Netflix), Teach Us All (Netflix), Ali (Amazon Prime), 12 Years a Slave (Rent)…