Damn, Golden Krust

So, this may be a very New York City-centric post, son. As a matter of fact, this may be a very Bronx and Brooklyn-centric post, man. All I know is, as a West Indian dude who was raised in NYC, the news of Lowell Hawthorne‘s suicide is shocking, fam. Real talk, Golden Krust is a MAJOR part of my life, bruh. With that being said, if the theories behind the CEO‘s death are true, then this situation is highly tragic, folks.

Ok, before I continue, let me just paint a quick picture. So, in case people don’t know, I’m from the Bronx. On the real, I’m the product of Co-op City through and through, son. In any case, although I lived with my mother, my father also lived in the Bronx on Seymour Avenue. Now, this is notable because his house was a block away from Gun Hill Road, where one of the original Golden Krust locations exists. Needless to say, anytime I visited him, I completely OD’ed on beef patties and oxtail, man. Until this day, I can’t get enough of their food, fam.

Now, outside of my little worldview, Golden Krust has grown into a very successful business. Hawthorne took his family’s patty recipe and created an empire, bruh. As of now, the company has over 100 locations across various states. So, on face value, it seems like everything is going well, son. However; as we’re now learning, it appears that Hawthorne was dealing with a lot of pressure, man.

Apparently, Hawthorne was facing massive tax debt AND was being sued by Robert Wray, a former employee. Now, according to Wray’s suit, he was never paid overtime over an 11-year period. From what I understand, relatives are now stating that Hawthorne began behaving oddly after confessing his financial troubles to them. All in all, everything came to a head on Saturday when he was found dead in his Bronx factory from a gunshot wound to the head. Keeping it a buck, it’s a really fucked up way to go, fam.

Look, in situations like this, I try not to judge people, bruh. However; if Hawthorne’s suicide was over his financial issues, then death doesn’t really solve the problem, son. I mean, the IRS is still going to hit up his company for their money and Wray’s lawsuit will most likely continue. So, even though he’s out of the picture, the problems still remain, man. Furthermore, in addition to grieving his loss, now his loved ones are left holding the bag, fam.

In the end, this is just a sad circumstance, bruh. Ultimately, suicide is always an unfortunate situation, son. By and by, I feel for his family, his friends and the people who worked with him. Being real, I want to say Rest In Peace to Hawthorne, but I find it hard to think of peace when someone dies in such a manner, man. Anyway, I hope all of Golden Krust’s issues get resolved and I hope everyone involved is able to move on, fam. That is all. LC out.

Advertisements

Long Live Cardi B!

So, to be clear, let me say something off the rip: there shall be no Bronx slander on my blog, son. In addition, there shall be no libel about Cardi B, man. Keeping it a buck, at this particular moment in time, she’s reached the pinnacle, fam. I mean, she’s literally changed the trajectory of her entire life with one song, bruh. Now, if that wasn’t enough, she’s also reached another milestone, people: with “Bodak Yellow” reaching number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, she’s become the first female rapper to reach the summit without a feature since Lauryn Hill.

Ok, before I continue, allow me to quickly paint a picture. Now, the year was 1998. At this time, I was a mere 13 years old. During that summer, I distinctly remember taking my The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill CD on a church retreat. As a matter of fact, I also remember that the aforementioned CD was stolen on said trip. Side note, I still don’t know who did it, son. Look, I know some of the youth from that era read this blog. Who stole my CD, man?! I want answers, people! In any case, that’s how long it’s been since Ms. Hill dropped her “Doo Wop (That Thing)” single. All in all, up until Cardi B, Ms. Hill was the last female rapper to solely top the charts.

Now, before I go any further, let me paint ANOTHER picture, fam. Since Hip Hop‘s inception, only FIVE female rappers have EVER topped the Hot 100, bruh. As it stands, Lauryn, Lil’ Kim (“Lady Marmalade“), Shawna (“Stand Up“), Iggy Azalea (“Fancy“) and now Cardi are the only ones to reach this feat. I mean, what else do I need to say about Cardi’s accomplishment, son?! Shit, that woman has come A LONG way from Sue’s Rendezvous and Love & Hip Hop, man! All jokes aside, how can anyone dislike this story, fam? Real talk, I can’t hate on anyone from the Bronx making moves, bruh. By and by, Cardi is my hero, folks.

In the end, long live Cardi B! Ultimately, I don’t know what else needs to be said, son. Viva la Belcalis Almanzar! That is all. LC out.

The ‘Hot Water Challenge’ Needs To Stop!

Ok, can I put my dad pants on for a second? So, the other day, my wife and I had a conversation with our oldest son about the “Hot Water Challenge.” This came after we heard about what happened to 8-year-old Ki’ari Pope in Florida. Apparently, her cousin dared her to drink boiling water through a straw. From there, Pope burned her throat, got a tracheotomy, but still eventually died from respiratory issues. On the real, the fact that this little girl was only one year older than my son shook me to my core.

To make matters worse, Pope hasn’t been the only child to suffer from this outlandish challenge. More and more stories are popping up about kids doing serious damage to themselves. For instance, back in July, 10-year-old Wesley Smith of North Carolina received third degree burns after he and his stepbrother tried to get in on the movement. It seems as if they got the idea from YouTube videos. In another case, right here in the Bronx, the friends of 11-year-old Jamoneisha Merritt poured boiling water on her face while she slept. Needless to say, her face has been ravaged, man.

Now, some people may be thinking “what’s wrong with these kids?” But remember, most children have no common sense, son. Like, I did TONS of stupid shit when I was a child. For example, who told me it was a good idea to backflip off of the top of a swing, man? On the real, I’m lucky that I got out of there with only a sprained ankle. With that being said, kids feel like they’re invincible and it leads them to doing all manners of tomfoolery, fam. In any case, we as parents need to reinforce the risks of dangerous actions to our children, bruh.

In the end, even though I think this challenge is beyond dumb, I can’t really fault the kids, son. Keeping it a buck, I can’t fault the adults either, man. The fact of the matter is, being a parent is a lot of trial and error, bruh. The sad part is, in some cases, it takes tragedy for young people to learn. All I know is, as of right now, we need to tell our kids to stay far, far, faaaar away from the “Hot Water Challenge.” That is all. LC out.

My Sunday Night With The Police

So, originally, I was going to talk about Jay-Z‘s new album today. However; I just need to get this story off of my chest, man. Now, don’t worry, good people. I’ll be back on Wednesday to speak about the virtues of 4:44. In any case, for today, I’d like to talk about my recent run-in with the New York Police Department. Needless to say, the entire situation was uncalled for and unnecessary. All in all, I truly don’t understand why cops find so much joy in being complete assholes.

Now, the situation began while I was driving home. I happened to be a few blocks away from my apartment on Morris Avenue in the Bronx. Side note, for anyone who’s unfamiliar with this part of the world, although Morris is a two-way street, it only has one lane on each side. Anyway, I was driving behind this black car and the vehicle just stopped in the middle of the street. I honked my horn thinking the driver was either distracted or lost. The car didn’t move. After about five or ten seconds, the car slowly pulled off and then proceeded to run a red light.

When the light turned green again, I started moving, but ended up right back behind the same car. It stopped in the middle of the street again and I honked my horn a second time. From there, the car pulled off the road to the right. I assumed that the driver was lost and needed to get his/her baring. I decided to drive around the now parked car. As I passed the car, that’s when I realized it was the police. Honestly, I had no idea because the car didn’t look like the typical Dodge or Chevrolet that they usually use.

Moving on, once I drove pass them, that’s when they turned their sirens on and forced me to pull over. Next, four officers jumped out of the car with their hands on their guns. Two of them stood on the driver’s side of my car and the other two stood on the passenger side. The officer driving the car started to yell at me for “tailgating” him. I asked him how could I be tailgating if I drove around him when he wasn’t moving. Also, I reminded him that he stopped in the middle of the street on two separate occasions.

After this part of our exchange, the same cop asked me for my license and registration. As I motioned for my wallet, all four cops put their hands back on their guns. I assured them that I was just trying to get my license. Once I gave them what they asked for, they told me to get out of the car. While this happened, a teenage boy stopped on the sidewalk to see what was going on. The two officers on the passenger side approached him with their hands still on their guns. They asked him if he knew me and he said “no.” Next, they told him to “get the fuck out of [their] face.”

From there, the main cop asked me if my license was real and if I’ve been arrested before. I responded with a “yes” and a “no,” respectively. For whatever reason, he said he should still book me for “being a tough guy.” Instead, he said I was “lucky” because they were going to let me go. After I got back in my car, he threw my ID at me and told me to “watch [my] mouth next time.” In the end, since I was close my apartment, my entire block watched me get harassed by these dudes.

In the end, I truly don’t understand why cops feel the need to behave this way. Keep in mind, two of the officers were Hispanic and the other two were Black. Meaning, I can’t even really blame race for this shit. Ultimately, the police department is an intrinsic system that’s designed to operate based on bias. In this moment, I wasn’t a husband, father or college graduate with a corporate job. I was just a “tough guy” that they thought they could get one over on. All in all, these are the reasons why people don’t respect cops. Shit, I may be alive to tell this tale, but not everyone is so fortunate, man. By and by, fuck the police, son! LC out.

What Just Happened In Times Square?!

To be real, I don’t even know what to say right now, man. Honestly, I can’t make heads or tails of this story, son. All I know is, Richard Rojas lost his fucking mind in Times Square yesterday. Apparently, under the influence of PCP, Rojas thought it was a good idea to run down pedestrians with his car. Ultimately, my thoughts are with all of his victims during their time of need and sorrow.

Now, keeping it a buck, I really want to know this man’s motive. So far, journalists have only discovered a little bit about the assailant. From what I’ve seen, Rojas is a Navy veteran from the Bronx, who’s been arrested multiple times for drunken driving. In addition, his family claims that he’s been different ever since he returned from the Navy. According to their recollections, after his tenure in the military, he began abusing alcohol and weed.

In any case, Rojas has a history of being violent. For example, during his time in the Navy, he attacked a cabdriver instead of paying him. Also, he’s made numerous threats towards law enforcement. With all of that being said, I have no idea why this fucking guy was allowed behind the wheel in the first place. I mean, he’s clearly unstable, man. Now, fast forward to yesterday, Rojas took his Honda Accord, hopped the curb and began to rampage. This resulted in the death of Alyssa Elsman and the injury of another two dozen people.

All in all, in my eyes, Rojas needs therapy AND prison. While I do believe there’s something wrong with this dude, I also believe he needs to pay for his actions. *Sigh* This is fucking ridiculous, man. Much love to all of the people who were unfairly affected by his carnage. In the end, it’s a damn shame that people had to suffer under such random circumstances. LC out.

I Shed Tears For Kalief Browder

Keeping it a buck, I rarely cry, son. Look, I’m not trying to sound macho when I say that, but it’s simply the truth. I didn’t cry when my sons were born and I didn’t cry when I got married. Tears just don’t seem to hit me very often, man. With all of that being said, I cried last night. I legit shed tears in the aftermath of watching Time: The Kalief Browder Story on Spike. At this point, I have so many thoughts that it’s actually hard for me to properly articulate myself. All I know is, when it comes to being Black in this country, any of us could be Kalief Browder.

Now, even though my life has been very different than Browder’s, there are several ways I feel connected to him. Despite being eight years younger than me, Browder and I are both Bronx kids. We both grew up under the tyranny of Rudy Giuliani, Ray Kelly and the stop-and-frisk era. We both knew what it was like to be harassed by police when we were just minding our own business. When I learned that a 14-year-old Browder caught a felony for joyriding in a bread truck, I immediately thought of all of the dumb shit I’ve done that I’ve never been busted for. It’s sad to say, but inner city life can be very homogeneous for the people in the community.

Moving on, the aforementioned felony is notable because it would ultimately lead to Browder’s downfall. After Roberto Bautista falsely accused a 16-year-old Browder of robbing him, the subsequent arrest ensured that Browder would have to go to jail. Even though he was innocent of the claim against him, he still ended up on Rikers Island. From there, Browder was consistently abused by his fellow inmates and the guards. During his three years in jail, he spent 800 of those days in solidarity confinement. Despite repeatedly asking for a trial, prosecutors only offered him plea deals that would make him serve 15 years in prison. Essentially, Browder was abused by every single facet of the criminal justice system.

To make matters worse, his mother couldn’t raise the $900 that would bail him out of jail. So, on top of being unfairly criminalized because he was Black, Browder also suffered because he was poor. The pain of his story is exacerbated by the fact that this type of injustice occurs often. To put it plainly, Browder wasn’t the first person to be destroyed by the law. Sadly, he won’t be the last one either.

On the real, even though I already knew Browder’s story, last night hit me hard. Honestly, all I could do was think about my two sons. Due to what I’ve accomplished thus far in life, the prospect of paying $900 for bail wouldn’t kill me. However; what about Browder’s mother, man? Why did she have to lose her son because of poverty? In addition, why are Black youth always treated like menaces? This is exactly why I’ll NEVER forgive Hillary Clinton for her “superpredators” comment. It’s that type of logic that makes it okay to bury our children in the prison industrial complex.

All in all, after writing this entire post, I still feel like I haven’t said anything. Ultimately, Browder killed himself because he couldn’t continue living through the pain. He couldn’t continue reliving all of the anguish and desperation. *Sigh* I don’t know what else to say here. LC out.

Remy Ma BODIED Nicki Minaj!

All jokes aside, I’m not even sure what to write here, son. Remy Ma just put her entire foot, ankle, shin and thigh in Nicki Minaj‘s ass, bro. While I believe these women have been throwing jabs at each other for a minute, Remy said “fuck the subliminals” and launched a nuke at Nicki. With that being said, Remy’s “ShEther” is fucking brutal, man. Nothing and no one was spared, son. So, me being me, of COURSE I have to dissect every nook and cranny of this conflict! Let’s do it!

Now, before I continue, I’d like to make a public service announcement. To all of the Nicki Minaj fans out there: money and success don’t mean shit right now. This is Rap music and it’s about lyrics. It’s about bars, son. Tour revenue and record sales don’t have shit to do with being a great rapper. If it did, MC Hammer would be the G.O.A.T. Hammer’s first three albums alone sold 15 million copies. Shit, Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em sold 10 million of those copies by itself. I mean, who wasn’t singing “U Can’t Touch This,” man? In any case, a rapper’s lyrical supremacy can’t be judged by how many records they sell. It’s wholly irrelevant. Therefore, if that’s the argument for Nicki, then she already lost this battle.

Moving on, the timeline of the conflict between Remy and Nicki is interesting. Since Remy got out of prison, everyone assumed her post-incarceration bars were going at Nicki. Side note, did y’all peep the “post-incarceration bars” pun? Man, I crack myself the fuck up, son. Anyway, whether it was a random freestyle or her verse on the remix to PHresher‘s “Wait A Minute,” everyone believed she was coming at Nicki’s neck. Well, I guess we can add Nicki to that faction. Despite Remy’s claims that she never uttered a word about her, Nicki still clapped back in her verse on Gucci Mane‘s “Make Love.”

While flowing on Gucci’s song, Nicki essentially reiterated all of the shit I said didn’t matter in the second paragraph. In her eyes, in order to be the “queen of Rap,” an artist needs to sell records and have plaques. Now, listen, I’m actually a longtime Nicki fan, but I thought this verse was trash even before Remy responded. I swear, record sales always end up being an artist’s downfall. They’re always their best when they’re hungry. Then, they get some success and forget what made them great in the first place. Shit, we’re seeing this right now with Drake, but I’ll save that for another post.

So, Remy clearly heard the shots Nicki threw her way and decided to UNLEASH! Listen, “ShEther” encompasses about every brand of disrespect imaginable. She accused Nicki of fucking Drake, Gucci, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz and Ebro Darden from Hot 97. She claimed that Nicki couldn’t fuck Meek Mill for three months because her ass implants popped. She ridiculed Nicki for supporting her brother, a 37-year-old grown ass man who’s accused of raping a 12-year-old girl. I mean, it goes on and on, son. Napalm blast after napalm blast, bro. Seven minutes of pure, unadulterated pain.

At this point, Nicki HAS to respond, man! There’s no way she can take the Jay Z approach and just let that shit slide. I mean, social media has been ON FIRE all weekend, son! Platinum plaques can’t save her when her name is being dragged for filth. This is Rap music, bro. The gloves are off and it’s time to roll around in the mud. All I can say is, as harsh as “ShEther” was, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nicki threw a miscarriage punchline at Remy. Yeah, the battle has already gotten that ugly, son. Ultimately, as long as it stays on wax, I just want these two women to rap.

In the end, battling is alive and well, man! Let’s get these bars off, son! Rap is a contact sport, bro. As Nas said, the best are supposed to clash at the top. Let’s get it! LC out.

P.S. While this post was written from a completely objective perspective, I’d be remiss if I didn’t put one in the air for the Bronx. Stand the fuck up, son! That is all.

P.P.S. I’ve heard a few people say that a diss track can’t be effective if everything isn’t 100% fact. If that were truly the case, no one would ever say “Ether” was better than “Takeover.” Jay accurately broke down Nas’ entire life, son. In the end, just enjoy the show, son. Ok, bye.