My Random Thoughts After Watching ‘Queen & Slim’

Disclaimer: Spoilers, brethren. Y’all know how this goes.

So, as I promised at the end of my The Irishman post, I finally went to go see Queen & Slim. Real talk, while my wife and I were waiting for our son’s chess tournament to conclude, we dipped away to see the movie. Now, to be transparent, this post is going to be more random (and much longer) than usual, son. Frankly, I have so many sporadic thoughts that I couldn’t put it in a decent narrative, man. All in all, I loved the film and here are some of my takeaways:

  1. Angela “Queen” Johnson annoys the shit out of me at first. On the real, during the first date with Ernest “Slim” Hines, I think she’s unnecessarily rude. Shit, the way my patience is setup, if I were Slim, I would’ve ended that date early, fam. But, as the movie goes on, I realize that her behavior is based on her trauma. She’s guarded but learns that she doesn’t have to be combative and simultaneously isolated all the time.
  2. There are several quotes in the film that resonate with me for different reasons. During a scene after the shooting, while trying to hitchhike, Slim says that he hopes the inhabitants are Black. Queen highlights the fact that this isn’t always a good thing. This ends up being some crazy foreshadowing since a Black man is ultimately the one who sells them out for the $500,000 reward. The phrase “it be your own people” is real as fuck, bruh. Next, when they’re at Uncle Earl‘s house, Queen asks Slim is he’s okay and he says that he is. She asks him how that’s even possible and he says “I guess I’m so used to saying I’m okay even when I’m not.” Son, I feel like that’s the story of my life. Sadly, a lot of us operate like that waaay more than we should, man. It’s okay to not be okay, brethren. Lastly, there’s a scene where Slim asks Queen if she’s a good lawyer. She says that she’s an excellent lawyer and he responds “why do we always have to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves?” Now, I ALWAYS strive for excellence, but I understand where that quote is coming from. Growing up, I was always told that Black people have to work twice as hard as White people to get half as much. So, we end up (unjustly) putting LARGE amounts of pressure on ourselves and our loved ones. We just need to be us and do the best that we can.
  3. I was thoroughly triggered by that initial police stop. Listen, in my 34 years of life, I’ve had NUMEROUS interactions with the cops. The truth is, the vast majority of them weren’t positive, bruh. Hell, just two years ago, I wrote about a tense exchange that I had with four officers who were determined to belittle me. In addition, I lived through Rudy Giuliani and the Michael Bloomberg stop-and-frisk era. Son, I’m a Black man with a college degree and a federal job and I STILL don’t trust the police, man. In my eyes, I’ve seen WAY too much unnecessary aggression to ever release that fear.
  4. I’ve seen some criticism about the film not being “realistic.” However, I think people are missing the point that it’s still a movie and a form of artistic expression. With that being said, I can agree that a Black cop probably wouldn’t just let Queen and Slim drive out of that garage. I can agree that the Black community might not necessarily look at the two of them as pure heroes. But, I do believe that the community would understand their plight. All I can say is, there’s a feeling of hopelessness when it comes to police violence. I mean, there’s NEVER any recourse for us. Our murderers are almost never held accountable for their crimes. In the film, Queen and Slim rightfully defend themselves and I believe that minorities would empathize with their actions/pain.
  5. I’ve also seen criticism about the ending of the film. On one hand, a few people are upset with the way that Queen and Slim die. But, how else did they expect this movie to end? If we’re talking about realistic, there’s NO way that the two of them wouldn’t end up dead or in jail. Regardless of circumstance, a cop killer would be hunted to the ends of the Earth, fam. To me, death was definitely the most likely outcome, bruh. Also, I’ve seen people lament that the film doesn’t give any “answers.” Son, what fucking answers were they expecting? Since when was art designed to answer social issues? Now, I’m not comparing this movie to Do the Right Thing, but there are no answers at the end of Spike Lee‘s film, man. If anything, all of these works are designed to make us feel and think, brethren. No more and no less. From there, it’s up to us to come up with definitive plans of action.
  6. The death of Junior fucked me up, son. Keeping it a buck, this is another scene that I heard complaints about. Like, even my wife was uneasy about this scene juxtaposed with Queen and Slim having sex. Now, I get it, man. I definitely do. It’s a hard 10 minutes to digest, fam. But, I internalized it all in a different way, bruh. The way I see it, Junior’s just a young man who doesn’t know how to process his feelings. He’s enamored by the story of Queen and Slim, but he doesn’t fully understand what it all means and the ramifications. He doesn’t yet understand the nuance of the minority experience in America, but he’s hell-bent on action. This leads to extremely irrational decision-making. The truth is, Queen and Slim don’t want to be heroes. They don’t want to be martyrs. More so than anything, the people around them are elevating their meaning and importance. While Junior is in love with the idea of “immortality,” Slim just wants to be remembered by his family and his lady. From my vantage point, Junior’s death highlights the fact that we need to explain to the youth what’s really going on out here, instead of just leaving them to filter the information on their own.

In the end, I know that I just said a lot, son. Ultimately, there was no easy way for me to write this post, man. By and by, I judge a movie’s quality by how much it stays with me. Truth is, my wife and I have been talking about this film all weekend, fam. So, shout-out to Melina Matsoukas (my Co-op City sister) and Lena Waithe for putting this together, bruh. Side bar, I still don’t like the way that Waithe handled the Jason Mitchell situation, but I give credit where credit is due, folks. Anyway, this movie gave me strong emotional reactions and I thank them for it. At the end of the day, everyone’s entitled to their opinion. All I can say is, I personally loved the movie, brethren. That is all. LC out.

Thanks For Supporting My Music, Pt. 2

So, I won’t lie, son. On the real, a lot has transpired since I first thanked everyone for supporting my music, man. Shit, at this point last year, I was getting ready to release my The Charlemagne Renaissance album on streaming services. As of today, I now have two projects out here on these streets: the aforementioned The Charlemagne Renaissance and The Charlemagne Overture. All in all, none of this would be possible if the good people out there didn’t help a brother out, fam.

In any case, I don’t have much else to say, bruh. All I know is, I have a lot more shit on the horizon, son. First, I’m about to start getting into my music video bag. I mean, out of the 20 records I dropped this year, a few of them need that visual treatment, man. Second, I’m also planning on getting my website and mailing list up and running. Lastly, the shows will continue to pop off, fam. So, be on the lookout for all of the shit that I’m doing in 2020, brethren.

In the end, since Thanksgiving just passed, I felt like it was only right to show my gratitude, son. Ultimately, there are millions of people out here doing music. By and by, folks aren’t obligated to support me, man. With that being said, keep streaming the projects, keep coming to the shows and keep dropping the lines of encouragement. As an independent artist, it goes a long way, fam. It really does. That is all. LC out.

My Beef With Elizabeth Warren’s View On Charter Schools

So, here we are, son. It’s October 25, 2019 and Elizabeth Warren is one of the frontrunners for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Now, I won’t lie, man. On the real, I go back and forth about what I think about Warren. On one hand, I like some of her ideas. On the other hand, I can’t get with some of her stances. Side bar, I genuinely don’t believe that companies like Facebook or Amazon will allow her to break them up. But, that’s neither here nor there, fam. In any case, I legitimately have a beef with her position on charter schools. All in all, I think these institutions are always unfairly maligned.

Ok, for those who are unaware, Warren has a “plan” to improve public schools while simultaneously ending funding for new charter schools. Now, according to her vision, she wants to impose a 2% “wealth tax” that would hit households that make $50 million and up. The goal is to use that money to improve K-12 programs nationwide. In addition, Warren is looking to stop federal funding for new charter schools and subject existing charter schools to the same “accountability rules” as public schools.

Look, the way I see it, this plan perpetuates the idea that there’s something inherently wrong with charter schools. Now, to be fair, I may be a little biased, bruh. I mean, I currently have two children who are benefiting from a charter school education. Side bar, shout-out to Success Academy, son. In any case, while my family is thoroughly entrenched in the charter school system, I can admit that there are some issues. Namely, the lottery system. Real talk, the idea of a lottery system is problematic as shit, man. Basically, it’s designed in a way that prohibits all children from receiving the same education. So, I can readily see the fault with that, fam.

But, with all of that being said, let’s keep it a buck, bruh. The truth is, charter schools exist because public schools are fucking awful. Listen, I’ve heard the “let’s tax the rich” argument for fucking years, son. All I know is, that shit hasn’t worked yet, man. The way I see it, as long as public school funding is determined by tax bracket and property value, underprivileged kids will always get the short end of the stick. Shit, I grew up in the Bronx and my middle school principal personally gave me an application for Prep for Prep as a way to get me out of my school district. Sadly, he knew that there were better opportunities outside of my neighborhood. So, he decided to look out for me.

In the end, charter schools are not the problem, fam. Ultimately, charter schools are unfairly targeted by people like Warren and Bill de Blasio because no one has come up with a sensible enough plan to fix our broken public school system. By and by, taxing the rich works in theory, but that idea has never gotten off of the ground, bruh. At the end of the day, I’ll take my kids out of their charter school when wealthier people stop getting better free education. That is all. LC out.

Little Brother’s Back!

So, I won’t lie, son. On the real, I’m having a hard time containing my excitement, man. Seriously, Little Brother is one of my favorite groups ever, fam. Like, EVER, bruh! If I’m being honest, PhonteRapper Big Pooh and 9th Wonder completely changed the way I thought music could be made. With that being said, even without 9th’s production, I’m fucking HYPED that they dropped a new album, brethren!

Ok, before I continue, let me take a trip down memory lane. Now, I started rapping when I was 15 years old. Back then, all of my lyrics were littered with copious amounts of Bronx shenanigans. Real talk, some of the tomfoolery I rapped about where things I’ve done. However, a lot of it was just fuckery that I saw around my neighborhood. Basically, I embodied my entire block, regardless of whether or not it was my individual story.

Fast forward to 2003, my life changed, son. Now, in February of that year, Little Brother dropped their debut album, The Listening. As a 17-year-old dude, I was blown away by the record, man. Frankly, I didn’t know a rapper could rhyme about shit like that, fam. I didn’t know that a rapper could speak about the everyday struggle of hating a job, paying child support or shitting on poetry slams. Keeping it a buck, a lot of Rap music only embraced the “gangsta” aesthetic. So, it wasn’t until Little Brother, and later Kanye West, that I realized an artist could wholly live their truth, bruh.

Now, as many fans know by now, the group went through a lot of upheaval over the years. They dropped two more albums (sans 9th Wonder), beefed publicly and then went on with their respective careers. Side note, I’m not the biggest fan of their Leftback album, but Getback was fucking great, son. I don’t give a fuck what anyone says, man. In any case, I never thought they would ever release more music as a collective, fam. Thankfully, I was over-fucking-joyed to listen to their new May the Lord Watch album.

Look, to be clear, 9th isn’t on the album. Yeah, it’s disappointing, but honestly, the project is fucking great without him, bruh. First, Phonte and Pooh recruited producers like Khrysis and Nottz, who are both part of 9th’s Jamla Records and his Soul Council production team. In addition, the group got producers like Focus… and Black Milk to keep their distinctive sound alive, son. The point is, this project is cohesive as shit and the skits are fucking hilarious, man. Like, they brought back a bunch of themes from their The Minstrel Show album, such as Joe Scudda in blackface, Percy Miracles and Roy Lee. All in all, this shit is gold for a diehard fan like me, fam.

In the end, I could keep on going, bruh. But, everyone should just go listen to the album, son. Ultimately, I couldn’t have asked for a better project from them, man. By and by, it would’ve been great to have 9th on the record, but I don’t think it takes away from the music, fam. Also, I’m pretty sure 9th was busy finishing up Rapsody‘s Eve album. At the end of the day, this album just put a new battery in my back, bruh. Hell, I feel like making a new song right now, people. That is all. LC out.

P.S. If anyone doubts my Little Brother fandom, just take a listen to “The World Is Mine” on my The Charlemagne Renaissance album. Fam, I literally have lyrics that say “I’m just tryna navigate through a cold game, and sell a mil as Phonte with a gold chain.” The point is, I fucking love these dudes, son! Good day.

Trump Is As Much Of An Immigrant As The Freshman Congresswomen

So, here we are again, son. Another day, another preposterous Twitter rant from Donald Trump. Anyway, in a random stream of consciousness, Trump tweeted that progressive Democratic congresswomen should “fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” before telling the United States how to govern. All I know is, I don’t even know where to begin with the fuckery, man.

Ok, before I continue, I’d like to go through Trump’s family tree. On the real, I feel like this is necessary in order to showcase how ridiculous his comments were. Now, for those who are unaware, Trump’s mother, Mary Anne Trump, was an immigrant. In fact, she was born in Scotland in 1912. In addition, his father, Fred Trump, was a first generation American who was born to German parents. Furthermore, Trump’s first AND third wives were both born outside of this country. With all of that being said, his views on immigrants are fucking perplexing, fam. I mean, his entire lineage is full of “aliens,” bruh.

Moving on, let’s talk about the congresswomen who Trump essentially targeted. First, there’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She was born in The Bronx, New York to Puerto Rican parents. This makes her a first generation American. Next, there’s Rashida Tlaib. She was born in Detroit, Michigan to Palestinian parents. This also makes her a first generation American. Next, there’s Ayanna Pressley. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Now, unless I’m wrong, her folks weren’t even immigrants at all, son (well, they were, but you know what I mean). Finally, there’s Ilhan Omar. Real talk, she’s the only one who was born out of the country, hailing from Somalia. The point is, the ancestry of most of these women has as many foreigners as Trump, man. So, what is the hate really about, fam?

Look, let’s just call a spade a spade, bruh. The truth is, immigrants are only vilified when they’re Black or Brown, son. Keeping it a buck, the motivation that caused Trump to question Barack Obama‘s birthplace is the same motivation that caused him to attack these congresswomen. The fact is, these ladies are just as American as Trump and anybody else who decides to question them. Listen, political disagreements are one thing. However, belittling someone’s patriotism and devaluing their place in this country is completely different, man. The way I see, people of color are always viewed as “invaders,” regardless of our strong ties to this nation.

In the end, I’m not even going to pretend like I’m surprised, fam. Like, I almost skipped this subject entirely, bruh. Hell, water is wet and Donald Trump says racist shit. What’s new, son? Ultimately, 45 showed us who he was a loooooooong time ago, man. At the end of the day, we just need to keep pushing back until we finally push him out, fam. That is all. LC out.

Cardi B: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong

So, let me begin this post by saying that I’m a Cardi B fan. I mean, if anyone has read my blog, they’d know that, son. On the real, I’ve always appreciated the fact that she’s herself, regardless of the situation. On top of that, she’s from the Bronx, so that’s just code, man. With all of that being said, she needs to knock off the dumb shit, fam. Listen, we all know that she had a life before Rap. However, she needs to keep some of that shit to herself, bruh.

Ok, for those who missed it, Cardi is getting flamed for some shit she said on Instagram three years ago. So, based on her own admissions, she used to rob men during her stripper days. Now, to take it a step further, she admitted to luring men in who wanted to have sex with her, drugging them and THEN robbing them. Apparently, she did all of this because of “limited options.” Listen, I didn’t put “limited options” in quotations because I don’t believe she struggled. I phrased it like that because that’s still no fucking excuse, son. Look, I’m not naïve to crime, man. I’ve seen my fair share of fuckery while growing up in the Bronx, fam. But, she’s crazy if she thinks that people co-sign any of this behavior, bruh. Wrong is wrong is wrong, folks.

In addition, she ain’t need to confess to any of this shit, bruh. Like, this is the type of tomfoolery that got Liam Neeson in trouble. Real talk, no one needed to know that Neeson was looking for random Black dudes to kill, son. The same way that no one needed to know that Cardi was out here drugging dudes and doing Lord knows what to them. Now, instead of just tending to business, the public is looking at the both of them crazy, man. Hell, in the #MeToo era, Cardi can’t be out here talking about drugging people, fam. That’s the same shit that got Bill Cosby (rightfully) hemmed up.

In the end, Cardi needs to leave the past in the past. Ultimately, we already know that she’s not a perfect individual, bruh. By and by, she doesn’t need to keep reaffirming this. At this point, she’s just incriminating herself, son. Just watch, a bunch of dudes are about to come out and claim that Cardi did this to them. *Sigh* All of these younger artists just like snitching on themselves on social media, man. I just hope they know that the cops are listening, fam. That is all. LC out.

P.S. I don’t like the false equivalence between her actions and being a drug dealer. Yes, both are crimes, but at least a crackhead chose to do crack, son. All in all, Cardi’s victims ain’t choose shit, man. They just woke up with their possessions (and pride) gone. Keeping it a buck, I can guarantee that they didn’t sign up for that, fam. Good day.

Drake Is Right About The Grammys

So, I won’t lie, son. As an aspiring musician, I would love to win a Grammy one day. On the real, I’m not going to pretend like I wouldn’t want that gold trophy on my mantle, man. However, I’m not one of those artists who believes that my art would be defined by a metal gramophone. With that being said, I 1000% agree with Drake’s acceptance speech. Real talk, as long as artists have dedicated fans, they’ve already won, fam.

Ok, for those who missed it, Drake actually showed up to the Grammy Awards last night. Anyway, his song “God’s Plan” ended up winning the award for Best Rap Song. Now, when Drake went up onstage to get his trophy, he kept it super funky with everyone watching. Essentially, he told all of the artists that awards like this don’t define them. According to Aubrey, as long as musicians have fans willing to support their songs, they don’t need validation from antiquated institutions. All I know is, he’s absolutely right, bruh.

Listen, the Grammys have notoriously gotten shit wrong when it comes to Hip-Hop and R&B, son. I mean, Herbie Hancock is a damn legend, but there’s no way his album was better than Kanye West’s Graduation, man. There’s no way that Taylor Swift’s 1989 was better than Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Shit, even Adele knew that 25 wasn’t better than Beyoncé’s Lemonade, fam. She basically said as much during her acceptance speech, bruh. The point is, artists, especially Black artists, need to realize that these awards don’t make or break them. All in all, they’re winners regardless, brethren.

In the end, the Grammys ain’t low for cutting Drake’s speech short, son. Yeah, the committee tried to say they thought he was finished, but we don’t believe that, man. Ultimately, Drake used his platform to say some real shit and the powers that be didn’t like it, fam. By and by, he’s still the biggest artist in the world and there’s nothing they can do about it, bruh. At the end of the day, folks ain’t gonna stop bumping Drake because the Grammys are mad at him, people. It is what it is. That is all. LC out.

P.S. I’m going to try my best to leave Jennifer Lopez alone, son. All I can say is, I don’t know what Motown she ever watched, man. The fact is, I wasn’t here for her “Jenny From The Block” remix of Berry Gordy’s brainchild, fam. And I’m a Bronx dude saying that, bruh. *Sigh* Good day.