Drop A Gem On ‘Em: RIP Prodigy

Look, I won’t lie, son. This death hit me hard, man. I mean, Prodigy from Mobb Deep literally defined an era for me. Shit, all jokes aside, today’s post could either be one paragraph or an entire dissertation. Prodigy had a profound impact on how I understand Rap music. In addition, his music is a vivid reminder of the New York I grew up in. All in all, Hip Hop lost a fucking LEGEND yesterday, fam! All I can say is, Rest In Peace, Prodigy!

Now, as a rapper myself, the first line is always the hardest for me to write. On the real, that one bar sets the tone for the entire verse. Needless to say, Prodigy was a MASTER at coming up with a flawless opening quote. To that point, everyone should read this article from Phonte, formerly of Little Brother. He perfectly explained how Prodigy’s power came from how he began his rhyme. Bruh, just try maintaining composure after hearing a man say “there’s a war going on outside no man is safe from.” Listen, it’s impossible, son! Ultimately, Prodigy was brilliant at writing lines that stuck in the listener’s head.

Moving on, the word on the street is that Prodigy died from complications related to sickle-cell anemia. Now, for anyone who has followed his career, his illness shouldn’t be a surprise. However; he had the condition for so long, I just figured he would always be in the clear. Apparently, we were all wrong. In any case, dying at 42 is insane, man! Like, I couldn’t possibly imagine being dead in ten years, fam. With that being said, situations like this should remind us that we can never take life for granted. By and by, we never know when all of this is going to stop.

In the end, I just want to celebrate Prodigy’s legacy. To that end, below are a bunch of my favorite Mobb Deep/solo songs. I just hope that he knew how much his music meant to people like me. RIP, Prodigy.

Police Never De-Escalate: The Story Of Charleena Lyles

*Sigh* I… *Sigh* Seriously, man? A pregnant woman? A 5’2″ mother of four who was carrying another child? The police really couldn’t find a way to de-escalate this situation? Honestly, what the fuck are they teaching cops in these academies, man? Like, I truly don’t understand why EVERY situation involving Black people ends with death. All in all, regardless of the story that the authorities will try to tell, Charleena Lyles should still be alive.

Now, before I continue, let me address the inevitable naysayers. I mean, regardless of the situation, there are always people who try to justify the actions of the police. So, yes, Lyles may have had mental issues. Yes, the police had a checkered history with her. Apparently, her apartment was flagged “hazard information” by the department. Anyway, yes, she may have been holding a knife when the cops entered her unit. In any case, with all of that being said, it doesn’t change the fact that she called them for help.

Look, the authorities went to Lyles’ apartment because SHE reached out to them. She contacted them about a potential burglary and was looking for some assistance. However; instead of treating her like a woman in need, the police automatically went there anticipating hostility. For example, the station sent two officers to her residence instead of one. As of now, the cops are claiming that they shot her because she was brandishing a knife. Apparently, according to their “training,” they don’t know any other methods of de-escalation.

My thing is, so what is she had a knife? Lest we forget, Lyles was reporting a burglary. Why wouldn’t a pregnant woman with four other children in the house arm herself for protection? In addition, even if the cops were scared, why couldn’t they use their tasers? I mean, why do officers even have them, fam? They never seem to use them in the appropriate situations. Listen, if they really thought this pregnant woman was a threat, they could’ve tased her and then figured out the best way to proceed. Instead, they treated her like a criminal in her own home and killed her in front of her kids.

Ultimately, I’m speechless, man. Like, this has to be one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice. In the end, no minority is safe from the wrath of the police department. By and by, it’s an incredibly hopeless feeling when we realize that literally ANYONE can be murdered. *Sigh* What the fuck are we supposed to do now, fam? I really don’t know what else to say. LC out.

No Justice For Terence Crutcher

*Sigh* I’m devastated right now, man. Like, I’m having a hard time even putting my thoughts into words, fam. I mean, I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that Betty Shelby got away with murdering Terence Crutcher or the fact that I’m not even shocked by the verdict. Bruh, the jury couldn’t even convict her of manslaughter? Manslaughter?! A man was shot after his car broke down and his killer couldn’t even get the minimum charge? Honestly, why would Black people EVER trust in the injustice system, son?

Now, I could write an entire dissertation here, but what’s the point, man? What’s the fucking point anymore? All I know is, the cycle never ends. My people die and America doesn’t give a shit. The worse part is, America doesn’t even pretend to give a shit either. Look, Shelby’s lawyer said she was “elated” that she got off. Shit, this woman took a human being’s life and she couldn’t give a single fuck, bruh. At this point, I’m freakishly calm because I don’t know how to properly channel my rage. All in all, I just want to say Rest In Peace to Terence Crutcher.

Ultimately, I have nothing else to say, man. Fuck this shit. LC out.

A Letter To Jordan Edwards

Dear Jordan Edwards,

*Sigh* It pains me to know that you’ll never get to live a full life. It pains me to know that you’ve become another victim of tyrannical policing. It pains me to know that your friends had to witness your demise. It pains me to know that another family has to mourn the loss of a loved one. At this point, I feel physically weak, man. I’m exhausted from watching innocent Black people lose their lives over nothing. I’m tired of our community being terrorized by a system that hates us. All I can say is, your life mattered, Jordan.

Listen, on the real, I can’t judge you for being a 15-year-old at a rowdy party. Hell, I had my first sip of alcohol during my sophomore of high school. Keep in mind, I was on a boarding school-funded trip to China when I got shit-faced on Georgi Vodka with some of my friends. With that being said, I could never criticize you for having a night out, man. Then again, when I read that you and your friends didn’t even drink at that party, I learned that you were even better than I was at your age.

All I know is, your story is yet another example of the horror that Black people constantly deal with. You left a party that was supposedly getting out of hand and you ended up dead. I mean, it’s fucking baffling, fam! Of COURSE, the police had to claim that you and your friends were driving in an “aggressive manner” to justify your death. As if any spin story could rationalize shooting an unarmed teenager in the head. Fuck, man, when is the bullshit going to stop?! My only hope is that you rest in peace while the cops collapse under the weight of their own lies.

In the end, I really don’t know what else to say, Jordan. Your death hurts. All of these deaths hurt. I… I’ve got nothing else, man. Just rest well, Jordan. Rest well.

Sincerely,

A man who’s running out of ways to honor victims like you

RIP Prince

So, let me begin this post by proclaiming that Prince is the greatest artist of all time. Yes, I am fully aware of the magnitude of that statement, son. No, this isn’t up for debate, man. In any case, I was truly devastated when he died last year. Like, devastated to the point that my wife and friends actually called to check up on me. They all knew how HUGE of a Prince fan I was and still am. With that being said, on the one year anniversary of his passing, I just want to pay homage to the G.O.A.T.

Ok, instead of rambling about how much I want to be Prince, I’ll just let his music do the talking, man. Now, anyone who was familiar with the dude knew he was notorious for taking his art off of the internet. So, it was always hard to find songs to send to people. In any case, there’s a full concert of his that’s been circulating on YouTube for the last two years. The footage is from January of 1982, meaning it’s pre-Revolution and pre-1999. Ultimately, this is young Prince in his rawest form, decimating the audience in front of him. All in all, this is the way I want to remember the man. Anyway, everyone can watch the concert below.

In the end, Rest In Peace to my favorite musician. Shit, my guitar playing is a bit suspect these days, but I’ll be sure to bust out a “chicken grease” chord in Prince’s honor. LC out.

Damn, Darkness: RIP Charlie Murphy

Damn, son. *Sigh* All I can do is shake my head, man. On the real, Rest In Peace to Charlie Murphy. Cancer has taken yet another victim, bruh. Now, contrary to what some news outlets might say, Charlie was way more than Eddie Murphy‘s older brother. In fact, he was a master storyteller, a quick-witted verbal flame thrower and a dude who was hilariously menacing. All in all, we lost a great talent and his legacy should be celebrated.

Now, maybe I’m dating myself, but my first real memory of Murphy was in the movie CB4. Yeah, I know he was in a few films before that, including a couple of Spike Lee joints, but I vividly remember him as Gusto. Look, I got endless joy out of watching him terrorize Albert (Chris Rock). His aggression was always funny and it made every scene entertaining to watch.

Moving on, as time progressed, he found himself on every visual medium imaginable. However; no one will ever forget his role on Chappelle’s Show. Listen, everything he did with Dave Chappelle on that show was gold, son. EVERYTHING, man! Whether we’re talking about “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” or “The Mad Real World” or the “Player Hater’s Ball,” Murphy created nothing but classic material, fam.

Ok, keeping it a buck, Chappelle may be the greatest comedian of all time. With that being said, the most memorable material from his show might actually be Murphy’s stories about Rick James and Prince. Think about that for a second, man. That’s how great Murphy was. Even legends like Chappelle and his brother Eddie knew how phenomenal Charlie was. As Eddie always said, Charlie was “his best impression.”

In the end, Murphy deserves his respect. He put in the time and the effort to be considered an icon. Now, let’s celebrate his memory by slapping a “habitual line-stepper” and then eating a plate of pancakes. RIP Charlie Murphy!

P.S. Prayers up to Murphy’s children. Due to his untimely demise from leukemia, his kids are now technically orphans. Unfortunately, Murphy’s wife, Tisha Taylor, died from cervical cancer in 2009. I swear, cancer might be the worst thing to ever plague humanity, man. That is all.

My Day At The National Museum Of African American History & Culture

First off, I want to give a major shout-out to the Christian Divas at the Epworth United Methodist Church in the Bronx, New York. My wife is a part of this group/church and they’re the ones who organized the trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.. Now, before I continue, let me make a public service announcement: everyone needs to go to this museum, man! It truly is a rich and detailed history of the Black experience in America. Meaning, it wholly documents the good, the bad, the ugly, the super ugly and the egregiously ugly. With that being said, I just want to talk about my day at the museum. Let’s go!

To begin, our group started from the building’s lower levels and worked our way to the top floor. The History Galleries occupy the bottom three floors and they tell our history from the 15th century until today. Now, I won’t lie, son. Walking through these exhibits can be very taxing on the soul. It’s incredibly infuriating to see how we were kings and queens, willfully trading goods with Europe, and ended up being the merchandise ourselves.

On the real, seeing actual chains, illustrations of how we were packed onto ships and quotes from some of our callous captors can be an absolute mind-fuck, son. In addition, seeing things like real slave auction blocks, Nat Turner’s Bible and authentic cowskin whips can leave the strongest people feeling deflated. However; looking at Emmett Till’s casket nearly did me in, man. For the life of me, I will NEVER understand how anyone could do that to a 14-year-old boy. So, for that, Carolyn Bryant Donham can burn in the deepest depths of Hell. Recanting her story does NOTHING to bring that boy back, man.

Moving on, walking through gallery after gallery started to take a toll on me. Seeing my people go from slavery to segregation to the prison industrial complex can be extremely heavy on the heart. With that being said, thank the Lord for the Community and Culture Galleries on the upper floors, son! Being the musician I am, I immediately found myself in the music section. How could I not be happy after taking pictures of J Dilla’s MPC, Funkadelic’s Mothership and Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac? Side note, Rest In Peace to Chuck Berry, man. Fuck what anyone else says, THAT MAN invented Rock & Roll, son! No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Anyway, walking through these galleries was exactly what I needed after the History Galleries.

In the end, I really enjoyed my time there. It was dope to bring my oldest son and watch him learn. I mean, it would be hard for him to grasp everything so soon, but I definitely wanted him to start learning about history. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what ethnicity anyone is. Everyone needs to visit this museum, man. Well done, Smithsonian. Well done indeed. LC out.

P.S. Shout-out to singer-songwriter Kendra Foster. I ran into her at the museum and she was awesome to talk to. Outside of her dope self-titled debut album, she also helped D’Angelo write the lyrics to most of Black Messiah. Now, anyone who knows me knows how much of a D’Angelo stan I am. In any case, she’s awesome. That is all.