BornTooBlog Readers

July 31, 2012

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta: Therapy

Well, Mona Scott-Young has brought us the juiciest reality show known to man and it is quickly becoming America's favorite guilty pleasure viewing choice.  Last night's episode of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta was outrageous, touching, intriguing and a *side eye* factor all at the same damn time.  We saw Mimi and Stevie J attempt to bring some sanity to their interactions by speaking to a clinical psychologist.  Although he is the therapist from the infamous Maury Povich daytime talk show, he quickly got to the core of Mimi and Stevie's issues and helped them open up about their pasts.  Knowing now that Stevie J was abandoned by his mother at birth sheds a lot of light as to his faulty dealings with the women in his life and Mimi's Mommy issues also lend to her need to keep Stevie J around.  I'm proud to see Vh1 showing the importance of therapy in this positive light and how it can help heal open wounds.  More couples should be as brave and courageous as Stevie and Mimi...kudos to them.

Scrappy was up to his old shady ways trying to plan and plot a strategy to get off child support.  I understand many young males of color don't like the system/government in their "business", but why is there a need to pay for expensive lawyers if you're planning on paying the child support anyway?  Sounds kind of backwards to me, but I hope him and Erica figure it out.  Although Side Chick Buckey (from Flavor Flav's Flavor of Love dating show) is conniving and ratchet, she has a little bit of sense and may be able to help guide Scrappy to the right course of action.

Joseline aka The Side Chick is quickly claiming her personal power and slowly cutting the strong ties that Stevie J bonds her with.  Sleazy, I mean, Stevie J is quick to always remind her that he will exile her from the music industry and send her packing all her thongs, back to the strip club, but his threats are starting to wear thin on the poor child.  I'm not sure how the season will end between Joseline and her "man-ager", but Lord knows something needs to change.

Benzino and Karlie Redd are just too much and I am really trying to figure out if this is a publicity stunt on both sides to improve their images.  Visions of Benzino figuratively running through The Source magazine offices smacking ass and going under skirts comes to mind (this is not fact), but he now is showing his soft and human side while around Karlie as he spoils her and lavishes her with gifts and attention.  I really can't be mad at the brother though; He's very charming and convincing.

At times I think that Mimi, Stevie, Joseline, Karlie and K. Michelle, who is such a talented artist, are all just great actors, but then I realize that Love & Hip Hop is so ratchet, ignorant, hilarious, addicting and ridiculous that I think to myself, you just can't write stuff like this. 

Who is your favorite character on LHHATL and why?
Do you feel bad for Mimi?
Does Karlie Redd seem sincere?
Who do you dislike the most on the show?

July 24, 2012

Drake & Kendrick Lamar: You Changed!!!!

Drake and Kendrick Lamar are two rappers that I was listening to before they got BIG, so to speak.  Its been bugging me for sometime now that I'm noticing the changes in their content and persona, now that they've signed on to major record labels with Drake at Cash Money and Lamar at Aftermath.  When Drake first came out he was much more earthy and sensitive and his content was much more "girl friendly", which is what initially attracted me to him.  Kendrick also seemed to be more of a conscious rapper before he teamed up with Dr. Dre to produce his recent musical efforts.

In my humble opinion, Drake signing with Cash Money may have skyrocketed him to super stardom and gained him millions of fans throughout the world, but as far as his musical content, I think it might be the worse decision he ever made.  When Drake was set to go pro (sign on to a major label) there was a bidding war between all of the top labels so he pretty much had the ability to pick and choose who he would officially start his professional career with.  Many artists are not as privileged to be at the center of a bidding war and able to decisively choose the right fit for what they are seeking to accomplish in their musical career.  When I initially heard that Drake had chosen to sign with Cash Money I was weary of what it might mean for his image and sound.  Well, so far, Drake has gone from the sensitive, introspective and seemingly "harmless" Jewish boy from Canada to a bottle slinging, gun toting, entourage accompanying, tough guy that threatens other rappers and dares them to throw rocks at the Cash Money throne. *sigh*

Kendrick Lamar was also a unique and artistic rapper that seemed to shun record industry standards with musical content and artistry that dared to be different and dare I say it, conscious.  If you know the West Coast music industry well, you are well aware that it is very rare to see an artist come from the West Coast that is not a gangsta from Compton or Watts and/or a blood or crip.  Its almost as if Snoop Dogg branded our side to damnation, as record labels refuse to produce any artists that do not fit this stagnant gangsta/thug prototype.  At first, Kendrick was a breath of fresh air, and he still is, but I am wondering just how much Dr. Dre's influence will deter him from his roots of uniqueness.  At first Lamar was beckoning ladies to tear down their masks in "No Makeup" off his "Section 80" mixtape, where he proclaimed:

Damn girl, why so much?
You bout to blow your cover when you cover up
Don’t you know your imperfections
Is a wonderful blessing
From heaven, is where you got it from
I love your smile
You can do it without style
From your lips, all the way to your eyebrows
It’s the beauty in her
But when the makeup occur
I don’t see it, all I see is a blur

Now, I hear Lamar taking on the bad boy/playa role with lyrics like:

My nigga said he wanna fly out to get him some
3ws only for a three day run
Bitch, take the muthaf--king panties off you ain't no nun, shit
I be living in the sky every time i ride by them hoes

The lyrics above are from his debut single, "The Recipe" featuring Dr. Dre where he explains the top 3 reasons why people come to Los Angeles/Cali, which are "women, weed and weather".  This tone of lyrics is a far cry from the newcomer that once talked about the trials and tribulations of growing up in the hood, political activism, the importance of being yourself, etc. etc.  I am in no way saying that Lamar has done a complete 180 on his former views and lyrical content, but one can only wonder if his inner voice will be watered down to package him for the Hip Hop community the way that only Dr. Dre can.

Please don't get me wrong because I still love these two dudes' music and I salute their artistic capabilities.  I just hope that in selling their music through a major label distributor that they don't sell their souls.

Have you noticed that once independent artists sign onto major record labels that their creative control has diminished?
Have you heard the differences in lyrical content from before Drake and Kendrick Lamar were signed to majors?
Are you no longer a fan of Drake's after he signed with Cash Money Records?
Do you see a change in Kendrick Lamar's lyrical content?

Relationships: Is He Your Type or the Marrying Type?

Too often I find myself attracted to a certain "type" of guy.  My type of guy has swag, style, confidence, charm, etc.  Much more often, I find that relationships with my "type" of man never work out because they usually have many ladies that are fighting for their affection and trust me, I will never fight over a man.  Much further beyond competition is the fact that my type is usually not the settling down kind.

What I'm coming to realize is that for as long as I can remember, my type of guy was only able to fill a temporary void when it came to relationships and never seemed to stick around for the long haul.  Nor were they capable of having a real relationship equipped with ups and downs, growth and sustainability. 

Now I find myself almost 32 years old and single....again! I am now forced to reevaluate the thinking and choices that got me where I am today.  My conclusion is that I've always been attracted to the wrong type of guys.  A six pack and big muscles won't hold you tight at night, nor will it calm your fears and support you through thick and thin.  I am now redefining my type to include qualities that don't address physical attributes, such as a willingness to settle down, build a foundation and start a family.  Other qualities that I am now more keenly focused on are commitment, trust, loyalty and honesty.

People always say you can have it all, but I constantly wonder if that is really the case.  Most of my peers that are getting married seem to have the right idea about what the "marrying type" is.  I do want to get married eventually and possibly have kids and I realize now that my "type" isn't the "marrying type".  I'm ready to shed past hurts, disappointments and misconceptions to find the love that I truly want and deserve.  I am a work in progress, but now I feel I am progressing in the right direction towards the goals I want to achieve in my life.  So I'm saying goodbye to my "type" and hello to the "marrying type".  This will take time and lots of self reflection, but I feel now more than ever I am ready to claim my prize of true love and commitment.

LADIES: Do you find that your "type" of guy is not the "marrying type"?
Do you see similarities in your relationship life as how I have described above?
Do you often feel you get the short end of the stick in love and relationships?
Are you willing to reassess the "type" of man you need instead of the "type" of man you want?

July 11, 2012

I Love My Mister Wrong

It seems that every other R&B or Hip Hop song on the radio is about a woman who can't let the man that treats her wrong go.  If its not Mary J. Blige's song "Mr. Wrong" or Jeezy's hit song "Leave You Alone", its another declaration that somehow, women are not strong enough to let go of a BAD THING because the love is so GOOD.  Where did us women get things so misconstrued along the way that we become gluttons for punishment and began to believe that because he makes us feel good in the bedroom, or can possibly deliver emotional feelings for the moment, that he deserves our time or effort?  Why do we as women overlook good men that don't necessarily fit the persona of the man that we think we want and need, that can actually treat us right and do good by us? Instead, we stick around with the players, pimps, or simply, the "emotionally unavailable" men. WHY?

Its not like these types of men show up out of nowhere and don't reveal their true selves from the beginning.  Their aura and persona shines just as brightly as their pearly whites and bulging muscles, and quite often, bulging pockets.  Us as women know what these men are about via our initial attraction to them.  The attraction is electric and cosmic.  The cocky glance and stare get us every time and all of a sudden, splash, our panties are wet with excitement.  Sadly, too often we get the short end of the stick and I'm not talking about their penis size, because usually, that's all they have to offer in the love department.  There is never a real chance at commitment or vulnerability, just a bravado that dares us to leave them, and if we do, they're on to the next leaving us torn and tattered in the aftermath.

Lyrics from Mary J. Blige's "Mr. Wrong":

Bad boys aint no good
Good boys aint no fun
Lord knows that I should
Run off with the right one
Me and Mr Wrong get along so good (so good)
Even though he breaks my heart so bad (so bad)
We got a special thing going on
Me and Mr Mister Wrong
Even if I try, no, I never could
Give him up cause his loves like that
Aint no way that I'm moving on
I love my Mr Wrong

How many times must we go through the same thing before we truly realize what is important in love and relationships?  When will we consider loving Mr. Right instead of Mr. Wrong?  When will we love ourselves enough to stop the pattern of self sabotage and self defeat regarding matters of the heart and start fresh with a focused and clear head?  All I know is I can't stand to listen to another woman sing about setting herself up for pain and regret, because she can't see past his huge and tantalizing package, as illusive as it may be.

I'm waiting for the day when the way a man makes us feel physically will always match up with our emotional wants and needs and until that day, we will never truly find true fulfillment in love.  I have been guilty of the aforementioned myself at times, which is why I say "we" and "us".  Its now time for the curse to be broken and for us to break the shackles of the love spell, which we will soon begin to realize, was never really love at all.

Do you know a woman that always falls in love with Mr. Wrong? Are you one of them?
What about Mr. Wrong attracts you and keeps you coming back for more?
Do you wish you could leave him, but simply don't feel strong enough?
Do you believe you deserve a good man aka Mr. Right?

I would love for the men to chime in as well:
Are you Mr. Right and you constantly get overlooked by women for Mr. Wrong?
Do you find that women say they want a good man, but really chase the bad boys?
As Mr. Right, have you ever contemplated playing the bad guy role to make a chick interested in you?
Do you think good guys ultimately finish last when it comes to love and relationships?

Frank Ocean Out The Closet, Is R&B Ready For A Gay Artist?

I first wrote about Frank Ocean around this time last year after hearing his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra that introduced us to an introspective, yet forthcoming new artist that was gifted with the skill of writing and evoking romantic emotion that is often unheard of from artists his age; He's only 25.  The subject matter that he displays through his songs are not only thought provoking, but wildly uncommon in this day and age of music that seems to focus solely on party and bullshit.

Ocean recently came out of the closet (acknowledging his love for men) by featuring songs on his debut album Channel Orange (released online on July 10th and available in stores next week) that focus on love and loss between two men.  This album comes highly anticipated based off his previous work with Jay-Z, Kanye, and Beyonce, as well as, his own mixtape releases, but has left his current and new fans confused on what to expect next out of the newcomer.

I caught his performance on Jimmy Fallon that aired this past Monday and he sang a love song that he wrote about a man called "Bad Religion".  I wasn't too blown away by the performance, but I thought to myself, is R&B/Hip Hop ready for a gay or possibly, bisexual artist? I've posed this question before in a previous blog titled, "Is Hip Hop Ready For Homosexuality?!?!?!."  Personally, I'm not sure if I'm ready to hear love songs about love shared between two men. I am by no means homophobic and I respect everyone's right to live free of persecution or judgement based off of their sexual preference, however, I'm just not sure if I'm ready to cross that bridge.

Below is video footage of Frank Ocean's performance on Jimmy Fallon:

I'd love to hear from my BornTooBlog readers on this one!!!!

What do you think about the performance?
Are you a fan?
Did you know he was gay/bisexual? Does it matter?
Do you plan on copping the album?
Do you think his coming out will help or hurt his career?