Enjoying where you are

Recently on an episode of the new and very popular TV show Happy Endings, Penny’s date discovered her notepad with her first name with his last name scribbled all over the page.  When her date asked what that was about, she had to explain that she was “trying out his last name.” The genius of it was his last name was Hitler… [Continue reading here]
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What I’ve Been Up To…

 

First of all, THANK YOU, yes YOU for the continued support over the last 2 years.

 

Secondly, many people that aren’t connected to me via facebook or twitter have asked what I’ve been up to and, more important, what’s up with the blog?  In short I have been doing everything in my power to get closer to my ever-evolving dreams.  And well, I still have a ways to go!

 

However I have been doing a little writing when I can fit it in with the Washington DC Examiner. And I’ve decided to share them on here as well, so you are able to connect and stay in touch as often as you would like. As always, I am open to feedback on here or anywhere I publish!!

 

Your continued support means the world!

 

*posts to follow*

Running After Dreams: An Interview with 330

photo credit: s. deneen photography

It was after the instrumentals faded out on 330’s Mic Check that it really began to sink in that 330 is a star in the making.  Her flow takes you back to a time before rap gimmicks, before the money, the cars, and the unnecessary stunting…when pictures were painted with words. Yet 330’s content is futuristic and guaranteed to take hip-hop to the next level.
As a native of the suburb Harrisburg, PA, a Howard University Alum, with a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University, 330 seems like the most unlikely candidate to enter the hip-hop game.  So when we caught up, I had to know what motivated her to move beyond being one of the few  ladies rapping on The Yard with the fellas to pursuing her dream to become the newest rising star in hip-hop.
We are going to skip the usual pleasantries and jump right in. With a J.D. degree, you may very well be the most educated artist in the game; do you feel you have to prove yourself more to be taken seriously?
Nope, I don’t feel like I have to prove myself  as an hip-hop artist any more than any other artist.
It seems that Hip-Hop as a whole is growing up and becoming more educated.  Do you feel that helps your acceptance within the hip-hop community or does it even matter?
I was just listening to Lil B… so I am not sure how educated it is becoming.  But hip-hop is so powerful because of its ability to touch so many people from all walks of life.  We all know where the origins of hip hop are, and we pay homage to it.  But if hip-hop is becoming more educated then I think it is good. The result of more educated artists is probably more a result of society.  Society as a whole is becoming more educated, and I think that is reflective in hip-hop as well.
Sorry I’m Late is the title of your mixtape- I couldn’t think of a more appropriate title. Where have you been? Do you feel that waiting until completing your formal education has helped you develop as an artist?
Sometimes I regret releasing a project so late in comparison to other artists; but more so than not, I am glad I released it when I did.  I am less of a target to be manipulated by a label executive because I am an [educated] adult.  Also, I’ve been through so many life experiences- in my art, in my relationships- that helps me bring more relevance to my music.
Rap videos have glorified girl-on-girl interactions for over a decade now, then that seemed to trickle into mainstream media.  Do you feel a cultural glorification of girls liking girls will help your acceptance in a mainstream music market?
That glorification is and will help, but that is not necessarily a good thing.  But is a sad reality, our culture has always been more accepting of women to engage in homosexuality over our male counterparts.  It is a disgusting double standard that exists.  This is even more so in this industry.  I definitely have it easier than my male gay counterparts in this industry.
It seems that rapper Eve is making a comeback. I only mention her because it seems it has been a minute since a female emcee hasn’t been oversexed to sell an album.  How do you respond to the pressure of selling sex as a female emcee?
Personally, I will prescribe by simply saying no. That is not the approach I want to take.  However, I don’t have an issue with artists selling that sexy image; the problem comes in when you neglect other aspects of the person.  The question should be, “Can we also market her as a great lyricist??”  I understand marketing but it is important not to get lost in it.
My favorite track is Running After Dreams.  Who was the hardest person you had to convince that this wasn’t a hobby for you but actually a real achievable dream?
I’d have to say probably my mom.  I have had incredible support but my mother, while she is always so supportive she was the most difficult to convince.  I’ve had so many interests over the years- to be an actor, go into the Peace Corp, so because she knows me so well it was hard to win her over.  So now with all of the success, she is taking it more seriously.  But I love her for that because it makes me work harder.
What has been the hardest lesson you had to learn about the music business? Do you regret not taking a typical career path?
I don’t know if I had much of a choice in career matter because I am looking for a job…  But the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is patience.  I am really impulsive, and I when I have an idea I want to impose it right then or the next day.  However, it takes time to build to a team, to push a project, and to build a fanbase.  The other lesson would have to be respect because there are some really arrogant people in this industry.  I had to learn to work with the most difficult personalities to achieve an objective.  It is very humbling.
 I said earlier that my favorite track is Running After Dreams, but I feel that Mic Check is the best display of your flow. What is your favorite track and why?
No One– the second verse because it is just like a stream of consciousness and the beat feels kind of ol’ school with no clear pattern.  It was very much reflective of me- kinda all over the place.  But I played with my words a lot on there.  Some of the stuff was serious and some was ignorant, so it was fun to combine that on one track.
And I love Lowkey because of the beat box. My dude Max is a genius. My homie Fred – we call him Cypha Chef because he is always cooking, is on the hook, so that was a fun one. My homie Strange Fruit was also there when we were recording that track.  I was in the booth rapping and they were dancing on the engineer side.  They were feeling it, so it was just a lot of fun to record that track. It brings back good memories.
What is something your fans may be surprised to find out about you?
They will be surprised to find out about the music I listen to. I listen to everything.  There are enough people in the world and enough consumers that every type of rapper has an audience.  Some people might not be into Nicki Minaj because they are not into being a Barbie, but a lot of people are.
I was listening to Lil B just a minute ago.  I was just listening to Mendelssohn, a classical composer, earlier today.  I actually listen to every artist who hands me a cd or email a song, I listen to everybody’s music. I am not perfect and may not get to it right away, but I will listen to it.
Ballet?
What about it? Yeah, I studied to classical ballet from the age of 3 to 18.  I stopped to go to Howard.  I felt I wanted to explore different arts at the time in the program didn’t really allow for that.  I wanted to incorporate all of this art and expression, and I couldn’t.
Do you feel like being exposed to the arts from such a young age has helped you with your performance?
Yes, it has definitely helped because I have a lot of areas to draw from.  My metaphors and ability to paint picture are more elaborate than a lot of people. As a rapper I am more rigid in my performance though. Now, my auntie who has been so supportive thinks I should incorporate both- ballet and rap.
Kanye did it.
Kanye is a genius. But I pretty sure my auntie meant she wants me to do ballet and then start rapping…
Hilarious! Well, let’s say it is a Monday night, 9 at night, where are you and what are you doing?
Monday night…well, right now I am sitting on my couch during a phone interview. Normally, I would be sitting on my couch writing music or staring at my computer… probably drinking.  I write a lot of music at night.  But I think I write better in the morning. I just feel this constant urge to get this shit done so the pressure is on to get a verse done now.  I can’t chill. I always feel like I need to be working on something.
330 is currently working on her second mixtape that is expected to drop in June.  Also be on the lookout for her new video, Money.  She will also be performing on June 9, 2011 for the ACLU’s Statehood Event on the West Lawn U.S. Capitol Grounds.
 
Find 330:
330-facebookpage
twitter: @330_music
website: www.330musiconline.com
mixtape: SorryI’mLate

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Thanks so much for the support this year!  It has been an awesome experience watching the blog grow from a few friends to what it is now.


I just wanted to take the time out to wish you all a Very Happy Holiday Season! I hope you all find joy in the simplest, yet greatest things- family, a child’s smile, and laughing so hard you cry.  Make memories and I will do the same.


Merry CHRISTmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!!!


With Love

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His Safe Place

We all have layers.  In our technological age, frequent use of social networking sites such as twitter and facebook can begin to unravel some of our layers.  Women on social sites, as reflected in life, seem to be more open and comfortable sharing most, if not all, of their layers in both a public and private environment.  Men, even the most social of them, have two separate distinct personas- the one for public consumption and the private one.
As women, we can often share our most personal experiences with strangers.  Even the most elusive women begin to open up after significant time and experiences are shared.  However with men, neither time nor experience are the determining factors for him to begin to take off his public persona and expose his innermost self.  This self is the one that doesn’t hide behind humor, pride, or a performance.  Instead, it reveals his true perspectives, emotions, fears and limitations.
Women have the tendency to erroneously conclude if intimate acts are exchanged then you automatically are privy to a man’s innermost self.  Women also believe that sharing their innermost thoughts and fears should persuade a man to do the same.  It doesn’t work that way.  In my experiences, it takes a special kind of mutual trust for a man to open up and let his guard down.  He has to not only trust the woman on a basic level.  He has to trust that she will not ridicule him.  He has to trust that she will not tell another soul, not even her best girlfriend.  And the most important thing [that separates the wives from the pack] is he has to trust that whatever shared will never, ever be used as a weapon of attack against him.  The upper echelon of women will do anything in their power to make it better.  Then and only then has a woman created his safe place- a place where his true self, void of any pretenses, are completely safe.
The odd thing about successfully creating a man’s safe place is that there is never any prior notice.  A man will not announce it to you.  There will be no cards, flowers, or dinner to celebrate the momentous occasion.  There will just be a day… when the weight of the world is on his shoulders… or he losses someone special…or he has a new brilliant idea, and he will come… to you.

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Filling in the Blanks: A Love Story

I rarely talk about my relationships in real time.  I try to make a point to either reflect on past lessons or declare future expectations. However, I will make an exception today.

I often find myself defending the progress of my relationship- sometimes to newer friends and sometimes to strangers.  The seemingly instant gravity of what most consider a “new” relationship could startle those that have met me post-college.  The reality is the man I love I have known since I was twelve; we grew up on the same street.  Although we went to the same elementary school together, I didn’t know him then because he was two grades ahead of me, and you know back then, that is a big difference.  I met him soon after I entered junior high where I was bussed to and from our elementary school.  I had just gotten off the [short] bus at our elementary school in our neighborhood and he was outside with a mutual friend.  I had seen him around before but never knew his name.  So after a formal introduction, I honestly didn’t pay him any mind but I thought he was hilarious.  I guess it was a few weeks, when he was still there every day when I got off the bus to walk me home that I began to take him seriously…well as serious as you can take someone at the age of twelve.
Even then, there was something different about him.  He was consistent and dependable something most men my age now still haven’t mastered.  He also wasn’t focused on sex or over my house when my parents weren’t home like the rest of our neighborhood.  He was missing out though because we had fun!  I got in trouble, but it was worth it, every single time.  I’ve digressed.
As most teenage love affairs, ours was an on and off thing for years.  It was not that anything bad happened between us, but I just like to think that I was trying to maximize my dating potential.  So when it was time for me to leave to go to college, his conversations about becoming serious were ignored.  They were ignored again a few years later, when I was home on a break.  Looking back, I wonder how much heartache and grief I would have saved myself had I listened then.  But then again, I wouldn’t be who I am now, nor he be the man he is.  There were a few conversations later about a new woman in his life that he was getting serious with and then we lost touch.
When I moved back to Dallas in 2008, I tried to find him everywhere.  I asked people from our old neighborhood if they knew where he was and no one knew.  I tried to reach out to him once more before I left Dallas earlier this year and moved back to D.C., and again could not find him.  I have no idea why I was looking for him… no clue; I just know he never left my spirit.  So this summer, again, I am internet stalking for this man with no luck.  I asked a few more friends that might have his number and no one did.  And then I saw a friend suggestion (good ol’ facebook) for our mutual friend, the man that formally introduced way back when we were kids.  Finally, I knew I was close. And lo and behold, the man I had been searching for was on his friend’s list.  I know, stalkerish.  But little did I know, he had been talking about me all the time too as our friend explained that he brought me up in every conversation like he had just talked to me recently.   So after, the man I had been searching for years finally accepted my friend request a week later, I sent him a two worded message: “Call me”  along with my number.  There were no hellos, how have you beens, or the usual pleasantries because 1) I was driving from a wedding in New Jersey and stuck in traffic at a toll so I had to  facebook quickly and 2) because it wasn’t necessary.  My phone rung literally 20 seconds later and we exchanged hellos with sighs of relief, but it began to storm so I needed to get off the phone.  I explained to him that I would call him as soon as I made it back safely to D.C.  He understood and said “before I let you go I need you to know I am in still in love with you.”  I hung up the phone and screamed…of joy, of course.  I called him once I made it back to safely and almost immediately realized that he still the man I once loved, except better.  We already knew the essence of each other, time hadn’t changed that thankfully.  All we had to do now was simply fill in the blanks between then and now.

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Life Is Good

I know, I just disappeared.  My deepest apologies.  Life has been quite a whirlwind the last several months, and I honestly just needed time to focus on the things that would undoubtedly affect my future.  That said, in my time away from the blog, I have received a new promotion at work and am in the processing of moving into a new (very nice) place, and working grad school tests and applications.  Life is finally working itself out for the better and I must say I couldn’t be happier about it.  Life is good.
I have received many questions about the state of the blog, and I am so grateful to have such a faithful following.  You all have made the rough days brighter, so thank you.  While this promotion takes away from the time I previously used to write, I am dedicated to finding a balance to continue to do what I love and what I get paid to do- both well.  I hate half-assing anything with my name on it.  So I won’t.
The most asked question among my friends since I took a break from the blog is, “has your finding love and/or being in a relationship now made you feel like you no longer have the need to write?”  I think that is a valid question because so much of my blog up to that point was about self-assessment and the things I desire in my next (and hopefully, prayerfully LAST) relationship.  In while being in a relationship does deplete some of my free time outside of work, I hardly ever wrote after work anyway.  However, in regard to the question, I feel the complete opposite.  I feel as if I have so much more to write about and from a better perspective than before.  If anything, the relationship should add validity to what I’ve always said, eh??
Well, that is all I have for today.  So much to write about this week, but I wanted to start here before I just jumped back out there.  Again, thank you.

 

Life’s good!

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Vacationing

As I stated last week, I was super excited about coming home.  In lieu of that I will take this week off to spend time enjoying my family and friends and those most important to me.  So no new posts for the rest of this week which I feel will give me the time to really enjoy life’s precious moments.  However, I look forward to resuming next Monday as I have so many new ideas already since arriving home, and I can’t wait to share them.  Also in the coming weeks, there will be some changes and growing, so get ready! It will be awesome!
As always, thank YOU for the continuous support.  Feel free to catch up on any posts you may have missed!

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Coming From Where I From

I’m pretty excited about going home this weekend. Yes, I will always refer to Dallas, my hometown, as home.  And while, I have always been eager to move away , I can never stay away for too long.  I’ve always understood that this place and those relationships are the core of my existence.
Specifically, I enjoy my time spent with older and elderly people.  In D.C most of my time is spent around my peers.  All of my jobs up until now have also been mostly ran and employed by people in my age group.  The level of comfort among people in your age group, regardless of position, is one of the things that make this city so fun.   Nevertheless, I miss spending my Sunday afternoons over one of the elders from the church’s house and just listening to their stories.
There is one older gentleman in particular whose house I used to visit for hours upon hours.  His home was one that anyone that knew him could just drop in or if you saw the patio open just step on in.  It was warm. As a child I would fall asleep on the couch and miss some of the life lessons shared in that home or on that patio.
This man married the love of his life for some 50+ years.  He loved her until the day she passed away which will be 15 years ago next week.  Well, really, if you talk to him today, he will still tell you that she is still his wife and the absolute love of his life.  And when people ask him if he would ever remarry, he would reply “I’m still married.  I promised to be with only her until the day I die, and well she would kill me if I had another woman up in her house.” Even as a young girl, I knew what they had was what I wanted.
He would also tell stories of growing up as a sharecropper and surviving the Great Depression, World War II, and Jim Crow.  He is not one to brag, but eventually I would ask about his roles in the local NAACP chapter and how used his business, community, and church to bring attention to the national civil rights movement and local concerns for social justice.
As he spoke, I envisioned him as a child, as a young man, and his progression up until the older man I see today.  It is through his stories that I am reminded that everything is only for a season and we are designed to grow. Yet, the most important thing he shared was his mistakes, the things he wished he would have done better, and oddly enough, the things that even at this point of his life where he still seeks improvement.  In a world where everything is instant and tries to give the illusion of perfection, it is home where I like to slow down, turn off the blackberry, and just enjoy these kinds of moments and learn something new about life.

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I Like My Men… Ready

Ready and Prepared- or so I thought...

I once said, “I like my men, like my entrée at my favorite restaurant, ready and prepared by time they make it to my table or I am sending it back!” I meant it.  I mean it.  However, at the time, I was referring to the superficial- his style, his career and making him a good fit for me.

It was out of my frustration in “preparing” my previous boyfriend that the statement had derived.  He, like most men his age, was rough around the edges.  He hadn’t quite found his own style yet.  He lacked focus on things important to him.  He was good to me, but me being my helpful self was always suggesting ways for him to improve.  This is clearly why we didn’t last.  However, I did leave a positive imprint on his life, and he did for me as well.  But in months and years after, he begin to evolve into what I thought was the perfect man for me.  The one I “prepared” for me all along.  I was wrong.
As time passed, I said I no longer wanted to go through that draining grooming process.  I wanted my next man “to be ready.”  The statement in itself is not foolish; in fact, it is practical.  It was my definition of “ready” that was erroneous.  It wasn’t until the last six months or so that “ready” begin to take on an entire new connotation for me.  Ready, for me, is now more of a mindset, rather than a destination.  I’ve realize the thing that separates the exceptional from the ordinary is that the exceptional are always in route to the next point.  There is no settling or extended complacency but always willing to be the driving force in their own progression- spiritually, financially, emotionally.  Ready is willing and capable of accepting your significant other’s well being as your own.
I’m so glad I came to that realization months ago because I may have missed this.  I would have been focusing on the insignificant and unwilling to put forth the small effort toward my own readiness.  What I am fortunate to have now is a heart of eternal readiness prepared by life and designed specifically for me.  There is a stark difference in the present in the past.  In what I have learned is that hearts cannot be groomed.

Thanks to everyone that has made this 100th post possible!!

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