Must be nice

I’ve loved this song since the very first time I heard it. It has been one of those lyrics you hold on to, when you meet someone and you wonder if there’s a future in it.

Must be nice
Having someone who understands the life you live
Must be nice
Having someone who’s slow to take and quick to give
Must be nice
Having someone who sticks around when the rough times get thick
someone who’s smile is bright enough to make the projects feel like a mansion
Must be nice
Having someone who loves you despite your faults
Must be nice
Having someone who talks the talk but also walks the walk
Must be nice
Having someone who understands that a thug has feelings too
someone who loves you for sho’
you just remember to never let ’em go

Chorus:
Even when your hustling days are gone
She’ll be by your side still holding on
Even when those 20’s stop spinning

and all those gold-digging women disappear
she’ll still be here

2nd Verse: 
Must be nice
Having someone you can come home to from a long day of work
Must be nice
Having someone you don’t have to show they know exactly where it hurts
Must be nice
Having someone who trusts you despite what they’ve heard
Someone as mighty as a lion but still as gentle as a bluebird
Must be nice
Having someone you don’t have to tell you don’t want to be alone
Must be nice
Having someone you can grow old with until God calls ya’ll home
Must be nice
Having someone who understands that a thug has feelings too
someone who loves you for sho’
you just remember to never let ’em go

Chorus

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“Mommy,what are condoms?”

“Mommy, what are condoms?” I was caught off guard when my 5 year old asked me this question. She and her sister were watching a kiddie program about surviving in the wild. I sat on the couch with them, but I wasn’t paying attention to the program.

“What did you say?” I asked, trying to disguise my surprise and buying myself more time to find a kids-proof answer to the question. Answering a question with a question always works if you want to postpone a reply.

“What are condoms?” they now both asked at the same time. Still thinking about how to answer while trying to prevent more questions, I asked them what was said about condoms on tv. “Well he puts water in it and then puts it in his pocket”.
“Oh, but I guess he uses them to carry water while he’s in the woods, because they are water proof. He can tie a knot in them and that way he won’t loose any water.”
“And condoms are also used by men who don’t want to make babies” I added as if that was just one of the many things you can use condoms for.

They both said “oh” and luckily for me the next program started and their attention shifted back to tv. A relief.

This is the second time that I got really close to having “the talk”. The first time was when I was talking about the baby in my belly. Badu asked if O. will be the daddy.  I said that he put the baby there so he’s the father. Two seconds of silence. I was just waiting on the question: “How did he put the baby there?” I was bracing myself, but I was ready to explain. They didn’t request more details. They just continued talking amongst themselves about whether the baby would look like O. or like me. It was a close call, but I was safe.

I know, one day I won’t be able to avoid this conversation. They are very curious about everything.  But if possible, I would like for my kids to make an appointment and give me at least a week time to prepare for it. I won’t forget. I promise. I will write it in big red letters in my agenda. I’ll even add a few big fat exclamation marks…

Pointing fingers

Sometimes I find myself sitting with my face resting in one hand, 3 fingers bent against my cheekbone, my thumb under my chin, and my index finger stretched across my cheek, with the fingertop resting right next to my ear.

As soon as I realize the position I’m in, I correct myself. A small but significant correction. I bend my index under my chin too. Why? That exact same position reminds me of my father. He used to sit like that when he was drunk and his mind was racing. Nobody knew what was going on in his head, but I knew, if he would sit like that, with his finger stretched across his cheek, trouble was about to happen.

The very moment I realized this is imprinted in my memory. Very vividly. Like a snapshot. Very sharp, clear image. Not a moment that took long. I don’t remember what came before it, nor what exactly happened next . I just remember the breakthrough, the AHA-moment.

When we were little and we went somewhere by car, I would sit in the middle on the back seat, with my brothers on the left and the right. I was like a barrier to prevent them from fighting (eventhough that didn’t stop them). I also had the best view on the road ahead. And the front seats.

It was a sunny day and if I remember it right, it was a grey car. I was probably around 7. I don’t know if we just left to go somewhere or if we were on our way back. I know that my father was drunk. My mom annoyed. They started bickering back and forth. Tension was building up. My brothers were there, but it felt like it was just me in the backseat, staring at my dad.
I was scared for what was about to come. My heart started beating faster. My muscles tensing up and I subconsciously start to breathe a bit more quiet. You know that feeling, when you are watching a movie and the plot is about to unfold? The music builds up and you are sitting on the edge of your seat, anticipating what’s about to come. That might be the best way to compare it. Except this wasn’t a movie, but every day life for me. I didn’t choose to pop this movie in, I was born in it.

They kept snarling at each other. All of the sudden it got quiet. I looked at my dad. He was slightly leaning to the right. His elbow against the window, his forearm stretched out alongside of it. His left hand against his face. 3 fingers bent against his cheekbone, his thumb under his chin and his index finger stretched across his cheek, with the fingertop resting right next to his ear. Like it was pointing out the danger of what was going on inside his head. And I remember thinking:”That’s it! He always sits like this right before a fight breaks out!”

I leaned back and pushed myself against the car seat a bit more than usual. I wanted to sink in it, disappear in it. This was not a good sign. Did my brothers see what was about to go down? How bad would it be this time? Maybe if my brothers would just start fighting now, my parents were going to forget about their bickering-on-the-edge-of-becoming-a-full-blown-fight.

I don’t remember anything after that revelation. It was a valuable lesson though. Growing up, I learned to observe people, as a survival skill. Read the small changes in body language, voice intonation, even pattern of breathing. It told me when to escape to my room. Pretend I couldn’t hear anything. Silently crying when the pillow over my head did not block out the sounds of screaming and yelling, the accusations, the beatings, the breaking of plates and glass, the pain and frustration being released as a atomic bomb. And then I would cry louder. Scream. The sound of my voice was more comfortable than the sonic picture being forced onto my vivid imagination.

I moved out when I was 19. My father stopped drinking almost 8 years ago. They are older and calmer now. It’s more than 20 years later, but I still correct myself when I sit like my father sat that day in the car. It’s intruiging how little details can trigger a whole series of memories…

How did you meet?

No matter how long people have been together or how troublesome their relationship might be, whenever you ask them how they met, a smile will appear. They will look at each other and you can see them reminisce together. Usually the woman will tell you the story. You know, women have a better memory for romantic details. The man might tell you: we met in the park. The woman will tell you the weather of that day, where exactly in the park, why she was there, who she was with, what he was wearing, why he caught her eye…

Usually when the guy tells the story,the woman will correct him. Probably more than once. And as she takes over, he’ll sit there listening to her, looking at her, then looking at you to see the impact of her words. And for a moment, the both of them are right there again, transported back in time, meeting each other for the first time all over again. You can tell by the softer look in their eyes, how they sit up a bit straighter and lean towards each other just a bit more. A special moment in time. The first one they shared together. You can tell that they are still exited about it. They might no longer be exited about each other, but that specific memory still gives them that warm fuzzy feeling.

I love hearing these stories. They are unique. Different every time. And it’s remarkable, but a lot of times the way people meet will define their relationship.

Things are a little different now though. Our grandparents probably met through friends, on a fair, through family,… something close to home. The world in which our parents met might be a bit broader. But nowadays, people meet through the internet, dating websites, tv chats and what not. You no longer have to bump into each other to fall in love.

But one day, you will meet. Face to face. In real life. In the same area, the same place, the same timezone. And when people ask you how you guys met, you will look at each other. You will reminisce together. And the both of you will smile.

“Bad Boys” by Poker Face – a performance the way it should be

No matter how much I love hip hop and it’s creativity, 20 years later there are still things that annoy me. Probably more now than before. And most of them have to do with the supermasculinity and egotripping side of it all.

I see all these performances where you have a whole crew on stage. Like 20 people holding bottles of liquor, running around on stage, all hyped up (what’s in that bottle, boy?), doing some dances, rapping along, throwing their arms all over the place (and legs too when the beat allows it), entertaining the crowd. And the actual artist gets lost in all the crazyness. You can see him pushing his boys out of the way who are trying to steal the spotlight a little too much. And it makes me wonder: “why on earth are all those people up there?” What? The artist can’t do the show by himself?
The fact of the matter is, he probably can’t. All he can do is walk back and forth, move his arms on the beat, grab his head a few time – Kayne West style – and maybe do a little dance. But if it wasn’t for his sidekicks, people would probably get bored indeed.

And once in a blue moon, you come across an artist that makes you go: “Now THAT is a performance!” The Dallas-based artist Poker Face is like a breath of fresh air. In this video he’s up on stage all by himself. The song starts with a horror-like theme and it makes you wonder if some sidekicks are gonna jump out. But Poker Face takes the stage all by himself. He’s not asking for your attention, he’s demanding it. His hands, body and facial expressions are telling the story as much as the lyrics are. It’s almost like watching a movie. You get dragged in and taken for a wild ride, sitting on the backseat of his car.
I’m not big on gangsta rap, but this is different. He’s not glorifying the ‘thug life’, he’s stating facts. He’s not bragging, he’s reminiscing. Or at least so it seems.

A random poetic thought

When u feel like the whole world ganged up on you
And love has deserted you too
Your heart cries out to your mind
Now what are we supposed to do?

When darkness is a blessing
And daylight makes your skin too ruff
You will tighten the knot around your throat
Because you will come to realize that
Unfortunally
The rainbow wasn’t enough

copyright 2008 Poetic Seraph

Re-post: 10 questions for… Mr.Mecca

(original post http://beatthestreetz.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/10-questions-for-mr-mecca/)
I’ve known Mr.Mecca for a nice amount of years now. We started talking back in the Myspace days. I’ve loved his music from the get-go. And he turned out to be a cool, funny, nice, down-to-earth guy. So there was no doubt I had to interview him one day.
First let me introduce him. Mr Mecca is the name, the Plague is the crew. He’s from Brooklyn by way of Queens New York. (B.Q.E. Brooklyn Queens Empire)

His older brother was a member of the Dynamic breakers, a popular Hip-Hop crew in NYC in the 80′s so he’s been into Hip-Hop for as long as he can remember.

He started out freestyling with my boys as a kid. When he got older he got in a battle as a dare. (Basically to get this girls number. hahaha!) But when he won, the host, a popular VJ named Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Boxapproached him for his demo. He didn’t have one because at that time, he wasn’t taking music seriously. The attention or this VJ convinced Mr.Mecca that he should though! The rest is history in the making.

So now that you know his history, let’s get up close and personal!
– Hey Mecc. We’ve been talking for years, but there are still some things I don’t know about you. Like who raised you and what’s the best lesson you learned from this person, that you also use in the music business?
I was raised by both parents (Thank them for that) I love my mom and she taught me a lot but I gotta say my dad’s wisdom has been my baseball bat in this business! He’s given me soooo many lessons. Here’s a few:
1) Scared Money dont make money
2) If you walk with integrity, there’s nowhere you cant walk.
3) Beware of people who tell you that youre too good for them. Because eventually, they’ll show you.
– A smart man, I see. Now, if it wasn’t for music, what would you be doing today?
Thats a good question. Most likely I’d be a lawyer, TV host, maybe a comic… anything where I get to talk a lot. Boys got a REAL mother-mouth!
– Hahaha, that’s what’s up. So you have special techniques, rituals to get in the writing zone? For example do you jot down lines in a book, etc
I think the best thing for me is traveling. It doesn’t have to be far, but a ride on the train or a long walk can sink me into a good writing groove. I used to pen-and-pad it, but now I write in my phone and email it to myself. Good for on the go but it SUCKS ASS when your hands are cold!! lol
– An artist gotta do what an artist gotta do huh? So what’s your motivation / inspiration?
I’m motivated by my peers, my fans and a love of Hip-Hop to make the best music I can.  There are too many execs, who still don’t give Hip-Hop credit as a real culture and art form, they just see it as a way to make money. And there are too many fans who think you can’t have lyricism and fun at the same time. So when I start to write a song I write to prove them wrong.
– What makes Mr. Mecca different from other artists?
The standard for artists in music has gone down.It used to be that a real MC could do it all. Now its like you don’t even have to rhyme to be considered a rapper. I’m going to change that. I’m not motivated by money, I’m motivated to be the best. My content is diverse, my stage show is bananas and my flow and lyrics are down right foolish
– Looking forward to it! Now, tell me about your first live performance ever? Were you nervous? How did the crowd react?
I SUCKED!!! Hahahahaha! I went out there all puffed up thinking I had to hit a home-run and I just did too much! I got the “Give him-some-love-anyway” applause! lol It was the worst but it was what I needed. Ive gotten waaaay better because of it. I think more rappers SHOULD get boo’d when they suck. Maybe then the good would get great and the rest would get the fuck out! lol
– I agree with you on that. Talking about being great, what’s your definition of Success?
Completing the goals you set. But I keep coming up with new ones, so while I may be successful at songwriting, I still have a lot more success in front of me.
– Who have you been working with/featuring? What artists would you like to work with in the future?
I’ve been working with my crew The Plague my entire career, Plus Dominion. Recently I’ve done songs with Black Milk, Currency, Devin Da Dude, Royce Da 5’9″ I’m looking forward to songs with Bun-B Kid Vishus, Busta Rhymes, Just Blaze, Kanye & Martin Luther. But on the real I’ve been building with Bishop Lamont HEAVY. That’s my brother right there.
– Tell me more about your upcoming album or future projects
I’m releasing an album overseas called Last Exit with a German producer named Croup. That will probably drop after the next mixtape which is called I Can Explain…! After that it will probably be the Sound & Fury album.
– Sounds promising! Last question. If you could jump 10 years forward in time, what advise would you give the young you?
NEVER put other peoples dreams in front of yours. and that NOBODY will work as hard as you for YOUR dream. And Not ALL porn stars are good people! lol

Check Mr. Mecca at www.myspace.com/mrmecca, on Twitter @ MrMecc

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