artwork by Reginald Pean
artwork by Reginald Pean
A little over a week ago, the Music Hall of Williamsburg, was bustling with Lauryn Hill fans waiting to catch a glimpse of hip hop’s most mercurial songstress. The energy was ubiquitous, and as Q-Tip continued to spin records through his DJ set, the atmosphere was of excitement and intrigue. What would Lauryn bring? Over the last couple of years, the media has done a good job of painting the hip hop pariah into a corner – the general sentiment being that something must be amiss with Ms. Hill. Recent court proceedings have her facing 3 months in the slammer for tax-evasion. The narrative here had already been written, many wrote that this was a cash grab; another celebrity radical squashed by the system, only to turn repentant. What we got was something else entirely; Lauryn, was what she has always been: a genre unto herself. She’s an incomparable talent whose adaptability over hip hop, soul, reggae, and jazz is extraordinary. L-boogie stood defiantly.
“It’s funny how money change a situation…”
Perhaps the music industry will never let Lauryn Hill back in, willingly. Maybe she doesn’t want back in. She poses quite a paradox for the shiny-suit execs. New releases by the former Fugee would garner massive profits, serious loot. Yet at the same time, Lauryn stands as the single most defiant artist of hip hop’s modern era. Her only solo release to date, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, an iconoclastic record that transcends categorization, sold more than 7 million records and captured Ms. Hill five Grammy awards.
“Miscommunication leads to complication
My emancipation don’t fit your equation…”
After all that success, Lauryn didn’t turn her back on herself, she was further emboldened to pursue something this “neurotic toxic society” (her words and the title of a venomous new track) refuses to allow, self-fulfillment outside of its predetermined paradigms. There would be no bottle popping, no cowing to the industry. She decided to step away from the industry, to have a family and to pursue spiritual goals. Make no bones about it, Lauryn Hill makes deliciously seductive and poignant music for the mainstream, but she makes no Faustian bargains. Think what you will of her decisions, Lauryn is in full control. You get Lauryn or you get nothing (ask ‘Clef and Pras).
“Some want play young Lauryn like she dumb
But remember not a game new under the sun
Everything you did has already been done
I know all the tricks from Bricks to Kingston
My thing done made your kingdom want run
Now understand L. Boogie’s non violent
But if a thing test me, run for mi gun”
As the night went on, Lauryn picked up steam and seemed rejuvenated by her own music. Yes, she wasn’t without her quirks – at times alienating her band and backup singers in uncomfortably controlling moments. Such is the price of genius. What was undeniable was her presence and otherworldly talents. It’s like the legal troubles, the doubters, the IRS, the US judicial system, and the corporate record industry awoke a sleeping giant (#talkingsmacktoMichaelJordan #BryonRussell). There was no mention of her impending prison sentence, but Lauryn promised us she’d be back (#terminator).
“Can’t take a threat to mi newborn son
L’s been this way since creation
A groupie call, you fall from temptation
Now you want to ball over separation
Tarnish my image in your conversation
Who you gon’ scrimmage, like you the champion
You might win some but you just lost one .”
Lauryn Hill performing Neurotic Toxic Society
Alex Orphanides is a contributing writer for OnThaBubble. Read more from Alex on his blog Subversive Sentences.
It’s that time of the year again. Coming straight out of the rough this year is Spain’s most notable golf son, Sergio Garcia. He hasn’t won a major title in his career and he’s not winning the hearts of the black community either.
In his most recent spat with Tiger Woods, Sergio decided to go to the old reliable black people and fried chicken joke. When asked if he would have Woods over for dinner this was the response, “We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken.”
It’s not even original. Former pro golfer Fuzzy Zoeller already went the fried chicken route. I know Sergio said this in jest, but according to his own apology he knew it was “ stupid and out of place.”
Sergio, this is offensive. Such a comment holds some comedic merit but very little when it comes from a Spanish golfer who’s known to have a contentious relationship with Woods.
How offensive is it though? According to The Pyramid of Racist Black Commentary it could have been a lot worse.
We live in a world where it’s standard to see men get paid millions of dollars to play a game that they love. Part of the role they play is spending copious amounts of money on clothes and cars and houses while going out to clubs and spending money on bottle service. Tune into the documentary Broke, to see athletes living that life. We shrug it off when JR Smith goes clubbing with Rihanna during the second round of the NBA playoffs and then subsequently has a terrible performance likely because of it. (Oh it’s okay, that’s just what athletes do, no big deal. Unless you’re Knicks fan of course.)
The greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th but was born on May 21st. So, to commemorate Biggie’s Birthday, we look back at 3 of my favorite sports references found within his lyrics.
1. “She get d!ck from a player of the New York Knicks.” – I Got A Story to Tell, Life After Death
Growing up we not only argued whether this was a true story or not but we battled over which Knick it was.
As upstanding members of this community, we at OnThaBubble pride ourselves on our civic engagement, intellectual capacity as well as our love for our community. Unfortunately at times and by times we mean every week, some members of our OnThaBubble camp do enjoy indulging in Ratchet TV and Music. By no means are we ashamed by this. In fact to truly understand us means you must embrace all of us. Even the ratchet side.
We called in a little help from our good friend Barbara, The Beautiful Stranger and present to you some things she learned from her most recent viewing of Ratchet TV.
The only success seen at CitiField these days comes at the hands of NY Mets pitching ace, Matt Harvey. Leave it to Electric Daisy Carnival to bring in the winning flavor of electric dance music to the baseball stadium’s parking lot. With over 100 DJ’s and 40,000 audience members between the two days, I saw a lot and learned some more. Here are just 10 of the lessons I learned from EDC NY 2013.
1. Judging from the glazed and euphoric young eyes in the crowd, Molly apparently makes you more than sweat.
Thanks Mr. Turnt Up. Thanks for being turnt all the way down. Greenhouse awaits you.
Thanks Mr. First Team All Defense. I know you’re hurt, but having Roy Hibbert look like Robert Parish on deer antler spray was immensely problematic.
Now to my actual thank you’s.
Despite these letdowns, two guys showed me something for the Knicks this postseason.
Many were introduced to Stephen Curry during the 2008 NCAA Tournament. There, he put little Davidson on his back and danced to the Elite Eight. Some became witnesses when he came one point away from dropping a double nickel in Madison Square Garden. Still, Curry’s true coming out party was during this year’s playoff run.
Curry turned 3rd quarter’s into shooting clinic’s. Larry Bird and Glen Rice type clinics. (Charlotte Hornet Glen Rice of course.)