Happy Birthday Kanye

I have been neglecting this blog for sometime now and it has nothing to do with you. Its me. Ever since Kim and Kanye started dating I have been uninspired to write about him. Maybe its because that’s exactly what Kanye would do. kanye West would date Kim Kardashian because that what a Kanye would do. It’s too predictable and I would not be surprised if he gets her pregnant by the end of the year. I yawn. I want some live TV fuck the president Kanye. Some Taylor Swift eat shit Kanye, that out of left field Kanye I hate so much. This Kanye I still can’t stand but there is no passion in this move. Its so tabloid and transparent I can’t get excited about it. Even though I talk a lot about how I feel he as an entity in his position in the genre of hip hop is and has been detrimental to its core and even though the way that he acts and presents himself annoys me to the bone, I do think he is a musical genius. I just wish he would use his gifts for good instead of “swag”. (that’s the fourth and final time I will ever use that word) Here is a video of him yelling at his fans…people who have paid money to see him by the way. Kanye Yelling At Someone Again I wanted to give a short post just to say Happy Birthday to my buddy Kanye.

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LA Youth Needs Your Help! Please read!

Hey folks.  Its been a few months since I have posted on this blog.  I have been super busy with other projects but I wanted to use this channel to discuss something really dear to my heart.

When I was fourteen my mom wanted to find some kind of weekend activity for me to become involved in.   This was an interesting point in my life for many reasons.  I was possibly in the apex of teenage angst and was prone to go in any direction. I had just moved to a new school and into my father’s apartment.  I was into computers, girls, weed and soccer but not much else.  I wouldn’t say that I was an at-risk teen but I was by no means a model teen, or at least I thought.

A friend of the family told my mom about LA Youth, a Los Angeles based teen written newspaper that was distributed throughout the LA area and beyond.  There were opportunities to illustrate articles for the paper, something that I had always been interested in.  I began to attend the weekend meetings and make friends that came from all walks of life.  There were students of many different cultures, teens coming from foster homes, gay and lesbian teens, teens with special needs, private school teens, public school teens.  As different as we all were we bonded over a need to express ourselves, to tell our stories.

We were able to write about anything we wanted.  My first articles were on Mumia Abu-Jamal, Emergency contraception, homophobia, talking to parents about sex and the 2000 Democratic National Convention.  LA Youth was not just about writing. I developed my first website with their comuters, used my first commercial camera, met cartoonists and illustrators from Disney, toured the Los Angeles Times and gained lifetime mentors and friends.   I was interviewed on PBS, NPR and had an article and illustrations printed in the Times.  This is just my experience with LA Youth.  One individual journey out of hundreds not to mention the thousands of teens that have read and been inspired by what we wrote.  My involvement with LA Youth made me a better student, writer, and person.  There is no way I would be the person I am today if not for this institution.

As an alumni LA Youth continues to be a part of my life.  I still keep in contact with many of the writers and illustrators.  When I moved back to Los Angeles from Santa Cruz, LA Youth employed me.  I know that I can call or email any of the staff, past and present for advice, direction or just a simple check in to this day.  LA Youth is not just a teen group or an after-school program, it is a family.

Today LA Youth faces possible closure if they do not receive additional funding.  They have always relied on donations and outside contributions and some of those major donors have run out in the last few years.  There is more information here as well as some other testimonials.  Two Strong Testimonials .  Here is an article written by Alumni Jason Sperber @dad_strangeland http://www.good.is/post/how-do-we-prevent-another-l-a-riot-give-youth-a-voice/ .  Visit LA Youth webpage too: LA YOUTH

If you can not contribute, spread the word.  Share these links and get involved! Thank you so much for reading.  Check out this article I wrote on Mumia back in the day too. Me and Mumia – Matt jones

Donda

One of my new years resolutions was to focus on writing more reviews on this blog and to stray away from negative rants against Kanye West.  A friend of mine told me that Kanye was indeed moving to Europe and I was happy.  I thought maybe he would slow down.  settle into the background.  I met my aunt this morning for coffee at a local Starbucks and had an insightful conversation about the things that hold me back in life, my own neurosis and striving to recognized myself as a talented human being who is deserving of the gifts that are presented to myself in this life.  I signed onto facebook this afternoon and read a quote from rumi which validated all of these thoughts and insights.  Then I saw that Kanye West had gone on a twitter rant and I realized that I can change many things in my life but hating on Kanye is not one of them.

Here are a few of the kanye tweets forwarded to me by my friend hannah:

More clarity… I have no agency representing me currently… William Morris was fired after Cara lewis quit. I love Cara Lewis.
Good logic tells me smile Kanye… the world likes you again… red or blue pill? … aaaaand Swallow lol
….hmmmmm what to wear… here I go again… Yeezy the trend setter or complete fucking fashion victim … the verdict is still out
What good is fame and prestige if you can’t use it to help people… I want to help by doing what I know how to do best .. create
I have started a new company and I’m so excited about the name…. it’s got the best name ever of all companies of all time!!!…. DONDA!!
This will all take time but I wanted everyones to know what I really care about… I care about people. I care about my fans..
Help education. School systems were designed to turn people into factory workers. Schools should be designed to prep human beings for real life. Math classes should teach addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, accounting and money management aaaaaand cut!!!
UNLESS YOU’RE A MATH MAJOR!!!! Kids you should be able to take majors starting in grammar school like how it is at performing art schools
Instead of kicking kids out of schools for using there iPhones… why not promote it? Allow kids to use search engines to do tests like the real WORLD!!!
Some kids have better memories than others… what about emotional IQs… what about kids who do bad in school because of how bad there surroundings are.
I know this is not a very rapper thing to say but I haven’t bought a new car or piece of jewelry in about 2 years…

I believe that everyone is entitled to their thoughts.  Social media provides an outlet to spread anything you think with the click of a button.  Most celebrities have people around them have hired help monitoring their social media outbursts.  It may be a ploy to garner attention for his new design company Donda, named after his mother, but I actually respect the fact that Kanye’s ego is so big that he doesn’t employ such help.  Have you ever been texted 20 times in a row from an ex?  In the texter’s mind they are just communicating their feelings to you, letting you know how much they hurt by sending you message after message.  In your mind you just got 20 texts from a nutcase and now you are validated in the fact that you broke up with their crazy ass.  Kanye basically texted the world 50 times in a row with nonsense.  Another sad part is that I agree with most of what he says.  Whats even sadder is that he does not comprehend his contribution to the systems he rants against.  I was interviewed on a radio show late last year and one of the hosts brought up a good point.  Kanye raps about where he is in life and critiques the flashy world around him.  What Kanye doesn’t do is challenge himself to transcend the world he hates so much.  He talks about dumb girls in the club but that’s who he fucks with.  The contradictions are difficult to ignore.  He hasn’t bought a new car or piece of jewelry in years yet he promotes a lavish lifestyle.  I don’t care if you haven’t bought anything because you’ve been busy selling me bullshit.   At his core I think Kanye is a decent human being (man that left a sour taste in my mouth) but I don’t think he is an honest human being.  This is not his fault.  He does not posses the necessary tools to be honest with himself.  I admire him for being so open and honest with his immediate thoughts.  I do the same thing with poetry.  I allow myself to be vulnerable for a moment.  What Kanye does is different.  He bombards you with himself and tells you its about you…he loves people…that’s what he cares about…what I think he really cares about is people caring about him.  I understand this….I have some of the same shit in my world….we all seek attention and acceptance.  What do you value?  What do you wish to change in this world?  Is it more for yourself or is it truly for humankind as a whole?  I think everyone should write a twitter rant like Kanye did.  You don’t have to send it out…just free write for a moment.  2012 is full of possibility and wonder.   I hate Kanye West but I admire his separation from reality.  I appreciate an aspect of his selfishness.  Be selfish for a moment today.  “treat yo self” Write some crazy shit and don’t care who reads it.  Live like Kanye for a day but in an honest way.  

2011 BETTER THAN KANYE, NERDS, MUSIC, TOP 5, NEW LOOK!!!

Hope you like the new layout of the site.  Will be adding some more stuff soon.  Links section still needs to be updated and we got some surprises coming through the store section soon.  Its been one year of betterthankanye.  One more year of personal growth.  One more year of one (or two) more crazy ex-girlfriends.  I published a book, got really depressed, moved, didn’t move, had money, got broke, got money, got broke, moved again.  Man oh man.  Now is a time of reflection.  Around this time a lot of top 10 lists pop up.  Who are the top ten best new rappers?  What were the top ten albums of the year. I think it is difficult to rank something as beautiful as music along any scale.   Music itself is the only scale.  Music is fluid, transcendent,  effervescent.  It rocks us to sleep and moves us closer to each other in the club.  It turns a bathroom into a dance floor and a mirror into an audience.  It is slowly smoked cigars, lingerie, chilled vodka on the rocks.  It is our pulse, our driving force, the soundtrack to breath.  It is our limbs, our eyes our  heartbeats and 808s…dammit.  DAMMIT  F@ck you Kanye.  Yes, I don’t think that you can rank music on a scale but you CAN say that something is BETTER THAN KANYE.  So this is my end of the year BETTER THAN KANYE top 5. I’m giving you five, because that’s what children do.  Its not in any order and honestly I could have put anything up here because I think most everything is better than Kanye.  This is just hip hop and hip hop adjacent.  If this was my music list for 2011 we’d need a lot more room.  Here ya go:

5. FRANK OCEAN –  I have never heard more songs from one album that made me go “oh sh*t who is this?” than this mix-tape.  It was a necessary  refresher against the backdrop of the chaotic changes to our social media landscapes earlier this year to see that orange car on someone’s youtube post.  Press play all day.  Frank Ocean makes all the decisions I get mad at Kid Cudi for not making.  Off Novacane, Thinking About You, Novacane, There will be tears… awesome songs but the one that really pulled me in from the get was Swim Good.  Its a song a had to put on loop for a minute and get all emo with.  Good looking at that American Wedding too Mr. Fauntleroy.

4. TECH-9 – I’ve been on the Tech – 9 bandwagon for a while.  I’ve seen him perform live a few times up in the central coast and the Bay Area and even got to open up for him once when I was in a hip hop group back in the day.  I felt like anytime I got into a conversation with someone about why I liked him, the reasons why that person didn’t like him seemed to outweigh any of my accolades.  6’s and 7’s is a direct example of what happens when someone hones a craft and dedication to a particular style while allowing themselves to grow with the concurrently evolving audience.  Tech -9 sounds the same as I’ve always loved him but somehow sounds more accessible.  The production on the album is insane. Top Notch.  The slew of guest rappers, Busta Rhymes, Snoop, Yelawolf, to name a few, gives the album a feeling of completion that only years in the game could manifest and reminds me of some of the epic collaborations on albums that went down in the mid 2000s and late 90s.    Worldwide Choppers, Pornographic, He’s a Mental Giant all stand out songs.  Thank you Tech-9 for silencing muthaf*ckas.

3. DJ DAHISo Dahi was my roommate freshman year in college.  He bout a 300 dollar turntable set and played nothing except for a single record with “Sun God” by Hi-Tek day in and night out until he figured out every piece of the instrument.  Now he is making beats and waves back here in Los Angeles with groups like Pac Div and The Cafeteria Line.  Now I’m not just throwin him up here because I know him.  Dahi released his first solo project “Toys” this past month and I was blown away.  Appropriately named, each track on the album is a brilliant homage to toys from Christmas past.  “Simon” is a hauntingly beautiful track that injects memories of that bastard of a game directly into your brain.  Teddy Ruxpin…The Slinky…ridiculous.  I seriously felt like I was walking through a green field with that damn bear.  Every track on the instrumental album is gold.  Tetris is one of my favorites.  You can follow Dahi on twitter @DJDAHI.  Download the album free here:  Toys – DJ DAHI

2. Kendrick LamarSo I heard Rigamortis and it was over.  Seriously over.  The drought that Kanye West had so cowardly brought upon us all began to pass as Kendrick Lamar passed around a healthy glass of Hi-C in the form of Section .80.  Not only can dude flow but I feel like he honestly loves and respects music (specifically hip hop) that has come before him and is in constant conversation with it throughout the album while maintaining his own unique style and presence.  I first heard him on Youtube with his “Compton State of Mind” and I remember being happy in the simplicity that he was contributing to hip hop.  A.D.H.D. is f*cking beautiful.  Section.80 is worth downloading, buying, stealing…whatever you gotta do.  Its not about content with me necessarily.  Not about production or glitz.  Sh*t doesn’t have to be so underground no one has heard of it…it just has to feel authentic and it just has to not annoy me.  Kanye isn’t authentic and he annoys me.  That’s why I don’t like him.

1. CHILDISH GAMBINO:  Wow no 1 already? Maybe I should have done a top ten.  Okay so Childish Gambino is my sh*t.  I’m not saying dude is the best rapper ever or that the album is on any all time top list but Childish Gambino is BETTER THAN KANYE and the fact that this exists at the same time that Kanye exists makes me so happy its crazy.  This is EXACTLY who Kanye West is attempting to be.  This is the inner nerd Kanye has himself but he has been conditioned by society (mainly black, male, heterosexual society) to reject it.  Donald Glover explores racism, sexism, sexist sh*t, general sh*t talking and embraces his nerd and is comfortable in it.  More comfortable than Kanye ever will be.  Now Donald has DEFINATELY taken notes from Kanye’ cadence…i just think he writes better and delivers it better.  Parts of the album come off as kind of a parody, but that’s because Glover is a comedian and he has injected these songs with every part of himself.  Don’t be afraid to press play.  Childish Gambino is the sh*t.   The Album is CAMP. GET IT.  This album is something David Scott would do.

Also don’t sleep on these folks either: TYLER THE CREATOR, TALIB KWELI, (as much as it pains me to write) COMMON, SAIGON, THE ROOTS

Thank you for an awesome year folks.  Thanks to everyone who reads, reposts, invites me for interviews, comments on blogs, it really means a lot.    Come get me 2012!

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