Tag Archives: writer-vation

Writer-vation: Ole to Hip Hop

2Pac

Notorious B.I.G.

KRS-One

Beastie Boys

Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott

Queen Latifah

MC Lyte

Run DMC

Doug E Fresh

NWA

UGK

Bun B

Black Eyed Peas

Busta Rhymes

Salt N Pepa

Outkast

Mos Def

Ludacris

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When I was younger, I used to sit in my room and record songs off the radio so I could have a mixtape of all my favorite songs. I would eagerly and impatiently wait by the stereo/vinyl player combo for songs like “It’s Tricky” or “Push It” or “U N I T Y” to play on the radio.

Once I managed to record the song on the cassette tape that had been used for the umpteenth time, I’d play these songs over and over again so I could memorize the words. After memorizing the words, I’d dance around my room like a crazy person rapping and singing at the top of my lungs. Of course when my mom wasn’t home because she didn’t want to her me singing “Let’s Talk About Sex”.

And don’t get me started on having to “fight… for my right…. to pppppaaaaaaaaarrrrrrtttyyyy!”

Can you you guys tell I’m heavily into hip hop music? No? Just wait then…

From a writer/poet’s point of view, hip hop music can and still does have a positive influence on people. Yes the beats are often sick and moving but if one were to really listen to some of the lyrics, there are some really complex rhyming schemes. There is an intense use of word manipulation that most people would not normally use. Yet hip hop is for the devil and is part of what’s wrong with society.

Hip Hop is more than just a genre of music. It’s a culture. Genre of dance which has many sub genres such as lyrical, krump, breakdancing and pop and lock. Lemme stop there with that because I could go on and on about the beautiful marriage between dance and hip hop music and the bad ass choreographers who interpret, style and perform the music that hip hop artists perform. Such an amazing way to display talent.

Ma bad

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The reason I’m paying homage to hip hop because I love the poetry and the spoken word aspect of hip hop. I love the time it takes to write the rhymes we hear on the radio or at a concert. I love that behind beats that have me bobbing my head in my truck or in the middle of Starbucks, there is some sort of meaning behind some of the songs. I’m not saying all rappers put some sort of deep intellectual meaning into their music.

There are indeed times, when the subtext of a song is about their environment or upbringing or what they see in their everyday life. Take NWA for example. They were from Compton yo. And I dunno how many of you were raised in the hood, but those guys went through a lot to put it lightly. Of course look at Ice T, Ice Cube and Dr Dre now. Music/Tv/Film moguls!

They used their music to obtain a better life. They used their experiences in Compton to relate to a demographic of people who are often overlooked or looked at differently because they “look like hood rats from the Southside of ___________________ (insert yo hood hur)”

Yes I know some songs demean women and aren’t suitable for young ears. But honestly, that’s a call for a child’s parents. Also, if a person doesn’t want to hear or finds that type of language offensive then perhaps he or she should turn off the radio. I hate when people offer their twenty cents about a subject for the sake of being critical and asinine. i’m talking to you Bill O’Reilly and people like him.

I suppose what really fascinates me about hip hop. It isn’t cookie cutter nor does it need to be. It is a genre and culture that is constantly evolving which can be refreshing especially when a new artist bring his or her style and flava to the mix.

Continue thinking out of the box and Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

Writer-Vation: The Secret Life of ___________ (insert name here)

Has anyone seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Not the 1947 version although I would like this see this version but the 2013 version with Ben Stiller. I have to say I liked this movie more than I already expected to like it; which isn’t that hard to believe because more often than not I tend to throw the entire write side of my brain into a movie. Call it over analytical or down right crazy but if a movie doesn’t capture my imagination then I lose interest faster than I can lose my two year old nephew’s attention. In watching this movie, I learned a great deal about being adventurous and stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to my writing.

Think about it… How often do we take the easy route when it comes to anything related to __________________? (insert your craft/genre here) How often do we come up with brilliant ideas and walk away because we somehow talk ourselves out executing them? be honest now. it can and does happen to almost everyone

On the flip side of that, how often do you daydream or zone out in the middle of the work or school day, while driving or in a conversation with someone? Where do you go when that happens? Who do you become? How do you explain your brief encounter with your imagination to others?

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I think sometimes, especially for me, we put too much into the need to have that perfect _______________ (insert what you’re working on here). I cannot even begin to tell you how many stories have been scrapped because it wasn’t perfect enough. And I’m not exactly sure what exactly that means because I’m not even what the perfect piece entails.

Sometimes when I’m writing I imagine that I’m the next great American novelist and the fame of my book(s) will surpass my wildest most rigorous dreams. By fame I mean, JK Rowling fame. Shit Stephen King type fame. It’s so good that Oprah Winfrey calls me personally to say she wants to use it for her summer reading series. Yeah buddy!

Other times, I imagine myself in this über college town like coffee shop shameless plug for Common Grounds in Waco, Texas and The Nook on the University of Houston Main Campus and I’m writing pages and pages of my memoir and a literary agent walks up to me and says I want to read and publish your work.

Then there are those times that I imagine having this roller coaster of an adventurous life and I write about my travels to Europe, Africa, the Arctic, The jungles of South America and playing guard for the USA Women’s National Basketball team in the Olympics. wouldn’t that be a crazy dream come true Did I mention in this adventure I would meet the Queen Mum and high tea with her as we talk about world issues, the weather in England at the moment and Prince Harry’s antics.

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I think we all have “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” moments. I feel for a lot of creative types these moments fuels our intense desire to be more than the average person. To write the next great American novel. To be the artist we know ourselves to be. To prove to the person who said we couldn’t that we actually can and with finesse!

Thanks for reading and keep dreaming…

The Southern Yankee

Writer-vation: Storyteller or Self-Therapist

I’ve been shy all my life. Call it a complex. Call it being an only child and never really adjusting to the world as a child. Call it not really wanting to ‘deal’ with people. Call it whatever you please. Just don’t call me anti-social. Yes I know I can be an oxymoron. I never said I was ‘normal’.

Enter writing and he freedom to be expressive and over the top about any and everything. When I started writing, it was for therapy. I figured out at an early age that writing wasn’t something to fear. Writing served as a way for me to release every emotion I felt on any particular day. Writing saved my life when I thought life wasn’t worth living. Writing allowed my mind and heart talk at the same time without reenacting the American Revolution. lmao cuz there is a part of me that’s a bloody redcoat

As I grew older, I discovered that my writing could perhaps lead to a career in which I’d get PAID to write and be expressive. Score one for writing!! Of course, I also quickly discovered that in order to have a successful career as a writer I’d have to be fresh, innovative and different. All of which I am and can be but in bursts. Did I mention I would love to be a sports writer that covers CFB, CBB or the NFL? I can talk a good game but I fear sometimes editors look at me and see everything but a sports writer. The dream is still alive, I just have to work harder at it.

Enter the idea to start a blog. There’s something truly enriching and therapeutic about writing a blog because I can write whatever I please. I don’t have to feel limited to one genre of writing or even particular topic. my mind is so scatterbrained I’m not sure I could stay on topic anyway. I can be the foul mouthed girl who isn’t ashamed to speak her mind. wait I’m like that offline too I may not be on the New York Bestseller list but I am a ‘published’ writer which is what I have wanted for a very long time now.

The jury is still out on whether this is therapy or storytelling. I’m not good at fictional writing but doesn’t mean I don’t have a story to tell. It doesn’t mean that my story isn’t less relevant than the next blogger, fiction writer or journalist. I strongly believe God gave me this talent so that I can do something great with my writing even though I’m not sure what that exactly entails.

I suppose my point is that we [creative types] have a unique to us story to tell that we owe to John and Jane Q Public to share. We each have our own unique way of expressing our ideas and ambitions as well as ways to manipulate words in such a way that draw and keep readers wanting more. To be inspiring, uplifting and encouraging. To be funny, sad and angry all in one blog post, poem, chapter, book or movie. To influence and move a reader into social action please no violence. We don’t live in a cop free society. To promote thought and expression in today’s youth who are constantly connected to their electronic devices.

How will you use your creative talent? What will be your plan of action to inspire the next generation of creative minded individuals?

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee