Whodini – Friends Live at the Apollo 1990 (Assigned to Matt Ramah by Scotty2Hotty)

Tylenol, Beer or…… Headphones?

I’ve got a sickness and it needs more….headphones?? You’re damn right. It has been one of those weeks (Months really) where work has been out of control busy. There are not enough hours in the day. Frankly, I could work 12 hour days and be good, but that is not a sacrifice that I will make with my son waiting at home to see me. The stress is enormous at times and it is hard not to let it get to me. There are a few things that help during these times. Cocktailing always will calm the nerves, until you find yourself up too late watching a meaningless NBA game just asking for a reason to have one more beer. Going home to my awesome family puts things into a positive perspective. But there is one thing that at any moment in the day can cure whatever ails me at that time, music.

I could probably punch holes in a wall today with the amount of work flowing in. Two people have saved me today, Skylar Gray, who in my opinion has the most amazing voice in music and Whodini. Scotty assigned me “Friends” from their 1990 Apollo performance and I have been sitting on this one for a while. I’ve listened to it a few times and hadn’t felt the inspiration to write about it. Nasty Nas created a monster jam sampling this beat with “If I Ruled the World,” but I didn’t have a blog’s worth of inspiration from that connection. I could probably write a book talking about my friends, so I wasn’t going to take the easy way out and write a 5 paragraph blurb. It was 4 o’clock and I needed to put in some extra time and I figured that I would throw this song on and see what it did for me.

I found myself energized. It was the combination of the message, the beat, Nas’s version and just that 90’s groove. I found what I needed to not let frustration and anger overcome me, making me useless in finishing out my day. My final push was achieved, just simply by throwing in the headphones. ~Shameless plug- I love my Bose in-ear headphones!~ My emotional balance was on the wrong side of the scale and such a simple action changed it at the 1st beat.

This week has been eclectic. From Dave Matthews to E-40, from Skylar Grey to Outkast. I have listened to the new Foo Fighters album and I have checked out some new music from Nino Bless. All music that at that time was perfect for the situation I was in. It was a jump start to my morning, the alley-oop windmill dunk that was assisted by caffeine. It has been the extra motivation for the final reps in the gym or the wind down music in the sauna. At the end of the day it proves to be the cure for that “2:30 feeling.”

I’m thankful for having friends that share my musical passion. In fact, that is one of the reasons this project was started. We joined together to inspire each other (And you readers) through new music and challenge each other to break out of our comfort zones. We text each other new music and talk about it. In fact, some of my best memories with these three individuals can always trace back to new music. So when you find yourself struggling with your day, some bad news, getting in a good work out or whatever it may be, throw on a go to jam or call up your friends and get into something new. Either way you will surely find answers to whatever situation you were trying to solve.

-Matt Ramah-

Let Nas Down by J. Cole (Assigned to Scotty2Hotty by Matt Ramah)

We all have our own personal relationship with the stars. Some of us see the heavens above, while others see unique clusters of gaseous space dust. The night’s sky is our original amusement as human beings. We connect the dots to create our own images dancing above the horizon. Those tiny twinkling lights are dying to shine down on us and nobody can argue with that.

Somewhere throughout history we began to reference creatively talented people as “stars”. We also began to perceive them as these untouchable inspirations. They seem out-of-this-world like the actual stars overhead. We see them as something better than we’ll ever be and we let that blind us from the fact that they’re human, just like us. All the time we give them this status, we expect them to never let us down. Yet when they do, we feel betrayed and resent them for being… just like us.

Our best role models are our peers. When we have people we share our lives with that we can admire and learn from, there’s nothing to keep us from our hearts’ desires. We can still look up to those people we call stars, but we only should if we believe in ourselves too. If we’re driven enough we could even find ourselves sharing the light with them. For some of us that’s just crazy, but for others it’s the absolute truth.

The thought of doing all that work to stand shoulder to shoulder with a “star” we idolize should seemingly be glorious. However that star may never see us as an equal because of the choices we made to reach their level. These particular stars have the chance to burn us with their criticism no matter how inspiring they were to us along our path. Talk about a truly disheartening experience. Only side by side sharing a view of the sky could overcome such a petty point of view.

Long live the idols, may they never be your rivals

It’s not about Jesus or whoever wrote the bible.

Look up to the stars in the sky, not the ones who sin

Believe in yourself and let your story begin.

-Scotty2Hotty- “I’m a star? I’d rather be a comet by far..” – Andre3000

Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles (assigned to Scotty2Hotty by Rick Gerard)

Rick Gerard really loves to stir the pot. I say this because my people were forced to “walk like Egyptians” for nearly half of a millennium. However, in this video I don’t see anyone in a Levite cloth stomping straw into mud. I definitely watched a few times just to verify this too.

I’m not sure if it’s just their hair that’s fried or the use of crack-cocaine. Remember those public service announcement commercials with the egg and the hot frying pan?

“This is your brain.” [shows hand holding an egg] “This is drugs.” [points at hot frying pan] [cracks egg into hot frying pan (note the sizzling sound).] “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”

I do have a question, actually. Did that P.S.A. come out in a direct response to this music video? I mean it seems fitting and all.

Aside from my drug theory, this song is fucking catchy. Yep, I’ll admit it. I actually envision Rick Gerard sitting in front of his computer with a ridiculously over-sized cigar in his mouth, tapping his toes along to the beat. Then about a minute in, he gets up and starts dancing like a real schmuck. Of course his favorite part is when they whistle and I imagine Matt Ramah joining in the nonsense with him, right then.

Damn it, none of that is true. I’m actually just projecting right now. It’s me doing all of these things. I’ve reached my fourteenth play and can’t fucking sit still. I hate you for this, Rick Gerard. However, I’ve decided to get my woman some sexy 80′s tights. They were really onto something there.

Well I’m sure I’ll spend the next three weeks whistling this brain melting tune. Maybe my beard will start to look fried too. I literally don’t feel any smarter because of this. The Bangles wikipedia page has the word “Friction” as a sub-heading and sadly it had nothing to do with hot lesbian porn. I guess a man can dream…


Karma Police by Radiohead (ASSIGNED to Ricky G. by Matt Ramah)

In Hinduism and Buddhism the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. This is one definition of Karma. There are very few things in life that I truly believe in, and karma is definitely one of them. To me it is a very powerful force that, at times, plays a major role in the way I do things.

When I was younger I went through a phase of shoplifting (which I’m sure I’m not the only one). I don’t know why I did it. It was never anything that I ever needed. Just little petty shit, like stuff from Spencer’s (ironic) or other stupid places like that. Anyways, as I got older I started to notice that the more I did these things – 1. The worst I felt and 2. The more negative things began happening to me. I attribute these negative forces in my life directly to Karma.

Now I’m not a huge Radiohead fan, but I can appreciate their music. I really enjoyed this song, and especially enjoyed the video. The way it was shot and the message I got from it. The video really drove home (to me) the true irony of karma. The way the car (with what appears to have Squeeno in the backseat) chasing down this poor man who seems to be running for his life, only to have the car engulfed in flames in the end. In my opinion that is the way karma works.

So I was trying to make this writing play out a little longer, but my mind has been elsewhere as of late. Life has managed to butt in and take up more time than I would of liked it too, but I will leave it at this – Karma is a real living-breathing entity. Funny enough, it’s quite simple to have a life blessed with good karma….. Do you wanna know the secret? Be a GOOD person. What’s that ole saying?…… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be honest. Love truthfully and wholeheartedly. Follow these simple rules and you will undoubtedly have a life full of good karma. And who knows….. it might become infectious

-Ricky G-

Triumph – Wu-Tang Clan (assigned to Matt Ramah by The Shipment)

In music, convention tends to rule the airwaves. Certain rules apply in order to make a radio-worthy track. We recently went through the brutal age of the ring-tone, where having a catchy hook was the driving force behind platinum selling singles. It forced the artists to adapt to new styles because without change, a career could come crashing down. Who else would we look to when looking to challenge the conventional? The almighty Wu of course!

Who better to give a giant middle finger to the radio execs than a group that has spit in the face of the musical norms for their entire career. This supergroup has never sought acceptance for anything other than what they could say was entirely crafted by their musical desire, not by what others told them would work. These lyrical geniuses have even been proven to have a larger vocabulary than Shakespeare.

In a review of Shakespeare’s first 35,000 words written, he wrote 5,170 unique words. When compared with 85 hip-hop artists first 35,000 lyrics (The equivalent of 5 studio records), Aesop Rock, Kool Keith and the GZA set the bar much higher level than Mr. Hamlet himself. In the top 20 for hip-hop artists, Wu Tang as a group was 7th in unique words written. Broken down further, GZA is at #2, Ghostface Killah is at #9 and Raekwon and Method Man are at 19 and 20 respectively.

What better way to showcase this verbal depth and originality than to create a 6 minute assault on the senses entitled Triumph. Featured on the 1997 record Wu-Tang Forever, eight of the nine members ferociously claimed all of New York City as theirs and theirs only. No chorus needed, they just spit bars on bars. As they swarmed through the city on an unstoppable rampage, there wasn’t any time for some catchy hook, only time for utter lyrical domination.

When presented to the radio/video execs, RZA was told there was no way this would work and that it had to be edited. There was no hesitation in telling them to fuck off, take it or leave it, this project would be untouched or would be shelved for good. Wisely, the project was moved forward and even wound up having Brett Ratner direct the video (Director of Rush Hour). What came next was 6 minutes of visual madness and eargasmic genius. Enjoy as they do what they do best. They give it to ya raw with no trivia, like cocaine straight from Bolivia.

-Matt R-