Friday, February 27, 2009

The Last Days (Poetry)

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The last chapter is upon us… the end is near
No sympathy for distress… no compassion for fear
The only thing salvaged is the soul’s remains
The worldly obsessions were obtained in vain
Doomed for the ground since we reached the pinnacle
Now all our identities are virtually identical
Differences are exposed to be no more than perception
Pedestals are erased… indistinguishable reflections
The judge slams his gavel… as all plead innocence
For some were superior in actions… but none definitive
Heartbeats temporarily accelerate… only to be stopped
Legs temporarily hasten… only to rot
All of that living… only to die
But the providence was always divine
Welcome to the conclusion… welcome to the end
Welcome to the commencement… now angels… descend

-Jon Chambers

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tears (Poetry)

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When did it all go wrong?
Such a quick conversion from dusk to dawn
The sun that glistened yesterday now blinds
Once high definition, now it can’t be defined
The marvelous sound of company shifts to irritation
Your wild thrill is suddenly wished complacent
Maybe a lost love… maybe an unfulfilled search
Maybe it was death… maybe an unwanted birth
The voice of depression… the noise won’t cease
Trying… but the only person you meet is defeat
Trying… but its still in vain you seek
Trying… you knock… but the answer is bleak
The eyes are the window to a man’s soul
So when it rains, the door of opportunity is closed
But when the rain stops… the sun shines bright
And the drops of your tears brought something to life

-Jon Chambers

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Angel (Poetry)

A touch from the rear that remains unseen
Existent in ever mother, ever child, every fiend
Blind eyes never depict what lies behind
So mute but so dynamic… so marvelous, so divine
Captivating souls in a deceptive disguise
But deception is warranted, so our souls can survive
They thrive for knowledge, but the wisdom shaped the trace
We unconsciously follow it… partaking in fate
Too often the gratitude remains absent in return
But the touch still returns when the fire burns
The fire that can strip you of your aspirations
The fire that blinds eyes… demonic damnation
Till the heavenly waters rain down to diminish
Until the blaze ceases to exist and is finished
So much pain… suffering and strife
Thank God I had an angel in my life
-Jon Chambers

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Joe Budden - Padded Room (Review)

Jon's Rating: 4.5/5
Unless you have been up to date with the underground hip-hop scene over the past few years, you almost certainly haven’t heard from Joe Budden in quite a while. As a matter of fact, you perhaps will recall his smash single “Pump It Up” released in 2003. However, for you hip-hop heads listening, we all distinguish that Budden has been anything but noiseless over these past few years. From his classic “Mood Muzik” mixtape series, his newest digital album entitled “Halfway House”, to the popular Joe Budden TV internet reality series. “Padded Room” will only be his second retail release, but it has been highly anticipated in the underground world. Everybody expected highly of this underground legend, and he did not dissatisfy.

Many Joe Budden listeners most likely didn’t know what to anticipate. We weren’t to sure if we were going to get the commercial Joe Budden that made him a one hit wonder, or if we were going to acquire the raw, emotional, ‘Mood Muzik’ Budden. He did a fine job of pulling everything together into a solid effort. He starts out the Album with a very triumphant sounding “Now I Lay”. It unquestionably sets the tone for the rest of the album. He mixes a humble rhetoric with his confident and witty persona all in one. Another stand out track was “Don’t Make Me”. Blastah Beats lay down a soulful sounding track in order for Budden to be himself and serenade the track with his well thought out lyrics. In this track he rhymes, “My backs carryin’ some tons yall/ From the devil’s bedroom into his front yard/ Hop up in the backseat and he’s the chauffeur/ Let me know before I hop out wit him on my shoulder/”

One of my personal favorites is a track entitled “I Couldn’t Help It.” On this track, Budden gets emotional and begins to converse about his past. The first verse discusses what happened between him and his son’s mother. One line read, “I aint think lifetime bond I thought fat ass”. It’s not very often that you see a rapper swallow his pride in order to acknowledge mistakes and get that personal. In the song he said, “I’m thinking abortion like a savage/ An on purpose accident to have a miscarriage/” He is admitting the initial feelings he had towards his son, even though they were morally wrong. At the end of the verse he says, “I picked my little dude up, looked him in his eyes/ Though you can’t understand right now I apologize/ How could I not want you here and be that selfish/ The f*** was on my mind at the time? My bad I couldn’t help it/. The album ends with the epic “Pray for Me”. He begins the song by painting you a picture of his last seconds of life. That short recall is followed by an exchange with God. God asks Budden why he thinks he ought to be permited into heaven. Everything Budden says to plead his case, God seems to have a counter for it. This causes Budden to speak in rhetoric that some would consider blasphemous. “You make mistakes like me as far as I can see/ I think it’s a mockery whenever rich n***** win the lottery/ Gave us Bush twice God I hate to be rude/ But you let skinny n***** starve, give obese n***** food/” It sounds like Budden is speaking for all skeptics of religion and all the people who aren’t afraid to question things. At the end of the track God explains that he never places anything on anybody they can’t handle, and the fact that everything has a purpose. It was a very profound end to an excellent sophomore effort.

One of the low points on the album included a song entitled “If I Gotta Go”. Budden sings a very monotone airy chorus over a generic sounding instrumental from The Klasix. This track sounded more like an album filler, than it did an actual track meant for substance. There was really no need to keep this track on the album; it didn’t bring anything to the album that wasn’t already brought better. Another low point was the track “Happy Holidays”. The concept is nice, but it didn’t seem to be executed properly. It seems almost contradictory to make a song about not caring about holidays, when the song sounds like a Christmas anthem in itself. Emanny’s vocal tone doesn’t help this effort at all. He is a very good vocalist, but he could have been left out of this one.

Overall, this was a very well put together album. Budden has learned to blend his street smarts with experience, emotions, and thoughts. Somehow he manages to portray all of these perfectly within the lyrics. Optimistically he can actually get noticed by those who only know him as the guy from “Pump It Up”. There is so much more to Joe Budden than trying to portray a commercial image, and that is what sets him apart. He goes against the norm, and never sacrifices his integrity or sells out. He puts his heart into the music, not his wallet. Hip-hop is alive.

Individual Track Rankings

Now I Lay*****
The Future***1/2
If I Gotta Go***
Don’t Make Me*****
Blood On The Wall*****
In My Sleep*****
I Couldn’t Help It*****
Happy Holidays***1/2
Do Tell*****
Angel In My Life*****
Pray For Me*****

In My Sleep

Don't Make Me

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Windows (Poetry)

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No windows so I cant escape
No windows so I cant see my fate
Recollections of past visions are all I can salvage
Nobody to fault… so my mind is absent of malice
Nobody can glimpse inside, so it’s not actually torture
But I wish these four walls let me see death around the corner
Nobody to influence wrong doing at all
But I can’t identify what’s wrong… the judge wont answer my call
At least I can depart in piece
But no first-class deeds to account when me and the lord meet
Sitting here waiting on my kinfolk and peers
But does anybody even know I’m here?
Only obtain water if I drink my tears
I escaped life… but never really escaped life’s fears
Its jus like everybody’s plotting against me
And I wouldn’t know sunlight if it hit me
-Jon Chambers

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blind Loyalty (Article)

“What is most important is that we don’t get caught up in emotional politics” – KRS-One

I began with this recent quote provided by former rap artist and philosopher KRS-One. The reasoning behind it is that I feel that this is the dangerous realization that we have to recognize before it’s too late. You’re not going to hear me get political very frequently, because for the most part my knowledge is very limited when it comes to that field. However, I felt that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. Let me begin by stating that I am not anti Obama, and that when November 4th rolled around, my ballot had a little red light beside the Democratic Party. However, I say that to say this. During the election, there was a very petite instant in where I contemplated not voting for Barack Obama. The reason behind my cold feet was because I didn’t desire to be one of the citizens to fall victim to voting based on race. Being an African American, I felt like there was so much pressure from the black community to elect this man who looks like me. At times I felt like the pressure was forcing me into an illogical and unsupported viewpoint; and indeed at the outset of the campaign, I believe it actually was. It was only when I started to look at his plans and how they compared to his competitors that I actually began to support him. I believe that too many people voted for Obama based on his race, and those are a handful of the people that I believe fall into my category of being blindly loyal.

One of the problems that I have with a lot of black voters is the fact that they know they oppose Bush, but they don’t know why. If you sat down and asked them why they feel Obama’s policies differ from the ones Bush has already put into play, there is a vast majority that couldn’t tell you. The president is a puppet. Bush had very little to do with our economic meltdown, but he is the one that receives much of the blame. The reason why I believe he receives much of the blame is because of his devilish rhetoric and the way he carries himself. In other words, people didn’t trust him. Now all of a sudden, we get this new face who carries himself in a very charismatic and captivating way and we praise him as if he delivered us from sin. Please refrain from misconstruing my statements as disapproval, but rather see them as eye opening. Of course I am ecstatic that our country was finally able to break the racial barrier and finally make it possible for a black man to become president. I know that my great ancestors were smiling down from heaven on that glorious day when he took his oath in D.C. The only thing that scares me is that I believe we are becoming too content. We have gotten caught up in the emotional burdens that are attached to this, and we have negated from our primary goal.

That leads me to my next point. As Bush’s days in office began to be numbered, his approval rating was on a steady and harsh decline. Now once again, here comes Senator Barack Obama to the rescue. With his ever loved charisma he speaks on change and speaks on putting a stop to the Bush ways, and people were following him without a clear understanding of what he was actually changing. I believe that Barak Obama has the power to implement everything that Bush had on his agenda, and even more things that maybe Bush wanted to accomplish but was unable to because of lack of support. People are so mindlessly in support of this slick talking man, that I believe he could get away with that, without damaging any of his own integrity; because was once again, we are unknowingly going to be in support of everything he does because of this blind loyalty that has plagued our nation. Everything he says or does is right… until it goes wrong, and once again, that is what scares me.

Now I do not doubt Obama, but I think it’s important we question him. We can’t just operate off of trust and faith. What you have to understand is that the agenda that has been put in place that was prevalent long before Bush, is going to take more than a couple policies to fix. Obama claims that he wants to govern for the people, but is that really what he wants to do? Do you understand that this system of government that he says he wants to change is the same system of government that put him into office in the first place? I don’t believe that everything Obama wants to do is going to be able to occur without war, which is eventually going to lead to a disapproving disposition among our own people. Fingers will be pointed, and questions will be asked. The last president I can remember that actually governed for the people was Kennedy. And any 5th grader could inform you of the end result in that scenario.

This is not Obama’s fault by any means. He didn’t choose this life, this life chose him. All I’m alluding to is that no plan is full proof, and no man is perfect. He will make mistakes. And when those mistakes become prevalent, and America begins to decline into a downward spiral of war and rebellion, everybody is going to blame the president. I am going to blame the people. I will blame the people that closed their eyes while they agreed upon something without actually analyzing the facts. I will blame the people that condemn the same policy that they once blindly endorsed. Like I said, the last person to govern for the people was Kennedy, and he faced one of the harshest consequences for it. One of the other men in history that was for the people was a man by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. Obama has received many comparisons to the reverend throughout his campaign and even now. One can say that one of the main differences between King and Obama is that Obama wasn’t killed because of his beliefs; but neither was King before he stepped out onto that balcony.

Loyalty (Poetry)

Prepared by the identical hands, akin to the same creator
Yet we deem one the savior
As if the blood that meets my cheek
Is absent in the parallel underneath
Faith in the card holder, faith in what is dealt
When the faith seems non-existent within your own self
Blind… but we can still distinguish the color in a face
In that we position faith… the cosmetics relate
Since when could sight defy the touch?
So distorted and disillusioned in a bluff
When we situate the faith, their wrongdoing is absent
Until it comes to light, and awakens a shift of passion
Suddenly we’re spellbound in a cave of imprisonment
And suddenly we’re all so innocent
So when the clouds show, we come to recognize we’re stuck
Because we proceeded to be loyal while our eyes were shut
-Jon Chambers

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Prisoner (Poetry)

Shackled and chained down the instant light was shown
Deaths fate waits as life is bestowed
As life is presented… for until this current life is finished
Involuntary and innocent… the verdict is a life sentence
In retrospect… my ancestors were chained and whipped
Now we wear chains and ride whips… still blind to the gift
Still confined to the field and the master’s picture
And then we speculate why they identify us as nigger
But why am I strained to ride life’s tail?
I’d rather just depart to my own path and leave a trail
But my former inmates have attempted to no avail
But at least they found a much higher plane to dwell
Imprisoned in this hell… the pain and strife
Trapped in this jail… imprisoned in life
When the shackles are detached so my feet can dance
When the chains are unrestricted… I’ll become a changed man

-Jon Chambers