Friday, May 29, 2009

Goodbye... (Poetry)

I emerged from the heavens… that’s what they say
My radiant eyes awake the day
Every woman’s idol… every man’s fantasy
Conceit invades me… I’m suffering from vanity
My beauty is immaculate… that’s what they say
Eyes are drawn to my stunning display
What women dream to be… and what men dream of
With just one touch… they fall in love
If only they knew what lied beneath
Greed… lust… lies… deceit
If only they could see past the skin
And see the war that rages within
So the body you all want… the body you desire
Is now yours… as I feed my soul to the fire
Please don’t mourn… please don’t cry
Just take this body you longed for… and wave goodbye…

-Jon Chambers

Amor Jones - Epic Failure (Review)

Jons Rating: 4/5

If you already have acquired a copy of Amor Jones’ first solo project entitled Killah Teckniqs featuring producer TeckNiq, then you already are conscious of the caliber at which Jones spits when he clutches the microphone. He comes back more than a year later with a refined flow, a new stage name, and a hunger that surpasses anything perceived as average. According to Amor Jones, (formerly known as Killah Matriks) the name change was almost necessary in order to convey a persona that coincided with his music. Even though it took him forever and a day to bless our ears with more music, Epic Failure was well worth the wait.

The project starts out properly with a track laced by Tim Beats. He starts out with his signature double entendre and metaphoric word play. This is displayed in lines such as, “you better get your jean game up we’re outlastin’ you slackers”. And in lines like, “I even went to MTV, to try to be seen/ But this is True Life and it’s too real for TV”, he lets the listeners know from the start that there are no gimmicks involved with the music you will hear throughout the duration of the cd. On the third track entitled, “Second Time Around”, Jones displays his versatility, caressing King Blue’s beat with a faultless flow. The beat sounds dissimilar from anything Jones has released in the past, but it blends in with the rest of the tracks and compliments his voice to perfection. On “Watch Me”, Jones attacks the beat provided by Yung B Da Producer, sounding very confident and self-assured. He uses the hook to inform the listeners that they are not to misconstrue his confidence with arrogance, as he raps, “See, man I’m not cocky/ But if you wanna see it done right just watch me/.”

If you’re looking for the soulful and blissful music that Amor Jones has used to make a name for himself, look no further than tracks such as “Love Jones”, “Summer Breeze”, “My Addiction”, and “On Fire”. If you’re looking for the tranquil, peaceful, and calm music with a twist of soul that sounds reminiscent of Killah TeckNiqs, look no further than tracks resembling “Nothing Good Comes Easy”, “Right”, and “Get It In”. One of the highlight tracks on the project was the lyrical masterpiece entitled “The Show”, featuring Sean Walker. The triumphant sounding beat provided by A.U. is assaulted by the two artists. One of the standout lines comes from Jones himself as he spits, “It’s a shame when I gotta start explainin’ lines/ But I’m just insurin’ my claim, nigga I’m Nationwide/ Nationally I’m known as the next up/ So even without jewelry they tryna leave me neck less (luss)/.” Both artists flowed well to the beat while using what they made sound like an effortless attempt.

While the soulful beats provided by the producers and the confident sounding rhetoric and oratory skills of Amor Jones make for good music, much of the project sounds a bit redundant. In addition, some of the hooks that were provided by Jones lacked the luster that was prevalent throughout the verses and didn’t measure up to the same caliber. This is evident in the track entitled “Good, Bad, & Ugly”, which features an appearance by Andre Joyner. The lyrics in the verses are smoothly spoken perfectly over the beat by both artists. However, the annoyance of the hook undermines the lyrical stability provided by the artists.

Overall, the project is a soulful blend of canny and well thought up lyrics, backed by a superb production team. Amor Jones is a breath of fresh air for hip-hop and all of the sub-par artists who have been reigning supreme recently. Jones said that he didn’t wish to reach too far, but if he could compare himself to any artist, it would be Jay-Z. I would agree with his assessment. This is not to say that this young and naïve artist has already reached the skill level and lyrical ability of the hip-hop executive, but it is just to say that Jay-Z is able to appeal to the commercial crowd with hit songs, but still keeps bringing lyrical flames in order to please the ‘hip-hop heads’. He is also able to lyrically please without conforming to the norm of using unreal and made up accounts of misogyny, violence, or drug trafficking. The journey of Amor Jones has just begun… so keep your eyes open… and your ears to the beats.

Individual Track Rankings

Another Day Another Dollar ****
His Becoming ****1/2
Second Time Around ****
Love Jones *****
Watch Me ****1/2
Summer Breeze *****
Nothing Good Comes Easy ****
Good, Bad, & Ugly ***1/2
Right ****
The Show *****
My Addiction ****
Get It In ****
On Fire *****
Epic Failure ****

Download Link Via HipTics:

Amor Jones Myspace:

A Chambers Bonus

Chames feat Amor Jones – Denial Damnation

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Pedestal Illusion (Article)

Unfortunately, we live in a society today that is fixed on counterfeit and self prescribed levels of power. Within our mind, we dehumanize certain individuals in order to fulfill an internal agenda that rages on a personal, but global level. In turn, we stifle our own accolades and accomplishments by comparing them to an individual who is erroneously and allegedly on a higher level of approval according to the majority analysis. We place certain individuals within a faultless framework of perfection, as opposed to our own cynical, fault filled, and human characteristics. We fall victim to the pedestal illusion. The pedestal illusion is found in a variety of dissimilar practices, lifestyles, and standards of living. We must come to grips with this demoralizing idea and terminate it, before we are stuck in a vulnerable and susceptible society.

Preachers and Priests

One of the main places you can locate the pedestal illusion is in various religious settings. In an attempt to comprehend and grasp the concept of their higher power of choice, the members of the congregation place their preacher on a higher plateau than that of their own residence. Growing up in a Baptist Church, I have witnessed the overwhelming belief systems and mind sets first hand. Some of the mind sets are very slothful, in the sense that they look to their preacher to translate the words and messages from their almighty God. This gets dangerous, only because instead of creating their own unique relationship with Jesus Christ, they are now attempting to piggyback on their preacher’s relationship. In addition, you often see preachers that have a tendency to mistranslate scriptures or divine happenings that are easily implanted in your naïve mind unconsciously if you completely neglect to acknowledge your preacher’s ability to have inconsistencies. In order to have an undisputable and guaranteed relationship, you must contact the higher power directly and read your bible, or other holy ordinances, as opposed to through another sinner plagued by the evils of the world such as yourself. That is not to say that God cannot use other people to work through you, but that has no bearing on this notion of placing them on this stage of admiration and high regard. After doing this, as soon as we discover that our preacher has made an error in judgment, or partook in a sinful act, we as “Christians” are quick to dismiss them as heathens and evil doers; as if we thought for one second they did not have human characteristics that paralleled our own.

While I am not as aware of the practices and inner workings of the Catholic Church, I am acquainted with their use of priests in their confessionals. Webster defines confessional as a small, enclosed place in a church, where a priest hears confessions. In essence, you are repenting your sins to an individual who is not in any way, shape, or form, faultless. How can you place somebody who is essentially on the same level as you, so high on a pedestal that your forgiveness of a sinful act hinders on their mercy? Then once again, just as in the Baptist Church, as soon as the priest has made an error in judgment, or has partaken in a sinful act, we are quick to crucify him. The pedestal illusion is now reversed. Instead of placing the priest on a high plateau of greatness, we now diminish him to purely a shell of his former self, raising ourselves to a higher plateau as we look down on the ridiculed and scorned priest. Just because he didn’t live up to your glorious and unreal expectations of magnificence and splendor, you now chastise him and put him down? How are you, a sinner saved by grace, “better” than another human just because he made a mistake that you have yet to make? We speak as if our own lives were faultless, and if that’s the case, why aren’t you sitting at that confessional listening to others just like you, repent to you?

Fame and Fortune

Another arena, in which the pedestal illusion is very prevalent, is that of fame and fortune. More specifically, it tends to be rampant when concerning musicians, actors, athletes, or anybody that posses any sort of high sought after commodity. Often times, the media glamorizes these individuals as trendy and chic. As a result of this glamorization, we as the ‘common people’ who are typically fans of these individuals, feel obligated to live up to a standard that has been formulated by a character that we idolize. Because of a very inconsequential level of social status, they become the poster children for success. Here is the eccentric happening pertaining to these individuals. While their accolades and achievements are over glamorized, their faults and wrong doings are unjustly amplified and heavily looked down upon. It’s almost as if they have a love hate relationship with the media who decides the way in which they will be portrayed to their viewers. So from the perspective of the viewer or fan, you therefore see their accomplishments as something that is only attainable by them or someone of that same caliber; and you see their faults as despicable, as if you for one second disregarded their human characteristics. When we place these individuals on pedestals, we essentially strip them of their human identity. We raise them upland to the point that we no longer see a person. We more accurately see ideas formulated and manipulated by the press, pertaining to individuals whose gift just so happens to be one that symbolizes you as an elite member of society.

Please do not misconstrue my evaluations as a message that we should not have role models, or figures we admire. It is entirely appropriate to admire and think highly of an individual, in order to raise the bar for your own pursuit. It is almost essential to have an individual that has vigorously worked to pave the way for you, just so you are constantly greeted with the idea and the representation that what you seek to accomplish can be accurately fulfilled. The problem occurs when the pedestal illusion takes full effect, and we overlook our idol’s human traits. By the time we come to the realization that our famous idol that we have carelessly placed on this pedestal makes mistakes just like us, we make one of two detrimental errors. The first error we sometimes make is we dismiss our former role model, on the basis that he/she can no longer fulfill our dreamlike level of perfection. When making this judgment, fans become discouraged and continue on an unreachable search for perfection. They chastise and ridicule their past role model, as if they themselves were faultless creatures from the heavens. This error in judgment is very reminiscent of those discussed earlier who deride their preacher or priest. The second error we make occurs when we embrace our former role model to the point that we believe any act that they partake in is morally and ethically acceptable. When making this judgment, fans become so caught up with the desire to become like their role model; they promptly dismiss any sort of ethics and morals they have received prior to their admiration of this star. Both of these errors are extremely dangerous to a person’s psychological well being, as well as their future ideology of various events. Not to mention the fact that many of the individuals who attain fame, fortune, and various commodities, would probably give it all up to live a normal life... a normal life reminiscent of yours.

Historical Figures

Often times we place historical figures, especially those that are deceased, on a heightened level of elevation. One of the things we as a society need to do is let go of the past. That is not to say that these historical personnel were not vital assets to the evolution of our country, but often times we operate as if the magnitude of their greatness could never be touched by future generations. I’ve been in heated debates with colleagues, where we compare the old to the new. I was often scorned for even mentioning a new up-and-coming individual in the same sentence as that of an early pioneer that paved the way. It was almost as if my statements were marked as blasphemous and offensive to supporters and advocates of past accolades. With this mind set, no progression is able to manifest. Being stuck on the belief that a past individual has reached the peak of achievement, and anyone else who follows will pale in comparison is a very immature and close-minded way to asses the situation. Being an adamant fan of hip-hop and hip-hop culture, I see this growing even more prevalent in these recent years. I admire groups such as Sugar Hill Gang, Furious Five, and Run DMC. These groups contain pioneers of hip-hop who paved the way for future artists to manifest their talents and skills, and gave them the ability to produce music for the masses. While this may be the case, any real fan of hip-hop, such as myself, can tell you that the lyrics in songs have evolved tremendously over the years. With that being said, it would be completely trivial to compare the simple rhyme schemes of the Sugar Hill Gang, to that of a metaphorical, double entendre speaking lyrical genius such as Jay-Z. With evolution comes improvement, but unfortunately, with that improvement comes backlash from the originators that protest a lack of respect or acknowledgement. That is not to say that we are not to give originators and pioneers their just due, but I am simply suggesting that sometimes they receive abundant credit to the point that it undermines the future of the craft. History is important, but you can’t live there for ever.

Switching gears, the other aspect concerning historical figures involves imperfections and blemishes, or rather the lack thereof. When we speak on historical figures, why do we tend to ignore faults or anything that gives them human characteristics? Do we no want them to be perceived as human? Many times, this is why our mind is distorted into believing that anybody being compared to a historical figure is inferior. It’s not that we come out and say they were perfect, but the lack of mentioning anything other then substantial feats creates this perception. If you think highly of a historical figure to the point where you see no faults, blemishes, or blunders, then how could you strive to be like them? How are the youth going to have the ability to be relatable to an individual they perceive as perfect? Why would they even strive for greatness while using their historical figure as a benchmark, when they will always fall short? The answer is they won’t strive, they don’t strive. Instead of correcting the problem, however, we simply become adamant scolding our youth and calling them lazy and ignorant, not realizing that their ignorance is sparked from our altered perception of reality we have relayed to them.

The next time you wish to place somebody on a pedestal, take a step back and reanalyze the actual situation. Notice that the motives are raging within your own psyche, but in the end it will be more detrimental than uplifting. The next time somebody wishes to place you on a pedestal, don’t let them. Humble yourself and understand that the high place they are attempting to set you upon is not a sturdy structure.

People place themselves and others on pedestals and wonder why they slip, it’s because you can’t stand on something that doesn’t exist” – Jon Chambers

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ms. Treated (Poetry)

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Second class citizen… trying to survive
Underneath her dress and her apron she hides
She sees the truth… she sees the light
Stereotypes and underestimation she must fight
They called her inferior… they lacked respect
Locked her in the house… formulated her dress
They told her she can’t… but she fought until she could
So they told her they cared… they said they understood

Now we put her on corners… gain capital from her curves
While she still doesn’t gross the capital she deserves
We damage her beauty… bruise her skin
And act as if nothing exists within
We implant her with seeds… to hear her moan
But when the seed emerges… we leave her alone
I approached her with a grin… and politely greeted
I asked for her name… she replied… Ms. Treated

-Jon Chambers

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Evicted (Poetry)

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When I left the house… all was well
I never second guessed my place to dwell
Maybe I wouldn’t have cleaned the floor
If I would’ve known I would never again close the door
If you would’ve given me a warning sign
Maybe I could’ve kept the tears inside
Maybe composure could have greeted me before the end
But instead I was forced to console… pretend…
Pretend I was fine… and complacent at heart
Knowing that inside it was tearing me apart
But if I took off the top… and let the pain pour
We would never be equal to how we once were… before
As I stare at my past residence in disbelief
And think, even if I try… even if I reach…
How do I settle for less… and even if I keep…
In contrast to this… it can’t compete

-Jon Chambers

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bones (Poetry)

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I thought I put you to rest… I thought you were gone
I haven’t seen or heard from you in so long
Did I not dig deep enough… when I put you in the ground?
Or did part of you stay with me… waiting to be found?
Did somebody upset you? Was it me? Did I neglect you?
All I ever did was shelter and protect you
You don’t belong here… please leave me alone
I gave you a new habitat… a new place to call home
I know sometimes its dark… and the garment hangers prick
But every now and then I come back… to relay a kiss
You don’t belong here… please let me be
You were my past… my times of yore… a past me
But I tried to put you past me… you still emerge
And bring me anxiety today I didn’t think I deserved
You don’t belong here… flee from my sight
Before you show up at the wrong time… and ruin my life

-Jon Chambers

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Broken Clock (Poetry)

When was the instant the progression ceased?
An unwelcome silence… and uninvited peace
The regulator of time is now at a standstill
New-fangled truths have yet to be revealed
If I would have known… this wasn’t everlasting
If I would have known… what the movement was masking
If somebody told me the end would be so soon
Maybe I would have never departed from the room
Movement was so accurate… but now it’s sad to say
Recently you’ve only been true a couple times a day
The connection between us is fading away…
What could be causing such a prolonged delay?
Is it a fault of my own… I have yet to greet?
Or is it your own greed… lust… and deceit?
Your stagnant figure… your heartless kiss
I yearn for your touch… but your arms remain stiff’

-Jon Chambers

Monday, May 18, 2009

Searching For The Horizon (Poetry)

I can see the destination… the end is near
Ambiguity is absent… the path is clear
My rear view mirror seizes all my fears
All of my regrets… all my tears
The path once covered by rocky terrain
Is now free of twinge… free of pain
I dreamt of the day I would conclude my quest
Finally terminate… finally rest
Such a glorious sight… to dazzle my eyes
A destination free of despair and demise
Closer… closer… I’m almost there
Closer… closer… exhibiting not a care
But as we get closer… as the horizon draws near
Ambiguity is present… the path is unclear
For as soon as I arrive at my sought after place
I discover that a brand new horizon waits…

-Jon Chambers

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bittersweet (Poetry)

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You protected me… you saved my life
Whether or not they believed you were wrong or right
You made the most violent retreat
And in my life at least… you brought peace

I fear you… I’m afraid to walk outside
The last person who got too close to you died
And you showed no remorse… you have a heart of steel
I know you can’t feel… but your pain is real

I love you… I love the way you hug my waist
But I also love the attention the aesthetic creates
My persona now fits the things that surround me
And there’s a new level of respect from the people around me

I hate you… you took my life
Who knew that this would be the end result of the strife?
I accepted you… and this is the thanks I get?
I knew you’d be the death of me… but I was too stubborn to admit
That one day… I’d make you give me one last kiss

-Jon Chambers

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Idle Wings (Poetry)

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Why do we constantly believe we can’t fly?
Is it because we really can’t? Or because we never tried?
Maybe since the day we were deemed alive…
It never dawned upon us to look into the sky
To see our potential… to see what could be
What our maker desires… what we should be
We look at our nest and pretend there’s nothing more
The unknown terrifies… we don’t open the door
So our wings just sit… sit… as if they were absent
Determination is gone… we executed our passion
We say one day we’ll try… but have an overwhelming patience
The vacant sky is our justification
Until we look in the sky… to find that it’s occupied
We gaze in amazement… watching them fly
Lacking unification… we stay complacent… and cry
Then just sit… sit… and watch them pass by

-Jon Chambers

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Some Days (Poetry)

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Some days it’s easier to run… easier to go
Than to stay here and face these feelings all alone
Easier to discount… easier to disregard
Easier to run… staying is hard

Some days it’s easier to breakdown… easier to cry
Than to eventually lose… even though I tried
Easier to quit… easier to lie
Easier to depart… easier to die

Some days it’s easier to rejoice… easier to sing
Than to travel through despair for every petite thing
Easier to discount… easier to disregard
Running the other way won’t get me far

Some days it’s hard to wake up… hard to rise
Knowing the day shall bring despair and demise
One day I woke up… looked into the sky
And sang… rejoiced… knowing I’m alive

-Jon Chambers