Monday, November 23, 2009

In the Dictionary Originality comes before Success

As citizens of The United States of America, we reside in the land of opportunity and golden roads. Living in this country as a young African American man, I have come to the realization that many of my peers rarely talk and reflect upon all of the advantages we have in 2009. If I took a time machine and went back 100 years, I would think I was living in the times of slavery. I say all this to pose these questions: Are you working at your full potential? Are you working in a field that makes you happy? Is there an opportunity for advancement for you? I ask this in 2009 because when I look at my peer groups, I see a bunch of Indians posing as Chiefs. I do not think that we are not working at our full potential. What are you doing to leave your name in a different category from everyone else?

We browse our favorite blog sites and social networks to stay updated of the world around us on a daily basis. Lets be serious, in 2009 anyone and everyone has a blog. Some of them range from serious content (i.e. coming soon), to more casual content, but it leads me to pose the question yet again, what are you doing different from your peers?

Every random encounter with an old school mate, and every random profile I browse upon on Twitter or Facebook is a rapper/fashion blogger/model/singer/promoter/party photographer/you catch my drift. I do try to support my peers and their endeavors, as some of them actually have talent, and others need to stick to their day jobs. For my friends who do pursue the more "typical" of the dreams, I always ask them what is their Plan B. There have been various times I have been told "There is no Plan B," or "I'm going to get signed and drop a platinum album," or "I'm going to win America's Top Model and become a Ford Model." Not having a Plan B is not only sad, but also a major risk. I love writing and hope to get published one day, but dreams are not going to keep the lights on. Shit, if I don't have the funds to pay Con Ed, I wouldn't be able to power up my PC to write and entertain my readers. I am not trying to deter you from your dreams, but I believe that it is essential to have a back-up plan. Right now, my main hustle is working with a state-funded afterschool program, and I try to pass on my wisdom to the youths. I have seen a whole classroom of young boys telling me they are going to be like Lebron, yet they have already been left back in elementary or junior high school. Maybe my words will encourage at least one of them to pick up their notebook and study, instead of solely depending on a basketball scholarship. I would love to prove the benefits of Plan B for them before it is too late. Maybe then, all of these overnight "CEO's" of promotion teams, record labels, party websites, etc. could have actually been avoided. Who is to blame you ask? Take a look in the mirror! With so many phrases like "I'm gonna keep it 100" floating around, you would think that more people would be doing just that. Instead, many have fallen victim to doing the complete opposite. I have seen horrible local rappers with a movement- a rapper and about 3 "YES men." A "YES man" does not equate to an A&R because if they was so good at scoping talent, they would not be in the hood, but working for a Def Jam, Roc Nation etc. We should all take upon the task of living by the phrase "Be Yourself." Ask your friend’s questions like "Have you done research for the field you are trying to get into," or "What original ideas or concepts will differentiate you from the masses?" Simple questions like those may deter their specific dreams for the better, or make your friend actually step their game up! In recent years, I have witnessed the erection of party websites where the "CEO" of the site has little to no interest in photography, and might not even know what Photoshop is. Money is their only motivation, but I would like to give the fair warning, do not become a slave to money. Does it make sense to enter a field when every other week you have a new competitor? Be yourself friends, if you like a field, do the research and educate yourself. The only fast money that happens overnight is the Lotto. Why are we always on such a paper chase anyway? Because unfortunately, "swag" is defined by which luxury brands are being worn and which European car is being driven, which is a damn shame. True swagger lies within originality and education. Anyone can buy a Gucci belt and take a few pictures with an overpriced bottle of liquor on a Wednesday night, but will you be doing that in 10 years? Do thoughts like that ever cross your mind? Indeed, life is short and enjoy your youth, but live an original life, not the collage of celebrities and your peers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The World is at your Fingertips

Hello again! Thanks for reading once again, and allowing me to entertain you as you enter the brain of the “Shotta Blogger.” Some of you reading are new friends, many of you are old friends. This simple connection from my brain to your job computer (your ass should be working but keep reading lol) or Blackberry/iPhone screen has all been made possible by the internet. No, I am not going to give a history lesson on the internet or the world wide web (which are actually two different things that are often used as synonyms. Do that research next time you are taking a 30 minute shit while on the clock.) But for all my true 80's babies (not the ones who dress like one), just think about how much our lives have changed from elementary school to high school as a result of the expansion of the internet. Do you remember when having a computer was a luxury item? Nowadays, not having one in your house almost feels incomplete. Do you remember when you use to sit in AOL chat rooms all night and your mom would plug the PC out of the phone jack? Those were the good ol' 56k days, but now you can get access to the Web from almost all four corners of the Earth. With these bits of information and nostalgic references, I would like to pose a question: How has the internet benefited you? I know it has its cons when your boss sends e-mails to your Blackberry on a Saturday afternoon, but it was cool when you were able to buy your final paper because you skipped class the whole semester right? How many hours have been wasted at work shopping, playing word games, or e-mailing friends? How much time have you spent at home downloading music illegally, watching videos on YouTube, or even watching porn? Have you ever thought about the amount of time we will spend in our lifetimes surfing the web? Even though our jobs may block certain websites, we still have access from our mobile devices that allows us to stay connected. Even your exact location can be displayed on networks such as Twitter: Everything down to the building number that you are in can be identified via advanced GPS systems. Look at how communication and dating has evolved as result of the internet. Dudes may not even ask for your number anymore, "just follow me on twitter” *insert bbm confused face.* Do you remember when the US government tried to have stricter regulations in regards to what content was viewed by its citizens surfing the internet? There are many countries which still do, most of which aren't necessarily BFF with the US. But why do you think the US did not follow through with the censorship? The answer: Our First Amendment rights. But ummm, since when has our country really cared about our rights? C'MON SON this is the same country that let Bush Jr. take office when we all know we didn't vote for his ass. The government takes serious precautions in their attempts to prevent illegal use of internet. The FBI anti-piracy stickers placed on all CD covers stands as a prime example of the precautionary measures taken in the government and music industry's fight against the illegal practices of downloading music. C'MON SON, are they serious? Even though it isn’t regulated, I want you to go Google “How to Make A Shoe Bomb” and see how many Feds knock on your door. Clearly, this proves that you don’t truly have privacy from Big Brother on your PC. Do you know why the internet was never regulated? They want to keep your dumb ass occupied and waste countless hours like we all have been doing for years instead of being productive. In the time that we waste on the Web with the videos and games, we could be enlightening ourselves with something positive. The Internet is a free encyclopedia, and I'm not talking about Wikipedia because as most people know, it is not a credible source. Despite having all of this free information on the internet, I can bet that very few people can show me how to illegally download a book, but everyone can explain how to illegally download their favorite CD. These are just my thoughts and I am not judging anyone because I watch as much dumb shit on the web as you. But sadly, there are some grown ass men that cannot change a flat tire but can tell you 5 websites that show free porn. So folks, the next time that you have a paper due or you have some free time on a Sunday evening, decide on whether or not you will be productive with your Macbook, or waste more brain cells on YouTube.