Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I was cleaning out my backpack the other day and found buried at the bottom my old (circa 1964) copy of the Love Poems of Ovid.

I really wish I could read and speak Latin fluently enough to read the originals and understand them. I want to read Marcus Aurealius. I think that would be amazing.

In other news as is my habit I went into Twice sold Tales to do some looking like I always do. While I was browsing one of their kitties (a very cute fatty with a white belly and grey and black stripes) decided she absolutely needed my total attention. When I stood by a small ladder she hauled cat ass up it and decided to ride on my shoulders while I looked.

Nothing like having a large cat make herself at home across the back of your neck to start your day. She's cute. A very talky 'HEY PET ME NOW' kind of kitty. If there is a such thing as reincarnation I want to come back as a book store kitty.

Shelves to climb in, people think that if you're squat and round you're the cutest thing ever, treats. Is there a better existance?

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Nas? I have a weakness for very smart lyricists and he's very smart. I enjoy his music quite a bit.

His album Stillmatic is absolutely one of my favorite albums ever. His dis of Jay Z entitled Ether is a heavy hitter.

For those who aren't hip hop fans I will explain something.

Beef. (Look up the definition keep up with me here.)

To put it in a different context the idea of men having beefs with each other is not new. Not exclusive to hip hop. Take a long look back at history. Greek scholars did it, Roman scholars did it, poets have done it. Essentially the concept of beefs in hip hop has roots in language.

It breaks down to this- My skills are better than yours.

Historically beefs in hip hop have launched careers. Before the money, women and cars there's battles.

Follow along.

You are an aspiring MC. You write your lyrics. You are looking for a chance. You go to a battle. You don't win strictly by how hot your beats are, when it comes down to it you have to be smart, quick on your feet and understand how words work and how to use them.

What I love about hip hop now and when I first heard it was the power of words and when a good MC has it (some magical combination of smarts, flow and charisma) it adds up to a shiver up my spine.

I highly recommend Beef to anyone who's curious about the culture. Byootiful got this for me to watch and it's really fascinating to see people who are passionate and good at what they do break it down.

There are sad parts. The sorrow in the community over the needless deaths.

If you didn't know now you learned something new.

Maybe I'll talk about some of the negatives in and around the culture of Hip hop tomorrow.
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