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Outdated Forms of Political Thought

Yet another topic that will insight the masses! This one is more for those that are seasoned. I realize that in my the youth of my age I was not around during the Civil Rights area; however I don’t DARE discount the work of those that came before me! What is disconcerting is hearing the outdated thoughts that are shuffling again.
In my home city of Chicago, there is a HUGE circus for who will be the next major as the current mayor will be stepping down after 21 years of service. In a city like Chicago you can imagine it is a true political power grab and every socioeconomic voting block is angling for “their” party? Fine, US politics at its finest. What I find most disconcerting amongst my people (African-Americans) because the “ole guard” is going behind closed doors to discuss the best candidate to represent “our” interests.
I maybe considered borderline radical for this, but if anything the last Presidential election showed that this is the time for Generation X to have more than a token say at the table. with the likes of Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton reaching, thankfully, the sunsets of their careers, let us look for a new model. And with looking for this new model, we need to figure what it is that we need, and also look at our worth as a voting block which in itself is quite disconcerting. If we are still so easily duped my politicians who can easily walk into our pulpits and make futile promises while not taking us seriously, then to be frank we need to fall about deaf ears. This also goes into a deeper caveat as people that we need to better educate ourselves on not only the voting process but the accountability process of knowing how to measure a candidates effectiveness or lack thereof. Many people perceived President Obama to undue 8 years of work within 1 year and now pout as if they feel raped and or lied to. Grant it I am not a fan of his approach but many things will take time to undue an create to truly create positive change.
I say the same for the mayoral election, the best candidate “we” have as of this correspondence is a Preacher turned Senator, that has one of the largest churches in the Midwest, which is ironically situated in the heart of one of the roughest neighborhoods in Chicago. We are so smitten by the Power of the Preacher that we struggle to fathom a Black man in power that isn’t backed by a church. Am I convinced he is the best candidate, as of this correspondence? No. I am not so bent on ethnicity in power that I am blinded by the most important issue, economics. Economics reign supreme with unemployment in the country at 10% and near 20% in the Black Community.
The format of going to each “block” and speaking to those that represent that block and humoring them is a time honored tradition, the question I ask is why should the Black vote be respected when we don’t hold our current officials accountable? We are still marching singing “We Shall Overcome” in 2010 but we need to change our tune or we will continue to be offkey in not only improving the city for ourselves but for those that all reside in Chicago.

More to come
N

People and Politics

These two topics are what wars are fought over! Families broken up, friendships ended and yet we are glutton for it but choose to not completely read “the fine print”

For me, as a African-American male, its been critical to understand politics beyond the “spin doctors” that tell us what to feel, believe, etc.
What personally disturbs me is that people believe EVERYTHING that is told to them without even doing the most minimal of research. Example you say: Well allow me

Many people voted for our President Barack Obama, for various reasons. (Hated Bush, Barack is Black, He had swag, Yes we can, etc) but truth is the average American doesn’t understand how politics work. So it makes me shake my head when I hear people of ANY nationality say he’s failed as a President. In 18 months, one man is expected to change what another man did in 8 years! Go figure. How many of us even understand how the Senate and House of Representatives even work. Do we really even know our own issues?

The point is that we shouldn’t be so guilty of drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid and get mad when we get ill from not reading the contents, and this goes for ANY politician! Do I agree with President Obama on everything! #$%%# NO! At minimum though I do make an effort to understand what it is that is being discussed, process it and then weigh in when appropriate.

Another example of not understanding politics. Many people on social network sites have OBAMA as their political party! To me that is sincerely disturbing! So when President Obama leaves office, one no longer be interested in politics? Also, there are Republicans, Democrats & Independents. I didn’t know President Obama was a party. I say that to say, we don’t understand what we say we believe in and when we see something we don’t like we speak out without understanding.

Awareness is key, the prelude to knowledge and wisdom, and the gateway to understanding.

In conclusion, I say this. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2nd Timothy, 2nd CH, 15th verse)
Seek and be aware, so that you know for yourself is true.

As President Obama’s term continues and Tea Party members aggressive push their agenda, find whats right and learn the facts. And if Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton are the agents of information for you, then indeed, study immediately

N
out

ReDFined Xpression – UK Version

Greetings to all! Got a lot going on, my apologies for not keeping up on the blog
For those that have followed this blog, you may know I am into music and released an album
Well I have now been blessed to get a Distro deal and now have just re-released it in the UK on Sept 6th. Via D-Rom.com
Right now its on itunes, napster, amazon and almost every digital vendor you can think of.
A dream come true indeed! However complacency is not allowed. Looking to push this album into Europe and Asia by years end!
If you like hip-hop, w/ lyrics and solid production, then look up Nizm on itunes and get “ReDFined Xpression” today! You won’t regret it!

N
Out

Nizm: http://www.refinedgmusic.com coming soon!

Being an educated NABM (North American Black Male)

NABM!.. kinda like what the cops do right?
I don’t like to get into the race debates normally because well lets be honest; no one wins.
Either the offended are seen as too sensitive or the offender is not sensitive enough.
As a Black man, born in America, I have had my fair share.

That being said. I have a unique perspective on how the world views what my dad calls North American Black Males aka African-Americans.

If I was an alien dropped into this world to play sociologist and study this particular group, I’d be quite confounded. Based on media projections, we are constantly incarcerated, lack intellectual dexterity, and only aspire and excel in events and activities that require physical prowess. (i.e. sports and entertainment)

NOW that being said.. there are QUITE a few males like myself who are African-American (For the purposes of this discourse I am focusing on Africans transported and dropped off in the U.S.) that are educated. Some may have an athletic prowess, or an affinity for entertainment. Nonetheless it doesn’t take away from my intellectual capacity in the least bit.

What brought this discussion on?
Well, long story short, I am in the midst of job hunting like many in this erratic economy! And I interviewed with an agency in regards to a position I felt pretty good I qualified for. The interviewer made his discourse about how my “experience” wasn’t relevant though I showed how it was, but hey, arguing is not attractive and well you look desperate if you do.

That wasn’t the part that made me look at him like he just won a glass-chewing contest.

He then shirks his shoulders, looks at my resume and asks, well I know its “not in your background” but “someone like you” should consider working in a call center!

PAUSE
To my readers who are not (NABMs) or work in Human Resources. Its easy to say, “Well you just getting sensitive and he’s just trying to direct you to stable employment.” I’ll buy that, but would you ask a lawyer to consider being a nurse? Would you ask a surgeon to consider being a telemarketer? No, why because you see that they are in a profession or craft, and you would at minimum refer them to something close or at least within range of what they do, if for nothing else to increase the probability of a successful placement (Basic rationale at work)

I respectfully declined on the basis of, it not being a strong suit of mine as well as not wanting to waste that clients time and resources. He then says we will keep you in mind for other customer services positions.

PAUSE AGAIN!

Now, I don’t knock ANYONE doing customer service, that’s a skill and craft in itself; however I know my strengths and weaknesses, and he disregarded my education and the like. His whole body language was as if I asked for a position I dared not apply for!

We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries and I left.
That exchange has led to this discourse. Why is that when Black males are educated and looking to elevate in arenas that are not traditonal, it is scene as offensive? Is it because of the pre-programming that we have become accustomed too? (This can go for any other marginalized group, as well, but again I am focused on N.A.B.M.s)
There are many other diatribes I can go into regarding this. From the “Oh you speak so well!” (Of course, I passed English and learned to talk, I am an American lol) or “For someone of your background, you are so driven and ambitious” (Translates to: why I didn’t know you all can have goals) and personal favorite “That’s an interesting field for you to be in (Translation, shouldn’t you be rapping or working or your jumpshot)

The point I am making is like all segments of people, there is a depth to North American Black Males. I know comrades that are over six feet tall that HATE basketball. I know of young Black males who do NOT like Fried Chicken. (Imagine that)
And yes their are critical thinking North American Black Males that strive for the theoretical and not back breaking labor. No people are one-dimensional! At the risk of offending a few, I post this and want feedback and discussion. I don’t pretend to know it all, just speak on what I see, and how I feel. If you are in Human Resources I definitely want your perspective. (As honest as you can be without jeopardizing your current employment)
I ask now as a job seeker, that doesn’t want to consider things like race in the selection of the best applicant, and want to know objectively what can one do make oneself better.

N
out

8-ReDFined Xpression (title track)

Greetings again!
At this juncture we have gotten to the halfway point of the album.
Track 8!
ReDFined Xpression! I am a firm believer that the title of the album can be like a compass of direction for the album.
For this song, I wanted to dig into my flow and just let it be thick. Many have said that my lyrics are quite complex and tend to “go over folks head” I disagree. I don’t like to insult people by such insinuations.
This song was straight “flow” and just going into the depth of how I can get down as well as covering interesting topics along the way.
The wordplay is quite flowing but its a easy to song, and one of my personal favs but I dont wanna be guilty of influencing, LOL

Check it out
9/6 via D-rommusic.com (UK)

N
out

7-DESWAGGAFIED

Yep.. the single.. off of ReDFined Xpression!
Any one who knows me knows how I feel about the word “swagger” Its and overused and abused and misconstrued term.
One day while in the barbershop.. shooting the breeze the concept came to me to kill the word. Anyone who has been in hip-hop for any decent length of time knows that hip-hop is cannabalistic in nature. And I was feeling quite Anthony Hopkins-ISH
Over a Drum heavy but melodic track from my Drummer Tim Jonz (http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=107679255936706&ref=ts)
The flow on it is different from what most folks have known me for, but it was a chance to show a versatility I havent always shown. The song is full of entendres and punchlines including one about Steve McNair in which I have been told by many I will go to hell for but it gets the point across lol

The hook is a very simple but catchy something that will ensure you dont forget it as we all know SOMEONE that fit into the subjects of the hook lol

For those interested in hearing:
http://nizm.bandcamp.com/track/deswaggafied

Next up
8-ReDFined Xpression (title track)

6-Why It Didnt Work (Song Analysis)

Back by popular demand.
Folks wanted me to keep going through each song.

The next one is quite topic and many have wanted to know where my mind was when I wrote it
Why It Didnt Work is NOT about a specific female, as much as it is a compilation of observations made in my dating life as well as what I have heard from my comrades.
This song was not meant to be scathing as “No Wrong” (From Previous album “This Is Me”) but to be more so a respectful but serious commentary on the interactions of men and women.

The humorous piece at the end was me with a little adjustment from technology.
This track too was produced by RoyceBirth from Toronto, for more of his work check out
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Falbum%2Ftherebirth%2Fid386492990&h=93db3

Next up:
DESWAGGAFIED!

Bittersweet Knowledge of Talent and Business

A subject I am very well acquainted with.
I myself have been into music since 94. A serious recording artist 99.
Blessed to be around and see folks come and go, has been humbling.

But now, one cant help but to wonder is it a curse!
See as a hip-hop artists its a lonely walk. In that you watch what people misconstrue as “real” based on whats TV. Then you have “purists” who complain there is no “real” hip-hop around. Hip-hop purists are like religious fundamentalists, in that they are staunch in their view, not allowing an artist to grow or make money, because they will be viewed as being a “sell out” (I wonder does Garth Brooks and Santana have to worry about such idiosyncracies)

At my level, of “up and coming” artists. It borderlines the insane and genius as that one is constantly looking to expand their brand by making the public aware of their product without being annoying.

The stories I could tell would make this blog quite long, but to give you an idea; folks will swear that they will be at your show, then not show, then give you a bs excuse.. CONSTANTLY. Folks will say they will buy your alubm but NEVER do it, and duck when they see you. (I take ironic joy in knowing that grown adults have to dodge me after they proactively lied to me, but I digress lol.)

Then its the business!
Like any other craft, trade, or profession, you have to network and barter to move up in the world, but in music. I often am amazed at the unsavory characters one runs across as it can be at times one step above the Underworld. Many folks backstabbing, all the while you are holding on to your dream of expression, while folks of lesser quality and morals flourish.
Folks trying to hustle your talent to make money off of your back in exchange to get you “exposure” (Though in many cases you have to sell tickets to people who know you thus how are you exposing yourself to a new crowd? Once again I digress lol)

Which leads me to me.. A moment of frustration I will attribute it to, but I cant help but wonder.. in the arts is it destined to be the issue of the talentless and profitable, with the talented and broke?

Farbeit from me to be the ultimate dictum of all that is good, but in my genre, we have such denigrating images of “rappers” like Soulja Boy and Wacka Flocka Flame (I am dead serious that is his stage name) who are able to share such foolishness on a grand scale, and yet my very own “fans” dont do the same to support on a basic level!

Some would say try harder, or put out better music!!! I am up for the challenge!!! But what is the use when folks will ultimate do their best to undermine your work? And lack of consistent support in some artists case have driven some to physical ailments like ulcers (This is know from personal experience)

As I write this, I realize this maybe almost prima donna-ish in tone, but as an artist, i have prided myself on rational clarity in my thought process not being driven by impetuous emotion in my view and approach.

To those that I have heard mine or others music in hip-hop
Why do you support or NOT support
What can the artist do to make the product more attractive to purchase (if anything)
Do you believe that on the basis of you knowing the artist they should give it to you for free?
Do you respect their craft and the time they put into or do you think they are waisting their time, and if so would you be so gracious to tell them?

I ask, because most artist are too afraid to ask such questions. I partially ask this because very recently I came really close to walking away from music for good! Mostly because it seems people dont want to hear it! I love what I do and will continue to do it, but EVERY artist has the narcisistic element (or more extreme, i.e. Kanye) that wants to be heard, and when not heard, it makes you re-evaluate a lot.

At this point, I am going to take my re-evaluation public not for pity or sympathy but to ask what is it, that you the fan/listener/consumer feel and hopefully get some more artists to weigh in on this and create a dialog

Godspeed
N

The failure of government for the people.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Quite the wording, poignant yet hollow in today’s times.

Its apparent that within that government has forgotten who signs their checks
particularly when it comes to everyday actions. We listens to campaign rhetoric
and yet folks don’t deliver.

I have never been a huge in either direction in regards to politics. (Democrat
or Republican, both have their issues in my opinion)
However we believe that we vote for the person that will truly suit the needs of the
working class folks, given that more than 70% of this country are working class.

Recently I have gotten my introduction to the real word if you will.
President Obama signed into legislation the extension of unemployment benefits.
Given the access of technology and the speed of how we can do things, I figured that
my fathers benefits would be to him in a short period of time.
However we are on week 2 and hes technically homeless as he was forced from his residence
because he didn’t have the income to pay his rent. BECAUSE of this.

Now, given that we just approved over 4.5B to be put into the “war” in Afghanistan, surely
there was no delay in remittance of those funds
I listen to talking heads daily and I am far from a Harvard egghead, but I cant for the life
of me understand why are you withholding money from the very folk who need it the most.

Meanwhile the rich have the audacity to want more tax breaks!!!

Now I am actually a fan of capitalism! But for capitalism to work as the machine that it is
all the cogs and pieces have to be cared for carefully. It seems that stimulation of the
economy is rhetoric and good for sound bytes.

I am tasking this as a call to arms to all politicians to answer concisely, why unemployment
is being held up. I may not like the answer but an honest answer is deserving of the people.

Signed
L. David Stewart