I have failed you. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to form the perfect union, instead I’ve turned us into something different.
I have engaged in psychological warfare the like has never seen before in the bloodiest of wars, with you as the victim. My job is to protect you, instead I’ve become your biggest predator. The sword I was given to shield you from harm with, I’ve placed in your back numerous times. I’ve hunted you down, crippling you with lies and blank promises. I have gathered, and celebrated using you with my cohorts with the same mouth I promised you honor with.
I’ve left you to raise generations of families simply due to my own immaturity and lack of honor, then turned around and blamed you for it. My ego and greed have blinded me from the things really important, and you have carried the burden of my bad decisions. My backwards thinking has caused a confusion in your soul which handicapped you and anybody that comes in contact with you. I have broken you.
Nobody is supposed to be able to protect you more than me and I’ve ignored that job. I’ve brought outside frustrations, which are of no fault of your own to you to fix. My blind aggression has often times made you feel as a prisoner in your own skin and household. I’ve demanded understanding from you, then turn around and refuse you the same and somehow made it make sense in my mind, not giving your emotions even a second thought. I’ve attacked your insecurities and taken advantage of them, leaving you to pick up the pieces and regroup after abandoning you.
The way I have spoken down on you is disgusting. So bad in fact, that I have forced you to become accustomed to being called a dog and told you to deal with it.
This isn’t to promise it will never happen again, for I can’t guarantee that. For this is simply to say I have seen the error of our ways and I apologize for them. I know we don’t deserve it, but we beg for your patience as we will try to improve our ways. I am truly sorry. We are truly sorry.
I have failed you. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to form the perfect union, instead I’ve turned us into something different.
From the beginning of the album you knew this was something different you were hearing. You could tell by the album cover, even before playing the Scarface influenced introduction to open the project. It’s like you just knew this guy was different, this music was different, this album wasn’t like anything we ever heard before. And eighteen years later, it’s power is still felt today.
The year is 1996, and hiphop is in a great place. Nas was warming up the universe for their second helping of classic material from the poet, Ghostface is about to release Ironman from the then undefeated Wu Tang Clan imprint, Tupac and the Fugees are about to release what we now know to be classic albums which represented their last offerings. Outkast is about to introduce everybody to the thoughts from Atliens. But a mere week before God’s son drops his opus, a skinny kid from Brooklyn was about to shake up the world.
What makes Reasonable Doubt so stellar, is it came at a time when hip-hop didn’t even know that this is what we were missing. At a time when everybody in the East Coast were painting pictures of mafia ties with Italian bosses influenced from “Casino” and “goodfellas”, jay z was different.
Reasonable Doubt was written in code, you either fully understand the album or you don’t. Lines drenched in deep rooted slang such as “pay 500 for blow best believe I have 1160 to show” separate the listener from the target audience. This is an open letter from one hustler to another. Jay-Z was painting the same picture as his counterparts, but adding more detail to the background which only a trained eye could pinpoint but even a novice could see they weren’t the same.
Songs like “D’evils” took you on a journey where a hustler shows you the personable ugly realities that comes with life on the street. In the second verse, jay tells a story of how two lifelong friends since playing with Legos now find themselves as opposition and enemies. “We used to fight for building blocks now we fight for blocks with buildings that make a killing” is a reality hustlers know all to well; but one that was previously never spoken on in between the countless women, cars and partying.
Jay z didn’t just tell you all about a hustler and his triumphs, he told you about the losses and paranoia that comes from being in the game. He didn’t just tell you he sold drugs, jay explained in beautiful detail the thoughts that go through the mind of a hustler. “9 to 5 is how you survive I ain’t trying to survive in getting to live it to the limit and love it a lot”. Powerful lines like this not only gives you the what, but why a hustler decides to do what he does.
The reason that the last song on albums is a reflective one is because of reasonable doubt. Jay didn’t just show you a Brooklyn kid who sold drugs, he brought you deeper into a world than previously ever imagined. You didn’t just see somebody at the dealership buying a fully loaded 325 BMW enjoying his riches from crime. You were also witness to that same dealer at the hospital with a friend who was dying from playing that same game. The listener was even given a front row seat to still that same dealer “nervous confined to a corner” with beads of sweat and contemplating giving up the life for good. Shawn Carter gave us multi layered punch lines and metaphors, which some still don’t understand eighteen years later. And even though jay has released many more albums since with better sales and chart topping hits, reasonable doubt is the album which introduced us to the mind and world in which we have never seen before and may never see again. Almost twenty years later, and you still can’t knock the hustle.
#TheLionsDen is back for another run. For this installment I am bringing you an up and coming rapper out of Florida. Born and raised in the city, you can hear Trick Jr’s home-grown flow and pain in every song. With a distinct voice and delivery, Trick Jr brings you into his world with descriptive details of everyday life of a Florida kid trying to make it. What makes Trick Jr story different from your ordinary rapper, is his background. The son and name state of Ronald “Trick” Lee Williams, the leader of the once powerful “Miami boys” ring. Trick Jr has seen things most rappers only lie about. Carrying on tradition of his incarcerated father, Trick Jr is here to make sure when it is all said and done, everybody will remember his name.
When did you first start rapping and who are some of your influences
Actually i started in first grade, but I aint take it serious till 2010. And as for my influences , I’m actually more influenced by eras, and movements than actual rappers. I’m just a fan of the game but if I had to be distinct mainly Pac and slim (tupac and soulja slim)
Now of course you’re from Florida and go by the name trick jr so people automatically think that is because of trick daddy. Talk about where that name actually comes from and have you ever thought about changing your name to distance yourself from that thinking
My name I’m glad you asked that, ma name come from my old boy ima junior. Let’s just say he was a stand up cat and was respected by many, as for changing my name I thought about it but I’ve been called trick since December 26, 1987 so it’s something that just stuck with me. As for changing it Like I say I thought about it but I don’t see no reason, no disrespect to trick daddy we two different people and two different styles of music. My name is Trickjr his name Trick daddy. If you take the time you would understand it
The Florida music scene is a very popular scene with a lot of people. If you had to choose one artist to represent the state of Florida on every level who will it be?
Myself. Don’t get me wrong I listen to other people cause most rappers be so caught up in their own projects that they don’t take the time to listen to what I call the “competition” I listen to everybody but the best to represent the state of Florida I would say is myself.” I been here all my life I don’t know nowhere else
Describe your style in two words
Passionate and reality. Cause I will give it to you exactly how it happened and articulate it to where you actually feel the pain as if you were there. I call it and concrete and broken glass articulation is key. Let’s be real we all from the streets we all got similar stories it’s just how you tell it, Is what makes it interesting.
Obviously with who your father is you were witnessing a life a lot of these rappers claim to have but didn’t. Does something like that upset you?
To tell youths the truth it really don’t matter. I remember a wise man once said “America got a thang for this gangster shit” as far as rap I never look at it from that aspect but from the street aspect it makes you respects people like my father and what they did even more one thing bout that life you can’t fake it. Entertainment is entertainment and reality is reality it’s a very thin line.
Your style is reminiscent of the older days of hiphop. How does it feel being a throwback artist in the time of skinny jeans and men wearing dresses?
Lol skinny jeans and dresses huh really I think nothing of it times is changing and as an individual I do what I like I stick to what I know I don’t like to follow trends I’m a believer if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and if it still sound good I will listen. When things change I see it as an opportunity to stand your grounds even if you have to be the last one left, they will respect you more. What works for them might not for you. Stay in your lane while thinking outside the box.
I give you an unlimited budget for your debut album. Three producers and one guest verse from anybody who would it be?
As far as producers Dr Dre, Missy Eliot, and Mannie Fresh and as for one guest feature Sade because I’m a big fan and she rarely ever does features.
I remember seeing uncle luke and Wayne in a disagreement recently about out of towners visiting Miami and going to the strip clubs but not giving money back to the community. Luke even suggested they should be banned from Florida. What do you think about the entire debate and should rappers give back in your opinion
Me personally I feel what he tryin to do but I feel that it’s not that serious. When ever someone disrespect our town you would feel the same way and the fact that they getting money in your city and live in your city and disrespecting you, but if you gone do that here you gon do that any where then you lookin at as a west east and south war all over again.
A lot of the material in your music touches on personal topics like your father being in prison. Is there ever something that you may not speak on in a record or something you may have said before that you look back on now and think you crossed a line a little bit
As far as things I said I never really crossed the line and I don’t regret nothing but there are somethings that i won’t repeat… and as far as things I won’t say lets just say I choose my words very carefully due to the magnitude of my fathers situation, of course there are things I won’t say.
TrickJr Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/theo-smith-3
Link to Trick JR Confessions of a hustler vol. 1 mixtape http://www.datpiff.com/Trick-Jr-Confessions-Of-A-Hustler-Vol1-mixtape.102697.html
Link to newest Trick Jr mixtape “social Isolation” http://www.datpiff.com/Trickjr-Social-Isolation-mixtape.506742.html
Few things install fear into people like going for an interview for a job. The uncertainty of a job interview is one that can make you very nervous. There has been stories of people passing out from the nervousness of an interview. Rather it be the dream job you are going for or a lateral move in your career, all interviews come with a high level of pressure. Remembering these few helpful hints which me and my colleagues have discussed in detail hopefully will help you with that.
Let’s begin by telling you exactly what a hiring manager is trying to accomplish through an interview. Each interview is trying to evaluate the following
1. How skilled you are and how you applied these talents on a job
2. Your accomplishments and if they are on par with what accomplishments the hiring manager feels should have been accomplished
3. How you would fit with the environment and culture of the company.
4. Level of drive
5. Your potential for improvements.
Of course these five aren’t all weighed with the same importance depending on who is doing the interview. Most technological companies might put more emphasis on technical brilliance since company culture may not be as important because some will work remotely and never meet their coworkers. Some other companies will value a candidate’s first impression more and will hire off a gut feeling more often. Knowing what is being looked for is very helpful when going into an interview.
The most common mistake in an interview is the interviewees showing up far too early and upsetting the hiring manager. I’m sure you think showing up for your 1030 interview at 945 is at worst a good move if not a great one, but that is not accurate. At times hiring managers will take a candidate showing up for an interview very early as a sign of disrespect for their schedule because now they must juggle appointments around to accommodate you. Five to ten minutes early is an ideal time to come for your interview. Leave your house with enough time to account for traffic and sit in your car in front of the destination is usually the best option.
Talk in complete paragraphs not broken sentences
Ideally you want to answer each question for two to three minutes to any question. Short answers, regardless of the job you are interviewing can be the reason you do not get the job, hiring managers will feel you are being difficult and rude. Let your answers tell a story, start with a general opening remark, prove this remark as correct then give some examples to show why you decided to lead with that general opening statement. Then, to take control of the interview you want to end your answer with a question such as “is this the kind of situation or skill that I will be responsible for here?” Remember that an interview is nothing more than a conversation and if you show yourself to be easy to talk to, you’re putting your best foot forward in an interview. A candidate isn’t usually judged on how well they do on their jobs, references do that. Candidates are judged by how well they can describe how to do their job.
Read your own body language
Most if not all hiring managers believe they are mind readers through body language. Knowing not only what you are verbally speaking but what your body is saying is vital in an interview. Stand up straight, lean forward in your chair, make eye contact, allow an ample amount of space between you and the interviewer are just some of the body language rules to follow. Leaning slightly forward in your chair shows a level of excitement in the prospective job and what the hiring manager is telling you. Some signs such as rubbing your neck when answering questions can make hiring managers believe that you are lying to them and trying to come up with your words as you are going. Having a stern understanding of body language is very important when going into an interview for a job.
Do your research
Be prepared for your interview, research the company you are interviewing with. When a candidate has not done any homework on a company it shows easily, and makes hiring managers feel as if you are only interested in pay and will leave whenever another opportunity rises, which can make the next person get your job. You can separate yourself as a serious candidate by doing ten minutes of research on the company before an interview so that you can ask questions and answer any questions with more knowledge and sound complete answers. When the hiring manager ask “what can you bring to this company” you can show how much research you have done and answer this question with something more concrete than the weak “I will do a good job”. Doing research can be the difference in ending your job search or going on another interview somewhere else.
Ask for contact information
Assume that you are not the only person interviewing for a job and that the hiring manager will conduct more interviews. The best way to keep yourself in hiring managers mind is asking for contact information like a business card. When you get home from the interview send an email stating how nice it was meeting with the hiring manager and thanking him for taking time to speak to you. reiterate that you are excited about this opportunity and still want to move forward with the position. You would be shocked at how many times something as small as this gesture will put one candidate as the front-runner over others.
Of course there are other tips for interviews depending on the industry and position you are interviewing for. For any specific questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer them in future posts. Good luck on your upcoming interviews.
February 5th was supposed to be Trayvon Martin’s 19th birthday. I don’t have to tell you what took place to keep him from being able to see this day which marked the 19th year being his mother’s son. On this day in which we all were saddened by the memory of a young son being taken from the world too early, we were once again given a spit in the face and an ass to kiss. For on this day Trayvon Martin’s killer decided it appropriate to announce that he will be counting on us all to give him some money for taking a life.
Taking part in a celebrity boxing match, George Zimmerman is throwing proverbial blood on all of our hands as if we put a bounty on that child’s life and are simply paying him for his services. Questioning not only our intelligence, but our ability to form opinions and notice disrespect when it is in our face, George Zimmerman announced he will be putting gloves on and fighting DMX. I honestly can not believe that this is happening. The disrespect could not possibly be more apparent. This fight is a statement that we as people have such a unsatisable anomalistic thirst for blood that it controls our emotions into thinking watching George Zimmerman get into a fight with a black man will somehow make us all feel as if we are even. As if we want to see George Zimmerman beat up so bad that we will put him upon a celebrity status level in which his appearance is demanded and paid for just to witness it. Our lack of intelligence makes us so short-sighted that we can’t see the long-lasting damage that is sure to be the outcome by taking a part in this debacle.
Long term damage won’t be digested by the masses properly without short-term joy, similar to soda which is high in corn syrup and sugar. In this case, DMX is that soda which is put with the long-term damage. Watching a black man beat up on George Zimmerman is the show they are promising to make us not just allow the disrespect, but promote it and happily take a part in it. “Come see the man who killed a child participate in the very act in which led to him becoming a killer against another black man and pay for it”!
Not only is the fact George Zimmerman is being called a celebrity for the killing of a seventeen year old child insulting, but the opponent for which he was picked to fight is another slap in the face in itself. DMX, an admitted drug addict was hand-picked to represent us as a whole. DMX, a man very emotional and who has proven a lack of ability to control his anger and emotions is the person who will be putting the gloves on to serve this imaginary justice to George Zimmerman for all of us across the nation. The disrespect on every level is jaw dropping to say the least. This can not be allowed to happen. And if it does happen we can not become a part of the problem by supporting the monkey show; which make no mistake this is.
I employ you all to not watch the fight. This fight is not right this entire situation is not right. I ask you to sign this petition to keep the fight from happening all together. I can not promise that with your electronic signature that this fight will not happen. If the fight does happen do not watch it, for it does not represent who we are. This fight does not respect us as a people worthy of respect. This fight means we have become so accustomed to the vile disrespect being slung in our face, we do not bat an eye when it is there, we have even started to help the disrespect become popular and cool. A spit in the face and an ass to kiss is what we have been shown, now it is up to us how we react to it.
Think of an experiment. The subject is a specific species placed in an erratic environment and forced to adapt to survive.
That experiment is here. That subject is us and the environment is always changing.
With as little as a clearing of the throat some of us put on our mask. For others it’s turning music down when we pull into the parking lot that symbolizes putting it on. A mask of being one of the “good ones”. Where we momentarily forget all of our hardships as to not frighten our white coworkers so that we can continue to work there, any signs of aggression from us is detrimental. We aren’t allowed to have bad days, after we clear our throat Trayvon Martin never happened or it did and we have no opinion on the matter. A mask that says we believe we are indeed equal and part of a family, and everything will be ok.
We wear these masks not because we want to but because we have to. We have to blend in as best we can. Dilute our natural sense of pride and aggression as to not scare anybody. Put away a lot of the things which makes us unique because it may have been deemed unprofessional, meanwhile our counterparts are free to indulge in many unprofessional acts without thinking twice. This is the world we were given.
We represent the outcome. The outcome of affirmative action and the war on drugs. Because of the disturbingly uneven sentences from the war on drugs and high cost of eduction, we are usually the minority even in our immediate circle. We know people who are currently in prison rather it be by blood relation or life’s travels. A lot of us weren’t raised watching our father get dressed in a tie for work due to plenty of unfortunate choices by our families. Studies show we are twice as nervous about losing or job than our Co workers are because we know the alternative. Yet we get up and go to work each day.
We work very hard to get as far away from our people as possible. Even go as far as to equate success with seeing less of our people in the neighborhoods we call home. Because of this outlook, a success related guilt is formed. We feel bad for being successful. This guilt cripples some people’s ambition very severely. This guilt is so powerful that some rather let their family live in poverty than rock the boat and succeed.
But we still are here. Spread across every city in every state in as many countries as there are you are sure to find us. A little more nervous when the boss wants to see us in his office and under an estimated twice as much pressure compared to our Co workers. But what do we do from here is the important question. We can’t simply think we have arrived because there are more of us now than ever before. For a revolution doesn’t go do down in history for the first shot, but for what follows it.
So we must continue this uncomfortable feeling until it is no longer uncomfortable. We must keep showing up to work early and leave late just to stay even with our contemporaries. This is the only way we can sustain our presence in society as leaders. Because the more we make these sacrifices the more generations after us benefit. The more our children see their father get dressed up for work and return day after day the more this behavior becomes not only ordinary but expected.
We have proven we can withstand oppression and strife, it is time to prove we can succeed in today’s world. And in order to do that, we have to keep showing up early, turning our radio down when we drive to the building, “talk white” and be uncomfortable until the uncomfortable is comfortable. See you at the top.
Last night I took my son out of the bath and watched a movie with him, while waiting for him to fall asleep so that I could pray over him like every night. My son thinks likes to scream during prayer so I figure the big man upstairs can hear me a little better if I wait for Junior to fall asleep before speaking to him. Before hearing his soft snore I felt the vibration from my phone signaling that George Zimmerman had been given a verdict of not guilty for murder. Upon reading this update my prayer completely changed from the normal. I began asking “what do I do now”.
How do I raise my son in a world like this? How do I ensure my son’s safety while also instilling in him the pride and self-awareness a black man needs to succeed in a world as cold as the one we live in? How do I do my job as a father to the best of my ability?
This isn’t about the George Zimmerman trial, there will be countless other blogs that will discuss it for weeks. This is to ask how do we, as parents of African-American children raise our offspring with the necessary tools to not only survive but succeed in today’s society? What are the necessary tools that our children need? Is there one answer or a variety of paths to lead? What factors decide which tools we need to give our children?
Do we raise our children up to be prideful self conscious people even though we know that same sense of pride can be the reason we have to bury our boys into the ground before their time? Or do we teach our children that they are second class citizens not worthy to be protected by the same laws and rules they are expected to live by?
I do not want my son to be raised to be a racist, I believe fighting racism with racism will not help anything. But I would also not be doing my job as a parent if I didn’t make it clear to my child that this world we have been given is not a fair one and the color of his complexion means he has to take certain precautions at all times. What is the balance in these two lessons? Is there a such thing as being defensively racist as a reactionary weapon? How do I teach my son to treat everybody fairly and at the same time not expect to be treated fairly by others?
I am raising a black man in a country that hunts black men and doesn’t let them defend themselves because they have been deemed a threat before being given a fair chance, this is no easy task. My prayer was to please give me some of the answers to pass along to my son to prepare him for this war he was born into while finding ways to survive without giving up his sense of self-confidence? I want my son to know he can do anything in the world and to hold his head high because he is from a long line of prideful and honorable men. I shake from fear that same lesson will make my son a target to be gunned down in the middle of the street because of pre-conceived notion that he himself did nothing to make.
I ended my prayer and kissed my child on the cheek before getting up to walk out of his room which was now completely dark aside from the animation from Mickey Mouse taking care of some catastrophic event on the television. I looked at my phone one more time before deciding it was simply too heavy a burden for me to deal with that time of night. I wish I had the answers to these questions but more so I wish I didn’t have to ask these questions but I do. We all do. Every father, uncle, mentor, older brother, mother, aunt, or cousin of a young black boy have to ask these questions. And sadly, there still are no answers.