...and I agree.
Here's an excerpt from an article about the VH1 documentary he executive produced, Planet Rock: The Story of Hip-Hop and the Crack Generation (it airs this Sunday night):
On What’s Missing From Hip-Hop "I want to see some little motherfuckers get together like a Public Enemy and give these fools a wake up call like, 'Fuck this jewelry and cars bullshit,' (say
it AGAIN!!--GATA) and bring it back to Armageddon! Don’t get it
twisted--the people that are making music now, I’m not mad at them. People think I’m mad at pop music [but] I’m not. I’m just saying
the conscious music is lacking.There’s no roots, really, and when you
think about the groups that I name like the PE’s and all that, they
can’t make records now because we’re not the right age. We’re the age
of their parents. Kids don’t want to listen to their parents, so we
accept that so I’m saying there just needs to be some-- how could KRS 1
and all of us used to be so militant at our age. Where are those kids
that are gonna come out and really push the envelope? NWA did “Fuck the
Police,” we were going hard, we were getting arrested. Now everybody
is trying to stay in their nice little safe bubble and I miss the edgy
music. That’s all I’m saying. Saying you sell drugs, that’s not edgy to
me, let’s talk about some issues. Lupe fiasco does it. I’ve listened
to some of his stuff. He’s not afraid but there’s a lack. I would love
to be a fan of some new little bad ass cats coming out and letting
mother fuckers know what’s up."
I say fxck yer age-- do that shxt anyway. They need to learn from SOMEONE. I guess that's just me.
You can read the whole article here. It also talks about a well-known swagger-jacker Ice calls out...oh, the irony.
If you've heard GATA City, or used the neat little download doohicky at the side of the blog there, or received a download card from me in the street, you've heard the song, "Paperdollz". If not, I'll post it here so you can check it out...I'll wait.
So far, it's looking to be my lead single because it's the one getting all the attention.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about it because it is something personal, and I realise some people might take it the wrong way. So I wanted to post a blog on it.
Admittedly, the song is semi-autobiographical in that I have actually experienced some of the feelings I express in the lyrics (and in the interlude proceeding it on the cd)...but I haven't had the problem of being almost compleatly ignored over some porn goddess. (Thank GOD.) I used the extremes to illustrate and convey the feelings a little more hardcore. Who knows? Maybe there is a girl out there who HAS gone through this exact thing. I just happened to feel strongly enough about this subject to write about it; after all, this is the very bedrock of songwriting.
The song is NOT about dissing the lovely ladies of the porn industry, that's for sure. I couldn't, in good conscience, really do that, being that I WAS a Paperdoll myself for one brief moment. It would be hypocritical! For all I know, there was some guy out there obsessed w/some picture I took, and his girlfriend was going off on him about it. Why would be beyond me, as the pictures were, for the most part, very tasteful for that kind of mag, even cheesy...and we know people like their hardcore shxt!-- but I digress.
The song IS about a dysfunctional relationship, in that the guy in it clearly has an addiction to porn to the point his girlfriend isn't enough for him anymore, and he ignores her 99 per cent of the time. She's unhappy, and she warns him, "You gon' get left with them paperdollz". She's at her wits' end, but still willing to play ball if he is. Whether he does or not remains to be seen.
Some of the descriptions of the girls in print might be taken as inflammatory --"cookie-cutter", referring to said girls as "that" as opposed to "her/them", pointing out their "fake boobs" and "big booty"-- you get the idea. Remember: this is from the POV of an obviously frustrated, neglected woman, who's feeling just a wee bit insecure about her partner's infatuation. She even tries to tell him, "I get it"-- even going so far as to suggest his indulging in his porno fantasies helps their relationship by keeping him faithful ("mainlining those'll/keep you home, I suppose"). The problem lies in him not paying any attention to her whatsoever, and she feels she can't compete even though she is a flesh-and-blood woman.
My own feelings are coming out in that I do take issue with the majority of these girls looking the same...P/shopped to the point their bodies are almost identical: same skin, same boobs...definitely the same big ass, LOL. It's insane. It also kills me that if a girl has that look in real life, the men will complain about the very enhancements that made them buy the magazines and movies in the first place....and then complain they want a "real" girl. Ri-i-i-ght...no pressure there.
The real message is that anyone--not just guys, but women too-- need to appreciate the person in their life and not take them for granted, favouring things that are not real over someone who is. A magazine is just ink, metal, and paper. A flick or an online site is just pixels on a screen. It's two-dimensional. And in the end, your partner is right there, and that image is NOT.
This even extends to the strippers/exotic dancers at the club. They are there to get their money. They are there to entertain you and do their job... up to and including being friendly (in some cases, EXTRA friendly) with you. It doesn't mean they wanna bear your kids or give you any, even. They might not be 2-D, but they usually aren't a part of your life outside of that club or that bachelor/bachelorette party or whatever. They are real people, but they aren't your real relationship. They sell you fantasy.
THAT is what the song is about.
So, no...it's not an animosity thing. Trust me.
Why was I a Paperdoll, you ask? Simple.
"I was young. I needed the money."
I had my own reasons. Besides-- I don't think I'm the first femcee or artist who did this at one time in their life. It was one mag, a loooooooooooooong time ago. Anything I've done since was either pin-up or fetish modelling.
And...trust me on this: the feature sucked because a) it wasn't real and b) my hair was a wreck. Ugh. I have better pics with my kit off in my possession that are waaaay better, LOL.
Fxck-- I'm so bad with these. I'm super late, LOL
Well, I'll put up three again...
Those are all random shots of our pre-Irene performance at the Palm Street Block Association's annual block party. It was raining like crazy most of the day, but they are hardcore about their block parties, LOL
Side commentary: It's really sad that you can't even get respect or common decency from other acts at a freakin' BLOCK PARTY. It's not that serious, guys. That's all I'm gonna say about that here. That and, karma's a bxtch.
Aug 9, 2011 Greetings Gata, This is Nate from Tinderbox Music. I just wanted to thank you for your submission through Sonicbids. They're important to us. Meaning we don’t advertise and like the music we champion –we rely heavily upon grit and word of mouth. It's my belief that many folks are spending more and more time on electronic submissions. I have become a real believer in them as of late. It's a tough biz and you DO need to reach out. Indeed independent music is generous with its challenges, the more people you know the better. Yes, I'm saying that because I like a couple of your songs. You have a tight flow on "Paperdollz" and it definitely has the underground hip hop sound I like. But the other tracks fall a little more to the commercial/dancy side of things while we work primarily with underground hip hop. So while I don't think we're going to be a good match for each other, I do wish you all the best in your musical endeavors. All the best, Nate
Thanx, Nate... I think. At least thanx for not being generic like most of the promoters on Sonicbids too lazy or unwilling to give feedback.
For s&gs, I'm just gonna share some pics from either stuff in my life, or things I just wanna share with you. I think I'll start with one of my faves:
This is Peace (one of my dancers, and the love of my life--for REAL) with me at my baby shower, obviously. This picture always makes me smile...and the day was so nice. It was definitely one of the happier moments of my life, period, and a big reason why I do what I do.
I am truly blessed.
ThaGataNegrra- GATA City Label: 3 Miles Entertainment Release: 8-24-2011 Review Author: Praxilla
In the present tense, it would seem as if a heroine can seldom be found within the realms of Pop music. By Pop music, I am talking about music that is dominated by a sensual female voice and the contemporary beats accompanying …not simply music which has dominated the airwaves because of its popularity on the mainstream circuit. At least in comparison with its reincarnations in past decades and the female performers who helped to shape the genre then, the new wave of female-fronted pop music has descended from a status of undeniably venerable to almost passable. Nowadays, a great majority of pop music is an indecipherable heap of uninspired radio-friendly tunes and watered down experiences, which emphasizes the baser sides of femininity; favoring materialism dressed up as strength, confidence, and self-dependence.
In the recent past, however, the genre has seen classic songs such as TLC’s “Unpretty”, which digressed feelings of self acceptance of inner beauty, and their equally praiseworthy “No Scrubs”, which emphasized the female empowerment of not letting any man, especially one that is disrespectful and without aspiration, into one’s life. Pop music has also seen the likes of Jennifer Lopez, who boasted favoring honesty and truth in a relationship in songs such as “If You Had My Love”. Pink’s “Most Girls”, a first-person narrative of wanting “real love” as opposed to the superficial qualities of desiring a cash cow, also breathed new life into the lungs of a genre which, more often than not, reverts back to its original form as an industry which is more body- than substance-conscious.
In the wake of a genre that is seemingly dead, except, perhaps, for the few positive veterans of the scene, there is a new solo artist emerging from the Underground.
At first glance, ThaGataNegrra-- or “The Black Cat”-- is a visual anomaly of epic, eye candy proportions. With an album cover featuring a songstress donning purple and pink synthetic loc extensions, a leopard print top, and plaid shorts, Gata Negrra is every bit as cartoonish as an anime character, and yet still manages an intimidating and serious aura that ushers “street cred”, even behind faux cat ears. The reason for the myriad use of cats is simple: they are both her totem animal and stage persona.
On GATA City, the debut album from ThaGataNegrra, dance is used as a synonym of both love and lust: with lyrics inspired by a current relationship, Gata does well to avoid gratuitous oversexualization on songs such as “I Feel You”, with its infectious blend of disco meets New Wave meets Freestyle vibe.
But the Black Cat has a lot more than the metaphorical dance floor anthem to offer up on the album. “Paperdollz” is a personal track dedicated to not changing one’s self to meet the status quo of what men desire or expect.
In an interview, ThaGataNegrra said that though she will be focusing on more personal experiences in the future, a large part of the music-making process is about having fun. But if there were one mission statement she had, one truth she was setting out to prove, it is that “Hip-hop doesn’t have to fit into a stereotypical mold…[It] doesn’t have to be gimmicky, or negative, or materialistic. It’s not about what you have or want the world to think you have…but about being you. And if someone can identify with that, that’s awesome. Whilst dancing, even more so.”
The New Jersey native said that her inspirations range from Prince, Janet Jackson, No Doubt, A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, The Ting Tings, the Native Tongues (an alternative movement in Golden Era hip-hop), Gorillaz, and Eminem.
Other than being her totem animal and stage persona, ThaGataNegrra also has an affinity with the feline because their personalities are similar. Like a cat, she says she always lands on her feet. “Sometimes, I feel like: ‘Don’t corner me.’ And sometimes I feel shy and run for cover. But other [times], I'm growling my truth”.
Other performers on GATA City: Angel Vivaldi, PoppaRazi
Sometimes, I get on Twitter and rant away...it is in these moments I have streams of odd consciousness. I think sometimes, it's one of my "people" speaking, LOL...but even if it is, it's always truth.
Here are the last 2, back to back, latest one first. If you are reading this on a spot where I posted it already, apologies for the repeat, NOT what I said. "Saw a profile where their tagline was "tossing all punk rock bxtches in the ocean" or some such shxt. W'ever that means, cuz I ain't goin'!
"I do what I want...you don't like it? Too effing bad. Cried ONE tear in a bucket--and that's cuz something was in my eye.
"Don't let the look fool you or let the fact my CD's composed mainly of shakeyerass fool you. I told you. I have facets. It don't stop there.
"You can look at me and dismiss me if you want--I will not be denied. Sorry to disappoint you. I've been at it too long to suffer ignorance.
"The dance stuff is just one facet...trust me-- you WILL see more...eventually. You don't go thru what I have w/o developing 'sides'.
"You may not like one as much as the other, but to deny one is to deny all...and you'll just be missing out if you do.
"That said....DEAL WITH IT. I haven't changed for ANYONE and I'm not about to start. Think what you want; keep being wrong.
"Keep sleeping...I'll just laugh when your bed's aflame. And prolly add more kerosene.
"Keep thinking it's all gimmick. I might get a little more dolled up for some things over others but this is me all the time, always been.
"You can't fault me for being me. Dislike it, maybe; fault me, no. At least I'm not trying to be someone else, all rumour to the contrary."
"If I can help it, I try not to associate with those who hang with people I'm not trying to be linked to. #negativitytravels #loyaltysdead
"If you notice I seem to NOT be receptive to you...it MIGHT be for that reason. Also, if you managed to dishonour me yerself...hm. #takenote
"I'm done with people who forgot what loyalty means; done with people who have no idea what friendship means. I've been so for a long time.
"So, I'll watch the dog and PHONY show with great amusement as it commences. If you take offence...it's prolly you performing. #checkyourself
"Also done with people who decide I'm a friend when it's convenient for them. How am I good enough for one event, but not another? #dumb
"If you can't accept me as I am ALL of the time, we don't need to talk anymore. #ihavenotolerance for intolerance. Do I embarrass you? #good
"If you can't be bothered to enact common courtesy procedures and leave people hanging @ critical times, we don't need to talk anymore. #bye
"Don't say you'll be @ an event/you'll help and string me, or worse yet: not have the love to answer/own up, and expect I'll forgive. #NO
"Moreover, don't expect I'll welcome anything you say to me with open arms if you consort w/enemies and get "tagged out there"...#notstupid
"I'm done with being treated like shxt by those who say they "love" me. I embrace those who know what it is to stand by a person.
"DO NOT ASSUME I AM HAPPY TO SEE YOU GIVE A FXCK ABOUT MY SMALL VICTORY. DO NOT THINK THAT MAKES US CULE. If anything, it makes you look sad.
"Upside, tho': it makes me LMMFAO. HAHAHAHAHAHA
"So no, that doesn't make me a bxtch nor does it imply any kind of conceit or forgetfulness of whence I came. It does, however, liberate me.
"I'm just saying...former friends-who-still-think-they-are-after-that-bullshxt: I. See. You. And no, not in the Na'vi way. This ain't AVATAR.
"Thank you, though, for all the knives in my back. To paraphrase one of my "rants": you've just given me a more fortified backbone. #stronger"
Yeh, you 'eard right-- GATA City is now available for preorders on Bandcamp! The digital version includes a little something extra, and there's also an option to order a physical CD, should you want one. I'll be offering a package later that includes an exclusive t-shirt that you'll only be able to get thru a Bandcamp purchase!
Pre-order your copy here. Full release is 8-24-11!
Personally, I have yet to go to the Coffee Cave, but I have passed the place and had their food at the Halsey Street Block Party. I've seen the mural they had painted on the facade of the building, and I think it's wonderful. Unfortunately, the New Jersey Historical Society seems to think the mural sux, and has ordered Coffee Cave to remove it.
From John Murray's notes on Facebook:
The Newark Historic Society has asked that the Coffee Cave mural at 45 Halsey Street be removed because it compromises the historical character of the building. I am asking that you email your letters of support for the mural and what it represents. Please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and address in your letter.
If you would like to support further, please let your voice be heard when we appear in front of the historic board, details tba.
Thank You All
Ifanything, I think the mural blends history with progress very well. It also represents the beauty and diversity and renaissance of the art/cultural scene in Newark, and should be allowed to remain. If you feel the same way, please send emails to the above address, telling of your support for the Coffee Cave Mural. I will be sending one myself. This is a promo video made for the Coffee Cave w/o its mural on the front:
Nate Dogg died way too young. I wasn't a huge fan, but he left his mark, and helped, along with Warren G., introduce a different style of hip-hop...sung hooks blended skillfully with sampled classic pop, courtesy of Michael McDonald.
Forties is too young to die. It's funny how forty looks so old when you are in your twenties, but rappers who hit forty are still giving it to us hard.
Now...Loleatta Holloway. How many parties and clubs have I been to where this song was NOT a staple? I mean, c'mon--even Marky Mark sampled it!
Black Box just straight ripped her off ahem...paid tribute as well:
I wouldn't be surprised if any of these songs enjoyed a renewed popularity due to their passing. Thank you, Nate, for your voice. Thank you, Loleatta, for giving us an iconic track to continue to blast at house parties, clubs, and festivals. (Thank you for coming to Newark and gracing our Lincoln Park Music Festival. Somewhere, there's footage of my Nekoboy, Peace, dancing for one of her performances, but I have yet to locate it...)
Wow. Tomorrow (to use a hackneyed--but true!--phrase) really isn't promised.
Elizabeth Taylor was bigger than life. Vivacious, savvy, and beautiful, she commanded respect in an age of classic films and earned her place among the stars who did things just as they liked..with no regard of what anyone thought.
Oddly enough, one of my favourite things she's done is a commercial. It's SO her...maybe that's why.
Rest in peace, Elizabeth. Maybe you can give Michael a hug for all of us.
I was watching Janet being interviewed by Piers Morgan and he was commenting on her skulls jewelry. I kinda rolled my eyes because I'm often critcised for wearing skull and crossbones motif. Janet had her reasons, and I have mine, which I am about to share.
The skull represents a few things to me. One, it reminds me of remaining empty. I don't mean "empty" in a bubbleairhead sense. I mean "empty" in the sense that you cannot fill what is already full. How can you learn when you know everything? They remind me to be open.
Another thing they represent to me is death, obviously (again, empty) but with the promise of rebirth, like winter into spring. With decay will eventually come growth. Things die and are reborn.
The big thing they represent to me is pirates. Yup--I said it-- pirates. Bear with me...
Thievery, scurvy, and killing aside, pirates that we were told stories about were cunning, clever and creative when they had to be. They knew how to beat the system that doomed many to fail. They took chances and went against the grain. They were the outcasts, the ragtag bunch that people looked down upon, and pulled themselves up and did what they had to do. It may not always have been right, but they did SOMETHING.
They took destiny into their own hands and they made something happen. They made a society for themselves.
They had the skull and crossbones to show they were dangerous and deadly...but to me it represents freedom. Once you decide to grab your destiny and change your life, go against everything you were taught and programmed, to stop waiting for someone to help you and you just DIY--as far as I am concerned, you, my friend, are a pirate. Yo-freakin'-ho.
The minute you decide to not have your life dictated to you and to live it as you see fit no matter who likes it, you have joined the ranx of piracy...just not in the sense that you are stealing and wreaking havoc.
Or maybe you are.
Maybe you're stealing your life back. Maybe you're wreaking havoc on a suffocating system that wants you to die and would chew you up and spit you out and have your guts for garters. Maybe you are making the best waves, and sailing them for all they are worth. If this is you, my pirate hat's off to you.
So...that's why I wear 'em...that's what they mean to me.
Sorry for the lack of eloquence on this-- I was just jotting down a random thought...
So, yeh. I haven't been here much because I just couldn't get ahold of a consistent connection to save my bloody life, but I have one now...so maybe I can stop lurking so much and say a little more.
Also, I've been going thru quite a bit lately, balancing raising my cubs and recording and battling building management and staying sane...it ain't always pretty, but I get it done.
But, it loox like the fruits of my labour will be shared soon: my first effort is looking at a March release. I'm signed to a small DIY label and I'm just happy I get to share my organised chaotic noise with someone.
I will never profess to being the deffest femcee ever (did I just say that?). It's just the medium with which I have always expressed myself, besides writing, and angry stressed-out photoshop manipulation.There is, I notice, a lot of pressure to be "THAT" girl...but I'm just another rapper, just like there are singers enough to throw a stick at, I'm part of the femcee ranx. I'm not playing house; this is what I do. I just do it differently.
The album is more...dance oriented than I expected it to be (I will be honest and say it wasn't planned that way at all; I just kinda followed where the trax took me). There are, however, a few more rhyme-based tracks there...some w/no catchy singing hooks (thank God/dess because my singing blows, LOL) and some funny interludes...I even delve into some Japanese at some point. The thing that makes this genuine is that it does explore my influences, gives you a glimpse into my personality(ies), and hopefully allows the listener to have some fun, which is partially what I was hoping for. I love to dance, so I wrote dance stuff. I'm cartoonish, so you'll hear cartoonish trax. I have insecurities, so you'll see that too.
I know there are some people that I am automatically gonna get compared to, but I can't help that. I can only show you how I'm different from them, continue to follow my creative path, and come up with more content. I'm not trying to change the world, just trying to create some stuff. I know people are gonna dismiss my shxt as disposable pop, but I had to actually classify myself in the pop category primarily w/hip-hop second, because where else would it go, really, w/all that dance stuff? LOL... I haven't even begun to touch all I wanna do. I guess that will have to wait for next project or exclusive online releases (hint hint). I set out to have fun on this, and I did, contrary to my collaborators' opinions at times. You'll see the deeper parts later, for sure.
There was a time during all this that I admit I was skeptical. I am a product of the "I-do-not-believe-shxt-until-I-see-it" philosophy; I admit it. There have been many times I have been told that I was the next big thing (sure), that my time had come (right), and that I was gonna blow up (uh-huh). My tendency to not be arrogant about my abilities kinda damps that down too much for me to get a swelled head on such things. There have been people that said they were gonna do this or that for me, and didn't follow thru for whatever reason...I have been so close to a "deal" I could almost touch it...but no dice. So I just learned to wait (and, totally said "I don't give a fxck anymore about a record deal"--and meant it, LOL) until I actually see something that loox promising, like this does. But even then, I don't get too excited. Perhaps it's a defence mech.
At this point, I'm just happy to be committing something to "wax", as it were. Something tangible that people can actually hold in their hands and listen to. Something that can actually open doors to other things. Maybe even get me and my cubs the hell outta this freakin' neighbourhood and into a place where we can all breathe. I can dream, can't I? LOL
I'm excited and happy cuz there are people who are actually waiting to hear something else from me, besides what they find online. They are who I did this for. If other people like it, yay, good shxt. I have my fears and insecurities: I won't be taken seriously, people will hate it, people (especially my own) will think I'm too weird, hip-hop purists will think I'm contributing to the problem by not talking about anything conscious, per se, the alt community is gonna be pissed at me if I go mainstream, EVERYONE is gonna be pissed at me if I go mainstream, people will auto assume I'm biting off of someone else, blah, blah, blah. It's easy to say that if I have haters, I'm doing something right. I have always had haters just cuz I am who I am, and always will. It is a vulnerable place to be. But, at the same time, it's also empowering in that my vision of who I am and what I choose to be is strong enough to survive all that negativity. I tend to not conform by default. (I may compromise a bit, but if it's totally against what I believe in, fxck that.) I will not go so far as to say everysinglething I've done/worn/tried I came up with; I just know what I like, and I throw things together and hope it sticks. DIY...it's always been my way. If I can't buy/find/collaborate with it, I figure it out on my own.
Okay, enough sharing for now. I do hope that people do dig on this, and can look past their first impressions and see my truth. It'll be interesting to see where this leads.
I stand by my promise yawl, that I tweeted so long ago: "I'll do nothing less than be true to myself and who I am. I won't put on airs. You will get GATA straight-no-chaser."
When I learned you were gone, I cried like I lost my best friend. I wish you were still with us. You gave us some great music, and unforgettable sound. You were a pioneer, an innovator, a trailblazer, and an inspiration. I will never forget you. The hip-hop culture is in your debt and is poorer without your presence.
We love you, Jay! Happy Birthday, and rest well.--<3, GATA, 1-21-11