Tuesday, June 28, 2011


The city stifles me
like a clingy lover
trying to sap my vital energies.

I need to be among maple trees,
tall oaks and whatever else
grows on its own accord.

There are too many angry voices in these streets,
too many judgments in my mind’s pathways,
too many “too many’s”
and not enough peace.

Grappling with the need to create
as creation grapples with my soul,
two bulls with horns locked –
neither moving, tension high –
and I like a matador
sitting in the stands,
watching the struggle,
knowing its futility,
waiting for them to let go.

Dear Child,

Dear child,

You were not born prepared for this life.
You will need to learn much
to survive.

Some things may come naturally to you,
others will not.

You will know to eat when you’re hungry,
to sleep when you’re tired,
to cry when you’re sad.
But be wary –
even these basic things
can be unlearned,
even forgotten.

Everything you do will have consequences;
some will seem insignificant,
others you will load with meaning.
How things seem to you
will often not reflect their true nature.
Know this:
for every choice
a difference is made.

Yes – you will have choices to make.
At times you may think you have none,
but this much is certain:
you will always have some degree of choice,
no matter your circumstances.

Your victories and failures in life
are not victories and failures;
they are what you and others say they are,
and nothing more.

You were not programmed for anything
other than to be,
to live and grow
until you die.
Everything else that happens is
simply as you experience it,
as you sense it,
as your perceive and interpret.

You will feel many things in this life.
You might feel joy in moment
and pain in another,
taste sweetness now
and then dirt on your tongue.

Sometimes you will be alone
even among other people,
or be connected to someone
from miles apart.

You are fragile;
your body can break and decay –
take care of it.

You are courageous;
you can act despite fear.

You might believe at times
that you are alone,
that you’re difference or don't belong…

But here you are.

Of the infinite possible beings
that could be in the universe,
you are here – you exist.

Your life matters.

What you choose to do or not do matters.

What you say,
what you think,
what you believe and dream matters.

And you are the one who says how you will live.

There are no shoulds or should nots
except within the contexts of reality
that you define or accept
as they are defined by someone else.

So do not make to harsh terms with yourself.

Love, compassion, and kindness
can provide you access
to the freedom inherent in your nature.

Build and create yourself
into the person you want to be in this world,
and go out there and be it.

Be not overly concerned
with the importance of the totality of your life,
but rather with each moment
in which you find yourself.

The fleshiest fruits of your life
can be plucked only in the present,
although the seeds you plant
may not bear fruit
for years to come.

Dearest child of this world,
you may not have been born equipped
to live as large as the dreams you’ve created,
but you are blessed with access
to all the tools you will need
to build the world you want to see.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mixtape Review: NewBreedMC – Silent Slang Mixtape

After a four year hiatus from recording, the Silent Slang Mixtape is an audacious release for Brampton resident NewBreedMC. Boasting 14 tracks over a diverse and well-selected variety of beats (all dubs – this is a promotional mixtape), NewBreed displays his ability to create a strong presence over a broad sampling of instrumentals. When I asked him what “Silent Slang” meant, NewBreed told me it was another way of saying “Unspoken Swagger;” a shared acknowledgment of something that doesn’t need to be explicitly stated to be noticed. Having recently witnessed a charismatic performance by NewBreed at a Killah Priest show, I can definitely cosign the fact that this is one MC who possesses “Silent Slang.”

NewBreed has a definite talent for making catchy hooks, evidenced throughout the mixtape (“Who needs and MC? You need an MC!” is now stuck in my head), and he even sounds melodic at times (e.g. the hook on “I’m the Man”). Some of the tracks on the mixtape have a “mainstream” sound (e.g. “Go Girl” and “Single Forever”), perhaps a result of some of the beats selected, but there’s an ample supply of more “underground” sounding straight hip hop gems on here. “All Lungs” is the stoner anthem of the mixtape, and perhaps one of the catchiest herb-smoking songs since Cyprus Hill’s “Hits from the Bong.” For those who enjoy a good storytelling song, “Great Canadian Fable” will please listeners with a psychologically in-depth crime tale (albeit with a predictable crime-story ending.

When it comes to braggadocio, NewBreed is a pro – for listeners who love punch-lines (and maybe even a few laughs), this mixtape definitely delivers. With lines like, “I’m a giver not a taker – I don’t even take advice” and “I get fly and ‘Neverland’ like Michael Jackson’s home/ I spit a line and ‘Breathe Again’ like Toni Braxton, holmes,” NewBreed displays skilled wordplay and punch-lines that deserve a few rewinds. NewBreed sounds at home on every track – his vocal presence is confident and his delivery is strong. His flows are on point and he displays versatility with his rapping ability. If there’s one major criticism I have of NewBreed on this release, it’s the banality and lack of substance in a lot of his rhymes. Much of what he raps about on this mixtape consists of stroking his own ego and talking about superficial clichés (although he does do this more entertainingly than the average rapper). That being said, it’s clear that NewBreed can be a lyrical beast and craft intelligent and complex verses when we wants to (listen to verse two on “SS Silent Slang” for evidence of this). When I asked him about this, NewBreed told me that he intended Silent Slang as an introductory project, and that “the message” in his lyrics would be coming more in subsequent releases. After listening to Silent Slang a few times and seeing NewBreedMC perform, I’m definitely looking forward to this artist’s future projects.

Download the Silent Slang Mixtape HERE.

NewBreedMC – Silent Slang Mixtape – Track Listing:

1. Who Needs an MC? - Produced by MoSS
(Original: DJ Deadeye and ST. The Squad – “Blood Brothers”)

2. All Lungz - Produced by Black Milk
(Original: Buckshot, KRS One Mary J Blidge –“The Way I Am”)

3. Many - Produced by Ski and Apple Juice Kid
(Original: MC Lyte – “Rocking with the Best”)

4. I'm the Man - Produced by Pharell
(Original: Clipse – “Popular Demand”)

5. Say What You Want - Produced by Kanye West
(Original: Drake – “Say What’s Real”)

6. Pablo Reverb - Produced by Rick Rubin and Beastie Boys
(Original: Beastie Boys – “Paul Revere”)

7. I'm Everywhere - Produced by Soundtrack
(Original: Lupe Fiasco feat Matthew Santos – “Shining Down”)

8.Single 4 Ever - Produced by Best Kept Secret
(Original: Wale – “Pretty Girls”)

9. Go Girl - Produced by Don Correll and Tony Taylor
(Original: Lupe Fiasco feat. Matthew Santos - “Say Ahh”)

10. Chamber 33 - Produced by J Dilla
(Original: Raekwon – “10 Bricks”)

11. In the Black – Produced by Black Milk
(Original: Elzhi – “That's that One”)

12. Great Canadian Fable – Produced by Focus
(Original: Slaughter House – “Lyrical Murderers”)

13. Silent Slang - Produced by RZA
(Original: Raekwon – “New Wu”)

14. Life – Produced by The New Boyz
(Original: New Boyz feat. Ray-J – “Tie Me Down”)