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Archive for November, 2015

The clock winds down after moving slowly all day.

Tucked into the sheets in the corner of a room.

Squeezed in tightly to a wrap of clothes and blankets.

A new bed.

The imagined clamor of solitude fills my ears.

Missing my room.

Every night I lay against the edge and miss my life.

I reach and hit the pale sheetrock draped in cold shadow.

Every night I knock the wall.

 

 

Wrapped up in a constant hug with myself.

I spend most of the day on my feet because getting up and down is hard.

The nurses check on me always.

The sound of their keys sounds like music to me now.

If they only knew the greatest fear I ever had was of being alone.

My arms keep me warm while I’m tied.

At night I fall into the corner of my room and collapse into the floor.

I lean in and bump my head against the padding settling in for night again.

Every night I knock the wall.

 

 

It’s a hard climb to the top.

I live my life taking elevators to floors not on the keypad.

Now that I fly more I’m barely ever near the ground.

My penthouse surrounds me with walls of glass.

Seeing liberties that only the powerful know.

A sea of networking corporations and back scratchers.

Invisible entrapment. Alone. Wanting to break free.

I pound a fist into the glass that confines me.

Every night I knock the wall.

 

 

The darkest streets are always coldest.

Lonely, I stand in hopes of business.

I want to be inside or at least in a car where I can feel warm.

Girls my age normally keep busy.

I end up being knocked against the headboard or thrown against these motel walls.

I try not to disturb the people in the next room.

Every day is full of moments. Each moment is survival.

Weary.

Every night I knock the wall.

 

 

Hot sand in my clothes, I try to keep it out my sheets.

The cabin’s quiet and my team does their routine.

Somehow no one died today.

I hold onto texts from my family, but no words can bring them close to me.

I lay down and try to clear my thoughts from the day.

I quiet my mind and struggle to find peace.

This tiny cot against the wall is all the relief that I’m allowed.

I pound my fist against the camouflage and rattle this cage.

Every night I knock the wall.

 

 

These walls keep us all in.

They keep us all confined.

They keep us all in check.

These walls act as reminders,

good or bad.

Every night we knock the wall.

Every night we find ourselves up against it.

Every night we look at ourselves in our current position.

Every night we’re reminded how the world sees us.

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You Have To Love

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Love. You gotta love the poor people too. You have to love the workers. You have to love the survivors. You have to love the whores. You have to love the strugglers. The dirt on their face children of prisoners. You have to love the people who have nothing in common with yourself. You have to love the ones doing anything to live another day. You even have to love the people who live quite opposite to you. Blue has to look across the wheel and love orange.

You have to love those in hard-to-survive, war-torn places. You have to love them – more than you look up to clean looking Hollywood and music stars. You have to love the people whom you have more in common with because you are more likely to find yourself in need of compassion than you are to end up working on a movie set or making a hit song.

You have to love the people you heard bad things about. You have to love people enough to not believe it sometimes. You have to love people enough to not turn a quiet cheek but to lend a kind smile. You have to love people you think are wrong because even if what you heard is true they are still in need of kindness. You have to love more. And blatantly love more.

Even if what you heard is true your hateful words will only make things worse… Even if what you heard is true your negative thinking will only make it worse… Even if what you heard is true your harsh actions later will only make life worse… for you.

You have to love and you have to love yourself. You can’t love yourself and hate other people. You can’t love yourself and think those ways about them. You can’t fly while weighing yourself down. You can’t be free while handcuffing yourself to the receivers of your hate. You can’t be loved and expect the kind of love you deserve while witholding that same love from other people.

You have to love people in different situations as you. You have to love people who have different upbringings than you. You have to love people who make different decisions than you. You have to love the people who have from day 1 had an entirely different series of experiences on this planet as you. You have to love the differences a day in this life makes.

You have to love that you have no idea how hard it has been. You have to love that you have a sea of information yet to learn. You have to love the purposes for which every person is separately alive. You have to love the families you’ve never met. You have to love what some people might do for love. And you have to love the confusion through which you can’t see that love.

You have to.

Or else you become the reason for so much hate in this world.

 

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Tubman’s episode 3

Everybody’s got a favorite place where they like to kick back

it helps to keep the balance of a busy life in tact

People come to Tubman’s for the Super Bowl and Cub’s game

and no matter what the season certain things are always unchanged

From hard working hustlers who wanna join the Union

to people after church who want a little more communion 

Early afternoon you see the usual suspects

friendly with the staff they know the crew & who runs it

All the others check in about 4:15 

getting ready for the happy hour rush routine

So Rudy’s at the door once the work day finishes

verifying ages of the local thirsty citizens

It’s the kid again who gets a little loud for everybody

he parks his Masserati always smelling like Asahi

He’s too unpredictable, immature and incorrigible

barely old enough to use a grown man’s urinal

But his money’s still green, I mean his debit card works

spending money like his credit limit’s large as Garth Brooks

So he gives Rudy five and then he slips Rudy 10 

but he doesn’t keep from checking on the ages of his friends

Then they pile into the bar and try to talk to senoritas

out of state from Encinitas, steady drinking Lagunitas

But the locals round here are thick as Mrs. Buttersworth

into loving all the women not just looking under skirts

So their young college game isn’t really that effective

they ought to grow some hair and watch their elders for a lesson

Martin hits the door off of work, a long day

while these kids are representing no work and all play

He grabs a can of Fosters and goes to chat with Reggie

putting beer into an already aggravated belly

Girls after work come to drink and lose focus

the kid and his friends couldn’t help but take notice

They swarm around the open toes faster than lightning

the Sweet Water flows so the Bass start biting

And Kevin’s working shifts cause he lost a bar tender

who took over the waitress spot if everyone remembers

And when he’s on the bar you best believe he keeps tabs

looking over his establishment when things turn bad

When he hears a glass break and a slap to the face

it’s time to cut him off if it isn’t too late

He was gonna toss him out if the lad’s not wanted

but a flash of the door he sees the kid somersaulted

This isn’t a democracy or trial by majority

so don’t try to argue with the girls from sororities

Now the rest of this kid’s friends stand around foolish

looking at each other like they’re lost or just clueless

Dan comes in the door wondering what happened

outside there’s a kid holding face with a napkin

He needs ice, ice baby, what’s these dumb one’s thinking?

he’s tired of these crazies, and young come lately’s

He looks up to Martin wondering where the rhyme’s starting

but Reggie’s throwin’ darts & he needs a good bargain

So Dan steps up to the bar for a drink special

it’s happy hour, now or never, order up a vessel

Kevin tries to say Whattup while handing him a flavored cup

but there’s sounds from the alley like someone’s rowdy breaking stuff

They rush to the front door and Rudy points a finger

Kevin knows to handle it before his bouncer taps his anger

This punk done flipped out trying to cause damage

throwing beer bottles and anything he can manage

So Kevin grabs the kid while he’s mad & caught him off guard

pinning down his arms before he racks up an assault charge

He throws him in his car and grabs his keys from his pocket

shuts the door and locks it

Of course he doesn’t like it, if he wants he’ll call the cops in

but about that time his head’s fallen in a topspin

So Kevin tells Rudy not to let him inside

and he has to wait for later if he’s gonna wanna drive

And the rest of the bar’s already moved on

forgot the last brouha, groovin’ to a new song

Dan’s found some buddies and they’re starting off softly

some guys doin shots off their girlfriend’s bodies

Gonna play a hand and just see where the cards land

and the kid’s gonna wake up with a headache and bar tab

Kevin’s making notes for his credit card bill

gonna charge him for every broken pack of Starr Hill

But it’s just how it goes, sometimes there’s a clown here

tearing up the scene trying to blame it on the brown beer

You better walk straight and if not take a cab home

act grown or you’ll leave the place choking on a ham bone

There’s a million stories in the city, lots of them are Tubman’s

where Kevin runs it on the corner lot and everyone loves him

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Nelle Slim’s Yourz Truly out now!

 

Wonder what No Choice Music Group’s latest artist Nelle $lim is bringing to the scene?

Peep the review and follow the links at the bottom to stay up on the news.

 

Nelle $lim Album crop

Check it out on Amazon MP3 and iTunes!

“How am I going to be introduced to the artist” is always on my mind when pressing Play on a brand new album from a hot new artist. I noticed the first 3 tracks of this album go intro, skit, song track, so – I think to myself – Executive Producer Sleepy Wonder is going to give us a couple little samples, a few tastes of his new find Nelle before giving us the whole experience with the first full song. An interesting start no doubt. Known to deliver gold, ol’ Sleeps I’m sure has gone right again here. So let’s see:

The album starts with a light and refreshing piano melody, an Intro which moves into a beautifully slow beat. Knowing it will be a minute before we truly hear her vocals in full form Nelle doesn’t hide from the opportunity to jump right in on the track here. “When I was a little girl I wanted to sing. I wanted to sing everyday. Singing took away my pain. I wanted to sing.” BAM. Nailed it. I’ve never heard a better opener from an artist on my first introduction.

The piano keys step along with the slow steady beat and take you into a better mood, a higher place, and a more alert state of mind. I’m ready for this album…

“I always wanted to sing. Now I’m doing my thing.”

What an intro to what we need to know about Nelle Slim.

After a strong intro we regress into what sounds like an unmastered, raw segue on track 2, the Phone call skit. As a listener you catch yourself hearing the artist at home or maybe even finished in the studio after a long week, and showing the personal side behind the production. Our heroine is reaching out to see who’s catching tonight. She’s looking to get up with her girls and go out. What I know is going to be a contrast to the following song, the skit acts as a fiendish appetizer to the first full track to appear on this project.

Slip Away feels like dreaming in club land. A brilliantly produced darker vibe with a late night club feel in a place far away from the skit we just heard. Like going from day to night, or reality to fantasy, Slip Away sets it off.

I don’t think anyone is going to hear the opening pizzicato harp and not give this song full attention. “I want to slip away before the lights come on, yeah. Nobody knows what we ‘bout to do.”

Remember this is our first full meeting with Nelle, so as if to put it all out there later in the track after the second chorus we get a few bars spit from Nelle just to let us know this girl can flow as well as ride on a melody. A danceable going-out song, I can picture the video for this one being amazing to watch as Nelle shows us what Friday night looks like.

Grind is a bit more aggressive. Grind is haunting, bassy. After a brief minute the beat develops into a heavy but moving, looming feel that makes you want to turn it up. I’m not sure if I’m nodding my head because I love the song or if I subconsciously wish I could get it to go louder.

Grind is direct, with a hard working beat behind it. “My name is Nelle Slim I’m about my money. I grind all the time.” That’s the sound of the meaning, or is it the meaning of the sound?

Killer, this one is.

Boy Boo sets off right. I love the electronic tones and the slow violin. The producer dipped his brush and painted something nice with this one. We get a few seconds of taste and then they bring it in. Ever surprising, every well crafted is the music saturating any NCMG release. Brandi Edwards adds her gift to this track stringing vocals and harmony along her path. An electric guitar shows up subtly in the background and you fall deeper into the song. I love an artist like Nelle because there’s nothing I like more than music where I get melodic song lines, and then a nice flow too. A high point of this song is the harmonic chorus that is spread over an incredible beat. This one wins it for me so far and makes me more excited to keep moving forward.

Do Me This Way stomps onto the scene. Nelle sings in a heartfelt narrative over a man who’s done her wrong. The beat is dynamic and developing as always. It steps steadily, then deconstructs. It breaks down and returns. Sleepy Wonder himself blesses the track with some vocal accents as well.

Another winner with this one.

How Could You is a throwback to summer. It’s full of bright tones and an easy feel. I close my eyes and feel sunshine. Smokin Dro Frazier appears after a brief intro from our songstress. The two compliment each other over verses and vocals, often with Frazier rhyming to the beat with Nelle providing a musical backdrop at the same time. The layers work well with this one. Dro drops a good verse that goes with the vibe of not only the song, but the album. I like him talking about treating his girl well and appreciate that his voice doesn’t steal the show but instead fits into the music as an instrument. This one’s easy to feel.

Next is another short skit. HipHop artistry brought the theatrical and reoccurring notion of skit work on records, one that I’ve noticed has gone missing over these past years.

This skit is a non-essential addition to the album, but again I like that it takes this highly produced professional album back to a personal situation.

Right away, Friday jumps to be a contender for my favorite track on the album, though it would be hard to actually choose. We all love that “It’s Friday, I just got paid, I’m gonna have fun tonight” feeling.

Once again production master Sleepy Wonder makes heads nod along to a good time. I find it interesting whenever a good party song is crafted from a smooth beat and mid-tempo rhythm. It’s easy to blast the timing into the stratosphere and end up in a hyper situation when your intent is to give someone a “time to party” track, but here we have a “getting in the car, going out to the club” anthem. Kush appears later in the track adding flavor. Friday is a song that I’d like to hear again and again.

The Slip Away (European remix) is a good bonus to this album. A slow build from a place of R&B into a brooding electronic sound scape and arriving into a late hours club beat – a grand reimagining of a featured song of the album and a good note to go out on.

* * * * *

Nelle Slim is a great addition to the No Choice Music Group’s growing catalogue of talent. What I’m starting to know more clearly is how the NCMG artists ended up in music. With these incredible and natural gifts, sense of style, rhythm, and burning to create songs they had no choice but to end up here and now, in this industry, in this profession, making powerful music. I expect we’ll continue to see NCMG grow in quality nd magnitude as their musical paths carry them onward into an increasingly bright future.

Nelle’s first album on NCMG is nothing to be over looked but something to look over again and again.  The tracks and skits are a day in the life of an artist thirsting to sing.

She makes you hungry for music. I don’t know how No Choice Music Group can so consistently find artists with such passion.

Nelle’s album is one that bring a number of different experiences with a backdrop of consistent, top-notch production and brilliant sound imagery. Nelle’s gift as a vocalist and lyricist shine over the entirety of the album. She and Sleepy Wonder execute this project very well. They should both be outwardly and unapologetically proud of this art they produce. The sonic compositions here are as always fresh. As a listener, paying close attention means reaping greater reward as they change, drop-off, develop, deconstruct, and return to original programming.

I look forward to what No Choice Music Group has in store for us in the future. I have no doubt they will, with proper timing, attract the attention of other like-minded artists who will make their own beautiful additions to this large musical project that is NCMG. Maybe one day we’ll even have a label album featuring the combined work and imagination of the label’s artists. There’s reason for excitement and anticipation for anything this group may later bring to us.

But as for now, Nelle $lim’s charging up the scene with something sweet. Catch it while it’s hot.

Follow:

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No Choice Music Group

 

 

Review: Yourz Truly

No Choice Music Group ASCAP BMG Chrysalis US

Sleepy Wonder featured on track #6 Do Me This Way.

Will Hockaday

woppaday@gmail.com

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Tubman’s round 2

Tubman’s on a Saturday night, the lights shining

the ice coming out of the bar is like diamonds

The kids in the corner have a round of Blue Moon

while their buddy’s in the alley caught a buzz a little too soon

Ladies look fresh but it’s still a little early

for the dozen extra fella’s from the local fishing tourney

We’ll let the drinks flow and keep illusions narrow

’til the beer goggles get ’em struck with Cupid’s arrow

Tonight we got Abby on the set, a new waitress

tired of being nameless leaving Las Vegas

The inaugural night, gonna see what the tips bring

her first job since sixteen without a strip scene

A face that’s toxic beyond all logic

breakin’ more hearts, makin’ drinks exotic

She takes a cig break in the dim of the back lot

filling out a Pick 3 hoping for the jackpot

And Dan spits a little over Madlib’s medicine

when a new guy enters with a couple heads challengin

They have a back & forth knowing Dan’s reputation

he listens to the man with a little reservation

‘Cause Dan’s innovation speaks to the masses

some others only kick it when they’ve had a chance to practice

But Kevin’s got a motto “It ain’t gonna ruin my night.”

Twitter think he’s tight – gold diggers know it’s pyrite

This new cat hanging out wants to take fame

but you need to be aware cats here can run game

And speaking of a new face Donnie has another too

cleaning up the place, not a stranger in to guzzle brew

Whatever’s on the flop Donnie knows how to play it

but since 7:30 man his face has started fading

Playing around here might land you in trouble

and taking home bank ensures a kerfuffle

But he’s thinks Abby’s cute so now his mind’s on women

but she keeps bringing drinks to the man who keeps winnin’

And he can’t really blame her, the cards tell it all

so he keeps his mind sharp and quits ordering the alcohol

The fifth hand in a row the man throwin’ cards down

gathers up the chips, take a shot that Abby brought ’round

From the other room it sounds loud from a distance

Dan’s on a mission, the new kid’s dissed him

It has to get embarrassing if Dan’s getting handled

but he’s never seen the man dismantled in a battle

He redirects his vision to the problem before him

his hands fast shuffling, his eyes recording

Martin deals a hand with his Little Caesar’s name tag

Donnie’s out of chips, gonna buy-in and change that

They switch swap and bluff and Abby circles round the table

Donnie’s got a straight, high Ace, feelin’ thankful

The stranger’s staring hard at the assortment that he holds

Abby drops a shot of chilled tequila and he folds

He gathers up the chips and takes the shot she supplied him

and Donnie notices something funny with the timing

Another hand down and another ounce of liquor

now he’s got it put together, ’bout to grab a knife & stick her

He stands from the table, Dan comes from the side room

looking like a pair about to stand-off at high noon

World spinning, head dizzy, sitting in a typhoon

Dan thinks for a second tells Donnie “Here’s what I’ll do”

He goes to the bar, gets a dozen Newcastles

to rustle up the cattle with a couple new lassos

A good faith gesture, after the lecture

they’ll see that he’s fresher, and never no jester

But after he’s got ’em all drunk double-fisting

the kid’s train of thought’s off track & all twisted

He orders ten caipirinhas at the same time

and Kevin sends Abby out to get more limes

Now his boy across the circle can’t remember what he’s rhyming

and the stranger at the table lost his key to perfect timing

The kid can’t remember what he’s got memorized

and Donnie’s back in charge with his perfect game initialized

Another couple drinks and Dan’s adversary’s buried

hot rhymes to the heart and the crowd is caught staring

Donnie’s stolen every cent back from the sleek customer

Tubman’s gonna straighten out a bunch’a cheap hustlers

Give it 10 minutes and the three of ’em are faceless

clown at the table, fake rhymer and the waitress  

They’re stripped of their cash, claim, fame and the rest

and no tips for the woman perpetrating this mess

As they leave the bar it’s obvious the shock that they felt

and the local boys got another notch on their belt

Rudy sends them out in the rain like fool amateurs

and Kevin’s not impressed with his hiring manager

Catching it awry like he’s JD Salinger

but it’s one for the books, gonna put it on the calendar

As for the night they’re gonna see a top party

time to meet some tight bodies and buy ’em Hot Toddies

Pong in the back, at the bar quarters drop

that’s just how they do down at the corner spot

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Tubman’s

It’s Friday at Tubman’s, the whole scene eruptin’

people getting off of work and drinking with their cousins

An ordinary scene made of more than every dream

it’s an extraordinary feelin what the local folk are seein’

Now the way we used to do it we would get off on a Friday

and head toward the corner underneath the passing highway

The building, unexpected, people pass it undetected

except for Rudy by the door who checks your license when you step in

Kevin owns the dwelling, keepin eyes on the money

putting heart into his work, not some ordinary dummy

It’s a little anybody with some seasonal descendants

some regulars who visit every week should get a pendant

And Kevin welcomes everyone even under age

they eat potato skins and talk to women out their range

Because they never cause trouble, heck they elevate the cyphers

and when it’s late they make the best designated drivers

The college girls come in with their snap chat and booty pants

showing off their whalebones, tramp stamps & hootie mack

Dressing for the catch, taking shots after shooters

ready with a selfy taking watch of any suiters

The cats from construction get off work and have a couple each

the double X’s from their Dos Equis direct their type of speech

Kevin likes the business and he hopes they’ll con-sume

when the petstore next door’s finished next June

Now it’s after work which means the music’s louder than the afternoon

it has to boom so half a tune’ll make you want to dance a few

Beats and instrumentals turn the bar into a venue

he puts some Dilla donuts on the happy hour menu

Which makes me have to mention Tubbie’s favorite face & common man

a fan of any music here the local people call him Dan

He stands to the side and kicks a rhyme to the rhythm

flowing pretty often over any beat you give him

Every now and then he draws a crowd and holds a forum

as they nod their heads and listen people easily adore him

But he doesn’t over do it, just a little chance to kick it though

in between the ciphering he’ll sit with a Pacifico

They love to hear him rip a flow and people with their laptops

park up at the bar and chat with buddies while the raps drop

Dan’s lyrically killing, Mac users think they Yakuza documenting what he’s spitting

And Reggie throws game into any kind of art form

but in his true fame he’s a master at the dartboard

With Donnie at the table holding cards to his collarbone

stacking chips against his buddies anytime that they aren’t at home

Colleagues and strangers are all fair game for

Donnie and his fast card handling behavior

And Kevin keeps the beer stocked better than it used to be

Peroni and Corona, even two or three that’s gluten free

Left Hand, Magic Hat, Green Flash, Flying Dog,

Sam Adams, Bells, Stella, Allagash, Ommegang

Whatever gets ya open helps to liven up the party

plus after some Tecate people think they know karate

Tubman’s got it going though, for locals and for travelers

but Karaoke Wednesdays are for anyone but amateurs

They welcome any challengers but disregard the meddlers

it’s not about your voice, they love to represent the regulars

And Martin rocks the corner table back from Chitchen Itza

back to work and smelling like a Little Caesar’s pizza pizza

He’s a single man with all the time to travel over all the world

wishing that his hands were holding more than a St. Pauli Girl

A Rolling Rock from Boulder always witnessed with a grin

trying to make the Guiness book for drinking pints of Heineken

The bar’s getting packed so you better tip your waitress

or stand in line and bounce your head and listen to the playlist

You’ll get the best service on the block you can get

but they won’t come back & check if you don’t treat ’em with respect

So take the time to get in line on the corner by the wood sign

and come on down to Tubman’s if you’re lookin for a good time

 

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