Rap Music and Distractions

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Today, I am in a nostalgic mood as I write this week's newsletter while listening to my favorite D'Angelo song, "I Found My Smile Again." Lately, I have found myself listening to a lot of great music that I grew up on from D'Angelo, to Tony Toni Tone, to Lauryn Hill, and it's put my soul in a great space. It's also made me think how fortunate I was to grow up in an era where music was still good like it was in my parent's generation. There was still live instrumentation (although yes, I acknowledge some still exists) and not overly sexualized lyrics because people were more smooth than vulgar, although Isley Brother's "Between The Sheets" was both beautiful and lusty.  

This nostalgic mood has also been with me for a few days following a conversation with my mom about when she first discovered Rap music. I found it fascinating to hear her story of being around when a new genre of music was introduced because I think the only thing I can think of, in a way, could be Neo-Soul which is still soul, so I don't know if that can be included. Anyway, not sure how we got on this conversation, but she told me about the day that she learned Rap music was a thing. When she was a student at FIDM (although she will tell you she went to the Fashion Institute of Leimert like Kim from The Parkers), she had a friend who asked her, "Have you heard about this thing called rap?" My mom said she told the girl no but asked for more clarifying questions and found that it was a genre of music that came on the radio. So, in her inquisitive nature, she sat by the radio to see if she heard it – and when she did, it was The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," and she called her friend and was like “OMG, I heard rap,” and now, look where we are. 

I found that to be interesting. To go a little deeper with the nostalgic thing, I have found my mood to be a little more nostalgic or found that I have a little more time to explore or read now that I have eliminated some distractions from my life which mainly consisted of social media. I want to preface the summation of my distractions by saying distractions aren't necessarily bad, especially during this global pandemic that keeps chugging along. You don't always have to be productive, although my B.C. life (Before COVID, not Christ) would have told you otherwise. However, one day I realized I was on TikTok for over an hour in one sitting and that I kept sending videos to people and no one watched them, so I deleted the app. I also went and deleted Facebook (or is it Meta) and my Twitter account since the only thing that was on my account since May were either the books I was reading from my Goodreads account or my thirsty post to my favorite Jeopardy contestant ever, Buzzy, who I thought and still think would be a great host because he dresses cute and likes good music and has snazzy glasses. I can't say this will last forever, but I've enjoyed the freedom that I've been able to enjoy. 

With the elimination of my distractions, I have managed to do the following things: 

  1. Discover that Coco O. from one of my favorite groups, Quadron, released a solo album that I never knew; listen here.

  2. I found that Giveon has some music that I enjoy, although I still feel like he sounds like he is singing up a tall, hollow Redwood tree. 

  3. Cook two delicious meals (see below): Pho with flank steak and shrimp, although I went a little crazy with the Jalapeno and nearly coughed my life away AND Ayesha Curry's Hot Honey Buttermilk Crispy Chicken sandwich that she shared on Selena + Chef (my favorite cooking show). 

  4. Read lots of books - will be doing a book review edition in the next few weeks. 

  5. I found that I had time to be super intentional on setting goals for the remainder of this month, and following and at the top of the list is staying true to my YNAB budget and not just having a budget because it seems cute to know where money is going. 

  6. I got caught all the way up on American Crime Story: The Impeachment and man; although I enjoy Monica Lewinsky now, she was very annoying. Monica nor Bill Clinton were angels in the situation, and the last episode, I just wanted to give my girl Hillary Clinton a hug. Also, while watching this show, I keep thinking to myself, HDTCFRT? I don’t know why I made that an acronym in that way, but I wonder, “How do the Clinton’s feel reliving this?” I’m sure they are not watching, but knowing that this is a thing or the press that Monica/the show is getting probably brings up some of the negative feelings.

  7. Also, I got caught up on the second season of The Morning Show, and man, it’s a lot. I find this season I am not as on the edge of my seat as I was last season, probably because I braced myself from last season. If you’re watching, let’s discuss.

That's that on that. Let me know your thoughts about distractions by responding to this email. In the meantime, here are some of the picks that I thought were worth sharing this week. 

Read: Tracee Ellis Ross Will Set You Free, Harper’s Baazar
What a beautiful article and feature on Tracee? I found myself reading her interview in here and just writing down quotes. I love how confident and free she seems. Also, how beautiful and carefree. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the interview:

“I don’t live my life for other people. I just totally live it for me.”
“I didn’t see enough examples of different versions of how a woman can find happiness and joy and power and sensuality, sexuality, all of that, without it being through the lens of how I’m seen by a man. People are like, ‘You’re the poster child for being single.’ And I was like, ‘Great.’ But what I would prefer is that I’m the poster child for living my life on my terms. And that there’s a version of that for everyone.”
“The biggest epiphany was that the best I could do was actually be me.”

Listen: Kylie Minogue and Jessie Ware - “Kiss of Life”
This is a collaboration that I didn’t know I needed, but I’m in love. This song makes me want to go out and dance in glitter all night OR dance in glitter with roller skates - it’s just so good.

Listen: Big Sean and Hitboy - What You Expect EP
I’ve been a fan of Hitboy for awhile, and same with Big Sean so naturally, I love this EP.

A whole vibe, and more songs. Just a good happy vibe and lots of snapping for me.

Listen: Alina Baraz - “Between Us”
I can’t get over this song for some reason. It’s very mellow, but there’s this rift in the production that happens in the chorus that I love.

Podcast: How I Built This Episode on Don Katz and Audible
As a book reader who attempts to use Audible (whenever I get a free trial only), I appreciated this episode. I always find it interesting to hear the stories of how people started their businesses. The origin stories are always interesting, like the Weave Truck I plan to start one day.

Read: Brene Brown’s Empire of Emotion, The New Yorker
Very interesting read about Brene Brown and her upbringing, and how/why she got into the work that she does now.

Read: How Ryan Reynolds Built a Business Empire, WSJ
Holler at me if you want to read and don’t have a subscription. It’s a long but really good read, shoutout to my friend Leah for writing about it on Instagram. I learned A LOT about Ryan and his business empire (duh, title of article) from reading this article.

Watch: Well Read Black Girl Festival
If you missed the Well Read Black Girl Festival last weekend, you can rewatch it here.

A few more reads:

YAY. That’s all for this week.