Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"I could smell the inauguration"

Well, I can't be in Washington D.C. for inauguration because I have to work in New Jersey. But I was there this weekend!

I took the opportunity to take a four-hour drive to P.G. County, Maryland to hang out with my fraternity brothers and check out the weekend festivities in the Nation's capital.

Here's how it went:


We started on Saturday night by enjoying a party at LOVE, a lavish and upscale club with four floors to get your 'two-step' on.

It was pretty crowded by the stage on the second floor so there wasn't much room to do anything up there. The bar was packed and the Ciroc was flowing. The bottles of Ciroc were lined up all over the bars throughout the club.
Talk about advertising. After all, this was P. Diddy's party and he's their mouthpiece for the popular Vodka.
We bumped into friends from college because this was inauguration weekend and everyone was in D.C. for this historic event.

The stars of the night included Diddy, Stevie Wonder, Terrence J from 106 & Park, Kevin Liles, Hot Sauce from And One Mixtapes and Lola the video vixen. [CLICK HERE TO SEE CELEB PICS AND VIDEO FROM LOVE.]

Due to the late night of partying, we got a late start on Sunday afternoon. The plan was to head out early to attend the 'We Are One' concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

We probably didn't get down to the concert before it was almost over [maybe about 3:30/4 p.m.]. I believe it started around We took the Metro into D.C. and it wasn't that crowded, to our surprise. The train began to fill up as we got closer to D.C. and when we finally got there it felt like we had arrived. You could just smell the inauguration atmosphere coming up from the escalators of the Metro station.
You were immediately met with people trying to sell t-shirts, buttons, hats, calendars, posters, Obama custom watches, playing cards, etc. You name it, they had it. Kids were also running around selling hand/foot warmers (2 for $5).

I asked one group of young girls about their posters that they were selling for $1 and they told me the money was going to the "I am broke fund." Wowwww. Clearly, everyone was trying to make a dollar, literally.

We took a host of pictures, as did most people who were out there. It was a surreal feeling and experience. It was ideal as you could imagine. I didn't hear any babies crying. No parents were yelling at their kids. No couples were arguing. Everyone was happy and glowing because of what was 48 hours away -- the inauguration of Barack Obama. There was one group who came up from Montgomery, Alabama. This woman [pictured above] was among that group. She held up a quilt that she made dedicated to Obama. She said it took her a week to make.

We caught the latter part of the concert. We weren't very close and watched it on a big screen from just in front of the Washington Monument. We got there in time for Usher, Shakira and Stevie Wonder's performance of "Higher Ground." Then U2 hit the stage for "In the Name of Love."

Next up, was the man everyone came to see -- Barack Obama.

People began chanting "Obama! Obama! Obama!"

I knew I wouldn't be at the actual inauguration so I wanted to take in this moment. I took photos and shot some video [which I will post later]. I wasn't along as it looked as if everyone was using a camera or cell phone to capture this moment. It wasn't the inauguration, but it felt pretty close to what that will probably be like today.

He concluded his speech with this:

"There is no doubt that our road will be long. That our climb will be steep. But never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease, but by the right we do when the moment is hard. I ask you to help reveal that character once more, and together, we can carry forward as one nation, and one people, the legacy of our forefathers that we celebrate today."

Beyonce was on next to sing "America the Beautiful." She looked great, of course. Although I could only see her on the big screen. Some people screamed for "Single Ladies" as she concluded. I thought that was pretty funny. Obviously, the club track would not be appropriate for this type of event. But some people were freezing cold and probably could have used the dance routine to warm up. I convinced a group of young ladies to give the dance routine their best shot. And they did. [video to come]
We left the mall area and headed for the Metro, which was packed. We opted to use the elevator to get down to the train. Definitely a better decision.

Monday, January 19, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Stevie Wonder sings Happy Birthday at club LOVE in D.C. [video below]

Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance at club LOVE in Washington, D.C. this weekend. The party, on Saturday, Jan. 17, was hosted by hip-hop mogul P. Diddy.

The crowd was in complete shock when it was announced that he was there. He took a seat on the stage of the club and got his sip on. Not sure what he was drinking though. Maybe Nuvo? lol.

After he got comfortable, Stevie spoke about the MLK Holiday and proceeded to sing a snippet of his version of 'Happy Birthday.'

Check out the video below [courtesy of M. Feenz]:

M. Feenz, Eric and Sterl

Stevie's wife Kai Milla-Morris.

P. Diddy has arrived. Let's go!! He's with Kevin Liles.
Terrance J, co-host of BET's 106 & Park

Diddy passing out some bottles of Ciroc
Terrance J and Diddy
will.i.am is in the building!
Mike from "I Want to Work for Diddy"
Hot Sauce from the And One mixtapes
Lola the video vixen

Friday, January 16, 2009

Letter to Pac? Yeah, I'm hating!

So with the release of the movie, "Notorious," comes a soundtrack that features some tributes to B.I.G.

By now you've probably heard, "Letter to B.I.G." by Jadakiss featuring Faith Evans. Jada was good friends with B.I.G. and Faith was his wife. Makes sense that they would do a song.

But have you heard "Letter to Pac" by Maino?

According to the Brooklyn rapper, most known for "Hi Hater," he says, "You can't do one without the other."

Well, I think we could have done without this.

What do you guys think?? Check out the songs below.

*** "Letter to B.I.G." by Jadakiss feat. Faith Evans ***

*** "Letter to Pac" by Maino ***

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Biggie larger than life in "Notorious"

"Notorious" will make you laugh, possibly shed a few tears and it will give you a better understanding of the 300-pound plus slain rapper, the Notorious B.I.G.

Christopher Wallace was shot and killed at the age 24 on March 9, 1997 in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.

While it has been nearly 12 years since his death, his clever lyrics remain forever etched in the minds of hip-hop fans across the world.
"It was all a dream / I used to read Word Up magazine / Salt'n'Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine," the Notorious B.I.G. raps in "Juicy." The making of the popular track was among the highlights in movie. It was Sean "P. Diddy" Combs who brought Mtume's "Juicy Fruit" to Biggie Smalls [played by Jamal Woolard, shown above].

In fact, sampling the Mtume song wasn't a popular suggestion. B.I.G. actually laughed at the thought of rapping over the funk/soul track and joked about the look of the group members [see pic above]. But it didn't take much convincing before Biggie jumped in the booth and delivered with one of raps most well-known tracks of all-time.

The movie didn't lack drama. His relationship and rushed marriage with R&B singer Faith Evans was filled with emotion, especially when the songstress caught B.I.G. cheating.

Archive Photo: Lil' Kim at Spotlight in NYC in June 2008. [credit: MFeenz]

However, it's the role of Lil' Kim that everyone is talking about. Kim has been speaking out against the movie because she doesn't agree with the way she is being depicted. Maybe she thought she was more than a friend that Biggie occassionally messed around with? [i.e. a jump off] But after seeing the movie, I could see why she would be mad. But news flash to Kim: this movie is about B.I.G., not you. You should be glad you had as big a role as you did in the movie. There are others, most notably rapper/former B.I.G. lover Charlie Baltimore, who were not even mentioned in the two-hour biopic.

Everyone is asking about the performance of former 3LW group member Naturi Naughton [pictured above] who played the role of the "Queen Bee." I think she did pretty good. She wasn't always believable, but she got into the role as the movie progressed. I have to admit watching her mimmick Kim's antics and signature "wha-wha" was hilarious. And I won't give everything away, but there are some parts of her performance that you just have to see with your own two eyes. :-)

But nothing was more comical than watching Derek Luke [known for his role as Antwone Fisher] portray Puffy. I will give him credit for nailing the silly dances that Puff is known for doing.
I liked the movie best for its transition from one scene to the next. The flow of the movie was much like Biggie's because it was smooth and easy to understand. For example, an argument between Faith and B.I.G. was followed up with an emotional studio session with the Jersey singer recording, "You Used to Love Me." You couldn't help but nod your head to that track. A classic.

The movie also sheds light on the seemingly friendly relationship B.I.G. had with 2pac before the East Coast vs. West Coast feud began. It would be that feud that would lead to the deaths of both rappers, which was shown in the movie.

Lastly, the movie showed the softer side of Christopher Wallace. His relationship with his mother, played by Angela Bassett, showed the intimidating drug dealer turned rapper as a typical mamma's boy. He bought his mom country records because that's what she liked. But it was when she discovered "old mashed potatoes," where their relationship took a turn. But like a true mother, she never turned her back on her only child.

Bassett, who at times used a Jamaican accent, was the perfect woman to play his mother. Voletta Wallace portrayed as a strong and loving mother who only wanted the best for her son.

It was easy to feel her pain as she took the limousine ride through Brooklyn as she took her son home for one last time. A great ending for a great movie.

Watch this AP report about the movie:

Club-banger '09: "Blame It [On the Alcohol]"

I predicted it as 2008 came to a close and after a night out in New York City I was proved right -- "Blame It [On the Alcohol]" by Jamie Foxx is the club-banger of the New Year. Hands down.

On Friday, I went to Runway Lounge for a friend's birthday and when the ode to alcohol came on the place went bananas!! "Blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol," the crowd yelled, tossing their hands in the air. Some even got a little low [see pic below]. A sign someone got too loose off the Goose.

The song, which features the Auto-Tune king T-Pain, has all the elements of a popular song by today's standard. A hot beat, catchy hook and some Auto-Tuned vocals. That's all you really need in 2009, right?

Here's the chorus [which you'll need to know if you are hitting a club in 2009]:

Blame it on the Goose
Got you feeling loose
Blame it on Patron
Got you in the zone
Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol
Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-a-alcohol


If you're not up on this track, do yourself a favor and get familar!!

Check it out on YouTube:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On Blast: Bowling alley denies admission for "attitude"

My friends and I had been looking forward to enjoying one of New York’s newest attractions – Lucky Strike Lanes (bowling alley and lounge) on 42nd Streeet and 12th Avenue.

However, midway through being let into the building we were asked to leave because we didn’t have “the right attitude,” according to a doorman who was checking IDs. (note: You have to be 21 and over to get in.)

In addition to checking IDs, this unidentified man was also doing a very thorough check of our attire.

As soon as my four friends and I approached the entrance we were briefed by this gentleman that after 8 p.m. Lucky Strike has a dress code. We told him that we were aware of that.

A few of us had on hooded jackets and sweatshirts and knit hats on our heads to keep warm from the frigid temperatures around 12:30 a.m. Sunday [1/4].

We were asked to take off the hats and open up our jackets in the frigid cold so that this man could check our attire. He looked very carefully at each of us, making several comments about our outfits and even said to one of my friends, “You’re not going to take your shirt off are you?”

Of course, he wasn’t. What kind of question is that?

After the thorough check and questioning, which felt like an interrogation, my friends and I were let in.

But I quickly went to read the dress code sign that was posted. When I joined my friends to walk in I was asked again by this man for my ID.

I told him I showed it to him already. He asked again and I said, but I showed it to you. I kept my composure, there was no shouting. I provided my ID for a second time, it was checked and everything was OK. So I thought.

Then I as I walked in a security guard or bouncer, also at the front door, said to me, “Sometimes it pays to be nice to people.”

I didn’t know where that comment came from and I didn’t say anything. I just proceeded to walk in with my friends who were already inside.

As I entered I was stopped and my friends were asked to leave by the man who was checking our IDs and attire. “Not tonight guys,” he said, as he asked us to leave.

I asked what the reason was and he said, “You guys don’t have the right attitude.”

It felt we were being given a hard time from the minute we approached the bowling alley and they were looking for a reason not to admit us.

It was really upsetting because it felt like we were being discriminated against and flat out treated unfairly.

As a new business that just recently opened in New York, I would expect them to conduct business in a more professional manner than that.

My friends and I did not argue with anyone nor did we use any inappropriate language. We conducted ourselves calmly despite being pressed at the door in the freezing cold. All we wanted to do was go bowling.

Instead we took a long walk up 42nd Street to our cars and left.

Not exactly the night we had planned.

We would really like to inform the public of Lucky Strike’s antics and hope that no one else has to experience this type of treatment.

Time to forget Lucky Strike on 42nd, should have went to Harlem Lanes (on 126th and 7th in Harlem).


Note: In the policy it states, "Management reserves the right to deny entry for rude, argumentative or offensive behavior."

It also states they do not permit things such as "excessively baggy clothing," "chains," and "ripped or soiled clothing."