Thursday, November 18, 2010


Hey young world, the world is yours!

It's been awhile, but I'm back & I'll try to keep this up a bit more regularly. I know I'm in need of getting some things off of my chest because status updates aren't big enough to contain these thoughts runnin' thru my head. Today's, in 2 parts.

1) - Duty Calls

I feel that I must preface this discussion with the admission that I'm not a Kobe Bryant fan by any means. As a fan of the game of basketball, I respect his prowess, but I can't bring myself to root for him. He's that polarizing of a figure, but when you play for a team like the Lakers, the Yankees, or the Cowboys, it's not a difficult feat to pull off. Anywho, despite my spite, I couldn't help but t0 come to his defense (@ least within this forum) over a brewing controversy that stems from his appearance in a commercial for the new Call of Duty: Black-Ops video game. Within the article linked below you'll find numerous activists, journalists, commentators, etc. that are blowing something so trivial out of proportion, making allegations that these war games make light of the reality of war violence, & as a "role model" he should be ashamed!!!

You can read all about it here....

Everyone's so touchy over a video game commercial??? C'mon meow!!! I thought this ad campaign was awesome. I've played many "war games" since the Atari 5200 days to the Sega Genesis era to my current PS3 play, from games like General Chaos to the COD Series & regardless of this fact, I'm not senselessly blasting away @ people in real life. I love horror movies. I enjoy action films. Yet in still, I don't commit murders or assault people for fun on the weekends. The "blame television/movies/music/video games" argument is so tired. You think by now everyone would know better than to continue to make mountains out of mole hills.

All these folks butt hurt over a silly game need to chill. These ESPN folks complain because they've got nothing better to do other than instigate controversy & the rest of these fools are offended because they just like to be outraged. I mean, how else will they get any attention or have "news" to report? If any of these decent people were seriously concerned about gun violence or the human casualty of war, they would be activists for stricter gun regulation domestically & pushing for ending military actions abroad that put American lives in danger. Maybe, they'd simply get more involved in their children's lives so that they could be more aware of whether or not their kids are at risk of acting out or suffering from gun violence...but no, it's far more easier to simply complain and target a high profile celebrity to be an example rather than being a living example themselves.

All this hub-bub reminds me, I need to get my hands on a copy of Black-Ops for PS3. (No such thing as bad press...yay marketing!)

2) - The Music Industry Game

Recently, I got hipped up to a discussion (available on YouTube, of course) between Percussionist, Songwriter, Producer James Mtume & Jazz Critic Stanley Crouch over the genius or purported "selling out" of Miles Davis. If you know me, then you know I dig Miles Davis. I won't rehash the entire argument between these gentlemen, but I will make it clear...Mtume was a collaborator with Miles, directly involved with the crafting of his music during the "Electric Era"...Crouch is a critic. I'm sure you can guess who's accusing who of being a sell out. Though this video displayed a lot of thought provoking arguments (mostly by Mtume because it was edited that way), the foundation of the debate comes from the allegation that Clive Davis "forced" Miles to move into another direction.

Critics. Label Heads. Producers. All of these people play their part in this music game. I often wonder where my muse comes from. I mean, I know what inspires me to write certain things, but is it pure creation or am I subject to the influence that our current media age wields? I'm currently an independent artist, & though I aspire to bigger opportunities and avenues for my music to be distributed, disseminated, & hopefully celebrated, I still revel in my independence. I do not take for granted the time and freedom that is granted when you are solely responsible for your output. Time tables. Image constructs. Performing material written for you, not by you. These are the prevalent ideals within the current state of the music industry.

Don't get me wrong, I know of how Marvin Gaye didn't want to record "Heard it Thru the Grapevine". I'm aware that it was Otis Redding who penned "Respect" though popular thought identifies that song with Aretha. There are performers, & then there are artists. For some performers, who are on that virtuosic level, their artistry lies in their performance ability. Yet, lately when I listen to current music, I can't help but to feel like so many "artists" are replaceable. The similarities within pop music are so pervasive I can't tell one act from another. The game ain't the same, but the players are. I don't view myself as a genius on Miles' level whatsoever, but I can only imagine the scrutiny he must've received for continuing to be forward thinking. James Mtume agreed that the music Miles made during his electric period, alienated a lot of his traditional fan base, but those compositions weren't made for that group of people. It was made for the next generation. That is the definition of artistry, & it's a level that I aspire to achieve.

Despite my denouncement of the homogenized pop music landscape, Mtume also questioned why once something becomes popular or mainstream it is often swiftly attacked or cannot contain any form of artistic merit. This is another phenomenon that continually perplexes me. I feel as though God is the ultimate creator. I believe that God is love. As a creative person, I can identify with the love that a creator has for what he creates. That is how I feel God's love in every living thing on earth, but though I may see beauty within even the most mundane of things within this world, there are others who see past it or don't even recognize it at all. They may want to change it for many motives...convenience, commerce, vanity, etc. Yet, they don't create anything, so how can one expect them to understand it? Gives a whole new meaning to the saying that everyone's a critic...right???

I guess, all in all, it's simply the game of life. We all have a part to play to keep everything moving & make things somewhat interesting. So, play it cool, ice it cool.

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