Thursday, December 10, 2015

R.I.P. Sean P.

Sean Price a.k.a. Sean P. a.k.a. Ruck (March 17, 1972 – August 8, 2015) was more than just a talented MC. He was a proud father, born entertainer, and really funny guy.

When he died, a lot of people who listen to his music but wouldn't work with him (cuz he would outshine them on their own record) started posting "we'll miss you" and "R.I.P blah, blah, blah" on social media. To me that's fake and the man I knew deserved more genuine respect than that. Real love is appreciating a person while they're living and can feel the love... not after they're gone.

I met Sean P. for the first time in 2005 at the "DROP" festival in the Melkweg. He and Buckshot had already rocked the crowd and were chilling backstage. Smif-N-Wesson were up next and I wanted to meet Buck and Ruck before their show started. At the time he was promoting Monkey Barz and I was promoting my first album International Hustler. I had been listening to the whole Boot Camp Clik (Black Moon, Smif-N-Wesson, Heltah Skeltah, and O.G.C.) since the 90's.

As a fan I wanted to know what they thought of my music. There was no CD player backstage to play the album, so I spit some of the songs acapella. They liked the tunes. Sean P. and I exchanged numbers and he said let's work together in the future. After that we stayed in contact. A few years later in 2009, I met up with him and Rock in Rotterdam for a quick interview. Heltah Skeltah were back together and the show was coconutz! Check out the video below.

By that time we had already did the "AhhYoo" remix "Who Dat Be" off the 2010 Grindin Muzik album.  The song was recorded in 2008 when I was going through my "Triple D" phase (Drinking, Drugs, and Debauchery) and it was being reflected in the music. After I sent him the song, before he recorded his verse he called me just to check in. We cracked jokes and talked about the differences between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. He seemed to genuinely care, even though we had only met a few times.

Every time we linked-up, Ruck was a cool cat who loved his family and loved spittin, heavy, barz. He was one of those rare talents who could spit a freestyle or written and you couldn't tell the difference. Below are a few of my favorite Sean P. and Heltah Skeltah videos. If you don't know Sean Price get to know him, cuz his music is what a lot of rappers wish they sounded like. Rest In Power!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Transforming Humans

Have you ever heard of a type of human that is born one sex then "transforms" at puberty to a different sex? That means you've never heard of "Guevedoces". Don't feel bad because until a few days ago... I hadn't either.

"Guevedoces" which literally translates to "penis at twelve" is a term given to little girls in the village of Las Salinas in the Dominican Republic who turn into boys at puberty. Do I know how crazy that last sentence sounds? YES! But it's true. The boys of Salinas have a rare genetic condition which blocks them from producing the hormone Dihydro-testosterone while their in the womb. Dihydro-testosterone, is the hormone which assigns male sex organs to a fetus.  Unfortunately for "Guevedoces" they don't get the required amount of Dihydro-testosterone until they hit puberty and get a second surge of growth hormones.

In my travels I've heard of the "Hijra" of south Asia, but this is different. Hijra is a term for transgender people also known as the third gender in southern Asia. Let's be clear..."Guevedoces" are not transsexual's. All transsexuals who transition from their assigned gender to the gender they identify with, need surgery to achieve their goal. Guevedoces, are real transforming humans whose transition occurs naturally (without surgery) due to their rare genetic disorder. When they're born Guevedoces appear to have a vagina and no testicles so most medical facilities classify the newborns as female. The exact cause of their appearance is a lack of 5-α-reductase enzyme which triggers the hormone surge that releases the Dihydro-testosterone.

All fetuses develop internal glands called "Gonads" and  a bulge between their legs called a "Tubercle". In normal child development the sex organs develop on a fetus around the eighth week. At that time male babies start producing Dihydro-testosterone in large amounts, which turns the tubercle into a penis. While female fetuses produce a different hormone which turns the tubercle into a clitoris. Unfortunately for Guevedoces this transformation occurs twelve years later. Usually after being forced to wear girls clothes and have a girls name for the majority of their youth.

For more information on "Guevedoces" and their unique genetic lineage watch the video below.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Love Hip-Hop Remix

The wait is over! A few posts back I mentioned working on a collaboration with east coast rhyme spitter Shabaam Sahdeeq and French cut master DJ Modesty

The project was a remix to "Love Hip-Hop" a song  off "Tha Audio Bully" album released back in February 2015. It was released as a single in July. The single made it on the Music Week, Urban Club Chart in September. In three weeks the track moved up the charts from position #23 to #15.

You can buy a copy of the Love Hip-Hop Remix by pressing the link. The remix is a whole different song. It features harder bars, more punch-lines and DJ Modesty scratches to tie it all together. This international collaboration brings together New York, France, and Amsterdam representing real boom bap Hip-Hop. Listen to the track below and if you love Hip-Hop music buy a copy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Travels thru Turkey

My birthday was a few weeks ago (shout-out to all the Virgos). To celebrate, I flew with my girl to Turkey for a few days to catch the last rays of autumn sun. “Winter is coming” and in Holland that isn't a joke.

The city we stayed in was Alanya. It's a district of Antalya Province on the southern coast of Turkey,in the country's Mediterranean Region. The view was gorgeous. Palm trees, clear blue water and water parks all over the region. The airport security is tight when you fly in. There are signs posted in multiple languages saying, "Forbidden to take cultural artifacts out of the country." I have never seen signs like that in any of the places I've been to.

The reason Alanya has them is because the city is ancient. There have been archaeological discoveries found in the Karain Cave showing the place was occupied during the Paleolithic era 20,000 BC. Since then, there have been empires (Phoenician, Achaemenid Empire, Alexander the Great) built, rebuilt, conquered and destroyed throughout the ages. What remains are castles and monuments surrounded by busy streets, markets and crowds of tourists.

Alanya is a six hour ride from Antalya airport. We took a shuttle; which is a van and driver that takes six to eight passengers from the airport to individual hotels. Luckily on this trip, my stop was the second stop. After being in a van for 6 hours with a crying baby...I was ready to jump out the van while it was still moving. Things got better at the hotel. The place was right on the coast, less than 100 meters from the beach.

Since the climate is so warm, there's fresh fruit and vegetables being sold from markets throughout the city. When I say fresh, I'm talking about picking fruit off the trees fresh. Everywhere in Alanya lime trees grow. The trees line the sides of lawns and sidewalks getting manicured like Japanese Bonsai trees. I would pick limes from the tree outside the hotel and squeeze the juice into my drinks. (Bangin!) I bet they never heard of the disease "Scurvy" in Turkey. Alanya is a coastal city, so most restaurants serve a diverse assortment of seafood. It's also a Muslim country, so don't expect to find many pork dishes. The dining was exceptional for me, because I only eat poultry and fish.

At most of the hotels they have open terraces and live bands. Just walking down the boardwalk, with the hotels to my left and the beach across the road to the right for a few blocks, I got to see a man doing Karaoke to Wayne Newton; another to Elvis Presley, with a bar offering two for one drinks, playing Lil Wayne’s "Lollipop" in between. Across the street, the scene was crowded with beautiful, bronze, beach, bodies, basking in the Mediterranean sun. A mix of young and old, families and students, the patrons were diverse and almost all of them had a tan.

The water was warm and surprisingly clear, blue. Even without goggles, I was able to see down several meters. Since my girlfriend had never snorkeled before, I took this opportunity to teach her. A good snorkel set with goggles and fins will cost around twenty euro from a street vendor. If you enjoy viewing sea-life without a computer monitor, I highly recommend it. The waters were full of diverse types of fish, dodging the swimmers and eating algae off the rocks below. The further away from the beach you swim, the bigger the fish become.

At the end of the beach is the wharf. The scene is like a postcard right out ofPirates of the Caribbean.” Long rows of actual pirate ships, adorned with a colorful spectrum of figureheads. All the ships offered different services, while the boat chauffeurs people around the bay. Some were party boats with disco balls and turntables. Some offered scuba diving lessons, others sight-seeing tours. I was surprised at how many of the guys who worked on these ships, dressed like actual pirates. They were literally dressed like pirates from the 1800's. I took a few pics of my favorite ships. (you can view them below)

If you're not a fan of the beach, there's an awesome alternative. In the center of Alanya, and all around the region are water parks. The one in the center of Alanya is f^%kin awesome! There are around twenty different slides for all ages. I spent an afternoon trying to ride everything in the park, but only succeeded in making it halfway. Some of the slides, like the half-pipe or canoeing around the park, are only open at certain times. The place is so big, they offer inflatable canoes you can rent for one euro to ride around the water park. This ride is only offered every few hours so you have to be there at the right time to partake.

They use the Turkish Lira as a form of currency. It's better to exchange money using a bank machine than going to a currency exchange. They will cheat you. Since the Euro is worth more than the Lira, food and shopping were quite affordable.
The main shopping district is a place called "Bar Street". It's an enormous area, encompassing the city main street to the docks. There you can find every type of shoe, clothing and electronic for discount prices. The only thing is...most of it is fake.

Merchants offer counterfeit items with the brand name sewed on the outside. Most carry the real item in stock, but if the buyer doesn't ask, then they get the bargain they're paying for. Aside from the fake goods, there were numerous places with handwoven leather boots, traditional Turkish shoes, bracelets, clothing, and jewelry. Bar Street is an eclectic area for shopping, dining and shows.

Most of the time during my travels thru Turkey was spent exploring the city and relaxing (drinking) in between. I didn't take many pictures this trip...but I posted a few below.

Monday, August 31, 2015

AniManga: Fate/Stay Night Series

Fate/stay night is a Japanese visual novel, which was originally released as an adult game. Since its release in 2006 its been adapted into a manga and multiple anime series.

The story takes place in modern Japan. Where Shirō Emiya, became the sole survivor of a massive fire as a child. Shirō was adopted by a retired mage named Kiritsugu Emiya and taught the basic principles of becoming a mage. Kiritsugu Emiya, is the main protagonist in the fourth Holy Grail War (featured in Fate/Zero) which inadvertently destroyed Fuyuki City and left Shiro orphaned. Kiritsugu Emiya died some years later after instilling a strong since of justice in Shiro.

As a teenager Shiro witnesses a battle between servants and almost gets killed. By luck or fate he gets saved by a classmate and unwillingly becomes a participant in a death tournament called the Fifth Holy Grail War. It's bloody warfare where mages use heroes called servants from every time period in history. For a chance to have their wish granted by a cup called the Holy Grail. The stronger the mage the stronger the type of servant they can summon. 

There are seven different class of servants. Rider, Assassin, Saber, Archer, Lancer, Caster and Berserker. Each servant is equipped with a special weapon or ability called a Noble Phantasm. Since the Noble Phantasm can reveal the users identity, most servants refuse to use it until moving in for the killing blow or to escape a desperate situation.

Although most Noble Phantasms are weapons like Sabers, sword or Lancers, spear some Noble Phantasms are an ability. Berserker, who is the reincarnation of Hercules is equipped with the Noble Phantasm called regeneration. Since he had to complete twelve labors, he can be reincarnated twelve times before being killed. Gilgamesh, is unique because he is the first hero in history and possesses a very large number of Noble Phantasms. He was a servant of the Archer class who had a strange obsession for Saber. 

Saber, is King Arturia Pendragon more famously known throughout history as King Arthur. She is the strongest servant in the knight class which consists of Saber, Lancer, and Archer. Her Noble Phantasm is the mythical sword Excalibur. The sword remains invisible until Saber calls its name to deliver the killing blow to an opponent. The scabbard of Excalibur, is named Avalon. It gives the holder a limited form of immortality by repairing mortal wounds in an instant. Avalons regenerative abilities saved Kiritsugu Emiya's life several times during the fourth Holy Grail war.

Unlimited Blade Works follows a two-week period in Shirō Emiya's life. He goes from an amateur mage to becoming a Master in the fifth Holy Grail war. There are seven Masters for seven servants. Masters are capable of controlling servants by command seals placed on the back of their hands. A Master only has three command seals to control a servant. Once all three commands are used the Master loses control of the servant and can be killed by them

Shiro, summons Saber and together with the assistance of another mage named Rin Tōsaka tries to stop the Holy Grail war. Tosaka summons the servant Archer who turns out to be the future version of Shiro from a different timeline. Archer hates Shiro because he knows what awaits him after death. His biggest desire was to kill Shiro before he becomes a champion of justice and is reincarnated as a servant. 

Servants, maintain their form by feeding off their Master's Mana (spiritual energy). They can heal injuries and use their Noble Phantasm multiple times depending on how much Mana their Master can produce. Some servants like Caster, can drain Mana from humans causing them to fall into a coma and in some cases death.   

Caster, is a special servant because some Casters are also mages. This is dangerous to the Master because if the Caster is stronger than the Master...he will be killed. In the fifth Holy Grail War. The Caster is Medea. A sorceress who was the daughter of Greek King Aeëtes of Colchis. Medea was so powerful she was able to summon her own Assassin servant to assist in the Holy grail War. Only the Caster is capable of summoning another servant.  
To date there are three different anime series based off the Fate/Stay Night novels. There's Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero (the 4th Holy Grail War), and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (the 5th Holy Grail war). All three of the anime are superb. Although the writing, battles and character development in Unlimited blade works seems to be a step above the other two installments. 

If I had to describe the series in one sentence it would be. Fate/Stay night, is a mix of action packed battles, betrayal, tragedy, magic, with excellent characters and plot. Check out the clips below featuring battles between Shiro vs Gilgamesh and Archer vs Lancer

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Robotic Lover

Every Otaku or science fiction fan has seen a film where there's a robotic sex slave. Although the idea of a sex robot from toy makers, engineers, and mad scientists has been around since the 1930's. Now in 2015 is that ambition close to reality. 

Matt McMullen is a synthetic life (sex dolls) designer and engineer. He makes life-like, fully functional and poseable sex dolls for people to enjoy. Matt and his team have ventured beyond dolls into the field of robotics and A.I. (artificial intelligence) to create a robotic lover

Matt McMullen is aware of the potential for moral outcry from religious and human rights groups. So he isn't focusing on making the dolls as real as a human. Matt and his team want to keep the doll looking human but still with doll skin and eyes so users know it's a robot. He states that "he doesn't want the distinction between a person and a robot to get blurred." This allows users to enjoy the experience knowing that they're with a doll not a human being. 

Making a robot look and feel "real" isn't the biggest challenge that the team face. According to Matt McMullen, the biggest challenge is making the user feel like the robot is actually deriving pleasure from the sexual interaction. This is a challenge many world renown scientists face in the rapidly developing field of A.I.. 

Creating robots that have human facial expressions and movements is one difficulty. The second is generating a human personality for the A.I. that is user friendly and easily programmable. In that way the robots personality can be augmented to each owners individual taste. To overcome this hurdle in A.I., the team plans to utilize new virtual reality tech to give users a more complete 3D immersion experience

While wearing a virtual reality headset by a company like Oculus Rift. The user could run a program of their fantasy woman, while physically interacting with their robotic lover. The whole thing may sound like a x-rated science fiction film but... it's being made. This is cutting edge technology. Matt McMullen's dedication to making his dream into a reality makes me believe it won't be long before this product is selling world-wide.

Check out the video below to learn more about Matt McMullen and the team making "Denise" the first sex robot.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Muzik

In between travel and work I've been slowly putting together a new album. At first It was going to be a EP featuring all the extra songs that didn't make it on "Tha Audio Bully" album. After listening to the extra tracks and the new one's I scrapped the plan for an EP and decided to put out another LP album. The new album is titled "Underground Artist, Major Threat" and it should be done next year.

When working on a new album I listen to a lot of New Muzik... for a variety of reasons. I listen to hear what style of music is popular (the south is still dominating). Which artists can really spit and which are only popular cuz of money and exposure. I listen for who has a message and who is perpetuating negative stereotypes. Out of all the reasons I listen the main reason is... to find artists I want to work with. If they're old school artists I listen to hear if they still got flow. If they're new artists I listen for originality and if they have their own sound. 

Below are videos from a mix of young new artists with a message and one Bay Area legend. The song "Heemin" from Mac Duna featuring Mac Dre, Tech N9ne and Fa$e resurrects Mac Dre (R.I.P.). Mac Dre was an MC from Vallejo, California whose unique flow was influential in the Bay Area Hip-Hop scene. Mac Dre was killed in 2004 but his charisma can still be felt in this 2015 video. 

The rest of the artists in the list are all new MC's. Some mainstream others underground but all of them have flow and a positive message. There's, Cashflow Harlem - Ladies Vs. Thots, Kwame Katana - Life Without Water, Big Sean Feat. Kanye West and John Legend - One Man Can Change The World. 

Last is the new mixtape "From Da Old 2 Tha New" from DJ and producer DJ Modesty hosted by Shabaam Shadeeq. DJ Modesty has been making beats, producing and hosting radio show "The Real Hip-Hop Show" for over a decade. Shabaam Sadeeq is a raw, lyricist with a catalog that spans back to the 90's. He drops jewels with some of the best in the game on this classic mixtape of old and new. Check it out!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Viva Italia

I recently returned from a trip to Toscana, Italy and if you haven't been there add it to your bucket list

The Toscana region of Italy is right on the Tyrrhenian sea. I stayed in the village of Vada at a place on the coastline. Most of the coast was rocky with small pockets of beaches with food pavilions in between.  The majority of the trip was spent traveling and exploring so I didn't get to enjoy the beach to much. The few times I did have a chance to lay on the beach and bask in the was marvelous. 

I few days into the trip I took a day tour to Florence a few hours away. Florence is a beautiful city. It has broad streets, filled with markets and shops of every type. The buildings are a blend of old and new architecture. A huge surprise for me was seeing buildings Michelangelo designed before he moved to Rome at age 35. There are to many amazing pieces of architecture to list in one post but the most common theme of Florence was churches. There are so many churches of different design it would baffle the imagination. It's no surprise that the center of Florence is a world heritage site.

The tour was led by a small middle aged Italian woman who really loved Florance. She could answer any question about the multitude of monuments and sculptures around the city. Our tour group was composed of five couples and three individuals with age ranges from mid-twenties to late sixties. The guide educated us on everything from art and literature to the different colors of marble, which was once known as "white gold." That was interesting information to me because I thought marble only came in white. The Toscana region is famous for producing red, yellow, green, blue and other veins of the expensive rock. Each color has it's own meaning: red - honor, white - faith, green - love...etcetera. That information gave more depth to her historical tales of old Renaissance architects.  

After walking around the city for hours with our over enthusiastic tour guide we were given time to explore for ourselves.The shopping was almost as good as the visuals. I found great deals on leather goods that would cost three times as much in Amsterdam. Jackets, belts, bags, boots, and other goods were for sale at thrift shop prices. I brought a few belts and a jacket for my upcoming video shoot for "Love Hip-Hop." Although I enjoyed the tour I wish that I had a few more days to explore Florence. There are so many museums of fine arts, and monuments around the city that one day isn't enough time to see everything.

If you like seafood the city of Cecina (pronounced chi-chi-na) is the place for you. All the seafood is fresh off the boat and still alive before it's cooked and served. I had some of the best fish I've ever tasted. Served in a light crispy breading that melts in your mouth. All over the city of Cecina, are beaches, ice cream shops and seafood restaurants. Most of the restaurants have delicious affordable foods and advertise biological vegetables, which is attractive to health conscious tourists. All over Toscana are olives and various flavors of local wines which range from sweet to spicy. After riding around different cities on the bike I rented. Having some seafood and wine really helped me relax. I learned a lot in a week of travel and below are a few pics from the trip. Hopefully it will give you the motivation to go see Italy for yourself