UGH!!!!

I’m really getting tired of this sense in the black community, that if you don’t buy into the same identity, or “swag” as everyone else that you are somehow “less black”. This truly shows the seeds of divide and conquer have been planted, grown roots and have trapped many of us into remaining or conforming to some stereotypical view that doesn’t positively affirm our community.

Tyler Perry gets a lot of flack, and in and of itself, his form of entertainment is ok but, I do have a problem with him seemingly being our only voice in the film industry. I keep waiting for the transition to come, or at least a balanced view of blackness to be displayed by Tyler, but maybe that’s just not in him now. Back in the 80’s Spike Lee released films like “She’s Gotta Have It”, but if you ask for a “Spike Lee Joint” I doubt that is the first film that comes to mind. Spike seriously dealt with societal issues, within and without the black community.

However the most grieving to me is Hip-Hop.

This grieves me mainly, because Hip-Hop was our creation, our baby. I’m not against sharing it with other cultures, please don’t mistake this, but in the commercial/mainstream market for every Nas, there are ten Gucci Mane’s, for every Common there are twenty Soulja Boy’s. To be successful it seems you must sellout. Drug dealing is glorified as well as misogyny and womanizing. Women are objectified by the males and by themselves, and we consistently portray the thug and hoe, long after we’ve become successful to the point that we wouldn’t even think of stepping on the block. When’s the last time you HONESTLY think that Rick Ross has been dealing coke? When’s the last time Lil’ Wayne has really been an active gang member? Wayne has been in the industry since he was at least 16. However, they tell us how “real” they are every track. Hip-Hop also has a much higher concentration of blacks, thus is even more relatable than Hollywood.

Not only this, but if one maintains an innocence, or refuses to live to the low standards we’ve set for ourselves, we ostracize them. Look at Will Smith, one of the most successful rappers of all time over his 20 years as a rapper, he went 17 times platinum, and has had two number one hits. However, because he hasn’t subscribed to the thug image, he’s ostracized in hip-hop, rarely gets radio play or love in hip-hop circles.

I’m just wondering when our most respected and emulated faces will be more in the vein of Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Huey Newton and less like Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne.

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*REVIEW* “STOP THE FUNERAL” – @ambassador215

Former Cross Movement member The Ambassador is back with his fourth solo album, STOP THE FUNERAL. In light of his past few years, many would assume this would be a somber, gloomy album, but instead it’s the opposite: celebratory, grateful, and refreshed.

The Album starts with “A-M”, “Get With Us”, and “Mind Made Up”. The tracks are definitely heavy in southern influence, but they have a fresh feel to them. Cheesebeats provided “Get With Us” and Xist Music labelmate Sean Simmonds came thru with an infectious hook.

Amba touches on his failings and how God corrected him openly for his sin.

Another notable track is “Favor” featuring Canton Jones, a collab that many NEVER expected. However Canton’s presence is felt , but Amba definitely soldiered the song.

Tracks 8 thru 14 are the album’s strong point in my humble opinion.

“Talk This Way” is an excellent display of Ambassador’s lyricism and adeptness to the East Coast style of hip-hop.

“Crumbs”, produced by Dave Hackley, Jr. (Lost by Da’ T.R.U.T.H.), is a beautiful song of brokenness and dependency. Amba narrarates the story of the Syrophenician woman, the Centurion’s servant, and the woman with the issue of blood. Jessica Reedy provides a voice that calls for help from Christ.

“Trust In You” featuring Mali Music as expected is a eccentric track. It has a 70’s feel to it and Mali delivers an intricate hook. Sadly there is no Mali verse. That however doesn’t hurt the track, a verse from the crooner would only have added to the song.

“Nothing Like Us” speaks on God’s unfailing and everlasting love. This track, also produced by Hackley, features Ryan Stevenson and Charmaine. Ryan’s CCM-esque hook is a welcome blend with The Ambassador’s lyricism.

“Your Love” featuring KJ-52 and Michelle Bonilla is a worship song, reliant on piano keys and a light electric guitar.

“Put It Down” is a BANGER, and it also showcases Amba’s lyricism. Lines like “you’re looking at praisers, who know how to get it up, know how to get it in/couldn’t keep the law, but the Spirit keeps abiding like a citizen” and “praise Him in the A.M. Hey I’m just saying ‘why we delaying?’/praise Him in the P.M., we’re in the club of people who see Him/as worthy, surely He is worthy, His mercy endureth/as for the the earth, He made the earth and of course He can cure it”

Finally “The Reunion Cypha” is a call back to classic CM tradition. It features Shai Linne, God’s Servant, C-Lite, J.A.Z., Cruz Cordero, and DJ Wade O.

“Stop The Funeral” proclaims that Jesus and the Gospel do exactly that, stop the funerals in our lives, freeing us from sin and its wage, death. So its understandable that we would be upbeat, happy, joyous, and full of praise for our Savior.

Ambassador does a great job of conveying just that, and the tracks do as well.

I give Stop The Funeral a 4/5.

Strong Tracks include “Get With Us”, “Crumbs” , “Trust In You” and “Put It Down”.

A Mali verse, and some featured rappers on songs like “Put It Down”, “Talk This Way”, and “Mind Made Up” (read in Da’ T.R.U.T.H. This’l, and Jahaziel, my picks) would have helped out a bit. Also I like CD’s with a little more length in tracklist.

Editor’s Note: If you add the “icebreakers” to the album, it is effectively 16 tracks long.

M.O.B. : A Dangerous Mentality

M.O.B.

It’s a motto many of us have heard, and some even live.

But really, what does that mean?

The acronym M.O.B. stands for Money Over B*****s.

That sounds like a pointless question because the words are poignant, crystal-clear. However, there is a deeper issue with that philosophy.

First money is only useful because of the things it can get you. So in essence Money = things. If we look at our culture the evidence of monetary wealth is seen in what the person owns or buys. Rappers brag on how many whips and chains they have bought, and how many women they have “had” because of the money they make.

Our culture celebrates excess and having abundance when others are below the poverty line. I was thumbing thru a weekly magazine, I forget which one, but the cover story was on the wedding of socialite and reality star Kim Kardashian and New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries. The price of gifts found on their registry was insane. Don’t get me wrong its ok to have nice things, but some things are over the top. For instance on the list was a $1600 teapot, an $840 dollar ashtray, a $1250 spoon? Where is the practicality in that?

But back to the point, when monikers like M.O.B. are accepted, it fosters a culture that devalues human life. It also stunts the growth of love on an everyday, to all people variety. M.O.B. is seen on Wall Street and big business as well as the hood, so it is not a contained phenomenon. Brokers have been all about the dollar, big business works by exploiting the labor and service of its lower level employees, and when government crackdown comes on, as we’ve seen, the working man loses, actually hundreds of them. they’re fired, not for doing a bad job, but to save an executive who used his expense account to fund whatever it is he wanted whether it was an extra-marital affair, or just to pocket extra money.

People tend to be corrupted when M.O.B. is they’re motto. The Bible says “The love of money is the root of all evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10 We see it when someone is gunned down for an unpaid debt, when people are sold into sex trafficking, when people and nations are bullied out of resources like oil, diamonds, and other “precious goods”.

Money at the end of it all is good for momentary pleasure, that moment can last for years, even a lifetime, but ultimately, it doesn’t go with you when you die.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? – Jesus, found in Mark 8:36-37