The Next Big Thing: Drake

February 20, 2009 § 1 Comment

Drake, "So Far Gone"For the past week, I’ve been preoccupied with a certain up-in-coming rapper, by the name of Drake. The Canadian-bred artist (and actor) dropped his third mixtape, So Far Gone February 13. The mixtape has already been getting rave reviews on the blogosphere and for good reason. With 18 tracks, featuring artists such as Trey Songz, Lil Wayne, Peter Bjorn & John, Lykke Li, Santogold and Bun B, among others, Drake might be the next big thing. Recently signed to Interscope Records, Drake is set to release his major label debut, tentatively titled Thank Me Later this year.

I was going to post a review on So Far Gone, but it looks like a friend has already beat me to it! Check out her take on the mixtape at http://rhythm-and-bliss.blogspot.com/2009/02/so-far-gone.html and download the album while you’re at it! Good stuff : )

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See It: Kanye West’s “Welcome to Heartbreak” w/ Kid Cudi

February 17, 2009 § 2 Comments

“And my head keeps spinning. Can’t stop having these visions. I gotta get with it.”

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Chaos and heartbreak has never looked this good! Peep Kanye’s new video, “Welcome to Heartbreak,” directed by Nabil. I have to be honest, I wasn’t wowed by 808’s and Heartbreak. For one thing, too much auto-tuning from someone whose signature isn’t auto-tuning. I think we can all agree that his previous efforts were definitely a cut above this album. However, his album’s lyrical concept (pretty much a diary of love gone awry) was deafening in terms of creativity and I understand that sometimes when people go through things, they just have to put their heart out on the line and let it all hang out. Kudos to West for that. I respect and commend the realness of 808’s and Heartbreak as a “concept” album. “Welcome to Heartbreak,” was one of the few tracks on 808’s and Heartbreak that really stood out to me in terms of subject matter (sure it’s depressing, but so are some of the greatest hits of all time!) and the beats are blazing, of course. This video, which West says took a month to create, is INCREDIBLE! Technology has clearly come a long way. The imagery and juxtapositions are stunning and the artistic concept of the video as a whole works to convey the message of a chaotic soul that is maddened, saddened and ultimately defeated by heartbreak.

See It: Jazmine Sullivan’s “Lions, Tigers & Bears”

February 13, 2009 § Leave a comment

Check out Jazmine Sullivan’s new video, “Lions, Tigers, and Bears,” the third single off the five-time Grammy nominated singer’s debut album, Fearless. The colorful visuals and graphics in this video are amazing and ring true to the lyrics and melody of this beautiful song. Unfortunately, Sullivan came out empty handed at The Grammys last week, but she’s still a talented artist on the rise who’ll be sure to pick up a Grammy or two in the near future, I’m sure. Enjoy!

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Hello, Mr. President!

January 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

As almost 2 million people (a record high for an inauguration ceremony) watched from The National Mall in Washington, D.C., and millions more watched on television, Barack Obama was sworn-in today–becoming the 44th President of The United States.

Barack Obama is sworn-in as the 44th President of the United States, as his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia look on.

Barack Obama is sworn-in, as his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia look on.

While I was not there to witness this historical moment up close and personal (I thought about it, but opted to stay put. Frigid temperatures and large crowds aren’t my thing), I was delighted to watch history unfold from the comfort of my home. So I managed to watch the Inauguration coverage and simultaneously get some work done (working from home is great!)

In President Obama’s speech, he asked Americans to “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America,” stressing collective action and self-responsibility. At times there was a sense in his demeanor and prose that he understood that the task he has signed on for will not be a quick or easy one to accomplish. But, there was also a confident and hopeful sensibility that he exuded.

At any rate, I’m not going to go into the significance of what this moment in time means. I already gave my two cents in November on victory day and I’m sure the internet is full of assorted sentiments and commentary. So, I’ll refrain from overdoing it and just leave you with a full clip of his inauguration speech for those of you who may not have been able to catch it!

Computer Love 101

January 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

How to find Mr. Right online

computer-love-101

Computer Love – Zapp and Roger

If looking for love has left you jaded, don’t fret just yet. The power to find your soul mate (or at least a good date) could be at your fingertips–just a click away. With a stigma no longer attached at the hip, online dating is now a growing trend. Nowadays, its popularity is quite simple: You can find practically anything online, so why should finding a date be any different? Women, especially those who lead busy lives and find it difficult to connect with potential mates in more traditional ways, see online dating as convenient because they can weed out unsuitable mates faster by simply viewing profiles. Also, there’s anonymity to online dating because you only disclose as much information as your comfort level allows. Plus, rejection–which both women and men face in the dating game, is less harsh in online dating because somehow revealing, “I’m just not that into you,” over a computer screen doesn’t burn as bad.

Every woman has her reasons for pursuing online dating, but underneath it all is a hope that she can find compatibility. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to find love out there—especially for women of color. According to the most recent Census Bureau data, 54 percent of women over the age of 18 are unmarried. And only 30 percent of black women and 49 percent of Hispanic women are living with a spouse compared with 55 percent of white women. With daunting figures like these, it’s reasonable to keep an open mind when approaching dating, which is probably why so many women are at least trying online dating.

Online dating can seem effortless. Post your profile and bingo—you’ve hit the jackpot! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But, it also doesn’t have to leave you frustrated to the point of no return. Here, tips on how to play the online dating game and win big!

Find Your Flavor
In the past, online dating consisted of only a few general websites, making it overwhelming to find the perfect match in a cyberspace of thousands of men whose only discernible attributes are “single” tags. Now, there are thousands of websites that target specific demographics as well as niches—making it easier for you to search only for mates that suit your taste level. These specialized sites aren’t just the typical ones based on race, political and religious affiliations or even dress size. Ever wondered if there’s a guy out there who loves pets as much as you? Yes, there are even sites out there that cater to preferences as specific as that.

Create a Winning Profile
This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many women don’t take their profiles serious. Put as much effort into crafting your profile as you would for your resume for your dream job. Let your personality shine through with your prose and pick a profile name that showcases your individuality. When posting your picture, choose a main profile picture that is clear, up-to-date and showcases your greatest physical assets, without revealing too much skin. Also make sure your photograph portrays you in a relaxed state—no pictures of yourself in business mode. You wouldn’t wear a suit on your first date, so don’t convey that to potential matches. Perception is everything.

Make the First Move
If you spot a guy online that seems like a good fit, don’t be afraid to catch his attention online by sending him a message. Many guys are attracted to confident women and aren’t taken aback by one who is willing to approach them first. He probably thinks you’re quite the catch as well. And, if he doesn’t, there’s plenty more fish in cyberspace.

Expect Disappointments
Don’t go into this with expectations so high that any disappointments will be a devastating blow your heart or ego. Like traditional dating, in online dating you probably won’t find Mr. Right right away. It takes time. You will find guys online that give you butterflies on the first date. And you will find guys online who may have you running for the door. You might even find a guy who isn’t Mr. Wrong nor Mr. Right, but will turn out to be a good friend. Dating is a learning experience, despite the method you use. Be realistic.

Use Discretion
Despite what you read on his profile, a potential Mr. Right is still a stranger to you before you meet him in person. Use caution. Before you agree to meet a potential match, exchange phone numbers first. Once you feel comfortable, agree to meet him in a public place for your first date. A bookstore or a coffeehouse are great options.

Trend Alert: Minx It Up!

January 12, 2009 § 2 Comments

Customizing your style is at your fingertips with the latest fashion in nails–Minx!

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Beyonce rocks Minx Nails in Golden Lightning

Beyonce rocks Minx Nails in Golden Lightning

A-list celebs like Beyonce have already donned them on the Red Carpet, and now you can get in on the next biggest trend—Minx nails! The Minx manicure and pedicure line is a new innovation in nail fashion that features foil and glittery metallics, personalized graphic designs and even photo-quality designs. If you’ve always wanted to match your nails with that funky pattern on your dress hidden in the back of your closet, this nail line has got you covered. Not only is Minx stylish, but it may also be eco-conscious. Minx is a solid nail coating that is made of flexible film and requires no chemicals for its application or removal—making it a greener alternative to nail polish. Because it is a non-liquid, you won’t have to wait for your nails to dry or worry about chipped or smudged nails. You’ll be out of the nail salon in record time, ready to show off your fashionable finger assets this year.

Minx comes in four different product lines: Metallic, Standard Designs, Customs and Armour & Color. For more information and a list of nail salons and spas offering Minx nail fashion visit www.MinxNails.com.

Late Registration

January 4, 2009 § 5 Comments

late-bloomerAs we slip into a new year, we flip out our journals or kindly note to ourselves and our friends what we will do better this year. A new five-year plan becomes a Constitution that cannot be amended. And if we don’t live up to our dreams in the year we’ve outlined for ourselves, we sulk and in worst case scenarios we give up on all of them. We live in a society that registers a successful life based upon instant gratification. What about throwing away the timelines and just living? Is it really such a terrible thing to be a “late bloomer?”

I was talking with a friend the other day and something she said hit me. “Am I pursuing a fool’s dream?” she asked. I wanted to tell her a fool is someone who doesn’t dare to dream for fear of failing. The only reason I didn’t was because I know when I’m feeling blue the last thing I want to hear is something scripted out of an after school special. The friend in question is a talented writer on the cusp of completing a novel. Her conundrum is that she recently hit a crossroads and fears she may be unable to finish her novel within the timeline she set for herself. When she realized she might not finish her book, she thought about the other things she hadn’t accomplished in her life. “I feel old. I’m almost 25 and still nothing. What have I accomplished?” she asked.

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard about the inner-workings of a self-declared quarter-life crisis. Self-doubt and fear has at times clouded my own judgment, leaving me to miss out on a lot of wonderful opportunities and people. In the past, fleshing out timelines for myself has left me feeling tinges of failure when I’ve noticed that certain things have yet to transpire. When will I ever [insert feeling here]? What if I never [insert action here]? Why do we allow age and timelines to dictate how we feel about ourselves, our capabilities, and what we can accomplish now and in the future?

Late bloomers, lend me your ears! Don’t let society and inner negativity stop you from making your dreams a reality. There are many people out there who have accomplished extraordinary things in what many would consider “late in life.” A few months ago, I read “Late Bloomers,” an interesting piece from The New Yorker that shed some light on the question of whether precocity in terms of creativity is the be all, end all for artists. Do late bloomers stand a chance in creative pursuits in a sea filled with prodigies? In the article, Malcolm Gladwell references several people who hit the mark in their careers late in the game. Two of my favorites he mentioned, Alfred Hitchcock, who made some of his masterpieces, including my personal favorites North by Northwest and Vertigo between his 44th and 61st birthdays and Daniel Defoe who wrote Robinson Crusoe at 58. There are probably many others who are unknown to us but have done amazing things when others thought their time was over. There’s something to be said about exploring and truly living life before we find what we’re truly looking for and create masterpieces in our own lives. Whether your dream is big or minuscule, writing a future classic, finding a job you love, meeting your soulmate or anything else under the sun, time is not your enemy.