As I stare into the speakers projecting some of the most prolific wordplay from The Almighty, I wonder who values a deep conversation about the wordsmiths hammering the words together over a bass-laden anvil. My conclusion is as follows…
I will no longer entertain the casual Rap music listeners opinionated debates/disputes with me on “what constitutes great rap music or great rappers or dope producers.” If you have not put in a minimum of 10,000 hours of active, critically analytical listening of a variety of rappers (nationally distributed and independent) and have not studied the history of lyrical and Hip-Hop production development and revolution/evolution since Rap’s creation, then you are only speaking from a casual and limited knowledge base on the Art. I do have a very opinionated and invested understanding of Rap. I will try my best to address the casual listener’s arguments and opinions.
However, casual listener’s opinions are valuable from an appeal and emotional standpoint. Nonetheless, that opinion is not critical enough to fully understand the argument that I or my cohort would present about the topics on Rap. We look for challenge to our opinions to be solidly based and backed by “opinionated” facts. The casual listener’s perspective on rap lyrics and art of rapping usually plateaus on words on top of a rhythmic beat to make a song about any number of topics. However, the scholar or practitioner of Rap music sees lyrics as mathematical equation or science in developing musical composition to manipulate the psychology and mental constructs of the listener. I reiterate, I rather debate my opinions with (a) trained and expert rappers and producers (people that have proactively studied and practiced the art for 10,000 hours or more) and (b) people that have studied and invested in Rap like they were writing a dissertation on the Art and Science behind it.
I now view the casual Rap music lover’s opinion similar to a person that loves watching Grey’s Anatomy, The Mob Doctor, Childrens Hospital or any documentary style medical show on TLC/Discovery Channels’ opinion (majority of the population) while the expert Rap music lover is similar to a PhD/MD that continually studies, evolves, and contributes to the Art and Science of Medicine and Biology.
Both, casual listeners and experts, can have respected opinions, be lovers and haters of it, even share in loving and hating some aspects. But, their overall opinions on Rap will usually be from different perspectives and knowledge bases.
Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection. — Justice Scalia
Let me soapbox on a subject that has become popular in the 24-hour news cycle’s sensationalism- games and physical violence. I understand both perspectives and respect all the logical arguments. Yes, I know everything that we experience in life does have an influence on us. Yes, I know videogames are not the soul offender for all the violence that has occurred since the beginning of man. Neither argument is fully persuasive and with our limited knowledge of the brain Read More →
“Being completely empowered by something, yet powerless to it is Love.”
— Charles Babb
I amusingly stare at the day walkers scrambling to find the happiness that whispered to their subconscious during slumbering moments. It is indeed a privilege to “overstand” how life works perched upon a soapbox constructed by quenched passions and hard work. Personally, I have consistently planned, worked, and fulfilled all my passions. I have no understanding of how it feels to not birth the fruit from a passion project. I have no idea what it feels like to only see passions in dreams. I’m not a dream chaser or dream catcher. They are merely fleeting memories of forgotten thoughts muted by the sounds of the daily grind. I made a pact with myself to never forget my passions; pour my soul into the soil that cultivates and nurtures them. I coddle and cradle them like a parent holding onto the soft breaths of her child. I break all the walls of doubt springing up between me and my passions. I’ve learned, even before my Man of Morehouse days, if you become great at your passions aka your loves, then you may discover a way to financially sustain yourself with them. You will become powerless to your passions. They will consume you, own you, and sell you. You will become a slave to them. In your enslavement, you relinquish all power. This is love. Your passions will make you a mortal before they can immortalize you.
You become utterly powerless to the things that empower you. You lose definition to the things that define you. You are birthed to the things that are causing you to die- your passions.
Sometimes it drips, other times it pours. Creativity is a broken faucet for me. It is uncontrollable and comes with different temperatures of hot and cold. Usually, skillful, sometimes successful, creatives learn mastery of the theories, techniques, methodologies, and processes of their predecessors before flooding the world with new creation. Creatives hope to get caught into the current of creative flow while avoiding the deadly undertow. As a creative, I am a rough ashlar pitched into the mainstream of Creativity to be forcefully polished into a precious gemstone by the rapid force of culture and skill development. My aim is to avoid drowning and to become part of the basin foundation of civilization. Read More →
I’ve always admired Andrew Stanton. He’s a genius storyteller. He understands how to captivate an audience and breathe a lively soul into the most mundane of story that even the most humanly detached person will empathize or sympathize with the characters.
Not only am I applying his storytelling techniques to my own stories, but I’m learning how to apply his theories, techniques, and processes to game design.
First and foremost, “the audience wants to work for their food without knowing that they are working for the food.” Great game designers use work, discovery, and Flow as soul-searching activities in any game.
Great games make us confront mental challenges and pull something out of our souls to conquer the tasks at hand.
Games do not have to tell a story as we know it, but their mechanics should tell a story in play.
Great game design equals evolving solid mechanics, tailoring features that groove with the experience, polishing systems through progress, and elevating gameplay.
If you apply Mr. Stanton’s lessons about story to a good fictional wrapper with great game design, then you have a great game (minus the artistic production value, which is icing on a delicious cake).
It is a new year with a new bag of tricks. After a long vacation in the hometown, I’ve realized that one’s journey should never backtrack to yesterday’s memories that have no bearing on tomorrow’s vision. We must shed our pasts to make our present better than we can imagine in the future. I’ve learned that the connections between us and the world is what defines our world. So, we must diligently work toward something better than anything imaginable. Or, we will be in a cycle of nothing. I’ve slaved my entire life for the right to say that I mastered something. This something is my principles and my state of existence.
I’ve learned that my principles and existence are not tied to my economic, social, or political status. Matter of fact, my existence is not tied to the statuses imposed on me by known and unknown people in my life. My principles and existence are only tied to my thoughts and my ability to act on my thoughts. For this year, I will think and act like nothing matters more than championing myself. My drive is fueled by gas that cannot be constructed with any mixture of chemicals. My existence is fueled by the same attributes that fueled champions lost in the shadows of historical propaganda.
For the next 365 days, I’m going to wake and challenge the Universe in a battle for Newness supremacy. Every morning, I will not rise the same person that laid down. I’ll restart new. If the Mayan calendar is correct, then I want the world to end while I’m brand new and on my terms.
GAS [Goal Achievement Syndrome] is best defined as the infinite cycle of constantly creating better goals when it becomes inevitable that previously set goals will be achieved.
—- Charles Babb
I am fortunate to feel Nature’s spirit enchant a masterpiece carved by the Ancients- The Tiger Nest. The Tiger Nest is a sacred place that can only be reached by strong-willed and humble people seeking inner-peace. This monumental structure hidden in the clouds of the Himalayan mountainside, 3,120 metres (10,240 ft), above sea level about 900 metres (3,000 ft) above the Paro valley, is a metaphor for my high aspirations. I feel reaching my aspirations in life will lead to inner-peace. Then, I came to the realization that my inner-peace comes in chasing and conquering them. I do not really care for the moment of achieving aspirations because I will set new ones once achievement becomes inevitable. I’m in constant perpetuation of goal achieving.
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
— Oscar Wilde
Staring into reality’s abyss from my dream’s red cliff overlooking Mt. Olympus, I begin to ponder how my mentality to championing the hearts desires sparked in my soul. I am considered unusual amongst my wonder years’ peers. I would claim a creature of circumstance; however, my formative years were equivalent to those that question my exquisite taste in fine living. My Dionysustic lifestyle and my Aresian appetite brand me as an anomaly amongst my past social circle, but having and desiring luxury items is a basic, better said, simplistic concept used to decoy my adversaries from my true objective of ascertaining complex luxuries- freedom, peace, happiness, and wisdom. The Spartan strategies calculated with Athenian intelligence incubated between my daily wakings are the root, the catalyst igniting my drive. At one point in my life, I was the artistic warrior similar to Hannibal crafting a soliloquy on the footsteps of Rome. Sure, many men are warriors, artists, or both. Today, I stand before you as the creative strategist that doesn’t define his art or his war plan because to do both would be to define himself, who he finds undefinable.
My life is guided by the notion that undefinable identity is what makes people great and unforgettable. Their only plight is journeying toward self-realization and self-determination, while defying the definitions bestowed on them by others. The matrimonial journey between me and the Universe procreate powerful life lessons. I’ve learned to nurture these lessons into higher thoughts, better understandings, and wisdom. My mind is constantly chiseling a new reality for me to mold into a better person. As a result, every action appears to be alchemy. An alchemist is someone who takes useless things and make them invaluable or priceless. That is what makes me different from my peers. I’m always trying to make every minute into a valuable moment. I subconsciously place a value on everything. I don’t place a simple or basic monetary value on it, but I put a supremely complex time value on it. I recognize money is printed and distributed everyday. But, time cannot be deposited, saved, or earned. Time is only withdrawn from us. Therefore, time is invaluable and priceless, thus making me a shrewd critic and one with exquisite tastes. My demanding tastes for the best and even better is what separates me from individuals that settle for mediocrity.
“When you play a game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
— George R.R. Martin
Waking to Apollo rising from the depths of Poseidon’s bed ignited my thoughts about the rise and fall of the throne chasers. As most people gawk in awe of the throne, some of us secretly plot an usurp on the king and kingdom. With great calculation, we evaluate the game, fellow players, the pieces, the plans, and the throne’s protectorate.
For those near and dear to me, they know I am fascinated with the Human condition. As a born and bred anthropologist, I have always analyzed humans not only on macro scale, also on a micro scale. I love researching, experimenting, analyzing, and critiquing the human condition. My anthropological interest combined with my art and design loves birth a great imaginative understanding of myself coexisting in the universe. As a purveyor of interactive entertainment, I’ve fallen into the habit of studying other artists’ declarations and pontifications exclaimed through their works- music, television, film, and video games. I intensely examine entertainment for the minutia that can be applied to life in a major way. When watching LCD or the silver screen, I habitually search for the characters’ souls trapped within the fiction. If the writers are great craftspeople, then it is easy to grasp the characters’ complexity and essence during the most trivial activities and dialogue. Within moments, these fictitious modern artifacts postulate a reason for appreciation. Read More →