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Crime of the Century

Imagine for a moment thinking that the very first person who gave you attention as a teenager was the best you could do. Having no life experience or understanding you think there’s no way you’ll find someone better and so you do drastic and desperate things to try to keep this person around, things that under any frame of judgement would be considered pathetic among a whole host of other psychological issues. This is the reality for a person ruled by fear. It’s more or less all our realities to varying degrees.

The truth is life is full of endless possibilities and not only will you meet someone else but also someone better, more in line with the truth you we’re brave enough to pursue. The universe has a way of rewarding people who stick to expressing themselves but a lack of trust in your own decisions will keep you running in place. Now I’m not talking fear in the sense of having someone hold a gun to your head, fear in that sense is an essential element of survival. I’m talking about the imaginary fear we have in our day to day lives. Fear of losing a job, fear of being alone, fear of being disliked, etc – these are the fears that make humans pathetic and insecure. The world is safer now than it’s ever been at any other point in history and yet there is more fear now than ever before.

Often times people think the solution to fear is fearlessness but that is a flawed assumption, one that usually comes from people who never actually do anything. Any world class performer will tell you that it’s not about overcoming fear, it’s about embracing the very struggle you’ve exaggerated in your imagination.

I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain
How many times have you thought your life will never go on if something happened only to finally have it happen to realize that it wasn’t anywhere as bad as you thought. The sooner you embrace the very thing that is causing fear the sooner you’ll get over whatever imaginary world you’re creating around it. The problem is we see things as either heaven or hell but the bread and butter of life is in the middle.

Make decisions not in the light of positivity or the darkness of negativity but in the balance of neutrality.”

Time on earth is limited and when we spend it doing things because of fear we totally compromise having the most beautiful existence. You settle for a job you hate or you make a desperate move to keep a toxic relationship alive, fear makes people the worst version of themselves. We have to be vigilant when it comes to fear, vigilant about understanding how much we exaggerate things that don’t exist. A life lived in fear is the pathetic simply because we are capable of limitless expression. That means everything can be manifested or overcome through our power to create. However, we not only manifest positive but also negative and when you create from a place of fear there is no greater disrespect to that power, that is the crime of the century.

Supertramp – Crime of the Century

P.S. For the Hip Hop heads, this is the song Just Blaze sampled for ‘Breath,’ the Fabolous song. It’s an incredible song to begin with, great flip by Just. Don’t skip around and listen all the way through to get the full scope of this epic.


How “Music Artists” Misunderstand the Music Industry

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Artists these days feel that they can go out and get the best producers, writers, and most popular artists out in the business and succeed. Or, they believe that they have that one song that should catapult them to stardom, becoming disenchanted with the music business the moment no one else realizes it and they get nowhere near where they imagined to be.

Then you have music artists that try to pimp the game and take shortcuts only to find that the road less traveled leads to a dead end. They buy followers in bulk, soundcloud spins by the thousands and then they can’t understand why no music festivals or sponsorships are busting down their doors.

Where are the artists that are so focused on just creating that they do it daily, hourly or even every moment of their lives that they are breathing? Those are the ones that build real fans, strong fan bases and never die out.

Too many artists these days are searching for the fastest way to popularity and fame. Too many people are calling themselves artists these days, and that’s probably the most important issue. Just because I decided that I want to try out for an NFL team next year and start training today does not mean that I will ever be a real football player. Because you claim to be a rapper with your 250k followers on Instagram and your million plus plays on Soundcloud does not mean that you are a real rapper to the world. It means that some foolish fools have believed the hype that you put out there, and it will be those same fools to forget you once your music is no longer heard, and once that fabricated facade comes crashing down because it will.

Instead of searching for stardom we should be creating because it makes us feel free to do so. We should create because it soothes our souls when that is what we are doing. We should create because that is what we feel and know that we are meant to be doing. We should not be seeking the validation of the world on MTV stages and with bullshit ugly shaped statues made of metal. We should be creating pieces that we feel are timeless even if the only people to read them is us.


Christine And The Queens — Saint Claude (Dim Sum Remix)

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Have you ever fallen in love with someone in a passing vehicle on the highway, or on passing train in the subway? I have, numerous times. It’s usually when I’m on the 2 or 3 express train heading up or downtown and the express 2 or 3 going in the opposite direction passes by. Right there, I always seem to catch a glimpse of a beautiful smile which somehow I know I will never see again. Still, every once in a while we make eye contact and stare intensely for the brief milliseconds we get, and then I get caught up in fantasies of who she could be, what her laughter sounds like, what kind of tone her voice carries and how her kisses must feel. This Christine And The Queens remix of “Saint Claude” by Dim Sum is precisely how those train rides feel to me.

Here’s my station
But if you say just one word i’ll stay with you”

The remix is a sped up of version of the original, which is a beautiful sort of love story that “could have been” between Christine And The Queens and a tattooed man she once saw on a bus. The man with the half face (profile view) and half tattoo captivated her attention, and if he had even remotely whispered a word to her she would have stayed on that bus with him. It’s a story about her falling in love in transit to wherever she was going, but once her stop came to be, then the choice was to get off since he did not say a word to her rather than her say a word to him. Essentially, it’s a song about regrets which is something many of us know all too well.

Regret is our way of telling ourselves that we suck. We suck because we are too afraid to push our own boundaries and set sail into the unknown. Some of us would say that we are afraid of rejection, but what if rejection is the only way to invigorate the soul and feel what living really means?

My agenda for the next week is going to be to say and do the things that I impulsively feel. Maybe you and I should try this for the next week together. Basically, we go outside and go about our normal week and days and hours as usual, but instead, we act upon every impulse we get, even the small ones. If I see a chocolate chip cookie that I want then I will buy it and eat it—no regrets. If I feel like smiling at a beautiful girl on the streets as we’re passing one another by then I will, and I might even say hello. Not that I’ll know what to say after hello, but that will be the fun part, right? To see if she even responds, and then if she does, to see what my brain comes up with right there in-that-moment.

I guess the thing about regret is that we are noting our own inability to live in-the-moment. It is only when we live within the moment that we will be able to lose fear, never see regret, and live the way we were meant to. We call and speak things into existence, but how many times have we let them slip on by right out of our hands and through our fingers because we were too stuck too far outside of that moment, not even realizing that life is always literally just passing us by…

No more regrets.


Weekend Mini Mix — April 2015

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This weekend mini mix will help get you started this Saturday morning with some smooth, quirky, uptempo, and delicious new sounds for your ears. Turn on the coffee maker and press play as we’ve curated some new tunes of releases from this past week.

The mix begins with a funky futuristic Daft Punk style introduction to this sunny spring day with Balloon Ride Fantasy‘s “0100101“. The song features smooth vocals, robotic ad-libs, and a space age synth game that pulls it all in to get our energy flowing in the right direction. Chiming in right after that we get a cool Funk LeBlanc remix which feels like a night out at the disco, to Outside from Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding. LeBlanc adds some live drums, live bass, live piano playing and adds a ton of other small live sounds to give us a retro futuristic sounding Fleetwood Mac in form of Ellie Goulding and himself.

By now you’ll have noticed that the recurring theme in this mini mix so far is to wake your ass up so that you can enjoy this beautiful day, bright and early, before we slow it down next with a quirky tune titled “Pelicans We by Cosmo Sheldrake. The song serves as a little sonic interlude to smooth out the rush.

Easing you into the second half of this weekend’s mini mix, we chill it out again with STOCKERS! latest singleRunning Away” (think: Cut Copy or Miami Horror) transitioning it into another upper-tempo, disco-funk fueled remixed jam by Tobtok before quirking it out again with some more funky sounds courtesy of the ranting My Pleasure titledHaircuts“. 

It’s a cool little mix for a cool crowd.

Thanks for reading and listening throughout the week. Now get out and have an epic weekend!


This Is Going To Get Political

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here I am dreaming a new dream.”

I want a woman president—I do. I just want her to be the right woman president and not the one that got elected into office to keep up with the global trend. I want a modern day woman—you know, one that doesn’t take any shit from anyone, ESPECIALLY her husband. A woman who is so strong that she is fearless about being by herself if she has to. I want a leader—one that will make the best decisions for her country’s people instead of their politicians, aka, her constituents. I want a woman that has not spend the last 70 years trying to become a man.

America is not ready for a female president. Not because we are not ready for a female president, but because a candidate like the one that we NEED does not yet exist, or maybe she does, but we just don’t know of her yet. We do not need to rush things because whenever we do we end up with half truths. Case in point: the half-white president we’re currently hosting in office now.

America requires much more modernized thinking. People who get where we sit relative to aiding humanity as opposed to glorifying individualism. This country is supposed to be the greatest in the world, and when someone from somewhere else with some other ideology comes over here and attacks us we know how to band together and kick ass. But where is that banding together and ass-kicking when we need it in our own backyards to fight our own domestic problems? How is it that New York City has so many homeless children while apartment after apartment sit empty for 98% of the year, owned by foreigners who seem to only exist to drive real estate prices up? How is it that America has over one million starving kids in a land so rich in natural resources? So rich period.

I want a woman president who is going to do something about the issues here that really matter instead of fighting wars overseas to only assist in lining the pockets of America’s upper echelon. Is that too much to ask? I want a woman president who has proven that she cares more about saving the world than “saving face“. America needs a woman for sure, just not the one that is about to announce that she is running for the presidency tomorrow.


Climb Into The Music

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Catchy, sunny, feel-good, Summer, beach, boats, bikinis, bonfire, pool party, are all words that come to my mind the second I hit play on this new Gypsy & The Cat hit titled: “Climb Into The Music.” 

The song inspires a good mood in a way that only a sunny and blue summer day can, when the humidity is non existent, you’re off from work, and only good times are in the forecast for the day. It’s the kind of song that plays in the background on your way to the beach with friends, so why not use it for today because some of us just might need it on this rainy NYC day, and then, of course, there are the others of us that are probably on their way to the beach somewhere across the globe. EMPT Nation is global, after all.

Sometimes, during the middle of the week all we need is a small pick-me-up like this little gem to let us know that everything is always going to be ok. Whether you’ve been having the shittiest week or this is the best week ever, so far, Climb Into The Music will be a welcomed addition to your ears and for your soul.

When I’m low to the ground,
Far away there’s a sound
And a hand reaching out, to me
And I can Climb Into The Music”

You will want to share this beaut and get it ready for all of your upcoming 2015 summertime playlists.


Obsessions

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Obsession is the reason we master certain things. Sports, video games, the stock markets, and even our bodies. Obsession is the reason we find new loves, sometimes. It is through obsession that determination is developed, and as we all know—determination is one of the several keys needed for success.

The beginning of “So Sick So Cool” by Snow Angel sounds like the start of some tribal flick. (think: Apocalypto the film). You hear a woodwind instrument playing along with what sounds like two sticks rubbing together chanting a melody. Fifteen seconds in, a group of gum-chewing teenage girls begin chanting: “So obsessed, so into it, so sick, so cooool”. Soon after, the Misun style drums kick in and the song never stops moving.

Some obsessions can be really good for us, and some can be really bad. It is up to us to figure out, right away, what the bad ones are in order for us to continue on the path to true happiness. An obsession that keeps your mind progressively busy in all aspects of your life is one that you can count as a positive obsession. The more positive obsessions that we have in our lives along with the proper time management of and between these obsessions, then the more happiness in life we achieve. Life should be more about achievements than successes. Essentially they are the same thing, but equivalent to seeing the glass half-full rather than half-empty.

Every game that we play tells a story
Clever things that you say to and for me”

It’s easy: ‘find only positive obsessions in life and then hit go—chasing right after them’.

So obsessed so into it
so sick so cool  (2x)

So obsessed so into it
so sick so cool  (2x)

So obsessed so into it
so sick so cool  (2x)

So obsessed so into it
so sick so cool  (2x)


Find Yourself.

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Sometimes, it is only through the darkness of one’s mind that the light becomes inevitably visible. Sometimes we go so far down that even the bottom is above us, and then when we realize it, is when we realize that after that there is only one way left to go: up. 

Curious minds wander the earth aimless in search of things they don’t yet know of, and in search of things that are undefined. Too many times I have heard people foolishly tell themselves and others around them that they need to go out and “find themselves”, but, what has never “been” cannot be found, so what is it exactly that they are looking for? Some intellectuals would say that they are also looking for themselves, but the truth is that they have simply been misguided in life, and that they have reached a point to where they realize that they have no real purpose in it. Harsh, but the reality isn’t always beautiful, right?

None of us are born knowing what we are supposed to do here. It is only through the guidance of elders that we start choosing or gravitating towards specific paths in life. But when those paths are limited, then how can you find the things that you don’t know exist unless you go out and see what else is in the world. That right there is what I think those people are essentially telling themselves. That they are bored by the world they know, and that nothing in that current world interests them enough to want to do it forever, therefore, they need to get out and find something that will.

We should teach the younger generations to never stop discovering new things and to wander the earth until they find a place and a hobby that they will want to be in and do forever. We should stop misdirecting them into believing that success means becoming millionaires because how many lives have been destroyed by that fallacy already? Boys suffering brain injuries in the name of succeeding in football, hemorrhaging the one human tool that can save the universes problems. No more! And that’s just one of numerous examples. Success is being able to find what you love, and being able to do it forever, until death do you apart.

“Burn Into Night” by ISTILLFEELIT is a four minute and twenty-five second moment of reflection. It’s the chance to leave that temp job you have right now and go deep into thought about what you truly love most in life. Maybe you realize that what you don’t love most in life is where you currently are and the job that you are currently in, or maybe this moment of reflection brings up all the images of the people and places in your life now, and it makes you realize that having everything you need has more to do with them than it does with the material.

If you already know what you love, but do not yet have the ability to get to it, then maybe this moment of reflection is just a much needed escape into a daydream that will soon become your reality. Or at least we all hope that it will.

Dream. Love. Whisper.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…”


What is Hip Hop in 2015?

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Hip Hop used to be the voice of the ghettos around America. When radio was only playing polished Rock & Roll or what the executives controlled, the ghetto had no voice around the country where it could be heard. Politicians ignored them, and the mainstream media only reported on the crimes and negative aspects to these melting pots pitted against one another with no way to communicate peace.

In NYC, the ghettos represented a plethora of cultures that somehow all landed in one concentrated area. In these neighborhoods the kids all went to school together and shared styles, music, language and unknowingly gained invaluable perspective about other cultures they would have never known to exist otherwise. Hip Hop became a mesh of these things. It became a way to express the new societies that had been created within these neighborhoods. It became the voice of the poor and forgotten.

Today, after the mainstream appeal of Hip Hop across the globe, Hip Hop has become a way to get rich by doing the most obscene or ignorant things in order to be seen instead of heard. Rather than being the expression of  new societies that people have become a part of, they are selfishly just creating the most ridiculous things they can. Lyrical messages are left to the older breed between the Nases and Fabolouses of the rap world, and very seldom do we get to hear a Kendrick Lamar come out of the woodwork. For this reason today is why whenever we hear some good Hip Hop sounds we like to pass it along to your ears.

Roll Up by Young Troubled Minds is a touch of modern day Hip Hop with some sonic soul to it. Sure, it doesn’t have a strong message for the masses the way Kendrick’s latest album does, but the sounds and composition do form a very similar feel to what you would find on that album. Not to mention that their entire set is something I would not mind experiencing as a live show because that is the type of sound that it carries. It’s a nice tune to rock to on a sunny chill day while taking a pull or two of a nicely rolled j.

Let’s just finish up this Riesling and roll another J.” —fabolous


Active Child – 1999

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This song came on the other day and I started crying for no real reason. Then I started thinking: it was because I was genuinely happy for the first time in a really long time, and it took hearing this song to awaken that emotion and kind of realize that my life is actually pretty good.

The power of music to awaken such emotions never ceases to astound me, and while I typically utilize music for its healing and energizing power, this experience was more like a revelation.

I’m the type of person that has notoriously bad luck and a notorious negative outlook on life. People call me a hater, but my job, as a critic, is to call it like I see it.

One of my favorite books ever is “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me“, a modern Odysseus tale infused with much drugs and realizations on a college campus (it’s about Cornell in the 60’s and worth so long).

For the last nearly five years since graduating college, I’ve been very lost at times. The identity that I clung to for four years and my friendships that soon dissipated (the real ones lasted) threw me into the shitter. And then, towards the end of last year (‘and I can thank real friends like Hec for this’), a trigger went off in me. Less talk, more walk. Meet anyone you can, soak every bit of knowledge you can, and immerse yourself in life.

I was crying because for the first time in my life I genuinely feel like I’ve reached a modicum of success, and, through my own will. Success is a weird feeling, and one I was unfamiliar with for so long. I forget what it feels like for everything to feel “right”.

I’m not a millionaire. I’m by no means a made man. But for the first time in my life, everything looks up.

When life throws endless curveballs and a stream of seemingly endless negative vibes your way, you start to forget about the little things in life. Music brings me back to that.