9 Songs Every PRINCE Fan Should Know

Growing up in the digital age has completely changed our generation’s listening habits.

Instead of buying albums and experiencing a complete artistic statement, we download an artists most well-known tracks from iTunes and call it a day. It’s pathetic. How can you call yourself a Prince fan (for example) if you’ve only got “Raspberry Beret,” “Purple Rain,” and “1999” on your iPod shuffle? It’s just not enough.

The following is a list of what music nerds call “deep cuts,” or songs that either weren’t released as singles, or didn’t get a lot of mainstream attention upon their initial release. Obviously you won’t be a Prince historian after listening to these songs (the man has released over 35 albums); this is seriously the tip of the iceberg. But at least you’ll have gained a deeper insight into the many facets of his artistry; perhaps gaining a clearer picture of his genius.

These are the 9 songs every Prince fan should know.

Gucci Mane's Bizarre New Tattoo

Earlier this week, Gucci Mane unveiled what has to be the ugliest, most absurd tattoo of all time.

Amid his multiple arrests (and an extended stay in the psych ward), Gucci found the time to have a massive ice cream cone tattooed across the side of his face. Look closely and you’ll notice a small “Burrr” printed inside of the cone.

The obvious question arises: What the fuck is wrong with Gucci Mane?

Do Black Men Have a Problem with Short Hair on Women? Heck Yeah

Recently, I’ve decided to chop off 2/3 of my natural hair that I’ve been growing for the last 7 years. Many people are asking, “Why would I do such a thing to such beautiful and lush hair?” And, I say with a resolved grin because I need change and what’s easier than changing one’s hair. Also, I tell them I am tired of feeling in debt to my long nappy tresses. Honestly, with the length of hair I have it takes several hours to wash, detangle, and style. I am devoting too much time to my hair. It’s coming off. I need a manageable length.

For some of my friends and family, this is enough. They say, “Cool, do you sis.”

However, this corner of affirmation seems to be quite limited to the women in my life. For when I have broached this topic with the black men in my life they earnestly urge me to either wait or not to do it all.

Wacka Flocka Flame's "Flockaveli"

I did not expect to enjoy Wacka Flocka Flame’s debut studio album, Flockaveli.

I expected to laugh a lot; cringe even more, and at best have total indifference towards the album overall. As an emcee, Flocka lacks nuance, wordplay, inventiveness and flow in equal measure.

But then I realized that such grievances are totally irrelevant to understanding the appeal of his music. Flockaveli is brash, hard-edged, and unremittingly bleak. It strips hardcore Hip Hop down to an unapologetically dark, fatalistic core that frightens and fascinates in equal measure.

Hate on him all you want, but Flockaveli is a great album.

The King Wants Rings

Sometimes, I make myself sick.  I waited for the LeBron James ESPN special, “The Decision,” like it was a Michael Jackson music video premiere.  (Remember the time?)  I sat in front of the television and waited for LBJ to moonwalk, spin, grab his crotch, and scream “Shamon,” at Jim Gray.  But, alas, that never happened.  Instead, LBJ broke northeast Ohio’s heart, and told the viewing public that he planned to take his talents to [W]ade County, Florida, thereby turning the Miami Heat into some kind of NBA version of the United States circa the middle of the 20th century: young, rich, and with world domination on their minds.  Of course, the analogy probably doesn’t hold all that well, but still, if I may borrow my friend jmscott’s hashtag, it’s #nbaimperialism if there ever was.   I guess that makes the Boston Celtics England or something.  I don’t know. I digress.

Although the super homies, D-Wade, Chris Bosh, and King James have yet to adopt a nickname, I’m inclined to refer to them as Miami Thrice (kind of wack, I know, but you know you want to see those three dressed like Crockett and Tubbs.) or as The Triumvirate.  I don’t know if that makes the Lakers the senatorial elite or something, but Wade especially better watch his back.

A Father’s Day Reflection: Do Black Fathers Matter?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A2Ap3DyvLg

For the past 15 years of my life, Father’s Day was a day to be tolerated if not ignored. Unlike Mother’s Day where I actually thirst for the presence of my mother or someone else’s mother, I feel completely indifferent about Father’s Day. And, perhaps, my indifference has much to do with the fact that every day when I look in the mirror I see the face of my father, a man who spent most of my childhood beating my mother senseless and every other poor unfortunate female soul who fell for his southern charm and hetero-masculine insecurities.

As the adage goes, “I am my father’s daughter” if not by biology, definitely by resemblance. So, there is not a day that goes by that I do not see my father’s face and remember the screams, the blackened eyes, the police beating at the door, scraped knees from trying to protect momma, the empty Seagram’s gin bottles, and the many sleepless nights of endless cries for sanctuary of some kind. So, the presence of my father is always near because I see his reflection in the mirror prompting me from time to time to think about what it would mean for me to forgive my dad and also what would it mean for my father to have my forgiveness.

It would mean I would have to stop labeling him as the sole culprit for my mother’s bad choices and life struggles. It would mean I would have to stop hating him for not being there to growl at my prom date or not being there to make a big fuss about the shortness of my mini skirt. It would mean I would have to see him as a man who made many mistakes because he too was blindly running from childhood trauma and violence. And I would have to believe that just because you have a child, does not mean you know how to parent the child and that biology is a cruel prankster fooling people into believing that they instinctively know how to raise children. Let me just say this, it is not instinctual for mothers and it is definitely not instinctual for fathers.

What happens when Role Models turn into Alleged Rapists?: The Lawrence Taylor Scandal

In high schools and colleges popular portrayals make male athletes out to be strong, powerful… and invincible?  The worst part is that lots and lots of misogynistic males buy into this hero-worship and view becoming an athlete as a lifestyle. This dynamic is demonstrated in high schools where the teenage jocks are at the “coolest” parties and only hang out with the other athletes. It is demonstrated when college guys won’t let go of letterman jackets because they cannot be defined by anything else. Being a jock becomes a lifestyle on an entirely different level when athletes go “pro”. None of this is to say that sports are destructive or that an athlete does not have a valid, constructive career. It is to say that males who are portrayed as physically superior, stronger, and more important than the rest of us, they are often prone to abusing their strength and power.

The National Coalition Against Violent Athletes states that:

“A 3 year study shows that while male student-athletes comprise 3.3% of the population, they represent 19% of sexual assault perpetrators and 35% of domestic violence perpetrators. (Benedict/Crosset Study)”

Former linebacker for the New York Giants and current member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Lawrence Taylor, has been charged with third degree rape of  a 16 year-old girl, who he allegedly solicited for prostitution.