Wacky Wednesday: I Am Blessed for Having . . .

Da Hype1

As soon as I began this post, the words of Jill Scott’s song “Blessed” popped into my head. In fact, when things are a little rough and I need me a pick-me-up, I play that song. The hook of the song:

“I woke up in the morning feeling fresh to death/I’m so Blessed, yes, yes/I went to sleep stressed, woke up refreshed/I’m so Blessed, yes,yes” She then goes on to address how thankful she is that her grandmother almost lived to see 92, her son was born healthy, and that she has the love and support of both her parents. This song reminds me that there is so much to be thankful for.

So, what exactly am I thankful for?

I am so thankful that I made the choice to see my aunt before she died last year. Last summer, my aunt passed away, leaving a void in our family that can never be filled. She was my mother’s sister and she succumbed to cancer after a long battle. It was terribly painful to lose her, as she was like another mother to me. I spent every weekend at her home growing up. She was undoubtedly the matriarch of our family.

A couple of months before she passed away, and when it was clear that she wasn’t doing well, I packed my bags and went to visit her. My husband and little one came in tow. In fact, all of our family came from far and near. We came from Tacoma, Washington; San Antonio, Texas; and Nashville, Tennessee. We all gathered in the waiting room and would take turns visiting with her. She was so happy to see our faces. I will never forget that look of happiness. She couldn’t speak, but she waved and smiled. Only she could fill a hospital room in that way.

While in town, we all gathered at another aunt’s house. We took a family picture, not knowing that this would be the last time we would all be together with both aunts.

I am so Blessed to have had the opportunity to spend those last moments with them both, and I feel especially Blessed to have the pictures to remember that moment.

We developed the picture and placed it in the room of my aunt who was hospitalized. While sitting with her, she would look at that picture and smile at the vision of her family all together. She was always happiest when she was with her family.

Da Realist 1

When I began to consider this topic, I also thought of a song, “Count Your Blessings” by Nas and Damian Marley.

I’ve got love and assurance/ I’ve got new health insurance/I’ve got strength distantrelativesand endurance/So I count my blessings

And give thanks to the master/That through all the disaster/We’re still here/Together after/Better count your blessings.

There is something wonderfully soothing about Damian Marley’s voice as he urges listeners to count our blessings. At the risk of taking the song too literally, I am blessed for having both my health and “new health insurance.” I consider myself to be in good health, although I could certainly stand to lose a few pounds. But I don’t have any major health issues. I can see my physician for preventative medicine and go to the hospital in case of an emergency.

According to Census Bureau statistics, there were 49.9 million uninsured people in the United States as of 2010. This recession has been a difficult time for many Americans. So many have lost their jobs and, along with it, their insurance. I realize that “there but for the grace of God” go I. So, for health and health care, I count my blessings.

Ok, 2Dope readers, What do you feel blessed for having?

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Wacky Wednesdays: What’s your Favorite Line in Hip Hop?

The FugeesDa Hype 1

From the very first time my sister came home with Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid in Full cassette tape, I was in love with Hip Hop. “Thinking of a master plan, this ain’t nothing but sweat inside my hand…” Alright, alright, enough of that.

So, I had a difficult time answering the question, “What is your favorite line in Hip Hop?”

Biggie perfected the craft of lyricist and amazed me by the way that he strung words together to form lyrics in Ready to Die. And, for me, Nas’s Illmatic was an anthology of some of the best poetry I had ever heard.

But, if I have to pinpoint a favorite line, it would have to be from Lauryn Hill in the Fugees’ song, “Ready or Not.” Remember back in the day when you received the ultimate diss, someone said that you were sh*tted on? In this song, Hill suggests to all the wack rappers, that while they are trying to be gangsters, she is beating them in the rap game with her lyrics.

She says, “So, while you’re imitating Al Capone, I’ll be Nina Simone and defecating on your microphone!”

Da Realist 1

There are so many good lines in Hip Hop that it’s hard to pick just one. Should I go really old school with “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five? Go classic with Biggie–“Please us with your lyrical thesis”? Or, should I pick something from my favorite contemporary artists–Nas, Damian Marley, T.I.?

Of the songs in heavy rotation on my iPod, some of my all-time favorites come from Lauryn Hill’s 1998 release, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I love the entire CD, but I had to pick “Everything is Everything.” It always makes me happy when I hear it. I love L. Boogie’s voice, and she “rhymes tight.” But I still couldn’t narrow it down to just one line. . .

More powerful than two Cleopatras/Bomb graffiti on the tomb of Nefertiti/ MCs ain’t ready to take it to the Serengeti/ My rhymes is heavy like the mind of Sister Betty

Now you know our favorites, and perhaps this also explains why we are friends.  But we’d love to hear from you. What is your favorite line in Hip Hop?