This Man!

He emphasizes his words whenever he says “You’re pretty”,

but somehow always forgets to COMPLIMENT that with “,kind and caring”.

When you’re hurt, he’s quick to hug as “comfort”.

But feel his heart, does it feel pity?

And when talking to him, if your eyes were around your chest,

he’d probably reciprocate the way his, you stare.

 

You let him inside, but he’s more about making love than feeling love.

But can a player juggle the pitch & the terrace to feel his own game’s thrill?

You think & tell him how man he is. His reply, “nice curves you have’’.

Your love is genuinely from within, but he only bills for your body in the deal.

Unfortunately, you love him so much that this fact you can’t see.

 

Oh look what we have here; a bigger behind, & a slender waist.

You trace a glow on his face, but his face isn’t facing you.

You try reaching him, but your calls he won’t pick anymore.

He found a more physically appealing deal and you’re left fading into his history.

A man of many tastes, is a man who wastes. He’s one you should detest.

You got bitten on first experience. But how could you have known ooh innocent ewe!

 

 

The Eyes

Another reason to give thanks for the eyes

is that; they always defy plots by the smile

to hide traces of inner hate and despise.

Windows to some souls ooze bitterness than bile

while precious ones are as clean as a newborn’s slate.

Understandably, no one loves everything.

It is absolutely stupid to hide hate,

unless you’ll always wear shades, you’re doing nothing.

Disguised despise is not wise despise for one;

can only sweep dirt under the carpet cloth

till the carpet itself dirties. No one won.

Blatant hate is better hate, better yet-loathe.

As we embrace, you probably think I bug.

Too bad that eye can’t see your eyes as we hug.

Fading to Darkness

I’m afraid I’ve gone from being modest,

now I’m swelling with pride and ego.

Once righteous, all week wore Sunday best,

now hell awaits, while smiling I go.

I was once always sober in mind

now, reeling off heroin all year.

Once bore compassion, orphans I’d mind.

Now, cold as ice, their fear I don’t hear.

Sometime back I was not of temper

and so loving without shame to show.

Now my rage burns like red hot pepper.

I’m afraid I might swing you a blow,

but more afraid you just watched me fade

before your eyes bro, yet you could aid

Distant Relatives

Bringing together the best from both worlds, Distance Relatives casts doubt on the validity of the saying “you cant have your cake and eat it too”. 6 years ago(it’s worth going back), rapper Nas alongside reggae artist Damian Marley released the revolutionary album under Republic Records. Both bearing musical genes; Nas’ father having been a jazz maestro and Damian’s arguably the greatest figure in the reggae genre, Distant Relatives was bound for success from the inception of production.

The three cover arts are a sneak peak into the pan Afrikan content of the whole album.

Distant R 1Distant R 2

 

Distant R 3

Distant Relatives Cover Art

The choice of guest appearances is also worth a nod. K’naan, with his distinct high pitched voice adds an Afrocentric touch to songs such as “Tribal War” and “Africa Must Wake Up”. His blend of English and Somali Languages further accomplishes this seemingly sole goal of the album. Stephen Marley, Bob Marley’s fourth child and Damian’s elder brother also features in the album. It takes keenness to recognize transition from Stephen Marley’s vocals to Damian’s in “Leaders” and “In His Own Words” due to their indistinguishable voices which trace back to Bob Marley. Or maybe it’s just me. Lil Wayne’s appearance in “My Generation” must’ve been a surprise especially to his hitherto fans, who at that time were disillusioned in his drifting away from the witty lyrics he came to the scene with. When as winds his verse with the line “When you finish reading revelations, thank God for my generation” you cant help backpedaling your hate for him. Other appearances include the late reggae artist Dennis Brown in “Land of Promise” which vividly samples his 1979 hit “The Promised Land”. He also does the outro for “Dispear”. Joss Stone features in “My Generation” and Amadou and Mariam in “Patience”, which heavily samples “Sabali” by the aforementioned Malian couple.

Press play and I’ll bet you will approve of the immediacy and energy with which Damian Marley says “As we enter” in the similarly titled first song off the album. The energy continues through the song as Nas and Damien Marley rap along in an alternating, almost conversational manner. A Swahili would discern the most conversational bit when Nas asks Damian “Habari gani” then Damian responds with “Mzuri sana” which are Kiswahili pleasantries. The energy and fast tempo find their way into the second song “Tribal War” which features K’naan. The song addresses the wanting unity amongst the African Community, both in the motherland and overseas. The distinct African drumbeats incorporated in the track help get the message home all thanks to Damian’s superb production. The tempo slows in “Only The Strong Will Continue” but the positive message is retained with both artists encouraging strength, iron will and optimism. However, Nas stains the song in his last lines of the final verse where he lets bitterness get the best of him in reminiscence of his divorce with ex wife Kellys. The line “see a nigger disappearing with the baddest honeys in the whole spot” adds salt to injury as he wrapps up, or is it rip apart an otherwise inspirational song. The song “Leaders” comes next. Featuring Stephen Marley, the song describes the kind of leadership Afrikans should embrace. Nas further pays homage to fallen leaders such as Malcolm X. He apparently describes, in awe, the controversial leader of The Nation of Islam; the honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. The Stephen Marley production seems skewed towards the reggae sound than it is towards hip hop but Nas’ bars manage to dovetail and impress. “Leaders” sounds strikingly similar to track eight of the album; “Land of Promise” in which they visualize an Afrika that enjoys the same living standards as some bubbly states in the US. Land of Promise samples the late Dennis Brown’s 1979 song “The Promised Land”.

Nas n D
Nas and Damian Marley

From this point of the album there aren’t much surprises except for Lil Wayne’s featuring in “My Generation”. The tempo is variant all through the album with songs such as “Nah Mean” exhibiting the speedy 1980s and ’90s New York boom bap sound that was synonymous with that era of hip hop. Nas seizes this sound that he grew up around to deliver exemplary bars that remind you of his debut album “Illmatic”. Songs such as “In His Own Words”, “Patience” “My Generation” and “Africa Must Wake Up” pick from the slow, almost soothing tempo that was left behind by “Leaders”. Perhaps during production, Damian and Stephen figured the slow tempo would vividly bring out the vital messages of hope, patience, change and emancipation respectively. It’s interesting the mystical and cosmic questions that Nas asks in “Patience”. Questions such as “Who wrote the Bible? who wrote the Quran? and was it a lightning storm that gave birth to the earth and then dinosaurs were born…?. These only reveal Nas’ thirst for knowledge. His intellect has always manifested in his works. I marvel at Damian’s ability to rap in the same song which is one of my favorites off the album. And did you know that one can brag without coming off as corny? listen to “Count Your Blessings” from the album to find out.

With production majorly from Damian Marley and a little hand from brother Stephen(both from a musically royal family), it is impossible to go wrong with Distant Relatives. Nasir Jones’ prowess is an icing on the cake. In the twilight of the last song from the album- Africa Must Wake Up, Nas wraps this gift of an album in a ribbon of expository speech that shrinks the content of the whole album into a few comprehensible words. He explains how they compiled the album to inform the world that regardless of race or proximity, in his own words, “We all come from one place and that’s Africa. That’s right you too. Me and you, the whole world, we’re all family. We just spread out all over the place, so to all my distant relatives, let’s take it back home”. Distant Relatives is definitely worth anyone’s while. Needless to say, the trinity of Patois, African Languages and English is the shit!

Scoping for the Silver Lining

Chances are an innocent soul has lost trial.
The flip side, doesn’t the identity of your loss speak for itself?
Chances are a twelve year old Brenda has got a baby.
The flip side, well…at least Brenda can bear a baby .
Chances are a mother has lost a righteous son to a stray slug.
The flip side, You Only Live Once is a lie.
Chances are a mark demarcated you from an A.
The flip side, the moon mightn’t be a star, but neither is she low.
Chances are divorce attorney slid the ring out her finger.
The flip side, pretty little Purity has mommy’s face.
Silver lining
Chances are the hit nerve was vital.
The flip side, beautiful pushed handicap down the isle anyway
Chances are someone’s HIV results are a positive.
The flip side, the kids aren’t infected.
Chances are a soul is three months away from breathless.
The flip side, the soul’s daughter is graduating in a fortnight
Chances are someone missed what was to be their first flight ever.
On the byline, FLIGHT 507 NOSEDIVES WITH ONLY ZERO SURVIVORS.
Chances are he died at 12:04 AM.
The flip side, he snapped out the comma for a minute to bury the hatchet.
Chances are my eldest brother never lived his dream.
The flip side…

What About Your Seed?

I never meant to have you.

Neither was it my intent to drown you.

At sea? allow me to explain myself.

See, when she frantically told me she was thirty two weeks due,

your then host noticed something in my eyes, similar to a dew.

Due to which, she figured I didn’t find patrihood partly good.

She was right.

Now hold up…before you slam the gavel, find below my alibi.

There’s a reason I felt you weren’t ready for the zebra toy-

frankly, ’cause I couldn’t afford it.

And child, what’s the use of the sun getting out of bed,

when the hay isn’t yet made?

And despite her name, a rose never rose from concrete.

Similarly, has a sunflower ever bloomed in darkness?

The point I’m getting at is this;

I had always wished for your comfort by the time it’s your birthday

but since wishes aren’t horses,

at seventeen, I couldn’t gallop fast enough to reach my wish.

I hope you understand.

But how can you understand

yet your fit little feet never once earned a stand?

I’ll help you understand what I understand first hand.

The sight of peers pedaling

and yourself not, can pierce terribly.

And when you reach for the snob’s BMX,

it’s always bound to be a mess.

Yes, children too can become cold!

And when the weather becomes children,

you’d have needed a thick fluffy fabric, preferably linen.

From the horse’s mouth stomach this, never once did cold get lenient.

Oh and did I mention the cries of hunger?

The Caged Bird Sings, not of elation

but of pangs of the prevalence of privations.

Aliyeumwa na nyoka, akiona ung’ong’o huogopa.

At seventeen, a mere teen,

Who could hardly fend for self,

leave alone fend for a friend;

holding flesh of flesh and blood of blood in arm,

I couldn’t get my mind off the ultimate result of harm.

So I actualized it.

I killed you out of love.

Why Didn't You Care

For what else would a loving parent wish for their child

besides a better life?

And if religion is anything to go by,

I’m certain heaven is offering you that.

So innocent, flawless and clean a slate,

I beckoned you early to the pearly gates

before the slate got stained.

I’m older now and if a free verse

Could reverse

Your hearse,

I’d crack the genuine smile I miss.

Happy Birthday child.

I’m Malignant

So helplessly on a hospital bed best friend lay,

The only connection between her and life-the IV

Before the twilight of this lay it’s only right that I say

That best friend’s first name was Ivy.

Perhaps it’s not coincidental that even Dennis is a dentist.

So there she lay, silent as the graveyard that was in the offing.

Often times the doctor placed a stethoscope on her chest

and the placid expression on doc’s face had me thinking she was just taking a rest.

Though the ER seemed strange with all the dummies of breasts.

“Jeeze! what’s with all the dummies of breasts?”

I whispered to myself, rendering the window pane moist.

The clock at the bay  hit the God-hour, paving way for visitors,

So I took stride and stride towards the door

then I was before the doc’s eyes.

The dark side of this anecdote

is that all the antidotes were in futility.

So when he asked “Are you religious son?”

“I am prayerful”, came my answer.

He said “Good, because it doesn’t look so good”.

“And in your prayers, I hope your words aren’t always self-centered,

because in summary,”

he proceeded “your friend’s about to succumb to cancer of the mammary”

 

In retrospect, I perhaps was one of the malignant cells.

“Will you accompany me to the gym?” she once asked.

“No, come help me finish composing this hymn” rushed out my response.

“Besides, it’s like taking coal to new castle ’cause to me you’re already slim”

I kept on.

“Hey, will you walk me three and a half kilometers to the supermarket?”

I remember her ask.

“No, a ride will be faster than a bullet out a musket”

Out snuck my answer.

“Best friend, I have this craving for veggies, cereals and…whole foods”

She said once.

“No, let’s stick to the usual soft drinks and burgers, don’t have time to cook”

That was me answering.

“Hey don’t you think we should cut down on the booze?”

She suggested a few years ago

“No! No! No way!, It’s a cold world and at the bottom of each bottle lies warmth”

I replied.

“Hey, I’ve had my first born son, breast or bottle feed, which one is tick?”

She bubbly said, little Brian gently held in her arms.

“Lest you want saggy tits, feed him with the bottle”

There came my answer.

“Hey…aammh, my mammogram reveals that it’s a positive”

She recently told me with tears rolling down her cheeks.

It’s only then that the proverbial prevention is better than cure hit me.

Ever since then, I’d rather my recipe be not so tasty,

Than not so healthy.

I’d rather get tipsy than drunk, but I hope to mingle with sobriety.

My heart bleeds to all victims of breast cancer.

But it’s never over until it’s over.

Even Angelina is still Jolly after the double mastectomy.

Each one must teach one how to live a healthy life.

In summary, friends should hardly succumb to cancer of the mammary.