This is a special "Christmas version" of Mix It Up. Below are songs that are rocking my iPod in my playlist section titled Pure Love Songs For Christmas. Download these tracks via iTunes and have yourself a mellow Christmas.
01. Will Downing -- Love On Christmas Morning
02. Gerald Levert -- It Was What It Was
03. Martin Luther -- Lust
04. Martin Luther -- NYCG
05. Leela James -- Music
06. Urban Mystic -- Where Were You?
07. Jon B. (Feat. Dirt McGirt) -- Everytime
08. Donny Hathaway -- This Christmas
09. Gerald Levert -- Where Do We Go
10. Leela James -- Rain
11. Bea -- I Don't Want Your Motherfucking Man
12. Ashanti -- So Hot
13. Urban Mystic -- Long Ways
14. Donny Hathaway -- Be There
15. Jill Scott -- Family Reunion
16. Gerald Levert -- Click a Glass
17. Ashanti -- Focus
18. Leela James -- Good Time
19. Destiny's Child -- Love
20. The Temptations -- Silent Night
Heads up: I talked to a few mom-and-pop record stores in the Philadelphia area and the owners have told me that they hope to have John Legend's CD Get Lifted in stores on Friday. I -- as well as other music heads in the blogsphere -- have been anticipating this R&B crooner's CD for months. Some have heard his bootleg copy that has been floating around on the Internet. But I want the finished product -- the CD booklet and everything. So that's where I'll be on Friday -- looking around the stores for John Legend's album. Check your local mom-and-pop record stores (not Tower Records or Virgin Records) so see if they will have his CD in stock on Friday. And cop that ish!!
I found this tidbit while leafing through the book, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff . . . And It's All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, PH.D. I reprinted the passage in its entirety. Read below:
Fill Your Life with Love
I don't know anyone who doesn't want a life filled with love. In order for this to happen, the effort must start within us. Rather than waiting for other people to provide the love we desire, "we" must must be a vision and a source of love. We must tap into our own loving-kindness in order to set an example for others to follow suit.
It has been said that "the shortest distance between two points is an intention." This is certainly true with regard to a life filled with love. The starting point or foundation of a life filled with love is the desire and commitment to be a source of love. Our attitude, choices, acts of kindness, and willingness to be the first to reach out will take us toward this goal.
The next time you find yourself frustrated at the lack of love in your own life or at the lack of love in the world, try an experiment. Forget about the world and other people for a few minutes. Instead, look into your own heart. Can you become a source of greater love? Can you think loving thoughts for yourself and others? Can you extend these loving thoughts outward toward the rest of the world -- even to people whom you feel don't deserve it?
By opening your heart to the possibility of greater love, and by making yourself a source of love (rather than getting love) as a top priority, you will be taking an important step in getting the love you desire. You'll also discover something truly remarkable. The more love you give, the more you will receive. As you put more emphasis on being a loving person, which is something you can control -- and less emphasis on receiving love, which is something you can't control -- you'll find that you have plenty of love in your life. Soon you'll discover one of the greatest secrets in the world: Love is its own reward.
So instead of me being so bitter about love, I'm going to try this experiment and become the source of love. I have to turn this pain that I have deep inside of me into positive energy. I can't walk around all day with a screw face.
But don't get it twisted . . . I'm still on the paper chase.
It was two years ago. I had a brief skirmish with a white guy on a very crowded commuter train during the height of rush hour. He wouldn't let me sit in a seat next to him and when I force myself into the seat, the white guy called me a "Nigger." I was in shock at first and then I pop him on the lip. The white guy lunged at me and was pulling on my shirt. The conductor broke up the fight and ordered me off the train. From the look on the conductor's face he didn't want to know what my reasons were for socking the guy on the lip. I jumped off the train and walk all the way to last car of the same train and sat down. I was so disgusted by the situation. I was tired that night. But I knew right then that racism will never ever go away. RACISM WILL NEVER GO AWAY.
What makes you cry?
Well, I recently got dumped, but we'll move on from that.
A sad ending in a very good movie will always make me teary eyed. Like the ending of Cooley High when Preacher pours out a little wine for his dead homie Cochise at his grave site. The song "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye" is playing in the background . . . and if you look very closely, you might see a small tear trickle from the corner of my eye.
Describe the moment you came closest to death.
As a youth I was a member of X's drug-dealing gang and we had a very good rep for being legitimate businessmen on the block. Unfortunately, I started doing business with an associate that was deemed "shady" by other drug dealers on the block. I didn't know this at the time. When I started doing business with Mr. Shady, I didn't know he had debts owed by other dealers. One of those dealers was a crazy dude named Pepper and he wanted his money and since he couldn't find Mr. Shady he wanted to talk to me.
This particular dealer was known for being a serious "hot head" who had no problems with putting a bullet in someone's brain. I have witnessed Pepper's wrath on crack heads who owed him money, and he was not to be fucked with when it came to the cheddar. When Pepper stepped to me he was on fire -- extremely upset by the fact that I was doing business with Mr. Shady. "I should put a cap in yo ass," he said, with spit dribbling off his mouth. I told him that I was down with X's drug gang and I didn't know that Mr. Shady was, in fact, shady. Pepper reached into his drawls and as he was getting ready to pull something out, Pepper's friend said, "Nah, he's cool peoples. He's with X's gang, they are straight." Pepper looked at me with his evil eyes and said, "So fuckin' what?" And then he walked away. I knew that night that I was thisclose to becoming a statistic.
[Names were changed to protect my ass.]
Most dangerous friend?
All the fellas on the block that were hustling were my friends. And they were all dangerous.
Is there anybody you miss?
My hustler friend who had my back on the streets. He was my true homeboy. He died over some bullshit. I will not get into details about it here.
Being homeless. Sitting in a shelter without any money, no music, no iPod, no friends and no girlfriend.
A food you're ashamed to admit you crave?
hardCore doesn't eat any sweets, but I do. Chocolate is my middle name. But occasionally, I crave for fried frog legs. When I hit the seafood restaurant, I always order up two full plates of frog legs. When my friends want to go out to dinner, I always tell them, "let's hit the frogs legs place." They always go, "ewwwww, you eat that?" Yesss siiirrrr!
What humbles you?
What humbles me is when people respond enthusiastically to my writings -- whether it's on this blog or at another publication. I'm my own worst critic when it comes to writing music reviews or a long feature story. I always criticize myself when it comes to my own writings. So when someone says, "Hey Trent, your review on [enter artist's name] album was the bomb," I'm humble by the compliment. I'm humble by the fact that I'm in a position to give my critique on music and hip-hop culture.
Biggest lesson learned?
The quickest way to failure is trying to please everybody.
I know that some people may not like what I write or may not agree with my point of view. But I don't worry about it because I can't please everybody.
For example, when I was an editor at an indie rap magazine, I ran an editorial on P. Diddy -- then known as Puff Daddy -- and his bling-bling lifestyle. This was around the time when people were questioning if the materialism in rap was ruining hip-hop. So the editorial was on "materialism in rap." In the article, the writer wrote that Puffy needed to stop shucking and jiving with his jewels and realize that he's Clive Davis's "slave." (At the time, Bad Boy was being distributed by Arista Records, which was headed by Clive.)
P. Diddy called my office and threatened to sue the publication for slander. The rap mogul was extremely upset that he was called a "slave" in the editorial piece. He also threatened to pull out on advertising in our magazine for a whole year. I told P. that it was an editorial and gave him the "Freedom of the Press/Free Speech" mumbo jumbo. He said "bullshit" and hanged up. Arista stop advertising with the magazine. I was like, "Shit!!!," because Bad Boy was a hot label at the time (circa early-'90s) and they was giving us mad money to advertise in the magazine. But I stood my ground and defended the writer's position. About four months later, Arista's advertising reps called and said that they wanted to advertise with the publication again -- for a full year and reimburse us for the missed months.
I was like, "cool." Then I asked, "Why the sudden change?"
The ad rep said: "Puffy was upset with the editorial, but he likes the rest of the magazine. Y'all give good interviews and your music reviews are on-point. But can you do us a favor? Don't write about Puff."
I was like, "Well, I see what I can do."
The lesson learned here: Keep doing what you are doing and don't worry about pleasing everybody. Some might like it, some might hate it. If you do good work, people will support you, and you will become successful.
Oh, and P. Diddy doesn't like to be called a slave. ;-)
What dissapoints you?
When I show more love, loyalty, and honesty to people, than they show me.
[Ditto -- peep the last posts]
Famous people you find dissapointing?
President George Bush, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly . . .
Famous people who inspire you.
John Coltrane, Malcolm X, my Mom (she's "hood" famous), Stevie Wonder, Zora Neale Hurston, Tavis Smiley . . .
To be successful in my career and make a million dollars doing what I love to do.
I hope to run my own production company in the foreseeable future. Another goal is to stay healthy and continue to be prosperous.
Favorite song right now.
Besides Brian McKnight's "One Last Cry," my favorite tune is "Ordinary People" by John Legend.
Somewhere you haven't been that you'd love to go.
I would love to travel to Africa. I also want to travel to Tokyo, Japan.
Loner or social butterfly?
Loner. At a party, I would rather lay in the cut and watch people enjoyed themselves. I'll talk to people one on one, but I'm not the one to jump into people's conversations.
One book most people would be surprised you read?
The Koran. And I'm not a Muslim.
One movie most people would be surprised you love?
Citizen Kane starring Orson Wells. To some, it's a boring black and white film. To me, it's the best movie ever made in the history of cinema.
My shattered dreams and broken heart
Are mending on the shelf
I saw you holding hands
Standing close to someone else
Now I sit all alone
Wishing all my feelings was gone
I gave my best to you
Nothing for me to do
But have one last cry
One last cry
Before I leave it all behind
I gotta put you out of my mind this time
Stop living a lie
I guess I'm down to my last cry
I was here
You were there
Guess we never could agree
While the sun shines on you
I need some love to rain on me
Still I sit all alone
Wishing all my feelings was gone
Gotta get over you
Nothing for me to do
But have one last cry
Before I leave it all behind
I gotta put you out of my mind
For the very last time
Been living a lie
I guess I'm down . . .
To my last cry . . .
-- Brian McKnight
"One Last Cry" (taken from his self-titled CD Brian McKnight)
I've shed my last tear.
In the end, I just don't give a damn, anymore. It's time for me to move on. I'm tired of being hurt by women. I'm tired of trying to find love with the opposite sex. Seriously, I just can't be with a woman -- physically or emotionally. It's too draining. I simply just don't know how to satsify a woman. And don't have the time nor the desire to get back into the dating scene again and find a love connection.
I don't need companionship, sex or human contact from a female -- sexual or otherwise.
I'm stepping away.
Therefore, from this day forward, it's love thyself, and get thy weatlh. Money is the only thing that's ever going to keep me happy.
I don't want anyone to follow in my footsteps. This is not a game. I'm on the paper chase.
I'll get back to posting about music real soon, please bear with me.