Niña In the Game

Niña Dioz with French Montana and Raekwon at in New York City, 2013 Photo: Niña Dioz on IG
Niña Dioz with French Montana and Raekwon at in New York City, 2013
Photo: Niña Dioz on IG

When I wrote about this young woman in 2009 I had no idea she’d still be around to bask in the glory of fame and hip-hop. She’s stuck it out, and while I’m not an unabashed fan of her music, I kind of dig that she did a few things: come out the closet and continue to perform and make music. Truthfully, I don’t give a damn that she came out, but from what I’ve heard it’s the queer community that’s giving her heavy support back in Mexico. That’s one way to keep those concert dates hitting.

Here she is at some industry shin-dig with the flavor of the moment, French Montana and the  Wu-Tang Chef Raekwon.  She made a quick East Coast tour stop in May 2013, when she played shows in NYC and Philly.


Code Switching and You Still Got the Juice

I really enjoy the code switching going on here, I mean,  I’ve never heard Ye talk in his “corporate” voice. I might be one of the only guys in the world who didn’t listen to his last  album all the way through. I was a huge fan of that early mixtape work though. Can never take anything away from this man. I’ll even call My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy an early classic.

His mention of Walt Disney as an idol? OK. I guess he knows the history on that figure.

All in all, I’m impressed with what he’s done in his life. Keep it up, Ye.

Lord Finesse Interview Circa 2006


Lord Finesse.

A “rap icon” is the lazy way to describe his contributions to the game.

I dug up this 2006 interview I did with the man. This early in my hip-hop writing career, I wasn’t able to decode a 1 hour plus interview. Focus, man…

In this scratchy, rambling interview I’m playing a character that I could best describe as Ralph McDaniel’s ugly step son.

Finesse talks about Dr. Dre, and I ask him about Ice-T.

He talks about Japanese hip-hop friends.

He goes in on Fat Beats Records, and talks about the craft of rap.

Serious rap nerds will get something out of this. I sure thank the guy for the material.

Check out part two after the jump…

Continue reading “Lord Finesse Interview Circa 2006”

Cyrus Was Arrested on Sex Charge; But Where’s the Goat?


You know. I’ve known people over the years who have gone to jail. Folks who’ve allegedly done things to people.

This guy right here. I knew him in a passing you on the street, hey, let me ask you some questions because you like to grab fame walking around NYC with a goat, kind of way.

Cyrus was recently arrested in NJ and charged with sexually assaulting a teenager. Well, she was 19.

The way the official county prosecutor narrative reads, it’s someone straight up out of Mike Tyson or Tupac. Now, I’m not saying the girls a liar, but these are the details, as far as the prosecutor sees it.

Cyrus allegedly met a girl at a club or bar or something. She was roofied, or incapacitated to some degree. Cyrus put her in his van. The same one he’s told me he likes to put his goat in.


Side note for a minute. So, yes, this dude has a goat. She’s called Cocoa. He’s taken the goat to Times Square and fed it pizza. The Daily News and AP have all documented this. I think an AP photog even turned it into a photo essay. I’m really too tired to look for it right now.

Yes. This man is famous for a goat.

SO. Back to the charges. So, he allegedly sticks the girl in his van.

Hours later, the girl wakes up. Is she naked? Prolly.

The authorities say that she called a friend in New York.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suspect that the convo went like this:

Girl: Suzie. This guy has a friggin goat in the house. A goat. How did I get here? Why am I here? Call me a cab. Summit? Where the hell is Summit.

Girl’s Friend Who Let Her Leave the Club: I’m calling the cops girl. He said he was taking you outside for some fresh air. I didn’t know what happened to you last night. I was going crazy.

Then the cops get called. It’s a big fiasco…and boom! From goat celebrity to sex assault-er.

On a serious note, this is going to ruin my dude’s life. Now, I’m not saying we were friends, but we had you random convo about politics and goats. No, I’m serious.

Anyway, keep your head up Cy. I hope this is either a) A BIG misunderstanding b) A lesson that you will learn from in a few years. Maybe more than a few.

Either way, LONG LIVE COCOA. the goat.

1940s State of the J-Mind

Burton Holmes made this movie that talks straight to a youngsters dome and tells ’em what being a journo is all about. You have to work in crappy weather. OK, I get it. You have to be smart. That’s negligible, but OK I get it.

If this film starts to lose its luster with me (a journalist) then it’s when it gets really  propaganda-y around  5:30min.  A woman has trouble competing with a man in the journalism world? Damn, why harp on the negative? Just a few moments later you see something so ancient in the news businesses. A guy pouring hot type, like something out of the stone-age.

And you know what? Maybe it is.

Black Cowboy


Eltro Bond Newman. The black cowboy. Better remembered as my grandfather.

He was about 6″ 3, survived living on South 18th Street in Newark, helped raise 7 kids, smoked the Marlboro reds, kicked back on a lazy boy after a hard days work. He lived out his later years a member of a church, never really too much of a church-going dude before he had to battle cancer from what I could tell.

He made right with his maker.

Used to drive a long yellow Caddy. Never missed a holiday or Christmas. Bought me a BDP and Public Enemy tape one Christmas. Gave me a ride to the a girls house when I became a man (a.k.a virgin no more).

A saint somewhere out there is still clutching his cowboy hat. Granpa, you’re still missed.

Keep resting.

Street Baller vs. Machine Politics

Machine politics and nepotism is how they run politics in my town. Somehow, someway, they got an ex-street ball star (probably one of the most visible, pop culture “stars” to ever come out of the “L” City) to jump into the fray.

That’s right, none other than Main Event from high school All-American, to the Rucker to And 1, fame.

We’ll see how he does running for 4th Ward councilman. See if he can beat the machine. Or help create a new one.

What is love?


Love is for sure that feeling you get when you buy your kid five new stuffed animals for his or her birthday, and a week later they are all on the floor, dirty, with eye buttons ripped out.

Love is cleaning up your dog’s puke because you fed her apples when you should have stuck with Purina.

_That was mean_

Love is when your girl’s water breaks and you’re down to spend the next 72 hours by her side — and then some, because you know your life is about to change … and you know it’s for the bettter….and you know you’ll still realize your dreams, because baby you’re a winner.

That’s love, bro.


Get your Halloween on

I remember when Halloween meant something to a youngin. These days it means more to me because I know sooner or later, I’ll be able to relive those days of trick’n and treat’n with my young one.

Collecting candy on Halloween is so far removed from my person, that I only remember waking up with hang-over’s on All Saint’s Day and hardly recall mixing up my carmel candies with my milk duds the weekend of Halloween.  I can blame so many cavities on that silly “holiday” that we now measure by Wal-Mart candie sales. In a good economy the Hershey multipacks go like hotcakes, in a bad economy, it’s mostly candy corn.

For some reason the wonderful world of Youtube isn’t cooperating with me and I can’t find the full length “Trick or Treat” episode of Tales From the Darkside.

For the longest time I thought this was a Disney short. If you watch this old promo clip, you’ll see the (dare I say ‘classic’) episode at around :19. Enjoy…your cavities (diabetes) and Halloween. That’ll be my kid dressed like a Mexican pumpkin come this time next year. Watch-out-now!


SUMMER ESSAY: An Ode to Summer by Albert Samaha

I met plenty of ill cats while I was completing my master’s work. However, among the illest writers/personalities I met was this cat Samaha.

He’s blessed us at IKH with something of a short essay about the beginnings of June, and the stirrings of summer just before the melt of those powerful, sun-shiny days. Read it, and then read it again. Follow this guy’s work, because you’ll remember his name, and he’s only getting better. 

Read his author archive at the RiverFront Times in ST. LOUIS.:

@AlbertSamaha on Twitter


An Ode to Summer

Albert Samaha

The heat tends to make people go mad. Something about the sensation of a crisp white tee pasting against your flesh, a ball cap getting soggy against your forehead brings out that part of the brain reserved for Samurai warriors in battle and defensive tackles on fourth and short. Anybody who’s read Camus’ “The Stranger” or watched “Do the Right Thing” knows this, knows the crazed things man does when the sun bears down on him. Here in St. Louis we’ve already had a girl smack a crow bar across another girl’s face, caught on camera phone and posted on World Star Hip-Hop.

The people are already hot. According to a recent Newsweek/Daily Beast poll, nearly a third of Americans are angry and almost half are at least “upset.” We have a right to be, of course. College debts and gas price rise, home prices fall, jobs remain scarce and the Wall Street bankers whom the people bailed out are making more money than they ever had before. So the summer comes at a bad time.

We’re pissed off on all sides. The Right is angry that we have a Socialist Kenyan Non-Citizen President, that jobs are outsourced, that the government doesn’t care about the people. The Left is upset that The Right believes we have a Socialist Kenyan Non-Citizen President, that the rich get richer while services for the poor are cut, that Sarah Palin says things like, “Even Piper was able to grasp the significance of being in the presence of our first President– who had such diverse interests– when she told me later ‘how hard he must have worked to keep that farm going!’”

With the summer comes The Circus. Rich old men grinding their crotches on hotel chamber maids, dick pictures on politicians’ twitter feeds and an endless loop of adultery by famous leaders. America has been absurd for a while. Riots in the 1930s, witch hunts in the ‘50s, Chicago in 1968, Watergate in ’74, crack babies in the ‘80s, the Patriot Act in ’01. Only now we can’t shake the madness. The Circus doesn’t leave town. It pounds us from all angles– our smartphones and our news channels and our social networking sites. And the anger builds, fueled by the madness and the discourse that accompanies it.

Both the world and the rhetoric are getting hotter. The racists and homophobes and Islamophobes and chauvinists and greed-mongers, the crazies, seem to speak for the masses, when all we, the masses, want to do is stay out of the heat, find a cool shady place to exchange ideas and drink Sam Adams Summer Ale. All we want are jobs and schools and health.

In the middle of the hottest day ever recorded in St. Louis, a young man in a red polo, blue jeans and black snap-back hat pushes a long line of orange shopping carts across a Home Depot parking lot. He weaves them around moving cars. He is drenched in sweat. He pushes the carts past the automatic doors, into the air conditioned building and locks them into the row of carts already there. Then he walks back outside, into the heat, to corral more carts. He doesn’t seem to be going mad. Perhaps it is because he has a job. Or perhaps it is because there is hope even though the summer has just begun.