New Jersey’s new prince of hip-hop

I’m beyond overworked at this point in my life. But the band still plays on, player.

Here’s a little one-off I hobbled together and stuck together with some chewing gum. No reflection on the artist, but let’s just say I’m an artist still finding his rhythm. Such is life.

One thing that I think is interesting about young Mula, besides that catchy ass name is his hustler’s spirit. He’s been at this for a while and keeps it 100% Brick City.

If he plays the game long enough one will never know the heights he could achieve. For more on this young bearded MC, follow him:



Missing Lauryn’s Newark State of Mind

“It’s all economics…” Lauryn Hill goes in on Jeru @ 4:15 in the video above.

When the news hit that Lauryn Hill is going on a 17 city tour, I met it with a big “so tf what?”. I’m tired of all this anticipation for her, man. She’s from my geographic area on the map, and next to Redman, she was like the only other person we could claim as our own, our super, mega best. Really all she did was make people question my part of New Jersey. Yeah, more Jersey jokes.

That crazy woman had the whole industry in the palm of her hand. She did the cool thing by rejecting it, but then all that diva-ish behavior and then no solid comeback? Squalid, man. Squalid career. She left a lot of people impoverished, her music fed a lot of souls. A vitamin if you were down. A soothing tonic if you had some relationship troubles. I won’t tell you which songs, because if you look at her catalog, there’s only so few to choose from.

The thing though that really gets me is that she didn’t represent. Here you have Rah Digga, who even though no one buys her records, she’s still grinding. STILL.

Lauryn marries into a musical legacy and hops off the planet. Now, I’ve seen her perform in these “secret” shows and other false Fugees reunions that she’ll do for a corporate buck, but it all lacks.  I think she tries to explain in this recent interview what made her a recluse, again.

But back to my main point. She didn’t represent like she was supposed to. See, she was repping South Orange, which is basically (greater) Newark, depending on your degree of boughy-ness. As stated in

Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast:

“Whether you’re representing Newark (aka Brick City), Irvington (aka Hooterville), or East Orange (aka Illtown), you still represent Newark”

As for Mrs. Hill, I wouldn’t hold my breath for any comeback or new songs, maybe in another 20 years when she’s older. For now, here are the classics, like warm butter on some syrupy pancakes:


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Brick City

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This is the longest I’ve been in Newark in almost 10 years.  And it occurred to me that there really isn´t a solid iconic image of the city. In the slideshow are pics I´ve taken while cold April showers blanket the Tri-State.

Walking around, I can still feel the gritty desperation that keeps it an empty place after the office workers, hockey fans and students go home. Under the mayoral watch of  the young, Stanford-educated Cory Booker (up for reelection next month), Newark´s experienced a revitalization in many ways. Crime is still an atrocious problem, and this is one of the most dangerous cities on the East Coast.

After living in L.A. for a while, Newark feels like it should be a sister city (but only in appearance, since its population isn´t even half-a-million). Maybe it´s the new light rail system, the  sprawl, or the intense gang situation that reminds me of my West Coast home. I don´t know. But if you took Silver Lake, South L.A. and Watts, and smushed them all together, you would get a dynamic somewhat close to Newark´s.

But not really.

After all, Newark has  its own identity, one of the places George Clinton tagged “‘Chocolate City“. It just takes a little getting used to.