Rap Flashback – Bobby Brown

Today on The Flashback, we salute Boston’s own Bad Boy Bobby Brown on his 47th birthday.  Brown first gained notoriety as a critical member of the early 80’s group New Edition, whose success made the boy-bands craze of the 90’s possible.  Despite shining on tracks such as ‘Mr. Telephone Man’, Bobby was forced to leave New Edition amid controversy and discord between band members in 1996.

Bobby’s solo career began with the 1986 release ‘King of Stage’ but it wasn’t until his follow-up 1988 release ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ that it really took off.  Powered by smash hits ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘My Prerogative”, and ‘Every Little Step’, the album would produce 5 top-ten hits, go 8 times platinum, and catapult Bobby to the top of the pop charts.

His next album, 1992’s ‘Bobby’, would spawn such hits as ‘Humpin’ Around’ and ‘Good Enough’ and while it did go platinum, his popularity began to fade at the end of the New Jack Era, as well as the beginnings of his highly-publicized and often controversial marriage with Whitney Houston.  In later years Bobby would work with artists such as Ja-Rule, Damian Marley, and Macy Gray, and at one point before Tupac Shakur’s untimely passing, Bobby was to be signed to Shakur’s Makaveli Records.

Today Bobby often tours with New Edition, giving loyal fans a taste of the group’s glory days and gaining new fans along the way. It’s a testament to Bobby’s resilience to have come from the mean streets of Boston’s Orchard Park housing project, survived the ups and downs of superstardom, and most notably kept it together after the tragic losses of  both his wife, Whitney and their daughter, Bobbi Kristina.   For his hard work and perseverance, many accomplishments with New Edition and a stellar solo career full of countless musical memories, today we both salute and wish Bobby a Happy Beantown Birthday! Don’t be cruel.

Why Do We Have Leap Year?

Feb 29 is Leap Day, but why do we have Leap Year anyway?

Welcome to February, my Limers and Limettes, the mini-month at 28 days… usually.  Every four years, though, February gets a one day bonus for that most mysterious of calendar corrections, Leap Year.  Coinciding with the Summer Olympics and the US Presidential Election (except in 1900), this quadrennial occasion carries with it a few unique traditions and even some superstition.  But aside from women being able to propose to men and making fun of our Leap Year Baby friends for only being a quarter of their actual age, most of us have no idea why February 29th exists at all.  So let’s get to it- why do we have Leap Year?

Leap Year frog - Why do we have Leap Year?So Just Why Do We Have Leap Year?

To start, it’s important to know that a calendar year measures (approximately) the time it takes for our big, beautiful Earth to orbit around the Sun.  Since we are not the center of the Universe and celestial bodies do not move in time to our systems or position, the time of our orbit is not exactly 365 of our Earth days. It’s actually closer to 365 ¼ and this was first noted in 238 BC as part of the Decree of Canopus, a gathering of Egyptian priests and scientists during the rule of Ptolemy III.  To account for this 1/4 day, the Decree proposed amending the existing Egyptian calendar, made up of 12 even 30-day months with a 5-day beginning of year celebration period, to include an extra day on the epagomenal week every fourth year. Unfortunately for Ptolemy III this calendar change didn’t gain popularity and it wasn’t until the Roman Julian calendar was introduced by Caesar in 45 B.C. that the four-year plan of adding an extra day caught on, borrowed from the Egyptians by Caesar’s Alexandrian astronomer, Sosigenes.  This went on for about the next 1600 years.

The problem is the Earth’s orbit isn’t 365 and an exact ¼ either, it’s actually 365.2425 (and even this isn’t exactly right either), amounting to a difference of about 11 minutes, 14 seconds. Over the course of 1600 years this moved the Vernal Equinox (and all the other equinoxes as well, for that matter) by about 10 full days. To fix for this slide, in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar, which moved the current date ahead by 11 days and added a process to account for the eleven minutes. To keep us all in line through the centuries, Leap Year is skipped 3 times every 400 years. Put more simply, a century year is not a Leap Year unless it is divisible by 400, giving the years 1600, 2000, and 2400 an extra day but not 1700, 1800, or 1900. Is that really putting it more simply? Probably not, but let’s move on.  Now as I’ve noted before, I get emails all the time from our loyal readers asking what the difference is between the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar.  This is it right here, my friends, the adjustment to have us skip Leap Year every few hundred years.  Now I know what you’re saying, surely there must be more to it than that.  But I take historical calendar amendments very seriously and would never lead you astray on the matter.

When do Leap Year Babies celebrate?

Ja Rule knows, but do you? Why do we have Leap Year?

There are currently about 4 million folks in the world whose birthday falls on the elusive February 29th, also known as “leaplings”.  The chances of being a leapling are 1 in 1461 (365 x 4 + 1) and some of the most prominent include rappers Ja Rule and Saul Williams, actors Anthonio Sabato Jr. and Dennis Farina, Italian opera composer Gioacchino Rossini, big band leader Jimmy Dorsey, and my beautiful wife.  Like Mr. Rule and her other co-leaplings, my partner eternal will be enjoying the ability to have a real birthday here in 2016.  But what about the three years in between?  When do Leap Year babies celebrate when there is no Leap Year, on February 28th or March 1st?  Although most official sources like the DMV force someone born on Leap Day to wait until March 1st, in the eyes of my inside source, February 28th is the day, most specifically because she says “she’s born in February, not March”.

Leap Year Traditions

woman proposing - why do we have Leap Year?The most common of Leap Year traditions is making fun of our leapling friends for their age.  Upon discovery of a leapling’s birthday, an almost automatic process of basic division begins to determine that our associate is 8 years old, say, rather than 32.  It is a central plot point of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, wherein Frederic, who must serve the pirates until his 21st birthday, must serve four times as long because he was born on Leap Day.  The other tradition tied to the February calendar addition is the reversal of the courtship social norm, allowing women to propose marriage to a man on this special day.  Now, of course, here in 2016 there’s nothing actually preventing a woman from proposing on any day or year she chooses, but it remains less likely.  So where did this tradition actually start?  The best answer we can gather for this one is derived from rumor.  The word is that in 5th century Ireland, St Brigid of Kildare asked St. Patrick to lift the ban on female marriage proposals, and he thus decreed that women could do so on February 29.  In 1288, the tradition supposedly became law in Scotland with any man who declines required to pay a fine, such as a pair of gloves.  Both cases are nearly impossible to substantiate, though, so this tradition’s origins remain sufficiently hidden from our knowledge.

The Underground Garden: Honest Struggle

The 'Underground Garden', part of the collaboration between JP Lime and Oddball MagazineAs part of our ongoing collaboration with Oddball Magazine, we bring you the latest from Liza Zayas’ ‘Underground Garden’ column entitled “Honest Struggle”.

 

It’s lonely at the top

When envy makes allies drop
They go from being by your side to watching you with green eyes
and knives

When all you want to do is eat
Have a dinner table full for your company
The guestlist shrinks
All who remain are family

Which never does that ever really bother me

In the struggle for attainment of your joy’s dream
It’s humbling when dreams speak and images are forewarning
In the middle of four corners, four corners protecting the flesh and blood carrying the soul

Whose mystery of which they only know
You’re spoken to
So listen to

I scatter heaven’s water in every room

Live accordingly and have been blue because life’s struggles have included you
Not to get specific cuz we’re all terrific
But on this road to awaiting triumph, I have battled a number of the jungle’s lions
And lionesses

I was attempted to be captured through cold caresses and made to feel insecure because of another’s tresses
I love to battle on the field in gorgeous dresses

My knack for no cares causes stresses
I live loving my humble blessings

Ancestry

I live the strength of my legacy
Everything I do is because it’s been done for me

It’s lonely at the top
When your bubble’s been popped but you still don’t stop cuz the hot air of another motivates your cover and new identity

The now you know less about me steez

You look around and find no one trustworthy
Just the same old faces and their disgraces
Their offenses and smiles begging for new chances
Cuz you keep

Reaching for your dream

And it’s not about money.

It’s to be satisfying your living

To be about what makes you happy

Be about positive surroundings

Be about the giving
The growing
Expanding
Declaring
Conquering

Adjusting but never changing
Your core existence always honoring

Bridges set themselves on fire to escape your relentless desire

Rather than create a match to meet
Envy should discover security

Lonely at the top when your loved one can’t trust your late nights
Causes for later fights

The top, a lovesick sacrifice

Loved ones choose to give up on the love that once was
You chose your dream over their cause
Had to choose between your happiness and theirs
Left a love hurt although you truly cared

Lovesick sacrifices a cost paid
That love in your story just another page

To love this homage I pay

Lonely at the top

When your heads been played and company overstays cuz they’re not done sucking you dry
You keep learning with each why
“Did I allow that to be?”

Turns into
“Thank you God for the lesson I am learning”

You take the lesson and exit free from the sensitivity that allowed your victimizing
And if you were the one that made a soul ache
Learn from that poisonous mistake

If it comes again to your face, think about that yesterday and elevate

Otherwise, if you want to be evil and corrupt

Don’t be upset with another when you fall into a rut

It’s lonely at the top cuz that means you’ve done it all and lived through it
Yet find no one to call and celebrate

Your passing through iron nail studded gates
Being at the top takes a swim through hate
Lifesavers with extended arms your hand take
And beside you stand

Secure in their dreams and own stand

United individuals marching on towards their grand
Living life honest and pure
Secure

Supportive of your wish as are you of their bliss
Can you figure this?

Lonely at the top waving to the past
When you’re reaching for the top and the struggle lasts
Allies see them drop cuz they can’t seem to bother with themselves and continue to scheme

A family is realer than any team
A family has foundation and a shared dream
A brother and a sister receive what they give
The love they also live

Lonely at the top

As you try to have it made
Watch your dream materialize

Dry faces after exhausted cries
Over hurdles continue to fly
To negative continue to give its opposite

Because it’s heaven sent

The visions that keep you free of regret
Keep intact your morals and self-respect

As you grow closer to what makes you sweat
You grow stronger
This don’t you forget

Lonely at the top but at least you got what it is you want
A goal attained is what you flaunt
Destiny will also bring if you’re listening and following

What is meant to be yours

You’re never really lonely when you’re opening doors
Never really lonely when you enrich what you store
What shines through
Gifts inside of only you

Lonely at the Top, from Liza Zayas' 'Underground Garden'

Liza Zayas is a lover of writing and dancing and celebrates both as a singer and songwriter performing as Luna del Flor. You can hear her collaborative sounds and experience life through her storytelling. She invites you to dance. Her poetry seeks to initiate dialogue by intentionally expressing consequences of love, lust, ego and self-respect.

The Oddball Show: Sur5ill

new oddball show logoIn a special Sunday edition of The Oddball Show, we are fortunate to be joined once again by Boston emcee, Sur5ill.  We’ll discuss his latest release, Exception, which we reviewed here at #JPLMagazine, his fundraising efforts for an orphanage in Ghana, and his recent wedding, which caught the attention of The New York Times.

PRESS PLAY below, live or post-show, to join the Oddball conversation.  #WeAreAllOddballs

 

Pertinent Links

NY Times Article

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/fashion/weddings/zoe-reiches-stephond-goler-marriage.html?nytmobile=0&_r=0

GoFundMe Link

https://www.gofundme.com/stephond-and-zoe

Channel 5 Affiliate Article

http://www.wcvb.com/news/newlyweds-ask-for-donations-in-lieu-of-wedding-gifts/37227004

InnerSpace

Spaceman @ www.JPLimeProductions.comThis is the second time this morning, I’ve taken time to try and slow my brain down. Yes, all that meant write. Sometimes it’s just how you get it out I imagine, or rather just that you did. The more I think about art, life, and writing, it totally seems best to fuck up, expletive intended, and make mistakes. The mistake part is usually where you really learn, I feel, and everything else is one big ass cram test for bullshit. I know that it’s not all right what I said but some parts have merit. My last intro had a beautiful description about winter’s arrival and the hardest departure from the warmest set of sheets ever. Snow is descending from the sky ever so slowly right now…

I don’t much like the snow globe vibe. It’s not horrible, it’s just too Rockwell Americana for me and we all know it’s gonna get shat on, sooo… clean it up and grind people no time to stare at frozen water. People don’t stare at ice cubes. Maybe they do. I’m staring at the lower half of a mannequin as I write this to the interworld. The plan is to make a lamp and keep going and it should turn out dope. In the meantime I’ve having mad fun just scaring people who walk into my house and aren’t ready for the half body nakedness. It has been quite hilarious to watch the jumps from people and maybe I should go take pictures with it instead??

Hopefully you folks have enjoyed the takes on life and the stories. We’re just trying to find the groove over here at www.JPLimeProductions.com and really appreciate you for tagging along. The music is always going to be a passion for us, this is just an amazing time in life and with the changing business model of music, streaming television, and everyone connected, we’re just trying to find the best avenue to keep you informed, entertained, and coming back! In the next couple of months I will be taking on more writing and video assignments and continuing to post more content. The past couple of months have been hectic with school holidays tests and training, but that is and will always be life, so be prepared and stay rested. I have to give a tremendous shout out to my team for working so diligently amidst what seems like constantly fluctuating circumstances. It seems like things get craziest when you least need them too, but I promise you can handle it. The best word of the day is prioritize. If we can all manage to prioritize our lives and schedules a little better, then most things will remove the guesswork themselves.

My mobile office and foundation is nearly complete. I’m feeling like a 2016 Bluetooth enhanced Batman, capable of any project large or small, just give me my team. I got my pen, I got my camera, printer, phone, notebook and my awesome brain. Bout to be back to Home Depot, I’m stealing tag lines again, let’s do this!! No apologies in advance and don’t say it if you don’t mean it, truly. I do want to make you think. I do want to make a difference. I do want to help us. I want to help you. I just wanna do something again. But I wanna do something great. I desperately hope in my marrow that you feel this way one day. I know you have it in you. I can feel it. Just believe. Please believe. And continue to believe that you are extraordinary.

Memphis Jelks – An Album for the Soul

Memphis Jelks album coverA few months ago, our good friend, formerly J-Smoove, dropped his latest offering, the self-titled Memphis Jelks (available for purchase here), by way of SPITSDigital Distribution. Now sporting a new moniker and backed by Public Enemy’s legendary Chuck D, Memphis Jelks continues to provide us with the positive brand of Hip Hop that his fan base (self included) expects and appreciates. From both a production and lyrical content standpoint, the album is both diverse and stellar.

Bangers such as the trap beat oriented eponymous intro track, where he fiercely asks on the hook, “what’s my name!?!?!” as well as the Chuck D assisted “Swamp Ball” (a rallying cry to his hometown Memphis Grizzlies) lace the record with high energy. “Son.Stacks.High (Righ In The Land Of Sun.Stax)”, another banger, sees Memphis continue to use his hometown as fodder for inspiring music, as he devotes part of the track to both paying homage to and exploring the unfortunate passing of Memphis basketball legend, and former NBA standout Lorenzen Wright, who tragically murdered back in 2010. That said, more smoothed out cuts like the acoustic heavy and introspective “HeavenOcopter” and the piano-driven and equally deep “Wake Up” (which features Jasmine Clark’s sultry vocals on the hook), sonically balance out the record nicely.

Proving his versatility as an artist, the slower tempo “Red.Rum.Mud.Eye” finds Memphis utilizing a style that’s akin to Midwest legends, Bone Thugs & Harmony, particularly on the hook. Along those same lines, from a content standpoint Memphis Jelks further emphasizes that he’s no one trick pony, eloquently and powerfully exploring relationship and loyalty issues on the album’s first single, “Happiness Is Love”. The following bars truly encapsulate how much Jelks is in tune with his inner-being. “When I’m alone, sometimes I’m in the zone, thinking of all the women I played, and the people I did wrong. Was it really worth it? To break a heart is to break a soul. Did they deserve it? Was my heart really that cold?” Simply put, Memphis Jelks is an intelligent artist who raps from the heart. We’ve previously lauded his music because it does not pull from current rap trends of money, hoes, and clothes motifs, and this album is no different. If you’re a fan of good music, music for the soul if you will, with a Hip Hop edge of course, then Memphis Jelks, both the emcee and the album, are right up your alley.  Check out his video for “Happiness Is Love” / “What’s My Name” below.

Eulogy on the Patriots Season

Brady and Manning at the end of the Patriots season

Well Pats Nation, it’s all over, another Patriots season in the history books.  We supported, cheered, bled blue and silver all season long and it nearly looked like we’d make a repeat Super Bowl appearance, the first in the league since Brady and the boys did so in 2004. In the end, a talented, fierce, and well-schemed Denver defense took our offensive line to task and brought a season with so much defined by a vicious tenacity to a grinding halt. Folks keep saying that we need to give credit where it’s due with regard to Peyton’s performance, and I will say this: he didn’t do badly, he managed the game well and scored enough to win. But let’s not pretend that Manning or the Broncos would have felt confident in their victory if you told them before the game that they’d only put up 20 points on the Patriots, missing two open looks in the end zone, so no Champion-caliber quarterback was he if we’re going to be honest (that honor belonged solely to the smiling, dancing, leaping, scoring machine that is Cameron Jerrell Newton). And I’m no Peyton hater. He’s one of the best to ever pay his position and his revival in Denver was something I lauded. But I was an unabashed believer two months ago that we’d never see him take the field again and now he’s headed to his fourth Superbowl appearance, so that’s worthy of our respect. But let’s not pretend he got them there. That was Osweiler and that dominant defense.

Julian Edelman leaves with a broken foot, misses part of Patriots seasonDo I sound bitter? Well perhaps I am a little, but not as much as you might think. To start the season I don’t know how many of us were predicting a return to the big game but the perennial success plan employed by the Patriots over the last decade and a half always keeps this probability relatively high. In the end, injuries kept this team from achieving its fullest potential and most complete identity, while their deficiencies on the offensive line showed how destabilizing depth depletion and inexperience at the position can be. This article lists the Pats as the most injured team in the NFL this season and while there’s no need to recap the extensive list of injuries… I’ll do it anyway.

Julian Edelman (broken foot, out wks 11-17), Dion Lewis (torn ACL, IR Wk 9), Dont’a Hightower (MCL sprain, Wk 12), Danny Amendola (knee sprain, Wk 11), Ryan Wendell (shoulder, knee, illness, IR Wk 9), Nate Solder (torn bicep, IR Wk 5), LeGarrette Blount (hip, IR Wk 14), James Develin (broken leg, IR preseason), Aaron Dobson (ankle, IR Wk 11), Jamie Collins (undisclosed illness, beginning Wk 9), Brandon LaFell (foot, out first 6 wks), Bryan Stork (neck, out first 8 wks), Marcus Cannon (toe, out wks 6-10), Sebastian Vollmer (concussion, out wks 6-10), Jabaal Sheard (ankle, out wks 6-9), Tre Jackson (knee, out wks 8-11)

Patriots Season: What Free Agents do we have to worry about?

One of the best upsides as we look ahead to the 2016-17 season is that the personnel will look largely the same, supplemented by guys like Nate Solder returning from lengthy injuries. The number of free agent decisions that the team has to make is relatively low with few big-impact players. At running back, the return of Dion Lewis will play into the team’s thoughts on LeGarrette Blount, a 29-year-old UFA returning from a hip injury, and Steven Jackson, whom many believe will not even return to the league next year. I personally think we should bring them both back for short money and employ the bruising back in greater balance to our passing attack. Full back James Develin also makes the FA list, whose broken tibia kept him out of this year’s run, and is likely to see some form of reworked deal.

Has Jerod Mayo played his last Patriots season?

Has Jerod Mayo played his last game as a Patriot?

On the offensive line, Guard/Center Ryan Wendell and Tackle LaAdrian Waddle are both coming to the end of their deals and given the difficulty at the position this season neither should be considered a sure thing to return. On the other side of the ball, DT Akiem Nicks, with 23 tackles this season, is perhaps the biggest target for the Pats to re-sign and may present the most challenge given his possible high price tag. As far as “option” years, Gronk’s next three are option seasons and the team’s move is a foregone conclusion. Jerod Mayo’s option, though, seems unlikely to get picked up after ending the season on IR with a shoulder injury to add to his knee and pectoral issues. A leader and team captain who has played all seven of his seasons with the Patriots, it is always difficult to see a player of Mayo’s caliber depart Foxboro.

Improvements for Patriots Season 2016

The Pats fired offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo the day after the AFC Championship Game, a move that was more statement than house cleaning. The returns from injury at the position will certainly be helpful in 2016, but how else will the team improve a unit that got Brady hit a stunning 20 times in the biggest game of the season? You know what would be really nice? A first round pick to spend on a franchise offensive tackle, such as Notre Dame’s Ron Stanley. Although David Andrews, Shaq Mason, and Tre Jackson were all rookies so perhaps the positon need is better met with some veteran experience added in free agency.

At the wide receiver position, they return their big 3 and signed Keshawn Martin to a 2-year contract extension earlier this month. Will fan-favorite-despite-his-drops Brandon LaFell be brought back or cut for the 2016 season? Will the team add one of the big-name FA possibilities like Alshon Jeffery to provide the necessary deep threat? What group of receivers will again provide Tom Brady the greatest opportunity for success? Tom’s need for a go-to guy, filled mostly by Edelman in the post-Welker era with Gronk much of last year and even Amendola for a few games at the end of this season, has now made him somewhat one-dimensional and predictable. When Tommy is in the zone, there’s no one you’d rather have leading your team. But when he is put off-rhythm and that go-to guy unavailable he suddenly looks frightfully unsure. And in this year’s AFC Championship Game he had neither the fire nor the vision necessary to win on the elevated stage. I love the guy, think he has years still ahead of him but will it be Tommy’s mental ability that erodes before his physical abilities?

Also quite appetizing on the FA market are Patriots killer Von Miller, RB Matt Forte, OT Russell Okung, and safeties-named-Eric, Berry and Weddle. Given the Patriots’ reluctance (read: intelligence) to not overspend on any position, some of these seem out of reach. Miller will almost certainly return to a fat contract in Denver, for instance. But this is the Bill Belichick-led New England Patriots. The only thing we know about what they’re going to do in the draft and off-season is that we have absolutely no idea what they’re going to do. I stole this stat on past Patriots seasons from another article and it’s certainly worth mentioning in relation to the team’s lack of a 1st round draft pick: in the Belichick era the Patriots have gone without a first rounder three times since 2000. In each of those drafts, they still managed to find a superstar: Tom Brady (2000, 199th pick), Julian Edelman (2009, 232nd pick), and Jamie Collins (2013, 52nd pick).

Pat Patriot for Eulogy on the Patriots SeasonIn talking to my fellow Pats fans, there is disappointment to be sure, but there’s not as large a sense of surprise as one might think there would be with the season’s non-Superbowl conclusion. This is somewhat telling about who the Patriots were this year and about how their run to the Championship didn’t feel as fated as years past. The flip side of this coin is that if the team was able to get one game away with broken players and some subpar play calling, the outlook for the 2016 season is bright. Still, it would have been really nice to see the look on god-awful Goodell’s face at the end of the Patriots season as he handed Kraft and Brady the Lombardi trophy.