Sometimes I question who I am, sometimes I question why I’m here

I’m not sure if I would classify myself as a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis fan.  I hate that new song Downtown, so much. It’s corny AF.  But I really, really love their Nardwuar, the Human Serviette interview where they give him a present! (Definitely in my top five favourite Nardwuar interviews.  They are so sweet and Nardwuar seems genuinely surprised by their thoughtful gift!) But I didn’t like that lame text drama from Macklemore when he won the Grammy for Best Rap over Kendrick Lamar.   But I do still love Same Love and White Walls from The Heist and the fact that they are from Seattle.  But I do not really like any of their videos that much.

My long-winded point, is I was not expecting to like some free download from Macklemore worrying about having a baby when he’s a millionaire with a million fans moving through this life and hitting all the generally-expected milestones and I’m this sad old woman with dying eggs stuck destined to live common law for my whole life.  I  feel like my life is stuck at the 25 year-old’s milestone. Dealing with boyfriends and parents and siblings and jobs that just don’t fit.  But the reality is, as much as I’d like to believe I’m stuck, I’m not really.  Time is moving forward.  We are all growing up, whether we like it or not; hitting milestones or not; making babies or not.

Don’t get me wrong, Growing Up (Sloane’s Song) doesn’t  give me baby fever.  It makes me realize that time is passing and we each have things to share or pass along whether to our partners, our friends, our biological kids, our nieces or nephews or younger people that you meet through happenstance and take under your wing for a week, a month or the rest of your life. We all have something worth sharing.

I recommend that you read “The Alchemist”
Listen to your teachers, but cheat in calculus
Tell the truth, regardless of the consequence
And every day, give your momma a compliment. 

 Time is so strange. Some days feel like years, but years pass in what feels like days. Everything between 2006 – 2015 seems just like one very long day.  But the two years when my mom was sick felt like ten.

Times are changing, I know
But who am I if I’m the person you become
If I’m still growing up, up, up, up
I’m still growing up. 

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I could freestyle to a dolphin and a tambourine – @Jodyhighroller world’s funnest & funniest MC


Riff Raff is your favourite funny rapper.  His 2014 CD, Neon Icon, is filled with weird and hilarious rhymes and infectious, pulsing beats.  It’s official, you can no longer sleep on Riff Raff, aka Jody Highroller, aka the Versace Python, aka the White BLANK, aka Peach Panther aka James Franco’s muse.  Riff Riff is pure excess and energy.  His life and music is an unapologetic caricature of 90s extravagance and the Dirty South subculture.  I don’t get it, but I love it.

Most funny rappers bore me.  Besides, The Real Slim Shady and My Name Is, most of Eminem’s supposedly funny raps just seemed lazy to me.  Tyler the Creator, Devin the Dude, and 2 Chainz are just not the MCs I keep on a tight rotation.  I have a pretty low tolerance for stereotypical humour (Black people be late; Indian moms be making curry; Japanese girls be giggling, etc.)

The difference with Riff Raff is that he’s happy to be that over-the-top lothario 24/7.  I don’t know where the persona ends and the man begins.  After an all-night Google deep-dive into his career, I wonder if even he knows the answer.

Aquaberry Dolphin is one of my favourite songs on Neon Icon. Riff Raff’s flow is comedically slow, like he recorded his rhymes at his regular cadence, typical of slow-drawling southern rappers, and then slowed down the track further. But the beats are still fast and fresh which makes it sound like he’s teaching, talking nice and slow so you don’t miss the grandeur of his claims between shots of jaeger.

I’m on a beach, David Hasselhoff (what?)
Hassle me I’m Tim McGraw, I don’t pass the ball (no)
Ball hard, fourth quarter, shoot the lights off. 

Riff isn’t preoccupied with dropping the hottest or most current references. He used to be in a rap group with Andy Milonakis and Simon Rex.  I don’t think he cares what mentioning Tim McGraw or David Hasselhoff will do for his street cred.

 The mansion, three-stories, living room with trampoline
Mi casa so big it took the maids the whole week to clean
I don’t like to drive Versace jeans in the limousine
 I could freestyle to a dolphin and a tambourine. 

He’s a self-professed alien. He’s working on breaking into the WWE.  He rocks neon braids, reportedly has had sex with thousands of females, including  a three-way that involved a dolphin and handful of magic mushrooms and has a deep connection to Bart Simpson.  He personifies everything I fear about  “Spring Braaak,” but I can’t help but be intrigued by his flagerance and authenticity.   I can’t wait to see what he does next.


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Life Gets Busy and Hard & Sometimes You Need to Just Get Stoopid

This is my gift to you, the #GetStoopid Playlist.  It’s meant for sweaty dance parties, calling in sick to work from the Airport and not being able to see straight.

Hey, summer: I missed you! Now let’s lose our minds.

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It Ain’t No Fun to Be Lonely

There’s something to be said for having a distinct sound.  And after just two albums, you’d be hard pressed to mistake an Alabama Shakes song for anything else. At first listen, their music conjures up images of campfires, singalongs, and swaying back and forth in a crowd at [insert name of ‘of-the-moment’ summer rock concert here] just like in all those beer commercials that start playing as soon as the snow thaws.

But discounting Alabama Shakes as another southern rock group with a bluesy influence is a discredit to this band that is at once soulful and sarcastic, melodic and tangent-filled; succinct and meandering.

Their new album, “Sound & Colour” is weird. It’s dance-y and catchy and filled with random tongue-in-cheek lyrics and sweeping vocal acrobats from our very own Janis Joplin, Brittany Howard.

Lead singer, Brittany Howard, is my spirit animal. Her voice is so malleable.  She’s part gospel queen, part riot girl, part David Bowie disciple and totally free.  I feel like her after 3 Mike’s Hard Lemonades. Undefinable, unfeathered and open.  She shares her heart, her humour and her proclivities through her voice in a way I haven’t heard in a very long time.

Right now my favourite song on Sound & Colour is Shoegaze. It reminds me of drunken fights at the beach and long road trips in the summer.  It makes me think of those late-night conversations that start in a haze of smoke and alcohol but irrevocably end up changing your view on life and relationships.

This song makes me think about everyone is so over dramatic about things these days.  Not every night out is a music video montage.  Not every meal is instagram-worthy.  Not everything is literally #epic.

Whether you subscribe to the “140-character culture” or “Insta-life with filters” there’s no denying that there’s a overwrought preciousness to the zeitgeist. (If I see another #MotivationalMonday quote, I fear I will #PullthePlug).

“Let’s all make memories
Precious and temporary”

Shoegaze is a song for those nights that are fun and crazy but you’ve around long enough to know it’s not necessarily life-changing.  The title takes its name from the 1990s sub-genre that stood for long, meandering songs with little attention to lyrics but still evoked a distinctive sense of mood and character.

This song makes me smile.  It’s a sarcastic reality check, reminding me that no matter how self-indulgent I can become with the power of a keyboard and the ability to share whatever asinine thoughts I have at the moment with the world, everything is not everything.  Every wardrobe choice does not need to be an #OOTD.  Every melancholy moment isn’t the #worstdayever.  Every drunken night isn’t #epic.  But I do believe, there is a song for every person in every moment and that is #TrueRomance.

“It ain’t no fun to be lonely
But I was not truly lonely” 

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Are You Down With It?

I have no shame in admitting I still have a lot of love for Girlicious. Never heard of them?  Well, you’re not the only one.  They were a girl group created by Pussycat Dolls founder, Robyn Antin and stars of a reality competition show on the CW about the formation of the band called The Pussycats Dolls Presents: Girlicious. 

As cheesy as that all sounds and it was, so gloriously cheesy especially this Youtube clip which I still enjoy watching for the histrionics, the music was still surprisingly good.  In fact, their CD, Girlicious, is such a great part pop record that I bought it twice. Once on CD and then once on iTunes when I couldn’t find the CD for a few months.

Girlicious is one of the greatest pop CDs of the last 10 years.  For the record I also think, Britney Spears In the Zone, N.E.R.D. In Search of, Selena Gomez Stars Dance, and Robyn Body Talk are in the running for Top Five.

My favourite song on the CD is Stupid Shit.  I always love songs that say inane or crude things in a sweet voice (That explains my addiction to R. Kelly and basically all 90s R&B).  Their songs are confident and upbeat and unapologetic yet sweet.

I have so many favourite lyrics from this song.  But more than the lewd lyrics and sing along chorus, I love the overall vibe of this song.  Do stupid shit.  Who cares.  Get what you want and don’t apologize.

Oh yeah I’m vicious so delicious all the boys wanna eat
Go head and hate me baby, sa sa salty but sweet.

I’d go so far as to say that Stupid Shit is a feminist anthem.  These girls are more than happy to use their bodies for what they want as much as their male counterparts.  They are taking control of their bodies and using them for wild fun and they are inviting their male suitors to join in but only on their terms.

You want tell everybody
baby girl she with me
But I aint even trippin pimpin
I’m just doing my thing.  

Whatever the feministic or sexually exploitive message, I love it.  Life is full of far too many  responsibilities and worries to not be able to wild out every once in while.

I’ve been having a recurring dream lately where I go away for a weekend without telling anyone.  Just show up at the airport and buy a ticket to anywhere but here.  When I get there, it’s late at night and I check into a fancy hotel filled with hoity toity business people there for some major conference.  I sneak out the back door of the hotel and under the cover of night just start tagging the beautiful city streets, knocking over trash cans, breaking windows, buying illicit drugs, just doing all this bad shit that I really know better than to do especially in a strange city.  But it’s exhilarating and inspiring and anonymous.  It’s stupid, dangerous shit but once in while you just need it.


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@Hozier Slays Ariana Grande and Warren G

There’s nothing I love more that a great cover and there’s no better place to hear a great, unique cover than the BBC Live Lounge. Check out this amazing cover Hozier did over the weekend mashing up Ariana Grande’s “Problem” and Warren G’s “Regulate.”  I really hope he plays this at his show in Vancouver coming up!

mic. drop.

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All We Wanna Do is Take the Chains Off

“Be Free” by J Cole isn’t a song I listen to that often.  The truth is: I can’t. Nowadays, whenever I hear the lines:

All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free

I hear the (slightly paraphrased) last words of Eric Garner:

All I know is I can’t breathe
All I know is I can’t breathe

It makes me think of his wife and his video death and it’s just so god-damn depressing.  The song leaves me very nervous, weary and reminds me how hopelessly out-of-touch I am with real world problems.

If there’s one thing I will take away from 2014: it’s that this world is so fucked.  Between disappearing airlines; kidnapped Nigerian school girls, Malala, and the litany of racially charged shootings of young black men in the U.S.  I have never felt so simultaneously lucky and guilty that I was graced with the good fortune to live on this temperate, sleepy Island while my brethren trying to go to school in Nigeria or Pakistan are being persecuted, kidnapped, shot and raped. Or are being choked to death on the streets of New York; or shot in the back in the suburbs of Missouri; or on a subway platform in San Francisco; or on a playground in Cleveland; or a hundred other places and times young, unarmed black men have been shot by authorities in the last year or two.

It’s embarrassing.  I actually can’t stand to read about it, because I’m embarrassed that people still react like that in this day and age.  It’s disgusting to watch the media and politicians try to rationalize or subjugate this type of behaviour – this type of epidemic.

And I’m in denial
And it don’t take no x-ray to see right through my smile
I know

All year, I saw the stories about young black men being shot pop up and I would devour the information like a nebulous made-for-tv movie.  I’d skim the stories, read the social media hashtags,  scan the photos, but I couldn’t sit and really absorb the information. I couldn’t watch the sobbing parents nervously reading prepared speeches to angry mobs outside of courtrooms and pundits calling for cooler heads to prevail over the calamities of injustice.  I didn’t want to.  I’m not a racist.  I know these shooting are bad.  Why do I have to know all these details?

It took me a while to realize why the details matter.  Why everyone should have an image of these boys and men when they hear the names Michael Smith, Travyon Martin, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner and the hundreds of other unarmed, young black men that were shot to death by authorities. It’s because this is real and happening right under our noses. If we don’t pay attention and really work to understand why this is happening –  it will be happening on our doorsteps next.

140824-michael-brown-4p_98a645e4e00131864161045b0edd09e7 medical-examiner-trayvon-martin-lived-in-pain-for-up-to-10-minutes Oscargrantkilledbypolice2                  i                                                       ericgarner2372CEF800000578-2846889-image-18_1416849811041

I was re-reading one of my favourite books, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Alex Haley that I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes, by Black Panthers leaders Eldridge Cleaver:

There is no more neutrality in the world.
You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.

It may seem a bit far-fetched to feel that up here in Canada, in my self-exiled bubble of kisses, unicorns and giggles, I can help stop police brutality against young black males in the United States but I really believe, in a small, minuscule way, it’s true.  I have to.  Otherwise, what’s the point of caring?

Please give me a chance
I don’t wanna dance
Something’s got me down
I will stand my ground.  

It’s so easy to be apathetic.  I loathe apathy. Even Kurt Cobain was disgusted with his predicament having become the poster child for apathy when I believe it was his hyper over-sensitivity and cripplingly insecurity that was perceived as apathy by the media.  I understand apathy  is a natural part of growing up, but adults without opinions or adults who are too lazy or too preoccupied with their own mundane lives to educate themselves and develop some sort of understanding on the greater crises facing our world today are the worst.

J Cole is anything but apathetic.  He’s travelled throughout Ferguson.  He uses his music, interviews, social media and image to give a voice to the struggles that he remains connected to.

Ooh, I’m letting you know
That it ain’t no gun they make that can kill my soul
Oh, no

So what do can we do about the persecution of young black men in the United States?  It starts within yourself.  You can begin by examining your own stereotypes about all races and types of peoples and coming to terms with how they evolved and how they impact the ways you interact with people.  You can educate yourself. You can educate others.  You can donate to charities that support causes that are important to you.  You can volunteer.  You can write your politicians.  You can create art that is inspired by things that matter to you.  You don’t have to drive to Ferguson and join a riot to show your support for the families of these fallen men.  You can live your life in a way that honours their memories and help create a generation that does not fear young black men or police or tolerate injustice.

All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off.  


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