Notorious BIG, Biggie, 1994

Excellence Is My Presence, Never Tense, Never Hesitant

Jose 1 Comment

Notorious BIG, Biggie, 1994

As we commemorate the passing of Christopher “Biggie” Wallace 13 years ago, we must also remember a big reason we consider him one of the greatest rappers of all time: his delivery. It wasn’t so much the diversity of flows and rhythms within rhymes and from song to song; it was the crisp and commanding delivery of each line. Like a Black Russian, his songs were at once smooth and potent, sweet and demanding. Along with the actual lyrics and subject matter, his rather introspective lyrics spoke to the pathos of the ghetto and the mentality of newly successful ghetto boys.

I bring this up because Dan Meyer did me a huge favor this past weekend at TEDxNYED: he succinctly and precisely described my blog in a way I’d never heard. While I have a hard time completely recanting what he said, he did mention that my blog serves a mix of my education work and my policy / activist work. On the one end, I’ll interact with education heavies readily, particularly on Twitter. On the other end, I’ll interact with people edunerds have never heard of, and they tend to be the people no one’s ever heard before.

And the one thing everyone seems to agree upon: I can actually write.

Sometimes, these posts get people from divergent occupations to have heated arguments in the comments section, but mostly, the conversations become a beautiful harmony of concerned individuals. That’s where I believe this blog must officially go. I never find myself in any particular lane heavily, because the traffic often gets too dense in one for me to really own it. I’m not very ed-techy, or ed-policy heavy. I have strong convictions about education leadership, but I don’t want people judging whether I can discuss the latest Obama policy when I’m supposed to have a particular focus. I don’t engage in gossip anymore, but every so often, I find myself intertwining entertainment with education, but not in a DetentionSlip sorta way. (I’m not a fan of the BS that streams out of that blog).

That’s often where I find myself looking to Biggie for guidance. One of his greatest quotes was “If I was working at McDonald’s, I’d probably be rappin’ about burgers.” In other words, his current life made up the bulk of his work. Even if they existed in hyperbole and braggadocio, he still managed to impress us time and again with the clever precision and urgent presence. It’s as if everytime he got on the mic, no matter what the subject, what he had to say was the most important thing anyone had to hear over the 3:30 he had you for.

This blog, I hope, has the same intonation.

Jose, on brawl nights, performs like Mike. Anyone: Tyson, Jordan, Jackson, Action …

p.s. – Are you ready for Black-Latino Ed Week here? 2 weeks and counting …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 1

  1. Graham Wegner

    Jose, there is no doubt that you can write. For me, the extra bonus I get with reading your blog is a chance to really learn something – like you say, not about edtech in particular or education either – but about life. Through your blogging, I get a glimpse through a window into your world. I may never fully comprehend everything you cover but it triggers my curiousity and helps me to make connections through awareness. Does that make sense?
    Anyway, keep on writing – about anything you see fit. It’s nice to avoid being pigeonholed.

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