Educate So Hard, Michael Bloomberg Wanna Fine Me [Education Week]

Jose Vilson Guest Posts, Mr. Vilson

Excerpt: As in any other subculture, rap aficionados argue about which rapper has produced the most impressive output. Jay-Z has cited Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., and 2Pac as “greats”—and his career is often compared with theirs. The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac met untimely deaths in 1997, so comparisons are limited. But Nas’ “Illmatic” is considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Few hip-hop fans believe any of …

I Won’t Deny It [My Ambitionz As A Ridah]

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

One of my NYC teacher friends posited that I was popular. I laughed. Hard.  The one thing to keep in mind, my people, is that I have a hard time talking about myself in depth. On the web, I’ve gotten gracious amounts of praise (all of which I’m humbled by) but in my district, I think I’ve also maintained a fair share of notoriety. I tend to listen a lot …

afenishakur

Place No One Above Ya, Sweet Lady

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

Recently, I was watching the movie 2Pac Resurrection, the posthumously narrated biographical film about the rapper Tupac Shakur. In one of the segments, 2Pac discusses his prison stint and the people who sent him letters and visited him during his time behind bars. One of those people, of course, was his mother, Afeni Shakur. Their relationship strained over the years, but his prison sentence forced the two back together. The …

Jay-Z, Cornel West, and Harry Belafonte before Decoded Talk

Niggas Is Doing They Homework, Yo

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

I had the pleasure and misfortune of running into videos my former students get involved with, and one of them featured a gang from one of the neighborhoods my school represents. I watched a bit of it, annoyed that these pseudo-gangsters would put their videos on YouTube (“Real gangsters move in silence …” – Biggie), but more perturbed because they paraded in a coterie down a set of project buildings. …

2Pac

You Think I’ma Sing My Way In?

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

2Pac probably says everything that needs to be said in this video better than most intellectuals who engage in anacoluthia for the sake of just going above their readers’ heads rather than touching their hearts. Maybe a useful tactic for burgeoning anything is to only apologize when you mean it. Say sorry if you’re really sorry. Otherwise, mean what you’re saying, even if it’s contrary to mainstream opinion. As much …

Lady Gaga

Short Notes: 2Pac Will Never RIP, Lady GaGa, and Jamaica

Jose Vilson Short Notes 11 Comments

A few notes: 2Pac is a freakin’ legend. He’ll never truly rest in peace. He’ll always live on in the hearts and minds of those who were even so much as touched by his music. There, I said it. RIP means nothing for a man like that. The Acentos Workshop was really good. Can I share some? Why am I even asking? Of course, I’m going to share. As much …

2Pac In Backwards Hat & Chain

Against All Odds

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

Today will mostly be remembered for 2Pac Shakur’s birthday. The once and still prolific MC carried on a legendary life, evidenced by his persistent legacy and demigod status within multiple communities. He constantly ranks amongst the most profitable dead celebs, and his style continues to pervade some really popular MCs. People like me were also captivated by the man’s intelligence and his allusions to some of the most sacred and …

Biggie and 2Pac

Even Pac and Big Wished for Better Dayz …

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

I wrote this sometime in October 2008, but for whatever reason, people who I sent this to never actually published it. Some of the stuff I wrote in the original blog I’ve edited to fit my more informed views now, but the message remains the same. Please read and discuss below. Also, for more Biggie goodness today, read here for a posthumous letter from the BIG man himself, courtesy of …

2pacpray

Jail’s a Revolving Door; The Casket’s Not

Jose Vilson Jose 16 Comments

There I go, quoting another rapper again. I consider myself a rap fan by most standards, but today especially, I recognize the power of their words. When Jay-Z speaks of the “genesis of a nemesis” when telling of the birth of a drug dealer, when 2Pac speaks of hopelessness throughout most of his records, and when Joe Budden points out this blog’s title, discussing just how hard it is out …

The Traveling Prayer

Jose Vilson Jose

Thanks everyone for your prayers and thoughts. I finally arrived to Florida after a somewhat long trip here. I had a short stop at Washington, DC, and of course, I had to wait a while before someone picked me up. It was weird. We headed directly to the hospital, and when I saw him, I was in shock. It was the first time I thought I was looking into a mirror; he …