joe budden Archives - The Jose Vilson

joe budden

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 there for people who don’t see a way out, I hear it and have been exposed to it for decades. Yesterday was the first day, though, that a foregone conclusion of the street soldier / thug lifestyle hit this close to home.

My cousin Richard was a young, handsome, charismatic man who frankly got caught up in the life. I don’t want to put all of his business out there, but over the last 10 years, he’s spent more time in the clink than out of it, and in some ways, it hurt. It’s family that’s in there. He was the first guy who made me a Yankees fan before 96, teaching me about Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and Jim Leyritz. He made it cool. He was always winning the sports trophies at the local Boys’ Club, and he always had the hottest girl in the class. He had a drive and a way of selling himself that made you an instant believer. And of course, he always had the latest rap mixtape in his crib.

But I also know of the fights we got into in our youth, the trouble he constantly got into, the secrets he told me that shook me for almost a week, his 2 daughters by different mothers that he loved but he couldn’t always keep up with, and the habits that he got caught up in were hazardous for his mental and physical health. Despite the disappointment I felt about how his life turned out, seeing his cadaver yesterday reminds me why I do what I do. He had just gotten out of jail, but like so many of our troubled youth, he predicted his own death, and in timely fashion.

I’m loath to call him a rat, a piece of shit, or a worthless vagabond, terms that have been used for him. That was my cousin. I knew something was wrong with him when I felt my heart tighten up the night before. He’s one of the primary reasons I do more than just worry if my kids are scoring high on their state tests. In the position I’m in, I find myself conscious of the effect I have on some of my own children, especially when I already see some of them turning into my cousin. When your life expectancy is “any day now,” investing in your own life is really about the short term.

And the rain yesterday washed over us like a baptism, carrying his soul to a place where he doesn’t have to worry about these Earthly things …

RIP my cousin Rich

jose, who has no idea how he’s getting into school tomorrow like this …


Crazy Eights

August 3, 2007

Borrowed from J. Dakar:

The Rules:
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog.
5. 8 is a magic number. Though three is the magic number. (I changed this line.)

Eight Obscure Things About Me:

Derek Jeter

1. Derek Jeter’s my favorite baseball player. I love the heart and determination he shows on and off the field. From baggin’ every chick most dudes want to to baggin’ awards and stats left and right, he’s the epitome of awesome. That and the media gives him a pass for everything he does. He’s one of NY’s true kings. Plus, I got his home and away jerseys.


2. Alex Rodriguez is now a close second, surpassing just about anyone I can think of. I think the fact that he’s been playing with a “chip on his shoulder” really endears me to him more than anything. Despite the little blond streaks and the cheating sprees, he’s still a fantastic player on both ends of the field, so give him his crown already people. If he stays in NY, give him his “true Yankee” label already. ::rolls eyes::

2. If something were to ever happen to my favorite city ever (NYC), I’d move to either D.C., Chicago, or San Francisco. Let’s not let that happen, though.

3. As a math teacher, I gotta say: I didn’t choose math; math chose me. When I filled out the application through the NYCTF process, I don’t even remember what I wrote in, but they figured since I have a computer science degree, I must be good at math. I’m good, but if I had a choice, I’d teach … everything. Math, ELA, and social studies. Then again, maybe not. Math it is.

4. I have a slew of books I haven’t read yet, and that are waiting to be read. By my estimates, it’s a good 25 of them. I’ll get to them eventually …

Common’s “Finding Forever”

5. I sing along to my favorite songs on my iPod (Common’s Finding Forever currently on rotation), no matter what song it is or time of day. I don’t care how people look at me; I’m going to sing and/or rap, f******.

6. I search for myself on Google just to see if my name is inappropriately associated with anything … and usually run into very interesting things. It’s mostly positive now, but wow.

7. I’m somewhere in between obscure and easily found. I have a MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo, AIM, MSN, GMail, my own site, an NYCDOE e-mail, CCNY, Syr, and a few other accounts out there I haven’t taken into account. I’ve had most of the social networking sites even before they became trendy. With that said, people always say how hard it is to reach me. Please …

Joe Budden

8. The five contemporary famous people I’d like to meet are: Common, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jay-Z, and Joe Budden. There it goes. The Rock would be cool, and I’ve already met Talib, Rakim, and Chuck D, so I’m fine.

Tag. You’re it:

You, you, you, you, you, you, you, and you …

jose, going to New Orleans this weekend …