26 11 2009

So, yes, I went ahead and let all the words come out attached to some sick beats.  I hope I get a good response, but so far I’ve just had trouble getting anyone to view my stuff.  I think I’m going to transform this blog…or just start another one for that side of what I do, renatoddmusiq.  I hope you all enjoy what you see.

Link to my youtube videos:  http://www.youtube.com/user/renatoddmusiq



A College Education

24 08 2008

Hello everybody.

I’d like you all to know that I’m writing this post from my dorm room at San Jose State University.  So, new “headquarters” i guess you could say.
The topic of this post is Revolution.

A few posts ago I wrote about neo-soul. I liked the jazz, I liked the hip hop, I like the subjects that these artists were singing about. And then I started to really listen to the words of the songs I was feeling myself most drawn to.

One such song is Revolution by Arrested Development:

Brothers and Sisters
Let me share with you some news
As I sit on my plush couch watching the news
There has been a rude awakening
That I have marched until my feet have bled;
And have rioted until they called the Feds
What’s left my conscience said?
What’s left my conscience said? GO!

As I look out my window I can see the little ones
Playing amongst each other with the water guns
In pure poverty
Generations of good people in cycles of poverty
It bothers me so I ask myself (I say)
Are you doing as much as you can for the struggle? (No)
Am I doing as much as I can for the struggle? (No)
Then why do I cry when my people are in trouble? (Yo!)
My ancestors slapped me in the face and said “GO!”
Harriet Tubman told me to get on up!
Marcus Garvey said to me, bro, you get on up!
My brother malcolm X, need I say more
It ain’t like we’ve never seen blood before,
Come on, let’s talk Revolution, now!

(Oh, my people say, oh my brothers say, oh my sisters say, HEY! Oh, my people
say/ come on let’s talk about a Re-volution)

I seen blood on one Malcolm as one shot him
I see tears, because now it seems we’ve forgot him
I’ve seen years of people struggling for a solution
Like restitution; excuses, no more no more confusion
Come on, come on, let’s talk right
Talk up talk up, but don’t talk up up all night
There’s got to be action if you want satisfaction
If not for yourself, for the young ones (the children!)
The US, the UN, we can’t allow ya—
to tellustthe kidinthegetto isnotasimportantasthiskidin Bosnia [sic]
I ain’t with it; just forget it
We can’t even debate if you don’t understand our situation
You don’t want us to go get a gun now
You don’t like to see people runnin’ around now, do ya?
Yet and still you want to live like ‘90210’, while we scream out “Yo FREEDOM”!
My grandmother has a goal we have wasted
You best acquire a taste for somethin’ you never tasted
So people, let us wear our pallets
it’s either the bullet or the ballot; come now

Revolution now, (repeat chorus)

Now see, I understand what my people have said
They tell me to FIGHT— fight for the answers to our dead
For Harriet Tubman, MOVE organization, David Walker, the Black Panthers
Kwame and Kuma, Marcus Garvey, Jane Pitman

Listen to it, if you can, its much more powerful audio-lly.  So, I was listening to this song and I realized, “Revolution? What does that all mean?” and I started to wonder.   And wondering led me to realize how very little I know about my heritage, culture, history, my people and all that they have been and done.  Sure, everyone knows Martin Luther King Jr. And some people know Malcolm X.  But I want to know more.
So I’ve decided to learn, to teach myself, to read. Brothers and Sisters, Rena Todd is no longer clueless and ignorant about how own history.
I’ve got a list of things to research, and luckly I’m a half a block away from an eight story library, so reading is what i’ll be doing for the next four years while i’m in college.  Also, I’d like to say that I feel I can never hope to be a true artist and express who I am if i never learn about who I really am.  So this learning is also an expression for me, an effort to better my art.

Here’s what I have so far, feel free to comment and add anything you think would be beneficial to someone looking to learn more in the way of black revolution.

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
Audre Lorde
Dream Factory Deferred
Takeshia Brooks
The Color Purple
[its a shame i haven’t read this book.]
Alice Walker
Alex Haley
My Bondage, My Freedom
Frederick Douglass
Black Indians
William Loren Katz
Civilization or Barbarisms

Shiekh Anta Diop

Neo Soul

25 05 2008

Goosh, its been quite a while since my last post here. This is probably due to a lack of inspiration, and my every minute being filled with things for graduation.

But here I am, today, to write about a “new” genre of music.
Buddy Remix – Musiq Soulchild ft. Ja Rule and Fat Joe

Yesterday I realized that I had always classified these artists as “Hip-Hop/R&B” in my mind, when really they were breaking the mold of this genre in alot of ways. The hints of jazz and soul are what drew me to each song, and so I got on the internet to try and define these artists in a better way.

Neo Soul is the genre I found.
First coined by Kedar Massenburg of Motown Records, Neo Soul is defined as an umbrella term for current soul music. The music is usually a hybrid of 1970s-influenced soul music with influences from jazz, funk, hip hop and house music [WIkipedia].

Some of the most prominent artists in the Neo Soul genre are:

Jill Scott

Jill Scott

Fav Songs: “Insomnia” “Rightness” “The Real Thing” “Only You”
Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu

Fav Songs: “Apple Tree” “Didn’t Cha Know” “Ye Yo”
Musiq Soulchild

Musiq Souldchild

Fav Songs: “Buddy”
Sunshine Anderson

Sunshine Anderson

Fav Songs: “Heard It All Before” “Something I Wanna Give You”
Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill

Fav Songs: “Every Ghetto, Every City” “That Thing” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”
Lyfe Jennings
Lyfe Jennings

Macy Gray

Macy Gray

Fav Songs: “I Try” “Gimme’ All Your Lovin’ Or I Will Kill You”


Lately I’ve been basking in the glow of these artists. I have to say that Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Sunshine Anderson speak to me the most, mostly because I find that I can get lost in their melodies and the beats that they use in each song. Also because they are women and the messages that they send through their art are universal and speak to me on more levels then just the sound waves.

Does anyone else listen to any of these artists?
Some of these? One of these?
I like connecting with people, so let me know what you all think.


April, May, Graduate.

21 04 2008

Today something strikingly shocking was brought to my attention. While waiting in line for a sandwhich during my lunch hour my friend Noah looks over at me and says, out of the blue “Everything is happening in the next three weeks.”

I knew what she meant, right then and right there, but some reflex that seeks to keep me a perpetual-high school student answered “What?” and grabbed my sandwhich, changing the subject quickly.

But there’s no getting around it. There are only six weeks left of my entire high school experience. In the next six weeks I will have: Completed and presented my senior project before a panel of my peers, elders, and the public. Attended [or ditched hopefully] senior ditch day. Watched the senior slideshow with teary eyes. Picked up my yearbook and cried while signing the yearbooks of all my friends. Taken and passed an AP English test. Sent out dozens of graduation invitations. Completed a professional photography portfolio. Survived the final finals. Attended senior prom [in two weeks]. Turned seventeen [May 1st] [I know, I’m really young]. And finally GRADUATED.

Its INSANE to think about when I think about it that way: I’ve just been taking everything one day at a time, but when the facts of the matter are laid out before me, its SCARY. I can’t say that I’m not ready, but I can say that a part of me never wants high school to end. Even though i have SO MUCH to look foreward too, I will also have SO MUCH to look back on, and so much more to remember forever.

So, I’d like to hear, what are everyone’s thoughts on graduation?

To high school alumni, what was it all like after graduation? Pie in the sky or cake in the face?

To my fellow class of 2008, what are your fears? What are you excited and anxious about most?

graduation 2008


To Prom or Not To Prom?

10 04 2008

That certainly IS the question. “You HAVE to go to your prom! Its your SENIOR PROM!” and “Prom is overrated. If you’re not going to have fun, then don’t go,” are two sides of this argument.

On the one hand, there’s the Pros for going to prom:

1. Its my Senior Prom, and furthermore the only prom I will have ever gone too. Besides, EVERYONE goes to prom, so why should I duck out.

2. What would prom be without Rena? [Granted, this is conceited, but I’ve actually heard that word on the street.]

3. Its going to be fun, and the experience of a lifetime. Why miss it?

So, those are reasons that I SHOULD go, and the most pressing one, to me, seems to be the idea that I’m only going to get one chance to do this right: I had better do it RIGHT. How can I miss one of the most socially important parts of my Senior year? And besides, I don’t want to be “that girl didn’t go to prom? why!?”

But then there are the cons.

1. ITS A HUGE HASSLE. Waiting in line for 35 dollar tickets that allow me to go spending two days in Ventura searching for a 100 dollar dress so that I can go to a prom and dance. Seems a bit much.

2. I HATE DRESSES. Even though I did win homecomming: homecoming

Even THAT dress was more then I liked for very long. Its just uncomfortable and annoying.

3. It might NOT be fun, and it seems that the drama surrounding prom is always more important then prom itself. Why make myself jump through those hoops?

So, I’m REALLY TORN. I mean, I know I SHOULD go, but it isn’t like there aren’t alternatives…And then again, how can there ever be an alternative for SENIOR PROM!? Then there’s prom nightmares….:

prom nightmare

AHH, I need everyone’s help: thoughts, comments, questions.

What would you do? and FURTHERMORE, what should I do?


On Driving. And Freedom

5 04 2008

today i recieved my lisence.  it was liberating and nervewracking.   i found my hands shaking durring the test and my palms sweating.  and then i messed myself when the instructor began to write things down.  i thought “oh no, i’ve failed AGAIN.” this being the second time i’ve taken the test.

but i PASSED with 4 errors.  good enough for me.  and now that i can drive alone, i find my dad holding on to every shred of control he has left.  dont get me wrong: i love my father, and i appreciate that he wants me to be safe.  and it doesn’t bother me that he used to be overprotective and now hes having to let go.  but i just look back at sixteen years [almost seventeen] of life and i think “wow.  time went fast.”

in June, i graduate, and june is really almost here.  in may i turn seventeen.  and may is almost here.  i’m one of the few lucky people in the world who have a car on the day i get my lisence.  and even though that might be spoiled, its REALLY NICE.

i’m thankfull.


N.A.P. [New Afro Powers]

31 03 2008

this spring break i spent a few days in LA spending much needed time with my cousins. I began to notice things that i hadn’t noticed before, mainly how fun just relaxing could be and how i was one of the only family with straight hair.

that got me thinking, “why cant i go back to natural?” or “napptural” as i’ve seen written on various blogs. that word nappy kind of upsets me. people say “eiw your hair is nappy” and its supposed to be something mean. the hair is unkept, the hair is oddly shaped, the hair is ugly.

with that in mind, i just want to make it plain: IM GOING BACK TO NATURAL. but i’m not going “nappy”. besides, if nappy is natural, then that’s fine with me.

another reason i’ve been seriously contemplating going back to my natural hair is because of college: i’m not going to have 60$ a month to just put into my hair. most likely i’ll be scraping for pennies on the side walk. so having a natural style that requires only washing and conditioning makes more since, economically.

and honestly, its time for a change. i mean, i rocked this short hair thing for a while now: i’ve never been one to stay the same for very long. besides, keeping my hair natural makes it grow faster. so, who knows, by the time i graduate from college, i could have hair down to my toes. :]

these are some phenominal afros.

laryn hill afro

woman with afro

afro couple

celebrating afro couple

anyways, i’d appreciate some thoughts on this. oppinions, facts, praise, critizes. let’s hear it.