This morning at the office, I realized for the first time the beautiful view of the city.
This morning at the office, I realized for the first time the beautiful view of the city.
Two days ago, the holy Grail was revealed in the form of a small pocket book. Especially fragile, the book is usually kept under lock and key. At the request of The New York Times, however, the historical society took it out for a spin this month so readers could experience one of the more colorful and detailed guides ever produced on the ins and outs of New York City’s brothels.
One of the entries, the Times reports, reads, “’an hour cannot be spent more pleasantly’ than at Harry Hill’s place on 25 East Houston Street.” Challenge accepted. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll be printing the 32 page book and reading it to my future kids.
Read the Grail here.
ready, set, go…
Internets. Yes, you of the interconnected networks. Aren’t you tired of someone thinking that you live in your mom’s basement? I always laugh at that because that is where my internet writing career blossomed. I was constantly on the Comedy Central message boards sonning all the bigots that rolled thru.
I say bigots as opposed to racists. They weren’t racists to me because racists don’t leave comments on a message board. Racists are too busy doing real racist shit. Bigots and the regular white is what leaves comments on the internets. It’s easy to yell at a crowd of people when you are online. You just do it by typing the truth. If the moderators aren’t scared to death then your truth can be seen and read. And that truth can be the equivalent of yelling to a crowd.
I’ve been writing my truth for a while now. Apparently I’ve been writing my truth forever. Momdukes pulled out some old 2nd grade shit that she had been keeping from like forever. It was a little child’s story but when I saw it I was transported back to the public school named after Louis Armstrong in the neighborhood that I grew up in – Corona, Queens. I wanted you to feel my shit [ll] even back then. So how do I come from there to here on your computer monitor? Oh and kill yourself if you read Its The Calm from an iPad or PDA device. That’s ghey. You need to go to a laptop or a desktop that has a printer and print out every single page of Its The Calm and then use a 3-hole punch to put holes in those printouts and then put those printouts in several binders arranged chronologically or categorically (because I’m not gonna tell you how to file your shit).
My journey thru NY life up to this point has been way more missteps than I can remember but I have taken a few giant steps (yes Coltrane) and that is what has me here with you today. A total loser wouldn’t get a guest blog opportunity over here. You can trust that N8 knows who’s nice with theirs and I’m nice like Sean Price. Aka Ruck aka Scraggbite. Hail Megatron! What’s the flavor?! D4L bitch (damn, pardon me for that flashback).
Weblogs were on some sucker shit, or so I thought before I got turned on to this page called Notes From A Different Kitchen, from there I found Unkut.com which led me to ByronCrawford and from there I caught a link to NahRight which blew my mind. Weblogs were hardbody all of a sudden. There was homages to the greatest music ever, and drops featuring the new music that wasn’t getting any commercial radio play. Even the best gossip pages were sucker free like Crunk & Disorderly. All of these pages were speaking to me like I talk to my homies. The filters were off and the language was funny and sometimes raw. This was where I could fit in.
Seldom does a clean, on sync, rip of this song from MTV Unplugged surface on Youtube.
Let’s enjoy this moment.
Story of Bear’s life.
March 13, 2010
Posted by nation
Editor’s Note: NCB is the Editor-In-Chief of COMPLEX. If you had never heard of him before the interviews he did for the magazine, you probably didn’t know about his rap sheet either. When asked to write about his story, he opted to take the humble route and talk about the people who gave him his start in the game, instead of talking about how he, as quiet as kept, was one of the first people to co-sign 50 Cent in 1999 – all the way to co-writing 50’s autobiography 50×50 with the man himself in 2007. He decided to make sure everyone on his team got a shout out, instead of explaining his long history with Kanye, which I’ve heard from credible people is quite extensive – up until how his name ended up in Yeezy’s latest blog entry. But the fact that you’ll never hear any of this from him is truly a testament to the kind of person that he is. These are all stories I’m dying to hear, but it might have to wait for another guest blog.
All right, so I promised nation that I’d write something for this site a long-ass time ago. How could I say no? He’s a good dude and at this point I pretty much owe it to the universe to give back to the next generation of independent publishers. See, I’ve been blessed over the years with contributions to my indie endeavors by lots of people waaaaay more talented than me and it’s only right that I return the favor. So, after months of dicking around, I’ve finally hit the tipping point where my guilt has exceeded my busy-ness and my laziness (Plus I’m trapped on a flight with no TVs in the headrests, so what else am I gonna do). However, when pressed to write “my story”, I dunno, it just seems kinda self-aggrandizing (which I know is the whole point of the Internet, but hey, I’m still a fake-humble print guy at heart). So what I figure is, the most interesting thing I could do is leave some jewels on your dresser (pause), and try to impart some of the knowledge I’ve accrued along the way.
Before I go in, though, I should qualify the below statements. Who I am, what I’ve done, and what I’ve yet to do, should inform how much stock you put in my thoughts.
I grew up in Manhattan, read a lot of comics, and listened to a lot of rap. I also read a lot of magazines. Mostly about comics and rap. This was back in the ’90s. You know, the olden days—when suits were shiny, videos had million dollar budgets. Anyhow, halfway through my senior year of high school in ‘97, I got an internship at ego trip magazine. Basically my will to annoy exceeded their will to ignore. I called their office and left messages everyday for three weeks. Eventually they got tired of it and called me back. There Sacha Jenkins, Elliott Wilson, Gabriel Alvarez, Chairman Mao, and Brent Rollins taught me how to write, think, and listen (Ted Bawno taught me a lot, too, but I signed an NDA so I can’t speak on that). Those ego trip dudes are all lunatic geniuses in very different ways, and their balance of bile and brilliance made for some of the funniest, most thoughtful and probably under-appreciated magazines ever made. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to be their sixth man off the bench.
That experience was the foundation for everything that followed. Starting with… Six months later when Sacha landed me a gig in the research department of VIBE, where he was the associate editor, working for another really smart dude, Dave Bry. Things went well, I fell into some writing opportunities for the book, and after a couple months managing editor Jesse Washington offered me an editorial position on the launch team of BLAZE, VIBE’s short-lived rap mag spin-off, for the next summer. Without getting into detail about all the hijinx and fuckery that went down at BLAZE (’cause there was a lot of it), lemme just say, That shit was nuts! Fun, though, too.
Shortly before the bosses pulled the plug on BLAZE in 2000 I got a call from Dante Ross (who’d apparently read my stuff), offering me a gig as an A&R at his label, Stimulated Records. Growing up a Native Tongue Stan, getting a look from the dude behind De La, Brand Nubian, LONS, Latifah, and K.M.D. was surreal to say the least. Psyched, I did that for a couple years. Exactly long enough to realize it wasn’t for me. I like making stuff more than I like managing people who make stuff (or at least managing people that make the same things I make). If you can’t write a rap or make a beat, it’s hard to say anything credible to someone who does (picture Diamond D walking over to my 19-year-old ass and asking what I think of the mix on “X-Man”…”Um, I like it?”). That said, thanks to Ross I did get to oversee the creation and mixes of a couple records and I can’t overstate how valuable that experience was in informing the rest of my writing. Also, I met Dart Parker. That guy’s the shit. Anyhow, out the blue I get a call from some guy at MTV looking for hip-hop writers, I think Mimi from BLAZE had referred him. So I went over there and wrote some shows. I hated it. Just hated it. Nice people and all, but for me, it sucked elephant sperm through a crazy straw.
Thankfully a about a year later I got opportunity to jump back into magazine making, via the ego trip massive. Sacha had been talking to the Mass Appeal guys, Pat & Adrian, about taking over the editorial vision from ALIFE, so they hit me during the summer of 2002 and asked me to be Editor-In-Chief there. When I got there I assembled a rag-tag group of friends and armed them up (think Chopper in jail). They became fucking great and I work with them to this day (starting with Mary, Justin, Jack and then later Brendan, Tosh, and D.Scott). Our first issue was a split cover with Nas & Large Professor on one, and 50 Cent’s gun collection on the other. People liked it. 13 months later Emil Wilbekin offered me the Senior Editor gig at VIBE. That was cool. Me and Ben and Tosh made some really funny pages together and I got the opportunity to write some kinda memorable stories.
That said, two years later I was kinda itching for a new challenge, and Donnie, who had been at VIBE during both of my tenures and then expatriated to Complex, hit me to gauge my interest in coming aboard Marc’s baby. Seemed like a great opportunity, plus he and my dude ‘Drew Simon were there, so I jumped ship and joined them. A year later I was promoted to the top spot, slowly filled out their already extremely talented roster with my folks, and we made some magazines and then a website. Apparently some people like those, too. *Phew!*
So that’s pretty much it.
A bunch of crazy funny shit–and some painful fuck ups, too–got nestled in the cracks between the above highlights, but those are stories for another day. Without further ado, here’s 20 pretty important things I learned, usually the hard way due to my own trespasses, along the road to the riches:
“@UberFacts: Akon's full name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam"
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