My Biggest & Best Lessons of 2016

Me manifesting all this destiny into my life.

Me manifesting all this destiny into my life.

Welp, it's here: the final countdown to the shit-show we call 2016. For many this year was filled with back-to-back Meek Mill level L's. The election, Aleppo, losing Prince, Global Warming, Standing Rock the list can go on and on and on. Not to mention the earth shattering tragedies and misfortunes that struck all of our personal lives. 

Despite all the chaos, I must say that all of my good days outweighed my bad days and I can't complain. I'm a strong believer in the collective consciousness, and I know this year was a purging of sorts. In these times the same apathetic and aloof approach we've been taking just isn't going to cut it. The veil has been lifted, the ball is in our court. Red pill or blue pill, which do you chose? 

I choose action, art, and activism: and I'm here to share the lessons that finally seeped through my thick head. Enjoy! 

 

1. Done is better than perfect. 

OMG. Oh Em Gee. OHHH EMMM GEEE! Louder for the people in the back. When I tell you this has been a life-long struggle for me. As creatives, sometimes we get so stuck in our head. We worry about how people will receive our work, and if it's not up to the standard of Beyoncé we don't want to put it out. We fail to realize that Beyoncé has been becoming all her life. Your level of output is a culmination of your work. This means you HAVE to do the work first. So get out of your head and get to creating! Remember the idea is the easy part and work ethic beats talent every. single. time. 

 

2. Don't say maybe if you want to say no. 

Just don't do it. Spare yourself and everyone involved and be real from the jump. That little twinge of doubt will become a 10lbs lug of resentment in the pit of your stomach by the end of it all. No matter how lit something seems if it doesn't feel right for you, you won't be happy. Plus it will be even more awkward when you want to cut ties down the road. Be true to heart, and go where your instincts tell you, which leads me to my next point...

 

3. You always have a choice! 

You do. You really do. There is something so liberating about making a choice and shaping the life you want. Don't go through life feeling like things are happening to you. That's defeatist, lazy and honestly lame. Make a choice. Decide who you are, decide where you want to be, and execute. It's really that simple. We often go through life thinking that the universe will punish us for our decisions. In some instances, that's true if you do things out of malice or ego. However, what I've found is life molds around your choices. If you make the right choices, you'll get where you were going a lot faster than you thought. Who knows you might actually enjoy the ride. 

4. Kill the comparison.

Whew! This one right here. In this social media society, it's so hard to stay focused on yourself. FOMO and anxiety live in the back of our mind, and it's so hard not to get caught up in what someone else is doing. First things first, is YOU DON'T KNOW ANYBODY'S LIFE. We all are fighting battles people know nothing about. Never let someone's highlight reel distract you from YOUR process. It's the process that's going to launch you. The sooner you get that the quicker you'll find your own success. One thing I really had to learn this year was to stop looking at people as superior and inferior and start looking at them as equals who I can teach and learn from. Understand that out of the 50 bagillion trillion million people on this planet there is no one quite like you! 

5. All things take time. 

This is the holy grail of Lessons right here. Things take time. A lot of time. More time than you'd think. More time than you'd like. Ain't no way around it, it will happen when it's supposed to. I used to be SOOOO stressed about this. When will I find my mate, when will I find success, when will I find blah blah blah. The answer is when it's time, and it's God time, not our time. I know it feels hard and NEVER ending. But one day you'll be on the other side and wonder why you were ever so stressed. Every single experience I've had has made me into a harder, better, faster, stronger version of myself. I know these are skills that are going to help me sustain and thrive when I get to where I'm going.  So chill out a bit. Recognize the beauty in the journey, the struggle, the mistakes, and the failures. Appreciate the highs, learn from the lows, and always always always keep it moving! 

Happy New Years bunnys, drop your lessons in the comments below! 

XO, 

DotCom

 

 

I Miss The Old Kanye...

There is no question that Kanye West is one of the greatest musicians of our time. His musicality is unparalleled and he has taken the art form of sampling to a new level. He's a monolith, an icon, and If you say Kanye isn't one of the greatest you're a liar. 

With that being said...I must say I miss the old Kanye. I'll take Kanye West over Kanye Kardashian any day as I find his recent work null and void of the very thing we know and love him for, soul. The Life of Pablo was cute but no cigar. Every time I start to get into it I'm distracted by his lackluster lyrics or allusions to his "member", and it should be a crime the way he ruined Farther Stretch My Hands with the mention of bleached ass holes. It lacks replay value, a cohesive sound, and ultimately sounds like all the really good throw away tracks from every Kanye project ever.

Reflecting on TLOP, and how blah it felt got me thinking about Kanye's greatest moments. I thought long and hard about this and came up with my list of Kanye's most defining albums: his highest evolution lyrically, sonically, and artistically. 

Don't be offended this is all my opinion.  

The College Dropout- Kanye the Lyricist

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The College Dropout was Kanye's introduction to the world and arguably one of the most important albums in hip-hop history. Though he went on to create many bodies of excellent work ain't nothing like the first time. He let you know out the gate you were in for a ride, "If this is your first time hearing this, you are about to experience something so cold..." He was rapping like he wanted it, rapping like he was in cyphers with Talib and Mos, rapping like he was locked in a room doing five beats a day for three summers. The content was relatable, the features were fire (except that Common verse, we ain't forget!) and the skits were hilarious. It is the blueprint for the Kanye sound and his most soulful work to date.

"I blow past low class niggas with no cash, In the fo dot six bitch you can go ask. So when I go fast popo just laugh, right until I run of gas until I go crash"

 

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy- Kanye The Artist

This album is my favorite Kanye moment ever. This project was HIGHLY inspired and you can feel it. The art direction is heavy and the sounds are heavier. You feel like you're transported to another reality when this is on and it takes you on a ride filled with ups, downs, and the ultimate ascension with Lost In The World. He utilized talent in ways we hadn't seen like the choir voices on Dark Fantasy and Selita Banks as a mute bird. I'm convinced Rick Ross wrote his verse for Devil In a New Dress with a feather dipped in gold, and that guitar solo still brings me to my knees. What makes MBDTF Kanye's greatest moment artistically is the supreme vision behind it all. He made a film set to his album that was beautiful, engrossing, and thought-provoking. Despite his terrible acting skills he made #YeezyTaughtMe a worldwide phenomenon, he gave Nicki the verse of her life, and like it or not he immortalized Amber Rose forevah! 

Yeezus- Kanye The Producer

This album was hard for me to like and an even harder to admit I liked. Undoubtedly it was the end of Kanye West and the beginning of Kanye Kardashian, but this is Kanye's best work sonically. He did things with sounds I never thought possible. My soul almost jumped out of my body when I heard I'm In It, and tears came to me eyes when Blood On The Leaves followed directly after. He flexed all over this project and left no doubt that he is indeed a master musician. Yeezus sounds like a Broadway play in music form. The sounds are massive and energizing. Like TLOP it lacks replay value, but more so because the experience of listening to this album is exhausting. This is not a rapper's album this is a musician's album and Black Skinhead will go down in the history books as stadium music. 

So there you have it, my most honest opinion on Kanye's greatest moments as an artist, lyricist, and musician. Despite my feels on his personal choices, I gotta give credit where credit is due. His wit, grandiose, talent and skill combine to create a true artist. He's still the motherfucka I love to hate, but can't because I love what he makes...now ain't that about a bitch. 

 

Still miss the old Kanye though. 

 

XO,

DotCom

 

 

 

Don't Be Scurred: Harnessing The Moment

They'll come a time when that opportunity you prayed for is knocking at your front door. You'll have paid enough dues, fallen enough times, and made enough mistakes to be prepared for what you asked for. 

When that time comes you should be able to walk into your moment, but there is one thing that can and will hold you back if you let it...DOUBT. 

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Soon you'll start questioning if you're good enough. Are you really the best person for the job? Do you actually know what you're talking about.

Doubt seeps into your pores gets in you blood streams and circulates at a rapid pace. Suddenly your backing down, you're not speaking your mind, you're not making your informed suggestions. You're not proving your value and you're certainly not harnessing the moment. 

The thing about ascension is it's scary...as hell. It takes a lot of courage to be your best self. But the consequence for staying in your comfort zone is living under your greatness. You'll grow old and resentful with no one to blame but yourself. 

You didn't come this far to only come this far and you have to have the courage to go further. Don't let get fear in front of you. Don't let doubt cripple you. Listen to your gut and harness the moment. Some chances don't come around twice!

XO,

Dot Com

Album of the Week: The Love Below

In an age where EP's, mix tapes, and sound cloud links reign supreme it's hard to remember how great a true body of work can make you feel. 

How awesome it is to let an album live with you, get into your spirit, and become a part of your life. You strap your seat belt on for track one and begin to take the ride. You wait for your favorite tracks, anticipating the euphoric endorphin release but you know you cannot skip ahead. You respect the artist's artistry; respect the fact that the meticulously placed tracks are all a part of your curated experience. 

You ride the wave. Sing your favorites with all your might and listen intently to the ones you don't love so much. (Eventually you start to love those too.) If it's a good album it'll take you through the full range of emotions and by the end of it all you're left feeling one thing...FULL.

That's what Andre 3,000's The Love Below did for me this week. From Spread, to Prototype, to  She Lives In My Lap. This album is a classic. A gem. 

You'd be wise to let it live with you this week. 

-Dot Com

How Much DOES a Day Cost?

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Aimlessly, scrolling, Instagram. 

Those extra five minutes in the morning.

The constant checking of the group chat. 

They're all taxes paid to the procrastination gods. All the little harmless things we do to distract from the task at hand; harmless infractions develop into serious bad habits. We've all the heard the overused but not abused adage "Time is money." But what isn't stressed is that time is the real money. Money is a flimsy concept. It changes with the winds of wall street and waves with inflation. It comes and goes, and you can always make it back. But time, oh but time! Time is the most valuable currency. It cannot be repaid or regained once spent. You can't get it back and you don't know when it will run out. From time you can create empires. 

The price of procrastination is higher than you think. 

All taxes add up. Suddenly the day has gone by and you've done nothing you were supposed to. You avoided all the hard work and you can't even remember what you spent your day doing. It's a vicious cycle thats harder to break than Kanye's foot out his mouth. I know because I've been there. I was a prisoner to my fear of being great. Yes my FEAR of being great. It wasn't that I didn't know how to make good decisions and save myself from the stress that was lurking just around the river bend. It's just that I didn't want to do the work. I didn't want to put in the time, effort, and gusto it takes to be excellent. It was partly because I was lazy but mostly because I didn't know if I could handle living my best life. 

Many times it's not the work we fear, it's the results. 

Work is scary, and painful and uncomfortable. It is not instantly gratifying or microwaveable. It's where faith and hard work meet and the only way to get through it is to do it. The cost of not doing the work you pay in preparation. Opportunities come at you and slip out of your hands like butter. You've mastered missing the moment, but have you learned some chances don't come around twice? The silver lining is time is all your own. You spend it as you please. It is a choice to get up, get out and make something of the day. I am choosing to be great, the procrastination gods have pimped this butterfly for too long.

What will you do with your time? 

 

 

Raw Cells

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One overcast afternoon in downtown Los Angeles I stumbled across a woman with a super cute cart and awesome hair. She turned out to be Natasha James the owner of Raw Cells, a mobile vegan bakery.  

It may have been her aesthetic that attracted me, but it was her aura that drew me in. Chatting with Natasha was like catching up with an old friend. We discussed everything from her passion for her business to LA life over her snickerdoodles and quinoa crispies!

I took away more than delicious treats from our interaction. I left feeling inspired to pursue my own dreams and proud of Natasha for following hers. I had a bit more pep in my step. Maybe it was a boost from the vegan goodness, or maybe she sprinkles a bit of Black girl magic in her baked goods. You'll have to try it for yourself and see! 

You can find Raw Cells at rawcells.com, @rawcells on Instagram, and @rawcells on twitter.           

 

 

Monday Mantra's

Monday, the day we all love to hate. Its the start to a brand new work week and the bitter reminder that weekend is in fact over. 

Though Mondaze serve as everyone's favorite punching bag, it's important to remember this is also the first day of the week. It's a pivotal time for intention setting.

It's best to start out on a high vibration that can carry you through the week, instead of that defeated blah energy it feels so good to lean on. 

A good way to do that is to set a Monday Mantra.

A short and sweet reminder that you can handle anything thrown at you. Your mantra should reinforce an area in which you can use some improvement. For me that is procrastination. 

Therefore the mantra this Monday is...

 

If you don't do it now, then you'll have to do it later. 

This serves as a reminder not to  listen to that procrastinating devil on my shoulder. That same devil that  persuades me to leave all the work for future me, then tells future me to leave it for future me. Its a vicious cycle that doesn't play well for present me. 

 

If you don't do it now, then you'll have to do it later, and it wont be easy or breezy later. The time is always now.

 

Happy Monday!

XO

-Dot Com