Bougie: Keep Friends Close and Critics Closer

“Do you really have the expertise to charge that?”

“What makes you think people will pay those prices?”

“I wouldn’t pay that amount for what you do.”

“I’ve priced the same service, from someone with more name recognition, and it was less than half of what you’re asking.”

Ouch. These pronouncements were delivered by my good friend and colleague after I announced my increased rates for my fledgling business. Because my friend is in a related industry and in the position to recommend my services to clients (and actually got me my first gig!), her words carried more weight than casual observances.

In fact, her comments were exact replicas of ones I had said to my very own self, at the outset of my journey to uplevel my business and earn what I’m worth. Now, coming back to me from an industry professional, they sounded all the more plausible.

It was something of a shock to have my plans shot down in such a way. But I resolved to turn the situation into a learning experience and use it for my gain.

As you move forward in your pursuit of the finer things and discuss your plans and goals, you’ll come across what I call “The Credible Critic.” These are people whose opinions you value, who are knowledgeable in your industry, whose words have the ring of truth.

Usually, this is where you’d get the advice to simply ignore them, or to cut them out of your life, or to stop talking about your plans. Let me explain why you should do the opposite of all three:

Don’t Ignore, Analyze
Think of the Credible Critic’s words as a sneak preview of future objections. If you don’t yet have solid responses to their concerns, sincerely thank them for providing you with a blueprint of questions you’ll need to develop the best answers to.

Other people who learn about your ideas will have these same questions, and you’ll come out ahead to already be prepared for them. Think of it as market research.

Also, when you have a narrowly defined market, your Credible Critic may not be a part of your demographic. When you go to position yourself in the marketplace, your messaging will be much more targeted and your conversations with people who are actually slated to need your services or product.

Don’t Remove, Observe

If you admire or look up to your Credible Critic, don’t cut them out of your life. Keep them around to study how they’ve become successful. Ask yourself, what is it about this person that makes me respect them and take their words as truth? Is it their confidence? The way they position their
accomplishments? Examine the source of their credibility. Mine those factors to add to your own personal presentation, so that your pronouncements have just as much weight.

Don’t Stop Sharing, Stop Caring

We’ve all heard “don’t talk about it, be about it.” We might hold our plans and goals close to our vests so we don’t have to hear anyone’s mouth. The embarrassment of making grandiose announcements that amount to nothing is enough to keep our lips zipped when it comes to our dreams of betterment.

But I’ve seen personally how talking about your dreams brings them to life. Scripture says the power of life and death is in the tongue. When I moved to Atlanta from Detroit, it started with a decision that I began to tell everyone. I was so in the practice of saying “I’m moving to Atlanta,” that I announced it to an acquaintance at my class reunion who already lived there. She was integral in helping me secure somewhere to live and a job when I arrived.

Ironically, because I talked about the process of writing my book so knowledgably (before it was even done), I was tapped to collaborate on another book-writing project—before my book was even finished. When you keep mum about your plans and their progress, true, critics can’t shoot down your dreams. But angels also can’t find ways to help you! Heed
the saying “a closed mouth don’t get fed.”

But make sure when you tell people about your plans, you detach from the outcome. Maybe they’re someone who can assist you. Maybe they’re a detractor. Either way, you’re going to be moving forward with your plans—no matter what.

Maybe you have what it takes. Maybe you don’t. My motto is “let’s find out!”

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Stray Notions: no.5

Our random thoughts about random things.

WHO is more upset, Jets fans or Bears fans?

WHAT will Keith Olbermann do now that he’s left MSNBC?

WHEN will there be POSITIVE news out of Hati?

WHERE are Lords of the Underground?

HOW come it seems like Republicans NEVER want to do anything for poor or regular folks?

WHY doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?

DO old school basketball legends ever sit back and wonder how much they coulda got payed if they were playing now?

IF you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results. -George S. Patton

WONDER how long is it going to take for the people behind Americn Idol bring in someone to be the NEW Simon Cowell? (Dame Dash anyone?)

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Hip Hop Affirmations – Are You in the Right Place?

“How could you falter
when you’re the rock of Gibraltar;
I had to get off the boat so I could walk on water.”

Diamonds from Sierra Leone (REMIX) by Kanye West

Do you belong? Have you ever walked into a class or meeting, took a seat only to realize you were in the wrong place? Did you have the guts to get up even though all eyes would be on you?

Affirmation of the Day:
I am ready to take the big steps needed to succeed.

Question of the Day:
What boat do you need to step off of?

Action of the Day:
Get off the boat

Run the Point; from where you are, with what you have!

Your Ambassador,
Mike Bruny

This is just a weekly taste of Hip Hop Affirmations. If you want a daily dose visit Hip Hop and get each and every day started right.

The Ambassador Mike Bruny is a life coach and author of “Move the Crowd: 30 Days of Hip Hop Affirmations to Change Your Life.” availible now on

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Audio Session – Souls of Mischief – Montezuma’s Revenge (album)

New CD from rap vets still ridin to infinity

From the groups website

Souls of Mischief is an alternative hip hop group from Oakland, California, that is also part of the hip hop collective, Hieroglyphics and is composed of emcees A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai.

The group informally formed in high school before making their major-label debut on Jive Records with their well-received album 93 ’til Infinity, in 1993. In January 1998, their début was named one of the Top 100 Rap albums by The Source magazine. The group stayed with Jive for one more album, 1995’s No Man’s Land, before being released from the label during that same year.

Following the release of the group from its major-label contract with Jive, the group officially formed the alternative hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics, with emcees Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Casual, Pep Love, Jaybiz, and producer Domino. The group participated as full members in both Hieroglyphics’ studio albums: 1998’s 3rd Eye Vision, and 2003’s Full Circle. The group has released two albums on the Hiero’s self-owned independent label, Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings, 1999’s Focus, and 2000’s Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution.

The group recently released their first album in almost ten years Montezuma’s Revenge featuring production from the legendary Prince Paul (De La Soul, Stetsasonic) to stellar reviews.

Go here for more info and product from the entire Heiro Crew

Just a reminder: these are not the complete songs, just 90-second clips so you can get a feel for the music. If you like what you hear, buy the CD. If we want good hip hop to flourish, we’ve gotta support the artists.

Music Playlist at

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Words from the Souls

Check this interview the Souls of Mischief did right befor the release of Montezuma’s Revenge

by ALex Dwyer for HipHopDx

In a musical terrain where fans are reduced to digits on a Facebook page, the emphasis on actual face-to-face supporter acquisition has plummeted. Pictures and signed apparel are trumped by @ replies on a Twitter feed and RTs following a performance. Up and coming artists dip out on studio sessions to make sure their follower and friends count stays above one to one.
Who better to clap on the lights of reality than a quartet of emcees who have their hard-earned fan base to thank for their fully stocked cabinets and the three-eyed symbol etched tee shirts on their backs? Thanks to their dedication to these fans, Souls of Mischief are 16 years deep into infinity.
Mostly devoid of any sort of mainstream success since 1993, Tajai, A-Plus, Opio and Phesto D epitomize the show-by-show, record-by-record tactic that is prescribed by their career’s longevity. For their first album in almost a decade, the original group within the greater Hieroglyphics constituency brought Stetsasonic, Gravediggaz, and De La Soul production wizard Prince Paul into their close-knit fold.
Soul’s trademark lighthearted realism, steady rocking, and non-stop touring has branded them as certified veterans of underground Hip Hop. With the Montezuma’s Revenge release in full effect, A-Plus, Tajai and Opio spoke to HipHopDX on what it takes to survive in a group, in Oakland and in Hip Hop. 
HipHopDX: Montezuma’s Revenge is out, your first album in years. What do you think of how it turned out and the overall response to it?

Opio: It’s been a long time coming. Souls of Mischief have been out so much on tour, doing records with Hiero and our own solo records but the opportunity to work with Prince Paul, he’s an architect. Working with that dude was a dream come true. People who respect the real foundation of Hip Hop are showing love for this record. We are blessed right now.
DX: Did you find that Prince Paul had a big influence on how you guys recorded this album? I noticed that the overall sound of the album was more nuanced than what I was used to hearing from Souls of Mischief.

Tajai: I’m working with one of the best producers in the music game. To have a dude whose records have been so much of a foundation to how we even got to the point where were at, all in a house together, chillin’, playing beats, making songs, that brings out a whole different dimension. I got A-Plus, Opio, Dominio, these are in house production dudes who got hits, slappers. Then you got Prince Paul and these dudes are all living in the same house. We’re living in the same house making music. Music is organic right, so just being there and living with it and letting it grow, that’s how it came out. It was more of living together and we went over a lot of beats.


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Curing The Post-MLK Hangover

Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Make it a double!"

Whoooo! MLK Day at casa de GrownHeadz is always a busy event. First the women’s shelter, then a bit o’ culture at the African American museum, and finally wrapping up with a candle light vigil for HIV awareness and prevention.

Or at least, that’s what we always imagine we’ll do. The reality of the day is more like this: Go to work. Grumble at work that this is a FEDERAL holiday after all, and you shouldn’t have to be here. Celebrate the legacy of the civil rights pioneer at TGIFridays (half-off drink specials in no way cheapen the solemnity of the occasion). Come home, watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother, sleep. Face the next day with a side of regret.

But we’ve found a way to cure yourself of the MLK Day-After Blues. So what if you didn’t paint a school, like the Obamas did? Boo-hoo, Habitat for Humanity escaped the deathtrap flooring you’d have installed in some innocent family’s house. Keeping your gross incompetence to yourself probably saved lives. But you still feel like shit in the morning, seeing the glow of giving back on everyone else’s faces. Well, we’ve got a solution.

Just like Kwanzaa provides an extra week to get out late Christmas presents under the guise of cultural pride, MLK Week would let you slide on the charitable work at least until the weekend, when it doesn’t interfere with happy hour or Gossip Girl or whatever you did Monday. You still show you care, you just care about convenience too. And if it’s one thing the Civil Rights Movement did, it was make black people’s lives more convenient.

To quote our man Ricky Gervais, you’re welcome.

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3 Mobile Apps You Need To Try Now

mobile appsAs we dawn on a new decade, it’s time for grownheadz to do something new. With that in mind, here are the top 3 apps you should try on your smart phone this year.

These tools have been around for a while, but maybe you didn’t see the point when you first heard about them, or didn’t have the phone to try them out.
Well, no more excuses. By now, you’ve already upgraded to a smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry, Windows 7 or any phone running Android), and it’s time to get the most out of it. If you haven’t yet (what are you waiting for?), here’s something to look forward to when you do upgrade:

Foursquare is a service that allows you to ‘check-in’ through your phone when you are at a physical location.

Why you should try it: More and more businesses are starting to get it, and offer special deals when you check in. I’ve gotten free cups of coffee, discounts and coupons by using FourSquare. You can also leave comments and read other people’s comments about what they did and didn’t like about a joint. Additionally, it’s a great way to prove that you and your homies really did go to IHOP after the club.

What you worried about? Yes, you are telling people where you are, including the nefarious shadow government plotting your downfall, but they can track you anyway through your phone if they really want to — and really, the shadow government doesn’t care about your late night trips to IHOP anyway (…or do they!!??!).

Twitter: It’s a 140 character-limited messaging service that asks one simple question — “What’s happening?”

Why you should try it: While twitter is great for a lot of things, more and more people are using it to report, see, and check what other people think about real-time breaking news. If you think TV is fast, Twitter is 100 times faster. While Twitter can get it right as often as they get it wrong (No, Bill Cosby is not dead, dammit), they do get it first.

What you worried about? What can you possibly say in 140 characters? All you need to, actually. There have been tests to prove that everything that needs to be said can be distilled down to the space you’d use to write a message on a postcard, which is about 140 characters.

Don’t believe it? Here is The Usual Suspects in less than 140 characters: Verbal Kent is lying, he is Kaiser Souze — there.

Google: You know Google…or do you?

Why you should try it: When you think of Google, you usually think of the search engine, but Google’s suite of applications are awesome and all free. Full disclosure: I drink the Google kool-aid, if Google made a sandwich I’d be the first in line. You’ve been warned.

The Google suite of products include: Google Maps, which is GPS enabled for turn by turn directions. No more getting lost.  Goggles: Snap a picture of an object or place, and Goggles identifies it and gives you more information on what it is. And of course, let’s not forget Gmail. There are a bunch of others, but these will start you off.

What you worried about? Give in and bow down to your Google overlords, as you hand over even more of your private information.

In conclusion, while there are many things you could be using your phone for, like actually making a call, there is another world out there that needs exploring and the smart phone is the key.

What other mobile phone apps should we be using? Let us know in the comments.

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Grownhead Check:111 – 114

Grownheadz is a community of lovers of hip hop who came up in the Golden Age through the Renaissance, and does not condone discrimination against young bucks, old heads or the other man. But you can only truly call yourself a grownhead IF…

111)… 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed
112)…you remember when Lauryn Hill could do a show without crying, praying or being 4 hours late and it didn’t cost $75 either (DAMN)
113)…on New Year’s Eve you went to bed…BEFORE the new year.
114)…you know even in death, Teena Marie’s hood pass goes deeper than Robin Thicke’s EVER will (R.I.P Teena we’ll miss you)

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