Tag Archives: life

The American C.R.E.A.M. Series (Part Four)

on the road

Periodically, Bonus Cut writer Victor Anderson will be sharing his American C.R.E.A.M. Series, a story where hip-hop is just the tip of the iceberg.

…continued from part three. Click here for part two. Click here for part one.

By: Victor Anderson    

My last day at The Bloch started off fairly normal. My coffee was spiked with rum and I studied a Jean-Luc Godard film. A Francois Truffaut flick soon followed and as you could tell I had a thing for French films in the morning. Once I finally ventured out of my motel room, the blinding sunbeams forced me to rush back inside for some protective wear. I made my way down the steps to visit the new tenant of Room 7; we chain smoked spliffs near The Bloch Pool the night before. He let me in and I received flashbacks from the night I had with Drew, the Floridian botanist. I wondered if her operation up north was going as planned. Anyway, Jeffery Eaton was now occupying the room. He was in his mid-thirties; he had a motorcycle and a lisp. Jeff was in town visiting his sister and her family but she didn’t trust him sleeping around his niece’s because he was a registered sex offender. But he wasn’t a child molester; he just had a small bladder and decided to piss on the wrong elementary school some years ago.

So, I tag along to run errands with him because I had never ridden on a motorcycle before. I ride bitch on his chopper and we head to his old friend’s apartment. I wait outside and take a few swigs from my flask. For the next two hours this became routine because Jeff hadn’t been back home in some years. I never saw these friends of his because I always got stuck outside and I was very disappointed when I felt the last drop of rum hit my tongue. I almost forgot that the contents of my flask actually had side effects until the buzz hit me. I was rather content from then on. Jeff always emerged from the house buckling his belt while perspiring profusely. I was jealous that he didn’t invite me in to meet these ladies, but whatever. We left behind a cloud of smoke at each place and roared down the road towards who-knows-where.

We decided to stop and get some grub. I needed it the most because my drunk was getting out of hand. I scarfed down the cheesiest burger and the saltiest fries and loved it. Next was a visit to his sister, Yelly. After riding all the way through town we arrived at her small suburban house. She and her husband came out to greet us with their two toddler daughters standing next to them as if they were straight out of a Hallmark commercial. Jeff hopped off of his bike to run and grab his nieces and they had no idea who he was. I was introduced as a friend and we went inside for lemonade. They had a rather typical home and we made ourselves comfortable in the living room. The kids were in the backyard playing as we, the adults, indulged in forgettable conversation. Jeff caught up with his sister as her husband, Lee, asked me about school. I told him that I went to school to become a professional student, but I flunked out. I think he got the joke, but he soon got up to go somewhere else in the house. Without me even noticing, Jeff had disappeared too and I was stuck with his sister. We sat in silence until the stalest of small talk occurred. I excused myself to find the restroom and she followed to provide directions.

For nearly a minute I experienced the feeling of pure ecstasy until I was suddenly interrupted. I jolted and almost covered their toilet seat in urine when I heard the ugliest scream I had ever heard. It now made sense why they called her Yelly. She was shouting and cursing at both Jeff and Lee after she caught them in the kid’s bedroom. Jeff came bolting down the steps wiping his mouth and Lee tumbled down the steps because his pants were at his ankles. I went into their pantry closet and stuffed my pockets with a bunch of cookies and followed Jeff out of the house. Yelly stood on her front porch yelling about how she never wanted to see Jeff again and to never come back into her life. I was reluctant to ride bitch on his bike after knowing his sexual orientation, but I had no choice. We got the fuck out of there and headed back to The Bloch.

After parking his baby, Jeff explained that Yelly stole Lee from him and his only reason for visiting was to get even and to let her know that she encroached on his territory. What a fucked up individual, this guy and I wanted nothing to do with him. It was mainly the shit-eating grin he wore that truly disgusted me. He asked if I wanted to smoke a spliff as I walked away but I flicked him off and called him a selfish, vindictive, evil bastard. He didn’t seem to care as he shrugged and went back into his room.

I was walking up the steps back to my room when I saw Talia’s car pull into the parking lot. She emerged in her typical attire as a man exited his parked car at the same time. He wore a trench coat, shades and had a boring haircut. If the movies taught me anything, this guy was either a government agent or a streaker. She didn’t notice him following her but I watched from the balcony. She was approached at the bottom of the stairs; he asked her name. She gave him a fake name but he was not fooled. He went on to reveal a bunch of information about her. She asked who he was and he asked her to come with him. She refused and demanded that he tell her what this was about.

“Do you know a Mr. Douglass Dupree?”

She shakes her head.

“Welp, he knows you and claims that you, Talia Leslie, seduced him and stole his wallet, which contained a hefty amount of cash and credit cards. He hired me to investigate and find you. All he wants is what you stole from him.”

She denied the allegations.

“Are you saying that these statements aren’t true, Ms. Leslie?”

“Fuck you and Douglass Dupree. Do you know how much his salary is a year? These wealthy bankers wipe their asses with hundred dollar bills.”

“It’s a matter of principle, Ms. Leslie. It wasn’t yours to take and I don’t think that Mr. Dupree enjoyed the little ruse that you pulled on him. Now, enough with this dialogue, you’ve been caught red handed and you must cooperate or else you will be forced to–.”

“Shut up! You have no proof of anything.”

“Oh, don’t I? Well, what about Mr. Charles Reeves, from last night? What about Mr. Earnest Walker from the night before? Oh, I can’t forget about Ms. Wanda Isley from the night before that! Do you still think that I have no proof, Ms. Leslie?”

She stands still with a frustrated look on her face and looked down to notice that her boot was untied. She looked at the investigator and he nodded to allow her to tie her boot. She bent down and quickly pulled a snub nose revolver from her boot and aimed it at him. She demanded he not move and he obliged, calmly standing still. He handed over his gun after she told him to; she tossed it. She was so fierce. He did the same with his cellphone. With the gun still aimed at him, she smashed the phone with her boot. Next was his wallet but this time when he handed it to her, he knocked the gun out of her hand and gut checked her. She gasped for air and he casually strolled toward his tossed piece. He slowly bent down to pick up his weapon. He then inspected it for scratches and brushed it off. He stood back up and faced Talia but to his surprise, I was standing there with her revolver aimed at his head.

“Drop it, buster.”

He did.

“Now, slowly take out your handcuffs and cuff your wrist.”

He did as I said.

“Now, slowly walk over to the stairwell railing and cuff yourself to it.”

He continued to cooperate.

Then Talia walked up to him and knuckle punched him in the face as hard as she could.

“Now, give the keys to the cuffs to Talia. Oh, and give her your car keys while you’re at it.”

He was reluctant until I repeated myself with authority.

I ask Talia for his wallet and I read his name.

“Alright, Mr. Nicholas Mingus, you stay put and don’t you or Douglass Dupree dare come near Talia again. If you do, some bad things are gonna happen to you. Are we clear?”

He nods. Talia gets in his face and stares him dead in his eye. She pats him down for spare weapons and he was clean. She goes on a tangent about how the rich are greedy and how society bent her over and fucked her in the ass with student loans, unaffordable health care and a decrease in job opportunities.

“Douglass Dupree won’t miss the few thousand that I stole from him and he will never understand the constant struggle that the average American will have to withstand because he is a privileged asshole and always has been and always will be. He hired a private investigator for shits and giggles while people are out here starving, dying, living off of food stamps, and surviving from paycheck to paycheck.” She spits at his feet. “Now, if you value the life of your family, this incident stays between us and Mr. Dupree. You got that, Mingus?”

He nodded with a blank expression and sank to the ground while still clinging to the stairwell railing. Curly came outside to see what was going on and I looked back to see him and gave him a nod; he knew it was farewell. I was now involved in whatever it was Talia was mixed up with. She thanked me for saving her and claimed that she had to flee and head west. I wanted nothing more than to go to Hollywood, so I asked if I could tag along. I told her that I had money and she didn’t give it a second thought. We piled into her navy blue Camry and hit the road. I haven’t been back to The Bloch Motel since that day.

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The Local Hip-Hop Scene and Its Importance in Our World


Gus’ Thought

This past week I was fortunate enough to attend a show at Mac’s Bar in Lansing, Michigan with fellow Bonus Cut writer Justin Cook. The show featured Lansing area artists D Fraze, L Soul, and James Gardin (F.K.A. P.H.I.L.T.H.Y). The headliner was a duo from Indiana known as The Pro Letarians whose music features many different samples from famous artists such as James Brown and The Beatles. As we walked in, L Soul was killing it on the mic. He was very impressive and his rhymes were audible and cut through to the crowd. It will be exciting to see his abilities as an MC and on-stage persona improve.

Following L Soul was James Gardin, member of the Detroit/Lansing hip-hop collective known as BLAT! Pack. This was a big show for James as it was his last official show going by his MC name P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. I was struck by the significance of this as so much of an MC’s identity is wrapped up in his/her name. Throughout his set, I was impressed with James’ presence and message as an MC. Off the stage he is an approachable down to earth person, and while on stage, his easy going fun loving personality is even more apparent. Within the first five minutes of his performance, I was drawn in by the overall positivity embedded within his music.

Early on in the performance he asked the crowd if they had dreams and/or goals they were striving to achieve. From there he did his song “Wake Up Sleepyhead,” that urges people not to “sleep” on themselves and to be confident in their skills, passions and goals. This is such an important concept to rap about in the face of all the poverty, injustice and prejudice in the United States but also around the world. Later in the show he had the crowd reach as high as they could. Most of the crowd played along, raising their arms to the ceiling. As we put our arms down, he had us put our arms up a second time. We all reached substantially higher, really stretching out. James pointed out that nobody had actually reached as high as they could the first time. He related this scenario to our lives and proposed that we should always strive to push ourselves and be the best we can be.


The Pro Letarians

In the United States there is news of hardship and struggle everyday. There are a great number of people in this country that legitimately struggle to make ends meet and must fight for every penny to keep their families fed. In schools, students are continually pushed into what education experts call the “Achievement Gap” as the structure of school resembles that of a factory. In the past year alone there have been multiple shootings, sexual assaults, suicides, house foreclosures, hate crimes and even a bombing. Beyond this, the machine that is popular culture presents an image of progress that is tremendously status quo. It gets to a point where it can feel that there is nothing good happening. This is where I believe hip-hop becomes so important. MCs are able to point out the inconsistencies within our society in such a poetic and creative way that it becomes impossible not to listen and ultimately become conscious. With James’ set, it was impossible not to feel motivated and happy to be alive. To have an MC telling me from the stage to believe in myself and follow my dreams was refreshing and as resistant to the system as it gets. With that in mind, this is so important for students to hear as there is so much agency embedded within this message.

I went to Mac’s Bar to see a hip-hop show, unsure of what to expect. I left the show feeling extremely motivated and ready to pursue my passions. This was in large part due to James Gardin’s set as he was able to communicate positivity, hope and love all the while demonstrating his natural abilities as an MC. As a resident of the Lansing area, it was exciting to see quality hip-hop happening in Lansing. If you aren’t up on James Gardin and the BLAT! Pack you really should be.

Justin’s Thought

Last week, Gus Navarro and I attended a show at Mac’s Bar. He gave me the scoop a few nights before, and I was excited to see some MCs from the great state of Michigan. The concert highlighted local talent, featuring artists D Fraze, L Soul and James Gardin (P.H.I.L.T.H.Y), with a headliner hailing from Indiana, The Pro Letarians.

We arrived a little late, but were able to catch the tail end of L Soul rocking the mic in white threads; the man literally appeared to glow. His flow was crisp, clear and lethal. Not only was his stage presence other-worldly, the beats were mesmerizing. Instantly, I fell into the groove—body overtaken by the music. He was backed by a group of hype-men, adding a lighthearted feel to the whole performance. All in all, it was great way to begin the night.

Next, James Gardin, member of the Detroit/Lansing hip-hop collective known as BLAT! Pack, was scheduled to perform. During his introduction, it was stated that “P.H.I.L.T.H.Y” (James’ stage name) would be put to death. And what a beautiful death it was: James Gardin took the stage and set the mood just right. Most of the crowd stood still, scattered throughout the venue, but James drew us in and got our feet moving. He radiated love and positivity, yet remained calm and cool. A few songs in, he decided to change up his set list and perform some unexpected tunes. He called three of his friends on stage, who backed him with some soulful harmonies. This was one of my favorite moments of the show. Everyone on stage was smiling, laughing and just loving every moment of the performance—that’s what live hip-hop is all about.

The carefree attitude continued throughout James’ show. At one point, he needed two audience members for some help. It just so happened that two people had birthdays that day, so James gave them both a b-day freestyle. He started pretty strong, but soon, his verses off the dome became a silly element added to the night—James was being goofy and the crowd loved it, being goofy in return. After, I had the pleasure to talk with James, and a few other members of BLAT! Pack. They were all calm and collected beings. We spoke about hip-hop, community, life and future events. The BLAT! Pack will be part of a rap festival this weekend in Lansing (The Lansing Hip-Hop Festival), and will also perform before Ludacris at the Common Ground Music Festival, July 14.


L Soul

I really enjoyed my time that night, but one thing did bother me: the lack of people. Amazing hip-hop is happening in my city, and most people do not even realize it. Local art movements are essential in reforming local culture, and we must all do our job to support them. What James Gardin and BLAT! Pack represent is a movement from within, something we all must internalize. We must bring our creativity and talents together, support one another and change the way we live every step of the way. With art and imagination, we can rebuild cities like Lansing and Detroit—we just need to help by supporting local talent.

I wish more people could have seen the death of “P.H.I.L.T.H.Y” and feel the resurrection of James Gardin. It was some real shit; and just the symbolism of shedding a persona, an extension of the ego, sends chills through my veins. Why would we want to be anyone but who we are? Why does society make us ashamed and guilty for who we were born to be? We really got to start believing, dreaming, putting faith in ourselves and the world around. Because if we can’t, what will we have left? Everyday it seems like politicians are getting crazier and crueler. When will it stop? I believe, it’s when we let go, drop our “P.H.I.L.T.H.Y.”, and be who we are. This is when we are ready to embrace life and take back the power, from bottom up. We have to come together, support local arts and re-imagine our world with love.

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Organizations That Matter: Impact 89FM and The Vibe


By: Daniel Hodgman

Growing up and living in East Lansing, Michigan for 22 years has shaped me more than I can imagine, and for that I’m thankful. As a kid among thousands, I have grown as close to the city as I possibly could have, and although I’m no longer a Michigan resident, East Lansing will remain close to my heart until the end of days.

For those readers who aren’t familiar with the area, East Lansing is a suburban city located due east of Lansing, Michigan’s capital. It’s home to Michigan State University, which stands on the south side of Grand River Ave., a tree-lined major road that divides the neighborhoods from the campus and also connects Lansing to Detroit. The main drag of East Lansing consists of college shops and restaurants, and despite the consistent shuffling of businesses (the old Taco Bell location WILL NEVER hold a company for more than a year; RIP Barnes & Noble), it serves as the epicenter to events like The Great Lakes Folk Festival, The Art Festival and Michigan State’s homecoming parade. Moreover, East Lansing’s diverse population and mix of residents, teachers and students provides a unique and fundamentally sound environment for anyone.

Along with a good chunk of my friends and residents of the Lansing area, I’ve seen things come and go, especially in the music scene. Some of the first records I bought were at Tower Records on Grand River and CD Warehouse on Abbot; my first local show was in middle school at The Temple Club, a venue that brought in acts like KRS-One, Story of the Year and Mustard Plug; and one of the first articles I ever wrote in college targeted Small Planet and its resurgence in Chandler Crossings and its eventual closing. While all of those venues are no longer a part of the Lansing area, new ones have surfaced to fill the gaps.

Most important about all of this however is that despite some venues’ fall, there are organizations and companies that have been here from the beginning. One of these is The Impact.


Impact 89FM is Michigan State’s student-run radio station that broadcasts on 88.9FM and streams online. It has been named “College Radio Station of the Year” 11 times by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, and has also been nominated by CMJ and mtvU.

During the day, the station shares the latest alternative, indie and rock music along with old cuts and classic tracks. Cuts like “The Top Five at Five” make daytime listening worthwhile because not only does the station share music with listeners, it actively seeks out to include them by giving away prizes and concert tickets. During the evening The Impact switches gears and provides listeners with speciality shows such as Sit or Spin, Accidental Blues and The Asian Invasion. One of The Impact’s speciality shows is The Vibe (FKA The Cultural Vibe), a program that has not only stood the test of time, but has challenged its listeners to dig into crates for raw and important hip-hop cuts.


On Saturday’s from 8pm to midnight, The Impact presents The Vibe, a speciality show that features hip-hop, soul and funk  in grand fashion. Highlighting both mainstream and underground songs that matter, DJ Riddle does an excellent job at showcasing the diversity and message hip-hop brings all while retaining flair on the radio. Unlike other hip-hop stations you’ll hear, The Vibe shares actual hip-hop, instead of the greased up gloss that parades the mainstream media. And this right here is why The Vibe and programs like it are important to our society.

These days it’s become increasingly evident that national media and news outlets have opted to go for extreme bias instead of presenting a clear-cut path of righteousness down the middle. In fact, its come to the point where companies like Fox News, CNN and CNBC have to pick sides as they present news, instead of reporting on the real. In addition to this, no matter what stance these companies take, they still present stories without fully giving us all of the evidence. To me, the news is slowly turning into the digestive slime our politics has slowly become. With national radio stations it has become the same thing. We see the same stuff get churned in and out every hour on the hour, and it’s a one-sided affair. They will give you one side, but you sure as hell won’t hear the other.

So how does all of this play out with hip-hop and Michigan and The Impact and The Vibe? Well, because everything is intertwined and everything is cyclical, and the fact remains that if there are still programs and organizations like The Vibe and The Impact around the country, then there’s still hope for truth. What both The Vibe and The Impact present is more than just good music; they shower us with content from all sides, further enriching our lives with everything from everywhere, and the fact that they’ve stood the test of time is a testament to the notion that the good always outweighs the bad.

Last Saturday, Bonus Cut co-creator Gus Navarro was lucky enough to sit down with DJ Riddle for a few hours during The Vibe and discuss hip-hop with him face-to-face. As a longtime fan of the program it’s an honor for Bonus Cut to interact with The Vibe, and it’s a wonder why there aren’t more programs like it.

Simply reading and writing this isn’t enough, and it’s important that when we actively seek out information and news we do it so we’re presented with all of the facts. Furthermore, it’s important that we continue to explore all realms of each story so that we know the truth from all sides. Like The Vibe, a program that gives us everything from mainstream to underground, we can better ourselves by spreading the full picture.

You can visit Impact 89FM’s website and radio stream here.

For more information on The Vibe click here.

For more organizations and friends of Bonus Cut click here.

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The American C.R.E.A.M. Series (Part Two)

Photo credit: Carlos Nunez

Photo credit: Carlos Nunez

Periodically, Bonus Cut writer Victor Anderson will be sharing his American C.R.E.A.M. Series, a story where hip-hop is just the tip of the iceberg.

…continued from Chapter One: The Bloch Motel

Three days had passed since I first laid eyes on the intriguing creature named Talia. She had moved in to the room next to mine, Room 11. I couldn’t help but wonder who she was and why she was there. There was only room in this motel for one long lasting tenant and that was me. I knew my reasons for staying at The Bloch but what could her excuse be? Was she running from something or hiding out? It was hard to say because her visiting hours to Room 11 were random and nearly unpredictable.

During the day she was comfortably clothed in band t-shirts, tank tops, denim jeans and sneakers. At night it was a different story. She was dolled up and was dressed to impress.

I’m sure to her my existence was as unknown as an undiscovered species in an arctic jungle, but I didn’t mind, I enjoyed being the man behind the two-way mirror. But I knew one day I wouldn’t be able to settle for just being the observer, I needed to take action and fast because I had no clue how long she was planning on sticking around. But as often as I dreamt about our potential interaction, I was not prepared for what was to come.

I think it was the second day of Talia staying there when I went down to the manager’s office to ask him a few questions about her. He went by the name of Curly and he was a rather plump individual with a certain bubbliness about him. We shared a few moments together throughout my first week at the motel; getting coffee and paying nightly visits to the local strip joint up the road. He seemed to like me because he was always buying me drinks and dances. He wanted to get me laid, so anytime an attractive young lady would check into the motel, he would text me their name and room number. Now that I think about it, Curly must have been the clever mastermind behind Talia’s room assignment.

Anyways, I’m chatting with Curly asking him what she’s like and all I really got out of him was that she was pretty quiet but possessed a set of flirtatious eyes. “If only I was 20 years younger and a few pounds lighter, I would’ve pursued that pudding pop,” he would say. He also mentioned that she seemed a bit anxious and happened to be a bit on the sarcastic side.

Curly did his best to help me understand her but if I wanted to get to know this character, I’d have to do it myself. Unfortunately, she was not around at this point during the evening.

Suddenly, we were interrupted by the rapid mashing of the bell on the check-in counter. Curly shouted from his office to notify the new tenant that he was on his way but he soon changed his tone and agitated facial expression half-way out of the door when he notice the woman in front of the counter. She happened to be a tan, young, attractive blonde from Florida and was dressed accordingly. Curly peeked back into his office only to deliver me a wink, signaling that she was some sort of hottie. “How can I cater to your needs, ma’am,” he spurted out as he assumed his position behind the counter.

I exited Curly’s office only to pass this short-haired bleach blonde whose elbows were resting on the counter. The curvature from her back to her ass was impeccable. Her malty pupils met mine and I bashfully averted my eyes to the displeasing carpet. I glanced back for one more peek before I left. She noticed and responded with a shy grin. I’m sure Curly put in a good word for me so I could gamble that the cards might be in my favor on this one. I posted up outside of the office to smoke a cigarette and found myself enjoying the chilled breeze. I was preparing for my possible encounter with Florida by trying my best to embody my inner Cary Grant. His cunning charm and wittiness is definitely how he got the ladies in the pictures, so I was sure it would work for me.

Florida, or Drew as she liked to be called, stepped from the office into the outside air with her round Samsonite suitcase in one hand and her room key in the other. These room keys had large diamond shaped key chains attached to them with the room number imprinted on it. Hers was 7. She kindly greeted me and proceeded to leave distance between us until I caught up with her and offered to carry her key. She thought I was going to say bag and then giggled at my lame attempts at a joke. She invited me in and I would’ve been a fool to refuse. She wasted no time and immediately began to jump on the bed as if it was a trampoline. I stood there watching and laughing because I didn’t know what else to do. I was really concerned that if I joined the fun, the bed would collapse and I don’t think Curly would’ve been able to afford it. Soon she collapsed onto the mattress and admitted that this was one of her rituals when entering any bedroom.

Her position on the bed was similar to that of a pinup model. As she spoke, I admired her beach-surfer body and was distracted by the golden thighs that sprouted from her cut-off jeans. She had my attention and I was soon invited to join her on the bed. I made no moves but I was putting in the ground work through general conversation about her whereabouts.

Strangely, she was on her way to British Columbia, Canada to begin a grow operation with a gentleman she had met online. She was the most attractive botanist that I had ever seen. She had been growing marijuana since the age of 16 after living with her drug-dealing uncle who knew a lot of shady and dangerous characters. She began an intimate relationship with a man twice her age that cultivated copious amounts of marijuana crops. She eventually surpassed her teacher before he was seized by the DEA and began inventing her own strains of the plant but for her own use. Soon, she figured out the potential profit for her creation and is now on the journey to her cousins up north to cash out on her cash crop. Needless to say we got really baked in her car that night.

I invited her to my room for a drink and a movie. I wanted to introduce her to Federico Fellini since we were under the influence and could possibly enjoy the experience of an artistic, experimental or baroque film. We sat on the bed with our backs against the headboard and I hit play on my computer to commence the screen staring. Unfortunately, these films aren’t for everybody and she began to nod off. She fought the battle to stay awake and ultimately gave in to the unconscious urge. Fortunately for me, her head collapsed onto my lap. I was in an odd predicament but I did the nice thing and rubbed her back to wake her up. She didn’t move her head but she began to hum and purr out of enjoyment. Then she started to maneuver her hand towards my thigh and it continued to escalate until the laptop was on the ground, along with our clothes. I had entered the golden gates and I was in heaven. I’m not even sure if Fellini got laid because of Casanova but I wish I could thank him. The film is damn near three hours and we were just finishing up by the time the credits rolled. She left shortly after to get some rest before her drive in the morning. I walked her to the door and received a goodnight smooch before she trotted away and down the steps. I treated myself to a cigarette while I was outside and from my peripheral I noticed her coming back up the stairs but I didn’t want to turn my head and seem eager. I just waited until I felt a touch on my shoulder or something but to my surprise, it wasn’t Drew, it was Talia getting back from where ever she had come from. I turned to see her and she smirked at me as she unlocked her door. I didn’t take my eyes off of her until the door to Room 11 had sealed shut.

To be continued…

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The American C.R.E.A.M. Series


Periodically, Bonus Cut writer Victor Anderson will be sharing his American C.R.E.A.M. Series, a story where hip-hop is just the tip of the iceberg.

By: Victor Anderson 


A motel isn’t the living quarters one would typically choose to spend more than a night in, let alone a weekend. Usually families or individuals on their way to a location more appealing decide to settle for a cheap, crummy place to rest for the night, but then it’s back on the road in the morning to potential paradise. Establishments like motels are also the venue for things like adultery, prostitution and prom date hook-ups. Needless to say, not many positive things come to mind when the word, “motel,” is mentioned. So, why have I been living in one for the past two weeks?

Originally it was because I thought I needed an escape, an escape from everything that I was accustomed to. A lot of the kids I knew who went away to college took advantage of attending out-of-state universities or was granted the chance to study abroad in a foreign country but I didn’t stick around school long enough to get that opportunity. I wasn’t even given the normal college student campus living experience. I commuted from home because I wasn’t fortunate enough to have parents that could afford to pay for housing. It probably would’ve been a waste anyway because it only took me a year and a half to completely become fed up with the tedious and mundane work ethic that came with being a good student. The only times that I enjoyed were times that involved non-related academic activities. Having a social life and doing things that I enjoyed was a lot more important to me than cramming for tests on subjects that I had zero interest in.

Almost a year had gone by since I had abandoned my parents dreams of me becoming a college graduate. I was on the way home from my lame job at the cellphone accessory kiosk in the mall when I decided to stop at my favorite convenient store to pick up one of my daily lotto scratch off tickets. Long story short, I won $8,000–after taxes were taken out. It must have been my lucky day.

Now that this hefty sum was all mines, I didn’t have to work for a while and I could truly focus on mapping out my life with no distractions. I left my home that I had been raised in and now for the first time, I’m on my own.

The Bloch Motel is located off of a secondary feeder road on the side of an interstate highway. It’s in a rural town on the outskirts of a major city. The Bloch is a two-story lodge that is coated in fainted pink and blue pastels and has 14 rooms in total. My room number is 10 and I’ve grown pretty fond of it. The exterior of the building is a bit weathered down considering it’s been around since the early ‘60s but the interior of the rooms have been kept in a rather impressive condition somehow. The burgundy drapes that keep the light out match the lamp shades and the blankets on the bed. The wood paneled walls provide a certain type of aroma and style to the room that gives me a sense of warmth for some reason. I’m not the biggest fan of the puke green carpet but it’s whatever, it’s just the floor. There’s a fridge, a microwave, a television and a bathroom and I couldn’t ask for more at $37 a day.

Since I’ve secluded myself here, I’ve been really pondering my future and narrowing down my options for possible career paths. After Day 2, I realized that I wanted to be a thespian—-an actor. It’s cliché but I think I’d be good at it and it sounds like it could be some fun. Not only the job but the dough is rather appealing to a guy who has recently found out how nice it is to get his hands on a good bit of it in a short amount of time. But I’m no sap; I’ve been taking the time to truly study the craft. In my first week here, I spent my days downloading and watching nothing but early silent films. Soon, I upgraded to foreign films; Spanish films, French Films, Japanese films, German films and Italian films. Slowly, coffee became a large part of my diet. I began to take note upon note of the emotions, expressions and voice inflection that were being channeled through the actor. I discovered and became aware of Constantin Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg and the technique of method acting. Soon, people like Marlon Brando and James Dean enticed me as I made my way through the ‘50s cinema era.

When I ventured out into the world, I would sit in coffee shops, bars and restaurants and people watch, choosing interesting looking individuals to study and thus jotting down my observations on napkins and menus. I’d take note of every single mannerism and facial tick and try my best to figure out what was going through their brains when they chose to demonstrate or execute any specific action that was natural to them. Sometimes, I would imitate them in the mirror when I would get back to The Bloch, or home as I liked to call it. I met a couple of truck drivers in the parking lot my first week there. Of course they happened to be pulling in and crashing for the night. I would approach them and strike up a conversation as a character that I had observed and practiced. After talking to these men who know the roads of this country like the back of their hand I realized that they have seen things and they have stories to tell and that’s what makes them real. I had to figure out a way to make my characters authentic and appear as if they had lived an entire lifetime.

One night I was drinking whiskey with a gentleman from Cleveland who had stopped in for the night and we were leaning over the balcony drunkenly and irrationally strategizing how we would survive the zombie apocalypse and that’s when I first noticed the 1988 navy blue Camry pull into the parking lot. The headlights went dim after the engine went to sleep and the driver’s door casually became ajar. From the car emerged a slender denim leg. The sole of their Converse was placed firmly on the pavement and out stepped a brunette dressed in a black t-shirt. She glanced at us with her two emerald eyes through thick rimmed glasses and briskly walked into the front door to meet the key clerk. That was the first time I had laid eyes on Talia Leslie and it definitely won’t be the last.

To be continued…

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United Inequality of America: A Personal Story by Victor Anderson


By: Victor Anderson

Nearly 50 years later we are still feeling the ripples from the civil rights movement, but according to the film, Back to the Future, we should be extremely advanced by now. Sadly, life rarely reflects the perfection of cinema.

Even though the concept of equality is a simple one, it appears to be a word that not many people understand. The fact that this is still a huge issue is ludicrous.

Prejudices and stereotypes are often comical and playful topics amongst the youth of America because most of the kids telling the jokes don’t have to deal with these kinds of problems. They don’t get frightened looks from their peers when walking late on campus. They don’t have to deal with others mocking the accent of their immigrant relatives. If you are not a minority, you simply blend in—-that is unless you are surrounded by minorities in one particular instance.

The media doesn’t seem to help the cause either. Through television, films, magazines, advertisements and whatever else, people are becoming brainwashed into identifying others based on physical appearance and lumping them into whatever group that they feel one belongs in. People think that just because one person who looks a certain way is associated with a particular lifestyle that all people who look that way must be associated with it as well. Ultimately, that is ignorance and there is nothing blissful about being misinformed.

Here is the norm: straight, Caucasian and male. But if you simply splash some color on the skin it becomes a completely different story. Why is that? It is simply mind boggling that a mass majority of people on this planet haven’t realized that skin tone is absolutely irrelevant to the actual human being that you are. The word “race,” is totally unnecessary in terms of classifying people because the only race is the human one.

Unfortunately, the color of people’s skin isn’t the only divider of equality in this country. Being a female is also an issue and so is being anything but heterosexual. But the feminist movement and the LGBT movement is steadily on the rise to reach their goal of acceptance and equality.

These are problems that are currently on this writer’s mind because an incident concerning similar issues occurred to him. The night was April 12, 2013 and I was near Central Charlotte (I live in Charlotte, North Carolina). This is how I was dressed that night:


So, me and some buddies were in this part of town that is littered with bars, venues and restaurants. Our plan was to bar hop and to eventually get food. We went to a couple of places and ended up at a joint called The Blind Pig. The entire night I was dressed like I am above and I was equipped with my backpack—something I have with me often. It has my rhyme book in there, some novels just in case I get bored, writing utensils, condoms, rolling tobacco and other miscellaneous things. I’d rather have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.

Anyways, we end up leaving The Blind Pig to go get hot dogs. We soon return to meet with friends who were still there. We left again to get pastries at a bakery and returned once more. We were going to go in and get our peoples and leave to go to a party. I left my backpack in the car. We enter The Blind Pig and they’re gone, so we were about to leave. Suddenly, I get approached by a guy asking where my backpack is. I tells him that I don’t got it, it’s in the car.

“You gotta go,” he says. I was confused but luckily we were leaving anyway or so I thought.

I head outside and I thought the dudes I rode with were behind me but when I exit the bar and look back, they’re gone. I question if I should go back in because I had been kicked out (for no reason) but I couldn’t just stand there. I approach the door guy who originally stamped my hand to get in and let me and my buddies back in every time that we came back.

Then a small, sweaty man with glasses and beady eyes, the manager, walked up and stared at me. I kindly greeted him and he ignored me and told me I had to leave. Of course, I question him and he tells me that I look like a drug dealer. A goddamn drug dealer of all things. I ask him how and apparently it was the coat, hat and backpack I was wearing. Also, I was talking to people and being social. These are totally justified reasons to kick someone out of your establishment (sarcasm).

I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t and there was obviously no reasoning with him. I couldn’t go back in to get my friends, I had to leave and I was treated like he had actually caught me dealing drugs.

You see, we live in a mad world where things like this still happen to people. Was it because of my hair or my skin tone? I don’t know. But he had eyes on me the entire time I was there and I reaped the consequences for committing the crime of being myself.

And that’s the fucked up part about all of this judgmental nonsense. People are discriminating against other people based on aspects of their life that they have no control of. You can’t change who you are and you shouldn’t have to because you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s society that needs to get its head out of its abysmal ass.

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The Ideas of the Panthers Live on in Hip-Hop (Part Two)

Note: this is part two of a four part series. You can read part one here.

By: Kelvin Criss


“We gotta fight back’ that’s what Huey said” (Tupac, “Changes”)

Hip-hop has a strong focus on self-defense, not violence. The idea of protecting one’s community, much like the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s idea of police patrol and self-defense, is very clear in the lyrics of the music. Hip-hop often has notions of confronting police due to injustices against one’s community and protecting the community from foreign exploiters. This can be seen in countless songs such as Dead Prez’s song “Assassination.”

“Them belly full, my trigger finger got pulled/To cut the bull shots’ll warm your flesh like wool/These tools for survival make fools out of rivals/Fuck the Bible, get on your knees and praise my rifle/Your life is done there aint another place to run/Eat your own gun, scared because my people never known fun” (“Assassination”)

“Them belly full” conveys the same message as Tupac’s “Holler if You Hear Me” as far as police exploitation. “My trigger finger got pulled” has the same message of fighting back in order protect one’s community from further innocent blood being shed by the police. Immortal Technique’s “Fight Until the End” has a very similar message to Dead Prez and Tupac’s songs.

“Dem’ shoot at us/Turn around and deny it/People on the streets are dying/We must come together/Fight depression and pull de pressure/On de system that tries to diss us/Tries to hurt us, and tries to kill us/We don’t win, we fight again/We gon’ fight until the end, until the end/We fight until we win, until we win.” (“Fight Until the End”)

“Dem’ shoot at us, Turn around and deny it…Fight depression and pull de pressure, on de system that tries to diss us,” shows the violence that police use against those who are from the community; people are being shot in their neighborhoods for unknown reasons by the police departments. Dead Prez has a song entitled “I Have a Dream Too” which describes a group of Panther-like revolutionaries who are looking for a police officer who shot a boy. Later in the song, a woman sings about the incident of a young boy being shot by the police.

“Just when you thought it was safe/Police kill a little boy last night/They said it was a mistake/But that won’t bring back his life/His momma couldn’t believe/That it could happen to her/She prayed to God everyday/Guess it just wasn’t enough” (“I Have a Dream Too”)

These lyrics show the hardships that people in urban communities endure. As if poverty wasn’t bad enough, they have to deal with the police shooting their youth. In their song entitled “Far From Over,” Dead Prez state:  “Truth is like a 44 magnum in this business/I’m out to go Jonathan Jackson on you bitches.” This is a direct reference to George Jackson, a member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, who was taken out of his trial by his younger brother, Jonathon Jackson and friends, who were armed with automatic weapons. Dead Prez say this to not only incite community action, but also to commemorate what the community had done. “You ain’t got the right to bear arms, huh?/Sometimes you might have to brandish a motherfuckin’ firearm.” This line from Immortal Technique’s “Lick Shot” describes the mentality the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense has. This belief is not exclusive to the Party, but rather is common belief amongst revolutionaries. In order to protect ones community, one must pick up arms to protect one’s neighborhood.

Public Enemy’s “Can’t Hold Us Back” is about protecting one’s community:

“We rep justice, equality and freedom now/Put fam first, man, woman and child/Never mild, keep it hostile ’til we raise/Where we say, what we mean and we mean what we say/It’s been a long time comin’ that we mob as one/Guerrilla Funk, Hard Truth nigga, that’s what’s up/No peace on the street ’til the justice come/From the ballot to the bullet, if it’s on, it’s on” (“Can’t Hold Us Back”)

This song both resonates the ideas of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and describes what the community needs. These lyrics not only mention the lust for “justice, equality and freedom,” but also that there will be, “No peace on the street ‘til the justice come[s].” All of these songs mirror the principles of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. In particular, how the members of the community are willing to stand up for their rights, pick up arms and fight, even die, to protect their community.

Keep up with Bonus Cut and its continual look on the ideas of the Black Panthers in hip-hop every week in this four part installment.

Works Cited

Dead Prez. Let’s Get Free. Rec. 1998-2000. Loud Records, 2000. CD.

Dead Prez. RBG: Revolutionary but Gangsta. Rec. Feb.-Mar. 2004. Sean Cane, Stic, 2004. CD.

Immortal Technique. Revolutionary Vol 1. Rec. 2000-2001. Viper Records, 2001. CD.

Immortal Technique. The 3rd World. Rec. June 2008. Bronze Nazareth, 2008. CD.

Public Enemy. Rebirth of a Nation. Rec. 7 Mar. 2006. Pari, 2006. CD.

Tupac Shakur. 2Pacalypse Now. Rec. June-September 1991. Atron Gregory, 1991. CD.

Tupac Shakur. Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. Rec. January-March 1993. Atron Gregory, 1993. CD.

Tupac Shakur. “Changes.” Rec. 1992. Changes. 1998. Song.

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