Summer Bangers Brought to You By Nas & Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

Summer hasn’t officially popped off until a summer single drops and gets everybody in the mood to party. Until last summer (thanks Nas) I hadn’t heard a summer banger since we the people were blessed with Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s Summertime released way back in 1991 during my sophomore year of high school. In all honesty I can’t tell you where I was when I first heard the song, but I can tell you how I feel each and every time I hear it.

A summer song worth its salt has the ability to transport you into that world. Whenever I hear Summertime I’m in Philly clockin the fellas on South Street, hanging out at Greek Fest or as I like to call it Lil’ Freaknik (shout out Tracey). The hair is straightened to within an inch of its life and the nails are long and airbrushed. The jean skirt is short and tight, the tank top is snug and the kicks are some fresh white sneaks or the thick-ass platform flip flops we chicks favored ‘back in the day.’ The look was some version of nineties Nia Long.

When Summertime hit I was a bit too young to be out gallivanting so my little trip down memory lane was after the fact when I found first freedom. Goes to show it had lasting power; the song’s magic stands the test of time. Now at 37, I’m in grad school and working full time. Any money I make is used to pay my bills and buy a bottle of wine or the makings for a dirty martini every now and again. Sounds sad doesn’t it?

When I need to uncork that summer in a bottle feeling I summon up the song and float on a sonic journey back to worry free summers filled with plans for parking lot pimpin’ at the local VFW, Hammerjacks or The Paradox; Sundays at Druid Hill Park checking out all the eye-candy and weekend road trips.  The first strains of Jazzy Jeff’s brilliant production hits my ears and I’m turning up the radio on blast, rocking back and forth in my car, feeling my whole body tingle with anticipation of the first lines, ‘here it is, the groove slightly transformed, just a bit of a break from the norm…’ and I’m there. A flash as bright as an August sun floods my spirit and I’m on a journey and for a brief moment I’m that carefree chick of yesteryear.

For many years I’ve hoped to collect some more summer anthems with the same staying power as Summertime to no avail. Thankfully Nas’ most recent gift to the masses, Life is Good, resolves that issue with Summer on Smash. Problem is, here in Baltimore I don’t believe I ever heard the song on the radio unless I missed it on Rap Attack.Other singles took precedence and this gem of a song was overlooked.

The Swizz Beatz produced, Miguel accompanied Summer on Smash has the makings to blow the roof off any summertime house party. It will strip the leaves off trees at a backyard cookout or saturate the walls in sweat at a club. We need to revive this record, it needs to be blasting from every car radio. The beat is scorching, Miguel’s languid voice cools, while Nas’ story- telling skills almost make me want to try on the role of groupie, I know I really couldn’t hang. When I hear the song I imagine getting my St. Tropez on: wrapping a silky scarf around my tresses, rocking some Jackie-O sunglasses, shimmying into a cute swimsuit with gauzy cover-up, digging my pedicured toes in the sand and having constant access to fresh Mojitos. Oh shit, I just described my Sheila E. Glamorous Life moment, although I imagine that to be more of a NYC fur coat vibe…

I’m not gonna lie Summer on Smash is definitely from a man’s p.o.v. and covers hot topics like smashin and dashin but the beat is hard and like the Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince joint takes me on a journey. If you feel the same way too, please ramp up a campaign to get Summer on Smash on the airwaves in a city near you.

 

Sidebar: There’s no music video for the song, just a live performance on Vevo that’s not gonna deliver that lyrical thrust, so check out this YouTube link so you can get in a good listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv3hfIPI4E4

Happy First Day of Summer!!!! “Ciroc on splash, summer on smash…”

Cija’s Day of Fun: The Havre de Grace Edition

So a couple of days ago I regaled y’all with all my woe is me, I haven’t written a thing nonsense, turns out I just needed to do something different and by myself to get inspiration. I had no plans to have a Saturday jaunt, but my need for new eyeglasses coupled with the fact that I still go to the same spot I’ve been going to since childhood (no I wasn’t a toddler with glasses-poor babies), meant a mini-road trip to the Grace as some of the locals like to call it. Contacts and glasses ordered, I headed on down to Main Street to re-up on my favorite incense, Amber Essence, by True to Nature and to get a delectable treat from Golls Bakery, the place where all my childhood birthday cakes came from and where my family has been shopping for generations.

I was born a country girl so I love these little quaint towns and historical places, especially knowing how deep my family roots are. About ten years ago my Mom showed me a World War I Memorial that listed local soldiers, my great grandfather or uncle was in the group under the heading, ‘colored troops’. It’s nice to look at people who stare at me like I’m some outsider (living city life for years definitely shows) and know I belong here. Which brings me back to the lecture at hand, after visiting the bakery I skipped on in to Bayside Antiques. If you’ve never been and you like to dig for buried treasure Goonies-style then this is the place for you. Check out the glorious wares:

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Then there was the freaky doll case…

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…and the knife case…

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…then the Marilyn Monroe dolls! I spotted them as I was paying for the chrome spatula and slotted serving spoon I found. Don’t mind the crotch shot in the glam red dress, the dolls were up high so that’s the best I could do:

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Unfortunately I had to abruptly leave due to other plans so I didn’t get to spend the time required to sift through all of the fantastic and random stuff, but I’ll be baaaaack.

Next, I forgot all about Havre de Grace’s gorgeous location on the water so had to take a minute and soak it in:

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Finally, back in the city after a long mentally stimulating day. I parked in front of this lovely street side rose bush on my way to get pad thai. Today was a good day.

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