Walking in L.A. (Notes on That One Time I Didn’t Die) Also, GIVEAWAY: Grand Taxonomy of Rap Names Print

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I’ve been feeling unwell lately, and I really thought it was because my body missed smoking so much (Today is my 50th day of being cigarette-free. Cold turkey after 18 years.), but I went to the doctor this morning, and now I have to go get a scan or some shit. Also, they told me I can’t eat or drink anything until then, and as I have shared on multiple occasions, one of my biggest fears in life is dehydrating to death. I’m trying not to engage in conversation because I don’t want to open my mouth and allow air to touch what little moisture I have in there.

I really wanted to make this an extremely long, self-congratulatory post about how I walked the streets of L.A. and didn’t die, but I’m thirsty and I just want to use what little brain power I have left to think about my favorite beverages (Cactus Cooler: #1).

Water is wonderful. I love it. Please drink some. I am so thirsty.
Even though I’ve moved more than 20 times, I’ve never lived in a city that required a lot of walking except for Boston. Walking requires a basic level of caution. Balance. Agility. Attention. It seems like a pretty difficult activity once you break it down like that, but a lot of people do it and do it well. I don’t. That’s why I live in L.A.

A few weeks ago, I dropped Cal off at school and then headed to a service center because my car was making a “noise.” When asked to describe the noise, I was not able to provide a satisfactory response, so I had to leave the car. It seemed like more of a hassle to get a loaner for just a few hours than to get a ride home.

It’s so hard to get into a home without a garage opener or house keys. :( That sounds like an excuse because burglars do it all of the time, but I’ve never robbed a home before. Did I ever think that not violating CA Penal Code 459 would one day come back to bite me in the ass? No, I did not. I don’t fuck with felonies. Once you become a parent, you can’t really go beyond misdemeanors. Think about your kids.

I also did not have my wallet. Or any loose change. My phone was about to die. Luckily, I had an unopened package of Pez and several high-end lip balms in my purse.

My first priority was charging my phone since the service center would call when my car was ready. My garage opener is programmed into my car, so that phone call would set everything right. I decided to walk to Best Buy, where I could use one of the phone chargers they already had out for the display models.

Have you ever tried walking the streets of Los Angeles? I probably walked, like, 12 miles. I don’t know. Is one average-length block about one mile? Maybe I walked 17 miles. I never knew that the walkman/stophand sign made little tweeting noises. Is that noise for the visually-challenged? I don’t think you should be walking the streets of Hell Ay if you’re blind. I’m not blind, but if I took out my contact lenses, I would not walk down Wilshire or San Vicente because I don’t want to die right now. I have too much unfinished business. I just ordered so many things from Etsy, and I want to at least see those items in person before I go meet the Lord.

Anyways, I walked about 35 miles to the closest Best Buy. It was a good day for my FitBit. One important aside: If you drive a Bentley, stoplights still apply to you. Even though my phone was dead and I had no money and I was temporarily homeless, I felt really good about myself for coming up with a solution, deciding on a course of action, and following through with it.

I couldn’t get into Best Buy. It was still closed. For 57 more minutes.

I sat on the curb but I didn’t cry because I had no way of buying water to replenish the fluids I lost. I never let my stupid emotions fuck with the delicate balance of my body’s hydration. I closed my eyes and thought about the younger me and how she always wanted to be an adult because adults had it so, so easy. That younger me was very stupid, and I wish there was a way to go back in time and tell her to sit down and shut up.

I heard someone call my name in the distance. My immediate reaction was “this is how I’m going to die,” but then I opened my eyes and looked towards the voice because most murderers would not have that level of affection or sincerity in their voice. It was one of my best homegirls, Trace, who lives NOWHERE NEAR me or that Best Buy. She just happened to be in that parking lot at that exact moment because….this is for real….she was meeting a friend who had her phone charger.

I’ve thought about that moment every day since then. Sometimes, what we need most is to hear the beloved and familiar voice of a friend. And also, her phone charger.

GIVEAWAY: Grand Taxonomy of Rap Names Print


Even though my little “I’ll just pack up some junk” office project has somehow turned into a whole room makeover, Harv has been patient and supportive. I’ve been eyeing this Pop Chart Lab Grand Taxonomy of Rap Names print for a long time, and after we spent nearly a week glittering the fuck out of some walls, he gave me the print “for my new Thug Office.”  Due to a shipping mix-up, we ended up receiving two of these posters. When I hollered at Pop Chart Lab about the extra poster, they very kindly told me to keep it. So I’m giving one away. This sensational and extremely educational 18″ x 24″ print is perfect for a Thug Office/ Thuglet Nursery/ Gangster Living Room….basically, any room that is important to you is the perfect place for it.

To enter: Leave a comment below with your favorite lyrics from a rap song. Only comments left on this post qualify. Giveaway closes Sunday, February 23, 11:59 p.m. PT. I’ll announce a winner in next week’s post.

My favorite lyrics:

Cop lights, flash lights
Spot lights, strobe lights
Street lights
Fast life, drug life 
Thug life, rock life
Every night

Kanye West- “All of the Lights”

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  • Isidora Torres

    My favorite lyrics:

    “I know you ain’t a pimp, but pimp remember what I taught ya:
    Keep your heart, Three Stacks, keep your heart
    Hey keep your heart, Three Stacks, keep your heart
    Man these girls is smart, Three Stacks, these girls is smart
    Play your part…play your part.”

    UGK ft Andre 3000 “International Player’s Anthem (I choose you)”

  • Stephanie Watson

    Drunk as hell but no throwin’ up
    Half way home and my pager still blowin’ up
    Today I didn’t even have to use my A.K
    I got to say it was a good day

    Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day

  • Sooz Kay Allen

    They say I got ta learn, but nobody’s here to teach me.
    If they cant understand it, how can they reach me?
    I guess they can’t; I guess they won’t; I guess they front; that’s why I know my life is outta luck, fool!
    -Coolio “Gangsta’s Paradise”

  • David R.

    The closest of friends when we first started / But grew apart as the money grew and soon grew black-hearted

    Thinking back when we first learned to use rubbers / He never learned so in turn I’m kidnapping his baby’s mother

    Please thug out my minimalist living room with this sweet prize.

  • Jennifer Hensley

    I know I can (I know I can)
    Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
    If I work hard at it (If I work hard at it)
    I’ll be where I wanna be (I’ll be where I wanna be)

    Nas “I Can”

  • Heather R. Green

    I fancy winning this because I just KNOW that I could incorporate this poster into a seventh grade science lesson. We’re currently studying physics, and there’s plenty of physics in living part hood and part good. It’s really quite elemental, yo.

    I don’t have any rap lyrics to contribute because my clever meter taps out at around 5pm on weekdays, but if you give me that poster, me and my students will pause for a moment and be held transfixed in its sheer awe-inspiring beauty. Then we’ll all resume running around the room like a million monkeys chasing one banana.

  • Kenya

    I give a holla to my sisters on welfare

    2Pac cares, if don’t nobody else care

    And, I know they like to beat you down a lot

    When you come around the block, brothers clown a lot

    But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up

    Tupac…Keep Ya head up.

  • Adee Shekar

    My favorite lyrics are the opening lines and first verse of Tupac’s Thugz Mansion (I can also rap the entire song like the true Jewish thug rapper that I am inside):

    Shit, tired of gettin shot at
    Tired of gettin chased by the police and arrested
    Niggas need a spot where WE can kick it
    A spot where WE belong, that’s just for us
    Niggas ain’t gotta get all dressed up and be Hollywood
    Ya nah mean? Where do niggas go when we die?
    Ain’t no heaven for a thug nigga
    That’s why we go to thug mansion
    That’s the only place where thugs get in free and you gotta be a G…at thug mansion

    [Verse One]
    A place to spend my quiet nights, time to unwind
    So much pressure in this life of mine, I cry at times
    I once contemplated suicide, and woulda tried
    But when I held that 9, all I could see was my momma’s eyes
    No one knows my struggle, they only see the trouble
    Not knowing it’s hard to carry on when no one loves you
    Picture me inside the misery of poverty
    No man alive has ever witnessed struggles I survived
    Praying hard for better days, promise to hold on
    Me and my dawgs ain’t have a choice but to roll on
    We found a family spot to kick it
    Where we can drink liquor and no one bickers over trick shit
    A spot where we can smoke in peace, and even though we G’s
    We still visualize places, that we can roll in peace
    And in my mind’s eye I see this place, the players go in fast
    I got a spot for us all, so we can ball, at thugz mansion

  • Becs

    Not guilty, he who does not feel me is not real to me
    Therefore he doesn’t exist
    So poof…vamoose son of a bitch

    Jay-Z Izzo (H.O.V.A.)

    I was running along,not really paying attention to the music, when these lyrics popped out at me. I was taking philosophy that semester and when I heard these words I was like, is that an ontological argument? I think it is. Word.

  • Angela V

    “God is good when you’re at the (O!),
    just drop the O-D, then you’re GOOD to GO”
    -Pigeon John, “Buttersoft Seats”

  • Thuy

    “Hate to sound sleazy, but tease me, I don’t want it if it’s that easy.” I Get Around- 2Pac

  • Olga Medina

    “It’s like Dollar Day for New Orleans
    It’s water water everywhere and homies dead in the streets
    And Mr. President’s a natural ass
    He out treatin niggaz worse than they treat the trash”

    Mos Def – Dollar Days

  • rudi

    “Taking the journey slowly embracing at every corner
    Enjoy the subtle encounters – taking the time to learn her
    Making her feel protected like her knight in shining armor
    Cause a man like that is rare – in our current time & culture
    Shaking the worldly standards cause to me its all irrelevance
    Try to teach me lust is love – but I speak with more benevolence ”

    Wait for you by GOWE Feat Sam Ock
    GOWE writes such beautiful lyrics

    Sending you some love for you girl. Love your blog <3

  • Rommy Delgado Coleman

    Okay so technically this quote is hip-hop, but I think it suits your post really well.

    This morning, I woke up
    Feeling brand new and I jumped up
    Feeling my highs, and my lows
    In my soul, and my goals
    Just to stop smokin, and stop drinkin
    And I’ve been thinkin – I’ve got my reasons
    Just to get (by), just to get (by)
    Just to get (by), just to get (by)
    -Talib Kweli

  • loudlysilent

    “Baby don’t cry, I hope you got your head up
    Even when the road is hard, never give up”

    …Those words make me think of you, actually. Cuz you overcame so much of other people’s shit, and you came out on the other side swinging. Congrats on 50 days cigarette-free. I hope Harv paid up cuz of my idea!

  • Jennette Bowling

    “I be banging on my chest, and I bang in the east, and I’m banging in the west and I come to give you more and I will never give you less. You will hear it in the street or you can read it in the press, do you really wanna know what’s next?” Busta (the best part of Look at me now) btw I’m totally buying the poster, but I’m taking a chance on getting a free one /

  • Cate

    No more games, I’ma change what you call rage
    Tear this motherfucking roof off like two dogs caged
    I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed
    I’ve been chewed up and spat out and booed off stage
    But I kept rhyming and stepped right into the next cypher
    Best believe somebody’s paying the pied piper
    All the pain inside amplified by the fact
    That I can’t get by with my 9 to 5
    And I can’t provide the right type of life for my family
    Cause man, these goddamn food stamps don’t buy diapers
    And it’s no movie, there’s no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life
    And these times are so hard, and it’s getting even harder
    Trying to feed and water my seed, plus
    Teeter totter caught up between being a father and a prima donna
    Baby mama drama’s screaming on and
    Too much for me to wanna
    Stay in one spot, another day of monotony
    Has gotten me to the point, I’m like a snail
    I’ve got to formulate a plot or I end up in jail or shot
    Success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not
    Mom, I love you, but this trailer’s got to go
    I cannot grow old in Salem’s lot
    So here I go it’s my shot.
    Feet, fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got

  • Heather Tucker

    Lay down bitch, unbutton your bra, biggest….{you know the rest}

  • Brad Cowan

    I say whoa kimosabe, big balling is my hobby
    I’m boppin while I’m walking, rag falling out my pocket
    If big money ain’t the topic, homie I ain’t even talking
    Hated on by the workers but I’m cool with all the bosses

    TI – “Swing Ya Rag”

  • Stephanie

    We used to live in LA and I walked the streets daily. Granted…I only ventured as far as Ralphs, the Gap and the chinese restaurant below our house. Sometimes I would get really crazy and make it all the way to the coffee bean.
    The only rap song I can quote right now is Parents Just Don’t Understand by Fresh Prince so I wouldn’t really consider that an entry for the print.

  • Mike Chun

    Lyrics that actually made me reflect as I got older…

    “…a thug changes, and love changes, and best friends becomes strangers, word up.” -Nas “The Message”

    *Love your posts!

  • Jackie Ince

    “Welcome to the melting pot, corners where we sellin’ rock
    Afrika Bambataa shit, home of the hip-hop
    Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back”

  • jesseca alosaimi

    I’m rollin, car not stolen. probably never will be, it’s much too old and hoping freaks will get inside of my lacville ’79.
    -devin the dude

  • http://www.afashionfiend.com Catherine McCoco

    My Fav from Biggie Smalls- Hypnotize
    “At last, a nigga rappin bout blunts and broads
    Tits and bras, ménage à trois, sex in expensive cars
    I still leave you on the pavement
    Condo paid for, no car payment
    At my arraignment, note for the plaintiff
    Your daughter’s tied up in a Brooklyn basement
    Face it, not guilty, that’s how I stay filthy
    Richer than Richie, till you niggas come and get me.”

  • Jenny

    So I slipped off my khakis and my gold leaf,

    Used Oil of Olay, cuz my skin gets pale

    And then I got the file, for my fingernails,

    I’m true to the style on my behalf.

    I put some bubbles in the tub so I can take a bubble bath

    Clean, dry, was my body and hair

    I threw on my brand new Doggy underwear

    for all the bitches I might take home,

    I got the Johnson baby powder and Cool Water cologne. -Snoop Dogg Lodi Dodi

  • Becky Sadler

    My favorite lyrics of all time!!

    “All of yall mother***ers, my four four make sure all your kids don’t grow, You motherf**ers can’t be us or see us, we mother fu**in Thug life riders, West Side till we die” I could go on and on!
    2Pac Hit em Up!

  • Laurie

    Hey, now ya know, inhale, exhale with my flow
    One for the money, two for the btiches
    Three to get ready, and four to hit the switches
    In my Chevy, six-fo’ Rad to be exact
    With bitches on my side, and bitches on back
    So back up bitch cuz i’m strugglin, so get
    off your knees and then start jugglin
    these motherfuckin nuts in your mouth
    It’s me, Warren G the nigga with the clout

  • Sunny B.

    But so you think that it’s your destiny
    To get the best of me, but I suggest to be
    Quiet, bro, don’t even try it from the east and west of me
    Takin’ it and never breakin’ it or even shakin’ it
    Groovin’ it and always movin’ it, cuz I’m not fakin’ it

    Young MC – Know How

  • Alina McCullen

    “The best thing about me is I ain’t nuthin like you…”
    ~Trinidad James

    Ice Cube’s “It was a good day” is probably my real favorite, but I didn’t want to quote the entire song in a blog comment.

  • Ashley Porter

    and i always find yeah i always find something wrong
    you been putting up with my shit just way too long
    i’m so gifted at finding what i don’t like the most
    so i think it’s time for us to have a toast.

    – yeezy. runaway.

  • Amanda Lowry

    “Granted we known each other for some time
    It don’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine” -The Light, Common

  • Tara D

    Fly as fuck. I need a co-pilot.
    When I come out it’s a motherfuckin’ ho riot.

    Nicki’s verse in Get It Low-Waka Flocka Flame

  • sweetly SALTED

    Can I get control
    Do you like me vulnerable
    I’m armed and I’m equal
    More fun for the people
    Physical, Brute force
    Steel, lion you’re the boss
    Yeah, you’re so do-able
    Grind me down sugar slow

    M.I.A. – Bucky Done Gun

  • Jen d

    I am pretty old school…I love RUN DMC.
    Mary Mary Mary you cold thumb suckin
    Lookin for you, but you keep duckin
    I wanna find you, I gotta tell you somethin
    So just be quiet and don’t say NUTTIN
    Mary Mary Mary why you out there stuntin?
    Supposed to be with me, but not you’re FRONTIN
    We started out new, you used to be true
    Now you’re buggin, what’s wrong with you?

  • Julie L

    You wanna front, whaaat?
    Jump up and get bucked
    If you’re feeling lucky duck
    Then press your luck

    Come Clean, Jeru the Damaja

  • Josie

    When we die the money we can’t keep
    But we probably spend it all cause the pain ain’t cheap: preach

    Kanye, Church in the Wild

  • Theresa Duncan Fantastic

    My favorite rap lyrics:
    Watch out, I’m thinking about your mama to a funky beat
    I went to your house, and she licked me on the cheek
    I said,excuse me lady
    But I remember seeing you at the palladium way back in september
    You were beat boxing for Lou Rawls
    In some bright red boxer draws
    You said your mom was pretty and young
    But she’s old as dirt and got hair on her tongue. Your mom

    -yo mama, the pharcyde

  • devaQ

    To many, I make look like a hoodlum
    but I’m a rapper and a pretty damn good one
    cause I can get smooth and mild or wild like a juvenile
    or get swift with the gift and just lose the crowd
    state the facts, create the raps
    those who try to down me, better step out my face with that
    cause I can get raw like many or any one of them
    I take a nine when you rate me from one to ten
    I got skills so don’t try approachin me
    I keep rhymes in stores just like groceries

    Lord Finnesse – “The Funky Technician”

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  • B

    I’ve been working all g-d damn year, I just got my check
    I’m ’bout to spend it all on me, I’m worth it
    – Big Sean ‘Guap’

  • http://www.elizabethaquino.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth Aquino

    Leave me out of the giveaway, and I have no idea for rap lyrics, unless I can quote from the great Bob Dylan who might have influenced ALL of the rappers here with this, out in 1965. I think it’s perfect as it mentions braille (blindness), jail, a man in a trench coat, getting sick and getting well, etc.

    Johnny’s in the basement, mixing up the medicine,
    I’m on the pavement, thinking bout the government,
    The man in the trench coat, badge out, laid off,
    Says he’s got a bad cough, wants to get it paid off
    Look out kid, it’s something you did
    God knows when, but you’re doing it again

    Get sick, get well, hang around a ink well
    Write braille, hard to tell, if anything is gonna sell,
    Try hard, get barred, get back, ride rail
    Get jail, jump bail, join the Army if you fail.

  • Meli

    I am hella depressed that I missed out on this *sad face* but I will suck it up because thugs dont cry