Monthly Archives: August 2010

Teaching Tip Tuesdays Are Back!

Classroom at Port Charlotte High School where ...Image via Wikipedia

Teaching Tip Tuesdays are back.

Every Tuesday, during the school year, I share with you tips, ideas, and resources that you can use in your classroom.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer holidays. I know the students don’t start back up until next week but most teachers will be in their classrooms all week long, getting ready for that first day.

The first day of school holds so much potential. If you start it on a good note, it can set the tone for the entire year.

Make sure you have a detailed day plan for the first day with plenty of back-up activities. It is always best to have too many activities for the first day.

I plan on making this craft with my kids on that first day. I found this foam airplane craft kit at the dollar store. The best thing about it is that it makes ten planes so I only have to spend three dollars to have a class set.

It comes with foam stickers so that we can spell our names on the planes as well.

I tried launching it off my balcony. These things don’t fly as good as the old styrofoam ones I used to buy at the corner store when I was a kid. I so loved those.

I was thinking that I could attach a string to the top of each plane and suspend them from the ceiling. It could serve as a nice metaphor for the year about how we will soar to new heights academically and socially. 
I think having a craft on the first day is a great idea. Last year, I had the students colour a hot-air balloon and made a bulletin board displaying all our work. I think I like this foam airplane idea a lot more. 
I’m sure you can find a similar craft at your local dollar store (if not this same one)

If you are a teacher and want to find more tips, click on the ‘Teaching Tips’ tab at the stop of the page. There are over 60 tips there and I will be adding a new one each week. 


I believe teachers should help teachers. I hope you will find this series useful. Also, if you have a teaching tip, you’d like to share, please contact me about writing a guest post. 

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Carolinian Trail – Pinery Provincial Park

Pinery Provincial Park is simply breathtaking. It is located on the shore of Lake Huron just south of Grand Bend.

“The Oak Savanna and Freshwater Coastal Dune ecosystems which make up the park are extremely rare and fragile and are home to many equally rare or endangered plants, animals, and insects.”

I really should have taken more pictures of my camping trip to share with you. I was having so much fun that I almost completely forgot to bring out my camera. I did take it along with me when I went for a trail run though. So here is the latest installment of my Visual Running Tours. Enjoy!

“This trail is located in a rich forest dominated by southern species common to the Carolinian forest.  Stairways, benches and viewing platforms make observing nature easy.”

Here’s some more information on the trail. It says it takes an hour to walk and enjoy the nature.

Maybe I should have slowed down and not run through it so quickly. Nah!

I often don’t get the chance to run up so many stairs while doing a trail run. This was a nice challenge.

The trail is quite nice to run through. It was really quiet. I actually didn’t bump into anyone else on this run.

Which way do I go?

Oh yeah. Just follow the arrow.

Wow. This staircase is huge.

And it keeps going and going. Whew! This is a work-out.

Here is a nice viewing platform. But I can’t rest. Must keep running!

I have never been on a trail that has so many stairs. But I’m not complaining. It was a nice quiet run through some amazing woods.

At the side of the trail I noticed a caged in area. I went over to see why a small section of the woods was closed off by a fence.

It was one of several “Deer Enclosures” which allow “researchers to monitor plant growth that is undisturbed by deer browse.”

This park really puts nature first. Many trees have fallen and they are just left there.

You aren’t even allowed to gather firewood.

This is part of the Old Ausable Channel that leads to the Ausable River.

And that was just one of the ten nature trails that Pinery Park has to offer. They even do guided tours and demonstrations there as well.

I definitely recommend going. Book your campsite early since it often fills up. Or just go for a nice day trip. Hope you’ve enjoyed this photographic tour. Check out all the different running tours here.

– text quoted from Pinery 2010 Information Guide

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Get Ready For School With 1 Word – Sleep

Students need sleep in order to study.Image via Wikipedia

Going back to school is a big adjustment after having two months off.

Many students have been staying up later than usual. They’ve also been sleeping in.

So when it comes to having to wake up early, many kids just aren’t prepared for the first and subsequent days of school.

Having a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential. I cannot stress this enough.

Students who are tired, simply don’t do as well in their studies. I’ve seen it time and time again in my class. I actually teach a health lesson on the importance of sleep every year. I hope it sinks in.

So here’s my advice for all the parents out there.

School starts soon.

1) Start getting your kids ready for it now by enforcing a reasonable bedtime.
2) Don’t let them sleep in too long.
3) Start now.

If you slowly get your child back into a regular sleeping pattern now, school won’t be such a shock to them in a few weeks.

This sounds like a little thing but like Bruce Barton says,

“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things . . . I am tempted to think . . . there are no little things.” 

Now, go get some sleep!

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Stop the Back to School Madness!

I hate how the end of summer turns into a “Back to School” season. It has somehow become entrenched in our culture that our kids need new things to go back to school.

Why?

We have a public school system that ensures that all of our children can get a quality education. (Stop laughing)

I’m a teacher and I am dedicated to my job and the students in my class. I provide for them the best I can with the small budget I am allowed from the school board.

I don’t want parents buying their kids any school materials. This includes,

pencils,
pencil crayons,
markers,
binders,
pencil cases,
rulers,
calculators,
workbooks,
planners,
etc.

These things should simply be provided. All of the students in my school receive an Agenda / Planner book that becomes a great communication tool between the school and home. Most schools seem to do this nowadays.

I use my small classroom budget every year to buy each student in my class a pencil case. I fill each pencil case with a box of crayons, a pencil, an eraser, and a small pencil sharpener. I also provide each student with a full-sized ruler.

Of course, textbooks and notebooks are also provided. I also provide a new pencil for each student on a weekly basis.

Here are a few things that parents can invest in however,

a backpack,
a reusable lunch bag,
a reusable water bottle,
indoor running shoes (a must for class time and gym)

I don’t want any of my parents to get sucked into the “Back to School” madness that seems to be taking hold of the media airwaves and store displays.

Kids in elementary school don’t need high-tech toys (learning materials) or flashy stationary items.

Personal story – A kid comes to class with a lot of the back to school paraphernalia. The kid beams with pride at having all this stuff. He looks around and sees that many kids don’t have the same stuff. This immediately distances him from others. Some students feel bad that they don’t have such luxuries. They make fun of him and purposely don’t include him in their recess play or class chatter. After a while, the kid hides or stops bringing out the new material because it feels like he is showing off.

This happens every year in my class. In spite of everything I try to do. Let’s try to avoid that this year. Stop the back to school madness. Please!

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More Lovely Ladies of Silent Cacophony

Here are more lovely ladies that will forever be welcome here at Silent Cacophony.

Amy Adams

My new love. 
I’ve seen her in two films recently 
and she has captured my heart. 

Ellen Page

I think she would be just as cool as her characters usually are.
I can’t help but love her every time I see her on the screen.

Stacey Dash

She was the best thing about “Clueless”
and she’s still got it.

Yeah, I know I’m still dreaming but having dreams is healthy, right? 

Photo credits:
Amy Adams – http://www.amy-adams.org/
Ellen Page – http://www.ellenpages.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=332&pos=49
Stacey Dash – http://www.eurweb.com/?p=21946 

The Podcast Is Fading Away

I started The Chase March Show way back in June of 2009 when I had the opportunity to interview The New Cities. 

Since then, I have posted 18 episodes that have featured interviews from rappers and Olympic athletes. I even featured a mixtape that I made.

I had planned to release monthly episodes but I simply don’t have the time to do so. I am quite busy producing segments for DOPEfm. I don’t have the time to carry a separate show as well.

I would like to see my podcast stay up forever. I would like to update it whenever I feel like it and not have to worry about producing monthly episodes. However, mypodcast is cleaning up sites that aren’t updated regularly and have warned me that I need to keep a monthly schedule of updates to avoid deletion.

I don’t want to splinter my time any further than it already is. As such, The Chase March Show podcast will be shut down soon. I will try to move the shows so you can still catch them but in the meantime, if you want them, please go an download them before they are gone.

Thanks for all your support.

Females Are Killing It

In a recent interview, I asked Eternia why there aren’t more women in rap. This is what she had to say,

“I don’t believe that there is actually a lack of females in hip-hop. I think there’s a lack of coverage, oftentimes. I think that getting ourselves out there with multiple full-length albums, there is a lack of that with female MCs. But when it comes to every city, when it comes to every place I go, I find a multitude of females MCs everywhere I go who are doing their thing, holding it down, throwing events, on the radio, and actually doing things that MCs do to promote themselves in every city that I go to. So I know a lot of female MCs globally.”

The truth is that there are a lot of women in rap. We just don’t hear them. They simply don’t get the media attention. Hip-hop seems to be a male dominated art form, which is a shame because there are some amazingly talented female rappers out there.

I’m in the process of putting together a Ladies Night Spectacular for DOPEfm. Our goal is to do an entire overnight show that puts the focus entirely on the women who are making and performing hip-hop music.

I have a fair amount of female hip-hop that I can play during the show but not enough to fill the entire 7 hours of programming we do each and every week here at DOPEfm. So I started researching and looking for female rappers and what I found surprised me.

Eternia was right, there are tons of females in hip-hop.

A reader commented on one of my posts and suggested I check out Dessa. Thank you Adam!

I had never heard of this amazing artist before that. I searched her out because of Adam’s comment and was simply blown away by what I heard.

Dessa’s A Badly Broken Code is an amazing album.

I would be doing Dessa a diservice by comparing her to any other artist. She spits great underground hip-hop with witty and clever lyrics. She also sings on tracks that have a neo-hip-hop-soul-jazz sound. In this aspect she reminds me of Lauryn Hill.

The album is sonically beautiful and captivates from start to finish. I will definitely being playing her music on the show and I won’t wait for the Ladies Night Special either. She deserves to be in constant rotation of any respectable hip-hop show.

Here’s the video for “Dixon Girl” Check it out, and then go support this amazing artist.

Muneshine Interview

I was really excited to go to the Shad / D-sisive / Ngajuana concert last month.

I had already interviewed everyone on the bill that night but the D-sisive interview I did was nearly ten years ago and it was for the university newspaper. I was really looking forward to interviewing him again for the DOPEfm radio show.

During that interview, D-sisive introduced me to his producer Muneshine. I had the chance to interview him as well before they both took to the stage. Any fan of Canadian hip-hop has heard the name Muneshine again and again. He has produced some great tunes over the years.
Muneshine told a hilarious story about how he and D-sisive first met. “It was about ten years ago when he was on tour with DJ Serious and Nish Rawks. They came through Saskatoon, which is where I’m from originally. I was already a fan of their music at that time.
So they came through and they had a show. I remember it was at Louis’ on the University of Saskatoon campus. It was a campus show that they did in the middle of the summer when there were no students. There was me and three or four of my friends and maybe four other people there to see them. And I remember being pissed too because I wanted him to play the ‘Lost Sight’ remix and he’s like, ‘Nah, son. I don’t know what you are talking about.’”
D-sivive started laughing at this point of the story.

Muneshine just continued, “So he didn’t play that song and I was kind of hurt because that was my jam back in the day.”

I agree with Muneshine. That is an amazing song. You can find it on the Yesterday Mixtape if you want a copy of it. I also spun it in the mixset following the D-sisive interview. Muneshine is partial to the video though which is a lot harder to find.
Muneshine continued to joke with all of us when he admitted to meeting D-sisive at that campus show. “His show was lackluster. I’ll say it was DJ Serious’s show.”
D-sisive responded to that, but you can’t quite hear what he said. Muneshine continued the story by telling us that he had a show the following night and D-sisive came through that one as well. This time, he jokes, the show was a success. “There were a lot of people there. We brought D up on stage to show him some love. Anyway, six or seven years passed. I moved to Toronto when I finished school. I hit him up when I got here and we just started hanging out and started working right away.” Since then Muneshine had produced a lot of D-sisive’s music.
Muneshine got into production after deejaying in high school. He was inspired by producers such as Pete Rock and DJ Premier. As a fan, he wanted to learn how his favourite producers were able to do what they did. So he bought an MPC and started making beats. And the rest, as they say, is history.
We got into a discussion about sample-based production and the legal problems that producers can get into. “As a producer, I would like to have the freedom to sample without having to worry about it. But at the end of the day, if someone is just taking big loops of someone else’s music and not really doing anything too creative with it, then it is just sort of piggybacking that person’s talent.” In that instance, Muneshine admits that the original artist “should be cut a little bit of the money.”
In addition to all the tracks he has produced for other artists, Muneshine put out his own album last fall entitled “Status Symbol” and has just finished an EP with Ghettosocks. Together these two form the group “Twin Peaks” and you can get The Perfect Strangers EP now while you wait for the full length album “Kissing Hands and Shaking Babies.”
You can listen to the interview with the player below or you can download it for free. After the interview and two Muneshine tracks, Gamma Krush spins some tunes for you to nod your head to. DOPEfm always represents the real hip-hop. Check us out by subscribing to our two podcast feeds and catching us live Saturday overnight on 93.3 CFMU. Thanks again to Muneshine and D-sisive for the great interviews.

Give The Roots Their Due

So I’m rolling in the car with a friend who is not a fan of rap music.


My MP3 player is hooked up to the car stereo and we’re listening to some country music. Tim McGraw’s Southern Voice is an amazing album. Love it!

Anyway, she feels like listening to something else and starts scrolling though the lists of albums. I’m impressed that she is looking at “albums” and not “artists.”

So she comes across an album entitled “do you want more?!!!??!” and hits play.

I hadn’t listened to this album in a while. I congratulate her on an excellent selection.

She says, “It sounded  interesting.”

As we listen to the album, she tells me how much she likes it. This girl has good taste.
“do you want more?!!!??!” is the second album from The Roots and it was my first introduction to them. During the course of the album, they refer to their sound as “organic hip-hop jazz,” a fitting label if there can be one for this diverse musical group.

That was a great trip.

The next time we are in the car together, I put on their latest album, “How I Got Over,“ which has been in heavy rotation for me since it came out. It really is an amazing album.

The Roots organic hip-hop jazz sound has grown and developed over the course of nine studio albums. This is one group that invents a brand new sound each and every time they release a record.

However, after having listened to both of these albums closely this week, I notice that they are very similar in tone and feel. This latest album might seem a bit sparse at first listen with piano on every track. But it really grows on on.

My friend could recognized it was same group before I even told her. I`m not sure she would have done that had I played one of their other records.

We had another excellent trip.

Hopefully, this post will convert some other people to The Roots. It really is a shame that they aren`t more popular and well-known. It`s time to give them their due. They make great music and have an amazing body of work. Go check them out.


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Green Army Men Skateboard

I don’t reblog often. Instead I usually share cool images that I find online using Twitpic. However, I really wanted to share this image with all of you.

A green army dude figure is doing a kickflip with his flat plastic base.

That is just golden there. Much props to the artist. I so want this t-shirt. Early Christmas present hint, just in case you weren’t sure of what to get me and you didn’t want to let that torture you over the next four months. I’m just saying. :)

2010 = 2009, Post Wise

Wow, it’s been a productive year here at Silent Cacophony. As of today, I have posted 214 blog entries this year.

The total number of entries I posted last year = 214.

So, for today only, 2010 = 2009 for the sheer number of blog posts I have published. It’s only August 9th and I’ve already posted as many items as I did last year.

I started this blog way back in March of 2007 and I posted 200 entries that first year.

In my second year of blogging, I posted 250 entries.

I’m sure to break that number this year. I might slow down a bit over the next few weeks as I enjoy what is left of the summer and prepare for some great content this fall for my radio show, DOPEfm.

It’s been a good year. Thanks for coming here to read my words. I appreciate each and every visitor. Please drop a comment from time to time. I always love to hear from readers.

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Where The Ladies At?

“I’ve been known to talk about women on a track or two
I talk to women
I just can’t talk for women, that’s for you
We need more women for that
More women in rap
Even tracks like Kweli’s ‘Four Women’
That’s still only half the view of the world.
There’s no girls rapping so we only hearing half the truth
What we have to lose?
Too much.
Half our youth aren’t represented – the better halves of dudes.”

– Shad “Keep Shining” from the album TSOL

I love this song by Shad. It touches on a major problem with hip-hop–the fact that women have a hard time being heard.

Rap is definitely a male-dominated music form. However some female MCs have managed to break through and make some great jams.

Unfortunately female rappers rarely see the same level of success as their male counterparts. It doesn’t make sense to me at all.

That is one of the reasons that we are working on putting together an entire show of DOPEfm strictly dedicated to the ladies.

That’s right, the overnight hip-hop show DOPEfm will be hosting a LADIES NIGHT SPECTACULAR sometime this fall.

We are looking for any female MC, DJ, or producer who would like to take part in this show. If you are an artist or manager, please leave a comment below or send me an email to be part of this show. If you are a fan and would like to make a request or suggestion, please do the same.

I’m really excited about putting this show together. I hope you can help me and that you will tune in live when this special episode airs. Thanks!

Don’t Flaunt It

I found this image on the ever captivating Tumblfrog site and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It really says a lot about how we perceive romance and love.

Most people don’t even notice the small signs of affection that many men and women share with each other while out in public.

I know that I like to hold hands with my girlfriend when we go for a walk through the trails or even down the sidewalk. I’ve never thought that this was flaunting our sexuality. Maybe it is.

Just think of how dangerous it would be two men to do the same thing. People would stare at them like they were doing something wrong. Certain people wouldn’t be able to handle it and would even lash out at this couple violently.

It’s safe and acceptable to flaunt heterosexuality in public. It always has been. In fact, I’ve never even thought twice about it before.

I don’t think anyone should have to hide how they feel about the person they love. Everyone should be able to walk down the street hand in hand with their lover.

I  shouldn’t feel guilty that I’m flaunting my heterosexuality, should I?

I know this campaign wasn’t designed to make me feel guilty. It was designed to challenge our perceptions and our tolerance.

I hope the day will come when we can all express our love without having to fear what other people will do when they see it. I’ve never been afraid to display small acts of  affection in public. I can’t even imagine how that must feel.

Love is love.

Let’s all express it and not hide it.

Let’s accept that people aren’t all the same and that love can appear in several different forms.

Hopefully this series of posters has got other people thinking about this issue as well.

Dorchester Mill Pond (Visual Tour)

“The Dorchester Mill Pond is located on the Dorchester Creek. It feeds into the Thames River and then into Lake St. Clair. The pond is fed by the streams of the Dorchester Swamp and agricultural land drainage.  The Mill Pond Trail provides 3.5 km of walkways through a variety of natural habitats around the pond.”

– from mainstreammiddlesex.ca

This really was a beautiful place to go for a nice trail run.

I like that there was a nice hill to run up right away.  Of course, I entered the trail from a side entrance but it loops right around so you’d still get a few small hills no matter where you start on this trail.

Trail runners always have to look ahead for hazards. If you don’t keep your eyes peeled, you can easily trip over a tree root, a rock, or a divot in the ground. Fortunately, all these hazards jump out at you on this trail. Someone has taken the effort of painting all these obstructions bright orange.

Here is the first view of the pond.

There are some nice boardwalks around the swamp as well.

I love how the trail gives you some amazing views. It winds through different areas such as boardwalks and open trails beside the pond

to wooded areas like this.

Here is a man-made waterfall at the end of the mill pond.

We are now on the other side of the pond, working our way back to the point where we started this tour.

At this part of the run, I passed a family who were enjoying a nice quiet afternoon of fishing.

I actually appreciated the orange marked trail hazards. I’m usually pretty good at spotting these on my own but the extra attention certainly would be helpful to everyone.

Here’s a map with some information on The Mill Pond.

This bridge is really impressive. It is huge and curves around the swamp to give you an excellent view.

Very cool. The bridge was constructed by the 31st Combat Engineer Regiment.

This was an easy trail to navigate. There were a few stairs and a few small hills though. I enjoyed the variety of trail surface and the amazing views.

For more visual running tours, please check the the table of contents post that I will continue to update every time I document a new trail run.

It’s Okay to Call Him NGA

This is the second part of the transcript of the interview I did with hip-hop artist Ngajuana, aka NGA. If you missed Part 1, you can go back and read it. You can also download this interview for free or stream it with the player at the bottom of the post.

Without further ado, here is the conclusion of this interview transcript. 
Chase: “What’s the London scene like here? Do you get a chance to perform often? Do you get crowds coming out?

Ngajuana: “Except for the last year, I’ve performed probably 25-30 times a year. The fans here are great. London is a little bit different to play in because the schools. With the universities and the colleges, there’s a constant influx of people that don’t’ live here. So they come here and they don’t know who anyone is. It’s like going to a new city every year. There’s always different faces in the crowd. Every year, you’ll find two or three people who become die-hard London hip-hop heads. It’s great to see. 
Maybe on a worldwide scale, Canada isn’t viewed as a Hip-Hop Mecca but London is probably the closest thing you’re gonna find in Canada that every artist I have seen here has commented on about the crowds, how live they are, and how responsive and into it they get. I’ve had people signing along with my songs, and learning my songs. It’s become a lot bigger than I ever thought it would be here.
When I started six years ago, it was a couple people going to a couple bars, and everybody knew each other and it was a different variation of the same show every time. Now there’s 60-somewhat artists, 70 maybe. There’s so many that even the artists don’t know all the artists. The shows are getting more dynamic. People are starting to bring in live bands. I had a live band for my second album release and I’ll be performing with them more often. We’re starting to pull in people from other genres to collaborate with us.
We’re starting to get respect here. It’s not being viewed so much as a negative like it was before. It used to be a high risk to bring us to a bar and have a show and now we have a weekly show and there’s never a problem. So, it’s pretty big. I like it around here especially because it’s not all about the gun-toting rap. That’s not really my thing. If you seem like the type of person that is actually gonna pull a gun on me and whatnot, God forbid, go ahead, rap about it. But I just have a hard time believing that in my middle-class suburbanite city that there are a bunch of thugs that nobody is seeing, there are guns busting that nobody is hearing, and crack deals going on when nobody can afford crack.”
Chase: “Yeah, it’s a crazy persona for some emcees to take on. Hip-hop is so open to different takes on it that you don’t have to be a gangster.”
Ngajuana: “Don’t you think they were lead that way though? They were kind of led by the hand. Like, if you want to be successful; guns, women, money, alcohol, clubs – these are the five things you’re gonna rap about. Murder, throw that in your repertoire, you’re gonna be huge. That’s just the wrong idea. So many people are doing it now, the people who are being themselves, their individuality is shining. Look at Shad K.
Chase: “Yeah, he’s awesome. I saw him perform here and he packed the house and he’s coming back next month.”
Ngajuana: “I went to elementary school with him. All of his success is deserved and all of his success is because he is him. He is himself. Anyone trying to do what he’s doing, then they’re copying Shad. There were some comments that he was trying to be Common in the beginning of his career. But I think that on a raw talent level, he’s way past those guys.
I’ve had the honour of having private discussions with him and I’ve never been made to feel so slow as having a conversation with Shad. I always kind of feel that he has a step up. The thing about him that’s unique is, he knows how smart he is but he’s not intending to do that to you. He’s very humble, very personable.”
Chase: “Yeah, I had a great discussion with him when I interviewed him recently. I interviewed Brother Ali recently. And it’s really cool to be able to talk to some of these intelligent hip-hop dudes and smash some of those stereotypes. When I put it up on the blog and the website and the podcast and when we air it, people can see that rappers aren’t stupid. It’s harder than what people might think and there’s a lot of intelligence in our songs.”
Ngajuana: “Exactly. I think we’re kind of underrated members of society. I think people judge us on the lyrics of our forefathers especially artists now because hip-hop has a standing reputation now. Before, it was still be explored but now people like us, trying to find our way, a lot of people will try to stand in our way because they have a preconceived notion of what you are because the part of the genre they’ve heard, that’s pushed by mainstream mediums; TV and radio. And then they meet someone Brandon Moore or myself or Shad or 99% of the London artists and they go, ‘You know man, you don’t really seem like a rapper.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, how’s a rapper seem?’”
Chase: “I get that all the time. I’m a teacher and I rap and my students will say, ‘You don’t dress like a rapper’ because I wear a tie to school. I always put it back to them, ‘Well, how’s a rapper dress?’ I used to work at this place and there was a new girl there and they asked if she’d met the rapper yet and she said, ‘No,’ even though she’d worked with me for two weeks because she just assumed a rapper had to be black.”
Ngajuana: “That’s part of what our job is. We need to knock down those stereotypes that they inadvertently created. You can’t say that the whole of the industry when it was created was trying to create a negative perception of their race or their culture with this cultural movement that they were creating. But it happened and now those of us who are conscious of it have a responsibility to the people coming after us to do as much as we can to change that.
Chase: “That’s awesome. It’s really been cool talking to you and we can see your intelligence here. One question I want to ask you though, I know we talked about your name at the start but do you find that a barrier to radio play because they are about 3 stations here I see that play hip-hop and do they play your stuff?”
Ngajuana: “One of my songs is in the Top 7 at 7 right now. They call me NGA because they can’t say Ngajuana on the radio and I totally understand. It was my choice to make the name and it’s their choice not to accept it. That’s my cross to bear, right? That’s on me for picking the name and not changing it. I stood by it and whatever comes of that, I can’t blame anyone at the end of the day or thank anyone at the end of the day but myself.
A couple of years ago, I didn’t know how to properly represent myself separately from the name. So a lot of people found me unapproachable and that lead to me not getting as much radio play as I could have. I have a couple songs that would probably still be getting play had I been able to crack the barrier of communication. I wasn’t representing myself properly but now I have people to do that for me and it’s not been a problem since.”
Chase: “It’s good to see you online too. I was looking around online for contacts for tonight’s nominees and I saw that you were on Twitter. Twitter is the best way to contact people nowadays.”
Ngajuana: “It’s real good, but you know what? The day that I saw your message was the day I figured out how to use Twitter. I’d been going on it once a month since 2006, trying to figure out how to see messages people send me. I didn’t know that you had to click on the @ your name thing on the side. So I click on it and I see your message and I was like, ‘Hey, that’s from yesterday,’ so I typed back and then answered 2 years of Twitter messages in one day. 
But it’s definitely an amazing resource because I hate people that write me giant letters to ask me a question. They enshroud what they want in fakeness and Twitter keeps that to a minimum. Like, ‘This is what I want, can you do it?’ and that’s what I want from people. That’s what I want from anyone in any relationship. If you want something, say you want it.”
Chase: “I’d rather give out my Twitter than my email to people because of that. It’s so much easier, it’s easier to find-”
Ngajuana: “and no threat of a virus because you don’t have to download anything or open anything. You just go there, the message is there, you read it, answer it, whatever you wanna do, and you’re on your way. They have it built into phone now. It’s only gonna be a matter of time before people are carrying entertainment centres in their backpack.”
Chase: “I think it’s gonna be like on your glasses like that Doctor Who thing, you know?”
Ngajuana: “It’s gonna be like Minority Report too. They’re already working on that. The new X-box plug in makes it so you don’t even need a controller anymore. It’ll read the joints in your body and it’s coming out this fall.”
Chase: “It’s crazy where technology is going. Case it point, when I tried releasing my demo, I had to go into the studio, I had to buy some gear, I spent $20,000 trying to get my rap career popping, and nowadays all you need is a laptop. It’s unreal how far we’ve come in like 15 years.”
Ngajuana: “I’m thankful that I came around in the middle of this instead of having to do everything on 8-tracks, 12 times, leave it there for 7 weeks, and you don’t get to hear your track until next year. Your album doesn’t come out for a year.”
Chase: “I still got stuff on DAT but I don’t have a DAT machine and so I have no way to play it. So I’d have to rent a DAT machine to play an old tape that I don’t even know what’s on it. It’s crazy.
Anyway, best of luck tonight with the awards. We’ll spin some of your tracks right now.”
Ngajuana: “Sounds good.”
Chase: “Alright, thanks. Peace!”
Well that ends Part 2 of this interview transcript. Please check this guy out and download the podcast to hear some of his music and the entire discussion that we had. If you missed Part 1 of the transcript you can go back and read it as well. You can also check out the other great interviews I have done with some very talented musicians by clicking on the “Artist Interviews” tab at the top of the page. Thanks a lot for the support everyone and thanks for tuning in.



Ngajuana – Don’t Dismiss the Name

Ngajuana has a controversial name. When I first heard this cat on the Internet, I wasn’t quite sure how to pronounce his name. When I learned how to, I was a bit uncomfortable calling him by his rap moniker simply because it starts off with the n-word and ends with the last two syllables of marijuana.

I normally censor swear words when they appear in type here on this blog but that would completely defeat the purpose of transcribing this discussion. That is why every time the n-word was used in this interview, I have typed it out in full. If this offends you, please read no further. 
I was really surprised where this discussion went and I would like to hear your thoughts on it as well in the comments section below. Don’t forget that you can download this interview for free or stream it with the player at the bottom of the post so you can hear some of his music as well. I respect this artist and what he is trying to do.
You might have heard him on 106.9 fm if you live in or have passed through the London area. They have to refer to him as NGA because they cannot say his name on commercial radio airwaves. I can say it on campus radio and the Internet so I’ve decided to respect him by using his name, even if it does sound a little unnatural coming from me.
Chase: “Alright everybody, this is Chase March and I’m sitting here with Ngajuana. How it going man?”
Ngajuana: “Can’t complain, and you?”
Chase: “Pretty good! So we’re here at the JRMAs and your nominated for an award tonight. How long have you been doing hip-hop?”
Ngajuana: “I’ve been writing raps for 6 years and I freestyled for 13 years before that. So, 19 years.”
Chase: “Nice. You have quite the controversial name.”
Ngajuana: “Yeah, it’s actually an acronym. No good a**hole just using aliases names aimlessly. I thought of it randomly. The story is even cloudy to me now. But it’s perfect for me because I’ve never really been afraid to keep my mouth shut. And I think the whole drama around the word nigger is over played now. I agree the way it was used in a historical context was obviously inappropriate, but these days, I think nigger better represents ignorance.
I don’t think that a word has to be racial, you know what I mean? Because it was used in that context doesn’t mean it was used properly. Slave masters and such were probably intelligent people but they weren’t the least ignorant people out there at the time.”
Chase: “I know certain rappers call themselves that all the time but a lot of the hip-hop audience is white, do you feel comfortable with white people using that word.”
Ngajuana: “It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Chase: “I was in a crew with four white guys and one black guy and we called him that and he didn’t care. The next crew I got with though, I said it and the guy took offense to it, like big time.”
Ngajuana: “It’s definitely a personal thing. Not everyone is going to agree with the way I think about it. It causes so many problems that one word. And coming from a predominately white city, and having mostly white friends, a lot of white people use the word anyway. If you’re gonna hide behind a word like that, you’re almost being ignorant yourself. I mean, it’s out there and it’s being used. I’ve heard it since I was a six-year old kid. The only way to remove the power from the word is to change the meaning, change the context, and don’t give it such a reaction.
It’s such an easy thing for someone who is looking for a reaction to pick on. People were trying to get me to get in trouble when I was a kid. First thing out of their mouth was, ‘Nigger, niglet,’ or some kind of variation of the word, and I always went for it, right? I felt that, racially, that was what I was supposed to do. It was my obligation. I hear the word nigger, I’m supposed to hit you. I’m supposed to react in some negative manner. As I got older, I thought about it, and thought, ‘It’s kind of stupid.’ It’s like sticks and stones, type of thing.
Chase: “Yeah, definitely. I think the whole reasons that rappers using that term is because they wanted to take it back.”
Ngajuana: “Exactly.”
Chase; “In other words, I can call you that out of a term of endearment almost and I guess I do sort of the same thing when I call some of my friends peckerhead.”

Ngajuana: “I call some of my friends fags, ya know what I mean, but I don’t think they’re gay, I think it’s just a situational thing, who you are, and the way you came up, what it means to you, and the context it’s been used in your life. Like, I can see a guy who got called nigger every day having a problem with my name because there’d be some emotional issue there. But it wasn’t like that for me. And as far as my music, I’m trying to represent me, and my views, and I’m not trying to be anyone else.
I feel that, as far as myself, there’s other people who get mad at the word on my behalf. Like, ‘You can’t call my friend a nigger!’ and I’m like, ‘Dude, there’s a lot of worse things he could call me.’”
Chase: “Well, I’ve kind of erased that word from my vocabulary. So I don’t use it and I’ll do like the Westside Connection and say, “Nia” so it doesn’t sound like the word anymore if I’m rapping along to a song I like and it has that word in it. That’s just my personal taste, you know? I have no problem with language in hip-hop and I don’t have any censorship issues there. we’re an overnight show so we don’t censor our stuff anyway.
So I’ve been listening to your stuff, connecting with you on MySpace and Twitter there and I like your music.
Ngajuana: “Thank you very much.”
Chase: “So what’s your writing process like?”
Ngajuana: “I hear the beat and the beat is usually telling a story, that’s the way I hear it, and I just write the story that I hear. I start with the hook usually, I write a multiple of two usually and then I try to build the verses around the hooks so that it stays fluent and on the topic and I make sure I get across what I’m trying to say.”
Chase: “That’s a good way to do it. I know a lot of rappers have a hard time with the hook, especially guys that are just coming out, they just want to rap, say whatever they have to say, and they don’t put much thought or effort into the hook of the song.”
Ngajuana: “It seems to be harder for other people that it is for me. I know, The Game, as an example of a prominent artist, had trouble writing his hooks and had to call in 50 Cent. But hook writing has always been natural for me. I sell hooks. $50, I’ll write a hook and put it on your song or just sell it to you so you can put it on your song. To me, they’re the most easiest, brief part of a song.”
Chase: “Yeah but it’s also the hardest because that’s what you need your listener to hear and grasp onto.”

Ngajuana: “I’ve never had a problem.”
Chase: “That’s awesome.”
Ngajuana: “I find bridges challenging, trying to make a second hook within a song. Those are a fun thing that a lot of hip-hop artists ignore I find. I like to play around with bridges a lot.”
Chase: “That’s cool because then you’re not just playing with that rap-chorus-rap-chorus-fade-out, right?”
Ngajuana: “Exactly, I try to challenge my producers too. I try to make them sequence around my lyrics. I’ll hear the loop and I’ll write the song and I’ll be, ‘Oh and by the way I added in a bridge that wasn’t in the beat.’ They’ll be like, ‘Okay so what do you want me to do?’ and I’ll say, ‘Make it sound a little bit different.’”
Chase: “Nice. So how do you get your beats?”
Ngajuana: “Right now I’m working with Mad Hatter and Rugged One primarily. Mad Hatter is an independent, talented, talented guy, working exclusively with me. Rugged One is working with New Industry Canada. He works out of downtown London. I did my first album ‘Shave the Sheep’ with him. He’s a dope producer in his own right, trying to push the boundaries of what hip-hop is and I especially like working with him because he wants to further his talent.”

Well that ends Part 1 of this interview transcript. The rest of the interview is a little more tame so you can come back tomorrow and read it if you choose. But please check this guy out and download the podcast or stream it with the player below to hear some of his music and the entire discussion that we had. Thanks!