LIVE, LAUGH, AND LEARN... welcome to the co.

Forever, Michael

A little over 24 hours ago we were shocked as tweets, updates and queries overloaded Twitter, Facebook and Google with the King of Pop’s death. It was sort of surreal when I first read it in my Twitter timeline. Like many, I couldn't keep up with the "updates." I had heard he suffered a heart attack... and then was in a coma... and couldn’t believe it when the news broke that he had passed. I refused to believe it until CNN or NPR made an official statement and even then it seemed unreal. At the age of 50, the international superstar passed away after suspected cardiac arrest in his Los Angeles home.

24 hours later, the news is just now starting to sink in for me. It’s hard to explain, but in my mind it just didn’t seem possible that THE Michael Jackson could die. I had grown up listening to Michael. He sang the soundtrack of my childhood and adolescent life and in my twenties it’s his songs that get me on the dance floor every time at any club (you can’t tell me you don’t get the urge whenever you hear a hint of “Beat It” or my all time fave, “PYT”). I guarantee that we’ve all got some memory that involves a Michael Jackson hit (my memory? My very first junior high slow dance was to “You Are Not Alone” lol!).

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his talent and the timeless influence he’s had on the music industry. The youngest member of the Jackson 5, he quickly out-shined his siblings at an early age. During his solo career, he went on to earn 13 Grammy awards, 13 #1 singles, and sell over 750 million records... tell me that don’t give the man some braggin’ rights!

In the early 80s he became a dominant figure in the pop world after his breakthrough album, Off the Wall, and
the world's best-selling record of all time, Thriller. And who could forget his "mini-film" for "Thriller" that forever set the bar for subsequent music videos? Oh, and his dance moves? They've influenced everyone from Chris Brown to Usher, and even inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines.

But, as we all know, behind most musical geniuses is often a troubled soul. Michael Jackson, with his unorthodox lifestyle, was no exception. He was by no means a role model and for the last decade of his life, was the center of controversy and scandal. Anyone with his level of stardom would clearly have to battle some personal demons during his/her lifetime, which without a doubt would effect one's professional life and image too. Out of respect, I won't go into those details here. Besides, I'm sure all that-- and more-- will resurface elsewhere as the days go by...

However, despite all that, as we found out about his death, people of all ages everywhere flocked to music stores to complete their MJ collections, hundreds gathered in the streets to celebrate his legacy, and DJs played tribute to him all night long. And if you ask me, that’s a testament to his musical greatness. Although many may try, his legacy is unlikely to be surpassed (or forgotten).

May you rest in Peace, Power and Paradise, Michael Jackson. No matter what, we never can say goodbye.


Back to the Feature

Okay, so my i'm-over-hip-hop phase is kinda over...

If you recall, I've been a fan of Wale for a while. I've been bumpin' his last two mixtapes for a minute and finally, the long awaited Back to the Feature mixtape dropped this weekend via twitter.

From an initial run through, it holds it's own against 100 miles and running, which was my fave. I still have to give it a really good listen, but so far so good.

Sharing is caring, so download it and let us know what you think.

Also, if you're in the Bay you can catch Wale live at PST tomorrow night.


AD NAUSEUM: Her Morning Elegance

I've been going through my usual I'm-over-hip-hop phase. I'm currently uninterested in the new new that's floating around out there and have either completely immersed myself in other genres or gone back to the classic old love-of-my-life hip hop. Recently, I stumbled onto Oren Lavie's video for "Her Morning Elegance" and since then have been absolutely in love with both the video and song. Maybe it's due to my current state of mind, but the melody invokes a sense of nostalgia. "Her Morning Elegance" was featured in a Chevy Malibu commercial that first aired back in February '08:

According to Oren Lavie's bio, he's never owned a car in his life. Nonetheless, I thought the song was fitting.

Now peep the video, which was released on iTunes on January 20th of this year as the download of the week:

It's become one of my favorite videos. I've probably watched it a dozen times since finding it late Friday night.

The song is off the album The Opposite Side of the Sea (US released 2008). His website includes a brief yet entertaining history of the album, upcoming shows and a "bad reviews" section with Oren's responses to said reviews, which I thought was pretty cool.


Welcome Home Agent Mike: AIDS Lifecycle 2009

(family and friends cheer the riders on as they ride into closing ceremonies)

Last weekend Dee, myself, and a ton of other people welcomed more than 2,000 riders from the AIDS Lifecycle ride into Los Angeles for the completion of the week long ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise $10.5M for AIDS research, aid, and education. Participating this year was our very own Agent Mike.

Watching more than 2000 people ride in on bikes was impressive and the ceremonies to follow were moving. Between the videos of the ride and the speakers speaking on the state of AIDS in the US, there weren't many dry eyes in the crowd. With the many other things going on in the world, we often tend to forget the things that aren't in our face all of the time. Although it is not often in the news, AIDS is still a big problem facing people all over the world. Hearing people talk about AIDS in a very personal way, seeing flags dedicated to those affected, and all of the HIV positive participants (the positive pedaler holding the flag to the right) helped to remind those at the ceremony how real it all still is, and how much more of a problem it is in these economic times (government is looking to cut AIDS funding as a way to save money). It seemed, from all of the riders, that the experience was a very positive one. In speaking with mike, and watching the closing ceremonies, it made me really want to participate in the ride next year.

So in short, congrats to Agent Mike, and the rest of the 2000+ riders in your 545 mile journey through california and in raising so much money in such hard times, the feat is impressive to say the least!

(Agent Mike makes it home)