In honor of the 15th anniversary of The True Meaning album, Cormega teamed up with Brian Kayser to deliver a book that takes an in-depth look at Mega’s critically-acclaimed sophomore effort.
‘Understanding The True Meaning‘ features lyrical breakdowns as well as commentary from various producers and behind-the-scenes team members who were involved with the making of the score. Contributors include Alchemist, Buckwild, D/R Period, Hi-Tek, J Waxx Garfield, and of course J-Love, among others. Purchase the book online at Fatbeats, or Amazon.
If you’re looking for celebratory merchandise to go along with the book, visit 550xcormega.com where True Meaning hoodies, skateboard decks, t-shirts and more, are being sold for the album’s anniversary. While you’re at it, visit my archive on Cormega ( including my review of the mini-doc about his life).
The Realness album is a street diary that spoke to people around the world, so it’s fitting that Cormega has traveled the world in in the 15 years since its original release.
TheRealness 15-year anniversary shirt features the album release date and format on the chest and the 15-salute on the center-back.
Snag the shirt for men or women at ThisIsLiphe.com and grab tickets for the April 9th, New York kickoff of the Cormega Realness anniversary tour via ticketfly: http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1123169
Want more merch? Check out The Realness tour gear site collaboration at: http://550xcormega.com to pickup everything from limited edition Cormega skateboard decks, to hoodies, prints and short-sleeved tees.
Welcome to the care package chronicles
I’m diggin’ in the proverbial blogger crates which contain cool music and other items that people graciously provide for me to check out. If you’re interested in sending me something to check out, visit my contact page and send me a message.
First up is my reaction to the Cormega biographical DVD entitled “Who Am I?” which documents some of his life between 2001 and 2005, as well as his early life.
When a DVD has a menu page like the one pictured, you know you’re in for a bit of a rough ride. I mean, this is basically a rendering of a bathroom wall without the usual “Becky was here” or “For a good time…” etchings. Instead I recognized the name of a person Cormega has lost to death.
I got the tissues out and pressed play. Don’t judge me. Women have feelings. That’s part of what makes us special. And yes, I do use the actual kleenex brand. The lotion in there feels softer when I dab my eyes.
MY FAVORITE VIDEO INTERLUDE
A number of different videos appear in between interviews but my favorite is “Get Out My Way.” The song was produced by Sha Money and XL who made tidy work of a set of horn samples that blare over the track as though heralding the coming of something, or someone great. You feel pretty regal listening to it.
I related to the overall theme of the song which amounts to: quit talking – just step aside and watch me live my life. Although.. the words used in the song are a bit more explicit than mine!
“Gimmie mine or I’mma take what’s yours/Spray up doors/ Make love war/Get out my way/ …Who want what?/ Say no more/ Matta fact.. take that chain off dog.”
Sounds like the Cormega I’ve yet to meet! I’m more familiar with the side of him that is a philanthropist who won’t shoot me or take my costume jewelry. Lucky me.. but from the looks of the video I’d say the rest of you might want to tread carefully.
Seriously though- “Get Out My Way” deserves a post all its own. I have so many questions about some of styling and the video treatment. I’ll save my questions for another time. Maybe I can request a sit down with the artist for his take on it. My second favorite video was “Live Your Life” more for the message that the creative treatment.
I can honestly say the tissue prep I mentioned earlier was a good call. While the DVD had happy moments (like the baby shower for Mega’s daughter) , there were many moments in the movie that underscored the loss of friends and family.
Cormega saw his mother die as a child. Do people ever get over that kind of trauma? I am not sure. Seeing it is different than having it happen out of your sight. Even hearing him say it on film gave me a chill. I never want to see a family member, friend or other soul die.
I reached for the kleenex when the story of Tye played out. He was someone well liked, but met his end at the hands of police in Brooklyn.
There was something deeply disturbing about it. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that gun violence relieves young black men of their lives in similar ways in similar cities around the world all the time. Perhaps it was knowing that any of these violent gun-related deaths could easily be Cormega, my brother or a friend of yours. It was disturbing that’s all I want to convey.
SMALL WORLD. DANGEROUS WORLD.
A lot of people in the DVD had R.I.P. signs superimposed on their scenes, but I recognized someone who didn’t. His name was Clarence “Drawz” Williamson and I met him last year at an AZ/Cormega/Jon Hope show in New York. Let’s just say he was VERY PRO CORMEGA when we spoke at the show.
The reason Drawz didn’t have a rest in peace sign on his portion of this DVD? He was shot and killed way after it was filmed. I recall in early in 2011, while working on a project, Cormega became difficult to reach. Emails went unanswered. I wondered if he wanted to proceed with the project or not.
Finally he said “My friend just died.” Shot in Queens like so many others, Drawz was not going coming back.
We finished the project but I remember being horrified at the thought of this artist making it to adulthood and finding himself still subject to losing friends to senseless violence year after year. That part of the DVD was hard to watch but it reminded me to let people know that you care for them before they’re gone.
I laughed at a few scenes where people who knew Cormega told funny stories but the funniest had to be Kurupt (of tha Dogg Pound) describing how he and the artist first met. Let’s say they joined forces in “persuading” someone to do something. Buy the DVD to hear that story. It was a mean one but I did laugh. Thanks Kurupt, for all your special voices and unique intonation when telling the story.
The DVD showed me Cormega’s philanthropic side existed way before we met. There was a testimonial from a young person whose college tuition he paid for, a story about a free trip to great adventure (for the entire projects) and a cheerful visit to wheel chair bound elders for a little hip hop and basketball. I smiled at all of those scenes!
I also smiled at a few familiar faces that I began to recognize.
Choke No Joke! A video director who can be seen seated to Cormega’s right at this event.
Biz, an artist manager and marketing manager who I met through Statik Selektah. Biz also appears on this page.
I recognized a few other people. Buckwild and others who had kind things to say about Cormega as a friend as and as artist.
MY OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE DVD
This DVD is long but it provides some insight into the life of an artist that some people still make assumptions about. I saw a lot of places where edits could have been made to shorten the runtime a bit. As far as the overarching themes, stories and testimonials- I thought it was pretty fascinating to hear stories from people in Queens, Co-Op City and Brooklyn. They spoke candidly and provided a lot of colorful of examples of what life with Cory was like- from the big guns to the charity events.
Two bowties up for this DVD… I say pick it up via Amazon here if you are interested in hip hop and the drug culture that permeates some facets of it, and what a person who grew up hustling has to say about it as an adult. You might learn something.
After recently visiting Haiti, Hip Hop Icon Cormega collaborates with artists Lil Fame [M.O.P], Stic.man [Dead Prez], General Steele [Smif & Wesson], Redman, and Maya Azucena on a song for Haiti.
The Song “I Made a Difference” is in tribute to the people affected by the disastrous earthquake that paralyzed Haiti. In honor of Haiti Flag Day, May 18, 2011 the single will be available on itunes and other digital outlets, with proceeds going to http://www.jphro.org, the J/P Haitian Relief Organization founded by Sean Penn.
I have to pause for a Chevon moment here. If you know me- you know I support transparency in giving. Therefore, I did my own search, first in the news, and then on the IRS site for charity registration. If you were wondering where ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of your money will go, note that: Sean Penn’s charity is a fully registered non profit.
My single for Cormega Raw Forever is called ” I Made A Difference ”
it will be released May 18th, featuring: General Steele of Smiff & Wessun, Maya Azucena, Stic Man of Dead Prez, Redman, and Fame of MOP.
Music played by The Revelations and Jazimoto. Im proud of this song it took months to complete all proceeds will be donated to jphro.org which is Sean Penns organization that I can personally vouch for. Please get it when its available its only gonna be around 99 cent I believe and it will be 99 cent well spent.
I am proud of the song but also want to thank everyone in the background who helped me finish the song Chevon ,MMRick ,JRonin ,Bro, and thanks to those who are willing to help get the message out-
Bernice Victor, JKL Productions, Icedotcom, Krook, and theres a new site called antisellout.com – they have been following what we are trying to achieve. Also Mikey T. Also shout out to Papa Jube, Parrish and everyone that is trying to help rebuild Haiti
Personally I gotta say thanks so much to Cynical, Steele and Sadat for their support on this. As usual they down for the cause, heavy.. and I love them for that!
Check out the first episode of PRIVILEGE Radio with DJ Teddy King & Tes Uno.
Recorded live every month at the Red Bull Studio NYC. Stay tuned for lots of special guests in up coming shows. See the track listing and link below to stream, DL & share.
1.Weldon Irvine – Egypt
2.Roc Marciano – Ice Cream Man
3.Troy Ave – Cigar Smoke ft King Seven
4.Quincy Jones – Summer in the City ( Show Intro )
5.Action Bronson – Through the Eyes of a G ft AB Soul
6.Vic Mensa – Orange Soda
7.Pusha T – Nostalgia ft Kendrick Lamar
8.Maffew Ragazino – Beef Lo Mein ft Spazz One
9.Mondee – All I Want Instrumental ( Show Midtro )
10.Bodega Bamz – At Close Range
11.Roc Marciano – Do the Honors ft Dino Brave & Lost Occupant
12.Kenny Dope & Raheem DeVaughn – Final Call ft Rhymefest
13.Large Professor – Focused Up ft Cormega & Tragedy Khadafi
14. DJ Eli – Lay Puzzled
15.Joey Bada$$ – Waves
16.Perrion – Get a Job
17.World Renown – How Nice I Am Instrumental ( Show Outro )
18.Asap Nast – Trillmatic ft Method Man
19.Action Bronson – Strictly 4 the Jeeps
20.Kid Daytona – New Yorker’s Ambition ft Aloe Blacc
The 1Plus1Plus1 Art Show Event I produced featured artwork by TTK, Sam Woolley and Klashwon. Fuse Green, Andre LeRoy Davis, Big Daddy Kane, Cormega and more were in attendance! Press play below to view the video I commissioned from the opening night.