Posts Tagged ‘UMD’

Ok, I know, I know–why is a twenty-five-year-old man so concerned with College Park?

No, it’s not to scope out under-21’s and talk to them. I have OKCupid for that. Nor is it to speak on social media and, in turn, create memes out of my fellow Terps. They do that on their own. Since I live a literal hop, skip, and a jump away from UMD, I find myself in the area more often than I like to admit than not. I also still conduct a teeny bit of business in the area, therefore I’m invested in places where I can (cheaply) talk turkey. So, when I heard that a Denny’s was opening in the area, I was both cautious and enthusiastic. Growing up in Baltimore, the only Denny’s within a twelve-mile radius was this run-down spot near North Point Road that’s now a Sudsville laundromat near an almost deserted K-Mart.

This area looks almost nothing like it did when I was younger...but almost exactly the same. Think about it.

This area looks almost nothing like it did when I was younger…but almost exactly the same. Think about it. About five minutes from here resides the Gentleman’s Gold Club. It’s exactly what you think it is.

Suffice to say, I’d heard of it, knew what it was, but I’d never had it. But, I always wanted it. Like some slightly below average Holy Grail, I searched high and low for a Denny’s. Whenever I found one, there was always something a bit…better to do/eat. But, recently, I couldn’t avoid my cautious enthusiasm about the place any longer. So, after a long day at work, the family and I drove down Route One, past the Enclave, past the Taco Bell, to a little slice of Americana: the Denny’s of Greater College Park. While I didn’t expect five-star dining, what I got exceeded my lowest expectations in terms of “SMH.”

When we walked in, we were three of (including the staff) maybe twenty people in the restaurant. I chalked it up to finals, but it stuck out in my mind; the place just opened not too long ago. Ke$ha and Bruno Mars played from the sound system, so the idea of this being a slice of modern Americana was kept intact, albeit a bit glittered and puffed up. Our waiter, a young woman in her twenties, was pleasant but forgot the bare necessities (making sure your tables are properly equipped with silverware, keeping your menus accessible, keeping your order pad on your person, checking back on your customers, making sure your customers aren’t ready to torch the place because the service they’ve gotten has been below sub-par, etc). When we finally did get her to stop and get everything in order, she was quite apologetic for everything (that’s a plus to alleviate my negativity) and took our orders. I had the “Red White and Blue” French Toast. The family had kid-sized spaghetti and the Cheesesteak Omelet, respectively.

About forty minutes later (after a slew of “mishaps”), our food arrived. My “red white and blue” was replaced by butter pecan and cinnamon. My eggs were cold and my sausages were more mushy than my cats food. The omelet lacked, well, most of what it was supposed to have (you know, peppers, onions, taste–that sort of thing). And our beverages were…unique. We got flavored lemonades. The “mango lemonade” was some Minute Made that was (supposedly) squeezed fresh with a giant glob of mango syrup at the bottom. I stirred and I stirred, but they just don’t make water wet enough to dissolve the “mango” into the drink in any way. I’d understand if it’s puree; puree isn’t supposed to flat-out dissolve into things. But, it was literally half-a-cup full of syrup.

The only thing that came out remotely like expected was my kid’s spaghetti.

Upon paying my check, the cashier asked me how everything was.

“Uh, it was…cool…kind of different,” I hesitantly said, biting my tongue.

“Well, it wasn’t no Ruth’s Chris, was it,” the cashier cheekily asked me, sensing my disdain.

And in the back of my mind (and the front of it), I answered honestly.

“No. No, it wasn’t,” I retorted as I walked out, head-shaking family in tow.

Did I expect Ruth’s Chris? Heck no. But, I at least expected something better than what I got. Maybe it’s some post-open jitters that they’re still trying to work out. That’s entirely possible, just like Terrapin Turf before it (expect a part three of that series at some point, probably in the fall of ’14 with my old a**). Personally, I probably wouldn’t go back for a while, but if you’re in the mood to wait around and possibly get the wrong food, check it out.

At least the pancake puppies were divine. Even though by the time they brought us syrup, the puppies had gotten a bit cold.

Until next time, this is your (admittedly cynical) critic Speed on the Beat, the one who endures awkwardness and clusters so you don’t have to, signing off.

You may remember him from his NycRapp video that debuted earlier this year, but Brain Rapp switches it up and showcases his solo flow on the Koja Nc produced single “Shine”. After months of performing and fine tuning his “Feels Good” project which debuted two months ago, Brain Rapp provides a visual for his mellow, laid back single by filming the entire video himself solely on an iPhone. I appreciate this song and the video because it takes us back to the core of what hip-hop is, low-cost artistry that tells an honest story through lyrics and captivating visuals. The fact the video was shot solely on an iPhone illustrates not just how far technology and music has come since the early stages of hip-hop, but also showcases Brain Rapp’s multiple talents as a writer, rapper, director, photographer, and editor. Other up-and-coming artists should take notes from this guy. He is living by the motto, “If you want something done right. Do it yourself.” And one thing is for certain, if Brain Rapp follows that motto throughout his career he will surely “Shine” for many years to come. Be sure to follow Brain Rapp on his social media: Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud and check out the video below!

“Shine” was the first single from Feels Good. Soon after its release I got the invite to perform at A3C. I wanted to shoot a video for it but I wanted to do something different. Instead of using the DSLR to shoot, I opted to make it more organic and shoot the whole thing on my iPhone. Using my first experience at A3C to tell the story of “Shine” was fitting because the song is all about gaining exposure, stepping into the spotlight, and letting people know that you belong there. – Brain Rapp

Happy (Day After) Cyber Hump Day. Looks like I’m pulling triple duty this week, with my usual TWIHH post and part three of the (Not-So) Social Media series over at SpeedontheBeat.com (Caution: Part Three of the series is highly NSFW. Viewer discretion is strongly advised). But, I hope you’ve gotten your fill of stuffing, turkey, ratchet beatdowns and Twitter thirsting after that one young’un chick who seems/seemed catfishy is supposedly from the University of Maryland that had people in a tizzy about a week or so back (Hi Reyna).

Apparently, this is the safest for work photo existing

Apparently, this is the safest for work photo existing of her.

For this one, I’d like to go a bit personal and talk a bit about an event that impacted me and my approach to music. Yes, for those who forgot, I also do record and produce music under this lovely little moniker.

During my early years at UMD, I wasn’t DK, Dee Redd, Eyedeal or any of them. I was little ol’ J dot Speed, the kid that popped up randomly at Juke Joint, performed, then left to do sociology homework at McKeldin. Like a ninja, I came on stage, killed it, then stealthily sneaked out (except when I didn’t and made a complete fool of myself, but that’s how I learn). I wasn’t in it for fame or money or anything. I just had good music, and I wanted to share it. Even though I found a couple of gems in that year, I wasn’t even trying to be a talent head hunter.

I had less studio options than I do now. So most of the time I’d write something down in class, run back to Centerville 5 North, write “ON AIR” on our dry erase board, and record. Sometimes, I’d even have pow-wows with other artists, potentially trying to craft another song or a collabo. These collabos usually didn’t go anywhere, except for one time when my friend Dre and I decided to do a song together and perform it at Juke Joint. These were magic times for me. I mean, even after the fact that I’d been signed a few times growing up, I was still able to find joy, peace, and harmony in music. I was able to voice opinions I held dormant with music. I was able to speak to the world and heal it through my glitchy, uber-no-fi songs. I was able to make nothing but friends through it all.

Until everything went south.

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Ikey (left) with J-Roc at Maryland Day 2007

While working on that Dre/Speed collabo, our mutual friend Ikey (yes, “Green Card” and “Coming to America” Ikey a/k/a Ike da Kid) was also working on projects with a friend, J-Roc. We’d all play our stuff to each other, and would perfect our respective segments and samples based on critiques. Now, somewhere in the midst of this, Ike and J-Roc performed a song entitled “Made Men” at Juke Joint. It had a line that went something like “My name is J-R, to the OC and I’m a boss, ballin’ up in the VIP.” I thought it was kind of cool, so I took the phrasing of the line to craft the following for a track entitled “I Got ‘Em”:

“My name is J-D, to the O-T/And son I’m a boss, what you supposed to be?”

I didn’t think anything of it (though I probably should have–look at Can-i-Bus and LL as an example of re-purposing lines starting beef), until I performed the song at what I like to call “Speed’s Maryland Day Meltdown.” At Maryland Day 2007, going on right after Ikey and J-Roc was me. So, here I was: 5’7, in a white Orioles fitted, shades–which I eventually beamed at someone in the audience, trying to be “cool”–capris, and a durag (Fashion Gods and Common Sense, forgive me) spitting lyrics. The first song I performed was “I Got ‘Em.”

Ike and J-Roc left the event after the first verse, and I got a couple of “ooohs,” but not of the “kill ’em” variety. Because of this performance, I’m pretty sure that I’m still banned from stepping foot near Stamp and McKeldin Mall during Maryland Day. I know I was barred from Juke Joint for a couple of performances. Walking back to Dre’s dorm in Easton, I ran into Ike and J-Roc and I congratulated them on their performance.

“Good job, y’all. You guys doing anything later? Dre and I may head down to South Campus. I think DJ [Strawberry]’s people are doing something, so I heard.”

All I got was icy stares scalding enough, they’d make heat melt. Ike and J-Roc walked away as I looked back at them, dumbfounded.

“What’s going on,” I asked the group I was with.

“Well, Speed, you did just diss the [stuffing] out of Ike and Jeremie,” one of them said, somewhat laughing at what’d just transpired.

“I did? How,” I asked, completely oblivious to the fact that my homage and re-purposed line came off and came out exactly like sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-shots fired.

Over the next month-plus through the end of the semester, there was a feeling of animosity in the air. Any cliché you can insert about the tension, it’d apply. Friends chose sides (the second time that happened among our group of friends that year). People got offended. Threats were fired off and glances exchanged. But, there was no music being made.

Until that damned “Cannon” remake. Now, I’m the type of person that will congratulate a person for dissing me. I’ll say “yo, dude. That bar was crazy. I didn’t think you’d go at me like that!” I’m just crazy like that. And, looking back six years later, that ish did kind of go in, except when it devolved into bar after bar…after bar of “Speed, you’re short” jokes. But, for the first time, I was taken aback and legitimately pissed off by the amount of foolishness that’d risen from a line that was initially meant as a kudos for a good bar.  So, naturally, I fired back with something out of Game’s playbook, a 10-minute track where I just spazzed even more than Ike and J-Roc had. This went back and forth until the end of the semester.

For two years, Ike and I didn’t speak. I eventually removed the disses I’d dropped because J-Roc got killed and I, you know, didn’t want to speak ill of the dead over some BS rap “beef.” Eventually, Ike and I kind of reconciled–or at least stopped being so “damn dawg” about the fact that things went down as they did. It was funny how it happened. It was a random day during our Senior year. We were both in McKeldin and I happened to just say “screw it” and say “Hey, Ike. Man, my bad for all that. We were young and hotheaded.” And that was that.

So how did all of this impact me to become “The No-Fi King,” you’re probably wondering. Well, it gave me an even tougher skin. Realizing that people may get offended by things I said, I became more aware of what I said, how I said it, and who I said it to. Essentially, the Ike “beef” made me grow up musically and personally. That horrible Maryland Day debacle made me realize that I had incredibly bad anxiety issues and no amount of pre-gaming before a performance would alleviate them. Heck, they’d probably make them worse. So, future performances, I approached them soberly and without any craziness. And if I hadn’t been lyrically challenged by Ike during the beef, I probably wouldn’t have continued to do this music thing. Because I’ll be honest: to me, Ike was probably the most lyrical cat at UMD during our tenure there. So, while I’d beaten up on children before in battles, Ike represented the first man I’d battled/beefed with. And, at that point, I hope I pushed him to do the same.

Six years later and we’re still both making noise in our respective areas, though. So, I guess I did what he did.

Check out Paperboy Prince of The Suburbs’ visual for The Paper Route classic “Goregeous Prince George’s”. Paper steps out of The Office to show us some of the finer things Prince George’s County, Maryland has to offer. Check out the video below and be sure to tell all of your friends about “Goregeous Prince George’s” by sharing this link and tweeting the hashtag #ThankYouPaperBoy! Also, be sure to follow Paper on his social media: Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud and DatPiff.

As promised, my DJ alter ego @BmoreSupplier’s #SearchingForAuroraJolie2 mix. Turn it up to 11, but in your headphones. This one gets dirty. And explicit. And…sexual. It’s a raw mix. Why not incorporate more of…well, you know.

Now that the shameless plug’s out the way, let us get into This…Week…In…Hip-Hop! (Halloween Edition).

No, I’m not going to talk about how scary it is that we live in a world where Tech N9ne can get on a track with Lil’ Wayne, call it “F— Food,” and have it reach heights most people never will. That song, I’m slightly ashamed to admit, is one of my favorite tracks from All 6’s and 7’s. Nor will I talk about my favorite sexy costumes as originally planned (hint: It’s the one with the miniskirt and the boobage-enhancing half-shirt). No, it’s time for…some of the worst Halloween (or “scary,” for the hipsters) rap songs in history. Now, I could have gone the easy route and said “best,” because that’d just involve me listening to some horrorcore and then slapping on that one Will Smith song at the end and saying that I survived until the next year.

The Fat Boys are iconic. They’re amazing. They, in Krush Grove (when I randomly saw it as a five-year-old), made me want to beatbox and rap. But, in 1984, they appeared on the original Nightmare on Elm Street soundtrack. Let’s just say that the end results were…headshakingly bad. There is no way in hell you’re going to tell me that hearing Freddy Krueger bust a rhyme doesn’t make you forget that he’s a character that kills and tortures children through their dreams. At least Will’s version didn’t have Robert Englund droppin’ knowledge.

Word.

This song almost makes me sad that Miami Booty Bass (or even early to mid ’90s B’more Club) was ever a thing.

((WARNING: This is the Uncensored version of the song and video. Not Safe For Watching at work!!!))

My logic behind listing Kanye West’s “Monster” is two-fold. The video is insane, but the verses really have nothing to do with the video–at all. So, a song that many rap bloggers call a spooky Halloween song is only spooky if you’re watching the friggin’ video. Other than that? It’s standard late-2000s Kanye West. Secondly, the video isn’t scary, more-so just demented. It’d be like calling the Saw franchise a psychological thriller when compared to, say, Memento or One-Hour Photo.

This is “Airplanes” meets “mid-life crisis” meets “slight references to borderline personalities and depression.” My God. Not every Eminem song is supposed to be scary, nor is every song supposed to be “Stan.” But, this song, non-scare factor aside, is what makes me afraid of MMLP2Heck, that may put it on the best scary songs list, then.

I’ll probably be hit in the head with a couple of Faygo bottles, but almost any ICP song can be on this list. In the tradition of the last two entrants on this list, I’ve posted a song that has nothing to do with scariness. It’s scary that this song makes absolutely no sense. What I learned from it is that magic is real and dogs and cats aren’t–or something. The logic behind “Miracles” is like giving your three-year-old free rein to try to explain where people go when they die. It’s not pretty and only funny if you have a pretty messed-up sense of humor. Luckily, I’m a master of the black (comedy) arts, so hooray!

From Maryland to Colorado, DK aka Wayne Watts gives you a glimpse at life as an aspiring hip-hop music artist and the meaning of his most recent project “The Windows Theory”. Check out this mini-documentary and be sure to follow him on social media ( Twitter and Facebook)and check out his music (SoundCloud, SonicBids, and BandCamp).

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A reflection written and contributed by Camille Michelle Gray

When I was in college, the only time I’d see my extended family was during the holidays. Heck, the only time I ever see my extended family is on holidays, but I digress. These holidays are a chance for everyone to catch up—“How’s the practice going?”, “How did the operation go?”, “How did that trip go?”…so on and so forth. When it’s my turn to churn out the perfunctory things are going great catch-all, I was and am always troubled by the so where’s the boyfriend question. When I’m asked about school or work or my travel excursions abroad, I am always met with a matter-of-fact tone. But when people inquire into my dating life, or lack thereof, their heads tilt, they smile saccharinely, and their voices always go up at least an octave—all things that tacitly connote an air of pity, like they’re all secretly thinking you poor thing, bless your single little heart.

When I was in high school and starting out in college, this question bothered me because I, too, would look in the mirror and say you poor thing, bless your single little heart. Back then I subscribed to the societal stupidity of I Have a Boyfriend, Therefore I Am.

Now when I hear that all so common question (asked by all types of people running the gamut from my family to total strangers) about my lack of boyfriend, I become internally infuriated. Before when I answered I would say really depressing things like I don’t know, no one likes me, I’m shy and probably ugly or too pretty and intimidating. Now, after years of spiritual growth, introspection, and romantic experience, I answer Because I’m working on being with myself right now or I haven’t found the right person or I really would just rather work on my music and pet my dog and watch ‘Inglorious Basterds’ for the sixth time.

The subtle change is that now I am opting to remain single. Before I fought against singledom like a tea-partier at an Obama rally. Here is a frank truth that applies to me and many other women I know: If I really sincerely needed a boyfriend or male assurance, I could put on my Uggs from 2008, drive down to CVS right now, and charm a fellow into being with me. I could charm at least half of the men on a metro car at any given time. I have grown into myself and know I am capable of these things, shy/intimidating/ugly/pretty or not. This is a fact. The problem for me (and other women) isn’t that there is some dearth of men who would like to be with me in some capacity. The problem, which isn’t really a problem, is that I’m much more obsessed with quality.  Sure CVS man could be anatomically male and that is where the standards stop for some women, but is he smart? Is he witty? Is he doing something with his life? Does he respect me? And can he watch ‘Inglorious Basterds’ with me for the sixth time?

People love to tell me why I needn’t be single. Things like: but you’re so pretty, you’re so smart and funny, you went to a college with more men than women for God’s sake!!! (By the way, no humble brag intended. People have told me these things and I’m merely recounting them…don’t shoot the messenger!)

But because I am obsessed with quality checking the person I will be spending my life, or at least my twenties (or at least 2014) with, the Getting A Boyfriend process is so much slower for me. I know what you’re thinking: Camille, it’s slow because you’re picky and have dumb standards. Ouch. But…maybe you have a point. Is being picky dumb though? Why should I dishonor myself by having someone around who isn’t lighting up my heart space just so I don’t have to be alone? Why should I have to settle in order to please the population of people who look at single women like me with judgment and pity? Don’t I deserve to have someone who makes me smile, makes my heart jump, and shares a similar passion for life? The answer is: yes, we ALL do. And here is a bonus: THAT PERSON EXISTS!

And don’t discount me. I’ve played the desperate woman, holding onto men who are just terrible for me out of the fear of being alone. I’ve also played the super-open minded-nothing-fazes-me woman who dates anyone with a sparkle of potential. And guess what: both situations left me unhappy. So I made the decision to stop burdening myself with that injustice and to just be alone for now.

At the tender age of twenty-two, I feel so amazingly blessed to be in on a little secret: I am whole and complete without a romantic partner. The love and validation I used to seek from men already exists inside of me. Nothing outside of me can supply my happiness, self esteem, or worth—it’s all an inside job!! Does that mean that I don’t want someone to cuddle up with on a rainy Friday night (re: ‘Inglorious Basterds’ watching)? No. It means that as I wade through the purgatory between relationships, I can feel secure, vibrant, loved, sexy and just fine instead of twiddling my thumbs, remaining idle and crying when I see people holding hands.

But Camille, how did you get from feeling depressed about being single to being okay with it in a matter of years? I’ll tell you how: a lot of f*cking hard work. I worked on myself via my spiritual path non-stop for two years straight and it was ugly. I shined light on all my dark places, I got real with myself, I cried, I practiced newly learned spiritual skills on dates, I sought counsel, I read books, I DID EVERYTHING. And I am so much better for it. By no means is my work done. Sometimes I catch myself scrolling through pictures of engagement photo shoots on the Internet, dipping my toes into an insidious river of envy flowing in the back of my mind. But now I can catch myself, snap myself back into reality, and breathe into the knowing that I am fine as is and that the Universe’s timing of events is smarter than my petty wants. It’ll all happen in due time.

Think of it this way: if you went to a psychic who had a 100% track record of predicting future events, and she said to you I see you with the love of your life. You’re perfect partner is coming soon would you feel anxious anymore about being single? That’s where I am right now. I’ve relaxed into singledom and have adopted a blind faith that it will happen. I don’t beat myself up anymore. And if I don’t beat myself up about it, it will be hard to let anyone else beat me up about it either. A positive side effect of all of this: by virtue of being single and happy despite it, not only do I have more time to work on myself and my goals, I also elevate my energy and become more apt to attract awesome things like a job promotion (check), a healthier body (check), and yes, a boyfriend (no check…yet!)

And so it is that the holidays are among us and I will be soon sitting around bloodlines, awaiting a barrage of questions about my life. And when someone inevitably asks about my relationship status, I plan to just sit there champagne flute in hand, shrug nonchalantly and reply: Oh I’m single? Didn’t even notice.

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Camille Michelle Gray is a 22 year old singer/songwriter from Washington D.C. She likes dogs, cheese, and Lady Gaga. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!

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At least it looked more promising than the first time.

For part one, click here.

To sum it up, my second trip to TT involved someone being thrown out and slow service with a highly anti-enthusiastic crowd. But, at least the gogo dancers had back this time. That’s a consolation, right? Anyone? No? Well, without further ado, here’s the long version.

IMG_20131020_004415I arrived around 11:45. I find getting to a place for “Zombie Time” (especially in a college town) allows you to see it for all its glory–or, in the case of The Barking Dog, lack thereof. Once inside, I saw the place was halfway crowded. A marked improvement over the grand opening night. However, it was still a bit discouraging, considering the “thousands” that apparently flocked to the spot over the past few weeks. Little did I know, the night would go down the tubes quicker than crowds began to disperse.

My first mistake? I decided to go to the non-island bar. People who remember Fe, you’ll remember this sort of thing didn’t really exist before the Big Switch. So, it was an interesting sight to see. In some ways, it was a gentle homage to Fe, since part of the bar was outside as well. But, nostalgia went out the window once The Wait began.

IMG_20131020_004834I’ve been to fully clothed strip clubs with better service. I went to the bar as soon as I got in and didn’t get a drink until 12:30. Literally, nothing I did worked. I was almost tempted to (with permission, of course) have a patron go topless to get the bartenders’ attention. But, I don’t think even that could’ve re-railed the train wreck of insanity. (Speed on the Beat Drinking Game: every time I say train wreck in this post, take a shot of 151. I’m sure you’ll have more fun than I did.)

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This is Dalivia. She works at the aforementioned Blowfish. She also makes drinks that kill people.

I began to think that it was because of, you know, me being a black male in a “club” which played techno remixes of “Problems” and “All Gold Everything.” But, alas, racism wasn’t the flavor of the night, just sub-par service and general douchery. By the time I received my drink, any buzz I’d accumulated from the Blowfish bar in Beltsville was long gone. As a sidenote, if you ever visit Blowfish between Monday and Wednesday, and some weekends, make sure Dalivia serves you. She gives some insanely potent drinks and isn’t all that bad on the eyes. But, I digress.

At 12:40, I was propositioned by a young man asking for a cigarette. He almost kissed me three times in 10 seconds. I’ve never wanted to punch a dude out more in my life. Not because he was (potentially) gay, because hate crimes are stupid and have no place in developed society. It was more that this guy  invaded my personal space like no other person has, made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, and tried to kiss me. Cooler heads prevailed and I avoided catching a case, and he walked away, eventually. I swear, I think it’s because I’m 5’7″-ish sometimes, that people think I’ll take what’s given. Nope. But, that’s another post for another time.

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Oh, I haven’t even gotten to the fun parts. At least five times an hour in TT, I saw someone get thrown out forcibly. Most of the people, well, they deserved it. There was one girl, who couldn’t have weighed over 110 pounds and wasn’t a complete train wreck, who suffered the same fate. I mean, bouncers that are ready to throw people out only two-plus weeks into the place’s existence rubs me some type of way. I mean, I know the last TT’s demise was predicated by a slew of bad behavior. Nevertheless, an almost authoritarian approach to kicking (possible) baddies out isn’t exactly the best option either–in my humble opinion. When I (somewhat) worked at Bentley’s as a (kind of) bouncer, there was the mindset of “hey, if they’ve had too much to drink, go to them and ask them to leave. If they don’t, bring in some other people to give that ‘fear in numbers’ vibe. If they still don’t, then you have a bit of authority to use reasonable force.” The people at TT weren’t really given those options and were tossed accordingly. Mind you, this is from an objective stance; I may have missed something, but I’m just telling you what I saw.

At 1:00AM, I decided all hope was lost, as I saw even the go-go dancers were headed out to get away from some of the randomness of the night. So, as I’ve done many times before, I made that potentially dangerous trek across Knox Road and then across Baltimore Avenue.

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As politically incorrect as she is, the girl isn’t completely dense with her (almost) equal-opportunity humor.

Waiting to get inside Cornerstone, I looked back over to Terrapin Turf. “This place can be amazing,” I thought. “But, its placement, and atmosphere may scare a lot of people away.” In College Park, most people go to Route One for cheap drinks, cheap thrills, and an atmosphere where they don’t feel segregated against for not being on the up-and-up. Ok, maybe “segregated” isn’t exactly the best word, but you get the idea.

TT is, in some ways, for the Rebecca Martinson’s (of “c-word punching soror letter” and BroBible fame) of College Park who want a DC vibe without DC prices. That is, when they’re not busy calling sorors c-words, offering up outlandish dating advice, and/or staying away from poor minorities. That’s not to say that TT itself isn’t to blame for its shortcomings thus far. The place is a train wreck of a pseudo-club at the moment, and half-hour drink waits, along with more tosses than Flacco when the Ravens are losing is ridiculous–new spot or not.

Shameless Plug Alert: Check out my new freeverse over something resembling the “Born Sinner” instrumental. Subjectively, it’s friggin’ awesome.

Now that the music’s out the way, let’s get into the feature presentation.

It’s me, it’s me. It’s the No-Fi King, Speed on the Beat back with entry number two (of over 9000) for Thee Arteest. Today kids, we’re going to talk about a new place for all you youngsters and hip cats to groove at called Terrapin’s Turf, or, Terrapins Turf, or TT. When a place already is trying too hard to make itself trendy right when it opens, you’re probably going to run into some craziness.

People in the DMV may remember a little club in DC called Platinum. It opened to a decent amount of fanfare and included lots of things that’d make you shake your head. Some of these included lots of bros, Middle Eastern women who didn’t even want to think about thinking about a Black guy, and overall douchiness. Oh, and gogo dancers. Lots and lots of gogo dancers. It was as if the worst things about a nightclub and the basis of a booty club rolled into bed and created some bastard child of a convoluted mess of a club. Suffice to say, the place has been shut down since late 2007.

Meanwhile, in College Park (which could’ve have been an album title from either myself or DK aka Wayne Watts), a bar by the name of Santa Fe was about three years away from closing itself. A landmark of sorts in the area, Fe offered an alternative to the Cornerstones, Bents, and Thirsty Turtles (the “original” TT) of the world. Live music, professional DJs, the whole nine. No knocks intended to C-Stone or Bentley’s, because I frequented/kind of worked/paid bartenders’ tuition costs at both of them, but Fe, in some ways, had them beat.

And, then the music stopped. Mostly because of sprinkler system issues.

Fast forward to October 2013. After a slew of rumors, false starts, and even rumblings of a Foot Locker opening up in the Fe spot, Terrapin’s Turf finally opened its doors. And, let me tell you. It’s not Fe, but it doesn’t need to be.

Armed with gogo dancers, a rave-like atmosphere, and that same damn island bar, the atmosphere is amazing. But, it seems that with this new atmosphere, we’re given similar situations to the aforementioned Platinum. I got into the club around 12:45, perfect timing as it was still “zombie time” and it was the grand opening. The amount of people standing outside of C-Stone and Bentley’s easily surpassed the total group in TT. That’s the first alarm of a prolonged death waiting to happen. Secondly, no one danced, or even looked like they were having fun. Like Platinum, it seemed like people were more concerned with how they looked versus having fun. While the drinks were strong, the atmosphere was dead enough to kill a vibe of Kendrick Lamar proportions. Third, while the bar looked amazing and the gogo dancers were hot–some of them, anyway–the vibe carried over to make every second in the place seem kind of life-suckingly horrible. Now, it could just be first week jitters. But, even Looney’s, Barking Dog, and that other sports bar where Vito’s used to be had better vibes, better crowds, and better people. Or maybe it’s just a case of “UMD Can’t Have Nice Things Because They Won’t Really Appreciate Them?” Either way, I give it a year, maybe two, before we’re looking at just another empty spot in Route One, wondering what could have been.


This week in music has kind of been like this. And I’m a huge Daniel Bryan mark. Better things will come, I hope.

It’s me, it’s me. It’s the guy you probably love to dislike to a certain degree, Speed on the Beat back with another exciting (perhaps) entry on This Week in Music. It’s a doozy of Chris Brown-Pinky proportions (link features some Pinky twerking and stuff)–if that’s your sort of thing. Pinky’s body goes from halfway skinny to hyper-thick to losing control (in either direction) randomly. Here’s one of the only safe-for-work photos I could find. It (obviously) doesn’t show the body.

Anyway–before Arteest revokes my contributor status for rambling about pornstars (I’ve always been more of an Aurora Jolie fan myself)–Paris Hilton has released the CDQ version of her surefire Grammy hit Kim Zolziac-esque “Good Time” featuring Weezy F. CoochieMonster (and the F is for “no one really effin’ cares anymore”). The song sounds like what you’d expect, so pretty much the same song we heard in 2011–Top 40 EDM-influenced pop–but now with a Tunechi Tunechi Tuna Fish verse that refers to having sex in a myriad of ways. Just like their other collaborations. At least we get to see Paris in a bikini. That’s still a thing, right?


Anyone? No? Ok, then. Moving on.

The “Cousin Terio” meme seems to not be going away, at least if HipHopDX-featured song “Ooh Kill ‘Em” by J-Doe has anything to say about it.  As much as I probably shouldn’t like this song–y’know, because I blog about music, therefore I must be some sort of music snob–it’s goofy as hell, brain-rotting, but infectious. I think it works better in a “why so serious?” way versus Meek’s use of the meme.

MA$€ (I assume that the Euro is to show that he’s international and trendy–or something) seems to be pissed (potentially rightfully so) over this track. I don’t know what’s worse–the bastardization of the legacy of Biggie and Pac, or this convoluted mess of a song? Personally, I’ve got to say that the song itself is worse. For starters, you’ve got Swizz Beatz and Diddy ad-libbing through the whole damn thing like this is something from 1999. The beat knocks, drums-wise, but it sounds like your typical MMG beat.

For all the “backpackers,” Papoose decided to hop on that song that’ll make Lorde rich, but she’ll probably denounce when she’s 25 as some sort of label BS and go all Miley Cyrus on people, “Royals.” The song won’t go away, nor will Papoose. Thanks Kendrick, for making him relavant enough to post on DX again. No, that’s not “shade.” I’m serious. Believe it or not, I rock with some of Papoose’s stuff.

Aside from that Nipsey Hussle tape, we have new album/mixtape releases from Danny Brown (shoutout to The Diamondback for the review, so I wouldn’t have to. #Terping), Killa Cam, and Game. So, there’s something for everyone.

And finally, in our indie/not exactly mainstream spotlight of the week, we’ve got Baltimore Club (sorry, I’m from B’more originally. Club music will almost be referred to by me as “Baltimore Club,” even if it’s Jersey Club. No disrespect intended; it’s just a force of habit) producer DJ KMillz. Listen to his “All Me” Jersey Club and his “I Be on It” Jersey Club mixes, especially.

Here’s hoping next week goes like this, I mean the Stone Cold aspect of it…: