Friday, May 29, 2009

It's bigger than Hip Hop, Hip Hop, Hip Hop

Dead Prez - Hip-Hip
"One thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain"
"It's bigger than hip hop, hip hop, hip hop"
"Who shot biggie smallls? If we don't get em they goin' get us all"
"Would you rather have a lexus or justice, a dream or some substance, a beamer or necklace or freedom"

It's so much more than music to me; Hip Hop represents who I was, am and who I want to be; Where I come from, am, and where I want to go. Hip Hop is the most expressive and moving form of music I know of. Hip Hop is my Art of War. It guides, inspires, and consoles me when I feel lost and alone. Hip Hop gets me out of bed in the A.M. although I never "sleep". Hip Hop speaks my mind when my voice can't be heard. Hip Hop reminds me to thank God. I didn't always love Hip Hop, I used to hate it because all I heard was the bling bling, gangster wanna-be, pimp stuff. That was back in the day when I used to bump Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Reel Big Fish and skate all day. I still like those bands, but they don't represent me, they merely entertain me. Hip Hop teaches you to make the best out of what life give you. The slang is a prime example of that; "sick", "ill", "bad", aren't states of being you want to treat, you want to be them.

Here are some of my favorite song quotes and my brief interpretation of them:

I love songs that touch on important topics like Tupac Amaru Shakur's "Brenda's Got a Baby". Tupac is able to express his discontent with the way young girls in the ghetto have to face incest, drugs, teen pregnancy and the impact on the community. This song is deep and real; I can remember the "Brendas" in my neighborhood and that songs portrays exactly how it goes down.

"The girl can hardly spell her name
That's not our problem, that's up to Brenda's family
Well let me show ya how it affects the whole community"

"Just cause your in the ghetto doesn't mean ya can't grow
But oh, that's a thought, my own revelation
Do whatever it takes to resist the temptation"

This Way by Dilated Peoples Feat. Kanye West
This is a hot song!

This was me back in the day:
My favorite girl wanna leave me just because I got a girlfriend
my freak girl told me "now, she a christian"
my white girl wanna move back to Michigan
I'm pullin girls off the bench like a sixth man.

This is me now:
"this time I made up my mind
this time I'm back on my grind
I know there's things in my life
that I'ma let go startin tonight"

"I wanna a good girl she want a gentleman
we sayin' the same thing like a synonym
I wasn't really spittin game I was scrimmigin"

Self explanatory...

Get By; Talib Kweli

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

This chorus keeps me on my toes, it reminds that every day is a new day and I can change for the better no matter what.

"The TV got us reachin for stars
Not the ones between Venus and Mars, the ones that be readin for parts"

This line is right on the money; everyone get's distracted by all the celebrities and trash on TV instead on staying on the grind and focusing on a way out. I wish we payed this much attention to people of substance like MLK, Mandela, The Bomber (Barrack Obama), Chavez, etc... But Noooooooo, we want to know who's dating who and what club they're hanging at. That the truth even here in Honduras, we have a little circle of entertainers and I swear they get more attention than the politicians.

"Me Abuela raised three daughters all by herself, with no help
I think about a struggle and I find the strength in myself"

This line reminds me of the struggle my mother endured while raising two men and how many other single women have to do the same in the ghetto.

B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) - Outkast
"before you re-up, get a lap top. Make a business for yourself, boy set some goals. Make a fat dime out of dust and coals"

Get your priorities straightend out kids! Stop smoking so much herb and try to start something for yourselves.

The following quotes are represent what every parents want for their kids, only in the perspective of someone who grew up in "the hood":

Gettin it by Too Short
"Get your kids in school, so they can get an education, get a dregree and take a vacation."

IZZO by Jay-Z
Like I told you sell drugs - No! / Hov' did that so hopefully you won't have to go through that

New World Water

Mos Def - New World Water
"Americans be wasting it on some leasure s***, other nations be desperately seeking it."

Returning to Honduras has led me to realize how fortunate I have been my entire life. I've lived most of my life in a place where you can drink water right out of the faucet, while most people in Honduras barely have access to water that can kill you.

When I lived in El Porvenir (Cortes), we only got water for an hour each day and we were supposed to gather it in a "pila" and tank and use that for the rest of the day. Think that's bad? Well some people up the hill only got it for an hour each WEEK! It gets worse; sometimes you don't even get ANY water. Can it get any worse? Yes, of course it can; this is Honduras, the second poorest country in the Americas. When I lived in Tela, we got water all day, but it turned brown and smelled like crap for days, even if it only rained overnight. I never even drank the tap water in L.A., that will be one of the first things I do when I get back. Maybe...

I've become ridiculously paranoid about the water here, actually, I've always been paranoid about water. I've gotten a lot of comparisons to fictional characters like Larry David and Monk. Here are some examples of my paranoia: I hold my breath most of the time during showers out of fear that I may accidentally drink some of the water, I used to brush my teeth with drinking water, I don't wash produce with tap water, I make sure drinking glasses are completely dry before pouring a drink into it, I sometimes rinse dishes with purified water even if they are clean and dry, I give my dog purified water to drink, I can go on, but I wont as to avoid ridicule.

Additional quotes from Mos Def's song, New World Water:

"It used to be free, but now it cost you a fee because it's all about getting that cash mo-ney"

"There are places where TB is as common as T.V. cause foreign based countries go and get greedy. The type of cats who pollute the whole shoreline so they can purify it and sell it for a dollar twenty five."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Job!!! Moving to Roatan

Returning Catracho Report image

"Cause every fourth quarter, I like to Mike Jordan ‘em" Jay-Z; Never Let Me Down (Kaye West feat. Jay-Z)

Being religious about setting defined goals for myself, I set a few goals with deadlines after arriving in Honduras; one of them was to relocate to the Bay Islands within a year of my arrival. With limited resources on hand, I had to land a job there first, otherwise it would be impossible to accomplish. I had a few serious opportunities to do it at the 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 month markers, but they kept slipping away for one reason or another. I was becoming a bit discouraged, but continued BCC-ing my resume to various companies listed on directories, websites, etc... I even used Honduras-Living, a very useful yahoo group for anyone residing, visiting, or considering relocating or investing in Honduras to fish for employment opportunities. This worked out marvelously, I was recruited by a few people on that group. During April, eleven months after my arrival, I interviewed with one company and almost landed a job, but no dice...Still. Shortly after, I received a response to one of my posts requesting my resume, I sent it and scheduled a trip to Roatan for an interview. Once in Roatan, I interviewed and was asked to start ASAP. ASAP meant that day or the next, UNBELIEVEABLE! To me, this was like sinking a three point shot to win the game. No wait, to tie the game so I can demonstrate what I'm made of in overtime.

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
-Michael Jordan

You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.
-Michael Jordan

Returning Catracho Report image

Returning to Honduras!

"Hittin' somersaults without the net But this'll be the year that we won't forget" - B.O.B. - Outkast

I returned to Honduras May 8th, 2008. I recall the flurry of emotions running through me at that time; I didn’t know what to expect not having visited the motherland in decades. When I boarded the plane in LAX, I saw my life flashing in front of me, Rosa snapped me out of it with a gentle squeeze of my hand and a smile as if she was reassuring me that everything would be fine. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening, nor could I believe that Rosa was coming along for the ride. We flew over Los Angeles and I took a page out of the Governator’s book and said to myself “I’ll be back”. When I exited Ramon Villeda Morales Int’l Airport, I was met by a curtain of humidity so thick it was almost palpable. It felt like a hundred blow dryers blasting heat at me. I immediately fell to my knees and kissed the ground like an immigrant arriving in the United States. I don’t know why, but I wanted to cry.

We were met at the airport by a cousin, I didn’t recognize this guy and for a moment feared we may be kidnapped. He escorted us to El Porvenir, not to be confused with the other thirteen El Porvenir’s in Honduras. This little town is in nestled in between hills and sugar cane fields of San Manuel, Cortes. Being the city slicker that I am, I immediately took note of how isolated this town is and said to myself “DAMN!” I knew my family is from a little village, but DAMN!!!The house I was to occupy was fairly big in comparison to the other houses and shacks in the village. Yes, shacks, as in cardboard and palm trees. I met my family there; some were quick to tell stories about me being curious and creative as a child, some weren’t so welcoming. Even the neighbors came at the sight of a stranger arriving with luggage. A few of them immediately recognized me, calling out “Carlitos! Is that you?” I looked at everyone with confusion, I kept wondering if I should recognize these people. By this time, the heat and jet lag had taken a toll on Rosa and I. We were EXTREMELY happy to find an A/C unit in our bedroom and crashed for the next 12-14 hours.
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