My problem with [bitter] fundamentalists


A Facebook friend of mine posted a status about how mainstream America was mourning the loss of Robin Williams, but disproportionately ignoring the plight of the recently killed Michael Brown. He went on to vilify Black Americans for appreciating Mr. Williams' career because he was successful with it, highlighting their hypocrisy feeling sorry for "a millionaire that lived his life and commits Suicide and [chose] to give up his life [rather than] a black man that was gunned down."

My response to him in the comments thread was as follows:
What the liberal media chooses to report is one thing, but I don't feel any guilt for expressing remorse for an artist who gave so much of himself to entertain and lift people's spirits + who openly addressed his drug issues and subsequent depression. Depression doesn't have a class or race. And I'm certain that any compassionate person who is outraged by the Mike Brown incident hasn't forgotten about it, present company included.

His follow-up to that was this:

Matthew 6:7 "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking" I can care less for that damn heathen. He was part of the society that took our birth right, funded the operation of taking away our language, putting us on slave ships, brain washed us with the WILLIE LYNCH LETTER, and helps to support keeping the real Jews of the bible in the low state that they are in now. And until his death he was a active Jewish person that still supported their wicked agenda. So anybody that supports his death just cause he makes people laugh but meanwhile doesn't feel pissed off cause he helped put our people in the conditions [they're] in and helps support the black genocide that you see everyday on the news is a fool. And I have no love for him. The reason you don't feel guilt is cause you don't even know who you are or care to know.

I responded:

[Who is] to decide who is wicked and who is just? Where do any of us get off deciding whose truth is more valid? And how dare you...make the completely subjective assessment that I don't know who I am? Outside of maybe a few hours, collectively, of direct conversation, and social media discussion, you know nothing about me. And your personal interpretation of the Scriptures means nothing to me; you're certainly welcome to make conclusions about God as it pertains to you, but to condemn anyone else according to the laws of your own personal vendetta is the same kind of intellectual suicide that's plaguing the Middle East conflict. God can decide for Himself my place in the Universal design. He certainly doesn't need your help, or mine.

I concluded by posting the news on the Instagram post left by The Roots' Drummer, Questlove, on his encounter with the actor (Williams was not only able to recognize the musician, but talk about his band's projects by name, via his son's listening palette).

I normally don't put folks on blast like this, but this exchange really irked me because, once again, fundamentalist believers in an Abrahamic religion are using their self-righteous bigotry to assert their beliefs onto other people (in this case, namely, me). I want to be clear that I'm not some sort of anarchist who thinks that people have enough inherent good to exemplify self-control and peacefully coexist with out help; clearly, that hasn't worked in like, ever. But I consistently take issue with individuals who believe that their preconceived notions about God are the only answer to the world's problems; meanwhile, it is an arguable point, but more wars have been fought in the name of God - particularly, an Abrahamic God - than any other man-made purpose.

We are hating, hurting, and killing each other over a concept which we are not at all fully equipped to understand, and I refuse to be victim of that hatred, or a perpetuator of it. I refuse to be told that how I'm living my life is wrong, or missing something, or needs to be set straight. And I absolutely refuse to be told that I've somehow confounded my "true" identity because I don't conform to standards that never applied to me. I hope someone who reads this understands my perspective, and maybe it can change some minds as well. 


Saggers are NOT the problem

So young men wearing saggy pants are ruining society? And they're the ones we need to watch out for when it comes to our safety & wellbeing?


Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 Federal charges, including fraud, money laundering, perjury, and theft. It is believed that he willingly swindled his investors and affiliate organizations out of their assets to the tune of billions of US Dollars, destroying the financial lives of countless Americans in the process.

Former United States Army psychiatrist and Medical Corps Officer Nidal Hasan took the lives of 13 people and seriously injured dozens of innocent bystanders when he opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, "with a high-powered, high-capacity handgun he had fitted with laser sights." (Wash. Post 8.28.13) He has since been sentenced to death for his crimes.

In 1992, murderer and serial rapist Jeffrey Dahmer was tried & eventually convicted of raping, torturing, and viciously killing 15 people, most of them Gay or Bisexual men. This, apparently, was his method of "dealing" with his own issues regarding his sexual orientation. He was later killed in prison by a fellow inmate.


It's harsh, I know, but the reason I pointed this out is because I'd bet money NONE of these men were a part of the so-called "sagger problem" in our country. In fact, all three men were subject at one point or another to wear some sort of uniform or suit in order to conduct their daily business. Not only did their outward appearance allow them access to otherwise personal information & individuals, it provided them the perfect cover to CONTINUALLY commit their crimes of choice. To boot, these men were educated and did not come from struggling families, as so many Americans feel are also part of the problem with so-called "saggers." They were calculated in their actions, and unapologetic or indifferent when handed their punishment.

So before you decide to join the Don Lemon brigade and tell young Men of Color to "pull up their pants," take a good look at some history books & criminal court cases. Chances are you should probably stop complaining about the guy whose clothes you don't like and maybe keep an eye out for the suspicious smiling guy in the nice blazer. -_-

#STOPJUDGING #MindYourOwnBusiness


Hey. Old(er) Guys. Relax.


Of late, I've noticed several older artists, entertainers, producers, writers, and other music industry professionals have come out publicly to denounce the apparent disarray and dilapidated state of the business. Notable individuals such as Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Reverend Run, Rick Rubin, and even former industry guru Clive Davis have all, in some way, shape, or fashion, taken a moment to note what they have decided is the lowest point in Popular Music history. Out of respect for their body of work and influence over said industry, I have, to a degree, kept generally mum about my feelings regarding these statements. However, after reading some very recent (and very scathing)  blanket remarks about the business - a business of which I am, for lack of better assessment, a part, and hope to someday be a more active participant - the Gemini rebel in me could no longer stand by without offering my 2 cents, for whatever it's worth.

My problem with these kinds of statements when they're made, is a twofold caveat. The first fold occurs when one takes into account the wealth and notoriety of the individuals in question. I cannot take seriously the ranting and gnashing of teeth on the part of industry professionals who have not only made their bones, but invested them, gathered them up, stored them away, and have no problem living comfortably off of said pile for the rest of their ageing lives. To add insult to injury, it would hardly be disputed that this wealth and notoriety came from said individuals' dealings with the music business. In other words, these gripers are griping about the very same situations that helped get them their sack of gold. But, oh, I guess now, apparently, it's okay to be mad at everybody else trying to do the same thing.

You'll pardon the blankest of blank stares that I am now emitting as I type this.

The second fold of this issue takes into account the fact that the folks who are complaining about the state of the industry now have very much played a part in its apparent "demise." Members of the legendary Hip-Hop group, Run DMC, have said, for example, that they are fed up with the blatant, payola-style radio rotation happening today. I find their complaints humorous, since it was this very same style of playlist-based music rotation that allowed for groups like Run DMC to generate a radio listener fan base. I see way too many flaws in older producers whining about how the genre of Hip-Hop has lost its way in becoming a profit-based industry, when its innovators can't deny that, even in the genre's infancy, all some of them wanted to do was be able to make some quick money off of some rap songs. I also find it difficult to take seriously a statement about how music creators now are focused too much on profit and making quick money, when it was the revenue and bottom lines of these older creators and their brands that eventually - coupled with the advent of downloadable music and instant gratification technology - ran the coffers of the business virtually dry. Let's not forget that one of the main reasons Clive Davis was asked to step down from his lofty position at Sony/BMG was simply because Barry Weiss of Zomba Records was willing to accept a much more reasonable paycheck. Because Clive Davis the legend could no longer be financially supported by the industry he helped facilitate over the past several decades, via an economic lifestyle to which he had become quite accustomed.

I mean, really.

But I do think what is most troubling, and what hurts the most about these kinds of dismissive, virulent statements, is that they don't take into account the full scope of what's actually going on in the Popular Music industry today. It's obvious that these guys are just reading (probably skimming) the headlines of popular editorials like Billboard, Rolling Stone, or Spin. This - coupled with what I'm sure is a toxic mix of rumors, insider information, and some bitterness from their own experiences - is helping to fuel the flames of resentment for what is only a portion of the landscape in pop culture at this time. To be fair, no one individual could possibly take the time to really survey the entirety of the moves being made by different artists, writers, producers, and the like. However, when legends like Tony Bennett come out and say that music today is "terrible," with no addendum as to which music he's referring or why, I, by virtue of my profession and resume, have a right to be offended by such a blanket assessment. And to an extent, I am.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty pissed off, if I think about it too much. And I believe the appropriate response to a most of this is, how dare you?

How DARE you.

For me, in the end, all I wanna do is make some great music, have people hear it, tour the world with it, spread love, and have a great time with the work that I do. What I wish these older individuals would do is stop seeing what they want to see about the music industry, and maybe take a deeper look into what's actually happening. There is some amazing music making going on right under their noses, that's also being shared and filtered throughout the business, but because they're so busy refusing to see past the end of their noses, they're completely missing out. What new music makers need right now from veterans like the above mentioned is positive support, encouragement, education, and solidarity. Stick to that formula, and it's almost inevitable that they, and all of us, are bound to see the kinds of paradigm shifts in popular music & culture that we so desire to see.

But if you're just going to go around and ki ki about all the things you don't like that are happening in the business right now, I have three choice words for you:


New Song, New Lyrics: The Darkness Behind

THE DARKNESS BEHIND (simple version)

Music & Lyrics: JP Murray
Produced by: JP Murray

Free Download Link: http://tiny.cc/tdbs

"The Darkness Behind" was one of the 17 tracks considered for my upcoming LP. After my private listening party during the Fall of 2013, 10 records were chosen, and "Darkness" didn't make the cut. However, I felt a strong attachment to the song, and wanted to share some of the work I've done for the project over the past three years. I hope you enjoy this "stripped" down version of the original record.

I would like to dedicate this song to Shaun 'Kashan Ray' Fields, a friend and fellow musician who made it his business to live in love and walk in the light.


I believe
I believe in second chances
Cause it's hard to get it right the first time

I believe
I believe in a higher power
And I love how what I do falls into the design

I believe
in the feeling that we are
a part of something bigger and hard to define

And I still believe
Life is for the living
And that we can be anything we set in our mind


Anytime we step into the light
We’re bound to leave some darkness behind
I’m not gonna be afraid to shine
It’s time to leave the darkness behind


I believe
I believe that every one of us
Has a purpose and a path we’re led to fulfill

I can’t say
What that purpose is for sure
But I can tell you right now, not to doubt what you feel

You’re not here
By some twist of fate
There’s something in your being here that makes you you

So take a minute
To think about what you love
And that’s how you’ll find what you’re meant to do



Take a look around us
Look how far we’ve come
And until I’m sure it’s over
I know I’m far from done