Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Featured Artist: Mark J

Peace and blessings,

Next up among the long list of Gospel Spitters, is Mark J. who's repping the ATL. The following tracks are from his album, "Soulutions." The premise behind the album is that the solutions to any problem we face is teh renewal of our souls through a relationship with JC. The first track is actually the last track on the album and its entitled "The New Slave Trade." It's basically comparing physical slavery to spiritual slavery, focusing on contemporary pop culture. Let the track play after the song ends, because he leaves you with some food for thought.

The next track is called "Intercession" and in my opinion is the dopest track on the album. It features my boys Japhia Life and Ahmad from 4th Avenue Jones (both have been previously featured on this site). The song centers around the fact that as Christians, we are called to pray for others. Let's get it going...

This track, entitled "God of Israel," is a shot-out to God for the many ways He provides. Isn't He good?

Last but not least, this song is one of the more thought-provoking with regards to the internal (spiritual) battles that we face on a regular. Three stories, one theme...

Ok for real, this is the last song. "Espananza" deals with an issue that everyone who has been or are currently in a serious, meaning relationship can relate to. I need to call my baby right now and tell her how much I love her, lol... Oh yeah, and regards to teh woman's question at the end of the song. Why do you ladies ask those type of questions?

Any thoughts on the tracks? Enough to make you cop the album? Share your thoughts and speekonit...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Suge Knight Seeing the Light?

Peace and blessings,

Pic courtesy of
  • The Scoopy Doop

  • A couple of weeks ago I came across an article claiming that Suge Knight, after hearing two sermons, one by Bishop Noel Jones and the other by T.D. Jakes, felt convicted and
  • decided to pull the plug on death row

  • Now i don't know what the future holds, but I do believe that God planted a seed in Suge Knight, but what he decides to do with it is up to him. In the mean time, I just thank God for who he is. Can you imagine the effect Suge coming to Christ would have on not just the hip-hop scene, but the entertainment scene as a whole? Do you think his decision to end death more is more financial or spiritual? Weigh in and speekonit...

    "Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]."

    Romans 12: 2 ( NKJ Amplified)

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    More than a Month: Good Looking Out Dr. Phillip Emeagwali

    Pic and info below courtesy of
  • African American Registry

  • Peace and blessings,

    A friend of mine sent me an e-mail about
  • Dr. Phillip Emeagwali
  • who is referred to as the "father of the internet. The following info is from The African American Registry. Soak up that knowledge and speekonit...

    "Philip Emeagwali was born on this date 1954. He is a Nigerian computer scientist, and internet pioneer.

    He was raised in the town of Onitsha in South-Eastern Nigeria. Called "Calculus" by his schoolmates, Emeagwali mastered the subject at age 14, and could out-calculate his instructors. He had to drop out of school because his family could not afford to send all eight children. But he continued studying on his own, and after getting a general certificate of education from the University of London.

    At the age of 17, he received a full scholarship to Oregon State University where he majored in math. After graduation, he attended George Washington University and was received two MA’s, one in civil engineering and the other in marine engineering, and a Master's in mathematics from the University of Maryland. He later achieved his doctorate from the University of Michigan in civil engineering (scientific computing).

    During his academic years (1974), Emeagwali read a 1922 science fiction article on how to use 64,000 mathematicians to forecast the weather for the whole Earth. Inspired by that article, he worked out a theoretical scheme for using 64,000 far-flung processors that will be evenly distributed around the Earth, to forecast the weather. He called it a HyperBall international network of computers. Today, an international network of computers is called the Internet.

    Dr. Emeagwali's greatest achievement was his work on The Connection Machine. This instrument utilized 65,000 computers linked in parallel to form the fastest computer on Earth. This computer can perform 3.1 billion calculations per second. This is faster than the theoretical top speed of the Cray Supercomputer. Though he did not "invent" The Connection Machine, his work on it won Philip Emeagwali the Gordon Bell Prize of 1989. The parallel computer was twice as fast as the previous year's computer. The Connection Machine was a great advancement over previous designs built by IBM's design teams of Thomas J. Watson, Jr. and Fred Brook.

    Apple Computer to use his multiprocessing technology to manufacture its dual-processor Power Mac G4, which had a peak speed of 3.1 billion calculations per second; IBM to manufacture its $134.4 million supercomputer, which had a peak speed of 3.1 trillion calculations per second; IBM to announce its plan to manufacture a 65,000-processor supercomputer, which will have a peak speed of 1,000 trillion calculations per second; and every supercomputer manufacturer to incorporate thousands of processors in their supercomputers. Another measure of his influence is that one million students have written biographical essays on him, thousands wrote to thank him for inspiring them.

    President Bill Clinton called him a powerful role model for young people and used the phrase "another Emeagwali" to describe children with the potential to become computer geniuses. Emeagwali considers himself to be "a Black scientist with a social responsibility to communicate science to the Black Diaspora." He has a dual sensibility of being deeply rooted in science while using it as a tool to remind his people in the Diaspora of where they have been and who they are. He also describes his work as a "public intellectual.” He uses his mathematical and computer expertise to develop methods for extracting more petroleum from oil fields.

    During his career, Emeagwali has received many prizes, awards and honors. These include the Computer Scientist of the Year Award of the National Technical Association (1993), Distinguished Scientist Award of the World Bank (1998), Best Scientist in Africa Award of the Pan African Broadcasting, Heritage and Achievement Awards (2001), Gallery of Prominent Refugees of the United Nations (2001), profiled in the book Making It in America as one of "400 models of eminent Americans," and in Who's Who in 20th Century America. In a televised speech, as president, Bill Clinton described Emeagwali as “one of the great minds of the Information Age.”

    His wife, Dale, was born in Baltimore, was educated at Georgetown University School of Medicine, conducted research at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan, and taught at the University of Minnesota. In 1996, she won the Scientist of the Year Award of the National Technical Association for her cancer research. They both live near Washington, D.C. with their 11-year-old son."

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Movie Previews: Summer of the Super

    Peace and blessings,

    For us superhero and cartoon fans, the summer of 2007 is going to be one for the ages. The concluding sequel to the Spider-Man trilogy (May '07), the sequel to the Fantastic Four (June '07), and the Transformers (July '07) are each making their way to the big screen. Check out the out the trailers for each movie, and weigh in on which of these are you most looking forward to seeing this summer. Have a blessed day and speekonit...

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Fly Like an Eagle, Sort of

    "But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired."
    -Isaiah 40:31 (NKJ Amplified)

    At church a couple of weeks ago, pastor gave a powerful message based on this passage. In particular, he emphasized the importance of being eagles, and the implications that being "eagle people" has for our lives. He mentioned that the strength of their wings and the fact that they fly alone. With regards to their wing strength, it is important to always be aware of our own weaknesses as individuals, and that it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to triumph ("soar") in a given situation. In terms of flying alone, pastor just as eagles fly alone, we as Christians, because we are in the world but not of it, must sometimes stand alone and face ostracism (i.e. there are just some things that, because we know Christ, we can no longer get down with). Although we may feel alone, however, we are never actually alone because God is and will always be with us. He is the very reason we fly.

    While realizing the importance of being "eagle-minded" and what the eagle symbolizes, I couldn't help but think of
  • Nelly's "Flap Your Wings"
  • The more I thought about it, the more I realized that song's purpose, content, and images are the antithesis of what the pastor was talking about with regards to being "eagle-minded." As Christians, flying high as eagles means that we walk in authority knowing that we are children of God. One of the most important components of "flying high" means that we have respect for ourselves, as well as confidence knowing that God made us "the head and not the tail." However, "Flap Your Wings" tells women to "drop down," while dancing in a degrading manner. I know the value of freedom of expression, but I have a problem with "expressing" themes that do not build up the self. I'm not trying to hate, but then I am. We have to be careful of the images we put forth and the themes we promote. More times than not, the implications of our words and actions extend past our immediate surroundings, sometimes taking on a life of their own.

    What are your thoughts on Isaiah 40:31, and on what it means to be an eagle?
    What do you think of the "Flap Your Wings" video?
    Any connections between the two?

    Stay blessed and until next time, speekonit...

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Featured Artist: Trip Lee

    Peace and blessings,
    This time around, the featured artist is Trip Lee, a member of the Christian hip-hop collective known as the 116 Click. The collective is based on Romans 1:16, which reads:

    "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,"
    - NKJ Amplified

    The following tracks are from his album, "If They Only Knew." The first track is entitled "Who You Rollin' Wit" and features fellow 116 click representatives Flame and Json. This track is an anthem for the body of Christ, laying out what it means to be "in the world but not of it," while demonstrating the importance of strength in numbers.

    The next track is called "Behold the Christ." So without further, press play and behold the Christ...

    This track, entitled "Give you that truth," is a comparison of the purpose, values, and content of secular and Christian hip-hop. What realy good? God, as always...

    Feeling it yet? I already know the answer to that, but I'm going to hit with "more" anyway.

    Any thoughts on the tracks? Enough to make you cop the album? Share your thoughts and speekonit...

    Friday, March 09, 2007

    Coaching the Game of Life: Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith

    Peace and blessings,

    This past superbowl, although it was not high-scoring (some may have even considered it "slow") and "dry"), I enjoyed it for a couple of reasons. For one, I just wanted to see a relatively close game, and although it wasn't a high-excitement, high-scoring game, it was one of those "grind-it-out" type games that are ultimately decided by good coaching and/or a couple of big plays. More importantly, I enjoyed this superbowl because of what it represented. On one end, this was the first super bowl where two African American coaches were competing for the prize. On another end, this was the first super bowl that I have watched, where both of the coaches explicitly shared their faith in Jesus Christ. For more information, check out these videos of the coaches talking about their faith, and the important role it plays in their lives. Take care and speekonit...

    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    A Lesson in Social Psychology: The Children of Israel

    Peace and blessings,

    Above pic courtesy of
  • Gustave Dore (1875-1950)

  • While reading the Old Testament and learning about the experiences of the Children of Israel (COI) in the book of Exodus, I noticed a phenomenon taking place that I could not completely understand. Although I understand that the COI had experienced severe hardships (hundreds of years of slavery and oppression), God, using Moses and Aaron, delivered the COI from Egypt and into the land He promised their ancestors. In addition, God performed a multitude of miracles during their slavery and during their journey into the promised land. Despite this, there are countless times when the COI rebelled against the commandments of God. Moreover, everytime the COI complained during their journey, they tried to justify those cmplaints by claiming that they would have been better off in the arms of their oppressors. As someone who is interested in social psychology and how individuals act within groups, one question remained in my head: Given that God met every need that the COI had, what made them (as a group) consistently rebel against God, and prefer being slaves?

    One incident in particular that intrigued me was when the COI started to worship a golden calf while Moses was up on the mountain speaking to God and receiving the instructions for moral conduct that the COI would have to adhere to. What is more interesting is that the COI got Aaron, whom God would ordain as a priest, to build the calf. As an individual, who, liek Moses was called by God to aid in the liberation of the COI, I wonder what was going through his mind when the COI asked him to build them a golden calf. In social psychology, there is a wealth of literature out there that demonstrates the influence a group can have on individuals (even to where an individual intentionally gives the wrong answer although he knows it is wrong!). Also, I know it could have been nerve-wrecking to have Moses on the mountain for 40 days, and the COI unaware of his whereabouts. Despite these circumstances, the COI were able to witness what many people hope to witness, which was concrete miracles performed by God on their behalf. It is almost as if when things don't go our way in the present, it is easy to forget how far God brought us from our past. I am not pointing the finger at the COI, nor am I suggesting that I don't rebel against God despite the things he has done for me, because there are definately times when I do. The point I am trying to make is that there is something to be said for the influence of the "group," or the influence of a perceived "group."

    For instance, I wonder what it would have been like for an Israelite who dissented and initially refused to worship a golden calf. We only read about COI being disobedient as a group, but I wonder if there were some individuals who withstood the group pressure or consensus and remained true to God. The lesson I took from the COI is that we must never forget where God has brought us from, especially in the midst of group pressure to conform and go against God.

    A real life example related to this idea of group influence is the
  • Kitty Genovese murder in 1964

  • Pic courtesy of
  • the Genovese family and artists Alexandra and Rebecca Chipkin

  • The controversy surrounding the murder was that based on reports, it appeared that there were mutliple witnesses of the attack, yet minimal intervention (only one person apparently called the police, and this may or may not have been the same person who yelled something at the attacker). Supreised at the minimal intervention on behalf of the supposed witnesses, many psychologists began to study the factors that would discourage multiple witnesses of an attack to intervene in some capacity. Eventually the terms "bystander effect" and "diffusion of responsibility" were developed and suggested that when a large group of witnesses or bystanders see an attack, each individual member is less likely intervene, because he or she assumes that one of the other bystanders or witnesses wil intervene. Even though this is not an absolute and we may all be aware of examples of where witnesses intervened, this phenomenon should spark discussion nonetheless.

    Although the initial report published in the New York Times in 1964 claimed that 38 witnessed the attack,
  • later examinations of the incident

  • contend that the amount of witness who either saw or heard any portion of the attack was no where hear 38, but instead around twelve. Despite the accuracy of the number of witnesses, this incident raises an important question: What are some of the forces that cause us to be complacent or indifferent? What are some of the forces that contribute to group compliance? To what extent does awareness imply obligation?

    What do you think? Weigh in on the issue and speekonit...