Exciting Things Are Brewing…

…and I’m not just talking about my green tea.

 

I want to start off by saying that I appreciate EVERYONE’S support throughout this blogging journey of mine that started a mere seven months ago.

Just recently (and by recently, I mean Thursday), brknground.wordpress.com became brknground.com! This has been an intention of mine since returning to the States. God has broadened my vision of what this blog can do, and I want to follow in it. With that being said, I am going to take some time to revamp the site so it can be one of excellence and good quality content.

I’m also praying and spending time with God to articulate this new vision He has for the site. I’m excited to share it with you guys come the launch, which will be…Monday, October 13th!

During the interim, I will not be posting as much. Still expect some music posts and maybe even some write-ups about what God has been teaching me in my life during this time.

Come October 13th, I will be recharged, refocused and ready to bring you guys quality content that I’ve intended for all along.

I’m excited and I can’t wait to show you guys the revamp.

‘Til next time!

May your days be merry and bright, and may the fork be with you.

“A Crimson Cord”

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“Everybody say Humble Beast!” JGivens, our MC for the evening, does a little jig on the mic as he gets everybody hype for the upcoming dopeness that’s about to ensue.

It was only a matter of time before the Pacific Northwestern, coffee connoisseurs of Humble Beast Records made their way to Philadelphia. Their DJ, Dj Efechto, crooned the crowd with an array of beats before and in between sets. Indeed my neck suffered from the amount of head bobbing that occurred. Let’s go through the line-up for the night.

First up, we have Marz Ferrer.

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Acompanied by a percussionist and an acoustic guitar player, Marz performed about four songs for the crowd. I wasn’t familiar with her music outside of the features that she’s done, and in fact, she did a mash-up of her features which ended with her most famous one, Andy Mineo’s “Neverland”, in which the crowd joined in on one accord. Marz seemed unsure of the crowd’s receptivity to her music throughout her performance. While her music isn’t necessarily my taste, the movements and engagement that she expressed to her own music was very refreshing.  One could feel that she truly believed what she was singing.

Next up, we have the master of ceremonies, JGivens.

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His interaction with the crowd by pointing people out for being on their phones–making sure everyone was moving their hands and bobbing their heads–made for a very humorous set. “It does get really hot up here,” Givens says, explaining his reasoning for having us wave our hands at him so much. The Las Vegas native tells us of his hometown and his story growing up there. He even tries to use some Philly lingo of his own. He performed crowd favorites (okay, they’re really my favorites), “Bus Stop”, “(A)Bridge(D) Thoughts” “Polar Express” and “Bienvenue” hailing from his project El v. Envy  (the album is on Spotify for your listening pleasure). He also did “Jackpot” which was a single that (to me) screamed “Welcome to Humble Beast” (also one of my favorites).

 

 

Last, but of course not least, we have our headliner, the Propaganda himself.

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He wasn’t on stage for two minutes before the dreads loosed themselves from the bun and began to dance with him on stage. He performed songs both from his first project on Humble Beast, Excellentand from his latest album Crimson Cord. While being more familiar with his first project than his latest, this concert definitely compelled me to listen to his latest release. You heard his heart behind the tracks and saw his enthusiasm during the performance, in true Propaganda fashion. “This is my first time in Philly…” Prop explains as he talked about the lecture that he gave at Temple University prior to the concert. He expressed that it’s great to come to a city to do a concert, but there’s more to it than that. Truly investing in a city and seeing lives being challenged and changed, that’s what it’s about. Both Prop and Givens challenged us Philadelphians on making sure we’re doing our job as Christians–evangelizing and setting this city on fire to redeem the lost affection of “the city of brotherly love” through showing the love of Christ.

 

As this being my first Humble Beast show, I can say that it definitely won’t be my last. There was an authenticity that was shown through all of the artists that I greatly appreciated–in their lyrics, in their anecdotes between songs, and even afterwards. Watching them relate to people, sometimes we as “fans” or I’ll say supporters, we tend to forget that these artists are regular people as well.

‘Til next time Humble Beast.

 

#EastmeetsWest

 

 

(all photos taken by Creative Thought Media )

 

#becomeabetterwriter

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I was reading a blog post and something that this woman said rang so true “If you read junk, you’ll write junk.”

Since reading this, I have challenged myself to look more carefully at the things that I allow myself to read, and I’ve pushed myself to commit some time to writing everyday. There is never a time where you’ve “made it” as a writer and you have to stop learning anything. There is always something new to learn which gives something new to read which gives something new to write.

To all my fellow holders of the pen, I implore you to look at what you read, and see how that influences the things you write.

Supper Club Playlist: Cecile McLorin Salvant “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”

I’ve had this playlist for a while on Spotify. “Supper Club” encompasses all of the hip, jive, finger-snapping jazz that makes me feel as if I’m front row in a cool jazz club.

This track comes from a young woman in her early twenties who brings back the sounds of Betty Carter and Ella Fitzgerald wrapped in a beautiful package of 21st century individuality. This is my favorite song that stems from her album WomanChild that was released in 2013. It talks about the feelings you get when you’re in a new relationship.

Put on your favorite cup of tea and get your favorite pastry as you whisk around the kitchen to this catchy tune.

Enjoy.

KB “Silver & Gold”

Here’s a song that I’ve been listening to non-stop since about Tuesday. It’s been out for two weeks now…I don’t know why I’m so late. Anyway, we have a new song hailing from the Reach Records roster.

As you might suspect in the title, this song deals with money, and better yet, he samples the original song from Kirk Franklin and The Family in the beginning of the track. After the sample, and in true KB fashion, the beat drops and so does your shoulders as your head bangs and your lips part to form a smile on your face (at least that what happened to me). KB’s ever-grooving stream of flow is what makes the song. Granted, the beat is all types of dopeness, but KB’s rhythm and cadence puts the icing on the cake. For an extra wow factor, we get to hear his crooning capabilities throughout the track.

Take advantage of this free awesomeness by downloading it here

The Tameable Beast

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The key to success for my last fall semester EVER? Two words: Time Management. It’s not that the work is hard as much as there is a lot to do. I’m taking four classes, each demanding in its own right. Added to my school load, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to serve in a greater capacity in my church home, I work one day a week, and I also want to make time for family and friends. Needless to say, some type of organizational system needed to be employed in order for me to manage all of my activities.

Here’s my system: I use a physical planner for everything academic related and my phone for social activities. Sometimes there are things that crossover that I put into both places (i.e., work, meetings outside of class, etc).

IMG_4429I never thought I would see the day where I would have to look into my phone’s calendar for my schedule. I swore up and down that I would be a paper planner user until I die….

It is rather convenient since my phone is with me all the time, if someone wanted to get together, I can just pull up my calendar and it’s right there.

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Now for academics, my planner is more of an assignment book. I write the tasks down on the days where I want to get them done (and sometimes I’ll have to write the same thing multiple times). Post-its and colored markers come into the mix depending on how hectic the week is (most likely towards finals week).

In times past I could get away with post-its and individual slips of paper as to-do lists, but not this year. This year requires me to step my organization game all the way up. While the system may be a bit too much for some, I actually enjoy having something that works for me and growing in my organizational skills. I’m just curious as to how this is going to change once I graduate from school.

What type of tips or tricks do you use to stay organized?

 

Flashback Feeler: GRITS “Here We Go”

 

This song (in conjunction with many others) belongs on the soundtrack to the movie of my life. It solidified my ever-loving appreciation for rap, so this group is pretty close to my heart.

“Here We Go” was the single for their album “Art of Translation” which came out in 2002, which has become a classic in the sphere of Christian Hip-Hop (if you want to use those words). I found out that most of their entire music catalog is on Spotify! Do yourself a favor and peruse. You won’t regret it :)

 

Enjoy.

Reminisicing: Tjuvholmen

 

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On Tuesday, I shared my experience in Copenhagen to a young woman in the class below me and I found this excitement boiling up and bubbling over the entire time!

Going on our study tour to Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden was truly the highlight of my summer–specifically Oslo, which brings me to my absolute favorite neighborhood in this Nordic city: Tjuvholmen.

I talked a little about this place in my post Only in Oslo: Day 3

However, I wanted to give this neighborhood it’s own post to expound on some of the elements found in this gem. Located in Oslo, Norway, in the greater area of Akers Brygge, you’ll find this beauty which is the result of Oslo’s urban renewal project called “Fjord City”. Back in the old days, this used to be an area where thieves were executed, which is where it gets its name from, tjuv meaning “thief” and holme meaning “inlet” which describes the geographical conditions of the peninsula this neighborhood is located on.

What made me fall in love with this place is the renewal and modernity coupled with the natural essence of the water and fjords…it takes your breath away. During my study tour, our group sort of rushed through this area because we wanted to make our dinner reservation, so I hope to go back one day and truly take the time to explore and take in this wonderful area Oslo has to offer.

Hopefully you’ll be able to see the beauty and the reason this area made me fall even more in love with Oslo.

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Eat Well and Travel Often,

 

Dara

Encouraging Scripture: Psalm 16

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Have you ever found yourself parked in one scripture for a particular amount of time?

This was me during my seven week experience overseas. This was my first time in about three years that I’ve been in a situation where I was by myself, just me and God.

I struggled heavily with self-confidence, comparisons, jealousy, envy and loneliness during this journey. While God did speak to me through other scriptures, I kept meditating and coming back to this Psalm in particular.

Verse 1 : Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge (ESV). Throughout all of the emotions, I felt that I was breaking down and withering into a matter of nothingness. This became my literal prayer to God everyday. Preserve me, O God, for I feel that I’m wasting away.

Verse 2 : I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you (ESV).” This verse brought life to me during the bouts of jealousy and envy I had towards my classmates. I needed to daily remind myself that even though I feel like I have nothing, I truly have no good thing apart from you, God.

Verse 11 : You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures evermore (ESV). This reminded me to daily seek God’s face, whether its a bad day or good day, and I had some of both. This also reminded me that everything I need or want I have in God–there are pleasures evermore.

 

I wanted to share this with you in hopes that this Psalm would be an encouragement and to encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to truly spend some time with the text. It can be so easy to just read a scripture, deem it good and move on to the next one, but when you truly park in a specific place for a while, you begin to appreciate all that the Scripture has to offer, even when it speaks to a specific place that you’re in.

I didn’t even know to go to this Scripture, I believe the Holy Spirit put it in my head to turn to it.

Little did I know that it would truly become an anchor for me during one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve had thus far.

Selah the Corner ft. Bizzle “RTS Remix”

 

Let’s bring out my thug tendencies real quick.

 

Just kidding. I have none.

But listening to this song makes me feel the most thug  a Christian lady can feel.

 

This song was the single for Selah the Corner’s free mixtape: Hoodie Season 2: Black Dawn

Selah the Corner is a member of the God Over Money roster comprised of, the featured Bizzle, and Bumps INF.

 

Let thugs and non-thugs unite and head bang over this piece of sonic street art.

 

 

Enjoy.

 

 

*Hoodie Season 2: Black Dawn was released September 2nd, 2014*