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Saturday, December 10, 2011


McKenzie Eddy - Ice Cream Mountain feat. Murs from DD172 on Vimeo.
McKenzie Eddy returns with her second single off of her upcoming album,
Slow Your Horse Down, Son featuring fellow BluRoc artist Murs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Absolute Venus | What's on My Rack?

Hi Lovelies,

As you may have heard, Absolute Venus has expanded from natural skincare and bath and body products to fashion! I look forward to bringing you the latest couture tailored to your personal style. Here are just some of the pieces in my fall line. Let me know what you think. Oh yeah...I am looking to have pieces for my Martians by the end of the year. So stay tuned fellows, there will be some gear for you soon!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Adventures in Food | KiKi's Bistro #Chicago

Kiki's Bistro

900 N Franklin St
(between Locust St & Walton St) 
ChicagoIL 60610
(312) 335-5454

French food at its finest. This cuisine tastes as good as it looks. For over 42 years Kiki's has been satisfying sophisticated palates. This lunch left me delighted all day long. And no it did not eat this all by myself even though I wanted too! :)


Coque au Vin

Pomme Frites

Mussels Provencale

Lemon Tart with Raspberry Coulis

Chocolate Mousse with Macerated Strawberries

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.2 Ep. 6 | Pete Rock & Smif N Wessun "Monumental" Album

Adventures in Food | Grahamwich #Chicago

Grahamwich by Graham Elliot
615 n. state

i was reminiscing on this heavenly bánh mì sandwich the other day. then i remembered that Grahamwich no longer has it. But, on the new menu there is a pork bbq sandwich which i hope to try soon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.2 Ep. 5 | A Vinyl Bracelet

I am a vinyl junkie. So needless to say, when I saw this beauty, I was in love. I have to get me one!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Adventures in Food | GT Fish & Oyster #Chicago

GT Fish & Oyster

Can I just tell you that this is the best gnocchi that I have ever tasted. The tenderness of the gnocchi was like soft pillowy clouds of goodness melting away as my tongue pressed against the roof of my mouth. Divine! The freshly shaved basil, mussels, rock shrimp and cherry tomatoes rounded out the dish so well that it left me savoring every delicious bite. What an appetizer, indeed!

On to the lunch entree...a lobster roll and onion straws. Super chunky lobster salad on a perfectly toasted New England style roll. The lobster had just the right balance of mayo and citrus flavor that didn't over-power the meat and accentuated the fresh herbs that were part of the blend. Also, the golden french fried onions made my tummy very happy! :)

And as if that wasn't enough...dessert! Can you guess what this is by looking at the pic below? I'll tell you what it isn't - a lemon parfait. It is key lime pie! That's right, key lime pie. Nestled in a petite mason jar, this lovely dessert of layers key lime curd, crumbled ginger snaps and merigue is one of the best key lime pies i've ever had. The brightness of the key lime flavor livened my pallet and was a satisfying close to a glorious lunch.

I will definitely be back to sample more gastronomic delights soon!

Photos by: Chris Gray

Friday, July 1, 2011

Adventures in Food - Bridge House Tavern #Chicago

Bridge House Tavern
321 N. Clark
P: 312.644.0283

*Diana Ross voice* "I want mussels!!! ooo, ooo, ooo..." Okay, I know she was singing about the other kind of muscles but, I want mussels - especially these mussels. The deliciousness that they bathe in is perfect for dipping. The fresh mussel flavor accented with butter, white wine, jalapeno pepper and a slight citrus punch, make me want to drown every bit of that grilled crusty bread in it!

The roasted chicken at Bridge House Tavern is super succulent, never will you have a more juicy piece than this. And the grits, anointed with asiago cheese, which gives a slight sharpness that perfectly compliments the buttery creaminess. This is true comfort food! I left full, sleepy and happy! :)

Photos by Chris Gray

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jean Grae | Cookies or Comas | Mixtape Now Available!

Jean Grae - Cookies or Comas Tracklist

01. Casebasket
02. R.I.P. (ft. Styles P & Talib Kweli)
03. Imagine
04. I Rock On
05. Uh Oh (from Talib Kweli’s
Gutter Rainbows)
06. Live Up (ft. Talib Kweli)
07. Assassins (from Pharoahe Monch’s
W.A.R., ft. Royce Da 5’9”)
08. Jeannie Rules
09. Blame Game
10. Killing ‘Em (ft. Pharoahe Monch)
11. You Don’t Like It (ft. DJ Boogie Blind)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adventures in Food | Strawberry Trifle >> Sherry Soaked Sin

661 N Clark Street, Chicago IL    
Tel: 312-335-8121

One of the best things that I have ever eaten! This decadent parfait is chock full of vanilla cream and strawberries atop a beautiful sherry soaked cake. Who would have thought that an Irish pub would have such amazing desserts?! And check out the pot pie I had (after you drool over pics of the trifle.) #foodporn lol!

Oh and you've never seen a pot pie as gorgeous and tasty as this...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coming Soon | Jean Grae's "Cookies or Comas" Mix Tape

Something wicked this way comes and it smells of carnage and baked goods! bwahahahaaa...
Get Jean Grae's "Cookies or Comas" Mix Tape free on June 23rd. Stay tuned for details!

Take a listen to the first leak from the mix tape.

  Jean Grae "Casebasket" by 3DDistro

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.2 Ep. 3 | Black Hand Side Video - Pharoahe Monch (ft. Styles P and Phonte)

I view the world through rose colored glasses because I believe in the good in people. This video is beautiful and thought-provoking. We should all strive to make life more colorful and brilliant. Love and Light... >> Related Post | W.A.R. and Peace

Friday, May 27, 2011

BLUROC does it again! | Muscle Car Chronicles ep. 10 and more...

I'm amazed at the musical mastery and cinematic allure coming out of the BLUROC camp. 
For more dopeness under the DD172 umbrella visit
Check their latest installment of the Muscle Car Chronicles >>


This vid features:
> Big K.R.I.T. and Curren$y - performing 'Glasshouse' at SOB's (June 2010)
> Curren$y - #jetsgo
> McKenzie Eddy's Greatest Hits (featuring Ski Beatz)
> The London Souls Album Trailer, COMING OUT ON JULY 12TH
> Stalley - Hercules
> Jim Jones - Hip Hop Monologues
> The London Souls - She's So Mad
> Raekwon - Stay off the Fuckin' Flowers (video from Blakroc)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.2 Ep. 2 | Ski Beatz Interviews Wiz Khalifa

This interview is pure awesomeness. So real. It shows how organic and pure the art form is. Check it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Honey Flow

In '96 i started turning out sweet 16's/
18's were fair game too/
i put 'em on the hook for the pleasure of it/
cause n*ggas love it/
couldn't keep 'em out of my pad/
long enough before the next one came/
drownin' deep in the flow/
grippin' heads tight/
got 'em wanting to bust on me/
but they don't measure up/
i'm on top/ you gettin' the full frontal/
lobe working it til you reach an epiphany/
give into me/
my words get you high/
then leave you in a state of refractory/
recovering from loss of blood flow/
after the gush/the head rush/
when i'm on the track/ johns dub me a legend/
proper head nods/ bobbin/ wit the tongue action/
i spit/ lickin off shots/cream in my hand/
cuppin 'em together/ so more can flow in/
if you build it/ they will come/
all over the planet/ got 'em at my beck-on/
beggin' for their chance to spend their check on/

Hale's Angel
© 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Venus Cooks: Shrimp Nachos

The game was coming on and I wanted to make something quick yet delicious. I don't cook anything ordinary, so what did I make? Shrimp nachos.  They were so good and simple. I improvise my recipes so here is what I came up with.

5 corn tortillas
15 raw medium shell on shrimp
1/4 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. adobo seasoning
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1tsp. celery flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder

Instructions: preheat oven to 425. also, heat vegetable oil in frying pan for nachos.

shell and rinse the shrimp and dice them. combine diced shrimp, lemon juice, kosher salt, adobo seasoning, chili powder, lemon pepper, parsley flakes, celery flakes and garlic powder in a bowl. let the mixture chill (sort of like you're making a ceviche) while you prepare the nacho chips.

stack the five corn tortillas on top of each other and cut them into nacho sizes pieces. fry the nachos in vegetable oil until crispy. drain the tortilla chips then spread them on a baking dish. if the baking dish is not non-stick spray the baking dish with cooking spray. drain the mixture as much as possible first to avoid making the nachos soggy. spread the shrimp mixture and shredded cheese on the nachos, and place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes.


Friday, April 8, 2011

W.A.R. and Peace

Gas masks, jumpsuits and Timbs, oh my!

Can I be anymore clear about this? W.A.R. << GET IT!!! You must if you are an advocate of great music. There are so many gems on this album, I play it on repeat daily. Even after listening to it for three weeks I'm still like "Whoa, whoa, whoa, what did he say?! Let me hear that sh*t again!"

Still Standing is my number one fave because it's so triumphant. The mighty horns on the track laced with Jill Scott's brilliant vocals and Pharoahe's vivid introspective about the various trials and tribulations that he has survived is soul-stirring. I swear I am going to have to choreograph a dance to express the grand emotion that I feel when I hear this song. The beat produced by M-Phazes is a masterpiece. Unbelievable!

Calculated Amalgamation is so apocalyptic, OMG! Good thing the song is brief because the rhymes on this record are so galvanizing they could spark a nuclear explosion! I can imagine a sole survivor journeying across barren lands to place a ancient artifact at the feet of heavily weathered statue of Pharoahe. One of the only figures left standing erect in the muck and mire that is the hip hop industry.

I hesitate to listen to W.A.R., the title track from the album, on my iPod as I commute into work each morning, for fear I will single-handedly ignite a revolution on the train platform. The drum kicks and guitar licks in this piece are the perfect accompaniment to the buck and brolick lyrics that Pharoahe and Immortal Technique deliver. The track produced by Marco Polo makes me mean mug everytime I hear it. When Pharoahe says "Population control, make the babies sick. RFID chips, RU-486," I am especially moved because I think of my 4 year old son and what his future will be like. From the air he breathes, the water he drinks, the food he eats, what he hears and sees, and the state of the world and his place in it.

When I first heard the pre-released singles from W.A.R. - Shine and Clap, I knew that the album was something special. Both of these tracks are anointed with soulful vocals by W.A.R. Media's resident diva Mela Machinko (Shine) and vocal powerhouse Showtyme (Clap). The Clap short film gives a poignant portrayal and mockingly applauds the actions of a misguided law enforcement system that is supposed to protect the people. Yet, it continues to victimize, enrage and disenchant the communities it serves. Black Hand Side is another wonderful collaboration featuring vocalist Phonte's smooth delivery over the mellow track produced by Mike Loe. Despite the social ills the song addresses, it has a healing quality like the brothers are gonna work it out. Another great collaboration by Styles P and Pharoahe lets us know that even though things are not all good right now, everything is going to be alright. Uplifting.

The Grand Illusion (Circa 1973) has great significance as I believe social media has an even greater influence than television now. The on-demand aspect of the Internet leads to the mass consumption of truth, diluted truth and misconstrued information, by choice. The song begs the question, what is REAL? and what is just perceived as real. And challenges us not to be fooled by the slight of hand - the distractions that entertain us in the midst of leaving us blind. The song urges us to look within for truth and inner peace. The whimsical nature of the track further conveys the enrapturing universe of mass media, the World Wide Web and hidden world agendas.

Pharoahe flexes his infamous lyrical dexterity throughout the album with a most commanding delivery on Evolve (produced by Exile). With the state of the industry, it is refreshing to hear this song. I believe that unseasoned music consumers are becoming complacent due to the lackluster display that floods the airwaves and music video programming daily. Evolve challenges the modern day emcee to examine their craft and to contribute to the health and depth of the art form rather than conforming to what's popular/what "sells". The Hitman jabs even harder at the ridiculousness that the music industry puts nauseating amounts of money behind.

Assassins is crazy! With 1, 2, and 3 - Jean Grae > Pharoahe Monch > Royce Da 5' 9"...what can I say?! You've just got to listen! I've heard Pharoahe say his verse a cappella before and my lip is still on the, him flowing over this M-Phazes banga makes it even more beastie! 

In Let My People Go Pharoahe takes his fellow renegades to church. Reminiscent of his vocal ability in Push (Desire), and The Life (the Styles P joint), he'll have you raising your arms in agreement while rocking to the organ infused sanctified beat. Haile Selassie Karate's (produced by Mr. Porter) organic feel of a grassroots movement in the hood to bring knowledge and nourishment to the people further feeds the mind with opulent rhymes.

Read enough? If you haven't purchased the album yet then this is only the tip of the pyramid. It goes much deeper. So take a listen, your soul will thank you for it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 9 -- Night Catches Us

Amazing film! Excellent musical score by the Roots. Starring Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Jamie Hector and Tariq Trotter (Black Thought).

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 8 -- Chip Fu | Endless Search

Chip Fu, known for his vicious machine gun flows, displays his velvety vocals in this smooth tune. Check it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March Madness >> Workout Edition

I recommend this workout to anyone who wants that added kick in the butt. Because it definitely will kick your a*$!!! My goal is to go all 16 minutes of this circuit without completely conking out. I started yesterday and made it though three of six rounds of this madness without passing out. I pridefully went through the other three rounds, but struggled during each interval. Even though the workout zapped most of my energy for that 16 minutes, I felt quickly reinvigorated within the hour. My energy levels were high throughout the day and I even had the urged to work out again in the evening.

The warm up that Zazana has on her site is great because today I feel very little D.O.M.S. effects. Just slight soreness, which is expected when you start any new exercise routine, especially one of this level of intensity.

I've drastically changed my diet over the past week as well because of the recent knowledge that I have a slightly high LDL level. In all, I hope to lose a total of 15 lbs. And looks like I'm off to a great start because i've lost 3 lbs. already. It's probably just water weight I've lost so far, but it leaves only 12 to go!

I currently track both my diet and workout progress on Despite the somewhat clunky way in which each of the different tracking tools record your progress, the site has everything you need to keep a detailed diary of my results.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pharoahe Monch W.A.R. 3.22.11 #wearerenegades

liveatbestbuy on Broadcast Live Free

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 7 -- iPhone Excursions

Win three city walk iPhone applications to cities of your choice, courtesy of Correctly answer all ten questions about Chicago below and e-mail them to for your chance to win. It's that simple. Good luck!

1) Chicago is known under several names. How isn't it called?

a) the Windy City

b) the City of Big Shoulders
c) the City of Lights 

2) Chicago’s downtown area is known as ... The nickname refers to the area encircled by the elevated train tracks.

a) the Loop 

b) the Hook

c) the Ellipse

3) Chicago is the birthplace among others of McDonalds, the chewing gum giant Wrigley’s and the cell phone giant Motorola. What sport has been invented here:

a) 16-inch softball
b) baseball
c) squash

4) At the time of its completion in 1974 the Willis Tower was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York, and it held this rank for nearly 25 years, How many states are visible from its roof?
a) 3
b) 4
c) 5

5) Chicago is the third largest city in United States, its metropolitan area, commonly named "Chicagoland,"being the 27th most populous metropolitan area in the world. What American cities are more populous than Chicago?
a) New York and Houston
b) Los Angeles and New York
c) Philadelphia and New York

6) Chicago is home to the largest population of ... in the world, except Warsaw: 
a) Poles
b) Czechs
c) Serbs

7) In 1900, Chicago successfully completed a massive and highly innovative engineering project. Since then the Chicago River is the only river in the world that:
a) flows North in the Northern Hemisphere
b) flows backward
c) the only river in the world that flows both northwards and southwards across the line of the Equator

8) Each year, the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is the patron saint of what country?
a) Ireland
b) Scotland
c) Poland

9) The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the largest and most extensive collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world. Which of these painters was not an impressionist:
a) Monet
b) Cezanne
c) Dali

10) The University of Chicago is the site of the world's first:
a) atomic reaction
b) unmanned flight
c) extraterrestrial encounter

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 6 -- REDRUM
Hot Release from DJ SPK


Redrum is the junior release from DJ SPK. Her sensual touch takes you through a mystical journey of 21 murderously delicious tracks. You'll be mean muggin' and proper head noddin' from start to finish. And for us ladies, there's definitely a hip shaking factor. Download Here

1. Intro - Redrum

2. Snoop Dogg Millionaire - Snoop Dogg

3. The Mayor - N.A.S.A feat. Ghostface, The Cool Kids, Scarface, and DJ AM

4. Ready Set Go - Killer Mike/Mike Bigga feat. DJ Drama and T.I.

5. Killa Flow - Ray Cash feat. Fitty

6. Wavin the Magnum - Ray Cash & The Notorious B.I.G. x Fki (Wavin the .44 - The Kickdrums/Magnum - SMKA)

7. Giant - Nikki NTU

8. Jacnthebeanstalk - Tyler the Creator 

9. Interlude - i AM crazy

10. I F*cking Hate Rappers - PackFM

11. Knock U Out On Mah Momma - Picaso

12. Tightrope (Wondamix) - Janelle Monae feat. B.O.B

13. Work - Wale

14. Let's Start - K'naan, J.Period and Fela Kuti

15. Interlude - Mase and Tazers

16. Exhibit A - Jay Electronica

17. ¢hutes & £adders - Black EL x Durkin

18. New York is Killing Me - Gil Scott Heron feat. Mos Def

19. Once A Week - Black EL x Durkin

20. The National Anthem - Lupe Fiasco

21. Outro - Follow the Leader (bonus track: Nino Bless - Murdera)

Venus also digs...

Friday, March 18, 2011


SKIBEATZ ON KARMALOOP TV: KarmaloopTV catches up with hip hop producer Ski Beatz to discuss working with Jay-Z, Curren$y, and making 24 Hour Karate School.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 4 -- Venus' Metaphysical Reading List

My journey into the metaphysical realm continues from the days of studying the Bible. As a Catholic school kid, I was exposed to Christianity early and quickly learned that even amongst Christians there are divisions between what particular sects believe within it, as well as between it an other religions.

When I read the Bhagavad Gita "The Song of the Lord" and the Upanishads my mind was expanded even further. Foreign to me in terms of their more whimsical nature they enchanted me as I learned lessons reminiscent of those told in the Bible and Koran. Same principles, just different stories, tales, fables, parables.

Whenever I read ancient texts it takes me deeper into the practices and principles of not only the religion, but the culture surrounding that particular religion, because what unites us is the source - our spirit. Hence, I delved into meditation and yoga, which is a means of connecting with the source and remembering one's true self - the soul.

Here are some of the texts that made me think much differently about my life's journey and how to connect to the essence of me. I hope that you will find them helpful on your journey as well.

Om Shanti


Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 3 -- The Countdown Continues > 3.22.11
W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)

I'm going to continue to add to this post leading up to and after the release of Pharoahe Monch's latest project W.A.R. (We Are Renegades). This independent release arrives 3.22.11. I've heard 4 songs from the album, and each one has astonishing lyrics and beats reminiscent of the organic hip hop that real headz crave. I can't wait to cop it on vinyl cause it has all the makings of a classic.

W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) 

1. The Warning (feat. Idris Elba)
2. Calculated Amalgamation
3. Evolve
4. W.A.R. (feat. Immortal Technique & Vernon Reid)
5. Clap [One Day] (feat. Showtyme & DJ Boogie Blind)
6. Black Hand Side (feat. Styles P & Phonte)
7. Let My People Go
8. Shine (feat. Mela Machinko)
9. Haile Selassie Karate (feat. Mr. Porter)
10. The Hitman11. Assassins (feat. Jean Grae & Royce Da 5’9)
12. The Grand Illusion [Circa 1973] (feat. Citizen Cope)
13. Still Standing (feat. Jill Scott)
14. Clap [One Day] (short film)

More from the man behind the mask >>>

Friday, March 11, 2011

Universal Playground: Part 1 - The Sun

In lieu of today's devastating events, I have decided to devote some blog space to Mother Nature. In this series of posts I'll explore the oddities that have and will happen in 2011 across the World and the Universe. So I shall start with the most magnificent of all the celestial bodies - the Sun

2011 Jan 04: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Jun 01: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Jun 15: Total Lunar Eclipse
2011 Jul 01: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Nov 25: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Dec 10: Total Lunar Eclipse

In 2011, there will be 4 partial solar eclipses and 2 total solar eclipses. Scientists say that this 4:2 combination is pretty rare, so what does this mean and why is it happening now? Since eclipses happen so rapidly it is not quite known what the overall effects are if any on the Earth.

It is just uncanny to me how catastrophic occurrences seem to surround major solar and lunar events. For instance, two days before the first eclipse of 2011, approximately 5000 birds fell dead from the sky in South America. A day later thousands of birds fell dead in Arkansas. Two separate locations in the World, yet these anomalies occur only a day apart in the days leading up to the solar eclipse. Since the beginning of the year, millions of dead fish have been washing up on shores all across the United States and abroad. The latest occurrence of this kind happened this Tuesday, March 8th (See this related news story.) Some sources attribute the deaths to frigid waters, other reports site "natural events" as the cause.

Whatever the cause of these oddities, I believe it is just the beginning of more to come. I won't go so far as to say it is the "End of Days" or Armageddon or  government conspiracy. However, I will say there is definitely a shift in the balance of nature which is having violently dramatic effects on the environment, the planet and the Universe.

Stay in the Universal Playground series - The Super Moon Cometh (March 19th)