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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!