Category Archives: Shoulda Stopped When…

Sucking at something has its limits

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Shoulda Stopped When | Ja Rule

So I took a stroll in a video library the other day, as you would, looking for something to hold me till the next illegal download was made available to ‘dude on the street with the stack of DVDs’.

I thought, may be I would take one of those nostalgic trips down memory lane and revisit a movie that I thought I was too young to understand back in the day, like Coming To America or something, then something caught my eye.

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Danny Glover, how low can you go?

Right there, peeping from a cast of, oh I don’t know, 100 wannabes, on a DVD cover was Ja Rule. I don’t think you get it, let me try again. JA freakin’ RULE. I thought he had faded in to obscurity and yet, here he was, going against all odds and trying to find some sort of significance.

You’d think a Google search would have been a more promising venture for him, but nope, Ja decided he would run to the world of straight to DVD flicks.

I’ll sideline my personal bias against him for a sec, Ja Rule was not necessarily a bad rapper. Hell, I still have fond memories of the ‘voice-breaking’ facilitator, “Holla-Holla”. It was a feel good jam, almost a vehicle for pubescent rebelliousness and we dug it.

Then there was his involvement in the Blackstreet-Janet Jackson back and forth, “Girlfriend-Boyfriend” or “Boyfriend-Girlfriend” or “Couple” or whatever. I thought that was not too shabby. Screw it, I’ll be charitable and say, it was ‘alright’.

He was not doing too badly on collabos. He teamed up with his mouse-alike “Mary J Blige” on Rainy Days and enjoyed a reasonable flow of success, rode that silver cloud to Thug Lovin’ with Bobby “Houston” Brown and, shit, I’ll be damned, it was a solid song. It’s possible that there’s a more fitting adjective for that track, but you know what I mean.

Not Mary J Blige

Not Mary J Blige

There were the tracks with Ashanti and against my musical sensibilities’ better judgement, I allowed “Wonderful” in to my life. Looking back, I can’t help but think, if it wasn’t for the video, R Kelly’s involvement, the money the cars and all the shit it had, I wonder, would I still love it? Would I still play it…would I, dare I say it, still be mesmerised?

Then he went the diss route. For whatever reason, he had a feud with Eminem, 50, Dre and by extension, most of the people who came in to contact with them. I’m almost certain the feud is expounded upon some place online, but this is ULK, not Wikipedia. Artists really get off on this beef stuff and don’t get me wrong, it does make for decent entertainment from the sidelines.

We stop trying to wax deep dropping statements like “man, the lyrical content in there was ‘ill’ son!” and give in to the ‘local’ in us, “Mwana, guy, bavumye omusaja!”.

Now the problem is simple, Ja Rule tried too hard. He went against the new kids on the block and failed. Terribly. And when he was done failing, he tried again and failed some more. This is not to say he did not succeed at getting them to pay attention to him, far from it. You don’t do a diss song calling a black rapper a homosexual or bisexual, dissing a guy’s kid and you think, ‘eh, it’s just jokes, eh, eh. LOL’.

Mfudde nze!

Mfudde nze!

Eminem, Dre and 50 came back at him, guns blazing and somewhere along the way picked up Busta Rhymes for good measure. Shit, such was the amount of backup on this thing, even Timbaland threw in a half hearted diss. Seriously, at the end of the jam, it comes as an afterthought, almost like he was thinking, ‘first wait, I haven’t released anything in a while, let me remind people I’m here and I also don’t like Ja. Mbu homosexual? Let me stick it to him by telling him to suck my dick. That should show how uber male I am.”

If Ja had stuck with his ish ish collabos, I suspect things would have turned out a little different, but having been buried, he decided to resurrect his career in the only way a has been rapper can, he ran to Hollywood.

He does deserve some credit for sneaking in to a Scary Movie flick for the sole reason that no one takes those seriously anymore, so bad acting actually looks like the actor did try to act horribly and succeeded.

Oh, and he tried to pull a Matrix and dodge taxes. He failed.

From motion pictures to mugshots, we gonna clap back.

From motion pictures to mugshots, we gonna clap back.

However, with more and more movie titles rubbing themselves against his name like some a prostitute unsure of how to go about marketing his/her wares, you can’t help but think Jeffrey Atkins should have stopped way back when.

Mwami...er, emmesse?

Mwami…er, emmesse?

 

Should Have Stopped When | Rihanna

I know, you’re probably thinking that this particular Should Have Stopped When is a tad premature, what with Riri still belting out hit after hit. However, let’s think about this seriously, if someone is taking you for a ride, doesn’t the natural order of things impress upon you the need to scream, “maaso awo! Ku stage dammit!”?

Rihanna came in to our lives with Pon De Replay, a track which actually brought us to our feet every time it got rotation even if none of us really knew what the hell she was going on about. She then went on to release a series of other successful tracks that actually bled content.

At this point the biggest thing about Rihanna's career was her forehead

The biggest thing about Rihanna’s career here was her forehead

The problem is, somewhere along the line, she got lazy…and we let her. It sort of makes us hypocrites when you think about it, Halima Namakula releases a couple of nursery rhyme covers and we spew vitriol, but Rihanna subjects us to what we should know to be a lesson in vowels and we smile and scream for more.

The amnesia inspired track, “What’s my name?” shows this to be true as Rihanna prefaces her question with the words, “O-na-na”. Only after she has said that does she go on to ask what her name is.

I initially thought that may be this is a common problem in the Caribbean seeing as Beenie Man also prefaced his question with “Zim Zimmer” which makes about as much sense as a snail walking in to a store and purchasing salt, but on close inspection, she went on with her attack against proper words.

Disturbia saw her continue her vowel crusade, but this time she decided to drop names. She turned to the Flintstones for inspiration and went on to intone thus; “Bam-Bam-Bira-Bam-Bam-Bi-Bam-Ba”. If you think this sounds familiar, it should. It’s the sound hail makes as it hits a tin roof.

You know where you can shield yourself from the rain right?

Under her umbrella-ella-ella-eh-eh

Under her umbrella-ella-ella-eh-eh

To be fair, one can argue that her relationship status with words is ‘complicated’, but with songs like Te Amo and Unfaithful, she let’s the world see that she and the English language are more than friends.

Poke?

Do you poke? On FB as in?

On the other side of the tracks, there’s her tenacity to basically do one or two verses and then rehash them. I suppose one way of looking at it is that she teaches you the lyrics and hopes that you will sing with her. She is lonely that way.

Speaking of which…

If we had stopped Rihanna in her tracks around Pon De Replay, maybe she wouldn’t have caught Chris Brown’s fist eye. But catch it she did and they were the it couple for a while. And why wouldn’t they be, both of them were young, showed so much promise and their music was topping charts until, finally, the relationship ended with a hit.

Is that a mic in your pocket or are you happy to see me?

Is that a mic in your pocket or are you happy to see me?

Rihanna is still going strong, but the more discerning among you will notice you’re being taken for a ride and ask that you be let off at the nearest exit.

strkprv

Shoulda Stopped When … Straka

When she was born, someone bestowed the name Pamela Otti upon her. She went through the early bits of her life with that tag and even had a couple of gigs as an MC with that name coating the microphone with every introduction. Then she blew up and became the larger than life entity we now know and love (?) as Straka.

There’s no doubt that she is something of a big deal. Why people still throw fan parties for her, but somewhere along the way, she moved from a crowd-pleaser to the butt of many a joke.

Photo Credit; madandcrazy.blogspot.com

Photo Credit; madandcrazy.blogspot.com

Sure, her size expanded to accommodate her burgeoning career, but that’s not really an issue. What is, it got such that, it became the thing many people started recognizing her for.

So, maybe this would have been the point at which she should have hit the brakes and rode off into the sunset, with both her real name and dignity intact. Unfortunately, she chose another path.

The revamped Pamela took on a pseudonym from we know not where and there was nary a trace of the MC from years gone by.

Everyone has a problem with wedding meetings, what with how, through no fault of your own,  you get suckered in to paying for the union of two individuals you had, prior to this treachery, assumed had your best interests at heart and would never make you spend money you don’t have.

Straka, in her own way attempted to be transparent; she actually staged a wedding with an entrance fee. Her husband-to-be never turned up and the dejected bride-to-be collapsed out of shame….apparently.  In her defense, the wedding had an additional bonus that not many do; it was supposed to double as a celebration of Uganda’s musical talent with a host of musicians slated to perform.

Not Straka. Not by a long shot.

Not Straka. Not by a long shot.

Sorry, I may be getting ahead of myself here. There was also her stint as Uganda’s resident cougar, regularly on the prowl for some fresh meat. Once again, it’s worth pointing out that there is, technically nothing wrong with this, the people she was going after were, presumably, consenting adults and they knew what/who they were getting in to.

The problem is, she seemed to actually feed off the prowl and kept ditching one and moving on to another. Snatch from a cradle once, shame on it, snatch from it twice and there’s clearly a problem.

She is also credited with the “color separation movement” that sought to have color distance itself from people’s clothing and find refuge in their hair. If they could, clowns would sue for copyright infringement, but they’d have to get in line behind the birds trying to get back the nests that had since taken up residence atop many a lady’s head.

Photo Credit; africa.widmi.com

She goes on to host the show that is credited with helping her achieve her larger than life status at WBS. However, recent reports linked her to yet another young man, an artist that is trying to cement his position as a force to reckon with, but as of now, Gravity’s biggest claim to fame is that he brought Straka down.

If we had to pick one moment out of her history, we’d say she should have taken a chill pill around the time her career careened and deviated from her glory days as Pamela Otti, erstwhile MC at DV8.

 

 

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Shoulda Stopped When . . . Ray J

Ray J is Brandy Norwood’s kid brother. He is also known as that kid that appeared in several episodes of his sister’s shadow show- Moesha and One on One; a show that was populated by a cast of thick eyebrows. He also starred in Mars Attacks and was also, at some point in his life, in Kim Kardashian.

Kim

Not Ray J

Notably, he went through a phase in his life where he was ‘cool’. The word is used loosely because if he had been shipped off to this continent and dumped in some landlocked third world country, his ‘cool’ would really just be local.

Or construed as ‘swag’ by some Casablanca dwelling, Smirnoff ice sipping, solar panel pants-wearing, grammatically challenged youth. But this is not about that kid. This is about Ray J.

Warrup?!

Warrup?!

He recently released a track titled “I Hit It first”, which many have erroneously thought refers to hitting the peak of the Norwood family fame. As some people on the interwebs have pointed out, it may be in reference to creating the beast with two backs with Kim ‘Kabina’ Kardashian.

Ironically, balancing on Kim’s gluteus maximus may have actually been the highest point in his career as everything else after that has not really had any strong impact on his relevance as a person.

He proceeded to record a track titled “Sexy Can I” which, if memory serves me well, was really a humble request for some. That he referred to his prey as “sexy” further reinforces his affinity for being ‘L’.

The only other place this word emanates from is the mouths of uncouth builders as they cat call campus chicks or those of boda boda chaps or uncouth builders in local bars. Ray J’s attempt to make it mainstream failed.

He also went on to give realty TV a stab, but as anyone that has watched Reality TV will tell you, it only works if your ‘reality’ is worth watching. Sadly, Ray J’s only serves to give the unenviable task of watching paint dry some form of respite.

Nonetheless, following his show, For the love of Ray J, his sister, the formerly well known Brandy Norwood, premiered a reality show of her own, titled, “Brandy and Ray J; A Family Business”. The general consensus that the family business in question may in fact be wildly grasping at the straws of success.

Could use another day in paradise

Could use another day in paradise

But it’s not that bad, Ray J may have been Whitney Houston’s last boyfriend, so I suppose he did have something old going for him.

So here’s where we are now, Brandy’s baby brother wants us to know that he was all up in Kim before Kanye. It’s all well and good, but Kanye already told us that his girl is famous ‘from a home movie’.

Waggwan? I hit it first

Waggwan? I hit it first

Shut up Ray J, you’re drunk.

 

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Shoulda Stopped When… | Michael Ross

Michael Ross is a decent guy and a more than decent dancer. However, as history has shown, dancers are seldom satisfied with having just one notch on their belt and consequently, Michael decided to venture in to the murky waters of music. Not dancing to it, singing.

His first attempt was the well-received “Senorita” which was essentially a jam whose lyrical premise revolved around hooking up with some chick. It was one of those tunes that stuck in your head at the time because outside of Mills and Boons and hemorrhage inducing soaps, the word “senorita” was actually novel,

No one used it, so when Michael did and in a song no less, the result was an instant hit.

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Nawe senorita, allow!
Photo credit : Musicuganda.com

‘How Do You Love Somebody’, essentially suggested that his quarry from his other song was not giving back as he was giving. We felt for him and let the song in to our lives, if only for a bit. And it was well with our hearts.

There was also an instance of “You’re the one”…according to MusicUganda. I have no recollection of this jam, but if it is good enough for MU, then it is good enough for me.

MusicUganda also reminded me that Michael became a brand ambassador for a telecom company way back when. And I’m pretty sure we were happy for him. We bought SIM cards, didn’t we?

This is the point at which we should have nipped him in the bud. This is when he shoulda stopped….

He had arrived. He was even selected to be a judge at a prestigious award ceremony in whatsit. AND, he had gone on tour in Outside Countries guaranteeing him a genuine accent. It is at this point that we should have said, bannage Michael, stop! You’re killing us with your awesome.

We did not and then got it in to his head that he could go one better and got gym membership so that his shirts could take a breather as he performed. This in and of itself was not necessarily a bad thing, the problem is, the songs he was using were the ones we had gotten used to.

Not a bad thing as such except that the first time we let them in to our homes, they were delivered by an innocent looking lad that you’d have no problem leaving in the living room with your kids. New Michael on the other hand looked like he would thump Senorita if she said no.  There were a couple of others, but, man.

Senorita wanted the D, she just didn’t know it yet. And when he asked you how you loved somebody when she won’t love you back, you cowered in fear lest you gave up the wrong answer.

He was not yet done. He released more and more jams which served more as vehicles to showcase his dance moves than anything. Remember ‘Tell Me’? How about the one where he threatens to take some chick’s clothes off and spends most of the video taking off his own instead?

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A young lady wonders what to do when Michael takes his clothes off instead of hers…

If his passion was music, it started to look more and more like it had decided to shift to the passenger seat and let dancing drive this young man’s career.

THEN SUDDENLY….

He shifted gears and went in to modeling. The latest edition of City Beat has his body in unfamiliar territory, closed clothes. Not a single picture allows him to show off the fruits of his gym membership, but you can certainly tell that he has become battle hardened.

If he were to raise his hands to you and say he built his career with his bare hands, you take one look at the dry paws and nod your head. Yep. It shows.

But wait, what’s this… Pressol?! Come on Michael, you have got to be kidding me. This is worse than selling your soul to the devil. If you can let them do this to you, we can only guess what you will be endorsing next….

 

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Remember this…

To help put this in context…

sexual-chocolate

Editor’s note: Urban Legend Kampala has no beef with Michael Ross. In fact, we wish him the best in his career. So much so that we would like to request our readers to stop downloading his music…er, illegally.