Photo Courtesy of billboard.com
Photo Courtesy of billboard.com

The Chicago music scene has been continuously seeing its star get brighter and brighter. With Emcee’s Common, Kanye West, Lupe and Shawna paving the way, 2015 is seeing the underground Chicago music scene boil over into mainstream label ready artistry. Chicago is home to one of THE hottest up and coming lyrical beasts. Rather singing or rapping this femcee sets the bar high for the competition. Signed to Mosley Music Group through Epic Records Chicago artist Tink has taken her underground following and out of the box lyrics to a soon to be international platform.

Photo courtesy textbooktimbo.blogspot.com
Photo courtesy textbooktimbo.blogspot.com

Before being signed to a major label Tink was already a force in the Chicago music scene. Her first mixtape Winter’s Diary dropped in 2012 to a good reception but it was her A Zae Production, Chief Keef-3 Hunna freestyle that caught the attention of the world. Don’t you just love YouTube? Gotta give it to the platform for allowing such creative minds to upload their craft. What can seem like over night, Tink was scooped up by music mogul Timbaland and since he took her under his wing she’s been making major moves with the heavy hitters of the industry.

In an ode, a dedication, to America’s Babies Tink released the Timbaland produced track “Tell the Children”; in wake of the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson. “Boys being gunned down, your boys is havin’ fun now. With our blood and our sons, disturbing the peace. He’s more afraid of him and he’s the one with the piece?” Going where most of today’s artists are scared to go, or let’s be honest just really don’t give a f@$% about going, she is filling a wide void that’s been left open since…….Lauryn HIll. Yes I said it and that’a huge statement. With flows, verses and vocal ability she covers the versatility in style and delivery, couple that with the honest and necessary for the times lyrics I think we may have someone for the kids to listen to, maybe it’s Tink if it isn’t you? The big homie Yeezy said it best in his 3rd studio release summer anthem Champion, “When it feels like living’s harder than dying, For me giving up’s way harder than trying. Lauryn Hill said her heart was in Zion, I wish her heart still was in rhyming. Cause who the kids gone listen to? I guess it’s me if it isn’t you.”  Not stopping there Tink already has 2015 going crazy with her newest hit Ratchet Commandments. Although a bit vulgar for the first few minutes she does hit dead on the lifestyles of some of our most precious queens and kings. “I told Tim like, I’m irritated, devastated. I thought, I thought we had some young queens what you mean? We act beligerent, generation of ignorance. Chicks live for ‘the Gram so they life ain’t got no significance. And guys is ratchet too, just in another way. You fake fathers never held your daughters, never had a conversation. You too f@#$ng immature to get an occupation.”

Photo courtesy of Lauryn Hill's twitter @misslaurynhill
Photo courtesy of Lauryn Hill’s twitter @misslaurynhill

I’m excited! Music is representative of the people. It’s been a while since we’ve had someone rep the Queen. No disrespect to any current artists but we all know lyrical conversations for the soul of the queen have been on pause for a while. Could Tink be apart of the answer, its too soon to tell but she is certainly on her way. All Chicago love, until next time. -RD

Only $45?

Only $45?

Royal Diva feeling feminine, pampered and full of love energy. All for 45! Smile ladies.
Royal Diva feeling feminine, pampered and full of love energy. All for 45! Smile ladies.

I have this fascination. No wait. I have this addiction, yes that’s a better word, an addiction. Ever since the calendar days of my life have flipped closer towards 30 I have this insane desire to look and feel………like a lady. Pardon me, in my sexiest Marilyn Monroe voice. I. Am. A. Lady. I love the beauty of a no-chip manicure. How fiercely can I grab hold of the world, my man and these kids with a perfectly polished set of nails? More than a tight skirt can do, these powder pink nails give the world a small glimpse into the life force behind my smile. Only 45?

The other day my sister friend asked me what makes me smile. Of course I said my kids. I like puppies too, they’re cute. She said no. What makes your soul smile? What puts that little tingle in your spine and makes you feel on top of the world. Hmmmm. Good question. The first thing that popped into this overcrowded mind of mines were my bi-weekly Mani & Pedi’s.  The smooth way that bubbling water with the blue salt transforms my urban acrylic oasis into the white Jamaican sands; how those abrasive back massagers become Emery in a Speedo an hour and a half before I have to put the meatloaf on.  I can say nothing makes me feel more feminine, more girly and more like a lady than the $45 I spend twice a month with my sisters in love from the Vietnam.

But the sassy mom takes over my sexy side and says Ahmir could have gotten a new pair of school shoes or a new uniform. Dang $45 could have been my oil change and Chic-Fil-A for the kids since we’re going to be getting home late. How many hats do I wear? Which hat is more important? Is it the mother or significant other hat? The daughter or good neighbor hat? We won’t throw the spirituality hat in this equation…….see what I go through?!?! Or is it the woman hat? Is it the White hat Olivia Pope, Gladiator, She-Woman, I can do all things so I neeeds my bi-weekly mani-pedi escape to the white Jamaican sands and Emery, oh don’t forget the dark-chocolate immaculately sculpted, Emery.

 Insert You, Emery and the best massage here.....

Insert You, Emery and the best massage here…..

Whether its $5 or $45 ladies don’t skimp out on the most important person in the equation, you. Money comes. Money goes. It’s circular. You will continuously have moments of relative wealth and moments of relative struggle. But in the shadows waiting for her day in the sun SHE will always be, you, beautiful lady. Once those small cries turn into adolescent “mommies” and then to deep voiced “Thanks mom’s” and on to “Yes mom I promise to call you more often’s” you will remain. With or without that $45 7 years ago you couldn’t give yourself because the little one could use just one more uniform shirt. If your kids take turns washing their shirts by hand on Saturday mornings because they will last much longer than in the washing machine, then that’s just that much more time you all get to spend together learning shit they should know how to do anyway! Ha! Chicago can be a stressful place, we need your light ladies.  Live a little ladies and laugh a little more. So, tell me now, only $45? Dam right!

The Time My Grandmother Lived Through Me

The Time My Grandmother Lived Through Me

Chicago is the 3rd most populated metropolitan city in the United States, right behind New York and L.A. With 3 million residents in the Greater Chicago land area there is always competition for space and resources.This Sunday morning I decided to put my yard space to use and replant my garden! I will get a little personal with you all today, y’all love me right :), and share with you that this was one of the hardest flower beds to plant. Growing up my grandparents took care of me like I was their child. Being an only child I spent lots of time with my grandparents going shopping, preparing meals and watching the dreadful FOX News channel with my grandfather. On July 11 of 2013 my grandfather passed away. In March 2014 my grandmother entered the hospital due to complications with her lungs and she still remains. One of the best memories with my grandparents is watching them grow fresh tomatoes, bell peppers and hot peppers in our back yard. When I was little we even had a pear tree! In the footsteps of 2 of the best people ever, I decided that my son and I would revamp our backyard for my grandmother. It started like this:

 

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Weeds, weeds, weeds! It has rained consistently for the past 2 weeks here in Chicago and my backyard was ready for full on Lion King action, so we began to dig. And dig. And dig. We made good head way and was able to clear the entire patch of weeds out. It was no small feat for the Diva, I’m such a city girl. Once we cleared the weeds and dug up old tulip bulbs from gardens past we were able to start the beautification process. A word to the wise, if you are planting in soil previously used place down a layer of plastic and cut holes in the spaces you want to plant in. It will eliminate roots and weeds popping up throughout your garden.

Image Usually my son leaves me hanging in the middle of mommy’s projects but he stuck this one out with me. He hoed, pulled and snatched weeds, he lugged gigantic bags of mulch around the yards and he even laid down one of our cement patios with the mulch. He’s such the little helper….when I bribe him with riding his bike on the trail later that day.

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After the concrete slabs were filed with mulch its now time to plant the flowers. First we laid all the flowers out and arranged them to our liking. I had to remember that the flowers would spread and to not be worried that they weren’t so plentiful to begin with. My feelings were hurt when I didn’t see an instant garden like I’d envisioned in my mind. At that moment I just wanted my grandma to make it better….then I looked up at my son in this hat and had the laugh of my life. Thanks grandma for making it better.

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Its super important in a huge city like Chicago that children are taught to grow and work the land. I mean come on, my ideal husband is a farmer! Yes chicken, cows and tomato plants are sexy to me and the stuff real men are made of! After another hour in our garden it was complete. I arranged the flowers, cut the holes in the plastic, dug up the spots for each plant and filled with mulch on top once everything was laid. And the final results…….

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Not so bad from start to finish! We have an entire other side of our garden that we will be planting tomatoes, green peppers and bell peppers on. Royal Diva needs a few days of rest so I think I will begin that project next Saturday morning. I’ll update this post with our yummy, organically grown vegetables. I’m tired all over again after writing this. If you have any cool urban farming solutions or suggestions please comment below and share or e-mail pics of your super cool garden to royaldiva.tv@gmail.com. Healthy eating and happy living! Until next time.- RD

P.S.

Just as I was sitting back looking at my flowers and feeling my grandparents in my heart, a beautiful butterfly landed in my garden. How amazing it is in a city of 3 million people that she could feel me as if we were sitting right next to each other. 🙂

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