Let's Just Be Real: Flaws & Low Points

Embrace your flaws and low points-
it's the only way you'll truly appreciate
your moments of greatness.
Let just be real: Far too often, many of us- myself included- prefer to cast a dark shadow over our imperfections or our "not made for social network" moments in life; Only showcasing our life's highlight reel. You know what I'm talking about.  I'm not advocating that you share with the world all the things that go on throughout your life or your mind...that would get some of y'all kicked out the church, single again, or in the unemployment line as soon as yesterday... but I am saying rather it be publicly or privately, take time to embrace those parts of your life too.     Embracing your flaws and your low points doesn't necessarily mean you have to hold onto it forever, some things you have to let go of and grow from. (You can decide on what those are.) This is more about developing an appreciation for the arc of life. Along that arc there may be moments of failure, self doubt, lapses in judgement or character, and etc. There may also be moments of triumph, overwhelming confidence, choice of right action, and etc.
If you've found a way to be perfect, sell the answer and buy an island, if not I'm going to assume you are human. Being open about who you are, to yourself and with other's,  eliminates the pressure of keeping up an impossible facade. It's freeing. Minus Jesus Christ, no one can be on their "A-Game" 24/7-365; It's not realistic and people may began to loathe your presence because they can't relate to your perfection. "Real recognize real" and when you allow yourself to be human, people instantly connect with you because they can see a piece of you that is also in themselves. 
I'm a big proponent of loving yourself and throughout self evaluation we may find more imperfections or discover that we may even be the cause for some of our low points; allow yourself to be okay with those findings! Those findings are what will make you and your life experiences uniquely different from someone elses.
Imperfections alone are something to embrace and what you don't like, you're always free to change. 
There's a saying that goes, "S
unny days wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for rain and joy wouldn't feel so good if it wasn't for pain." That saying reminds me that a little pain and rain can play a vital role in the extent to which we appreciate the joy and the sunny days in our life. I believe once we embrace the natural ebb and flows that come with being human, the awareness can go a long way towards truly appreciating the times when you're peaking towards personal greatness.  

Hit me up or leave a message below.

Keep Going, Keep Growing
Twitter: @B_Wellington

Don't Be Skurred (scared)

"Life" is probably one of my favorite comedies of all time. If you've seen it, give yourself a hi-five. If you haven't...I question your life choices. lol On a serious note, I have a point for using this clip and bringing up this movie so let me work it all in. Without giving too much away for those who haven't seen it, Claude Banks (Martin Lawrence) and Ray Gibson (Eddie Murphy) are sentenced to life in prison for a crime they didn't commit and they spend a good part of their lives trying to break out.

When they arrive to prison, they find out that there aren't any fences...it almost looks like they can run free; But then they find out about the gunline. It's a line that encircles the prison and if anyone steps outside of that line, the guards have been instructed to SHOOT THEM DOWN! All of a sudden freedom looks so close but so far. I bring this up because "real life"...pun intended... seems to be the same way- a seeable parallel between where you are now and where you want to be.
Have you ever found yourself committed to a life you didn't envision? Do you ever feel your daily life has become a bit of prison? How often do you dream of breaking out? Who or what stops you? If this sounds like an infomercial all I'm selling is a little encouragement and motivation. ;-)

When I was 19, I had a mentor tell me in regards to winning in life, "You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable." He had a career that entailed him to do a lot of public speaking. Side note - There was a poll taken some years back to identify what is the most common shared fear. 1st place went to public speaking and 2nd went to death. In other words, the person giving the eulogy during a funeral would much rather be in the casket. lol

Muhammad Ali has a quote that goes: "I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." He turned what was very uncomfortable for him into a comfort zone and became the best pound for pound fighter in history. When I talk about comfort zone it can apply to any area of your life- financial, spiritual, personal, health, career...wherever you can develop a comfort zone. The word that stood out to me in the quote was "suffer" lol. Most don't like facing failure so we often look for the path of least resistance...I know I do sometimes...but we all know the things worth having very rarely come easily and without sacrifice. I often ask myself, "What will you risk to seek your reward?" Note that risk and seek are action verbs. One calls for you to give up one thing while the other calls for you to get out and actively look for another.

One of the most beautiful things in life to me is free will. We are always free to choose our own path and just like the movie "Life" there are no fences. We set our own gunline and at any time we can expand it or break free of whatever vision we're not committed to. If you're willing to let go of what has become comfortable for you to seek the reward just beyond your comfort zone, I believe with faith and a little action, we can all become champions in any area of our lives. Do you?

Take a risk, don't be skurred!

Connect With Me:
Twitter: @B_Wellington
Youtube: BrandenWellington

Keep Growing, Keep Going

Hip Hop: For Better or Worse?

Recently I had conversation with an industry professional and they asked for my thoughts on the current state of hip hop. I shared what I could at that moment and when I came home later I thought more about it. In the spirit of sparking a conversation...Here are my thoughts on the current landscape of hip hop:

First & Foremost:

LOL. Moving along...

I think rap is moving into a more positive light.. however coming from where rap was in the late 90's to early 2000's there was no place to go
BUT UP; I'm referring more so to subject matter. Now you might be thinking that the subject matter can still use some improvement and that's fine- tell me allll about it in the comments section-...but for now ride with me.
In the mid to late 90's, which were the latter years of hip hop's golden era, we entered a real dangerous period where gangster rap and rap
that embraced violence was at the forefront of the commercial market. Throughout the 80's & 90's hip-hop became synonymous with urban black culture, and in my opinion, the views expressed in our music played a significant role in  way other cultures perceived us as well as the way we perceived ourselves. Most people in the urban community lacked the platform to express the issues that they face on a daily basis... and for better or worse, hip hop became a platform and that platform gave many a voice and an outlet that they didn't previously have.  

Some may say that there are very few ways to make it out of inner city neighborhoods and grow to become a prominent figure in society  In regards to getting out of the hood, Notorious B.I.G stated,  "Either you're slinging crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot." If I dared to add to those lyrics I'd say, "And if you can't do that....now you got rap." 

When rap began to break through on the commercial market it quickly became a preferable escape route out of urban poverty. When rappers began to have success they portrayed a lifestyle that seemed to be genetically appealing to people in our culture. They had money, nice clothes, big chains, beautiful women, big house, fast car etc (Just thinking about almost makes me want to dust off my music equipment lol) Just about everybody and their daddy had a rap CD out in the 90's.
By the turn of the century rap began to integrate itself more into the culture with other business ventures and with increased media attention it became an even stronger voice and outlet for the urban community. If you wanted to have that voice then you needed to live that conversation. No perpetrators allowed! To be relevant, aspiring and established rappers alike, most commonly lived a lifestyle that would launch them into the middle of the conversation. So we got a lot of talk about drugs sells, violence, criminal activity, gang affiliation etc...because that's what was selling. 

Fast forward a few years later, and the conversation begin to change. A lot of which I attribute to Kayne West finally getting a chance to express his thoughts and not just make dope a$$ beats. On his first commercial single Through The Wire he rapped:

What if somebody from the Chi' that was ill got a deal  
On the hottest rap label around?
But he wasn't talking about coke and birds
It was more like spoken word
Except he's really putting it down?

He asked a valid question. At the time, the thought of somebody getting a deal that wasn't rapping about drugs and violence was very rare. I'm sure there were other rappers doing the same thing but in my opinion, Kanye was the poster child for commercially successful non-gangster rappers. He was too commercial to be labeled conscious and too conscious to be labeled commercial. At first, nobody knew what to do with him but... Rocafella rolled the dice and made a new niche. It was a change in the conversation. Then he dropped Jesus Walks and other soulful hits that took you back to when rap lyrics covered more than just stuntin', drugs, and violence. His music was well received to the tune of a mutli platinum selling album, so apparently music lovers and people in the urban culture was craving a change as well. 

As the conversation changed, so did the voices. I don't think Kanye is solely responsible for the change, there were plenty of other rappers that had success at the time who also contributed such as: Jay Z, Outkast, Ludacris, Nelly, Nas..even Diddy came back.
Then Drake came and changed the conversation a little more when he released So Far Gone. He had a high level of emotional awareness and fused self sung melodic R&B vocals to his raps and the world went nuts. He blew up off of a mixtape.
Before Drake, other rappers made a living off of singing in their songs, most notably for me is Bone Thugs and Harmony...but timing is everything. They could really dominate the charts today. Now it's becoming cool for rappers to sing, cool to talk about their insecurities, cool to be pop, and overall cool to just be you. I respect that. Rappers are taking bold creative risk that would have been laughed at 10-15 years ago.Everything in life has room for improvement but for the most part I like where hip-hop is now and curious to see where it can go.
I want to hear what you think... leave a comment below or hit me up on twitter. 

Stay connected
Twitter: @B_Wellington 

Music Review of Lawrence Leon's E.M.O

One of my good friend's, who I often do personal song reviews for, made me aware of the artist I'm writing about today and I'd like to share it with you. I'm not a music critic and I'm not part of the Music Critic's Association... but I'm going to have fun and write like I am...lol

E.M.Owhich was released today by upcoming R&B/Hip-Hop Artist Lawrence Leon, is the 1st solo recorded project by the Atlanta based artist. 

"Vices", the 1st single from the mixtape, was released in late February weeks after he put out a comical behind the scenes video teaser to build hype for the official video.

Though his comical and childlike persona shine through in videos, E.M.O, which stands for Emotional. Make. Over, is a ride into the mind of a young man recalling a past life filled with circumstances that may have stunted the growth of his inner child. In the song's "Oddball", "Pieces", and "MisadvenTUREs of Lawrence Leon" he covers a wide range of topics such as: failed relationships, struggling to fit in, battling sobriety, losing loved ones, and the miscarriage of two children.
Over the course of the mixtape, he fuses R&B and hip hop together so skillfully you often forget that you're listening to a new artist. On the song "Deadly Blow" he breathes more life back into 21st century R&B; and later put's a concoction of music genres into a blender with the song "Cross The Border" that will surely shake up any party.

If there are any drawbacks to the mixtape it would be the stinginess of music (10 Tracks) and most likely the few songs with rap alone, where it can often feel that he's still developing his sound. For the most part you'll be getting more of the creative energy that he naturally emits when he also blesses a track with his singing. If you’re looking to give your music library a fresh sound, Lawrence Leon is a suitable candidate to give your playlist an “Emotional. Make. Over”.

 Click Here To Listen To The Mixtape!

I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line below or hit me up on twitter and tell me what you think of the review.

For a Breakdown Review Of Each Individual Song Continue On Below:

The way he expresses himself in “Vices” makes you want to float away from real life with an "I don't owe you an explanation" relaxed type attitude. The style that he displays on this opening song is setting the stage of what you can come to expect from Lawrence Leon over the course of E.M.O.: Thick melodic vocals, innovative rap rhythms, creative song structures, strong storytelling, & somber content matter expressed contentedly.

Oddball opens with the bridge and in it he sings in a very lullaby like way, "there will never be another like you...baby". When it comes back around at the end of the verses we learn that he attributes those words to his mother and later as words he will share with his children as they deal with issues of growing up and fitting into society. Combine the bridge with the hook and verses, not only do you have a carefully crafted song but a short coming-of-age drama about a young man fighting the world to find his identity who later finds quiet strength and self-confidence through the permissible words of his mother.

Turely Daze
A short song with a hard beat and banging baseline that transports you immediately to the climax of a horror film only to find out that the real killer is the the disconnected sense of sound radiating from this song being on the playlist. In my opinion it just doesn't fit. It feels like the artist did this song more to prove something to himself than to serve his listeners.

Smooth Interlude
Don't want to over analyze an interlude, it's definitely smooth though and set's the tone for the next track.

Deadly Blow
The moment the beat dropped I found my head nodding uncontrollably and halfway through I began thinking to myself that real R&B is still very much alive. He pours his soul out into a ballad filled with honesty and vulnerability that is pure enough to set a new standard for testing water samples. After listening to the lyrics over and over, anyone that has ever lost a lover to the natural ups and downs of a relationship will find themselves questioning if they loved someone the way he did. This 4 and half minute song could have lasted 15 minutes and I would have gladly tuned in the whole time but it eventually had to end...and that is the real “Deadly Blow”!
Picking up where the last song ended and apparently the relationship that came with it, "Pieces" is that precise moment when your liquor kicks in, you began to feel good, you go to pour another drink, but then you realized you ran out. Likewise is the scenario about the relationship with his ex-girlfriend. On one hand they were reaching a good place and on the other...there she is, running out. In this song we're left with a confused Lawrence Leon attempting to sober up to this new reality with a shallow peace in his heart and his heart in pieces. Well sung story. 
This song isn't on my list of favorites. It's neither good or bad it's "just...just". However, being "just...just"...could almost be intentional when I think about the arc of the previous songs leading up to this one. After a bad break up and then later coming to an unsettled peace with his situation, this song leads me to believe he fell into a "just...just" emotional life cycle and found another vice to deal with the current state of affairs...”Pills”. The way the beat is constructed combined with the way the song is written and delivered; it gives off an initiation quality that attempts to hypnotically invite us into what his coping world of pill popping feels like.

Cross The Border
The only reason you wouldn't move when this comes on is because you suffer from paralysis. This song is unapologetically fun and “crosses the border” into being rap, pop, r&b, and techno all at once. Party Dj's should definitely have this one in their playlist queue. As far as the Emotional.Make.Over goes, this is a great segue.

MisAdvenTUREs of Lawrence Leon
If there was a silver lining to all the things that could break a person down the “MisAdvenTUREs of Lawrence Leon” finds it. Some say that everything you go through is for a reason...for him one reason could be to have the words written in this track. It is heartfelt creative genius that could serve as an instructional example in a song writing course. Verses with substance and a catchy hook will have you trying to sing along prematurely. This song proves you can be lost and found at the same time. If anything, I wish the hook played one more time and we had a chance to get lost inside a fading instrumental.

Playing Scared of Myself
Playing Scared of Myself” has a hard body flow with a "this sounds familiar" sense of style that just feels disharmonious to where the “MisAdvenTUREs of Lawrence Leon” was taking us. I felt like I got fooled by a “MisDirection of Lawrence Leon” or maybe it could just be this song's placement that left me unfulfilled. The previous track was a tough act to follow but In spite of how I feel, the flow is still nice and the beat is bangin’.


It has been a while since my last post. Heading into the new year I feel compelled to speak about fear. A lot is going on in the world right now; there are school shootings, irregular weather patterns, on going war, untimely deaths, end of the world predictions...etc  All of these things has caused a heightened sense of fear on a national and global level. I want to break down the word "fear" itself and present you with a few theories and answer questions such as: What is it? Who has it and why? What we can do to overcome it? 

What is Fear?

If you ask that question to a million different people you'd get two million different answers! We all have our own definition of fear or definition(s). Here a are few:

According to the dictionary: Fear is the feeling or condition of being afraid. 

If you google what is fear it says: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Some people describe fear in an acronym as False.Evidence.Apperaring.Real. I think that's unique but overly recited. Tired of hearing it.

To me, fear is a premeditated response to an event yet to occur.

It is my belief that fear can be a response to the present as well as a premeditated response to the future. Oftentimes they exist simultaneously.

Who Has It & Why?
One thing that's indisputable is that we all have a trace of it somewhere. Everyone that has come before us has experienced it and everyone that may come after us will experience it as well. I make that prediction based off of social heredity. Fear is something that's learned and passed down through the generations. It varies from person to person, family to family, culture to culture. As we come in contact with other's and they share their fears, it presents an opportunity for us to adopt theirs as well. The same can be said about other emotions. Case and point: Have you ever felt more positive because someone around you radiated that emotion? I'm going to assume yes. 
It's very difficult to say why we have it but the definition from Google used the phrase "caused by the belief". Belief is a powerful word. It can dictate everything we do and don't do in life. It shapes how we perceive our experiences, ourselves, other people...just about everything. Most things that challenge our beliefs we tend to readily reject in order to protect us from an unexplored alternative. What if I told you right now that these letters are blue? You'd be naturally inclined to disagree! Your brain goes into auto defense because you've been lead to believe those letters were in fact purple.

See, you did it again. lol. So what's the point? My point, is that the belief system influences our social cognition, fear falls under that cognitive umbrella, and that which is cognitive can be changed.

How Can We Overcome Fear?
That question would assume that fear is something we need to overcome. I guess it depends on what you believe about fear. We as humans have a natural urge to categorize things as good or bad, useful for or not useful, acceptable or unacceptable etc...   

I don't define it as good or bad, it all depends on what purpose it serves in your life. I have no use for it in my life so when it rears its head, I start using mine. There is a difference between having fear and living in it. That's not to say I'm fearless, I'm simply saying that there are wider range of emotions to choose from that better serve me. For some, it is a great motivator and serves them well. For others it can be a roadblock that prevents them from advancing to the next level in their life, their health, finances, relationships, or mental peace. I don't know if fear is something that you can overcome entirely.

What I will say is that knowledge and understanding replaces fear. The more we know and understand about something the less we have to fear it. That constant pursuit for understanding can be applied to just about anything: people, places, cultures, races, religion, opportunities, and ideas...just to name a few. As we begin to grow, we can make a conscious choice on how we will respond to certain events in our lives and what emotions we can choose from that will best serve us in that moment.

As a new year approaches, I humbly ask that you reflect on some of your biggest fears and evaluate if they help you or serve you.Work diligently to overcome daily fears and challenges to push forward towards your own personal happiness. I'll close with a passage from one of my favorite books: "Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding."

I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment or question below. You're more than welcome to reach out and connect with me on other networks as well. If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it.

I hope you have a prosperous new year.

Keep Growing, Keep Going.

-Branden Wellington

1st Video Poem

The America Poem: Video and Lyrics
Download PDF of Lyrics
GET THE MP3 FOR $1.00 http://goo.gl/X895sm

The America Poem: 
Of the people, By the people, For the people
Those are words that we put in our nation’s creed
But only right here in America do we feed foreign countries 
while some starve on our streets

Only right here, at age eighteen, can you qualify to die in a war with bombs and  guns
But you can't have your first bottle of rum if until you turn twenty-one…

This is America, Home of the Brave
Home of the wealthy, rich, home of the paid

It’s also home of the homeless, the hurt, the deceived and
Home of natural disasters that left families in need

Some say, that this is the home of hatred and the home of greed
But in Philadelphia, there’s "The City of Brotherly Love" and
America is home of the highly achieved

This place…this nation.. it’s home of the children with a bright future
It’s also home of videogames that could teach those same kids 
to be carjackers and shooters

Robbers, mobsters, gangsters, or murderers
This is our America and the whole free world has heard of us

We're home of the proud, and we're home of a lot of inventions
Sad to say, we are also home of babies that are born with a cocaine addiction

This is home of "The Red, The White, and The Blue"
Where at times you seem to be hated by many and loved by few

It’s home of the green grass, the blue shutters
and the white picket fence that we talk about
It’s also home of people with bad credit 
that can't afford the American dream house
In our America, a vast majority of us go into debt
Because we go to work, we get our checks, we spend what’s left

Because in American school systems most aren't taught how to properly invest

And because of it the national debt and the student loan crisis are bubblin'
Meanwhile we can’t find common lines of agreements between democrats and republicans

But even if they did agree, I wouldn't jump to give a round of applause
Because in our America we tend to put bandages over the problems
Without really fixing the cause

But this is America, a place where outsiders find it difficult to become a resident
This is the place where our ball players can potentially earn more than our president

This is the home of top models, T.V shows, and actors

The place where cable is flooded with violence, rock bands, and rappers
A place where we’re created equal but we use racial slurs for practice
This is home where almost everything is done backwards
This is where 36.3% of our kids are born bastards
But I tell you to forget that number because every year it grows faster
So, welcome to America where you are free
You're free to have religion or be religious free

You can watch God on television
Or turn that off and put in a DVD
The ins, the outs, the good, the bad…it’s all America and I'm proud of it
Even though in our past we’ve started barbaric, belligerent battles
Where nothing good can come out of it

But you gotta take pride; you gotta take pride in being an American
Many people dream of being in this great nation because they have never been

They have never been in a state that is part of a very fortunate country
Here we can drink when we're thirsty and there’s an  excess of food when we're hungry

We can do whatever we so choose, but some many abuse their privileges
And we can become whatever we want, but we make excuses for the conditions we're living in

Well I say…It's time out for excuses and time in for execution
There's no more playing the middle, either you're educated  or  you're relegated

Either you're gonna make something happen, or you simply will not
In America, you can stare at the ladder of success 
Or get the courage and climb to the top

Right here, In America, you can do it because you have that opportunity
But it’s going to take a collection of all of us to change what is in our American communities

What will you do?
Idea by John F. McClellan
Image created by Timothy O'Brien
Copyright Branden Wellington

Feel free to share. Thank you for reading and watching!

Keep Growing, Keep Going

Branden Wellington
Twitter @B_Wellington

Never Heard It Like This Before

First thing on my mind this morning was promoting my 1st YouTube video and secondly going to praise the Lord.. shame.....I knew right away that my priorities were out of place. lol. I had already passed on church this morning because of the travel complications created by Hurricane Sandy.

So I talked to my good friend and roommate Patrick about the daily rundown. Then I remembered he turned me onto a pastor named John Hampton who was his pastor out in Ohio a while back. He now teaches down in Florida at the Journey Christian Church.

The church has a podcast page where they post up all their sermons and you can watch the video or just play the audio. It's pretty awesome and I think every church should do that... (At least the good ones.) I scrolled through and continued this series I had started titled "Echoes of Eternity". In it they answer questions and talk about the human desire to know more about eternal things such as heaven, the end of the world, and life after this one. I came across this sermon called "Where You Headed?",  and it gave me so much excitement about heaven. I had never heard it talked about like this before and with scriptures to support. He passionately talked about how fun it's going be, the things we would learn, how heaven could look, the human mind and body compared to an Angelic one, and a storehouse of other things that would surely hold anyone's attention.

All of the talk got me excited and his passion, combined with his natural sense of comedy, got me all enthusiastic to share this video with you. You've probably never heard it like this before so I hope you really enjoy it and that it get's your energy and curiosity flowing even more today. 

BAM---> http://vimeo.com/38332359

Enjoy. Signing out.

Keep Growing, Keep Going.