Where Hip Hop Meets Punk Rock: Get Social with Stose

There’s something special about socially conscious rapper Stose. Beyond the tattoos, studs, and leather, lies a man who is thoughtful, kind, smart as hell, and all about bringing social injustices to light through his music. He’s also pretty damn funny.

PHOTO - Stose -Cowboys- by Jahn Hall

Stose just dropped a collection of songs that is so eclectic, compelling, and edgy, that regardless of whether or not you agree with his charged political messages, you’re definitely going to want more.

You can hear old school, new school, and every school of hip hop in between on Stose’s debut EP “Civil Disobedience”. And with a healthy helping of power chords, courtesy of his veteran status in the punk world, there’s something for you rock fans as well.

“Civil Disobedience” is definitely the first step in a long, successful journey for Stose. He’s already gotten props from MTV and Paper Magazine (no big deal), and “Civil Disobedience” will for sure push things to the next level.

Here’s your chance to get to know Stose. Civil Disobedience - Album Cover

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You’re fresh off a show at NYC’s famous club Westway. How did it feel to perform the new songs live?

It felt great! That was the first club I performed at after moving back to NYC in 2012, so that place will always have a special place in my heart. Frankie Sharp has always been very gracious to let me perform at his party “Westgay”, whenever I had a new release of some sort. It’s a shame that the gentrification of this city is responsible for this club being torn down in a few months, all so they can build more condos. But with that said, I am very glad I got to play there one more time before it closes its doors. It felt great to play the new songs live for the first time, especially in front of that crowd.

You’ve said you’re fully aware that the political content of “Civil Disobedience” might alienate you from people. What compelled you to take that risk?

I think the current state of mainstream music is mostly disheartening. Music is getting more and more whitewashed, ignorant and dumbed down. It’s losing its sense of creative awareness and turning into an easily-digestible package that can be served to consumers on a silver platter. The issue there is when you have producers and label executives telling you what to say, how to dress and what your image has to be, you lose authenticity. The things I say may alienate me, but to not say them would be to sacrifice my authenticity and that is something I never plan on doing.

Do you ever feel there’s a burden that goes along with being a socially conscious rapper?

I sometimes feel like there may be, but I try not to focus on it. From my perspective the burden lies more so within being a human and trying to do your part to make the world a better place. But personally, I experience more of an internal burden that comes with being an artist, always feeling the need to create something better than before.

You recently moved to the Bronx. Has living in what is debated to be the birthplace of hip hop had any effect on your music or the EP?

Well the EP was basically done by the time I moved to the Bronx, but I am sure it will have influence on whatever I do next. Since moving up here I have constantly been working on new songs and writing more frequently, there is definitely something magical and inspiring about this borough. PHOTO - Stose -2-Tone- by Jahn Hall Your influences include Dr. Dre and Black Flag, what do you think is the common ground between hip hop and punk rock?

It can actually be traced all the way back to the birth of the hip hop movement in the Bronx. In the late 70s early 80s, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash would perform at clubs in the Lower East Side and East Village, which were frequented by punk and new wave kids. The two disenfranchised cultures of Punk and Hip Hop were formed out of a need for music of substance, so naturally they bonded on that. From then on the two cultures clearly influenced each other yielding music such as Blondie’s “Rapture”, Afrika Bambaataa and Johnny Rotten’s group called Time Zone, and the Beastie Boys. The interesting part of my personal story is that growing up I gravitated towards both of these genres of music, before even knowing the history. I was drawn to the attitude and ideology of the two groups, and obviously I wasn’t the only one.

Fun fact… You play saxophone on the record… If you could jam with Bill Clinton, Lisa Simpson, or Kenny G, who would you pick and why?

Hahaha yeah, I did! Although Lisa Simpson is pretty socially conscious, I think I am going to have to go with Bill Clinton. He seems like a pretty real dude and I bet he’s got some crazy stories. I think I now have a new life goal, so thank you for that. Stose_Logo_Black_1000x355 Download “Civil Disobedience” here, and for more on Stose, hit up his Website, Twitter, or Insta.

Photo Credit: Jahn Hall

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A Dozen Jokes

Warning: Puns ahead.

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A Wisconsin man says that he is suffering from a rare disease that causes him to have up to 100 orgasms a day. But the real victim is his washing machine.

Chinese officials conducted extensive body searches of the 10,000 doves used in this week’s National Day ceremony, including examining their feathers and anuses looking for dangerous materials. And that is what it sounds like when doves cry.

A trial is being held in New York State to have chimpanzees declared “persons” rather than “things.” Us first, said women.

A couple in Florida caught a 13-foot alligator entirely by hand. And they celebrated by doing more meth.

A man, whose flight from Cleveland to New York had been delayed for several hours, was surprised when he boarded and discovered that he was the only person on the plane. But that didn’t stop him from joining the mile high club.

Legal experts are concerned that lower law school admissions standards will produce graduates who cannot pass the bar exam. “I oobjoct!” argued recent graduates.

Australian officials revealed that they secretly killed hundreds of koalas to prevent overpopulation. Or as it will be referred to in the future: “The Koala-caust”.

According to reports Turkey’s tourism board rejected a new ad starring Julianne Moore due to what they call her “poor acting.” Instead, they’re asking for Julianne LESS.

According to a new survey 94 percent of Americans think the Japanese are hard-working people, and the rest think they’re Chinese.

CBS announced it is ending the series CSI after 15 years. Cause if there’s one thing CSI’s audience understands, it’s retirement.

US News and World Report has ranked Harvard as the top global university. In case they ran out of things to brag about.

A tractor trailer in Colorado loaded with 40,000 pounds of cheese split in half after crashing. Said the driver, “What are we gonna fondue?!”

Miss Ya Already, Dave!

My first Foo Fighters concert was at the Ed Sullivan Theatre.

It was on a rainy hiatus day when we were filming Jersey Floor for Fallon, and I spent that day chasing the Jersey-fied Roots, Tina, Amy, Jimmy, Miles, and more around 30 Rock, all while feverishly texting with people at Letterman to try and get into the show.

We wrapped Jersey floor around 6, and I had accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to see Foo play. So I went to the bar with my co-workers, and put away my phone.

An hour later I had 14 missed calls and 7 voicemails telling me to get my butt to Letterman by 7:15 because I had magically gotten a ticket. It was 7:07.

I ran across town just in time to see Foo recreate the Beatles’ famous Ed Sullivan set. It was the fucking best. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better first show.

Letterman obvi had a huge influence on us all with comedy, but he was also super kick ass with music.

I’m going to miss that.

A Chat with Katie Quinn AKA The Food World’s Next Star

You’ve seen epicurean extraordinaire Katie Quinn on Today Show, The Meredith Vieria Show, covering Sundance, and more, and now is your chance to get to know this amazing lady a little better.

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I met Katie way back when in the NBC Page Program, and she’s gone on to strut her stuff as a seriously inspiring self-starter, covering all things food. Her passion for the food world and drool-worthy YouTube Channel had me all kinds of curious, so I caught up with Katie to pick her brain about cooking, traveling the world, and how she made the brave decision to take her career into her own hands. Bon Appetit!

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After working for larger companies like the Today Show, Serious Eats, and NowThis News, how did you make the brave decision to go into business for yourself?

It was, indeed, a tough decision. A saying I kept in mind throughout the whole process was “Leap, and the net will appear.” I’ve found it to be outstandingly true. Here’s what happened for me: I was offered a staff position at a big network and going through the whole interview process, I completely intended on accepting the offer. Once the offer was made, though, I had a crisis: I did not have that feeling of excitement that you should really have when diving into a new position. I immediately knew why: I had to give myself a chance to make it on my own, for my own brand. It was a hard decision to make, but as soon as I made it, I knew it was the right thing. My heart was smiling. And it was time to hustle to make it work.

For many people, self-employment equals Netflix and sleeping in, but you post videos on your YouTube page twice a week, in addition to a ton of other amazing content. How do you stay on track, and what is your day to day workflow?

This question makes me laugh. For anyone who knows me personally, they know that I’m entirely too Type A for the pitfalls of self-employment to be much of an issue. Even in college, I was bordering on being the stereotypical obnoxious achiever. I think it’s probably just a personality thing. I’m a morning person, so I usually wake up with the sun. I do set a schedule for my days, which helps me organize the different projects I have and allows me keep my YouTube videos a priority–even though they are not the most profitable part of my work.

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Where does your love of food come from? What are some of the specific meals or dishes that inspired you to work with it full time?

I love this question! My love of food is inspired by the incredible variety of dishes that exists all around the world and the fascinating characters who make them. When I worked backstage at the TODAY show, I would get as excited about Thomas Keller coming on the show as other people would get about Kim Kardashian being a guest. Every morning, I hung around the TODAY kitchen set and would interview as many chefs as I could. Their stories and their passion is what wrapped me into the food world. So my love of food is less focused on a specific dish, but rather embellished by a good story, or an interesting person behind the dish.

I can’t help but notice the global feel of your recipes, which are no doubt a result of all your travels. What are some of the places you’ve traveled, and which ones have inspired your cooking the most?

Yes! Travel is SO inspiring, for so many reasons, but especially when it comes to food. Peru and China have had the greatest impact on the way I look at spices, at which parts of the animal can be eating, and at the eating ritual.

A lot of people reading are city dwellers, who maybe don’t have the time or resources to make extravagant meals. What are some staples you recommend keeping on hand to avoid a steady diet of Seamless and Chinese Food?

Lentil soup or a stew where you can just use up the variety of things in your fridge. Pasta tossed with sautéed veggies (whatever kind of veggies you like or have on hand). You can swap out the pasta for rice, quinoa, or any other grain. Put a fried egg on top–and you’re golden.

PHOTO CREDIT: Robert Caplin

In this video, you call YouTube your “metaphorical table” to gather and talk about food. If you could sit down at a real life table with three people from the food world, who would they be?

Holy moly, I love this question. I’ve never considered it before. Off the top of my head I’m going to say: Ina Garten, David Chang, Anthony Bourdain.

chefssss

How to KEEP Going to the Gym

We’re midway through January, which means one of three things:

1) You’re still keeping up your New Year’s Resolution to get fit

2) You gave up on the gym last week

3) You never went in the first place

This post is aimed at everyone in group number one. Congratulations! We’re all very proud of you.

Nicki-Minaj-Anaconda-Video-LARGE

Exercise isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be camping out for the new Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Core Ice Cream. Working out is a pain in the ass (and the rest of your body if you’re doing it right) and recently this tweet caught my eye:

ex tweet

This anonymous tweeter hit on something that makes a lot of people pack up their sports bras and quit. And as a gym regular, I’m here to help with a few tips on how to keep it fun.

-THE BUDDY SYSTEM

A lot of people skip the gym to hang with their friends, so make the gym the place you hang out. Find a friend to work out with who will hold you accountable, and be pissed if you flake. It’s easier to get through that final set, or a tough class, when you have someone sharing your pain. I also recommend getting to know the people who work at the gym, because when they say “see you tomorrow”, you want to prove them right.

-DRESS ALL CUTE

This might sound dumb, but ditch your old Garfield tee shirt and pajama pants for some cute gear, and I promise you’ll immediately have more fun. It’s like when you get a new dress or a sweet pair of kicks. You want to show them off, and the same goes for gym clothes.

And you don’t have to spend a ton of money either. Old Navy has a sale like every five minutes and their clothes last forever. My trick is to buy everything in the same color palette, which makes it easy to mix and match.

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-LOAD UP YOUR IPHONE

One of my favorite things is the Nerdist podcast, and the only place I let myself listen to the Nerdist podcast is at the gym. Reserve a bunch of things to listen to and watch during your workout, and you’ll actually start looking forward to your time on the treadmill…

-DON’T DO STUFF YOU HATE

…And on that note, while the treadmill is my jam, you might find it to be super boring and repetitive. Simple solution for that, stay off the treadmill. You will never find me on the elliptical machine because I totally hate it. I’d lose my damn mind if I took more than two spin classes in a week, so I don’t.

You have to find the things you like at the gym and only do them. Mix it up, take the classes, and come up with a varied schedule that both challenges your body and leaves little room for your mind to wander.

-THINK ABOUT HOW YOU’LL FEEL AFTER

I know I’m not the first one to say this, but when I’m really having trouble finding the motivation to exercise, I always fast forward to how I’ll feel afterwards. If you think about it, you’ll only spend about 60-90 minutes at the gym, which means it takes three episodes of Mindy Project, or one and a half listens to the new Taylor Swift album to feel like a new person.

And in that time, those exercise endorphins will make you feel all happy, and you’ll earn the right to try some of that new Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Core Ice Cream. You’ll also sleep better, think more clearly, and feel like a total badass.

-AND FINALLY

If all else fails, pretend you’re Buffy. How are you gonna kill all those vampires if you can’t run a mile or do a sit up? This might only work for me…

buffy

Click here for more on my weight loss journey.

2 Jews, An Italian, and A Food Festival

As a New Yorker, I spend a lot of time celebrating other people’s cultures through the city’s vibrant restaurant scene, but Sunday was all about the traditional foods of my fellow chosen ones. Thanks to The Workmen’s Circle “Taste of Jewish Culture” event, I ate  latkes, pickles, corn beef, falafel, chopped liver, and most importantly, the three B’s: Babka, Borscht, and Brisket. And I was lucky enough to be joined by my good friends Pamela and Michael.

Walking through the various stands brought back so many memories… Helping my grandma make rugelach when I was too little to reach the counter, Shabbat dinner centered around my mom’s secret brisket recipe (Heinz Ketchup and Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix), and the annual Hanukkah party I threw at my old apartment in Harlem. I am so proud of my heritage, and without getting too political, now feels like an important time to honor it. It was also nice to share this experience with Michael, who was eating some of these foods for the first time, and creating new memories of his own.

Big thanks go out to all the musicians, volunteers, and chefs who made this amazing event possible. My restaurant to do list just got a whole lot longer. Below are some snapshots from the festival, and links to my favorite vendors.

*Breads Bakery – 18 E. 16th Street

*Mile End – 53 Bond Street / 97A Hoyt Street (Brooklyn)

*Shelsky’s – 141 Court Street (Brooklyn)

*Peck’s Homemade – 455A Myrtle Ave (Brooklyn)

*Kossar’s Bialys – 367 Grand Street

*The Pickle Guys – 49 Essex Street

Meet Me In…

Vacation #2 of the summer found me in Montauk, surrounded by amazing beaches, super fresh seafood, and the constant temptation to quote  “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. Here’s the low down on where to stay and what to eat in Montauk, along with some snapshots from my trip.

LODGING: Windward Shores

EATS: Goldberg’s Bagel, Lunch aka The Lobster Roll, Clam Bar, Surfside Inn, Gosman’s, John’s Drive-In

WARDROBE: All bathing suits, all the time… Except for lobster bibs with maxi dresses at dinner

Meet Peter Rosch, Author of “But I Love You”

I’ve been lucky enough to be beach-bound for a good part of the summer, which means I’ve also been lucky enough to catch up on some killer books. The standout so far has been “But I Love You” by Peter Rosch. Peter burst onto the scene with his first novel “My Dead Friend Sarah“, and in his second, he dives into the dark side of Manhattan’s elite — think “Millionaire Matchmaker” meets “The Wire” — and the result is a thought-provoking page turner that you simply can’t put down.

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I stole some time with Peter to get the deets on “But I Love You”, and pick his brain about how it came to be. If you like “Behind the Music”, get ready to go “Behind the Book”. Then, click here to buy a copy for yourself and all of your closest friends.

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“But I Love You” is told from the point of view of a variety of characters both male and female, who come from all walks of life. How did you approach writing roles that were nothing like you, and so different from each other?

First, I’m glad that you think the characters are nothing like me. I wish that were true. More accurately, I’d say they are nothing like the person I choose to be though. The selfish behavior of these characters is likely my own, but done up on steroids. And, let’s be honest, there’s no real shortage of self-seeking subjects in the world for us to observe. I write a book to serve a selfish need to be heard, you write a blog to fill some personal need, and that’s fine. That’s what creative people should do. I guess it becomes problematic if we dwell in our own filth of at-all-cost desires for too long. So, my own despicable thoughts coupled with half a lifetime of various introductions to loathsome characters (real or imagined) was there to draw upon. I’ll admit, there were times that I left my writing room feeling disgusted with every player, and thus with myself. It was occasionally unsettling. The personal challenge I had in mind before beginning was to create realistically disturbing self-centered sociopaths that we can all relate to, and at times empathize with. Then wrap that up in a love story, because what’s more selfish than wanting to possess the attention of another human who makes us feel good about ourselves? Love (or a crush) is always a good place to go if you are looking for a true-to-life start to something that can become disturbing and violent, happens all the time.

The book dips into many worlds — S&M, mental illness, substance abuse, drug dens, and crime — all centered around a Millionaire Matchmaker-esque corporation. What kind of research did you do to portray these worlds so well? 

I spent nearly two years trying to launch a single’s connection app with a friend six or so years ago, and during that time she and I (mostly she) performed an enormous amount of research on the dating world. Hooking people up with people is a lucrative business, always has been, and I met a lot of “entrepreneurs” trying to capitalize on the many quick bucks there was to be made by infusing technology into the dating equation. Truthfully, my partner was in love with love—she was in it for the idea of love. She was ahead of the curve with the idea, I’ve got to give her props on that. I’d say my interest was a bit more on the potential windfall of riches that never materialized. Even so, I’d not count myself as one of the gaggle of abhorrent folks we encountered (even if I was). The other themes… I was a bit nervous about writing a second book that included substance abuse issues, but ultimately I came to feel that addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness were integral. Both are as common as shoes in the worlds these characters inhabit. I don’t believe I’ve used them in a gimmicky fashion, or for shock value. If you were to hold a mirror to NYC, the reflections of most would at the very least include a friend, or friend of a friend, living within the construct of those crippling themes.

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 This book read like a film. Are there any intentions to turn it into a screenplay? 

I’ve started and stopped and started and stopped adapting But I Love You many times. A friend suggested it should actually be a movie and not a book, or a movie first and then a book. I take it as a compliment. I want to write quick, exciting reads. Both my novels were written with a film-like-read in mind. I’m pretty wordy though, even in a short story, and writing a sceenplay is a different beast altogether. That said, I’ll likely keep starting and stopping, starting and stopping until someone else raises their hand.

 On a more general note, how did you stay motivated to keep writing, and what are some tools you used to keep committed to the project? 

My wife motivates me. Her adoration motivates me. I’ve got to earn it. I am addicted to the rush of writing books for my wife who I believe is my biggest fan. On a more procedural tip, sadly, I often use cigarettes as a reward system to plow through pages. “Do five pages, and then you can have a smoke!” The truth is the truth. And part of that I guess is the fact that if I don’t write, tell, or act out stories in some form I’m just not a happy person. I don’t quite understand why I feel the need to torture myself in that way. It’s very rewarding, but it is also very lonely. Uglier things keep me going too. To plagiarize: “I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed.” That’s Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood. Somehow I’ve convinced myself that I’m running neck and neck with the best writers our there, and I’m certainly not going to let them get the drop on me. Ha. I’m an ass.

 How did you reward yourself when it was done? 

I’m not sure that I did. I think we had a big dinner out. But the biggest reward, even if it sounds totally repugnant, is that I can now focus on my third while I try to goose notoriety around But I Love You. At a certain point, finishing a book in any form is all about getting to the next story for me. Two years is a long time to craft something, even off and on, and calling it “done” at some point is probably the biggest reward.

 Describe “But I Love You” in three hashtags: 

#loveisasickness #peoplesuck #itcouldhappentoyou

For more, click for my talk with Peter about his first book, “My Dead Friend Sarah”.