Peace to the God. Shamgod.

With the Nyc summer basketball tournament season soon upon us, it’s good to hear that God Shamgod is still on the radar. The former Nba player with the mystical handles, continues to light up all parks/gyms whenever he plays. The God’s rep is street-certified because he has the strength, speed and most importantly, a signature move that you’re always waiting to see (pause).

I remember going up to the Tristate Classic basketball tournament a few years ago to see the God’s team play against Kareem Reid’s team, which basically meant, God vs Reid! It was one of the most memorable recent basketball games that I’ve been to because the entire Harlem community came out to support these guys and they put on a great show. People were climbing trees and fences to get a peep of the action. I had a busted leg at the time, but stood for the whole game and gladly watched from outside the fence and behind the basket, since it was too crowded to get in. Peace to my dude Scram and his 2 boys who rolled as well.

As I continue to visualize my favorite street ball match ups, check out the commercial and if you aren’t up on one of Nyc’s most gifted and storied ballers, use Google my friend.

I also remember watching Shamgod’s son vs Kareem Reid’s son Uptown in a youth tournament and even the children knew they were a part of something special.

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Investigative Reports: Uptown Phenomenon part 7

We last spoke about the Nutcracker drink here. Shout out to Serve Chilled 81 from NT, for supporting the movement.

My Nutcracker series is very dear to my heart as I’ve done a lot of research on the subject over the past few years and have had countless conversations, samplings and debates on the origin of the beautiful drink.

Let it be known that there IS a specific formula for the Nutcracker drink, but like most things that make money in the streets or money in general, people will sell you their own “version” for a quick buck. Once you taste an official Nutcracker though, it will bring a smile to your face any time it you think of its tasty flavor.

These blogs have gladly been used across the web as a resource when discussing the Uptown Phenomenon and I’ve been contacted by various print and video outlets who wanted me to further discuss my love affair with the drink. To go on record basically doing what I do here.  They were very kind and I developed some good relationships, but I really had to decline because of the illegal nature of the mighty Nutcracker. I wasn’t trying to blow up spots and/or mess anyone’s money up. Better yet, it wouldn’t be a good look if someone got locked up, a ticket or fine because I brought some camera crew to their establishment to get bent on Nutcrackers.

Even worse, what if my words got published by someone whose sole purpose was to stop the sale of the mystical drink? When discussing my concerns with my peers, they told me not to get paranoid and to continue with the program. Due to recent media backlash though, I’m glad that I went with my gut feelings, while keeping my eye on the sparrow. Nutcrackers are probably about to go a bit more underground, so if you’re still buying them on the street, remember what I told you in part one of the series, “Be careful where you get them from”.

Also, Nutcrackers are not for kids! Shut your face and stop blabbing to reporters Shaquel aka “Sha-squeal” ya big dummy… They call you jail bait for a reason. Fall back and drink a red bull on the rocks or something for a buzzz. You’re just off the nipple yourself, so stay out of grown folks’ business.

Media Backlash:

Bodegas, barbershops dealing sweet liquor punch ‘Nutcrackers’ to city teens

BY Simone Weichselbaum
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Sunday, January 3rd 2010, 4:00 AM

The city’s bodegas and barbershops are secretly selling kids as young as 14 an illegal and potent mix of fruit punch and alcohol, a Daily News investigation found.

“Nutcrackers,” and a frozen version called the “Nemo,” sell for $5 or $10 a cup – an easy buzz for teens who like the sweet taste and the cheap price.

“They are poppin’. They get you sauced,” said Shaquel, a 15-year-old who declined to give his last name.

A News reporter was able to buy the blend of punch and vodka, white rum or tequila at five shops in upper Manhattan and the Bronx last week, including a Washington Heights natural juice spot.

“Kids like them. You don’t need ID to get them. It is like your first step toward drinking liquor,” Shaquel said.

To make the street cocktails even more appealing to teens, some sellers add liquor to piña colada mix or drop a Jolly Rancher candy at the bottom of the cup.

“It is a real phenomenon right now, and it needs a law enforcement response,” said Dr. Peter Provet, head of the Odyssey House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic for teens. “Kids who start to abuse alcohol start to abuse things that are sweet.”

Shaquel said he regularly buys fruit punch and sour apple nutcrackers from Rodriguez Deli Food Center in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.

The News visited the deli and bought a 16-oz. styrofoam cup filled with Tampico tropical punch and vodka for $5.

The News also bought nutcrackers from Juaquin Deli, just down the block on Morris Ave. The reporter was never asked to show ID.

Carlos, a Mott Haven 17-year-old, said he was surprised bodega workers sold to an outsider.

“You gotta know the bodegas,” Carlos said. “If they don’t know you, you ain’t gettin’ nothin’.”

And in fact, a worker at Rodriguez Deli was suspicious – but not enough to send the reporter away.

“Who sent you?” the worker asked. “They are illegal,” he said before handing over a cup in a black plastic bag.

Other spots have been busted for selling the boozy concoction – but the fines don’t seem to have stopped them.

Cops caught Juaquin Deli in August 2008 with a jug filled with red nutcracker, court papers say. Yet the News was able to buy three cups of the drink there in two visits last week.

Police also cited a Washington Heights barbershop on Audubon Ave. in July 2008 for selling a nutcracker, but The News was still able to buy two $10 containers.

The shop’s owner, who said his name is Freddy Imperial, stashes the hooch behind the back tire of a Toyota Avalon in front of his store.

His mix is so popular, he claims, that rappers like Fat Joe are fans.

“Just drink one,” a 16-year-old girl warned a reporter. “Two will get you twisted.”

Link

A Day In The Life: Ron Artest.

This past summer, I saw Ron Artest get his tooth knocked out during a ballgame here in Harlem NYC. Instead of checking out of the game, he put the tooth in his sock, finished the game, played the next day with no tooth, then showed up on the third day with a new tooth! That’s what you call dedication.

It was great to see him work on his game all summer. He played every game hard and was always under control. There were lots of hard fouls and he took lots of punishment, but he never complained.

Anyway, tune in to see Ron-Ron discuss the game in which he lost his tooth, his love for NYC, plus his tour of the Houston Rockets facility and his new neighborhood.

This much access has never been authorized before.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Investigative Reports: Uptown Phenomenon part 5

In part 3 of this series, you saw the pictures showing how the Mighty Nutcracker and DogWater looked in their proper setting. The streets of NY.

What I found most intriguing about the drink, is the fact that those who buy and enjoy them know little of the ingredients. The vast majority just accept it as a sweet, tasty mixed drink that they bought from someones car, bodega, cooler at the beach, back of the barbershop, at a parade etc.

Its fruity taste and potent alcoholic blend is known to make you feel good without drinking too much or spending a lot of money.  Drinkers of the mighty Nutcracker usually warn you to, “Be careful where you get them from”.

Aside from the different liquors in the mixed drink, I’ve heard reports of ecstacy, cough syrup with codine, rubbing alchohol(when they run out of liquor), assorted pills like crushed vicodins, liquid morphine, promethazine and even Nyquil cherry flavor added into the equation .

So just be careful where you get them from.

With that out of the way, back to the festive activity which made me notice the Nutcrackers in the first place. It started with me observing people in the ball parks of Harlem having a good time, watching a bball game, listening to music, while drinking something red, out of a styrofoam cup.

A five dollar Nutcracker in a fifty cent cup to be exact.

Although the mighty Nutcracker is most popular in uptown Manhattan, it is also widespread in the Bronx as well as parts of Corona Queens. Its origin though, can be traced back to Williamsburg Brooklyn as early as 1994.

I’ve had many people who’ve been drinking them since the mid 90’s take exception to me calling it an “Uptown Phenomenon”, since it seemed to catch on uptown later in the 2000’s.

After seeing the documentation in the following video, you will see where I’m coming from. There is no where else in the city of New York where it’s “popping” as much in regards to the mighty Nutcracker. When it comes to being a part of the social fabric and backdrop, uptown takes it.

Also, something isn’t a legitimate phenomenon until there is a song made about it. Right? Riiiight.

I’ll warn you in advance, don’t try to figure this out in one sitting. It will take you quite some time to get what he’s saying.

My favorite line?: “Beat walker gave me hunned dolla summons, for a 5 dollar Nutcracker in a 50 cent cup”!

By my calculations that ticket added up to aprox. 18 nutcrackers, but it doesn’t seem like Mr. Lux minds one bit.

Investigative Reports: Uptown Phenomenon part 2

As I continue my search to find the origin and recipe of the drink “Nutcracker”, I’m told about a similar drink called The “Apollo”.

I’m also reminded of hood classics “Incredible Hulk” and “Thug Passion”

Hmm.. I think I’m on the right track.

Apollo = son of Zeus, and god of the intellect, the arts, prophecy, healing, and light.

Apollo Drink Recipe

Ingredients My Bar
3 1/2 oz Hpnotiq
1 oz Gold Rum
3 oz Bacardi Breezer Orange
1/2 can Monster energy drink
Apollo Directions
Pour the Bacardi and Gold Rum into a martini shaker with ice. Mix and when finished, place in glass without the ice. Add Hpnotiq and stir. After you have finished, pour in half of a can of orange monster. Once completed, add a yellow/green glowstick for a glowing sunlike effect. Enjoy!

Incredible Hulk Recipe.

1/4 oz Cognac image
3/4 oz Hpnotiq image
Green Hulk Directions
Pour Hpnotiq and cognac into a shot glass, watch as it turns green, and serve.

History.

Nick Storm explains:

“When we launched Hpnotiq on the market we were throwing these parties in the Bronx and Brooklyn. There was one party at Justin’s [rap star P Diddy’s restaurant] where there were about 500 people. I noticed that all the women were drinking Hpnotiq but the guys weren’t so much, because they were saying that it was too fruity, it was blue and just seemed too girly for them. So the bartender Victor Alvarez had a brainstorm and poured Hennessy into it.” The drink turned green and was an instant hit. Not long after the party, Nick was hearing back from liquor stores that customers were coming in to buy the ingredients and were referring to the drink as “the Hulk.” That was when Heaven Hill decided to officially baptize the cocktail the Incredible Hulk. Once the movie was released it wasn’t long before the drink went mainstream. link.

Thug Passion Recipe.

This drink is referenced in the song “Thug Passion” by rapper 2Pac in which the ingredients are “alize and cristal”. Cristal is the brand name of a well-known Champagne produced by Louis Roederer, Since we don’t expect everyone to have $350 for a bottle, we listed generic Champagne.

2 oz Alize® liqueur

Shake ingredients over ice and serve.

It should be noted that in NYC, the Thug Passions were made Alize and Hennesy.

Anyway, peep Pac’s lyrics for his Thug Passion song. Funny as all hell.

I feel myself getting closer to they mysterious “Nutcracker” ingredients. I also hope to find out where the name came from.

Stay tuned.

Investigative Reports: Uptown Phenomenon.

For the past few years, when I hang out Uptown (Harlem, Spanish Harlem, Washington Heights), I’ve been seeing people selling and buying nutcrackers. Everyone up there seems to be in the know and enjoys them.

A few questions..

1. When did people start making them?
2. Wtf is in em?

All my friends from uptown say they are good, but to “be careful cuz people sometimes put shit in em”. WTF??

How’d something that seems so simple and colorful become such a phenomenon?

I’m on the case to find out exactly.

Stay tuned…