The past 20 or so months have been absolutely great for hip hop music, or at least quality-wise. Appreciable music coming from nearly all regions and reaching nearly every genre of urban music has kept my iPod and Zune loaded with music, and – more importantly – my ears happy. Hell, I’ll even show appreciation for Southern hip hop too, as they’ve finally seemed to find some sort of balance between true lyricism and countrified bamma anthems.

Alas, there still are those moments when submerging yourself in a pool of rappity rap-rap can be quite suffocating. I know I can only listen to hip hop for a certain amount of time before I turn into a quivering, drooling mush of irrelevance. I mean, I like misogynistic, ultra-violent rants as the next person, but I don’t think my mom would enjoy it as much. So, I take to alternative methods to act as a balance between the madness. While the most common method is to listen to other kinds of music, I’ve tried a few other things each to varying success (or failure). I invite you all to provide your own input as well.

Read a book. With the advancements of the digital era, reading an actual book is almost as rare as using a Sony Discman. With the Kindle, Nook, iPad and everything in between, I feel that the feeling a person gets from actually using energy to turn physical pages will soon be lost. Why not hit up the local Barnes & Noble and read something there? They won’t kick you out, they still sell porno rags and they even have free WiFi there. Kinda like when I used to go to the library back when I was in college.

Go to a concert by a non-rap artist. New York is known for its free concerts so this past weekend I took a trip to Central Park to catch a free show by The xx, which turned out to be the most unassuming thing I have experienced. Not only were there no sign of the trademark weed carriers that scream over the artists at rap shows, their set was clear and audible for the audience to hear. It made me appreciate the weed being smoked at that event that much more.

Watch a television show that you usually wouldn’t watch. I have sleep issues and sometimes can’t get to bed until wild late, so sometimes I end up watching random-ass shows on The Discovery Channel to assist in matters. Some of that stuff is some of the gulliest shit I’ve ever seen in life; have you ever seen a woman give birth with no kind of medical drugs or assistance, all while in lying in the equivalent of an inflatable pool? I wouldn’t wish that kind of stuff on my worst enemy.