Standing At The Underground Door

A tongue and cheek FB status I made a couple months ago is starting to gain momentum and more thought. I said I would restart my underground rap career at age 40. Since I’ve said that I’ve been put in a few conversations about music and situations to record.

A conversation during my Camp From The Port podcast really let me know how happy I was being a “local rapper” performing on the scene, even though I wasn’t “super popular” and selling a lot of CD’s. After that I found myself in the studio with an artist recording a now rare feature for his project. This week, I was sent another beat by a different artist to hop on and off instinct, I wrote and finished a verse that’s ready to record. It felt really good to do that. I don’t get that kind of excitement or “high” doing too much of anything.

It’s wild how that one thing I loved so much in my late teens and 20’s has come back for me. I truly never wanted to stop recording and doing shows and I honestly did it for all the wrong reasons. I should have never took that time off between 28-32. I should have went forward and recorded that album and pursed my rap passions by myself. Hell, that’s literally where I would be if I restarted right now! It’s a great artistic hobby, but I honestly love doing it. It makes me happy to write and record. Unexplainably happy.

I’m in my late 30’s now and I’ll admit there’s some anxiety on this topic for me. I don’t know why I care about what people will think of me returning to music “at my age” but, I got a pretty good idea of where it started. When I was 28, being a “rapper at 30” had a terrible stigma. However, people like Curren$y and Danny Brown, were truly living the life that I desired. Independent, underground artist, making a very nice living off of creating music and touring. Also can’t forget artist like MF Doom and Tech N9ne and the entire Strange Music family. I’ve always felt I could do it, but after hitting 33-35, it just didn’t seem “realistic”. That’s such stupid thinking. Why am I living based on what society says is “realistic”?

Now we’re in a time where some of the best artist of every genre are well over 30 and 35. The youth are still inspired and fans of the “OG’s” that are still creating. I look at a lot of the artist who’s music I purchased in High School, still out here putting in work and creating greatness and I’m inspired. There’s so many things I haven’t done with music and honestly, I don’t want to die with a bunch of “What If’s” and regrets surrounding this topic.

Right now, I’m thinking why wait for 40. Why not do it right now! I’d much rather try and fail at this, than work my current day job, for the pay I don’t want or feel I deserve, just so people won’t look at me as “too old to create music”. When did I start caring about what people think so much?!

Writing and creating is my happiness. I want to be happy forever. This blog site, writing poems, books and songs will honestly keep me happy forever. What’s more important than my personal happiness?

Camp From The Port: Episode 005: Wormhole

Nothing like an unexpected event that will lead to an impromptu episode of #CampFromThePort. I got a chance to meet Cloak The Scribe through mutual social media hip-hop lovers and we’ve remained solid and respectful ever since. I was truly honored and appreciative to be tapped to lend a verse for his upcoming project. Shout to Pots and Pans Audio for making me sound pretty incredible!

We talk music industry and the grind of a true Independent artist doing it all dolo and spending the money to stay afloat. I also find out if Cloak is down to collaborate and sign someone from the 815. And if you listen closely, you’ll get to hear some exclusive audio of what Cloak has been cooking up this quarter.

I can’t give it all away now, but look out for my feature on Cloak’s upcoming project. The track is called “Wormhole”.

Make sure you are following @CloakTheScribe everywhere you can

While Thinking about Kanye and The Sunday Service

It’s almost a week removed and the images, memes and videos are still circulating of Kanye West at Northerly Island for Sunday Service. The most famous or “infamous” is him “parting the sea” of people and clarifying to security that Chicago is “his city”. Now, I’m not here to debate whether that proclamation is right or wrong; I’m more amazed at the perfect timing of that moment being caught. I have my own thoughts and theories about everything surround that day. I’ll keep them to myself for now. However, I almost always get turned off or away by the “Extraness” of artist and people in the industry. It’s not to negate or undervalue the talent and quality product. It’s just a reminder of there being some things I can really do without ever seeing. That video is one of those moments.

This morning another meme surrounding Sunday Service brought me to another personal revelation. You know why I’m still a big fan of Nas yet my fandom is in check?

Cause Nas never tried to make me “believe in him”. He may have been carrying a “golden child” or “prodigy” stigma early in his career, but he never truly embraced it and ran with it at a warped speed that would prop him on a pedestal to put people in a state of worship. Even in the act of calling himself “God Son”, there is still a great deal of humbleness and maybe even meekness there. Nas is a legend, cultural icon, a King and a Giant in hip-hop, with none of the extra frills.

Sure, maybe he didn’t “work as hard as others” to have multiple hit records, multi-platinum albums and be the stat machine other rappers are. Maybe he did lose the materialistic race that rappers compete in. And I get he didn’t end up the guy with the most money that’s recognized nationally as everybody’s “Big Homey”. All of those things he may lack, yet there aren’t many “Rap Mt Rushmore’s” that he won’t be on. He made a mark and succeeded without truly playing the industry game. His contribution is still important without mega star allure. He matters and not because he made a living out of telling us why he matters. I respect that.

Sure, Kanye, Jay, Pac and Biggie will more than likely be put over Nas in many Top 5’s based on numbers and national impact criteria, but for over 2 decades whether in combat, controversy and collecting accolades, he remained a cool, conscious, self aware human being. The money, fame and women never got to him. He was never thirsty to be noticed or to make a moment. He is the moment because he showed up.

AZ, Jungle, Nore, Steve Stoute, Kelis or anyone in a 6 degree of separation of Nas has never been asked to explain “why they mans on goofy shit” or “What’s wrong with him?” Nas saw his best friend get murdered, his mom die of cancer and had the mother of one of his children try to slander him after being intimate with his rap rival. All that and not once do we say “Nas did some clown shit right there”.

I admire and strive to be in that space. I never want to put my circle in a position where they feel they may have to justify why they stand with me. I also don’t know how I would react if I had one dude in the crew constantly seeking attention by any means and trying to say it’s ok because of his talent, status or how much he has. That’s just not for me.

I’m a fan of Kanye West music. That will never change. I’m super cool on the worship though. Every level of it; I’m good.