Why Do We Fall in Love with Hip Hop (culture)?

I love hip hop    We are all drawn to hip hop for different reasons. For some of us its a home, a shelter or place of comfort. For others it the attraction of having a good time with no strings or judgement. For me it was an escape from my life in times of despair and desperation as well as an area when I was accepted no matter what. Most of the friends that I have made in and because of hip hop are just as screwed up as I am if not more, but that’s okay. Hip hop doesn’t judge us. Hip hop doesn’t ask anything from us that we do not have the means to provide. Hip Hop is a “come as you are” mantra. Hip Hop is our rocking roll. This is why we fall in love with it because hip hop  allows us a freedom that in many of us has been suppressed, if not by our environment (home, neighborhood, church) then by ourselves for fear of what people will say or how we will be looked at if that part of us is revealed. Of course there has been a obvious perversion of our culture that is present to the main stream global community, but that doesn’t take away from its foundation. That perversion doesn’t taint or belittle our love.

This post was inspired by a friend of mine who sent me an email a week or so ago with his epiphany as to why he became part of the culture. Here is what He sent me:

Growing up I definitely loved hip hop, but really did not know why.  I loved nearly everything about it.  I studied it more intense throughout High School and at the age of 18 began to participate in hip hop.  I knew that I wanted to participate in it, and that it is a participation sport.  The only requirement was being yourself.

Now at the the age of 35, KRS 1 helped me now understand why I even liked it in the first place.  It is a deep complex industry now that has transformed multiple times and has had multiple movements in the last 50 years.  Kool Herc adopted a style of deejaying in Jamaica that he brought with him when his family moved to NYC in 1967. He loved the way the deejay interacted with the crowd in Jamaica, and their spin back technique of restarting the record among other things.  No one was going to tell him it was the wrong way to do things in the Bronx because it was his way.  And he liked his way.  Blend one break right into the next, fuck the rest of the song.

Owning your Identity seems like a fairly simple thing to do.  When you DO own your identity, no one or thing can tell you what to do.  Again, this is why I loved hip hop.  No one could tell hip hop what say or what to do.  Now as an adult it is clear as day, that this truly what I loved about hip hop.  You could be yourself, and not only that, it is a requirement to be yourself.

In Middle School (arguably the roughest time in a kids life) kids are flat out mean.  In this age range we see conformity taking shape.  Those who follow to so because they’re scared and don’t understand that they’ve just given up their identity in order to feel safer.  The day I became a man was in the 7th grade. This was the time that I decided no one was going to clown me for ANYTHING.  I was going to own it all, the good along with the bad.  Yes, I have zits.  Yes, I like hip hop (even though I don’t know why) and yes, I masturbate a good deal because it’s new to me and girls won’t sleep with me yet (wait till summer next year lol).  I owned everything.  Dress and style were only as hard as what I liked.  Throw out the rest.  (Just give me the breaks Herc).   My music, My art, My education (fuck yes I get 3.5 so what?), my Mathematics, are all cool.  No matter what, because I AM ALLOWED TO HAVE A FUCKING OPINION.

And so do you.

Be yourself.

Love, Bobby

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We all have our own experiences and reasons for being part of hip hop whether as a fan or and artist or combination of both.

What made you fall in love with hip hop?

The Five Spot: Gold Poo NYC

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“Art is always in the eyes of the beholder. Only posterity has the right to point out our mistakes.” -Len Wein

What is art? Is it the unmistakable beauty of the Sistine Chapel? Is it the perfection in the brushstrokes of the Mona Lisa? Is it the off-kilter architecture of the Leaning Tower of Pizza or the unorthodox stylings of Zephyr writing his name on a wall? What you or I consider art may fall in completely different places, but there are a few things that all of the above examples embody; creativity, drive and purpose. In our youth we always hear about the Michelangelos, Rembrandts, and Picassos of the world, but are never exposed to artists like Jean-Micheal Basquiat, Lady Pink or Barry McGee a.k.a. Twist.

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I see art in all that is around me and not all of us think in those terms. Many don’t take the time to see the beauty or the ugliness in their surroundings. Its okay to find something special in all that you see. It is Okay to see the amazing in how the wind flutters through the leaves of trees or the wonderment in the structure of a house or the imperfect perfection in the face of your mother and believe in your heart of hearts that that is art.

Gold Poo NYC is a person that sees the beauty and a purpose in the art of the world, but he also see the world that those around him have turned to crap. He notices the broad brush used to try to make this broken, disgusting and dis-guarded world that we have corrupted presentable. In that , his art speaks for itself….

Please enjoy the five spot with GOLD Poo NYC:

Who is gold poo?

Just a normal guy who walks around NYC painting the dog poo Gold!  My hope is that people don’t step in it. However, there is a meaning behind it – most shiny coveted items are really just shit underneath.

As your friend I remember how seeing the movie Pollock about famed abstract impressionist Jackson Pollock changed you. What about him and his approach inspired you as an artist moving forward from that time?

It was the fact he made something out of nothing and his instructions were, “just don’t think.”  I remember that as the first time I felt empowered to really create.

The Gold Poo project is focused more around found art and making a public statement. But I owe a lot of my general interest in art to Mr. Pollock.
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Not many of my readers may know about the world of street art or art in general. Who are some of the artist you are really into right now new and/or old? Street artists or otherwise?

Brian Kirhagis, aka BK the artist, is the most amazing artist I’ve met while in NYC. His work is amazing, from the heart, and it usually makes a powerful statement.

What excites you about the world of art present and future?

There is massive interest in street art, and fine art right now.  I’ve seen street artist do canvas work and sell out a whole show, and I’ve seen canvas painters transition to street art very successfully as well.

Whats next for gold poo?

I try not to think about that and just have fun. So far this whole thing has come together organically. I’m just going to keep having fun.
Please checkout his art on Instagram @GoldPooNYC
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The Five Spot: Blueprint

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“Leader of many men, King with No Crown”

     Over 15 years ago I had the pleasure of being part of the foundation of a movement that came to be called Weightless Recordings. At that time I had no idea of how powerful what we started would become, but I knew that I had complete faith in our leader and in where he would take us. Al Shepard a.k.a Blueprint was the leader by default because he was the producer and he had the equipment so he controled the music and we were ok with that. The thing is it was never something that he wanted. He was always cool playing the back and letting others shine and take the lead, but I knew it was destined for him to become what he has become. Al always had the vision and the drive to be successful himself but, his focus was always our success as a collective. We didn’t always see what he saw in the tea leaves, but we trusted that where ever he would lead us would be awesome; and we were right. The thing about Print is that he never needed the credit. He never needed the light it was just drawn to him and out of all of us he was the only one willing to sacrifce all for the art and stratigically use that sacrifice for success.

     On his new album “King No Crown” due out May 28th, Blueprint explores the ideals of his existince from many persectives, but all of the perspectives have something to teach. Lyrically, musically and structurally I think this record is a beautiful and edifying piece of art.  I know that I am bias, but I belive that this Blueprints best offering yet.

Please enjoy the “five spot” with Blueprint..

Why the title “King No Crown”?

The title “King No Crown” is about the feeling of being really well respected and successful at what you do, but still being relatively unknown to the masses.  It’s about the way you carry yourself and how your career unfolds and how you can still push through and be a king in your work and artistry, but never really see a “crown” so to speak.

As an artist you continue to evolve and create a new sound for yourself in a musical climate that is heavily based on formula and trends. Where do you draw inspiration from to keep your music and sound fresh from album to album?

My goal as an artist, first and foremost, is to never get bored with doing music and have fun at all times.  But for that to happen, I can’t be doing the same record over and over.  I have to challenge myself in different and more ambitious ways every time out because if I don’t then I’ll get bored with it and not want to do it anymore.  I’ve always believed that rappers fall off once they lose inspiration for what they’re doing, so I keep myself inspired by moving around freely from style to style, hoping to do them well and hopefully master them one day.  I also switch up the gear I use to make beats every few years.  Some guys will get to a machine they dig like the MPC-2000 and just stay there for ten years.  I will use it for 3-4 years and move to a different machine that makes me think and create differently.

In the content of songs like “black intellectual”, “kill me first” and “hand me downs” among others you touch on some things from the perspective of an black man. Do you think that black artists have a responsibility to the black community to provide something edifying in the process of providing entertainment?

I believe every Black artist that is in the public eye has a responsibility to their community. Unfortunately, most of them don’t want to acknowledge that they do because if they acknowledged it they would have to hold themselves to a higher standard.  Black people have no real media ownership in the United States–even the platforms we think are Black-owned like The Root or BET are white owned–so we have no true Black voice in the media.  That said, it is no surprise that most of the depictions of Black people in the media is unflattering and reflects the views of the minority in our community.  I feel that I have to use the small platform I have to make sure I’m not reinforcing stereotypes that are damaging to my people.  I read a story today about a 13-year old Black child in Memphis who has eleven thousand instagram followers because he posts pictures of himself holding guns and smoking weed.  When a reporter asked him why he did it, his response was, “that’s how Cheef Keef got famous, isn’t it?”   We have to understand as Black men that the media is the most powerful tool in shaping what people think about us out here.  I just try to play my part and be unashamed of being an intelligent Black man because there needs to be more of it and I know that the youth are watching.

There is a great remake of J Dillas “nothing like this” on king no crown. What is one specific way that Dilla has influenced your approach to making music?

Dilla’s biggest influence on me was his ability to move from style to style.  He had a phases he would go through as a producer like mellow keys, then synths, then soul samples, then back to synths that showed he he was a real student of the game.  He was always evolving and that’s what I try to do as well.

I know that as a producer you are always checking out new gear, but i also know that when producers find gear that they really like they tend to stick with it. What was your most used piece of gear on the king no crown record?

The pieces of gear I used the most on making King No Crown were was my Microkorg, the Korg Triton, and Reason 2.5.  I’ve since sold both of those synths and started using Ableton instead of Reason, so I expect my next couple of projects to sound completely different.

You can Pre-Order “King No Crown” HERE and don’t miss Blueprint on tour ths spring…

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Fri. May 1st – Fairborn, OH @ One Eyed Jacks |http://on.fb.me/1N4u8lp

Sat. May 2nd – Columbus, OH @ Brothers Drake |http://on.fb.me/1xetwWC

Thur. May 21st – Evansville, IN @ PG |http://on.fb.me/1xetA8x

Fri. May 22nd – Harrisburg, PA @ Appalachian Brewing Co | http://on.fb.me/1HwouVk

Sat. May 23rd – Washington, DC – Heaven & Hell |http://on.fb.me/1Iq1rN4

Sun. May 24th – Raleigh, NC @ The Pour House |http://on.fb.me/1N4v0qd

Mon. May 25th – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor |http://on.fb.me/1FT8QVD

Wed. May 27th – Nashville, TN @ The Stone Fox |http://on.fb.me/1bqhNun

Thur. May 28th – Knoxville, TN @ Long Branch |http://on.fb.me/1Cm4Lb6

Fri. May 29th – Boone, NC @ The Local |http://on.fb.me/1Hz8e9A

Sat. May 30th – Asheville, NC @ Timo’s House |http://on.fb.me/1BoSOg2

Sun. May 31st – Columbia, SC @ Back Alley |http://on.fb.me/1HwsJjO

Mon. June 1st – Atlanta, GA @ 529 |http://on.fb.me/1y11j0r

Wed. June 3rd – Gainesville, FL @ The Backyard |http://on.fb.me/1Bgj7Gc

Thur. June 4th – Orlando, FL @ The Social |http://on.fb.me/1ENf2gb

Fri. June 5th – Jacksonville, FL @ Rain Dogs |http://on.fb.me/1bqinrV

Sat. June 6th – Fort Myers Beach, FL @ Nervous Nellie’s | http://on.fb.me/1BKHzP1

Sun. June 7th – Dunedin, FL @ The Dunedin Brewery (FREE SHOW) | http://on.fb.me/1FzPxSw

Fri. June 12th – Austin, TX @ Flamingo Cantina |http://on.fb.me/1bqisMh

Sat. June 13th – San Antonio, TX @ Fitzgerald’s |http://on.fb.me/1BoT2Uw

Sun. June 14th – Fort Worth, TX @ Lola’s |http://on.fb.me/1BoT3Yp

Wed June 17th – Albuquerque, NM @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge | http://on.fb.me/1C7w3Rf

Thur. June 18th – Santa Fe, NM @ The Underground at Evangelo’s | http://on.fb.me/1HzafCF

Fri. June 19th – Colorado Springs, CO @ Flux Capacitor | http://on.fb.me/19hqZ2z

Sat. June 20th – Denver, CO @ Moe’s |http://on.fb.me/1bqiDqQ

Sun. June 21st – Grand Junction, CO @ Mesa Theater |http://on.fb.me/1xev2YB

BNTN Tour Journal 10.12.14 : 5 Points for good sound

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Being out here on the road seeing openers have a hard time with sound made me think about how to avoid somethings from a performers perspective. I have performed in many venues on many different sound systems around the country. From High School PA systems to some of the nicest club systems you can think of and there are a few points that remain consistent no matter what helping to ensure that you will a have good sound for your show.Of course there are things that will be out of your control, but may times when you are at a show that has bad sound it most likely could have been avoided.  A lot of it has to do with the rapport that you build with the sound person. That relationship is very important in the 6-8 hr journey of the evening and you want the sound person as an alley not an enemy. The best you can do is make sure that you take care of all that you can control and in most case you will be okay. So here in my opinion are five things that you can do to make sure that you won’t have issues with sound at your show…

1. Show up on time for sound check

Sound check is usually an hour and a hlf to two hours prior to doors. There is nothing a sound man hates more than being rushed, especially if hes dealing with people or a person that has no idea of what goes into a solid sound check.  Also, as long as you show up on time you have the time to get everything how you want it to sound.

2. Introduce your self to the sound man

Being nice and personable goes a long way. Don’t give him your rap name either. Show him/her that you are a regular person and you both have the same goal, to make the night go smoothly and sound good in the process.

3. Be prepared

When I go out I have try to have XLR cables, other cables, DI boxes,  my own mic and mic stand. As my needs for my stage show increases so will my equipment that I bring. For example, Blueprint carries his own small mixing board just in case and we have had to use it on at least one occasion. Being prepared goes a long way and it makes sound check run smoothly. Keep in mind some performance venues are not as equipped as others so be prepared for all issues that may arise.

4 Have instrumentals mixed and mastered

Mixing boards only have so much juice that they can pump into the volume so make sure you instrumentals are mixed and mastered to avoid distortion or music sounding weak. Also try to have your instrumentals mastered by the same person to level out the sound. Its not absolutely necessary but it helps.

5. Don’t be an a**hole

Remember the sound man has the power to make you sound amazing or like craps with the turn of a knob so it behooves you to be nice to him/her. Don’t be on stage screaming and cursing at the sound man and expect them to make you sound crispy. In many of these cases you will end up sounding worse if you piss them off. Just be cool if a problem arises that you can’t control. If you have followed all of these steps then the person running sound will do all they can to get things right for you because you built a rapport with them to this point.

Of course there are more points that can be made and more details can be given. I’m sure that if I understood more about sound theory and engineering this list could be 20 or more points, but these are the basics in my opinion from a vocal performers perspective. Hope it helps some. Good luck…

Here are the remaining dates on the Better Now Than Never Tour. Hope to see you guys out!!

10/11 – Eugene, OR @ Luckey’s Club

10/12 – Sacramento CA, @ Blue Lamp

10/13 – San Francisco, CA @ Elbo Room

10/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ Redwood Bar

10/15 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red

10/16 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar

10/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Shred Shed

10/18 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge

10/19 – Colorado Springs, Co @ Speak Easy

10/20 – Omaha, NB @the Hideout

10/21 – Iowa City, IA — Gabes

10/22 – Chicago, IL @ Jerry’s

10/23 – Madison, WI @ The Sett

10/24 – Green Bay, WI @ JD’s Bar

10/25 – Evansville, IN @ PG Gallery

10/26 – Champaign, IL @ The high dive

Get your priorities right…

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     I know I have been absent from writing for a while and its not because I haven’t had anything to say (or had no site at the time). If you read this post completely you will understand.

     My last post was back in February and I asked the question “where are the visionaries?” It wasn’t until a few months later upon rereading that post and going through some personal things,  I realized that I wasn’t as much of a visionary as I thought because my life was out of wack. I was too lost in today and not planning for tomorrow. I could only see to the end of my nose and anything beyond that was of no consequence and I had no idea.

     I have been working on and releasing a lot of music as of late and in that I was caught up to the point that that’s all that I was doing. I was hit by an epiphany a few days ago, that’s all I have been doing for months maybe even the last year or so. I wasn’t finishing my book. I wasn’t working on my performance. I should have been on the road. I was loosing sight of my children’s behavior and progress (or lack thereof) in school.  I was neglecting and taking my wife for granted. Most important of all my spiritual existence was completely an afterthought. My relationship with my creator faded in to the background of me writing and recoding songs. Really Jawhar? (I talk to my self out loud at times) I wasn’t doing any of the things that had got me to the point of my life where I felt like I was happy. I was losing myself in my art and my person was suffering for it. Unfortunately and fortunately it took me a year or so to realize it but, once I did it smacked me in the face with a force that stopped me in my tracks like a dear in headlights.

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     As I looked at where I was in my life i saw an absolute mess. Figuratively and literally. My studio was a wreck. My career had lost steam since Capture the Sum dropped. My relationship with my children was not where it was supposed to. I was losing my wife. I had blinders on just going through the motions acting like everything was OK. And it wasn’t. It was the farthest thing from it. So I came to the conclusion that my priorities were disheveled so that I didn’t recognize myself once I took the time to actually look. I was utterly lost.

     I am of the belief that as the head of this family if my priorities are off then that disrupts the flow and serenity of the entire household. Once I became aware of this it was almost too late, but I believe that this was revealed to me when it was supposed to.

     So I say all of that to say this…I have still been writing and recording, but a resent talk with Blueprint has gotten me to be more attentive to and focused on the longevity of my career and most importantly my family’s needs. I am working on rebuilding closeness and intimacy with my wife. I am more active in my children’s lives as far as knowing what they need and above all I am rebuilding my relationship with my creator and that is where it all has to begin. I know that without my spirit being in line and allowed to grow I will continue to be lost. All that we have on this earth is a gift and if you lose sight of the gift giver then you won’t appreciate what you have nor will you have an understanding of how to feed and develop your gift for it to reach its full potential. So I will start to share more as I am on this new exciting journey of growth and maturity. Please get your priorities in order or you will end up losing or getting lost in the very purpose that your think your are working for.

Where are the visionaries?

looking-up-eyes-faceVast fields and endless forests coated the earths surface hundreds of thousands of years ago. The planet was the home of animals and plant life with humans yet to be created. Then God breathed life into the earth and man was born. In order for man to survive he had to see beyond the horizon. He had to see what was not there. He had to have faith in the work of his hands. He had to be a visionary.

The building of shelter.  The development of weapons and other technology. The carving out of mans place in the world had to be seen before it was done for better or for worse. As man has evolved so then has his capacity for ideas to further the human experience again for better or for worse. Human beings are said to be at the top of the evolutionary ladder and in that we continue to find ways to explore new outlets for our creativity, our survival and unfortunately our destruction. Mans ambition is his greatest asset, but not understanding that there should be limits to that ambition is his greatest downfall. There is always room for progression. One should not place barriers on what they can achieve, but gluttony is a prison that is not easily escaped. Overindulgence and greed is a topic for another post that I will cover in the days to come.

The problem that I see is that the layman is no longer the visionary that he used to be. I am not speaking of anything grandiose like the invention of the aircraft or light bulb, I am speaking of the simplicity of seeing past your current situation. I am talking about man seeing himself better tomorrow than he is today and putting in the work to ensure the achievement of that desired improvement.

Too often we don’t see past where we are. Too often we don’t have the faith to build something to leave our children to be proud of. We all have the capacity to see beyond our own perceived limitations, but in most cases that ability is used either not at all or for trivial things, not things that will cement our legacy even in the minds closest to us.

Just as the Egyptians foresaw the pyramids of Egypt looking over an empty desert;Just as Civil Rights activist saw/see a world of inclusion in a climate of turmoil and conflict; so can you see a tomorrow that is bright and brilliant.

Many people find it hard so see past their currant experience or if they do they have a lot of hope with out any action behind that hope. I urge you to be radical. I urge you to see your self as more than you are today. I urge you to dream and work until that dream is realized. I urge you to know that you current situation is not the end of the line, but a building block to be used to reach new heights. Don’t put limits on yourself. In many cases we as people don’t progress because we are limited in out thinking. We do not see the Forrest for the trees. We only see what is right in front of of us, ignoring the beauty and possibilities of the world around us.

The book of life is full of blank pages. What will your story be? What will you leave as your imprint for those who follow or are you content with being Forgotten? See who you want to be in the minds of those who will come after you and become that. Work to be come that vision of yourself. Leave your children and your children’s children something to be proud of.

The Burden of Trust…Part one

trust 2With a sincere smile plastered across my face and a firm handshake given at first hello strangers are greeted. You can see the care in my eyes when we first cross paths as if we are long lost family members in each others presence for the first time. There is a genuine love for the human experience present when I encounter someone new. A blind trust drips from my speech in a way that some call naive, but I believe at their core all people are decent and that seems to be my down fall. I jump into that belief with both feet without the security of a parachute and no fear of the fall that may occur. I just see all people as good, taking no stock in the bridges I have had to burn in the past. There is something to be said about my undying faith in a human being as they are. I know that we are not perfect. I know that everyone does not have my best interest at heart, but I stand on the unshakeable encouragement that we have a concrete care for one another; that we all want to see each other succeed in life in some way. Even in the eyes of utter disdain I try to find a silver lining. I try my best to see the glass half full to a fault, so much so that I seem to get taken advantage of. My trust in the word of human beings is seen as a weakness, as an open door for exploitation for which I have no one to blame but myself.

I guess it’s because I actually believe in the mantra “treat people how you want to be treated” too much. I want to be seen as credible because I deserve to be; because I actually am. I am a loyal person that loves unconditionally and with my whole heart. I know that there are flaws in human beings because I have many myself, but I don’t interact with people based on the assumption that they are flawed. I don’t look for the short comings of those that come in contact with. I take you how you are and I give you the benefit of the doubt, but to what end? How many times must I watch people cast their honor in to the sea before I start to question the motive of any and everyone? With the amount of broken promises and empty words that I have encountered in my life it is a wonder that I am not more cynical when it comes to my dealings with people. It is amazing that I don’t give everyone the side eye when they say what they can and will do. I’m just not built like that. I am built to forgive and have faith. I am built to hope and dream that a better tomorrow is on the horizon for us all and I will do all that is in my power to help you get there. I have always thought in the terms of “We” not “I” and that is my Achilles heal. That is what has held me back in some respects.

trust1Many of you are aware and many of you are not of the departing of Manifest from Weightless who was on third of the original group greenhouse effect. Manifest was a part of our movement from the beginning. He was a integral part in the building of the brand of Weightless recordings. Over the years from the inception of our label we developed a brotherhood that we believed to be unshakable and uncompromising. To make a long story short, it was discovered that he was stealing from the company. He basically disregarded all that we had worked for to a point that the faith that we had in each other as a unit was tested. This unbridled betrayal created a rift between all of us that has since been repaired between Blueprint and I, but how we deal with people outside of our immediate core has been forever altered. This among other things has shaken my faith.

I am starting to look at the world with open eyes, but a somewhat closed heart and I hate it because it goes against my nature. This is due to there being only so much abuse one can take. There is only so much love you can give without reciprocation. You can only be so true for so long while being stepped on or overlooked. At some point something has to change. At some point the gate has to be closed where only those with the secret password can enter because lately I have had to burn too many bridges. I have had to become something that I have always despised, a skeptic.

I am lucky to have the people around me that I do. My inner circle it one of strength and support. I have a loving Wife and family that nurture my hope in human beings, but confront me with the question of how long? How long will you give credence to those undeserving? How long will you allow your heart to broken by the revelation that people are not all rainbows and cotton balls? The answer is no more. No more will I just take you at your word. I have to guard my hope in people in order to not become a shadow of myself.  I have to put up walls around my love so it is not completely invaded by the tragic misleadings of a society that only values the progression of self. I have discovered that it is one thing to have general faith in random humans, but it another to have faith in them implicitly. I am still a firm believer that at our core we are all good, but in reality our quest for greatness can get in the way of that goodness. Our want and need to progress can be a hindrance to our basic nature of love. I pray that my children are not turned off to love. I hope that my children do not become hardened to the human experience. Desensitization has become a disease in our society that allows us have no emotional attachment to how the choices we make affects others. I know that there is a general positive energy that is strong in the world and I still believe that it can be harnessed and change that fabric of our existence. I want to again be that fully faithful swan diver with no parachute again, but it’s hard when the winds continue the whip and whirl me in the opposite direction.

So what side of the coin are you on?  Are you a person that strengthens the resolve of the village or do you hold a book of matches in hand waiting to set fire to the structure of an open heart? Do you hold the progression of all in high regard or is the advancement of self you primary goal? We can all believe again. We can all rise as one, but we have to put “I” aside sometimes. Not all of the time, but sometimes. “I’ has it’s place but, there cannot always be a search for backs to step on. There has to be a sincere want to one day be the boost that catapults someone else to their goals. I take pride in the surety that there will be a revolution of selflessness, but I realize that there is still a long way to go.

Become a Master of Something…

Bruce-Lee

Mastery

  • n.noun
    1. Possession of consummate skill.
    2. The status of master or ruler; control.
    3. Full command of a subject of study.

My oldest son has an affinity for the study of sports video games. Any time he picks up the play station controller he wants to be the best. He wants to be the ruler of the domain of Madden 25, for example, to the point that whenever he gets a chance he practices. He won’t play actual games, but he works on the practice simulation and when he does play he wants to play against the best players that he can to measure where he is in his ability to manipulate the joy stick to do his bidding so he comes out victorious. He doesn’t always win so when he loses, again I see him practicing, working on his game until he reaches his goal. When it comes to his school as well work there are times when he falls short as all of us do, I see a drive in him to not settle for the mediocre. No matter what he does in life I see that he will not settle until he is at the pinnacle of what he is trying to achieve no matter how long it takes. He wants to be the best. He does this in every aspect of his life I have noticed as treks toward perfection in all that he attempts. His journey has not been and will not always be smooth. I have been there to see the barricades, road blocks and short comings, but he has an unwavering faith in the possibility of his ability to achieve.Knowing this, when I see that he is stifled he brushes himself off and continues on his quest to victory.

I admire him because as adults, we have a tendency to place limits on ourselves that we pass on to our children as an infectious disease. Many times we infect them inadvertently because many of us have the “do as I say and not as I do” way of teaching. We as adults often settle because we feel that we have no other recourse. We feel that our time has passed so continuing to press toward a dream is of no consequence when we have a mortgage to pay or an electric bill due. Of course that is reality, but we cannot lose our drive to become proficient in something or many things in our lives. His drive is feeding me. As his father it is my job to nurture his ongoing internal engine and I cannot achieve this if I am not staving to be a master in my own right.

In order to become a master of anything there has to be a realized passion present. No one can become a virtuoso in a field or practice that they are not passionate about it. You can’t even begin the journey if there isn’t at least an inkling of interest. There must be an overall presence of conviction that seeps from your pours to the point that it is etched into the fabric of who you are. This conviction is not always present in the initial stages of development, but as one drives closer to the goal of mastery a passion can develop. Live in the moment and define it. Allow your presence to saturate all that is around you and allow all that is around you to saturate you because in order to become a master one has to first be a student. There in lies our issue. No one wants to be a student any more. Everyone wants to start out as a Master, but a master that refuses instruction is as a flower that refuses pollen.

Many people walk through life thinking that they are already adept in all that they do, but in reality they haven’t buckled down to really learn anything. I mean really learn. When my son gets a new video game he studies it. He hunkers down in his room and for the time allotted to him to play he studies and practices. He jumps in with both feet. This is what we have to do as people. We have to find what we want to gain expertise in and dive in full bodied. Remove all distraction and learn. Devise a plan that will allow you the place and time to learn and become a master.

Mastery takes patience. One does not gain full comprehension of anything overnight. Albert Einstein said, “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” There is a fear that exists in us that is stifling, preventing the giving all of ourselves to something. That fear has to die. Recently, I read a piece by my friend Al Shepard, many of you know him as Blueprint, called Fear Comes in Many Disguises. In it he says,

 Fear is a natural human response (to) unknown outcomes. As we take these situations  into consideration, our minds make sure we have assessed the possible outcomes.  This is human nature and a mostly positive survival instinct.  However, there is a point where fear in our current context is given too much power.  That happens when we begin to fear the possible negative outcomes more than the potential gains.  Even worse, we begin to take on a dialog that hides these fears as something other than what they really are.

This struck a chord with me because fear can be why we don’t make an attempt to become proficient in anything. There is the fear of failure. There is the fear of inadequacy. There is also, weirdly enough, the fear of success. I have suffered and still do suffer from this fear at different points in my life and that fear has held me back from becoming the master that I am supposed to be in certain things, but seeing my son push and practice that game reminds me that the journey is long, tiring and at times repetitive, but as long as the passion is alive in me the voyage is never over.

We live in a microwave society that does not value mastery. In reality, society does not value much at all. Everywhere is a factory the spits out as many robots as possible with minimal skill in the craft that they were constructed for. From reality television to college campuses this world has become an assembly line for the construction of mediocre pods of empty ability and only a yearn to be scene for the succubus’ of the world to feed off of until they are used up. Then there is movement to the next pod. So how long will you allow the world to feed off of you? When will you make the decision to become something bigger that just another human. Being. We are destined for more than that. We just have to make a point to want to be. So this year, take a note out of my son’s book and work to become a master of something. Don’t just be a “jack of all trades.” Don’t just be content in knowing enough to get by. Buckle down and work toward perfecting a passion. Become what you were always meant to become; A master.

 

Journal entry 8/21/13: To catch you up.

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So I know haven’t been posting as regularly as I started but when you have 8 and 12 hour drives between cities every day, homework, and you have to eat writing gets pushed to the back a little. So let me give a small recap of the highlights last week or so.

Oakland California Aug 10
This was an awesome show. Great crowd but greater comradery and time with friends. I got to hang with my homie Davu. Some of u may remember him from the Dove Ink days and his album “the sun do move”. I also got to hang with some old friends Adam Drucker and Jeff Logan or how u may know them as “Them” or dose one and Jel. It was great to reconnect with friends and catch up. Also ephram sponge aka Juan Davis made a surprise visit. It was an all around great night of reconnection. The great crowd was the icing on the cake.

Salt Lake city, Utah Aug 15
Here comes the wild night. Ok first off we find out that Ludacris is playing a show in the park right down the street for FIVE DOLLARS!! I wanted to go to that and so did everyone else in Salt Lake. Can you blame them? So we had to push our show back until after the Luda show or we really would have got killed. (Side note: Shout out to Chase and uprock for always taking care of us when we are in the city) So we push the show back. Its all ages so its a pretty good crowd but we were feeling the Luda affect.

So we rock. Sell merch. Take pics. Shake hands. kiss babies you know…what we do. Then there is a commotion. This guy comes in drunk off his rocker asking for Isaac and “his bitches”. We ignore them and go back to talking. Then all of a sudden security has this dude yoked up a bottle flies In my direction and then it was on. Dude starts swinging on security. Pushes one security guard to the ground. And the a gang of people push him out the door.

We go back to talking and some one runs in and says “they are out here fighting! ” We get out there and apparently the guy that was doing all that taking and yelling got in the wrong person face and was met with a one hitter quitter. After that his friends were trying to get him to leave but he wouldn’t. He kept yelling for “his bitches”. “I’m not leaving with out my bitches.” We had no clue who these “bitches” were we just knew he had to go.

We figured out that the girls that they came with were embarrassed and hiding in side the place.
Then the guy comes back and is still running his mouth. He says “all of u guys are punk bitches. None of your lives will be anything.” (This is a show of ours he paid to get into mind u). Then he says “You”, to the guy who laid him out earlier, “you got a good punch” and proceeds to dap him up. “The rest of ya’ll are punk bitches.” No matter what he was going to feel that punch when he sobered up.

We finally get them to leave and then we meet the girl and her friends. “The bitches” that he was referring to. Apparently one girl was on a date with him trying to get laid and in turn was highly embarrassed. Then she and her friends left with some other guys to get a hotel room. Of course they were all young and stupid.

The next day we wake up to find that the city of Ketchum Idaho, site of our next show, is being evacuated due to Forest fires. So we stayed in Salt lake another day and rocked a surprise show at Chases shop Uprock. Needless to say. Salt lake was indeed the most memorable stop of the tour so far.
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The other shows Bozeman Montana, Great falls Montana were fun and great times.

Minot North, Dakota Aug 19th
Then we come to Minot North Dakota. Great show great crowd. After the show we meet a young girl, 20 who is scared for her life. Trying to avoid a “friend” that she came to the show with. From the information we got from her she was kicked out of her parents house for worshiping the devil, which she denied, doing porn, which she also denied, and refusing to go to rehab for using and selling weed. She calls this guy and she stays with him thinking he’s cool. Then she gets driven to an empty field and is threatened. At the show she feels her life is in danger so our friend Kipp G saves her giving the option to stay at his friend house cause she is stranded and has no where to go. Then the next day still with no where to go she hops in the car with kipp and rolls to Fargo which is 5 hours away to stay with an aunt only to find that the aunt is on vacation in San Francisco. So slightly annoyed with her kipp feeds her and drops her off at the mall and wishes her well.

The moral of this post is that its okay to be young and have fun but know when your in over your head. You have to know when life is giving you signs that you are not as grown as you think you are. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and ask for help. I know this was long but there was a lot to catch you guys up on. Sioux falls South Dakota tonight. Only a little under two weeks left.  Say word!

Journal Entry 8/3/13: Be who you are. Envy no one.

be-yourself     We live in a world inundated with images of who we are supposed to be. Who we are supposed to idolize. Who we are supposed to model ourselves after. we are told, Buy this brand of shoe because the cool people buy them. Wear this brand of shirt because Jay-Z said it in a song. You should be this skinny because all of the beautiful people are skinny and you want to be beautiful right? Listen to this music because it sounds like everything else and and you don’t have to think to do it. Who cares about original anymore? Original does not have “SWAG” in the eyes of society though ironically swag is really about originality.

We as a society allow those in control to put us in a box. We willfully march single file in perfect syncopation and sip the kool aid. We sit and the box waiting for some one else to tell us who we are. We wait for someone else to tell us what cool is. Whats the new trends. It is so easy to get caught up in the societal ideal of a human being because its in our nature to want to be accepted by our peers. It’s part of Maslovs hierarchy of needs. But it was also in our nature to be innovative and want to do new things. Its in us to discover new ways of live and in that we find ourselves and our purpose.

I posted on twitter and Facebook the other day that “God give everyone gifts. everyone’s gift is not rapping….Find your gift and rep it…”. I got a  responses on my Facebook saying things like “anyone can do anything they put their mind too” and I agree. I agree that we are capable of learning and doing almost anything, but does that mean that we will be the best at anything we do? I believe that we all have purpose and things flow naturally when you are in the process of Capture the Sun, the process of fulfilling that purpose. You can do anything but will (insert deity/belief system here) breath on what you are doing if that’s not where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be doing? People are so quick to jump on the bandwagon of what they want to do just because “they can put their mind to it” as opposed to really looking at and finding what they are supposed to do. Your mind could be better used in the avenue it is supposed to be used in. This way it will blossom to its full capacity.

Be proud of who you are. Be invested in who you are. Really take time to find yourself and develop yourself to a point that no one can mistake you for being something that your not. Live your destiny, don’t live the shadows of someone elses. I talk a lot about legacy in my life and in my music because I want to leave a mark. I want people to know that Jawhar was here, I can’t do that by being someone I’m not because I will not be remembered. I’m going for the branding of souls type legacy. I teach my children that there is no other you on this planet, in this galaxy, in this universe. Work everyday to be the best you you can be. Work everyday to be a better you than you were the day before. Find you own voice and stop just being an echo. Echos fade in the distance but an individual voice will live infinitely.

“Be who you are and envy no one. Just reach for the stars and capture the sun”