Get out of the Way of your Gifts!!!

Hello people! Sorry I haven’t been posting as much lately, but My life has become pretty hectic. As of a few months ago I am pursuing my Masters degree in Information Systems and Computer Analytics, in short heavy computers stuff so needless to say my time has been tight. As my fans you will be pleased to know that I am working on a lot of new music as well with the likes of Blueprint and many other producers so here at the tail end of 2015 and 2016 you will see some new releases coming. So now to the topic at hand: Our Gifts.


For the last month or so this topic has been surfacing in many of the conversations that I have had with my wife along with other family and friends and it has lead me to a few conclusions: as people we either don’t know our gifts (and in some instances don’t care to know them) or don’t appreciate the gifts that we have. These conclusions have been an eyeopener to me as to why many people, including myself,  at times lack happiness and/or progression in our lives.

First, lets talk about what a gift is. By definition a Gift is something willingly given to someone without payment; A natural ability or talent. In our society we look at musicians, artists, entertainers and athletes as the ones having the gifts we just get to enjoy watching or listening to them use the gifts. Many times we don’t look at oration, compassion, serving, or teaching as much, but these too are gifts among many others that God, Allah, the universe or (insert name of higher power here) gives us. Human beings spend their lives searching for purpose and in most instances that purpose lies in the gifts that we have been given. When you finally discover that gift(s) and you willingly operate in it your purpose can be uncovered. Once you uncover and walk in purpose then happiness and contentment usually is not far behind.

Discovering your gift(s) is a lot easier than people think. It is basically what are you really good at? What is it in life that you do well that takes little effort? If you look at your life and single out those things or that thing that is usually what you are gifted in. If you haven’t found that thing you need to expand your horizons and do more in your life because we all have gifts. If you limit your self in life you may never find it.  Now this does not mean that mastery of the gifts will not take work. Even the best athletes have to practice and the best singers still have voice coaches. Also, notice I didn’t ask what is it you enjoy doing because sometimes a gift is not always something you enjoy. The thing is even if you don’t enjoy operating in your gift, if you do it and do it willingly it can open the doors to your desires.

There are those who know what their gifts are but don’t like them so they try to ignore them or disregard them. The problem with that is you can never really escape it. There will always be things in you life that remind you of what you know you are supposed to be doing. Or your lack of happiness and comfort in life will remind you of what your supposed to be doing whether it is a gift that provides financial gain or emotional peace it will always be around. There will always pop up an opportunity to use it when you deny your self those opportunities you deny your self fulfillment and progression. This is what I mean by standing in the way of your gifts. When you allow your lack of want or fear of the unknown to stop you you can loose out on a blessing. You can loose out on your peace. You can loose out on fulfilling your purpose.

We as human beings have free will so it is up to us on if we dive in to our gifts or not, but you shouldn’t have to force someone to prosper. Prosperity is what we all want in life and I don’t mean only financial prosperity. We want prosperity in every aspect of out lives, but we are standing in the way of it and don’t even know it (or maybe we do). My advice is to talk to your creator, (for me that would be God), and ask for guidance. Ask for a revelation of what your gifts are and how to operate in them. When you get your answer make sure that you walk in your gifts with a willing heart and watch your life change. Watch the desires of you life come to past. Watch peace wash over you and those that you come in contact with. There is a calm that surrounds those that walk in their gifts and are fulfilling their purpose in life. Why can’t that calm also surround you?

Thanks for listening.





The Five Spot: Blueprint


“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…


Fri. May 1st – Fairborn, OH @ One Eyed Jacks |

Sat. May 2nd – Columbus, OH @ Brothers Drake |

Thur. May 21st – Evansville, IN @ PG |

Fri. May 22nd – Harrisburg, PA @ Appalachian Brewing Co |

Sat. May 23rd – Washington, DC – Heaven & Hell |

Sun. May 24th – Raleigh, NC @ The Pour House |

Mon. May 25th – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor |

Wed. May 27th – Nashville, TN @ The Stone Fox |

Thur. May 28th – Knoxville, TN @ Long Branch |

Fri. May 29th – Boone, NC @ The Local |

Sat. May 30th – Asheville, NC @ Timo’s House |

Sun. May 31st – Columbia, SC @ Back Alley |

Mon. June 1st – Atlanta, GA @ 529 |

Wed. June 3rd – Gainesville, FL @ The Backyard |

Thur. June 4th – Orlando, FL @ The Social |

Fri. June 5th – Jacksonville, FL @ Rain Dogs |

Sat. June 6th – Fort Myers Beach, FL @ Nervous Nellie’s |

Sun. June 7th – Dunedin, FL @ The Dunedin Brewery (FREE SHOW) |

Fri. June 12th – Austin, TX @ Flamingo Cantina |

Sat. June 13th – San Antonio, TX @ Fitzgerald’s |

Sun. June 14th – Fort Worth, TX @ Lola’s |

Wed June 17th – Albuquerque, NM @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge |

Thur. June 18th – Santa Fe, NM @ The Underground at Evangelo’s |

Fri. June 19th – Colorado Springs, CO @ Flux Capacitor |

Sat. June 20th – Denver, CO @ Moe’s |

Sun. June 21st – Grand Junction, CO @ Mesa Theater |

BNTN Tour Journal 10.12.14 : 5 Points for good sound


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



With heavy yet jovial heart I write this away from my wife of thirteen years yesterday. I love all that she is. She is a pillar of my life that allows me standing straight and focused. With Gods hand we will continue to grow in the life and knowledge of love…Happy Anniversary…

Since we last spoke I have had a few new experiences on stage and off that have given me unction to continue to branch outside of the box that I place my self in, in many ways by choice; unprovoked. This is something I vow to change. Conscious effort will be made and limbs will support me teetering on their edge for the sheer experience of it.


If I told you the experiences embarked on you would probably see them in an insignificant light, but its not the experience itself that is changing me; It’s the lesson within the experience. It is the uninhabited dive into a new pool of intellect and clarity birthing me anew. Its quite and amazing place I am finding myself.

I am open to receive what God has in store for me with eyes wide and uncovered. No more will I play safe tippy toeing the fence trying to hold on to some semblance of homogeneous smiles to make you feel comfortable. Things will be new. Bright and new. I hope choose to walk with me.



I woke up at 5am on October 1st in order the catch a 17 hour bus ride to Minneapolis to meet up with Carnage the Executioner and Pcp to start The Better Now Than Never tour. This tour is a grueling schedule of 25 shows in 25 days that spans the country from California to Indiana. Littered with a few 10 and 12 hour drives not to mention the time and whether changes that we will face. This is probably the most intense tour schedule I ever had, but we doing it because we love the art and we love you, the fans that support us.

The first show was last night (oct 2nd) at The Cabooze. This was my first time playing this venue. (Side note: Minneapolis is music venue heaven for those that have not been there. There are so may dope rooms of multiple shapes and sizes to accommodate any type of audience or act…but I digress…) The Cabooze is a nice size place and we had a descent turn out. Im sure the continuous downpour that blessed us all day yesterday lead some people to stay home even though the skys were clear by doors opening. The people there seemed to be there to see the show. The energy was positive. My friend Krisoff Krane came out so it was great to see him. He has to be one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. Im glad I can call him a friend.

All of the openers were young up and coming Emcees in the Minneapolis scene. There were a few really dope young women whose future could be bright as writer’s and rappers. It was fresh to see some of what the next generation will do with our art.


Pcp hit the stage about 10:40 pm and all I can say is “wow!”. This was my first time seeing him live, in fact I was completely unfamiliar until the tour was booked so I had a little homework to do, but hearing him on record does no justice to what he does live. He is an intense ball of energy with heart open, giving you all of him allowing you to share in his trials and triumphs through the music he presents. It was definitely an experience and I am looking forward to building a relationship with him over these weeks that we will share the stage and van space.

Then it was my turn. I did what I do. Poem time and what not. Tried a few new joints to start out the set from the something in the water ep and I the performance of them went well but I think I did them too early in my set…they kind of gave me a slow start in my opinion, but overall the set was good. I got a lot of positive feedback. I will be doing some revamping and sharpening of the set throughout the tour…never doing the same exact show twice so it will be a treat every night.

Next up was Carnage the Executioner to closeout the evening. For those of you that don’t know Carnage has to be in the pantheon of beat boxers. He has to be one of the best in the world hands down. I don’t say that because he my friend of 12 years, I say it because its true. His set is so engaging with all senses I was too busy watching in amazement to get any pictures. This man builds his beats on the spot with the use of different looping and effects pedals and the spits some of the most dense style drenched rhythms sense project blowers first blessed us. It is truly something to watch.

     Overall, the opening night of the tour showed me that this is going to be something to remember. I am able to be in the space of and share the stage with two awesome artists and people for a month, travel the country seeing and meeting all you while making some dough in the process. I am truly blessed. Tonight Duluth, Mn at The Red Star Lounge. It is a free show. Don’t miss it..


Get your priorities right…

priorities 1

     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.

priorities 3

     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.

Something in the Water FreEp !!!!!













Welcome to the New!!!

To celebrate I am releasing the New Ep “Something in the Water” from Illogic and Ill2lectual the Sound Cultivator. So go ahead and Subscribe to the new Site and Download the ep for free below!!!