Super Duty Tough Work Podcast

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Super Duty Tough Work is the new podcast that I am doing with Blueprint. We have done four episodes together and  will continue to post new episodes every week. Before I became a part of the show Dj Rare Groove was the co-host. If you want to hear an interesting funny and poignant perspective on hip hop news and rumors Super Duty Tough Work is for you. Check us out. If you dig it subscribe to the podcast on ITunes. You can also follow us on sound cloud and twitter.

iTunes http://apple.co/1XDmbXD
Sound Cloud:  https://soundcloud.com/superdutytoughwork/
Twitter http://twitter.com/SDTW_Podcast

You can listen to all of the Latest Episodes: HERE

“Penciled In” By Lucid Logic (Illogic & Lucid Optics)

 

About a Year ago I did a few Shows in Cali with Bottled Water and This Guy named Lucid Optics was opening up. I was instantly drawn to is Style of production and Skills on the mic. After he got off stage I congratulated him on the great performance and asked if he would be interested in working on some music. So here we are now. Lucid Logic is born. check for the full length coming along with a few other projects that I am working on.

Ill2lectual and I are working on a follow up to Something in the Water and so much more

Hope You enjoy… And Have a Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 

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.

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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: 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

BNTN TOUR JOURNAL 10.7.14: A NEW ME

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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.

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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.

BNTN TOUR JOURNAL 10.3.14 : MINNESOTA MEAN

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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.
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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.

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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..

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