Esco’s alleged killer arrested and held for 3 milllion

ImageOne of the saddest and biggest posts I ever blogged about on this site came on the heels of the news that Jubar Croswell, who I and many friends of mine all knew familiarly as “Esco”, had been found dead on the side of a wooded area in New Jersey a year and a half ago. The coverage of this violent death was limited, but it resonated among the Howard University community and the internet. An overflow of comments flooded this blog from his close family and friends sharing their memories and giving thanks for this blog shedding light on the tragedy. 

What makes this week so significant, is that earlier on, a Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with the murder and is being held at 3 million dollars bail. To see official coverage of that, check this link – http://www.pennlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/pa-man-charged-in-death-of-ny-model-found-in-nj/365ac7a44c874145b17de5df20a13233

Of course, I’ll keep you posted as more details are revealed, but perhaps, in light of the recent Trayvon Martin controversy, some sense of Black justice is closer to getting served…

R.I.P. “Esco”

(19) Classic Sounds….

Like…

15 Years.

Dude, I wasn’t even 15 years old when my favorite rapper of all time was pronounced dead. I remember hearing the news from the television in my father’s room. I ran in to hear that 2Pac was indeed dead. I immediately felt a weird sort of gravity. A week before, I was joking about him surviving and probably rapping with an iron lung. This time tho, I sincerely realized the impact of death from a distant place. It was a significant year; 1996 had marked the passing of my father’s mother – my Granny. It was my first real and close death, so coming of age as a 13 year old going on 14, the absorption of what loss feels like hit me unforgettably. My Aunt Charlene called me to see if I had heard. I don’t even know how she knew that I liked Pac, or if it was just an assumption based on my music love, but I wasn’t nearly the 2Pac fan that Iam now. I wouldn’t call myself a fan back then. I just liked a good amount of his singles and held fond memories of watching his videos with my big sister Veen. But like most every other hip-hop fan and listener in New York City at that period in time, I had read the VIBE and Source articles and recently heard “Hit ‘Em Up” and I thought the nigga was crazy!

So when we come to a point like this, and the handful of you who consistently visit this blog notice that this is my second review of a classic 2Pac album within a span of 3 months, or if you’re a random visitor and notice that, then the latter of you wonder why I started this post off this way, and the former of you understand that I would not let this month go by without properly acknowledging the anniversary of the death of the most prolific and poetic rapper ever. I mentioned in the prior Pac post that I’d come back this month and pay respect properly, and especially as I prepare to deactivate my blogger status, it makes the most sense that I wrap up this year in significant ways.

It’s this album, that made me the fan that Iam today. I picked a great point to become a Pac historian because had I re-acquainted myself with his music with the All Eyez On Me LP, I think I would have had an underwhelming assessment of him as an artist. While an intended triumph and celebratory effort, that album did more to invoke West Coast hip-hop unity and pride and re-introduce Pac as a retaliatory and party-friendly force in rap than exhibit his skills and personality. It was surface stuff. And tho it can be argued that since The 7 Day Theory is a posthumous work that it may not be Pac’s final vision – especially considering that there are hundreds of songs that he recorded in that year and a slew of Makaveli sequels that hit the mixtape circuit immediately after it’s release, these are still his thoughts and expected execution of such. I began seeing the posters for this album in October. It was releasing on election day of ’96. I didn’t like the cover. I thought it was too much. I heard pieces and bits of it on blocks as cars rolled by and so on. I didn’t really hear it until months later when I was chilling in a pool hall downstairs from my building, which ironically, had a huge airbrushed poster of Pac from his All Eyez On Me cover with the quote, “even thugz cry, but do the lord care?”. I thought it was amazing how a bunch of street dudes from Harlem, my hometown… shooting pool, rolling dice and playing video games, who 4 months ago would otherwise be blasting “Who Shot Ya??” by Biggie, all were just in full out Pac mode, blasting The 7 Day Theory from the jukebox and reciting the lines. I just stood there and soaked it all in.

The first song that made an impression on me was the actual first song off the album. “Bomb First (My Second Reply)” is like no other 2Pac song; It booms, has incredibly aggressive energy without sounding crazy amped, and is full of organized confusion. For those who were not previously familiar with Pac’s Outlawz crew, this song was a great introduction. A tamer follow-up to “Hit ‘Em Up”, this track is still laced with venom but more calculated and stemming less from the mind of a scorned troublemaker and more from the mind of someone fully ready to go to war and taunting his enemies to come out of hiding. It was definitely a battlecry, complete with a dramatic introduction and conclusive explosion and even little clever jabs at Bad Boy and Xzibit (who I was a fan of at the time). What moved me the most however, was that the beat was decidedly east coast. I was used to Pac rapping over the whiny, bouncy and r&bish sounds that had defined California hip-hop. This dark beat with it’s bassline that uses the same sample as a dozen of Hip-Hop songs from the 90, including Naughty By Nature‘s “Uptown Anthem” (who I also knew Pac was cool with) was a change of pace, and to me a sign of where Pac was going before his life got cut short. The outlawz’ Jersey-brewed voices and wordy delivery also helped foster this vibe and added an East Coast co-sign that showed that Pac was not leftist, just beefing with most of the popular rappers along the Atlantic. My ears were wide open from this point.

To hear a song like “Hail Mary” follow such a dynamic lead off is almost overwhelming. What these two songs placed next to each other did for street dudes is indelible. The message is remarkably stark. It’s a sequence of get-back, promises, exposition of plans and credos that lead to quotables that have been repeated time and again. Tho I never fully understood every line of this song (like “mama told me never stop until I bust a nut” – huh?? Why would your mother tell you that?), everybody else seems to, so whatever. Besides, Not understanding Pac is a great departure from the usual route of being able to predict every other damn word that he was about to say (see, “hennessy” and “enemies”). This was also a departure from his one line chorus style and saw him using full out sentences and refrains for hooks on most of the songs on this LP, even chanting – dare I say singing? on this one. The cryptic and gothic feel of this song became the thugs’ anthem and the perfect single to really drive the whole I-just-died-but-I-may-still-be-alive-somewhere-and-outsmarting-you-all feeling that came around his death. This beat too was not typical West-coast fare, and tho it sounds non coast specific, it just resonates with the spirit of hardcore, melodious Hip-Hop. It was the ultimate posthumous song and declaration. The irony in the biblical reference on such a grim track just tied into the whole Christianity play of the album.

Speaking of which, by the time I got to the 5th track, “Blasphemy”, I had faithfully owned this album on tape and was amazed when I heard this. It has a weird beat that is more atmosphere and background for Pac’s vocals than a production. It sounds like everybody was high and producer Hurt-M-Badd was playing with modulated or distorted oboe sounds and Pac said ‘yeah, lets keep that!’ On this under-appreciated song, Pac toys with lots of Christian imagery, incorporating dogma into his verses and making comparisons while questioning texts from Biblical scriptures. It’s a testament to where he was spiritually at the time, in light of his other contemporary tracks like “Black Jesus” and references to Jehovah. He seemed to be at a crossroads but enlightened somewhat, making peace with not accepting the traditional practices handed down, but forming his own definition of God for thugs and Black people overall. Profound lines like “We probably in Hell already, our dumb assess not knowing/everybody kissing ass to go to heaven ain’t goin!” and “brothers getting shot, coming back ressurrected/is this that raw shit? – nigga check it!” will have anybody thinking…

A song that took a bit more time to grow on me however, is “Just Like Daddy”. It’s a little creepy of a concept, but it became a saying after this album became popular. This was more or less a vehicle for Pac to let the Outlawz get a little shine on the female demographic, tho they don’t quite pass as believable in the ladies man department like Pac naturally does. The song fits right in time in a much needed slot right after the darker songs that came before and the heavier songs that follow. It represents the essence of this album, a very honest mix of Pac’s thoughts and feelings at this point; some lighthearted material full of love and calm, to juxtapose with his most angst-ridden and burdensome sentiments and questions. The “Impeach The President” sample underneath once again added to the east coast feel and helped the even flow of west-meets east that seemed to be the formula in production for this project. The samples were all subtle and nicely soaked in other sounds. Besides, no Pac album would be complete without a good song “for the ladies” or 2.

This album may be remembered more for songs like “Hail Mary” and “Me And My Girlfriend”, yet in all honesty, it should be revered for the deeper songs like “Blasphemy” and the 2 in the middle of the album; “Krazy” & “White Man’z World”. While “Krazy” may sound like a return to the usual Pac rhetoric about getting high, being in jail, questioning the fate of a thug, this finds Pac coming from a more mature and contemplative perspective. It’s more sedate, and less hopeless than previous songs of the same vain like “Life Goes On” or “It Ain’t Easy”. When he says simple lines like “I came a long way, but still I got so far to go”, you believe him and almost feel him wanting change. On a less optimistic note, on “White Man’z World”, he kind of accepts the reality of being in a disadvantaged predicament, but calls for a social revolution of Black people not embracing second class status. While he does so with fervor, this is accomplished more through his adlibs, as his verses are less focused on any particular subject and are more 1st and 2nd-person recitations that feel like something that he just needed to get off of his chest. Interestingly enough, it’s the jail talk on this song, that sounds more appropriate for the song “Hold Ya Head” which is a loose dedication to those on lockdown making it through bids, but sees Pac doing more of that 1st person diatribe that he did on “White Man’z World” with a little bit of bragging. It’s the sounds chosen in the production of these songs tho, that is truly the glue. The smooth and rich feeling of replayed samples and real instrumentation in ways that weren’t ever really explored or prominent in rap music coupled with hard hip-hop snares and great use of dramatic segues into each song delivered a  mix that allowed 2Pac to be the final and most powerful instrument on the songs. They evoke definite moods that deliver Pac’s message clearly. This is not Pac rapping hardcore over r&b, or getting deep and conscious over crunk funk, this was the perfect mix…And most of it displayed a thinking Pac who was reflective and strategic.

That doesn’t mean that all strategized Pac was calm. On the aforementioned “Me And My Girlfriend”, he made a cult classic out of a used concept. He pretty much killed it for everybody else after unfortunately, tho he sparked everyone’s desire to follow the trend. On a cinematic and thumping beat (on which Pac gets production credit) that sounds very mafia movie inspired and works for both coasts, Pac rips through this song on an extended metaphor about his lady being his gun. It took alot of us a minute to digest. The whole woman-as-a-metaphor-for-an-object thing was still relatively fresh and new to Hip-Hop fans. We were easily impressed when it was applied to something very dynamic and tangible like guns. Nevermind the fact that  2 years earlier, Organized Konfusion did verses as a stray bullet, or that Common addressed the whole state of Rap music and Hip-Hop culture as if it were a woman, Most of the rap listening public at large hadn’t heard this technique used until Nas‘ personification as a gun on that summer’s “I Gave You Power”. It was mind-blowing. My personal theory is that most of 2Pac’s beef with Nas was rooted from a place of true fandom. I think Pac listened to Nas heavily and respected him, until he started listening a tad too closely. In all honesty, to take offense to any of the lines from Nas’ second album, you’d A) have to understand the bullshit he was talking about, or B) really be rewinding his songs and reading along with the lyrics sheet included with his LP. 2Pac seemed to be rubbed the wrong way by Nas’ brief line in the first track off his album where he claims to have got shot and stitched up and left the hospital in the same night. Something Nas just said for dramatic effect, but something that Pac actually lived. But to catch that line, you’d have to be listening quite intently. I think Pac was listening hella hard, as a fan first, and then felt some way. And even through all of this, especially given the timeframe of when the album came out in relation to his album, and how huge the response was to “I Gave You Power”, I think Pac Loved that song, and in the spirit of competition and ego, felt the need to outdo and 1-up Nas by going the only next place that one could go after turning themselves into a gun...Loving one. So If “I Gave You Power” was the classic rap song of that summer of 1996, then “Me And My Girlfriend” was undoubtedly the classic rap song of that fall. BTW, this song should have never been remade by Jay-Z and Beyonce. Never…

The videos alone for this album should tell you that this is close enough to the version of this album that Pac would have made had he been alive long enough to see it to the release date. Before my visit to the pool hall, I saw the clip for “Toss It Up” late one night on Rap City and thought, ‘what??! I thought all the media outlets said that “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” was the last video he ever made?’ It was weird. I was kind of mad thinking that his final video would be of him parading around LisaRaye and cars with c-list singers instead of the meaningful one with him getting shot and going to heaven with the great musical legends. So you could imagine how flabbergasted I was when I saw the video for “To Live And Die In L.A.” just come out of nowhere months later. I was more shocked that it was being played on NYC radio stations. But this brought a sense of peace back. Whereas “Toss It Up” is the only song on this album that is reminiscent of the reckless and flamboyant vibe of All Eyez, “To Live And Die..” brought more of that calm, reflective but radio friendly spirit that made this album evenly measured.  I was more relieved to think that this was indeed Pac’s final video, a laid back but raw and lamentable ode to the city that made him the man that he became. And even tho he’s not an L.A. native, you can tell that he was directing it towards those who grew up in Los Angeles and the natives. He described the lifestlye and hood culture there so vividly and passionately that it made me want to go there just to see why he and all these other west coast dudes seemed to love it so much. If you watch the video, you see how it makes sense that this was the video where he literally rides out into the sunset. He looks like he was having a genuinely good time, if only for the moment. I even find amusement in the fact that even in the midst of the feel good aura he keeps the pace and balance of the album alive by making time to throw a dart at Dr. Dre at the end and remind us all that he’s still in war mode, just taking a break to love life. 

“Toss It Up” is not a bad song at all, nor does it change or ruin the mood, it’s just a song that I never listen to on here. Maybe because Iam a New Yorker, and this is the only track on here that has that 90’s West coast style of production that I mentioned earlier and expected the album to sound like, or maybe because I absolutely hate the singing, but I’m just never in the mood to hear that shit. Along with “Life Of An Outlaw”, these are the only tracks that I skip on the album. But by definition, a classic album is not so much about whether or not you only choose to listen to your favorite songs on the album, but whether or not you can play it from beginning to end. And since the flow and theme of this album aren’t disturbed at all and every last song has it’s own independent value, this is indeed a classic. And I can attest to listening to this from front to back a zillion times.

“Life Of An Outlaw” is actually one of 3 songs on which 2Pac recieves co-production credit, making this the first and only album where that happens. It’s just telling of the direction that he might have been headed. It also marks an important place in his rap history where he flexes the widest vocabulary of his career and doesn’t rely on his go-to sentences and phrases. He steps it up lyrically and flow wise, using different patterns, more syllables and compounds adding to the effect of that west meets east influence sprinkled across the album. One can only imagine where he was about to go as an artist from this point. Whoever did the sequencing on this LP had the ear to present Pac in the most honest and balanced way possible and closest to his own intent.  With production from 3 unknown beatsmiths (including an up and coming QD3) this seemed to be an ideal marriage of sound for Pac’s new strategic mindstate and a perfect comedown from the party that was All Eyez. Moreso than any other of his albums where he appears to be preoccupied with a particular angle (Death on Me Against The World, Police Brutality and injustice on 2Pacalypse Now, etc.), this was the most well rounded – even with the slant of him being in wartime mode. This album changed the way I looked at 2Pac as an artist, and subsequently changed my life. It’s apart of the top 5 albums that influenced me as a rapper.

With that, my favorite songs on here are “Krazy”, “To Live And Die In L.A.”, “Bomb First”, “Blasphemy” and the super classic “Against All Odds” which is arguably the best closing song on a rap album ever, right next to “Suicidal Thoughts” and “Regrets”. To understand this song is to understand exactly where Pac’s mind was at in that time. He named names of non-rappers, real street dudes with sketchy stories who were all somehow tied together, he talked to the rap figures who were saying slick shit in interviews, he told you why he was mad, and asked you what would you do if you were him? The effects in the background and the talking were the perfect compliment to mark the tone of this track. It’s climactic and impactful. If “Bomb First” was the taunting, this was the declaration. He got it off of his chest. If you don’t like this song, you just don’t like 2Pac and you probably stopped reading this review 8 paragraphs ago.

Yet and still, this album is undeniably a complete classic. And for that it gets 16 Candles out of a possible

4812 or 16.

4(Classic Just because where it stands in Hip-Hop, whether it be the time of it’s release, it’s influence, or the popularity of it’s singles overall)

8(Classic because it was solid for it’s time, but may be a little dated or less than amazing by today’s standards)

12(Classic as a complete release and probably celebrated widely on the surface, but possibly lacking one key element – be it one song that doesn’t fit, a wack guest appearance, lyrics, lack of depth or beats)

16(Classic all around)

R.I.P. Homie. Thanks for the music…

Death Comes Stealing…

A recurring enemy of mine is randomness. I encounter it everyday in the varying situations that make up my daily movements. It’s at work and the colorful characters that walk in during odd hours, in the attention-grabbing headlines in my newsfeed, the uncalled-for sentence that my girl might say on the phone that changes the whole tone of conversation, or just the sporadic B.S. of riding the train in NYC.

This is eye-brow raising, deep sigh – inducing randomness. Not to be equated to the flooding feeling of shock that may come from some sort of impactful randomness like coming home to a vacant bedroom and a Dear John letter. Nor the randomness of being told that you’re getting laid-off. These are the kinds of things that sweep the proverbial rugs from underneath our feet. They change everything we knew about our personal lives up until that point.

Yet and still, nothing compares to the randomness that death can bring sometimes. Much like the title of the Valerie Wesley fiction novel, it does indeed come stealing. And if the instances mentioned above sweep the rugs from under us and change everything we knew about our lives, death does something more like turn out the lights, and changes everything we knew about life itself.

I lost my brother-in-law 7 days ago. My sister Veen’s chosen life partner and the father of both my oldest and youngest nephews. The news came after a heightened night of seeing my boy rock a high energy show, and coming home late to the cops trying to break down my door for a still unspecified reason because I didn’t answer ( because I ain’t no snitch).

Random right?

But all of this faded in importance of conversation as I picked up the phone 5 hours later that morning to call my dad for another reason and heard the news from him as he stated it very matter-of-factly. Why it seemed like a joke at first, I don’t know. I guess I don’t really deal with death in a connected way. Everyone in my family knows I don’t do cards and I’m usually a no-show for funerals. I was just waiting for the real statement to follow from my father. But there was none…

Iam a family man from a surface standpoint. And I admit that I was not quite brotherly close to my brother-in-law, but this is the closest passing that I have experienced since my Grandmother. He used to live in the space where I live now. I’m not used to sharing small spaces, so I hated it. Some of his things are still scattered here and there as reminders; in a closet, on a shelf. Randomly. I borrowed some of his clothes from that time period…A favorite red shirt and a favorite pair of jeans that I still wear now. He had a vested interest in my music career and tho he talked a better game than he dealt, I rocked with him everytime he suggested a move. The last thing he said to me in fact was a request for me to give him another shot at managing my music career. A surprising motion by him, being that we haven’t spoken about it in years and have essentially kept conversation cordial and surface concerning entertainment business. Yet I remembered quickly saying yeah to the idea. I felt like this time, we might be able to make something happen, and I had just found myself randomly thinking about it the day before hearing the news. Not since my frequent trips to the barbershop where he worked (that is now adorned with candles and flowers under his a jersey with his name), have I thought so considerably about making moves with him. I used to drive all the way to New Jersey every week just to get my free haircut from him. Mostly because even though the trip was $8, the haircut was free because we’re family.

And that word does hold weight, even to a surface guy like myself. I immediately thought of my oldest nephew, who was the closest to me before his teen years. I estranged myself in a way, as school and music stuff became my dominant focuses. I even remember him doing a school report on me being his hero. I suppose everything happens for a reason tho, because just as distance had formed between us, his father stepped up in a super way, getting him involved in sports and coaching, putting him on to music and life in a way that only a dad could. Upon hearing the news I thought, ‘well damn, good thing he’s almost a man now and can handle this a little better’. Even though these teen years for a male can be some of the most emotionally angst-ridden and confusing times. But then I remembered whoa, there’s a baby here that will never have that bond with his father. Never. It makes me feel that perhaps I should rise up and try to be as close to him as I was with my oldest nephew when he was that young, just for the sake of man-to-man influence from a familial angle. Then again, he does have an older brother that can protect and guide him. It doesn’t change the fact that both will miss out on an incredible amount of guidance that my sister Veen cannot give them. She’s an awesome mom, but not a father.

And as Father’s day approaches, I just have to think about ironies and what it is to be living this life on this planet. Suicidal folks get that option. Sick people get predictions and notions of will. Freak accidents take away. Beef comes around. And then, sometimes it’s just an instance where you were laughing with someone yesterday and then you get the news that they’re gone. No signs, no warnings.

It’s especially deep when it’s someone young, who wasn’t suffering, who wasn’t living on the edge or taking chances. Waiting on an anticipated and inevitable death is not the same feeling as the feeling of having someone snatched from you. It makes me regret everytime that I’ve had a thought of wanting to die. It makes you realize the absolute lack of appreciation that is inherent in wanting to end a life that somebody is literally dying to live. I thought, damn, when I was depressed, I was basically asking for death, but then the universe takes someone away who probably never even considered that a possibility. How selfish. Or perhaps I should envy the fact that he no longer has the stresses of life to burden him. I prefer to think that this is a sign to start showing even more appreciation. Furthermore, to express that appreciation that you have for everyone in your life more fully and consistently. To maybe catch yourself before you speak ill of someone and make sure that if you are going to spend your time feeling scornful of them, that you truly do not care whether or not they wake up the next day. Or you’ll regret that energy and sentiment for sure. It’s that serious. To make your own very short life worth more today than it was yesterday. Sounds cliche right? But it’s the truest thing ever said.

That, and the fact that sometimes, Death is indeed, the epitome of random.

This time, I’ll be at the funeral. Next to my nephews.

R.I.P. Fritz

*Zoloft Files Edition* Hot 16…Or More…ALL SAID AND DONE

For the Last Day of The Zoloft Files Volume 1 installments of Hot 16…Or More…,

I present you with my favorite song off of the Collection…

This song, much like this entire project, was a personal test. I wanted to see if I had it in me to really speak about the event of my own death. As we’ve learned from so many death-fixated artists, especially rappers…thoughts are things!

As a firm believer that one creates one’s own reality in a day-to day sense, I took issue with the idea of making a ‘if I should die’ song. But I was always impressed by guys like Biggie and 2Pac’s ability to paint that posthumous picture. And after I heard someone like Joe Buddden, who hasn’t even reached their level of hysteria or legend-hood, make a song like that, over Tony Toni Tone’s “Anniversary”, I knew I was going to do one of my own. I thought,  it’s a clever idea to leave behind a somewhat instructional how-to for the people in your life in the unforeseen instance of untimely passing.  And the subject matter fell right in line with the tone of this project.

Don’t think of this as a gloomy song at all. It’s a celebration of the life I plan to lead, as well as the life I’ve lead.

I also swore not to make another of these, so you might wanna download this mixtape now, save this and refer to this if anythings happens. And really listen to this cause this is REALLY how I want it to go down. If you know me, then you know me and my award show- watching ass likes things to be organized and classy. Don’t hood out my going out!!!

You’ll get one more of these kinds of songs, but only on an original beat on one of my critically acclaimed albums at some point in my career. That’s it!

And with that,  I give you verses 1 & 2. Let’s go…

“At my funeral,

please wear something Orange,

Carry me down the streets, like New Orleans.

Make sure you play All my favorite songs an,

alot of Stevie, lot of Bob, lot of Marvin,

Ya’ll know me – it’s gotta be alot of Pac mixed!

Cause Pac is the reason I put Heart in, what I spit – but Pac embodies how it all can,

END,

before it,

ever really started,

all that talkin’ bout Fate Callin…

So I made a promise:

Not to write about Death,

cause that’s how we lost some of the Best!

It’s true: Words are power,

and you are what you eat,

so I’m Louder!

And trade the sour for the sweet.

But right now I’m…

Constantly on the brink

Suddenly and quite Uncomfortably,

I wonder…

(‘what it means’)

When your body’s underneath,

can 6 feet measure how deep, a life is?

And life is so short,

find you never really had the time to go sort…

everything out…

So if I ever leave files of my unfinished work laying ’round

-mix everything down!

Remaster – better sound – rehash it, Put everything out – make mash-ups!

Please sell Malik out!

Til everybody catch up, and tell they peeps how:

I made classics

Big Lrepeat style…

…They just gettin’ lines from me right nowyears after!

…Be a household name…

Rather leave early, than live out old man

be in house,

old cane,

I V out old veins,

-can’t eat-walk-sleep-talk, without no pain!

I don’t want no nurses,

no house doctors,

if I’m in that much hurt!

I’ll put me out of my misery

And I pray that my child does, the same…

Pull the plug if it comes down ta

the choice

This might be the end for me physically,

– but with infamy – I’ll finally get to be,

with my dreams

And,

I made a promise not to write about life,

unless I made my own worthwhile

So here on Earth now

I’mma leave my imprint!

Carbon footprint from big steps

– Giant leaps…

Tryin’a be ahead of my time, cause when you’re further – you live on when you die…

(what it means)

That’s the 16 Million-dollar question,

guess it makes sense when it’s Peace that you Rest In.

So Please,

No Heaven, No Hell,

if you know best, then don’t tell!

– I mean Heaven would be dope!

But I don’t wanna believe it’s so,

Cause if I believe in Up!

I must believe in below

So I figure it evens out,

not to count on, one or another – and not discover…

I just hope it’s all Black! at the curtain call,

I don’t wanna go back! and reverse it all.

I know energy just circles and returns to source,

don’t reinvent me as a worm with more – dirt to crawl Through!

Just to end up on a fishing hook,

no!

Just re-incarnate a nigga’s books.

Donate my verses for research,

see the poetry between words – and then it should…

Show that in growth – it would seem,

I did Finally know what it means,

to find…”

Hope you learned something…

Click the picture of the mixtape cover to download it.

*Zoloft Files Edition* Hot 16…Or More…THE HILL

For todays Hot 16, I ‘d like to introduce you to a guy who’s not afraid of dying, but of getting old.

Iam an extreme example of the kind of poisonous Western thinking that celebrates youth and youth culture, making the old less and less important and significant in society.

My good friend TDJ (You know her), taught me so much in understanding her relationship with her grandmother before she passed. She would make weekly trips to visit her, she held and still holds her in such high esteem. Really, I believe she is the main reason why TDJ moved back here to begin with! TDJ’s bond with her Grandmother represents a reverence that’s all too gone and forgotten. I have so much admiration for those of my generation or any generation for that matter, who still have that acknowledgement and appreciation for those who came before.

I didn’t get that oppurtunity with one of my Grandmothers, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I spoke to the other.

I don’t have a fear of the old. I have a fear of my old. The lurking feeling of the inevitable fade out…

There’s something truly depressing and tragic about the promise of a time of deterioration.

To me, death is a much comfortable fate than living through the onset of it. Living a life without being able to move when, where and how you want is not living. Being ABLE. That’s the key word. I always wondered, why retirement is set at such a late age. I know people are living ALOT healthier these days, but what good is freedom when you can’t capitalize on it to the fullest? It’s like in The Shawshank Redemption when they let the old man free after so many years, and he didn’t know what to do with himself.

People listen to you less, you pee more, you become a job for your family. A liability on travels. A responsibility. It’s tough.

I know the approach and advice that everyone will give you is some old ‘life is beautiful in all of it’s stages’ spiel, or some ‘every season has it’s beginning and end‘ circle-of-life B.S., but there’s no way to pretty up the descent down that hill.

As a 20-something year old, the biggest event that my peers have been running from while preparing for is the loom of 30.

30 marks the end of irresponsibility and frivolous life choices. It’s the end of what many consider ‘the best years of your life’. To compound my fear of growing old with a mild fear of numbers is to say the least, the last thing I need, but it exists, still in all in the back of my mind. Especially considering the field Iam in. 27 is not the best entrance age. But all I can hope is that when I do it, I do it big! and I commit to living the healthiest life I can now, so I can continue to do so in those days closer to the last. A better 20’s means a better 80’s.

You hear that, Drinkers and Smokers?

We all gotta get there. Make yours as less painful as possible.

Here’s my take on reaching that Hill…

“Now there’s a Hill,

Invisible – yet and still,

that which you cannot see ain’t the same as that which you feel.

And when you get to that summit,

that plummet is very real,

– cause the view from up top shows how long you’ve got from now up until…

Or worse yet,

it shows just how far you have gotten – it’s ill,

-despicable mirror view – low down dirty rotten it kills,

spirits and breaks hearts,

send arctic type of chills – cause you thought you were way smarter,

the architecture that built,

your younger years was fra -gile…

Throwing away,

parts of that party life now it spills,

on to the late parts of your life

– off to a late start

– you ain’t make all the moves you promised since College – promised you will,

almost time to make plots, get insurance and write wills,

You in the same spot, ain’t no progress – your fate sealed,

situated hardly but waiting for all the thrills,

that went away,

probably blowing out in old wind – while we frozen – hopin’ our golden moments aren’t all over

The Hill

That hour glass ain’t slow,

but before it’s all up, you grow up.

We all gotta get old – but you gotta take control, cause that Hill is looking closer.

See How the days just go,

that hourglass ain’t slow,

but before it’s all up, you grow up.

We all gotta get old – but you gotta take control, cause that Hill is looking Closer…

They say 30’s the new 20,

why does it seem so ominous?

maybe cause it’s symbolic of all of the broken promise.

Or maybe cause it’s synonymous with all you ain’t accomplish,

all of the things you thought you’d a gotten by now – you plotted…

You jotted it down…

had a 5-year plan…

at 25 years – damn,

you’ve gotten wise – took stands.

Shook hands,

read The Secret,

Even read Think And Grow Rich,

so why’s the top of The Hill…the coldest peak?

– it’s like Everest,

and you can’t ever rest – you slowly sinking – I’m slowly thinking,

if 30’s like this – I don’t hope to see it!

I got, 3 mo’,

before 3-0,

– I can’t believe I’m, parading here,

tryin’a make a career, emceeing.

I mean,

at 18,

it was every cliche dream,

the skills’,

what I believed,

would take me to get a deal.

-Now I’m taking lunch breaks at 12 – Brown-bagging – bringing in meals,

seeing my life unravel between the tangerine’s peels…

And that’s just 30,

picture 40 and 50 yields…

a greater feeling of lament,

laying up watching reels,

of younger you,

wondering,

what became of your zeal,

– now just waking up is a task – pray the doctors say they can heal.

Cause now you gotta worry about a  whole new set of ills,

That ain’t exist 10 years ago – Superman complex’s surreal.

All aglow- it all can go,

it’s awesome tho – for all the growth,

that’s all to show for it- before you know it,

we all almost over The Hill…”

Hope you learned something.

Click the picture of the mixtape cover to download it. Stay Young at heart! Watch a cartoon today…

*Zoloft Files Edition* Hot 16..Or More…DEATH OF A SALESMAN

We’re gonna close out this day with the first installment of the special Hot 16…Or More section  that accompanies the release of  my new Mini-mixtape series, The Zoloft Files vols. 1 & 2

What I’ll be doing is picking my favorite or what I deem the most important parts of each song daily and highlighting them as we always do in this section. And here’s a video to accompany the whole kick off.

So it’s only appropriate that I kick it off with track 1 off of Volume 1,

the inspiration that lead me to even consider making an entire project full of my thoughts and woes, this is a statement on how I feel towards my place in the industry overall. It especially illustrates how I was feeling last summer when I wrote it after being repeatedly played by the bloggers and fellow rappers that I kept rubbing elbows with, running into and building quasi-relationships with.

And with that, I give you track 1 “Death Of  A Salesman” – Verse 2;

“It’s my turn to get on the Journalists – word it’s just my concern,

that this verse is probably gon’ burn a bridge…

What Bridge??!

I don’t know what the fuck is,

having some Press coverage,

cause knowing who I know, gets me nothing.

What’s in a name?

If everybody knows it,

but won’t give, you credit

– I feel so invisible, that it’s hopeless!

They don’t throw videos up,

or post clips,

what’s the point of paying for a domain, or site-hosting??

When my site don’t get Traffic,

they say I’m too passive with my marketing – picture that shit!

I’ve done it all from,

youtube commercials to advertising banners…

Mailings lists, throwing extravaganzas!

The Gatekeepers is Lames they gave Keyz ta,

– I hate to say it but, Fuck….!!

For playing me

– and all the Journalists who won’t respond when I reply,

-shit!

This is Death of a salesman, moment of silence

…Keep typing…”

Hope you learned something…

Download the whole mixtape that’s available exclusively on 16’sCandles by clicking on the Cover below.