Thursday, July 13, 2017

My Era = Your Error

Encountered some old heads yesterday conversing about Hip Hop, so KNOW I had to intervene, as they name dropped emcees back in the days. THe older heads of course acknowledged Sugarhill Gang, & I expanded with Melle Mell & Whodini (to let em know I ain't that young.. lol). 

Young cat backed off the convo saying, I just love music. I think he was deflecting from having to defend this new school era. Understandable, cuz I hear a lot of criticism from older heads that ONLY followed music based on what the radio fed them. But I defended his era name dropping K-Dot, Joey Badass, Cole, Joyner Lucas, etc.

A cat I went to school with, he acknowledged the typical suspects from our teen/tween era,  top it off with BIG & 2Pac & other regional legends & rappers with radio play. I brought up Gang Starr, he was like, "who is that?" That's when he lost cool points & had to remind myself, "just because you're from my era doesn't mean you FROM my era." LMAO. 

Thank God I didn't bring up The Native Tongue, Boot Camp Clik, Hieroglyphics, Ras Kass, Juice Crew, BDP & other dope emcees in OUR era that didn't get radio play or his head might've exploded. lol. 

OTR, This is why I don't entertain BS about this or any others generation's music being garbage anymore, especially when a lot of us didn't embrace or appreciate our own when it was relevant.  We might share a time continuum of greatness, but many of y'all didn't embrace that greatness leaving me in solitude to soak it up in my headphones. 

Claiming we connect b/c of age is like old heads in their 60's & 70's talking about how THEIR generation marched for Civil Rights, when they individual did nothing. They problem put down the protesters & threw dirt on MLK's name for adultery or Malcolm for being Muslim. They probably called the law & snitched on protesters for petty stuff for all we know. But like I said earlier:  "just because you're from my era doesn't mean you FROM my era."

Not knocking anyone who's Hip Hop appreciation is limited to radio, b/c at one point even the biggest music collectors & fans were once just radio heads.  But to generalize a whole generation off the radio, but ignore others outside of it is killing the culture more than any media mainstream.  Stop accepting the narrative & BE the narrative.

#ImFromTheTrueSchool #MyMusicTasteIsAgeless

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Water The Odds?

Early this morning, I left my house to play handball in the park with an empty water bottle. I decide since I'm there, I'll fill up from the water fountain in the newly remodeled sitting area next to the tennis courts. As I'm taking a couple sips as I sit it down, I see the coloration of the water looks a little pissy yellow. So I'm worrying is THIS water coming out the filter of the fountain dirty or is it reflecting the colors surrounding it, because as I raise it up again, it looks very clear & clean.
Oh well.
I take it with me to play a full hour game of handball in the tennis court, taking a few sips (after 30 minutes into the game) b/c I'm still apprehensive, but at the same time thirsty. Overall, I didn't drink much of it, b/c I'm leaving for the gym afterwards where I know what I'm getting water-wise.
I get there ready to run on the treadmill & forget to change the water, until I get on the machine.  I sit my I-pod bumping CJ Fly (of Pro Era) on one side & my water bottle on the other. Once again, I notice the color is yellowish again. I'd already started running, so I just let it sit there until I was done. Afterwards, I'm drenched in sweat & thirsty as hell. But I refuse to drink this bottle, no matter how clear it's appearing when I lift it from the surface towards me.
I went to one of the fountains in the gym that I always frequent (it has the coldest, most refreshing taste), shake & poured out the previous liquid, rinsed it out & replaced with the water from that fountain. Rather than go to the next exercise, I decided to test & see if my eyes were playing tricks on me & took the water bottle BACK to where I had it sitting on the treadmill. In the words of Morgan from Walking Dead, "CLEAR."
The lesson learned, I'm never getting water from that park again. But at the same time, it makes me reflect and imagining what the ppl in Flint, MI have been going through for the past few years. It's not like they have the option to go to another fountain. Prayers still going to them.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Foolish & Tired

The beauty of being invisible, is that I can say whatever I want in this page & no one would read it. I can spaze out & no one would know. But when I want to be heard, it's crickets & tumbleweed. Sucks I can't have it both ways, but it is what it is.

This would be the first National Poetry Month of April that I'm deciding not to share or post anything. And it's not because of writer's block, b/c I have old writes I can use & edit. It's basically because I'm tired. Tired of feeling like I have to tag ppl to make them see my work after 6 years of sharing my writes daily.  Not including the years prior on MySpace where I was honored as "The Most Slept On Blogger." If cats haven't awaken by now, why the hell I'm still trying to shake them?

I question myself, but always get told I'm overthinking & that I should stick with it. I should write or publish a book.  It's hard to believe when someone can post a "word" & get more attention than shit I spent minutes, sometimes hours.. researching, writing, typing, editing & sharing & be lucky to get a "like." Hate to sound pessimistic, but a lifetime of sacrificing & loyalty to the wrong ppl have made me like this.  Who'd buy my book? My family's too busy waiting for a free copy (as a hook up). Cats on social media tell you what you want to hear to your face & talk slick behind your back, while being entertained by your rants. Hard enough getting Black folks (yeah I said it) to support a Black business & pay what my graphic design work is worth. Buying my book? Please.  Yeah. When I die, I'm sure it'll sell then. My fam would make a killing, while I had to live off my savings account to make it.

As a creative, I have a lot of topics I want to touch on with my writing. But I'm doing enough posting daily facts in one group, trying to step up my hustle as a freelance artist in another, being committed & playing admin in groups putting my all, & be lucky to get half back... making others look good, while I stay in the background.  I'm tired. Tired of working myself to the ground with nothing to show for it but some nice creations.

Well I'm glad to get that out my system. Time to pay some bills.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Talent & The Gift

The Talent & The Gift. The more I do this, the more I love creating. Just me, a pad & a pen (& occasional pencil). No rulers, no visual guides. No computer software needed. Just the pictures of ideas in my mind & my left hand. I realize that's a gift. Drawing is a talent of its own & it's something that can be taught & learned. But to reflect what's on your mind straight into the paper using shapes instead of letters. That's a gift. And I thank God for blessing me with it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Random. Stay Woke. But Gotta Nap on Occasion

In 2016 I didn't paint as many editorial illustrations as I would've liked, after such a rewarding 2015 where I got to rekindle that flame that burned inside me for years before a 9 to 5 robbed me of that luxury. Fortunately I collected enough sketches to conceptualized & rework for that year.
Although I didn't paint a lot in 2016, the first half of the year saw me slaughtering a lot of trees with a series of sketches & drawings I posted every Sunday (not included the other sketches in between.) In addition, I participated on sketching a different random thought every day in the month of October (called by other artists "Inktober.") The art posted above is one of those Inktober sketches I set to color.

The beauty of this was I originally wanted to create a 2016 calendar with my artwork where I got to showcase the new paintings done after being inspired by the projects I created for Rapper Big Pooh's "Words Paint Pictures" art & listening party. Unfortunately due to funds & connections, it was designed, but never left my external flash drive to be printed (among other self-made projects.)

It was cool considering most of the art created addressed a lot of issues involving the Black community, such as school to prison pipeline, racial profiling, high incarceration, Black lives matter, respectively. As a Black man, I am very passionate about those issues. But at the same time, it's frustrating, because at the same time I don't want to keep being the "angry Black man" with my pen or my art. Unfortunately, whenever I create and dwell on whatever's on my mental. And I worry about being labeled & put into that box as if all I do is Angry Black Art.  I don't even like being seen as just a Black artist doing Black art.  But can't deny that I am a Black Man. And after spending a 20 year career in newsprint media environment catering to predominately white clients & having to suppress my own thoughts, visions & identity, I can't ignore it when I step outside those cubicles that kept me mentally chained.

Thankfully, although I didn't get to print the 2016 calendar or got to colorize more artwork, I did get to become more intimate with my pad & treat it as if it was a pictorial diary & tap into other sides of me many rarely get to see, whether personal, comedic, emotional or just randomly being free with the pad. Sometimes we can be too woke, that we forget take naps when needed & then have fun at recess. You're no use to the cause when you're too tired to give your all.

Hopefully a 2018 Calendar will see a pressroom with some light art to go with the heavy content, even if it's just for my wall. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Weekly Digital Sketch

The first 3 are random sketches I did straight to digital accompanied by a background I designed a couple months back just for fun (on first 2).

The last one was originally a sketch I inked last year paying tribute to Black women during Women History Month. I decided to recreate & digitally paint it. Those familiar with my Facebook page, it was also one of my daily Sunday Sketches I was providing for the first half of 2016.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Believing When You're Not Seeing It. (Keep It Moving)

Some say it's a waste to continue working out if you're not seeing physical results. I have to disagree. As someone who's lost massive weight at one point, gained it back (luckily never exceeded my previous), plateaued & sea sawed my weight, I went through a phase that I felt working out was a waste, b/c I couldn't get my eating habits in check & felt I wasn't doing enough (due to reoccurring injuries which comes with age, improper workout procedures or wear & tear (twisted ankles, sore neck or lower back problems, pinched nerves, pulled hamstring, etc.)

Even though I was seeing the results, I definitely felt a difference when I stopped for about a month. There was a point I started having chest pains in the middle of the night & waking up to sharp pains, which triggered in stress & paranoia of heart problems.

We may not see the results outside, but you'll never know how helpful it could be internally. I'm not gonna criticize ones regimen, b/c it is common sense that in order for external change, you have to stay committed & work hard to achieve that goal. You have to step up your game, once you hit a certain plateau. But the LAST thing you want to do is stop, give up & give in to what your mirror's projecting.

I've slipped up big time when it comes to eating right (thinking of Krispy Kreme now, but I'm cool. lol). But though it might've restored the fat lost from running 3 miles or doing up hill sprints, those exercises might be the difference between having a stomach ache or having a heart attack. So regardless of personal goals or workout regime, don't give up on trying to improve yourself. #KeepItMoving

*No shots at anyone, just motivation for those actually trying.

Still Waiting, Jay Elect. Where You At?

I think it was around 2007 or 2008. I was sitting around my cubicle working on an intensive automotive ad for one of the dealerships in Macon. While my eyes are focused on the task in front of me, my ears were serenaded by the sounds of boom bap blended with the lyrical stylings of the emcee of my choosing on my I-Tunes traveling through my $15 headphones.

Suddenly I'm interrupted by a co-worker with a burned CD he made for me just off the strength that he knew I'd be one of the few who would appreciate it.  Although I never heard of this dude, Jay Electronica.

Rather than judge prematurely off thinking to myself, "his name sounds like the second coming Freedom Williams of C&C Music Factory" or being disinterested off the strength he's from New Orleans (automatically think of everything "Bling Bling" in gaudy, glittery, glossy album covers) I placed it in my computer to upload it to my library & give it a listen.

I was immediately blown away & disbelief that such a lyricist could come from the same birthplace as Master P, Lil' Wayne & Siilk the Shocker. (no shots, but come on!) His interpretation of Nas' classic, "The World Is Yours" made me an instant fan & couldn't wait for a real album to materialize to really show the new generation what Hip Hop Greatness really looks like without the gimmicks, trends and bullshit.  Just exceptional bar that were out of this world. I was proud when others got to "Exhibit" what I already knew.

But then year & year goes by. A random track or a cameo appearance rolls through. Newer faces in the culture entered to stake their claim battling for that number 1 spot or being future inductees in the legendary G.O.A.T conversations.

But where does that leave Jay Electronica? We just have to stay tune.

Friday, February 24, 2017

2017: 2 Months So Far

I gave up on following Resolutions years ago, and decided to just go with the flow as soon as improvement was in order. But this year was definitely an exception for many factors. 2016 was one of my most depressing years where I've had to take a long look at myself.

Not too long ago, I was a Graphic Designer in high demand at my place of employment and was thankful to see something I've always wanted to do as a child come in fruition. Unfortunately, life happened. My entire department was outsourced. Received unemployment. Got another Graphic Design job, but wasn't as respected as I was at my previous and had to deal with drama & unprofessionalism. Was eventually forced out. Went back to a previous employment where I did multiple jobs (more than expected) on prehistoric equipment and a boss who was a total douche using his position to bully his staff leading me to suffer from high blood pressure for the first time. So I quit to give freelancing a shot.  Living off my savings for the past 2 years, while getting a slew of potential clients hitting my inbox requesting freelance work.  But disappear, once I request a deposit to get started. Which leads to dealing with the realization I may have to leave the very thing I love & everything I worked so hard for behind me, just to give my savings a break.

But I still smile on social media & around family & friends during the day.  Meanwhile hiding the tears I shed at night & eating away my aggressions trying to drown out the suicidal urges that still haunt me. Fortunately, I'm stronger than I was prior & can openly acknowledge it & refuse to allow myself to give in. So no hotline numbers are needed at the moment.  Right now, instead of looking at death, I'm too busy working on a rebirth.

I've spent 19 years dealing with print media from newspapers to building magazine prototypes & even producing my own calendars. Although most of my artistry revolved around a computer (which is a huge plus), I'm still having to relearn the differences going from a print platform to a digital one. I'm back getting re-familiar with web designing. For the past 2 months, I've watched tutorials & learned editing & putting together videos for the first time.  I've even tapped back into doing animation. These I've never had the chance to do, but had a natural gift for.

In just this short span I'm loving 2017. Right now, instead of dwelling on where I used to be, I'm more focused on where I'm trying to go.  I may not know where I'm heading or where I may end up. Bot on the real, one place I can't go is BACK.  And that's a good thing.

I'm out (like my 2nd ever produced video below... I love it).

I'm Back

The Blogger's back after a hiatus so long I can't even remember the last time I actually type something that was either a comment, a poem or a storyline. Many might say I typed comments that read like blogs, because I had so much to say. And they maybe right. Hey. I went from celebrating 300 blogs in a 3 year period ranging from random rants (Is It Just Me), to celebrating music (I still do in certain groups), sharing Black History facts (I still do with Chronicles Unspoken page and group) and displaying my creative muscles through art (Phellahgraphics) and rhymes (FB Notes).

 On the real, I didn't think I would miss writing as much, because before blogging, I strictly wrote bars, hooks & complete songs to the instrumentals in my head. Plus I didn't think much of my writing, although some of the most respected writers, bloggers & poets were very encouragement & showed me love. Unfortunately, you can only be slept on so long til you doubt your own worth & go back to the thing that started you in the blog community in the first place: Bars, knowledge & Art. Saving potential blogging content for others & bless them with my own 2 cents on a respectful level, though I occasionally play the troll.. (only in a playful way to those I truly love & respect.)

 But with all that I've done, it's only made me more scatterbrained & less focus to a point, I've almost deleted my account on 2 separate occasions. And now with Twitter, Instagram, Snapshot, Google Plus.. it's becoming too much & I'm trying to do too much. And for what? A "Like"? Or some more random person wanting to talk business then bounce once I mention a deposit?

 I've made the Chronicles Unspoken page such a daily obligation that I can't leave my house or decide to stay offline without reminding myself, "man, you gotta post the facts for today." All of this to try to share as much information as much as possible to give the youth something I never received at a young age. But I'm thinking 2017 will be my last year posting daily facts on my regular timeline and other groups that cater to Black History & News. Thankfully I can still schedule dates 6 months in advance. So they'll still be posted on the page. But I can't continue to do this all on my own & I'm not going to. I can only do so much. But moving forward.

 Things were much more simple when MySpace was the be all end all, but unfortunately those days are done. Have to get you in where you fit in. So instead of trying to put things & their very own basket, I want to welcome "Phellah" back. And hopefully this won't be a wasted page... (although I've had this account for about 8 or 9 years but never used it.)