Monday, December 14, 2009
Overlooked, under-booked, overwhelmed, underpaid. These are The overs & unders of the "upcoming artist." The joy is in the journey. it must be, cause otherwise a lot of us would have fallen into oblivion yesterday or the day before it. I mean even Lauryn Hill who we've now immortalized got booed at the Apollo - she persisted tho and won them over at the end- as a young teenager. So who are we mere mortals to be discouraged when we meet roadblocks.
Granted I've been very very fortunate to have been very well received since my debut record in '07 and had some really great opportunities come my way ever since... but ladies and gentlemen of the jury, there's lotsa bumps on this road. Brushes with opportunists, janky promoters, bills, false promises, redundant collaborations, snaky middle-men, frustrations with music outlets and media, non-musical businessmen at the helms of power, a lack of capital capital capital! etc. without enjoying the journey many of these factors can be dream-killers and unnerving.
everything in good time tho'... everything. And its amazing how some total strangers become the strongest allies and supporters without asking for a dime eh. i love it.
Reason I'm having this retrospective? I'll be speaking to students of the High School for Recording Artists (HSRA) in Saint Paul this Wednesday about my journey and how I'm utilizing social media in my journey as an artist. Had me thinking of the good, the bad, and the fugly of the journey. to be uncompromising sometimes is necessary on this journey, hence why i made a song like "Pardon me" on the birds and the beats.
woe to them that are picking up this artistic journey for the wrong reasons; ye shall experience shock and awe. But not to worry, everything in good time... everything.
PS: i despise the term "upcoming artist" anyway. when does one stop upcoming and just be? when you make your first millie? do tell.
Monday, December 7, 2009
The idiosyncrasies of a brilliant mind are rarely met with warm embraces. Somehow we've thought it normal to mock the peculiar ways of the gifted amongst us. Its amusing and its human chale. And it should be comforting to the rest of us 'normal' Joe earthlings that its okay when our moments of brilliance are met with giggles. Einstein probably suffered that every day.
Van Gogh died broke, Galileo was prosecuted and convicted for defending Copernicus' challenge of geocentrism when he suggested that the earth goes around the sun (not vice versa), and somehow i bet you the guy that came up with the idea to build a spaceship was more steve urkel than stefan urkool.
Its okay to be brilliant and to do all those little funny things that somehow allow genius to reside in you. If you murmur to yourself on long promenades every day, keep doing it. If you're like my friend kubolor and your bare your soles daily keep doing it. If you're Lauryn Hill and you want to strum your guitar and sing brilliant painful poems unplugged, do it. Hopefully i can medicate myself with this advise in the moments i need it most
the burden of genius? That would be ridicule.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but damn originality should count for much more, no? culturebully.com asked me to participate in something that had me retrospecting with amusement on the many "hot" trends that came and disappeared quicker than vanilla ice's career. remember crunk? remember hyphy? remember the sped-up chip-munk soul sound? remember rims? platinum jewelry? autotune is damn near on its deathbed. the featuring-lil-wayne trend is still booming thanks to dwyane's prolific output and intriguing personality.
the irony in all of it is that, a lot of these trends are intrinsically original, and the locals/natives that organically came up with it deserve mucho kudos. But immediately an idea gets a glimpse of the spotlight and catches fire, a zillion imitators and another zillion so-called devout followers emerge out of the blue. monkey see monkey do.
i can't wait till the "get-an-african-doing-tribal-raps-on-your-tracks" becomes the in-thing. we'll milk that cow for every penny the short-sighted music business folks will offer. amen.
africa-man-original - mr tribal raps
brilliant song and well executed video. doesn't hurt that one of the best voices in R&B Stokely Williams of Mint Condition, does some simple but madddd effective back up vocals. Peace to Brother Ali, Peace to Mint Condition, Peace Twin cities! Ali's Album US is out now. go gadget go get it.