Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Marcel P. Black #RapRecap #17 (5/11/19 in Atlanta, Georgia)

A-TOWN STOMP...

For once, I have a show with no drama. I can come rap, make new fans, sell merch, get paid and go home. Mark was with me, and as always, he made the trip much easier. We left Baton Rouge the day before the show, crashing at his friends house in Lithonia. Wake up the day of the show and I have a long ass conversation with my manager, before we finally decide to get food. We go to a TGI Fridays, and though the service was kinda wack, the food was good af. After we pay our tab, we head back to the crib, change clothes, and head to the venue.

Pull Up

The venue was Gallery 992, a Black owned coffe shop/cafe that doubles as DIY space for artists to throw events. The event is called "Music & A Meal" and it's put on my big homie Quanstar, with the assistance of Evaready Raw & Mighty Mo Betta. All of these brothers are transplants from Compton, The Bronx, and Cleveland respectively, who moved to ATL for school and better occupational opportunities. They all are men in their 40's who still travel both domestic and abroad doing Hip-Hop music, still performing high energy sets like their are 20 years their junior. The event is catered to adults who still love Hip-Hop. People in their 40's & up who are married with kids, got full time careers and responsibilities, but never go to any of the Hip-Hop shows in ATL because it's a bunch of young punks in their 20's wildin' for respeck. Quan had an idea of making a night for those people who still love the music, but never really go out to shows because they've aged out the community. 

 LET THE SPIRIT MOVE YOU

Quan is also a chef & an all around jack of all trades, he so came up with the idea to have vegan pastries infused with alcohol. You can come see a dope Hip-Hop concert for grown folks and have all you can eat vegan pastries full of that yeah? Yes indeed. I'm sober and a diabetic, so I asked for the healthy cookies, and Quan obliged me by making me a full container of vegan/gluten free oatmeal raisin cookies. And mane where them MF's were delicious!!!

 TOO GROWN?

So I'm looking at this crowd, and most of them are early 40's and up, and there were alot of Black women who looked like they could be my mom's friends or my aunties. Like grown ass Black women. Me being a country boy, I feel unsure if they will respond to my "Fuck Donald Trump" chants, and quite frankly, I felt uncomfortable cursing in front of women I would naturally say yes and no ma'm too and hold doors for when we are entering or exiting establishments.

Because I was raised right.

I ask Quanstar will they respond, and he says, "Yeah, they gonna fuck with you fam."

DO WORK.

Once Quan reassures me I'll do fine, I remember that he knows exactly what I do, and that's why he brought me here. After Moe's set, DJ Coach K spins a few records, and Evaready introduces me. I go into my intro, and I get a lil' house on the "never pledged Kappa" line. When that happens I know the crowd will fwm, so it's lit. I start off with " Principles & Standards," and out the corner of my eye I see this brother taller and wider than me with his hands up goin' ham. The crowd is really rocking with me off rip, and it only intensifies when I hit em with "Henry Clay." A boom bap record that samples KRS One, and has chants from KRS and NWA really worked in front of this crowd that were prolly teenagners when these guys were poppin'. 


Next is "Hallelujah," the song I was uncomfortable with performing due to the "Fuck Donald Trump," chant, but when I prefaced the song and asked them could I do it, I got a resounding "YES!!!" One sister who looked like she could be the head of HR at a successful Black owned company even said, "Yeah, fuck that nigga."

Indeed.

So I go into "Hallelujah," and the very women who I thought I w boulde offended by my profane language had their middle fingers up saying fuck you to ya'll's POTUS. I start preaching at the end talking about the kids who are being raped, molested, and murdered after they've "detained" a.k.a. put in concentration camps, separated form their parents because they are trying to get asylum at the border. Because they were intelligent grown ups, they gave me Amens, and it felt great lol.



Now it's time for "#FreeBLKPPL," and once again, when that beat drops, all the brothers start noding and putting their hands in the air. The whole night the crowd has been receptive to all my call & responses and requests to put their hands up. After "#FreeBLKPPL," I kick my "quest to find religion" acapella, and ask the crowd to make prayer hands and bow their heads, and they oblige. I launch into "Stare & Whisper" and this DIY space filled with 40+ somethings full of alcoholic desserts turns into a church service. The song ends and I head to my merch table to slang something. I get to my table, and the first customer, a 40+ y/o Black woman, comes up and asks, "Where's the CD with that fuck Donald Trump on it?" I slang "Seven" to her. 

GOOD TIMES

Overall it was avery good show, with good people who do good business. I have no complaints, outside of that got damn Atlanta traffic. Shit. 

RATINGS:

Venue: 4/5. Dope. No real complaints.

Crowd: 4/5. They were older so I don't expect them to stand in front the stage all night, but come on mane. The did give me house on call & response and have their hands in the air everytime I asked tho.

Sound: 4.5/5. No complaints.

Merch: 3.5/5. Mane, my ppl in ATL ain't shop with me like talkin' bout.

Next show: 5/24/19 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma                                                  




Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Marcel P. Black #RapRecap #16 (4/27/19 in Charlottesville, Virginia)

BAG BACK...

Illadope and I wake up wild early so we can get my bag back. Thank God I was able to get shirts made in Roanoke and slang something, but this festival is the original reason for this whole trip. I am a co-headliner along with some underground Hip-Hop legends, and I'm being promoted as such. It's been 6 months since I've been to Charlottesville, and I made I huge impression. I strategically released the video to "Hallelujah" the Monday before I left for this show, because the video is contains footage from the bullshit Unite The Right Rally shot in Charlottesville, and was shot on location in Charlottesville by a videographer from Charlottesville. My guy Cullen a.k.a Fellow Man was the consumate host last time, and is a huge supportor of what I do. So it was imperative that I have merch, because I had a great feeling that people would shop with me.

We check out of our nice ass hotel, then catch 3 hours slab to Richmond where my bags were supposed to be after traveling God knows where with out me for the last 2.5 days. Mind you, we have to drive through Charlottesville to get to Richmond, as Richmond is a full hour and fifteen minutes past where the festival is located. I literally slept the whole way, till Illa wakes me up as we pull up in the terminal. I walk into terminal, and see my bag, and damn near break into a praise dance. The guy tells me the bag JUST got there, and that I have impeccable timing. 

I sign the papers, we head back to the hotel. We decided to just get a room in Richmond instead of Charlottesville since I fly out of Richmond the next day. The festival was slated to end at 8pm, so an 85 min ride back to the room wouldn't be so bad. 

GOOD VIBES FINALLY...

For once, everything is going right. We park, head over to the tent where the festival is taking place outside of a brewery. I see my OG Cesar Comanche, my road dawg Ghost Dog, and the great A.D. Carson, a Professor that teaches Hip-Hop at UVA. He was the guy who successfully presented his dissertation in form of a Hip-Hop mixtape. An all around bad brother. I run down to them the hell I've been through the last few days, and FINALLY set up my full merch display next to Cesar & Ghost's.

COME SHOP WITH ME

Mane, it's like people were waiting on me to set up my table. I made a quick $100 as soon as I set my table up. Alot of people remembered me from last time, some said they first heard of me from the video, from that wanted to see me live.  The "Real Emcees Dont Rap Over Vocals" tees were a hit! I only had limited amouts, and sold all but one asap at the festival. 

I WANNA ROCK RIGHT NOW!!!

My call time was 5:40pm, It's about 5:30pm, and the last act before me is finishing up. Illadope mans his position at the tables, and the host, my dog Remy St. Lacroix (a terrible dominoes player lol) announces a whole nother act. Both Illa and I look silly af getting all pumped up for a false start lol. Apparently someone had missed their performance spot earlier, so they went on before me, which actually worked out for me in the end because it gave me more time to hydrate, study the crowd, get my mental together. 

Finally, the act before me finishes, after rapping over entirely too many vocals, and Cullen starts to bring me up. He gives this epic announcement, people make noise, but noone moves to front. Illadope tells the crowd that we will not start the music until people crowd the front, and a few people move, but not many. Cullen is looking like, "Mane, we ain't got time for all that shit..." And I get it. They gotta be outta there by a certain time, after all this is on a Sunday evening, and this is an outdoor event. There were probally 250 outside, alot of people were sitting out side of the tent, but there werent' that many under it. I'm a veteran emcee who has the hunger of a rookie. I'll never stop needing to feel the need to earn my keep, so fuck it, I'm not gonna wait on them to move to the front, I'm going to make them move to the front.

IT'S THE MICROPHONE CHECKA...

I tell Illa to run the record, and hop immediately into "#CultureOverEverything." It's a rough ass start for 2 reasons, this is show #3 in 3 days, a night after inhaling wild tobacco smoke from Roanoke, so my voice is dry af. Also, Illa got the gotdamn BPM up high as it can go lol!!!! So I'm rapping this song wayyyyy faster than it should go, barely getting the bars off, at least that's how I felt. I've been working out hardbody to make sure I don't be getting winded, but a nigga ain't plan for this shit mane. 

Finally the hook comes, and I tell Illa to slow that bitch back down, and he does, and I finally find my groove. The crowd could tell too, because they no longer see me struggling to keep up, and kinda settle in once they figure out this fat Black ass nigga finna do this Hip-Hop shit. I get the crowd on my side with the "Culture Over Everything" chants, then cut the record to talk for a second so I can catch my damn breath. I begin to introduce "Principles & Standards," tell Illa to drop it, and he drops "Henry Clay" instead. Instead of correcting him, we play it off, and I rock the fuck out that bitch. Around this time, I see Wordsworth walking in the back of the crowd, and while people are talking to him, it seems I've peaked his interest, now I really gotta cut up. So I put more energy and animation into my voice, inclement hoarseness be damned, because I'll be damned if I don't rep in front of a legend.

The call & response aspects of the record go well with the hardcore ass boom bap ass beat, and now I've gained my wind back, finally finding my full groove, lowkey feeling myself. "Principles & Standards" comes on, and I'm batting a thousand. The crowd is filling up the front, heads are nodding, a few white women are dancing, and now they got they hands up when I direct them side to side. They really fucked with the "Real Emcees Dont Rap Over Vocals" chant, even the niggas before me who rapping over vocals said it. 

That's when you know you a dog.

SHOULD I, OR NAH?

In the group chat before the show, Cullen tells us to keep it PG-13. I ask him can I say "Fuck Donald Trump." Cullen knows what I do, that's why he brought me here. However, the whole night, Remy is telling people to watch their language. So now it's time for "Hallelujah," and I tell the crowd my dilemma. I ask Cullen again, from the stage, and he's out of fucks to give at this point, and gives me his blessing. For once, I wasn't apprehensive of saying it due to backlash from Deplorables, I was apprehensive because there were children out there. After all, it was an all ages show. As a father, I would love to take my kids to more rap shows, but I can't always be sure that the language will be appropriate so I don't. So we come to compromise, I will do a radio edit version of the record, sans the words "fuck" & "bitch." Instead of "Fuck Donald Trump" I said "Eff Donald Trump," and the crowd loved it. 

I still called Richard Spencer a "cracker" though. 

The crowd is with me full tilt, I'm really on my shit. All call & responses are loud af, and mad middle fingers are in the air. Next is "FreeBLKPPL" comes on, and when the beat drops, I see the brothers in the corner start grooving a bit. I run through it flawlessly, and end with "Cry Freedom." Mane, I soul'ed out with this one. I put all the anxiety, frustration, annoyances, inconconveniences, etc. into this last song, and I feel it really went well with the crowd. I left it all on stage. 

This was our first run of shows togther as Illadope being my official tour DJ, and though we had a lot of hiccups, I feel like we finally gelled as emcee & DJ by the end of the set. I hop off stage, and people flock to my merch table, and shop like a mf. I mean I sold ALOT of shirts, cd's and USB's, nearly double of what my performance fee was. Cullen Cash App's me my bread, and it's super lit.

AN APPROACHING LEGEND APROACHING A LEGEND

So it turns out that I end up sharing a merch table with Wordsworth. After my table slows down, I introduce myself, and he immediatley tells me my set was dope. I tell him that I've been a fan for 20 years, since before the Lyricist Lounge show aired on MTV, I got all the eMC albums, and I'm looking forward to "Champion Sounds." I love Hip-Hop so much, I still see guys like this through the lense of a 13 year old rap nerd who watches all things Hip-Hop on whatever station Viacom had playing rap music. Still that teenager who had subscriptions to Blaze, XXL, and the Source. Still that Okayplayer, Word Of South, All Hip-Hop, & SOHH.com guy at heart. I often have a hard time hiding my fanboyism when I meet rappers I admire, because I love Hip-Hop THAT MUCH, and I'm super greatful to be apart of the culture. 

So for him to tell me I had a dope set, meant sooooo much to me. But what he said next got me. When I told him I was a 20 fan, he told me, "After seeing you perform, I'm a fan now..."

*sheds #ThugTear...

Ya'll know what I been going through in 2019 as it pertains to self esteem and self worth as an emcee. I've been open about my insecurities as a rapper, as a businessman, my space in Hip-Hop culture period. Mr. Wordsworth doesn't know how much those words meant to me. We exhange contact info, he autograph's "Champion Sounds" for me (I got it damn near a month before it comes out, and that bih slap), I give him a USB of "The Black Experience." Of course I inquire about us working in the future, and we'll just see how that turns out.

I'll end it there.Thank you to Charlottesville, the good people at Rugged Arts, and the 9 Pillars Hip-Hop Festival for having me. Here's a few pics from the day...





RATINGS:

Venue: 5/5. Outside stage under a dope ass tent. 0 complaints.

Crowd: 5/5. Once Illadope & I got cookin', it was super lit. 

Sound: 5/5. Crisp af. 

Merch: 10/5. Top 3 merch sales days of all time for. I made alot of money. Thank you for shopping C'Ville.

Next Show: 5/11/19 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Marcel P. Black #RapRecap #15 (4/27/19 in Roanoake, Virginia)

TRYINNA GET THIS BAG


So if you've been reading, you know the North Carolina show was a disaster. Illadope and I waited around in North Carolina the next day as long as we could on the bags, but never gotta call from RDU. Finally I talked to someone and they said my bags were in freakin' Baltimore. Damn you Stringer Bell. I arranged to have them dropped off in Richmond the following day, so we can get them before the Charlottesville show. Which leaves me without merch. Again.

AN AFRICAN NIGGA NAMED PRECIOUS

Before I get into the "Search for Merch," lemme tell you how a mf tried to use my name, and THIS SHOW, to scam someone. 8 days before the show, the homie 9th Scientist from Little Rock texts me asking me do I know a nigga named Precious. A Nigerian nigga named Prescious, at that.

No, I don't know any Naija niggas named Precious, for the record.

9th tells me that Precious has a "management company," and offers his "services" in which you pay him $500, he will book you shows with a mininum of $2500. Then he sends 9th a flyer of a show that I'm playing with Poe Mack in Roanoke, kinda leading him to believe he booked the show. He told him he knows me from doing a show in Memphis.

Precious know he a Nigerian ass lie.



Precious round here tryinna use MY GOOD NAME to scam people who he didn't realize was my people. Apart of me is flattered that they think I'm worthy of being scam bait, I can't front. But fuck that. I have a sterling repuation in these indie/underground screets. So I tagged Prescious scamming ass on Facebook, and went live calling him out, only him out, on for him to block me. Ya'll know I love Mother Africa, my bro Joe is Nigerian, but this nigga must be kin to the Nigerians Jussie run with or something. I mean I hate that they gotta be Nigerian too, living up to that Nigerian scam artist stereotype, but shit mane. 

THE SEARCH FOR MERCH

Maybe Precious flim flam ass cursed this trip since I blasted him. Who knows? Anyones, back to the merch bag. So yeah, IDK when it's coming back in, and though Poe Mack got the hookup on the room (sans bed bugs) and I have a decent guarantee, I really can't afford to go another night with no merch. So like clockwork, Alfred calls me to check on the show, and I run everything down that happened in NC, as well as the bag situation. He suggests I make up a tour flyer, go to Kinkos and print them out to sell as autographed posters for $10. Not a bad idea. I tell Illadope, and he says we should go find a mall and see if they have a t-shirt printing stand and see if we can finessse something. I look up Fed Ex/Kinkos prices, and they were too expensive, so tees from the middle of the mall it is.

We go to one mall, and they don't have anything left there (this is the Cortana of Roanoke), let alone a tee printing place. So we ask a guy at a sports paraphanelia shop, and he sends us to the "good" mall. We finally get there and find the stand. Illadope asked me do I have cash, I say no, but I can throw him back via cash app. Luckily he has a slice (a $100 bill) on deck, and waits till the brother comes to the front. He tells the bald headed Black mane that we are on tour and our merch bag got lost, and we're tryinna get somethig for the night. He he says we're down to our last $100, and that we need to make something shake. He asks Moses Madome how many shirts we can get for $100 cash, and Oval Headenbacher stops to think for a second, waits for the two white ladies to leave, and says 10 for $100. 

Mind you, these tees are $15.99 a piece before taxes, so Heady Murphy is really giving us a deal. Illadope slides him the slizzle, and Tommy Strawn tells us that it'll take 2 hours to print, and that he'll give us a call when they're ready. We go get food at Buffalo Wild Wings in the mall, do some light shoe shopping, and finally Bald Revere calls us and tells us the shirts ready. Illadope designed the shirts on his laptop, it reads "Real Emcees Dont Rap Over Vocals."


FRESH BREWED

So, we get the tees, and head back to the hotel. Had a bout 2 hours to chill before it was time to head to the venue. We pull up ot the Coffee Pot right at 9pm. Alfred told me that they was kinda racist the last time he came, but I don't care. I've been thru so much bullshit this rip, I'm ready and willing to enage in fisticuffs is someone wants to fight. We go in, and see the homies Quanstar, Evaready Raw, and Might Moe Better, as well as Poe Mack. I'm running the stories of the last 2 days to Quanstar and guess who walks in....

THE CRAZY/SLIGHTLY RACIST WHITE WOMAN!!!!

WHAT IN THE SUPER DUPER FUCK!!! 

IS SHE A DAMN STALKER TOO!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I try my hardest not to make eye contact with her, but I do on accident. She walks over and says hey, and I give her the coldest shoulder I can imagine. I don't have time for this right now.

STIR IT UIP

I order a burger, and mane was that bitch delicious. 

That ain't got shit to do with this, but I just felt that I should mention.

The show starts with Prop Joe going first, and he worked as hard as he could, but the crowd was not going. He was hopping off stage and standing on chairs and everything, but the crowd was either just standing on the side or sitting down in their seats. I'm like bruhhhh. This finna be rough.

Next is Quan, Raw, and Moe. They are seasoned performers, who will perform like they are in front of a packed stadium regardless of the crowd. Quan always performs barefoot, and always gives 1000%. I'm really impressed because he was in a terrible car accident in January, and has been nursing himself back to health, going to physical therapy and all, and was still hopping his shoeless ass around like nothing was wrong. gotta respeck that. They finally broke the crowd, but they had to work.

I WANT/DON'T WAN'T ALL THE SMOKE

This venue is an old fashioned road house. The regular crowd is mostly rough & tumble redneck bikers, cowboys, and all other types of white men who love a good bar room brawl, as well as the women who love them. And Virginia hasn't caught up to the rest of the country as it pertains to smoking inside of venues, so them mf's was puffin' all the tobacco in the venue, including by the stage. I asked Poe should I do "Hallelujah," and he said it may be a problem, but he was down to ride if a deplorable wanted plex. Still I'm debating should I do it or not. The inside by the stage had several Black people, it was the bar I was worried about. They look like the type of white folks that barely tolerate niggas. Illadope plays dead prez as he brings me to see how people will react, and the room was indifferent.

*Kanye (before he sold us out) shrug...

I start off with my acapella, and got light love. Then I hit em with "Bad Man," and it took a second for them to warm up. They really didn't know what to expect. Half way thru the song, a group of people in the front all seem to light up cigs at the same damn time. Then Poe Mack walks in front the stage with a lit Black N Mild. I get a good gulf of that cancerous air, and feel my throat burning. Remember this is the first gotdamn song, so I know I gotta nip this shit in the bud asap.

Before I begin "Black God Fresh," I tell the crowd I am not accustomed to the smoke in the venue, and asked them could they refrain from blowing the smoke towards the stage. They were cool about it. The song begins, and the crowd got into it pretty quick, to my surprise. I inform the crowd we're about to go into the "backpack rap" portion of the show, then go into "Principles & Standards," which goes over just a tad above decent. All of the rappers in the room like it, the casual fans were indifferent. 

I feel my voice going out because of the smoke, so I take a longer sip of water before "Henry Clay," because I'ma need all the voice I can for the Charlottesville show the next day. I make a conscious effort to dial back my voice a bit, choosing to over exaggerate my movements to sell the the songs, and it worked. "Henry Clay" goes very well, to the point where I look at Illadope and ask, "Should I do it?"

He nods yeah, and I tell the story of the song, honest with them about my reservations. I also tell them I'm with THIS type of smoke if there's an issue. I do my courtesy ask can I say "Fuck Donald Trump," to a resounding yes, surprisingly. Mane I go into it, and it goes off like gang busters. I'm finally moving on all cylinders, so "#FreeBLKPPL" was easy. I end on "Stare & Whisper," going all the way to church, and the crowd went with me. I go to my table, and this white guy with a bikers denim vest meets me at the table to buy 2 shirts to tell me how he likes how I "spoke the fucking truth," and to "never worry about offending these fucking fascist motherfuckers."

Duly noted. 

ILLADOPE VS. CRAZY/SLIGHTLY RASCIT WHITE WOMEN

I sell enough shirts to cover what I spent making them immediately. There's more rappers for the night, but that's not interesting. What is interesting is how the Crazy/Slightly Racist White Woman is now apparently a stalker. 

While we're sitting by my merch table, she asks him to come to her table and talk to him. He tells her with a blank face, "No." 

He comes out the bathroom, she asks to come talk to her, he says, "No."

She walks up to the DJ booth WHILE HE'S SPINNING and asks him to talk to her. he says, "No." 

Those are just the times I saw with my own eyes. Before we leave, she comes to our table, and says, "It was nice to meet you" to Illadope, and "It's nice to see you again," to me.

Get Out!!!

Bu bu but wait it gets worse!!! After I break down my merch table, settle up with Poe Mack, and dap Quan & crew up, we head towards the exit only to see this pregnant white lady behind the bar who had been drinking and smoking cigs all night saying "nigga" like Trinidad James on "All Gold Everything." Me & Illadope look at each other like, "Is this real life?" 

Hop in the rental, stop by the store for water, head back to the hotel for rest. We gotta get up earlier than normal so we can get my bags in Richmond (a 3 hour ride) by 12:45pm, and be back in Charlotesville by 3:30pm (an hour away from Richmond). We made it out alive, and no, Precious' ass was not there.

RATINGS:

Venue: 3.5/5. The performance area was pretty decent, the venue staff pretty nice. Taking off points for the smoke and the white lady saying "nigga" with reckless abandon.

Crowd: 3.5/5. They rocked with me, but I couldn't really get them to put their hands up, to stand up, or to come to the stage. They appreciated what I did, as I do feel I converted them towards the end, but they were a li'l more chill that I prefer.

Sound: 4/5. No real complaints. 

Merch: 4/5. I sold enough shirts to make what I spend back, so I'm happy.

Next show: 4/28/19 in Charlottesville, Virginia.













Friday, May 3, 2019

#BlackThoughtsRadio Podcast S2:E11 "5 Things That Make Your Live Performance Better" by Marcel P. Black

In this episode, I begin with why being a good performer is important for artists, then break down 5 different things that will make your live show better, including:

1. Research
2. Rehearsing
3. Exercise/Diet
4. Sobriety
5. Don't Rap Over Vocals



marcelpblack.com
Twitter: @marcelpblack
Facebook: Marcel P. Black
Instagram: @marcelpblack

Marcel P. Black #RapRecap #13 (4/19/19 in Lafayette, Louisiana)

BACK TO THE FLATS

Mane, it wasn't until I finished #14, that I realized I skipped #13. My bad thug.

If you know me, you know I've had a bone to pick with Lafayette for bout 6 months, every since my show got cancelled the day of due to my content. That's right. At 4:30pm the day of the show, the promoter called me and said that the show would be cancelled because the city recently passed an ordinance that said that couldn't be no "vulgar political language at open air venues." I've never heard of this ordinance nor have any other Lafeyette locals. I'm not sure what to believe. Apart of me thinks they racist and ain't wanna nigga saying "Fuck Donald Trump" in they building. 

The same day I went on a Facebook rant on my live, and one of the owners got at me following day saying he would call me to apologize and explain what happened, maybe even book me again. Well none of that shit happened, AND I didn't get my bread. 

Pist.

Lafayette was one of the first out of town scenes I made a name in in the beginning of my performance career. I would be out there so much getting so much love they started calling me Marcel P. Flats. As my name grew, the people who booked me stop doing shows, the new kids didn't know me, so I went from doing Laffy 10 times a year to going years with out playing there at all. So when I go the call from the promoter to actually do a show 45 mins from my crib (something that never happens), I was super happy. When it got cancelled I had a super duper sour taste in my mouth about the entire scene out there. I leave and rhyme all over the country and get paid well to do it, but South Louisiana don't fuck with me like that, and I'll never understand why.

Anyhow, one day my guy Myron aka Lucid Dreams of thestreetcorner hit me talking about something else, and the convo evolved into him bringing me to Laffy to headline a show. He made an offer, I made a counter offer, I accepted. It's lit.

TREAT ME RIGHT

Mane, the venue was one of the nicest venues I've played in years, period. They were super hospitable treating me like a celebrity the whole night. I had a crazy green room with waters and towels ready for me. The waitress popped me off wit the wifi code promptly. The venue staff even helped me and Keith Cooper of Blerd-Ish set up our merch tables. I NEVER get this type of treatment in Louisiana, in fact it's arguably the best I've ever been handled. Like I was legit legit treated like a headliner, and at first I was kinda nervous, and even intimidated. If they think I'm this dope, am I this dope? Can I live up to what they think I am? 

Then I thought to myself, "Nigga, you train for this everyday. You will be ok. Nigga."

OLD MAN BLACK

thestreetcorner are about 10 yrs younger than me, and the venue is downtown Lafayette on a Friday. Mf's is talking about the first act going on at 10:30pm. Mind you it's only 3 acts the whole night, why TF are we starting so late? But hey, it is what it is. I go to the green room and chill after the merch table is decent and in order, charge my phone up, zone out.

BEAR WITH US

The first act up is Bear and His Forest Friends. Hands down the most interesting rap act I've ever seen. A 4 piece live band lead by Bear Gritty on lead guitar and vovals, with a Crow and Raven on the guitars, and a Fox on the drums. You know how I rap about what it's like about being a Black man in America tryinna educate and empower people, well bear raps and sings about the same thing. Except it's speaking from the vantage point of being a Bear in the forest tryinna make the woods better. 

Fascinating. 

The Crowd is slowly picking up, I go back to the green room to get some water.

 STREETS IS HERE

Next up is thestreetcorner, a Black and white Hip-Hop act based in Lafayette, who make Def Jux/Rhymesayers style rap. Super spitfire all over the beat lyrics, socially conscious content. Their shows are always interesting because they don't sound like anyone else I know in the Boot, and don't give a fuck about it. I'm glad they went before me, becaue they set the tone with their radical ass content, so I ain't gotta come outta nowhere with it.

THE MARATHON CONTINUES

Ya'll know all I wear is Polo, but I had to bust out my Crenshaw beanie and tee for Nip. I start off with the acapella intro, it goes well, Then into "#CultureOverEverything," which thestreetcorner appreciate because they are Fade The Flow Sundays Alumni. Full disclosure, I had a few fumbles with the song, so when Principles and Standards" came on I had to be flawless. And it was. 

Next was "Henry Clay," and this was where I really started cooking. The most of the crowd was younger, but I was surprised they got the BDP and NWA references. Before I got too militant, I had fun with "Black God Fresh," which went well with the younger crowd.

Now it's time for the "conterversial" song that got my show cancelled, "Hallelujah." I preface the song, explaining what happened last time, informing them that I was gonna do it this time. The crowd was with it. I think they musta already knew the history, because the venue staff was even saying "Fuck Donald Trump," and the crowd was mad loud with it. Either that, or they don't fuck with Donald Trump fareal fareal.

TOO DAMN LIT

I got thru the song that got me canceled just 6 months ago, and I'm really happy bout it. Oh yeah, while the song was going on a drunk ass white girl comes from nohwere and starts repping her ass off, knocking over one of the Blerd-Ish book racks, and kept on reppin' like it never happened. After the song ended I told her to go pick that shit up and buy something. She did, no harm no foul lol.

"FreeBLKPPL" goes well, now I'm in full stride, bout to bring her home. I opt to end with "Stare & Whisper" for no other reason than the fact that I felt like it. The song is going very well, then the strangest thing happens; as I'm ending this song about using Black spirituality during war against these pigs in the streets, the drunk ass white girl and her homie drunk ass white girl #2 comes and starts grinding on each other on the floor. DAWG #1 was tootin' it up and throwin' that thang back on DAWG #2, literally while I'm saying a prayer to God to protect me in these streets doing his work via song. I ask for a handclap to the beat on the end of the song, and ended up giving her a handclap because she was backin' that azz up like Terius Gray was on stage. 

Song ends, I go to the merch table and people really shopped with me. I'd be a liar to say that the venue was packed. But the people who were there were supposed to be there, and I made sure I gave them a damn good time. THIS is what it's all about. My beef with Laffy is now 100% done. 

I lied, eff that venue who held they nuts on me.

*I normally don't do this, but the venue was so dope, I'ma drop some pictures of it.




Ratings:

Venue: 5/5. A-1. Great sound, great staff, very welcoming. I WILL be coming back when my LP drops.

Crowd: 4.5. Live and receptive af. Only taking a half point off because I wish there were about 30 more people there.

Merch: 5/5. They shopped yeah. It was a good to my pockets.

Sound: 5.5. Crisp af.

My next show is 4/26/19 in Greensboro, North Carolina.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Marcel P. Black #RapRecap #14 (4/26/19 in Greensboro, North Carolina)

RAISE UP

If you know me, you know Phonte Coleman is one of my favorite rappers. I am a die hard Tigallo fan, and the first time I got to perform in his hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina last November meant a lot to me. No he wasn't there, but that's how much I Stan him. Well this rip was nothing Stan. At all. 

Lemme run it down.

My flight is supposed to leave at 12:15pm, and get to Raleigh/Durham airport at 5:55pm. From there my new tour DJ, Illadope (also the tour DJ from Clear Soul Forces) was to pick me up, we check into the room, and go to the show. Well when I get up at 8:00am to get my notes done for the day, I also check my email and see that at 3:34am that morning, Southwest sent something saying that my flight has been canceled.

WTF.

Just as I began to panic, I see another email saying that my flight had been rebooked, and is now leaving at 1:15pm, but I wouldn't get to RDU until 9:55pm. Crisis aborted, so I thought at the time. I mean, the doors were supposed to open at 9:30 PM, after I get my bags, I can get to Greensboro in an hour, check into the room, and be at the venue for 11. It's a Friday night, this is a college town, so the likelihood of the show starting on time and me being too late to rock was slim. Right?

Mane.

TOE UP

So I get on the plane, 'Lo tee, 'Lo camo sweatshorts, 'Lo thong sandals, un-pedicured toes out all in my spledor. Sit in the front of the plane, go scr8 to sleep. Layed over in STL for 4 hours, then back on the plane to Raleigh. I get to the baggage claim, and I only see one of my bags, the Nautica one with all my clothes. I pick it up, and wait on my merch bag, a gray and black Nike duffle. Out the corner of my eye I see what I think is my bag, until a white teen whom I assume to be a high school baseball player picks it up and hits the exit. I wasn't sure if it was my bag or not, so I waited until the end, and when it didn't come I went outside in hopes of seeing him and ask him to look into the bag just in case it wasn't his. By the time I go outside, he's gone, but I see Illa Dope, so I throw the bag I do have into the rental, and go back inside to see what's up.

I get to the baggage claim counter and they say the bag may have gotten lost in St. Louis, and they didn't know where tf it was. So I had to file a claim, and they told me that if it comes in on the 1:00am flight, that they will deliver it to my hotel. It's already 10:45pm, and there's nothing else I can do but go check into the hotel so that I'll have a place for them to deliver it too. Illa Dope and I catch up as we slab to Greensboro, finally pulling up to the room and checking in about a quarter till midnight.

BLACK AF

When I'm not wearing Polo, I'm prolly dripped out in a Black owned clothing company that I found on the 'Gram. I've been had the Black Panthers snapback by Free Breakfast Program since last summer, but now I got the tee and the hoodie to match. So we get to the venue, New York Pizza, and it really looks like a bodega spot where you can get a slice in Brooklyn. I'm dressed in a black hoodie, Polo camo denim jeans, and my grapefruit AF1 high's, lowkey like Panther Proud (only my real #RapRehab heads will get that). I walk in, no merch to boot, and there's only like 10 people inside, at 12:30am. 

Finna be one of "those" nights.

I'm an underground rapper, so hey this is my reality. They can't all be great shows. At the time there was a white kid rapping, who actually wasn't bad, but nobody gave a fuck. I knew it was gonna be a wild night when my nigga Prop Joe who was the host/DJ for the night hilariously shouted me out, and made a call for Poe Mack, the homie who booked me, to come the the DJ booth WHILE the white kid was performimg. No respect lmao. As I wait to check in with Poe, I introduce Illa to Joe, and then go sit in the corner. This is when shit just went all the way fucking left.

JUST LEAVE ME ALONE

If you know me, you know I'm friendly and easy going. You also know, that If I don't wanna be bothered, I don't wanna be bothered. I know I'm Marcel P. Black, and I need to be accessible, but I'd been traveling all damn day, I lost my bag with thousands of dollars of merch in it, now I have to rap in front of 10 people who don't give a fuck about rappers. I really wanted to go back to the room, but Poe is my nigga, and I'm a stand up guy. With that said, I wanted to be left TF alone until I rap, so I can get my money and go get some rest.

Enter "Crazy/Slightly Racist White Woman."

I'm minding all of my own gotdamn business, and this heavy set white lady with reddish brown hair comes and taps me on the shoulder starts asking those "are you cool bro" questions that white people ask they they aren't sure if they should be afraid of you or not, but don't have the sense to leave you tf alone, because minding their own gotdamn business is apparently too much to ask.

I'm getting mad just thinking bout it lol.

C/SRWW: Excuse me, can I ask you a personal question?

Me: ...... I guess, wassup?

C/SRWW: So I see you're wearing the Black Panther stuff. Are you wearing it because you want equality for all people to get fucked up equally?

Me: What? What makes you ask me that?

C/SRWW: Well you know, some people think the Black Panthers were extreme like Malcolm X.

Me: What did Malcolm X do that was so extreme? Do think Malcolm X was extreme?

C/SRWW: Well you know, some people think Black Panthers are the same thing as the KKK?

Me: Do YOU think the BPP and the KKK are the same thing? And why are you asking me this again?

C/SRWW: Well you know, you're wearing the Black Panther stuff, which I don't have a problem with, but some people say it's like wearing a Confedarate flag, which is fine, becaues I don't think the flag is racist.

Me: *taken aback.... First off, don't ever slander Malcolm X, or falsely equivocate the BPP to the KKK again. Secondly, you don't think the Confederacy was racist, or the flag that they flew represented racism? They literally went to war to make sure Black people like me remained slaves...

C/SRWW: Well they were just fighting for the southern way, and it's just a flag.

Me: You mean keeping human beings as chattel in chains? Yeah, I'm gonna stop this right here. Have a nice night.

C/SRWW: No we don't have to stop...

Me: Yeah we do, I'm finna rap. Have a nice night.

At this point I had ran outta time, I was hungry, pissed that I didn't know where the hell my merch back was, and tired. I just didn't have anymore time for her passive aggressive/quasi-racist bullshit. 

AND my flash drive with all my music was in the merch bag so I had to find a set from another show I'd sent to another DJ in my gmail account. As soon as I walked in, I knew this wasn't a "Hip-Hop head" crowd, as it was a bunch of hood rap niggas and they old ladies, as well as a Crazy/Slightly Racist White Woman, that I learned is lowkey a stalker. More on that later.

PUSHIN' THRU...

I tell Poe I'm ready to go on, so I can get this show on the road. Joe introduces me, I do the intro, and them niggas look at me like, oh, this nigga finna rap, but still wasn't too interested. I go in to "#CultureOverEverything," and people just look at me. Next there's "Principles & Standards," and they liven up just a little bit, but I couldn't get much crowd participation, especially on the "real emcees don't rap over vocals" call & response. I later found out why, most of the niggas in the crowd where rappers who rapped over vocals.

Go figure. 

"Black God Fresh" is up third, and now the crowd is finally rocking with me. See, if I had my flash drive with all my music, I woulda called an audible the moment I pulled up and saw this is more of a hood crowd than "Hip-Hop crowd." They fuck with the beat, the hook, and the "Southern Conscious Biggie Smalls" line. Now it's time for "FreeBLKPPL" which surprisingly got them going when the beat dropped. The crowd all kinda stopped drinking/eating and nodded they heads. When I finished the beat, a few of the rappers told me to run the beat back so they can freestyle over it. I had to explain to them that that ain't no mixtape beat, that that was a whole song that's been released and published for damn near two years, DURING MY SET.

Oh yeah, the Crazy/Slightly Racist White Woman left during the song, I guess asking for Black people ot be free is triggering for a Confedarate apologist. And I don't give a good damn one bit.

I try to preface "Hallelujah," and when I ask the crowd can I say "Fuck Donald Trump," these niggas look at me like I asked them to allow R. Kelly to babysit their pre-teen daugher. Mind you these are hood niggas, who are scared to slander this racist POTUS. One sister, who was actually quite fine, said "Nah you don't need to say that, Make America Great Again."

What in the Kanye Omari West is goin' on here?

When I ask what was the area code, they said "336," and started shouting out Vice Lord sets.

I def gotta get tf outta here mane.

I do "Hallelujah," to the worst fan fare ever, and get hell off stage. I go get some pizza, that was quite delicous, get my money, and we head back to the room, not before stopping to get some water so I don't cramp up from being dehydrated and fatigued. 

BUGGIN' OUT

Just when I thought I had the worst show day in a while, when I didn't think my experience couldn't get any worse, Baymont Inn said "hold my beer." I've stayed in ALOT of hotels around the country. Some nice af if provided, the bag is right, or I catch a nice deal, some have been kinda trash, but never have I experienced this. 

I take a shower to get the days funk off my back both literally and figuritively, and all seems to be getting better. The room is pretty nice for the price I paid, the bed is soft, that's all a nigga care about at this point. Mane picture why Illa Dope wakes me up at 5:45am while I'm sleep af and tells me he's about to sleep in the truck because he's being bitten by bed bugs.

BED BUGS NIGGA!!!

What in the hell is happening to me, and why?

I immediately call the front desk and tell them what's going on while Illadope hops in the shower, and I began shaking all my clothes out while the mane at the front desk is tryinna find a new room for us. He eventually calls us back, we put out bags in the rental, and go back to the new room for a few hours of sleep at 6:00am till checkout at 11:00am. We check the new room for bugs, don't see none, and go to sleep.

IT AIN'T OVER

We finally wake up, head to front counter to check out, and guess who tf I see.

THE CRAZY/SLIGHTLY RACIST WHITE WOMAN CHECKING OUT TOO!!!

Greensboro REFUSES to not act right on this day. I see her and pretend she doesn't exist, because if she comes with that bullshit again, I'ma let her have it. She doesn't say anything and walks out the hotel. When I get to the front desk I ask had anyone called about my bags, and the lady says no. She said if they woulda came she woulda called the room, and I told her I was just making sure, because we had to switch rooms because niggas was getting snacked on by bed bugs. 

When I said it, she immediately made a note, and refunded my money, because I was gonna cut up if I had to pay for the room. We go get something to eat at Biscuitville, and begin our trek to Roanoke, Virginia, where the craziness with Crazy/Slightly Racist White Women awaits us. I know shit could be worse, and having these negative experiences builds character, but damn mane. I also wanna say, none of this if Poe Mack's fault, and I'm very thankful that he gave me the opportunity to rock when he didn't have too. I had a bad day, and shit kept compiling to the point it became a wash.

RATINGS:

Venue: 3/5. Actually not a bad space for a underground rap show. No stage, and just not lit.

Crowd: 3/5. They weren't terrible, they were just weird.

Merch: 0/5. MF's ain't have nann.

Sound: 2/5. Lowkey trash.

Next show: 4/27/19 in Roanoke, Virginia





Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Marcel P. Black #RapRecap #12 (4/10/19 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

HOME IS WHERE THE ANXIETY IS...

From 2010 to the end of 2013, I don't know how many shows I did in Baton Rouge, but I did alot. First I was going to every open mic possible, then when I started putting on shows, I was booking at least once a month. I was just as active in the city as a facilitator as a rapper, so if I wasn't performing, I was hosting. Oversaturating myself like a MF. 

Mid 2013, I started doing more shows with bigger names. Between March and August of that year I opened for acts such as Nappy Roots, Big Sant, SL Jones, Mickey Facts, Slum Village, Mobb Deep (R.I.P. Prodigy), and the most important one of them all, Run The Jewels. One day I'll tell that full story, but the important piece that's relevant here is that Killer Mike told me on our ride back to the hotel that I need to expand regionally, specifically expanding throughout the Gulf States. 

So I did. From there on out it was all about Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Georgia, even up in the Mid-South in Tennessee for the next 3.5 years. Because I'd booked so many out of town acts I was able to call in favors in different scenes, and build my name in the region. I only came home to do bigger shows, in which I'd bring the bigger named homies down to BR to rock. I wasn't really performing with the local artists in BR much, because I didn't book it myself, or the bag wasn't right, I was passing. 

Not much has changed in those regards.

But those Hip-Hop Is Alive at the Spanish Moon where well attended, at first. It seems the bigger I got regionally and nationally, the less the local scene supported me. Now this also has alot to do with music venues, and Baton Rouge being segregated in terms of where fans go to watch shows. I make underground/conscious Hip-Hop, ironically my biggest fanbase in BR has always been white college-aged males. I created fanbase doing all those shows, killing stages at Spanish Moon, NorthGate Tavern aka The Library, and Chelseas. All of those venues are gone, forcing me to book places outside of the LSU area, where my fanbase doesn't follow me. Now I'm hoping all of these rappers who I give game/oppurtunities to will come out and support the OG (their words, not mine), but they don't. 

This gives me a level of anxiety I don't feel anywhere else in the country, because people in Baton Rouge see I travel all over getting paid to perform, but there's not alot of people pulling up when I come at home. This is for alot of different reasons, but it's not because they don't know what I have going on. Again that's whole nother convo. But the pressure of living up to the "legend of Marcel P. Black" weighs a bit on my psyche, when I come back home and get the feeling that some of the same people I empower are looking for a way to discredit me. 

All of this is going through my mind as I walk into the Magnolia Theater on Baton Rouge Community College's campus after returning back from a successful 3 day trip to Atlanta, Birmingham, and Memphis where I was treated like royalty. 

A MIXED BAG. OF EMOTIONS...

Donney Rose, one of my closest friends and a person who was the original person to give me a shot, is one of the best writers/poets/teaching artists/and poets in Baton Rouge. Period. Big dot. He was selected to be a Kennedy Fellow for the 2018-2019 season, and was this years first ever Artist In Residence for BRCC's Spring Arts Fest. When he called me to do it, it was a no brainer. When he told me I was gonna be the first ever Hip-Hop act this festival has ever booked. I was honored. When he told me bout how big the bag was, I started Milly Rockin'. I'm often on the road, and I never get to do shows at home where the bag is right, and be home with my wife by bed time in the same night. AND I only live like 5 minutes away from campus. So I'm super hype about it. 

I walk in to the venue and see Donney runnin it with the host for the night, comedian Tony King Is Funny. Sole Lab BR done broke diet to go get some Canes around the corner, so I just set up my merch, and chill till he comes back.
LET'S DO THIS

I started my career promoting shows with Donney in the last third of his event promotion career via his company Soul By Demand. Donney taught me how to book, promote, host, and manage shows. I've been real good friends and business partners with him for nearly 15 years, so I can read his emotions. He's kinda disappointed at the lack of turnout for a FREE show on a college campus with 5 of the most talented artists in the top of their field in Baton Rouge. He mentions something to me that I won't repeat, but all the excitement I had for the show has now turned to anxiety and self doubt.

If you've been reading my blogs this year, you know this has been a theme for me. Most rappers lie like they stay A-1 all the time, but I'ma keep it one thou-wow, as the kids say. 

Solelab gets back, I give him the music, shortly after the show starts.

THE SHOW MUST GO ON

The theature seats 400 people, there's maybe 30 there. Most of the people there are there with their professors for a class assignment. My wife and kids walk in as Tony is doing a short set before the first act goes up, and Tony makes a joke about them being late, not knowing she's my wife. My country ass East Side of Ardmore ass wife loudly says her name when Tony asks her, and she loudly says she's "The Wife Of Marcel P. Black," like I was some dignitary lol. IDK if Tony just respects me that much, or if he didn't have time, but he laughed it off and kept it moving, but my wife had time. 

You can take a nigga outta Ardmore, but you can't take the Ardmore out of an Ardmore nigga.

Brittany Marshall, one of the top youth poets in the state goes up, and she kills it. I asked Donney was it a clean show, he said no. But since I knew my kids were gonna be there, I opted to keep my set clean. Well Brittany has no kids, and don't care about kicking her ballistics in the most beautifully profane way possible. Both my kids had ears muffs on.

They'll live.

Next is Donney, who runs through several poems, getting alot of applause and snaps, because he's that god damned good. We're a little ahead of schedule, so now Tony does another set, now it's my time.

FIGHTING FOR MY RESPECK

Now it's my turn. Oh yeah, even though it's not a clean show, Donney asked that I don't do "Hallelujah," better known as "Fuck Donald Trump." He was responsible for getting me this large bag, and I ain't tryinna fumble shit, so I agreed not to do it. Plus my kids were in the crowd. But I decided to do the Blackest songs I had to make up for it. Also, the auditorium is perfect for a play or a jazz concert, but not for a Hip-Hop show. There were no monitors on stage, and no soundman, so all the music was echoing off the wall with a delay, but the mics were mad loud. I was afraid I was gonna sound off beat to the crowd because I'm hearing the music late. So as I got into "PPL 1st" I had to watch my wife nod her head up and down like a metronome to keep time. I truly didn't know if I was on beat or not till it came to the call & response, which the crowd surprisingly engaged me in. 

Now that some of the nerves were out, I go into "Live My Love," one of my favorite records ever, but the bass on my show mix is super duper big, so big that it drowns out the drums during the verse if you don't have a soundman who's working the boards. Once again I depend on my wife and the call & response during the hook to gauge if I'm on time or not. The crowd, who are mostly students there for a class (not necessarily Hip-Hop heads) are being really nice to me. And I'm appreciative. After all, I'm a 6'4 400 lbs Black guy wearing all Polo rapping about Black Empowerment on a Wednesday night during their normal class time. 

Funny right?

I explain "Henry Clay," and THIS is the song that gets everyone involved, surprisngly. There were some older ladies in the crowd, white and Black, who recognized the KRS One sample and were rocking with me. All the call & responses went well, hands were in the air. Now I feel like I'm giving a li'l work. "FreeBLKPPL" comes on, and for the first time I feel like the walls are down between this casual crowd of students and my Black ass raps. And it hit different when you rap about the fear of dying young so you can't be there for your family, and you're family is in the room. I finally touched their souls all the way, it just took me the 4th out of 5 songs to do it.

Last is "Cry Freedom." Now we're cooking with grease. I feel good now, muscle memory is taking over, the crowd has successfully been converted. I run through the first verse and hook with ease, heading into the home stretch on the last verse of the night....

Then my motherfucking mic cuts off.

But I'm a pro. I really do this. Like Brutus.

Sole Lab tries to fix it, and can't so he turns the music down low eventually off all the way, as I power through and project my voice as loud as I can from the depths of my soul. Members of the audience start clapping for me, applauding my performance, how I didn't stop, just kept rapping, determined to give folk this work. Now it's time for the last hook, and I have the crowd giving me a handclap, saying "Freedom" as I ask them what we want, need, and fight for. I finish my set to applause from the audience, making me feel like I am indeed, that nigga. Show over.

RATINGS:

Venue: 5/5. I mean it's a theater on a nice ass college campus.

Crowd: 3/5. They didn't know who I was, and didn't care. I can say whatever fan I gained I earned the old fashioned way. Taking off points for lack of turnout tho.

Merch: 3/5. I didn't sell much, maybe 5 items. The people who did shop were cool tho.

Sound: 2/5. Y'all gotta get stage monitors mane. Period.

Next Show: 4/19/19 in Lafayette, Louisiana