DJ'S ARE THE BEST
I seent my man Wes a.k.a. Ya Momma's Favorite DJ, b.k.a. DJ Slim, f.k.a. DJ Body Slanga is having a birthday show in PCola at Chizuko's on 3/9/19 about 6 weeks ago, and I comment like, "Say mane, u gotta holla atcha boy for one of these in the future," on the Facebook page. I wasn't fully being serious, just expressing my intent in a passive kinda way. Then he hits me on the messenger like
I'm like shiiiiitt, whats gu?"
He was like, "You wit dat for the 9th?"
I replied. "Shiiiittt, it eeem much that serious, but yes indeed."
He says, "Already mane."
Me, "Say less."
All of that is me paraphrasing, but you get the point. Also a few weeks later, I get a text from my DJ telling me he's getting married the same day in NoLa. I'm like shiiiittt, NoLa is on the way, it's lit.
WHEN YOU GOTTA WEDDING AT 3, AND A RAP SHOW AT 8
Day of wedding, me & my Director of Function Mark Dub, Part Man/Part Thug, catch that slizzle to NoLa bout 1:30pm in the afternoon, pull up to the chapel at 3:00pm, just in time. For those who don't know, Go DJ Automatik is one of my best friends on the planet, and my original tour DJ since 2010. He was there when noone believed in me, traveling all over the south with me from Houston, to Jackson, to Birmingham, and all points in between. When he said he was getting married, I wasn't gonna miss this for the world.
Funny thing about it is, I don't own any dress clothes, nor do I own any dress shoes. I had a couple of button down Ralph Lauren pieces, even some chino pants, but no dress shoes. So I had to put on a collared Polo shirt with a Polo sweater with some Lo jeans, and my burnt orange high top Nike AF1's, hoping since he was my DJ and I was the rapper, it'd make sense with me being at the wedding dressed like that.
It worked lol.
We were able to attend the full wedding, spend about 30 mins in the reception, then slide out to Pensacola so we can check in to our hotel and be at the venue at doors. If I didn't tell you this, Manuel, I love you like a brother, and I'm so happy for you and Juana. This is the happiest I've ever seen you, and I pray you stay this happy forever. You're a great human being that's greatly enhanced my life, and I'm a better man for it!!!
We hall ass to P Cola, and check in about 7:15pm, mind you doors open at 8. Mane picture why my silly ass left my WHOLE LAPTOP and my WHOLE FLASH DRIVE with all my music on it!!!
Luckily for me I backed up some old show sets on another flash drive that was in my merch bag.
Only problem is, the hotel we at is renovating, and so there's no complimentary laptop or business center.
So we go round the corner to a hotel that has computers, I'm able to access my email and get all the songs I need for my show scraight.
So we finally get into the room, get changed, and now we off to the venue.
Chizuko's is a dope ass bar that that serves vegan food, and is owned my 2 ladies that are apart of the LBGTQ community. This is important to note because it's legit a safe space to share your truth, and no room for hatred & bigotry, and those sentiment is protected and respect by the staff and venue patrions. If you're Team MAGA, ur prolly not gonna be at Chizuko. If you are openminded and down to rock with people who may have different stories from you, you're gonna fit right in.
And their vegan food is delicious. I had a vegan chili dog, and that bih was rollin. Lowkey the best vegan dog I've ever had. In life. That was worth the trip right there alone.
As I set my merch up, there's a drummer going back & forth with DJ Slim, pretty dope. Then a full band plays, and it was pretty damn good. Next is the official Mayor of North West Florida, Big Lo. Big Low is an incredible emcee/producer/creative, and one of the hardest working indie/underground artists I know. Big dot. He's Kevin Bacon to us DIY touring artists. He rocks his set, now I'm up next.
TOO FOCUSED FOR MY OWN GOOD
If ya'll have been reading my #RapRecap's, you've heard some of my battle with diabetes, and how I changed my diet and excercise regimen, and I've lost mad weight. Before this, I hadn't performed at Chizuko since October '17, and I was wild out of shape then. Now I'm near 50 LBS down in the last 5 months, and in the best rapping shape I've been in ever, ever better than I was when I was 125 lbs lighter. I literally train to be the best emcee I can be, and I put alot of pressure on myself to be able to show & prove everytime I touch a stage.
All of this is going thru my head as I begin my acapella.
A drunk white guy is in the front of the stage talking loud as hell about youtube or some shit to Big Lo. I kinda joke about on the mic, and he doesn't get the hint until Lo kinda tells him I'm about to start.
First up is "Henry Clay," and it goes over well. I come out hot and I'm feeling my self. This record is 8 yrs old at his point, and it still rocks hard. I'm feeling myself.
Next is "Principles & Standards," my new record off my upcoming EP "4Tha CLTR" dropping in a week or so. This is my first time performing the record, so I'm nervous as hell, not 100% confident that I know all the words. I do, but that ol' bitch ass nigga on my shoulder is telling me I don't. If you listen to my music, you know I'm a conscious rapper, who rarely talks about myself, and I can honestly careless about other rappers, or the dreaded wack emcee. Also, if you've gotten into my music in the last 5 years, you know that as much as I love "boom bap" Hip-Hop, I haven't made music like this in a while, and alot of people don't know me for it. So basically this whole song got me out my comfort zone.
I get through about 8 bars of the first verse, and to my surprise, my bro Jamaal Steele knows everyword of a song that just dropped 2 weeks ago at the time. And he's so mf hype it throws me off, and I fall off. Fumbled like a mf. But the energy was good, so I had Wes run it back. We get thru the first verse, only to have everything I had planned in terms of crowd interaction for the hook not work.
Second verse begins, and I get about halfway thru the verse, still thinking about the mulligan I had to pull on the first verse, and the failed crowd participation on the hook, and I fall off again. This time I have Slim cut the track, and I kick the verse acapella. The crowd is feeling it, but I feel like shit.
I apologize to the crowd, big mistake #1, I'll explain later.
So now it's on my mind. I hit em with "Black God Fresh," it works. Being that the day was the 22 year anniversary of Big Poppa's death, and I'm the Southern Conscious Biggie Smalls, I couldn't let Christopher Latore down, so I had to redeem myself. I pull out "Hallelujah," and kill it. Now I'm wide awake, firing on all cylinders, but my 15 minutes are up. I ask can I do two more, and Slim and the whole crowd look at me like I was an asshole for thinking I was just gonna come and hit em with 4 songs and dip.
Bet that up.
So I kick a flawless rendition of "#FreeBLKPPL," and take everyone to church with "Cry Freedom." IMO, I won by one in overtime. I had to come back and hit a buzzer beater to keep my respeck.
NEVER BE TOO HUMBLE WHEN YOU'RE GREAT, ALWAYS LEARN
This next part I'm bout to right will be the realest shit I've ever blogged about. I'm writing this to fully let it all go once and for all. I'm not cutting any corners, so it may be long, but very honest and transpatent, so bear with me, please.
I posted my tour flyer for "4Tha CLTR" a few days before the show, and an dude named Stess The Emcee from Talahasee comments, asking will I be hitting Talahasee. I tell him no, and that I want to though, the convo then moves to the DM's, and we chop it up. Now, IDK how, but he and I have been friends on Facebook for a while. Though we'd never conversed, I knew enough about him to know he's an OG in the Talahasee scene, a radio personality, and a dope and acomplished emcee.
When I was eating my food, I see who I think is him, but wasn't sure it was him or not. Thought maybe I was trippin'. I even look online to see if he posted about coming to the show to make sure, but all I saw was a #TBT pic of a much younger him, and that didn't help at all lol. Once I started performing, he stood front & center and was rocking with me, and I kinda was convinced it was him. Then after my set, I saw him with DJ A To The L, and I knew it was him. So I go over to pay my respects.
We get to chopping it up, and he's telling me he's been a fan for a while. In my mind, I see him as an OG in his city, so I'm not really taking time to appreciate and digest him telling me he thought I was dope and loved my set as a fan of my work, I'm too busy telling him I didn't think I did that good, and I was upset with my self.
Context: Being a fat Black conscious rapper from Oklahoma fighting & battling for respect in Baton Rouge, Louisiana has made me a savvy tough as nails veteran, with a huge chip on his shoulder, and a sincere passion to win despite what naysayers have to say. These same battles I've fought and ultimately won have also given me PTSD. As much as I've never let naysayers stop me, I admit I have let them get to me. As long as I've been doing music, I've had motherfuckers tell me I wasn't dope. As much as I've perservered, it wasn't until this moment I realized that I've subconsciously allowed this to permeate my psyche. I've internalized my weaknesses/deficits as an emcee based on what other people have said about me, as opposed to being 1000% confident in my strengths & assets.
One of the reason I go out on the road so much is because I get more love there. When I go out on the road across the country, I'm the motherfucking man. In Baton Rouge, the place where I put so much time in as an artist and facilitator, I don't get a quarter of the the same affection. Imagine leaving your castle and being treated like royalty in other people's kindgoms, but come back to your own palace and they handle you like a pauper. What Stess said to me next, was the realest shit/advice a person I've only been talking to for 5 minutes every has told me in life.
Brother Stess stopped me mid pity party about what I felt was a bad set, and told me he didn't know me through our mutual friends, that he heard me on Hip-Hop DX or some other publication, and has been a big fan ever since. He told me he fucks with my music because it's dope as fuck, and my live set was crazy, and that noone woulda knew I fucked up if I didn't keep saying it. He in so many words told me I was ruining his moment of meeting someone he's been a fan of by crying about some shit that NDC about.
Mane, that shit hit me like a ton of bricks.
Because I've internalized the negative things people say about me, I often find myself trying to hop out in front of criticism by admitting some of the things I may lack dexterity in, more than I acknowledge all the great things I do as an artist. I'm my worst critic, and I'm really hard on myself, so I take it hard when I fuck up. Plus, I'm in the best rapping shape in my life, and I wanted to show Big Lo, Jamal, Slim, and all my other fans in Pensacola that all this hard work I've put in in the gym has paid off, and I felt like I let them down. I got some dope shit on the table, and I feel like I have to be flawless on stage to prove to myself I'm not who the haters say I am, when I'm already that fucking guy.
You can't see 'em comin' down eyes so I gotta let the blog cry...
At this moment, I shut the fuck up, and listened at this man who I've just met tell me the realest shit ever, and I am a better man for it. Fuck the country humble roll I play. Deep down, I'm still that fat rap nerd who studied all the rap video shows and read all the rap magazines in my parents living room in small town Oklahoma, dreaming of being apart of the culture. I wanted to be apart of the culture more than I cared what other people thought of me, even if I did let what they say bother me. I've worked very hard to get where I'm at, earned everything I have, and I have to enough skin in the game that proves I am what I am, and not what mf's in the peanut gallery who highkey can't fuck with me say I am. So with that said...
Nigga I'm dope.
I claim it, and fully intend to do all the work to be the best I can be, and earn/maintain being dope af. I'm currently working to exorcise all the negative things that I've allowed dwell in my psyche. Fuck ya'll niggas if you hating, I love you from the bottom of my heart if you love me.
Thank you Thomas. I know we just met, but I'll be forever greatful for our dialouge, and hope we can build more in the future. You may have just added 5 years to my career on accident lol.
Oh yeah, after all this, I go to the hotel to change shirts (I was mad sweaty) go throw some ones at Lookers, go eat Denny's and go get some sleep. Spring forwad bih.
Venue: 4.5/5. No real complaints. I love this spot and hope to play here often as possible
Crowd: 4/5. As much as I didn't like myset, the crowd did. I had sisters come tell me they been hearing about me, and people that I never met before singing my songs. Something I'm not used too, but should be.
Merch Sales: 4/5. Didn't sell any shirts, but sold mad CD's.
Sound: 5/5. Great.
3/23/19 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana