He was yet another brother gone too soon. What some people are forgetting is his humanity. By his family’s account, he was a man who meant so much to so many people. He was somebody’s uncle, son, brother and friend, etc. His death leaves a gaping hole in their lives. And what about his own dreams and goals? He will never achieve them.
Do not let the media desensitize you. Do not let America normalize murder for you. Black lives truly matter. Every innocent black man murdered by the police is a tragedy of monumental proportions. George Floyd could easily still be here. That officer had over 9 mins to take his knee off his neck.
Kaepernick tried kneeling. It’s time for all of us to take a stand whether we’re black, white, yellow or brown, etc. This is not just a black issue. It’s a human rights issue. The killing of innocent black men must stop because when it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us, no matter who we are. RIP George Floyd. You will be dearly missed. I pray your death doesn’t go in vain.
THIS WAS THE WORST DJ WEEKEND OF MY LIFE, although you can’t tell from the pictures.
Saturday and Sunday August 17-18th, 2019. I’ll never forget it. I still have nightmares. Saturday I DJ’d for Malcolm Miller’s meet and greet with the NBA championship trophy he won for playing for the Toronto Raptors. First of all, I arrived late, which I almost never do, and, on top of that, my DJ software wouldn’t work so after more than half an hour of no music trying to fix it, I decided to play off iTunes, which had terrible sound quality. I basically ruined the event. Letting the crowd and my clients down felt like losing my soul or the sixth circle of Hell. I still feel terrible. I apologized profusely but I had no time to dwell on it because I had to catch a flight to Seattle for a big festival performance with Royce Castro. Before I made it to the airport I scurried to Panera down the street to use their Wifi and I fixed the software issue.
When I arrived in Seattle, things went smoothly at first. I met Royce at the hotel and we rehearsed and everything went perfectly. We were optimistic about the our performance at Hemfest the next day. This festival was a big deal. It was about supporting Cannabis business and culture. There were about 100,000 people in attendance. We were set to perform at the second stage, which had hundreds of people in the crowd. The only problem is when I got on stage and turned on my laptop, its hard drive crashed. We didn’t get to perform. I can not articulate the depths of sorrow and anger me and Royce felt over this. We had flown across the country for that performance, put in hours of practice and promoted the event on social media. This was my first show with Royce and I felt I really had let him down. I went to the airport and contemplated whether or not I should even DJ at all any more.
But, I didn’t quit. Much time has passed and I have had many successful gigs since then. I have DJ’d several times at the top silent party in the city at Lucky Strike, plus Heist Lounge and MK Lounge, all top spots in DC. Plus, I got picked up by one of the best DJ companies in the DMV, Extraordinary Entertainment. My artist Born I scored 2 million plays on Spotify last year and we’re set to drop our mixtape this year. So, we might go on tour. Once this coronavirus pandemic passes, my future looks bright.
I’ve had time to think about things and I’ve learned a few lessons. One is to have a backup laptop. I don’t have one yet but I’m saving up for one. Another one is to have a small back up MP3 player to play music off of as a fail safe for performances with artists. But, the greatest lesson is not to beat myself up after a failure. Michael Jordan said he “failed over and over again and that is why he succeeds.” The most important thing is that you take the shot. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. There are so many examples of people failing on their rise to success. Imagine if I had quit DJing. I would have never experienced all the joy I’ve felt since then, exercising one of my passions. And, worse, I would be wondering “What if?” for the rest of my life. I couldn’t live with that. So, I’ll keep reaching for the stars and, if I’m lucky, I might land on the moon. And, now, I appreciate it way more when things go smoothly without technical difficulties. That terrible weekend made me stronger. Luckily, I’m still on good terms with the Miller family and Royce Castro so hopefully I can make it up to them one day. And, lastly, you can fix bad equipment but you can’t fix a bad DJ! So, I’m good!
I’ve always existed,
part of the Universe,
a ripple in the pond of time.
We are all God.
We just must assert our godliness.
The same energy flows through all of us.
Somehow, we must live
this bodily experience
though we are spirits by nature.
Therein lies the conflict:
We were born to die.
Yet, we are immortal.
by Thomas Agbonyitor
I know a man who’s an island
I’m floating right here
In an empty sea of frost bitten darkness
A black hole
Sucking in space
Destroying stars around me
What’s the theory of relativity
When boomerangs don’t come back?
I’d love to play catch
But people can’t throw
Or no one wants to throw to me
Feelings are the devil
They swirl in a caldron of pain
That is my entity
Paint me a picture
Write me a symphony
They all come out the same
Say you understand
But we could never feel the same
Probably because I’m insane
Writing/Writhing in pain
With no one to blame
If you could feel me
I probably wouldn’t like that
I’m Mona Lisa
On the Louvre wall
Don’t touch of the art!
We long to capture the beauty
To be the admirer, painter and subject
All at once
Would be divine
Running through and out of
Space and time
Everything is sublime
Wherefore art thou Juliet?
I long for the day we met
And lay in serene serendipity
Neither swallowing poison
Musings from my muse
Would be salvation
As Salvator Mundi
I finally see
By Thomas Agbonyitor
Jesus Christ is God
He has many believers
No one has seen him
By Thomas Agbonyitor
Ode to Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
I walked the winter street.
I inhaled oxygen
and exhaled relief.
My soul ran out of breath.
The moon and the cold night air
gave me CPR.
The moist air
cuddled me like a blanket.
It quelled my insecurities.
It was therapy for my fears.
Will I make it?
Time will tell.
Oh, the certainty and fairness of time!
For, now I work.
Love is my labor.
My passions run deep
I’m in charge of the rhythm of the night.
I keep the heartbeat of the streets.
I long for the day
to walk not this trail,
but a path in step with the Lord,
on my own accord,
a fully realized me.
These woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But, I have to fulfill my dreams.
And miles before I finally breathe,
And miles before I finally breathe.
By Thomas Agbonyitor
The 2010’s was an eclectic decade of good music. As a hip-hop DJ, I’ll assert that mainstream rap took a turn for the worst, a la Post Malone and Lil’ Uzi, but the best of the best, a la Kendrick and J. Cole, still put out sterling projects. Overall, music production evolved beautifully, while some went new age, like KAYTRANADA, and others kept it more acoustic, like D’Angelo, in his classic fashion, others went back to the future like Calvin Harris and A Tribe Called Quest. Drug rap is a dying art, but Pusha T kept it pumping in vintage fashion. Beyonce was Beyonce and SZA burst onto the scene with freshness. Chris Brown opened up his broken heart and Jay-Z and Kanye made sure we kept our eyes on the throne. Anderson .Paak grooved us and Kanye took us to a fantastical world, musically and in the press, as we all know, unless deprived of the internet.
We lost two of hip-hop’s greatest artists of all time in Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller. I’m friends with one of Mac’s DJ’s, DJ Money, and I met Mac several times. It’s not hype. It’s true. Mac was a pure and kindhearted soul. May he Rest In Peace. And Nipsey is in the real nigga hall of fame. His music still gives me inspiration and motivation. He’s the only artist I can put on shuffle in Apple Music and just let play. May their music and souls vibrate from the Heavens forever. And, surely, all of these albums will vibrate to the cosmos for decades to come.
I just can’t wait until my artist Born I and I drop our mixtape. No hype. Just wait. He was actually the inspiration for this list because he posted on Facebook that he co-signed Billboard’s selection of Kanye’s MBDTF as the best album of the decade. Clearly, I disagree. But, that’s what lists are for. Here’s mine. Enjoy. I challenge you to make your own.
1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
2. Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces vol. 1 (2017)
3. KAYTRANADA – 99.9% (2016)
4. Anderson .Paak – Malibu (2016)
5. Pusha T – Daytona (2018)
6. SZA – Ctrl (2017)
7. D’Angelo and the Vanguard – Black Messiah (2014)
8. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service (2016)
9. Chris Brown – Heartbreak on a Full Moon (2017)
10. Beyonce – Beyonce (2013)
11. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne (2011)
12. J. Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only (2016)
13. Nipsey Hussle – Victory Lap (2018)
14. Mac Miller – Swimming (2018)
15. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)