School of Hard Knocks

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!

Choux Pastry Heart

Choux pastries at French restaurants are always en vogue with beautiful mademeoiselles. But, for me, unfortunately, or fortunately, however you look at it, it seems as if it’s my destiny for the person taking the picture to always change. Well, at least I had dessert. Really, I’m looking for food more everlasting, or maybe a good cook, or maybe manna from Heaven, something to fill my soul. For now, I am lost. Yet, I will soldier forward, praying for the day I find my soul’s counterpart, and complete the picture we decide to never take.

M.O.B.

I recently had a friend complain to me that all women are gold diggers. He’s partly right. But, why are you mad, bro?

But, for real, being mad at women for liking money is like being mad at men for liking a pretty girl with a nice rack and a booty. It’s not fair to be mad at that, right? It’s just how we’re all wired. It’s human nature. How are you going to be mad at a girl for being a girl? They just like the safety, security and luxury that money provides for the most part.

Men with money and beautiful women go hand in hand. They say prostitution was the first profession. Ever heard of a trophy wife?

Let me spoil the suspense for some of you. There is no such thing as unconditional love. EVERY relationship is a mutually beneficial arrangement. When people’s needs aren’t being met, they seek fulfillment elsewhere. Fellas, if you really want a bad chick, stop chasing women, get your money up and you won’t have any problems.

M.O.B. (Money Over Bitches) is a mantra for a reason. I don’t mean to objectify women by saying that, but I’m definitely not going to put them on a pedestal because even they wouldn’t like that.

On the flip side of that coin, a woman needs to do something to inspire her man to provide for her. Is she fulfilling her role as a helper, the proverbial rib, per sei, and taking care of her man’s needs, i.e. giving good spiritual, emotional and moral support, cooking, cleaning, putting it down in the bedroom, taking care of the kids if you have them, etc? Remember, I said mutually beneficial. Men and women both have needs. If you’re not fulfilling his needs, why should he fulfill yours?

I should be selling this game and not giving it away for free!

Common Logic

[The day I met Logic in 2010 at WMUC]

In case you didn’t know, Logic made the song “Common Logic/Midnight Marauder” off his mixtape Welcome to Forever for me. I told him back then Midnight Marauders was the first album I ever bought, which made me fall in love with music and was probably the reason I was a hip hop head and a DJ at all. He made me a couple other songs too, which sit on my hard drive that I’ve never shared.

Most people don’t know the extent of me and Logic’s relationship. Back then, on the come up, he was dead broke. I bought him food pretty much every day. I bought him a phone and paid the bill so he could make and keep connections. I drove him to studios, record labels, shows, etc and never asked for gas money. I bought him his 1st pair of Jordans like he said in that Complex interview plus other clothing. He slept at my house when he had no place to go some nights. Basically, I was his main source of support. It was me and Big Lenbo who held him down.

I still don’t know why he cut me off entirely. I left the team because I didn’t feel the vibe. I knew they were going to blow up too but I wasn’t feeling the energy. If my heart’s not in it, the rest of me will leave soon afterwards. He offered to pay me bread but I didn’t even want money. I just wanted to preserve the connection so I could build off it.

But, he hasn’t texted me back for years and conveniently left me out of his Rapture documentary, even though we worked together and I DJ’d with him every day for about two years and was eventually named President of Operations. I still haven’t watched the documentary. I can’t explain his cold shoulder. My friends theorize but I guess you’ll have to ask him. I suppose some people don’t like to share credit or the spotlight. Keep in mind, I did nothing negative to this man.

At the end of the day, I’m happy a young man like Logic who came from nothing and worked so hard, now has something. He earned it. And I’m proud I played a big part in it, whether or not I get credit. The people who were there will never deny what it was.

The Lord works in mysterious ways lol. All the lessons I’ve learned were preparation for the team I’m working with now. I believe in showing vs. telling. Just keep watching lol. I believe God’s greatness along with mine and my team’s will be evident. My story is far from finished. I’m just beginning. No matter what happens, with God and my ancestors guiding me, I’ll be very happy with my word and honor in tact. With my infinite blessings, there is only room for gratefulness to God, no hate.

Laughter Is the Language of the Soul

I feel like your most frequently used emojis say a lot about you. Are they mostly positive or negative? What’s number 1? Mine is 😂. Laughter is the language of the soul. I laugh A LOT. When you break it down, laughter is really a form of understanding and gratitude. It’s recognition of the current moment and appreciation of the humor in it. It’s insightful. It’s a blessing. Don’t take life too seriously. Enjoy it. Laugh more.

The Day I fell in Love with Music…

I fell in love with music on my 12th birthday. My dad bought me a boom box as a present. I jammed to the radio nonstop. But, I didn’t have any CDs. It just so happened this classmate Oswald was selling used CD’s the next day at school. I bought Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest from him for $5. I ran straight to my room when I got home, put the CD in and let it play. As the CD started spinning, the robotic female voice on the intro entranced me. The Afrocentric jazzy beats gyrated my spirit. I was hooked. I fell down the rabbit hole. At that moment something in me changed that I can’t quite describe. A new person was born. And, I’ve been spinning records ever since.

Journey to a Star

I find it impossible to fully articulate how much I am enthralled by the gift of life. Every day I wake up I’m happy to be me. That’s not to say I don’t go through hard times. We all do. But the good outweighs the bad, by a landslide.

Each breath I inhale feels sacred. I can feel the King’s blood of my ancestors pumping through my veins. I have visions. Some disturb me. But most captivate my spirit with a bright future that I cannot fathom.

Ever since I was a small child I knew that I was different. We’re all unique. But I knew I possessed special gifts for which I still have no explanation. I’ve forecasted the future, read people’s life stories on their faces and spoken to my ancestors. I’m in touch with energies and spirits other people cannot see.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been filled with a desire to change the world for the better. My parents are a huge inspiration for me. I’ve been blessed with so much love it’s only right to give love to the world. It would be a sin not to.

When my father was leaving the Motherland for America, a land he did not know, his mother, my dear departed grandma, told him he had a star in the sky just for him and he should follow that star. A while ago he told me the same thing.

I’ve been through so much in my life. I’ve been through trials and tribulations and possess dark secrets I’d rather not share. But by God’s grace with my angels at my shoulders and my ancestors guiding me, I made it. I’m here. I’m still alive.

Sometimes I feel like T’Challa mixed with Killmonger. I want to honor my traditions and my ancestors and save my people at the same time. But before you can save the world you must save yourself, so that’s my life’s mission. And I have determination as powerful as an earnest prayer.

On my path I’m not afraid to stop and smell the roses. Those who only know my club DJ persona would be surprised to know I’m not impressed by flashy shallow things. It’s the simple things in life that delight me the most, like: immersing myself in a foreign culture like when I went to Brazil, a providential conversation with a stranger, a walk in the snow in quiet woods, a long drive to an uncertain destination, watching the sunset in my village Ziope in Ghana, feeling the breeze from the ocean and staring at it realizing how small and insignificant I am then diving in and, of course, a kiss from a woman who almost understands me (I’ve never found one who fully did.).

The point is life is short and you only get one. You might as well make the most of it. Like my Pops always says, “you can do anything you want, you just can’t do nothing.” So, I choose to do something. I choose to be great. And I understand it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. And, I’m taking it all in.

When you see me going hard at my DJing, broadcasting, record label, blogging and other activities, don’t mind me. Just know I’m following my star. Better yet, cross paths with me. Until I take my place in the sky with my ancestors, I will walk the earth and evoke their spirits until the people speak my name.