Really, I don’t think I have ever used this blog as a rant session of any kind. But, recent disrespect at the hand of a local promoter has caused me to take a brief moment to vent my frustrations publicly. His name will remain undisclosed (to protect the ‘innocent’).
Let me take you back a step and give you some background about Tiger and I. We have been rapping together since 2003. Before we met, I was a member of hip hop trio called the Falling Stars which came together in 1996. This group was short-lived (as we recorded/performed until 1999 without releasing a full-fledged studio album). I reveal these facts simply to give you a brief sense that my performance history goes back a bit.
Beyond the rhyming history, I c0-directed TRUSKOOL STUDIOS, a Providence-based after-school youth graffiti arts program with a friend, VASE ONE, of the legendary Urban Warriors crew (South Bronx, NYC) for four years. This experience was unquestionably the most challenging, inspiring, and painful of my life. I learned more about my purpose on this planet in those four years than in any before, or since. Angel and I put our heart and soul into our work with those youth.
As a matter of fact, Irving Acosta, one of our students from Truskool’s initial summer (2004) was the artist that inked the cover of our SPEAK THE TRUTH album. Haven’t seen his beautiful work? Check it out:
I don’t even want to get into the other elements of hip hop (in order to save your time and eyes..lol!). However, I will say this: what some people call a grind, I call my life. Hip hop is more than Tiger and I taking a stage in Austin and rocking a crowd. It lives in us. We call ourselves ‘hip hop healers’ – not because of some marketing scheme, but because we have studied healing, and draw a direct connection to hip hop’s ability to shape, build, and grow community. Like no other art form, this one, we choose as a vehicle to promote positive social change. That is RAS. Nobody can take this away because it is a part of our DNA, our vision, our purpose on this planet called earth.
Now…recently, a so-called ‘hip hop promoter’ had the audacity to call RAS ‘newbies’ (via text). Newbies to what, you may ask? Exactly. Not hip hop culture, or rocking shows, or marketing our music, or building community, or anything associated with this thing we call ‘hip hop healing.’
No, this arrogant individual called us ‘newbies’ because we are new to Austin, and he wanted to make sure that we knew he had the power to influence our movement as artists. He felt it necessary to put us in our place with another offensive comment, “u better recognize…u crossed the wrong person (all via text)”
Why did this individual feel crossed? Simple. I stood up for my rights to be paid on time. I don’t think he appreciated the way I came across on his voicemail (with some choice curse-words), but I also don’t think he EVER took into consideration that I waited on the corner of an entire hour to get paid for a show that we had already rocked an entire day before. That’s right.
After stating that he was going to meet me downtown, this fool didn’t show up. Not only did he not show up, but he didn’t call/text to say he was running late, or anything. I waited 45 minutes before I got on the phone to insult him. Honestly, most wouldn’t have waited that long. The money was owed, and this dude thought it was cool to leave this ‘newbie’ on the corner.
Instead of doing the right thing, he STILL hasn’t paid us for said gig. But, you see, that’s OK. I got my frustrations out already.
I am moving on.
But, this arrogant, gate-keeping, self-righteous, so-called hip hop promoter S.O.B. needs to ‘recognize’ something his damn self: “we ain’t new to this, we TRUE to this!”
And, the truth shall set us free.
Thanks for reading/listening.