For the next 354 days, I will be writing entries under the title, ‘I AM TROY DAVIS.’ Moved to pick up the pen not merely by Troy Anthony Davis‘ death/execution, but more so by his life/evolution, I hope that there are those out there who can relate. If so, we must connect. We are already connected. Axé.
So, I noticed the other day that most of my favorite rappers/mcs have either last names, or two names: Tupac Shakur, Mos Def, André 3000, Tiger Lily, Talib Kweli, Lupé Fiasco, Wise Intelligent, the list goes on. This was a very interesting fact that led me to a revelation: I need a last/second name. Jbro Mahone doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it?
I sat for a while, and listened for what this last name would be. Initially, nothing came to me. On our way to someone’s house, I asked my wife what she thought this last name should be, and she couldn’t come up with anything. Then, in a flash, part of the answer came.
My friend Tanuj Chopra used to call me ‘the giver’ when we were in school together at Brown University. He gave me this title because of my naturally giving nature, but also because whenever there was a freestyle cipher going down, I was the chosen one to lay down the beat-box that kept things rolling. Some ciphers literally lasted for hours. At this point in my life, hip hop was definitely the gospel that I grooved to daily; rappers were the preachers; and the cipher was our church.
Inspired by these golden memories, I decided to take ‘the giver’ title as my last name. I wanted this new name to have African origins, so I chose the Swahili language. After reaching out to our friend Anzetse for a translation, the name Mpeanaji (pronounced Mmm-peh-ah-nah-jee) emerged (10/6/2011).
Good morning world. Please say hello to Jbro Mpeanaji. Together, with my wife, Tiger Lily, I will re-shape this world through the power of music/art.
My name is Jonathan ‘Jbro Mpeanaji’ Mahone, and I am one-half of (RAS) Riders Against the Storm. I AM TROY DAVIS.