Tag Archives: husband-wife hip hop duo

I AM TROY DAVIS: 019 (Heavenly Down/Uploads)

For the next 346 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.

Ideas are heavenly downloads.  Prayers are heavenly uploads.  Whatever we think (upload) though our prayers/daily walk, comes back to us as ideas (downloads) that we can utilize to manifest our thoughts into reality.  Our bodies are the machines/vessels through which actions are made: after the download has been received.

Some downloads have viruses, or are corrupted, because we weren’t focused/attentive enough when we initially uploaded our intentions towards the heavens.  Other downloads contain the wrong software for the application needed.  Be careful of what you upload into your computer’s mainframe.  Try to keep it clean through meditation, daily exercise and stillness.

Constant activity (over-thinking) slows down your ability to process necessary downloads.  Ideas don’t come through thinking hard/processing information.  On the contrary, your best ideas usually come when you’re doing something totally mundane:  driving your car, sitting on the toilet, waiting for the bus, etc.

More on this later.  I just wanted to begin sharing my ideas/downloads more quickly, since I have been slow with the action of writing them down digitally.  My daily words and actions are my prayers.  My readers bear witness.  Amen.

My name is Jonathan ‘Jbro Mpeanaji’ Mahone, and I am one-half of (RAS) Riders Against the Storm.  I AM TROY DAVIS.

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I AM TROY DAVIS: 008-012 (The Flow…)

For the next 357 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.

This blog post contains five entries so that I may stay true to my commitment of 365 posts in 365 days.  Due to the natural flow of life, it’s definitely not going to be possible for me to write something everyday, but I will try.  Even with my best efforts, I still have two more entries to catch up on.  Thanks for reading and sharing!

Entry 008 – Direction(s)

I know it has been a minute since I last sat down at this computer to type my thoughts, but trust and believe I/we have been busy.  There are a lot of things in motion that will be revealed later.  With this in mind, we must always remember to honor the process of revelation.  –> READ MORE…

Entry 009: A Call to Rod Starz (of Rebel Diaz)

On Monday night, I was pacing around our house, trying to process this whole Occupy Wall Street movement.  After hours of reading posts, watching videos, and viewing photos online, I felt the need to reach out to some of my peoples in NYC.  –> READ MORE…

Entry 010: The meeting

Basically, on Wednesday, October 5th, I just wanted to bring Black and Brown folks together to talk about Occupy Wall Street.  An Occupy Austin was planned for the following day, and I wanted to know what other people were thinking/feeling.  There really aren’t many public spaces to have this type of discussion, so I just created one real quick.  –> READ MORE…

Entry 011: Jbro Mpeanaji

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.  –> READ MORE…

Entry 012: Decolonize Everything

What do you think of this image?  Can you relate?  Yesterday, I walked around all day with this poster attached to a long pole at Occupy Austin.  For some folks (Black, or otherwise), it provoked nods of approval, for others it brought confused stares. –> READ MORE…


I AM TROY DAVIS: 008 (Directions)

I know it has been a minute since I last sat down at this computer to type my thoughts, but trust and believe I/we have been busy.  There are a lot of things in motion that will be revealed later.  With this in mind, we must always remember to honor the process of revelation.

At one point during this past week, I was frustrated because I just couldn’t find the rhythm that would allow me to keep up with my commitment of one entry/post per day.  When I was home, I didn’t have the chi/energy to put my thoughts into written language.  Still, there was this strong need to make it happen because I ardently believe in keeping my commitments.

My Libra energy/astrology requires balance, so I am always super-conscious – at times to a fault – of my personal responsibilities/duties (as a husband, artist, writer, brother, son, etc.).  If I said I was going to do it, it’s got to get done.  Period.

Overall, this can be a good thing.  But, it can also be a burden.  Especially, if whatever you are doing is externally motivated.  The drive to get things done has to emerge from inside (internally).  If not, we often feel that we have to force the issue.  When energy is forced, things tend to fall apart, or crumble due to the extreme pressure we put into our action(s).

There is no real failure.  We don’t fail.  Goals just aren’t accomplished.  When this happens, you have to examine the why of what happened, not dwell in a perceived loss.  Whatever you think you may have lost occurred to make you a stronger person.  You never know what you really had until it’s gone, right?

No matter how much encouragement and positive feedback I get from people who read this, I don’t write for anyone but me.  I know that my thoughts will resonate with others because I am no different than anyone else.  There are a lot of people that feel like I do.  They may not write their thoughts down, or create art, but they feel like me.  I know this because we speak everyday: on the street, on the bus, at the party, at the meetings, etc.  Those that need/want to hear what I think will gravitate towards it.  Those that don’t, won’t.  Bottom-line: like Stephen Biko, ‘I Write What I Like.’

Liberation means living your life how you want to live it.  It means saying what you want, and being what you want.  Assata Shakur said, ‘I know a whole lot more about what freedom isn’t, than what it is.’  This truthful statement lives in the heart of most of us because we don’t know how to be ourselves. We don’t know why we are here.  We want answers, but we don’t take, or fail to create, the time necessary to find them.  Again, our responsibilities can get in the way.

Liberation is a journey, not a destination.  Do you want it?  Then, you will have to fight.  And, the toughest fight ain’t with the government, ‘the system,’ ‘yo momma and them, or anybody else.  The toughest fight is with yourself.  You have to go in, if you want to get out (part of the hook for some new RAS music).

Gradually, over the last 34 years, I have learned to respect and honor my responsibility to others, while also honoring my responsibility to me.  If I put God first, and move according to my heart’s call, all of those ‘responsibilities’ are filled without thought or planning.  Life isn’t always about ‘doing’ something.

Growing up, going to highly-competitive private schools in Pittsburgh, I learned to produce, and fill my time with activities.  Everything was about medals, honors, and certifications.  These things didn’t motivate me intrinsically, but they made other people (mainly my parents) happy, so I did them.  My father, who grew up economically impoverished (but, spiritually-rich), wanted his sons to have the education, opportunities, privileges, etc. that his generation couldn’t even dream of due to the racist structure of this country.

When I was accepted into some of the ‘top’ schools in this nation, he brimmed with joy.  But, overall, I wasn’t happy.  And, the funny thing was that I really didn’t even know it.  It took me years (and plenty of substance abuse) to realize I was living someone elses dream: I didn’t have my own.

So, after graduation, when I took my Ivy League degree, and went to work with youth in the South Side of Providence, my parents shrugged their shoulders.  When I turned down a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study abroad, they frowned.  When I got arrested and profiled after months of organizing for community oversight of the Providence Police, they worried.

It felt like I was walking alone in the dark for many years; but I continued, because somewhere in the depth of my spirit, everything was calm and certain.

Follow your heart.  It sounds cliché, but it’s real.  I wasn’t following the direction that my heart was calling for, so I suffered.  Suffering is not necessary.  We can find peace in the middle of a battlefield if we want it.  Everything is about choices.

When you choose to move with your heart, the world becomes a totally different place.  Yes, it is the same imperialist, racist, maniacal world, but you are moving through it with different eyes that are searching for truth.  You no longer feel the need to sit and critique all of the ‘ways of the wicked’ because you would rather seek the alternative solution that already exists.  The solutions to all of this are already living inside of each of us.  It’s a crazy thought for many, but it’s true.

I know all my ‘Leftist-radical’ comrades are probably going crazy right now.  ‘You crazy hippie.  We gotta fight this system,’ they’re probably thinking.  But, my comrades need to understand that our vision/dream for a new world has to be about unconditional love.  We have to imagine a world without all of these ills before we can create it.  I don’t think Christ is coming back, but the Christ energy must.  This is the energy of transformation, hope, and true liberation.

Moving in this consciousness is what some may call grace, or harmony.  It feels good when you are walking with this energy, but it is not always easy, or possible to maintain.  Old habits/thoughts can often creep in, so you must learn to be patient with yourself.  As the Digable Planets said, ‘We’re just babies.  We’re just babies man.’

We are in the ‘FALL’ season (just a few weeks past the Autumnal Equinox) – which means it is time to look ahead again at the coming year.  In a very real sense, it is a ‘New Year,’ so that means it is time to go inside of ourselves.  It is time to be silent, and listen for direction.

What do you hear when you turn off the radio, the T.V., the internet?  What is really driving your steps?  Follow that.  Don’t be afraid if it means walking away from friends, your ‘community,’ or anything else.  Your spirit knows.  You must follow.

My name is Jonathan ‘Jbro’ Mahone, and I am one-half of (RAS) Riders Against the Storm.  I AM TROY DAVIS.

I AM TROY DAVIS: 011 (Jbro Mpeanaji)

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.

We ain’t new to this, we TRUE to this!

by Jbro

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.

The best MCs are Geminis?!

Leaders of the NEW SCHOOL!

Tiger Lily’s b(earth)day is May 21…coincidence?!  LOL!

The Best MCs Are Geminis

Wednesday May 28 7:53 AM CDT posted by xxl staff

Not that any of you care, but Andre “3000” Benjamin and Jadakiss celebrated their born day yesterday. They’re Geminis.

Lauryn Hill blew her birthday candles just two days before on the 25hth. Sigh! I miss Lauryn. I really wish somebody would give her her mind back for her birthday. Anyway, my homie JT is celebrating his bday this weekend and he told me he was thinking about putting together an all-Gemini playlist for the event. It turns out that Geminis have some of the illest emcees to ever do it. See what the homie Jesus had to say and then see for yourselves.

-Havoc Of Mobb Deep (May 21)
-The Notorious B.I.G. (May 21)
-Heavy D (May 24)
-Lauryn Hill (May 25)
-Andre “3000″ Benjamin (May 27)
-Jadakiss (May 27)
-Remy Ma (May 30)
-Big L (May 30)
-Kanye West (June 8)
-Ice Cube (June 15)
-Tupac Shakur (June 16)
-Pete Rock (June 21)

Damn! Lauryn Hill is the sickest female lyricist of all time. Pete Rock is one of the dopest producers ever. Biggie, Pac, Cube and Andre 3 Stacks are arguably all among the Top 10 greatest MCs of all time and Jadakiss, Big L and Kanye are pretty sick themselves. I remember hearing Kanye say that geminis had the most geniuses. Well, I’m not sure I would call any of these cats geniuses, but they sure are lethal with the pen. I’m wondering what other sign gives Geminis a run for their money. It could be Libras. Them dudes got all types of dudes like T.I., Lil Wayne and some legendary old school MCs if I’m not mistaken. I’m sure there are some bum Gemini MCs out there, but this lineup is pretty solid. Can you guys list anything better off top? If so, list a sign with a better 12-man squad. Speak on it.

Lauryn Hill set to headline ROCK THE BELLS 2010!

Say what?!  Say what?!  Yup, that’s right!  Get ready y’all!  I know these shows are going to sell out in about 5 minutes!  Get your credit cards ready!!!!

Everything is Everything...

Story taken from XXLmag.com:

Lauryn Hill is ready to rock. Urb.com reports that not only is the former Fugees member set to headline this year’s Rock the Bells tour but her setlist will include the entire tracklisting to her 1998 debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Reps for Rock the Bells are expected to make the official announcement tonight (May 24) at the Key Club in West Hollywood, along with all of the other acts that were booked.

Last year Nas and Damian Marley topped the bill along with a roster that included Common, The Roots, Big Boi, KRS-One, House of Pain, Reflection Eternal, Rza, Raekwon, Slaughterhouse and M.O.P., among others.

The tour, now in it’s seventh year, will hit dates across in North America and overseas throughout the summer.

Elan Mancini