Jrnl Entry No. 3.8.2004

I went to an employment agency today, Trandon Associates. I’ve been to this place like two times in my career of looking for employment. The place is total bullshit, at least, that is, for African Americans. Here is their routine. They have you fill out this little card with your name and employment history and post your resume behind it. They call you back to a little room where they mark down your qualifications. Now both times as I remember it; once five years ago when I was first trying to move to New York, and again today, they noted that I didn’t have charge back experience. So I’m figuring that must be the excuse they give to the black applicants they mistakenly call because they have regular American names. The lady says she had a position which requires charge back experience so they are probably not going to be interested in my resume, but they will contact me later if another position should happen to come up. Of course, I already know that I will never hear from Trandon Associates again. This also seems to be the case with the all the employment agencies in New York.

In my three experiences of looking for employment in New York City, visiting many agencies, only one has gotten me a position, and guess what the catch was to that agency: it was a British agency, all the people had British accents, had just moved from Britain to start this business in New York, and my guess is that oversees, they aren’t as racist and prejudice as the white Americans from the United States. I’ve gotten many calls from agencies, which all somehow, never got me any work after I went into their office, or they didn’t let me come into their office in the first place. 

Like this lady called me two days ago from Access employment agency. She says that she got my resume which interested her, and then she asked what salary I was looking for. I says $45,000.00 and she says the only position that she has available is for 40,000.00, but she still would like me to come in for a meeting. Now me, knowing these agencies, I said to my girlfriend, “this is another bullshit call from an agency” and I tell her the situation. My girlfriend tells me to call her back and say that I would not like to come in until she has something more suitable to my salary range and qualifications. She wanted me to call right away so that the lady would respect me more, but I said I would call her the morning of the meeting and tell her. My philosophy is that she does not respect me anyway.  She does not intend to get me a job anyway. My girlfriend says “you’re the one who is looking for a job, not her.” So I says “and she is not going to give me a job in the first place so it doesn’t matter.”  I called the lady today around 4:00 P.M. and tell her what my girlfriend suggested. The lady called me back an hour later and said that she would call me when she gets a position in front of her that fits my salary.

Another situation happened about two weeks ago. A lady called and e-mailed me from Gothem Search Group and asked me to give her a call concerning my resume. I called her back but did not leave a message because I know that once she hears my Black voice that she is not going to call me back as has happened before. I went out of town, and when I returned I had receive another e-mail as well as a voice mail message for me to call her. So I called her and explained that I had been out of town but I was back now and we could set up a meeting. At the sound of my black voice, she says, “I’m sorry, but we have many Michael’s on file, why are you calling, in reference to what, could you please send me your resume as a word document and call back.” I says, “I already sent you my resume as a word document 
when you e-mailed me the first time.”She asked me to send it again. I laughed and said, “O.K.” and hung up and sent her a message about her obvious discrimination. How are you going to e-mail me and call me twice and then when I call you back, you don’t know who I am?  This is the type well-hidden discrimination that I faced within my year of looking for employment in a tight economy. 

I’m seeing that 40 years later from the 60s and civil rights action, integration of schools, etc. that today in 2004, it’s the same shit. No one wants to see black people prosper or give us a chance. The economy is down and black people are the last people who are going to be employed and helped out. And even when the economy is good, we still get the same treatment. If these companies aren’t made to hire us due to affirmative action programs, they do not hire us, especially not in New York City. So I’m figuring that New York is not the place for me, but it’s the place that I want to be. No one, not even black people are trying to help achieve your goals and dreams. Everyone is selfish and dreaming to get theirs first before they even think about helping you get yours. I have been interviewing for a year now, and 
only a few interviews at that. I’ve gotten like five interviews and only one resulted in an offer for $34,000 which would grow to $37,000 with incentives. 

I just am not making it here. I’m living off of my girlfriend who likes to spend all of her money on her daughter, jeans, and expensive boots for winter. She’s covering me as far as a place to stay and food, but not leisure money. She claims that she is by my side, but I don’t think so, especially since I’m not working and my unemployment has run out and I have to ask her for any money that I need. I’ve tried going and handing out resumes for a part time position somewhere, but that is not working either. I  would like to work in a Hip Hop clothing store or one of those high prices foreign wear stores downtown like the Atrium or The Lounge, but they don’t seem to want to give a brother a chance either. I applied at Eckerd drugstore the other day and they seemed to brush me off with a “we are not hiring right  now.” I still applied and gave them my resume. You’d think that a little company would love have a college degree accountant working part time for their store, but knawl, it doesn’t seem to be the case in New York City.

I was thinking of trying to get some work as a security guard during the day. Right now I’m thinking of all the options I can to get some income in my pocket. If don’t find a job making $40,000 or more, I’m not going to be a happy man, as I already am not happy living here off of Watrina and her having the power over me knowing she can just kick me to the curb anytime and I’m out on my ass or back to Ohio, which I really don’t want to go back there. She has told me to get out a couple of times because I ain’t going to be no bitch ass walking around here treading water. Like I showed her when the New Year hit and we had an argument, If worse comes to worse, I’ll just move my ass to Atlanta and stay. And the next time I am forced to go there, I will stay there.

So I’m just now starting to study to take the GMAT exam to get into graduate school. One thing about graduate school is that I don’t want to get into debt and have to pay it back when I start working again, starting out in debt, leaving me where I once was. I was full of debt with rent, my car payment and utilities and I had no money left to live. I don’t want to go back to that shit. I have a few good looking pictures that Watrina took of me three years ago. I’m going to take them to a few modeling agencies and see what they say about representing me. I kind of feel that I don’t really have model looks, just a handsome look for a man my age. I feel like I have a deep smile wrinkle line on each side of my face and my cheeks are starting to droop a little. You know, just getting old, not that old, but seeing and feeling the effects of — years on this earth. 

I wrote a documentary about Puffy’s revolution of Hip Hop that I have sent off to be copyrighted. I want to incorporate my production company named for my mother, my grandfather (R.I.P), and grandmother (on her death bed as I write this) “Leann, Michael & Ella” Productions respectively. And for those dumb fucks who don’t know what “respectively” means, it means that the name of the production company matches the order of the relatives I mentioned before it. I want to incorporate the production company for the documentary to be under and also for my music production company to be official to receive checks and write expenses off against, etc. 

I have scanned “The Only Child” Logo into the computer and designed a CD cover with it. I have dreams that I could use that Logo as a strong marketing tool. To me it seems noticeable, memorable, and marketable. I see it printed on T-Shirts. There could be different versions of the T-Shirt, each one with the Logo printed in a different place; just simple T-Shirts with the Logo in different places each time. They could become collector’s items. And the name “The Only Child” also seems powerful to me and memorable: simple and unforgettable. If I had the money, I would start the whole campaign. I would go ahead and record my album.

I got skills in rapping I feel I really do. But at the same time, I do feel that my rhymes do have a little old school flavor to them like my friend J Johnson and my girlfriend Watrina used to always say when I first started writing raps again like two years ago. But this nigga Kanye West is inspiring me. If he can have a whole album out and it sells 400,000 in the first week, I can release an album and at least create a name for myself in this music industry. But I don’t have money so I don’t know what I am going to do about putting out my album and starting a record label. I feel that I have the knowledge and know of these streets to run a label. I know all the flaws of the current labels that are out right now and are failing to make hits and losing their distribution deals.

I have an idea to put together a business plan and take to a label like Def Jam to have them sponsor me and once I create enough buzz for my name, I will sign with them. The good catch to that is that they don’t even have to give me money, they can pay for my beats and have artist use them on their albums. I don’t think anyone has ever done that; propositioned a label to sponsor their pre-career so that in turn they could sign with that label. And since I’m about to be out of professional accounting work for a year and will have to take some shitty job that I don’t want, I will definitely be motivated to put some of these ideas into motion.

I’ve been trying to get my album recorded for the past six months but the guy whose studio I go to is jerking me. I’ve only recorded three songs in six months and that is no good. I need to move faster than that, I can move faster that but he is slowing down my progress. I don’t have the money to go to any other studio.

MONEY, I so tired of that fucking word. NO MONEY I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY. If I had this MONEY I would do this; if I had that MONEY I would do that. FUCK ! No money, no job. This shit is ridiculous. I think I would rather be dead. That is one reason why I didn’t want to have any children, putting them in this world to go through all this bullshit without a single advantage in the world. If my life continues like it is, I won’t be able to help my daughter with shit just like my parents didn’t help me with shit: no house, no car, no money, no business knowledge or any other knowledge. Having kids is some selfish 
shit on the part of women just to make them happy. With my life right now, I’d rather not been born. This life is bullshit!

Jrnl Entry 3.9.2004

It’s the day before The Notorious B.I.G. “Biggie Smalls” “Frank White” was killed in Los Angeles seven years ago. I remember I was working at NRM record store in the Eastwood Mall in Niles Ohio the morning of March 10, 1997 when the news got to my ears. It was close to the time for B.I.G.s  second LP to be released, and my first thought was that “wow, he is gonna sell a lot of records.” 

So he’s been dead now for seven years and people are giving him an MC crown as the best MC. How and the hell can you receive a “Best MC” title off of two albums; the second, which was a complete flip from the 1st? In my eyes, you can’t. Biggie was good, he may have been able to become the best MC if his career would have lasted more than three years. That is all he gets from me as far as titles go. I can’t bestow “Best MC” or “Greatest Album” in his debut “Ready To Die” upon him.  The greatest Hip Hop  album of all time that still has not been topped in my eyes is “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back” by Public Enemy. Then after that is “Amerikaz Most Wanted” by Ice Cube.  I guess much props goes to Hank Shocklee and the Bomb Squad who produced both those albums. Then third is “Niggaz4Life” by NWA. I guess much props goes to the West Coast MCs (even though I’m East Coast till death regardless of you pussies who want to shun the difference between the three coast (west, east, and south (which includes the Midwest)) for having made two out of the three.

Just listen to the production, lyrical flow, style, presence, and content (well, maybe not content on NWAs part) of these albums and you’ll have to agree. Ready To Die was a very good album, but so was “Capital Punishment” by Big Punisher, which I’d have to say was, over the top, better than Ready To Die. But no lyrical content, production, style and grace has ever topped PEs second LP. And while Chuck D holds the crown for having the greatest album ever, he isn’t in the top five of greatest MCs so the two do not go hand in hand.

But anyway, back to my life. New York is killing me. There seem to be no open doors here amongst the millions of damn doors that can be opened in this place. Doors for my Hip Hop production are not being opened. Doors for a job at one of the many Hip Hop, as well as Hip Hop influenced companies in this city. This girl I know works for Akedemiks Hip Hop clothing line. I asked her to check into an accounting job for me, and I never heard from her again and she changed her e-mail address. I know a guy who spends his days walking around Def Jam Records, but yet, he hasn’t gotten himself signed, nor has he gotten any of my beats sold. I have a Frat brother here who has so much power here because he throws all of the hot parties where music industry people hang out and depend on him to get in the parties and in V.I.P. Yet, he will not grant me grand access to all these parties and V.I.P. status, not has he offered to help me sell any of my beats through all these music industry contacts he has, nor, even in my unemployment has he offered any type of job with the small/big PR company “Black Diamond” that he is vice president of.

It also seems that I am being racially discriminated against in this city as far as receiving employment. Employers call my house and when they hear my deep African American voice, they just hang up. Or employment agencies will invite me to their offices to fill out an application and talk a little bullshit, and then I will never hear from them again, and when I call and leave them a message they will not call me 
back or if I get them on the phone, they will say they have nothing for me. I don’t know what to do. All my unemployment money had run out. I went out to look for a part time job but they seem to be equally unwilling to give an African American a job. Damn, it’s almost like we are right back  in the 60s. Here I am a nigga with a college degree, 5 years work experience, yet, there is no job for me even in a poot-butt clothing or shoe store.

This job search is having an effect on my love life. I’ve been with my girlfriend for two years now, going on three. I’m questioning myself as to whether I love her anymore. I’m wondering if that question is because of my depression with not being able to secure employment or if I really don’t love her anymore. I loved her so in the beginning, I was there hand and foot for her, loved to be around her, and I wanted her to move in with me. As time wore on, we had two big fights where she busted out my car window. I threw her cell phone out the window because she was talking to this friend of hers on her cell phone, a guy who likes her. We moved in together, I found this same guys ATM card in her wallet, and then I found it again after I cut up the first one. When we were not living together, she was having a telephone affair with this guy from her job who works in Minneapolis. So while I was giving my all and not talking to other bitches and inviting them to my apartment and fucking the shit out of them, she was talking to who knows how many guys and doing what with them. She has threw all my stuff in 
the middle of the floor and told me to leave. We have gotten into another fight where she scratched my face and she had a big bruise on her shoulder from me slamming her against the wall. She gets in an uproar over people calling and hanging up, thinking that I am stupid enough to give some bitch that I fucked or am trying to fuck the house number where I am staying with another woman.

She thinks she has the right to rise up in my face like she is going to whip my ass. I don’t want a woman who thinks that she can fight me or want to fight me over her jealousy issues. I want a sweet bitch who trust me even though men fuck other bitches, I am her knight in shining armor, who fucks her well, cooks for her from time to time, and cleans from time to time, who looks good, dresses well, even though unemployed, who has the potential to earn good money. I’ve been taught that next to a rich man, the good man I just described, should not have much problems getting along with his woman, but yet I am. I think that had I have found a job by now, I would have moved.

I hear I’ll have problems out of every woman that could be worse than what I already have so I should be thankful for a non-gold digger, who works, who is not on my back about working, who fucks, cooks, and cleans well. Yeah, all of that is fine and well, but I want to be in love. I am not in love anymore especially with the finding of that second ATM card, where I moved to Atlanta, and that last big fight we had with the scratches and bruises. Over this past weekend in Ohio, I ran into this old 
sweet little girl I used fuck in college. I was thinking as I was talking to her, I should have stayed with her, she’s cute, wears her real hair (another problem I have with Watrina, while she has beautiful hair, she wears ugly weaves sometimes and it pisses me off), and she likes me. But I’m in New York and she is in Youngstown and I am not trying to go back to that corny place.

I was also thinking about Lynaye all weekend. I’ve had a crush on Lynaye ever since I made up my mind that it was her I wanted to talk to and not her friend Summer. See when I first met them after they performed on a talent show, Summer had nice tidy’s while Lynaye had the better looking ass. After seeing them a few more times together, I decided that Lynaye was for me and I went on my quest to get her. It started with my being an Alpha in college and her always attending all of the Alpha parties. I seen her in my local mall and I approached her and she was receptive. I got her number and called her and rode my motor scooter to her house. Her family, mom and sister were nice to me. I felt as if there was no doubt she would be my girlfriend and for the second time in my life I would experience true love. But I never asked her to be my girlfriend and she never asked that of me. She was young, in the 12th grade and I was a sophomore in college. We hung out, or rather she used me to get popularity amongst her peers in high school. I tried kissing her one time when we were alone and she blew that off. And she told me this long list of things a guy 
would have to do to get her in the mood, like massage her head, which I thought was stupid. It seemed you would have to go through a lot to get those drawls so I never really tried to make a move on her again. However, she was so beautiful to me, from time to time we’d hang out still. Just so happen she moved to New York two years before I did right after she graduated from college. We touched base a few times but still never brought out the love interest I had in her because she had boyfriends and I had Watrina the last time we touched base. But now, Lynaye is single, and Watrina and my relationship is not what I want it to be. So all weekend I’ve been thinking about calling Lynaye and having dinner with her and telling her how I really feel and asking her for the chance to love to her once and for all. I think she is beautiful, has good employment, and it would be a fresh love start because Watrina has killed my love for her, at least for the moment.

But this morning when I woke up, the urge to call Lynaye was not as great as it has been all weekend nor as it was when I went to bed last night with Watrina in my arms. So I don’t know. And they say, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Watrina is here for me right now in my time of need, but I feel the need to get away from her and her violent stints of jealousy before I seriously hurt her and end up in jail. I shouldn’t be with anyone whom I think I will have to fight and be locked up for.  I’ve been dating other bitches: Jackie, Natlie, Tiffany, Tracey, Traci. I talked to women on the phone who wouldn’t hook up with me: Kristy, Jennifer, Rachel. But none of these women have offered me anything, not even the pussy just to fuck around with. So what is happening with me? I don’t have a job, and to my surprise, a few family members are helping a me a little. My cousin Shaneequa gave me $200.00 when I went to see her. I don’t know if she was trying to play me or not by handing me the money right in front of Watrina. My Uncle Luther has offered his helping hand if I ever need anything.

My girlfriend is just now showing respect and interest in me that she should have shown all along considering how I was treating her. Now that she is cooperating, I’m not sure if I want her cooperation. I’ve tried to a non-success rate, to fuck other bitches. My music and everything else seems to be going nowhere. I wrote a documentary that I just sent in to be copyrighted but  I don’t want to start on that until I incorporate my Production company, and trademark my name and logo. And on top of all of this my grandmother, the oldest of the next generation in my family, is dying from Diabetes complications. So nothing seems to be going as plan, and everybody’s suggestion is that I try God! When God gives me a good job and happiness in my life, maybe I’ll try him. But for now, I’m on my own.

Jrnl Entry No. 4.21.2004

I’ve incorporate my production company named for my mother, grandfather and grandmother, Leanne, Michael & Ella Productions Inc.” I received the incorporation papers in the mail; I filed for federal and state S Corporation status; I’ve read into what state taxes have to be paid, as well as taxes to be paid once I hire employees and my payroll reaches more than $300 per quarter. I’ve started working on my business plan, which I’m stopped dead in my tracks because I need market research and facts as to the 
buying habits of the Hip Hop community. Official market research studies, which can be purchased from Market Research.Com for $200.00 to $5000.00, money which I don’t have. I figure I’ll go the library and look up some in Billboard magazine and they should give me some sales information and future predictions concerning Hip Hop music, which I need for my business plan.

So the main project that will be sphere headed by my company are a Documentary which I have completely written, and need to get a director to film and edit and help me get financing based upon realistic cost projections. I have also planned my album, which it looks like I am going to have to write myself. I have ten good songs that I would like to record, and I’m going to include five instrumentals. Once I get it recorded, which shouldn’t be a problem, I need financing to market and promote the album.

It is becoming quite clear to me that an accounting job is nowhere in my immediate future. I’m living 
off of table scraps right now as far as money goes. I’m constantly thinking about this company that I want to start and be successful. I read Donald Trump’s new book “How to Get Rich,” which really had nothing to do with telling you anything about getting rich. I’m glad I didn’t purchase it. I read it in two days at the Barnes and Nobles book store on Broadway. The book did kind of tell you to have passion about any business that you are running especially if it’s your own. Along with that passion, know every 
little detail possible about that business. You have to work hard because no one is going to work harder than you to make you rich. The book was sort of inspiring but really had no good details concerning gaining and keeping wealth.

So as it is now, I spend approximately 3 to 4 hours a day reading something to broaden my business knowledge or writing my business plan. That time to me is really not enough, but I’m stagnated because I don’t have any real money to really start doing anything as far as business goes. I mean without money, what can I really do beside plan and write down ideas. I need money to make them tangible, but all in all, I’m excited about Leanne, Michael & Ella Productions Inc. and working to make it into a major label, or at least getting it to be a major force in the music industry to be recognized.

I’ve thought about acting and modeling but getting into those professions will probably be as hard as getting into Hip Hop, which I haven’t been able to get into Hip Hop, which is why I’m seriously starting 
my own company. Here I am –, I have nothing but dreams. I need to get more serious about taking the GMAT test starting MBA courses in the fall. As far as I see, that is the only real step that I can take to secure me an aiiight future. Yeah, I know they say work hard at your passion and it will come to pass. While I have faith in my passion, my dream will slowly materialize, and too slow for my life. If I was — or younger and in my current situation, I’d be fine, probably run with it. But I’m — living with and off of my girlfriend and that is not cool.

I saw Denzel Washington yesterday in the Village on Broadway and Prince. I recognized him trying to be very incognito. I just calmly walked in front of him and the two men who were lazily body guarding him in an effort to keep his presence incognito; I extended my hand out to him, he looked at me and he extended his hand back and we shook.  I’m not a star struck individual. At age –, I know that celebrities are real people just like I am who happen to be a bit more fortunate than myself, to be living there dreams. I only make it a point to speak to those celebrities that I admire their work and their career. Like I seen Eric Sermon of EPMD walking past me in Joe’s Pub night club and I shook his hand. I’ve seen Dana Dane twice on different occasions, and because of his legendary status (one of the, probably the 1st solo MC to have gold album sales), I have to extend my hand out to him every time I see him.

I don’t know if I’m cut out for this relationship that I am involved in. It’s a cute little arrangement I have here. The perfect little light skinned attractive woman whom everybody likes. She has the perfect little 
light skinned daughter that everybody like. Her daughter and my daughter get along really well. I’ve even known her daughter since she was like 2 and a half, the only other man in her mother’s life besides her father. I feel an obligation to be in this for the long run. I used to feel love about the situation, but that love was damaged by a too close for comfort friendship she had or has with another man. In addition to that, she does not trust me. I feel like every time I tell her something as far as me going somewhere without her that she feels I am lying and going somewhere else. I don’t like the feeling of not being trusted. She also tries to do things that I do like if I stay out all day and all night without calling, she’ll do the same thing the next day or in the near future. I don’t call her because it seems 
like she private investigates what I tell her. If I don’t tell her anything, there is nothing to investigate. Denzel said on The View this morning that his marriage works and has worked for 20 years due to trust and patience. I do not think neither of us has trust nor patience. I know I don’t have patience for anything that is making me unhappy, and as I’ve done before, I’ll leave it alone quickly and start something else.

So I’m — and having this conversation with myself. I thought I was a gentle man, and that I would be in a successful loving relationship and happy. But it is not that way for me. But compared to most people, I think my relationship woes are light. I guess I’m looking for perfection and that is not possible. I kind 
of think I might end up alone, well not alone no time soon, but just in old age alone, not married for 20, 30 years and dying with someone as my long loved wife. My future is not bright right now. I have high hopes though. I did have a job interview last Friday with a British company called Financial Times. It seems like a cool company that I could grow with; I want to work for them. It was a British woman who got me hired at the Advertising agency two years ago. Maybe Brits are the only people who are not subjecting me to discrimination that I believe other companies and employment agencies are subjecting me to. I’ve been jobless for a year now. Many agencies have called me but no job has resulted. I thought I’d never feel the effects of being a black man, but now, sad to say, I believe I am right now in New York City.

Jrnl Entry No. 1.13.2001

HIP HOP, I am so frustrated with you right now and direction you have taken for a good cause, but in the process, you have destroyed the essence and rawness of the music that once lived through Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, KRSONE, Rakim. The cause which you have pursued is money, and money is being made, by god, it is being made by the millions. records are selling double platinum, quadruple platinum, but something is definitely lacking for us old Public Enemy lovers. One, the lyrics are sagging with laziness all over each new release of an album battling for a top spot on the charts.

MCs are making shameful quotes such as “I don’t write my rhymes down. I just make up the song in the sound booth to the beat as I go.” Jay Z, I can tell you did that all through 1999 and 2000 because that’s when I started to get a little tired of your shit. I was so tired that I didn’t purchase the 2000 album or the 2001 album. You went from one of my top MCs with the brilliant flows and choice of words on your first album, “Reasonable Doubt”. “You coppin’ me like, white crystal / I gross the most at the end of the fiscal year than these niggaz could wish to.”; to being of the worst MC on my list with “In My Life Time Vol. 4.” The MCs on your label follow the same. When I heard Memphis Bleek  onReasonable Doubt, “Coming of Age” I was an instant fan. When I heard “Memph Bleek Is” I was an instant hater. I didn’t hear that album nor the new one for 2001. Lyrically you all watered down your flow. Beanie Sigel came into the game like that so I was never impressed by him. And what was on your mind when you even thought Amil could hold her own without you on a solo album?

But of course you don’t give a damn about me and my opinion, who was once of the opinion that “this guy rapping with Jaz on “Originators” is wicked.” Jay ripped ”Can I Get Open” on the Original Flava album and a few other songs. Reasonable Doubt was one of my favorite albums that year to come out. But this means nothing because all those projects sold less in total compared to what that garbage album with ”Big Pimpin”  on it. But you got to know and in case you don’t, let me tell you that when you lose a true fan who was there from the beginning starting with Hawaiian Sophie even though you didn’t rhyme on that, you’ve lost everything and it’s gonna hit you hard one day. (I read this 10 years later. Jay Z was one of the tope selling, top grossing PAID MCs. LoL)

Hip Hop right now is about the very thing that MCs used to despise, commercialism. Whereas we all used to be as one, there are now two audiences. The industry shows no love for the underground. The underground is really underground now, with the only way to get a record out is to put it out yourself, and hope by some major miracle that it gets heard. Back in the 90s, at least niggaz could get record deals: Black Moon, Heltah Skeltah, Smif  & Wesson, Artifacts, Bush Babies, Madd Skillz. Even Notorious B.I.G. and Jay Z’s first albums could be considered underground albums that just blew the fuck up because they deserved to. That’s why you stopped rapping Pace, whether you know it or not. Back in the early 90s, that 5 song EP I got of yours would have made a little noise if on a major label like Elecktra. But in the late 90s to 2000, that shit will create a buzz, but it will be heard by very few. So it’s either we become Jay Zs and Puffys or we die. I hate to say it, but contrary to DJ Premier’s words on Gangstarr’s last album “Moment of Truth”, the roaches in the underground are dying, at least in America.

This is what I wrote to my frat brother who is a nice MC by my standards, who also won’t let me do a beat on his upcoming independent release album. Fuck you for that Stehen. I ain’t asking no more to do a beat for you. You know I make beats so if you want some, you’ll ask for some and actually get them recorded. If not, fuck you again! I also sent this message to one of Stephen’s producers named Pace Maker. He is a cool cat who used to rhyme, but I think the pressures of commercialism and knowing that MCs such as himself have little chance for success, stopped him from wanting to be an MC. He begs to differ, and truthfully, only he knows, I’m just guessing.

Pace Maker: Like Premo said underground hip hop will never die. It might not be accepted in the mainstream, but quality music will always be made. I stopped rhyming because I felt my skills were outdated and I felt I had nothing else to say. You got to understand also that you don’t have to be on a major label to sell underground hip hop music. You could sell 30,000 copies of a record put it on your own and make $500,000! You wouldn’t make that much if you went platinum of a major label.

The kind of music we make would be embraced better overseas. That’s why we’re putting together an overseas tour and an EP release for The Phat Rapper. So far he has about 15 new joints recorded. Shits gon’ be that heat! Keep ya ears and eyes open.

This is me and Pace going back and forth on the subject. We have these spats sometimes with no one really being the winner.

Me: Yeah but besides the money, MCs want recognition also. Who wants to rhyme if nobody is hearing you? And all mutha fuckas is hearin’ now days in America is the bullshit rhymes Jay Z is spittin over mostly bullshit tracks. I’m just sayin that the underground had a voice that wasn’t so hard to hear back then; now, if there ain’t a Fatbeats recod store in ya town, you shit out of luck. And you worried about what you sayin, just listen to Ghostface. 85% of the time, he ain’t sayin’ shit and he knows that.

Pace Maker: You got a point about the Fat Beats situation, but if we can do what we love to do for a living and live a comfortable life off of selling 30,000 copies that’s love! Unlike Ghost (wit his dumb ass), I truly consider myself a poet, so I made sure everything I said had meaning and made sense. Just cause he say dumb shit and sell records (yeah he got my money too, but never again) don’t justify it as being ok to do. You right it ain’t all about money. But life is about finding yo niche and doing what you love to do for a living, so you’ll never feel like you’re going to work. Making $500,000 off being heard from 30,000 fans is enough exposure for me. I’m sure Phat (Stephen) feels the same way. Ask him.

Me: You’re right. Maybe I better start rethinkin’ my strategy in this music shit. About Ghost, I think his style is fly. The more I listen, the less is makes sense, so it never gets boring.

But I guess this is just a phase that all music goes through. I’m currently watching this movie about Jazz that is showcasing all the greats: Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Chick Webb etc. It is talking about jazz and how it basically started in New Orleans and spread to Chicago then to New York which became the mecca. It spoke of how jazz was becoming too commercial in the 1930s during the depression years. Benny Goodman was considered the King of Swing in those days because the white people just latched on to him, even though Duke Elliington was doing swing three years earlier before Benny hit the scene.

Benny Goodman’s band went into a challenge with Chick Webb at the Savoy to see who really was the king of swing and Chick Webb and his band ate Benny and them alive and bowing down. It’s like what’s goin’ on in Hip Hop at this very moment in time with Eminem. He is selling more records than any solo artist ever has in Hip Hop history. He is not considered the King of Hip Hop; for there are and were too many great MCs for him to hold that title. But he does get respect as an MC who raps his ass off, I must say so, and in a battle against the best he could hold his own.

Benny did Jam sessions with other less fortunate artist than himself, and he never bragged about his position in Jazz, he just simply played good music and was respected by most his peers as a good musician. Duke Ellington never changed his sound to become commercial. He stuck to what he loved and he still came out of it a legend.

This is an eye opener to me because I love underground Hip Hop but it seems to be dying from the scene. I often say I’m confused about what type of music to make: what’s on the radio or what I love. This Jazz special has brought to light that if you stick to what you love, it will love you back in the long run. This jazz special is Hip Hop before Hip Hop was born. It speaks of the same issues: commercialism, different genres, the best and who the public makes out to be the nest. Hip Hop is a mirror image of Jazz music. And this lets me know that Hip Hop still has a long run ahead. The special is in the 30s, and it hasn’t gotten to the 50s with Charlie “Bird” Parker, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie yet, who were legends in their time. I just got to New York a year and a half ago. I got time to become a legend in my own right. The Jazz Show has shown me that if nothing else, I just need to work a little harder and do what I love, not what I think everybody else is gonna love.

Jrnl Entry No. 10.20.2000

The year 2000 has come and is just about gone. I have sat and looked at everyone living their dreams and accomplishing their goal. Suga Shane Moseley, Marion Jones, Maurice Green, David Justice, Lenny Krazleburg, DMX, Rock Wilder, etc. I look at these people, happy for them that they have achieved what they wanted to achieve. I wonder as I look at them, how did they achieve it? Well, there seemed to be some type of forum for most of these people. Take Marion Jones for example. She decided she was going to run track instead of play basketball. She trained hard every day in practice. When national championship or Olympic trials came around, due to her training, she won the necessary races, and boom, she’s a star. In the Olympics, she won gold in the 100 meter sprint. Now endorsements will come her way offering her millions to advertise a product. She’s set for life. David Justice, who knows when he decided to start playing baseball, but he decided some time in his life. He eventually probably played for a minor league team, and then got picked up to the majors. Now he is going to the World Series for like the third or fourth time in his career. He has hit two major home runs in his career to either win his team the World Series or get them into the World Series.

The point I’m trying to make is that for people like Marion Jones and Suga Shane Moseley, there is or was a forum for them to contend in. After so many contentions, if you win most of them, you will be the star. For me, there is really no forum that I can hop into. I want to be a Hip Hop producer. There are many Hip Hop producers out there now like DJ Premier and Pete Rock and Rock Wilder who are stars in the game. As I look at them, I wonder to myself, how did they get there? There is not a place where producer can go and play their beats against other producer’s beats, and whoever is judged to be the best gets to produce a song on an album that is sure to go platinum, and net you, at the least, depending on your deal, $80,000.

I’ve heard that in this forum of Hip Hop artist and producers that you have to know somebody in order to get in. If you know nobody, how do you get to know somebody? Everybody you meet, like I met Dazon of Murder Inc. one night at Club Cheetah; if I’d told him I was a producer, he would have paid no attention to that. How, how, how is my question. I can make the hottest song of this century, but if I know no one to get it into the ears of someone connected in the music industry, my song is useless. It’s not the same as for a basketball player who starts in Jr. High School, then plays in High School, then to college. If he has built his skills to perfection, he has a chance at getting picked to play in the NBA. All while he is in college he is watched by NBA scouts who will either get him picked in the NBA, or if he is no good, he won’t be picked.

Some may think I want this Hip Hop thing to happen overnight for me. I’ve told the story of my Hip Hop yearning which started 13 years ago. I’ve got Demo tapes. I’ve been producing beats in my head for years with no outlet to get them into real sound form. Now I have equipment to make the beats in my head real. Now I’m in New York where everything happens, but where do I go from here? There used to be a lyricist lounge spot in the early 90s where MCs could showcase their talent. A few MCs like Mos Def, Rah Digga, Talib Kweli have come to be where they are today because of this forum. Now there seems to be no forum especially for underground Hip Hop. The industry is killing underground Hip Hop, which is what I have loved from the beginning of my interest in this shit. Now, if you don’t sell a million or 500,000 with your first album, the label drops you. Back in the 80s, MCs like Kool G Rap and the Gangstarr group had 3 albums, none of which sold gold, but they were still in the game with a recording contract.

So the market for my production is getting slimmer and slimmer by the day and year. No one wants to give a new comer a chance. That seems to be the way it is but yet in still, it is not that way. How did MCs like Roc Marciano get into the Flipmode Squad? How did the producer Jay Dee get to be doing songs for and a part of a production team with A Tribe Called Quest? How did the MC Consequence get to be featured on A Tribe Called Quest Beats Rhymes and Life album? That was also the album that featured Jay Dee as a producer, so maybe Tribe just said “we are gonna let others shine on this album.”

To me it seems to be luck of the draw. I don’t know where to go to meet MCs or producers or artist for that matter to showcase my skills. Everybody says go to the Fat Beats store in the village. This place is a record store, not a lounge or a club. I went there one Saturday and I met two producers. I got their numbers and called one of them, but he never returned my call.

I’m thinking of starting a Bonny and Clyde group, or a group of girls because the industry has nothing like that. But even if I start this group, how will we get in with the industry or showcase our skills? How do I find a manager? I guess I could start asking people these questions. And maybe that is the key, a manager. Pay someone 20% of what I make because I know no one and they know everyone or someone who I’ll maybe never have a chance of knowing that could get one of my songs out to be heard by the people. There could be a chance that I could do it by myself, but I think that chance is very slim. You hand people a Demo tape of you, and they never listen to it, or they never get back to you.

Maybe my stuff is no good enough. I don’t know. All I do know is that this situation is depressing me. But I’m stuck because I believe in myself and I don’t want to go anywhere else. I believe it can happen because it has happened for so many people: Teddy Riley, Pete Rock, Premier, GURU, DJ Mark The 45 King, Marley Marl, DJ Clue. Wait a god damn minute; all the people accept for two are life-long New York residence. I’m from Ohio. Maybe that is the problem. Maybe there is no problem at all. I’m searchin’ for answers. I’m searching for direction in this journey; peace of mind with it.

Try god, is what you say huh? I tried him when I was younger. I prayed so long, I became an atheist. I prayed and prayed for a record contract, but still to this day, I have seen no record contract nowhere in sight. Jay Z confessed that he was a criminal before he became a star. But yet in still, he became a star. I’ve been a fairly good boy all my life, and I have not received one big dream. Well, maybe one, which was to get a Honda scooter when I was 13 years old. I got it and that was probably one of the happiest moments of my life before my daughter was born. Janelle being born was a happy moment which has turned grim because I have to go to court to see her like I want.

I guess I have been blessed as people say. I’ve been blessed with a college education, a job, a new car, my dream of living in New York. Well, let’s back up a moment. My dream was never really to live here, my dream was to be here to get into Hip Hop. Hip Hop is my dream, not New York. I wanted to come to New York but if there was no Hip Hop, I don’t think I’d be here, or would have wanted to come here. Hip Hop is what made me take my first trip here, not New York just in itself. I’m searching for Hip Hop but is seems hard to find. The Hip Hop I’m searching for seems to have died, and now a new species is being born, well, is born.

All I want is to have a song on an album and get paid a royalty for it. I don’t want to be the top hit maker, or the highest paid for that matter. I just want to be a part of albums coming out on labels, and get paid a fair amount in the form or a royalty check every quarter. That seems not too much to ask, or that it shouldn’t be that hard to accomplish. But this industry is selfish, and doesn’t seem to want to let anyone in unless it’s a crime partner or brother or close friend. I’ma make my mark somewhere in this shit. SOMEWHERE!

Jrnl Entry 9.13.2000 “MY HIP HIP STORY” PART VIII

Yeah, I live in New York now and have been here for a year. That feeling I used to have when I’d visit of walking around blending in as a New Yorker with Timberlands on and baggy jeans caused me to move here. I am finally here now, and it’s not feeling good at all. My plan was to move here, find me a couple of women to chill with, and make moves in the music industry. What actually happened when I got here was that I wasn’t able to meet any women, none! I thought I could maybe meet people out shopping or something, in a nice lounge bar, but it’s not like that here. Come to think about it, I don’t think it’s like that anywhere. When I was going out in Cleveland, I never picked up any women. I guess women don’t talk to you if they don’t know you or know of you, or someone that they know knows you. “I know I look good so it couldn’t be my looks.” (Ed O.G.) When Ed O.G. made that song “Gotta Have Money To Make It Witt The Ladies In The 90’s” He was telling the truth for the 90’s and beyond because it’s year 2000 and the same applies. If you don’t have a fly ride or are not a celebrity in New York and don’t know nobody, you are doomed.

I’m here trying to accomplish my dream of getting into Hip Hop, but with no women and no friends, it’s getting hard. I’ve talked to at least 100 girls in the last year, more than I’ve probably ever talked to in life, and didn’t strike anything with any of them. I talked to about 5 over the phone and nothing became of them. It’s ridiculous that there are millions of people walking around in this city and you can’t talk to anyone, at least not on a meeting and get to know on a relationship level. New York has some of the finest women of all races walking around, but you go and speak to them and it’s like “why are you saying something to me?” Even if you are polite, you still get dissed. Right now as I am writing this, I am depressed and don’t know what I am going to do. I don’t even like being outside in the city. I feel like it’s just me here and the rest of the outside world I’m seeing through a sound proof glass.

I went out last weekend with Burton who came to New York from Ohio. I talked to a really nice young lady by the name of Michelle at the Club Two Eyes We exchanged numbers and she gave me the wrong number. I talked to about four other girls that night and gave them my number and no one has called. Women here don’t give out their phone number like I can get to em’ and kill em’ through the phone. I told Michelle, if after calling a couple times and I see that you are not interested, I will not call anymore because I don’t have time for that. I told her I was a mature young man looking for a mature young lady, out of college or stable in her life. She told me she was in graduate school. I asked if we could get to know each other? She said yeah and we exchanged numbers. I called her Sunday night, and she gave me the wrong number. It just gets me down that I can introduce myself to a woman that I like, talk to her for a moment, and then she gives me the wrong number. I’m at the point now where I’m telling myself that I will not introduce myself to anymore women in this city.

I haven’t made any connections in the Hip Hop world neither. I ‘m kind of confused as to what type of Hip Hop I should be making. Underground artist such as Mos Def and Slum Village, who both have dope albums, they don’t sell. I want this music to be my living, and a good living. How am I supposed to live producing songs on albums that don’t sell to provide me with that living? The tracks being produced out on the mainstream, I don’t like half of them. I just try and make funky music. It must not be funky enough because out of like 25 tapes that I’ve submitted in person to rappers such as Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan, Talib Kweli of Black Starr and Reflection Eternal, and Rampage of the Flip Mode Squad, I have gotten no calls. I gave a tape to Black Rob’s brother and he gave me no call. I gave a tape to this kid named Poo Cabroxi, he called me and wanted two tracks on the tape. After I gave him the two tracks on a separate tape, he never called me again. He was telling me that I was gonna be recordin’ the songs in Daddy’s House Studios because his boy who wanted the songs was signed to Bad Boy Entertainment.

I sent a tape to my cousin who used to work for Motown. She is in Atlanta now. She didn’t respond. I cursed her out for not responding to me to tell me anything. She talked to me like she was some big A&R, not my cousin. She said since I cursed her out, she cannot help me. And she was working in the same office building as the Organized Noise producers who produced Outkast. She never introduced me to no one, so I said fuck her. I also know a guy who is down with DJ Clue. He is one of my good friend’s cousin by the name of Windexter. He was on the inside cover of Clue’s first mix tape on a major label. He grew up with Clue’s manager Richie. Every time I call this guy, he is never home. Or when I do talk to him, he never seems to have time to hang out, not even as a friend, which was my initial plan anyway because I thought he was a cool cat. I asked him to introduce me to Richie one time. He told me to call him one Saturday so he could listen to my tape, but he wasn’t home when I called. I even told him that if I get paid, I’d pay him, but he still hasn’t responded to me.

So I’m just here and I don’t know what the hell I’m gonna do with my life. I’m not gonna quit yet. I’m just feeling really down. So what started out as a bud in 84/85 lead me here to New York City feeling kind of depressed in the year 2000. I expected the rejection in the music industry, but the rejection from these women, I didn’t expect, and I am not handling it so well. But hopefully with time things will get better. I feel I want this music Hip Hop dream so bad, that I’m willing to go through all this because anywhere else I’ll have nothing to chase but a corporate ladder, which I don’t feel like chasing right now. I have a feeling that chasing that ladder will probably take me further in life than this Hip Hop dream, but what can I say. I want Hip Hop to be my life, not accounting in a corporation and definitely not in an accounting firm. It’s providing me with a means to live, but it’s not in my heart, HIP HOP IS!

Jrnl Entry No. 9.13.2000 “MY HIP HOP STORY” PART VII

In Dec —- I graduated from college. My plan was to move straight to New York or Atlanta. My boy Leon was staying in Atlanta at the time. He told me not to come because he knew a couple of accountant graduates who weren’t having great luck finding that, just so right, accounting job. Now I don’t know, but maybe he was hatin’, and didn’t want to see me prosper because I think I could have found the right job. But then again, when I first graduated from school, I was sending a resume in to anything that had to do with accounting: accounting clerk, payroll accounting clerk, staff accountant. Maybe the people he knew were doing the same thing and getting into jobs that were not so accountant like. So after he told me that, I started focusing my attention on New York, going to the library and searching the N.Y. Times and sending out resumes. I was getting no responses, but I kept trying.

Like in January my girlfriend of three months was pregnant. After that I dropped the New York idea and started concentrating on Akron and Cleveland and Youngstown/Boardman. Even though I graduated from Youngstown State University, I pretty much figured the only way I was going to get a job in Boardman was to have excellent grades; have played on the football team, or to be white. I graduated with a 2.6, didn’t play football and I wasn’t white.

I took a part time job at a record store called NRM in our local mall. I worked there for like two month and then decided that I needed to quit to focus more on finding me a job in my field of accounting. So the search was on and I was getting interviews from out of the Cleveland area, but no offers. After about five months, in June I got a job offer from Dairy Mart Corp, a well-known convenience store chain. My starting salary was $25,000. First thing I did was pay off my credit card bill which was small, only about $3,500, compared to most people I knew at the time. I would pay like $700 a month.

When I graduated from college, I had made up my mind that I wanted to be a Hip Hop producer. I started telling my friends and whoever would listen that was what I wanted to do with my life, not accounting.  After I finished paying off my credit card bill, I started saving for my ASR 10 keyboard, which I purchased in March of 1998. Me and some friends of mine had also made plans to purchase a sampler. We all paid $15 a month and got an ASR X which was mainly kept by Burton and Billy. Our plan was to make a CD with about six songs on it. I wasn’t supposed to purchase my own sampler, we were all just supposed to purchase one together and have it from house to house to make beats together, but I couldn’t see myself working like that.

We started off rolling. Nelson and I were writing songs to the beats Billy and Burton had done, and it seemed as if we got off to a great start. We had some pretty good songs too. But then Billy decides that he wants to rhyme, which I’m not too impressed by his rhyme skill. We changed the plans and basically threw out like six songs we planned to record and started over, and this would be the cycle.

We went to one garbage studio and recorded two songs and we were on our way. We went the next week, and the engineer guy didn’t show up. We had two more songs ready to go. Nelson and I could get together like a crew is supposed to and write a song in 30 mins to an hour. After we couldn’t get in touch with the engineer, we had to find another studio which we did like four months later.

So here I was rapping again. I started out as a solo MC, and now here I was rapping with the guy Nelson, who was once my DJ. After we broke up TWC, about six months to a year later, he started writing rhymes. If that was what he really wanted to do back when we were together, he could have said so, and we could have found another DJ. I was in group mode now; me and Nelson as the main MCs, and Billy and Burton and me on the production team. But yeah while I was in group mode, I think Billy was in some other mode. He could never write with us, and he seemed to be hard pressed to do songs with him and Nelson on the vocals because they were a group after Nelson and I broke up. Billy would always change his mind on songs that we were to go into the studio and do. Scrap the old and pick up the new, which I thought was flaky. We couldn’t decide how many songs we would all produce each. I came with the idea that we split production, but Burton and Billy disagreed.

By the time we were ready to start going to the new studio and record, I was moving to New York to work and pursue my dream to get into Hip Hop production for real. I would come back to Ohio every two weeks in order to maintain a relationship with my daughter and my girlfriend Sausha. So now that I was gone, we would go to the studio every time I came home. I had no money for studio time because the initial move to New York kilt my finances, and I just couldn’t afford it. I was barely living. Well, I was living, but I had no money for extra-curricular activity. I told them I would pay them when I got my income tax return. We recorded the two songs that we did in the garbage studio over and they sounded good. We recorded about seven or eight songs in all.

The songs we recorded, I wasn’t too excited about them. The songs that Billy and Nelson did by themselves, I could see Billy’s enthusiasm like on Fresh MC, and Holy War. In our songs there wasn’t enough interchanging between us like most groups do. Billy would always say, “let’s do one 16 bar verse each and that would be it.” We never could write a song with subject matter because we never got together to write songs. If you listen to groups like The Flip Mode Squad, Wu-Tang, Slum Village, those groups interchange rhymes like they all in it together and write it together and were all feeling it. I tried to express this to Billy and Burton but I never got heard. On a song that I produced called “We don’t dance”, Billy says he didn’t like the song. He wrote a wack verse to it. Nelson ripped the song down with his lyrics, and my verse was alright. I just got the feeling from Billy that he wasn’t into the total group thing with me included. Now him and Nelson, yeah, but him, Nelson and me, no! To this date, we still need to complete one more song. It probably will not get completed. Personally I have no money for this project. When I was in town, I made the suggestion that we put like $75 each in a pot for studio time. They x-ed that idea.

I feel Burton and Billy think they know too damn much about Hip Hop to let anybody have some input without disagreement. I’ve kind of proven this to myself when I was working on songs with Priest and The Sewer Rats. Me and Priest completed a track in like an hour. The Sewer Rats recorded one of my songs in the studio; put some lyrics over my beat and it came out dope. This happened because they let me do my thing and I let them do their thing. The beat me and Priest produced, I layed down a piano track, he layed down a bass line and a beat. I did the beat over and added some other stuff and it was complete. I could never do that with Burton or Billy. So who knows what will become of us. I want to be in a rap group. I feel group albums more than solo albums, and the group albums usually sell more. I was thinking of getting two females and starting a group.

Jrnl Entry No. 9.13.2000 “MY HIP HOP STORY” PART VI

When my friends and I would drive to New York we’d spend like half the day on 125th, and the other half at The Fulton Mall. We didn’t even spend the night in the city because we thought hotels were too much, and plus we didn’t know anywhere else to go anyway, no clubs or nothing like that. One time my friend Burton and I went for New Years. I think it was New Years 1993. We got a $40 room on 125th Street. One of those places with the bathroom down the hall. Except for the bathroom situation, it was a pretty comfortable room, nice and warm. The heat was kickin’ so, we had to open the window to survive.

We got there on a Friday night and New Years Eve was that Saturday night. Late in the night, I went walking around 125th and the surrounding area. He didn’t come with me because either he was scared or cold, or tired. I had had a forty of OE and I was wired, not tryin’ to go to sleep. I just walked around. It felt good to me to walk around the streets of New York City. I was fly too. Come to think about it, I could have gotten robbed. I had on some $80 Brand X Girbaud Jeans, some black chuckers Timberlands, a red black and white long sleeve Tommy Hilfiger shirt, and a green and blue check goose down Nautica coat, with a green and black hat with the flaps over the ears to match the coat. I ran into some Spanish kids and we were talking. They asked me if I liked Hip Hop, and of course I said yeah. I told them I was from Ohio, etc. At about 3 A.M. that night, I returned back to the room and went to sleep. We got up that morning and took our bath in the bathroom down the hall. It was disgusting, but hey, a nigga had to wash his ass you know that.

He had an appointment to get his dreads done at a shop in Brooklyn on Vanderbuilt called Tendrils. We found our way there. We were talking with the lady who was doing his hair, asking her where was a mall, like the ones we have at home? While doing his hair, she told us to drive straight up Flatbush Ave for about 45 Mins to an hour and we would run into a mall on the left hand side. We had heard on the radio about this bomb concert that we definitely were attending later that night. It was A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and The Souls of Mischief. We loved all of those groups, especially The Souls with their debut album. The way they flipped rhymes on that album was incredible to us. So after his hair was finished, we went driving down Flatbush and we ran into the mall. Just as I was about to run left, a car came along and scrapped against mine. DAMN!

So this guy gets out his car talkin’ loud, saying for me to give him $300 or something, or he hopes that I have insurance or I was going to jail that night. I got back into my car because it was cold, and the talk of jail scared me. I was stretching down toward the floor, and he thought I was reaching for a gun. He started saying that he had one too. I think my car was still running. I just put it in drive and made a break for it, I WASN’T GOING TO JAIL! FUCK THAT! So it was on. He ran back to his car and started chasing us. Burton was in the car calm and cool saying, “why are you doin’ this, we goin’ to jail, we goin’ to jail.”

In the chase, I slid and hit the back of a parked car. I backed out of that, and then on my next speedy turn in the snow, I ran off the road and hit a brick wall. I backed out of that, and the guy got out of his car and started running toward my car. Burton said he had a nine cocked to the side ready to fire, but he didn’t shoot. I was driving off and I guess he just gave up and stood back there outside his car.

I went and parked my car in a parking lot, and got out and hid for a moment to calm down. After about 15 to 30 minutes we got back into the car and started driving trying to decide if we should attempt to go back into Manhattan to try and go to that concert. We came up with all kind of crazy country shit that probably wouldn’t have happened. Like we were thinking there would be cops at the Brooklyn Bridge waiting to see if we tried to get on or off the bridge. And we were also thinking that maybe a cop would spot my car in Manhattan while parked and at the concert, and when we we’d get back in the car they’d surround us and arrest us.

We decided not to take the chance and that we should head back home, but the problem was, how did we get back to route 80 from Brooklyn? See, we usually headed straight down Amsterdam from 125th St and drove to like 178th and see a sign that said George Washington Bridge, hit 95 South, which turned into 80 and go home.  We just started driving and somehow we got back to 80. I still don’t know how we did to this day. We passed the Science Center and seen that statue of the guy with the world on his back where Tribe and De La shot the video for “Award Tour.” I live here in New York now, and that is on the Grand Central Parkway. To get from the Grand Central Parkway to 80, you have to cross the Tri-Boro Bridge which cost you $3.50, and I don’t remember paying to go across it. I don’t remember crossing the Queens Boro Bridge neither, so I don’t know how we got back on the road to get to Ohio but we did; made it back like right around 12 or 1 A.M. just as the New Year was coming in.

When we got back, I told my mom that someone hit the car while it was parked on the street at the hotel we stayed at.

Jrnl Entry No. 9.13.2000 “MY HIP HOP STORY” PART V

I drove from Mount Vernon up to the Bronx still looking for a mall like the traditional inside the building malls of Ohio. I seen this one sign that said it was mall, but it was like a circle of stores outside, not exactly what I was looking for. I got the idea around 4 P.M. to call Stu Fines and try to meet him since we had talked on the phone a few times and I had written him a few letters. He didn’t know where I was and how to tell me to get to his office. So I drove some more and parked my car by a train station on Baychester Ave. I went walking down the street a little and walked into this shoe store that didn’t have anything that excited me too much. I was actually looking to buy an African America College Alliance sweatshirt and tie-top skully hat to match like the rappers wore in the videos.

I got on the train. I can’t remember if I asked directions to get to 125th Street of not, but I was on the train. This kid got on and I started talking to him. He had a heavy New York accent that I could barely understand him. He told me I could get one of them sweatshirts on Fordham Road or probably 125th St. I asked him how to get to 125th St and he told me. I called my mom while at a train stop and told her where I was. She was shocked. I hung up with her when a train started coming and we couldn’t hear each other no more.

I got off the train at 125th St and it was like a whole nutha world right there at Malcolm X Blvd / Lennox. I smelt this heavy incense smoke like no smell I had ever smelt before. I seen all the African vendors lined up on the sidewalk. I started looking to see if anyone had them sweatshirts and those hats. I asked about the sweatshirts and no one had them. I asked about the hats because I didn’t see any on display. This one lady pulled out a piece of cloth that was open on both ends and she tied a string of cloth around one of the ends, and sure enough, right in front of my eyes was a tie-top hat like the rappers wore in the videos. I bought one. It was black and white stripes going down and the tie was black. I continued to just walk up and down the street. The vendors were starting to pack up. I was looking for a club or something once they left the street, but there weren’t any. People just walked up and down the street. People with their polaroid cameras were out taking pictures for I think $6 to $8 maybe $10. I had taken one picture.

I got back on the train around 11 P.M. and went to my car. I tried to drive back over into Manhattan but I kept running into bodies of water and dead ends, so finally I gave up, went and parked my car by the subway station I was at before on Baychester. I figured this was a safe place to park and go to sleep because people walking past my car would either be going to get on the train or getting off the train to go home; no time to be vandalizing my car or tryin’ to rob me. I climbed in the back seat and went to sleep. I’d wake up every time I heard a truck go by. In the morning I woke up to kidz constantly passing my car to get on the train or walking to school. But at about 9 A.M. or 10 A.M., I began to wonder were these kidz goin’ to school at all. In Ohio, the streets are clear of all kidz by 8 A.M. It was like 10 A.M and kidz who looked like they should be in school were steadily coming up and down the street.

I got up around 12 P.M. and went back to 125th St to look for my sweatshirt and my tie-top hat to match. It didn’t even matter what school or color, I just wanted one. I went into damn near every sports store on the street and asked for them damn sweatshirts. My lucky store that I went into and asked about them, they weren’t even officially selling them yet or they just got them in or something. Because I asked the guy about them, he said, “hold on, I’ll be right back.” He came from out the back with about three or four of them. I chose the grey, yellow and black Hampton University sweatshirt; you know, colors of the frat. They didn’t even have a price tag on them, and I really didn’t care how much they cost. He charged me $75 for it and I paid it. It was a pretty heavy duty champion-like sweatshirt, and I thought it was worth it. It was definitely worth it because I still have today. After I got it, I was happy. I walked up and down the street some more. I bought me a golden like tie-top hat to match the sweatshirt.

I went back to my car at like 3 P.M. and headed back to Warren, Ohio. I was a victim of racial profiling in Jersey. I got stopped and the cops searched my car thoroughly, trunk and all, looking for drugs. I wasn’t nervous. I let them handle their business. They said they stopped me for speeding, which was a lie because I wasn’t speeding at all. They let me go and I proceeded home. I got home and all my friends were telling me how crazy I was for driving that car to NY, and how come I didn’t tell any of them I was going, etc. From that point on, me and a couple of my friends took trips to New York 125th St once a year at least. After about two years, we ventured over into Brooklyn to the Fulton Mall, and those were our stops: 125th, then to Brooklynto the Fulton Mall. We didn’t know to take the subway, and didn’t want to try and park anywhere else when we’d see stores, so those were the only places we shopped.

Jrnl Entry No. 9.13.2000 “MY HIP HOP STORY” PART IV

I called Stu Fines Wild Pitch Records office. I would be the first guy from Warren, Ohio to make it in the music industry. He said he got my tape and he wanted to hear something else. He had gotten the first tape with I’m Hype on it. I sent him the new tape with the “Doo Wah Ditty” song I titled “I’m Getting Busier” on it. He called me back saying “I like the music, but not the lyrics.” I was like what, to myself of course. I was thinking “I know my lyrics can’t be worse than MC Hammer’s.”

So after that, about six months later, I made another tape. The feature song was called “I Write The Song.” I used the beginning bass track of the song “Pumpin It Up” by Parliament. This song was another hit, another perfect arrangement. I thought these songs were such hits because no one had used them at all. Sampling was rampant, but no one had touched these songs yet. I also looped another Parliament song, still another perfect arrangement, but not a hit song. The purpose of this song was to tell Stu to “Let Me Be Me,” that I didn’t rhyme like Gangstarr, the only group on his label at the time that I knew of; that I didn’t rhyme like Chuck D or Heavy D. I sent him this tape, and he never responded. I called him a couple of times and wrote a few letters. After about a year and a half later, I made another song using Shabba Ranks and KRSONE Remix to one of Shabba’s songs.

When I was in twelfth grade, I was in love with this white girl named Samantha. She was my girl and I was her guy. We were both in the band, which was how we met. And we were the talk of the whole school, band boosters (parents) and all. We held hands down the hall and gave each other a big french kiss after every meeting between classes. No one wanted us to be together. She was a white girl for real, not the cool white girl who hung out with black girls and had been with black guys before. She was a virgin, hadn’t been with anyone, and didn’t hang out with blacks or try to be black. She didn’t do that after we were not together neither. But you could just feel the tension when we walked down the hall. She even lost her two best friends because she chose to be with me. But she didn’t care. I was the first to dick her down and she loved me no matter what.

I can’t remember exactly when I wrote the song but the structure of it was like this: verse 1 was about Samantha and how no one wanted us loving each other because she was white and I was black. I sent the tape to Stu Fines and got no response, but still wrote him from time to time and tried to call him. I remember when “Main Source” came out, me and my boys were on their nuts. I wrote Stu that this group could be big if he did the right things. “Lookin At The Front Door” was pumpin’ at the time, but it was time for another single. The only other song that really grabbed me that I thought the masses of people would like was “Peace Is Not The Word To Play”. But there was one problem with that, it only had one verse of rhymes and the rest was cuttin’ and scratchin’. I told Stu in a letter that if Large Professor put two more verses on that song, it would be dope. What do you know, about two or three months later, I see the video for the song with the extra verses, but it was wack the way they arranged it, not at all what I had in mind.

I was a freshman in college. I had completed my first year of school, pledged A Phi A and I was enjoying my summer. I was working at Bank One as part of my scholarship intern program. I was ready to record another tape. I had the beats looped and ready to go. I went to my cousin and he said he needed a part to record and he didn’t have it, but I think he was just bullshittin’ me. So I couldn’t record anymore. So my dream had kind of started dying from there. I still wrote songs here and there, but I had no studio to go to and no beats because that looping shit I was doing was old to me and I needed fresh, real beats that I had no access to.

At the end of the summer, I was off from the bank, just got paid, and I had like $300 with nothing to do with it. It was a Thursday night, and I was sitting home, and I just made up my mind that “in the morning, I’m driving to New York.” From Warren, Ohio, I could take 80 East all the way there. My car didn’t look like it was in the best of shape but it could move on the high way, and I hadn’t had any problems out of it. It was a 1980 Buick Skylark that was busted up where the windshield meets the roof because I had hit a deer that tried to jump over the car to avoid being hit when it ran out into the street. I didn’t tell anyone I was driving to NY because I didn’t want to hear anyone’s mouth about the car not being able to make it. I got up that Friday morning and started driving. It took me about six hours to get there. I initially passed New York up and drove into Connecticut because I was looking for a sign that said “New York City, This Way.” There was no such sign and there still is no such sign. Once in Connecticut, I stopped at a gas station and asked where was New York City, and the attendant said, “back that way.” I went back and when I seen signs that said “Mount Vernon” I turned off. I was driving around looking for a mall or something. I stopped in a sports store, and to my amazement, they had Champion Sweatshirtsin every color imaginable. Champion sweatshirts were the shit at that time.