So last Friday was my son’s first birthday. His nickname is King Popcorn so we got him a little birthday crown and threw him a party that he cried himself to sleep in the middle of. That night I performed and bartended at a fundraiser for a non-profit that I work with, after that I went to a show and ciphered with C-Rayz Walz, Mikah 9, and P.E.A.C.E.
Its been a helluva year.
When I think of 2009, I make this face where I put my chin to my chest , open my eyes real wide, and look up into my head…its my face trying to help my brain wrap itself around how acutely insane this calendar year has been.
Musically, this has easily been the best year I’ve seen. My group (Thirsty Fish) and I signed to Mush Records earlier this year. The group was commissioned to record a new album and we’re finishing the last song this week. It features production from Exile, Daedelus, Tokimonsta, Omid, Awkward, and others…Sonically, itâ€™s the highest quality project that I’ve been involved with and I truly believe its going to turn some heads. Classic group-rap symmetry meets thumping production and relevant content. Everyone thatâ€™s gotten a sample thus far has been wowed but that might not mean much as I havenâ€™t gone out of my way to audition the music for anyone that doesnâ€™t like me.
During the creation of said awesome record, the good people at Mush took a liking to my solo LP “Unapologetic Art Rap”. This was a surprise. Not because I donâ€™t have high rap-self-esteem. I have very high rap self-esteem (mostly). I was surprised because I made this record in my house with the intention manufacturing and distributing it…from my house.
I’ve heard and read quite a few people argue that the age of the record label is dead, and that their services are no longer needed. There’s definitely something to be said for controlling one’s own destiny and thereby claiming all of one’s dime. But I think there’s also something to be said about having other people to work on your behalf. Especially people who are already good at what they do. I’ve done some PR and distro work and it sucked balls. I can’t believe that there are people who enjoy calling other people and trying to convince them to take chances on unpredictable shit. But these folks are out there. I’ve met a couple. I like it when they’re on my side.
I’ve got to admit, though, the hype machine has eaten a few rap souls this year, too. Once again the industry looks to the underground with the intent to harvest the next phenom. Except that this time, the instability of the buying public, and the fickle nature of hipster love have left label heads unsure of what image to impose upon their new signees. They’ve opted to let Wale, Murs, Cudi, and Kid Sister be themselves (themselves?…) with varying degrees of success. In many of these cases, the media that edifies them during their meteoric rise is left unimpressed by the final product. Have artists forgotten how to make albums, or have critics forgotten what a new rap artist sounds like? I wouldnâ€™t know. I donâ€™t really like rap.
I can’t front on how good rap has been to me this year, though. I toured Japan (does two shows count as a tour? They were in different cities…I had to take a train….) then toured in the states twice. I put out a well received, although somewhat ignored EP (that I really like). My crew, the Swim Team, is coming up all over the place, touring, battling, and putting out great music. I featured on Abstract Rude’s Rejuvenation LP and recorded with other artists that I have great respect for like Busdriver and Serengeti. I even got some love on PhilaFlava , and they stopped fucking with fools with dreadlocks like five years ago.
Here’s to next year being even better, but for now..im gonna hop off my own Johnson…and go back to the real world…where indie rap accomplishments donâ€™t mean much.
A tip of the hat to Open Mike Eagle. In case you missed it:
1. Bloody Show
2. Career Advice
3. The Ballad of Netty Armstrong
4. Combustible Party Truck ft. Rift Napalm, Rogue Venom & Nocando
5. The Shoulder Shrug
8. The Financial Crisis Song (Weâ€™re in a Recession/Beat-theft Mix) Stolen from Bullion