Before I even get started on my rant, check the video below of Havoc from Mobb Deep's thoughts on rappers getting their first break in their 30's.
Alright. Coming from Havoc, a respected MC/producer who dropped his first album at 16 (with Prodigy, Mobb Deep's 'Juvenile Hell'), this is an interesting point. Who the fuck says that the point of view of a 16 year old is more valid than that of a 30 year old?
Let me put this in perspective. I'm now 29, and I've been rapping since I was 15, but only taking it seriously since I was like 23 or 24, and really seriously since maybe 27. Now, if I had have had a 'break' when I was 23, I know for a fact that there is NO WAY that my music back then would be anywhere near as solid as it is now.
I've learned so much over the past few years that I finally feel I'm ready to deliver a solid product that is worth people investing their time and money into. But my worldly (or not so worldly) point of view as a 23 year old, according to Havoc, is more valuable than the me of today?
That argument makes no fucking sense. So yes, fuck you Havoc. Just because shit hasn't come together for someone by the time they're 30 - whether they're an MC or in a band - doesn't mean that they should automatically kill their dreams. That's insane. It's nothing short of ageism, which is one of the most ridiculous biases in the modern era, as it puts the youth on a pedestal over experience and wisdom.
I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on this, folks...
"Durable physically fit raps articulate/ you get your whole skeleton cracked something ridiculous/" DAMN !!! It's a shame that very few artist in the game can still kick shit as visually stunning as that. Ah! Hell on Earth. An album that marked transitions in so many ways it's crazy. The drums havoc flipped still had that stone hard feel ( perfectly described by my man OX as "the type of snare that makes you blink involuntarily when that shit drops" ) , but also sported the cleanness that would eventually dominate mainstream rap's sound. The Infamous Mobb appearance was also significant in the sense that The Alchemist was brought in through their affiliation with DJ Muggs. On a personal note 96 was the year that i came back over here after 3 years of living in Ireland doing the boarding school thing. ( Blackrock STAND UP ) While kicking it with my cousins in London ( where i always spent holidays at ) i saw the review for the G.O.D. father part 3 single in the Source and was feinding for it in Europe but copped it in Greenbelt MD ( Springhill Lake STAND UP ) , so the album also represents a big transitional period in my life being where i went from classy to fly and ashy.
Which brings me to the main point about why music is life for me. I went from balling out in spots like Paris and Knightsbridge to busting my ass working over at Alabama ave in Southeast D.C. and living in the Kirkwood apartments in Hyattsville ( where my man Stix from Franklin ave in B.K. swore that the buildings reminded him of some low rise projects down to the corner store ) and no matter where i was at, Music always had a way of overpowering anything that was going on in life. For example, sticking with the Mobb deep theme. I remember waiting on Grafton Street in the city center of Dublin to link up with this chick i met at the movies. To kill time i jetted up the block from the McDonalds i was supposed to meet her to see what was new at H.M.V. Walking downstairs to where you could find their rap section i walked up and i saw it. The big "IT". Staring me in my dumbstruck face baring a sticker that read IMPORT was the cover of Mobb Deeps "The Infamous". Top 40 shit was bumping through the in store speakers, dozens of people buzzed around buying and selling shit and the only thing that i was aware of was the the bone chilling guitar riff of "shook ones part 2", the relentlessly evil undertone Havoc served up using bass and drums spliced together flawlessly on "cradle to the grave" ( the track that made me start putting vinyl static on my beats for extra ambiance ) and the way that the sample used on "if it's alright with you" ( WHY WAS THIS TRACK NOT ON THE ALBUM )gave me a warm yet sad feeling every time i heard it. Oh! by the way , big up to Tim Westwood for playing these tracks on his show before the album dropped. Needless to say i copped it, stood shorty up ( it's all good cause i was wrong for trying to cheat on my girl any way ) hopped on the train back to school, pressed play and was immediately struck by the haunting string plucks of "start of your ending". ( COT DAMN!!!! THAT BEAT IS STILL HARD AS HELL 12 YEARS AFTER IT CAME OUT ) from start to finish nothing else mattered. On the flipside one day coming home from work in D.C. I was exhausted beyond anything i had experienced before. Rent was looming, stress in the crib and various other things were kicking your boy in the the teeth. Jumping off the greenline train in Hyattsville i was mad tight at the world. I had my headphones off for the train ride cause i was reading ( now and then i go through a bookworm phase ) after exiting the station i threw my joints on cause cars, buses and hundreds of people just as tired as you are is not really a relaxing soundtrack. I skipped the J-Love "Hidden darts" Mixtape to "The Sun" and from the intro( with Ghost talking over lush strings and a flute so serene that it could put anybody in a beautiful coma ) to the outro, nothing else mattered. Rent was still due but music was still more powerful than stress. When the headphones came off the stress was still there but for that little while i was bulletproof to that shit and that is why to me music is life. I read somewhere that Egyptians used to say that music was medicine for the soul and i feel that way too. That's why die hard wu tang fans that never knew each other can stop and have a 40 minute convo with each other based on nothing but the heavy love we got for the killa beez ( whut up Reynard the grandmaster of the wu tang collections )
I thank God for every little good and bad time i had in life cause ultimately it made me a better writer and producer. Cats ask me how i can make sample free beats like "beautiful scarz" that tend to have a lot of emotion seeped in without any formal training. ( shit i flunked music theory class with an incomplete grade ) The answer is this. Any one of my fam that has seen me loose my mind at a show when a certain song drop's or seen me jump out my seat screaming when they hit me with a cd i had been dying to hear, they have the key, which is. I LOVE THIS SHIT. Fuck it. That's all. Solo single no more no less. I'm a fully operational music geek. I'm the dude that reads album credits meticulously cause i want to know everything about that shit cause music just has that effect on me. I don't know if my zodiac sign has anything to do with it. I rock the Aquarius sign ( fellow cats like Dr. Dre famous for his marathon studio sessions know about the love and from what i read about him the late great J Dilla knew too. note: I am NOT comparing myself to these legends so don't go flying off the handle ) and people say that cats like us bang out joints too much due to a heavy love for creativity, but if that's what makes somebody happy why brake that love.
Before i bounce let me hit you with this havoc line that just passed ( I really do got that that Hell on earth shit on the side of me ) "hit you up/ from the waist up/ that's how it is and how it is is kinda fucked up/ but the beats banging/ got your whole click singing/ on the corner while it's ringing/" Life is gonna stay fucked up and complicated but everyone from thugs on the corner to stressed out white kids in mosh pits, to grown folks catching a show by The Manhattans can attest that just TURNING UP THAT GOOD SHIT AND ENJOYING IT always has a good effect.