Just When You Thought You Were Nice: When Yesterday’s Up Becomes Today’s Down

So I thought today I might write a little blog about one of the many hiccups we had along the way in the making of the above vinyl, but I say “why talk about old problems you solved when you can talk about the new problems that are happening right before your eyes.”  Alright, I don’t say that and neither should you, but in this instance I must put the aforementioned quote into action.

As quickly as we had a date for our release party we lost a date for our release party.  I could scream, shout, yell, and complain, but I feel like I personally know everyone who reads this (and in actuality I probably do in some way, shape, or form and if I don’t let’s change that – holla at a backpacker) and if you know me you know that’s far from my style.

As I had to hit you with a little bit of negative with the news I’m gonna quickly shift to the positive.  We will have a release party sometime this century (gotta start with wider goals before you narrow them down. lol) and it will be dope.  Also I have a new song I recorded last week with the homie Dial 81 (he might kill me for doing this, but I think he’ll understand as we’re about to grab some drinks) and I want to share it with you as I’m in a bit of a jaded mood and need to love music again.  It’s very rough and unfinished, but it’s a bit how I feel about the state music is in right now.  I think music could be served well by being a little more rough and unfinished so here it is.

(if you happen to be reading this by way of facebook you might have to go to the actual blog to see it.  www.hiphopismysoul.com)

Superior Belly Presents Spillout Series Vol. 4 w/ Progress Report and The British Knights

As always it’s been a minute, but it will be more than a minute before I leave you for a minute if you get what I’m saying.  I think I confused myself so I’ll put it another way.  I’ve been off the scene for a minute  just trying to find myself.  I trained with the Shaolin Masters, observed with the monks, flew with the seagulls, ran with the wolves, and of course completed seasons 1-5 of The Wire.  In this soul searching period I also had time to form a new group with my man Eddie Logix entitled Progress Report, and our self titled debut release is done and will be out later this year, but before all that LP nonsense and digital ish allow me and my comrades to take you back for a sec with a little something I like to call Vinyl.

Yeah that’s right….Vinyl.  With the help of our friends over at Superior Belly and Exchange Bureau Music we are putting out a limited edition colored 7 inch record which we shall call the Gold Star Edition (since the industry ain’t gonna give us one we printed up our own gold record).  There will only be 300 copies available and I know what you’re thinking.  Is that because they only had enough money to print up 300 copies?  If that is your question you are absolutely right, but allow me to be serious for a second.

When I released my debut album “The Cooperative” I said to myself “If nobody feels the project I can say I gave it my all, quit, and put on that suit and tie, or for those that know me my apron and oven mitts (I rep Caesars on occasion).”  Luckily, or unluckily as some may see it, it was everybody that is reading this (that means you) that helped me to believe in myself and push all those fall back plans to the back.  Now there is no turning back.  I have definitely had my ups with this music thing, but I have also had my downs and I try to let you see both through my writings and my music.

I don’t know where I’m going with this so let me sum it up.  Through all the shows that I’ve played no matter how big or small your support and encouragement have truly meant the world to me and it will continue to do so.  I don’t got fans (I’m not that cool), but I’m blessed to have a lot of friends I’ve met through my travels that support me in whatever I do so this music is for all of us.  It is my hope that you will see this project as a step forward for me (hence the title Progress Report) and continue to support.

With all that being said, we are having a release party for the Vinyl on Saturday June 26th in the Shelter.  The cover is $7 and we are giving away the vinyl to all that attend.  This is my first time playing at The Shelter.  This is special for me in the fact that it has always been a childhood dream of mine (or at the very least a drunken high school fantasy) to play this venue.  However, I no longer want to be that tree in the unpopulated forest so I would enjoy some people there to hear me make a sound (probably a bad metaphor because I don’t want to fall. lol).

If you’ve read this far you’ve probably been in my corner for quite sometime and of course as this is up on my blog I’m merely preaching to the choir.  Therefore, it is my hope that you’ll tell a friend, post the flier up on your page, write about it on your blog, or do whatever you think will get one more person in the door.  I’ve never been too proud to ask for your support and as I have set the date for my biggest show thus far I’ll need it now more than ever.

In the 3 weeks leading up to the show I’ll try to blog about the long strange journey it’s been to create this vinyl so keep posted and stay connected.  I’m definitely swinging for the fences with this project so hopefully I hit that home run before I max out all my credit cards, and I know what you’re thinking. … This guy really takes a long time to sum things up.  With that being said I leave you with the lead single that will be on the vinyl aptly entitled “Wake Up”. (Don’t think I’m giving away all the milk for free as there is a b-side remix done by The British Knights for Exchange Bureau Music and a bonus track featuring someone very special to me).  Let’s Go!

The Price of Providing A Live Show: My Clipped Wings Tour Summary

Whaddup my people,

As I was only able to do the Midwestern leg of the Clipped Wings Tour the last show I appeared on was last night in Milwaukee.  I am writing this from my friends apartment in Chicago taking a day of rest here before I head back home to Detroit.  Yeah, I know it’s not a far drive back but I’m lazy and like to take my time.  lol.  As I’ve done more specific tour diaries in the past and will probably bore you with the minute details of the road in the future I will opt out of doing so this time around.  For one I was only on the road a short while to really get into the debauchery that I’m usually known for, and I feel it far better that I discuss how I’m feeling instead of specific events.  It might come off as random and scatter-brained but here goes nothing.

For one the road is a rough place for artists like us that are still out here starving.  We are kind of caught in a catch 22 in the fact that we don’t have a ton of fans throughout the country so it’s difficult to tour, but we have to hit the road in order to build a fan base so there’s really no choice in the matter.  There are no tour buses (honda element), no hotel rooms (although I was able to talk my way into a $25 room one of the nights), there’s not always showers, there’s not always people at the shows, there’s no fancy technical and personal riders sent out so that means there are definitely no bottles of champagne popped.  There’s us, our tour mates, and the artists and people we have built connections with before.  The goal and what ultimately determines if a tour is a success are the new connections we are able to build in each city.

Gone are the days in which artists can breeze into a city, chill backstage, hit the stage, and then dip.  When we are touching down in a city we want to know what the scene is like.   I’m trying to talk to everyone I can to acquire the info, and to share my experience with them inside and outside of music (I still pretend like there’s still a difference).  Gone are the days where artists can even stand behind a merch table.  After I leave the stage the first thing I’m going for is my box of merch and I am talking to everyone personally in the venue.  After I have tried to sell everyone in the building then I go for the email list and I offer them a free download as a thanks for them signing up.  I wait till after we go on stage so the audience has a chance to hear what they’re supporting but next tour I think I’m gonna go in swinging for my career.  There were a few times when the crowd was lost before we got on stage and those were definite missed opportunities.

Still I am not seeing artists do the method I mentioned above enough which is probably one of the reasons I have no problem sharing.  The playbook is nothing without execution after all.  On the other hand, I want to give myself more credit than that.  I want my peers to succeed in this game and I do believe there is a place for us all, but everybody has to put in work.  The only people that really think music is so competitive are the ones that expect something for nothing.  And yes, although making music is important in this game, this is NOTHING.  It’s what you do with that music and your plan to get it to the people, and furthermore your application of that plan that will get you to where you want to go.  Your personal opinion of your own music in relation to others is also NOTHING.  Opinions are like assholes and most people usually ARE.  I’m not thinking about why these whack musicians are successful.  I’m thinking about how they are successful and if there are any strategies I need to co-opt.

When I hit the road I expect nothing.  To every single person that put us up in their homes, fed us, let us shower  THANK YOU.  Although some of you I have known for a long time you didn’t have to do that so I am forever appreciative.  To everybody that put us on a show giving us a path to build a fan base in your city  THANK YOU.  Although there were high’s and low’s in attendance we saw the promotional efforts put in and my new motto is if you give us 3 shows in a city we will build your hip hop scene for you if you don’t already have one (those ego’s can get a bit crazy. i got a few).  To all my friends that came out to the shows along the way THANK YOU.  I know some of yall don’t even listen to Hip Hop but I’m thankful you’ll lend an ear to me and my musical peers when we fall through town.  To the sites such as Fusicology, La Famiglia, Potholes in My Blog, and Detroitrap (if I’m missing anyone forgive the mind) THANK YOU for shining light on what we’re doing.

To my brothers in United States of Mind, thank you.  As I am not able to continue with the tour it is you guys that are spreading the USM name and getting our music out to a larger audience person by person.

To sum up everything touring is rough business.  Nothing is given and everything is hard to earn.  I didn’t even bring up the ego’s. lol.  We’re all crazy deranged artists so of course we’re gonna but heads from time to time. Sometimes the day in and day out can be like walking on eggshells. You want to be mindful of other peoples thoughts, opinions, and schedules without getting yours stepped on.  This is also an impossibility but we do our best in this respect. lol.  Taking all this into account I can logically only come to one conclusion:  I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING.

This is exactly what I signed up for and what a beautiful struggle it has come to be.  The small victories, the big mistakes, the huge shows, the off nights, the getting wasted no matter what happens. lol.  That’s what it is.  Can’t wait to fully process this experience (which will take at least a week mind you) so the next time I hit the road (hopefully touring my new project with Eddie Logix entitled “Progress Report”) I can do it bigger and better.  That’s right folks.  Next time around I’m going for the couch as opposed to accepting the floor.  Until the next time I’m in your city folks.


United States of Mind and The Metro Times

It’s that time of year again where the Metro Times sends out their Best of Polls.  Of course these things are silly, but per usual I’m petty enough to want to win some shit so I can front to my parents like I’m making progress in this world.  And I happen to belong to a few categories so if you could be so kind holla at ya boy one time.  here is where you can fill in my name.

Best in Culture

Best Local Hip-Hop Artist or Group – United States of Mind
Local Artist or Group with Best Chance of Going National – United States of Mind

Best Nightlife

Best Bar for Under 30s – The Bosco
– The Bosco
– David Strauss (yes…use the government name)
As usual thanks for your support as it means the world to me.  It would be great if we win it will help out our cause greatly.

1 rule on this thing though you gotta at least voted for 20 things in Detroit (place to eat hang out etc. etc.) if you don’t fill out 20 your ballot won’t go through.

PS. If you got people that can help out please forward this thing to them…Im sure with a lil effort we can take this

Tell us what’s Best — that’s your move to wrestle an invite to the BEST PARTY OF THE YEAR. Once again, as we have since 1986, we’re asking MT readers to point us to what’s best in metro Detroit, greasy …

This Saturday Come Catch My First Show of 2010

The Subject Line pretty much says it all but here are some added reasons

1) it’s for a good cause with all proceeds going to Gleaners

2) there’s an eclectic line up so a little something for everybody

3) i’ll be drinking (you might think this is just fun for me, but if you think that you haven’t seen me drink)

4) The Situation is rumored to be there (i know it’s your guilty pleasure too)

5) 2040 will be holding me down on the 1’s and 2’s

6) I’ll be giving away free CD’s and shirts

to sum up it will be a good time for a good cause so get involved.

Dial 81, Intricate Dialiect, Beverley Fresh, 2040, and Mobil are Sweeeet!

Okay.  The homie Dial81 and Intricate Dialect dropped a free project at www.SuperiorBelly.com last week and this is my fav song off the track.  I hate saying why songs are my fav and explaining art in general (it’s just how I feel) but i’ll appease you a little.  I really dig the Superior Belly camp because frankly, they do whatever the fuck they want.  They’ll sample anything, say anything, try anything and that’s what makes the style everything.  I especially think that care free creative attitude comes across on this track.  Listening to this can quickly turn a winter night into a spring eve and something else that would be said in a woman’s deodorant commercial.  With that being said take a listen and if you like it click the album cover below the track to jump to Superior Belly and download the project for free.99.

Potholes Shows Mad Love Once Again

whaddup people,

if you’re just tuning in to the blog you might not know but the group I have the privilege of being a part of, United States of Mind, has released our debut album “Kill The Bullshit” as a free download.

As nobody really reads this blog thankfully our good friends at our favorite site www.potholesinmyblog.com put it up for their readership to peruse over.  Jump to their site to check out what they have to say by clicking on their logo at the end of this post.  Happy Holidays if I don’t blog out for the rest of the week.  All I want for Christmas is your eyes and ears so thanks for lending them to me from time to time.  Until next time.

What Would We do Baby Without Us: Shalalala the REmix (word to @iamdiddy)

Take That…Take that — See you guys on the 26th


Free Download: United States of Mind’s debut cd “Kill The Bullshit”

Whaddup my people,

About a year after it’s initial release we have decided to put our debut album up for free download. Why you ask? I’m sure there are some very good reasons.   Here are a few I can think of.

1) Everybody seems to be doing it these days

2) We put a subliminal message in the download to make you murder every other rapper alive.  Even the dope ones.  (of course we hate whack rappers but we also hate rappers more successful than us)

3) At the end of the day we just want you to hear what we’re doing over here.  The money and acknowledgment from our peers is nice and all, but it begins and ends with you.  We do this to express ourselves and whether you like it or not, we’re satisfied if you’ve just given it a listen so you can make an informed decision.  We don’t have any crazy kind of marketing machine or budget or cool friends that make us popular so a free download is our best way to mainline our music directly to the people.

If you like what you hear all we ask is that we let your people know that we’re out here and making music.  Please copy this link and spread it around — http://unitedstatesofmind.bandcamp.com/album/kill-the-bullsh-t and when I  say spread it around I mean hit your blog, hit your twitter, hit your facebook, hit your friends facebook, hit your myspace (do we still use this), and if you run a site feel free to post it.  That’s about all I gotta say about it.  Fuck it actually — if you hate it let us know too cause that’s valid.  Just feel something.  I feel like music has been watered down for so long people have become numb to it and it’s suddenly taken on the form of soilent green or something.  It’s like peeps aren’t even hungry for Hip Hop like they used to be.  Well I say “Kill That Bullshit”.  We cooked something up last year that I feel is gourmet so eat the fuck up and break bread with your fam.  Until next time.


What Would We Do Baby Without Us….Shalalala

What is up my peoples and most importantly what’s good?  I write this from the confines of beautiful AJ’s cafe in the heart of downtown ferndale after enjoying a delicious vegan philly steak and cheese sandwich.  As I’m about to be off to work at The Bosco I figured I’d spare a few minutes and hip you to the happening on December 26th.

The flyer pretty much says it all in terms of the performances except for the fact that DJ Benny Ben will be spinning.  If you need credentials on Benny Ben and you’re from the Detroit area I’m gonna need your credentials first before we even have a discussion on the matter.  Moving along….

The point I was getting at that the flyer can only touch on the family aspect of this bill and the mutual respect and admiration between the acts listed on the bill.  I’ll start with Detroit CYDI.

As I’m often sleepwalking through life (not in the way of these brainwashed masses but you get the point) I only really woke up to CYDI about a year ago first meeting them individually as people and then getting hip to their music through my man Hubert Sawyers site (www.fryinginvein.com where you can go for things that you don’t know about yet, but will swear you’ve been up on when it blows up).  Regardless, they are amazing people (that goes for them and their extended fam — whaddup Stryfe, Notion, Marc Byrd and the million other cats i’m sure i’m forgetting) and the music is eclectic varying style but never really ceases the smooth.  Speaking of smooth, Buttermade Records will be in the building (the imprint that released “Turn Up The Smooth” by Stoopz n Breeze) as Blake Eerie and Hugh Whitaker release their much anticipated project “The Lateef EP”.

I had the opportunity to preview some tracks off this project at a listening party earlier this month and from what I’ve heard this joint is crazy.  Keeping up with the crazy themes each track on this CD directly coincides production wise with tracks from Yusef Lateefs Detroit project (eat your heart out Danger Mouse).  I’ve known both these gentleman through many years and beers so I can’t wait to have a copy of this in my hand.  However, the Family Ties vibe extends beyond the groups performing which is why I tried to keep these descriptions as brief as possible.  As usual it starts and ends with YOU.

We wanted to do a show around Christmas time for all the friends and fam we got that will be coming from out of town.  The music is always important but for me personally on this go round it is ultimately secondary.  The performances will be short and sweet so really I’m just looking to chill with all you people who helped make me the person I am (some for the worse. lol. you know who you are but come out anyways and lets reflect on how we haven’t changed a bit.)  Trust if you’re reading this you are definitely in that friends and fam category (i’m not big enough to have anything but) so come out and lets share a joke or two and a brew.  If that doesn’t get you teary eyed enough I got the clincher.  aaaaaaaaand ACTION –