W. Draztik & Sleepy Biggs “SMOKERS COUGH” Album Release Party **FRIDAY JULY 2ND @ OLD MIAMI**

BlueCollar Gentlemen & USM presents….
Album Release Party!!!

the lineup looks a little something like this:
MIZ KORONA (hell yeah!)
USM (why not?)
MAZ (formerly of Draztik Meazures…. ya know we had to take it back)
& more TBA suprise type shit (c’mon son! it ain’t hip hop if it ain’t last minute)

::::::::::::::::!!IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!:::::::::::::::::::

This album release party will cost you $5 ..oh I know we are getting it in!!!… on your pocket book right!?!? WRONG! we will give you a copy of “SMOKERS COUGH” FREE!
not such a bad deal…right? (it is a full length LP, actual album like artists used to make way back when, pro-pressed like @ a CD factory with saran wrap n shit on it….. not to mention for the sake of the 2 dudes who constructed this smokers cough joint!… 1000’s of their real life & creative hours devoted to making such an outstanding album) so please humor us… $5 got it? lol
USM is motherfuckin recession proof!
not to mention we got alotta love for anybody reading this message right now
we salute you giving a shit

FRIDAY JULY 2ND @ OLD MIAMI 3930 Cass Ave. 21+ $5 10PM-2AM

just a reminder of what your gonna be getting into

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 …

Chief’s “Broken” Ironically Comes Together

Whaddup yall,

Been a minute since I blogged as usual, but it means I’m busy outside of the net so it’s all good.  Anyway’s I’ve been meaning to get at you about my boy Chief’s new album for the last couple weeks but am just finding the time now to sit down at this computer.  Goes without saying as I don’t promote ish I don’t like, but let me hit you with the disclaimer.  I have known Chief for quite some time and we’ve shared many beers and many shows as we toured together last year.  Now that you know my bias here goes nothing….

To really get the experience of Chief you have to check out a live show which I had the pleasure of doing by attending the album release party for this project.  I’m not gonna say his music is for everyone as the masses enjoy that whack shit, but the people that are in to Chief’s music hang on his every word like it is the gospel.  He really speaks to a certain demographic that is diverse but also quite niche pertaining to specific experiences around the Detroit area, but ghetto’s and suburbs surrounding them are found everywhere I guess (meaning you don’t have to be from around Detroit to get it, but it helps).  At his show he ran through a catalog of material and the crowd knew all the tracks like it was Jay Z at the Garden or some shit.  As I’m not an expert at the body of work Chief has released I had to ride with the CD in the car for a week to get a feel for what this specific project was talking about.  Needless to say it hasn’t left the CD player too much.  Here are my thoughts specifically on the CD.

Chief “Broken” Review

I don’t know what it is exactly what people love about Chief and I’m sure there are an array of reasons, but if I could take a guess it is that Chief is a man extremely comfortable in his own skin and it shines through in his music.  He speaks his mind (i know this is what all artists are supposed to do, or at least they front like they do, but Chief has a uniquely direct way of letting you know how he feels) and leaves it up to you to hate it or love it.  However, it would seem that Chief is most comfortable in pain and that pain is what connects you to his music whether you can relate or perhaps feel better about your problems. I was telling a friend that after listening to this CD i felt like giving into all my vices and just saying fuck it.  For some reason I MEAN THAT AS A COMPLIMENT.  You figure it out.

As an EP the CD covers an amazing amount of ground in terms of mood, subject, and feel while staying true to its downtempo and headphone roots which get close to stretching the bounds of what hip hop is considered.

Starting off with “This Cloud ft. Rusty” Chief acknowledges his pain but you feel like there is a desire to climb out from the under and win.

On “Broken” which is the title track and my favorite track, he discusses what is probably one of his and all man’s greatest vices in terms of a woman and it also works if it is a metaphor for hip hop.  Just because you are broken doesn’t mean you can’t find and be in love.

With “Lesson in Love ft. Kiko” Chief finishes the woman thought out with a sick lesson in vocal harmony from Kiko.  This lady absolutely killed it and should be checked for on the solo tip if she has any work out.  The last verse begins an emotional ascension of sorts.  Taking a departure from just pointing out the flaws and mistakes there is a desire to change.

On “Gotta Stop Running” finds a little help from his friends as Phathom rips this track to shreds as far as you can tear up a downtempo track.  Hook is dope.

On of my favorite phrases is “If you don’t know where you’re coming from, where would you go”.  Chief acknowledges his love of this phrase on “Days I Remember” which is the lead single.  This is probably the most feel good track on the album in my opinion and as we are a reminiscent generation, I think everyone will appreciate this track.  Good choice for the single, but i wanna see anything from track 2-4 get released next (my vote is “Broken”)

“In Times Things Change” is not my cup of tea, but I wouldn’t consider it a miss but this  is also a feel good and inspirational tracks (perhaps I myself am too bitter to truly appreciate the inspirational. lol or that’s actually not that funny if true).

“SODC” puts me right back on track with the program.  This song can give you a sense of pride if you’re sharing the same experience as Chief is.  As he has this desire to change, he’s also trying to love every moment on the in between time. And isn’t that when life happens.

“Vinnie Johnson” is the closer and the most perfect way to end this CD.  Although we all have to handle serious business, you gotta have fun and enjoy yourself and that’s exactly what Chief does with this joint.  As the rest of the CD is extremely up close and personal, this is an ode to the punchline style and attitude that Detroit is probably most known for.

I usually won’t go through every song when reviewing, but this is a shorter project and the man is saying something on every track.  This ain’t a club project but if you’re into that you’re not reading this anyways.  To me this is one of those “Headphone Masterpieces”.  You will enjoy this most in your bedroom with the lights low and just zone out, or when driving in your car alone thinking about your path.  The production is tight (check the credits and know i could write a book of compliments on everyone involved), there is real substance to the lyrics, and it is a complete project in a world filled with singles and ringtones. What more do you want?  I could go on and on but I have my own struggles to attend to.  Cop this from www.megaroyal.com (CLICK ALBUM COVERS ABOVE TO JUMP TO SITE) and tell em Large Marge sent ya.  In a minute yall.

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.

Whatchu Know About My Writes

whaddup peeps,

as you would know from reading this blog it’s not specifically about anything in particular.  i just really talk about me and my friends. as music is a big part of my life it comes through in a lot of what I talk about (I guess that’s why it’s called hip hop is my soul).  Anyways with Life being Music and Music being Life I got home from the bar last night and decided to do a free write which I haven’t done in sometime to some instrumentals.  What I mean by a free write is the verses are going nowhere in particular.  For quite sometime everything I have written is going towards an upcoming project of mine or a friends.  This has caused me to write less in between projects and I think a little of my sanity has suffered for it.  The notepad is the poor mans therapist after all (although sometimes on nights of writers block it can feel like that note pad is judging you).

Anyways, I’m not sure if I’ll frequently do this but I decided to share what I wrote last evening.  I don’t know if I’ll frequently do this because I don’t know if the words translate just by reading them on the page and without delivery it’s like a text message where the feeling can be misunderstood or seem cold   and without emotion.  However, per usual I’ll let you decide with your feedback if I should do this more often or not.  With that being said let the show begin.  I was listening to The Roots “LNJF Sandwiches” project when I wrote this.  If you don’t have it i definitely recommend you grab it from Okayplayer.com as it is up for free download.   The track off of it I wrote is to “Someone is Late for Dentist”.  I always say you can learn all about me by listening to my words.  I’ve written a lot of verses so each one only tells a fraction but either way here’s to us getting to know each other better in 2010.

where are you going?

Ah my sweet solitude
I think I’m in the mood
To explore my mind got a little spare time
To get to know me, I know the old me
But I’m feelin’ brand new over this cold beat
So let me bundle up with this melody
Wrap my my ear drums in headphones and zone
Philosophize life simplified to a poem
Sanitize my soul let go of ego
And we go explore new territories
new experiences bring new stories
And we ain’t doin the same old
Naw never that, politic with clever cats
On the stoop like 227 with my sisters and brethren
Just livin’ lovin’ existence and this is
A love song dedicated to who
Well if you listenin’ dedicated to you
Nothing else to do but put your name right here
So help me out, scream it loud say your name
Let em know what you about, let em know why you came
But the question still remain’s where r u going
With styles as deep as the ocean
You can go with the flow and the next day switch it up
It’s your life, but use caution often many lost within the tide
When it rise, to swim against it is suicide, do or die
Man was once shy, now come alive in the limelight
Did he really change or just wait until the time right
That we’ll never know, he’ll never know himself
Really no right or wrong, you’re right or go left
U can be part of the in crowd but that crowd is out now
Ask me too confusing to figure out
Cat’s got the fly shirt, jean, sneakers to the cook out
Then that drama come they burn rubber who woulda thought they shook now
Cats united minds blind
Opened there eyes lashes rise to find out they on different sides
Meet me in the middle my conglomerates moderate
To everyone that think they spit that wonder rhymer shit
You better think again, yo your click ain’t shit,
Ask who I’m with yo it’s only USM
We only the illest when it comes to beats and the blends
Cats only feel this cause the dj spins again and again
I’m only gifted when it comes to the pad and the pen
And when I spit it you get lifted cause it’s heavenly scent
The rest of the crew is no different, man we get’s it in
We ain’t fearin’ that competition may the best man win
I never cast that first stone cause I ain’t without sin
I say RIP Bob Marley, the song is redemption
And if ya listenin’ this goes out to you
And love kinda rhythm nothin’ left to do
But put your name right here
Scream it out let em know what you about
I’m me and proud say it loud
Yo we been up and down and we searchin for that common ground if you were wonderin’ that’s where we goin
Ah sweet community, it’s just u and me, me and u
None of this u n I verse that I been seein in this universe
Floyd mayweather fightin for that bigger purse
Fans fair-weather better know who’s friend or foe
Only show your hand once that man’s played his
Cat’s played out too many top 40 spins, so it begin’s
Here’s the backlash, indy 500 hopin’ I don’t crash
I cruise through days of thunder, brainstormin boy wonder
And here you are caught caught without an umbrella
Ella ella ella ay, rocafella ella ella jay
Rocafella fella fella dame, andre harella ella ella Motown uptown empires fella fella
Within a day but this fella fella fella is glad to say that I’m still down with the ones
that held me down from day one, my fathers son that guitar got strummed on

every album I’ve ever done , I’m not done I won’t stop yo I just begun, seriously I’m just starting to have fun, gotta walk for you run, now watch me speed up, hungry for hip hop each one feed one, ya see love and see that everyone gone need love, that free love, I’m tellin’ you that’s what we need love, love is love, see we give and receive love, it’s all love, from my head to my check stub, love is love from the beats on the album to cats on the net downloadin, to the models in the shoots steady posin’, to them cats that stay building you were chosen, even to them fake cats that stay posin’, you’ll stay anonymous cause we ain’t for exposin, we’d rather sit back spit raps with frozen tongues, 2k10 native tongues,  music’s the universal language, so it’s the universe that I sang with

@The Bosco which is Italian for Forest, or an Urban Playground if You Will

Whaddup All,

Haven’t done a blog in the new year yet so figured I’d give you a quick shout.  No news is good news as it means I’m making moves to give you bigger news at a later date.  At the very least that’s what I’ll tell you guys to make it seem like I’m not a complete lazy ass throughout the majority of my days, but that’s neither here nor there.

What’s here is that a brotha will be partying it up at The Bosco (22930 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, MI, 48220 or the lighted boxes right next to The Magic Bag Theater) this week.  Actually, I’m just working there but doesn’t it sound much more luxurious and baller if I just say I’m partying.  Semantics I SAY!!!!

Tonight (which is a Wednesday for you people that think the Romans have the final word on time) we will be celebrating the birthday of Jared Sykes.

You might recognize this man from playing various pieces of percussion (and no “percussion” is not slang for “ladies”. lol. let the roasting begin).  He is also known for throwing killer parties and even more crazy after parties (if my girlfriend asks I’ve never been to these after parties and if the girls at the afterparties ask I’ve never had a girlfriend).  Anyways, the point of this there will be many people there, the ratio will be dope, and drinks will be strong.  If that’s not enough to convince you let me present exhibit B. My partner in crime Shaun.

Now onto Friday where the homie Frankie Bank$ will be spinning as part of the rotation.

He spins good shit, and we got half priced bottles of wine and champagne from 8-11.  So if you’re with you’re lady this is the spot for that after dinner drink on some Johnny Kemp “friday night, just got paid” ish.

Alright kids.  Spread the word on this if you don’t want me to get evicted from my home and hopefully next time I write I’ll have some good music news to share.  oh, before I forget shout out to the homie Selfsays (@selfischarles on twitter) for getting some burn on the Gilles Peterson show.  I would compliment him more but I’m extremely jealous and going into a dark place. lol. When I was in a better place I wrote a blog on him so search the site and get familiar.  in a minute.