Ready to Die

The Ultimate Advice: Push yourself to make the best music possible

I

’m not sure what I’m supposed to write about here, but I’m already overdue on turning this column in, so I’m sure I’ll think of something soon enough. I haven’t written one of these in a few months now. Truthfully, I haven’t even thought about writing one of these. It occurred to me a couple weeks back that it’s been a pretty minute since the last one, so I told Mike (the editor) that I would probably fall back for a while.

This stems from a combination of reasons. The primary one being that I have too much shit to do right now. How sexy and poetic does that sound? I’ll try to sexy it up a bit: I (and the company I’m a part of) am hitting a nexus point where our level of dedication is forcibly increasing in a lot of different areas.

The level of focus and commitment that I’m going to have to throw into my career is increasing exponentially. For what we’re trying to accomplish, I’m realizing how much of my music-energy I’m going to have to focus on it, which, unfortunately, means taking that energy off of some of my side ventures (read: this column).

In addition to that, I’m never really quite sure who reads this column. Sometimes I assume I’m preaching to a choir that pretty much knows all this stuff. In which case, I’m not really helping the people I’d like to help, thus defeating the purpose of this column entirely.

Finally, the more I develop the sound, ideas and career I see for myself as an artist, the less attached I become to the idea of a Hip Hop scene. 

I don’t know if I want to be so much a part of a “Hip Hop” scene anywhere, as much as I’d rather be a part of a scene of creative individuals who pool together their ideas, resources and talents to create art and music so unique that no one on this earth could ever duplicate. I think one of the most important things the Hip Hop scene can do is to continue to look outside of itself for inspiration and direction.

I can give advice on publishing and social networking all day. But why shoot skin-deep advice at an artistic body with heart problems? Three years ago, I quit my job to pursue music as a full-time career, which is also when I began this column. My initial mission statement was to give artists a guide of how to navigate the independent scene. But how do you create a guide to anarchy? I’d have to show you before I could tell you. Rather, the columns kind of turned into a guide for me as an artist and a survey of why I was really making music in the first place. Thankfully, I got to use all of you guys as a mirror to bounce these ideas off of. 

When I decided to make music my full-time career, I thought I knew exactly what I was doing. I thought that whatever I still needed to learn was outside of me but within reach. But I was a little ahead of myself. I hadn’t really looked inward first. Rather than worrying about which publicist to align with, I should’ve worked more on how to dig deeper into myself to create stronger music and a more unique sound and perspective; to build my “voice.” Slowly, I began to realize that and make the necessary adjustments. 

So now, three years later, I look at blogs, booking agents, publicists, buzz and radio spins as awesome stuff to know about but, ultimately, pointless if you’re not in this for the right reasons. It’s hard for me to take all of this seriously and dive into explaining if I don’t think folks are interested in pushing the art and creativity forward, first and foremost. Fuck blogs. Fuck buzz. Fuck spins. Just please care about music.

So, I don’t want to write a Hip Hop column any more. Eventually, I’ll return to the CityBeat pages with a revamped version of the column. It might come seasonally; it might be a full article. Who knows? I don’t like conforming songwriting structure very much, so it would seem to be that I’m not a fan of conforming column-structure either. (Really, I’m just being an artsy dick to Mike.)

Although there will be one final “farewell” Hip Hop (Un)Scene, I think I want to live out some more experiences before I come back to these pages. I need to learn more.

When it’s all said and done, I really hope you guys got something out of these columns. That would feel awesome. I think sometimes writers just assume they’re typing words directly into a blackened abyss where no one can hear you spell-check. I hope that hasn’t been the case here.

I really, really, really want to thank Mike Breen and CityBeat for letting me use up one of their pages every month. I’m still not quite sure why they did it, but I’ll assume it’s the Ambien. 

Consider this a season finale cliffhanger. I’ll be back with some final final thoughts. Thanks for reading.


To keep tabs on

ILL POETIC , bookmark illpoetic.com. He performs Nov. 12 at Mainstay Rock Bar.


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