Tupac Shakur- In the Depths of Solitude

A tribute to one of the most influential artists of my life.  At age 10 I figured out a way to obtain what is still one of my favorite albums by Tupac entitled, “All Eyes On Me”.  The year was 1996 and the nation was spinning from the influence that rap culture was ultimately impacting its youth.  Regardless of the explicit nature of his tracks, Tupac is an inspiration to anyone who takes the time to listen to his lyrics.  I feel lucky for having the opportunity to see the harsh reality his music told at the age I did.  Being from an affluent, suburban neighborhood I nonetheless memorized the lyrics to every track on both of those 2 “books” along with a myriad more.  Not only did it give me a perspective beyond the care-free life I was privileged enough to grow up living, but at the bottom line- Tupac was a thug- and shit well so was I for about 6 years straight on Halloween.

Now while Tupac is most often remembered for his contribution to gangster rap- he was also an incredible poet.  The following poem of his is my favorite and funnily enough I brought it into class to share in the 7th grade.  To say the least, my english teacher was surprised but also rather impressed.

When Tupac was shot down it was a shock heard round the world; yet the legacy he left behind is something few in this world could come close to attaining.  The fact that in so much of his music he admits and seems to inevitably foresee an early death for himself only further makes me appreciate the way this man lived his life based on the circumstances he was dealt from birth.

Remembering the incredible artist he was I often listen to the following track and smile:

His final words: “Anytime ya’ll wanna see me again, rewind this track right here, close your eyes, and picture me rollin'” – well at this point I think its pretty self-explanatory.


Free Write

After thinking more about the themes and concepts Gregory Siff set forth in his opening last night I came to a bit of a revelation and it goes a little something like this-

In life you have the potential to make others happy if you know in your heart that your love for people and the amazing things they do is true. The fact is, when you are finally capable of truly revealing this to others it becomes infectious. A positive attitude and outlook on life is everything. If you believe in yourself no matter what happens, you can know in your heart that those you love are people that you can turn to with open arms and ultimately they will love you back.  I also think this to be the most beautiful art form that we can develop and remaster as we move throughout our lives.

Whether you end up breaking hearts or falling into love the key is to recognize that life is a journey not a destination, so regardless how things end with others, it will have an impact on both theirs and your life. And at some point down the road, you will always be able to reflect on it as a positive time in your life- either from what you learned or by coming to terms with what you have lost and still appreciating what you had.

I’m kinda on this Thanksgiving tip right now and reflecting on the blessings I’ve had in my life to get me where I am today. All along the same lines, I think in life- first you need to help yourself by letting others help you. I feel blessed to have been brought up by loving parents and to have been surrounded by people from an early age that helped me realize my self worth and unlock my potential at an age earlier than most. Once you achieve this level of understanding I believe only then are you capable of living in this way- it is also only then that one can begin to help others with the same token. This is an extremely difficult concept to accept but I implore others(and myself) to try and let go of their inhibitions and give it a try. If accomplished, I think you have the opportunity to truly be free and begin to fly.

I know everyone can have an impact on the world and show others things they’ve never seen, make them both smile and cry, and I thank whatever power it may be for being lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most amazing people you could ever imagine. The goal is to ultimately help others and by doing that you can only better yourself. The question arises, how? and yet opportunities present themselves for us every day which passes us by. Take them. And learn voraciously, be inquisitive, and continue to make those around you better by showing them the compassion and respect they deserve- especially those who you know love you unconditionally. At the end of a day- there is always a choice- to stay latent or keep moving, to remain resistant to sincerity or open yourself up to being vulnerable.  If you choose the latter- your potential is limitless.

Feel lucky if for no other reason that you are alive and what the future holds is in no one else’s hands but your own. And while that choice is always exclusively yours, those decisions should be made with respect that helping others not necessarily yourself is the best way to prosper.

Much Love and Give thanks. The harvest is nearly upon us.

Early rap roots

A bit off topic but hey whatever its my blog so I guess I can do as I please..

Alright so if growing up in the 90’s wasn’t already weird enough with the style, pop culture, and strange tv shows that emerged in that decade- then rap music’s influence on our generation certainly was the cherry on top of that flavorful sundae. But unlike any of the other artists it was Eminem who gave us youth the most raucous, explicit lyrics likely to ever go mainstream the way his did.  We were kids and we loved it.  I remember weaseling my way into Tower Records and convincing someone a bit older than I to buy me The Marshall Mathers LP.  I gave him a $20.  I told him he could keep the change. I was 13 and ready to be told how to say F*%# the world by Eminem.

Now while that album featured diabolical tracks like “Kill You”, “The Way I am”, and “Kim”… I’d like to share the earliest of early tracks by his that really just does it for me.

Eminem – Infinite

In 1995, Marshall recorded his first album titled Infinite, which only sold about 1000 copies.

Background:   So I guess Eminem did pretty well in school considering the circumstances until year 9. He failed for the third year in a row and decided that he had had enough. At that point he left school to work on what he was most passionate about: rapping.  Talk about really committing to what you believe in and having it work out. He started getting a name for himself when he was 17, even though he got into the rap game when he was 14. He was using the initials from his first and last names to form his rap name “M & M” which later became “Eminem”. Against all the odds, fending of repeated rejection for his unfittingly white skin and bleached hair, he rose to stardom nonetheless.  The reason: raw talent and determination.  Forcing himself to go on radio shows and participate in freestyle battles his street cred grew and eventually became what the above track is so appropriately titled- Infinite.


I get a good feeling

Just wanted to say after only a week or so of working on my blog I can’t explain how excited I am about the interest in street art thats building within me.  On a very personal level, I have always wanted to connect to art but through a lack of well… natural talent been unable to do so.  While I may of played the trumpet in middle school, been crafty in ceramics, and did in fact wield some artistic craftsmanship while building structures for themed parties during college, I will say that none of those pursuits even scratched the surface of the connectivity I believe will come from developing this new found interest- str8art.

On Tuesday I dropped by the Lab Art exhibition to talk with the owner/curator about his relationship with the street artists whose works are currently on display on in his gallery.

Lab Art Gallery photos:

What I found most fascinating was the lack of credit by which most of these artists choose to approach their craft.  Their’s no slap on the back, “hey, great job man”.  No toast of recognition.  Instead, these artists pride themselves on their elusiveness, hushed-up and undefined artistic endeavors; things created by near mystic characters known only by their “street name”.  While this is in part because these artists are in fact criminals and subject to their jurisprudence for all the crimes they’ve committed defacing property, I think it also intertwines very nicely with the thematic values of the movement.  Such values as the freedom of expression, temporary nature of all things, humbleness rather than egotism.  It’s about letting ones work speak louder than their words and their personality shine through the ironies their works expose.  And at the end of the day, whether the piece makes you chuckle, cringe, or gasp is all still beautiful.  For me however, especially more recently, I just get a good feeling.

▶ Pretty Lights – Finally Moving Remix by prettylights

One final thing,  similar to the way street art is best found by keep an ever-attentive eye, the desire to expose oneself to the culture has led me to find out about some amazingly interesting upcoming events.  Tonight I’m excited to attend a Thrillist sponsored event:  Thrillist Art Crawl | Thrillist

Then tomorrow I can’t wait to go see what this is event being put on by LA Canvas is all about.  LA CANVAS 80//20

I mean its in a warehouse, open bar, tons of street artists work, what more could I ask for!

Be sure to update next week with pictures and info on the various events including their artwork, vibe, and overall intrigue.