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  Photo by Andy Europa

Photo by Andy Europa

Excuse: I need to go somewhere else to make it happen.

It was May 2013.

I had just graduated from Roosevelt University. I had been through a lot since beginning college. I transferred twice. Lived in two VERY different cities -- Chicago, Illinois and Goshen, Indiana. I had some triumphs and some losses. Experienced love and heartbreak. Honestly... all I wanted to do was just relax...

But here I was again. At a crossroads.

Personally, I was getting ready for my uncle's wedding. My uncle was like a father figure to me growing up because I never really had a real one. This moment was a big one for my small family. Musically, I had just released an album I was working on for quite some time called "The Reality Of It All." In support of the project, a few months prior we did a video for one of the songs and because of my despicable behavior during the video shoot it cost me my relationship at the time (which, ironically enough, I wrote about on that very same album). And professionally, I was coming off of a social media internship back in Chicago. I just signed up with a recruiting agency to get myself some full-time work in Chicago with my brand spankin' new degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. I figured I would have the biggest chance at "success" in a place I already have a professional and personal network.

Needless to say, there was a lot happening.

Fast forward to October 22, 2013. My uncle was adjusting to his new life as a married man and I was getting used to seeing him less. My album was out, but I didn't feel the momentum I was hoping for. People were responding positively to the content, but I didn't feel like it was a step forward. Just a step in place. As for the recruiting agency, they got me in the room with Microsoft and Nike for some marketing gigs. I didn't land either of those. To make ends meet, I was working as a janitor at a local theater.

I was at my wit's end.

Waking up at 7AM to pick up other people's' trash, driving a mildly beat-up Taurus, going home to a practically empty house that could be sold at any moment (my mom moved out of state, leaving my sister and I to watch it until a deal went through) and only doing music as a side thing was NOT how I envisioned my life going.

And that morning, I just decided...

FUCK THIS.

I skipped out on work that day. I applied to 15 different jobs. Only this time, I didn't apply to anything based in Chicago. Every single one of those jobs I applied to was based in Los Angeles.

My mindset at the time told me that all of my struggles were related to my location. Nothing about home felt like home anymore. Chicago clearly didn't want me, or else I would have had a job by then - right? So why not try LA? My friend Jen had already been out there for a year at that point. I had been tossing the idea around for a while. Might as well, try.

That very same day I got an email for a job interview with one of the companies, theAudience. The rest is history.

Fast forward to today... January 24, 2018.

As I type this to you, I'm at home right now. The one I've been at for 2 and a half years now. The one I can walk to Fairfax from and see all the hypebeasts lining up outside of [XXX].

And the biggest lesson I have for you from ALL of the things I've seen, people I've met, places I've been since moving to Los Angeles... it was never about moving away from home. It was never about being in Toledo, Chicago, Los Angeles or anywhere else. If you think moving away from home (or anywhere else) will get you the answers you need, you're wrong. Because it's not about the place. No. It's the journey.

In Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist", Santiago is seeking his personal legend and he's told that at the pyramids, his treasure will be waiting for him. He gets all the way to there only to discover (SPOILER!!!!! READ THE BOOK, OR AT LEAST THE CLIFFNOTES, BEFORE YOU READ THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!) that his treasure wasn't there. It was back home the whole time.

Even deeper than that... the treasure he was seeking (gold, material wealth) wasn't even the treasure he cherished at the end. The treasure he valued was the journey to get there.

You see... life exists mostly in the grey areas. Not the ying or yang. Not the conservative or liberal. Not the "real hip-hop" or the "mumble rap". It's the path that takes you through growth. TRUE growth. The shit that scares you. The shit that makes you question yourself. Challenges your beliefs for the betterment of yourself and humanity.

You don't need to move to make your dreams happen. You need to change. And constantly change. Grow. Evolve. Put yourself in situations outside of your comfort zone.

Only then will you experience how it feels to truly be ALIVE.

Oh.. and one more thing. Always remember to "be impeccable with your word"... ;)

 
 

Lyrics:

[Intro]
I don't wanna live no mo
Sometimes I feel death knocking at my front door
I'm living everyday like a hustle
Yo...

[Verse 1]
This is like the 12th time that I cleaned this shit, it's still dirty
Fuck ya'll, I'm taking a smoke break!
Still stressing on my next move
Got the homie note, nigga I'ma text you
A little later cuz I'm thinking how I'm finna pay this bond back
Caught a DUI my nigga, gotta hit my mom back
It's 500, it's 500?! Man, they tryna block a nigga offa 500?!
Tunnel vision, gotta focus, I ain't tripping cuz I know that I could have the world forever, pending I want it
I was grinning, now my fucking head is spinning
Man, I'm feeling like I'm Tony doing 900's
Tone hitting me back
"Hurry nigga, how you gon' be late for a session that you was tryna make the plan for?"
Honestly when I be headed to ya hood, I be thinking 'bout the type of shit a nigga didn't plan for
[gun cocks]

[Hook]
[x2]
Say the word, my G
Say the word, my G
Feel the lure of my street
Finna earn my keep
Get the herbs, my G
Get the herbs, my G
What they heard 'bout me?
What they heard 'bout me?
Niggas heard I'm free
Let them birds out free
Let them birds out free
Say the word, my G

[Verse 2]
I be seeing the bad guys and villains here
Gotta remember the code you finna bang round G's
When I be up in the Path, riding steering wheel
Gotta remember the thugs they tend to hang round me
We ain't fucking with the niggas that'll tell homie
Main reason why I used to be Jemell's homie
Kinda cray cuz I guess the Lord ain't like that
Man I got a degree, now he in jail homie
We was younger, we would just spend old money
Hooping, we the stupid niggas that be mobbing in the street
Till the day I seen my best friend stole from me
My cynicism developed, a trait my mom could really see
I was dying but now let's go
To the city where the niggas let the Techs go
Broad day, doesn't matter, for the escrow
It's Bolt, Tone, Tre, Shaun and Fresco
9th D, say the word, my...

[Hook]

[Bridge]
[x2]
These dudes don't have the gumption
These dudes don't have the gumption
Who the bumbaclot that gon' test this?
Who the bumbaclot that gon' test this?

[Outro]
Dude don't have the gumption
These dudes don't have the gumption
Now, who's that bumbaclot that's gonna test this?
Who's that bumbaclot that's gon' test this?
These dudes don't have the gumption
They talking like it's something
But my niggas they be bussin'
These dudes don't have the...