CHAPTER THREE – That May Be What You Think
I was born in Edmonton Alberta in 1978. I lived in Edmonton for five years before moving to Toronto for grades one through three. Then my family moved to Australia for grades three, four, and part of five before moving to Hong Kong. I stayed in Hong Kong for until near two-thirds of grade seven was done and moved back to Edmonton. I stayed in Edmonton until graduating high school (1996) and then went to go to SFU (the happy/hippy fun days I spoke of). Winter 1998 I moved back to Edmonton (psych ward) and was there until near spring 2000. It was winter 1999-2000 that I was involved in my second drug days when I lived with dealers.
From Edmonton spring 2000 (running from my Edmonton drug days) I moved to Vancouver where I lived until October 2001 when I was put in the UBC hospital psych ward for four to five months. It was February 2002 when I moved to the town I live in now. The topic of this chapter though is stemmed from a discussion about myself and my recording of music.
I was asked why I refuse to claim myself as a rapper, and why I don’t adjust my rhymes to be rap lyrics. My point is that I’m not living a hip hop life, and also that I don’t deem myself suited for the rap game. In a few conversations with a friend, Thaddeus, I keep on asserting that I’m not a hip-hop artist and that I don’t live a hip hop life.
I was referring to how I’m now not immersed in the music and hip-hop culture, and how my music (I still believe) should not be classified in that genre. My rhymes and my flows are lyrical, though their cadence and (lack of) structure also are not what I deem to be rap music. Thaddeus wanted me to write about what happened in my past that makes me want to evade labeling myself as a rapper or hip hop artist.
I started rhyming back in late high school, yet more so at SFU campus… that takes us back to 1996 or so. Music (both electronica and rap) was a very essential part of myself and who I was back then. I also had gathered (stemming back to high school) an extensive CD collection that crossed a few genres. I also had a car at SFU (I had gotten the car in 1994) and had installed 2x 12” MTX Terminator sub woofers. I loved the deep bass from the subs. Electronica and rap were my two primary and favourite genres for music when I was living on campus.
Even further before then, I had played a lot of music. My musical interests cover a wide variety, though I can recall some of the first rap songs I heard were Wild Thing by Tone Loc and also Funky Cold Medina when I was nine or ten years old when living in Australia. There also was the song Stutter Rap by Morris Minor and Majors that I recall from a field trip in elementary school (1988). I wasn’t so actively engaged in music when in elementary school, though recall learning about graffiti and breakdancing back then (even if I never really performed either even later in life).
My Dad worked with an audio and visual company called AMPEX. It was for grades five through seven that I was living in Hong Kong and that’s where I really started collecting cassettes of rap music. I liked the music a lot and I would go to the music store in Stanley Market and buy cassettes and recall playing them on the bus to school. There also were two friends (Mark and Sharique (sp?)) from HKIS (Hong Kong International School) that had recorded some rhymes with me. We called ourselves ‘Robbie and the Rap-jammers’. That was three ten-year-olds playing with a Playschool tape recorder.
Many years later, I have recorded a lot of music.
The music that I record is called introversial. Though introversial is a lyrical form of music (and written word), there is barely ever any standard structure of verses and hooks. The music is more easily described as me nattering on continuously through the recording. Thaddeus was trying to push me to call myself a rapper and to make rap music. No, thank you. I am not, and shall not.
Thaddeus, you want to know why I don’t call myself a rapper… Right oh… The story of what happened when I did try to call myself a rapper.
Short story… I left Edmonton after living with drug dealers (Edmonton drug life) and fled to Vancouver. Getting heavily involved in chemicals (mainly meth and acid (plus the herbal marijuana and mushrooms)) the result was an extremely corrupted brain. I was overinvolved in both the raver and hip hop communities, pissed off many a person, and they tried to scare me into killing myself. I slashed my wrist, choose to get out of the bathtub, and went to the psych ward for a haven. I stayed in the ward for about six months and moved to Chilliwack February 2002 into a group home where I lived for two and a half years.
It may have been that I was both a raver and also was engaged in events of the rap and hip-hop community. I recall a death threat on the phone that said they ‘should cap my raver ass’, though you also don’t know my behaviour back then that warranted them to want to kill me.
There is the case that I caused a great division between people in Vancouver. I know there were lots of things that I had done that were complete breaches of boundaries of respect, and I also know that there was a force or team that were aimed to keep me alive. The term ‘plot and plan’ being one I use to describe the positive and negative conspiracies. There were many who wanted me dead, there are many that kept me alive.
The corruption that had happened to my mind and thoughts was extreme. I had severe issues with intrusive thoughts, and I also recall an energetic alchemy technique that I was trying to learn that I dubbed ‘gracking’. Gracking was the process of absorbing as much negative energy as possible, processing it, converting it, and after turning it to good/positive, to share it back with the world.
I had taken on far far far too much negative energy and had corrupted myself.
There are other incidents in Vancouver that could be classified as unforgivable actions. The copious amounts of racial slurs that were running uncontrollably through my mind are a primary one. The incident at the Comedy Club when I went Stain (my evil Ruby battle mode) because DJ Relic had promised time on the microphone and then denied it. The Emotionz incident when he was on stage in mid battle with another, and I ended up getting on stage and yelling into the mic while he was still holding the mic speaking his rhymes. The time that I fled when another was wanting to beat the shit out of a friend because that friend had slept with the other guy’s gal. I think I neglect too how some people were probably really pissed off that I was constantly mooching cigarettes and marijuana.
I had pretty well no basic decency or comprehension of boundaries. I was very blatant and obsessive with pushing my music and my rhymes at people. I was using Shoulspeak (my made up language) obsessively, and when people asked me not to do things (like to quit mooching cigarettes or dope, to stop rhyming, to not talk in code (or sometimes just to not talk at all)) I often would not heed or respect their wishes. I remember one night where I literally could not speak without rhyming. I had made so many transgressions and mistakes that it came to the point that Vancouver was no longer a welcome place for me.
The stories from my past are varied. I partly don’t want to go back and divulge all of them. I just know that when I was trying to be a rapper in Vancouver, the city spit me out like a cherry pit and I landed in the town I’m in now. I know that my rhymes are lyrical, though we also know they don’t follow a proper rap cadence or structure. I may be a lyricist, though videos like the one I tagged Thaddeus in (Token’s freestyle with Sway) are examples of what REAL MCs are. I am not one of them.
After reading through the Wikipedia article about hip hop, I can concede how Thaddeus thought that my music is rap, though I still title my genre introversial. Introversial may be perceived as a sub-genre of rap, though I still assert it is not a hip-hop form of music. The elements of hip hop are solidified and set and solid and sure, and we know that I certainly am not. The lyrics that I speak can be called freeform (or as we know them, flowetics), though are not a structured format. I’m also not wanting to be part of the rap game again. I know that I don’t fit into that genre and I am obviously isolated and not part of that culture actively.
My intents and wants for my music are there. I will work and develop my lyrical abilities, though we also know I’m much more focused on writing. It may be the ‘safe’ choice to write and not change my form to be rap, though I think towards a future of using written word as my skill and ability to fuel goodness into the world. My music is NOT fulfilling a role for people, I’m NOT wanting to be a performing artist traveling around, and I’m also NOT wanting to divert from my own nature.
I’ve gone at some many times about knowing our intents and what our objectives are. True, I’d like to earn a decent income from my work, though, I’m also not wanting to create music just for monetary gain. I also don’t want to be a wannabe MC when I clearly am not a rapper. This is sourced from my own awareness of self and my own knowledge of my own values and truths.
I have recorded a lot up to now. True, few have played what I’ve made. True, I don’t stay on beat very well. True, I’ll keep developing my lyrical ability, though also true that I don’t want to be a rapper. It very well may be a fear of getting too deep into something I don’t fully understand, and also fear that I’ll get marked like I had the last time I was ‘trying’ to be a rapper. I also know of my core being, that I am not an MC and neither would I like to have the life of one.
You’ve really pissed me off a bit Thaddeus… I don’t like how you are telling me what I should do. I don’t like that you seem to not comprehend myself and what I want. I really don’t like your comment “You like your loner ways?” as that seems like an insult that causes me to spill out a shitload of vulgarities too. I think for those that are not Thaddeus, that you should be reminded to not push for what you want for that person. Allow them the grace and blessing to make their own choices. If you come from a point of care, cool, let them know what you think, but if they tell you to back off, back the f@$k off!! Do not try to make another to be something that they know is not in their own true nature or want!
Anyhow… My books, my music, my works…
Sooo… Since we’ve gone off topic from what I want this book to be, then I guess it is as it is.
I am glad to have the life I have. I am okay to not have thousands of plays. I’m not searching for praise or acclamation. I’m searching to build my life with those that I also want to build with, and I note that there are some people that still really trigger me. I should be cautious about what I’m telling others to do, and remember that what I want to do is help people and support people with what they want to do.
My own authentic nature wants more so to work on life-coaching and helping others with their lives. If I’m to give myself a job title, I’d call myself a contialitic shoulsman. My intent is to write books and help some people with their freedom solutions. For the past few months, I’ve been focused on writing (author) though my own profession is life.
I may not yet be selling all sorts of units of books or music, though they are a product of my journey. I talked about my long-term goals in Searching for Tomorrow and I know that I’ve still got some shrapnel stuck in my being. I’d like to skip out and from this chapter and into the next soon. I still have editing of Shared Node that I want to form, and though that book is a book of rhymes, don’t you dare consider me to be one who makes hip hop. I love the genre and some of the culture, though that’s not what I’ve produced.
I stand truly by this. I’m my own thing and definitely have not shown (from my belief) that I’ve done much to help or seed, cultivate, or nurture the rap and hip hop culture. There are some who ARE hip hop and rap that would remind you too that it’s a laughable (and almost blasphemous) idea to think that I’m a qualified practitioner of that art form.
Maybe some will think that I should dive back into that, though it’s not what I want. I am okay to be small and not blow up. I am even okay if the music does get out there and thousands of downloads are formed. I’m also very sure that I don’t want the responsibility of having to perform shows at this point in my life. I like my boring ‘loner’ life and would prefer my own mental sanity and freedom to build and record and write what I would like to regardless of exposure or monetary gain.
There was a time that I wanted to go big and get signed. That was so I could fly Demma over to North America and marry her. From what I’ve learned about the music industry, I also know I don’t want to be under the control of a record label. I prefer to be an independent artist, and that may be better for me too in that they I don’t have overexposure or other people’s expectations of myself. I know that contradicts some of what I’ve said. I’d like to sell music, though that’s so I have an income that is not sminking from the government. I loved performing in the Philippines, though 17 years later I still am an amateur am dearly glad that I am allowed my boring ‘loner’ life.