A few months ago, on ride to Rutgers University with Carlos Robson, he and I began talking about poetry, music, movies, new concepts, old concepts and just things in general we wanted to get creative with. So I begin to spill out the details of mashing up poetry with hip hop tracks and how poems don’t always have to be immediately paired with neo soul or jazz music. Granted this is not a new concept. The idea of poets spitting their work over R&B or Hip Hop tracks has been done before and done quite well. How do I do something different?
What is the Reflection?
The idea was to take songs that I liked or were on my radar at the time and write a story or Reflection to the story or concept of the song. So it wasn’t just poems for the sake of doing poems over dope music but actually taking in the message of a song and responding.
What is a Flextape?
As I was saying the ride with Carlos was full ideas and if you have ever shared an idea with Carlos Robson then he is gonna listen to that idea and offer 10 dope ways to make it better. I was using the word mixtape to describe what I wanted to. I wanted to use a DJ, and hip hop beats, and market to folks who don’t come slams or open mics but favor the nightclubs and so called hood spots. I wanted to break the mold of how we present poems over music. He calmly suggest that I call it a Flextape. A Flextape because I’m flexin my ability of what I can do with poetry. I’m pushing past the idea of the same ol same poetry over same ol same neo soul beats. I’m getting a little ratchet, singing a song or two, dropping a 16 over serious hip hop tracks….flexin. Somewhere between DC and Jersey….the Flextape was born.
Why a DJ?
I wanted this to feel like a mixtape. I wanted it to walk & talk like a mixtape so that there was a genuine Hip Hop feel. I went to one of the hottest DJs in the game and was voted Charlotte's DJ of the Year at the Queen City Music awards, Mario Mic Man. From opening DJ Drama, Future, & plug in the most current turnt up Hip Hop artist or club you can think of, he rocks it.
Who’s on the Flextape?
One of the 1st artist I rocked with was Loot-tenat Trax. An MC to the core, this dude recorded, engineered, and produced some of the project. I recorded all but 2 tracks at his spot Homebase. Mulodic, who features on “Young n Restless” and “Back on the block” is a dynamic vocalist with a smoothness and range to his voice that is hauntingly gorgeous. Chantaul…is a bona fide vocal power house. She is also featured on “Back on the Block” & absolutely creates a sweeping energy around the track. Greg aka A Poet Named Superman, Tellem, and Kyran jumped on the “Only” tracked and crushed. They all represent a new wave of artists that are leaving an imprint on the Charlotte scene. Ashley Smith who jumped on the “poetic justice” track was a contestant on American Idol. Like an actual made it out of auditions into the next couple of rounds contestant and her voice is proof of that. JusK who sings on “I want you” is a veteran singer/songwriter whose voice is a reminder of what “sangin” used to be. Shannon Grier features on “heaven In my veins”, which was produced by Sean Washington, and she is pure soul. She also appears on my single “Us Be’ which is being distributed by Sony Orchard. Harvey Cummings, one of the most talented musicians in the country, came on board to produce “Back on the block”. He delivered a masterpiece. Sean Essdot, producer of Young n Restless, is one of the producers who can bring a range of music and it it all be fresh and motivating.
I don’t expect the world to embrace this I know some folks in the poetry community will frown on it. Some folks in the Hip-Hop mixtape community won’t accept its possibility to exist in their world. We as writers have to push our talent, but too often do what’s expected. It's time to step out of the box & show this world that we're more than slam poets and such. WE GOTTA PUSH FOR MORE! Flex on em!
So as we are winding down our tour for the fall semester we made a stop at world famous Lady and Sons, Paula Deen's restaurant, located in historic downtown Savannah. The atmosphere was classic southern hospitality and good ol fashioned home cookin. For the most part, I enjoyed myself but there was a part in the dining exprience where i went to far. Could it have been the 3 pieces of fried chicken, or the extra yams, maybe it was the inspiring mac and cheese or green beans? But whatever it was it slowly started to shut my brain down. I figure its what heroin addicts experience when they shoot up. The slow drop...it was a family reunion in my mouth. To top it all off the waitress FORCED dessert on us. SHe reminded us that dessert was apart of the buffet and that we should "look at it". When she brought out the TRAY of desserts she placed spoons in front of us as if to insist that we wanted this...and we did...my cake tasted like pure candy. As if magic and candy were the main ingredients of this cake. Needless to say i was beyond "itis" I was a deep deep coma on the road to Macon State...dear Paula Deen...keep your deliciousness away from me.
Well we have been working on the title but Carlos Robson and I have begun a small tour Georgia Colleges (shouts to Bass/Schuler and Ring the Bell Mgmt) callin it Crutches and Crash...make sure you hash tag that all my twittererers. (#crutches&crash) For the most part its been a lot of reflection of where we both could have been had the circumstance of our accidents been different. A little back story...Carlos was hit by car while crossing the street and resulted with him having 5 pins in his knees and a lot of physical therapy ahead. In my case a young lady ran a red light and t-boned my car. Completely smashing in the passenger side....the same side my daughters ride...thus he is crutches and i am crash...again the title is a work in progress. So given the fact we could have both been killed, we are highly thankful and blessed to be on the road...again. Sounds dangerous huh...yeah we thought so too, so we are wearing helmets and nascar styled safety restraints while we drive. Armstong Atlantic was quite the dope! Shout out to the students and staff for bringin us and giving us a chance to share our gift. With that being said we are taking every moment and mile and breathe we travel seriously. So to you...the ones who know that this life could change at any second and that tomorrow is never promised…keep pushin. To those who have never taken a chance at making yourself happy or chasing your dreams….start living for you. This life can be changed by a wrong turn, a missed traffic light, or someone simply not paying attention to your existence. Go hard, live beautiful, and never settle for what they offer….becuase you ….you’re kind of a big deal.
Yeah im sure you have heard it like a million time but its a resounding truth. If you want to gain any kind of success in the business of life you have to first prepare for all your dreams to come true. Rock out like your already a star and the world will believe you.