So from hosting Soul Sessions, lecturing at Roanoke College, rocking with my family Harvest Blaque&co. cutting an ep and being blessed with the sponsorship from the bazaar it has been a exceptional year so far. It has all been because of you and your belief in us and we are forever thankful. I truly believe that we are experiencing the golden age of local/regional music and the time is now to continue to build these bridges and light up this overflowing path of creativity. There is nothing quite like the scrappiness and tenacious drive of an artist from Virginia. We are truly blue collar artist with big hearts and we give our gifts earnestly. I've enjoyed being able to have people take our vision seriously. I've also enjoyed breaking bread with you all learning and expanding ideas. I spent more time this year working harder and seeing the fruits of that labor and I am overjoyed to be able to play a part in our beautiful culture. Diversity is so important and alot of our neighbors and nightspots are seeing that. It is important to open our doors to different artist. I remember how many times I was told "no" and how it just made me want to push even harder. I am personaly learning that It isn't just about chasing a dream, it is about playing an essential part in growing and building a scene. Tupac said it best when he said he would spark the brain that will change the world. To be an artist is to be the gatekeeper of the truth, it is up to us to be accountable and charged with the responsiblity of continuing to be the spark.
I will soon be back in the studio working with Chris Prythm and Mike Kazee on "The Carepackage" which will be a very diverse album. I have the soulful Songstress Blanca Baker lending her vocals on this project and I am also excited to be working in the studio with Another Roadside Attraction on this album as well. As I start bringing this thing to life I will be sharing content and blogging/vlogging about this project beginning to end. I want to thank you all for supporting me. This Album will be released on the Homebody Records Label and I am proud to be working with my family on this project. -Bryan
I’m Still American dreaming even when I was taken for a joke And told that stereotypes define my character I am still American dreaming even when callous cold words seduce a nation and provide more problems and poisonous Political rhetoric, negative ideologies take center stage And take away from finding better solutions I am still American dreaming even in a time when some grow numb to mass shootings and possess mental weapons of mass destruction You can’t take away my hope or my freedom so keep your Demons in check I am dealing with my own and I don’t need them I am still American dreaming searching for people who know the difference between being talented and gifted And be willing to give those gifts that uplift because we surely do need them I am still American dreaming even when some are satisfied with severed ties and lies that dictate running in the wrong direction Intoxicated off of temporary emotions running amok that cause more explosions and the heartbreak of empty homes plus More nerves exposed down to the last good one I am still American dreaming even when greedy corporations look for new slaves and lace their agendas with a catchy jingle Mindlessly walking towards a ledge, mindlessly walking towards the edge ……………..JUST STOP! I am still American dreaming are you still that beacon? Oh that sweet freedom that Nina Simone was singing about How high the birds flew to new heights so bright so fuck that bird flu season. Why is it so hard to be decent? We can be the change we wanna see so why wait for a reason? See I am American dreaming lived in a home where my mother worked two jobs just needing the simplicity of the 6 hours she was seeking with her two sons on Friday nights Tears falling so tired of the fights but wanting so desperately for her sons to take flight To be creative enough to not Mr. Sambo for a Lambo or put on a skirt and degrade myself just to become iconic I am American dreaming even when we find more comfort in digital leashes that only seems to keep us away from conversation and overseeing the construction of American dreams which nurture more seeds that need desperately to grow See this is your season that you the American Dream is overdue and without you a dream just won’t do -Bryan “Harvest Blaque” Hancock
So the past few weeks have been quite hard to bear because it seems like week after week we give a special spotlight to morons who crave attention for all of the wrong reasons. They don't cure cancer, they don't better our lives....they don't serve any purpose at all. This week moron has dethroned Donald Trump due to his whiny rant over a Starbucks cup.(although I'm sure Trump will be back soon). Former pastor Joshua Feurersten says that Starbucks "Hates Jesus" due to their simple red holiday cup design. I usually don't like giving dumb people the power of believing that they exist but today I will make an exception. Personally, I believe that when you call yourself an internet personality and a former pastor you are just using fancy words to tell America that you are unemployed. It is a sad thing to see fellow believers waste so much time being filled with so much callous hateful behavior and also being so willing market misery and confusion as Christianity. Sick hearted fools whom are so willing to bend the word of God for selfish reasons of persecution need to check their egos because we all are flesh and there is no such thing as perfect people. my advice Is to stop wasting time mindlessly standing still without empathy and common sense. People need healing, love, and genuine encouragement. I am so sick and tired of this new trend of rewarding bad behavior and allowing a pass for ignorance as the new cool. It truly is time to be a reflection of what we'd like to see in others and stop grand standing on falsehoods and self serving wack ass agendas.
I am sorry for the super long stretch of time in between blogs. I would be quite full of myself to personally believe that you all are hanging on to my every word anyways (lol). So It has been a summer of growth and growing pains due to the time that I've been taking to really looking inside and think about what to keep and what to personally rid myself of. I felt myself slipping into a void of depression and finding excuses for not doing things that I usually enjoy, plus taking my family and TRUE friends for granted. Ultimately I found out that if we're not careful we can talk ourselves right out of WONDERFUL blessings . I spent more time this year self consumed in the things that I didn't have instead of investing in evolving as a man as well as evolving in purpose. I love the gifts that God has given to me but that is only part of who I am and although it's important to continue to develop these gifts they can easily be taken away. These gifts are only parts of my soul and although they are nice fashionable pieces they are not the full package of who I am. I found out that although I appreciate applause it can become addictive, blinding, and deafening. If that is the only thing that I am craving even when it's not deserved that itself can and will stunt my personal growth. Everyone who knows me knows that I love a great party but there comes a time when you need to take your ass home. Not everyone who says they are for you are and if you fill your life with clones and yes men who leech and feed your ego be prepared for the crash and burn and essentially,for those yes men to depart. I spent a lot of nights out and about "Turnt up" then ended up walking alone suffocating myself in temporary feelings of self loathing when I should've been motivated to self improve as far as prepping myself for really working harder, being productive with growth plus developing and broadening my horizons. By truly opening wide the doors of our hearts we can broaden our own horizons and strengthen our belief in life. My life isn't about me and my gifts should be use less selfishly. I think the change for me really started earlier this summer the moment that my baby cousin looked at me and said that he wanted to be like me. I smiled for a moment but then I thought about the tale of the tape. I thought about all of the good and the bad that I've done in my life and how I wanted him to be better than me. For the first time in my life I truly realized that I was being watched and I have a responsibility to be better than I was. I also hurt a good friend who only encouraged me and often told me the truth even if it wasn't something that I wanted to hear. The truth is, it is a ugly thing to backtrack into old bad habits and try to relive and reboot childish behavior. An old friend once told me that as an adult it is ok to be child like but it really is an ugly thing to be childish. For those childish moments I had to look at that as something to learn from. If I am not moving with a purpose than what the hell am I doing? when I die will my social status really even matter? or did I really live to do everything in my power to go forth to make things better? yes, I will stumble and fall but I truly felt so empty when I planned to fail.
So for the longest time , some idiots debated whether or not the Beastie Boys belong to the culture that they were definitely influence by. No question The Beastie Boys aren't just Hip-Hop, they are pioneers and trailblazers in this genre of music. Its my opinion that hip-hop gives an incredible voice to people of all races, religions, and beliefs. Just the other day I was sent some incredible hip-hop from a European Hip-Hop artist. Everyone has a story to tell and if an artist finds it in there heart to use hip-hop to tell their story than who am I to say that it's wrong? So last year Macklemore apologized to Kendrick Lamar for winning the Grammy and I was really perplexed by this. Yes both artist had incredible albums that shined equally in their own right but for me personally, I saw it as an achievement for hip-hop in a sense that it was refreshing to see an indie artist with no corporate machine behind him beat to his own drum and win. Macklemore's album "The Heist" featured so many eclectic sounds and live musical arrangements that were very refreshing for me. Call me old fashion but I remember when originality was what made hip-hop. Some folk can't complain if they aren't doing things to shake things up a bit. I know it can be easy to forget sometimes in the smog of the minstrel show that some artist want to convey as Hip-Hop but the truth is when you receive your calling you better be hot and there is no true owner of hip-hop........it's us that belongs to her.
So as an Hip-Hop artist and a D.j. I get both sides of the coin. People are constantly asking me where I think hip-hop is headed? or where can they find the "really, really good shit?".Jamiroquai once said there is no sound cause we all live underground. There is a lot of gifted artist underground and there is a big difference between being talented and being gifted. We truly live in a time where some artist follow trends and some artist nowadays are making music that would make Wilford Brimley go into a diabetic coma.I will let you all in on a little secret, as a dj I often get more requests for songs that date early 2000s and backward. I think that means that some music isn't speaking. trust me there are great artist out right now. last summer I saw Bruno Mars ,Big K.R.I.T.,Talib Kweli, Esperanza Spaulding and the Old 97s whom reminded me to savor the flavor, to move how you want to move, and fall in love with the true power of music. It is easy to become jaded as an artist with such mundane stuff being force fed but everybody serves a purpose an as artists it is very important to live in ya head. As I get older my taste has truly changed and I know my limits. I do like ignorant shit but I think I love being uplifted more. One hobby I enjoy that I haven't done in a while is buying an album and driving on the parkway and going track for track. that was rare for me because a lot of artist focus more on that pop hit versus taking you where you've never been, peppered with an account of ones truth that can be relatable and some times uncompromising. twerking is cool but the club eventually closes. The latest album that I checked out was "2014 Forest Hill Drive" by J Cole. In a culture where people are constantly told to dumb down lyrics this man defies gravity and gives you lyrical content and honesty brilliantly placed track for track. J Cole doesn't apologize and reminds his peers to carry on tradition and be strong enough not to accept the bullshit that gets in the way. Growing up I was lucky to have "Illmatic", "The Marshall Mathers Lp"," Black On Both Sides", "Ready to Die", "36 Chambers"," Resonable Doubt, "Midnight Marauders"and "Nevermind" . what rabbit hole will you slip down that will shake you to your core and heal you when you need it the most?
For me, growing up in a single parent house as a kid I had to catch on fast as hell. My mom often work two jobs leaving my brother Corey and I to hold down the fort. Some days we mellowed out and played hours of "Mortal Kombat" and "F-Zero" . Sometimes he would surprise me with a high flying wrestling top rope maneuver off of the arm of my mother's couch. This would also lead to our free for all battles that only can be described as something similar to a "Tom& Jerry" cartoon. My mother always found a way to make time to tap into our hobbies and interests. I had five good friends growing up but I mostly loved to stay at home read comics, watch SYFY network , " Mystery Science Theater 3000", "The Twilight Zone", and classic Hitchcock movies. I grew up just imagining story lines for my favorite comic book characters for hours playing with action figures that I still to this day keep nestled away in a big rubber maid container. Friday nights were the best because I use to stay up late and watch "The Hitchhiker" on USA NETWORK's "Up All Night!". My favorite thing to do was beat box "The Hitchhiker" theme song and slow killer walk around the house to scare my kid brother. My mom and my Great Grandmother were the ones who kept throwing me comics as a child. I think they did it originally to keep me quiet because I would talk and talk non stop. I thank my mom for getting me every issue and every back issue that I requested. It would seem that my nerdy obsessions would save me from the cruelty of heartbreak and high school. I couldn't really afford to dress like the other kids until I got my first job as a server for a catering company. When I finally got a little change in my pocket I started going to my local flea market and spending the majority of my money on more comics,cheesy 80's flicks, and horror movies. All of these things(plus music) saved me from self destruction more than a few times and later would serve as the tools that would continue to keep me together. I could've easily allowed myself to collapse and just drift but my pop culture passions continued to provide great comfort and food for my soul. I think it is amazing that comic book culture is so mainstream now and that I can share my collection with my younger cousins who look at me in disbelief at my comic book knowledge. I even gave away some of my actions figures but the Ninja Turtle Sewer Lair and Ghost Buster play set is still off limits! lol
So I was recently asked about my thoughts on another rapper who was recently incarcerated for a major drug operation. I don't name, names because I feel it is my responsibility not to empower situations that are negative. First of all I cannot knock any man's hustle but I am truly a believer in karma and trying to treat people how I would like to be treated. To take advantage of someone's weakness and to continue to consciously poison someone for profit has to be a horrible way to make a living. I have lost many friends to addiction and it is hard on families and friends who remember the spirits of their love one's before they had become zombies. I personally had to grow to realize that we truly do reap what we sow and If you cannot find something to do someone else will give you something to do. In the same arena of not naming names I will say that it is poor journalism for any media outlet to glorify or endorse that young man as a drug dealer/ rapper. This misguided man was just a drug dealer who got caught making a bad decision. Any other person who would've been caught would have simply been a regular random ass dude getting caught doing dirt. I remember a time when hip-hop was so pure without the new cliché drug dealer rapper. I grew up on KRS ONE, Heavy D , Public Enemy, Rakim, RUN DMC, Queen Latifah, LL Cool J and many more who embraced themselves and truly evolved in the culture building a brand just simply by being themselves. There are still plenty of artist out there who stay true to themselves and that is awesome. Some rappers that have sold drugs even use there newfound musical success to say hey don't go that route. We as people in general shouldn't be afraid of what we could be and definitely should better invest in ourselves instead of the falsehoods of the clone epidemic. In closing, one of my favorite emcee Rhymefest said it best off the "Blue Collar" album by stating that he knew more real niggas at U-Haul than hauled crack (LOL).My thing is if everybody is so "Hard" and so "Gangsta" where are the punks?
The past few months have been quite hectic because I am trying to maintain balance. I acquire more projects by the day and I know that it is a blessing because the good lord wants more out of me. It's truly up to me to set the pace to be where I want to go. My main project that has had my inbox flooded with questions here recently has been my band "The Groove Collective". The band consists of my family who had been wanting to bridge the gap and show just how universal music can be.Harvest Blaque and The Groove Collective is a Roanoke, Virginia local band that has a diversity of Rock, Hip-Hop, and R&B music. We sometimes blend our favorites and surprise ourselves with the crazy mixes that we come up with. our band has great people like Sebra Rayshaun Carter(Vocals/Guitar) who loves to blend pop,rock, folk, and rap music to make a fun hybrid sound that could def keep a room upbeat for hours.Sam Williamson( Lead Guitar) is a technical genius who can sync any melody in his brain and push out amazing sounds with his guitar.Alyka Fenderson( Vocals), can belt out a song and take you on a journey. Alyka has been blessed with an amazing voice that will def keep audiences captivated for a long,long time.Christian Schneider( Bass), loves old school hip hop and loves to put his spin on music old and new. Last but not least is the heart beat of my team and a genuine leader Evan Goodwin( Percussion). Evan also plays for the awesome band "Pandora's Box" and I was blessed to have him make time to want to do this project as well. He is a monster on the beats and plays heavy and hard. I find myself truly surprising myself writing more than hip-hop and although I am use to working alone I am excited about the music that I am writing with this dedicated group of amazing musicians. I will also be working with another area band Eleven South which is a rock/country hybrid band on some of their originals. I had a blast co-writing there song "The Looker" and I can't wait to write more with my brother Travis Grahame. I am embracing my gifts and I am happy that you all continue to show interest in our work . I say it often but I indeed believe that great things start here at home and I am thankful to those who take the time to believe in us.-Harvest Blaque