Category Archives: Hip hop

I love “Myself”

I’m a little late on this, but I’m ok with that…

A couple weeks ago, my favorite female rapper (and friend), Snow Tha Product , released a new music video for her song Myself (featuring DRAM).  The song is all about working hard, reaching your goals and making your dreams come true.  It’s about celebrating your personal accolades and being proud of how far your efforts have taken you.   To quote Snow:

“For them days that I stayed up late all by Myself.

Ain’t no help.

Make that cake and I whip that, bake that by Myself.  

Went through hell.  

So prayed up, waited, look how God done helped.  

Trials I faced, but I got my credit with no cosign and no loan…”

The filming of the music video was literally a dream come true for me.  Snow invited me out to a mansion in LA to play poolside, with piñatas, birthday cake, tacos, turtles, fireworks, and a giraffe.  I got to pop confetti canons and drink shots of patron… and some of this made it in the video. It was an incredible experience! (Thank you, Snow)!!!

When the video was released, Claudia Feliciano – Snow Tha Product –  had (what I would imagine to be) another dream come true.  The young, proud Mexican-American, daughter of immigrants, had her face all up in New York’s City’s Time Square via the music video!  She shared it joyfully on her instagram account.  Felicidades, amiga. You deserve it.

***ps. That means that my face was also up in Time Square. Talk about dreams coming true!

Now, here are some photos from that magical day.

Posing with Little Miss Jae, who plays young Snow in the video.

Myself is the perfect song to wake up to, get ready to, cruise to, and to play at your Memorial Day BBQ this weekend.  Buy it, download it, request it, watch (and share) the video here!

*Also, if you love Snow and the whole Vibe Higher crew’s energy, catch them on tour this summer.  They hit the road next week! Get show info and tickets here.

***Special Thanks to Snow Tha Product for making one of my dreams come true & allowing me to be a part of a music video.

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Rhymesayers 20 Year Anniversary 

Last month I got to celebrate with my Rhymesayers friends for their 20th Anniversary at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I’ll admit, in 1995 – when RSE was getting started on building what would one day become my favorite independent hip hop record label – the only hip hop I was listening to was from the West Coast, and my 12 year old self was more concerned with singing Selena songs more than anything. But, just because I was late to the party, doesn’t mean that I haven’t been having a good time… 

I was honored to be invited to this celebration. My only experiences in the city of Minneapolis all involve Rhymesayers moments… & I feel so lucky for that! 

I get to the venue a little early to pick up my ticket. I hang around and say hi to some familiar faces before doors open. When I make it inside, I’m so excited! I want to enjoy every minute of this seven-hour joyous occasion.  

 

Photo by Beth Saravo

  
I join some of my favorite Rhymesayers family members stage-side to watch the show. I’m pretty excited when Los Nativos are on. With their Spanish lyrics and Aztec dancers, I feel my culture being proudly represented. 

  

 
  
 

Photos by Cory Dewald

 
 
The show is moving on swiftly and I’m standing amongst some of the upcoming acts. I make my rounds to thank everyone for allowing me to be a part of this. It feels so good to be welcomed by the creators of the legendary label. 
I walk around the arena to watch the show from different angles. From side stage, to my assigned seat, to the engineer booth, it’s all amazing. I like to watch the entire production come together; it fascinates me to catch people (all people) in their element.  
Of course, my immediate attention goes to the performers, but watching Siddiq, J Bird & Slug enjoy the fruits of their labor is just as exciting. It’s beautiful to catch the look on the faces of some of the Rhymesayers artists, while they enjoy their label mates’ sets. I’m greatly entertained by Randy controlling & perfecting the sound. I’m in awe when I spot some of my favorite photographers capturing glorious moments that they’ll share on their websites & Instagram posts. For me, Sarah Dope, Cory Dewald, Van Styles & Beth Saravo are just as big as the stars on the mic.

 

Sarah Dope. Photo by Cory Dewald

  

Van Styles. Photo by Cory Dewald

 
I turn into a total geek when I catch these behind the scenes moments. When I make my way to the friends & family room, I notice that my dear friends have provided us with delicious snacks & plenty of libations. That’s not the best part, though. There’s a door connecting to the media room. It’s buzzing with all the social network stars, afore mentioned, who are working hard to capture moments of the big day. This is where the magic happens. These are the people documenting the night for all the world to see! With laptops, cameras, chargers, and electrical wiring all around, it’s thrilling to see these geniuses at work.   

 

A shot I got at Beth Saravo’s work station.


Around the corner, there’s an interview room. Artists are escorted to & from the exclusive area, while passing by friends & family who are taking a break from the bustling crowd. I dream of being the one behind those doors, asking all the in-depth questions on camera…someday! 

  
I spend my day bouncing around, taking in as much as I possibly can. When I make my way stageside again, I notice headliner, Slug, of Atmosphere.  I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with him casually on a few occasions. Feeling nostalgic, due to the whole “anniversary” thing, I want to share my first Atmosphere memory with Sean. When I go to greet him, he smiles, gives me a hug & for some reason, I chicken out.  
Even though he’s standing alone, and  I have his attention, something inside tells me not to bother him with my story.   I’m sure he hears stuff like this all the time... 

So, I keep the story of how 19 year-old me used to roam the streets of Modesto, CA at night, with loaded spray cans, good friends, and graffiti dreams to myself. “Star,” would be hit up on walls for all to see & I’d be bumping Atmosphere, “And this goes to those who tag and paint walls with aerosol…” 
I’ve never quite remembered what the name of the song was, but who better to ask, than Slug himself? Of course, he’d give me the answer that so many of my fellow Atmosphere fans have failed to provide. But, like I said, my self-doubt got in the way, and all I did was use my reoccurring dialogue. 

“Hi. How are you? So good to see you again!” 

Then, I walked away, hoping not bother him.  
The night goes on, acts continue to grace the stage & move the crowd. Dem Atlas blows me away.  

 

Photos by Cory Dewald

 
  Grieves has me enthralled. 

Photo by Cory Dewald


 
  Prof makes me jump to my feet & party hard with his energetic stage presence.  

 

Photos by Cory Dewald

  
 I’m amazed by DJ Abilities & touched by his tribute to Eyedea.   

Photo by Cory Dewald


 
As always, Aesop astounds me.  

Photo by Cory Dewald

   
Dilated makes me proud to be from California. 

Photo by Cory Dewald

 
I’m wrapped up in every minute. 
I enjoy the show with some of my favorite Rhymesayers (associated) ladies – the Glam Dolls, friends, family & significant others.  

  

We step outside for fresh air, after Brother Ali’s set and hurry back in for some water & to catch Atmosphere as they close the show.   

Photo by Cory Dewald

 
I’m walking through the crowd, floor level when I spot special guest, Spawn, reunited on stage with Slug, performing the song that introduced me to Atmosphere & Rhymesayers as a whole. 

Photo by Cory Dewald

I could kick myself for not telling Slug about it when I had the chance… Oh how different that interaction & the entire night could have gone…

I could picture it already.  Slug would go all Betty Wright (Tonight is the Night) & say something along the lines of

“Ladies & gentlemen, I know a lot of you have been rockin’ with us for a long time. I know you may have seen us live before, but tonight’s set will be a little different. We want to bring back some memories. Everybody, think back to your very first time… When did you first fall in love with Atmosphere? What about Rhymesayers? Well, there’s a lady here tonight that clearly recollects her first time, and she shared it with me earlier…  

And it goes a little something like this…!” 

 

Photo by Cory Dewald

 
Haha! I know, I know… I have a wild imagination. But who knows? Maybe it would’ve happened… 

   

  

    

Photos by Cory Dewald

  
After the confetti fell, gratitude was deeply expressed, and the lights went on, people made their way back to their cars, trains & other forms of transportation to take home with them the warm memories & great feelings about what took place at Target Center that night.  
I headed backstage to check in with friends. When I shared my Slug story with Van Styles, he compared it to the feeling he gets after missing a shot & he encouraged me to always go for it & never hold back… “Because you just never know.” Then, he graciously invited me to Atmosphere’s green room, to tell the story to Sean, myself. I got there in time to watch Slug make his way out, & like my moment, he had escaped. 
On my way to party the night away with some of my favorite people, I ran into Ant & shared the short version of my story with him. It was then that I was finally told the name of that song: Multiples. Boom! Life was good. 
The rest of night was a collection of stories & celebrations with my RSE friends. We partied until we could party no more. Those are the kind of nights I live for!   

 

*Special Thanks to Ashanti for always taking care of me. To Siddiq, J Bird, and the entire Rhymesayers family & extended family for always making “Minnesota Nice” such a real thing in my life. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude in words. To Skye, Jeff, Sarah, Grieves, DJ Fundo, Van Styles, Tanya, Teresa, Jasmine & friends for making my night a fun-filled experience to remember. And, of course, to Beth Saravo and Cory Dewald for collaborating with me & sharing their masterpieces to bring this post to life! 

 

Photo by Beth Saravo

 
Thank you all so much. I’ll see you at SoundSet 2016! 

Good Grieves 

I first met Benjamin “Grieves” Laub, at the SoundSet 2014 after party. We talked about music & life. I told him that I’m a flight attendant & blogger, and he expressed how much he’d like to share some stories with me. He gave me his contact information & asked me to follow up. I sent an email almost immediately, but never received a response. So, when I noticed him standing next to me at the Rhymesayers 20 celebration, I had to seize the moment. 

He greeted me very politely, after speaking with Photographer, Beth Saravo, who was standing beside me. I was also very polite with my greeting, & after introductions, I reminded him that we’d met before and I wanted to hear his in-flight experiences. 

I thought he was as going to ask me to email him again, but he didn’t. He took a deep breath and went into storytelling mode – something we all know this West Coast MC is very good at. 

  

Photo by Beth Saravo

  
He started with a flight to Denver, CO, a city I’ve come to love. He didn’t disclose which airline he was flying on, but he did disclose the shameless details. A female flight attendant wanted to go above and beyond customer service standards, when she offered (or insisted that he let her give him) a ride home… a little “extra” was definitely insinuated. I can only imagine… 

Another incident he recalls was a recent flight. The destination wasn’t disclosed, but his neighboring passenger was someone he’d never forget. 

“Throughout the flight this guy was complaining about how impatient everyone was. He kept saying how everyone was in such a rush. I just let it slide & didn’t say anything. Then, after landing,  (when the seatbelt sign is turned off), you know how everyone stands up?  People behind him were already in the aisle and he got all mad and yelled, ‘Oh yeah, like it’d kill ya to wait, huh?’

I didn’t say it, but I was like, “Um, You’re the only impatient one here.” ” 

I was impressed by his ability to spot someone who was clearly deflecting. Not everyone can do that & put their frustration aside, in those kind of situations. But, that wasn’t even the most impressive story. 

One time, upon landing, Grieves was sitting next to a young woman who wasn’t feeling well. She seemed very nervous & looked like she was about to be sick. His suspicions came to fruition when the lady began vomitting… In his direction!  He was sitting in the window seat, the woman in the middle, with someone to her left, in the aisle seat. Grieves was the unlucky victim of her aim.  

My first, and instant reaction, was ‘Oh f%^*#!’ But, when I looked at her, she said, “I’m so sorry. I’m pregnant. This happens.”

It was I one of those total human moments and I couldn’t be mad. I looked at her, wearing a thin top, covered in vomit & I took off my button down shirt,  to let her use it to cover herself and get off the plane. She was already so embarrassed, I didn’t want her to feel worse.”

I was so moved by how cool Grieves was in such an uncomfortable position. I see and work with passengers all the time. Not everyone is this calm & collected. Bravo, Ben! 

 

Photo by Beth Saravo

 
Grieves also admitted to me that he only uses social media to talk about good airline experiences. He likes to keep his rants private. We discussed the “power of the corporate letter,” and he promised to write something about the next flight attendant he encounters who goes above and beyond. Maybe my colleagues will catch him on their flights! 

As we approach a busy week with holiday flyers, I hope everyone keeps this post in mind.  Be like Ben, ya’ll! 

 

Photo by Beth Saravo

 
I’d like to thank Benjamin Laub, for sharing these stories with me and for making my night so special. You’re a good guy, Grieves. I hope to catch you in the friendly skies soon. Cheers!  

For up-to-date information, head to GrievesMusic.com and Rhymesayers.com/Grieves 

Photo by Beth Saravo

 
*Special thanks to the amazing Beth Saravo, for collaborating with me on this post & providing her masterpieces.  I look forward to working with you again! 
Check out more of Beth’s photos on BethSaravo.com

Back Where It All Began

My first blog post was about my first trip to Amsterdam, which was a total dream come true. I wrote about my revelation of wanting to share my journey with the world, hence “Starting Starting At 30.” A year later, I found myself back where it all began…
No place (other than San Diego) has ever made me feel like Amsterdam. I’ll share it with you the same way I share it with everyone else:
After landing at Schipol Airport, my friends & I rode the train into the city. I’ll never forget that moment when I stepped out into the streets for the very first time. I looked around at all the bikes, the buildings & the people, and my soul whispered to me…
“Ceci.” It called.
“Yes, soul?” I asked.
“We’re home.” It said.
“I know.” I replied.
And just like that, I experienced love at first sight.
After that description, I guess it’s no wonder why my friends & family are all intrigued… since my initial encounter last year, I began planning this vacation with two of my sisters, Monica & Angie, my bestie, An (Haute Pink Pretty), my brother-in-law, Chris, & my bestie-in-law, also Chris (Superman Dyer). The five of them are very influential people in my life. Sharing my flight benefits is my way of finally doing something great for them!
The flight from Philadelphia was great. We bribed the gate agents with chocolates to be seated together and we bought an entire pizza for the crew. Feeding flight attendants will only result great service. Take notes, people! 😉
Once we got all our luggage together, we shared a taxi into the city. We parted ways for a bit to check in to our neighboring hotels to get ready for the day… I’ll spare you the details and jump into the fun stuff.
We started our first day walking around Leidseplein Square, popping into random spots for drinks & quick bites.

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IMG_9392Though I love the city, I must admit, the food in Amsterdam doesn’t really excite me. I prefer hitting grocery stores, like Marqt & snacking on local greens, cheeses & fresh bread.
We eventually made our way to the famous I Amsterdam letters, where we took turns posing & snapping shots.

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It was a beautiful (cold, but clear & sunny) day out, so, we spent time just walking around the city. We admired the adorable architecture, the beautiful bridges, the charismatic canals and, of course, the lovely locals.

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We attempted to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the land to make a game plan for the next day’s activities. We ended our night running for cover from the rain in the Red Light District. We were all exhausted & ready to turn in when the weather took a turn for the wet…

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Day two started with a hunt for a beautiful sunrise.

IMG_9273 An and Chris wanted to capture the beauty of this colorful act on film & I wanted to see them at work!

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My younger sister, Angie, joined us. We thought walking toward the I Amsterdam letters would be a great way to start. Because it was early, we figured it wouldn’t be so crowded. We stopped at the Rijks Museum for a few fun shots before taking full advantage of the lonely letters & capturing moments around the park.

Amsterdam Winter Street Style*Above photo by Chris Dyer, courtesy of HautePinkPretty.com

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Soon, it was time to meet with my sister, Monica & her boyfriend, Chris, to check out the Van Gogh Museum. Photos were not allowed inside the museum… So, if you’re ever in Amsterdam, please go see the amazing pieces for yourself.
We quickly made a plan for the rest of the day that included a canal tour by boat & the Heineken Experience. The boat ride was amazing. The weather cooperated & we got to take in the beauty of my favorite city.

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The Heineken tour was so much fun. We played games, learned about the entire beer-making process, took some fun pictures in front of green screens & of course, we drank lots of beer!

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We all split up for a few hours and regrouped in the Red Light District. We met at a favorite local lounge of mine, where learned about sugar water & local grape candies (inside joke). Then, we walked the trademark territory & took in the “scenery” before saying goodnight.
We knew we’d have to say “doei” to A’dam in the afternoon… We had a train to Paris to catch and we all wanted to take advantage of our morning, so we needed a good night’s sleep.
This visit was a wonderful reminder of why I love this city so much…

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned for more posts about my vacation that include Paris, Dubai & Abu Dhabi!

*Special thanks to Angie Salcedo, Monica Salcedo, Christopher Thompson, Chris Dyer & An Dyer for assistance with photos.

Read more details about our trip here and here, on An’s fashion blog, HautePinkPretty.com.

PERI Duo Case

Last month I was invited on set for the filming of the PERI Duo Case launch ad. This is THE case that iPhone users (myself included) have been waiting for! It’s the world’s first charging case with Bluetooth & wifi enabled speakers… & it’s a must-have accessory.
I’m driving around East Los Angeles on a Sunday morning, looking for the address. Siri isn’t helping too much and I’m left to go against her (incorrect) driving directions to figure it out on my own. I stumble upon the warehouse when she lets me know that I “have arrived at my destination.” I’m pretty excited… I mean (other than my very cool experience filming for LA Ink a few years ago) I’ve never been “casted” for anything….sure, I’m an extra, but it’s still pretty cool.
When I walk in, I’m greeted by new friend, Clint Schaff, who I met through my friends at Rhymesayers, at the Camp Flog Naw Carnival. Clint is the star of the commercial, and the one who invited me. We’re going to be filming a party scene & I get to be one of the party-goers. I think I can handle that. 😉
The set is newly built and it’s really cool. There are multiple “rooms” that Clint will walk through, as he shows the speakers in action.

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They’ve been filming since morning & it’s just about time to shoot our scene.

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I head to a room where I meet other extras. Some of them are actual actors, sent here from an agency and others are some of the genius minds behind this product’s development. Pretty cool stuff!

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We mingle & make small talk with one another. It’s good practice for our camera time. Soon, they call us to the set & we’re ready for our close ups…
After placing us around the room and testing camera range, they yell, “Action!” Cameras are rolling & all we have to do is smile and have a good time. It’s pretty easy to do.

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After a few runs, it’s a wrap – for our scene, anyway. Party’s over. We head back to the room where we all originally met & enjoy our lunch (provided by the PERI Team).
After my meal, and some great conversations with some really cool people, I’m off to enjoy my Sunday and the beautiful Southern California weather.
You can watch the full commercial, support the PERI project & pre-order your case (at a discounted, early bird rate) by clicking here.

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I’m also super excited to announce that Rhymesayers has decided to partner with PERI to offer their fans a Limited Edition PERI Duo case! You can pre-order yours here.
*Be sure to check out the Rhymesayers VIP Soundset Experience opportunity!

Thanks so much for reading along, everyone. Hope you enjoyed this post & I hope you enjoy your PERI Duo Case!

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Special Thanks to Clint Schaff, The team at PERI & of course, the guys at Rhymesayers for letting me be a part of this!

On a side note:
As I post this blog entry, my roomies coincidentally start talking about their first ever personal music players… Did you ever have a Walkman? What was the first cassette you listened to on it…? This (single) was mine…

A Picture Perfect Day in LA

Last month, my friends at Rhymesayers Entertainment invited me out to the Camp Flog Naw Carnival at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Growing up a Raiders fan, I’ve always wanted to see the legendary arena. Sure, it wasn’t an actual game & sure we’d be out in the parking lot area, but hey, it was going to be fun either way.
Camp Flog Naw has hosted this Hip Hop Carnival for the past three years. This year’s line-up was insane. With artists ranging in styles, ages & hometowns from from coast-to-coast, the event had acts for any and all hip hop heads in attendance.
I arrived in time to catch some of my favorites on stage…Step Brothers.

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After their set, I met up with Ashanti to thank him for the generous invite.

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He told me to head backstage where he’d meet me in a bit. That’s where all the magic happened..!
I walk around, greeting some of my favorite familiar faces. Some of the guys from Rhymesayers (who I met at Soundset) and, of course, some artists fall into that category. I love seeing them all behind the scenes, when they’re just “hanging out” with their peers. It’s beautiful to watch the interactions.
My heart is thrilled when I spot my friend, Evidence… Because he’s seated at a table that’s hosting pure Instagram Royalty. Sure, I want to play it cool and not show too much of my giddiness… But I can’t help but be excited when I notice WatchxWitness (13th Witness & Jason Goldwatch), Madchild, and others…
I carry on a casual conversation with Ev & Madchild. When Madchild asks me to snap a group photo of the guys…

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I see my opportunity, so, before the moment escapes me, I give in and ask for pictures, too! I start by asking Ev to pose with me. I know him, so, it’s not weird… But here’s the kicker… I ask the legendary photographer & Instagram King, Tim McGurr aka 13th Witness to take the photo. It’s seriously an honor. I love every picture that he (and his girlfriend, Monica Alcarez) posts.
Ev turns to me and asks if I know who that is… I respond with “Yes, that’s the reason I asked him to take the picture.” Ha! He laughs & trades places with Tim. Now I have another Instagram legend (and amazing “Director of Photography“) taking my picture with King Witness himself. I’m stoked!

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I decide to keep it going at this point… I’m asking one genius after another to snap my picture & to use their talent to capture my moment with each of them:
So, after 13th Witness took my picture with Ev, & Ev took my picture with 13th Witness, Ev snapped me with Madchild, Jason Goldwatch caught me with Murs, and Misha Louy shot a few fun frames of me with Jason Goldwatch!

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I got to chat with Jason for a bit and gush over how much I love his work. He captures human beings from all over the world in the most beautiful, authentic way. He captures exactly what I see when I’m traveling the world… unique, wonderful people, all different, yet all the same… He captures a true sense of unity. His work is moving.
I asked him if he ever felt weird taking candid shots of strangers… His response, “I got over that a long time ago.”
*Check out one of my all time favorite Jason Goldwatch videos here.

After my personal photo-shoot, I took some time to walk around the festival to catch some of the live musical acts.

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Locals, Grouch and Eligh made me feel right at home.

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Mac Miller gave me a chance to celebrate my (part-time) PA residency.

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Rick Ross had me & the guys dancing to his hits. Tyler, The Creator (the mastermind & founder of the carnival) made us all feel like kids when he took the stage. His set was a huge bedroom with a ginormous bed. There was definitely lots of jumping around and it felt like play time when beach balls were being tossed around in the crowd.
We stuck around to watch a huge chunk of headliner, Pharell Williams, set. He hit us with a real show. His amazing dancers and the N.E.R.D. reunion kept the crowd thoroughly entertained. It was a great festival, overall. I had a blast.

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After the festival, I made my way to Santa Monica with Ashanti, Dem Atlas & his DJ, Justin. I had great time chatting with the guys. They’re all hip hop geniuses & I love their energy.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when I was talking to Josh (Dem Atlas, 22 years old) about his success & how he deals with the guilt of being away from his family. This is something I’ve been experiencing lately… Fulfilling my dreams, and missing precious time with those you love dearly. The answer that this young man gave me was mind-blowing:
What keeps me going is that I know I’m doing all this for them. I’m not doing this for me. You know, I’m doing this for my mom, for my family, for the youth… When I realized that I could actually have whatever I want, that the power is within me, all I could think was, “Ok, what’s next?” Today, I saw so many artists that I admire & I got to talk to them & let them know that I love & appreciate their work…then, I turned around & some kid would be saying the the same thing to me. Like I’m that to them. It’s beautiful!
Well put, young sir. Well put!
We shared a moment discussing The Doors, Jim Morrison, Southern California, music, love & the power within… It was the perfect way to end a perfect day… Well, that & tacos! 😉 Thanks, Ashanti.

Thank you for taking the time to read my about my adventures. If you’re reading this, know that I appreciate you. Now, what are your dreams? What’s your story? What’s next for you?

Special thanks to my friends at Rhymesayers, Ashanti, Siddiq, and Skye, for feeding my obsession of hip hop & amazing human beings and for introducing me to people that I connect with and adore like Dem Atlas, Clint Schaff, and so many others linked to the RSE family. It’s an honor to feel so welcomed. Thank you!

World Wide Rollers Tour – LA and Philly

When I saw that The Smokers Club was bringing B-Real, Redman and Method Man, to stages all across America, I knew I was going to have to catch the World Wide Rollers Tour live. The tour started in October, in Providence, RI, & wrapped up in New York City tonight. Initially, the dates & locations didn’t look like they were going to work with my schedule, but, during the last few weeks, I was able to attend the show twice, coast to coast – once in Los Angeles and once in Philadelphia.
The first night was totally unplanned and unexpected, and it ended up being so much fun. I was invited out by my new friend (and favorite female rapper) Snow Tha Product. You met Snow when I mentioned her in my post about Soundset. I met up with her & some “Wokes” (her crew) and after some shots of Don Julio 1942 (Don “July,” as Snow calls it), we packed in the car (like some true Mexicans), put on some Banda Music and hit the famous Sunset Strip to catch the show at House of Blues, Los Angeles.

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There were definitely some notable faces in the crowd, including Southern CA’s very own Ras Kass. I mean, what can I say? It is Hollywood, baby.
We got to our place on the balcony, with a perfect view of the stage, just in time to catch B-Real’s set. Dr. Greenthumb did a great job of entertaining this (often labeled as) “too cool for school” Angeleno audience… This is his home, after all. Fellow locals enjoyed the performance of classics from the rather extensive Cypress Hill catalogue. B was dressed in his signature black attire and a throwback Los Angeles Raiders cap. It was a quintessential West Coast experience.

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After smoking out with their favorite, famous “stoner” to hits like Hits From The Bong and Roll It Up, Light It Up, the crowd goes a littleInsane In The Brain. My favorite part of the show was when B-Real played on the Ice Cube beef by incorporating Cube’s “stolen” version of Throw Your Set In The Air, which we all know as “Friday.”

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Soon it’s time for Red ‘n Meth to take the stage. These guys have always been such charismatic performers. They’re so playful & fun to watch. You can tell they really enjoy sharing the spotlight with one another. I’ve seen the guys live several times over many years & I’m thoroughly entertained each time. Their friendship and camaraderie makes for a great show.

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Redman is sporting a white terry-cloth belt from his hotel bathrobe. He explains that his belt broke, so he had to make due. Fans love it. It’s reminiscent of his MTV cribs episode from 2001… He’s still humble and simple… Nothing fancy.
Method Man lets it be known that he’s only going to give as much energy as he receives. This, of course, ignites constant crowd participation. The guys make sure to keep the vibe hype by jumping off the stage and into the crowd all throughout the show. It was a great night for hip hop fans.

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Before heading out, I got the chance to meet Laura, from B-Real.tv. She spotted the Woke gear and wanted to say hi to Snow. After chatting for a bit, I reached out to her about writing a piece for the show… a comparison piece on West Coast & East Coast, and thanks to her, I got to see the sold out show in Philadelphia last night…
When I arrived to the Theatre of Living Arts, the sidewalk was packed with people trying to get into the show. Apparently the box office had closed down after issuing a set of tickets to a large group. A long line of people who had already purchased their tickets via will call were now waiting for adjustments to be made because of maximum occupancy issues. It was not pretty…
I’m nervous, because I think I’m going to be late for B-Real’s set… Some nice girls let me hop to the front of the line and after about 30 minutes, the window opens again. After some “technical difficulties,” I’m finally issued a pass & I make it in in time to catch a few songs. Just like the fans at the LA show, Philadelphia seems to love B-Real’s performance. As I make my way through the crowd, I’m surrounded by people rapping along, bobbing their heads, and…”partaking.”

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The vibe on the East Coast is definitely a little different than the one back home, but it’s still all love. B-Real ends the show with his signature on-stage snapshot and says good night to the City of Brotherly Love.

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By the time Red and Meth take the stage, I finally get access to media areas and can enjoy the show from backstage. The guys stick to the same motto when it comes to energy: We’ll give you what you give us… So, when presented with the terms, the crowd gets louder & hands go in the air. Despite the complaints from Method Man himself, about the volume levels, the audience seems totally into every song. The guys are jumping off stage again and Method Man admits to hurting himself… But that doesn’t stop him from crowd surfing. These guys are truly committed to putting on a great show…

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In closing, they unite the crowd by asking everyone to throw up a “W” with their hands. They get everyone involved, even photographers and sound men. They do a tribute to Ol’ Dirty Bastard, fallen member of the Wu-Tang Clan and continue by remembering other legends like Biggie, 2Pac, Dilla, etc. Then, they share a powerful moment with us when they mention Mike Brown & where they stand. They ask everyone to put a “peace sign” in the air & when everyone holds up the well-known “V,” they ask for us to move our two fingers together, to close the gap & represent unity, without separation. Talk about moving the crowd… The guys said good night to Philadelphia and asked them to go out and make a difference in their communities, to be aware, to be smart & to overcome the concept of “us against them.”

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I’m not sure how tonight’s show went in New York, but I’m sure the guys went out on a powerful note, sending everyone into the holiday season with love.
If you were lucky enough to catch the guys on this tour, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Special thanks to Laura from B-Real.tv for allowing me access to the show last night & for introducing me to Aaron Cohen‘s music. Aaron joined the guys in New York tonight to close out the tour and to promote his new album “You Wouldn’t Know,” set to release on December 2, 2014. This guy has been working hard… He has 3 mixtapes under his belt, he’s toured around the world and with artists like Redman, Method Man, B-Real, Berner, Madchild, & Slaine. He’s gotten recognition with The Source Cypher , Mass Appeal , Sway in the Morning, and he’s performed at shows like SXSW. Aaron has surrounded himself with greatness. So, expect nothing less from him in the near future. You can pre-order the album here.

IMG_7678.JPG Photo by Danielle Sallah IG @bebedowntown www.bebedowntown.com

Follow Aaron on Twitter, Intagram and Facebook.

*Links for the other artists mentioned in this post are included throughout in the details above. Thank you all for reading & following along…

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Holiday Season!