I just got back yesterday from a 9 day trip to the West Coast that was one of the most productive, fun, and painful journeys I’ve ever experienced. It started on February 10th in Portland, Oregon at Portland’s Sixth Annual Youth Summit. I was blessed to be a judge at the youth talent show competition, and do the keynote at Portland State University. I spoke to parents and youth about how the corporate influences in the rap industry are the real forces behind the mis-education of our youth and the necessity for us to create and control our own media. Later that evening I had one of the most memorable performances of my career at a house party on the eastside of Portland. About 50 people packed the living room of the home of Portland’s study group and we proceeded to try to tear the roof off that place. The energy was incredible!
In Portland I hooked up with my Wandering Worx family (Rodney Davidson and super producer Rel!g!on) to make the long drive to Los Angeles to shoot a couple videos for my upcoming album “Ascension”. Before heading to LA we stopped in San Fransisco to scout some locations. You know I can’t stop in the Bay without connecting with my good friend and esteemed journalist Davey D. Davey invited to to come speak to a Hip-Hop class he does with Professor Dawn-Elissa Fischer at historic San Fransisco State University. I had a great time interacting with a diverse group of students! The next day I did a TV interview with Davey about the “new messengers” in Hip-Hop and activism, where we discussed everything from Occupy, to neighborhood organizing, to the upcoming presidential election. We also ended up shooting part of the video for the title song of my upcoming album on a huge hill overlooking the city of San Fran.
When we finally got to LA, we finished the Ascension video, and I got a chance to experience the city. My first stop the studio of DJ Bobby B of the Kottonmouth Kings where I got to hear new music from my labelmates Planet Asia and Tristate. Tristate upcoming album sounds amazing and his new song “Coffee Break” is a potential smash hit. From there I headed to the House of Blues to see my good friend Mike De La Rocha put on a very spiritual and inspirational show. He told me before the show he wanted to introduce me to the audience, I had know idea he would bring me on stage and ask me to spit something, but I was honored to rock the stage with my brother. The next day I hooked up with Javier Gonzalez from the Sound Strike to go see The Sound Strike’s resident DJ Sloepoke spin at the Little Temple Bar. Before he began his set Sloepoke invited me on stage to rock the mic!
Saturday we went to the Mojave Desert to film a top secret video for “Acsenscion”. Joined by good friend and fellow MC Tahir Jahi we spent the day shooting a mini movie. Little did I know that acting could also be dangerous. In a scene that required me to do a full sprint, on take 3, I pulled my hamstring and had to limp my way though the rest of the weekend. The next morning, right before I hit the airport, I was invited with Javier to do an interview on Power 106 with Wendy Carrillo, host of Knowledge is Power. We had an incredible conversation about artists who use their gifts to help their communities. You can listen to the interview here.
Oh, did I mention I released a dedication to the great Etta James on my birthday called “Etta”? Click here to get the Free Download
Next stop, tomorrow at the University of Southern Indiana!