Victory Lap

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for years. I didn’t do it because of fear: fear of being made fun of, fear of it not being perfect, fear of failure. As I was encouraging my best friend to document and share her life in Hawaii, I felt the strong urge to remind her to tell her truth and to just let it flow. When we try to make things perfect, we can try to force creation from the mind instead of letting it flow through us through our divine inspiration and intuition. Things can sound stiff and unnatural. Above all, the most important part is that you begin creating.

At the Nip$ey Hu$$le popup shop, I met a hip hop blogger named Tommy. He told me about his process starting his website in 2009 and he encouraged me to start my own. I saw the pieces falling into place and finally decided to take action. I had come up with the name, “Beats Rhymes N Life,” two days before while listening to the Tribe. It fits perfectly with my life experiences and passions: spirituality, hip hop, and personal growth. As I wrote my first post, I found the distracting thoughts passing through inquiring what my blog was about, what format it should be written in, who the audience should be, etc. All the things I learned in marketing about having a target audience and general direction to move in had me feeling a little trapped. So instead of closing the computer like I’d done several times in the past, I decided to just do my best. I wrote a few paragraphs on the popup shop and posted it. Although I’m happy I began the blog, looking back on that post, I was reminded of what I had encouraged my best friend to do, tell the truth and let it flow.

So here’s the truth about that day:

When I first moved to LA, a friend of mine who used to live here would drive up from San Diego to come visit me. She’s wild, British, and obsessed with Nip$ey Hu$$le. She lived down in the 60’s neighborhood where Nip$ey grew up for a few years and loved driving down Crenshaw and Slauson bumping her music. She could not stop talking about this rapper that was taking over the west coast and took to me to the liquor store down in the 60’s to buy his mixtapes. As we were leaving, she told me how the liquor store had been shot up several times while she had been living down there. We stopped by Nip$ey’s clothing store and witnessed a crazed lady run in and start knocking all the “Crenshaw” apparel of the shelves screaming at the top of her lungs until she was restrained. It was only a twenty minute drive from my apartment in Hollywood, but it felt like a different world.

I’ve always been interested in other cultures, particularly in urban culture, as I grew up heavily into hip hop. As a kid, I remember listening to Pac’s “Changes,” over and over again, wondering how such pain and poverty could exist in such a prosperous country. I’ve always been interested in the dichotomy between the extreme wealth and extreme poverty present in urban music and culture. Being down in the 60’s neighborhood that day gave me a glimpse into the surroundings Nip$ey came up in, a place laden with fear, poverty, and violence.

Over the next several months, I had Nip$ey’s mixtapes on repeat, soaking up every word, vibing with his confidence and intellect. While attending a charity shoe giveaway at Crenshaw High School, I met a few other people that had grown up in the neighborhood and been heavily involved in that life. I learned how minuscule their school’s funding was compared to other districts, with kids lacking basic necessities like books and school supplies. I got an up close and personal look at how the system is stacked in some people’s favor, while others are left to fend for themselves. The more I learned, the more intrigued I became with Nip$ey, a true outlier in a community where all the odds were stacked against him.

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My View From Hollywood

Yesterday I went to Runyon Canyon to catch up with my girl Chantel. She brought along Lisa, a singer/rapper who just moved out to LA from Harlem a few days ago. Sitting on top of the mountain overlooking the city, we talked about leaving everything you know and are comfortable with in pursuit of your dreams. Many people advise you against it, and it is often accompanied by an internal battle as well. Do you take the “safe” 9-5 route in life or do you dare greatly and chase your dreams?

There is a magical essence common to all dreamchasers, a unique combination of passion and faith.

Sidenote: I was having trouble explaining the essence of dreamchasers properly, so I asked “what would You have me write?” I picked a stone from The Book of Runes, a book full of wisdom my best friend Jessi left at my house when she moved to Hawaii. Part of the passage accompanying the stone I picked read,

“On the side of human nature, this Rune is symbolized by the flight of the eagle, soaring flight free from entanglement, lifting yourself above the endless ebb and flow of ordinary life to acquire broader vision.”

It went on to say,

Perth counsels you neither to focus on outcomes nor to bind yourself with the memory of past achievements. In doing so, you rob yourself of a true present, the only time when self-change can be realized. You may feel overwhelmed with exhaustion from meeting obstruction after obstruction in your passage. Yet you always have a choice: You can see this apparent negativity as bad luck, or you can recognize it as an obstacle course, a challenge to the Initiation you are presently undergoing. Then each setback, each humiliation, becomes a test of character. When your inner being is shifting and reforming on a deep level, patience, constancy and perseverance are called for. So stay centered, see the humor, and keep your faith firm.”

This is the perfect explanation of a dreamchaser, someone who flies free above ordinary life, acquiring broader vision and deeper faith. Taking these leaps of faith and chasing after dreams can feel overwhelming, but everything you encounter is simply preparing you for your grandest vision for yourself and your life.

Seeing Lisa and Chantel vibing to “Enjoy My View From Hollywood,” from Kyle’s “Beautiful Loser” mixtape, I felt that dreamchaser essence. That energy, that passion, that faith that pulls you 3,000 miles from home with a suitcase and a dream, there’s nothing in the world like it.

The Marathon Continues

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I stopped by the Nip$ey Hu$$Le popup shop yesterday to check out his collaboration with Young&Reckless for the “This is Crenshaw” collection. The merchandise was dope, but I was even more impressed by the line of kids wrapped around the block. Over a thousand people stood in the rain for hours to come support and show love.

Nip$ey has built such an authentic relationship with his fans, evidenced by the sold out Proud2Pay $100 mixtape he dropped late last year. He’s super intelligent and he’s shifting the culture with his independent “F the middleman” approach. Between Nip$ey, Karen Civil, and the Y&R team, the room was overflowing with creative genius. According to fans, it was well worth the wait.

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