I recently had an opportunity to sit down with myself and talk about my first book You Made it a Hot Line; The Most Influential Lines in Hip Hop. I wanted to find out what made me think I should write a book on hip hop and why I thought anyone would even care what I thought. Here’s what happened.
It was an unusually warm winters day when I met up with myself at my messy apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. At first glance, I had a haggard look of a deranged wild boar that hadn’t slept in weeks. Red-eyed and frazzled salt and pepper beard in tow, it seemed I had entered a somewhat feral state while working on the book and may have lost all touch with humanity. I tossed myself a slab of raw meat to keep my attention while I asked myself some questions about the book.
How are you doing today?
Yes I understand that and I’ll give you some more in a second after you answer some questions. Is that ok?
First question: Let’s just get it out of the way now. I noticed Nas doesn’t have any lines in the book? How come?
The book isn’t about greatest emcees in hip-hop. It’s about most influential lines. And Nas will more than likely be in Vol 2.
What qualifies you to write a book on hip hop?
The same thing that qualifies you to ask me stupid questions, but I’ll entertain you. I’ve been listening to hip hop since I was 8 years old and I’ve been producing hip hop music for over 16 years. It’s been an integral part of my decision making process in my life and I believe once the reader chimes in, that will be the ultimate measure of if the book is credible or not. It’s all about the fans.
Have you worked with any artist we may have heard of?
Funny you should mention that because you actually mentioned him already. I’ve done production for/worked with Nas, Damien Marley, DV alias Khyrst, Steele (Smif and Wessun), Sha Stimuli, Astro, King Prince and several other artists.
So why should people buy this book?
Because the writing is amazing, the artwork is amazing, nothing of its kind exist, and also, so I can feed my kids.
How old are your kids?
I don’t have any kids.
You just said you had kids.
So which is it?
Whichever helps me sell more books.
Noted. Why was it so important that you finish this book in 2015?
Because I crossed over to the other side earlier in the year and my biggest take-away from that experience was not to take time for granted. I was working on the book for a while now but had a renewed sense of purpose after my little incident.
What do you mean you “crossed over?”
I died. I suffered sudden cardiac death on the basketball court and my heart stopped. If it wasn’t for some quick thinking people who revived me, there is no book and there is no me.
So you suffered from a killer crossover?
That’s funny. Remind me to punch you in your face when you’re not looking.
No need to get hostile, sir. Glad you made it back!
You and me both!
What do you think about the current state of hip hop? Do you think there are lines now that are becoming influential as we speak?
I think some of the most recent lines that have staying power are “You say no to ratchet p*ssy,” “bish don’t kill my vibe,” and a few others.
Are their lines not in the book that you wish would’ve been?
Yeah. There are over 30 lines I think could’ve been in this book. That’s why it’s volume one. There are way too many influential lines in hip hop.
How is this book different than other hip hop books?
I think it’s the combination of my writing style and the artwork. I think I have a writing style that is very vivid and has the ability to take the reader back to that space and time. As it relates to the the artwork, when I spoke to Shah Wonders (the artist), I didn’t give him any specific direction. I wanted him to give me his visual interpretation of each line and he did an amazing job!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Chuck Klosterman, Dave Barry, and Paul Beatty are some of my favorite authors. I tend to gravitate to humorist and satirists.
What do you think readers will take away from this book?
I think one of the biggest takeaways should be just how much music, particularly hip hop music, influences our behaviors. I also wanted the readers to have a renewed appreciation for the artists that came before and their contributions to our lives. More than likely though, they will think the illustrations are dope and that’s cool too because, hey, the illustrations are dope!
So where can the book be purchased?
The Ebook is available for $9.99 on www.onetrackmine.com/shop. You can also pre order the hardcover for $19.99. I suggest you get both.
Why should I buy both?
Didn’t you hear me say I’m trying to move some units, son? You should buy both and a tee shirt.
I’ll see what I can do. So what’s next for you?
I’m gonna make some dinner?
I meant what’s next for you career-wise, you nimrod.
Wait a minute? Ain’t you me? How do you not know what’s next for me? I’m promoting the book. I’m producing tracks. I’m making it do what it do, baby! Don’t be asking me no stupid questions! As a matter of fact, this interview is over! And where’s the rest of the raw meat you promised?
If you have gotten this far, then you’ve clearly thrown away any expectation of an unbiased opinion about You Made it a Hot Line. In my biased opinion, the author may or may not have any children but he certainly has an ability to relive some of hip hop’s most memorable moments through some of the genre’s most revered lines. Whether you agree or disagree with the lines selected is almost a non sequitur at this point relating to anything written about hip hop music, particularly lists. Whatever your preference, you will certainly enjoy the writing style and amazing illustrations by award winning artist Shah Wonders.
You Made It a Hot Line may be one of the few books that takes a look at the most influential genre of our time from a not so serious but also enlightening perspective. I highly recommended you buy 7 copies and give them to all to your hip hop impaired friends.
Sidebar; I wrote a A book and it’s damn good so go support the cause!! Sidebar complete!
How to Tell If You’re Motivated by Negativity
We hold in high regard the tactics that allow us to succeed while disregarding that those same tactics stop us from succeeding correctly. When you and everything around you is results oriented, how those results are obtained isn’t scrutinized when they probably should be. Seeing as how we can’t drug test for positive or negative motivators and no one really cares how you succeed as long as you are successful, why should you even care?
Well aside from your eventual therapist and the people who used to love you but have since left due to your unknowingly toxic behavior, your eventual cardiologist and pharmacist who will have to treat you for stress related illnesses, you should probably care also. If you are paying attention and observing the trail of emotional destruction left when using certain motivators, particularly fear and negativity, you would care much much sooner.
With that said, here are some hopefully helpful tips so you can identify and begin to correct.
1. When someone asks you what you want, you typically respond with what you don’t want. “What do you want for dinner?” “Well we had pizza yesterday so I don’t want that and I had Chinese for lunch so that’s out…” Process of elimination is time consuming and quite frankly, if you want pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you should have it. We’ll deal with health choices later. Right now, let’s focus on HOW you make choices in the first place.
2. The first thought that enters your mind after you say you want something are the reasons why it can’t be obtained. “I want to workout but I have no time. I want to pursue my interests but I don’t have the money.” Everything you currently have, you made the time and money for. It is possible for future aspirations as well.
3. The motivator is not the desired result, but the ails that might occur if that result is not obtained. “You better get an education or your friends will leave you behind.” “If I don’t catch the early train, my commute is gonna suck!” Or none of that may occur and you day could progress perfectly fine. Since you can’t recoup emotional capital already extended, better not to expend it at all.
4. You feel you need more in order to begin any task. You just really need to accept that you are enough.
5. You focus on any time frame other than the present. Speculating on future failures only brings you current stress. Speculating on past failures only brings you current stress. Now speculating on past or future successes may seem beneficial but the fact is, if you are speculating at all, you are probably not present and that is the main ingredient required for success anyway. So don’t speculate!!!
The root of all negativity is fear and when fear is your motivation, you will constantly need to be afraid in order to progress. When confidence is your motivation, all you ever need to progress is to remain present.
I wish you all success in everything you hope to accomplish.
Sidebar: Michal Jordan once stated that fear of failure motivated him to accomplish 6 NBA championships. My question to him would’ve been “How much more rings would you have had if confidence was your motivator and not fear?” Sidebar Complete.
Hip Hop Now
Here’s five acts doing their thing in the first installment of Hip Hop Now.
Chicago rapper Saba‘s new record Care For Me features Chance The Rapper on “Logout.”
From Everything is Fine, a collaboration between rapper/satirists Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, here’s “Zero.”
Tyler, the Creator stays weird and rhymes chicken nugget with fuckit on rap nugget “Okra.”
Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions lost his cousin to police violence and channels that energy into the controversial “Like Me.”
Rapper/actor A$AP Rocky samples Moby‘s “Porcelain” on “A$AP Forver.”
Aegyo – What the What?
You know how you and your significant other do the baby talk thing? Come on, you do it, admit it. Sometimes you talk to each other in a childish voice or make silly little gestures that you would never use at, for example, a business meeting or at the dentist. Well, this is a whole cottage industry in South Korea and they call it Aegyo.
Aegyo, a tool long leveraged by South Korean ladies to get what they want through sheer cuteness, has been leveraged by male and female K-Pop Idol groups to ginormous success. In fact, there are songs where one can do little cutsey gestures to the whole thing. Two popular aegyo anthems are The Gwiyomi Song and Oppaya, and there are videos aplenty on YouTube where folks of all ages and backgrounds vie for cringe-worthy cuteness. Some of these videos have millions upon millions of views. There’s even K-Pop Idol shows where folks watch each other express aegyo and react with howls of laughter.
Holy cow, the more I talk about this, the weirder it gets. Yet, I can’t look away.
Other cultures are jumping on the band wagon, too. Check out the videos below for some adorable examples.
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