Jumanji (Part 1)…
By dotropolis on Saturday, November 30th, 2013
My cousin dragged me to a Black Friday Walmart sale this past Thursday for a PS4. I wanted one but I didn’t pre order it. I searched the internet and different stores for a week without any luck so it made me not care about it anymore. We had to stand in line for these wristbands first. Four people was in front of us. Five minutes into it, he disappeared and came back with two black beanbags. It was three women in charge of the line and one laughed and said “Whatever it takes!” A manager walked up to us so quick soon after though. “I’m sorry, you can’t use those unless you plan on buying them.” She took them away and we waited an hour.
This older woman put my wristband on. I told her, “Make it tight!” And of course, she didn’t. I found some tape in the store and wrapped it over my wrist. Everybody was laughing. Heading back to my car, two managers stopped me and questioned where I got my wristband from. They said a bunch of bullshit to me and I slowly went from a playful mood to a defensive mindset. One carefully held up my wrist and I thought she was joking at first. “You trying to run a scam or something? We didn’t start giving out wristbands yet. This says aisle 5 and aisle 5 is on the other side of the store. It’s not even 4pm yet.” It was 4:07pm. Aisle 5 was right next to us. And everybody that was in line with me told her they just gave me my wristband. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t know it was 4 o’clock already!” I snatched my wrist back and on the way out I told my cousin, “Something gon’ happen when we come back later. They gon’ give me shit about the tape on this wristband. Watch.” We went to eat at my other cousin’s house and told everybody what happened. This prompted some of my relatives wanting to go with us to pick up the PS4s. The parking lot was packed this time but that was nothing compared to what we saw when we walked in. Shit was like Jumanji. In both the book and the movie, the warning message is, “Do not begin unless you intend to finish.”
Same thing at this point.
By dotropolis on Sunday, October 20th, 2013
…and the late night train.
I had this english class back when I was in community college a long time ago. Me and two of my friends used to sit all the way in the back and never said too much but I always used to get an A on every test and homework assignment because it used to be all essay questions. Plus, there was this girl that sat to the far right and she used to slouch in her chair so her boobs sat firmly on her desk. She did it on purpose and it was my perverted highlight of the day. About a month into the semester, my professor was reading a short story out loud in front of the class. I wasn’t paying too much attention so this is the only thing I heard. “Blah blah blah. Something something something nigga.” This man was white by the way.
My eyebrows raised up instantly. One of my friends, who served in the military, looked at me and whispered, “Did he just say what I think he said?” The professor continued reading. “Yada yada yada wham bam thank you ma’am nigga” My friend interrupted him and said “Excuse me but you using that word is very offensive to me and every black person in this class.” The professor replied, “I’m not trying to offend anybody, I’m just reading the story.” My friend shot back at him, “It doesn’t matter if it’s in the story. That doesn’t mean you have to say it.” Nobody said anything while they went back and forth. After about five minutes of them having this awkward exchange, my professor went back to reading. He didn’t say nigga again but at this point, my friend was saying to me, “I’m about to walk outta this fucking class. I ain’t letting nobody say the n word to my face like that. You walking out too right?” I looked at the professor sitting on one of the desks still reading and everybody staring at him like nothing just happened. At the time, I honestly wasn’t offended but I didn’t wanna leave my friend to fend for himself. It was one of those quick, this-can-alter-your-immediate-future decisions. My friend was 24 years old and extremely opinionated. At 19 years old, I wasn’t as easy to offend but this kind of stuff did matter. So I looked at him and said “Fuck it.” And we walked out. With every student’s mouth on the floor for some reason. We met with the dean of the school twice that following week. By the weekend, I was at his apartment with one of his other friends and some girl that worked at the Walmart gas station close by. Drinking and freestyling all night. The girl and his homeboy disappeared for about twenty minutes in another room. My friend walked in there. Then right back out. He said to me, ”We about to run a train on this bitch. You down?” You know those empty lots in certain neighborhoods where a house used to be? And sometimes those lots will have that random, neglected, struggling to survive bush nearby with the colorless leaves barely hanging on it? That’s what this girl’s weave reminded me of.
"Nah I’m good."
By dotropolis on Friday, October 18th, 2013
I was in the shower this morning thinking about Native and what it took to finish that project. When I was done recording all of the vocals, it took about two weeks before I could say it was done. My best friend heard it first. Then Malcolm. Then my manager at the time, who sent an email a day or two later saying “Congratulations on such a dope record.” He had an idea to have this certain big name, music website to host the EP and they replied to us a week later saying they wouldn’t do it. The owner of the website emailed my manager directly and he gave three reasons. One, “He has a lot of room for improvement.” Two, “I don’t like the mix of the songs.” Three, “I know for a fact a couple of these beats are stolen.” My skin began to wrinkle in the shower at this point.
Something told me it was more to this story so I scheduled a conference call the very next night and asked my manager what his reply was. It took about ten minutes to get an answer out of him but he basically apologized to the owner because he “wasn’t aware of any of this.” Then my project went from being “dope” to “needing improvement.” There’s a trust that should exist between the artist and the manager but whatever trust I had left went out the window because it turned into a fight for my music. And I felt alone in the fight with only Malcolm in my corner. I yelled at my manager on the phone for at least an hour. I always had a suspicion that he didn’t believe in me but I never acted on it. I couldn’t control what I was saying. “You don’t say one thing to me, then hear somebody else’s negative opinion, and now all of a sudden that’s your opinion too.” He didn’t say too much on the phone. There’s more details that I won’t get into but the next day, I released the project without any help from him. What amazed me was how many people were mentioning me on Twitter. Letting me know they were listening to it, telling me their favorite songs, taking screenshots of the album cover to post on Instagram, DMing me just to show love. My contract with him expired in June and I haven’t talked to him since. Be careful about who you let around your art. It’ll make you scream and stress and lose your hair and randomly think about it almost a year later while you’re in the shower and write about it on a blog that you update two times a year.