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.
By dotropolis on Sunday, October 6th, 2013
…and empty dance floors.
About a month ago, I was at this bar called Double Door. It’s a bar where bands usually play but it was towards the end of the night so it was kinda empty. It was four men and two women in our group. As soon as we got there, I went to the bathroom. In the stall is where I realized how drunk I was. It was too difficult to keep my balance and for some reason I couldn’t stop laughing. When I came back to the bar, there were six beers and twelve shots waiting for us. I thought myself, “Nigga they want me to die.” I took one shot and the room starting spinning. One of the women in our group wanted to tell me how she met my cousin but wanted to tell me how she ended up in Chicago first. She’s only been here for a couple months. She talked nonstop for a good ten minutes as I nodded my head with a blank stare and a half smile. I don’t know what she was talking about so I hugged her repeatedly until she ran to the empty dance floor with her friend and danced to no music.
Last night I was at the Vertigo Sky Lounge. It’s a rooftop lounge where one half is indoors and the other half is outside so you can get a view of the city. This group included five men and five women. The women were sitting in this couch area on the outside section next to this fire display and I noticed a white couple standing nearby. Eventually they made their way to where I was standing and the woman said, ”Have you seen those girls over there? They are beautiful!” This led them to introducing themselves and somehow I got sucked into a conversation with the woman about race, this city’s segregation, and how “adorable and well-spoken” I am. Briefly I thought, “If I was white, I wonder if she would compliment my well-spokeness.” I didn’t want to get upset so I ignored it. She kept rubbing my skinny arms and my back until the women in our group walked past us and caught her attention. “You ladies are so beautiful, it’s driving me crazy. Do you guys know R.J.? He’s my favorite.” Long story short, I figured out that this couple were swingers and they were recruiting. Miley Cyrus was on SNL last night, which was on the television behind the bar. I pointed at it and said “Oh wow, I didn’t know she’d be on there.” The woman turned around and I ran off with the speed of Jesus. Sliding my way through the crowd into the indoors section. I stayed for a little bit longer then said my goodbyes to everybody. But you know what’s catching my attention more than anything now? Hugs. Some women give me the church hug and others give me the full body, few seconds too long hug. I can’t tell if the full body hugs are a form of flirtation or if it’s just the way some women hug. I guess it really doesn’t matter.
Come hug me baby.
By dotropolis on Monday, September 9th, 2013
…and the man from Detroit.
I guess you could say I went on a date Saturday night. I brought this man up in our conversation that I met this past Thursday at the bus station. Around 60 years old, he came and sat a seat down from me as he sat his suitcase in the seat between us. He only asked me one question. “Where are you headed young man?” The rest of our time spent in those seats involved him talking. He sounded like a bitter old man I thought but he has reasons to. He was headed to Memphis for his brother’s funeral. He knew his brother was sick but didn’t get the chance to see him before he passed away. He’s from Detroit but he lived in Chicago for 40 years. Not far from where I grew up. He has 4 kids that live all over the US and he was married for 39 years. His wife died in 2009. He said “Within a year of her dying, I got tired of coming home to silence. To nothing. By myself every single day. So I moved back to Detroit.” They started boarding people for my bus and I told him it was nice talking to him. He told me to stay out of trouble.
I tried to take her to this casino and a strip club, neither of which were planned, but she didn’t have her ID. So we found this random bar and watched this local band play an acoustic set. Went to a hotel and slept all night afterwards. Sunday morning, we were both in the bathroom naked and she was trying to brush her teeth. The bathroom was right by the front door and the bathroom door was open. I told her to leave the main light off and cut the lamp on so it was dim. After a couple minutes of holding her from behind and kissing on the back of her neck, I bent her over the sink. But before we could get into anything, three loud knocks hit our door. “Housekeeping!” I spun around in a panic circle once, hopped in the shower, and pulled the bathroom door towards me so I was hidden in the dark. She answered the woman but I don’t remember what she said to make her go away.
I went soft fast as hell.