I hadn’t heard the name “Adam Bernard” in some time and couldn’t quite remember where or when I’d last heard it, however it found its way onto my gmail inbox. The title read something of “My top 10s for 2011”. “Ooooooohhhh”, I thought to myself. It’s the guy from the phone conference Jeb had set up months ago for the Segregated City Tour. Although Jeb had done a fine job of setting up press and online presence for the tour, I wasn’t able to attend it. Honda was going down hard in the paint, and my funds at the time were insanely low. I also didn’t want to go out on a tour if I didn’t have a new project to promote or some kind of plan behind it. In the end I bailed, but somehow this “Adam Bernard” is still emailing me. Perhaps he goes through everyone he’s emailed throughout the year and sends them his top 10 list for the past 365 days.
Clicking on the link, a url of “RapReviews.com” pops up unfolding a list of artists below. Next to each artist was a write up from Mr. Bernard with a link to their work or album. Some artists had music videos embedded in their write-ups, some had simple artwork from their album. I noticed Astronautilis from the Guthrie show we’d done this past summer amongst the list of the Top Ten. Astronautilis is an artist newly relocated to Minneapolis from Seattle in a love affair with indie hip-hop officials Doomtree. I’m forever enthused to see collaborations and networks built between artists shearly off an appreciation for one another. It’s a beautiful thing.
Scrolling down the list, I wonder why the f--- this man sent me his Top Ten for? Did I just get spammed? Am I going to get to the bottom and get totally Rick rolled? Is it to tell me how unworthy I am of his bloggage? Bah, I kill the imagination of it and move on. If anything, his Top Ten seems to be a genuine likening of underground hip-hop- not your a-typical Top 40 of Pop, but a research into what actually intrigued this guy to write about all these artists for the past year. At what I thought was the bottom of the list rested a picture of Dessa, the cover to her new album Castor, The Twin. I’ll admit I went a bit flush at the sight of it, nothing due to the picture but more the outing that occurred over the summer when Dessa had booked a band of mine, Lazlo Supreme, for a hip-hop show at the Guthrie Theater. I’d rather not go into details, it’s one of those see-me-at-a-coffeeshop-and-I’ll-tell-you-all-about-it type’a deals. I dunno, I just got flush… crackin’ away at this for so long and all your left with is to watch friends, co-workers, and fellow artists take the cover page. Jealousy or envy wouldn’t properly define the feeling, just a little bit empty. As much as I hate to write about vulnerability to the public, it’s literally a natural course of action of the human heart. I can act it as much as possible that the coming-up shorts, close losses, and near successes don’t affect the everyday train of the thought and that I’ve come to personally thrive on self-considered failures in life… but I don’t… sometimes. Taking it personal is definitely not one of the 4 Agreements or a step in the right/healthy direction, however ask any artist and they’ll tell you it’s part of the job.
As of late, the personal thing has somewhat faded to the background, and that good ol' feeling of not-giving-a-fuck has taken the wheel. Personal is rough and there’ll be plenty of time to take it to heart in the future with film and theatre, whereas what we’re doing now is releasing mixtapes. I’m finding it day by day that the nature of the mixtape is to grind out the work and take it personal later- to write first and ask questions later. Not for ego, not for manhood, not for saving face, the apparatus of the mixtape is to seriously put yourself out there for people to dig what you do. I honestly could’ve never done mixtapes first and then live bands later. If I’m not into it, I’m not putting it up for free download. The risk of misrepresentation is something I fear more than an album being ill received. If I can step back from a poem, play, or song and know I put my all into it, then the public eye almost comes tertiary to the whole process. Staying true to what the f--- you’re saying is something that breaths so much more life into your day-to-day than going for a look, style, or image.
Next to Dessa’s album cover listed a “1-A”. I didn’t understand it. Why the “A”? What the f--- is this man doing, breaking them down to sub-categories? Reading closer, I discovered the “A” was meant as an honorable mention sorta thing in that Castor, The Twin was a duplicate of Dessa’s past album just with live arrangements of music behind the lyrics. I inch the scroll bar on the right side of my screen to see the top of a name “Toussaint Morrison Is Not My Homeboy” listed as “1” next to it.
Lazlo Supreme… but even then the press was damn hard to come by and a rarity with being a new name. This however- this is just fucking awesome. Plain and simple, there’s really no other way to put it.
I privately reveled in the new found public success, made a tweet, headed to the Spyhouse and made a plan. Credit it to Adam Bernard or the Dogwood highly-caffeinated coffee I’d just delved into, but it all came back to me that I’d had a grander vision for all this mixtape hutzpah when it started… just never had the funds to get it going. With several more months left in Minneapolis, I’d also have to find a way for the mixtapes to be finished by the time I left, on track towards some kind of national campaign, and versatile enough so that Dr. Wylie and I could keep it going between Minneapolis and Los Angeles.
An hour later, I’d written out the entire goal. The first step starts with you reading through this painfully long blog post, and the action takes place on Tuesday (tomorrow) at kickstarter.com
Stay tuned… Oh and by the way, here's that article by Mr. Bernard: http://rapreviews.com/year/