LA COKA NOSTRA...REPPING LOST ANGELES 100%
THE SUPER HEROINE...A Requiem in Many Forms
An excerpt from a letter to an executive I wrote this morning...just thought I'd share with anyone who has any further misconceptions..
"On another note, I'm sure you've heard about the bad blood between Doom and myself, and Doom and MF Grimm, and Doom and Lord Scotch 79th (the first ever Jewish MC! and the man who made the Doom mask and most of the artwork for Doom's most well-known album covers), and Doom and his former crew Monster Island Czars. So I can't happily support any Doom-related project at any time in an way, unfortunately, until he makes good on his debts to us and speaks to the press to clear confusion about our work with him and the credit we should have received for much of his work from the Doomsday and KMD re-release era through the MadVillain project era.
I was Doom's personal manager for quite some time, and I actually conceptualized, A&R'd and negotiated the Mad Villain album. I also started conversations with Ghostface Killah's management after telling Doom he should submit reels to Ghost and Meth, and gave a reel to Ghost's people. I'm certain I'll never be credited or compensated for any of that either!
Stonesthrow Records, Chris Manak and Egon are in the wrong about the MadVillain project - I was never paid by either party nor given proper credit for my work - but I never had an agreement in place with them and in the end it's Doom's fault for a) never paying me my percentages on the Stonesthrow work and b) not standing up to them to ensure I received a co-A&R credit on the project. I'm not the get-an-attorney type AT ALL, and Doom was someone I considered a close friend to all of us, so mentioning this situation to you and to the press is about all we can do while still remaining civilized and professional.
I'm a huge fan of D&%$#$ M@*&# though, and also a fan of Doom, although my senses are so colored by the experience that I can't listen to any of his music, which is sad. Sorry to lament to you, however as someone who pays Doom you'll not experience this side of him - it's just everyone on the other side who should be paid by Doom who goes through this. Not that my support is needed for a D@#&$!D*^! project to blow up (again), or that my speaking out about this will take away any but a very few fans/sales...
That's all some really ancient history, so I won't mention it again, and in the future tense I'm working with Tragedy Khadafi and his label 25 to Life - www.myspace.com/tragedykhadafi ; also consulting on his behalf for marketing/press/publicity/radio promo/tv for his new deal with Uprising Records, and his joint venture with Nature Sounds with my dear friend Devin Horowitz. Besides music stuff I've been working on an autobiographic project with Tragedy for the past few years, so working toward finalizing this as a book and a script about his life.
Furthermore consulting for C-Rayz Walz who is making the transition from leaving Def Jux to self-distribution. www.myspace.com/crayzwalz Working on setting up tour routings in the US and overseas for Walz and for all of the artists I'm working with/for.
As always, still working with and consulting for Percy "MF Grimm" Carey, who owns Day By Day Entertainment and Day by Day Publishing - www.daybydayent.com , and has a comic book coming out through a joint venture with DC comics in '07. We're focusing mainly on his online publication, American Hunger, and moving toward making it a print magazine.
Managing/Consulting for an amazing artist from SF called TRUNKS (or Paco Camino), who has 3 albums done and ready for manufacturing/distribution/marketing - production from Doom, J-Zone, 9th Wonder, DJ Khalil, DJ Evil Dee, Mr. Walt, and features from Thirstin Howl III, R&B artists Bilal and Res, George Clinton, and others (many of which are the product of my A&R work with the exception of 9th and George Clinton). I've been working with him since he was 13 and I was 19, and what am I now, 32? He's way too ill for a major-label deal, so he does his day job as entertainment/content/gaming executive for Nokia and continues to fund his studio time.
Sorry for the book, but you did ask about my universe, and hey I'm a writer...what can I say?
All the Best,
U THINK U KNOW...BUT U HAVE NO IDEA
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - TRAGEDY KHADAFI SPEAKS OUT ABOUT THE DRAMA WITH NEW-SCHOOL BROOKLYN MC MAINO
AS TOLD TO NASIRA MIRANDA JANE
The text message simply said, "Did you hear what happened to Tragedy?" Naturally, my heart dropped into my stomach. Don't send me a message like that, ever! I hit him up, didn't reach him, he's in the streets doing what Khadafi does best - run them. So I went online and did a little research. Apparently there was a fisticuffs at T.I.'s birthday party in New York recently, and all the websites were saying that Maino, the kid from BK who ran with Lil' Kim, had bested Tragedy Khadafi in a physical altercation. Believe me, after 10 years of knowing Trag, and having spent time with him in his 'hood, if you know like I know, no one (Freddie Foxxxx or Just Ice, MAYBE) is whipping Trag out...period. Of course anyone can shoot anyone else, and anyone can buck-fifty someone, that goes without saying! I mean, hand to hand combat, it's not happening, I don't care who this kid is.And that's not even the fucken point. First of all, this is a damn business. THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC. Rap all you want about how hard you are, real bad men move in silence, and real great ones are generals in command of an army of bad men who move in silence. No matter what your beefs are, within this business, fighting and cutting and shooting is just more black-on-black violence or just more negativity period. And if people were getting hurt or killed for breaking contracts or owing money or any of that shit, MF DOOM would be in heaven many times over. Not only was I pissed that people were saying that Tragedy got beat up at a party by some cornball young cat who I've only heard one song from ever on a DJ Stage One mixtape (Minneapolis!)...I fucking hate the media. I HATE IT. Tragedy is a legendary MC, he's the leader of the entire Queensbridge street movement, he's a businessman and entreprenuer, he's a father...I could go on and on and half the story would never be told. But the damn bitches (men included) who own/operate all these gossip-column-sounding "Hip Hop" websites don't ever spend time lauding his accomplishments, or giving much needed awareness about his records! Of course there are many mags that have supported him, and one of the best features of my entire career was when I told his story from his own words from a 120-minute interview we conducted while I was at Complex Magazine but was printed in Elemental Magazine. I appreciate deeply the mags and websites who have supported Trag, and who have supported my work about him and other conscious, positive, independent, underground, political, socially relevent MCs and artists.
So I wanted to give some background about the situation, enough of me fucken talking, who cares what I have to say?! You can google the gossippingbitches who mentioned the Tragedy/Maino alleged-altercation stories your damn self, or more importantly just keep reading and learn what really happened fromTragedy himself. And I quote...
“Basically it’s a situation where we were going to do a mixtape deal with Maino, and my partner didn’t necessarily wanna do the deal, but I pushed for the deal ‘cause I kinda liked his vibe a little bit. Time went on, he signed off on the agreement, when I got it back my partner didn’t want to sign the executed agreement on our end, and technically there was no deal – Maino never delivered a master so there were no monies owed to him.
From what I gather from sources close to him he’s a bit frustrated, he’s riding the coattails of lil kim, I guess Universal isn’t pushing him the way he thought they would. Anyway, At the T.I. party I tried to talk to him, and at that time I’m totally unaware that there’s a gripe at that level between us as we haven’t talked in a few months.
I wouldn’t want to walk into a trap. I go to a T.I. party or an industry party, I’m there to get my network game on, to be social. I’m not getting into any wars, that’s what I left the hood for.
I’m hearing a lot of rumours that Maino fucked me up I don’t even like saying his name and giving this any energy, the fact is it wasn’t even him who hit me. I got hit with a chair in my back, with a champagne bottle in my face and a bottle in the back of my head. From what I gather it was 5 to 7 of them who were physically hitting me. I have a little scratch on my face, they ain’t fuck my sexy up, I’m still young and pretty and hitting hard.
I’m not even concentrating on it but I’m hearing so many rumours about it, and I don’t want things to go unchecked. It’d be one thing if I owed him money, e’one who knows me knows that I’d keep my mouth shut if I was in the wrong. At the end of the day were in a business. If he feels some kind of way about my company there’s a way to confront things. You don’t want to savagely beat somebody in this industry, who’d want to do business with you? Now are people are gonna feel reluctant to invite Tragedy Khadafi to a party? No. Because Khadafi was confronted in an aggressive way and did what he could to survive. Would they want to invite Maino to a party? No. Who’s to say he’s not unhappy with Universal…what’s he gonna do? Shoot a Universal staff member at a party, I mean think about it.
A lot of this game is based on negative sensationalism. You’ve got a lot of people who don’t care about that stuff – is Maino gonna come with a good record? Will Tragedy Khadafi come back to save Hip Hop, will he put his stamp on something like he did with Capone-N-Noreaga’s War Report record? Is it possible for another street record to be commercially successful? Those are the questions ad the stories we need to concentrate on as opposed to focusing on someone becoming irate and resorting back to the primitive skills we learn in the streets - that’s not general status, it’s not thinking like a boss, and it’s counter-productive.
On a real note, for the fans of Tragedy Khadafi and 25 to Life Records, I’m working on a compilation with Uprising Records, a collaboration of Queensbridge and Queens artists. I’m also putting out a new solo album through a joint venture between 25 II Life and Nature Sounds in the first quarter of 2007, and I’m working on closing some deals with Havoc and Scram Jones for the 2nd quarter. Lastly, myself,Cormega and Nature are putting a supergroup together.”
Real words from Trag on the situation! Just wanted to clear that up. Let's focus on this last paragraph, people, please. Also I have to say that Trag, his brother Christ Castro and I are in the process on a book about his life and a related movie treatment/script. It's been many years in the making, on my part, and obviously their whole lives in the living. I first mentioned the book project in my bio/press clips packages circa 2000, and I've been working on it, in my brain, since I first heard GRAND GROOVE and ARREST THE PRESIDENT. So I'm excited and happy that the first book project I'll be authoring is a collaboration with someone I respect as an artist, as a businessperson, and as a man.
And for MY fans, I promise, the 2nd book WILL be the first volume of my autobiography, which is also in progress - spanning from the pre-history on my Communist/Labor organizing Grandparents, my Jazz bassist father and Jazz drummer mother, my early years in Hollywood, and ending with my short-lived career at The Source - with everything on the years in between within those pages.
And finally, for a young girl reading this somewhere in Ghana, or in Wichita, Kansas, or in London, UK - who doesn't know anyone in the music business or listen to Hip Hop or read The Source or know that Queensbridge Housing is the largest housing projects in Northern America...here's the lesson.
You can be from anywhere in the world. You can come from the slums, or from a broken home. Even if your father doesn't love you and he leaves your mother and your family behind, or if you're an orphan with no parents; or if you're young and pregnant and confused. Even if you were born with HIV/AIDS; or if your friends and neighbors are disappearing at the hands of death squads or are victims of "ethnic cleansing". Even if you or someone you love is incarcerated, or a victim of police brutality. Even if you live somewhere without running water, or paved roads, or if you have a tin roof on your house and a dirt patch as your floor...EVEN IF YOU'RE ALL THESE THINGS AT ONCE, YOU CAN DREAM, PLAN, VISUALIZE, PRACTICE, ACT, BUILD, GROW, OVERSTAND, EFFECT CHANGE, AND CREATE FRUITION. DON'T EVER GIVE UP. AND DON'T EVER STOP SPEAKING OUT IN WHICHEVER FORMS YOU CHOOSE. NEVER BE SILENCED. AND ALWAYS LOVE YOUR LIFE.
One Love to my true readers...
NASIRA MIRANDA JANE
CALL IT DE JA VU…
Born in Venice, Harlem. It’s so sweet, with sour sauce. I toss my head up to the silver sky, and then I sigh…look at all the blessings in my life.
“You’re better looking in person than in your pictures,” he said to me the first time we met, finally. I snapped a mental picture of him at that moment. You always have to save a trump card, so I didn’t say it. “You’re the perfect male specimen your damn self!”
There weren’t any breaks in conversation. Down Crenshaw, across Venice Boulevard, past World on Wheels, up La Brea, past Leonardo’s Dancehall, across Wilshire. Keith Sweat came on the radio in the background. Make it Last Forever. Somebody slap me, because it could be 1989. I’m lost in the ether, somehow.
Starbucks, over Iced Green Tea Latte and Pomegranate Smoothie, I sensed he was a Gemini, and I was right. My last experience wasn’t a good one, but I have to let bygones be bygones. After all, this date is 15 minutes in and he’s opened every door for me, acted the perfect gentleman. Flashing back in my head to our conversations before we met. “I don’t understand how you could still be single,” I revealed to him. “I’m the most single man you’ll ever meet,” he deadpanned, leaving me to listen between the lines. Player with a passport, I know. 100% rock star to the heart, I realize. Former runway model, so I’ve heard. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Across Wilshire, up Norton. Dropped me off at home, said he had a meeting, he’d scoop me back up later. Bath, hair, skin, scent, feet, face. I won’t lie, I packed a little bag in case it was like that. Dressed, chillin, listening to Sade’s Sweetest Taboo, he rang. Outside in ten minutes, did I have any tea? Ten minutes later, two cups of steaming Chamomile Mint with fresh Orange, me out the door. Sipped tea and chatted under the starlight on the stoop. I learned more. Stars sparkling up above me, sparks flying all across us.
Teacups in hand, we strolled around the neighborhood, smelling the flowers in the air. Crisp, dark, clear, beautiful L.A. night. Crenshaw so close, yet so far away. Secret doorways, weeping willows, “I’ll bet if you picked one rose, they’d call security”…I’ve walked these streets since I was able to walk – how in the hell does he have me seeing things I’ve never seen before? Where did he come from?
Back in the truck, headed east. Up Western to Sunset. Sunset east to Sunset and Hollywood. Drinks in a low-down bar, Chinese theme, all-gay female DJ night on the wheels of steel. Pearls of Wisdom, followed by an Orange Bang. Good Luck. Mine, apparently.
Played the couch all night, in each other’s ear. The music was as wild as this experience. Boz Scaggs, L’Trimm, Ray Parker Jr., 2 Live Crew, Til ‘Tuesday, Foxy Brown, Con Funk Shun, B-52’s… After we shut the bar down, we left out the back door and headed back into the night.
Parked in front of my house, we talked for hours. Took another walk around the blocks. Same sky, same spiderwebs, same sparks. My arm hooked through his, as if we’re strolling around at 4 pm instead of 4 am. Through the courtyard of the Los Altos, up to the door, he showed me the lobby. My family has lived on this block since before I was born, but you’re showing me something I’ve never seen in my life on this block. Who are you?
Back in the truck. Sunup is imminent. Lean back. First kiss. Breathless. I mean I literally could not breathe. I nearly asphyxiated, not that he knows that. Can’t show them any weakness, no matter how much of a gentleman he is. It’s still Dogtown. Push it to the back of my mind. He’s as sweet as cherry pie…wild like Friday night. He’s got me singing (already) Ooh La La La La La La Lalalala, Sweet Thing. And I can feel this for sure, for sure. I’ve been here before. I’ve been here before. Floating. Beyond the clouds. Melting. Hotter than July.
6 in the morning, slid in my front door. I’m on another planet, but back home to where I grew up. Just a kiss, that’s all it took. That’s all there was. Up for 27 hours, but still not sleepy. If I were a bell, baby I would ring for you.
Who knows what tomorrow brings? I only know one thing. Who are you to say, what he does when I’m not around? Just because I fell in loooove with…Cassanova Brown.