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Emcee/singer/Poet/Blog Junky. I'm a freedom writer, Truth seeker, Truth speaker. A cheeky joker. hehehe I'm on a journey and documenting my experience...If You need to holla at me, Email me here:

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Highlights on my showreel

So the last time I blogged here was January 1st and for some reason I decided to take an extended hiatus from blogging and here we are on August 1st. I think I just got too busy and didn't feel inspired to blog. A lot has happened in 7 months, A LOT! I really can't tell it all and I really should have been blogging as things were happening. I still believe in blogging even though it is not as hot and as popular as it used to be. I started this blog to keep myself in the practice of long form writing and also to have it as a time capsule. My whole thing has been to live life and write about it! I guess the best thing I can do is put down some highlights! So here we go.

So I came into this year with guns blazing and I have to say the first quarter of this year was the busiest I have ever been in a first quarter doing my thing as a Hip Hop artist, poet and author who is a travelling creative writing facilitator EVER!

One of the new things I got to do this year is have a full 20 week residency for a whole term in one place in addition to all the other places I was travelling to. I have to say it was great being in Tithe Farm in Houghton Regis but more about that later. 

I don't want to go into detail about this first quarter because it is A LOT to cover, but if you are curious the below episode of my podcast delves into my travels at the time. It also happens to be the last episode I decided to do for a while. I think I just got too busy to give it the attention I felt it needed. I might bring it back again. If I do I will launch it better and make it more interesting.

As I was travelling in the first quarter I got a message from my publisher Authors Abroad that my debut book "Rhythm And Poetry" had been shortlisted for a CLiPPA Award. I was told that I was not allowed to say anything about it until the official announcement which was going be to made public the next month on April 26th. I was quite blown away by this because when I wrote my book, I never thought about things like awards AT ALL. I didn't even know an award for the kind of book I wrote existed. I think earlier on in the year Authors Abroad mentioned something in passing about how nice it would be for me to be shortlisted (or something to that effect) but I honestly thought nothing of it and totally forgot. I don't think I was even listening properly haha! All I was thinking was "where is the next place I am booked to go guys!" lol

What made it even sweeter was on April 24th I was gonna be celebrating the 1st year anniversary of the release of my book. It felt so serendipitous. I felt like it was meant to happen. At this stage I was simply happy to be shortlisted. I didn't think I would win. I did think hmmm maybe I could win but I didn't think I actually would. I am a newbie to the literary world. All I felt was a kind of reassurance that me releasing this book was the right thing for me to have done. It is not that I didn't know this already, but as a newbie author who was writing in the dark with a style and approach that was different from the norm, it was quite nice to be "seen" and acknowledged.

The run up to the awards was really cool, this interview with Zoe Toft of Play By The Book was so good, read it here. It is probably one of the best interviews I have ever done. I got to be on Blue Peter. I was aware of it being a big deal but I didn't really KNOW like that haha. I met up with fellow CliPPA nominees Sue Hardy-Dawson and Ruth Awolola at BBC media city in Manchester and we were told to pick out a random topic from a hat and write a poem in 10 mins! If you want to see the results of that you can watch it here

The day of the awards came and yes much to my surprise I won. It was surreal. I am just going to post the video of me giving my acceptance speech below because I don't even know what else to say hahaha.

Immediately after the ceremony I got whisked away to the BBC to be on their front view show. I have always wanted to go there and now I was being interview on one of their shows! You can listen to the interview I did by clicking here. I got to the BBC at the same time Nigeria was playing Iceland in the world cup and they went on to win that match. (I just had to add that bit because I LOVED THIS WORLD CUP this year!)

The lady with the blonde hair in the picture below is Yvonne Lang. She had only just joined the Authors Abroad team in September last year. She believed my book was worthy of winning the CLiPPA award. If it wasn't for her this wouldn't have happened. It is awesome to have a team of people who believe in you. It was also great meeting Trevor Wilson of Authors Abroad for the first time after almost 3 years of us talking on the phone and emailing each other. It was him and Robin Snook that convinced me that partnering with them to release my book was the way to go. I am thankful for their guidance and support

So at this point we are well into the 2nd quarter of the year which was even busier than the first for me. I think I might need to do another podcast episode because travelling was A LOT. I continued and finished my residency at Tithe Farm in Houghton Regis as well as travelled to many other places including being back for the 5th year at Luton Town Stadium and also going up north to Harrogate, Yorkshire to be part of a corporate event. That was very different because I got to create some verses and perform them on the day as a kind of "wrap up" of the event. Very different. In fact the event was called "Think Differently" 

One of the high points of the 2nd quarter was getting to go to Switzerland because I had never been there before. I was up in the mountains in Villars and it was beautiful. I got to do my thing at Beau Soleili and once again serendipity hit. I wasn't supposed to be there but an author who was booked to go unfortunately became ill and I was asked if I wanted to fill in at the last minute by Authors Abroad. Of course I said YES! ha! This would be the 3rd international trip they had booked me to go to, the others being trips to Germany and Cyprus. If you are interested in seeing a couple of pics I took while out there click here.

In between all this travelling I felt very musically inspired and found time to record. So new music is definitely on the way. Look out for THAT!

Ok this blog entry is getting too long, serves me right for not posting anything for 7 months! I just got back from a holiday in Canada. It was lovely out there. I was in Vancouver, Regina and briefly breezed through Toronto on my way back. I am only just recovering from jet lag but I would do it all again right now, ten times over.

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If you have read this blog entry up to this point you are a champion haha! thank you! I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me on my journey so far, you know who you are! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! There is more to come. If I had to wrap everything up that has happened in the last 7 months it would be with the thought of truly appreciating every moment and being thankful because when you're in it, it isn't easy to do that. I think that is why I still blog. It is to help me appreciate the journey and remember how far I have come. There's much more to my journey than these highlights, SO MUCH MORE! This is why the quote "Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel" is such a great quote.

Out with the old in with the new

So 2017 was a great year for me. I am so thankful for it. The last time I blogged I was less than halfway through my "Rhythm And Poetry" book tour. Being able to embark on that was like the heartbeat of my year. The tour ended in Wickford and it was so amazing.

This year I got my podcast back up and running, I am really doing this to keep my radio presenting skills from getting rusty. I intend to do radio again when the time and situation is right. In my last podcast of the year I went into more detail about my "Rhythm And Poetry" book tour and the things that happened. I also mentioned my top albums for 2017. You can press play and listen below.

I released a video for my song "Calm" in the middle of this tour in November. It was shot by Kimba of Black Jockey Entertainment back in August. I really loved how it came out. I love that song. My last proper video was in 2013. I had videos that I shot that I didn't release because I wasn't happy with the outcome. I am so happy that I am back to sharing music in a visual way. More will come in 2018. Press play and check out "Calm" below.

I ended the year after the tour on a thankful and calm note. As always we all get very reflective at the end of the year. I learnt a lot this year. It has been one of the best years of my life. Dropping my debut book and the best album I feel I have created in the same year has left me feeling grateful. In fact on a whim I went into central London and shot an impromptu video for my song "thankful" from my album. Check it out below.

The year wasn't all good. There are some things that happened personally that left me sad and confused. There were a lot of things that happened on the world stage that left me reeling and feeling very concerned. There were some things that I wanted to happen that didn't on a personal level. I am not going to gloss over those disappointments but I am not going to focus on those things at the expense of the good things either. In all things I give thanks and believe all things work together for my good and I am here for such a time as this.

As I move into the new year, I move in with my feet on the ground and a level head, a heart full of thanksgiving and hope and a mind projecting forward, anticipating great things. I know as always this moment of seasonal hype and new year enthusiasm will pass. At that time it will be about simply keeping my head down and taking one step at a time.

New album, on a book tour and the numbers game

My brand new album "For Such A Time As This" is out now. It dropped on the 8th of September. I was away from London in Brighton the day it came out. This is in my opinion the best body of work I have dropped. I am so proud of it and happy with it.

All my last couple of projects since 2013 have been produced by me and this album represents the growth and development that has happened in me artistically and otherwise since my last release "Delayed But Not Denied" which was such a troubling time for me, I was going to totally quit music. You can read all about that here

I am currently in the middle of my "Rhythm And Poetry" book tour. It has been amazing so far. I never thought I would be travelling all over the UK because of a book I wrote. I have so far done dates in Plymouth, Yeovil, Croydon and Hereford. I have been clocking up the miles and sleeping in lots of hotels. The fact that this is just the beginning is really making me anticipate what is gonna happen in the future. I have a whole bunch of other places I am hitting before the end of the year. I am looking forward to Manchester, Cheshire, Amersham, Croydon (again), Stoke Newington and other places.

In my latest podcast episode I touched on something that is always on my mind. I have been thinking a lot about how the whole music industry is just a big numbers game. This is just how business is. Business is about the bottom line. Business is about measuring specific results and aiming for profit. It is all about who has got the highest numbers. That's how things are measured. That's how the score is kept.

The thing is when it comes to music, it gets weird. People sometimes (most times?) allow numbers influence what music they listen to or HOW they listen. I have always believed that people don't just listen to music in a vacuum people's personal perception of what the artist is about affects the reception of the music from that artist. Also their personal preference affects what they choose to listen to. That personal preference can be influenced, that is what marketing, branding and promotion is all about, influencing consumers so they will make a decision to buy into an artist and buy what they produce. The people who say "I just like what I like" don't always stop to think how they ended up liking what they liked (who has time for that?)

The thing is ultimately numbers aren't the most important thing. Now for someone like me who isn't way up there on top in this numbers game, it might seem like an easy thing for me to say. Would I say this if I was pushing high numbers? Maybe I wouldn't because the stakes would be higher to keep my numbers up and I would have a lot to lose.

I am still living out my dreams without pushing high numbers (well not yet! lol) This talk of numbers reminds me of an old story about a man called Gideon who after a process of elimination went from having a huge army to having only 300 men to go into battle. With his low numbers he defeated a huge army.

I appreciate everyone who has supported me up until this point I am at. I might not have a huge numbers and a high ranking in the numbers game, but I am still here doing what I love and loving what I do. If I ever start pushing huge numbers please remind me of this post. Thanks! lol

You can check out the latest podcast episodes I have released below:

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Do you like podcasts?

I really enjoy good podcasts. I have been thinking about what exactly I like about them. What I like is just someone who knows how to express their thoughts whether in a discussion with someone else or just sharing on their own.

I always felt doing podcasts was going to be a bigger thing than it previously was and now the hype in urban culture has reached peak levels. Some people believe that the bubble has burst and the hype will start fizzling out due to oversaturation.

I started my podcast in 2013 and at that time I had 2 radio shows. My plan was to take the interviews I was having on air and upload them to my soundcloud. I did that for a bit before I was notified that I was breaking rules that I didn't know existed. I guess I should have asked but I honestly thought it was ok.

After my experience in radio and my departure from that station which wasn't a pleasant exit, I didn't want to do radio again unless I was gonna get paid and have an opportunity to do commercial radio. I wasn't sure I was going to bring my podcast back but recently I just did that! So far I have done two episodes which can be listened to below:

Above is the return episode. In it I go into more detail about why I left radio. My two main topics were fake news and commentary on Lecrae's BET award acceptance speech. I talk about how an artist should be allowed to define him or herself as well as how artists grow and evolve.

Above is the latest episode. In this episode, I talk about projection (what in the world is projection?) and also I talk about the music business from the point of view of an independent artist. All the music you hear in the background are beats I made and will probably be part of an instrumental project that is coming in the future.

I think if I am honest with myself, I am bringing my podcast back because I miss doing radio. I would love to do radio again and doing this podcast I hope will keep me sharp. I will say though that recording a podcast and doing a live radio show are two different things. Live radio requires you are on your toes and really in the flow. I have prerecorded radio shows before and tried very hard to do them with the same energy a live show has, but I never feel I achieve the same feel. It's fun trying though!

By the way my favourite podcasts are:

Clock Radio Speakers
The Music Snobs
Off The Record
Runaway Jukebox
The RobCast
Brutally Honest

Google them and enjoy!

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Throwback to the future

I started this blog of mine in 2009. Prior to blogging here, I used to blog on Facebook. I used the notes feature there heavily back then. Before I used the Facebook notes feature, I used to blog on Myspace (even saying Myspace sounds so old school now lol!) In fact blogging on Myspace is where I really started writing in this long form way online. I shared personal stories just like I do here. I think if I am being really honest, I have stopped sharing as personally as I used to because I started feeling I was saying too much. It's really weird having random people coming up to you and recounting something very personal that you wrote in your blog haha.

We have crossed over into the second part of 2017. It has been a great year so far for me though it has been quite challenging. I honestly didn't think certain things that have happened would happen but that is life. Letdowns and disappointments happen. You have to roll with the punches and keep it moving. There is always a way forward. Let me just state for the record that great things have happened for me this year like the release of my book which you can now order directly from me via Paypal on my website: (I sign every book!)

I recently got back from a trip to Cyprus to perform and run workshops. It was a lovely time in such a beautiful country. I learnt so much about Cyprus. I didn't even realise it was so close to countries like Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. I took my brand new book with me and sold every copy. I didn't even bring enough with me, I really underestimated the demand. To view a few pictures I took while out there go here

I also recently traveled all the way down to the south coast to Lymington. I had to leave home at 5am to get there. I went there to be part of the Wessex Lit festival. This is my second time there and it was amazing. I met so many amazing people and because I was returning as a published author it felt different. I honestly appreciate all these opportunities I get to just stand in front of young people and hopefully inspire them. To witness the positive affect my verses that I wrote all alone have is something that I can't even explain. One of the young people I met there asked me how come I am so confident, I am not gonna lie that question was unexpected and threw me off a little bit. It made me think on the journey it has taken to even be able to do this. I think confidence comes from experience and preparation. Confidence comes from discovering your abilities and taking steps to share what you have been blessed with. Confidence comes from believing in yourself and it can take time.

I made a return for the fourth year in a row to Luton Town Stadium to perform and run workshops there. Amar of Unleashing Potential and Raise Your Words once again brought me back to do what I do and I loved every minute of it. Even though I was still tired from my trip to Lymington the day before I found the energy to perform and deliver to the best of my ability. This video clip below is from when I first went there and did my thing over a period of 3 days.

Even though I thought I had finished recording my next album "For Such A Time As This" it appears I haven't because I want to add some new tracks I wrote. All this travelling has inspired me. I guess that is what travelling does. I am truly thankful and I anticipate more great things on the horizon.

I am gonna end this post how I began. I have been going back and reading blog entries from when I started this blog in 2009, it is amazing to read where my mind was at. I have come a long way, it is so humbling. I feel truly blessed and thankful. I used to write blogs about specific topics that have become hot topics in culture and music now. It's really interesting. I will get back to writing about specific topics soon. I think presently I just give you updates on my journeys and what I've been up to. That isn't a bad thing is it? ha!

Rhythm And Poetry My Debut Book is OUT NOW!

My 1st book "Rhythm And Poetry" (a collection of poetry, lyrics and short stories for young people) published by Caboodle Books is OUT NOW! Order your copy and have it delivered to where you are (even if you're not in the UK) by clicking here

If you experience problems with ordering via the PayPal on the Caboodle Book website you can order by direct bank transfer and it will be delivered to wherever you are in the world!

It is still so overwhelming to think I have a book out and an actual proper author. I have a lot more to say about the book and everything so keep your eyes pealed for that. You can check out a freestyle track I did to celebrate and promote the release below.

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It's LIT yep it is LITERALLY LIT!

What an amazing couple of months I have had. First of all I just want to say I am so happy that Spring is here. Listen, I am not a winter person at all, I hate how it gets dark so quickly and even though it doesn't get THAT cold these days, I still can't stand it.

I did a 2 week tour and visited a lot of schools celebrating World Book Day. That meant travelling a lot of miles on lots of long train rides and sleeping in a few hotels. I found it ironic that I was doing such an intense tour with my book not being ready yet. I hit Banbury, Northampton, Norwich (where I did 2 days performing and running workshops in 6 schools. Very intense!), Wickford, Manchester, Stoneleigh, Ponders End and Hampton. I was really stretched but because I fed off the energy of amazing young people I met, I was able to maintain high energy and deliver. I will never forget this run ever. I was also firing new pieces off as well, I was going in! I performed a couple of new pieces including one where I tell a story backwards. It left a lot of them scratching their heads in Northampton hahaha.

I woke up after the tour with an email from my publisher telling me that I needed more poems and more stories for my book. I caught some inspiration and ended up writing 7 poems at a sitting with stories to go with them. This is a rare thing to happen by the way, I normally space my writing out. I sent them back and they loved it. After a lot of checking to see if all the spellings were correct as well as getting the cover art ready, I can tell you that I am now the proud author of a book that is ready to be released! I am so happy and can't wait for you to read it. "Rhythm And Poetry" my debut book of poems and short stories for young people in school will be out on April 24th and you will able to order it directly from my publisher who will deliver it to wherever you are. Even if you are not a young person in school this book is for you, it is a reflection on childhood and growing up from my point of view as a person who found love for poetry and lyrics via rap music and spoken word poetry.

In the midst of all this I have been in the studio a lot, it's like I can't keep myself away from recording. Even while touring I was recording lots of demos. One of them was this track "Backstage Banter" I just did it for the heck of it, it is not going to be on my new album or even an official single. By the way this whole track was created and mixed on my phone including the vocals. If I didn't tell you this I bet you would have never known.

I have completed my album but I am facing the challenge of deciding how many tracks to put on it. These days albums from big rap artists are getting longer like back in the day so I might be able to get away with squeezing a lot tracks on a deluxe version. I am trying to make sure I am happy with every track. The name of the album is "For Such A Time As This" and I will release it in the summer. It seems a track I made called "Aim High Stay Low" will be the lead off single, so keep your eyes and ears open!

I visited tower bridge and decided to go all the way to the top and walk on the glass walkway. I am not too fond of heights but I walked on it anyway. It was quite daunting to look down and see nothing but glass separating me from the road which was 110 feet below me. I kept thinking "I shouldn't be doing this, it is not right" This is how life is you know. When you do something new outside of your proverbial "comfort zone" it can be scary and you start telling yourself " I shouldn't be able to do this" or "I don't belong here" Anyway not to get too deep or anything I have to say being all the way up there taught me a lot about myself. You can check out some pics I took here

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I am thankful for the journey of 2017 so far, I am very aware that on the global stage a lot of mad things are happening, in fact around where I live someone got shot in the head and killed. I missed being close to it by an hour. When I arrived home I saw ambulances and police sealing off the scene with tape outside my house! A lot of things are going on but I am trying to stay calm and focused. I am trying to maintain my peace of mind. I am excited about things on the horizon. The possibilities are truly endless. It's lit! 

Finding My Rhythm

Wow I haven't blogged for a while! I really did intend to blog towards the end of 2016 but I just didn't feel inspired. I also felt overloaded with all that is going on the world at large and in my world. I just didn't know where to start.

2016 was one of the best years I have ever had in my life. I really do hope my blogs from last year were able to capture that. I know the world at large was saying how bad last year was due to so many iconic celebrities passing away as well as many other things that happened on the world stage, but for me personally it was a great year. Yes I did have my own challenges but I traveled doing what I do creatively more than I ever have before. I also made music I truly wanted to make and even finished writing a book!

I think last year collectively we even more deeply realised how it is a celebrity dominated culture we live in. As a collective we vicariously live through celebs for better or for worse. They are part of the landscape of the collective psyche in ways we probably didn't fully realise therefore, the passing in quick succession of iconic celebs really threw people into panic mode. I guess it brought our own mortality home to us more (even though lots of death happens all the time everyday!) I really got tired of the continuous refrain of how bad 2016 was in the echo chamber of social media though I understood it. It just seemed something people mindlessly said because they needed something to say and because they saw everyone else saying the same things. I guess that is how we collectively deal with things in this social media era.

In 2016 this world became a place where the most powerful man is going to be someone who doesn't come across as presidential or fit for the job at all in these unstable times. It's like the pendulum has fully swung from the optimistic headiness of Obama's first term all the way to other side, the dark side. That's just how it seems, metaphorically speaking. We are living in very interesting times indeed. I have not been able to really articulate what I think and feel about it all and I think that is why I haven't been blogging for the past few months. I have been avoiding expressing it all directly in this way. I don't believe in writer's block, I can write anytime I want but I just didn't want to.

I have been tweeting and facebooking though. I have been active on instagram and tumblr too. I have also been creating a lot of music. If I am very honest with myself my creative activity has been a coping strategy to deal with the way the world is. I internalised a lot of stuff and didn't really go crazy on social media. I resisted going into panic mode and just going with the trend of those proclaiming doom and the end of the world.

This year I just hope for continuous personal progression. I am just taking one day at a time. I do see a lot of good things on the horizon. I am going to still blog and this time my goal is one blog a month. Thank you for reading. May the road rise to meet your feet, may the wind always be at your back and my the sun always shine on your face.

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Just some snapshots from my journey

Stream of consciousness alert! Stream of consciousness alert! I am not gonna start with what is becoming my usual way of beginning an entry. I have come to accept that there are going to be spaces in between entries. I won't apologise for that. These entries will arrive when they arrive. I really do appreciate you stopping by to check out my blog, like you actually read in a time when people just want short video clips or just check out headlines and click bait summaries designed to wind you up.

Summer was beautiful. This was probably one of the best summers I can remember. The weather was hot! hot! hot! I got to travel not just to Germany but also to Canada. You can see pics that I took while I was in Germany here and pics I took while in Canada here 2 totally different places and my first time in both of them. Travelling is good, it expands your mind and helps you understand the world, yourself and life better. It is so easy to get caught up in your own bubble and forget there is big world out there to explore and experience.

I hit the ground running this Autumn, I am back performing and doing workshops. In fact the day after I touched down from Canada I visited a college in South West London for a performance and did it while I was still jetlagged! The great thing is the performance actually went smoothly without any hitch whatsoever. If you are wondering what type of stuff I perform in schools you can check out a poem below which will be in my new book which is going to be out soon.

I got to do a workshop in Plymouth. It is on the southern coast of England and it is a beautiful place. I stayed overnight in a hotel and got to check out the city. I took quite a few pictures. You can check them out here the performances and workshop sessions I did at the school were great. I will never forget that experience and I am actually getting to go back there next year!

If there is one thing on my heart and mind lately it is the feeling of being determined to be the best I can be at what I do and to positively affect as many people as I can. I am staying focused on my own path and just continuing on my journey. It is easy to get distracted by things that cause you to focus on what people think about you or if they rate what you do but the truth is that doesn't actually really matter. I am just thankful to be here doing what I love and loving what I do.

Live and unplugged

I did an acoustic set at the Omnibus in Clapham Common and this is one of my songs that performed.

This is the first time I'm adding a double bass sound to me set and Jeremiah Olaleye played beautifully. I also had Phil Mayers on guitar who produced the studio version of this song which can be found on an EP we did together called "Outside My Bubble (Side B)"

Check out "I'm Different" like at the Omnibus below


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I've been away since May, am I an August visitor?

It has been too long but here I am again. So much has happened since May when I last blogged. It has been at the back of my mind to update this blog of mine but I am going through a period where I am wondering if I am going to continue blogging. For now I will keep doing it though. It is summer time in London (finally!!!) and as I sit here rehearing for a big gig, I might as well toss out a stream of consciousness style blog to capture my mood and thoughts. It is gonna be a sort of recap so here we go.

So I have dropped my music project PLTFRM SE7EN [SIDE B] it is out now digitally on iTunes , Google Play, Spotify and every other store. You can listen in full below via my soundcloud

I was gonna do a whole "digital liner notes" blog about the project and I probably should get on with that but for now the project is just me letting loose some tracks I had floating around on my laptop. They are literally B-Sides and rare recordings that were supposed to be on projects but never really fit anywhere. The funny thing is they somehow fit together as one. I see myself as an underground artist, that is where I am right now. Only a few people know me and what I do isn't for everyone. I am cool with that as I keep moving. If you like what I do, I appreciate you. This project is inspired by my journey and a lot of it was made riding the London underground trains and pondering my journey.

I have been doing workshops everywhere this year. I think this first half of 2016 has been the busiest I have ever been since I started doing this in December, 2009. I recently got back from Germany where I was for 3 days doing workshops in 2 schools there. I also performed at 2 graduation ceremonies as well. I totally enjoyed my stay there. I met some great people. I was in Paderborn city a place I never even knew about. Check out some pictures I took while I was there below:

You can check out the other pics I took by going here

A lot has been going on in the world as usual but this time around it feels even more intense. I think being on social media everyday like I am makes you even more aware of what is going on. I have been processing so many thoughts and feelings about everything, it's hard to articulate what I really think and feel about it all. You would think it would be a great thing to use this blog as an outlet during this time but I just didn't feel like writing. I didn't even feel like doing music at some point. I have recently been getting back into it and more music is on the way. I guess I use music to get it all out of me.

I am going to stop here. This blog entry is just me getting my engine revving and getting back into gear. I am still here. In fact I have a new song I released out of the blue saying that. I saw a post on facebook talking about suicide and I felt inspired to write and record the song because I was once suicidal myself a long time ago. You can download it from itunes, amazon etc right now and stream it on TIDAL, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer etc with all the rest of my music too. I want to shoot a music video for it. Press play and enjoy it below. I will be back on this blog, I won't be away for too long this time.

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Is the new Chance mixtape REALLY gospel rap?

Life is a beautiful thing. It truly is a gift. Errrrrr ummmm that wasn't how I planned to start off this blog and I am not going to go back and delete it. I guess those have been my thoughts lately. Anyway a lot has been going on. Brace yourself because this could be a long one.

So recently I released a single. I made the beat on Monday, wrote the lyrics the next day, recorded it on Wednesday and it was out on itunes and all digitalstores by Friday. It is called "Hidden" and it was just how I was feeling at the time. Listen below and download it from iTunes or Amazon

Thankfully in London at this time we are properly in Spring and I can feel Summer very close around the corner. My increase in sneezing has fully alerted me to this fact and we have been having some very beautiful weather. Ok this blog isn't supposed to be me giving you a weather update, there is something I really want to talk about but I don't know how to start.

So Chance The Rapper has dropped his brand new mixtape (OK call it an album or whatever) "Coloring Book" and the sound is very gospel genre influenced. In fact some songs are just straight up gospel songs. I mean Kirk Franklin even shows up one of these songs that could have been on a God's Property album. Now there is still cursing/swearing all over this album so I wouldn't call this a straight up gospel rap album (in the traditional sense) but it definitely is dipped in traditional gospel sounding music. There are choirs all over it, there are soaring harmonies, you hear that organ play those chords associated with gospel music. You also hear lots of themes of faith, praise and redemption. I have fully enjoyed jamming this album. It's that feel good music I like, I have attempted to make this kind of music before. Just press play on some of my throwbacks below:

The moment I heard this project I knew there was going to be a strong reaction online especially from his fans and from fans of Christian Hip Hop (ugh I still struggle with calling it that but I understand why it is) In fact this is part of an ongoing conversation that has been going on for a while but I think at this present time it has intensified because of certain American mainstream rap music releases. (just like when Kanye West dropped "Jesus Walks" back in 2004) Kanye West announced before his last album "The Life Of Pablo" dropped that it was going to be a "gospel album" but apart from "Ultralight beam" and "Father Stretch my hands" Pt 1 & Pt 2 and "Low Lights" I can't say it fully fulfilled that vision but Chance definitely took that vision further and fleshed it out better with this release "Coloring Book". We've already had Kendrick Lamar dropping "Untitled Unmastered" which has some biblical references and themes (I mean his album "good kid, m.A.A.d city" is his salvation/redemption story from top to bottom!) So we're in a season where we will see more and more of this because you know how people are followers and hop on any wave that is poppin'

I immediately started seeing tweets saying things like "Chance the rapper is more of a Christian rapper than Lecrae" I read all kinds of tweets from Christian Hip Hop fans taking indirect shots at Lecrae (and others) all saying something to effect of "Chance The Rapper has made an album that is more gospel than certain gospel artists" or "Chance the rapper is more of a Christian rapper than actual Christian rappers" Along with the fact that Lecrae recently signed a deal with Columbia Records and the normal moral panic from a lot of CHH fans that follows any mainstream move he makes, these snarky remarks are bound to increase. I understand why these things are being said but the truth is when an artist has been first been introduced to the world as a Christian rapper who basically preaches their faith explicitly with all their songs, apart from the fact they hardly reach mainstream platforms, if they do they are normally dismissed as cheesy, preachy and corny if they come with songs dipped in traditional gospel sounds, especially if they are rappers (unless you are Kirk Franklin in the "stomp" and "revolution" days). I will get into this later, stay with me.

Days before Chance The Rapper had dropped this mixtape he appeared live on Fallon's tonight show and performed "blessings" and gospel artist Byron Cage even showed up to sing. (i don't know if he is on the album version, I don't recall seeing his name or hearing his voice on it so must have just being a special one off appearance)

If you listen to "Coloring Book" by Chance The Rapper you will hear profanity scattered all over it even though the sound is dipped in traditional gospel sounds and even sentiment. I have no problem with anyone calling this a gospel rap album per se but I ask, if an artist like Lecrae made this exact same album exactly like this would it be acceptable? I doubt it would be received warmly. Earlier this year, Andy Mineo an artist signed to Lecrae's Reach Records asked questions about the use of profanity via twitter and he got butchered for just ASKING and trying to have a conversation about it by a lot CHH fans. I am willing to bet that some of the same people who wanted to crucify Andy Mineo for trying to have an online conversation about profanity are rocking Chance's new album hard and calling it a "great gospel rap album"

If Chance had dropped this as his debut I doubt it would have this much buzz. He has a huge Kanye West co-sign at this stage, lots of high profile features on this project (Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T Pain, Kirk Franklin, Young Thug, Justin Bieber, 2 Chainz, Jeremih, Jay Electronica, Lil Yachty, D.R.A.M) so of course he is going to have attention. He had ears waiting eagerly for this. He was just coming off being on "The Life of Pablo" by Kanye West which was a HUGE look for him. I mean "Ultralight beam" is a HUGE song, so even comparing him to a Lecrae who has had to graft for over a decade to even begin to get to where he could access the same kinds of platforms Chance has isn't really fair.

The truth is if Chance had started his career as a Christian Hip Hop artist in the American Christian Hip Hop scene and had become big in that scene, he would have had to follow the same kind of path Lecrae has taken to breakout of that scene into the mainstream. Chance The Rapper never had that stigma of being a "Christian rapper" from the get-go. Not only that this actual "gospel rap" album Chance has dropped isn't held to the same standards a Lecrae album is held to because of his track record and history. So he can get away with swearing and making certain choices in sound that if Lecrae maybe had made when he was first trying to break into the mainstream would have come off as "corny and too religious" I mean the the last couple of songs on "Anomaly" by Lecrae were heavily criticized by many for being too religious and schmaltzy even though they loved a good deal of the rest of the album. One could argue maybe Lecrae should not have added those songs which seemed designed to cater to his CCM fanbase/radio/circuit goals (He ended up with a Grammy for one those songs "Messengers").  Chance The Rapper doesn't run the risk of being placed in that corny religious rapper box because he has no history of being a gospel rapper that first had his audience and come up in a scene where you have to be sanitized, squeaky clean, theological and super explicit about your faith to even have an audience or be that popular in that scene in the first place. This is a fact, I dare anyone to challenge me on this point.

What I always wished Christian Hip Hop artists would do more is mine the rich sound of traditional gospel music and fuse it with Hip Hop just like Kirk Franklin did that made him explode in the 90s. Chance The Rapper uses that sound beautifully on this mixtape. I mean listen:

It is so beautiful when that uplifting, soul moving, authentic gospel sound is done well in rap. I don't recall it is ever being popular in the CHH scene (correct me if I am wrong people who know better than me) the only example I can recall of this sound being used is when BB Jay did this song "word iz bond" on his album "Universal Concussion" (I'm sure there are others, if you know any let me know I would love to hear them)

BB Jay represents what people probably hated the most about Christian rap, he was basically a Christian Biggie Smalls. Since you're always preached at about the "evil's of secular music" here is BB Jay with a sanitized, christian version of an actual artist that existed (LOL!) He bit Biggie's flow and cadence so bad I bet Christopher Wallace felt it in the grave. Even though that was the case, this song is actually ok, it sounds nice. I remember liking it. I always wanted to see more of this kind of sampling of the traditional gospel sound and that is why I tried it myself.

The thing about gospel music is it has it's own sound and therefore it's own identity. Christian Hip Hop lacks it's own sound and piggie backs off any hot sound in mainstream rap that is currently poppin'. This isn't necessarily bad or good, it just is what it is. Even when people come along with innovations like Andrae Crouch, The Winans, Commissioned, Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, Tonex etc etc gospel music still has that thing about it that makes it sound unique and identifiable. You hear it and you know it, so much so that even if the message in the music isn't THE gospel of Christ you associate the sound with it being about faith, upliftment and inspiration (this is why I personally separate gospel as a genre and THE gospel of Christ even though they intersect at it's best) I mean this song below from the new Chance tape isn't a faith themed song, it has loads of swearing/cursing in it but be honest you would still call it a "gospel" sounding song even though I don't think any choir will be singing this in any church service on Sunday morning:

The point I'm making is simple, while people are going crazy over this beautifully sounding album/mixtape whatever you wanna call it from Chance (and rightly so because in my opinion it is dope AND sincere too) understand it isn't just about what the music sounds like, it is who is making it. The reception of music is subject to the personal preference of the listener and their perception of who the artist is. You can't escape this fact. Position affects perspective, perception affects reception.

Yeah, yeah, yeah I know this has been a long blog, but I have to sign off by saying my new project "PLTFRM SE7EN (SIDE B) is OUT NOW. You can buy it from  iTunes and Google Play NOW. You can also stream it on Spotify, Apple Music and all streaming platforms. Check out a lyric video for "Get Up and move (flash mobbing) below:

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Beats, beards, being black, blogging and surviving the blues

I was very close to giving up blogging but how could I do that? This is a good practice to keep up even if blogging isn't that hot right now. The year has been a busy one so far, I have already started doing a lot of travelling doing workshops and it is only march. I am very happy about that.

I have done creative writing workshops in Hounslow, Essex, Central London, Stoke Newington and Wembley Stadium so far and work from the six week project I did in Hackney with Kele Le Roc is now part of an exhibition which is currently going on at Hackney Museum, I went for the launch of it and I felt really proud of the young guys we worked with. Read more about it here

If you want to have more of an idea of the work I do in schools have a look at this short video below:

I dropped a song called "Blackstar" recently, I consider it just a warm up song. I made the beat on the day I found out David Bowie died (January 10th). I was listening to a lot of his music and I came across "Fame" which I am sure I have heard before but couldn't remember when or where. That track is so good I just HAD to sample it. I checked and I am not alone, many others have sampled this track including some very famous artists. I ended up writing lyrics that are very much influenced by me thinking about issues of race and being proud of my African roots. I called the track Blackstar because David Bowie's last album that he released just before passing away was called that. It is also a nod to the duo Blackstar comprised of Talib Kweli & Yasiin Bey (the artist formerly known as Mos Def). Their self-titled album remains a classic and it contained very positive pro-black content. I have always wanted to come from that kind of angle that they came with that breathes consciousness, positivity, introspection and fun. I have done that a couple of times before.

Rapzilla were nice enough to post "blackstar" much to my surprise. I saw some funny soundcloud comments that were not positive. It seems someone wasn't too happy that I was being pro-black and Afrocentric. I was accused of being divisive and "remixing the song of a heathen" (lol) It seems being pro-black will always be a threat to some who don't understand that being pro-black doesn't automatically mean being anti-white. I even say in the song "this aint black supremacy, I'm just being me.." Ah well, it is what it is. Listen to the track below:

I am currently rounding up my next album as well as a couple of EPs. I am also working on a book that ties in with the workshops I do in schools. More about that later, let me not get ahead of myself. The name of my next album is "Unseen Unheard Unknown" It is inspired by the book "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison as well as many other things I will share soon. If you are supporter from a while back and you were on my journey with me from the 2012 album "Delayed But Not Denied" this new album follows on from that. In fact every album and project has been following a narrative. They are all linked. All will be explained soon.

Here is another track I dropped at the top of the year. I was just trying out a different kind of sound and tempo. If I am really being honest, I wrote this and made it when I was feeling depressed. When winter comes around I experience the blues a lot because it is cold and dark. I end up producing a lot of beats and writing to deal with all my feelings even more than ever. All these tracks I have been dropping won't be on my upcoming album. I kinda dig this one. Press play on "Turn up/Turn Down" below

The track called "Love" that I produced for Fiona Yorke and also featured on was released as a single and the response to it has been amazing, In fact I got to perform it live with her outside London all the way in Ipswich at a gig that I did. It was such a wild gig though haha. I had to wear a suit and all that because it was a ball kinda situation. It went on until 2am. I got home about 4am. Hahaha. The DJ was playing some crazy jungle and drum and bass and that really inspired me. I went home and produced like 4 jungle/drum n bass influenced records hahahaha. You will hear all this music soon. Anyway listen to "Love" below. It is out on itunes. amazon and all digitalstores and part of Fiona Yorke's EP called "Sound Freedom"

oh yeah I have let my beard grow longer than I have ever done in my life hahahaha. I just didn't shave after Christmas. I might cut it soon though. Anyway I am gonna go and live a bit and create more. Follow me on twitter if you are there: (@KarlNova) I am on snapchat too at: therealkarlnova

Poem: New Year?

It begins with a big bang 
an explosion of emotions 
spasms of enthusiasm
a lot of hopeful notions
most are setting goals
and making resolutions
many are saying it's their year
everything that's negative
'cause out come the cynics
and the skeptics 
it's so repetitive
exactly a year ago
it was the same
by this time next year 
it won't change
a change in the date
doesn't mean a change in you
but things can change 
when your mind is renewed
it aint about what you say
it's about what you do
but adjusting your talk
can help adjust your walk too
so instead of raining on someone's parade
join in or let people say what they say
we're all on a journey, you've heard it said
you gotta know it in your heart
and in your head
but anyway time keeps moving
it doesn't stand still
life is a motion picture
freeze frames give me chills
the new year is here
soon this enthusiasm will fade
and we'll be at the end of this year
bringing in another year again

Why do I still blog? Who even reads this? lol

Ok I am gonna start this blog entry like a hipster. I've been blogging before it was cool (lol!) I started blogging on myspace just as it started to pop off and as myspace started dying (R.I.P) I started this blog.

Actually to be more accurate, I made a transition from blogging mainly on myspace to using the notes feature A LOT on facebook. Those were the early days of Facebook before Zuckerberg switched up the layout and it became all weird. It was THEN that I decided to switch to blogpsot. I was almost gonna use wordpress (I had it all ready to go) but blogspot was easier to set up. Well at least to me.

Why did I just give my history of blogging? what was that for? Well I guess recently I have been losing my desire to blog which is funny considering the fact that I am on twitter everyday (in case you don't know what you do every time you tweet is you're microblogging but I digress..) This year I decided to drop at least one blog entry a month and I have been keeping to that goal. However, last month I didn't do it. I just didn't feel like it. I've been living and doing other stuff nah mean? You have to live life a bit so that you have something to write about right? (I have heard this said before) I know many who used to blog regularly who don't anymore. I blog because it is a good discipline to practice as an aspiring writer and also it is very cathartic for me. All expression whether it is writing raps, songs, poetry or blogging like this is therapeutic to me. Blogging also acts as a time capsule for me as well. It helps me put some things into perspective and it is really cool when I look back on what I have written.

I have been doing a bunch of workshops and travelling a lot. I love it. This month makes it 6 years since I started working with Student Of Life. I have recently been doing a series of workshops with the legendary R&B/Soul singer/songwriter Kele Le Roc.
There was another workshop at a school that was about 3 and half hours away that I had to get to by 8.30am. I arrived on time even though it was so way out and not easy to get to. It's beautiful to be able to use poetry, rap and all the tools I have in my literary tool box to bring something to young people in a way they can relate. Check out the video below of when I went to do a workshop in a stadium

I have been working on my first book. It is mainly a book of poetry with notes about the inspiration behind each piece and I hope to have that out in the new year. It is linked with the work I do in schools but I'm trying to craft it in a way that everyone can connect with it, not just young students. I really believe words put down properly can transcend in that way.

I have been gigging. I recently performed with Soul Sanctuary at the legendary Jazz Cafe. It was a Christmas concert. I got to narrate the nativity in a contemporary way with Mel Giedroyc of Mel & Sue fame. She currently has a show on BBC called The Great British Bake Off. She is so cool. I also got to perform a spoken word poem written by my mate Chenoa. I don't normally like performing other people's words being a writer myself but I was asked to do it and I thought to myself "cool, i'll do it" It was a great night.

I keep saying I've finished my album but I keep adding to it and taking away stuff from it but yeah It will be out next year. One day on a whim I went to the studio and recorded 3 full songs in a session and that has become a Christmas themed EP. I am dropping it on Christmas day and I am calling the "Messiah EP" it will have 4 tracks on it and it will be free.

OK this has been interesting, for one who has been struggling to want to even blog this has all flowed so easily. I don't believe in writer's block, I think when the writing is ready to happen and come out of you, it will happen. Just be ready to let it flow.

check out this poem below that I recorded a video for called [Mis]information Age

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