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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: KarlNovaBookings@gmail.com

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Notes from the underground: I am still a student of life.

A lot is going on in the world right now, talk about stating the obvious as a way to start my ramblings (ha!) but it is true, we all see it, we all hear it, we all feel it and are going through it. It is interesting in this social media driven era because you get to see into people's hearts and minds. You get to see the good, the bad and the ugly all on display. People get bolder with the cloak of digital anonymity over them and therefore reveal more. Pressure really squeezes things out of us. We really have to be more sensitive in this time, it's a good time for soul searching, examining your stances/positions on certain things. It's not an easy thing to do because most times we find security in fixed positions that we don't want to question or contemplate changing.

I have been having a great time doing workshops all over the place this year. Doing that has taken me to Lancashire, Luton, all over London and back again. It has been awesome. I have been doing this for 5 years now with Student of Life. It has helped me appreciate the culture and art form of Hip Hop so much more right now. I am not just talking about the emceeing/rapping aspect either. Since I've become a beat maker and also a radio presenter, I appreciate other aspects of the culture too. I am not a DJ even though I spin records, I just select the tunes on the show I present and press play. I admit there is a certain savvy you need to have to do it well but I respect the craft of Deejaying too much to let anyone call me a DJ. I'm just an emcee that presents a couple of radio shows.

I do admit that hosting/presenting a hip hop show on a gospel station is weird for me sometimes. I know I can't necessarily play whatever I want, I have to respect what the radio station is about. It has made me think a lot about the definition, labeling and categorization of the kind of music I play and create. I guess I just play rap music by Christians on the show which is cool because there is some truly great rap music being made by Christians right now. Those records could be overtly religious or not necessarily overtly religious at all. For example Hawk House and The Earmark Collective have similar sounds but their content is different. The Earkmark Collective are more overt about their faith in their lyrical content while Hawk House on their latest EP are very abstract with their faith in their lyrical content much to some people's disdain. The truth is I play them because they are dope and when they were called A Yellow Man they revealed themselves to be Christians and their faith was slightly more overt in their songs but as Hawk House it has become more buried underneath their sound. I personally haven't got a problem with this and I have talked about this elsewhere.

As I have been doing these Student of Life workshops in schools (one of them was in a stadium for 3 days with over 29 schools in Luton)

 I have to come to see even more why I don't subscribe to terms like christian hip hop or christian rap even though like I have said before I understand why these categories exist. When I do workshops, part of my presentation is to talk about the origin of Hip Hop from The Bronx in New York City. I talk about Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, breakbeats, the origin of emceeing, b-boying and all that. I show how it relates to where rap music is today, I really get into the, history, culture and art of it. It's great to see these young minds critically think about what they listen to and where the music originally came from (I also mention grime too since we are in the UK and emceeing in the UK isn't just about american hip hop. We have our own indigenous hip hop, garage emceeing, grime emceeing, jungle emceeing, drum & bass emceeing and Jamaican dancehall toasting that has a strong influence here. The same can be said of Hip Hop from america because Kool Herc is from Jamaica and was influenced by sound system culture, the same thing with the other american pioneers I mentioned being of Caribbean heritage too) and also participate in expressing their innate creativity while crafting verses and finding a voice of their own.

It has taken me a while to really find my rhythm, I have had to create new verses, poetic pieces and songs that are suitable to be used in an educational setting and basically develop a whole new mindset to be able to operate. I've already explained the genesis of that and how I had to break out of the religious conditioning I had to be able to move with my gift in a context that isn't religious while still maintaining what I am about as an artist. Basically, before Lecrae made it a popular thing to say I am a rapper/emcee that happens to be a christian or I am not a christian rapper or I don't do Christian Hip Hop or Christian is my faith not my genre I was already living that life. To be honest that has been the road I have been on since my 1st solo album.

I feel so much better and more well rounded as an artist right now. It feels so good to be able to be more whole and not have to compartmentalize myself and my expression. I still have to be wise and know what is appropriate in whatever context I am in. We all do it all the time in conversation. You don't just have one topic when you speak to people you touch on all aspects of life because life is multifaceted but one thing you do is express yourself from your worldview. This is why my latest EP came out the way it did. I can't wait to share SIDE B of it! :)

The learning never stops, I am a student of life for life.

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