I'm not a Goodlifer, I'm a blowdian. Back when y'all started, i was a young kid in the islands of the Bahamas trying to be an emcee when everyone was a reggae DJ (Let Jah Orah remind you: the DJ's are the ones ON the mic in Dancehall music). I couldn't deal with that. I was an American-Born transplant in the Bahamas, but it was '93 when I caught "Boundaries" on a humungous bootleg satelite that every Bahamian used as an antenna. Back then, we had to go to Bucks record and order underground music because they only stocked SOME rap and the rest was reggae, dancehall, and what we call "rake and scrape". I never got my Freestyle Fellowship album back then, but I never forgot the song. I was able to get my hands on east coast "underground" stuff like De La over at Cody's, and oddly enough, we could get The Coup. After watching this movie, I see why I couldn't get Freestyle Fellowship's album. It grew by word of mouth, and never really was given the chance to take off.
In College is when I first heard the name Aceyalone. My homegirl Heather from spelman used to always talk about this strange L.A. dude. In Atlanta, Cali dudes were considered strange. We're talking 94-98, so it was all Wu, Death Row and Bad Boy. That was all anyone heard of. Real hip hop heads listened to underground stuff, but somehow this prim girl from Detroit knew about Aceyalone. I had seen the name, but I was sure she was pronouncing it wrong. She wasn't.
College (Morehouse) ended, and I went to grad school at SC and couldn't find conscious black proponents of Hip Hop Culture anywhere. Whereas in Atlanta, it was everywhere (because I was a student at the AUC, a collective of 6 black institutions of higher learning), so when I moved to L.A. to go to 'SC, I couldn't find a thing. First off, no car. Second off, I made the mistake and went to clubs. Too many bouncers, too many snobs, too many velvet ropes, not enough money. I'm a B-Boy FIRST, and on my 22nd birthday, someone actually took me to Soul Train to find a place to cypher with dancers. Footklan, Darryl, Shine, Affion Crocket, etc. etc. Later, another law student hipped me to project blowed. I didn't go. No Car. Eventually, got a car, saw a news story about some spot called Project Blowed with big flossy talkin' a lot of junk. I went. Considered myself somewhat of a wordsmith, thought I'd check it out. Got high for the first time, never made it actually into the building. Fast forward 3 hours, I was in some random person's driveway in my car with 3 tires. Next week, re-upped. Came back. Saw the pass the mic steez. This dude showed up and out of nowhere was controlling the crowd. Said his name was Chu. He was the host. Seemed bipolar, because he was the nicest guy and very cordial UNLESS...you didn't get off the stage fast enough. Then he'd put a foot in your back. This other host J-smoov taught us to project our voices. He would actually rap louder than the emcee without a microphone and embarass you. That was back when we were still a workshop
. 1999. I was a law student, but a tad rebellious. Adidas tracksuits and an anfro and shelltoes trying to find his home. Project Blowed became my home.
Now, from 1999 t0 2005, no one passed the mic on me. in 05, I stopped getting on the stage because honestly, that magic sorta left. It became about the parking lot. Some weeks, I wouldn't even go inside. I played more of the roll of a wallflower just observing. Being still. I have so many stories about the more recent years of project blowed. Also, I have a background in Sociology, which means that me and that cat Joo Young Lee (the asian dude who be dancing and was one of the first to youtube battle videos from the blowed) were a perfect fit. He's a PhD candidate in sociology. Many of y'all have talked to him over the years for his research, and just watching him as somewhat of an outsider observe what to me was a natural home gave me a unique perspective on what it was we were really doing, like: what is this phenomenon from an academic standpoint?
The Blowed found me, because I was dying. Most of y'all haven't the slightest idea.