Over the river and through the woods
Updated: Aug 25, 2019
What a phenomenal weekend. It took nearly a whole week to reflect on just what happened. First off, the Daywalkerz material jams live. We have some undeniably fun music to share, and people are feeling what we're laying down. We were able to rock two sets over the weekend. The first, the VIP tent of the Anime Magic 2019 Convention in Schaumburg and the other at the Chi-Native fam's Music in the Woods Festival. Also at the Anime Fest I got to rock one of the strangest sets of my career. The weekend was validating, humbling, and incredibly productive.
I wrote my verse to Strut with the idea that we're all on a journey, and sometimes the path becomes unclear. We develop so many words and ideas and mythologies around journeys. This strange thing we call life follows a path, however chaotic and seemingly arbitrary it sometimes seems. We sometimes get derailed. We sometimes stray off course. Part of the amazing attribute of humanity is our resilience, our perseverance, what my wife calls "Stubbornness". Stubbornness has led to extraordinary human achievements. Call it determination, call it grit. But that's the core.
For a few years back there I was stubborn in my belief that I had nothing left to offer the music world, particularly the ever-evolving hip-hop landscape. Know Sage was stubborn about encouraging and motivating, never letting the project languish, and project-managed the heck out of me so things to push us over the finish line. The music itself was stubborn, at a certain point i literally couldn't NOT make it, despite frequent bouts with doubt.
I was stubborn about the pricing of screen-printing under 10 t-shirts, so I bought 72. Then my stubborn friends and family poured out to buy shirts, and I ended up having to re-stock. I bought a few stickers, and people are loving those. Sometimes we are too stubborn to see how far we've come. It can be easy to fall in the trap of relishing in that progress and resting on ones laurels. It can also be easy to get discouraged as you see the path ahead and get overwhelmed with the enormity or feelings of futility. But like I said at the beginning, I'm stubborn.
I was stubborn when I hit the stage for my second set at Anime Magic, this time of all Doc Wattson material. To an entirely empty 350 person ballroom. The ego check wasn't immediate, as I knew I hadn't promoted and I was in a time slot that was off-peak for the convention traffic. But I was convinced that if I started rocking people would come, Field of Dreams style. After the first two songs the discouragement started to rise. The sound guy tried cranking the volume, opened a few of the ballroom doors, but aside from the head or two poking in and out, there was nary a disruption of my loneliness (frikkin' introverts haha). Nevertheless I trudged on. I did a few extra tracks just to practice, figuring I had some new material to work out and this is as good a time as any. Halfway through the set I was saved by an adorable quartet of Zelda Breath of the Wild cosplayers who came into the room and very politely clapped and hooted at the end of each song. They did a few hilarious dances in the center of the giant room. One of the girls said she liked the raps, and the other three just quietly whispered to each other. I did come out to express my sincere appreciation for their support, and handed out stickers as they scurried back to the other rooms at the convention. I quietly packed up my laptop, grabbed my unsold Daywalkerz swag, and headed to my car.
I always ever claimed I was doing this for the connection, and even if I impress just one person I feel like I've done something right. The reality is often disappointing, but in that ballroom, me rapping to four Zelda characters doing the macarana, there was what my colleague Sanjay Khosla calls an MOJ: a moment of joy. The humblest appreciation that these girls popped in even though they had no idea who I was, and they just so happened to be cosplaying from a game I've spent like 160 hours playing... If there were only four random people in that room I would obviously have still appreciated their support, but something about that coincidence filled my spirit.
The following day in the woods was also mad fun. Daywalkerz showed in force even on the rainy day. We made our mark, then sat back and tuned into some dope live music all day. The Chi-Native camp comes correct with the vibe, and the whole crowd knew that they were part of something special. I have to admit though, the absolute highlight of the entire day was chopping it up at the after, kicking cyphers with basically all the rappers there. It's literally what I rap for, and cyphers don't pop up too often these days.
The weekend solidified for me why I will continue to make music. It's a blessing to have a creative outlet, and I feel momentum building. And when you see me building speed on down the track... no brakes.
Alls well on Baker Street! stay tuned for more updates!