AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

Hip Hop make way, because Prophet & Razer have entered the ring.  Go figure, from the Alumni Elites to the point I’m at now, the two people who can’t afford to fail  the most have decided to risk their entire savings and current lifestyle on one crazy ass dream…To become hip hop stars. Worse yet, we are going after this dream at a time when artists are hating labels, labels are battling consumers, and the whole industry seems to be imploding.

Oh well, we always loved a challenge.

Yet, between Razer’s former days in Detroit’s underground hip hop and my history living in the Cleveland hip hop scene, we are starting off with a pretty decent-sized following of people who are anxious to see how this whole music project will pan out.  This is good and bad–It’s good because we have the support of many, but it’s bad because those people already have an idea of what we should sound like.

Thing is, Razer doesn’t sound like his old pissed off Detroit self (well it’s still kind of there, but much more controlled now), and I know that I can do more then mid-90s classic hip hop.   Times change and people need to adapt and evolve which is clearly what has happened to Razer’s hip hop style.  I popped in one of his older CDs last night for the hell of it, and I really don’t know what to say…Except he is, without a doubt, at an entirely higher level now.  And although I love his new stuff, (it definitely isn’t standard angry or ghetto fab Detroit Rap), it will be interesting to see how his old fans will react.

I guess I would describe his style as some twisted fusion of Detroit anger, toned down with a Reggaeton-like rhythm that rides the beat, and finished off with an intense delivery that is second to none.  I’ll tell you one thing…Since we’ve been working together, he has been challenging me to write and spit in ways I never thought I could.  What’s coming out is, well, uhhh, not your typical hip hop.  I thought all I had in me was that Common/real hip hop flow, but I am quickly learning how dynamic I can be.  Razer keeps pushing me to ride the beat, change things up and incorporate more musical elements.

He’ll say “Let the music move you and tell you how to spit on it.”

Listening to some of the preliminary work we’ve done just messing around on the mic sounds like nothing on the radio or in the underground hip hop scene, which makes me wonder a bit–Which side will love or hate us more, the mainstream or the underground?  This thing we have going is fresh, and takes the best of the underground and mainstream and then blends them all into one new hip hop chapter.

I swear, no one’s ever heard this kind of thing before. They’re gonna be blow away.  Imagine for a sec an artist that could make music that sounds good, and if you take the time to listen to the words, it actually says something.  I’m talking about a union of popular good music and conscious hip hop–Beats that make you wanna bob your head, combined with lyrics that make you wanna nod  your head.

And with that, I’m off to the radio to announce this to the world. Peace.

Oh how rude of me, I neglected the biggest announcment of the day, our name.

Prophet and Razer will now be known as…

P.U.N.K.

New site, info, myspace, videos etc are under construction as we speak.

TUNE IN NOW!

Hip Hop ain’t seen nothing like this!  2009 is the year of P.U.N.K.

P.U.N.K.

P.U.N.K.

Midwest Hip Hop History – Prophet & Razer

Ya know what the Midwest is? Young and restless.

That’s exactly how I explained the vibe at the B-Side Liquor Lounge last night. It was a venue filled with hungry emcees and poets, beat makers and musicians, newbies and vets…All of them battling an innate restlessness inside and using their voices to release it all in words and music.  That building was filled with a talent like none other last Tuesday…A talent which I’m sure the world will soon come to know.

I started off the night by forwarding a few hundred emails to Razer’s email box (BTW, thanks to all of you for helping me accomplish my Hip Hop Plan B,) with a message telling him that I would be at B-Sides for open mic night. With that, I headed down to Coventry.

My boy, The Katalyst was already there when I arrived at the club. Apparently, Razer told him about the place and he came down to see what all the hype was about.  About 20 minutes later, in came Razer aka The RZR with his wife, Nikki.

As soon as he walked in, he smiled at me and said, “What you did could technically be considered spam, ya know. You’re lucky we’re friends. We need to talk.”

But before I had a chance to respond, Razer introduced me to a couple of his friends, a wonderful Cleveland actress, poet and singer named Cathy Houston and some of her friends.

We all looked for a place to sit in the crowded venue, and I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that tonight, I’d be making hip hop history…But at the moment, I just didn’t know how historic it would be.

I noticed Razer strategically ducked into a corner…probably trying to lye low for a bit.  Too bad for him, I had something special up my sleeve because the very first thing I did when I got on stage was give a shout out to “My boy, Razer, in the corner over there, all the way from the D. ” With Nikki’s help (who was sitting next  Razer and pointing out where exactly he was sitting), I had officially blown his cover.

I proceeded to perform a poem I entitled “Freedom – Part 2,” a sequel to my performance from two weeks ago.  This time when I came up I had a proper introduction and all, Prophet The Rebel was now a known MC.  Man, if last week was hot, this week was a pure inferno.  I couldn’t even finish the poem without being interrupted with applause but don’t take my word for it, check out the Freedom – Part 2 video!

I stepped off stage and noticed someone talking into Razer’s ear.

“That was great, man! Amazing!  But we got to head upstairs soon, there’s someone who wants to meet you.”  Razer said.

“Who?”

“You’ll see,” he smiled.

We watched a few more performances, one of which was Cleveland’s own, Undagroundkween. Then, we spoke to a guy from the local group, Keyel, about collaborating on some stuff in the near future.

After that we quickly headed on up to the Grog Shop.  Of all people, there was Mooch…Just waiting.  We headed on back and soon enough, I figured out exactly who we were here to meet.  The night was a blur; filled with shots of liquor, Mooch dancing like a mad man, watching some killer performances (BTW never in my wildest dreams did I think that much energy could come out of such a little body! The night’s headliner was a VERY petite gal.), freestyling with Razer and laughing our asses off when the person we were there to meet (the headliner) inadvertently sprayed Razer in the eyes with vodka in a crazy rockstar-esque moment. We all had a blast!

Then the inevitable happened, the question was once again asked of Razer “So why ain’t you guys come out wit a CD already?” insert cute lil English accent.

Razer froze, looked at Nikki for a second and then back at us.

“You gotta understand I have a life now.  I have a wife, puppies, a fish we are trying not to kill, and I technically promised my mom I would give up this crazy hip hop dream,” he said.

“So fuckin what! You guys are good!” was spouted out before I could even respond.

“My thoughts exactly,” were the first words that escaped my lips.

“I’m finished with hip hop.  I got bills like none other, and what you’re asking of me is to put the little I have left all into a 1-in-a-million chance.  Right as my wife and I are considering having our first baby and me barely making ends meet as is, you want me to risk a stable 8-5 job to chase some hip hop dream? I could lose it all in this crazy project.” Razer shot back.

Then he paused. “But you’re right…My day job isn’t me, and I’m living a lie. ”   He sighed and asked me,  “Are you serious about this?”

“Hell yes I am!” I quickly responded.

He paused, looked at Nikki, and then I noticed her smile back at him for one quick second.

“And there are no limits?  We do whatever, say whatever, and tackle whatever we feel like?  You’re ready to say screw the radio, screw the underground, screw it all and make the best music we can, refuse to conform to the norm, ready to hear critics say, ‘Your music is too trendy’ or ‘Your music ain’t trendy enough’? If you’re ready to just do what we do best…Make hip hop that can move a club and says something, then, then…ahh man…..then fine, I’m in! Let’s punk this industry, let’s do this and never look back. “

And with that we all took a shot and toasted to Midwest Hip Hop history!

Detroit and Cleveland unite. Razer and Prophet have officially become……………to be continued.

Can you guess the artist that helped finally push Razer over the edge? Hint, she is short, like 5-feet tall short.  She is from the U.K., and she is a white rapper.  NO CHEATING! You cannot google who was in Cleveland this week.  You must guess based on the above hints.

Proph’s Midwest Hip Hop Super Group

As you know, I have have been working my ass off to form a Midwest hip hop super group.  Originally this group was going to be Dwayne, Chemist, Mooch and myself, Prophet The Rebel.  Then I had this brilliant idea when I met a hip hop emcee from Detroit by the name of Razer The RZR that I would add him to my super group…An idea I hope will still come true.  Well, let’s take a second to look back on how this whole process has gone so far and what lessons I have learned.  (If you are reading this and are an aspiring artist, I recommend you read the whole post, you can learn from our mistakes, trust me!)

My first idea, Alumni Elites,  flopped on its ass.  Too many ideas, too many opinions and none of them in the same direction.  One person wanted pop rap, another conscious rap, another gangsta rap and no one would listen to each other.  This VERY short lived group fell apart and dissolved into a solo hip hop album for me, Prophet The Rebel, half produced by Chemist & half by Dwayne.  This new hip hop super group idea (of Chemist, Dwayne and me) was just gonna release a short EP.  Together, we figured that the super group would be a launching platform for me and other artists, and Mooch was even down to help manage the whole process.  Then Razer The RZR stepped in to help, and he started giving us pointers on how to make things legit.  Ironically, that’s when things fell apart. And to be honest…I am glad!

See…When we started going full force with the business aspects of becoming hip hop artists (lawyers, contracts, radio shows, promotions, etc.), Dwayne started getting scared shitless.  That’s when we found out how full of shit he really was…Turns out all of “his” beats weren’t really his at all. He actually stole them from someone else, and all the work I had done to write on those tracks went straight into the can.

Razer kept me focused and on we went…Traveling to different cities, meeting with hip hop’s finest, all of whom started to push Razer and I to become an official group instead of just featuring him on a track or two.  One guy went so far as to say he expects to hear this duo of Prophet and Razer by the end of the year or else!  (I’ll give you a hint, he is part of a hip hop super group that rhymes with Who-Bang!)

All this is especially important because I have realized something lately, the industry is hard.  Gotta be honest here when I say that balancing life, acting and music is  difficult, and that’s why I want to form a hip hop super group.  See when you have a job, when you go to school, when you act and have lines to memorize, when you have to walk everywhere because you have no ride,  when you’ve got a new girl, and when you have family issues to attend to at night; time in a day is not on your side.  So a hip hop super group became my focus for two reasons:

1.) We could learn from each other as a hip hop collective and push each other to greater heights

2.) I realized that  I do not have enough hours in a day to do all the above and sit down to write a full album on my own….Well at least not one that is at my level of perfection. (I’m a premadonna, and rewrite until every word is perfect, which may make for the best hip hop the Midwest has ever heard, but also takes a long ass time.)

    Now with Dwayne out of the picture and a loose hip hop partnership compiled of Chemist, Mooch, Razer and myself, I was able to come to a large realization about being in a group and working with others.  This big lesson I learned, and a lesson anyone trying to make it in the music industry should know going into the game, is that saying you want to make music and doing it are two entirely different things.  Chemist, although I love the guy, just isn’t producing.  He is stuck in his world of playing video games and computers so much that his beats seem to always be in the “in the works” stage. And he may love freestyling with the crew, but when we mention stage performance, the man turns white as a ghost, which is a pretty amazing feat, considering he is black.  So in all honesty, the Prophet’s hip hop super group may be losing another artist if Chemist keep refusing to step up.  I’m not hating…I’m just being real.

    This leaves Mooch, Razer and me.  But to be honest, Mooch, like Razer, was just going to jump in here and there, not really be a full member.  He has acting gigs and a radio show of his own and honestly, his expertise is really best as a manager and business man.  Let’s be real, you got to play to your strengths, and that is his.  Mooch’s role is to be the group member behind the scenes.

    But this leaves me back at square one…Alone behind the mic.  So like I alluded to earlier, the main advice I encourage all of you reading this to take is that, whether it is music or some other dream, it’s easy for people to say they want something. And it seems like it’s even easier to duck out when the real work starts.  I don’t think any of these guys are trying to hurt me…I’m just saying, I don’t  think they have that drive, that calling to succeed like I do.  Well, I’m also convinced that I can’t let their inability to step up stop me from pursuing my hip hop dreams. I’m gonna keep pushing forward…And I’m never gonna give up.

    So when all is said and done, it looks like Mooch and Razer are the only ones standing at the end of the day, and I am grateful for that, even if they’re not behind the mic where I am.  And mark my words, this is the beginning of something great.

    So where do I go now?  Simple, it’s time to get Razer the RZR back behind the mic with me.  Everyone is right.  When we are just screwing around in the studio, the track is ten times better then the competition.  It’s unique, different and a cut above the rest, and that’s just being real.  I’ll keep Mooch behind the scenes, but the real hip hop super group has got to be a duo–Prophet and Razer. It’s time to enact plan B.  It’s time to show Razer that people flooded the email box requesting his return, and it’s time to drag his ass on a stage.

    Cleveland Hip Hop prepare.  B-Sides, next week on Tuesday May 12th.  Be there!

    Midwest Hip Hop Unite

    Prophet The Rebel here with an update on the best in the Midwest hip hop scene.  First off, I have a question: Who is killing it these days behind the boards and making killer beats?  With Dilla gone, and Kanye not returning my nor Razer’s calls, and Dwayne being a blatant, lying S.O.B., it seemed as though we had our backs against the wall this weekend when Razer and I met up to discuss some things.  It all changed when Razer’s HDTV had issues.  What does Razer’s HDTV have to do with hip hop, you ask?

    Here’s the story.  Razer was talking to this guy he sees everyday at his day job.  Usually they talk about xbox 360 or something else meaningless, but this HDTV issue caused their conversation to change direction a bit.

    Razer: Ya well it sucks.  I won’t be seeing you on xbox live for awhile.  But on the bright side, at least I can focus on my hip hop now.

    New Guy: Uhhh hip hop?  What you mean?

    Razer:  Oh I recently got dragged out of retirement and have decided to help out this guy, Prophet The Rebel, put together the best Midwest Hip Hop CD the world has ever seen.  Now that my HDTV’s dead, I can really focus on making this Cleveland hip hop CD. There’s just one problem…Now that I’m ready to devote all of my extra time into this hip hop project, we’ve had to scrap all of the work we’ve done so far because as luck would have it, we don’t have any beats. I got to start from scratch, and now I’ve got all the free time in the world!

    New Guy: Wait…What do you mean you are out of retirement? What’s your name?

    Razer: Well, I was once known as a lil underground Detroit rapper by the name of Razer.

    New Guy: No! You’re  him?  Wait a minute…If you guys need beats, I make beats, man, and I’d love to help you guys out.

    Cue the sound of angels from upon high complete with their cliché white spotlight.

    Razer: You what!? We need to talk son!

    And that is how we met The Katalyst!  Note: He’s a  great up-and-coming Cleveland producer.

    Just when life could not get any better I get a surprise ring on my cell.

    It was my boy Mooch: Remember the radio show in January?

    Proph: Yes, sir.

    Mooch:  Well The Kameleon wants to help and produce music for you.

    I’ll tell you…Life has a funny way of making things happen right when you need them, huh? Right after that, I made plans to go off to church and Razer headed off to synagogue because we both had some major thanking to do.

    It looks as though my Cleveland Hip hop dreams will be coming true after all. Now with beats in place, it’s time to focus on enacting hip hop plan B!  Razer will join a small super group with Chemist, Mooch and myself! (Insert evil laugh).

    Prophet The Rebel, Razer, Mooch, The Katalyst, Chemist and Kameleon will make hip hop history.  Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit have united.

    Mother of All Hip Hop Setbacks

    First, B-Sides goes bad. Then Dwayne shows some hesitation with letting us use his beats. Now we have yet another damn set back!  Like I said in my previous post, I called Dwayne to talk to him about launching his career. I was explaining how Razer has really started to deliver lately. Because of Razer, I have clocked in some studio time, met some major hip hop personalities and really got cracking on the few beats that I have accumulated.

    I thought Dwayne would be psyched to hear this news, but all he said was that he wanted to talk to Razer and get an idea of how serious we were and what we have planned to unleash on the Midwest Hip Hop scene.  So…I got Razer on the phone to give him the 411. He pretty much told Dwayne: We can secure your music, get you legal representation, and copyright your work. I have people I’m setting up for marketing. Mooch is gonna help get the live shows organized, and we can launch your career, help you get a record deal…The whole thing.  A year from now we will all be sitting pretty with record deals, touring, etc.  Everything ends cool.  Before hanging up the phone, Dwayne said that we were alright to use the music, and we planned on meeting the next day to finalize things.

    A half hour later the phone rings, and nothing could prepare me for the bombshell that Dwayne dropped…

    “You’re going to kill me, man.” Dwayne said.

    PROPH: “Why am I going to kill you?”

    He goes on, “Ahh geez, you’re going to kill me. I didn’t think you were serious.  I thought we were just gonna freestyle and talk about becoming stars.  I didn’t think you were serious.  Now you are hanging out with super stars, working in the studio and doing radio shows.”

    PROPH:  “What are you talking about? Calm down, and just tell me what you are talking about!  And how did you not know that I was serious? Look at all the things I gave up. Look at everything I’ve lost.  I lost my girl; I lost my crib; I lost all my equipment and half my friends.  What part of that did you not take seriously?  Now what the hell is the problem?”

    “The beats aren’t mine…I stole them.” He said quickly.

    PROPH:  “What are you talking about?”

    “The beats, I took them from another guy years ago.  You guys can’t use em cause they aren’t mine. They’re his, and he probably sold the rights years ago.”

    We spoke a little longer as he clarified that I hadn’t gone deaf and that I heard him right.  I hung up the phone and just looked at Razer.

    PROPH: “We are fucked!”

    “Huh?” Razer took off his head phones and looked at me.

    PROPH:  “Dwayne lied…He stole the beats.”

    “Which ones?” Razer asked.

    PROPH:  “All of em! The entire CD is shot, and all those weeks of work and writing are for nothing.  We have no CD, no beats, and we are now way behind on the deadline.  Dammit, we’re broke and don’t have time to start beats from scratch, and Chemist can’t make that many quality beats in time, we’re done.  Screwed…I’m gonna kill him.”

    Razer just laughed. “Well, at least we found out halfway through the CD’s rough drafts rather then in court after we pressed the damn thing.  No one said this would be easy, and you got to expect some speed bumps.  We just gotta look at this as an opportunity. Now we can buy or make better beats…You keep telling me to get back in the game. And I definitely believe in this project! Do you think this is gonna stop us?”

    I was taken aback by how calm he was.  I guess that’s what experience in this industry can do to a person.  Razer just took it in stride.

    “I got your back, man.  I believe in you, and I won’t let you fail.” He said.  “Now get your ass home and practice your spoken word, you have a date with B-Sides, and you are going to blow them away this Tuesday!”

    A Cleveland Hip Hop Intervention: Razer – Plan B

    Alright, listen up! Prophet The Rebel needs your help.

    Plan B: I created an e-mail account. (It sounds weird, but hear me out!)

    Now I know that lots of you out there may not know who this guy, Razer The RZR is…You may not even have his CD…But if you follow this hip hop blog, then you know how serious I am about bringing this cat on board with me.  I’ve lost everything to follow this dream, and I need Razer to be part of this Cleveland underground group.  Trust me…Razer has the skills that we need.  He’s got one of the most unique voices and edgy flows I have ever heard. He”s got experience in the indie-hip hop scene, he has connections, and he has a studio. Translation = Prophet The Rebel NEEDS Razer.

    So I’m thinking…Whether you have heard of Razer or not, if we can flood this new email inbox I just created with letters from you guys telling him to come out of retirement…Then maybe he’ll start believing what I believe…That there is a legitimate, growing interest in this whole Midwest hip hop project, and it’s not gonna fail because there are people out there (like you) reading this hip hop blog who believe in this project and what it represents–transcending all hip hop genres and coming out with a real conscious hip hop sound that is both poetic and makes you want to bob your head.  The perfect blend of fun and purpose.

    So…I’m asking you all to help me make it loud and clear to Razer that people really do want to hear us, and they want to see what we have to offer the hip hop industry.  If you do me this one small favor, by the time we come back from our “meet and greet” tour, I should have an inbox full of messages to give him, and we won’t be able ignore them.

    It’s time to put the Hip Hop Intervention Plan B into motion!

    Please email: convincerazer@gmail.com and tell him to come out of rap retirement.

    Oh yeah, and feel free to comment on the blog too! The more  messages I have to show him, the better! I need all the help I can get!

    P.S. – I plan to start going to B-Sides’ Hip Hop Open Mic next week Tuesday, April 7th.  I may be a bit tired from my days of traveling, but I’ll do my best to drag myself there.  Email me or leave a comment if you want to meet up with me for my semi-Cleveland Hip Hop debut.

    P.S.S. By the way…Man, I’ve got some stories for you, but I have to wait a bit.  Let me tell you this though…So far, Razer’s has really helped me meet some amazing people.  Him and Mooch have been a Godsend, no joke.  Oh and be sure to Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates: @ProphetTheRebel.

    A Cleveland Hip Hop Intervention

    So last night, I grabbed my boy Mooch and Chemist and headed over to meet up with Razer when he got off work.  He opened the door, a bit surprised, but probably knew exactly what I was up to.  I asked him if we could talk, and we were off.  The four of us sat in his living room while his wife did her thing in the other room.  (On a side note I really couldn’t believe how great she/they were. I’m used to couples being on different planes; women being a bit, how do you say this, pushy, not supportive and sleeping with other men.  I am not used to seeing a couple who are best friends, maybe for the exception of Mooch and his girl.)

    Now where was I? Oh yeah, we made our midwest hip hop case, played some of Chemist’s beats, told him about our hip hop dream, how we are ready to put in the time and that if we all come together, if we all support each other and push each other, we can really do this.  We all had something unique to offer in this rap game.  We all could come together and make this work, taking the best of Detroit and Cleveland, mixing it together and launching all of our careers.    All throughout the talk, I could see something was still alive in Razer.  You know what I’m talking about, right? You can see that look in a person’s eyes when he has a passion for music, and no matter what Razer says its still there.

    Of course, he asked a lot of questions: So Chemist makes all your beats? What style do you wanna tackle? Have you guys recorded before? Who produces?  Do you know how stressful this is? We may step on each other toes (note the “we”), and do you realize how much work is involved? Are you ready for backlash and criticism when we don’t stick with the typical hip hop genre? (Note the use of “we” again.)

    “I watched a lot of great bands and rappers fail, myself included, and if you guys are serious,this is going to take a level of professionalism the likes of which have been unheard of.  We can’t half ass anything.”

    So I told him…Well, you said you have people who can help with marketing. You can produce. I have two beat makers, a manager, and I know some skilled emcees. All I ask  is for you to step back on the mic and join this group.  I want to make one hip hop super group: Razer, Chemist, Mooch, Prophet & Dwayne.  Then we all focus on our independent rap albums, each with the freedom to tackle their own style.  Aside from wanting you in this group…You, Razer, need to get back on the mic as a solo artist.  Come on, we can do this!

    After two hours I finally broke him down…a bit.  He agreed to help with the technical aspects of our studio and advise on production but said he was still retired from being an MC.

    “Sorry bro, I’m done with trying to be a hip hop star.  I’ll help in anyway I can, but I am no rapper…Not any more.”  Luckily, as a result of this sit-down, Razer agreed to help us by going on a trip with me.  We are going to use his and Mooch’s connections to meet up with some people in the industry over the next few weeks.  I’m not sure who he has in mind but I can’t wait.  I knew this hip hop dream would all come together once we got this cat involved!

    Now off to start plan B.  I promise you…Razer will come out of retirement!