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!”

    Razer Hip Hop Two Cents

    So Razer The RZR calls me up this week and says,  “What’s up Proph? How was B-sides, and are you ready to go on our next lil trip?  It should only take a day to get up to this studio, and this guy is psyched to hear you do your thing!  I’m not even gonna tell ya who it is cause you’ll flip.”

    Remembering that horrible night at B-Sides and how I thought the hip hop sky was falling, I responded: “I don’t know man.  I’m just not feeling it right now.”

    I told him the whole story and waited to hear him tell me how much I blew it or how there will be other days or something.  But he didn’t.  In fact…his take was entirely different from what I had expected.  He said simply said, “So?!”

    Proph :  “Uh what do you mean, so?”

    Razer :  “I mean so what!?  Look, it was just a battle, just freestyling…So what?!  Come on, it’s not talked about much, but you and I both know that the truth is 75% (if not more) of “freestyling and battling” is pre-written or pre-practiced rhymes.  MC’s go into their mental rolodex and grab a line here or rhyme there and paste together a flow in some juvenile attempt to make the other MC look bad (minus maybe you and a select few others.)  After all, who the hell else can rap about Star Wars on the cuff like you pulled off on the radio.  That was crazy and hilarious!”

    Then he went on, “You know what? Freestyles don’t sell!  At best, freestyles are what their name implies, “free.”  I (Razer The RZR) got tired of hearing my rhymes on other peoples stuff  back in the days, but what do you expect when you hand out freestyles?  People aren’t downloading freestyles onto their Zunes and iPods. They aren’t played on the radio, and they don’t make music videos to them.  The hours rappers put into crafting their mental rolodex could be better spent working on song structure, learning how to write a hook and how to best “ride” a beat.  Nas said it best man, ‘Hip hop needs to grow up.’  We need to focus on the music, not on lyrical cock-measuring contests.  So you got beat in a meaningless freestyle.  But can you write better then him? Can you compose a more meaningful rhyme?  There is a reason why people like Nas and Saul Williams grab a pen and a pad and take time crafting a song…Because their rhymes are poetic hip hop masterpieces.”

    Razer finished up by saying something like this: “You want to be a legend or battle on the streets for the rest of your life?  You want to be a rapper or an artist? A battler or a hip hop poet?  Oh and as for that review, just never let it happen again.  Work so damn hard, practice so damn much that critics may be able to say they don’t like your music. After all, not everyone’s taste is the same. But they will never doubt your drive, determination and sacrifice to the art.  That’s just my hip hop two cents!”

    So I admit…He may have a point.  It kind of picked me back up. I ended up telling him: “You know…You may be right.  I’ll be ready in a few hours to head out.  And with that I am off to hand out, network and meet some more people in the “Industry.”

    But I’m also interested in hearing my Punk Revolution Blog readers’ take…What’s your 2 cents?

    Drop me a comment.

    Detroit Hip Hop Meets Cleveland Hip Hop, Razer – Part 1

    Man, do I have a killer midwest hip hop story for you!  Acting in this play has been eating up most of my time, so I’m gonna have to break this story into parts.

    The day after my last post,  Razer was working again.  I walked right into the store and called out, “What’s up Razer”? Right when he turned around, my boy snapped a pic.  I think that this time he knew the gig was up, and I think he was possibly a bit embarrassed as the other guys at work were like “uhhhh wtf?!”

    I started into to him with the questions immediately. “What the hell!?”  I said.  “What happened to you?  Where have you been, and why didn’t you say anything when I told you what I was doing?  Come on, Detroit Hip Hop at it’s finest is here in Cleveland, and you’re not going to say a word when I tell you about my hip hop dreams?

    “I’m retired from hip hop,” He said. “Rapping is in my past.”

    “Your past my ass! Why were you with Matisyahu at HOB?  Hmmmm?” I challenged him. “Plus it’s in you, you can’t just walk away from your calling. Hip hop is who you are, and you just can’t change who you are, especially when you just started picking up steam.”

    He avoided my prying with “I wasn’t hanging out with Matisyahu, I was just there that night.” (Right, that’s why you came from back stage); and “I’m really not interested in picking up the mic again.”

    Why not?”  I asked.

    He then turns to the boss and asks to take a break so we can walk around and discuss this whole thing.  He lit up a cigar as we walked out. “I don’t usually smoke but a few times a year a really nice cigar crosses my path and, well, I indulge.  You don’t mind do you?”

    “Of course not. You don’t mind if my boy nabs a few pics do you…for my blog, do you?”     “Uhhh, I guess not as long as I see what you’re doing with them first.”

    And that was that, we ended up talking for about 15 minutes, most of it him saying that he really isn’t into that whole scene these days and trying to avoid my questions.  But I was persistent and refused to take no for an answer.  I’m going to find out the truth behind this Detroit Hip Hop emcee one way or another.  Then I’m going to do anything in my power to un-retire (Is that a word?) this supposedly retired underground rapper.  Cleveland and Detroit hip hop will unite damnit!

    I got him to the point where he sighed and said, “Look, meet me after I get off work, and we can talk some more.”

    And that my friends is where this hip hop story gets interesting.

    So, you wanna do me a big favor? I’m leaking Razer’s Twitter account he gave me the other day. It’s @Razer_theRZR. Go bug the hell out of him to start rapping again…Just don’t tell him I sent you.

    Unfortunately for now I really got to run. I’m exhausted from this weekend’s round of performances. (Side note: Isn’t it weird how once you’re name starts appearing in the papers as an up-and-coming actor, all the people you never got along with in the past decides to suddenly pick up the phone and want to talk to you? My uncle literally called looking for me…Apparently, he saw one of my acting reviews in the paper, and he wants to be my manager now. I guess this fakeness just goes with the territory, huh? Everyone wants a piece of the pie when someone’s onto something big.)

    So without further adieu, here’s a shot Razer and me to prove that I am not a total moron, and he really does look different that how I remembered him.  If you still don’t believe me, then compare it to Razer’s MySpace pic. After you see that one, you really can’t blame me for not putting two and two together.

    Prophet and Razer

    Prophet and Razer

    Oh yeah, and remember how I said I was working on getting some of my free styling stuff up on my MySpace page? Well, it’s finally up! I put a couple of my free styling sessions from when I was on the Rusty Munchyz Show awhile back.

    Check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/prophettherebelofficial. Let me know what you think about them too! I need some comment love on the blog!

    Prophet on the Radio

    I don’t get it, tomorrow’s show will be just like last week, except I know well in advance this time.  Yet, for some reason, I am more nervous.  Why? I’m not sure.  Maybe it’s kind of finally sinking in that I made a decision to change my life this year, and it’s getting off on the right foot.  Maybe it’s because the girl I have been seeing planted a bit of doubt in my mind.

    “Don’t get too excited, it’s just a radio show, and I doubt anyone important will be listening.” She told me. “And if they are listening, well, you’re good, but I’m not sure if you’re that good to get signed off a little radio stint.”

    Great, thanks!

    Or maybe I’m more nervous because I’m starting to sense that some of my crew is giving me the cold shoulder.  It’s like whatever I do, it’s not good enough for them, and if I switch it up and do EXACTLY as they ask, I still get negative feedback.

    – We should make music; I can’t believe you’re spending all your time making music and being on the radio. You need to just chill.

    – We should be original; your writing style seems a bit different.  I’m not into it that much.

    – We should be Mid West Hip Hop; that track sounds like its been done before.

    – We need to make it no matter what; you’re a sell out with all your connections and catchy hooks.

    I’m rambling, I know, and maybe not even making sense, but I had to vent for a second.  Peoples love-hate relationship with me gets me a little twisted sometimes, but I have 24 hours to get my head on right.  I’m sure tomorrow will be fine.

    Hopefully some of you out there will listen and maybe even call in.

    WCSB 89.3 11am-12:30pm Rusty Munchyz Show

    Feel free to boost my confidence and tell me how great the show is going or see if you can give me an on air complex by telling me how much I suck on the air.  Either way, it should be a good time.

    2009 Off With a Bang

    So  my boy Mooch asked me to come onto his Rusty Munchyz radio show Friday as a guest speaker. It sounded kinda cool, so I went. Little did I know that Lucid (Chris and Rob) was also going to be on the show. They’ve been making waves recently on the Cleveland music scene, and it was cool talking with them and listening to their stuff. They pretty much did an acoustic performance throughout the entire piece.

    Then they asked me to freestyle while they were playing on air. I agreed, and the next thing I know, 15 minutes has gone by, and they’re lovin my flow.  It was real cool. Then after the show, Rob and Chris asked me to come this week and record a couple of feature spots for Lucid.

    I know I made that prior post announcing that 2009 was gonna be different for me, but I wasn’t expecting things to change THIS fast. Damn. It’s cool though. I’m ready for it.

    Oh yeah, and if you want to know more about Prophet (aka The Rebel), then check me out next Friday on WCSB 89.3 FM from 11am-12:30pm cos I’ve got an in-studio interview scheduled then.