text reads: I’m Home.
Groggy I throw on a white tshirt and my army green jeans and stumble, first on foot then on wheels to dinner with some talented individuals. Under the bright orange moonlight they spill out the impala like they haven’t a care in the world. Strenph, DreadEyez and LowerCase, three members of the Shuttle Life/ Metro Zu millitia. Strenph and DreadEyez, the no-nonsense Rastafarian brethren whose lyrical prowess will soon gain them a massive following to add to their already growing fanbase with a performance at this years Art Basel Miami greet me with all the familiarity of family, though I’ve only known them for a week or so. A stark juxtaposition places young LowerCase, born Alexandro Colon, just behind them.
We were welcomed into the home by a vuluptuous, Helen of Troy type beautiful Puerto Ricana. As we filed into the house one by one, she greeted us each with a warm hug and kiss in true latina style. We sat around a quaint glass dinner table and fed on a vegetarian pasta, salad and whole grain bread dinner. The conversation took us from the calming effect of owning an aquarium, to people’s uncanny similarities to ants. (For each, when you cut them off from their leaders they have no idea what their next step should be). We also talked about our art, for each of us is a poet, and where we were headed. This is no small thing. in order to become that which you truly desire, you must surround yourself with people who are after the same things. These men want the same out of life as I do: to use our ability to manipulate words and phrases to both change the world and leave our mark on forever. So to break bread with these like minds may seem like a trivial act, it really is nothing short of the building of an alliance.
VILLAGE SOUTH STUDIO
So after dinner, DreadEyes had some things to tend to, and that left Strenph, Lowercase and me ready for whatever came next. Just as spontaneous as the first time he asked, Strenph turned to us, and with a quick “Wanna record?’ we were piled in the Impala headed to meet up with KHRUM, another militia member, at LowerCase’s studio in his Kendall home. Between dinner and the drive to his house, I learned a few things about this kid. First, he was headstrong, whatever he believed in he went for. As a teacher, I would normally be upset with a 17 year old who says they “dropped out”. But this wasn’t so with LowerCase. The thing is, most kids drop out because school proves too much for them, for Colon, it wasn’t enough. That was apparent. I have worked with and met many kids his age, but he clearly stands out. Next, he has a maturity that comes from what my grandmother would dub an “old soul” but the je ne sais quoi – aka swagger – of the coolest kid on the block. He doesn’t like Shakespeare, but stream of consciousness literature, think Faulkner, speaks to him; which says something – as most people have a difficult time even comprehending that type of literature. Last, this kid is on fire. He just has it, whatever it is.
Maybe it’s his don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, or the fact that when most people try to be “hood” in the hip-hop industry, he’s “holding down the suburbs” that make him stand out, but it’s his talent that’ll hold your attention. A truly gifted lyricist LowerCase freestyles most of his work. After bumming on his futon for what seemed only moments he located a beat for us, did a few takes and had something ready for me to jump on. Not to mention Khrum and Strenph were both furiously writing and spitting on either side of me as we watched LowerCase have his go on the mic. At first I felt like I couldn’t keep up. Here was this kid, damn near ten years my junior, finished with his piece when I had one line scribed. So, I took a breath, told him i’d just free style it as well and he and Strenph set me up. As I sat there, still as new and unexperienced as i was last time, there was a comforting aura from LowerCase as he adjusted the mic and told me to take my time. I looked at him and was ok with the fact that someone who would have failed my English class was directing me. “Just relax” he said through a Loki – like grin as he handed me the headphones. And I did. The first attempt was a wreck, I’ll admit, but the second take came so naturally. I took into account all of the things LowerCase said that night, how he wanted to spend more time on his craft, how hungry he was to make it, how he’s doing it all knowing he’s being immortalized with every track and I SPOKE on his behalf to every complacent individual on the planet.
and Boom Pow. the student became the teacher. and i have attained another muse.