THG interviews Cedric Umoja. Cedric is a Columbia-based multidisciplinary artist and poet who seeks to implement alchemical change through the use of letter forms and archetypal totems. He bridges the ancient and the future in his drawings, paintings, murals, sculptures, film and installation work. Cedric was drawn to art at an early age with hip-hop comic books being his biggest influence. His work features elements of Graffiti, comic sequential art, Japanese Manga, Modern and African Art.
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Episode 41 Cedric Umoja_mixdown
[00:00:00] We talked to artists on our podcast. And we love to talk to local artists about what made them move into a creative field, especially because with you coming from a military family background, was it, were they supportive with you in your creation of your career? And I know that the story you started with at the beginning with your uncle saying you didn't draw that you traced it thing, you traced it, like how important is, was art or is art to your family?
Well, actually, I mean saying it was my granddad, but actually it was, it was all good, but it, but actually it was hip hop really because in the beginning, it, I don't know, like, like, because I am, you know, I'm gonna just say, because I am of a certain age and from a certain era, I don't really know how other people got into the culture, but I think at a certain point.
and you know, I say maybe the third [00:01:00] phase, beginning, the third phase and the end of the second phase of like hip hop music. What's the, what's the, can you explain to our audience what, how you break down the phases like first and second phase? Well, well, for me, it's like the first phase would be like, you know like, like like grand flash and those guys.
Okay. But we would call old school, but now it's the, and the technique. Yeah. I call it like the, yeah, like the inception of hiphop, you know what I'm saying? Well, I mean, the conception, hiphop where hip hop is like, kind like, this is like the beginning where the MC now takes the forefront instead of the DJ instead the DJ.
Right. So you have the MC, so now you have the beginning of the MC and that's like, to me, that's like first phases and the second phase is like run DMC. KU J okay. When Russell and them got involved and started like pushing the culture in different ways, you know, that brought about like the third phase to me, which is everybody calls the golden era.
Ah, I see how you bring that smooth. Okay. Yeah. [00:02:00] So like the beginning. So like for me, I was influenced by the second wave or whatever, but no, but those guys, people that was playing it were influenced by the first wave of guys, but listening to the second wave of guys, you know? So anyway, yeah. He was seeing this stuff you were seeing, like I was seeing, you know, seeing graffiti, I was seeing like people rapping.
I was seeing DJs, you know, I was seeing all the other coach. I was seen breakers. So, you know, being around that, what do you wanna do you wanna do that? Yeah. so I'm trying to break I'm like that. Ain't for me, , I'm a big guy, even, even kinda young. I was kind of big. So I'm like, you know, I that's not for me.
I, I respected the DJing. And I loved the music, but I couldn't, I didn't have access to equipment. It was expensive. Yes. Yeah. So I couldn't, I couldn't get down with that. So the two things I could get down, what, what, it was like graffiti in some form of graffiti and and MC so I actually [00:03:00] wrote raps and rap for a while in always, you know, played with art, played with graffiti, my own way of seeing things.
And that tend to influence how I began to get into art. Because at that point I was like, this makes the most sense to me overall, this makes the most sense, sense to me. And it was the one thing I continued to do. So but, but, but rapping and writing raps that made me wanna write more than anything. It made me wanna write.
So I began like writing short stories and all this poems and stuff like that, but I stayed with the visual art and I kept pushing that. Kept pushing it and kept pushing it. And I was like, this is what I'm here to do. This is my thing. And eventually it led me to take what I was doing and find ways to fine tune it and make it mine.
No matter who was giving me instructions or what [00:04:00] schools I intended, it didn't matter. Like, I was still interested in making this thing mine, like, how do I make this mine? How do I make this thing? Cause keep in mind, I'm coming from the era where if you were copying or, you know, biting, it was not allowed like true.
Right, right, right. Seriously. Like it was serious. Like back in, you could catch a, you would, you would, you would, you would, you would catch. Yeah. You definitely would. You'd catch one quick. If you was copying, if you was biting it from, from, from everything. So like the culture used to be like be original.
Yeah. Even when dressing like yeah. Oh yeah. Will like be original. What, what was your MC name? Trying to think, man, I was wow. I didn't, I just went by and a lot of people who know me from like some time ago and particularly during those days knew me by that, by the name Tai cuz I was, Hey, I was still 5%, you know what I'm saying?
Yeah. So, yeah, exactly. [00:05:00] So they was like, oh, okay. Yeah. You know, so I just went by Tahi is what I used to go by. But I mean like some of the brothers that, that was older than me that was producing music, I was you know, they, they were the ones that, that really influenced me like, oh yeah. You know, so we were form ciphers, but they got even more serious to the point that it wasn't just Syphers.
It was like, you know, we're recording music. Mm-hmm , you know what I'm saying? And new people that were, you know, in the industry. So like a lot of people don't know, some people, some people do digit do diligence and he did the knowledge, you know, that DJ eclipse. It's from here. What a lot of people don't know that.
Yeah. Eclipse. So I knew, I knew people that was from his cipher or whatever, they was in the same cipher. So they was like, they would go back and forth between here in New York cuz you know, eclipse went to fat beats and he was doing stuff at fat beats and then like eclipse has what he has a show on shade four, five now.
Yeah. But I'm the point just is like, we was always tapped in, in some way. Like a lot of people don't know [00:06:00] like parts, people were parts of the Wutang clan they're from this area mm-hmm they're from around this area Wutang clan. So I was hearing Wutang clan music before anybody else was right. Okay. Yeah.
Like we had somebody in our, in the group that was older that he went by son, son magnetic and son was signed the priority records and son was he was being produced by one of the brothers who was making tracks for some of the younger heads like me at the time, you know? So we was always the surrounded.
In that way too. You know what I mean? So that influenced me to want be like, yeah, you know what I mean? I want, I want to get on here and do this. And I felt like I had bars I felt like I had bars. You know what I mean? I was right. I felt like I had bars. I had some lines. I, I really just wanted to battle more than anything.
Yeah. You know, battle. And that's a big sport. It's a big sport now what, what it is. But I, I think it, you know, it's always elements taken out. Yeah. Cause I [00:07:00] consider myself to be a B boy, more, anything else? I'm a B boy. Oh wow. Even to this day, you know what I'm saying? And every now and then I show it, you might see me do the pose or whatever, you know, the B boy poses.
But the interesting thing about the B boy pose is it actually came from 5% of standing on a square. Exactly. Understand like hiphop culture is heavily in. Yeah. It is heavily influenced by the 5% nation. Whether people want admit it or not, like the Bboy stands. It's 5% of standing on. They square the, the, the cats who was in the hip hop saw that because.
Five percenters would show up to decipher like that. And they thought that was cool. You know what I'm saying? Yeah. So they started like copy, even with saying peace, people say peace, that's 5% culture, you know what I'm saying? And of course all that means is, you know, the absence of confusion. But we just it just so incorporated that I was like, I got into the culture, like I'm really a product of the culture itself and not, and not so much facets of the culture though.
Those things do, you know, they're around us, they surround us [00:08:00] and we might find ourselves somewhat delving into those things. I'm not really are more so about the culture itself and still those elements that's out there like that, you know, that's a good point, man. Yeah. Yeah. But it led me to the visual stuff.
It all led me to being, being a visual artist to that point, you know? And how did you get the name? Visual Alchemist. Visual Alchemist. Yeah, that's kinda wild. Okay. He going back visual ALS did. He did a little research on now when I feel visual, visual Alchemist was I always felt like I was doing something that was, I was bringing these ideas.
I was manifesting these ideas physically in the physical form or whatever, and then, you know, making people, or having people feel what I was doing from the mind. So I was like, I'm taking these visual ideas and Alka and Al Alka. Is that a word? Mizing am I making up a word? Hey, let's make it up. Making up.
Yeah, no, it's alchemy. We make it all up, making it [00:09:00] up. You know what I'm saying? So anyways, that's yeah. That's, that's what I did. So people started feeling what I was doing, like literally feeling like would be like, I saw that it made me cry. I'm like, whoa, you know what I'm saying? Like the power of that.
And so At the time I was part of IMS art I hoped to found it, me and Davin, Spann and Davin was we were having a conversation and Davin was like we were back and forth and I was like, cuz he was helping me develop our business card. I said, wait, what should we, how should I do this? You know, I'm I consider myself to be a visual Alchemist.
He was like, put that on the car then , you know what I'm saying? And that pretty much was where it was at. Let's do that. You know what I'm saying? Yeah. That makes sense. Let's do that. And I was like, yeah, yeah. I, I think that works. You know what I'm saying? And, and for the longest time, that's where it's at now.
I can like, like in true hip hop form and more so like more so like Wang. So say like ghost or somebody. I consider myself to be a visual Alchemist, a black wizard you know a, a, a visual B boy, all these, you [00:10:00] know, all these attributes now is kind of like what I've become, you know, and almost like personalities in a way, like who I'm gonna be today.
Oh, I'm gonna be the. I'm gonna be the B I'm be the VI, the visual be you gonna see me come out here, looking all this kind of way. All these kinda wave, you know what I'm saying? Being influenced, you know, by elements of the culture that really like stood out like around LZ, who really was, who really influenced me, you know, beyond the people that were mentioned, you know?
Yeah. Previously, you know, like, like really he found a way to bring it all together and really create a world of, of his own. And that's what I've always tried to do, create a world of my own. So like the visual is thing was like, let's create a world, you know what I'm saying? You already touching people in these ways, you know, let's further create this world and bring people in, you know, you created it.
Cuz when I see your artwork, I already know it's you. I was like that. That's so like no lie. Oh thank you. Thank you. And you know what? I'm gonna be real with you. Whether people feel it or not like that [00:11:00] would, it's important that people feel it. But if they don't feel it, if they just tell me, I knew that was you.
And you got like the very first beginnings of it, cuz really I want you to feel like that's me. I want you to feel like when you see that that's that dude and it's nobody else. And if you saw anybody else doing it, you'd be like, oh, they biting him. Right. That is crazy. You, nah, that's not a lie. You really kept that, that part of hip hop where you're really trying to how would you say it?
You're trying to be you're you're being groundbreaking. You're trying to find something new. Almost like jazz artists back in the day when they were going through the Avan Gar pit, they're trying to find new notes that didn't exist. Right. And put it on a, put on a platform, let people see, Hey, there's still more to the world than what meets the eye, you know, word.
Yeah, for real. But see here's the thing you brought that up. Like, so when people started talking about what hip hop started and it's always this big argument. Where hip hop, it started in the Bronx. nah, [00:12:00] gee, it did not start in the Bronx. It got cultivated in the Bronx. True. Where it really started at it started long before that it actually started in Africa, but let's just say that when it touched grounds here, it started with like gospel.
It started with blues, it started with, you know, jazz and rock and roll. That's how we gotta hop. You know what I'm saying? Mm-hmm if we gonna be real about it, because how you gonna really know as far as like, if you're in something, how you really gonna know how that's supposed to operate, if you don't have the knowledge of the foundation where it started from, know what I'm, that's gonna give you pretty much the guidelines on, you know, how you function in that particular space.
You know what I mean? So true talk, true talk. Yeah. No, let's let's if you don't mind, I wanna, I wanna kind of dig a little bit into what you do in your art and, and some of the relations to hip hop too, cuz like we're really kind of. Talking about the, the esoteric nature of the foundations of hip hop.
And it seems like, like you kind of [00:13:00] expound upon that and are not shied away from it at all. This is, this is kind of like, like your form, right? It is. And I know I've heard people like, like KRS one speaks about it sometimes about like, you know, actually creating new archetypes where there was a, a void where, you know, there, there, there were people that you could idolize and make heroes of.
But that idea of there being this, this kind of like power entity that wasn't necessarily this exact person, it was something that you invented and then tapped into very tantric. And I kind of get that sense from a lot of your work. How did you, how did you get to that? I mean, I, you talked about the five percenters and, and, and that path there, but.
Like you messing with some things, man. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. So yeah, I'm messing with plenty things. So like, I'd say like everything I studied because the one thing it always taught us was we was, the lessons always taught us. We were [00:14:00] always taught, was like teach, teach, teach, teach. Right. So I decided to take lessons, take my life lessons, take the lessons I learned from my elders lessons.
I learned from those around me and then started to try to put that into the work, find ways to put that into work in my own language, my own visual language, you know what I'm saying? And I think that that's where it started from. But keep in mind, I'm a true product in the nineties. So in the nineties, what else was out there?
Like people was doing everything like, so the whole idea, this , I'm kind of terrific. Cuz I'm like First of all, you gotta, excuse me, I'm gonna say this, this to kind of break out and get back to it. Like, I never thought I'd be this age. First of all, I never thought I'd even get in, in my forties at all.
Right. Because the lifestyle that I was living, but also what we was taught, like the music we grew up on. Yeah. The culture that we was around is those aspects of that culture kind of like, you know, put us in the position where you might not be here because you end the things that will, you [00:15:00] know, I'm saying I'm a true product of it.
So I'm around, I'm around like, I'm like one of my friends, his family were in the Nian nation and then eventually they, the Nian nation became the new Yian nation. Some people know the new w and all this stuff. So like from DRS to Yian nation to 5% nation to all these, like all these movements that really taught people about themselves in some way.
You know, I'm a combination of those things, but also too, it's like, like. I stopped. Like, I didn't talk about it. I wasn't as vocal about it anymore. Cause I started putting into my work, but I started to see where, you know some years back we got into this whole concept of woke. Yeah. And I thought it was, I thought it was dope, but I thought it was kind of funny cuz I had people coming up to me telling me things and I was like, yeah, I knew that when I was 15, know what I'm saying?
I'm saying not this. I'm just being like being a hundred percent honest, like woke and then there's woke and then there's woke. He woke whoa, whoa for this shit. Yeah. Yeah. You know what I'm saying? And I'm [00:16:00] like, I knew that since I was 15, I just don't go beating people in the head. Exactly. Cause I'm not a newborn in it.
Yeah. When you knew you do that, when you're, it's like a new vegan, like I was vegan, I was vegan. Like I'm not vegan no more. But I was speaking for 15 years before people thought it was cool. Mm-hmm , it's not a bragging thing. It just, that was a product of that. All that stuff was a product of that. So to see it, you know, kind of see it return too.
And you being a different space in your life and then the new heads coming up to you saying this stuff, you kind of like, you wanna big it up, but then you kind like wanna laugh because like. You're talk, you're preaching to the choir. I just made different moves because, you know, I felt like, you know, to be honest, not necessarily veganism anything else, I just kind of got tired of, you know, in those environments, sometimes people could be self righteous, you know what I mean?
And being self righteous, they looking down on people, right? Yeah. You looking down instead of helping people come up, you looking down on. So I was like, I don't really want to be associated with that so much anymore. Not that I, not that I don't still do it. I do it. And I do it in a way that's not so preachy and not so like, you know, [00:17:00] destructive to people want to communicate with each other, you know what I mean?
Yeah. So, yeah. But yeah, I'm a product of that. So being a product of that, it was, it was easy for me to find ways to incorporate that into what I was doing. I think to some people, you know, I represent, I, I mean actually to a lot of people that know me, they, they feel like I represent hiphop, which I'm glad that that's how they feel.
You know what I'm saying? Cause I'm definitely a product of you go to my. You go on my Instagram page, you know, looking at, you know, my face and everything you're gonna see right there. Hiphop practitioner. Yeah. Mm-hmm yeah. I practice a culture practitioner. You know what I'm saying? Yep. I'm a practitioner of the culture itself, so, you know, and it's a whole different thing.
And so I'm also here to be like, I'll be unofficial ambassador as well for it. You know what I'm saying? So, because you gotta think like this, like where I'm at in my practice now is Afro futurism, but it had always been cuz hiphop is Afrofuturism. That's true. Like, you know, [00:18:00] think about this, right? Think about this.
Some, some kids got together. They were kids still, even at 20. Oh yeah. Some kids got together and created something from nothing for kids in the future. Good point. You understand? Like kids got no instruments, invent an instrument. No beats make the beats pause tapes. Yes. and guess what? I did all that. I did pause tapes and everything.
So I went, I lived, I lived the culture out, so, but it was like, kids did this for kids. Yeah, you're right. So now we have it today. We have it today. And, and they say it's youth based. It is youth based because kids made it. Yeah. But it, it is a culture and the culture has elders in it. So we have to understand that too.
That's a hard thing for just kick out our culture, culture. That's hard for our culture to get over right now because we don't treat the elders and hip hop culture. Like the rolling stones get treated or like a Bob Dylan. Exactly. They don't get that sanction, but we should. [00:19:00] Yeah. Yeah. But we should because they paved the way and they laid the foundation for it to even exist now, you know what I mean?
And so like, for me, it's like, yeah, I want I'm, you know, I see it all the way around those kids did that for kids in the future, to be able to do it for kids in the future, to be able for kids in this present, that was the future. To be able to do it for kids in the future. No. Why it's something that will continue, you know what I'm saying?
But we have to decide how it functions in that way. And we are all like anybody who's, you know, actively participating in some way can all contribute, you know, either in a positive, negative, I guess it just depends on where you wanna stand at in it. But, you know, for me, I wanna see it flourish because of what it did and what it, what it did and what it continues to do, you know?
Mm. So, yeah. Very good point, man. I, I do want jump into this, this next question, cuz I, I want, I want our audience to understand, [00:20:00] especially for somebody who has been entrenched in the culture for, for long enough to, like you said, to actually see it grow, to see it grow from one point to another and go through different eras of it.
You work as an artist. Could you give us a rundown of a typical day in your life as an artist. This is something people don't get to see, like knowing. We just think that you all go through cool things, hang out at cool places. See all the, the, the, the, you know, the, the, the good movies about, of the city and then boom stuff pops out that you make.
And then we get, and we consume it. How does it really happen? Like, what do you do? Do you, do you brush your teeth in the morning? and you know what? I don't think I brush him this morning as it
Nah yeah. Yeah. I mean, a typical day would be usually is like, you know, you get up, get up out of bed. Like for me, sometimes I do inter minute fast. And so I don't, I don't eat when I get up. I don't eat when I get up, I might drink some water, but I'll get up, [00:21:00] gather myself, go out to my studio space, look at what I left from the previous day and decide what I want to tackle.
And so you are right. Like it, cause it really is a whole bunch of you being by yourself. It's like the fortunes solitude type of vibe, you know what I mean? Yeah. Like you by yourself, like trying to figure it out, troubleshooting, you know, beating your head, listening to music, you know? And just trying to figure out what works, what doesn't work, you know?
And the truth of the matter is that part is really boring. That's why people really boring. They don't know that. No one knows that. Yeah. it's but it's work. I mean, it's work like you like the work. So I shouldn't say that. I don't love the work. I love the work, but you already know what it's gonna consist of.
It's work. You know what I mean? So you gonna go in and like some days you're gonna feel good about it cuz you near it finishing point or you hit a high point in work where you're like, it's come together now. You know what I'm saying? You might, you might, you know, you might do a dance two up in the spot.
Like yeah, I got this, you know what I, but then you're [00:22:00] like back to the work and you get back to the work. And like for me, I tell you for me, for me, it's always like, and. Like for me, it's always like finishing the work and I'm, I'm already finishing the work in my head. So I already know, like before I start a piece, I already know what it looks like finished.
Wow. Oh, okay. You know what I'm saying? Cause I go through it in mind first, so I go through and get it done and then yeah. Then, then make it physical. And then by the time I'm working on it in the physical, I'm like thinking about the celebration, which is all, which is the opening reception. Yeah. Right. So the opening reception is where you wanna flex at, you know, get fly, you know what I mean?
Be on your fly and be on your fly shit and everything else. Like you really want to be like, I'm out here, you know, and this is what I did, but the, the other part of it is, you know, like, like I said, it can be really boring. You know, but you had to have all those steps, you know, to go through it. And there are times when I'm making work that I already know, I'm like, it's gonna hit, it's gonna hit people.
It's gonna hit people. How do you, how do you hold back the excitement and, and continue the process before? Like how do you deal with that? [00:23:00] When you know, you got something that's gonna hit. It's like uh, , I'm kind of laughing. Cause it's like kind of like the nerdy dude in the corner, rubbing his hands together.
Like I got something. Yeah. I can't wait. You know what I'm saying? Like you, like, I got it. I can't wait. I can't wait, wait til they wait til they get, wait til they get this. They don't even know what they, what they about to get hit in the head with, I got this. Right. You know what I'm that's how I be thinking, man, like really?
I'd be thinking like that. Like I'm really nerdy in that way. So I'm like, oh, I'm just thinking about how many times I heard ke say that about a beat. No talk. No, that's why it's funny hearing you talk right now. You sound like brother, this is funny hearing you talk. Cause you won't really love what you do.
That's part of the, I'm trying to get our audience to understand, like you get up, you go to work just like normal people go to work. Everything's not glamorous. But like you said, you know, there's that point where, oh, I got this, I have this. They can't, they're about to get this. They're gonna like it. Yeah.
That makes it worth it for real. I mean, you know what I'm saying? And when your peers, cuz for me to be honest, like. When you got peers tapping in and saying things to you, that's like, really, when [00:24:00] you feel like God done this, you know what I'm saying? Like, I got some, I got some people who, who, who I converse with.
You know what I'm saying? I wouldn't say the physical, but like, like on the phone, maybe through text through calls that really like, far more accomplished than me, this visual artist. Yeah. And they'll tap in and be like, yo, that's hot. Or, you know, I'm feeling that I see you in your bag, all these things, you know what I'm saying?
I'm like, yo. So I I've gotten to the point where I kind of feel like, you know, I'm your favorite artist, artist. Yeah. I'm, that's cool. That's cool. I live for that too. You know, sometimes that means that you might not be the, the guy or the, or the, or the, or the woman or the person that people know about all around all around the world, but I'm not here for all around the world.
I'm here for people who want to get what I got for them. You know what I'm saying? So now how does feel about uh, yeah, go ahead. Creative work as energy work. Creative creative work is energy work. You're talking about like chakra and all that. [00:25:00] Not necessarily anything like that, but just, just, it's a, it's a concept that I brought up a couple times with a few different guests that, that, you know, like there is a, there is an energy component to this creative stuff.
And if you are not nurturing it in whatever way you deplete it and that they're, you know, and that, that's why sometimes when you're working on projects, either they can be like a incredible boost or they can be an incredible drain. And I don't know, I it's just something I'm exploring right now is just kind of learning to talk about this, this in a, in a way that we can find it more helpful and productive and accomplish what we're trying to do.
Hmm. No, I feel that, that that's true. You know, I feel like, I feel like it's a, I always say like like we, you know, as a child, for instance, Very pure energy. That's why, you know, if you, if you catch me on social media, sometimes I'm like the babies are the greatest. The babies are the greatest cuz they're the best part.
Ah, right. So the best part of their parents, you [00:26:00] understand what I'm saying? So it's like as a child, you are like you in a very pure form, you know what I'm saying? And so everybody, at one point were creative people, everybody. And then they started and society started picking them apart and you know, telling them what they were.
And they started accepting that stuff. Like, like, so for instance, for me, I never accepted it, but I also said, I want to keep the purest part of, of that part. That's there and that's the child. So I'm always creating from a childlike perspective. So I don't, I don't function with rules. There are artists out there that be like, you can't do that because of this.
You can't do this because of that. You can't. And I don't really see it that way. Even when I made beats, I never, I never used a Metro known. It was like, you gotta use a Metro. I was like, why you can't feel it? Like, you know what I mean? Like you, can't it like while you from the feeling, oh, like, you know what I'm saying?
Like the feeling is important because the feeling is the spirit of what everybody else can tap into so they could feel it too. So you start like taking the spirit away from it, feeling away from [00:27:00] it. Just make them beat beats without, without snares. yeah. Like, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. Making beats without S like, like, let's do this, you know what I'm saying?
Like, if we gonna be creative, let's do it because kids don't think about rules like that only parents or adults do. And they put that on the kids and the kids started, you know, they started taking that purity stars to go away. Mm-hmm good. You know what I mean? So I'm creating from a pure place. Like always I'm trying to, you know, always create from a pure place, even when I'm told, like I made a short film.
Some people were saying, oh, oh, even before the short film I was doing I switched up. But to me it's not. And his other thing, I'm not really switching up, but to some people, it seems like I'm switching up. So I'm using that term. But really what it is is it's a transition to different ways of communicating the same idea.
Mm-hmm I gotta have several conversations with people to reach people in different places. How do you do that? If I'm, if I'm only speaking one language, I can only reach with so many people. Mm-hmm and for me, like visual, like visual art to me [00:28:00] is a visual language. So I'm trying to always create dialogue and language.
That's gonna be con in everybody as many people as possible. Cuz keep in mind, what am I doing? I'm still teaching. Yeah. You know what I'm saying? I'm still, oh, I'm trying to give some medicine in some cases, you know visual medicine that helps people that therapy, you know what I mean? Yeah. Oh yeah. And I've had people actually tap in like, say to me, like, you know, this dude.
Who was like, and that's how I understand the powerful power of it all. Like this dude who was like, at the time I met him through USC school of dance. I got commissioned to do something there with them. And they were doing hip hop, dancing and stuff like that. And I met this dude. He was like 16 at the time or 17 at the time.
And he started following me. It's funny. So he was following me for some years. And then he tapped me on the inbox. One, like after like five, six years tapped me on the inbox was like, I wanna thank you for, you know, all that you brought to my life, you know, through your art and everything. I used to think that you, I used think that you [00:29:00] worship the devil.
I was like, I was like, why know I, but I understand because he was raised very Christian and some of the things I was saying can seem like that I had, I had a dude say one time, like I got this statement. I still, I still use this statement. Believe in yourself, like you are your own religion. This dude heard this and was like, That sounds like Satanism.
Right? And I was like, well, I guess it might sound like that if you studied that. And that's what it is, understand where I got it from is like if you don't believe in yourself, who else is gonna believe in you, you gotta believe in yourself. Like you're devout. If you're doing a particular thing, understood.
You know what I'm saying? Cause people will tell you, you can't do it. Like, even with this people told me, I couldn't, they're like, yeah, you could draw, but you can't be an artist. Mm. You know what I'm saying? And it, it was because they felt like, you know, how you gonna do it here in South Carolina? How you gonna do it, period.
And I always say, yo, check it. I went from, literally, I went from like painting in the sun where people would ride by and not see me. Like literally getting it from the [00:30:00] mud where nobody would wanna buy nothing. They might say that's nice. Nobody would wanna buy nothing. Right. And, and from selling like a drawing, maybe for like at the time for like 50 bucks.
To like where I'm at now. So drawing for $700. So it's like, if I listen to, if I had listened to what they told me, I wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be having this conversation, you know what I'm saying? You know what I'm saying? Manifestation, like manifesting your life. Like you believe that's what you did.
Oh, word up. I do. I do feel like I that's what I did, you know, I, I feel like that's what I continued to do. Because I mean, literally I, I can give testimony. I went from seeing people who I'm cool, like years ago, seeing people who I'm like cool, cool with seeing, seeing them on like seeing them on like, like a YouTube, like a YouTube situation where they just did a big show in New York, like years ago, I've seen them like, oh man, yo, you know, to get, be in the same space with these people right here.
Be able to build with them or whatever it may [00:31:00] be to now I'm talking to them on the phone. You understand? Like, yeah, that happened. And it happens every day. Like, so I'm a true believer in, well, I should say believe it because that's something else. Like I, I practice it. So I know there you go. I don't just believe.
No, I know. I know that's real. Cause I made that happen. Yeah. I've made that happen. Like, and every now and then I'm still kind of blown away by it. I'm like, I'm tripping. Like I really know this dude, but years ago I saw this dude was like, this dude still is top tier, but you know, top tier at that time too.
And I'm like, man, that's, it's crazy, you know, but I feel like it's all about what you believe, what you practice, you know what I'm saying? You have to do that. And once you started practice it, then you know it very good, you know, you know it to be true. You know what I'm saying? So man, and I know to was touching on that, manifesting your life and, [00:32:00] and, and being a vessel as well.
That's another point. That we wanting to touch with you is just being a vessel for your art and letting it, it carry you. Cause another thing this all goes together is this Carpe, DM, like seizing the day. And we were talking about typical day of you being an artist and, and how you approach it and making sure you, aren't not sitting necessarily just thinking about it in a sense of like wasting your day, but making sure you're, you're squeezing the last, you know, every last bit of, of energy or juice out of that day so that you can manifest and, and, and be a vessel for what you want to be.
Could you explain the meaning of those concepts and, and how important they are, especially for folks who may be considered or think that they themselves, that they're they're downtrodden or they don't have control of their life. Like how important is that for that to be something you take with you every day, like a mantra running mantra of manifesting and being a vessel for what you want.
I mean, as a creative person, you can't, I don't see where you can actually create without having that, some aspect of [00:33:00] that. so I think, you know, you have, it's a matter of growing it further if, if, if you're not practicing it in this, in this fullness. Mm. But it like, so every day, every day it's like you, to me, it's like getting up and saying, I know that what I make is impactful to the world.
And I want to, I want to be able to do this, not just continue to do this and do this, but do this in a better way every day. And then you go about how do I do that? How do I do that? So like, for me, it's always and I would say that the manifesting part starts with all things for me and stars in the mind.
So it was like, how do I go about doing that? And then I started to like, bring that to life. Okay. So ways in which I decided to bring things to life. To me, is that, is that real part or like like [00:34:00] giving birth in the sentence is bringing into life is born into existence with this, this, this idea of conveying into the world.
And that sometimes can be hard because that is a very hard part. Birth is hard. Yeah. Yeah. You know, it, it could be hard because people are, it's like, you know, we're artists. So, you know, you, some, you concerned about what the people are going to, how they're gonna receive it. Yeah. And, you know, it's, I would say like very I've I've had friends, creative friends who, you know, who find difficulty in exhibiting whatever they do, music or whatever, you know, visual, art, whatever it may be.
Mm-hmm because they're just used to making the work. And then, you know, there's really concerned about how the world's gonna receive it and whether they're gonna get beat down, you know, by people's reactions. And I think when you, when you're in that manifesting form, you, you can't be concerned with that.
Mm. You can't be concerned with people, not, you know, you can't be concerned with that because that's them, that's not you. And I [00:35:00] feel like, I feel like it's like, you know, everything is sound. It's not, I guess that's science, that's mathematics. Everything is, sound, sound. You're right. You know what I'm saying?
So sound sound, you know, has a lot to do with whether something is built or destroyed. So if you gonna take that in, it will destroy you, but you can create your own sound that builds you up. So it's like, what do you want to do with that? Because if you listen to what they're saying, then they're manifesting on you.
You're not manifesting on yourself. That's a uplifting way to put that. I like that. It's like a projection, right? They're projecting their fears onto you. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty much. That's what it is, exactly what it is. It's, it's them, you know, doing that. And if, and if you buy into that, then you bought into it.
This is like definitions, for instance, how do you define yourself? You know what I mean? Like how do you, how do you see yourself? Do you see yourself? Like other people see you, do you see yourself? Like you see you. So if somebody says, you know, oh man, you not [00:36:00] fresh, you whack or whatever. It may be. if you see it like that, if you see like maybe it might be, you know what I mean?
I might be whack for real. Yeah. Real talk. You take it to heart. Yeah. I might be whack, but I'm always like I'm so freshman, you know what I'm saying? Honest, like, fuck what you think. Like, I don't really care. I don't really care. Yeah. I'm a B boy. No, you ain't lying. You not lying. You were telling me, you know what I'm saying?
Yeah. Styles. What it's about. So it's like, I'm about style. Mm-hmm , you know, but I'm about substance too, and you're not gonna tell me. And I got my own. You're not gonna tell me, me being myself. Ain't dope, cuz it is right. But I'm from that era where that was expected of you. Like, you know what I'm saying?
Right, right. So it's, I'm just programmed that way. Yeah. You way different than like, and it is interesting because we have. The tools and technology to have that like, mindset be like extra strong, but like you said, the part of the issue is that's no longer the mindset, [00:37:00] you know, it's a, and I tell people it, it's not that it's a bad or a good thing.
It's just, it's a different thing. So that's something that I know I'm learning because like I'm at the, I mean, that weird in between area era between your era and the next era and looking at the two vibing, watching how it, especially in art world, I'm just like, well, both of y'all got great things to say, like take the best of the Bo of both worlds and put it together.
And I think that is really presence when, when it comes to the idea of talking about street art and graffiti. And I noticed that's something that you're, that of course, part of your platform is something that you're big into. Could you speak a little bit about the evolution of that art form and where you see it going in the future and how the properly advocate for it?
Because that's a part of the culture that I know a lot of the youth, they haven't understood. It has to come along with the music. It has to come along with the DJs and the B boys and the dancers that it was a VI visual art as part of hip [00:38:00] hop mm-hmm , it's true. So like, like the origins of it really is like, it started well, like, you know, to bring it back, a lot of people might feel like, oh, you know, like now you're seeing a lot of people who, who are, who are not black or brown, you know, doing it.
Yeah. But it was always that way. It was for everybody. Yeah. Cause it was everybody doing graffiti back in the days, it was like, the thing was, you had. Punk rockers mm-hmm and hip hopers like hanging with each other. That's crazy. But that's what it was. Yeah. The coaches the coaches were are, and they still are like very, the pure part of the coaches, very similar to each other.
So you had, you know, punk rockers writing, graffiti, hip hopers writing graffiti. And so that was always the thing. But then as, as hip hop began to be more organized in the sense, like people were saying, these are the elements. Man, I personally think through my studies, when you look at the DJ kind of like fading away eventually, so did like the graph part yeah.
[00:39:00] Fade away. Yeah. And then the music became like the focus and that was, that was because the industry, the music industry itself found a way to make that control means capital gains. Yeah. Uhhuh, right? Yes. Yeah. Yeah. It means for capital gains and whatnot, and they couldn't see the value in those other things.
And I, you know, so, so like those things are important. You know what I'm saying? So like, I had to go all way back just to say, like, for me, when I, and when I say hiphop and it's not any disrespect to anything being made now, cause I listen to everything. But when I, when I say hip hop culture music, it reflects that it will always have like hip hop itself will always have facets of, you know, I'm just gonna be honest misogyny in it.
Yep. It's gonna have violence in it. It's gonna have you know, all those to me, negative element, but that's life, life has negative element also positive. Yeah. You know what I'm saying? But when you removed it, DJ, you removed, you removed hip [00:40:00] hop music itself, culture music itself. Cause it started with the DJ.
So how could you remove the foundation? And if you remove the foundation, is that thing the same anymore? When you remove the foundation? No, it's not. So the music today is not hip hop music. That's an UN, that's an UN unpopular opinion for a lot of folks. I know that it is. But it's the truth. Like just do the history and you'll see that what I'm saying is what it is.
It don't mean that the music's being made now ain't dope or whack or anything like that. What it means is it's just different. It's just different than where it came from. But, but, but check this one, are you not different than your parents? Yeah. You know what I'm saying? Are we, are, you, are, you, are, you are the best part of your parents.
You're also different than them and that's okay. Yeah, exactly. Evolution for exactly, exactly that's evolution. But, but, but for me, when you say, when we say something is hip hop, we're talking about or hip hop music, we're talking about where it started from, it started with the [00:41:00] DJ and the MC was just a person to get the crowd.
Right. You know, and it was about being live. It was about controlling that space. Yeah. The live manager, it was about those things. Mm-hmm and, and those elements kind of went away. You know what I'm saying? And of course we have something else and I like parts of that. Something else. You know what I'm saying?
I rock with a lot of, you know, what's out there, but you know, my, my practice comes from like, you know, hip hop at its essence, because at the same, like, like to the point that I'm crazy about fat, gold chains. , I'm crazy about CAEL. Some people don't even know what Elle's are. I'm crazy. I'm crazy about themselves and crazy about canes and raccoon hats.
Yeah. I'm crazy about flat fat gold chains. I'm I'm crazy about fat lace Adidas, the superstar joints. That's where I'm at. I'm so like, you know, wrapped up to the point. Yo, I follow, I follow a page on Instagram and all they do is show boom boxes. I, I had money. Yo, seriously. If I [00:42:00] had money, if I had millions, I would just have a room full of boom boxes.
That's how crazy damn about this. Yo, we used to take the boom box to the, to the basketball. Just so we, you know, we could hear the music while we were playing mm-hmm cause remember how, how that's, how intertwined, you know, hip hop was with just culture in general, especially anything relating to black culture.
So like the fact that they, we played basketball, hiphop and basketball had to be intertwined. It was everywhere you in everywhere you went, it was a part of culture. I and I'm, and I I'm, I say that to say the point you made about the DJ is very man, I you're, you're such a good point. Tell, tell it DJ.
Yeah, I have to, man, I have to yeah. Speak DJs. DJs used to introduce you to the culture. They would take you on age, a ride from the past to the present, to the future. And we don't have that anymore because like you said, the removal of the DJ from being the preeminent way of breaking records and introducing artists to the [00:43:00] culture as almost like the real true gatekeepers, them taking that away and being it, it being replaced by a and R or an executive.
It has done a lot to, to we, like you said, the, the, the control that we had, that control's gone. And I, I kind of do kind of, you know, long for the days when we had that, that control. And we do have some excellent DJs out here still who were doing their thing and who break records and stuff, but we don't have the same control that we had in the past.
And we had to find new ways to, to re to reclaim it. But yeah, that's why the DJ was so important because the DJ was your Creo. That was the person who was holding that history. True, indeed. Yeah. Yeah. And, yeah. And, and like you speaking on that, like, like I remember being a kid and being crazy.
From the era. So being a kid and hearing Mr. Magic, go ahead. Like I got, I got opportunity to hear Mr. Magic. Like, you know what I'm saying? And when you heard it heard like the opening for the drop for Mr. Magic show, you got crazy hype. [00:44:00] Everybody was like, yo, you know what I'm saying? He getting ready play the hot joint.
Like he can replace something new that you ain't never heard before. Yeah. Like something you could salivate about, you know, later on and be like, you know, I, you know, I hope I hope my tape don't pop. Yeah. Cause you know, I'm at the time, you know you to record, you know what I mean? all that. So I'm analog, I'm analog.
I just can't help her. Cause of the I'm analog to the point, my wife was like, you, she got mad at me one time. You still like, it was a, like, that was her way of this me like you're so analog I was like, I'm with that. your yo your wife she's on digital. She's so cool though. Her art is excellent. So we actually were at the At the show at the museum, she was doing the presentation.
We started walking was like, oh, we gotta talk to him next week. We can't wait. So he's a dope individual, man. Yeah. But, but she was like on me about it. Like she dis me, like, that was a dis I was like, like, you know what I'm saying? You saw on him like, yeah, word up. I, that shit [00:45:00] I'm proud. I'm proud of that.
You know what I mean? I'm from, I'm definitely from my era and unrepresented. I'm not saying that I stayed in there, but yeah. Cause of course, you know, we're talking right now and I'm functioning in the digital capacity right. In digital. Yeah. But yeah, but I'm choosing to, I'm choosing to keep that analog part of my life, I guess, is what I'm, you know?
So I, Robert yeah, yeah. Question though. Yeah. Cause you're from this area around this time, did you, were you ever familiar with, or in touch with a group Kip and DJ REL Kip and no. Okay. Was one of they, when did they drive? Oh, I don't think they ever, I, I think they did some regional tours and stuff.
Okay. Kid passed away couple years back. But that was just, that was just one of the people that, that kind mentored us coming up. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. Real time pointed us in a lot of directions told us to, to put some snares and some things that, so you snares on snares. You need a snare. That was a true story.
[00:46:00] Put some snares up in there. Huh? Yeah, we had no snares. It was just, it was like, and it's funny because nowadays we were talking the damn place. Yo, we were talking with a producer about this other day. Like we don't have, there's no SNA like the, the music and the sense has changed because the absence of drums, so you'll have like spacial music and and on that backdrop you'll have the person put their voice.
And I was like, yeah, yeah. That's where, yeah, we do that. We do that, the quiet, the quiet music as I like to call it, but people like that vibe. And so it's something that is produced now, but. I know Kevin had this question and I must ask and he says it like this don't out him on the air, but oh, that's sour.
That's me. That was you. That's what I was wondering. That was you might yo yeah. Growing up in Columbia in the nineties that was like everywhere sour tag, every damn thing, sour, sours. Every, I went outside that's that's graffiti life. Like you not supposed to do that, but no. Do I not? Do I know sour? No, I don't.
Okay. But I'll put it [00:47:00] like this, like when I've shown like art that definitely had that culture represented in it, sour would be signing the, the guest book. What? Nice sour sour, like blah, that's something, this there's so many people around Columbia. I dunno. Yeah. There was a kid I knew in high school said he knew.
And that was like, cool. Yeah. Yeah. I know people, no culture. That's dope. But like the first writer, the first writer really was this dude named Sundance Sundance. That's what I found out the coach. Yeah. The first writer here was like writing his name everywhere was dude named Sundance. And he was from, I'm trying to remember, like, somebody gave me the knowledge on him.
He was, he was, he was from one of the housing areas in Columbia. I can't remember which one, you know, but they was like, cause I saw Sundance one time I saw the name and I was like, yo, somebody wrote, that's a long name to write. right. What I'm saying? Yeah. For real. Cause you writers own [00:48:00] writers, choose long names like that.
Yeah. You know what I'm saying? Names, not that long. So that caught me off guard to see a long name like that. And then eventually I ran into people that was like, oh, he was writing Sundance. Like in the eighties I was like, oh word. So he's like the first one hear doing that. You know what I'm saying? So word it up.
Like it's some culture here. It's some culture that's dope. You know, some, some of it here that kind of goes back, but nah, just sour tapped in has tapped in before on the guest books. Just said what up, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. I mean, not to put him to above anybody else or, or them above anybody else, but just like, that was just one that stood out from growing up.
I remember there used to be like, this broke down motel in the middle of downtown that nobody was there anymore, but it had just turned into this giant tiger space until they blew it up. But it was, it was so cool. Yeah. Like, you know, if you really fall on the culture, Sal actually went to war with some younger heads, like a few years back.
I saw that cuz Sal was going over everybody over over that stuff, but they start, they like, they, they put some on the wall [00:49:00] against, against maybe his crew of him. And then Sal just went a campaign and you know, we wouldn't know, took it to took a tool. one of the, one of the crew. Who it was PI, there was a pie symbol and it was like pie.
Remember PI? Yeah. Yeah, they was, oh, maybe, maybe I just know. I saw, like, I saw like a couple names up and the next thing I knew Sal wrote big sour over it, like sour. I was some war going on, like, this is, this is interesting. You know? I mean, I love, I love seeing that, you know, I knew some people, we, we bring up that war part.
I knew some people that was connected to some Detroit writers and I love the city of Detroit. I got, I got people in Detroit and I, you know, COVID, I can't visit like I was visiting before COVID but yeah, to be there visiting and , it was funny, cuz it was like it's a big crew, like one of the, one of the world's largest crew mm-hmm crews ever is like R outta LA that's who some of the big writers are part of that [00:50:00] crew and they were in Detroit.
Writing the R stuff. And you know, for those who don't know, like graffiti is regional and very local and people are very protective of their walls. You know what I'm saying? Of their city. So you, if you coming in, like somebody from the outside doing that, and it looks like you getting up everywhere is gonna be problems.
And so this dude, like he took it point himself. He was like, everywhere. I see R I'm going over them big, like, you know what I'm saying? And he, he pretty much took on that Detroit versus the world mentality there. Like, you know, but I, I thought it like, like to me, that's the coach. It's like, alright, I'm gonna show you.
I could do it better. Mm-hmm , you know what I'm saying? Like, it's always, it's always room for growth. That's what the culture to me, that's what it symbolizes too. There's always room to grow and get better. Like, somebody's gonna push you. If you don't push yourself, the competition out there is gonna push you.
And, and really, you know, at the end of the day, though, I say to myself, I don't know about other creative people. I'm like. [00:51:00] Competition is yourself true? You know what I'm saying? Really? At the end of the day, you're competing with yourself. Like, I'm, am I the best at being myself today than I was yesterday?
Okay. Let you know, let me compete with that and see if I can be better, you know, overall, you know, when you, you start to really grow in yourself, you can kind of see if you know, for what it is. You know what I'm saying? If you can see some technique that somebody else use and say, oh, I see that they've got skill with that, but really what you channeling is your own.
And, and it's just, yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, and you know, in the beginning, Tony Colan was mentioned. I have to mention, have to bring him up. Right. I can't come off of this without bringing them up and saying that like I, I apprentice with him. And so I got a chance to sit with him for years and have him tear my work apart, which was a good thing.
And you know, I, it was a blessing, so I didn't, I don't feel like I lucked up. And, and hooked up with him. I was meant to hook up with him, you know what I'm [00:52:00] saying? So I got all the lineage that came through him. I got that, you know what I'm saying? And it just so happened that like his, he was influencing, you know, his teacher was the founder of the New York school.
And for those who don't know, the New York school is, is the school of artists that, you know, were produced in like the, the late forties mid to mid fifties, those artists. Wow. Those artists who were like like Jackson poll, right? Yeah. Yeah. Like, you know what I'm saying? These big international artists, you know what I mean?
Like Jackson poll was part of that movement. Like I'm trying to think of some of the artists off top of my head Jackson poll is the one that stands out of the most, but it was several like Kline, for instance, Fran's Kline who did the big marks. And if you ever seen Fran's Kline stuff, you could see that you look at that you like, that looks like graffiti writing.
You know what I'm saying, but he was doing it back in the days before people were doing it on walls and trains or whatever. So you're seeing, you know, so I'm seeing this stuff, [00:53:00] but I got those influences, you know, from him, I had to bring them up because he did, you know, he was like, if you understand this, you can make this yours.
So I put down that stuff that I would do in the street to do this fine academic stuff, to wanna find a way, you know, to combine it. You know, when you look at graffiti though, graffiti itself like graffiti street are, aren't the same thing. Mm-hmm and there are people who are doing they're people who are doing, who are in both realms, but graffiti's a whole nother world.
It ain't street art, like, you know, graffiti is, it is about competition. It is about where you get up at. Yeah. And it is about it. Ain't about prettiness. It ain't about impacting the public. It's about getting your name up and in many places as you can. Yeah. That's really what it's about. Cause you think about the inception of it?
I mean the very, like, like let's say like I'm trying to think like the, like the, like the trains back in the seventies, [00:54:00] go ahead. Speak. Yeah. To go all city to go city meant you hit all lines there a thing. Yeah. You wanted to go all city. So you wouldn't hit the lines, all the train lines. So when it went around the whole city, everybody saw your name, you know what I'm saying?
So you got up in places where you could be all city, like you went around all the boroughs and everybody knew who you was. Cause that was, that was really important. You know what I'm saying? Making your mark was really important in that way. You know, where street artists has been is like, you know, really for the public, which is a good thing too.
Now, you know, the elements of it, that that can be bad because you know, like anything else they found a way to. And I say, wait, I'm talking about the industry. When I say they, they found a way to, you know, take what creative people have done and monetize that for their own benefit. But overall the impact of what those artists are making, you know, mostly is on a positive tip is just that, you know, those worlds are like two different worlds and, and a lot of [00:55:00] times real hardcore graph writers don't get down with street artists.
the real hardcore ones. Don't I know some hardcore ones, man. And they just like, you know, , it's a different breeds. It's a different breed. Yeah. It's it is like, and I, I think I get to pass a little bit because maybe because of my levels of involvement everywhere mm-hmm , but I'm sort of like, you know, the unofficial ambassador to be able to walk into spaces, I think, you know, and how people say legitimately, right?
Yeah. You pay that's how you can get there Uhhuh. Yeah. Yeah. But I mean, like, even, even with that, some people could be like, man, you a sellout for doing. And you still be on this side, you know what I'm saying? Goes around then. I also am like, you know, like there's, there's different aspects to it. Cause I'm not gonna say that, that like, particularly if I'm out of town and I see a tag that I know, like, there's something about that.
That's like this person from my city was here, standing at this [00:56:00] gas pump. Mm-hmm like, like that's, that's cool. That's like, there's a connection there. And I don't even know who a person is. yeah. The street art is just more about, yeah. Oh yeah. It's great. But, but street art to me is more about like, like taking what you would normally be trying to do in a bigger art venue and just like saying, screw the gallery, put it right here.
Everybody gets it. They can tear it down tomorrow, you know? Cause cuz it, a lot of this is offerings to the universe. This, this mm-hmm , you know, it is pouring stuff outta yourself and trying to put it out there and. I don't know. I love, I love both yeah, yeah, yeah. I, I love them both too. I love 'em both too.
And I, I got friends in both worlds, you know what I'm saying? So I understand like where, where they're coming from and, and you know, that be wanting and really be wanting to see more comradery in those spaces abroad, but you know, that they do different animals. Sometimes those [00:57:00] animals just don't, can't be in the same space at the same time.
Very true. You know, you know, so, yeah, but I I'll say this, like, from doing all that and realizing, going back to hip, going back to the origins of hip hop, I started realize that, you know, through all those practices that had always been practicing Afro futurism. Mm. So at the heart, at the core core of all this, I'm an Afro futurist, you know what I'm saying?
So in that term, I didn't really start taking on that term until I, I remember I think I might have got a, might have been sitting down, I got a call, a call from them or whatever, but Dogan cricket was like, you're making Afro futurism. And when I was like, I was like, oh, that there's a word for it.
Yeah. What's that term cause I've been doing okay. So I go look the term I'm like, oh, okay. And you know, once I got that term, I started really studying, you know, going backwards and studying to go forward. And then, you know, realizing that, oh, this isn't [00:58:00] everything that I've been doing. Mm. It really has been fun.
You know what I mean? God, that sounds great. yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what I'm saying? To be able to, you know, I use that term. I use that term. I don't believe in boxes artists at all the time, but I use that term. So people. Can identify right. What they're experiencing. Yeah. Helps, you know what I mean? Helps it helps.
Yeah. Yeah. It helps it, it helps. And, and it's a broad term. Yeah. Because what I do doesn't look like what the nest aro futurist is, is doing, you know what I'm saying? Cause my practice is stemming in hip hop. Like, you know, hip hop is the practice in which my Afro future rise, you know, really is seated from.
So you know, you are gonna see those aspects in what I do all the time, because that's the foundation, regardless of who mentored me, you know, these other things, you know, and I'll go back to say, Tony Colan was really, this dude was tapped in man. He was working for Walter Chrysler [00:59:00] and that time he told me that I was like, Walter Chrysler, that name sounds familiar, sort of like, I don't know him, but then he was like Chrysler, the Chrysler company.
That's crazy. Like Chrysler. I was like the car company. That's crazy. He just said his name. Yeah. I was like Walter crisis Chrysler, Jr. Yeah. He's like, I worked for Walter Chrysler Jr. I was like, OK, who was that? You know what I'm saying? And I looked him up. I was like, whoa, like you were working for that dude.
You know what I'm saying? Like, yeah, blew me away. You know what I'm saying? And like I said, for him to, you know, be tapped into the, the New York school in that way, I got those experiences and the dude was accomplished. Like you, you can't look at any show from the nineties and not see his artwork on a wall of sitcoms man.
So his work was in all was a whole bunch of TV shows, whole bunch of TV shows. You know what I mean? You, I was like, wow, this is crazy. But he was one of the first ones, like, you know to talk about visual, excuse me, visual artists. Not really getting it, just STS in a sense like, [01:00:00] so like we talking about on one of our panels, we were talking about like, FTS.
Yeah. Right. Yeah. And you know, the, the ability to be able to like visual artists now, you know, to be able to have more authority over their, their visual. Right. And, and in how they make income from those visuals. Well, you know, Tony was talking about the time Tony was talking about how, you know, they have my work, my work on there, but, you know every time it shows I don't get paid for that true.
They didn't very true directly contact me to purchase this work. So I didn't make any income from that though. You're seeing my work everywhere. I'm not making income from that. Like he made a lot of his income from actually selling the work that is, you know what I mean? And, and he got, and he did pretty well.
I mean, at the height of everything, he was like making like a hundred thousand dollars a year more selling his art, you know? Yeah. That was real money. That was real money too. Yeah. Yeah. You know what I mean? Like, and that's all by him just making know his own hand, [01:01:00] you know, making the work And, you know, and so like that influenced me, but I also say like, like even now, like I keep mentors, so I, I have another mentor.
But I haven't seen him since this COVID situation. Juan Logan and Juan Logan is just as accomplished, but he's, he's Southern, you know what I mean? In that sense, like Tony, Tony was wild, Tony Italian dude. And he would always kind of like, you know, he's like, I learned English when I was like eight years old.
He was like he was like, . He was like, he said, I'm a, I'm an Italian. I'm not really an American in that way. And he was like, help me understand something. He was like, help me understand something, man. Why, why won't, you'all just say y'all African cuz that's what y'all are, man. You know what I'm saying?
This whole, at this American thing to it is kind of weird, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. And I think he's coming from his own perspective, but that's just to give you an idea, the kind of person that I was dealing with and that, you know, influenced the way I saw the world artistically, like, so, so Juan Logan totally different than, than, than Tony.
And, you [01:02:00] know, Juan is a very thorough artist, like way thorough. So like I thought, I, I thought through, you know, studying with somebody being apprentice with somebody who was, who had graduated from Yale with a master's and actually had taught on a collegiate level for years that I, you know, I, I pretty much, I got a, got a thing, but then when I started like dealing with wine, I realized, damn man, there's so many more levels to this.
Like the levels never end, you know what I'm saying? And, and to me, that's just, to me, those levels have everything to do with hip hop too. Like, you know, it's a never, it's never ending thing there, you know, I, and always find a way to bring that back to the culture that, that, that continues to like, you know, to raise me in some way, you know what I'm saying?
Yeah, man, we appreciate it. We we running up on a hard deadline here. Yes we are. Okay. But we do wanna give you a chance to let people know how they can You know, be in contact with you, what projects you got working on. I know if anybody wants to see your work, you [01:03:00] got a website and there's a big piece right on Millwood this amazing.
Yes. Yes. Thank you. Yeah. So the yeah. Piece on the piece on Millwood done by myself, Carl Z floor and the homie Brandon Donahue along with my daughter who would help to assist us in the process Ariel flowers that goes by. So yeah. And, and so you can catch me on, you know, social media. I don't do too much social media in the sense that I'm not on all social media platforms, but catch me on Facebook, et Cedric emoji.
You can catch me on Instagram is emoji some I'll say projects wise right now. Because of my love of the culture I got and sharing the music. Cause I have always been sharing music. You know, I kind of took the place of not a DJ, but somebody who would just break music if I caught new music and I, I know people might be loving new music, I would share it on my platforms here and there.
So I got in contact well by, I got [01:04:00] contacted by another, by a DJ, in a DJ who I know who used to own a gallery at the time. And I shown it at the gallery. He contacted me was like, I want you to be part of this, you know, this venture that I'm getting ready to step into, which is like, I'm doing internet radio, which is free to public.
So everybody is free to public internet radio. I have a show called something for the culture that comes on six days a week from eight to nine Eastern standard time. And so that music is curated all by me. And so that's, that's the current project in a sense, cuz that's something that's completed.
And let's talk about what I'm working on. I'm working on a project. For the city of Charleston, I'm doing a big public art project for them. And it would be in line with some projects. They have opening leading to the museum that they put millions into. So the museum should be opening this year.
That is right. I would say around the fall. Yeah. So my project or the public art [01:05:00] project I'm doing is part of a series of events leading up to that opening of that museum. Oh, that's dope. You gotta keep us up to date on that. Yeah, well, yeah. Thank you. And yeah. And so like, I'll be begin to add sometime this month or maybe sometime next month, I'll be involved in that project right there.
And then I got a couple other public art projects or mural commissions around town to do. And then, you know, just some group shows outta state is where I'm at right now. And then like, yeah, people are interested in my work or, you know, trying to see what I've done. You can go to my website, cja.com.
I'm gonna be putting some new work up there and just changing up some parts of that as we're going and just, you know, anybody listening, please keep in mind that like, like I said, previously, my work is, is visual dialogue. So I'm trying to have conversation. And the best way to have conversation is to speak in many different ways.
The energy is still the same. Mm-hmm . So when, if you look at something, you see my [01:06:00] writing, it still goes back to graffiti, right? Cause I'm doing writing. So you see the graffiti and you see the, you see these characters or you see these figures, understand those things are the same thing. I'm just speaking in, in ways.
Some people understand figure better, better than they understand the writing. Some people understand sculpture, which I've done better than they understand those two in elements being the writing or being the figure. So I'm trying to just tap in and some people understand film, like I'm a big film head, so some people understand film.
I got a film. So you can, you can kind of tap into those things and realize that I'm speaking in different ways, trying to get these messages out to people is what it is. That's everybody wanna thank you too, cuz you did a I'm on the board of a organization called bullets and bandaids. And you did oh where you were beautiful teacher.
Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. Were, yeah, I met Robert tells about twice a week. oh yeah, yeah. Rob. Yeah, man, man. I love that brother, man. You know what I'm saying? Such a dude. Yeah. You know, and he's been through a lot and to be able to give this back to people, [01:07:00] man, you know what I'm saying? That's I, I had to be a part of that.
You know what I'm saying? So thank you. We appreciate it, man. That allow me to be a part of that process. Probably my favorite design of that series. And I didn't want yeah, but yours was better. Cool. Aw man. Thank you man. That's love man. I, I, I really appreciate that. Anytime anybody says that I'm really like, it humbles me.
You know what I'm saying? Because. Like that. And that's part of the process too, always knowing that, you know, that there's opportunity for you to be humble, you know, and, and, and accept graciously what people are saying too, you know, accept that love as well. So yeah, appreciate that. You know, and, and all other opportunities that I've been able to be a part of that's impacted, you know, communities like that, but you know, that particular project, I, how could I not do it?
I'm a product of military people. Yeah. Know what I'm saying? And my father served in a situation where, you know, he got exposed to some of those elements during war. So like, you know, I had to be, I had to do that. I didn't have a choice. I felt like I felt it'd be [01:08:00] mandatory. You know, so yeah. Thank you guys.
Yeah. Excellent. Well, we're gonna go ahead and, and close out for today. We wanna thank our guests, Cedric Moja for joining us today on the Hilltop globe podcast. I want, thank my co-host for joining us as well. It's my Allen. Mr. Mike Conway, Mike, we appreciate us all for being here. This is DJ Ann.
What I wanna sign off today as always to like to tell folks, man, tell somebody next to you that you love him. Enjoy your weekend. Try to get something good out of it. Don't waste that time. Have some good positive energy man. And to everybody out here, peace.