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There is a faint voice from some lost period of my childhood that calls out to me sometimes. It’s soft, welcoming and warm. Like some overdue spring breeze that finally decided to show it’s face after a frigid winter. It is the type of memory that is so weathered and faded you can’t recall whether it was an actual memory or a dream from early in life.

It’s my mother’s voice.

‘We’ve got a ways to go’.

Growing up the oldest of five kids in a tight knit family you heard that alot.

On a hike with mom: ‘Quit whining. We’ve still got a ways to go’.

After the Red Sox lost three out of four in early August to Yankees:

‘Seasons not over. Still got a ways to go’.

On a roadtrip to see colleges with my entire family in the car up and down the east coast. How far until the next stop?

‘We’ve got a ways to go.

A horrific story on the news. A racially charged murder. A kidnapping. An overdose.

My mom again.

Her voice.

ways to go’.

It was far from her tagline and I’m sure I’m giving the phrase more credit than it is worth but for one reason or another it has always stuck with me. Back in 2013 I dropped my 3rd solo effort ‘Ways To Go’ through DJBooth.net. The album, my favorite I’ve released thus far, covered my experiences in my hometown. I sought to tell stories and experiences from my own experiences but also explored and amplified the stories of others throughout the album. Above all I wanted the project to be an accurate reflection of my city and a love letter to the place that I owe everything.

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The back cover art for ‘Ways To Go’ is an old map of The City of Boston (I believe this is from 1775 but honestly can’t remember due to looking through so many different ones for the artwork). I wanted the ‘back’ artwork to signify Boston from back in the day. Directly correlating to the idea of ‘how far we’ve come’ since then.

As an independent Hip-Hop artist, in maybe the most oversaturated market I can think of, conveying your ‘art’ can be quite trying. People are almost disgusted at the idea of you telling them you rap. I can’t even say I blame them. However, lost in the endless compost pile of free mixtapes, unwanted twitter mentions, spammy Facebook posts, obnoxious free beat emails and unfortunate industry freestyles are people that work extremely hard and only wish to be heard (or god forbid, taken seriously). What I ‘am’ isn’t up to me. It’s up to the listener. I’m confident and detailed and work tirelessly to perfect the projects I put out. So today I wrote this for the people who have always showed me support. I also wrote this for people yet to hear me and should they choose to lend me their ears, if only for a few precious moments, this guide may help them navigate and better understand what I wanted to convey with ‘Ways To Go’

 For the ‘Ways To Go’ anniversary I decided to piece together a comprehensive listener’s guide.  A recollection. Personal insight into the songs, the lyrics and inspiration behind them.

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The front artwork for the album needed to include ‘directions’ on which ‘ways to go’. I thought a nice way to incorporate that was by using my Irish heritage in the cover. The real life sign is in Ballyvaughn, Ireland and is among the most famous in the entire country. I worked with Proph Bundy (an amazing Boston designer) on the cover and we came up with our own spin for the signs. We felt it matched perfectly with the title of the album.

 

‘we perish in different parishes 
root for the same teams
treatment of one another embarrass us
best hospitals
prescriptions ravage us
having dreams of seeing what lavish is
imagine this?’

 

 

1.) Dark Clouds Featuring Incredible Chuck(Produced By Raw B)

‘Dark Clouds’ was the intro for ‘Ways To Go’. I love introductions. I just hate when they are named ‘Introduction’ more than once in an artist’s discography.

‘Getting by we just praying that it’s good enough 
every RACE dangerous
RUNNING with they hoodies up
close friends from, early on, we understood the trust
street smart since birthday hats eating Hoodsie cups’.
 Pull you over and they get the hint
 Cops wince cuz the driver’s skin darker than the tints…’

 

Boston is constantly dragged with a viciously racist reputation. While at times true, it also houses many different cultures that are seldom heard from (For example while many folks outside the city know us as heavily Irish … there are many Cape Verdeans, Haitians and Vietnamese that make up large demographics there as well). The song touched on racism that exists there, but also the harmony that exists in neighborhoods that are far more diverse than imagined. 

‘Fam with me that’s all
ain’t no secrets in a city this small
keep ya friends close
enemies right by you
six degrees of separation
now divide by two
… big fish, small pond
when there’s ripples?
everyone is affected
it’s never ‘that’ simple’

 


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One of the deceased in 2013 was Odin Lloyd. While many throughout the country focused on the Aaron Hernandez / New England Patriots side of the story … friends of mine struggled mightily with Odin’s loss. It is an eerie reflection of the way death works in Boston. Chances are when someone in and around your age dies? You know the victim. Even if you don’t? Someone close to you will.
‘You trying to be proud
you know the bouncer
but the dress code
might as well say ‘no blacks allowed’

 

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                                                  An actual sign, photographed at Whiskey’s on Boylston Street. Downtown Boston. 2013.

Again, the song manages to confront not only the racist issues that still exist in parts of the city but also the mind boggling effects it can have on the community at ‘large’. Boston, smaller than you could ever imagine, has many connections between groups of people that can be tough to navigate. From gang affiliations to age old feuds between groups of people, it can make for a very difficult process with the amounts of people that are connected to one another. The ‘six degrees of separation theory’ we like to say is ‘divided by two’ in Boston. Everyone knows someone you know. The ‘ripples’ line is more speaking on the harsh realities of violence in Boston. When you hear someone got killed or hurt it is such an immediate pit in your stomach because you know in your heart: even if you don’t the victim … someone you do will. That’s how it is there. We are all connected in some way it seems. Ripples effect us all in the small pond.

2.) Wait Ya Turn (Produced By Teddy Roxpin)

I can say with no issues that this song is directly influenced by Phonte – The Good Fight. The original plan was to try and get Phonte on it himself but tour and time issues stood in the way. I first sent this cut to noted Boston Hip-Hop connoisseur Dart Adams for feedback. He told me it was one of my strongest records yet and I knew it had to go on the album.

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Myself, Dart Adams, Amandi  FN, KillerBoomBox and company at The Beacon Hill Pub for the ‘Follow Em’ shoot back in 2012.

 Boston is a hard place to leave when you grow up there. Your safety net is strong with most of your friends being there since diapers. ‘Wait Ya Turn’ confronted the idea of refusing to ‘fall in line’ and ‘wait your turn’ and used famous dialogue from ‘Good Will Hunting’ which I always thought accurately captured that feeling of dread about leaving where you are from. Many folks are quick to say ‘you changed. You left your hood behind. You aren’t real Boston’. Your true friends? They’d say something different. Well I feel this clip sums it up. It was also sampled in the song:

‘No dough to blow
less time to burn
‘I ain’t waiting for shit
nevermind my turn!
Make mistakes
try and learn from lessons
dudes is counting they money
I’m busy counting my blessings’
Yelling money over bitches
when you ain’t got either
collector on the other end of the receiver
broke could transform an athiest to a believer
and make ya stepford wife step out instead of leave ya’

The first verse challenges the idea of a gimmick rapper. Showing out about money / bitches and the like even though we are all chilling’ at the same shows all the time and NOBODY getting paid for it. The song overall examines the ‘normal’ way you are ‘supposed’ to grow up in Boston. You get a job. Then another job. Maybe even a third job. Get married. Have kids. Work for that pension. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, but more to say, it’s ok to go other ways as well. The song also served as inspiration to leave my city and chase things beyond her borders.

3. Ways To Go (Produced By Fakts Uno)

Fakts hit me up after he heard ’20 Something’ on twitter. We had some ideas back and forth then eventually we went through some beats together. This instrumental was gorgeous and I knew I had my title track as soon as I heard it. I completed it quickly.  Mastered it. Then me and Fakts decided it was missing something. It was here Fakts brought up the idea of a scratch during the hook that contained a sample from ‘A Long Way To Go’ by Gangstarr. This was the finishing touch and provided me the inspiration to have Guru unofficially ‘narrate’ the rest of the project. In addition to the sample use of Guru’s voice I decided to use a clip from an old interview on ‘Lorna’s Corner’. Him spitting a portion of ‘Robbin’ Hood Theory’. The sample I used is at 2:15:

‘You know we’re getting somewhere/ 
you know we got to give back/
for the youth is the future 
no doubt that’s right and exact
squeeze the juice out 
of all the suckers with power
and pour some back out
so as to water the flowers
This. World. Is. OURS.’ -Guru
The title track is always a difficult idea to pull off. This is one of the more original songs I’ve ever recorded. It is broken down into two distinctly different parts. The first is a memoir of Irish-America Nostalgia from the viewpoint of childhood:
'A classic feel
1970s rock and roll bustin’ out the speakers as she turned the wheel.
my momma rollin’ in the front with a look in the back
five kids screaming and yelling. How’d she deal with that? ...
Not much has changed
but them keys dangle
she open bills at the door 
that supper smell cooking
the Sox down by four
you feeling good
and you just wanna come home 
because the stories being told sound better off the phone.'

Again connecting to the idea of my mother. Her voice. ‘Ways To Go’. The Sox. Supper. Guru. All of it. The second verse connects more with my father and the way I was raised. My appreciation for his honesty with racism, how as a child him and his friends struggled with it, and through life experience he managed to rid himself of it and teach me to be respectful of everyone. It also ties in his history with the history of my city with regard to racism (see the busing incidents of the early 70s). The duality complex of my father growing up in the city of Boston and me growing up in the same city.

Feeling safe something I took for granted
but as I grew up
I slowly started understanding
sins of my father
he just turned them into lessons
never told me how to think
just laid out suggestions
came from an era where black kids were enemies
city changed forever with the busing in the 70s
some things don’t change, publics still in trouble
busing made the whites move out
the blacks left in the rubble…’

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The alternate cover for ‘Ways To Go’ was an updated colorized take on the Pulitzer Prize winning photo ‘The Soiling Of Old Glory’ which captured the racial discord in Boston, Massachusetts in the 70s. The photo is credited with shattering the myth that ‘racism only exists in the South’ as Americans across the country were horrified with the actions depicted in the photo. Colorizing it with Proph Bundy was my way of once again connecting our past with our future. How far we’ve come. Also, how we still have a ‘Ways To Go’. 

The third verse is where the song shifts gears completely. It fast forwards from the nostalgia of the past and my parents generation to the harshness of my upbringing into the current days of the present. Expanding upon personal experiences with different racial groups, witnessing racism in it’s worst of forms, political corruption and rapid change in crime rates.

‘still remember black chick,
girlfriend, first grade,
white girl looking at me such the fuckin’ wrong way’ …

This song is directly influenced by Kendrick Lamar’s ‘M.a.a.d. City’ which for my money is one of the very best Hip-Hop songs of the past decade. The crime side is addressed not only through street violence but the issues of corruption within police departments / politicians. In writing the song I aimed to connect the full circles of crime and how the systematic aspect truly works.

‘City where they hate us 

handoffs in envelops full of cash

couple feet from the State House’

 

This line was a direct reference to a 2008 corruption case against State Senator Dianne Wilkerson:

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‘too trill, shooters out on Blue Hill, catching bodies like feelings, bad bitch in 2 heels,
new deal, money or ya kids back, Carribean Islands wildin, leave ya ribs cracked.
Whats it cost to shoot? Minimum per bullet often used, where 11 year olds snatched to be prostitutes,
they said fine kicked back then it’s lead time
then they left him flat lined on the redline stop sign

The song ends with a random voice (me) asking the question ‘Where we going?’ as if the killer himself is unsure. This is also a play on the title. Not only do we have a ‘Ways To Go’ but we are also searching for which ‘way’ to take.

4.) State Of Grace featuring April Stanford (Produced By Pete Needy)

 

Boston Marathon in 2013 was obviously unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. The event changed my life forever. I left Fenway Park like I did every day that morning only to be stopped at the finish line by carnage and horror. During the time I was a teacher at the Neighborhood House Charter School and hours after the incident we learned that our student Martin Richard had been killed. The days after were some of the most trying of my life. One experience that shined through the horror was President Obama visiting Boston. I was lucky enough to attend his speech at the Cathedral and I was instantly inspired by his speech.

In his speech he referenced a popular poem by E.B. White about the City Of Boston: ‘A poet once wrote that this town is not just a capitol. Not just a place. Boston he said, is the perfect state of grace.’

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That is me, front and center, throwing up ‘3’s during President Obama’s speech when he visited Boston following the bombings. I was there with my fellow teachers as Obama spoke. 

I decided to include the clip from Obama’s speech in the beginning of the speech. The song is dedicated to Martin Richard and the City Of Boston. The song is extremely important to me and I’ve been blown away by some of the places I have found it playing across the world. April Stanford really put the icing on the cake for this record. Her voice was nothing short of angelic and fit perfectly.

Pete Needy, one of my favorite producers of all time, produced the track (Stay Puft Productions).  He had done most of my ‘Bartender’ and ’20 Something’ projects. To make this song even more special, Pete was responsible for a bunch of fundraising efforts for the Richard family who also lived in his community. He came up with tons of tee shirts, wristbands, and other items that he sold and all proceeds went to The Richard Family. He’s a class act to say the least. He sent me the production not long after that fateful Marathon Monday.

A few weeks after the Bombings I had a video release party for my single ‘Monsters’ at ‘The Vault’ in Downtown Boston. Pete helped me bring a ton of gear into the event with his Suburban. He blared the instrumental at full blast all the way into town as I freestyled my chorus ideas. We bounced ideas off one another. That is where the song began to take shape. May 2013.

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The flyer for Pete ‘Stay Puft’ Needy and Me’s #Bargang Clothing Line Launch with his clothing line ‘Cavata’. We also debuted my last video off ’20 Something’. 

 

Here is an interview with me and him at his small business ‘Beantown Athletics’ that he manages with a group of friends from Dorchester, Massachusetts (Note: Twitter is now @NatAnglin).

 

5.) City Kids Featuring Charmingly Ghetto and Dutch ReBelle

‘City Kids’ was supposed to offset the underlying sadness of ‘State Of Grace’ in placement on the album. The song had such a wonderful throwback bounce to it. As my verse starts you can clearly hear the reference to Juelz verse on ‘Dipset Anthem’. It is also a playful spin on our hometown slang in which the word ‘kid’ is used alot. The idea of us all being ‘city kids’ and trying to take over the ‘city kiddddd’ is authentic Bostonian slang.

‘Todays a new day
I’m the Cool J of the New Wave
ship uptown to Boston
tell em’ that we run that’

I decided to feature Dutch ReBelle and Charmingly Ghetto on the song as I felt they fit perfectly into the mood I was going for. A golden era feel with a flair for the new school of which we came up in. CG always had a throwback sound to me, and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways. I think one of my major themes routed in ‘Ways To Go’ as a whole is ‘nostalgia’ and the way it has shaped me and my friends as adults.

His verse is a perfect example:

‘Remember hitting the store?
and coppin’ you a honeybun
and on the way back
bagged up a honeybun, it’s funny son.’

 

The song is meant to be a bit of a throwback. Many folks have told me it sounds ‘like a dope 90s record’ and I think that is perfect. Dutch, CG and me came up in the 90s as ‘city kids’ and we wanted to reflect that in the record. I decided this was a good place to insert a Guru quote I found in another interview as it touched upon him speaking about ‘the youth’ and ‘the future’. While CG, Dutch and I still have plenty to do in our times, we are always mindful of the youth coming up and introducing them to the sounds we came up with. I felt our record accomplished that and the cherry on top was the Guru quote.

It’s our duty as civilized people
to teach and to add on
and to help the youth elevate
so they can have a future.
-Guru

 

6.) Firecracker (Produced by Teddy Roxpin)

Without being too rude and offensive the song is a gigantic ‘fuck you’ to anyone who ever doubted, talked shit about me and / or ignored what I was trying to do. While I’ve been the recipient of wonderful support from many there is always a select few that grind your gears. I’m more of a ‘in your face’ type of guy anyways so sometimes it feels good just to lay down a track that is pure unmitigated shit talking. I played with alot of racial wordplay and punchlines for this one. The song was inspired by the reaction I got during my Green Street Jungle Performance and had the line

‘Are they a bunch of rappers?
or a bunch of actors
this white boy’s on fire, get it? FIRE. CRACKER’.

 

My verse begins at 6:17. This moment was one of Boston’s biggest that year. It also gave me a huge jump in popularity in Boston due to my performance.

‘Firecracker’ also pokes fun at the folks that love to bring up the subject of my race whenever I bring up the fact that I rap. DJ Real P of the Famous Nobodies provided the cuts and came up with some of the chops at the beginning (for example, Yelawolf’s opening bars on ‘1 Train’ addressing white rappers). We cut that part of the record at his home studio where I had laid some of my earliest collaboration tracks with members of the FN throughout 2011 and beyond.

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                                              Real P and his son back in 2012 at the studio we cut Firecracker’s scratches.

 

7.) Michael’s Getaway produced by eone

This song is mostly fictional. Told in a way that I felt brought excitement, love and tragedy together for a 3 verse story. One of the enduring struggles of my community has been drug addiction and addiction in general. It is 100% of the biggest issues facing the City Of Boston and the greater Boston area. Heroin and opiate rates are just now starting to crack national headlines but anyone from Boston and the surrounding areas realizes how long these issues have haunted us. Big pharma, the widespread use of Oxycontin and eventually a spike in price that proved too expensive for most people so they turned to heroin to fill the void. Far too many stories that cast aside people as ‘addicts’ with nothing else to show for. I wanted the song to explore the complexities behind people who are afflicted.

They love like us.

They dream like us.

They wish to get better like us.

Sometimes they make it.

Sometimes they don’t.

In reflecting the city around me I always felt you need to amplify not only the good but also the horrific. Addiction continues to haunt us. That is why this song was selected for ‘Ways To Go’.

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The crime side of ‘Michael’s’ story was inspired by the true life jewelry store robbery that took place on September 6th, 2011 in Woburn, Massachusetts. The heist was botched and resulted with an officer being shot. One of those charged went to my cousin’s High School and when we had heard about the story we were all shocked. I wanted to combine the themes of crime and addiction together for my story (Please note: Mine is fictional. Simply inspired by some real life events: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/05/06/four-charged-in-woburn-jewelry-store-heist-and-shooting-plead-guilty/)

7.) Tequila Sunrise Produced by Mr. Light Up

On ’20 Something’ I had a record named ‘Postcards’ that chronicled a seven week journey overseas in obsessive detail. It also contained a record called ‘Tequila Day Dreams’. When I made ‘Ways To Go’,  I wanted to make sure to accomplish two things with ‘Tequila Sunrise’: 1) I wanted to give the listener a ‘vacation’ away from many of the harsh themes and realities I covered in the songs up to this point. 2) I wanted to make a sequel to ‘Tequila Day Dreams’ and ‘Postcards’. Instead of making two songs I combined both themes and came up with this instead. In the future I’d like to complete the trilogy of ‘tequila’ named songs.

‘It’s like a vacation

time to get it in

bad hangover

tequila medicine’

The song is a ‘break’ from the harsh realities explored in most of the project so far  A break that so many folks need and never get.  A beach somewhere to get away from life for awhile. Drinks. Beautiful women. It’s breezy, playful and fun. Everyone needs a vacation at times and traveling breeds perspective. I thought it was an underrated song on this project, especially the 2nd verse. Some at first glance might find it to be out of place in the lineup of songs but the reasoning above stands for why I included it. 

8.) What We Do Featuring J The S (Produced By Mark Merren).

The first person I ever met and got to know from the local Hip-Hop scene was my ‘big brother’  J The S. I was always a fan of him, his style and music not to mention his collective ‘The Greater Good’ had become good friends of mine. We met while both working at the Neighborhood House Charter School (in 2006, some three years before I started to make music). He also gave me my first locally connected shows of my career allowing me to open up for both of his release parties in 2011 and 2012.

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Me and Snizza at his ‘Last Days’ Release Party in 2012.

‘What We Do’ covers the traditional ideas of Boston and the scene here. This song challenges the ‘hatred’ in Boston and the ‘crabs in the barrel’ mentality so many people attach themselves too. As ‘Ways To Go’ came out it was apparent a breath of fresh air was breathing into the city especially with the emergence of the 12×12 movement. While this was encouraging, there still existed plenty of nonsense, so I let a few shots off to let people know I didn’t fuck with that type of behavior. Fronting. Bullshitting. Tearing other people down. I just wanted to let folks know I was focused on me but heard everything around me. There are no secrets in a town this small. 

‘keep looking im a sight to see
hating is weakness
blaze a trail feeling right to me
tell the truth yup
well you better kid
not sure why so many think they better fib
nah dude you better live
y’all spittin sedatives
I’m catching Z’s off you mother fuckers
from these ‘said he dids’

Jake, a veteran and idol of mine, was the perfect it for the verse. One of my favorites of all time from him. I always knew sometime I’d make music with him, but I wanted to ensure I had earned my respect first. His verse encapsulated the exact feelings I was going through at the time regarding the scene, especially the negative parts. In many ways I felt this was Jake’s transition from ‘Snake’ to different fusions of music (referenced directly by his ‘Blue Gold’ line, the name of his band he erected right around the same time).

10648700_10152459988298768_5592001778666392268_oJake, pictured with ‘Blue Gold’ in 2014.

‘Republican, Dem
Same thang, same gang
we all getting fucked
it’s a gangbang
it sound the same
it’s sounding lame
I gasp at these lames
that they wanna crown king
rap game’s too cold
it needs some new soul
that’s why from here on out?
It’s ‘Blue Gold’
slave to the rhythm but I’m doing what I wanna do
jumping through the obstacles in front of you
throw the beat on I lace it like some running shoes
yeah health is wealth
but you know I’m getting money too’

 

I thought the amount Jake managed to touch upon in just one verse was jaw dropping. He was able to effortlessly embody so much of what I was feeling during the creation of this song. It’s one of my favorite verses ever from any Boston Hip-Hop artist.

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Pictured Left to right: Jake, myself and American Antagonist. Late 2014.

Raincoats (Produced By Grime)

‘Raincoats’ is the bringer of balance for ‘How We Do’. It is also a direct connect to the ‘Dark Clouds’ referenced in the album’s introduction. The concept of the ‘storm’ is an allegory for upcoming success and upcoming issues as a result of said ‘success’.. You want a storm to happen. Lightening. Rain. Thrashing wind. You just don’t want to DEAL with the damage that stems from one. You want success. You strive for success. But how do you react to those who ‘succeed’ before you do? Grime, of the notorious Boston collective ‘The Camp’ (Boston Music Award winners for ‘Best Live Act’ at one point) produced the track. Back in 2011 I had begun to work on a joint album with Excetera (also of ‘The Camp’) but it never materialized. Luckily I got to know Grime and he sent me this awesome production.

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Me and Excetera performing back in 2011.

A characteristic of the Boston scene was the ‘crabs in the barrel’ mentality. Hatred. When I wrote this song it was at a crossroads to me. Plenty of support. Plenty of real. Plenty of fake. And weeding out the differences were extremely important to me and everyone involved in our community’s culture.

“My peers I’m proud for em’
looking up at the sky
I see them clouds forming
from a city where that hate
runs inside your blood
born with it
don’t understand why
just knew it was
always there
angry cuz you ain’t earning digits
you got no boat, no paddle, small town and burning bridges”

 

The song also pointed to the change in the traditional ‘hating’ attitude of Boston. 2012 was a big year for Boston Hip-Hop as we saw a marked change in the artists began to build with each other. Unity was a new feeling for the scene but it was certainly a nice one. The ‘new kids on the block’ eluded to the 12×12 movement and the excitement of having multiple artists working together in a movement. It was also a hopeful call that a positive environment would continue to build.

‘generation transition

new blood means new fears

sweat blood and a few tears

new kids on the block

with some new ideas.’

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12×12 over at Uncle Peet’s on Charles Street in 2012. This was Boston artist Avenue’s ‘Words Speak Life’ listening party. Myself and him both dropped albums the same day on September 11th, 2012 (20 Something and Words Speak Life).

 

Papercuts (Produced by Latrell James)

Guru: Not a gang necessarily. But a posse. Doing alot of bad stuff. Carrying guns. Getting shot at. Robbing.

(interviewer asks: ‘you went through that?)

Guru: Yeah.

Just to get a rep.

The song was the last recorded for the project. It came together very fast. Latrell James sent me the beat soon after I thought I had wrapped and I said ‘nah this needs to go on the project’. The instrumental spoke to me and I felt served as a perfect closure to the album.Originally, ‘Papercuts’ was the second to last song and ‘Raincoats’ was last (I liked the idea of closing out the album that started with ‘Dark Clouds’ with ‘Raincoats). At my listening party, during the second game of the 2013 World Series, G Valentino of KillerBoomBox.com told me I HAD to flip flop the two songs. Not even a question. I had never heard him speak so passionately about my music but I trusted his ear because he had been one of my earliest supporters. I’m glad I listened.

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After my ‘Ways To Go’ listening party at The Beacon Hill Pub on Charles Street, Boston in October 2013. Pictured: Latrell James (who produced Papercuts), Malcolm J. Gray, Leah V, Dutch ReBelle, Quisington, and Papers.

2012 through 2013 brought many deaths into my life. Not just with the brutal loss of Martin but a number of young men and women from various parts of the city that were taken far too soon. Some from the painful vortex of addiction and others from senseless inner city violence. Some were friends I knew by name. Some were friends of dear friends that in some ways struck me even worse because I could feel how much pain they were in. ‘

‘We can make it here. We can make it up’…

In the meantime I’m in my zone all alone running
breath on my chest
headed for that finish line
right on Hereford
left on Boylston
I’ll finish mine
city still struggling with what happened
but those without a voice struggling with inaction.

Papercuts touched on some controversial topics … especially the idea that white victims in Boston commanded more attention than black victims. This was a tough for me. I was extremely close to the situation and the Richards so I was extremely grateful for all the attention good people paid to him and his family. On the other hand, I was crushed and conflicted by the lack of empathy and consideration for other families that were torn apart by violence in Boston. Many of those families that also happened to be of color. As a love of the city and EVERYone in the city it truly hurt my soul. I wanted to make sure I added this conflict into the music as I believe it was an accurate reflection of what was going on at the time. 

‘Papercuts’ ended the album on a bit of a down note. At the same time I felt it was realistic, accurate and honest. While there are many great things about where I’m from …there is much to be improved.

All of a sudden the project comes to an end. All of a sudden that familiar voice inside my head goes off again.

‘We still got a ways to go.’

Thank you to each and every person that ever listened to my music. I sincerely appreciate you and I do my best to give you everything I am. There is brand new music around the corner. I’m sorry for the wait. New name. No gimmicks. 

Also thank you to everyone that was apart of the project. Much love to my mother, father, the late great Guru and of course the wonderful City Of Boston.

-Nat