Tagged: Creamy Ewok Baggends

Dealing with some New Brand Of Dad

"Art director" Phyf and main Dad Audiophile 021 talking Ninja Turtles and nappies.

“Art director” Phyf and main Dad Audiophile 021 talking Ninja Turtles and nappies.

 

“Aight listen! Ye inna position te make a difference if you stop look an listen an make it ye main mission…”

The New Brand Of Dad project is all about how having kids makes us want to be better.  Better artists, better humans, just better overall.  Better at life really, while still working on its personal definition.  The New Brand Of Dad project is about how our little kids have pushed us to make sense of things, letting us strip away all the petty shit and focus on what is really important in our lives.  Having a kid seems to bring that into a fairly sharp perspective, and quickly.  No lie, having a kid is like adapt or die.

Look, before I start getting too motivational speaker on the reader, just to let you know that NBOD isn’t anything new as such, in that it is an album of music recordings, rap and beats, Hip Hop at our finest.

What is new is the perspective that has guided our approach.  We are producing the album from the perspective of being new to the parenting game, while being longtime in the music making and performance game.  This project is about prioritizing quality in the way that we work.  This is about legacy, and longevity, and making a mark that we will always be be proud of.  The ideas contained in this project are timeless, but the production is setting a higher standard that we aim to promote, develop and progress beyond.

It makes sense then that we would want to set the highest standard possible, so that any progress made would be taking us to a new level, just like the commitment to being a good parent.  You have to be able to adapt if you are going to raise your kid right, because that little life is in constant development.  The kid you knew yesterday is the one that you learned about today, and will become a new kid tomorrow.

To raise kids you have to be ready to raise yourself.

The dads involved in this project know all about not dropping the ball, about not compromising your craft, about taking yourself seriously enough to risk and to roll with the possible punches.  It seems like that’s what being a dad is all about.  You don’t always see things coming so you can’t always be prepared.  All you can do is commit yourself to the process, and when you do trip up or stall for whatever reason, quality of character is what pulls you through.  Hip Hop is the same.  It’s all about the recovery.  When breakers slip or MCs tongue stumble, the way they turn that into part of the routine or the rhyme is how you can identify real skill.  Kids are like that, they don’t have all the control so you have to be there with them, to help them recover so that they can discover.  That means you have to be on point, more then you ever thought possible.  You have to find plenty extra energy.  You have to take more time or at least maximize the time you have in making sure you make the best move possible in the moment.

Look, again, this is all pretty obvious stuff if you are even a slightly positive person that drinks coffee and gets busy on a serious level of attack when it comes to life.  It’s just having a kid makes it seem less like a mission and more like a purpose.  This album is about having a clear purpose.  Like we want our kids to have a quality life, we want the listener to have a quality experience.  Our kids are teaching us about perspective, and we want to put these lessons into practice.

NEW BRAND OF DAD is due for a JULY 2014 release.  Like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter, stay tuned and keep practicing that perspective…

Suli Break(down): Why I will not let a YouTube video do all my thinking for me

Some people think that I’m trying to battle Suli Breaks.  I’m not.  Before you read this, watch his video:

Now watch my response:

Now dig this:

A lot of people might think that I disagree with this cat.  I don’t.  Before we go any further let me just state openly that I have big respect for Suli Breaks, and for anyone like him that uses a true talent and impressive skill to inform and inspire others beyond the self-gratifying nature of most contemporary pop culture that only seeks to serve itself and sell that self to others.

This cat walks the talk.  As I said, much respect.

What he has done here has inspired me to respond.  People think I’m battling him.  I’m not.  The purpose of my piece was to take his argument further.  There is a competitive edge to it, it seems to be provocative, and in a lot of ways begs a response, but that’s the nature of what we do as Spoken Word artists, and I’m pretty sure that he would understand my intentions here better then anyone.

I’m not battling him, I just don’t think he made enough room in his exam argument for the teachers and parents that are out there with a broader view of their role as educators.

Now I never like to explain my poetry.  I think it’s like explaining a joke, and a good joke needs no explanation.  However, there is more to this piece then simply the poem.  There is the question of context, his British versus my South African.  There is the question of audience, the difference between the pupils he is talking about, and those who came up to me after class one day, excited, saying “Sir, have you seen Suli Breaks?  You have to see it sir!  It’s Spoken Word sir, go check it out!”.  I did check it out, and I wasn’t going to respond, until one of the teachers in my department said to me how she felt like her students were using this video to attack her, how they seemed to be accusing her of some kind of collusion in what was to them a seemingly corrupt system.  Hearing that, the way the video had been picked up as a kind of banner to be flown in the face of teachers and parents without considering some of those broader questions, I had to respond.

My response was in the form of a Spoken Word piece that mimicked Suli’s style and production, a direct reference that openly identified with the genre and stood in the same space to literally re-focus the argument.  When they heard it, the fellas at the school I teach at part time wanted to create a video version as a further direct reference to the original.

As I said, and as you hear me reciting in the piece, I think that there is more to exams then the final mark, and that the real benefit that comes from any test is not in the final result, but in the process of preparing, studying, and honing mental skills that will serve you beyond any specific subject.

In one sense, as a friend and colleague pointed out, exams results do matter.  For example, if you had the choice to drive over two different bridges, one built by an engineer who got 100% on his finals and the other by an engineer who got 98%, which would you choose?  If you had to have open heart surgery and you could choose between two surgeons, one who got 100% and another who got 95%, which would it be?  I don’t think you could be blamed for wanting to go with the one with the higher score.

However, I think Suli knows this, and I don’t think that is what he is saying, so I tried to say it like “Exams are a way of working out a kind of worth, but students who are working will always be worth more then exams…”.

Okay, now I’m explaining my piece.  Bad joke.

I’m going to leave it up to you to decide, one way or the other, because the ability to be able to do that, to be able to take in information and develop your own opinion, to be able to use your brain to assume an individual position, that’s the education that I think we are both banging on about.

Once again, respect due to you Suli.  I know you didn’t mean to, but you’ve sparked a worldwide debate.

Much thanks to all of the staff and students of Clifton College Durban for making this happen.  If it is a battle, I’d rather it be for education, and not entertainment.

p.s.  This is dedicated to my father, who educated me about teaching, and to my mother, who taught me about being an educator.

New music: “BRICS from below”

[intro]

[verse one]

Capital B to the R to the I C S / 5 letters suggest who writes the cheques / but never checks the rights / so the people’s lives are economically “bloc”ed by these Capital lies / Time to learn about these letters that we capitalize / Keep the people lowest level while they rapidly rise / Can’t control the police / the education ship sank / so how you think you’re gonna run a BRICS bank? / The people we all know where the capital lies / Daveyton / Ficksburg / where the blood still dries / Maite tells us not to criticize coz they’re bringing us a “boom” like industrialize / but we don’t want more construction / corruption and drama / eyes still wet from the tears of Marikana / ‘s just another power bloc / fokkol change / 99% playing in a 1% game

[chorus]

If they are guilty they must pay…If they are guilty…If they are guilty they must pay…they…must…pay!

Building blocks and blocs that don’t build

Bricks that build and BRICS that never will

Building blocks and blocs that don’t build

Bricks that build and BRICS that never will

[second verse]

They wanna caste new bricks while bricks are being cast / flown from the fists of the lowest class / They wanna fly the flag / should be flown at half mast / remembering the people that have passed / The freedom can’t last can’t breath we gasp in suffocation / choke in the smoke from the self-immolation / You can bet in Tibet the people wonder how / the Dalai Lama we reject but welcome Hu Jintao / Democratic means I’m freely disputing / the faith that we put in Putin / Freedom of Speech what? / I don’t buy it / I’ve got two words for you Vladimir: Pussy Riot / We don’t need anymore / that’s enough right there to shoot a flare in the air for the people everywhere to prepare / for a fresh attack / Whip crack on the bare back / See the boss building up the share stack / with blue chips to fit whips with blue lights to cruise with / sitting in position / top deck of the cruise ship / Who built the ICC ?/ Who gets to use it? / That’s a big ass ego / let me bruise it: BRAZIL – RUSSIA – INDIA – CHINA / Africa’s open like bullet holes in miners / but hold up! Something you should know: / You dropping BRICS from above?/ We’re throwing BRICS from below…

[chorus]

If they are guilty they must pay…If they are guilty…If they are guilty they must pay…they…must…pay!

Building blocks and blocs that don’t build

Bricks that build and BRICS that never will

Building blocks and blocs that don’t build

Bricks that build and BRICS that never will

[outro]

It goes 1 2 3 / kick a rhyme to keep the people free / they’re bringing BRICS but they’re not building / makes you wonder where the money go / where oh?

It goes 1 2 3 / peace freedom equality / that’s the justice policy / When we building from below we grow

Wildstyle: LAST THOUGHTS

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This is the process of producing the final ‘piece’ that will feature as a video insert in the FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY 10 Year Anniversary Season performance of the new work entitled “LAST THOUGHTS”.

The piece starts off by saying/reading LAST THOUGHTS in some funky lettering, before I completely oblitirate the literary function of letters with a full-on WILDSTYLE graffiti attack.

This style of Graffiti is the one that most people respond to by saying “I can’t read what it says!”. Google search “Wildstyle Graffiti” images if you are looking for some serious inspiration and awe inspiring artistic flair. I feel I need to explain that the point of this type of style, as with most Hip Hop ideas of ‘style’ or ‘styling’, is that it isn’t meant to be read as much as it is meant to be felt. Therein lies it’s perfect purpose within this work, “Last Thoughts”, which is about the language of the body, of feeling and expressing.

I have never been as comfortable painting letters (or ‘style writing’ as we call it) as I have painting characters. In my career as an artist I have painted pictures more then I have painted my name. Plenty of heads would use this as an indication of my lack of authenticity as a Graffiti Writer, but that’s their beef. I have written my name enough to know where I stand when it comes to having a can in hand.

This piece was produced under some interesting constraints. I had to move in and out of the frame every minute or two in order for us (my wife Karen is the ‘videographer’ producing this installation) to capture a suitable ‘timelapse’ effect, where the piece will seemingly paint itself on the back wall of the stage while the dancers perform in front of it. I also had to complete the work in a shorter time frame then usual, but thanks to some excellent babysitting efforts from Grandma “ShoSho” Robinson, some wonderful support and encouragement from Gary Nell and the customers of his salon “The G-Spot” across the road (not to mention the coffee and power source!) and some generally well-meaning spectators (except for that lady who wants to start a petition to have it removed) I ended up pulling off a satisfying ‘style’.

I am looking forward to seeing the full two-story version in performance. Every Writer wants to go large, I just had some visual assistance with this one! Next I’m gonna go CGI…

LAST THOUGHTS wildstyle