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South of Trenton | Burlington County is a rare bird. Ordinances protect and govern land in ways legislators failed to do up north. So nah, the air don't spell like sulfur, but every now and then, you still gotta hold your breath. The police shut down events left and right, promoters don't stand a chance. Down the road is the State Police Barracks, if they don't get you the city boys will. I was staying at the Nirdip at the time, because I lost my apartment after 100 days in county. It wasn't exactly luxury accommodations but I wasn't complaining because it served a purpose. Besides, shorty had no problem pull'n up. I went from cooking syrup trays for 400 to marketing SJ Socialite. Now that's ZERO to SIXTY. This was before Lamborghini Mercy and I decided to put two and two together. He would still do is cameo, but I was doing the heavy lifting when it came to being front and center. In less than 30 days the promotion was the talk of the town, but that's when shit got Posh. #lifelibertyhappiness @artiifashion
Origins. As in, where it all began. I debate the chances from time to time. Reminding myself that coincidence doesn’t exist. I step outside the moment and journey to a place in time where it all comes full circle. It would seem however, TRUTH is only fully revealed in hindsight. Never the less, I’m compelled to walk in FAITH. The journey depicted here and now, navigates the intricate streets of the heart to place where LOVE resides. The dawn breaks and I find myself trapped within a reality where my every action is hindered by my past. My every glimpse of the future is stymied by the present, which for to long has served as a prison in this life I lead. My amends are lost within a sea of transgressions. My heart, convicted and sentenced, my mind convinced, my soul in despair. Never the less, my passion burns on. I rise with the sun, a phoenix from the ashes stepping forward once again in FAITH. Day one was a blur of euphoria. My daughter’s spirit evokes the highest of highs. Her presence re kindles HOPE, her smile defines HAPPINESS, and within hers eyes I find UNDERSTANDING. . . Weeks passed before fate afforded us an opportunity to spend time together. My actions, which are all too often perceived as selfish, led us to the Aquarium that afternoon. My daughter, glorious as usual, stole the spotlight. Even the intense heat of July, was dim in comparison. Her bright eyes took in all the sights from the window seat of the Riverline Transit system. She however, was never one to be easily impressed. She glided gracefully, from the train to the aquarium, from the line outside to the exhibits indoors. Neither shark, nor jellyfish, penguin or seal moved her much beyond the confines of her composure. However when the Sponge Bob ride was over, she said to me, “Daddy, can we go again?” I couldn’t help but smile, she was definitely impressed… That night came swiftly, and I fell back into character, “Paul Daniels”. (promoter extraordinaire, one call is all it takes.) It began with a series of incoming calls, and ended with a few late night texts… In between I found myself battling fate, on account of my FAITH. “SHE” called out of the blue (of course,) because we just don’t get down like that anymore. Times change despite our every effort to keep it the same. We’re just in completely different worlds. “SHE” was caught up with thoughts of him, and I was consumed by thoughts of “HER”. (“HER” meaning the ONE) I had long ago arrived at the conclusion that our hearts were incapable of TRULY loving more than one person at a time. There was always the pretense of being “in LOVE” which served as benchmark, for what the mind and body should be doing. My understanding is that LOVE is LOVE, and “in’ or “out” is simply a reflection of our inconsistency. At any rate, it’s on. The doorbell rang, and “SHE” was looking as fly as ever. “SHE” is simply beautiful, no make up, no fancy attire, just naturally FLY. “SHE” raced in, shopping bags in hand, rushing to get ready. In and out the shower, back out the house looking like, “Whoa!” Yeah, “SHE” was definitely a stunner. Life turned her into Diva, so when “SHE” dressed to impress, everyone noticed. We hopped into Casper’s black V-Dub, and sped down a few country roads en route to the night’s festivities. We scooped EQ, and put an L in the sky, arriving at the venue with perfect timing, it was packed. I step out to a text from “HER”. “Should I call you later?” it asked. Perpetually deep, my reply in a nutshell, was “…do as you feel.” No sooner than I hit the scene, I’m rushed behind closed doors. Although I wasn’t promoting that night, Paul Daniels is always ALL ACCESS. So I’m helping orchestrate the nights entertainment. Skimpy outfits, beer on tap, and discount shots, quite the combination. Before we go any further, let me set the backdrop. Because Now, more than ever, I’m admittedly compelled to preach. Not just good or bad, wrong or right, but the WORD of GOD. The irony of this realization was slapping me in the face. I stood in the pits of hell it would seem, being tempted by all which the flesh desires. God is on my side, I know this, but what of those I hold dear, what is to become of them? I left the dressing room unscathed, kindly refusing kisses from strangers and sexual advances from women completely consumed by the moment. My antagonist stood defiant, obliterated by a variety of drinks, perhaps serving a darker lord, one who’s pentagram hung eerily around his neck. His parting words echoed, “I just don’t give a fuck”… As for me, I stepped into the crowd, amidst cheers and applause, I thought quietly too myself, it’s time for a change. DAY TWO: It was noon before I was able to put my thoughts together. My body was lethargic from being out all night. My throat ached from being up in smoke. My heart was heavy… You see, all I really care about is my little girl. When it comes right down to it, I would trade it all for her time and time again. I was moved by something she said yesterday. She wanted to make a wish, so she asked me for some change. A she tossed the coins into the river, at the waterfront, I heard one of her humble requests. “I wish my Daddy can come live with me.” Ouch… The day was humid, the Sun bore down on me as I walked a lonely highway. I decided on a whim to make my way back to my little girl, hopping out of ride headed in the opposite direction. I needed the time to clear my thoughts. I figured by this time, enough was enough, I’ll turn myself in tomorrow and finally put and end to this chapter of my life. I followed my thoughts to conclusion and began to understand the emotions leading me to this conclusion. “SHE” was back in my life, a blessing, because if nothing else, “SHE” was always real. This time around we’ll give friendship an honest effort. I never talked to “HER” last night, I knew there wouldn’t be a late night call. If I told “HER” to call me later, I’m convinced the outcome would have been different, but I’m not the man that I was, I must let people find their own way. So I’m sadden by the pain of loss, and not altogether soothed by what I’ve regained, strange. By the time I made it home, the humidity gave way to an intense thunderstorm. Ironic, that even reality reflected my internal struggle. The raindrops danced on my rooftop as I drifted in and out of sleep, once again debating my chances. I absorbed the LOVE my daughter gave satisfied with the understanding that it, is, a reflection of my own LOVE. In a world where nothing is constant, and everything is destined for change, I’m reassured by the realization, that LOVE never fails. My little girl, how absolutely precious you are, and how outright blessed I’ve always been. I made my way to the studio, which has become a refuge for me. My brother in Christ has been inclined to walk this road with me, and has opened his arms to receive a blessing that was his before time began. EQ is, and was always a good man. A mutual friend introduced us. Life had put a wedge between them, but at the same time, brought us closer together. If the time line from then to now was all laid out, in observation an outsider can look and see purpose. The moment is not always as obliging. “BLACKDREAMS” was the battle cry from the on set. It was a dynamic group of artists that came together like Voltron, or whatever reference you prefer. EQ was always the piece of the puzzle that brought it all together. EQ is an acronym for “Ear Quality” perfect considering that as a producer, his ear meant everything. I witnessed his transformation, and saw what GOD can truly do for people. EQ was always talented, let’s make no mistake about it. The dude had hits. He like I, was unevenly yoked, so the circle he maintained perpetuated the path he took from day to day. Almost two years to date, our friendship came full circle, now we’re truly making a difference. It began for him as an obligation, supporting his mother who was new into ministry, but not new unto the GOD. She became a Pastor and it was natural for her sons to support her. In doing so, my friend finally found his way. His music has another dimension now. It speaks to the heart and soul, and that initial battle cry is the album I’m around to help promote, “BLACKDREAMS”. . . “Panther” played inaudibly in the background, as I tweaked a few online advertisements. By the time Huey Newton starting recruiting young black men to help in the movement, the movie had my full attention. Now, I know the story, like I know the times. This thought is a reflection of the power of a single moment, and the impact it has in our lives. “POWER to the PEOPLE” It’s relevance was awe inspiring, it led me to the decision to ride out this moment. To finish what I started, because God’s plan is TRULY PERFECT. DAY THREE: I was finally able to make my peace with “HER”. These last couple of days were definitely rough. I had been spoiled by “HER” late night conversations. Seduced by “HER” charm, and enveloped by “HER” beauty. “HER” parents raised “HER” well. I always recollect the night we met. I saw “HER” from across the bar and noticed “HER” shining bright, like tranquil moonlight over the ocean. Before conversation began, I knew “HER” vibe was different. We exchanged numbers, parted ways, and I promised to call “HER” for the sake of getting to know each other. We were both in the company of friends so what else was there to do but play our parts. Before the nights end, my thoughts were of “HER” as I read my incoming text . “I’m leaving now, pleasure to meet you, take care.” Interesting… not sure what compelled “HER” to reach out , but I thought it to be a kind gesture. Yes, there was definitely something about “HER”. Weeks passed and I made more and more room for “HER”. I understand now, that having “HER” around gave me an outlet for all the burdens I was carrying. I could sit back and listen to “HER” voice which night, by night, became more soothing. I also had the option of sharing thoughts tucked securely within the depths of my nomadic mind state. I touched “HER” heart, and became burdened by what began to manifest. I saw the future in “HER” eyes, and just stood back at the reality. I could be everything, “HER” heart desires. And I could be content with finally finding the ONE. Had to be insanity, I don’t deserve to be happy. That’s negativity at it’s best. Funny how the world wants to part ways from those we consider to be “HATERS”. No one has the heart to look in the mirror to say goodbye to the biggest haters in the universe, ourselves. Been there and done that, fuck you is what I told my doubts. I began to grow in spirit, once again in hindsight seeing what GOD has given me. I can feel the power, it resonates within my body, and extends beyond my grasp, it spreads with every touch. It manifests throughout my will, reiterated with my every breath. My actions, remain steadfast, I’ve silenced all of my inner most whims, and I finally put GOD first. I understood that I needed “HER” desperately. It was “HER” decision that led to DAY ONE. It was “HER” that I put first after all my many trials, after this long, winding walk of FAITH. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. All I ever had to do was put GOD first. Yet now, when it matter most, I am ready to put “HER” first. How utterly pathetic. Don’t get confused by the message. None of what I’ve put first is bad, or not intended for me, in fact, it’s the opposite. Everything I put before GOD is worthy of LOVE, and in many instances blessings. All of which fall short in Glory because they are all a reflection of his will. A glimpse in what could be mine, if only I could conquer myself. My pride led me destruction time and time again. From as far back as I can remember, I rarely bypassed an opportunity to shine. Whether it was in the midst of family or friends, I was always compelled to excel. In sports, my competitive nature led me to become a state champion. In Business, I always exceeded expectations and found the key to commerce. In life I befriended everyone, always eager to return the LOVE I was always given. I had however, deeply rooted issues that revealed themselves as VICE whenever the opportunity presented itself. I was born in the BRONX, December of 1978. As the story goes, my mother and I spent time in a women’s shelter. Not exactly the warm welcome I envisioned. Even now I marvel at the irony of what truly makes me tick. From Arizona, to Turkey, from Louisiana to Florida, From New Jersey, back to the Bronx. It took nearly 30 years for everything to come full circle. I look back now and remember all of which make me, me. All I really remember about Arizona, was being lost in a dust storm. Vaguely I catch a glimpse of the pee wee soccer league. My parents always had me active in sports, they were very much into them as well. I remember sitting at half court when a loose ball came speeding my way. I can picture all the men’s faces, I suppose the ball was coming fast enough to clobber me. I put my hands up, deflected the ball and went right back to what toddlers do best, play. Fast forward a few years and my strongest memory of Arizona flashes. It was at the hospital where my little brother was born. I remember being HAPPY. By the time the Air Force sent us overseas I was old enough to be grown within the confines of my own world. As a second grader I remember getting in trouble for erasing the names off of my classmates homework and putting mine. (What an asshole.) I never got over my dismay for homework. My mother told me how in 4th grade, at my parent, teacher conference I confronted the teacher about homework. Saying how I don’t need to do it, and just give me the tests. What is that about, I mean really. I reached junior high possessing the ego of an upperclassmen, even to the point where I dated a few… crazy. I remember this Senior wrote me a note telling me how she never found a 14 year old attractive, I was 13 at the time, and despite my bravado was too scared to go to her house like she wanted. Whoa. I recall at a dance, me and my people had our whole wardrobe reversed. A sign of the times perhaps. The Hip-Hop culture was reality for us. Sitting on the sideline as a youngster watching the break dancing, literally, I remember this dude bust his chin open trying to do the snake. Unfortunately for me, by the time I was old enough to dance, the culture had gotten a little tougher. NWA was the ish, and my best friend, Gansta Rob, pulled us all together. How appropriate, “GIP” because we Got It Poppin, but make no mistake we were a Gang In Progress. I was “JD” long before Jermaine Dupree was making gwop. My name sake was on account of my Juvenile Delinquency. WTF? Things came to ahead when enough was enough, and I was at the verge of being banned from the base. Being all the way Turkey, that said a lot, because that meant a one way ticket back to the states. It would seem that my VIRTUE out weighed my VICE even then, because I remained in Turkey, returning every summer to Bronx for vacation. It was during one of these trips when my eyes were opened. I LOVE the Bronx. It’s a part of my essence and I will always see the beauty in what we had there. The neighborhood was home, and everything are hearts desired was within our reach. My mother was the second oldest of thirteen so, in many ways, I was the baby of that family as well. My two youngest uncles were 2 and 4 years older than me, I followed them everywhere. One summer we were playing at the handball courts. Out of nowhere this man came from behind the building dropping down over the wall (if you can picture the court being offset from the sloping Tremont Avenue.) His pace was that of a man running for his life. When the second man climbed down, the reality set in, because he had a gun in his hand. Two shots echo even to this day. The first man dropped, never to rise again. (At least in this life.) I stood there watching the blood fill the pavement, his body frozen in time forever. One shot was all it took, it hit him in the head and he died instantly. I realized then how precious life was, and acted accordingly ever since.
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