feat_jeangrae

Jean Grae: Responds & Freshens Up

Ok, it’s 2:56 in the am and I’m up watching “Paula Abdul: Driven.” I never knew she had bulimia Girls, don’t throw up.

That’s neither here nor there. This week has been crazy, due to the responses from the last column I typed to you all.

I started out trying to respond to everyone who wrote back, either via message boards or personal email, but it got to be a lot. A LOT.

Really, I didn’t know how emotional the response would be.

I got love, I got hate thrown my way, suggestions, advice. It ran the gamut from both extremes. I appreciate it all. Mostly I appreciate the fact that words could spark so much discussion and lead to debates between varying insights and perspectives about the music industry, frustration and life in general.

The general consensus was the same though. It was the simple fact that words, coupled with emblazoned emotion, could make a difference and make people think and talk to each other. I didn’t write anything with the intention of proving anything. Honestly, I was angry as hell, frustrated and out of ideas. Anger can blind you to seeing the good in anything, or realizing that the anger will pass in time.

I go through the feeling of being at the end of my rope with this career path much more than I would have publicly admitted before. My usual way out, being the music, just wasn’t cutting it that day. So I vented. Not for sympathy, not for the sake of bitching, just for me to get it out.

It was like suppressing a scream for years and finally allowing myself to be loud. A couple of times since it’s been up and reading responses, I started questioning whether or not this was a reeeeaaally bad choice. Really bad. I couldn’t go to bed tonight without it on my head, so I’m doing what I usually do, write about it. It still has two sides to it for me, but ultimately I’m glad I got it out. If it wasn’t in a column, it would have been in a song. So either way I would have made it a public vulnerability I couldn’t avoid.

Funny that, the responses were what made me realize how lucky I am to have this job. To have the luxury of being able to say what I’m feeling to a public audience and have it open for criticism is an incredible opportunity. Yeah, sometimes it’s crazy to just have an opinion of your day, or your experiences and have strangers either relate or be adverse to your words. In either case it is still an extremely powerful media that is unparallel in freedom.

The importance of language and technology being used as a means to spark thought is especially becoming more apparent to me with every day I spend pursuing this game. I was thinking no one was listening, or no one really cared to even try and step out of his or her train of thought to hear something else for a second. But y’all proved me wrong. There wasn’t music behind it, there was no packaging on it, but it made a little ripple. That really shook me. No, no, not “shook ones” shook me…”I will still stab your brain with your nose bone…” Naw, not that.

It made me snap out of the anger and keep sh*t moving. If words can have that kind of effect, then it’s worth talking. It’s worth fighting for, it’s worth getting bruised up and falling down and getting back on again. I’m not afraid to say when I’m fucked up, or fed up, or at the same time, when things are beautiful and everything falls into place. I’m glad that everyone isn’t afraid to do that either. Even the hate, hey we need some balance, it can’t all be good shit. Coming from the chick who has, “f**k you, f**k you…” as a hook, I’m right there with you on that.

All the music that I love and feel is something that takes me with it and brings out an emotion. Whether it’s Stevie singing “All Is Fair In Love,” or MOP doing “World Famous”, damn…there’s always a factor that takes you into it and brings you out on the other side. Double the same for incredible lyricists like Big Pun (R.I.P) on the entire Capital Punishment album, Jay Z’s conversationalist ways, or G Rap’s verbal dexterity, that can just make you wonder how the hell he did that, sucking you into his every breath. It’s all emotion, it’s all an art and it touches everyone that it comes in contact with. That is the incredulous power of music, more so, the absolute beauty of rap music.

So, just to let everyone know that I learned a ginormous (I know it’s not a word) amount from this experience. I definitely will fight the good fight and yes, fall down and pick myself back up again and keep going. I can thrash this business and talk shit about it til I’m blue in the face. I can hate it, divorce it and kick the dream until I think it’s dead and try to walk away. But just like that damn serial killer you should never turn your back on at the end of the movie, it gets back up and drags me back into it’s world. Then I make out with it and we cuddle and…

You get the idea…

Thank you AllHipHop, thank you okayplayer, thank you readers, hate and love alike. All the musicians, frustrated artists, male and female and just lovers of music and hip hop in general. Don’t let the f**ked up politics of the industry destroy your fight, or your dream. It gets you to the point of hell, but you gotta kick it back. If need be, let it out. Punch the shit out of it, let it know you mean business. Sometimes you have to vent, rant and get all the belligerence out of your system. That shit is toxic and it will fuck with you until the end.

If you want to change things, if you’re tired of what’s going on in this life, after you got all that out…Get back up and try it all over again. People listen, even though it seems like they might not, people listen, people read. Boy am I glad people read.

Thank you everyone in my camp for having my back and defending my short-tempered voice. For understanding that I meant it all and you guys go through all the frustration too. All I ever hear from y’all is “we’re gonna be alright”. Damn, you almost got me believing that shit, just a couple more laughs and I might be ok. :)

But I do, I truly do think we’ll be alright. Failure isn’t an option at this point and the further we go and stand up for everything we think deserves light keeps me getting up the next day. For Pumpkinhead, Apani, Lyric, Block, Will, Technique, Len, Sear, Bazarro and everyone who is a vet and doesn’t give up, even when we hate this games guts. I didn’t get this tat on my arm for nothing. Sometimes I just forget what it really means to me and the forest gets a little hard to see through the trees. We’re not industry standard and at times it becomes really hard to even see yourself and where you stand in all this mess, but get up anyway.

I still have that rapper dream to buy my mom a house and I figure since I haven’t done it yet, I haven’t accomplished what I set out to do.

Plus, I need a reason to not look silly at my future children’s PTA meetings and just be the weird mom with all the tattoos.

Yeah, I hate this job sometimes..maybe even more than I love it. But if it makes me this angry, this happy and this passionate, that must mean this is it.

Thank you Ruddy, thank you Colin most of all.

Let’s keep smashing this biz down.

Now, enough about me..there’s plenty more interesting things to discuss. See y’all next time around.

Screamalate @ ya girl.

-Jean

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