BURN DOWN THE MIC

Date: January  22, 2020

Location: Unknown

As Told by JimmySoDope

Imagine doing five years in prison, then coming home to win the Burn Down The Mic showcase hosted by the legendary DJ Don Demarco. That’s the reality Brooklyn Hip-Hop artist Luciano Baby. I asked him how did he manage to get so much support during a pandemic? He simply replied, “That’s not me. That’s God.” 

 

“Supportive” is possibly the best word to describe the vibe of the showcase presented by Tornado Gang and NYC Express. DJ 3 Stacks, DJ Don Demarco & Capo Louie-Lou created a 420 friendly environment that had artists showing love to artists. The secret location, somewhere in NY, was the perfect space for rappers to connect with their peers. Judging the showcase was Jamilah Rose who said it perfectly, “Continue to NETWORK to increase your net worth. Collaboration creates synergy, synergy brings positive energy. Remember, One man can’t move a mountain. You can be super duper dope but if only your five friends know it, nothing will happen.”

 

 

Although Luchiano walked away with the crown, Burn Down the Mic was filled with talented artists. The very 1st act was King Ishtah. The lyricist effortlessly swam through an array of flows while keeping the similes and metaphors at a high level. Later on Eastside Zha Zha commanded the crowd with vivid storytelling and top shelf crowd engagement. One of the records Zha Zha performed was written while she was in labor. That’s dedication! The night also included the high energy duo BB GUNNZ that may have been the winner depending on who you asked.

 

One thing I couldn’t overlook was the fact that DJ Don Demarco was locked in for the entire show, front and center absorbing the performances. “That’s why we do the show. We’re here to see and hear the new talent.” The Burn Down Mic Showcase has all of the ingredients of an event that’ll be around for a while. Great DJs, honest judges, dope performers and good bud. See you next month.

My Brother’s Keeper: Black Genius in partnership with Chad B Turkey Drive

Date: November 21, 2020

Location: Newark, NJ

@blackgeniusbrand/ @therealchadb / @sirbowtiebarnes

According to Dictionary.com, being selfless is similar to being altruistic — in other words giving to others without looking for personal gain. If you give time, money, or things to other people without expecting something in return, that is selfless. Social media entrepreneur, Tyree Barnes teamed up with his big brother, No Kutt recording artist, Chad B for the Black Genius Turkey Giveaway it was not only selfless, it was revolutionary. The brothers passed out the Thanksgiving staples on the same block that they grew up on. Chad said “This is where it all started. Flipping on mattresses and learning how to play ball“. Tyree followed up with, “That’s home base for us, 9th and 4th Ave [Newark, NJ], Grandma house. Grandma held the whole family together.”

The occasion functioned as a turkey drive firstly, and secondly it was a reunion. Many of the people that stopped by our station were not interested in grabbing a turkey; they simply wanted to say hi. Community elders, childhood friends and even one of Chad’s elementary school teachers pulled up to offer hugs and gratitude for the brothers’ initiative. “It’s just dope!  All those guys, they love what I’m doing. They support it 100%. It felt like we were back home again. They show love every chance they get”, replied Chad. I had asked about the crew of brothers that stood by his side as he served the community. It honestly felt like they were protecting us from the patrolling police cars that circled the block the entire time we were out there, but I digress…

 

@blackgeniusbrand

Another aspect of the day that couldn’t go unnoticed was how vigorously Tyree promoted the “The Brain Bowl”, a math, Black history and critical thinking competition. Over 100 students will compete in these mental challenges and the top 15 students will win $150 each. “I teach them the equation, but what if they don’t feel like they’re ever going to use it. We know experience is the best teacher so we can’t separate education from the rest of life. We must integrate [our] society into education.” Said the founder of the Black Genius brand.  He meant it. Every single person that was gifted a turkey also received a Brain Bowl flyer. If they didn’t have children they were instructed to give the 4×5 card to somebody that does! “And after this is over, we’ll have another flyer. We all have a genius inside of us. As educators and adults is our obligation it help these kids acknowledge their genius,” he concluded.

With all of the struggles going on in the world, I was curious as to why the Barnes Brothers chose to combat holiday hunger. Tyree said “We did a block party, gave away hundreds of book bags with school supplies. Then we did a charity softball game. This time it’s a turkey drive. It is 6 of us. Statistically my siblings and I are not supposed to be here.” He continued,   “None of us are in jail, on drugs or in a grave. It’s our obligation to give back.” Chad doubled down, “It’s all about giving back. Tyree presented the idea and me, being the oldest, looking from a big brother perspective, I’m gonna support it 100%.” Brotherly love at it’s finest! From the Hip Hop community to the educational sector, it’s safe to say the city of Newark is in good hands. Answering the age old question, am I my brothers keeper, yes I am.

As told by Jimmysodope

 

Video Link:  https://www.instagram.com/p/CIBy-fgA1ba/

Grand Opening of Nail Posh Studio

Date: November 15th, 2020

Location: Nail Posh Studio, Washington Heights, New York

@Nailsposhstudio/ @ShameekaRosario

 

On scene, I arrive to the grand opening of Nails Posh Studio. Everything that you’d expect to see at a grand opening of a nail salon was in its proper place.
Balloons, check. Champagne, check. Beautiful women, check. Brooklyn
Hip-Hop star Phresher, okay…  Wait, whose baby is this??

@phresher_dgygz

I caught up with entrepreneur, medical aesthetician and founder of Nails Posh Studio, Shameeka Rosario, for answers. “Everyone is out here because I’m
creating a cause, giving back. First responders, victims of domestic
violence and cancer survivors get 15% off!” Shameeka informed me.

…And when she said everybody, she meant it. Entertainers, politicians, brothers and sister ranging from 5 months to 70 years old attended. Malcolm Smith, Music/Media Director of GP Public Relations had this to say, “It’s the right mixture of people. Any event we do, the goal is to make it family oriented.” Then beautiful woman asked him to hold her baby for a moment (definitely a first for me).  As we laughed about Malcolm babysitting during the interview, he left me with this, “… Bridging the gap is HUGE, because different generations have their own culture. We try our best to pass the culture down to the kids but they have their own thing going. So we MUST bring everyone together, like this.”

@DJCOOKZ

As I walked through the small yet big salon, I could not help but appreciate the feng shui.  The color of pink perfection covers the walls.  The entire back of the shop is a dedicated shrine of Barbie dolls. One side for your good girls and the other for the “not –so good” girls.  DJ Cookz   held it down with the sounds of evening. One of the sponsors for the event, Sudain Savoury, from the Revenge of The Doubted brand expressed how proud he was of the salons opening. “ We’ve all been doubted before, sometimes by ourselves. No matter what you go through, you gotta keep pushing towards your dreams. People gonna doubt you but never forget, success is the best revenge.”

Before making my exit I couldn’t help but notice all of the black and
brown faces with big smiles as they received manicures, pedicures whilst
sipping on champagne. I asked Shameeka how did she create such a warm and
inviting vibe? She confidently replied, “I love to leave my touch on
people. If they come to me sad or not feeling pretty, when the leave
the salon they feel replenished, gorgeous and youthful. When they walk
out the door we make them feel as if they can take over the world!”

As told by Jimmysodope

THE CRATE

Written By @JimmySoDope

 

When The Vision Room headquarters confirmed that I’ll be covering The Crate’s “6th BORO” event, I was excited! I didn’t know what to expect. I arrived at the rear entrance of the store and was greeted by my contact Mitch, and an extremely long line. The line was filled with a variety of supporters, from skater kids to fashionistas, the neighborhood cool guys and even the mailman mad an appearance. Folks from all over came out to celebrate The Crate’s first capsule collection “6th BORO” and Stacktober, in remembrance of the late great HipHop legend, Stack Bundles.

My 1st question was, “What is “The Crate”?” The Riot Squad founder, Cau2Gs answered, “The crate is used as a stepping stone in the ‘Hood. When you’re in front of that corner store and you’re on that “crate”, you’re hustling on that “crate”, you put in work on that “crate”. It’s a foundation.” The Crate takes a stand in the community to give back. They collaborate with non-profit organizations like Rock Safe Streets whose objective is to end violence in the ‘Hood, create jobs and completely eradicate the school to prison pipeline. Designer and cofounder of The Crate, Terrill Kirk added, “When it comes to the clothes, we keep the organic part of it alive. It’s more than fashion. It’s about the feeling!”

 

My next thought was, how did a black owned business obtain such a stronghold on an inner city environment? The answer is simple; they are more than just a “black owned business!” The Crate is completely rooted into the community. They have maintained good relationships with politicians, NYPD and local officials.  Their ear is to the street as far as fashion but more importantly they know what the people in the community actually need. They promote events like 6th BORO, where Chef AJ cooks up hotdogs, hamburgers and jerk chicken kabobs or they are shining light on Far Rock with their championship basketball team, The Crate. Dreamville creative director Felton Brown explains it like this, “a lot of The Crate’s promotion and branding for their product was done with the locals from the neighborhood which is phenomenal because other companies hire professional models and props. The Crate used the community as the backdrop for photography with people from the community. They’re truly in touch with the community.”

 

 

And then there’s Stacktober, the event to celebrate the gone but not forgotten Hip Hop legend Rayquon “Stack Bundles” Elliot, with whom The Crate had an inseparable relationship. If you don’t know, Stack Bundles had the heart of the people in Far Rockaway similar to the way 2pac is loved in California. Artist Fligga Season said, “Stack was ahead of his time. We love him like he’s still here. He gave us hope.” Ironically the address of the store, 1021 Beach 20th Street is the same number as Stack’s birthday, October 21st(1021).

 

I finally caught up to co-owner Tyrell Oliver, and after hours chasing, I had one question, What does today mean for you? He answered it perfectly… “This means everything. Seeing the community outside interacting with each other and enjoying the event, means everything. We are the community. We’re tied into everything going on out here. The main objective was to be a part of everything in the ‘Hood, couldn’t do it any other way. We’re gonna support the community and vice versa. I knew Stack was star since the 7th grade, and as long as I’m alive, I’m gonna mention his name.” – Jimmysodope