Friday, December 7, 2012

Conscious Is Not Enough- A glance at the climate of local Art creating Change

Today is a new day.

I'm sitting listening to brother TruthMaze's work here while sipping coffee and trying to get a head start on another hot blooded assault to conquer the world. This is how I relax.

I ponder the depth of this man's impact on me and the social and musical climate around me. It strikes me that so often these days we're caught up in facebook likes and youtube views like those are the end all be alls of success. How do you really measure success? What does it mean? And how are we all really connected through the art that we create and listen to.

I don't know what kind of car that TruthMaze drives, (cause none of his songs seem to mention it unlike some more mainstream others) but I'm assuming it's not a Bentley. But at the same time, I think this man may be a little more successful than some of his other peers who are touched by these things that we call "mainstream success."

TruthMaze is on the label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records with some incredibly talented artists including:

This guy is an incredible organizer who runs the website MN Activist connecting potential do-gooders with the programs and information that they need to get involved with and organize positive social and political change. This website is how I met Amanda Leavock and the other people at Face Forward. (more on that later)
He also is a slam poet champion and is constantly writing on topics such as rape culture, homophobia, activism, and how hip hop plays into all of this. He is a doer.
Oh yeah, and he makes some of the dopest music you'll ever hear.

E.G Bailey-
I'm learning more and more about E.G right now and I think what I've learned most is that I will never fully grasp how much he does. He founded the MN Spoken Word Association, is a radio personality with Sha Cage on KFAI, he has many poetic works published all over the place, and his album American Afrikan is the shit. Please learn more about this guy, I definitely will.

and Chantz Erolin who does work selling out venues all over the Twin Cities with the Doomtree collaborating group Audioperm. If you havent heard of them you aren't paying any attention.


Also do yourself the favor of checking out this spoken word album here by the extremely deep Sha Cage, also on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy.-
(warning: do not listen to this album if you are scared of shedding tears. Instead, work on that. I will too.) 

The Wookiefoot guys kill it!
We try our best to kill it too

The people on Tru Ruts are much more than just rappers like you would expect on most labels. These are poets, activists, movers, shakers, and exemplary human beings who push their art as well as their skills in community organizations to become the leaders that communities need. To be the leaders that we all need. Their impact bleeds to places further than most think that "art" can reach, and they are all constantly shaping the world around us in ways we may never know and are helping people every day.

TruthMaze is that kind of guy.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to the conscious poet/artist/philosopher and original member of the legendary hip hop group Micronauts at this year's Project Earth.  Project Earth is a family friendly festival gathering some of the most beautiful minds in the midwest that I have ever met at Harmony Park, which is located about an hour and a half south of St. Paul in Geneva, MN.

Harmony Park holds a number of these festivals, all of them spiritually uplifting and all of them filled with music. You'll be surprised who you run into here. Project Earth brings people together for the sole purpose of self expression and fun, and you will see things here that you will not see anywhere but should see everywhere. This festival, (along with several others at Harmony Park and in other locations) was thrown by Wookiefoot. Wookiefoot and the Harmony Park community started a non profit called Be the Change that you can learn about here- 
They run fundraisers, offer educational opportunities, and spread awareness as well as go to the places that need the most help themselves and ACTUALLY PROVIDE HELP! :) They find smaller, local charities and organizations that need help and are already providing positive change, then provide those organizations with financial and human resources.

They have raised over $200,000 in the last couple of years.

These resources come from FESTIVALS that they throw that are already an outrageously great time and provide help for people here, and the people that then go to these other countries and volunteer are very often the festival goers themselves, as well as the musicians, artists, dancers, designers, poets, activists, free thinkers, technicians, and others that are involved in performing at these festivals and putting them on.

The guys from Wookiefoot are at the forefront at all of this, and they headline the festivals as well, always being among the most memorable acts. Everyone looks forward to them hitting the stage.

I saw some of the most incredible music, visual art, dance, and fire spinning as well as a number of things i don't think that I will ever be able to describe. My life was definitely altered for the better. I left filled with hope, ambition, creative new ideas, and feeling like a kid again.

Through a long sequence of hard work, aggressive research, being blessed and hitting up a lot of fucking people, my band Lifted Mindz was given the opportunity to play this years Project Earth. It was many of my bandmates and homies first time at Harmony Park but I can guarantee it will not be the last time for any of us.
We played on the Face Forward stage. We were given that opportunity by Amanda Leavock, who is a co-founder. They give a lot of support to the local music scene by organizing charitable shows and providing opportunities such as this one.
I heard about them from the website
The "rapper" Guante started this website.
Who is signed to Tru Ruts.
See how it's all starting to come together now?

Guante has a line that goes "in 100 years all of your facebook friends will be dead."
Not accounting for any amazing medical breakthroughs, this line will likely hold very true.

Success cannot be measured in facebook likes or retweets. Success cannot be measured by dollar signs and major label executive paychecks. But success does happen.
As artists, we make an impact on this world that goes far beyond anything that can be measured in any of the material things we so often get caught up in.

I have been practicing my art for many years and have made virtually no money doing so.
Two nights ago I spoke words of my innermost fears, desires, ambitions, hopes, dreams and greatest ideas to hundreds of people and helped raise $3,000 for Suicide Prevention. We showed them love, they showed it back, and we were one.

There are successful artists, I am one of them.
Success is drawn by you, and what you can accomplish is defined by those boundaries that you draw.

If you spend your time wondering why 2Chains is on MTV and driving blabla with rims the size of blabla your not helping anybody. If you do what you do to be like them your not helping anybody.

If your doing what you love in order to help yourself and the world around become something better, you are a soldier of positive change. The impact I tried to describe here that I have seen certain people have is only written about because that is what I, myself, have had the privilege of witnessing. But it is a small piece of the puzzle. The big picture includes all of us, and every song/dance/word/laugh/lesson/blessing is a chain reaction of a lot good that a lot of people are doing. You choose whether you help it grow or watch yourself decay into the sea of samsara and sensational media prostitution.

Maybe that's a little harsh, but regardless it may be cool to be cool, but it is good to be good.
Theres a lot of good happening.

Go see a show, go to an art exhibit, go participate at a rally to save a high school from losing funding, go vote for human rights, make everything you do a vote for human rights.

Go out. Do something. It's up to you.
And conscious is not enough.

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