ready, set, go…
Internets. Yes, you of the interconnected networks. Aren’t you tired of someone thinking that you live in your mom’s basement? I always laugh at that because that is where my internet writing career blossomed. I was constantly on the Comedy Central message boards sonning all the bigots that rolled thru.
I say bigots as opposed to racists. They weren’t racists to me because racists don’t leave comments on a message board. Racists are too busy doing real racist shit. Bigots and the regular white is what leaves comments on the internets. It’s easy to yell at a crowd of people when you are online. You just do it by typing the truth. If the moderators aren’t scared to death then your truth can be seen and read. And that truth can be the equivalent of yelling to a crowd.
I’ve been writing my truth for a while now. Apparently I’ve been writing my truth forever. Momdukes pulled out some old 2nd grade shit that she had been keeping from like forever. It was a little child’s story but when I saw it I was transported back to the public school named after Louis Armstrong in the neighborhood that I grew up in – Corona, Queens. I wanted you to feel my shit [ll] even back then. So how do I come from there to here on your computer monitor? Oh and kill yourself if you read Its The Calm from an iPad or PDA device. That’s ghey. You need to go to a laptop or a desktop that has a printer and print out every single page of Its The Calm and then use a 3-hole punch to put holes in those printouts and then put those printouts in several binders arranged chronologically or categorically (because I’m not gonna tell you how to file your shit).
My journey thru NY life up to this point has been way more missteps than I can remember but I have taken a few giant steps (yes Coltrane) and that is what has me here with you today. A total loser wouldn’t get a guest blog opportunity over here. You can trust that N8 knows who’s nice with theirs and I’m nice like Sean Price. Aka Ruck aka Scraggbite. Hail Megatron! What’s the flavor?! D4L bitch (damn, pardon me for that flashback).
Weblogs were on some sucker shit, or so I thought before I got turned on to this page called Notes From A Different Kitchen, from there I found Unkut.com which led me to ByronCrawford and from there I caught a link to NahRight which blew my mind. Weblogs were hardbody all of a sudden. There was homages to the greatest music ever, and drops featuring the new music that wasn’t getting any commercial radio play. Even the best gossip pages were sucker free like Crunk & Disorderly. All of these pages were speaking to me like I talk to my homies. The filters were off and the language was funny and sometimes raw. This was where I could fit in.
I had been trying to become a published writer ever since I was in school for architecture. Even then I didn’t mind taking the unpopular opinion. A dozen or so people were killed at the college I attended because of a stampede that occurred at a celebrity basketball game. I blamed the victims and the attendees as opposed to the organizers. The truth is that people are so fucking selfish and greedy that they would stomp and trample one another just to be on the scene of a basketball game. City College’s school paper wasn’t feeling my Op-Ed too tough but I used several Xerox machines throughout the school to print my article and hand them out. That gave me the idea that I could start my own magazine. That shit was hard as hell though so I thought that maybe I could write for an existing magazine. One of my little homegirls in the music business who I would send my writing to told me as a matter of fact that I would never make it into a magazine because my writing style was too abrasive and unpolished. Plus magazines really liked dickriders more than anything else.
I wasn’t dismayed and I thought I would find my outlet at some point. I kept up my writing in a number of ways. My dude Ambush went to prison for almost twelve years for being part of a botched bank heist. Dudes actually got away from Virginia but ended up getting nabbed on the NJ Turnpike for speeding. Ambush was the driver and followed the G-code while his accomplices folded up faster than cheap lawn chairs. During his internment I sent him a steady stream of kites detailing the goings ons in our old neighborhood. Who was getting shot killed and who was getting pregnant. I felt like a news reporter and the what not. Ambush’s stint in prison also helped me sharpen my own mind politically and economically. He gave me the looking glass tour of the prison industrial complex but without bitterness. Between all the capers we had gotten into while we were teenagers it was like he was the one putting it all on his shoulders. The third musketeer Kenny had died back in the summer of ‘91. So now it was only me and Ambush left and I was the one who got to eat, shit and shower on his own schedule.
I thought I had another chance to crack into the mag biz. Another one of my peoples had a friend who was doing some editing for a basketball magazine. I tried to holler at the editrix to see if I could work under her (chea – puns always intended) and give her the secret perspective of a man that she could use in her group meetings. Sports means something totally different for men and women especially as a socialization dynamic. You have never heard of anyone putting down a girl because she “throws like a boy”. Whereas the inverse is a major insult. Shorty didn’t understand my proposition or possibly she just didn’t fux with me like that but that put the kibosh on any hopes I had for getting a magazine byline. Still I kept writing and I kept living my lifestyle. With friends in the music business as well as advertising gigs I remained in the periphery of the entertainment industry, more or less the 6th ring but still slick enough to come up on craft services and free alcohol.
The local rap and bullshit radio station had an awesomely popular morning show who’s host were known for their take no prisoners on the edge style. I had tuned into them this morning instead of Howard Stern which I alternated between the two. There was a commercial they played in which they said they were looking for writers for a startup magazine. An open tryout is exactly what I thought I needed to show off my work. I e-mailed samples of my previously drafted stories and I created several articles of the current events that were hot news items. I received a reply e-mail that I was going to be used as a feature writer for this new magazine. Back then I used a pseudonym for my byline. Don’t ask me why I choose the name William H. Sunday either, but it was a popular thing in rap circles so I fell right in line. That pen name was good for seven years of work from that bootleg magazine, to behind the scenes in radio to my own website.
It wasn’t until I made a trip to Atlanta to check up on my mother that I realized I was giving away my words to a fictitious character who may have been a white supremacist. Google Billy Sunday. Fake names are good for rappers and for other folks who attach purposefully subliminal messages to their writing, but I don’t aspire to be that person. I wanted folks to know that I said what I said and I meant what I meant. So from that point forward I would only use my name on whatever I produced. I remember having a G-chat with NahRight N8 back in the WMDeez days and sonn didn’t realize that I was actually all the writers over at DallasPenn dot com. That made me feel good that I could fool one of the super sleuths on the internets.
My purpose on the web isn’t really to fool people tho’ despite the fact that I am a trickster griot. I found a place on the web where I could tell the history of the city I lived in from the ground I walked on. I was always eye level, street level and next level. There was nothing that True York didn’t experience for the past 40 years that I didn’t reflect. I wasn’t in the boardrooms making political decisions but I was on the sidewalk seeing the ramifications of those power moves and how they washed over the people. Here I am now in the heart of Brooklyn where me and my dudes used to ride the Franklin Ave Shuttle smoking White Owl blunts and drinking 40’s and there is nary a Black face on this shuttle today. NYC has changed for the better(or the worse depending on what your stake is). The hardscrabble city that served as a backdrop for the ghetto rhythms that escaped from its lungs is now America’s top tourist destination aside from Orlando.
No wonder Rick Ross is so popular here in NY, this city has become North Miami. All around me I see architecture that would befit a strip on South Beach better than a block in Brooklyn. Condominiums with all glass facades are the new norm. The poverty that was a part of the city is being pushed out to the suburbs. You have to be incredibly rich now just to be poor in New York City. In any other city in the U.S. other than maybe D.C. people would feed you grapes and wave fans over you if you made 60K. In New York you are going to be shopping at the bodega on that salary. This is why our rap music has also fallen by the wayside. Rich kid rap generally sucks ass, except for Drake (natch). I could prA’li give you a thousand reasons why rap music from New York has been in a decline but that isn’t why I came here to Its The Calm. I came thru because N8 offered me a place to talk to some folks since I no longer have a website.
DallasPenn dot com owes a lot to the NahRight family for constantly linking to the page and allowing it to share readers with a site that already had a thriving community. I’m pretty sure that Rafi Kam from OhWord.com found my page from NR. Rafi is the dude who suggested we take a drop from DP and make it into a web video. That video would be the genesis of the Internets Celebrities – Ghetto Big Mac. I’ve come to see that the majority of the internets would rather watch a post than read one. Whoever has gotten to this point in this drop is a fuckin’ dinosaur, kill yourself for reading all of this shit. Video content is how the future of information will be disseminated. Some talking head ass motherfucker is gonna tell what you think you need to know. I feel like its all bullshit, but I want to be in the crest of this bullshit wave. If someone that was here and still cares isn’t telling the story of New York City then it will be someone who wasn’t here and doesn’t care a rat’s ass. So I’m still here and I’m not going anywhere (sadly, literally).
But if you made it all the way to this last paragraph then let me just tell you that people don’t know shit and everyone who I have tried to push my message to who has given me negative feedback is a fuckin’ loser. I became part of a larger community on the internets who thinks the same way as I do, has the same personal values as I do and believes in the same shit as I do. The so-called industry can burn in hell. The new industry is the community and this is who I will put my trust in. Don’t allow anyone the right or the currency to validate your shit. That is for you to do on your own so that you retain your power and your independence.
What were we talking about again?
Editor’s Note: Dallas mentions speaking to me during the wmdeez days, I doubt he knows I used to e-mail him from my gov’t name e-mail and he would treat me with the same exact respect that he does today. Thank you Dallas.