It's crazy to be doing this right now. When we first met, we were just two Harlem kids tryna find our way and gettin into trouble. 17-ish years old, sitting on the floor in the hallway of a project building in Taft Projects, waiting for a friend to come out of his apt from what was supposed to be a "quick stop". Jus and I both drunk from a 40oz talking about how we feel motivated about life and how we feel like we had a chance with Halle Berry and J Lo..
I think about that and about Jus dragging me to open mics, like that one at "The Pyramid", which is where I had my first performance. But that's a whole other conversation. Jus had been a great artist since I met him. He was known for walking into $500 rap battles and winning, even though he didn't have the money to pay if he had lost. I thought that was a ballsey move that showed sheer confidence in his skills.
He brought me to rap cyphers with local celebrities like Knocka and known underground battlers like Ghost. He even did a record with the legendary Max B. This is all as a young adult and damn near teenager.
We got stories like when we ran up on a random group of white people that we saw downtown. We all just started choppin it up, next thing, we're heading to a bar with them. I mean, we definitely weren't old enough to get inside a bar, but we figured we'd worry about that later. But when we got close enough to the bar and saw all the belligerently drunk white people in there, I ain't gonna lie, we both got a bit paranoid, looked at each other, and said "fuck outta here" basically. We just fell back and let the group go ahead. They were so into the convo that they didn't even notice.
Jus and I eventually gave each other the turn up pep talk about not backing down from a good time lol it was similar to Al Pachino's speech in Any Given Sunday. We eventually decided to go back and try to get into the bar. Of course, they carded us, and we couldn't get in because we were too young. So we went in through the side door. It was actually surprisingly easy. When we got in, there were three rooms. We were clearly the only black guys in the venue. But we were going through each room and seeing if there was anything we thought was interesting. In each room, they were playing a different theme of music. In the first room, it was pop. In the second room, it was rock, and in the 3rd room, it was hip hop. When we got to the 3rd room, Juicy by Biggie was playing, and of course we walk in right at that historical line in the song...."AND IF YOU DONT KNOW, NOW YOU KNOW N.." <---that's when we walked in. And in the middle of the song, everybody literally peep us in the middle of that word and was like "oh shit", or at least in their heads.
So it's basically like 3 or 4 looong as seconds where everyone's waiting to see if we're gonna be cool about it. Jus and I look at each other, and then back at everyone else and start to let out a (i'm uncomfortable but I'm gonna laugh to ease the tension) laugh, then, relieved, everyone else started laughing too. Bought us a bunch of drinks and shit. Good times
So back to this mixtape. Jus came across an opportunity to go to college, but he also had to leave NY, so I haven't seen him in a couple years. So, when he put this out, I had to get it. And it's a friggin classic. He'll probably argue with me for covering his first mixtape, when he has put out more stuff since then. He made this years ago, before I felt anywhere near ready to put out a solo mixtape. Like, the level of complexity while keeping a melodic vibe going, his lyrics, everything. It's called a mixtape, but this thing right here feels like an album. I haven't felt this was about someone's whole project in a long time, especially with this being the "age of singles", it's like commercial artists don't even care about making projects that are in-depth, cohesive projects. So, trust me and take a listen to this. Maybe start cleaning the house, driving somewhere, commuting, or doing some school work. I love them all, but my favorites are "Remember Yesterday", Same Ol Street, Spaced Out, Die, and Ice Cube Speaks. This is the perfect side order to whatever you're doing. Don't believe me? Well ask the random girl in the Youtube video below. Thanks for reading