Souls of Hip Hop

Writer Lito

September 08, 2020 Writer Lito Season 1 Episode 7
Souls of Hip Hop
Writer Lito
Chapters
0:41
Introduction to Hip Hop
4:58
Difference between Writing & Bombing
14:58
Street Art
19:45
Influences
30:37
How would your parents describe what you do?
34:15
How did Soul Culture come about?
47:08
Organizing Jams
55:04
Mental health
1:04:11
The Pastor
1:10:01
What is Hip Hop to you?
Souls of Hip Hop
Writer Lito
Sep 08, 2020 Season 1 Episode 7
Writer Lito

On this show, we talk to Lito Aguinaga. Lito is a writer, b-boy, host, community leader and entrepreneur from the Kissimmee, FL. He is also the founder of the clothing company Soul Culture.
 
We discuss Lito's introduction to writing, the thin line between selling out and keeping it real, the influences that led to Soul Culture, promoting jams, and maintaining mental health.
 
You can find Lito at:
www.instagram.com/soul_lito/
www.instagram.com/soul.culture/

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/soulsofhiphop)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this show, we talk to Lito Aguinaga. Lito is a writer, b-boy, host, community leader and entrepreneur from the Kissimmee, FL. He is also the founder of the clothing company Soul Culture.
 
We discuss Lito's introduction to writing, the thin line between selling out and keeping it real, the influences that led to Soul Culture, promoting jams, and maintaining mental health.
 
You can find Lito at:
www.instagram.com/soul_lito/
www.instagram.com/soul.culture/

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/soulsofhiphop)

Unknown Speaker :

Welcome to souls of hip hop, a podcast for hip hop heads that aims to bring inspiring people together to share their wisdom, passion, and unique stories. My name is Candy and I'm DJ Razor Cut. And together we are Soulidarity - connecting souls organically. On today's show, we welcome Lito Aguinaga. Lito is a graffiti artist, B-boy, event organizer and community leader based in Kissimmee, Florida. He is also the founder and CEO of the Soul Culture clothing line. What was your very first encounter with hip hop? And how do you become involved with the culture? Alright, so Truthfully, I got involved with the culture in 96 through graffiti, graffiti was my first introduction. And the reason I found it is because back in days, the graffiti artists would actually design the flyers For parties house parties it wasn't like you know we know Jen Lily just a hopper like gonna have a house party that will go flyer and they were printed out you know in the Foursquare panels on a piece of paper cut it and just make copies of copies and just but my brother will come home you know every time but can you get another flyer cuz I will keep them because that's how it basically like bit like my first letter because I didn't even know how to do anything graffiti I'm like, yo, but I just assumed I saw it. I've always loved art and I would draw all the time, but nothing would capture me and I wonder I would want to draw real life pictures. I wanted to paint them I don't know which medium I'm going to go to molding and we're going to go to you know which type of mixed media I couldn't figure out my path. But once I saw graffiti it just it was like something that just shot straight to my soul like this is it in Star Wars This is it like this, like that's exactly how I felt I was like yo, and so then I was just infatuated with it and just just drawn graffiti and I remember when I finally started uncomfortable to make my own letters, you know, I can have to worry about looking at another thing to you know, to reference I got comfortable with my letters. I started changing my whole letters. I started getting into colors and it just my own growth of that I was just I just love But it wasn't until 98 Remember, there was just kids in school. It was my freshman year in high school, and lunch break, they just look at the buggy. And I'm like, what's this? And they were just like, yo, that's that's breakdancing. And I'm like, that's breakdance it was that, but they were dope. I was like, yo, something about that hit me too, because I've always loved dancing, but I never found the platform. And also, my family made me feel stupid when I was younger, like, I will try to do in Spanish, like, I meet me again. And I'm like, No, don't look at me. Someone just sit down on my leg, and I'm going to dance again. But I remember that when I saw that I would go home. And it's oddly enough 98 there was like a resurgence of B boying culture and everything. I remember that's the first time I saw in the cartoon Dexter's Laboratory. He was doing a robot right and one of the cartoons I make and I will say there was a connection to all this. I remember seeing the gap commercials would be boys were getting down. I remember seeing crumbs and like all these music videos before I even knew it was crumbs. I remember seeing Rocksteady in the state in the live video that the wife of john song made you know, I mean, like, I'm seeing the Beastie Boys, you know? All these just all these animals. I'm like, Yo, what is it about this and remember spring of 98 A friend of mine who lived down the block was just like, yo, you Wouldn't you want to dance with me? We'd have no idea what we're doing. But we just thought ourselves on the floor but being on the outside, they show the kids around the neighborhood to be Hey, I know to do this, but like, what, like, Where is this? And I'm just because I talked about it so much. That was my connection to like the real like hip hop culture before I was a graffiti guy who knew nothing, no history. No, no, no radio writers only had the flyer. But 298 when I got connected to be boring, that's what created my community in Kissimmee. You know, other guys, I wanted to do the same thing to national, I became involved with a group and it was just us, we were just graffiti every day, we will go and rhyme and just just for fun, and then one of our friends got turntables, and we will go to his house and practice scrap it because again, we were all in secluded little world, but it wasn't until I saw that jam, but the radio station did that. I think it was the first time we're gonna go to it, and there was gonna be nobody else dancing, that's gonna make it so Florida seen and that's when I saw everybody for the first time, you know, but then that's when Kenny gave me the breakers epidemic flyer. And when I went to that I was so excited for that to be my real jam. I still have footage of me in the car, getting on my car walking, going towards the line, and I insulted speedy lakes. insulted him because he was setting up a table and I go up to him and I'm just like, Oh, what's this? And I suppose the first time I ever saw headspin kept I never saw people like gear anything else and boy tapes. I like B boy tape like what's a B boy tape like what's like I'm gonna watch people breakdancing and I'm saying like, it was a new concept for me like I just didn't see that and it's been late to the game and you understand this right here this program line seven right here prime a six This is the best one is the best one. Okay, okay. And I look at this at Speedy Legs and Zulu Gremlin host program like who's speedy legs to speedy legs. And ask for a picture with speedy legs after. As we listen me and listen to bread the Scarecrow and he goes, he goes, Hey, this guy just asked who's Bailey's I'm just looking at the table looking at him going the right way Introduce yourself. You just got yourself in the foot. And he was honestly ladies man. Like I remember grabbing a camera. Do you want to take a picture? And he was like, Yeah, like she had no idea who he was. I just feel embarrassed like, okay, I was like, I don't know this guy. But yeah, that was my first introduction. And then ever since burgers epidemic man I fell in love when people think about it. Think about graffiti and they're not in the culture. They see it as vandalism. What would you say to someone that wants their kid to do graffiti? They don't want to be a street artist. They don't want to. They want to do graffiti. Definitely I understand. I had a culture shock with graffiti because the car I learned it, I had a flyer I was drawing in my room, I was already into drawing. So my parents were used to buying the sketchbooks now inside of bite markers for the medium of what I was getting changed, but the books were still applicable. And I remember I was practicing my house and just that's all I could do. And then I was just looking for ways to find more graffiti. And at the time in the mid 90s, there was a huge surge of like, gang hip hop. And I remember around bbl, there was a lot of graffiti, but not the graffiti that I call I would use the terminology more as vandalism because it was just graffiti gangs. I remember watching all these gangs is renders the symbols but it was no real, like what I thought was graffiti. So I got down with this graffiti crew because my boy who lived in New York came down over here and we got close. And then he says, Hey, I want you to meet the crew in New York so they can meet you Because he started up the Florida chapter, and the group is called UTP. So for under God's protection. And so when I went there, I went to Woodside queens, and it's my first time meeting all the graffiti heads in New York that was part of the same crew I'm down with. But my job the Florida chapter there, the New York chapter, and when I got there, it was a culture shock, because I thought graffiti was all pieces. It was all burners. You know, I'm talking about full fledged letters, you know, 3d graphics, colors, characters, backgrounds, straight up art pieces, like, you know, murals. You know, that's what I thought graffiti was. So when I saw things like bubbles, and one liners, and you know, just straight fillers, you know, saying just bombing, you know, I'm thinking I knew the terminology. I thought it was kind of cool, but I thought that wasn't necessarily the real Goofy, I thought maybe these guys were just bored or something. Like I just didn't get the concept. When I went out there. I remember I took such care of my black book that I was like, each page is a marvelous masterpiece. And as you go on, you can see the pieces get even better, you know, because that's how I progressed. And I remember that whenever something in school, we had a culture that we had, we would meet up at lunch and we were going to black books, and we all just had each other's books and Each person had a black book and you couldn't look at a black book two seconds, you take each one like wow, appreciate everything. So I went to New York and thinking like, I'm bringing my best black book cuz I really want to impress them you know, when really your your Florida guy is nasty. Remember, I gave the book to the crew and he only this to the next person to the next person. It got back to me like less than a minute. I am the worst graffiti writer in the world. Because this is my best piece. These guys went over for two seconds. And the next you know, they went crazy for some guy that was a local dude. Just because he has this bubble and I'm thinking like, yo, that bubble is wack. That is there's no colors there's no 3d is like nah, this guy is all city. And that's when I understood that there's a two different dynamic cultures, groups entities in graffiti culture, we got the graffiti artists, and then he got the bombers and then New York taught me to appreciate the bombing aspect because like you'll look with this guy gets up and when I and it's funny because I was my family's from Long Island. So we are frequently but it's the first time I didn't go my family I went there just presumed to be white boy to be with a group heads and Queens. But I had to go visit my family in New York anyways. So I remember the two of them came with me and America. Going from Queens to Long Island taking the train and taking the buses back I was up at somebody who grabbed sandpaper on the on the buses, right his name bubbles, we will go to a train stop and you see a slap sticker with his name on it. And I was like, Yo, I think it was you see and I saw that and sometimes we see high rooftops back or billboards and just every like how do you even get up there then that became depreciation. Oh, so why I understand that people would see is like, because I'm gonna have this talk like Well, I don't want my kid to get involved in gangs or you know, the negative mindset. I'm like, I get it. I get it. I said, but the other aspect of this is just like, you have two things you can do. Your your child wants to get involved into this artistic world, you can either support it and let him fall in love with this. Or let him do the other part which is equivalent to what may graffiti is so massive when it first came out was the rebellious side. The more you create areas to hold it the more you allow it to become rebellious which is true graffiti nature's bombing nature. He I'm saying so I used to say like my upbringing wasn't like that remembering it was comfortable, you know, saying that's what about it, but when I came back from New York I became a bombing head. But when I came back from New York I couldn't enjoy like New York because New York you could do a bomb you know a burner bubble real quick and people that y'all saw a piece of people already know So talking about it like Yeah, yeah, but over here I did Obama who was consulted by me because there's nobody bomb and we were the only ones and so the point that we were started by me that we just saw everything else and all I look forward to was staying up at three o'clock in the morning Bama with my boys come back, taking the school bus and just laughing looking at this like, yo, my whole bus is gonna go crazy when they see this board that we passed by every day and nobody say anything. everything I'm saying cuz it's just like, that's just crazy to me. So I was just like, I couldn't really appreciate or enjoy the bombing aspect but at the same time with bombing there's a whole culture to it that I do admit, it is it is illegal. For example, most bombers true true to the core nature bombers do not appreciate or do not respect other bombers. If you buy everything. There has to be a hustle when you go to the stores. You got to rack up and you got to grab the canned steel cans. You know, I mean, even I haven't got tapes of mine from America. religions like cope, you know, he's going into a store with a bag. I mean, with a jacket comes out with 15 cans. It seems like that's part of the game. You know, you had a rack your cans, you had a bomb in cans. And then they like, I can't stand this dude's coming to already put this on my gold card and I'm just gonna do it. Yeah, I'm not wack, you know, I'm saying so it became this thing of like, ah, can I really enjoy this? And then so I would say that I totally understand the vandalism perspective. But at the same time, it just like if you're going to get offended by how the medium could possibly be expressed, get offended at the fact that there's an expression that needs to be honored, you know, saying that that should be supported. Because at the very end of the day, there are people that go to great things. You know, what if your son wants to go to law school, or, you know, business, you know, and they want to join, you know, Wall Street, they'll say, that's a good thing, but they should find out they're swindling people. So just because they went to a more glamorized profession doesn't mean that negativity legal activity can be done. Your kid wants to do art, you know, yeah, maybe to the medium graffiti, but, I mean, I got videotapes of like full effects members. It could sing You know, I was a drug addict and graffiti pulled me through You know, there's a testament to this, I think I feel like if those conversations, those sources of those testimonies can come out, it will change the dynamic as opposed to just seeing, because what sucks is that you can see a beautiful piece with a beautiful meaning. And they say that's graffiti. And then you'll see somebody writing, you know, peanuts on the wall, and they'll say, That's graffiti. And just like this is, this is two totally different things. You know what I mean, like vandalism, and graffiti purpose, and just straight rebellion, you know? So I would definitely make sure that there's an observation to that and to not associate them as equal. bombers are just out there to get their name out there. And that's really the most basic part of what it's about. And this is like a, what you're saying is an ongoing debate, but I lived in Miami, and I know I did. I did a short documentary in 2001. And I followed like three of the biggest bombers at that time, and I didn't know what I was getting myself into. At that time. I was they were pitching At the show for MTV show called True Life. Yeah, yeah. So I was like one of the producers and filmmakers that was going to go and follow them. At that time, we follow them through 24 hour like spam of them stealing the cans from Home Depot. Before we even stole the cans. They went and like, scouted, then they went and stole the cans. And I'm just a fly on the wall. That was my whole purpose. Even till this day, there's still this debate between the writers, the artists, and the bombers, you know, and then to me, I think that each one deserves their own platform in that respect. Like you got cats who started out like Tesco, which I think is a perfect group when they came up in the era when it was coming up. So they're pioneers, originators, all that stuff. And they were bombers, that's all you can be. But they switched it up. They were the first ones to start actually making it to a really smart business mind. They were called graphy. They were calling aerosol art, right? It's just a simple switch of a terminology but the whole point of all what is this platform? What does it mean to make a grasp that the attention, of course was like all its graffiti, but then they were seeing it like, we wouldn't do just letters because you see graffiti is was associated with the letters right? If you do the painting to the characters, they would think they wouldn't think graffiti but once they saw the reason spray cans, they're like, It's strange. But these guys, that's the platform now, and they're not really respected in the bombing world because you got a bomb and stay bombing, right? And I'm just like, that's, that's a little bit unfair because even the greatest boxers can't box until they die doesn't mean that they weren't a great boxer, you know, I mean, so it's just like, there's a lot of philosophical aspect of it, and then I got a chance to go check out the Miami graffiti scene out there. And that was my closest to New York. And it's so funny to me. I think the most violent element that we have is a graffiti element. There people be like, yo, B boy is always gonna fight them. You know, graffiti, you might die, because I was more scared of running into another local graffiti crews and running into cops. I think the cops will just arrest me. The graffiti do my freakin smash my whole face in and may nobody find me for a couple hours until I get my consciousness back. Like it's all for doing art. You know? Hey, which is one of the reasons why I respect cess from New York. See, yes, he was an interview. He was just like, I feel like graffiti is the most purest art form out there. Because a graffiti writer is every thing there is being caught there must be in rested the wrists hurt and Lascelles getting into trouble fighting other games like also the stuff that they had to do all this just so that they can put up their heart while another artist is sitting in his studio drinking a glass of wine listening to Fifth Symphony, you know, I'm saying like all this other stuff I'm like, Man, what a great perspective because it's so true. Like which one is really sacrifices to do their art. I'm like Tang. Shout out to all the Miami. Yo Miami man Miami is Florida's Bronx. Yeah, that's really is my is My name is part of the Bronx. But you know, when wondering, when I see when would right now I'm totally in shock because 20 years ago, that was a very dangerous place to be. That's what new people get roped up to be painting, you know, it's, you're free to, okay, you're free to do it. But I don't know, can't tell the difference between it's still. So I'm hoping that more education in aspects of the different styles and and the different mediums that they can understand that there is a there is a foundation to this form. And what in some ways I actually Get a little bit bothered with the street art community that grew up. And I'm like, you guys are more respected or that because you guys call yourselves street art, we just call ourselves graffiti writers. So we associate ourselves with this rebellious, you know, very negative name as a stigma on people's minds when they hear the graffiti. It's often like, I know no matter what, but they say, you know, street artist, and a street artist could do what he'd grab a bunch of tiles and glue it on the wall, you know, then, but another guy will use spray paint, but he'll just do a character as opposed to do the same face over and over and over again, the repetitions of the style of the design. And these guys are getting, you know, museums booked and they're getting you know, publicity already. I'm like, and they're using the same medium because I'm like, that's it I'm saying everything is kind of sucks that they took something that was already being done. And they want to express themselves, not in the same exactly Avenue, but they're going to use the same train. Right. And I feel like that's a little bit like contradictory in terms of how we view art. I think in hip hop in general, there's a conflict between being real and selling out. We're all making money off of it. Everyone starts off and young adolescents and kids and as they're growing up suddenly now they have to pay their own bills, they have to pay back. Like, they pay their own food, you know, so now becomes like, I love to do this, how can I make this sustainable? And yeah, I'm gonna have to make some business decisions for myself, you know, what's one thing that I, I've always made sure that I present whenever I'm talking about the culture of hip hop, especially with, you know, the young upcoming generation, is the fact that I don't want to disclude or put in a vibe that you can be yourself because that's what hip hop is about. It's expressing yourself but at the same time, it's a respect to the origins because it warrants respect. But one thing I've always I've always a stain is just like, when you hear a lot of people from you know, the whole concept of all the oh geez, that was hitting the new Gen and just like you know, that's that's, that's an age old argument isn't you can see that with parents. You can see that and with everything else, there's always going to be that nice dynamic of the old and the new for my frustration in terms of hip hop culture. I always presented as to be like, well, who were the kids that created this kids. And I really thought that these 1112 1314 1516 year olds, when they were doing the six that they weren't calling the system, they decided to call that later on, as time progressed, but you know, we keep doing this move, let's just define it. And that became the foundation saying, like, there wasn't a single, you know, Oji that said, Now, I'm going to do a, like, you know, the chairs like now that came about the evolution of just expressing themselves. But that's my point. If the culture of hip hop came from kids from just truly expression without worrying about definition, just continue the repetition of like, what makes you feel good, keep doing that. And in there comes the creation. I feel like that's the key to make sure that whenever people get into graffiti, it's emceeing to hip hop to be going into all that. I feel like that's the key to make sure that it's being expressed because as long as they keep that, then they can go on and learn. Right, and I'm saying to follow all the elements of stuff like that. And I think it's because of that, where maybe the mentalities come from in terms of keeping it real and not keeping a real What's this is fake. This is not the truth. You know, I'm saying I'm just like this Too much growth exactly true you know saying like you were doing graffiti sneaking out your mother's house, you didn't pay no bills. You didn't go to college you're saying you were just bombing when I of course you can talk smart Of course you could be all city you know. I mean, unfortunately some people don't have that environment. You know, me I live in a house with five kids, you know, my brothers, my sisters, my mother, my father, and then obviously I'm gonna have money, but I remember if I would just take the school lunch and send it to a kid who had money like hey, when my lunch I get cool, like two bucks DOMA and I use that to go to the hospital. You see the pain but this is like, this is what was the way to do something. So it's just like, what's kind of frustrated that I can do that to go bombing because I was saving my money to buy my cans, because I just didn't have the ASIC. I just can't steal it. I just it was a personal conviction, you know, not even religious belief. It was just personal conviction. I was like, I just don't I just don't feel comfortable and actually took the time to still bomb and somebody would look at me and say this was a fake bombing because he didn't do it because you didn't rock I'm like I I totally disagree. But leave room for interpretation. Alan back and ask the producers to give me the money that they stole mine, they stole this amount of money like these amount of cans, it was like 40 cans. And I was like, you need to pay for that if you're gonna, we're following. I'm stealing that shit. I went there two days later, and I was like, this is for some missing cans potentially or some missing cans. My Home Depot lady was like, the manager was like, excuse me, I'm like, I you may be missing some cans. I'm just saying this is for that. I don't know did it but wow. And she was like, okay, she looked at me very weird. And I just left but I was like, You owe me for this because this is I felt so terrible. Oh my gosh, you can't. Thursday we you know, I just think about that. How real that was that that was part of the whole bombing culture. Who were the people that like influenced you the most? Definitely. In graffiti. I would have to put up first a local because I think it's a little bit unfair to highlight the most popular and most well known because that's going to come with everybody like oh yeah, that's, you know, reversal. But you always have to highlight first that people who introduced you inspired you. And sometimes those names are not mentioned. And I played that sad, because we're so quick to be like, oh, who inspired you Jay Z. Nas is just like going overseas, like who's afraid? Like, you know, tell me your older brother had no influence. So it's definitely my older brother, David, brother. But today was the first one to do graffiti. And I'm seeing pictures of him and his crew never stayed behind taking pictures, you know. And by the time we're both done with the game, so it was a little bit different. But the point is like, the platform was still there. I was like, man, everyone I was doing speaking, he was the first one to show me so I was like, so definitely my brother. Remember the day was the whole introduction to the whole culture, man. Locally, there was a guy named CJ, who now lives in Miami. And that guy, he came from my brother's High School weekend when I school that I went ended up going to, but that guy, man, he's possibly seriously quite possibly a genius. A genius because I remember I will go to his boys house. And they would always work together and then we go to his house because we would just have DJ sessions. He's like, yo, you know, I got some CDs, black books. He believes in me, he don't care. And going through each book. This is like eighth grade stuff. It destroyed me as a high schooler. And I'm still like, Alright, Suck I'm never gonna get to this level but he was he was just gifted he was just gifted but at the same time I know there's no way I saw the books so he saw the work that he did I didn't even produce half of what he produced so obviously isn't it's more than just a gift it's a well developed gift but I think that his his style of everything the way he does his characters the way he does his letters, everything that color schemes is just brilliant. I remember I was study his pieces for hours just our just going wow, how do you choose that color? How did you blend this in? How did he know to cut here? How do you know to stop here like how did like I just started so I would say seeds definitely hands down. My biggest inspiration because I've been off his letters went in the house party flyers. Not even known it was each I would find a letting go This was serious. But when I start to get into graffiti, definitely bombing would be cope. cess was still to this day his the way he does his pieces, dying from Germany, just the ways of doing this 3d. When I first saw 3d from Dan, I'm like, Oh my god, one of my favorite pieces that he did when he did both of them. He did diamond three in 2d like real dope 2d, but he had to 3d DD coming out of it breaking out and I was just going all my, like just seeing all that stuff to this day that was one of the main reasons why I always go by the source magazine Go to the back so I can just look at the graffiti pieces, you know, man, I missed the source for that. Yeah, that was such a dope name the source and I mean, just go to the back like, Ah, so definitely graffiti that would be it man. What specific graffiti are all elements? No, like, I have to I would have to definitely say for the B boys locally, you know, it would have to definitely be people like you seriously, like, seriously Kenny. Definitely one of the people that have never aspired to be like come up with like, you know, MCs and you know crews I got a chance to fellowship my crew so rockers my level crew backer, punk. They're my brothers for life, and just building with all these people, and then people who I got a chance to actually work with. Obviously, I'm always grateful for the works and speeches that Ken's that crazy ladies made, but I got a chance to work with cancer. I hired him to judge and when I hired him to judge, he made me feel like a kid again. And I got a chance to make him feel like a kid again because the day that he got here Because they eat, we took them to downtown Orlando, we tend to this place called joysticks, which is just a basically it's a bar, but it's an arcade bar. So they have free arcade games. And each wall is themed to a specific era. There was like a Ghostbusters wall Star Wars war, you know, Goonies wall, etc, etc. And we went in there, he was just like, you also got to pay for these games. I'm like, No, these games are free. And he goes, yo, and he pointed to this game, I think it was called 1941. And he started playing it. And now I'm in the waiting for the rest of my crew to show up and they go, can you good? He was like, Yeah, yeah, he kept on playing something enough. Another micro took like an hour. And I'm like, Guys, this is really looking bad. I'm gonna check it with Jenkins. I'm not gonna play this video games with me. He's probably getting bored. He's probably just being nice. Turns out he wasn't being I noticed this guy got lost. I don't mean turn around with me. He was like, Oh, you already go here. Like, what did you want to say? Yeah, you know? Yeah, go ahead. I was like, Can you play like, Can you play? Whenever you turn around? He was just like, yo, and he starts telling me how he felt like he was 14 years old. Again. He told me exactly where he was when he was 14 when he first play that game. I used to go to minister how his mother would give him the money that he would go to his father. He would tell me the whole night. I'm there with you now. And I'm saying and I'm thinking going, Oh my god, this is not an any documentary that I'm experienced this and this got this door opened up because of this experience. And that, to me is reason why what you said earlier about making sure that we talk to these people, because that's communicate often a lot to the younger generation too. But there's something that we're privileged that we're not getting is the fact that you can still talk to people who created this culture that is still alive today. And you don't take advantage of it. We're missing opportunities like that. And which is sad because I never got a chance to talk to face to who just recently passed. You've seen the flyer Master, you know, I'm saying, but my point is like, stuff like that. And when I work with Ken Swift, I was just like, ah, people sometimes think meeting them now man, it's more than that dude life with them, you know, saying get a chance to kick with them. I sent him a happy birthday text. He goes, God bless you too much love. I was like, I feel like a little kid but it's just one of those things. So I definitely would say his philosophical standpoint. It's like the interviews that can swift those. I associate so much of myself with them. Oh my god. Like I definitely definitely look forward to that aspect MC in terms of MCs, I've always respected every MC but there has been Definitely a close call with this guy named Mr. Jamie Davis. He was the last group to get signed to ruckus. And they made their first album, but then ruckus was towards the end of them closing. So unfortunately, it came in at a bad time. But I heard their group and Mr. Jima Dennis, he's the only artist I got that I actually have their whole discography is his music, if you get a chance to listen to him, it's just just amazing. So I personally associate myself with that. And then as for life, obviously, my parents, my father was a lot smarter in small words. He may not say much, but when he does, a man hit me and hit me later on. I remember when I was young, this is this is a little bit embarrassing story, but whatever. I'm there in my father's house, and we're watching I mean, the family's house and my father's got this huge big ol satellite. Remember that when people said to be excited, another little Mazel Tov, the big one, the whole thing. So he got that. And so he was like, Hey, we don't know how many channels we got one of the channels. I want to just see what they got on there. All right. So he sat down on his bed, lay down with his head behind his back, and I sat at the foot of the bed, and I'm there with the TV, just going to each channel channel channel. I said what the And what's the next It was called, uh, you know, on the next dimension or whatever, we'll go to the next dimension check out all the channels next dimension. I'm rolling to this one dimension that apparently was like the porn dimension. So as soon as I wanted appointed mentioned earlier, was this good to go. And as soon as I heard that instantly, mind you, I never, like seen pornography at the time, I must have been like, 12 or something. You know, remember when I saw that? It's like, my whole like, buddy, you just messed up. You did something bad, right? So I changed it. And there was another one. I was like, Oh my god, like, what is this? And remember, just change the whole dimension. I didn't care like I'm changing the whole dimension. And I'm sitting there sweating going, Oh, my God, my father's gonna hate me because I just messed up. But what did I do wrong? I would just I didn't do nothing wrong. But initially, I thought you messed up. You messed up. And if I look at me going, Yeah, I'm gonna turn around. I was like, yeah, and he goes, like, you know, what is it you just watched? And he's telling me in Spanish, I'm like, No way Papi, whatever that is, I'm never gonna watch it again. Um, there you go. Trust me. He was just like, yeah, you say that. Now he said it now but I wanted to know don't get caught up with that, because it will pollute your mind. I was like, 1211 I remember looking at him, turn around, going, please. Your mind that made no sense to me back? Yo, I think I was a sophomore doing work, and it just hit me. I was like, Oh, the revelation drop, you're saying that he planted that seed, but it hit Why? Because at that time I started watching pornography. And when I start watching pornography, my mind change in terms of like, I don't understand this is what women want this how a man supposed to perform. And then realize these realize no girl wants a country like this. And it just all that stuff. And I was like, that's what he meant by pollutant. And then the concept would just like you have opened the door to philosophy. You don't I mean, but little stuff like that. I appreciate my father, for As for my mother, her is way more conversational. She's more about quality time. So against my father, I got a chance to enjoy, you know, time, but also hard work. Because my father was was a hard worker man coming from Ecuador, and do what we have to do for my family. So I appreciate his experience. And that's reason why the words don't have to be mouth is more like, what he did is enough and what he does say it's valid, but that's why I'm a mother. That's the quality time and with her I get a chance to enjoy stuff like this more. And I mean to be like, dang, this is a much needed in people's lives, you know? So sometimes we might want to talk about absolutely nothing but just because it was a nice, beautiful day. We're both outside, we're drinking coffee and we spent an hour even if the conversation had nothing to do with impact our lives like so, what else do you want to accomplish now just like I was like, you know, so stuff like that I can definitely say I am blessed with so and how is growing up in Kissimmee influence? I'm prideful of Kissimmee. Because we're the first Cassini crew. You know, sarcos is the very first Kissimmee crew ever. So that feels dope to know that we're the first costuming crew. And then we worked hard to make sure that we come correct, especially after the document to the culture gonna do we got something approved because these guys are really well established. They got a great community, we don't, and we got to make sure that we're doing this right. You know, so I had to definitely pray for that. But to see people like Victor come up and become a worldwide champion. That's what's up, you know, I mean, so I feel like I did my job. But in terms of that, there was a definitely a sense of respect. There was definitely a sense of honor, you know, coming from Kissimmee, and at the same time, I definitely sense a work to be done. You know, nothing's worse. All the time. It's not going to be from Orlando, man. I know, bro, but it sounds good. I tell him I'm like assuming like, what is it Orlando, Orlando. And I started laughing because apparently a lot of people go through that. I mean, my homegirl Emma, shout out to me, she's from Canada. She's like, I'm from Syria, but people ask me where you're from. She was I think we were just in Korea. I was like, Hey, is the Kissimmee complex. The same problem? You know? He was like, yeah, at the same time is fibregrid k i s s is like, it's it's a long day. I'm like, damn it, by consuming cannabis is a long day. So it definitely influenced me on that aspect. But at the same time, I do believe it's made us hungrier because it was so unaccessible we had to work so hard just to even get a glimpse of it. So I do say that definitely put it in me because I don't know what I would be if if I was in Orlando. What if I took it for granted? It was too accessible to me and I'm saying I I don't know who knows what it could change it but I definitely those elements did add into me being more hungry for it. You know, what's your go to order at your go to restaurant? Oh, man, shout out to fans and Miss fans. But if they were so open my go to order would have been the salmon, pineapple salmon curry. We really like to like fish right? I'm not a fish person they put me on Yeah, luckily the tournament You made me a fish guy, man like dude. But I remember was there and my boy just told me that he had the pineapple sama curry like salmon. I was like, dude, I'm a chicken guy. That's it, maybe steak occasionally, you know, he like just tried to try and that took this bite and again, like how my father opened up the door philosophy that they opened the door to fish, seafood, like, whatever. But Yo, pineapple salad curry, man, shout it to fans. How would your parents describe what you do for a living? One of the benefits about being consistent is that you'll get answers to questions you forgot you asked. And one of those was just that I remember asking my family if they think that I was a failure, you know, coming from a Spanish background and as immigrant background, there's that pressure to but you got to make this man because you're going to totally destroy what your parents sacrifice for When you get older, you become aware of everything, especially going back to visit their home country. How much they're like, Can you imagine if I sacrifice that because the fact that all I wanted to do was play video games and stay home, my job, I could probably make a living off that now that was unforeseen back then. But even then my goal was no money. My goal was to play video games. And I mean, so I could definitely feel that pressure. Just like I want to make sure I do something. But I want to do something that that benefits me. So once I started just to follow my passions, disabilities, there's something about there's there's something about this, I don't know what it is, I can't explain. I can't explain it. And they saw that I was responsible with what I did. You know, I quit my nine to five. I took care what I needed to take care of, but this is what engaged in. Remember, one of the things I got a chance to have peace with my father about is that my father was just more about if he didn't have that job. He learned that job and did the job. He would hire people to do tiles at our house and he was there with them the entire time. And they were just like, what is this guy doing? Why? Because he's watching them how you doing it. Then he started making doing it on himself. He did our backyard first. Laying down the tiles there practicing what he was doing. He did a couple of times a day. Got it, right? No, he was doing side jobs for people to do like a tiger acleda Tada, he or two people to do like, you know, build houses or build an extra wall, he will follow them. And just a dialysis my father or father will get mad at him because he'll tell me to go outside and help him. You know, I wanted to watch cartoons on Saturday, he'll take no sides. But no, we're going to plant these tomatoes. Okay, fine, who cares. And when he said that, he goes, he goes, we're going to get your vegetables, and your fruit from Publix. And the public closes, how you going to feed your family and as a kid to hit him, it probably is going to close the display. If they do, what are you going to do? It hit me today, but there was all the stuff that my father had of a reality that I didn't understand. So it's those elements that got me to be like, I want to make sure my parents know that I heard you. And in no way I'm trying to disrespect you at all and what you sacrifice for me. But I am creating my own life and a life that I would never have had had it not been for your sacrifice always make those conversations known. And I always thank them a lot more. I think the more and more more as the years go by. So I'm glad I'm very vocal about that. But one of the things I got a chance to enjoy was one time, it was actually with cancer. He was at my house. Remember the service dinner? You know, she cooked me they're having a whole meal with Kenny and then My father came by to drop off some stuff as far as my father is my cancers my father, my father, okay, well talking there. And then it comes with as someone's like, hey, so what you think about your son doing this? And I was like, hey, that's what's up. He's awesome. And my mother said, If I known that this is what he would have become, and it would have gone to this nature, I would have supported him even more. And that hit home. Because in the very beginning, parents don't see it, and I totally get it. They're scared and nervous for this kid. They think there's my father's my father's somebody, this is just a family only gonna like this for a couple years and you're gone. I'm just like, I don't I don't believe so. But I see your concern. But, and my father was like, Yeah, I know for like, a lot of times we did it. You know, a lot of times I had to sacrifice on my own. And the support that my brothers and sisters got to go to school to you know, to get their cars to get the houses apartment. That wasn't necessarily my passion. My passion was this but they saw that man, you got you work so hard on your own without us really supporting you to the point that we feel guilty about that now we're like, dang, but how do we know it was gonna be like this. So that guy meant to be like, they know that I didn't take this as a joke and I'll take the sacrifice as a joke, but to See that when we show that the man how we know, what do we become, but that was all the validation that I needed to make. As long as you guys feel that I didn't disregard your work, you know, I mean, because that's sad to be like, Oh, I want you to feel that. So that was actually my hollyfield about me makes me feel great, you know? Wow, that's the most beautiful Yeah. So what can you tell us about soul culture? So soul culture, man, it was an idea that I had since many I love graffiti and eco was like my first taste of that. But then when I got into the beer world, seeing Wildstar technicians, and then seeing local people like panic and you know, crazy Freddy, he was always be at jams doing people's belt buckles, and even Mendez from Miami with Matt cloud doing this. I'm like, yo, like, this whole culture has the dopest gear ever. Like, I always go to school. It's where you get your gear from? And I'll be like, at a jam like you guys, you guys never get this gear, you know, tribal, all that stuff. And then, um, yeah, so I have my own desire to make my own But every year postponed, postponed postponed upon. So it wasn't. So it became a Christian that I started to have like a little bit of an identity crisis. Because my Christianity woke me up to be like, hey, there's a there's a new, there's a YouTube, there's an identity to you that you have early access that's been there all along. That's why I kind of look back to be like, this makes sense. But there's also new to me. And I was just frustrated. So I sort of walking in that path. And I saw my identity crisis was just like, yo, it's either hip hoppers got Which one is it? Because at the time, the Christian the BBC World wasn't really like filling it. You know, even on boys, I remember him telling me Yo, yo, you kind of go crazy. I'm just like, Am I going crazy? And at the same time to back to my homeboy saying that I got scared today. I'm gonna try to be one of these lunatics, dude, like, No, dude, you gotta believe I'm like, that's, that's not me. I feel like I'm being presentable. I feel like I'm being you know, loving about something, what's going on? And then I'll go to my Christian world for support, and they wouldn't support it. They're like, What do you need? This whole thing is demonic. You know, the devil is there like, like, I see your perspective, but you're wrong. So I was just so confused and at a time where I was just really just just just at a loss of words and I felt that If I had a pair up between God and hip hop, hip hop, I lose. I just, I just can't talk. I'm sorry. I'm like, you know, God's gonna win. And I was basically crying. You know, I remember there was this is 2002. And then I went to Miami in 2003 for outbreak. And that's the first time I met Joel from catalyst. And they just had the empty battles who will just turn up each other. You know, graffiti has a painting all outside, be boys are bombing maybe wasn't getting down. You know, magic is on the ones and twos. And there's still like, this is freaking jam, is it? And there's no Georgia stopped it because y'all can everybody hear me say word, word. And boom, he preached the gospel for like, 10 minutes. And he goes, and you said a quick prayer and I'm just their jaw dropped. I'm like, What? And ever since then I built with him and American back and I went, I just felt like, there's something here. I knew there was something here. I knew there was something here. I knew there was something here. So I wanted to create basically a bridge. And that bridge was I thought that I could live my Christian hip hop without my Christian Brothers because there were too judgmental. There. were too hateful there were too blinded. Their whole prejudices that they couldn't see something that they already was taught was was wrong and that's it, they're not gonna pass it they're not going to test it again. And so at the same time so my hip hop world so hurt by their Christian backgrounds, their their Christian parents, all the stuff that the idea of God hip hop they got away from God you know, things like this is this my free is Oh man, don't bring that in here. So I'm like, I felt that conflict. But I knew that what I was doing was warming hearts again for Christ. And at the same time, it was breaking down stolen hearts for four people from the church. So I just felt like well, I want to create a soul culture you know, just a culture of souls. Because once we see each other take out you know the gender take out the skin color take out how we look what we're about what we're attached to, and just look at the souls that's that's it insane because we saw that in the yellow you know, yellow orbs for the sake of describing a soul. But will prejudice will be half insane. But to know that for we can just get to that bridge. Everybody will see everybody for what's really, really important. So that's why I created so culture as a clothing Because I want it to be a place where I just said, which is like the tag phrase, which is like God gave him our soul. But hip hop is the culture that I live in. So this is so close to them creating. That's why I want these designs, these drawings, these, you know, these depictions. So this way, hip hop can say, yo, That's dope, but the same time a Christian might double in my pass it but then take a double look like wait a minute, there's a lack of covers, or there seems to have a Christian themes to it like yeah, is to connect that so then you get a hardcore hip hop head and a harbor Christian looking at the same shirt and like, I don't maybe something small, but the whole point is like, if you can agree to something that's common, what else can we also agree on and just as long as we create that, and so that's, that's basically where the desire soul culture came from. Plus, I get a chance to live on so many my dreams, which is like, so culture I've always wanted to do for others when I never got a chance to get done for me, which is like because I got a chance to profit off this cold in the rain. I got a chance to sponsor dancers. You know, I'm paying to go to jams. I'm flying them out and flying us out. We're taking care of the trips and paying them to do videos, you know, giving them opportunities to just like, I'm sponsoring people like man That feels freaking great. Like, I mean, don't be wrong, I would love to I got sponsored, I was coming up that was like everybody's dream, but it's just like, you know, as you get older, it's not about about me receiving it's about me giving and seeing them talk about, wow, I never thought this opportunity would come to me. And I'm like, Wow, I can't believe I'm the person providing that opportunity. And you're thanking me? Because usually, but who who do we have to think like, no, it's the woman What? Oh, yeah, like, man, glory to God, you don't say because I didn't expect that at all. But it just feels so great to not only achieve this, but it's also just to share this. And it's just to continue to cultivate that. So that's the reason why I like it's more than just a clothing. It's just a representation of an idea that we all can get on this bridge, and with disagreements and agreements, but as long as we can, we can teach a stay connected. That's all that matters. That is worse when there's a bridge destroyed, and just like you're saying, so that's my basic mojarra between being behind Socotra and the reason I'm so adamant about hip hop is because I feel like hip hop is the most powerful culture in history that may be a little bit too naive to say at the moment, but from my own personal experience of what I've studied in history, I find nothing has been more dynamic than this. You know, Probably too many people across the world so like it's just it's ridiculous you got people who tell me they're from this country then it's like no, but my flag is hip hop. I'm just like, well shares that, you know, I mean, like this is I and it's medium it just makes so much sense. Why does the dancing just grab people? Why does just the cans gravitate people? Why does DJ like what is that we just have all this I'm like this is I just saw God through all of it. So that's the reason why I created so culture just to to create that bridge, but also to provide opportunities to bless people, man. And what's dope is that people have sponsor under so culture, I make sure I sat down with all antibody, yo arm the Christian sponsors, because you're a Christian, or you're not Christian, because some of them are. But I want you to know that I don't, I don't care about what you personally believe. I just care about what you do as a person, because they're all great people. Because if I wait for Christians to do great things, then I will believe it forever. I'm saying I'm looking for people who are doing great things. Forget the Christianity, which we're cyber like know what you're doing is right. Because in the scripture that often talks about that, that makes us association between Jews and non Jews. You know, because Obviously it was it was a Judas no Jr. Stick perspective. And it says one part that there are people who know the law because the law was given to them. But there are people who haven't had never had access to the law. So how can they really be guilty for something they never had access to? But then he pointed out is, isn't it funny that how these people who never received the law instinctively do what the law says. So it's kind of like this person was never told, don't steal, and instinctively, they like don't steal. But this person was told don't steal, and they still steal. So at the very end, which one is it is about knowing is about doing? It's about doing? And so with that, I found out that heartbeat, you know, saying sorry, there's people who have like, You're okay to be Christian, but you're doing it. You're loving on people, you're reaching out to people you're teaching, that's the heart of the matter, and I want to support that, you know, say, so. Yeah, man, that really resonates with me too, because like, that's what our mission is about to you know, our tagline of solidarity is where connecting souls organically Yeah, and that's to me, what resonated the most With hip hop when I got into it is exactly what you say, like I could meet someone that was from the opposite side of the world. And immediately, we felt connected through hip hop. It's like, oh, you're a B, boy, you can come crash at my house. Like how old I sit at my table with my family. Like, I never experienced that in any other subculture. And, you know, I'm sure it happens in other subcultures as well. But I do think hip hop came around at a good time, where it was able to spread globally, and really get that reach, which for me growing up as a European was always interesting that we had that like, little brother complex. You know, we we didn't invent it. I got you. But that's why we maybe Canada like the Cassini thing, too, right. Yeah. We had to put in little extra work to get to the knowledge, you can just go down the street and be like, hey, Kenny, I want to talk to you and get all your knowledge. Like you have to go and at the time to, you know, getting a VHS from Pro am or from, you know, Lords of the floor or whatever that was like gold, like, really hard to get that. And maybe if you went to battle of the year, you could find a stand that sold something. And I think in that sense, it instilled kind of that appreciation for where it came from. And I think that's what what's beautiful about this culture and about what connects us is like, even though we're several generations down the road, we still appreciate how it came about. Yeah, man, and that path kind of unites us. It's true man, you know, when you meet another hip hopper because the fact that it resonated so well. It's like, as soon as you hear them describe that they're describing the same identity you prescribe to, you often associate all you probably must have experienced the same struggles. So there's this appreciation like, What's up, man? You know what I mean? And also to me, I feel like, I feel like hip hop IDs, especially when computers were like superheroes. If they have you ever been on the phone, some Republic discussing with somebody about B boys, you feel really weird, and sometimes I don't catch it. I'm on the phone about Yo, did you stop the candy? Yeah, hit her up after that many children. Why don't crazy See Also don't forget Yo, she's on his way to go pick up you know, Alba rock. Yeah, at the same time, not the No, you know, Ray guns. There's just like, you're saying these names that people like so Who the heck is this course it's all about it's all about superheroes. You don't say like yeah, after that, you know, Victor and break, like you just say, Crystal that he's talking about frying pan. And I'm saying like, this is all the stuff is just like, oh my god, I'm talking with these people, you know, to me, like it's just, I feel that because at the same way, it also does feel like that because you go to a room and you see somebody you recognize nobody else recognizes. And you look at each other. You're like, I know. Like I know you are he's like I know what capable of doing and over and over and nobody here knows you. I'm saying they're all just regular civilians. I'm like, you know what greatness is right in front, but you don't know. So in that same aspect that's why there's that appreciation for it. It's true though man ever go to places one of the best experience ever had appreciate experiences to that been at a jam. Like, remember outbreak really was one of the greatest ones. In Miami. It was the third one. And that's where like we saw so many countries come out. I remember there was Spain, Korea, France and a house. I was in a cipher with phase two, with gamblers. And one of the guys from prison breakers from Spain. And nobody here spoke the same language. It was an English, Korean, French, you know, Spanish, you know, and us whatever. And every time somebody went out, we're like, Who told each other and Jason's like, yo, that cake we need? That was nasty. The guy's like, ah, like, your top rep was, you know, we're not I'm like I'm talking about this conversation like, Oh, they speak English. I'm like, Oh, no, we didn't. But it hits you just like oh my God, we were just talking without words like, ah, like day like how can you not I cannot fall in love with somebody that you know, is vibing and cipher was someone and just having this amazing dialogue with them and depreciation and afterwards, we're friends. Go, man, I went to that guru for JKs. Jam shine. And I don't know there's so many Japanese people go there all the time. Oh, wow, they have a huge Japanese connection. Yeah. And that's I was chilling with Yuri with a Umi. And I forgot these other Japanese cats. But we were there. And we all went to what to eat at this bar. It is me and jolty. And you know, yeah, you guys don't don't eat. So therefore they were talking. And then they were talking to Jonathan delay, like jati sang, like, really good and exotic sound like, oh, because that's how they call and talk to someone again. And we're just very, like, I think a URI knew the most English out of all of them. And she was saying, we're just going back and forth. Something didn't get understood. We just repeat it. bear the fact that we were just with the very little it was just enough and we had a great time not talking about the conversation about it. But I remember that a year later URI comes to temple rock. And when she walks in, I was like, oh snap URI and the reason why we joke is because the the joke of the night was don't these times because I don't decide like yeah, don't decide. You had the beard with the joke, so as soon as I saw Yuri I was so skeptical like, Man, I wish she married me. Did you see me? She was junky stuff like that like, yo, That's dope man you know I'm saying gems per se to me are like what make a lot of the culture especially in the dance community, of course but hanging out before after the gym that's like when all the gold happens. Yes. So talking about gems, you organize a lot of events, you're, you know, one of the main promoters from Florida, what would you say is your biggest challenge promoting or throwing a jam? I will say just like was we were talking earlier how things progress as we get older. Promotion definitely took as its its course, that I kind of oftentimes feel a little old. You know, like, Am I outdated in my like, you know, I might not relevant like, what is it? Luckily, thank God that I've got a chance to build the following that people know and expect already what the, what the jam is about to the point that the promotion is not as needed as much that I could still keep it going. But in the very beginning, I couldn't miss it. jam, and I had to have my paper flyers and I was, you know, I'm saying putting in people's hands will go to downtown Orlando, we would throw ciphers right in the middle of the corner. And with the with the guys were playing the drums we would pay them just to play drum beat with music versus to rock with us. And then as soon as we got to good circle who go around giving a flyer, it's all about the jam. And that's what we promoted every weekend every weekend. And that's how we get people to come out. Now. Shooter I get it. I have like a whole stack of flyers. I can't even give it to people. People are bothered by you now like before, they were just like, they'll do the decency. Like, okay, cool. Maybe like throw it away or put in a car fine. That'd be like, No, it's okay. That's okay. I'm like wow, they're rejecting it, you know? And I'm still like cheese like where's appreciation for because I'm like, look at this piece even if you don't consider it isn't this piece? No, I'm giving you a mini poster. But that dynamic is changing and I'm trying to follow how you can reach more people online and I'm reading all the stuff and what sucks is that everything's changing the algorithms that work last year don't work this year. You know the stuff that was the best way to communicate is not communicate as here. You know, they're saying Facebook is for old people. Instagram is for like you know in the mids, but The new way is like Tick Tock. It's just like, how much more new platforms don't have to be evolved with. And it just, it just becomes a little bit overwhelming. So, to me, the way that I found it best to just to promote is just to continue just to be active with the community, man. That's really it would be like top three advice you would give someone who is considering throwing their own jam? Definitely. Why the after you actually Why do I feel like that's the soul of the dam? because nothing's worse when you go to jam. When you have the right names of the judges, they have the right names of the DJs. But when you go there, just like because basically a venue when people you know, I'm saying like, it's more than just a building, you know, I'm saying like, you gotta cultivate that, you know, I'm saying, Yeah, there's no five, there's no vice. But the other idea is right, and you got the right judges like these guys are work, everything's work. You got to write elements. It's kind of like you have all the ingredients but you still didn't make the meal and I'm saying it just because I put a eggs and cheese in a dish, doesn't mean the eggs were cracked open. And it means the cheese were heated up and want to say like there's there's still the cooking process. Some people are just focusing on the ingredients and not the cooking. I'm saying so I'll We'll just say make sure you know your why. And then after you answer your wife, just make sure you develop your soul of the jam. And then the last thing is, make sure you enjoy it. One of my greatest experiences that I've heard is people go my first jam was for your soul first and before you saw whatever and I'm just like, Wow, my jam was introduction to the community. Nope. Like return to the day that my jam was this project. Yeah. I like the analogy with the ingredients and cooking. How could dancers who want to be booked as judges or who want to be a host or want to be a DJ? What can they do to be a better ingredient? I would say this, know what you can provide. There's no point for a continental dish to pass itself off as Mexican. Nothing's worse when an entree is trying to present itself as an appetizer like no man, and there's nothing wrong with being an appetizer and there's nothing wrong with being an entree, but to be effective. And longevity is to know what you could provide. You know, and sometimes you can only Squeeze so much out of one juice. And there's people that try to squeeze us over so much like Dude, you know, fill in any cup right now, you know. So I think it's just that you have to know your identity, the soul of who you are so, so much. That's why you're able to present your gradients. So so well, you know, I'm saying, some people really do because they feel like they're not respected as a dancer, so they judge, I'm like, but then last year, you said it wasn't. So you want to jam and you want that, and then this year, so there's going to be a judge what's going to be next year. So when you when you're gonna realize that you don't need validation? You know, I'm saying you just need to continue to do you until you're finally satisfied with the work you're doing that nobody else's opinion matters. Because why be validated for a bunch of work, you don't even care about one of my frustrations, so many will try to fast forward that it just like Dude, at the very end of day, if it's going to take two hours to cook, let it be two hours. So you're trying to put the heat up hotter, and make the time shorter and realize that you're actually just burning it. Like it could totally take this level there there is there's there's certain meats out there that can only be cooked at a certain level. And they can't be maintained in this level that too much will burn it into less one cookie. So just like they don't understand that so say my two things definitely is true. And just enjoyment. Too many people are not putting in the time and they're not enjoying what they have. Or you don't say like, Oh man, this is the reason why I left like no, you left for other reasons, right? And if you did leave, why do you come back every couple of years to voice This is why you left. If you left, you left, you don't come back and you're not going your mother's door module that you know, there's a reason why I left the house four years ago by I'll come back to you later to tell you like, no, you're gone. You're gone. I'm saying so that's the reason why I just like it's like reason why people say this because they still want to be a part of it. They're just hurt because there was a lot of stuff that they misunderstood a lot of things that they took, you know, my girl put up a post the other day and it says before you hold the grudge, hold a conversation. And I love that. And that's what I feel like the young don't do. If you think about it, the culture is very arrogant, is very prideful. It's and I get that. But I think within all that humility is one of the hardest boobs to develop in this culture. Yeah, and people can develop that. That's for the longevity Last Man, you know. Yeah. And I do think that applies to every element of hip hop. Like the people that I've met and interviewed that have that long. Jeopardy are the most humble people. Usually the cats that blow up real quick. Yeah, they think their truth is based on their experience. I'm like cuz it right now be? Exactly. And I mean it makes sense to right. I can see you you get overwhelmed with all the recognition at once and then you think you're the greatest thing. Yeah, I'm learning that humility is a process in itself. It's true. I mean, one thing about the culture of hip hop provides is that you can say whatever you want as you got the skills to back it up, but it doesn't mean whatever you're saying is true. And that's where the line doesn't get drawn to like, no, it's true because I want and because I got these accolades, I got these people support I got this backing is just like, at the very end of day no matter who you are two plus two whenever you go five, man, you don't say like yeah, you want the jam. Anyone does two plus two. So for a row, he's like, no, it's not like it is. I think it's something that's interesting to to see that really talented people are not always the most standout people like good people. You know, I agree. I agree. And so sometimes I see it Within the culture where these people are being glorified, and they're exempt from their terrible behavior because of their talent, yeah, like he backspin and now this is enough for him to be a horrible jerk because there isn't like no man, which at the same time there's boundaries of like, hey I'm not gonna not hold me skills hold he's nasty homies nasty but you know I remember saying this to a young kid in the scene, he was making noise and he was stepping in a lot of people's toes. You know, his mouth got the best of them ever pulled to the side. I'm just like, yo, bro, yo, your skills gonna take you far be you hear me and he was like, okay, but your character, it's gonna take you all the way. So you can go far you can finish whichever one you want. However, he left me he was like, and he was young at the time. I think it was like maybe 13 he looked at me like it was just a hothead. But at the same time, I was like, I get it. I see the culture and what are the elements of it, but it's one of the things too, like I said, at a young age with the same hopes that my father said to me, and even if you don't get it, I hope to see that one day it'll hit he'll be sitting in his car and be like Wow, you really Like, you know, DNA discussions I'm curious to know now you do so much for others you give to everyone. I've seen you for so long something that I really appreciate about you, but hard ways that you take care of yourself. Man. I would say this a lot of people don't know this is surely allowed. A lot of people don't I can tell you like maybe three people right now that do know, but I suffered depression bad man. Really, really bad. I mean, I didn't get to this weight because the fact that was happy, I'm saying I had bad habits that didn't get checked, and it became places of comfort in a closure. He was saying, I I would eat when I wasn't I wasn't hungry. He was saying it just became a place of just like because it was just pain. It's not like like, I'm so hurt by this person. I'm gonna eat a burger. It was more like, I don't know who else to talk to from board from watching TV or nothing else to do. I feel alienated. I feel isolated. You know, I feel so hurt by people who backstab me that I kind of get discouraged about reaching out to Anyone you know, like, you can look to those most or just like, you're not gonna go for burger right now. I'm saying that's a difference building Oh, you eat your pain, like, nobody's going to hurt me. I have a cheeseburger like it's not like that, you know. But it was one of those things that I just I was getting, I saw to see my weight gain. And I'm like, Oh, what is going on and I was like to watch this are going to health and mental tip. And it didn't really take into factor the fact that when you have a heart, and you love people, and you want the best for everybody else, it doesn't mean that they want the same for you. And it doesn't mean that they're going to hurt you in the process. And I will say this, that I can positively and confidently say, a lot of people are better human beings in our community that were absolutely terrible to me. I kind of became that filter is because of your connection with me that I didn't tolerate that crap, I called you out on that crap. And I made to deal with that crap. And if faced with that crap and you had to treat me like crap, and to the point that our friendship has never been the same, but how I hear about how you are now to other people. That's fruit of what I did. So I was like if I had to get her to make it better person to pump it. I'm saying I take myself As a sacrifice, like if I had to get killed to make other people better than so be saying, I often find myself honestly really lonely. What's sad about this is because of social media sometimes perspective like, yo, you got a lot of people out man, I'm still hitting up people to go hang out, I'm still hitting on my friends. It was really sad. The closest people that have in my life are females. It's not that I don't want male relationships it's all my male relationships they didn't reach out to me as much and if they do is only because I just so happen to be associated with a female that that I'm cool with it was attractive as a single and then they want to get closer to me now so I'm just kind of half a mile away. That's a mongrel But hey, listen, I can tell he's got two feelings. So how do you feel about because I would like if you'd like him to that's fine you don't say but I'm letting you know like let's see how it goes you know saying so I'll try to like hey, we're getting cool was getting cool because of me is because I heard they are not like that. I was like, it's true. It's cool is like you're not wrong for being attractive. But it's you know, that I desire true. You know, my relationships, especially in our hip hop culture, where if I hug you more than two seconds on gay campaign, I remember saying to so many boys when I became a believer, that's like, Yo, I love you, bro. yeah all right. Oh cool cool man. I'm just like, man, like I'm gonna be so masculine with this I'm saying but I'm not gonna punch it in your stomach. Oh, I love you bro Yeah, see love it just like nah man. So but it's true I got a chance to see all that stuff and I did find myself in a lot of lonely places so to take care of myself Honestly, this is where my church family stepped in you know where I was just exhausted from reaching out to the Beach Boys you know I got I got betrayed by my own crew members I got done dirty My name destroyed by complete lies, people have no perspective of me and just, you know, end up is worse when you see somebody who eats all the time say what's up to but because they're associated with some of the people associated the next time interaction you can just tell instantly just like Who did you converse with that your interaction change? insane because it's super noticeable. We had the same insight Joe were the same. It was the same greeting but this reading wasn't the same. The hug wasn't as long he pulled away quicker because usually wasn't just a Hello was like, how's everything we would catch up and it wasn't out there and I'm thinking, Hey, I'll give everybody the benefit of doubt. But when that's Behavior became the new behavior and it was the constant thing then. So just like something changed, you know, say, and remember, some of these people had come back and apologize to me because they realize, Hey, man, I was under this impression that this such and such happen. And I will front I thought of you like this, then you want to say I'm sorry, because I know it was different. I'm just like, so there's that darkness that sometimes I had a developer just like in this community. I knew from the very beginning you can't be a part of hip hop if you don't have thick skin. You cannot. If you don't have thick skin, you're gonna get trampled, spit on and nobody's gonna come to you apologizing and say this is it. So for instance, taking care of myself, I found myself being with my my church family, which is the reason why I got a chance to understand so culture because for a while, I just disassociated from my church family, I will go to them because I love God. But I was really offended and hurt by their, you know, when you when it comes to any community, there's always a religious structure, even if God I mentioned, it doesn't matter. There's always something that's worship. There's always something that's held to a standard, and it should be followed by everyone. That's really insane. So even in Christian circles, there was religious structures that are completely the I agree with, and I didn't want to be a part of it. But at the same time, I just surrounded myself with them so much actually thought that I didn't need them. And when it wasn't getting her from a community level who was going to come to and then there were some of my best brothers now are because of that. They're just like, man, we act like you're alone, you know, we're here for you. I'm just like, but you made such a such comments and you held to such a such beliefs. And because I didn't feel like that would even be out there to be disagreement. And to the point that I didn't realize, hey, if I had to grow, what made you think that these people didn't grow? And I realized other people like, No, you're right, I can see that. And I apologize, but actually, don't hold those user more. And then I'm like, all right, so now that people that come to jams and everyone suggest before, because their ideas like I can't believe you're doing hip hop and God like this is so disrespectful to God, but they heard that none of the music curses. You know, even if the songs do curse, they're the clean version so you don't hear it. I'm saying like, I'm doing it in a way to honor It's okay, I'm still gonna respect it. But the same time you know, we got it, we got to do what we have to do. And so that they just saw the platform. So it was just like, that's the way that I got a chance to get to get back on track and it took a while for just a meet to even have the motivation I almost stopped doing for yourself because I was just done. I was done year after year. It became a financial burden. And my goal to do it was getting drained by my my ability to do it. And what sucks is because all the jobs that I had, were always doing me dirty, like, there wasn't a single move that I made even even, you know, career wise, that wasn't based on the hopes that it will further what I was doing outside either my nine to five but it really cracked out. I did my real life job which was this. And nothing's worse when you work for jobs and your promise careers and your promise businesses your promise promotions, your promise that you don't get, the company gets bought out, the company closes have to get switched over to the store. Because you know, the closing dislocation, so me life just happens and I just happen to come up in our second recession. In the 2008 era like that was that hit hard? Like people don't notice I work for companies that don't really exist anymore. You're saying blockbuster gone colorwheel gone? You get I'm saying like you know BP gas station at the time it was as other station. That's not even there no more like it was just like I was working for these companies that don't exist. I'm just like, Yo, I think like, do I have like the opposite of the Golden touch wherever I work, it just destroys, you know, like, God was robbing me. It wasn't a same era that in terms to protect me myself becoming humble and reaching out to people. And one of the lessons that I learned was sometimes when you get hurt, you get better. And you just want to isolate yourself to call everybody fake and fake everybody is. But at the same time, I realized I was fake too. I messed up a lot. I wasn't perfect. You know, I'm saying there was some stuff that could have been more honest and open and communicated about. But because I was a shame or something, I didn't say it, or I didn't have the honesty to reach out and just, you know, communication is so effective, even just a simple follow up. But my point is, like, I'm still learning all that stuff. But the people who hurt me the most were the ones that actually really did betray me that just a simple, small thing to acknowledge real brutal, actual betrayal. And to go through once again, over and over and over again. It was only my experiment that I was down there with, they were just praying me up, and just doing life with them. And you got to find that balance. I feel like that if you're so hip hop, and you have nothing else by hip hop, actually for Safford because there's got to be more than that, man. I'm saying there's got to be more you got to have a family that you got to deal with that need a place to to to energize you know, I'm saying so, honestly, that was my way of just getting back home just a minute ago. I need help and everything started coming along. And that's the reason why it's so cool. Just it means so much. Because my Christian family started coming out to be like, yo, they just been doing this for so many years and we never helped them. And they admitted themselves they even came up to me this this is one of the worst part to see the man is coming church that we apologize to see you, brother, because we always support you, or we say we love you, but you realize we never do anything. So we never actually any help setting the pace. You're always doing this by yourself. It was done by yourselves by yourself. And they realize their lack. And I was like, That's dope. It's not like I was like, I want you guys to see like, I don't even think of it like it because I never asked him to be a part of it. But it was one of those things that they're like no, but that's something you shouldn't ask we should have been there with him because his ministry we believe what you're doing. So became that part to be like, I still need to create that bridge man, that bridge where they get a chance to opportunity to serve. And at the same time see why so important because oftentimes I find my hip hop community wanted to help out you know, I'm saying so it's that place to take care of myself just to be honest, that I need help. And also to go back and get people to second try to be like, did you did you really change because I don't believe you before but now so that's pretty cool. See a lot people who I do have brothers, you know, I'm saying and it's not as close as I want it to be but the develop, I'm saying to be like alright, I'm The water every day, but at least I have some plots some pasta plant that's before I was like, Oh, I have a seed like we're gonna we're gonna put this. I mean, I appreciate you being so real and transparent. One of the one of the aspects that I got a chance to, like get blessed by even though it wasn't like an actual like therapist, my pastor was there for me. And one thing that I can say is this that I come from a small church. So I do have the access to actually be with my pastor, which would go to like some other churches that are bigger there. It's not you're not going to have direct access to the pastor came in the Sunday services, and that's about it. But no, me my pastor like this, you know, I'm saying we talk, we have sessions, and there's a lot of my pastor that he makes his time. And he does professional counseling. So in a way, he was like, the area where I got a chance to get to the therapy, where I got a chance to just express how I felt. And I mean, I kept a lot of hidden because I felt embarrassed that I was dealing with it as like, No, I was going to go away. And every morning I told him, he just sat me down from everything that I was doing. He was like, Listen, I'm gonna take you off the stage the teaching because I was on the teaching group. And I was a part of that the other groups I was hoping to get out from all of that and I'm thinking like, Man, I'm being punished because I'm admitting that I need help. And he was like, No, no, no, because I don't want you to do any of that. I just want you to build and then for like a solid year, we talk every day because I want us to be like best friend status and we will call each other even and nothing to do with anything too because you're dating another man ask for coffee or you know, but it just became a thing. It's like this is my favorite my past like this is what you need right now. So it was just so dope that through that he had chance to show me like the love of Christ and reaching out for crisis just being a connector and just I can just basically vomit on it and then came up with this really great analogy which I thought like this is this is actually the best way to describe it is like, you know, no matter what you do in your house, you're still gonna have garbage. Even if some some clean stuff, you know, saying you open up a bag of Windex, I'm saying it was in your grocery bag. He took out the bag and put it the Windex with that bag is going to the garbage in saying you're grabbing a you know, carton of milk. You open it up at the top of you when there's over the empty plastic you throw it away. You know you have eggs, you know you've cracked the age that the shells insane. So nothing in it was dirty, but it all becomes dirty. And so at the very end it fills up it has a garbage bag because what do you do with it? Like I put it aside and the garbage takes it away and goes exactly where does it go? And it goes, it goes to whatever processing landfills that they have that the state governments, but the whole point is that it's out of your sight no more. You don't know where it goes. But you know that they have a process to deal with that he goes. So what about your internal garbage? He goes, if we were supposed to look inside you, do you think you have a landfill inside you have a huge bag that you never threw out and they're like, well, like that hit, because one of the most frustrating parts is that you do feel that everybody's pulling on you was pulling on you. And I often look for people that I can pull on. And I'm not trying to be a person to like, Okay, I'm gonna let you basically word vomit and give me all your problems, but who might give a minute, but the same time also want to be not offensive, but I don't want to treat you as a person. I'm just dumping my garbage on what it is that you're going through. I'm looking for equal people. I'm saying because my pastor always says like there's three people in your life. Somebody who pours into you, somebody who you pour with and then people you pour onto because you need those three people in your life. And he goes because if not, you have dead water and life water like dead water doesn't have any water coming in, doesn't have any water coming out and he goes life water has white water coming in water coming out. And he goes so that's basically it coming in. Shared going out to other saltado the analogy was great. And then because of that, again, being humble, being more honest with some of my friends, which allowed to create real friendship, you know, before we were friends, but once we started dealing with life, I found out some of them weren't, weren't real friends, not because they didn't like me. And it was just because they themselves weren't ready. And also, I had to make pizza today, I can't really be mad at them if they because they just how are you gonna get mad at a mouse for not flying and i'm saying is just like you asking something that you can't do. So it became that place, but at the same time, I'm also asking birds to fly that didn't know they could fly because they stood on the on the branch too long. And then they realize like, Oh my god, I can do something. So the opportunity then to come up until I started to speak up. So as with that aspect, that I had to become like, okay, I had some people that I'm dealing with and it became great. Now have really one great friend that I could definitely say is like, out of all my friends that we just become so close that it's just like, he's one of the main ones that I'm able to just like we both know what each other going through. We get a chance to speak we're going to be able to vent and then just cover it up and prayer to the gardener, right. Because sometimes like hey We're expressing frustration right now. I don't mean any of it because I'm still dealing with it and you have to say the frustration like and I believe wholeheartedly what you said earlier to the core. People often don't think just because you have in your mind and you may not voiced anybody that there's no harm like no man that's that isn't inside garbage man. When you speak it that's the actual the physicality so people don't think that words are physical. There are physical, it's leaving your mind you're actually addressing it. Sometimes we have an idea and it doesn't sound stupid until we say it. Yeah. favoritos O'Malley have an idea and then you say like, Oh, I don't know how dumb it sounded until I said it out loud. But it's the same thing you don't realize how dumb some of the stuff you believe yourself until you tell somebody cuz like, Whoa, that's what I think about so I definitely agree with that man. Though the physicality of speech man. I think it's beautiful. I am. I'm excited for you to go to God. What are your long term plans? Well, get married, continue to release the new designs for so culture, because you need to make myself more available continue to look avenues to sponsor and to support people. And I'm always keeping my ears open. Don't say because the more you do, the more you get access to it, the more I'm aware of. And that's what I want to do is continue to be more aware of that there's worse when you're part of a community, they tell you about something that you should have known, you know, things like what was going on? I don't know about that. So that's that aspect of just making sure that you're being present. Yeah, so that's my goal is man, at least for 2020. And that's a lot of goals. like whoa, how can people find you and how can people find soul culture? And how can people support you on Instagram? I would say it would be the best only because I do check Facebook, but I know Instagram I'm more and more on it. So it's Igy just sold culture. You know, that's the easiest way and yeah, follow me DM me you have any questions? I'm more than more than more than willing. And no matter what I'm going through life, I don't care what it will do. Like you hit me up. I will respond. It may take a while but I will respond. You know, I get frustrated sometimes because I want to respond quicker. But you know, I'm catching up with other messages and then my own personal life but I will always get back to people than that, that you have to be the best player. So we always end their podcasts with the question, what is hip hop to you? I would say it is the voice of healing for unfair circumstances. If I had to say 10 seconds to be that, because in the midst of pain and pain is loud, you know, the last thing you want to hear is take medicine. You know, I'm saying get to surgery, you know, me Get up and drink water, like, pain is so loud, that sound like a whisper. So hip hop became that, that don't be the urine paying out. So to hear that in the back are you like it almost just like it starts to match with your pain, but then the B starts to catch you that just shift your focus from the pain to hearing that beat. And, you know, sometimes the pain goes away, sometimes the pain doesn't, but you start to have hope again. And nothing, I think is more important that people still have hope to go through life without hope. You basically decide on everything, and you're gonna live your life for another 30 4050 years and you made a decision for everything already, like, you know, no hope, no expectation and aspirations for you, because you decided your past circumstances. And your, you know, your local environment was enough to decide how the world and everything else works. And you made final conclusions. science books did that. We still be teaching the earth is a square. I'm saying like, it goes to show you like, yeah, so just like or I mean if you want to believe that cool, you know, popular, but my point is, at least the ability to address and confront and the fact that you know that there is a there is an outlet, and I think is one of the best ways to do it. Sometimes people be like, you don't know how much it means for a kid to spray that on the wall. Nothing's worse when I'm just shaking. I can hear that. When I hear that it's just and I when I released that can it's just like, no greater feeling Thank you so much to our guest Lito from Soul culture for taking the time and being so open while sharing your perspective with us. Some of the gems we took away from this interview were, When you give or receive a message it may not be fully understood at the moment. However, the planted seed of wisdom will sprout as one matures. The repetition of a true expression is the foundation of creation. In order to bring communities together, one must diminish the differences between them and highlight the common values that open people to new experiences. Our theme music was beatboxed by Denis the Menace and produced by Zede, a big shout out to the brothers from Switzerland. Also a big shout out to Child of this Culture Foundation whose mission is to spread a positive perspective of the hip hop culture. Learn about them at www.childofthisculture.com and support their fundraiser on Instagram @childofthisculture We would love to get your feedback, questions and any suggestions you might have. You can reach out to us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @soulidarityLLC or via email soulidarityllc@gmail.com If you liked today's show, please tell a friend about our podcast. Or as Phife Dawg would say: Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram In our next episode, we welcome Skeme Richards aka the Nostalgia King Skeme is a global DJ, a cultural ambassador, a foodie and pop culture preserver from Philadelphia. Thank you for listening to our podcast. No seriously though. Thank you. I am candy. I am DJ Razor Cut and this is Souls of Hip Hop.

Introduction to Hip Hop
Difference between Writing & Bombing
Street Art
Influences
How would your parents describe what you do?
How did Soul Culture come about?
Organizing Jams
Mental health
The Pastor
What is Hip Hop to you?