Souls of Hip Hop

Dj Maestro

April 20, 2021 Soulidarity LLC Season 1 Episode 23
Souls of Hip Hop
Dj Maestro
Chapters
1:31
How did you get the name Maestro?
2:05
How would your parents describe what you do?
5:24
Stretch and Bobbito
7:03
Growing up in the Bronx
10:13
Hip Hop in Universities
17:44
Creating opportunities
23:24
Advice for teenage self
26:57
Starting the Good Life Youth Foundation
32:43
Good Lawn - Hiphop'reneurship
36:23
Giving youth the access
39:55
Reaching thousands of kids
42:23
How to support the cause
45:44
The cost of incarceration
47:56
Maintaining health
49:43
Parenting in Hip Hop
54:56
Biggie's One More Chance
57:26
Using social media for entrepreneurship
1:00:33
What is Hip Hop to you?
Souls of Hip Hop
Dj Maestro
Apr 20, 2021 Season 1 Episode 23
Soulidarity LLC

In this episode we talk to Hasan Stephens aka DJ Maestro. He is a leading youth advocate, mentor, entrepreneur and educator. As the Executive Director of the Founder of Good Life Youth Foundation, Hasan is building a brand Hip Hop center for youth entrepreneurship.

We chat with him about growing up in the Bronx, creating something from nothing, providing the Syracuse youth an ambitious vision for a brighter future, teaching entrepreneurial skills through hip hop culture, the challenges of parenting in hip hop, and so much more.

You can find him here:
www.gly.foundation/
www.facebook.com/GoodLifeFoundationInc/
www.twitter.com/AGoodLifeFound
www.linkedin.com/company/good-life-youth-foundation/
www.facebook.com/Djmaestro315

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

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode we talk to Hasan Stephens aka DJ Maestro. He is a leading youth advocate, mentor, entrepreneur and educator. As the Executive Director of the Founder of Good Life Youth Foundation, Hasan is building a brand Hip Hop center for youth entrepreneurship.

We chat with him about growing up in the Bronx, creating something from nothing, providing the Syracuse youth an ambitious vision for a brighter future, teaching entrepreneurial skills through hip hop culture, the challenges of parenting in hip hop, and so much more.

You can find him here:
www.gly.foundation/
www.facebook.com/GoodLifeFoundationInc/
www.twitter.com/AGoodLifeFound
www.linkedin.com/company/good-life-youth-foundation/
www.facebook.com/Djmaestro315

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

Unknown:

So Mims actually, I don't know if you know, but he's been doing a lot of stuff in Florida with NFT's and the hip hop community. So he's doing technology for like the hip hop community, him and his partner, who I was very cool with. They're really killing it in the industry, tech wise. After the one hit single, he went straight into investing whatever he took and invested it right into technology, and they're doing some things. Welcome to Souls of Hip Hop. The 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. What's up fam, thanks for tuning in. My name is Hasan Stephens. In that capacity, I am the founder and CEO of the Good Life philanthropic Youth Foundation, which is a nonprofit that uses hip hop culture to reduce recidivism, violence and incarceration for youth in poverty, through teaching them about entrepreneurship. My surname or nickname in hip hop is Meastro, DJ Maestro. So in the world of hip hop, I am a DJ that grew up in the culture of hip hop and lives by it. Welcome to the show. Welcome. Welcome. How did you get the name Maestro? you know what, I started off as an emcee. And I used to be named the prodigal son. And then that didn't sound too cool as a DJ when I started focusing more on DJing, and I kind of pulled my friends. And I think there's two reasons one, I like to teach. And I also I think of my DJing as like a Maestro in a symphony, like, with the way that I play music, I control the emotions of the crowd, right? crescendos and all types of ups and downs while we're doing a party or whatever. And I you know, I think about it like that. How would your parents describe what you do? I don't know the words that they would use, but I think they see what I do as taking my talents, and helping to change the world. Because my nonprofit endeavors and the things that I do for community very much are in alignment with my celebration of the hip hop culture. And so I think things that they thought started as, like a hobby turned into something that is able to generate an income, and at the same time, change lives of people. So I think that they're proud. Now, I'm gonna ask my parents, and figure out exactly what the how they would frame. What was your first encounter with hip hop culture? Oh, man, this is kind of debatable, right. So growing up in the Bronx, I grew up in the birthplace and between North Bronx and the South Bronx where, you know, where it truly started, right. And I think, I would look around and see the styles, I would see how people were like, we're living the culture. So that was really my first experience. But there was a song and people always go back and forth about the debate between whether West Indian music and culture influenced hip hop, or whether the hip hop influenced, you know, and I think it's a little bit of both. But there was a song called Pass

the Dutchie:

Pass the dutchie on the left hand side, right. And that was my first as a kid song on the radio that kind of caught my air. And then I started getting opened up to other and while some people are going, that's really not, that's not hip hop, but it was hip hop influenced, I think. And then I started hearing other sounds and samples, you know, slick, Rick and I lived around the corner from Slick Rick. So I would see Slick Rick, from time to time, as he was, you know, traveling. And then in New York City at the time, the experience and the vibe with hip hop was you could walk a block and see a hip hop artist. So we were like there in the moment with hip hop. So I don't know if I can pinpoint a particular time is like, Oh, this is like my first experience and like intersection with hip hop. It was always there. It was like it was like, we just lifted you know, what type of music did your parents listened to, or what type of music did you grow up around? My dad was a singer, r&b singer from the south. And my mom didn't listen to a lot of music. She didn't really have a lot of time. But she did. She did emphasize like people like Marvin Gaye. She loves Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke. So like the old you know, r&b, the 60s music Motown. And my dad would listen to similar things Motown and you know, we'd have discussions, right. I remember riding in the car with my dad, and I'd want to put on you know, hot 97 or I'd want to put on kiss FM. For example, kiss FM had some of the earliest hip hop, like radio shows in radio, and he would always comment like, what As you're listening to, you know, like, what, what is this? Like? It's all right. So he never like shunned it. He's like, It's alright, it but this is real music, you know. And I do appreciate that because my experience and knowledge I mean hip hop very much borrowed from previous errors, right. So being familiar and knowing that music also contributed to my love and entrenchment into the culture of hip hop as well, you know, I had the best of both worlds. You mentioned a few radio shows, did you listen to stretch and bobbito? And how did their show impact you in relation to like a hot 97 or, you know, a more commercial radio? Who didn't listen to stretch and bobbito. I think they were the icons and innovators, for underground hip hop in many respects. And I also think, it gave me our appreciation for lyricism. It's funny because there were certain people along the way in hip hop that were just like innovators that caused a trend or caused the shift, you can look at master p, for the whole independent model, right? And the way in which, you know, rappers are getting distribution deals now, as opposed to 360 and all these different types of deals. You could look at even soulja boy who was you know, fairly later, for the whole single model, right, the single deals and the ring tones and all that innovated Jay Z innovated a number of different things. You know, I kind of look back and think about stretch and bobbito as like the whole underground lyrical focus, it gave room for new emerging MCs that we're not going to make it on commercial radio, but built up their following and their core fan base. You know, like, I can think of a ton of people that would be equivalent that would probably fit on a stretch and bobbito show today, you know, so I just appreciate it because now I don't just listen for the beat. I listen for words. And that's because of people like stretch and bobbito. Their show is back on now on Apple Music. What? Yeah, so they have a podcast now on Apple Music again, that just came out last year. I'm gonna find it now. You grew up in the Bronx, how did that shape you as a person? It made me be resilient. You know, growing up in the Bronx was drugs, crime, murder, gunshots, walking past crackheads living in the projects where there was urine and feces. I mean, it was no walk in the park, right. But I look at that aspect of building resilience in me that makes me get to pretty much anything. And then the other thing about growing up in the Bronx and in New York City in general was that it gives me You know, I'm in Syracuse, now, it gives me an edge because I have a passion, I have an aggressive nature, that allows me to accomplish things and go persistence, like all of these different adjectives that I can use to describe my character or any character from a person from New York City. It gives you that edge to get ahead because there's you know, they call it a New York minute, we operate on a different types of time. You know, like we're, we're very like fast paced, like, let's get it done, let's what's next, and it doesn't change. I don't care where you move, it doesn't change, your personality won't change, because it's so ingrained in you. So I think the Bronx were making me who I am to be successful. And when you grew up, you said hip hop was all around you. What sparked the motivation in you to start writing your own lyrics or then getting on the turntables? You know what, I used to listen to funkmaster flex, this was the days when flex was on point before, before flex would drop 3 million bombs in a radio show and start talking drama and all that. I appreciate the early flex. And he was very much an icon. I remember listening to Kid Capri. You know, I remember listening to these other DJs that made me want to DJ the way that it wasn't about playing music. It was the way they played the music. It was about how they scratched, you scratch right there. You pull it back right there at that point, like oh, man like and looping around. It was exciting to hear that I think that gave me the thrill and the interest in in terms of DJing my first entrance into hip hop, though, as a performer was with it as an emcee. And I think the same shows when I heard the lyrics, and I would walk around listening, I hate aging myself, but listening to the cassette tapes, you know, of rappers and the way that they put words together. I just kind of started writing my own runs. And I think that's what it happens for a lot of young kids. It's like, Oh, I can do that. So let me start rapping and piecing it together. And that's how I jumped in as an emcee, I got into DJing because when I went to college, upstate New York, the culture was there was absolutely It was very white country. And I was searching constantly looking like Yo, who does hip hop, who lives hip hop, whoo hoo hoo even knows how to spit or flow and they like spit like what do you mean? Like, what do you mean flow? They had no clue and I felt very much out of place. So In order for me to feel in place, I needed the culture that define me. And so there was a college radio station and I started DJing there and kind of picked up the skills because as long as I had an element of the culture, I was okay. That's my, my gateway into it. I think that's really interesting, because many people from my generation as well found hip hop through the universities, and through college life. I started breaking with my sisters as a teenager, but I really learned more about the culture when I went to college. So for me, I think I got more of the culture in the Bronx. So I was introduced to it in the Bronx, because that's it, that was the birthplace right. And I just remember hanging out in the village, you know, we could go down to the village in Manhattan, and hang out with Common. Common was down near, you know, spitting ciphers, and it was like, you know, souls of mischief. And, and like, all these obscure names that people you know, I don't know if people remember, but these these rappers would be down there kicking ciphers. And as kids, we could just walk up to the ciphers and just join in. So like, as I started writing, we're like, yo, we want to jump in, we just start freestyling. And back then it was an emphasis on freestyling, as opposed to just write it writing now rhymes and whatever you had to know how to run off the top of your head, you had to wordplay? No, actually, I remember as a kid trapped on the train with a dictionary and studying words, so that my freestyle was better, you know, and all these different things that we don't celebrate today in the US. But my experience was, and I don't know if that was because it was Florida or what, but I was in the culture, like, right there. When I went to college, what it did was it gave me the resources to be able to celebrate other aspects. So like, as kids we couldn't afford, and you know, that's the story of hip hop. We couldn't afford the turntables and right, but when I got to college, I had the resources to start learning and doing all that stuff. So no, that's a really good point that I never really thought about describing and like that. So thank you for bringing that up. Yeah. Can you give us a bit more background of how you got into college? What was that experience for you? Since now, you're working with a lot of youth. Yeah, so my lineage was, when I was in New York City, there was a program called prep for prep. Early hip hop, I think emphasized education in a way that modern hip hop doesn't do that. And we know if we look at the nine elements of theory of hip hop, like knowledge is one of the elements that is emphasized, man, if you look at the social evolution of hip hop culture, if you look at the fact that it was literally a socio political and economic response to everything that was happening in the South Bronx, at the time, so I think the emphasis on those positive aspects was there. So I understood the emphasis of knowledge. And I'll bring up another aspect of the culture, right. So there was an era where hip hop was very pro black, and it was very conscious, socially conscious. So I think about the influence and the impact of the 5% nation, the five percenters you know, brand new being, and all these different groups that always talked about the intelligent black man. So as I'm growing up as a kid, and defining myself and understanding the relationship between knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and being a black man holistically and life, information, and knowledge was very important to me. That said, I also grew up in a family, even though I'm a single parent, my parents were split. I had both parents in my life that always emphasize education. Right? So my dad only graduated high school, but he was highly intelligent naturally as a person, and would always emphasize you got to keep going, you got to college, and my mom, who I watched go to college while she was raising two boys in the inner city, was really an emphasis for me. So I was like, I gotta go to college. But I didn't really know what that meant. I just knew I had to be there. I didn't know why I was there. And since I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. So I went to school with the intention of pre med and all that went to Hobart and William Smith colleges in Geneva, New York. And the thing about it was coming from the inner city where it was terror. It was violence and all this stuff. Hobart was on a lake, you know, it was beautiful, which is something I had never seen it and I don't wanna say tricked me. But it was like, oh, wow, this is amazing. When I got up there, it was a culture shock because it was predominantly white. It was absent of my culture was absent of everything. I went from rapping like my early days, I was I've done a little off Broadway shows in New York, I started rapping, I had the same producer as most def Sean J. Period, shout out to Sean J. Period, one of the you know, early premiere producers, and I was I was really intent upon performing, or my mom just emphasized this college thing. And I was like, Yeah, I want to entertain, perform, do hip hop, alright, I'm gonna go to college, and then I can come back and do whatever I want to do. When I got to college, and I got upstate, it totally shifted my trajectory. While I was going to stuff in life, I didn't want to be pre med anymore. Despite performing well in my science classes. It just wasn't it right, and I resorted I reverted back to what I knew. So I changed a double major in film and music. And I started studying hip hop and the culture of hip hop and the impact of the people from a sociological perspective. And, and so that's why, you know, I created my own major around studying black music and, you know, hip hop in particular. And that's when I got involved with the DJ aspect. And so I was on a college radio, and it's like, you know, it's kind of like what you said candy. College radio had a huge impact at a particular time in the growth of hip hop and the growth of artists. I remember when record labels had a strategy of weaving your music through college, because everything was broken in college, and then it would make it to the regular radio. So along the way, I've done internships, I worked at MTV, you know, eventually, I co-hosted BET's Raps in the basement for an episode as a DJ, I was doing a lot of stuff on work that we're one electric and Atlantic Records. So I got an opportunity to kind of see the different aspects of hip hop, you know, business. So when I went to college, and I started doing college radio, my natural progression was how am I going to get into the professional world of hip hop. And so I segwayed, to Syracuse, from Geneva, New York. And I applied to a radio station, which is now known as iHeart, was Clear Channel back then. But, you know, power 106.9 I got in the door as a web developer, as a designer for websites. It's something I picked up in my spare time to learn how to do. And I was an intern, and I was the first one in and the last one out. And then I started as a producer for the Tom Joyner morning show, and you know, locally, and then I became the marketing person. So I was the director of marketing promotions for how I want to 6.9 and 106 point 107 point 917 point nine. And then I asked to do a show. And I had the worst time slot ever. I was overnights but the thing was, people were listening, and the numbers started skyrocketing, right. And I was just doing this authentic New York City style radio show. And then they moved me up and I got evenings, right, and then became number one in that time slot, and kept moving up. And I got to show on on weekends, you know, and that was my dream, like to have a show like a footmaster flex. That's how I kind of broke into the market. And from there, I just started doing a lot of different things I went on to become, you know, DJ for the New York Jets DJ for Syracuse University basketball, I was the first espn college DJ, you know, so Syracuse University was the first school that had an official DJ that would rock out the domes, you know, I was just following the patterns of other DJs that had done it. And you know, had my opportunity to do different things here in a city. And now I'm just still using my DJ stuff to help kids. So that's the trajectory and the pathway in a truncated version of hip hop timeline. That's basically what the culture does for you, right, you start solving problems and creating and then you're creating a whole new business, a whole new title, a whole new job description, a whole new job altogether. And that's what hip hop is, though. That's what hip hop is, is creating something from nothing, right? If it's in you, it's like, you go with what the feeling is what's in you, and oh, this feels right. Let's do it, you know, very true. Because there's many times people within the academic world that study and research hip hop, but they're not practitioners. But you're sort of already there from the get. You are hip hop, and you are a practitioner, and you also are within the academics. Yeah, you know, I think, though, there's always that feeling. I look at academics and academia as writing books, and there's hip hop scholars, and there's a lot of great ones, but they aren't practitioners, as you said. And, you know, there's always this feeling is like, you know, did you study enough to be coin. Like, right now, I also teach hip hop culture at SUNY Cortland State University, and you want to compare yourselves to the Harvard professors that are writing the books and you know, the the people that are at Yale, or Columbia, or there's all these different great hip hop programs now. But I think the best training and education is being in the culture, you're not going to tell me that was there I experienced it, I loved it. I would love to hear from a fellow practitioner before I would love to hear from someone who's kind of studying it from a sociological or, you know, purely academic standpoint, because it's always close, like pretty much the point, but you don't take into perspective, the feeling of being in it. So I think there's always that, wow, do I know enough to why, but it's something you live, it's something you live, and I think that that experience is worth more than anything else. You know, I think it's interesting to think about how academics can be used to support causes within hip hop, to have a deeper reasoning behind it to have a purpose that goes beyond just the academia. Yeah, and what I said, You know, I never want to minimize the value of academia. People that are scholars, the reality is that there needs to be a merge between the two. Again, the emphasis that one of the elements is knowledge, the importance of knowledge, it might be street knowledge, but it's knowledge in general the power of information. And so I think that by bringing in the perspective of the practitioner and the academic, you create an avenue to really, as you said, study, the benefits and the effects of hip hop. So the person that is data driven, that understands the the systems and strategies in order to really develop metrics, and all of those different things can add to the practitioner who can tell you the pedagogy of how to engage. And so I think, for me, the balance between both worlds helps me in terms of applying that, you know, the good life foundation uses hip hop culture, and as I said, to reduce poverty, to reduce incarceration and recidivism to reduce violence. But the academic side of me, allows me to understand what it takes in order to build the organization, right. And I've always seen that as a benefit. A lot of practitioners may not have the skill sets to run an organization, right. So we see a lot of grassroots organizations that mean, well, that are doing great work, but don't have the background, you know, and I didn't necessarily go to school for that. But I had enough of academic and College Foundation so that I could go then learn, I can pick up a book and learn how to run a nonprofit, I can take a course and digest it very quickly. That side of me that was always good in school helped me be able to bring this culture to an area one that was lacking culture, Syracuse has never really supported, it's had its hip hop culture and pockets. But it's never supported the sustainability of the culture. In the town, very much a predominantly white and rural town, they'll listen to the music, but they want to listen to the music absent of us, that are the originators, right, they want to listen to it after the people who are developing the culture. And the minute we are in there, it's all of a sudden, the place is getting to brown or the places getting bad or you know, so I think that the blend between academia and being a practitioner has helped us figure out how to one package it to people who don't understand the culture, to understand the importance of right to speak their language and understand the value and importance of the culture and engaging a population to it has allowed us to understand how we need to do it methodically and systematically so that it actually drives the outcomes and produces the results that we want. And we are producing results in ways that have never been done before. And then it also puts an emphasis on the call of education. And knowing how to reframe that kids are driven by cool, in fact, all African diasporic cultures, if you look, there's this aesthetic of cool and this element of coolness that drives the culture. And we're trying to redefine cool, tell kids that it is cool to be intelligent to be an entrepreneur, to start your own business, again, like it was at one time it is again, and here's what hip hop did for it, right? Because we know that hip hop is cool to them. Now we got to show them with entrepreneurship and knowledge and all the other things in the culture are so that they get it and connect with You're taking everybody to school today. I mean, I'm just saying, literally. What advice would you give to your teenage self? Don't waste time. There's a saying that we teach our kids we

say:

time is the currency of your life. When you're in a moment, as a teenager, you're just living life, you celebrating hip hop, you just live in it. But if we were to be strategic, if we knew that hip hop was gonna be a multi billion dollar industry, and the pathway an avenue to success, in some areas, the things we could have done because the accessibility was so much greater. Hip Hop wasn't this rock star ish thing. If you notice, all the people in hip hop early on were highly intelligent and very, in many ways, academic, like the early rappers were very one of the smartest ones around the way, and then it became this viable source of income. So any rapper, regardless of you know, could just kind of do it. And with enough, you know, motivation and marketing would make it. But if I knew I was living in that time, where things were shifting the time when Biggie and Diddy shifted the culture. Looking back now, I see all the phases of hip hop. Imagine if I knew what I knew now then. So if I could transfer that information to my teen, so I'd be a multi billionaire right now. I'd be an icon and hip hop culture, as opposed to working backwards now. So that's what I would say is don't waste time. Use that time strategically within hip hop. Who were some of the people along your way that inspired you and you look up to or that you learned from? Remotely, I'm gonna say I feel like I have a kindred spirit with Jay-Z. We're both Sagittarius very much similar personalities, I think in a lot of ways, like a lot of the stuff that he says in his lyrics resonates with me. So from afar, I did have a chance I met him once and I'm hoping to work with him. But from afar, I've studied him heavily and what he does, what he says. And I think that's shaped me a lot. But I mean, I think I've had a lot of mentors, personal mentors, Gwen Webber McLeod is a woman who is a professional developer for, you know, that emphasizes, you know, development women in the professional field based out of Auburn. I've had people in New York City that have shaped me as mentors, I would say my parents did a very good job in terms of instilling certain values in me. And a lot of the stuff I've just been able to, to pick and choose where I pull information from and who is contributing positively to my development. I think about the early hip hop artists like the 5%, nation, brand, new bn, and all of that stuff. And while I don't agree with all of the philosophies in the 5%, nation, a lot of it is still self esteem within me, I'll give you an example. I'm in the process of writing a book right now. And just talking about, you know, the things that shaped me to be able to be successful. And the starting line is, when I was 12 years old, someone told me that I was God. And that made all the difference. It wasn't so much that you know, I believe in a higher power, I believe in you know, God, but the fact that somebody told me that I was God, with a lowercase G, gave me as a young black man, and still did the self esteem for me to be able to survive on things that this world throws at us, you know what I mean? And that's an era that people oftentimes overlook, because it kind of got swept out with hip hop as it shifted, and, but that really was a defining moment for me. So I think that the nation of the gods of the earth and, and all the Egyptologists and the young gods, that were in the barber shop in the Bronx that taught me, those people pushed me in the right direction. So what has led you to pay that forward to the next generation? And can you give the backstory of how you started the good life Youth Foundation? I think people gave it to me, and so I have to give it to someone else. I am, where I am. Because of my ancestors, because of my predecessors, the ones that pushed me and encouraged me. And I think it always created still this desire to pay it forward and do what people did for me when I was growing up. So my break into working with youth, I always had this dream, actually. So growing up poor in the Bronx, I grew up in eatingwell projects in the Bronx. And it was like, really one of the worst projects in the Bronx and whatever else, all the things that are described literally like walking over feces, and feces being on the buttons in the elevator, like it was a disgusting place to live. But I my education allowed me to go to rich private schools. And so I would travel from the worst areas and watch these kids who own literally an entire floor of a building, or you get off the elevator into the living room live, don't fit that park and other stuff. So I was exposed. And I knew that there was a different world. When I came up here, and I got into radio, and I started DJing. It got me into the schools. Now kids looked up to me and listen to me as an icon in hip hop and not as a teacher, not as a parent, not as a right. And so the people that allowed me to get that exposure and to see the things that I saw, my job is to let other kids get that exposure and to let them see the world that they don't see if they are only growing up in the poverty that they experienced. And they think that that's what life is about. They don't know that there's more that they can get if they've never been off that two block radius blocks that they're battling for in Warren over that they don't even own How do they know that they can actually own homes and blocks and different things like that. So for me, the good life was a way to, I saw these organizations that were doing great work, but they weren't quite doing it the way that I felt it should be done. There was no hip hop. You know what I mean? It was no culture, there was no hip hop and entrepreneurship saved my life. So if that's the case, I want to be able to offer that and deliver that to another generation of kids. Hip Hop and entrepreneurship, hip hop for identity, Know yourself, know where you came from the culture that you contribute to, but don't even understand the history and what shapes you right. And then entrepreneurship, to creating something from nothing, gives them the tools to forever be able to make money forever to be able to be sustainable and contributing members to society. So I literally quit my job. I went from the radio, radio downsized, and clearchannel laid off like 1000s of people across the nation. And I had to reinvent myself. To a degree I'm still DJ Maestro, right. And then I started teaching in public schools and I was like, Ah, what is this red tape restrictions, all this stuff. Then I started teaching at a prison, a utility called hillbrook as a detention facility in Syracuse, and I started using hip hop. I had the flexibility to teach hip hop today. Kids and entrepreneurship. And I started seeing them do well behavior change. They started studying more, they were passing tests from inside the prison. But then they leave. And they'd come right back. And what I realized was that the recidivism rate was what it was, because nobody was in the community catching them when they left. So if you can do well, while you're in prison, because you have the structure, and you have all the different things, the identity, when you leave, you're going right back to the environment that you're in. So I quit my job, there was a day where one of my co workers said the numbers of kids being locked up started, slowly, kind of it was going down. He said, we got to start locking up more kids, otherwise, we're gonna have to start laying off and having less hours. And I stopped, and I looked at him and I said to myself, I said, What, like, what did he just say that and it was that day, I walked to my boss's office, and I was just like, I can't do this anymore. Right? I didn't want my job predicated on the fact that we had a lot of kids up in order for me to get out. And he was a great man. He's a, you know, icon in the game. Jim Czarniak, he was formerly a commissioner of juvenile justice here in Syracuse. Now he's a consultant helping the entire state of New York, shift the way that they think about foster care and shift the way that they think about juvenile justice. And I left that day with and started the good life. That was it, and I started paying for it with my DJ money. I was DJing. And you know, I didn't make a lot of money, but I was taking the money, and I was supporting kids and supporting the agency. And eventually, we got our first contract with the county, and it grew from there. And now we have contracts with the school district, we have contracts throughout the state of New York, and you know, just growing to show that this model has efficacy, you know, using hip hop to engage the most marginalized and disconnected population, because that's what hip hop was, it was the kids that were formerly gang members that were just had an innate talent that built it up into something that was great. So that's kind of the trajectory of the good life. Now, you know, if you see behind me, the building, we're in the middle of a project right now to build the first of a hip hop center for youth entrepreneurship, and the essence and the atmosphere that's going to be there is literally one of hip hop, like walking in and just feeling, feeling the culture, feeling hip hop, every corner you take in the building. And it being applied from a pedagogical standpoint, into every aspect of the building, every adventure, social enterprise, whatever, having this philosophy of hip hop in it. We just launched a store at the salt City Market in Syracuse, called the life where kids can learn to design fashion, and put it in the store and make money off of that. So we're creating avenues for kids to make money through hip hop the same way it's been done for decades now. I think your programming is so great. And I think the one that you had told me about the other program that you have a lot more so you tell me a little bit more about that one? Yeah, sure. So "Good Lawn", so obviously good life, everything is good lawns, good eat GL imprinting, as you see in the corner. Good Life in printing. Good lawns was a way of what did a social enterprise? What business can you start? We didn't have any money. We didn't have any resources. And what could kids do? That would be a segway to them learning the back end business side of things. And so we thought about mowing lawns, you know, they have their bodies, they can control their bodies. But we didn't have the resources. We didn't have the lawn mowers. So we taught them to walk in, you know, you can borrow lawnmowers. borrow from your neighbor or borrow from whoever. And that's what we did. We bought some lawn mowers we went out and we solicited for people to mow their lawns and we got flooded from the city. So they wound up going from one day to we're supposed to be one day, this turned into an entire summer that they were just walking home with wads of cash, you know, that they had never made before from working hard all day. Then we we did a following some of the next year. And then the third year that we did it, we actually had a partnership with a local property company, Syracuse model, neighborhood Corporation, 88 properties, these kids were working and doing lawn care on all of the properties. So we grew something out of nothing, right. And we want lawn mowers and lawn care equipment on the money that we made, and just kept growing. And the idea behind and the reason why we did that is because when you're a emerging entrepreneur, when you're a black or brown entrepreneur, they call it ethnic and co ethnic resources and certain resources that you lack or you are present because of the fact that you are minority and the culture that you come from, right. Black people often lack the investment capital that it requires in order to start businesses or to run businesses. And so we often find ourselves with this term that's called bootstrapping. We're bootstrapping our businesses and doing what we can until we can, you know, you know, fake it till you make it right until we're actually there to invest in and do it the right way. And we as people, oftentimes, I don't want to say cut corners, but we're hip hop. We adapt and we do what we can in order to be successful. And so knowing that these kids come from poor backgrounds, and that they don't have the resources to do these businesses, we You're doing a different type of entrepreneurship training. So we call it hip hop partnerships. We're not teaching them regular entrepreneurship, because these kids aren't the ones that's going to be in an entrepreneurship program. They're not performing well in school, they're not doing well, in life, they have social hurdles, we're teaching them the resilience of hip hop and creating something from nothing. And we're coming with the philosophies, relating it to the streets, and the things that they're already learning in the streets, to teach them how to operate in the boardroom. And so this hip hop partnership, a curriculum that we're promoting, that's one of the aspects Yo, you have no resources, you have no, no money, no startup, I'm gonna teach you how to make it from nothing. And that's where the hip hop comes in. As a hip hop practitioner, I think everyone can relate. If you're a DJ, you are an entrepreneur, you have to figure out how are you going to make a living off of this, if you're serious about it. I think it's such a amazing overlap and such an amazing way to teach not only like the, as you said, concepts or principles - but actually make it relatable, actually make it appliable. I think to Also, many times, people forget that many of our youths have the skills and abilities in this potential, and they don't have those opportunities, whereas someone can show them how to do it, and give them an opportunity to say, hey, this isn't how it has to be. And there's ways to do it in this small capacity. If you learn how to do these things, step by step, you're going to make it and you're going to be able to create something for yourself. Yeah, I think we act like kids are making irrational decisions, when they're out selling drugs and doing whatever, they're actually making very rational decisions. They're doing what they see, right. And it's common sense. It's like, Oh, they have the car, they have the jewelry, they have the things that I want. That's how they did it, I'm going to do, just like the kid who has the parent who's the doctor often follows in their footsteps, right. So that's what kids do. And we have to stop acting like kids are making irrational decisions by committing crime, they are resilient in the fact that if they are hungry, they're going to find ways to eat. And that's what we see with kids that that grit that grind all of the qualities, by the way, that is required to be a successful entrepreneur. You know, when you look up those characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, these are all things that we know these kids have, but as you said, they have not translated them into a different world, and they haven't had anyone show them. And I think the other thing is access, right? If you think about the beginning of hip hop, there were kids on the corner, that in these communities that had the talent that were innovative, right, and innovation is a key component of entrepreneurship. They were innovative, and they built and iterated on dancing, right? So braking was very, you know, it was difficult to begin with, but it was very simple. And then all of a sudden, we start doing power moves and using momentum of our body to do these death defying moves when our bodies you know, and it's like they had innovation and knew how to iterate the moves and build on the culture. It wasn't until the New York socialites and even people from other countries and people that were in the entertainment industry started coming down to the Bronx and seeing what it was and how they could turn it into the business. That now all of a sudden, they started and it was even a gap then they didn't know, because they didn't have access to the business world, business knowledge financing to do business. But there were people that came down and saw what was there and knew that it was valuable, and tried to turn it into a business. And then we saw the era of the Golden Era, the golden age of hip hop, were the originators of the culture started saying, Wait a minute, I can do this too, when we start seeing magazines pop out, and we start seeing the fashion industry with Fubu, and all these different things. And by the way, if you look at Daymond

John's story:

Fubu, he bootstrapped and made did something from nothing. But that's the story of all the icons and history of hip hop, creating something from nothing. And all of a sudden, that aha moment, like, wait a minute, we're here, now we can do this. That's why the people like the Jay-Z's are so important to me the fact that Kanye is the richest black man in history $6.6 billion, because he said, No, we're not going to let you do it by yourselves. We have the talent and the skills, we're going to do it. And you can help or you're not going to help but this is how it's going to be done. But it took us decades to get to that point. So if you look at these kids, like they just they have, they have the innovation, they have the ability to iterate what comes from inside them, they need to access. And that's what we're trying to create is access and opportunity for kids who already have it in them because it's their culture. Yeah. I like your quote, encourage the dream and power the reality. Thank you. That's what we try to do. You know, that's what we try to do on a daily basis. How many kids have you guys affected in since you've started your organization? While since we started, to be honest with you, as we developed, we also had to develop the data metric, you know, portion to give you an idea. In 2020, we service 750. You. So we have been in existence since 2012. So, each year, the number of youth that we've served have increased, you know, I'll say a couple of 1000. But we haven't done that calculation since the beginning, when we first started, it was like, we just want to help kids. But I will say that the beauty of it is that I now have kids that were part of the first generation of good life that I'm connected with. I got this one young man, Chavez, ocasio I'm gonna shout him out because he deserves and you can google him and look him up. He's killing it right now. This is a young kid, I don't want to say what he what he went to prison for. But this is a young kid that served five years as a young adult as a juvenile for a very egregious, very serious crime. But this is a now a kid who's in five Beta Kappa academic society, and is in honors programs in college and studying business, and is also a board member on the good life. So he went from being one of the first kids to now he's serving on our board of directors. And he's a student, and he's like Huskies out hustling and doing, you know, became a new a new father. That's one example. I've got kids that were the earliest generation that and now we're starting to see that impact. And they're coming back. And y'all remember me like, this is what I'm doing. This is how I'm successful now. And, and that's the beauty of it. So while we didn't have those early data metrics and systems in place to collect the exact numbers, we know that we're impacting kids, because they're coming back. We have now so the last few years, we've been collecting metrics, we know who and how and all of those numbers in the pandemic has affected a lot of that. But even in a pandemic, we never stopped. We've been engaging kids regularly, the numbers slightly dip this year, because we couldn't do as many. But we're knocking out hundreds of kids in a year and in maintaining those relationships. And that's the key like building relationships. It's not about six months, hey, go to programming, I see. These are kids, it's like, yo, they're my family, I have a deeper bond. And some some of them have deeper bonds with us than they do with their biological family. So we try to create these relationships for a lifetime. And then have them come back around as mentors for the younger generation as well. The same as in hip hop. That's beautiful. How can people find your organization? And how can people support it? I enjoy things like this, you guys as practitioners, like we had a conversation the other day, and you gave me some ideas that just really are amazing in terms of hip hop pedagogy and flying the culture, right. So we don't we don't know everything. as practitioners, we want to hear from other practitioners like, Oh, damn, I didn't even think about that. Right. You know, that's great. I'm going to try to implement that. So I think that's one way that people can support. One of the things we tried to do, especially with the building, is we want to tap into the hip hop community to make this a staple, and have the impact that we know the culture does globally. So I think that's one way, another way and then and then I'll let people know how they can reach us. But another way is donating, right? And so we're in the process of trying to raise $9 million for this building and on our website is an opportunity to donate. And if you believe in the mission, you believe in what we're doing, you believe more importantly, that this can be replicated somewhere else. Help us show that here so that we can then take this model elsewhere. You know, we have people from Australia University Australia, there's members that have reached out to us they saw our model of using hip hop online. And this speaks to the global nature of hip hop culture. They're looking at how they can use hip hop locally for the Aboriginal population to address some of the same issues. People from DC and Los Angeles flew out to Loyola Marymount to talk about this project out there. It's crazy because the day that I was there, they left was the same day that nipsey hussle died. It was a crazy, crazy moment, just a king kind of full circle for me, but But anyway, long story short is, you know, this people across the nation and internationally that are looking at this hip hop pedagogical model of teaching entrepreneurship, and this building what the idea of this building could be to apply it in other areas. And so if people can donate and make this happen, we've already raised about 2 million, we're up to 2 million now. And we're trying to raise 9 million. You know, donating is another way, if you're local, if you travel, bringing the culture to people is important to you. So I'm looking for setting up shows people that are willing to dance if you're a breaker if you are, if you're a B boy or B girl and have your graph artists or if you are MC or you celebrate any of the elements of the culture, and you're willing to tap into this population. One of the things that we didn't share with everybody is that Syracuse is number one in the United States for concentration of poverty amongst African Americans and Latinos. In 2015, they released a study that said Syracuse has the highest concentration of poverty amongst blacks and Latinos, that's worth investing and giving, whether it's time, money, energy, or knowledge or expertise to Syracuse, because if we can affect change here, we can do it anywhere. So our website is GLY.Foundation, www.GLY.foundation , not .com, not .net. People always get that wrong, but .foundation. And you can find ways to contact us there. But also see ways to donate and reach out to us as an organization. And we'll also put all the links in our show notes, so our listeners can just click below. Thank you So I remember seeing some matrix on the slide that you had showed us that for a youth to be incarcerated it costs $150,000 a year? No, put that in perspective, that number has skyrocketed. In the state of New York, there was a study that was just released $892,206 - $892,206 per kid per year. That's how much it costs to incarcerate a child in the state of New York, close to a million dollars. And so when we look at that, that money is coming from taxpayers. When programs like ours literally can cost a fraction, a small fraction of that, to teach them how to be contributing members of society. That's a lot of money. $892,206. So we have effectively our recidivism rate is close to around 80%. We have saved our county in particular, millions of dollars, millions. And so that was one of the ways that we started getting investment from the county and the city and the state of New York was by showing packaging. And this speaks to what Razor was talking about, like, you know, from the business standpoint, how do you package it for people that don't understand and don't get it right? who speak numbers when you can show that by supporting programs like this, we can save not only taxpayers with the county and the state and the city millions of dollars by not locking up kids and they're not wreaking havoc and terror on the communities. Now they're contributing and teaching other kids. That's like that's, that's a good line. Right for lack of a better word. No pun intended. Well, pun intended. That's a good life. Big Pun intended. Oh my, you guys with all the dad jokes. Well, he just got his street name. So that's dope too. Shout out to Big Pun. Did he? Yeah, in New York. They just named the street Big Pun this week. That is so dope. Dead in the middle of Little Italy. Little did he know that he ... haha The greatest line ever for Pun. Hasan, how do you sustain your health physically and mentally? By doing what I love, I'm not gonna lie. I get stretched. I work a lot. I work seven days a week. But there's a saying in entrepreneurship that if you usually do what you love, you'll never work another day in your life. Right? I love hip hop. I do hip hop. I teach hip hop. It's funny because SUNY Cortland, they try to get me to teach other courses, they keep asking me, we want you to teach more, my class is sold out immediately. 15 minutes as soon as they release it, it's filled up. I have two sections, and they filled up immediately. But they want me to teach other things and I'm just like, I'm, I'm okay. Like, I just want to teach him on social justice through the lens of hip hop. And because I'm doing what I love, I don't really feel like I'm working. I'm just kind of living and I get paid for it. So I think that contributes. Oh, the other thing is, I have to relax. Relate, release. There has to be that that release for me. I DJ. So like this weekend, I tell you I did three gigs back to back like but but when I'm rocking that crowd, and I'm like, playing the music. It's such a beautiful thing. It's a release for me. So I think that's how you know I can stay healthy and young. I think hip hop keeps me young. You guys look like I don't I don't want to I don't know what it is you all. We were talking I got an idea that I mean, we're we're around similar age. You guys are like babies like it's it's keeping you guys young. The braking is keeping you guys in shape. And young. I love it. So hip hop done. How many kids do you have? I have three kids. And I have one on the way. My wife just got pregnant. She's about nine weeks now. Super excited for that. I have an amazing Boriqua wife that is just like everything to me. You know, so I'm super excited. How has parenting changed your perspective on life? Parenting is hard man. Parenting is like, you guys have kids, right? We have two. In relation to hip hop, I'll tell you this. I wish my kids and even all the kids that I teach could experience hip hop that we experienced. And I'm not one of those purists that I am a hip hop purists. But I'm not one of the purists that shuns modern hip hop and what like, there's some rappers today that I just love, and even some that aren't, you know, conscious and all of that. I just, I just enjoy them, you know. So I've been able to adapt and I can appreciate, but the problem is, is that it's so monolithic. It's not diverse. I remember a time where you could listen to LL Cool J. But then you had De la Soul, and he has Big Daddy Kane, and you had Kwame, you had all these different people. And you can pick and choose you had a gambit of stuff now. It's cookie cutter. So cookie cutter, and I want to listen to the Pop Smoke's. But I also want to have more Kendrick's I want to have more J. Cole's you know, and I want to listen to the babies because I love the baby. But I want to have more options. I don't want it to just be either a Nicki Minaj or Cardi B like why why are we pitting them against each other because there's one place and hip hop for a woman you know, and now Megan thee Stallion all this stuff. I remember when it was Queen Latifah was MC Lyte when it was Moonie in the middle when it was, you know, they're all coexisting at the same time and supporting each other, all saying similar, but also different things. And so I feel bad from a parental standpoint about what they are exposed to. And I'm trying not to expose to his drug culture now. poppin perks and smoking weed and it's not like people didn't smoke weed back then of course, right. But it's just it's so prevalent now that I feel like it's watered down and it's dumbed down. And they don't have an options. And so it's dangerous. I know I go into these long winded discussion, but relating it to hip hop, but it's like it circles back around to what you're talking about. You asked me about parenting, parenting through hip hop is difficult because I can't even deliver the same thing to save me because it's not the same anymore. It's a scary thing, you know, and I think about them on a video in a way, what are they going to see? What are they going to hear? I want them to listen to hip hop, it's like, yo, you can't enter this world without experiencing the brilliance of hip hop. But if I introduce you to hip hop, I also introduce you to the bitches and the whores and the weed in the end, it's just like, Ah, you know, we pass that we gotta get we have to get past that. The past the massage in the past, the drug culture, past the nonsense, you know, we got to get past that. And I don't know if we can necessarily do that. That's the dilemma of being defined by and loving a culture that is continuously tainted. Sorry, I'm, oh, it's okay. Part of the realization I've had, I think it's always a different experience when you're growing up and experiencing it. Like I had that experience. And I think you can still have that today. And I think in a certain aspect, it's actually evolved to become even more diverse. Maybe not the media, right? The media is highlighting this one thing, just one aspect. But like in Boston, there's a guy called Justice that does this freestyle off the top cipher in a subway station every Sunday. So, I think it's different, but it's still there. You need to go out, you need to look for it and find it. I think it's a little different. My perspective, because when I had Sasha, now she's 16. I was performing and I was teaching and there was jams in Miami, like pretty much every other weekend. in the jams were just the culture. So you would have MCs there, you would have DJ playing breakers, people are painting live, and my kid was there. So it was like an exposure. But I think now as a teen, I think they appreciate it. But I think again, as they grow up, they get into what they like. That's important, though. You gave her that. Yeah, you know what I mean? Like you gave her that because, like my daughter's 21. And she's a singer, when I tell you she's a singer. She's a singer. Like she's phenomenal, right? And she wants to go into the industry. And we're working on you know, all of that shouts j shy. She is a person that was exposed, I made sure I exposed her to all of that. And I had are young and so I was still living hip hop. And I'm still doing now but very much like your daughter, you when I was on radio. She was underneath the console playing while I was live on the air. She was there. I mean, we've got pictures of her at the earliest of age hanging out with Alicia Keys and hanging out with, you know, all these different artists and rappers that I had to deal with. And I think that appreciation, as you said, gave her an experience but she has an experience that's different from my younger boy, because it's like Rachel said, it's like, it's the timing that you're growing up and what you're experiencing as you're growing up. I have a quick story that oh my god has shaped my life. When you're talking about growing up in the culture, being there and you don't appreciate it at the time. I had an opportunity to meet Aliyah before she died. I had an opportunity to meet Biggie, Puffy all those different people. The Biggie video one more chance: rest in peace Heavy D, when he is like, shut up, get you in and he's up the stairs and totally was walking up the stairs, I was the 16 year old kid. In the front of the video, you see a young man with a book a backpack, wearing a blue and white pair yellow jacket, freeze frame that that's me to be 16 to be in a Notorious BIG video simply because you're listening to hot 97. And they announced that a video is being done. By the way that video was not shot in Brooklyn. That video was shot around 94th Street in Manhattan. As I was on my way to school, and myself and some friends we rolled up we got to meet because you know, in that video, everybody was there from the industry. Imagine that as a kid. That's something I can forever talk about something that I share my class and I'm playing the video and I Oh, greatest song ever, biggest, you know, greatest of all time is to go and read. I'm like thing. And that was me. I'll never live that down like that. That is such an amazing moment in a child's life. And all the things that I talked about raising when I'm like, we will go around the corner, I've got a fixture with nice and smooth. I'm a kid big bookbag we run it around in the village nice and smooth and stuff. Like just going through the names in New York. That's what it was like growing up in that era. And he's talking about the golden era. See a Busta Rhymes in a Jamaican Patty shop in the Bronx and being like as a kid like, Oh my god, you know, I'm saying and him stopping and kicking freestyles with you. And those are the moments that I don't think my kids will ever be able to experience. I think about moments, my youngest son just ran up on stage when I'm doing a concert for a boogie while I'm doing stuff like that. And he's just dancing in front of 1000 people, it doesn't even realize there's 1000 people behind him a few 1000 people, but he's just dancing on stage. And he's so young. And he's getting into like hip hop dance and all this stuff, the culture for them is gonna be their experiences growing up, but I think we'll all have those experiences in those moments that we can flashback and be like, Yo, this is how I was in the culture. This is how the culture impacted me that they'll never look down. But you're right, it is it does shift because hip hop is so rock stars right now. The access is not like walking around the corner bumping into, you know, I appreciate what you're saying. But it is different slightly, you know? Yeah, for sure. I was gonna ask you a question, since your aim is to teach entrepreneurship, what's your view on social media and entrepreneurship? I think social media and technologies, I'm not just gonna say social media, but but the shift in technology has made entrepreneurship easier. So there's actually several books and studies that are out there talk about the fact that years ago, it required startup capital, like I think about technology, hip hop is influenced technology, let's not misunderstand the impact that hip hop is having on the shift on all of technology, right. And one of the things that I do I teach in my class is like, we stopped and we look at how hip hop has influenced everything, from politics to whatever, when you have what news, whether people quoting Biggie lyrics and things like that in the newscast. That's the power of this global, you know, culture that can't be stopped, right. And so I think it had the same effect on technology. And social media was designed around hip hop, because that's really what was pushing. You know, I think, in many ways, that there's these studies that have come out and talked about years ago, if you wanted to start a business, you needed a certain amount of upfront investment capital. Nowadays, people are starting businesses with nothing. That's the hip hop model, creating something from nothing is the hip hop model. And, you know, I'm trying to write about that now. It's just like, the model of entrepreneurship that people are experiencing is different. It's a hip hop partnership. It's different. It's like, you don't need startup money, you want to start a clothing line, you can put together stuff for a few $100 promoting online and start selling, right. We're in the process of starting a clothing line right now called Hippo nation, and we're piecing stuff together and we're just gonna promote it on social media, and you have immediate access to network visibility. You've got fans automatically because you associated with the culture and the cool. So I like social media. The difference is, is that it's not curated. The content on social media, unfortunately, is not curated. So what happens is like what candy was talking about, where it's like, their experience and understanding of hip hop is what they see on tik tok. And it's not always the right thing. I always go back to this there's a video I don't know if you remember this. There was an older middle aged white woman, and she was teaching hip hop dance. She was like, hip hop is something right and you know what I'm talking about. In the culture knows this. Video. Yes, she was like, it's gonna pop Scott. And was just like, but somebody watched that and was like, well, I want to learn hip hop dance from her. So it's the same thing with social media. It's like, make sure you're getting the right content, make sure you're doing the research behind to know what you're watching. Because you can be very tunnel vision and just watch one channel and it's over for you. And you're getting the wrong info about hip hop, you're getting the wrong expression of hip hop, you know, so that's, that's my only thing with it. What is hip hop to you? hip hop is life. It's what defines who I am, and a generation of people. Hip hop is creativity and expression, and ever evolving. And it is powerful beyond measure. It's globally powerful. That's what hip hop is to me. Thank you so much to our guest, DJ Maestro, for taking the time and being so open while sharing your perspective. Some of the gems we took away from this interview, were: creating something from nothing. without the fear of losing something, you can gain the freedom to do anything. Time is the currency of your life. So don't waste this but use it strategically. Encourage the dream, empower the reality. Our theme music was beatboxed by Denis the Menace and produced by Zede, a big shout out to the brothers from Switzerland. The background music was produced by Taki Brano. A big thank you to our brosky from Providence. Much love to the Good Life Youth Foundation for your inspiring work. please consider donating towards their new hip hop center for youth entrepreneurship through the link in our show notes. Our podcast basically runs on coffee. To keep our show runnin you can support by buying u coffee through the link in ou show notes. A huge thank you to Denis the Menace for helping us ramp up our sound quality with new microphones. 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 @soulidari yLLC or via email soulidarit [email protected] If you liked today's show, please tell a friend about our podcast or as Phife Dawg Tell your mother, tell your fat er, sent a telegram. In our next episode, we have Cindy Foley aka B-Girl Synergy. She is the president, co-founder and executive director of a Child of this culture foundation. In addition, Cindy is a US Air Force veteran, a military spouse, and mother of three with a hip hop cultural background and Community Arts engagement with an emphasis on pedagogy development. She holds a master's in human relations and certificates in social justice and diversity. Don't forget to subscribe to the show and leave a rating and review. We'll see you on our next episode. Thank you for listening to our podcast. No, Seriously though, thank you. I am Candy. I'm DJ Razor Cut. And this is So ls of H

How did you get the name Maestro?
How would your parents describe what you do?
Stretch and Bobbito
Growing up in the Bronx
Hip Hop in Universities
Creating opportunities
Advice for teenage self
Starting the Good Life Youth Foundation
Good Lawn - Hiphop'reneurship
Giving youth the access
Reaching thousands of kids
The cost of incarceration
Maintaining health
Parenting in Hip Hop
Biggie's One More Chance
Using social media for entrepreneurship
What is Hip Hop to you?