An Anniversary: Four Years of News Rap

Feeling wistful at four. Sometimes you just have to get back up. Everything you do. Start. Middle. Finish. Complete the task. I’m somewhere in the middle. Of song blogging and life.

Happy birthday song blogging.

rap birthday

Chingy knows what time it is.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Dalama Jones. Lyrics here.

Today’s blong here:

Not Finished


Freedom Trail Reprise

I’ll plagiarize myself from a year ago. I can’t say it any differently:

If you’ve ever been to Boston you’ve probably been forced to walk, likely by a mom or wife, some portion of the “Freedom Trail” against your will. You have to wonder why one must abandon so much self determination to walk a trail named “freedom” but, anyway. The Freedom Trail is, of course, a walking tour of Boston’s historic sites, where I’m proud to say I had a pair of Stan Smith’s re-cobbled only a few years ago. I also had a bracelet smithed out of a soup spoon.

Liberty is a type of collusion. An agreement among everyone to respect the rule of law in service of freedom. It’s completely voluntary.

Collusions, however, are easily broken. In fact, there is extraordinarily high incentive to do so. Our susceptibility to violence, therefore, is evidence of how well and complete the collusion of our liberty is working. We’re easy pickings. When an assailant from within or without violates the contract — the agreement not to fall into anarchy — they exact from us a cost. A toll for being so free, so open, so liberated. Our martyrs, whether at a marathon or in an elementary school or on a skyscraper, are a kind of penance paid to democracy and inalienable rights. Like a soldier or revolutionary, when we are murdered exercising our freedoms, even ones as routine as a road race, it is literally a kind of patriotic act. Every mundane act of our lives is a declaration that we would be free in spite of the ongoing danger to do so.

Pronation. It’s not just the roll of your foot when you run. It’s what we are when we run. Pro-Nation.

And, they’ll run again this weekend. A marathon and a freedom trail.


Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by juiceboxjackson.

Today’s blong here:



An Anniversary: Three Years of News Rap

Somewhere right around here, I almost gave up on news rap. But, then I remembered that the world needed news rap, and I refused to quit or apologize for continuing to put news inside of rap. 3 years and counting.

vegas airport

To all my visitors, friends, family, followers, and fans, thank you.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Dalama Jones.

Today’s song blog here:

No Goodbye and No Sorry


An Anniversary: Two Years of News Rap

Last year, at this time, I was limping to the finish. Today, I’m full stride.

Everything is relative, of course. This isn’t Drudge. Or CNN. Or even this guy. So when I’m talking about success, I mean compared to no success at all. So a pretty low bar. But the last twelve months have been extra special for me.

It started with the great Houston Chronicle piece. (The second one after this.) Those guys finally backed off. Awkward, right? And, then the TEDxGreenville presentation in March. The “Album of the Year” and “Emcee of the Year” honors over at Sphereofhiphop.com. An Honorable Mention for Prince With A Thousand Enemies over at RapUp.net. A handful of nice, corporate live-songblogging opportunities and lectures. I was retweeted by Pheonix Jones’ wife, Purple Reign, the real life superhero; and Diana Nyad, the endurance swimmer and real, real life superhero; and “favorited” by Matthew Berry, the ESPN personality and real life anti-hero.

(Retweets and favorites count as real accolades in 2012 right?)

The site enjoyed an overall steadily growing audience. September was literally my biggest month in two years of operation. I was up nearly 40% from just August alone.

I summarize the year, not to brag, but mostly to just brag big-time.

Actually, I mention it all to say thanks.

The site works because you come. To listen. Or to read. Or both. Or to be embarrassed for me. Like when you can’t wait to see the chair get pulled out from under again. Whatever the specific motivation, you patronize and feedback. And that gives me energy and inspiration and credibility with the world. Thank you.

I’m thankful most of all for my wife, who tolerates a lot of extracurricular associated with this site. And, since I made up song blogging out of thin air, it sort of seems like a not-real commitment. Which it is — not real. But, it’s important to me. And, so she makes it important to her. Thank you and I love you.

I also need to specifically thank my boss, who shall remain nameless and, about this, plausibly denied. But, let’s just put it this way — long suffering. I could not be this curious blend of artist and professional without such an extended and trusting leash. Thank you.

Thank you to my team of producers. You selflessly believe in this project and give me the one thing that actually is responsible for moving the human heart: Music. Thanks to pumpkinFoot, Sundance, dj clutch, fab da eclectic, juicebox jackson, jaq, dj transform, Gudo, Know Talent, Dave Santos, Diaz from Hungary, dj elder, and nomold. Sorry for anyone I forgot. Consider yourself thanked.

Additional thanks to my parents and parents-in-law for unconditional support, Josh “Plastic” Niemyjski, Sketch the Journalist, Coach Kendrick, Claudia Wise, Aaron von Frank, Marc Bolick, the whole TEDxGreenville community, the TEDxAsheville community, Jeff Brown, the Hicks Family, Tanya Thompson and Clemson at the Falls, the Dovers and the Clybornes, Celeste and Mellissa at Verizon, David and Nadia Rawlinson, and Lucy and Tommy Wilkinson.

For all that occurred this year, I feel like something more is on the horizon. I’ve never really felt this way about anything I’ve ever done. Well maybe that one time I had ring worm. But, otherwise, I’m pretty pessimistic. I just feel on the verge.

But, that means I need you guys more than ever. If you like rap news, it’s time to come out of the closet. Tweet it. Like it. Tell your children and neighbors and the people that made Jersey Shore famous.

As I’ve started to share song blogging in a live format, we’ve emphasized that song blogging is a kind of object lesson, a picture of who we are as people. It reminds us that in some ways we are more than just the sum total of our resume or curriculum vitae. We’re not simply education plus work history plus hobbies plus reference. Our lives are more nuanced than the four corners of a heavy stock document can portray.

But, in another sense, song blogging says we are precisely the intersection of all those things. That out of the disparate parts of our lives is born personal innovation and creativity. That when a rapper turned lawyer turned husband turned father insists on remembering the sounds of his youth he can be just a little bit more than if he chose to forget.

This is just round two in a fight to the death.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by pumpkinFoot.

Today’s song blog here:

Curriculum Vitae