Mott Haven


Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by DJ Clutch (adapted from the original instrumental by DJ Kurfu for the song “The Way We Walk” off my debut album, Simple Moves.)

Today’s blong here:

Cry in the Night


The Hangover

Sincere thanks to NMX and staff for a great day and for the opportunity to present concerning song blogging and the unique community that participates here. I was part of a three-person panel presentation. It was a personal thrill even as our session was likely the first in history to quote Messianic Judaism, Bob the Builder, and Jay-Z for emphasis. I would say that it was eccentric but mostly just crazy.

For my wife’s sake, I invited the crowd to confirm my physical presence at the conference. I think she believes I’m just here for Celine Dione and the Osmonds. And while most husbands, alone in Las Vegas for three days, might be tempted to slip off for some of Donny’s fancy footwork or Celine’s ethereal tones, this Promisekeeper stood strong. But, trust me, not without some serious exercise of resolve. My Heart Will Go On in that Canadian drawl? Simply irresistible.

And, while the video certainly corroborates my whereabouts at the presentation, it’s between me and the seductive streets of Las Vegas as to whether I later resisted the wacky, red-headed siren call of Scott “Carrot Top” Thompson.

Stays in Vegas, baby.

nmx shot


What Happens in Vegas: NMX Conference

I’m super excited to announce that I’ve been invited to speak on a panel at the upcoming New Media Expo (NMX) in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 6-8, 2013, about song blogging. NMX is “the World’s Largest Conference & Trade Show for Bloggers, Podcasters, Web TV & Video Series Creators.” This of course means that it is also known for being the largest gathering of sexy people anywhere in the world.

Passes to the conference are still available and if you’re in the area you should come through. There’s a ton to do, I hear. We could make a blood pact and then wake up the next morning having lost our best friend who is scheduled to be married in a matter of hours. Or maybe we could rob a high security vault at the Bellagio, stare at her fountains, and then walk discreetly into the night. Or, even better, we could gamble away our life savings and be forced to offer, in satisfaction of the debt, my wife to an aging billionaire. Too many great choices! It’ll be a blast regardless. Hope to see you there!


Live Blonging Verizon

I did a live song blogging event at Verizon today for their employee appreciation week. Verizon’s theme for the day was “Diversity Energizes.” We built a song together over the course of 6 sessions.

As usual, we recorded a live bridge with the audience and I took relevant topics to freestyle the verses.

Verse 1 freestyle words (Verizon): LTE, Number 1, iphone5

Verse 2 freestyle words (Community): Greenville Drive, Mellow Mushroom, Falls

Verse 3 freestyle words (Education and Career): Dropout Rate, No Child Left Behind, Art in School

Remember, this isn’t about making the best song. Thank goodness. It’s about the collective live experience of making something creative together. In the process, we model the personal innovation that can happen when we allow the disparate parts of who we are to collide unexpectedly.

Special thanks to Coach Kendrick, Terry, Cliff, Mellissa, Ms. Celeste and all the verizon employees that made it a super special day.

Written and recorded live at Verizon Employee Appreciation Week. Freestyle verses and other vocals performed by the ipoetlaureate and participants. Additional vocals by San Juan from upstairs and Walonda from somewhere else in the building. Respect.

San Juan. My wife thought the original version was too scandalous. The wonders of Photoshop. Sorry ladies.

Music produced by juicebox jackson.

Today’s live song blog here:

Verizon Line


Great Expectations

I’m eating a sweet potato with brown sugar and cinnamon while trying to live blog the DNC. I don’t know which is stickier sweet.

I started my legal practice in Charlotte, NC, where the convention is being held. Cool city. Well designed. Glamourless, though. Except for the Bobcats, of course. Those guys are all hollywood. Sometimes they’ll wear those lensless glasses and pretend they’re a real NBA team, like the Thunder. I even saw them dunk in a game once. Like Brittany Griner.

I’ve noticed a couple important details about the convention. And, since there is essentially no chance that any respectable person is actually watching, I’ll do some light play by play.

First, no one is paying any attention to these deals. There are more people in the aisles than at Death Valley, Clemson, SC, in the last 3 minutes of a game against my South Carolina Gamecocks. Heading for the doors, baby.

I’ve been to a LOT of events like this. In fact, probably nearly 40% of all rap shows I’ve ever done have been under circumstances where people had better alternatives. I’ve done these “Chili” or “Souper Bowls” where people get together to watch the Super Bowl and eat soup or, you guessed it, piping hot chili. One time, me and my homey were set up to perform in a gymnasium and this jumbotron with the Packers/Patriots game (circa Bledsoe and Favre) was on in like an entirely different wing of the building.

A. Why did you want to throw a rap show during the largest television event in America?

B. Why did you make this already ancillary musical performance physically inaccessible to the roughly 100% of all attendees who there for the game and NOT a rap show?

And, C. Why were you serving fire curdling bowls of molten Minestrone?

The DNC is a room full of people, and I use that term in only its most technical sense, whose passion and profession it is to talk. Not listen. Talk. These are delegates, dignitaries, politicians, celebrities, and apparently like half the teachers in the known multiverse, all in love with their own voices. Rahm Emmanuel is screaming at the top of his lungs and people are milling around like they’re at a State Fair.

Jesse Jackson’s doing an entire stand up routine in his section.

I thought I saw some juggling. And, one of those masseuse kiosks you see in the mall.

An unnaturally tanned Dr. Phil had what appeared to be an entire film crew on location.

The delegation from Florida was playing Bocci Ball.

That was either David Axelrod, a middle aged Uncle Rico, or Jeff Foxworthy. Couldn’t tell for the quick pan.

I thought I saw Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. Best North Carolina Barbecue, vinegar edition.

Total carnival.

Second, there were more pants suits at this thing than an episode of Lavern & Shirley.

Third, the Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer had on a bolo with an Eagle head on it. He did.

Fourth, Lilly Ledbetter is still demanding equal pay for equal work.

Fifth, someone was holding a sign demanding back her “right to travel to Cuba.” Really?? We’re still in a pretty severe economic crisis. I’m not sure I would be prioritizing our inalienable right to visit Havana right now. Moreover, are you sure that’s a right you really want back? Last I checked, we were housing a maximum security terrorist torture compound there and most of the population of Cuba is trying to exercise their “right to travel” here. Those seem like two pretty big red flags for the whole “travel back to Cuba” movement.

Sixth, the Governor of Arizona is a twin. Terrifying.

Seventh, Rahm Emmanuel did his best Ric Flair on the way to the podium, which is appropriate considering that the Nature Boy has retired to NC. But, the Ramblin’ Ricky Rhodes never really retires. Wooooooooooooooooo!

Eighth and lastly, Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother and Oregon St. men’s basketball coach, and Bara Maya Soetoro-Ng, President Obama’s sister spoke together. Soetoro-Ng?? There is no way that woman is an American. Vindication for the birthers.

Politics is so weird. Candidates overpromise and yet we still somehow find a way to out-expect even their preposterous pledges. So, Obama clearly could never possibly have delivered what his campaign implied. But, why did anyone think otherwise? I won’t get into who I voted for in 2008 or who I will vote for in 2012, but it’s remarkable how dissatisfied democrats have been. Republicans, of course, wouldn’t have approved of him if he had enrolled at Pat Robertson’s Regent University and taken a semester of independent study in old Appalachia songs. But, democrats are somehow furious relative to their outsized expectations. It’s all relative.

If you are a democrat, though, consider these highlights:

* Affordable Care Act. Albeit highly compromised, healthcare legislation that Democrats and Republicans had promised but failed to deliver for 50 years.
* 787 Billion Recovery and Reinvestment Act
* Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform
* The end of the war in Iraq
* The notional end of the war in Afghanistan
* Ratification of the START Treaty II. Limits on strategic warheads.
* Repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
* Oversaw the end of Qadhafi regime
* Eliminated OSAMA BIN LADEN
* Went 136-48 on his home White House court

So where were you short-changed exactly? Prosecution of torture war crimes? Too slow on certain policy, like DADT? This is not a rational view of an executive’s performance. Remember, this is a non-legislative office, largely. Policy is massaged not made. The Least Powerful King.

So, good luck reigning in your expectations this fall, republican or democrat. They’ll be doing their best to incite your hopes. By the way, this just in from the DNC steakhouse: Republicans hate women and want to cancel forgiveness. #RedMeat.

Performed by ipoet.  Music produced by a new producer to the site, Know Talent. Make him feel at home

Today’s song blog here:

Deliver Me Not


More than Just Margin

In honor of courageous leadership and the good work of the Helping Hands team.

Thanks to Tanya, Travis, and numerous others for a memorable day.

Written and recorded live at Clemson Leadership Summit by the Executive Management Class of 2012. Freestyle verse and other vocals performed by the ipoetlaureate and participants.

Music produced by juicebox jackson.

Today’s live song blog here:

Tied Behind My Back


TED Talks

By some miracle of modern cinema, my man Bobby, was able to edit together the video from my TEDx performance, which in fact had a pretty significant technical intermission. Plus, he had to splice in audio for portions of the presentation that weren’t originally captured by the house P.A. Really thankful. I still have regrets about the freestyle. By the time we had worked through all the technical difficulties, my brain was just fried. But, hey, that’s the risk and reward of making a song live on stage. Thanks again to all who supported me in it.


Everybody is Listening In

TEDxGreenville gets busy on a live track.

Thanks to Wise, Bolick, and von Frank.

Oh and Happy Anniversary to my wife!

Written and recorded by the TEDxGreenville community live on stage. Freestyle verse and other vocals performed by the ipoetlaureate and crowd.

Music produced by Juicebox Jackson.

TED Talks

[Post Mortem: The day was very special. In so many respects it was the fulfillment of many hopes and dreams. In a few, it was nightmarish. In the middle of my presentation, which had gone mostly to plan, I had an audio issue with my macbook that was unnavigable. It was beyond essentially all the contingencies I had made. I didn’t know whether to scrap the effort entirely or pitch my computer into the crowd — both alternatives to the same effect I suppose. To the absolute credit of Marc Bolick and Aaron von Frank, TEDxGreenville Directors, and many others, I was given grace, reassurance, and most of all time to complete the presentation. All sorts of other problems arose, induced by the first, including a reduction in my headphone volume, which made my freestyle a rambling effort as I tried to hear myself and the measure in the song where it had to be terminated. I was disappointed by failing to deliver a clean piece but overwhelmed by the response of the live and at-home audience. I think in truth the best possible outcome was reached. The A/V hiccup created an authenticity and informality and a connectedness with the very generous audience that might have been wanting in its absence. Those candid moments are what make live music and art singular. My many, many thanks to the immense and voluntary and selfless TEDx staff and team.]