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


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


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.]