Lighten up...

Greetings,

Sometimes, most times, oft times, I take things too seriously. The first step to change is awareness but, for some reason, while I am aware of my tendencies, it is work to lighten up…. to not immediately get caught in the ‘gravity of the situation.’ My poor kids.


1

In the Seriousness of Small Joys, artist and author Akala writes, “Joy is a serious thing. Life is short, and the role of the artist in being a conduit for people’s joy is extremely important. I think artists like myself who are (or at least try to be) political with a capital p can run the danger of forgetting the importance of pure joy, of people getting together and having a fucking good time (this year has made it painfully clear).


2

With my book #ListenToYourFootsteps officially published, I have been fortunate to do some interviews across radio, digital and print. Refiloe Mpakanyane let me ramble a little in this interview on 702.


3

Coming from an older era of hip hop, I often lament what feels like the dumbing down or sameness of music that is classified as rap, today. I also recognise that a lot of what is out there is not for me. I’m not the target market.

Looking at the ranking of The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop, I’m not sure whether it reinforces my aged perspectives, especially considering DMX used a lower number of unique words and yet made such an impact with the words he did use. You can draw your own conclusions or just enjoy this random study and its findings.


4

A podcast I have recently started listening to is Lost Notes, in particular the season titled 1980 in which poet, essayist and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib explores music in the year 1980.

So far, I’ve listened to the episodes on Stevie Wonder, Minnie Riperton and Grace Jones.

If you love A Tribe Called Quest, you must read Abdurraqib’s book on them:


5

We don’t have to monetise everything we do. We don’t have to achieve personal mastery in everything we do. Sometimes we need to do things for the pleasure that they give us. This is the main thing I took away from Feel free to stop striving: learn to relish being an amateur.


6

What does longevity look like in today’s hip hop era? I reckon this applies to music overall which Dan Runcie also explores in Streaming’s microwave era: music’s shelf life is shorter than ever.


7

If there’s one thing I have learned from the process of writing a book is the importance of writing your first draft without judgement. It is advice I have drawn from books like Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird, Stephen King’s On Writing and Mary Kerr’s The Art of Memoir and it is advice I regularly give now that I have gone through the experience. Austin Kleon’s sums it up nicely in First Drafts.


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Kojo