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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Life or Death by Music

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Page 3 of 4

The method of selection was far from pretty but we got it done. I was slightly depressed but happy the music was released and striving. You see I know struggle I'm familiar with it because I was born in it. I don't tuck my tail and hide when it arrives. I deal with it however I must and move on. We pushed War Machine for a year and I found myself in a weird position. I refused to release another project if we couldn't increase the push behind it. I went into a different kind of zone creatively and became more critical of my own music. We made about three different versions of War Machine 2 before it was finally released last June. I knew in the depths of my soul something bigger was on the horizons.

I sit here now with the same feeling. The next project has to be bigger and better. I have a more organized situation with a more established team. This project is arguably my best work and has spread to places of the world I've never seen with my own eyes. I worked an odd job prior to signing with the management and marketing firm. I used the paychecks from this job to pay for my Killer Mike feature. A few of my friends chipped in because they believed in me. Tech Supreme paid for the studio time at Phat Buddha. Once he discovered we were interested in a feature, my friend Trackstar the DJ vouched for me to Killer Mike's camp and helped solidify the deal. There are no smoke and mirrors involved here. I went to work everyday at a job I hated and told myself, "You're going to get out of here, you can do it." Every time I grew frustrated from the lack of personal advancement they offered me I would simply put a smile on my face and repeat those words. For about six months I felt trapped and abandoned.

I've worked horrible jobs before but for some reason I didn't believe in myself like I currently do. I was okay with settling and dealing with the cards I was dealt. I had faith in myself but it wasn't confirmed nor tested. I typically didn't get off work until 2 a. m. every day. I would clock in at the most random times of the day and work like a slave. My shifts were long and very unrewarding. It became harder for me to get in the studio but I needed the money. Prior to this job I worked canvassing gigs for different political campaigns. Political jobs only last for so long because the season isn't ever lasting. So in between the political organizing gigs I'd often find myself jobless or working somewhere I hated while sacrificing my dignity and safety.

For a brief spell in life I was homeless and hiding it. I am no stranger to moments of despair but this time something inside of me felt different. I started to remember the 365 days I gave myself and I started to ponder if I was serious or not. Here's the key that may help someone out there in a similar position. I never stopped believing in myself. I never doubt my place in the universe as a musician. I know for a fact that I am indeed doing what the creator meant for me to do. I treat anything outside of this mission as a secondary distraction. I've made mistakes along the way but somehow I've persevered through to the other side of the tunnel. Music has always offered me the chance to escape. We slept on floors as a child, bedrooms with bed frames and no mattresses. Sometimes we didn't have gas, or electricity but the music kept me sane. I didn't have many friends growing up besides my siblings. Music became a better friend to me than I would like to admit. I spent a lot of time with music and got to know it. I discovered Hip-hop and found an identity for myself. I grew older and went through hardship after hardship and I never neglected the music. We've had moments in life that didn't allow me to fully indulge in the creation process but I've never completely aborted the music. This isn't a rags to riches blog, I work my @ss off everyday and I feel the struggle trying to tie me down. I'm determined to change my life and that's what this blog is about.

So here we currently are in the heat of the War Machine 2 era for Tef Poe. I am surrounded by people who believe in me. My name is everywhere in my city. I feel the progress in my veins. I've done songs with people I idolize such as Royce da 5'9 and Killer Mike. I skip lines at the club. On a good day they give me whatever I want for free at the gas station [laughs]. I'm totally consumed by work and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am not J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar but the hard work is starting to pay off. In the midst of all these things I discovered something I never knew. The struggle never left me even though my life has improved. I'm trying to teach myself to relax and enjoy some of the small moral victories. I was booked to perform at Hard Rock Cafe in Memphis Tennessee today. I should be doing back flips on some level I suppose. My next album will be produced by DJ Burn One, I had none of this going on a year ago.

In the midst of these things happening bigger problems come to the light. The pressure to deliver becomes omnipresent. I was blessed with the opportunity to write this column every week. Right now we're doing great but the pressure to hit it out the park every week starts weighing in weekly. A few of my friendships are damaged because the workload has increased for me. Relationships with the people that are closest to me go through bruises. I miss family functions on the regular. In fact my mother hasn't seen me in months. At this point in my life I'm probably addicted to Advil. My phone vibrates all night long due to random text messages about business.

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