Rest in Power: Blottboyy

Hey, It’s Spaceyamzz.

It’s been a tough couple days.

The city of Indianapolis has lost a beautiful gifted soul. Blttbyy, or Easton as he was known to his friends. I’ve been at lost for words the past day. I wasn’t sure how I could commemorate such an amazing and gifted soul and person.

So, I figured, why not write.

This is a letter to Easton.

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Blttbyy is on the left. First Friday March 2016

Rest in peace, Easton. I got the news yesterday and I’ve been in a daze ever since. I miss you so much already. You’re like the little brother I never had. You know I’m an only child, so when I make connections with people they’re pretty special.  And you, were a very special soul.

The first time we met was at Indy CD & Vinyl a few years ago. I came to see DMA and you were there to see BORED. I hadn’t even seen you come in, but you did, and you stood right by me. You just had this energy about you, and I was vibing out to DMA and so were you. We started talking and I was very impressed at how outgoing your were. In this nappy-city, it’s a rare occurrence.

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Blttbyy. May 7th 2016

We hung out the rest of that night, eating Qdoba, talking and walking around Broad Ripple. I teased you because I though you were young, only 18 and I was 23. Plus I had a boyfriend, so I couldn’t tell if you were flirting, or if it was just your way. It got late, and you offered to drive me home. I told you I drove, and you then offered to drive me to my car. Such a sweetheart. I declined, and you walked me to my car.

You asked for my number, and I figured you’d earned it. How often do you meet someone that you just, click, with so instantly?

I still worked at Marsh. I remember random evenings you’d come in, buy like one thing and come through my line. We’d chat and you’d always bag up groceries. Even lingering to chat longer and bag other people’s groceries. I worked with someone you had a class with so I’m not even sure the customers noticed you weren’t actually a Bagger.

I remember once your Mom and sister came though my line. You offered to bag, and she told you not to. Not realizing we were pretty much a team.

I remember meeting up with you, and you lugging this huge backpack with your laptop in it. Did you have speakers with you? I can’t remember. You played me some of your songs. A week later,  I did a write up on you, in my notebook and showed you because I thought your music was cool.

You always encouraged always me to get my art out there. You know, you’re one of the first people I showed my collages too?

Easton, we were always on the same wavelength. When we met, we both wore brown Tortoise shell glasses. When I first started wearing my Clear frame glasses, I ran into you at a show with the SAME FRAMES on. #samebrain

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Blttbyy. May 7th 2016

Last month at Record Store Day, were ended up both matching! Whatt? I remember, you came over to me, and we both wore bright short sleeved floral button down shirts, shorts and clear framed glasses.#samebrain

And when I saw you DJ that night, I was floored. Though all that time, I’d never seen you preform. Yeah, I’d listened to your music, and you played me stuff years ago, but I hadn’t seen you, in your element. After the set that night, we chatted and I told you how proud I was of you. I felt like a big sister seeing my brother as an adult, for the first time. I saw how you commanded the audience and the energy you gave, and it was beautiful.

Easton, you are the most kindhearted, energetic, beautiful soul. I know you touched my heart in a way that I’ll never forget. I love you like a brother and I already miss you. I know I’ll see you again. We always seem to run into each over.

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You will live on though the lives you touched, through your family, friends and fans. Your music will live on forever. Rest in Power, Blttbyy.

-Spaceyamzz

*All photos are by me, Spaceyamzz and shot on Impossible Project Film.

Rest in Power: Blottboyy

Op-Ed: Urban Re-development also known as bullshit

These days, I’ve been trying to do more in my city than just go to rap shows. Hip-hop will always make a great impact on the community, but it’s a goal for me to see more (especially when it comes to Indianapolis-my hometown.)

Ari Attack, enjoying local Nicey popsicle. Photo Cred: Kayla Ehrie

So, I went to a lecture on gentrification that was held at the amazing Kheprw Institute-a pro-black knowledge hub located off 38th and Boulevard. I walked in a little late, just missing the introduction portion of the conversation.

The discussion titled, “Miseducation: American Dreams or Nightmares,” is a 8-part series of discussions on gentrification. This was the second part of the series.

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Flyer for Gentrify: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.

Phrases like “urban development” and “school reform efforts” where thrown around, and I was suddenly captivated by this information. It made me realize what privilege I had growing up. Followed by a short video explaining the strong negative effects of school reform on low income neighborhoods, was a question and answer period for the panel. This discussion brought up lots of points against gentrification, and how it’s being used as a “strategy to regain power” in Marion County. People shared a few personal ideas, while asking the panel guests their opinion on how to correct this major problem.

I left that conversation feeling intrigued, for a few different reasons. I’ve heard about gentrification, and have analyzed what it does to communities, but I never thought about it happening in my own community. The conversation spoke directly about Indiana cities, specifically Indianapolis. I hear the stories of black youth being pushed out of schools, their families pushed out of their neighborhoods-and for what? For young, hip coffee houses, gift shops and high property taxes?

Meanwhile, what happens to those youth? Their future, livelihood and status in society is never considered-especially when it comes to the corporate dollar. Another person attending the lecture stated we should focus on geographical ownership. This act will give the power back to the neighborhoods. These people residing in the areas deemed as “low income” are our local gems, and the neighborhoods are as well. We should cherish these historical feats of Indianapolis.

The bottom line to all of this, is getting involved in local politics. If we don’t know what’s going on in our cities, how can we change anything? It may not solve everything at once, but we damn sure have to try. These policies are in place to harm minority, low-income neighborhoods and black children are directly affected. There’s no excuses for it. So, I plan to get involved in my neighborhood and try to make people aware of this problem.

Gentrification is genocide. What will you do to stop it?

Op-Ed: Urban Re-development also known as bullshit

Op-Ed: Why I’ll Always Love Tyler The Creator

I love Tyler. There, I said it.

  

But really, I think Tyler the Creator is a genius. Since the day he head-butt the world with the Odd Future brand, and his debut tape, ‘Bastard,’ he maintained the image of not giving any fucks. Which, why should he?

As creator, he put his talented friends together in a collective that would take over America’s youth. Also, as a young black male, he set the stage for a different  breed of rappers. Tyler proved it’s okay to act a fool, brand yourself, make yourself famous-while also being largely hated. Also, all while having the time of your life-accompanied by your best friends.

  
For young teens and early 20-somethings (like myself), OFWGKTA reminded fans that you can do anything you put your mind to. That’s exactly what Tyler, Earl, Jasper, Hodgy, Left Brain, Syd, Taco, Mike G and the others did. Made their own rules, and in the same breath, changed the young rap game.

People love to hate and fear what’s new and different. Odd Future is exactly that. Odd and showing a different future for young black kids in America. Tyler doesn’t reserve his message for just young black kids from Cali, but has maintained that message for anyone who’s willing to give his music a chance.

For me-as a hip-hop loving, punk rock thrashin’ rasta girl, Tyler satisfied a lot of my musical interests. I look for the intensity of an artist, but also a real side of them. As a rap fan, I value when rappers get real about their personal lives. After Goblin, his first album, he took a different route-by allowing fans into his mind and hurt.

My favorite albums are Wolf and Cherry Bomb.

  
With Wolf, Tyler opened up more, detailing his personal life. From having a Nigerian dad that doesn’t call, to being very close to his grandmother and detailing the struggles and loneliness of fame-he showed fans that he’s not just some angry young adult-but there’s realness behind the pain.

As an artist, he’s come a long way from telling his fans to, “kill people. burn shit and fuck school.” The collective, Odd Future, has since called it quits.

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Currently, Tyler has expanded his sounds and inspiration. Cherry Bomb, his newest album, really shows how high anyone can push themselves- if they really want it.

If you haven’t given his music a chance by now, you should give it another try.

He might surprise you.

Op-Ed: Why I’ll Always Love Tyler The Creator

Bienvenue, this is not a test.

Finally.

This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. I’ve created my former local music column into this masterpiece we call a blog. Thank you WordPress. I’ve contemplated a lot on how information should flow around here. I think the community should know about local music, arts and culture in the city. Local festivals, art shows or even farmers markets deserve awareness. Never fear, that’s where I come in.

I’ll be tracking local happenings mostly within our great city of Evansville, Indiana. I’m not stationary in one space, so the blog will also cover pretty much the entire Midwest. Or anywhere else I’m located. The coverage will consist of previews, reviews, local features and letting you know the real deal about what’s up in your town.

Thanks to Matt Perez for the idea for the name. Also, thanks to all of my Facebook friends who contributed to the brainstorming process for this blog. I really appreciate all of you.

Cheers to the official launch of Homegrown Sound.

Bienvenue, this is not a test.