Monday, January 8, 2018

It's Where You From, Where You At, And Where You Going

“FOCHO – la clica, a state of mind…” – L To The…

What’s up y’all!!?? If you are reading this, chances are you’ve been down. If not, no worries, FOCHO is all inclusive. Be sure to check out Black’s post, just previous to this, for a proper reintroduction to all things FOCHO, as well as a comprehensive breakdown of 2017. I’m writing this post now because, well, Black suggested I should. But also, I feel a need to share some thoughts, and I really felt that this was the best place for them, right here, on this blog, FOCHOdotcom.  

Strung up my days in the Mission, put my feet on foreign soil for a min - Dec 2nd, 2015

Yo, the last time I posted was July 2014… That was a few lifetimes ago for me. (It just took me about 20min to get logged in.) So much occurred from then til now, which y’all already know about, and I’ll touch on it here and there.

On the creative front, I released two music projects, one called Mode of Prose, with myself on the raps and the homie NoOne Jones on the beats:

Mode of Prose album - May 2015

I also released Freight Train BANG, my 2nd solo project, fully produced and rapped on by myself:

Freight Train BANG album - December 2015

I made some videos too. (Black provided a rundown of the entire clica’s creative offerings in his post, so get at that.)

East Side Gallery - Berlin Wall - April 2017
On many levels, my 2017 was pretty rad. Started off by AirBnBing Ale n Cat’s pad in SF, pretty decent rate too, just a few bottles of nice beer. Through 2 dope trips, spend some quality time in Europe seeing new places, kicked it extensively in Russia, and reconnected with folks across the world on that ultra homie tour (sadly though I did not make it to India). I spent the summer living in Berkeley, which was one of the overall dopest experiences of my life, it allowed me to sit and sift thru India footage and cry joyous tears to make the video for I Make This. The gf moved to California, I met her halfway and moved to SLO for a stint, and we’ve been adjusting and rockin on that SLO tempo in the land of Chorro since.

Shuba and the b(it)each. - Avila Beach, CA - September 2017

2017 on a national level is the year which debuted our current, shitbag president, his victory largely hinged on the systemic conditioning of race based ignorance. His campaign brought the deepest issues regarding race, culture, and poverty into the mainstream, those historically rooted in generations of personal struggle, those largely pondered and critically discussed in the academic realm. These issues that I (and most of us) are personally connected to, that we identify so heavily with, that have driven much of my creative expression, have been reduced, simplified, and distorted to fit into convenient political categories, to be manipulated and discredited, all for political gain, similar to other polarizing issues like abortion, gay rights, etc. These stripped down issues, no longer framed and owned by those who seek justice and strive to make change, have been dumped onto the masses of “white” America, onto a populace that does not possess the perspective, sensitivity, nor historical understanding to even begin to have an opinion, and have thus been publicly discredited. “Trump” became synonymous with the everyday American who fell victim to the liberal agenda on one side , and “social justice” with “entitlement” on the other (wtf!!??).

Russian Collusion - Krasnoyarsk, Russia - May 2017
I was caught in the trap of arguing with dipshits online, playing into the politics of speaking my truth, one full of experience and insight, requiring context and knowledge to be impactful, in a medium that doesn’t allow that whatsoever (social media), thus appearing out of touch, galvanizing a “white” ideology by contrasting my "un-American" views with a nationalist, America first ignorant stance. My output, my expression, that which I place so much pride and sense of self into, had been reduced to a laughable talking point. Even people who share the same passion for social justice seemed to be falling victim to “lazy activism”, that Diet Woke, sticking to the surface level verbage that will gain attention amongst the masses, aka doin it for the likes, but still lacks the depth of understanding required for real change to take place. In short, I became discouraged.

Philly Airport. Quick jaunt to the East Coast on that jawn life. November 2017
In addition (possibly in conjunction) to the constant, total influx of fucked up political media (and in spite of some really incredible outlying albums being released ie Open Mike Eagle/Jidenna/Kendrick (again, peep Black’s post for a list of dopeness)), music, Hip-Hop particularly, had taken a huge L throughout the year. The virus of inane, wavy, trap shit hit peak infiltration, took over everything, and people in general weren’t trying to hear much else. The scene in the Bay had seen a pretty huge lull, just not a whole lot going on in terms of shows or recorded projects that reflected the community. It all just felt disjointed, and from here too I found little inspiration to put my energy into creating or performing rap. 2017 was the first year in maybe 10 years where I did not perform a show the entire year.

This all night freestyle session, connecting with gente with my OG Melvin from the Lilly Gardens, was one of the few musical highlights for me. No social metrics, just vibes + enlightenment. - Lake Merritt, Oakland. - June 2017

All of the aforementioned required me to take a step back, to reflect and reassess the how and why, to redefine my purpose in creating and what I intended to express.  I was pretty mobile throughout the year, so I didn’t do too much in terms of making beats, but I did write a lot. My mind not really being in rap mode, I just wrote, freeform expression, to get the ideas out, to try to stir up the creativity. I also read a lot too, a mix of post apocalyptic sci-fi, sociology, Russian and American classic literature. I had such an amazing experience in India the previous year, and this year I felt compelled to repackage and present it via my video for I Make This, the only significant offering of mine, which was simply a rehash of previous work.

What I knew definitively, for myself anyway, was that this was a time to invest inwardly. No more letting other people frame and define my output, no more letting outsiders evoke these strong emotions out of me for their benefit, no more creating and sharing what I cherish so closely in a time and space that is working to actively devalue it. Me and Cisco had many discussions throughout the year about authenticity and creating and output and ownership, the intersectionality of those holding the key to contentment.  “Letting passion dictate the path, pure feeling is the compass/ beats that’s bumpin…”

Me n Cisco n the JUICE. Super Gilas, Super Chelada - Gilroy, CA - Sept 2017

…“You got the JUICE man”…

Before the time of my last post here, the “FOCHO” name had naturally changed over time to refer to “the band”. By July 2014, we had essentially disbanded musically, and, as we as homies were geographically independent, I didn’t feel any need to promote the name going forward. I felt that it was time to let go, to allow FOCHO to live as a past memory, to remember it for what it was in those great, great eras. And I did, I let go, but FOCHO never died. The name always came up, the feeling was always evoked in various ways, we all felt it enough, on our own accord, to interject it in basic conversation as an adjective. It was the most concise way to describe that intangible dopeness.

Though spread apart, we have all remained friends, that homie element never left, the essence of FOCHO, the feeling from which it all began, never went away. Over time, the temporary association of FOCHO to the band subsided, and the original connection, one through friendship, music, humor, discovery, creativity, realness, fellowship, good times, etc, etc, once again shone through. The JUICE. FOCHO is the JUICE! Within this setting, thru blog, thru creating, thru simply repping for each other, we maintain an identity, an integrity that can’t be taken by any ebb n flow in politics or Soundcloud trends. F lightning in a bottle, this the Rossi out the jug! This Osama in the cave playing Final Fantasy VII, they can’t capture this!

Gotta keep it Triple OG sometimes. Mickey's 4-0 in front the old spot. - Mission, San Francisco. -  May 2017
A new energy became apparent to me in the last weeks of 2017, one of excitement, of eagerness, of hunger amongst the OGs, culminating with the instantly legendary Black Thought freestyle, where this man, who has absolutely nothing to prove to anyone about his status in Hip-Hop, absolutely murdered everything for 10 minutes straight, just fkn flexed for the sake of doing it, just because he “had something to say, so (he) said it”. I had seen small examples of this in other artists I admire as well, underground to established to slept on homies, all who have been in the cuts, gathering their tools, finding their inspiration, just waiting for the right time to shine their light. People in general are finally becoming tired of vapid political discussion, tired of superficial crackhead music, and ready to sink their teeth and mind and asses into something of substance, something with the juice! We all, as individual components of this FOCHO thang, have been constantly creating in our respective spaces, and the conditions, the desire, the benefit to unifying within our collective, to build under the FOCHO name, has become ever apparent.

Burritos and brainwaves on the page. - Berkeley, CA - July 2017
There is a resurgence of dope Hip-Hop. I feel it all over, the inspiration to create again, and I’m stoked to rekindle the collective, activate the FOCHO diaspora, to build off each other’s efforts and reestablish what this FOCHO thang has always been about, community. With our age, our new responsibilities (financial, familial, personal), our new perspectives, priorities, skills, thoughts, clarity, we have something fresh to offer, and I feel that we have discipline, drive, ability, and vision to evoke much more potential and true benefit for everyone involved. Huge thank you to brother Cisco for sharing all of our individual projects, for taking the time to write out your thoughts, and really kicking this off.

On top of Mt Choooorrrrrrooooo (Cero San Luis) - San Luis Obispo, CA - October 2017

Happy New Year, I’ll be looking out for yall in 2018. Cheah! In case y'all missed it, my FOCHO influenced slumper off Freight Train BANG. Much love!

L To The...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to let the people know, fam. I appreciate you. Can't wait to hear what 2018 has in store! YEEEE!!!!