Cherish The Beginnings 

Our beginnings are something to cherish. It’s our upbringing that has a everlasting effect on how we view life. We take what we see around us as children and try to take it to the next level. I got the chance to see this in action with my friend Eddie aka TBOE Blanco. I’ve known Eddie since high school and have seen a lot of growth from him as an artist as well as a person and he shared insights on his new project.

What led you to wanting to start recording music?

I’ve always had a passion for music. I used to wake up every weekend to music blasting and my mom cleaning. Every time I learned a new song I’d perform it for my mom and get breakfast for it. Good times.

Do you find it hard balancing going to school and doing music?

It is a little overwhelming at times and I do lose a lot of sleep sometimes I go days with properly sleeping and it does take a toll on me mentally and physically. I tend not to show it but sometimes it shows on its own but I can’t help but grind it’s all I know right now. It’s bittersweet because my mom worries about me and I worry about her tenfold, I’m doing this for her, my dad, friends and family. They deserve the world and I just want to provide them with it.

What do you think is the benefit of doing both?

The benefit of it is that it makes networking effortless. Since we are all roughly the same age it’s easy to relate to one another as well as communicate. Also, since I’m studying business some of the things I learn help me grow not only as a person but as business as well.

How would you describe your growth as an artist comparing your stuff now to when you first started?

I have grown as an artist exponentially ive been making music for almost 10 years now. My latest work has shown my evolution as an artist and I hope everyone that takes the time to listen to it enjoys it

What’s your direction for the upcoming album?

The album is about me as a person. It’s an informal introduction of who I am to those who don’t know me. It’s been almost 2 years and I feel like it’s finally ready to debute! The project is named The Beginnings because the concept of this album came about when I first started rapping. It was me and my two cousins, MoNo and Dela, and at the time I wanted to drop something. We were brainstorming names and Dela said why not name it The Beginnings because it’s your beginning and it stuck. That’s where my name comes from TBOE meaning The Beginnings Over Everything and Blanco is my legal last name.

What’s your favorite part about recording?

My favorite part of recording is editing. I get to be as creative as I’d like and I feel like this is what helps me stand out as an artist. Mylez, my engineer, calls me a mad scientist when I get in the groove. Even when I’m in the studio for a friends session I’m talking to Mylez giving him ideas about plug ins, tone, and feel.

How do you feel about the youth in the city who are on the rise in music?

I love it! I’d tell them keep working and never stop. Put on for your city and your family, the rest will fall into place afterwards.

Anything else you wanna say?

Reverse is coming soon on all major platforms. I’m performing in Toronto in April and throwing a show in PA in April too.

Thank you to everyone who took the time out to read this. Also a huge thank you to Brint aka NotBrint for the love and support! This is only The Beginning *pun intended*.

(All pictures taken by me.)

I Didn’t Watch The Grammys

Every year music seems to become greater than the year before. 2016 was a monumental year for music to say the least. Among the long list of highlights from this year, Rae Sremmurd went from being the two kids we looked to for a turn up, to being solidified stars; the Knowles sisters dropped two of the best albums I’ve ever heard (Lemonade and A Seat at the Table); and to everyone’s surprise, Frank Ocean dropped two albums…..TWO ALBUMS!

Based off of last year’s award ceremony, the Grammys have become something other than the most respected music ceremony. The prestigious award show has become a shell of itself. From major artists boycotting to the actual recipients of awards, the Grammys just aren’t the same. I grew up loving the show – I remember seeing Kanye perform Stronger with Daft Punk after being criticized for sampling them on his hit Stronger. I remember watching Jay Z, Kanye, Lil Wayne, TI and a pregnant MIA perform Swagger Like Us. I remember ODB crashing the stage and having one of the most memorable Grammy moments of all time. I remember when Outkast won album of the year. Not only are these some of Hip Hop’s greatest moments, but music’s greatest moments as well. The Grammys are supposed to represent what was the best in music for the past year, and in recent history that hasn’t been the case.

In 2015, we saw some of the greatest music released across all genres. In Hip Hop, we got to see the greatness of Kendrick Lamar. To Pimp a Butterfly without a doubt is a Hip Hop CLASSIC. From top to bottom it is a solid piece of work. We see Kendrick dive into the demons he faces while becoming more and more famous, and also speaking to the truths that haunt the Black community. The album was a mix between Funk, Jazz, and traditional Hip Hop. It was met with rave reviews across all forms of media. It was nominated for several Grammys, including Album of the Year. It’s competition was Beauty Behind the Madness by The Weeknd, Traveller by Chris Stapleton, Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes, and 1989 by Taylor Swift. Simply by comparing the bodies of work, you would assume Kendrick would win. That wasn’t the case. Kendrick was beaten out by Taylor Swift. Everyone, including myself, was dumbfounded by the decision. I can be objective in this situation and even at my most objective point of view, I don’t understand what led the voters to choose 1989 over TPAB. Kendrick’s album was not only a better album, but the overlying and underlying messages of Kendrick’s album was so much more profound compared to Taylor Swift’s. Real artistry wasn’t recognized that night in that particular category.

This year many people, excluding myself, thought that this year’s Grammys would be awarded the right way. And for the most part it was. I didn’t watch the awards live, but on Twitter I saw Chance the Rapper left with 3 Grammys on his own. This is a major accomplishment because of his independence from a major label. He took home Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, and Best Rap Album for Coloring Book. Based off of Twitter reactions, everyone was proud. After Chance was awarded, people jumped straight to questioning whether Beyoncé would win for Record and Album of the Year. Beyoncé was nominated for Formation for Record of the Year and Lemonade for Album of the Year. That song was one of the biggest and most talked about songs since the time of its release. It ended up losing to Adele’s Hello, which was equally as big and talked about. This particular category was a toss up, but album of the year Beyoncé was certain to win right? She didn’t do anything but make an album for empowering ALL women (women of color especially). Speaking on her husband’s infidelity, showing more versatility than ever before, AND making videos to every song on the album. This is arguably Beyoncé’s best work. Lemonade ending up losing to Adele’s 25, a tragic mistake acknowledged by Adele herself. Adele took time out of her own acceptance speech to acknowledge that her Album of the Year was Lemonade. It is now known that the Grammy committee suspected Beyoncé of trying to run the table by having too many songs that crossed too many categories in her album. So for that they penalized her. Something is wrong.

The Grammys have been getting it wrong for some time now. Artists of color have not been receiving the appropriate credit. Only two Hip-Hop artists have ever won album of the year. There have been songs that no one knew came out that have won Song of the Year. Hip Hop and R&B have been the bulk of Pop music for quite some time now. It is consumed at larger rates than any other genre and has had the most influence in the last two decades. And yet, the awards fail to reflect these truths.

Some people argue that race has something to do with why Hip Hop hasn’t been respected at the Grammys, and I have to say I agree to some extent. Maybe in the past race was a factor, but some of the music being made now has been so monumental and so undeniable that it is hard to not reward it. There is a clear lack of respect by those in power to vote. We have to see that and recognize that their validation isn’t reflective of the culture. We have to be smart and not buy into watching an award ceremony that doesn’t respect or appreciate what we have to say. Many artists such as Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and several others have been boycotting the Grammys in response to the awards not showing respect to true artistry. Us as the people who support this culture have to follow suit. We have to give more power to the award ceremonies that do celebrate us, our culture and our talents.

City Kids: The Graduating Class

Entrepreneurship is a trait most people in our generation share. Whether it be starting your own music label to starting your own clothing brand, everyone wants something to call their own. When these startups begin, there’s a crab in the barrel mentality. It’s like we’re fighting crumbs when we can be sharing the entire pie. Juan Duran, one of my closest friends and a recent graduate of CSI, sat down with me and echoed those same sentiments as well as how his life after college is going.

How do you feel about looking for work after graduation? 

I want to be in streetwear but we need experience in business to help jumpstart the progression. I’m using my next move for the business experience but I still have my connections from Reed Space and Stadium Goods to rely on when I want to jump back into that realm. But I also think people get caught up in the idea that you’ll get a job right away. That’s not the case, you can have a degree but that doesn’t mean anything. Experience is key.


How do you feel about streetwear?

I think there’s a blurred line about what streetwear is. You need to know the core aspects of what streetwear is. There’s mainstream (Kith, tour merch, etc) and then there’s the little guys, the guys that still print tees in their houses. From one perspective, you can live off of this. Back then it was a side hustle, people just wanted to make cool clothes for the squad. But now people can live off of this, it creates jobs. We have a lot of culture vultures/corporate heads in this now that just do it for the money. It depends on how you look at it. But the one thing is that we have the attention of the world but the right people aren’t getting credit for it. People praise certain celebs for starting a trend that wasn’t a trend. It’s new to some people, but doesn’t make it new. People from uptown in the Bronx have been dressing like this for years. People don’t do their research.

Do you think there’s a problem with how streetwear is reported?

That’s one factor but it’s not just that. It depends on who you’re speaking to. There’s people who create the style and people who mimic. Back in the day the way you dressed depicted where you were from. If you were from the upper class, you dressed in high end type of brands and if you were in streetwear you were from the hood. Now we have those lines being blurred where a girl from the hood can be dressed in high end and a guy from the upper class in streetwear.

City Kids, wassup with that?

Now that I’m done with school I can focus on it more. It’s always been my passion. Using everything I learned in school I’m gonna use it for the brand. Our next collection is gonna be about growth. We have a box logo for each collection, this one is gonna be composed of just shapes. When it comes out it’s gonna be dope. We also plan to use our network to grow and help them grow. I want to highlight people who are on the grind to. I think of it like school in a sense. Everyone I plan to work with I consider a part of my graduating class. We’re the new wave so we have to push each other.

How did it start?

Basically, I was a kid in high school that was heavy into the culture. I would spend lunch money on clothes. I would sneak into these events at Reed Space. I would be heavily focused on it. I had all these ideas so in high school I decided to do it myself. Why be a part of someone else’s brand when I can start it myself. I was brainstorming names with my sister as we came up with City Kids because it represents who we are. It’s two words, but connected with the I. It represents the city growing but still staying connected. And we started with our first tee being the city tee and it grew from there. We get support from all over the country and it’s a blessing. We appreciate all the love.

Anything else you wanna say?

You’re never too young to start investing in your future.

Check out City Kids here!

(All photos taken by me.)

#SundaysBest

Back in the day, a lot of Black people went to church dressed in their “Sunday’s Best.” It was the only time where we had the chance to show out in our best outfits. As the years progressed, we began wearing our best clothes, not only in church, but in other environments, as we encountered a heightened level of social, upward mobility. The idea of what was considered high fashion was beginning to transform – the streetwear preference for suits was soon replaced by a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

#SundaysBest is a photo/interview series where I highlight people who are fly, but also have a unique voice in today’s society. Our generation consists of great people who are the next wave of visionaries, influencers and thinkers, but rarely find an outlet to express their views. This is where they’ll have a chance to do exactly that.

First one drops this Sunday!

Welcome!

Thanks for checking out my blog! My name is Brint and I’m excited to use this platform as an outlet to share my post grad experiences, personal photography, thoughts on music,  and overall views on life. I’ve always wanted to show people that you can use your own passions for your personal advantage, while still inspiring others. That’s my ultimate goal for this blog, and I hope you guys enjoy!

Photo by JeffStashBox