Monday, September 17, 2012

Quanstar interview with

You can love or hate me, idolize or despise me greatly
you can yell my name at the top of your lungs or talk about ever so faintly
but you ain’t me
ain’t worn my shoes, walked my path
been through the times that made my cry
don’t understand what makes my laugh
lived my past.
— Quanstar, from I’m Through
This week I had a chance to interview Quanstar, an independent hip-hop artist whose new book, Water from Turnips, is a candid, raw, funny, and often touching account of his early life, and his struggle to make it as a truly independent hip-hop artist in a massive, corporate industry. Starting with his early life in Compton, and pulling no punches, readers follow him through being introduced to rap, getting in numerous tangles with women, and feeling out the industry. Today, Quanstar boasts ten albums, blogs about the hip hop industry for newer artists, and even does a cooking show with his son. In case you don’t know him already, here’s a taste off his most recent album:
You are very honest about yourself in the book, putting forward the good and the bad. What was that experience like for you?
Therapeutic. I’d say 70% of the things I put in Water From Turnips were never discussed with anyone before. So as I wrote and dug deep into why I acted a certain way, I began to understand the reasons.
You write about being young, during the heyday of Public Enemy and X-Clan, and having your eyes opened socially and politically by hip-hop music. Do you see hip hop as playing that same role for young people today?
Yes and No. I think that it’s important to understand the context and the time in which Public Enemy thrived. Back then, the great barrier in our society was still racial, and any problem that was considered a black problem was basically left alone. So things like police brutality, unemployment, dilapidated  schools, and under funded social programs were allowed to fester and grow. So hip hop became that solution to a lot of our issues.
Now, I think hip hop has a different role. While the world today isn’t, by any means, “post-racial,” thanks to hip hop we are a ways from the late 80′s and and early 90′s (mostly thanks to hip hop). The issues that face black folks today are the pretty much the same as the ones that face other races…economics. Poor people, no matter their color, are the new ‘niggas’. So hip hop’s role today mostly deals with economics. It inspires entrepreneurialism, materialism (which isn’t always a bad thing), and confidence. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of that shit is over the top, but a lot of rap always has been.
What led you to create Indie Hip Hop 101? What is the most common advice you give to hip hop artists like yourself today, if they are trying to get into the music business?
I created Indie Hip Hop 101 because I always found myself giving advice to other independent artists on the business and thought that it would be cool to share that on larger scale. The most common advice that I find giving to others like myself is to learn the business before looking into hiring a manager, and when you do find someone remember that they work for you.
Apart from the business side of things — the hustling, the gigs, the albums — how has the process of making the music itself affected or changed you over the years?
It taught me that people in Boise, ID and Charleston, WV deal with a lot of the same problems as folks in Compton and Atlanta.
What gifts has hip-hop culture given the world, and what does it still have to offer for the future?
Actually, it has allowed us to see the similarities that we all have with each other. It has also given generations a creative outlet by which they could express themselves without expensive lessons or formal training. It’s influenced an entire generation of thinkers and business people. I believe that hip hop is the building blocks of the future. The creative “something from nothing” nature has infused itself into the world culture. It’s a beautiful thing.
Do you have any final thoughts to share with this blog’s readers, who are interested in art and social change?
Believe and fight for something because you know it’s the right thing to do…not because you think it is.

"Water From Turnips" review for

Water for Turnips (the greatest story ever written about the best rapper you’ve never heard of) is a jolting twist into a life I honestly knew nothing about. I know nothing about rap music and the lifestyle that comes with it and this story gave my insight I never knew I could have, or even knew that I was missing. The first half of the book is about him growing up in Compton. And I’ll be the first to admit I was raised in a sheltered suburban home so reading about the kind of crazy that kids as young as he was have dealt with was pretty heart wrenching. Seeing his life through the eyes of a boy growing up that way is intense. Just reading through the dozens of names of his family members got over whelming coming from a 3-person household. His story puts his difficulty with school (he was smart-just didn’t like the actual school work part) and even his borderline sex addiction on display for the world to see. It goes behind the scenes in getting a career in the music business started. There are many moments that make you cringe, some that make you laugh out loud (“I thought being married was about yelling, fighting, have kids, and buying a house” made me laugh for some bitter reasons), and other times that just amaze you. 
The story of his success had many bumps in the road and reading this book was basically watching a boy grow up into a man through many hardships and struggles. 
There’s a lot more to Quanstar than meets the eye, including 10 albums, a documentary, his own blog, and a cooking show he does with his kids. You can find out more about those amazing feats and watch some of his music videos on his website-
Here’s a video book trailer for Water for Turnips if you would like to see more on it-
And if you’d like your own print copy of the book, you can buy it offAmazon here-

Definitely Destined For Greatness: Quanstar -

Definitely Destined For Greatness: Quanstar

I was privileged to read the Amazing book from Emcee/Author Quanstar entitled "Water From Turnips"Which gives you an in-depth look into the struggles of an Independent Emcee in the world of the Underground. I was inspired by reading this book and you will too. Whomever comments on this post can receive a free copy of the book so please share and comment.

When you first came up with the idea to do this book what were some of the first obstacles you had to overcome to get it done?

Q: Myself. Songs are basically short stories, so I had to rethink the entire way that I wrote in order to do Water From Turnips. It took almost four years to feel like I got it right.
I know writing a book this had to bring up many memories, what were some of toughest memories you had to relive due to doing the book?
Q: None that I wrote about. Just kidding. There were a few moments that took me a while to write. Watching my cousin get shot was a pretty obvious one; however, the roughest was recalling being reunited with my dad my freshman year at Clark. Those feelings have never been something that I'd explored or discussed with anyone before writing about it in the book.

 Explain the title and its significance?
 Q: My original idea for Water From Turnips was to only write about my experiences in the music industry and how I did all of the things that I did despite the limited funds and resources. Turnips, despite their nutrients and ability to be cooked with anything, they don't get credit for much. I booked my own tours, designed my marketing plans, oversaw my projects, and built my fan base; however, I still had a 9 to 5, struggled to pay bills, and rode the bus. I was a turnip. Lol. The water part came from the fact that I thought that turnips were dry and had very little of it, which went the original premise. I was wrong about that though. A turnip is full of as much water; additionally, my story was a lot more significant than just being a struggling hip hop artist.

 Why did you decide to write that introduction about the tunnel and the dream?

Q: It was originally a chapter in the middle of the book, but I felt it went better at the beginning because it set the tone of what Water From Turnips is about. When I thought about, facing my dreams they had no clue about what I was getting into. I just felt compelled to get out of the 'rat race' and succeed; however, once the reality set in of how hard I was going to have to work to get what I wanted, I had to make the decision of whether I was going to go back to my life or get tunnel vision and chase that light.

Who was your intended audience when you began writing this project?

Q: Honestly, the more I wrote, the more I was unsure about who my audience for this book is. Actually, I'm still figuring that out now.

What do you think an underground artist can learn from reading this book?
Q: That life isn't always simple, it isn't always easy, but that's no excuse to give up on your dreams.

What makes Quanstar Amazing Personified?

Q: I’m no different from anyone else.

The World According To Music - Ghani Gautama -

You may not have heard of him yet, but you probably will soon.  Ghani Guatama is not the typical hip hop artist nor the typical thinker. Get him started talking about the music industry and you are bound to learn a lot from him. Ghani Guatama is full of opinions, information, and insight; and before we picked his brain fully of musical politics, the World According to Music wanted to hear a little bit more about him as an artist.   

   Where did the name Ghani Guatama come from?

The origin of my Ghani Gautama moniker is actually rather unspectacular.  I really just chose it because it sounds cool.  Ghani was my tag name during my short career as a graffiti artist.  I came up with it one day when I was smoking a bunch of Afghani and liked the way the letters looked.  I added Gautama to that and started using it as my stage name.  I wanted to have a name that could have been an actual given name instead of “MC so and so” or “Lil' so and so.”  I felt like my government name, Ian James Currie, didn't sound very rapper-ish so I went with Ghani Gautama.  I felt like it created a sense of exotic origins while also paying subliminal homage to my Irish roots.  Ghani is a West African surname and during the dark ages Ireland was the only northern European country that maintained trade relations with west Africa. There's a book called “How the Irish Saved Western Civilization” or something of that nature, that's where I found out about that.  Gautama is an Indian surname, it is attributed to the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama.   Buddhist monks were some of the most well-traveled of antiquity.  It is believed by some anthropologists that they made it as far as Ireland where their teaching gave birth to the religion of the druids.   Plus I think it sounds cool.

      How long have you been doing music? What got you into it?

In a lot of ways I feel like I've been doing it my whole life, but my formal entry into it was in the late 90's.  I took guitar lessons when I was younger and I've always liked to sing and write lyrics.  Eventually I joined band with the intention of being a rhythm guitar player and singer.  As it turns out the other members of the band were much better than me at both things.  I knew my stock was slipping so I needed to find a way to make myself valuable to the band.  One day at practice everyone was jamming and I started rapping.  Everybody in the band said “you should do that.”  I've never looked back since.  I couldn't really pinpoint any one thing that got me into it but I feel like I am the musical sum of my parents.  My mom is an excellent singer, she has the natural gift for it but she's pretty conservative in her taste.  She sang in choirs and stuff.  My dad was more rock 'n' roll, he had more rebellious musical taste and was passionate and charismatic about it but had not a lick of natural ability.  I think I inherited the best of both.

             How would you describe your music?

I try not to honestly, I prefer to let it speak for itself but for the sake of conversation I consider myself a songwriter first.  I don't necessarily dazzle with verbal dexterity, I'm not really interested in writing a “hot sixteen.”  I strive to write complete songs and just happen to use hip hop as my medium (probably because I can't sing or play an instrument.

                What are you working on right now?

I am currently in the process of recording a project called “Strong Medicine” it's the first of three 5-song E.P.s that I'll be releasing this year through my deal with First Team Music/Halogen Records.  It's a bit of a departure for me because it will be the first time I've recorded an album using beats from producers besides my long time creative partner Metrognome.  He's got one song on it but each of the 5 tracks are from a different producer.

               What are your artistic goals?

To be like B.B. King.  The man played 200+ shows a year well into his 80's.  I'd also like to play a show on every continent (except maybe Antarctica) and learn how to say “thank you” in 50 languages.

              Who/what are your influences?

I'm a sponge when it comes to rap so I've easily stolen a trick or two from pretty much any rapper that I've ever heard as far as style and delivery goes.  Lyrics wise I borrow heavily from Issac Brock and Ian McKaye.  I'm also huge into outlaw country, I've been listening to a lot of Waylon Jennings recently.  Plus I read a lot, non-fiction mostly and I'm a big fan of the speculative fiction of Harlan Ellison.

             What are some of your favorite tracks of yours?

The song I'm most proud of is a cut off of “Few Against Many,” my last album, called “Maybe” it was an idea about 8 years in the making.  I remember being in the room while Metrognome was making the beat for it and it ended up becoming a perfect storm of a song.  It is always a hit at shows and is a lot of my friends' favorite track.  I'm also really proud of a song from that album called “Another Day At The Office” it was the first track I ever did with guest verses and I feel like that brought the best out of me.  The title track to my 1st solo album “Give 'Em Enough Hope” is another highlight.  Another instance of an idea years in the making that turned out so well.

                What do you want your fans to know about you?
I'm a man of the people.  I have somewhat extreme viewpoints about the world and make rather intense music but at the end of the day I'm just a person like everyone else.  I think that sometimes hip hop music can put too much emphasis on people's differences.  I like to focus on our similarities.  Every day that I wake up and get to make music is a victory to me and I am extremely thankful for all of the people that have made that possible.  I'd also like people to know that if I can make my dream work so can they, and probably better.

              Who are some of your biggest supporters?

I'm fortunate to have incredibly supportive family and friends.  My label mates Quanstar, Evaready RAW, and Metrognome have been invaluable in getting to where I am.  Besides that everyone who's ever supported me is my biggest supporter, I value each and every person who's ever watched me play a set or listened to a song of mine.  I look at music as a lifestyle choice and a life-long commitment so every person that shows support makes it what it is.

              How can your fans access your music?

All my stuff is available through all major digital outlets.  I'm also active on social networks so just Google “Ghani Gautama” and you'll find me.  And don't hesitate to leave comments and send messages, I always answer them and this might sound sad but I live for fan feedback.

              What has been your biggest challenge as an upcoming artist?

Today's industry is basically a struggle for legitimacy.  Technology has made it possible for anyone to create and market music.  This has evened the playing field to a large degree but it has also created a vast amount of over-choice.  My biggest challenge has been getting that third party recognition and credibility.  Things like press coverage are important to growing a career.  With virtually billions of artists out there fighting for the same limited media space.  An artist like me who is entirely independent often gets overlooked in favor of artists with buckets of money to throw at the situation.

             What is your music making process?

I don't really have a set method.  I'm pretty much always making music, even when I'm cooking dinner or at the gym I'm always tossing around ideas in my head.  Sometimes if I have a deadline or something I'll just lock myself in my room put a beat on repeat and won't come out until I have a song.  Editing is very important, I never bring notebooks into the vocal booth so everything I record has been dedicated to memory.  The process of memorizing the song is the best editing method.  By the time I've recited something a couple hundred times I've usually trimmed out the fat and optimized the execution of the verse.  I also like to perform my songs live a lot before I record them.  That helps me work out all of the kinks.  When you’re live on stage, there's an audience, the music is loud, there's no second takes or punch-ins.  Once a song is down cold for a live show it is a piece of cake to knock out in the studio where conditions are optimal.

              Do you have a main theme to your music?

I know it sounds trite but my life is pretty much the theme of my music.  I try to present it in a way that is universally understandable.  Instead of focusing on specific details I emphasize the underlying sentiments.  For instance, if I write a song about a lame ass job that I hate, I don't focus my writing on specific details like what kind of tasks I'm doing or the eccentricities of customers and co-workers.  Instead I focus on the feelings of being undervalued of misunderstood or stuck in a situation because of responsibilities.  Those are things that any working person could understand from the janitor to the hedge fund manager.  It ties into the whole idea of finding commonalities between people as opposed to finding differences.

*Check the Upcoming Shows tab to see when you can see Ghani Guatama next.

Have you ever heard of Ghani Gautama (exclusive interview included) -

I recently came across the sound of Ghani Gautama and am surprised that it took me so long hear about him!
A short bio:
Ghani Gautama got his start in music as the front man for Pure Irate Souls, a rap/rock outfit active in Myrtle Beach SC in the early 90′s. He relocated to Atlanta, GA in 2000 and shortly emerged on the cities blossoming independent hip hop scene as a founding member of Street Temple Emcees After a brief hiatus from music, Ghani Gautama reunited with former Street Temple Emcees DJ and producer, Metrognome and resurfaced as a solo act. The creative team of Gautama and Metrognome released two albums, “Give ‘Em Enough Hope” in 2008 and “Few Against Many” in 2010. During that time he also linked up with fellow Atlanta indie veterans, Quanstar and Evaready R.A.W. and with Metrognome on DJ duties, began playing nationally under the banner of United Underworld.
Ghani just released his latest album “Strong Medicine” in November titled “Strong Medicine” which is receiving positive feedback.

After listening to the music on his Facebook page ( I quickly fell in love with his sound. “What am I waiting for” is extremely catchy (listen below), so make sure that you have time on your hands and room on your ipod before you listen to it once. The rest of the songs continue his catchy rhythm and toe tapping beats. Give it a listen, you wont regret it!
A brief interview with Ghani:
What inspires you to wake up and record?
“It’s more like what doesn’t inspire me.  I try to let the world be my muse and find inspiration everywhere but at those moments when I really start to doubt the merits of this path I always think about the people who have supported me for all these years.  Folks who watched me awkwardly attempt to perform 15 years ago who still root for me today, I feel a sense of personal responsibility to them to keep making music and hopefully get better at it.”
What do you consider success?
“Not riding the bus to a day job that I hate.  I strive for the day when I record when inspiration strikes, I tour when I feel like traveling and I subsist off of more than Ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches all off of the merits of my music.”
 What are your thoughts on HumanFankind and fans giving back for piracy / funding artists dreams?
“I don’t necessarily believe that fans are obligated to “give back for piracy.”  Sure I’d love to get paid for every time someone acquires my music but I feel like when you’re doing it the right way it doesn’t matter how people get a hold of your recordings.  If you are making music that’s worthwhile the people who enjoy it will compensate you in some way at some point.  I do, however, believe that it’s important to develop systems other than retail sales and tour proceeds to compensate artists.  I don’t hold it against someone for not being able to pay 5 or 10 dollars for an album, but if they’ve got a dollar to spare I think it’s imperative for there to be a mechanism in place for that person to deliver that dollar to the artist.  So I think HumanFankind is doing important work towards shifting the paradigm and empowering fans and artists to work together to ensure that the music can go on as long as both parties see fit to have it do so.”
You can also find Ghani at . He allows you to download some of his music for free, so if you do enjoy it, please give some back through HumanFankind.

ALBUM REVIEW: Ghani Gautama & Shadow – Live At The Radio Room: WPBR - We Are The

I’m always a little wary about live albums in general. Almost every artist worth their salt (and not worth it) has at least one grandiose live offering, which generally follows a breakout hit album, but that doesn’t mean they should. EPs are more understandable because they serve as fun treats in between recordings or give a snapshot of that period in time for the artist. Underground rappers Ghani Gautama and Shadow from Charlotte execute this perfectly as they just put out a collaborative EP recorded this past February at…The Radio Room?
Yeah, you read that right. A live recording from Greenville’s beloved music dive. Admittedly, I was skeptical coming into this release. I mean, how good could a live recording at the Radio Room be? Don’t get me wrong, We Are The Upstate practically lives at the place. I love it. The shows always look and sound great. And while I know very little about making live recordings, it didn’t seem like the most ideal environment to lay down a live record for release.
Boy, was I wrong. Live At The Radio Room: WBPR sounds fantastic. Sure, it’s not Bullet in a Bible or Live at Leeds level production quality, but everything’s pretty clear, and both artists and their interaction with the crowd can be distinctly heard.
Ghanni Gautama and Shadow both prove their abilities as live emcees, flowing effortlessly over the surprisingly audible beats. I say ‘surprisingly’ because I can’t get over how solid the recording sounds. You can tell the rappers felt completely in their element and were simply just having a great time performing, and because that comes through within these seven tracks, the EP succeeds.
If you enjoy some fun, well executed underground hip hop, use Live at The Radio Room: WBPR as a great sampler for these two rappers’ catalogue. Fans of either shouldn’t miss out on this record as it shows a real sense of community within the small, local hip hop scene that I hope continues to grow.

"Water From Turnips" Interview w/ Quanstar - June 5, 2012

By now, you all should be familiar with Quanstar. He's a friend of Straight Outta Hip Hop and in addition to an interview or two, we've also supported projects he's dropped over the past year and a half. He was also featured on the Commercial From Commercialmixtape that Hip Hop Hope Dealers and I collaborated on. After a few minutes talking about graduation (congrats to my brother who just graduated from Morehouse!) I got to ask Quanstar a few questions about his new book, Water From Turnips, and what purpose this served for him as well as his fans:

S.O. Hip Hop: The book is now out. I've had a chance to dig through it and read a bit of it, but before we get into the details of the book, what was it that made you decide to put the book out now? You mentioned almost procrastinating to put it out, so what made you finally pull the trigger?Quanstar: Just because it was done. It's honestly been written since January. We had to do a few more re-reads. We've done about eleven to twelve re-reads and once all that was done, it was time. It wasn't so much a constant procrastination as much as it was just getting it right. The original form of the book was probably only about half of what the book is now because I glossed over so many things. But then there was a blessing in disguise when my computer crashed and I lost all a form of the [original] book, it forced me to rethink how I was writing it. 

And that pretty much ties into the first chapter in the book when you describe a dream you had that eventually set you on the path you're on now in terms of musical endeavors and entrepreneurial pursuits. Essentially, just like you're computer crashing, this dream wasn't a coincidence. So, in regards to that dream, and I don't want to give too much away, but do you have any more like it that tell you what you're supposed to be aiming for next?Yeah. That particular vision was a culmination of a bunch of different dreams. I didn't want to write one chapter on twenty dreams, so I had a dream about a tunnel. I've had a dream about something else. I've had a dream about being in a tunnel. I've had a dream about certain women representing different things. I've had a dream about walking towards a light and just keep walking. So, I always have dreams and visions and certain thought processes because I'm always trying to think about the next step ahead. So, I think the dreams I have are basically a continuation of my thought process from when I'm awake. I don't want to say it's this grand vision or anything that deep, but it's just my thought process and the dreams are an extension of my daily "work, work, work" mindset.

In addition to all the hustles you have going on and this constant grind mind-state you have, you also talk about your relationship with your wife and the ups and downs you all have gone through. This chapter would probably be interesting for any career driven person, but especially men, who are chasing a dream, but trying to maintain a healthy relationship. What can people going through that get out of the book and what have you learned in dealing with that situation?I think the biggest thing is that if you're going to meet someone and pursue someone, you need to do it with someone that also has things going on. When we met, she had an E-Bay business, her own business, while still working a full-time job, just like I did. And she was making like two to three grand a week being an E-Bay seller. So, the fact that she had her own thing going on, and it was something she created herself, she understood the difference between working for yourself and just working for somebody else. When you work for yourself, the responsibility and worries and everything you have are exponentially more, when it's yours to build up or lose. I think the key to that is to find a woman that already has something else going on. So, those nights, when you're up all night, or you might have to be on the road for a week, or whatever, it's not so much of an issue. You still have to make time [for your family]. We make time at least once a week to do something. I have three kids, so you have to make time where it's just us. But the key is to a) find someone that already has something going on and can understand your focus, and b) - and this is important - the thing she's doing is separate from what you're doing. Two people in the music industry is a disaster waiting to happen. At some point, it's a conflict of interest. I would never date another artist. 

I think that's sound advice and I think it's good that people see you can have success and it doesn't have to be at the expense of your family because a lot of people get caught up in their ambitions and, unfortunately, their family almost gets lost in the shuffle.I mean, you have to prioritize. There's certain things I won't do. I don't go on the road for two, three months at a time because I have children. I'm not even going to be on the road for a month at a time because I have children. That's just my perspective and those are the things I've realized and understand there are sacrifices you have to make. But those sacrifices start with your system and that support comes from the people around you both understanding your hustle and accepting your hustle. And if they've never experienced that hustle themselves, they can't accept it.

Now I'm going to backtrack here a little bit and get back to some details of the book. I know a lot of people, especially artists, they have a co-author or they simply tell somebody their story that ends up writing it, but I have feeling you wrote this whole thing yourself.This is all me, homie. It's all me.

How long did it take you to write it?About four years. The original version took about a year, but when the computer crashed, I decided to re-write it. So, I spent another three years or so on [the published one], sent it to the publisher, and now we're here. The reason the final version took so long is because I wanted to take my time, be specific, and have points. I went through most of my life validating this, validating that, I was a sexual deviant. I talked about when I was in college what I was doing and how I couldn't see. My whole thought process, I had nothing going on, so the only way I could feel like a man was for me to womanize and womanize heavily. But I didn't really explain it in the first version, so in this final version, I traced that aspect of my life back to its origin, so people could see where it came from and how it grew. So, that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to take my time. I didn't want to inflate it. I didn't want to brag about it. I just wanted to record it, like it was. 

That sexual deviant chapter in the book is a crazy one. I think people might be caught off guard with that one. But, even in revealing all this, in the beginning of the book when you explain why you wrote the book, you say you didn't want this to be an autobiography. You do say, though, that it was important for you to unveil many parts of your life. Now that the book is finished, what do you hope people do get from this?I didn't want it to be an autobiography in any way. I had all of these ideas about how to write this book, but at the end of the day, it ended up being an autobiography because out of all those other ideas, this told the story the best. I want people to understand that it doesn't matter where you're born, or how many chances you get in life. To be frank, I f*cked off half of my life. I didn't even start thinking about get things together until I was 23. I want people to understand it's never too late. It's never too late to do the right thing, to want to be something better than what you are. It's also a matter of explaining...basically, I ain't sh*t. You know what I'm saying. I ain't sh*t. We're just all the same. I don't have money behind me, I don't have things like that. And my story, I wanted people to see, this is where I came from, this is what I did, and I'm still hustling. I basically floated through high school, flunked out of college. I did all of the things that are supposed to make you fail. If you grow up in the hood, you're supposed to fail. I'm from Compton, I'm supposed to fail. I didn't graduate with A's, I'm supposed to fail. I dropped out of college, I'm supposed to fail. I'm 23 and didn't have any money, I'm supposed to fail. I had a kid out of wedlock, I'm supposed to fail. But I didn't, and I'm not. After finishing the book, and looking at it right now, because I'm holding it in my hand, looking at the cover, that's what I want people to know. You're not supposed to fail. You're only supposed to fail, when you give up. 

I think that's always been your message. Even with The Underdog and all your music, that's always been what you've portrayed. Regardless of what the circumstances are, you've come out of it and found another way. But, now that you've put your story out there, and people will have a chance to read it and understand you better, how does it feel? I'd assume it's hard to get everything out in the form of music, but it seems like you did a lot more with this book.It feels pretty good. I wouldn't say that I got it all out there. There's a ton of things I condensed or left out because I didn't want to give twenty stories conveying the same message. But, it feels great because a lot of those stories, I never shared with anybody. I'm not the most open of people. There may be things I don't tell my wife. It might not be anything big, but I just don't talk about my childhood. There's probably four or five things in there I've never really discussed with folks. So, in a way, that was pretty therapeutic for me. It surprised a lot of people. There were things in the book that my mom never knew. My wife and her mom and other people read and were shocked. And let me say that all of the things that have happened is a testament to me, but also to my family and how I was raised. I have a really close knit, crazy, but big family that always stuck together and looked out for each other. So, I just want to take this time to say that my success or my drive as a person comes from my family. It comes from a lot of the sacrifices my family made in order for me to achieve. To get out of the hood and step my game up. A lot of this is because of my family structure, albeit sort of unorthodox. I was living in a house with four women, but they kept me on the up-and-up as an adult. Sometimes, the only thing that motivates me is the sacrifices my family has made. When I want to give up and can't figure stuff out, I think about my momma and my granny and my auntie and my wife and my kids. It makes me step my game up. 

Since you were able to write all of this down and actually see it on paper in the form of a book, have you seen any difference in your approach to how you write music? Are you more open in your music since you know these stories are out there now?It hasn't a great deal, but it has allowed me to venture off into other areas of my music and do other things with music. Now I have all these things to discuss and deal with and talk about. I wasn't ever really compelled to write about certain things before. I'm still not compelled to, but since I know that these stories are out there, I'm not as hesitant to talk about them in my music. Also, since it's out there, those stories aren't quite as close to my heart. It allows me to be a little bit more celebratory. That kinda started with The Underdog because I was starting to get that stuff out. I had the freedom to write with a free heart and that felt good. 

Well, I know people will definitely enjoy reading the book. I looking forward to getting even further into it than I already have. For most of your fans, it should lend to even more understanding of your music, but if nothing else, it's just a compelling story. Tell everybody where they can get it.It's pretty much everywhere. Barnes & Noble and,, Google Books,, It's in a bunch of places. Feel free to leave a comment. On Amazon there's been a bunch of reader reviews and it's been getting a bunch of four and five stars, tell me what you think.