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DAY 35 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

Yesterday I wrote about my fascination with learning about spiritual ideas from different religions and trying to learn if there’s any common origin between them. Today I think I’ll write about another fascination of mine, which might not be as intense anymore, but is still a part of my life, and was definitely a huge deal for me when I was a bit younger. It might not be the healthiest thing to be obsessed with, but I gotta tell the truth. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts in this series of a thousand daily words then you might be aware of how I’m just recently starting to cut down on weed after about 15 years of daily use. These days that’s a big deal for me because weed has always been something which I thought I’d never really need to cut down on, but what you might not know is that weed is far from the only drug I’ve used throughout my life. In fact, my unhealthy fascination I mentioned at the beginning of this post is drugs. Yes, drugs in general have always been extremely interesting to me, and I feel like that is very intimately tied with my love for spirituality, philosophy and all things weird. I’ve always loved learning and researching (about things that actually interest me), and I knew that drugs were dangerous, so even though I was in the eight grade and still very young, I knew that I had a lot of research to do if I was going to embark on this path of experimenting with psychoactive substances, but I was determined to do it so I learned as much as I could. Weed was my first high, and at first I hadn’t decided to make it an everyday habit, but I was completely interested and started learning about it’s effects and even history. Since I had no tolerance at all, weed was super psychedelic for me, something that has never been the same after years of heavy use. I liked how it made me more aware of my thoughts, how everything i thought seemed interesting and meaningful, and as I started learning online about other drugs I naturally gravitated towards substances that offered the same kind of trippy, introspective effects, more specifically psychedelics. I became fascinated with mushrooms and LSD, and I don’t remember whether my interest in psychedelics or my interest in hippie culture came first, or if they both sort of grew together and eventually inspired me to try to live a spiritual or philosophical life. I’ve always thought of the world as extremely unjust as well, and I guess it was the whole anti-establishment thing which made me really like hippies, as well as their use of psychedelic drugs as some sort of sacrament to look within themselves and see what they could find. That life seemed a lot more meaningful to me than working for money my entire life, chasing more power and status. So I started reading countless trip reports on Erwoid, from first trips to heroic doses, to all sorts of combinations, so I was learning about more substances as I learned about mushrooms and acid. The trips were so insane, the visions people spoke of and the feelings they described were so interesting to me, and so I started asking people if they knew anyone with shrooms or acid I could buy. I didn’t have much luck at school at first, but I eventually met this kid, I don’t really remember how, who sold me some acid. I mean, he was a nerdy looking kid from my school, but I don’t remember how I knew to ask him or how our meeting came about. Anyway, I had some crazy acid trips, and from then on I decided to try all psychedelics. Although a lot of it was curiosity, I know that deep down I was never using these substances for the sake of “having fun.” I’ve always had a huge desire to search for truth, to find some truth that will help me live life in the most meaningful way possible, and I was always looking to have mystical experiences that I could learn from, maybe learn something that could change my life, and I can’t say that I didn’t find exactly that. I really think that tripping so many times since a very young age has a lot to do with who I am today and who I grew to be. When I started getting into drugs and drinking, outwardly I was trying to fit in. I was rapping about nothing, about being cool or whatever else I thought would impress people, trying to rock fake designer clothes and smoking cigarettes just to look cool, looking for fights. I don’t want to blame hip-hop because ultimately I was the one who was trying to copy a culture, and a pretty toxic one at that, but it’s obvious that the way I dressed and the way I acted in those days was was inspired by hip-hop. Who didn’t want to have nice cars and clothes and to have any girl you wanted? Tripping made me see the deeper meaning of life though, and eventually I stopped writing those types of raps because I started to see it as an art form, as poetry, in the way that even 2Pac saw it. I also stopped trying to rock designer clothes because I started to loathe materialism and completely rejected being someone who is constantly trying to impress others with meaningless things such as the amount of money or luxury items I have. Tripping hard really let me see that life is way to deep not to take responsibility for my life, to waste it on meaningless things. I started reading a lot of philosophical and spiritual books, such as Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors of Perception” where he talks about the similarities between reported visions of psychedelic experienced and the art and mythology of ancient religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, and this inspired me to learn even more. I’m at the end of this post and I really only got to touch on my relationship with psychedelics, which is one of my more positive experiences with drugs. Other drugs, like alcohol, I haven’t had the easiest relationship with, but that’s a topic for another day.

much love

~ rebel eye

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DAY 33 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

Although I’m not even close to passing my previous record of 81 days straight of writing a thousand words for my blog, I’m actually thinking of cutting it down to 500 words a day. Now, you might be thinking that I’m starting to get lazy or running out of things to write about, but that’s not it. Today I was listening to some of my old music from back in 2012, and I realized that I really need to keep writing raps, constantly, if I want to keep improving and if I don’t want to lose the skill. I finally learned proper recording techniques, I finally picked up an audio interface this year and an XLR mic and I barely record any music at all, since I barely write any new music these days. I guess I just feel like whatever I write has to be really inspirational and poetic, which is kind of holding me back, whereas back in the day I feel like I could write songs in a flash. I’d like to say that it was because I didn’t focus so much on trying to say the right things, but a lot of the lyrics from my old songs are actually pretty good, so maybe it just might be that I’m falling off after not writing consistently for so long. I have a bunch of old rhyme books, some of those lyrics are recorded already and some never got recorded, others will never be recorded. Although I have all these old rhyme books though, I feel like I need to write something new and fresh, and this is what I’m thinking of doing: Instead of writing 1000 daily words for my blog, I’m gonna write 500 words, and I’ll write a full 16-bar verse every day, that way I’ll never run out of music to record and I’ll keep improving my lyric writing skills, not to mention my rapping itself since I’ll be practicing a lot more now that I’ll have lyrics to work with. This will probably also keep me from overthinking my writing, as I’ve been doing lately, since I’ll have to write a daily verse. I think it should be a cool exercise. I’d love to do that but there’s just no time, between making and trying to sell beats, between trying to learn guitar daily, to exercise for a half an hour, as well as writing on my blog and hanging out with my wife, not to mention working, there’s just no time to do both. I could complain for hours about how there’s not enough time to do what we really want to do in our current fast-paced way of life, but I know you don’t wanna hear that and I’ll probably just come across as whiny, so instead I’m just gonna cut the complaining right from the start and split my time across everything I love, strategically. So that’s the basic explanation for why I’m planning to start writing 500 words a day instead of a thousand. Today I’m writing a thousand words though, since I didn’t write a verse today, I barely just thought of the idea. While I’m writing about writing I thought I’d mention something else I’m really excited about, which is the fact that my wife Maria and I have been working on a novel together for about two or three years now. It’s about a couple who meets and falls in love and have some crazy adventures together. Basically the idea came up one day when we were out at the park on a sunny day smoking a joint and she started telling me the idea for the story, about a couple who meets and falls in love and travels the world, kind of based on us and what we would like out of life. I said that sounded cool, and we started chatting about ideas of things they could do on their adventures. I’ve always been inspired by novels that convey philosophical messages to the reader, or that simply provoke philosophical though through the scenarios in the story. Some books like this that have inspired me greatly are Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and “Island.” I thought Maria wouldn’t mind if we threw some philosophical subjects into the mix, along with trippy things like psychedelic-like mind altering substances, maybe meeting some strange monks up on the mountains, and even time travel. Since we had our iPad with us we just started recording, and since then every once in a while whenever we went to the park to blaze we would always record our ideas for the novel, each time making it more intricate, creating connections between the characters and scenarios. Once we had a lot of recordings, about a hundred of them, I started transcribing them into a Word document. Not only transcribing but translating as well, since our conversations were half in English, half in Spanish. The novel touches upon a lot of important issues that I feel are relevant to life in our day and age, and I’m really excited to eventually publish it. Recently I finished transcribing all of the recorded voice notes into the Word document, so the next step is to actually write the conversations, write the detailed descriptions of the places and scenarios that will take place. Right now we basically just have the words we spoke for the voice notes, now it’s time for me to take all of that and write the story out of it, so we’re nowhere near done with it, but it’s definitely in the works. I think I’m close to today’s thousand words so I’ll just wish all of you amazing people out there a great night, I appreciate every single person reading this, since that’s basically my whole point in writing this, getting my ideas out into the world and to other people so they won’t make my mind eventually explode! Blessings to you and yours. Until tomorrow and keep being awesome and pursuing your dreams!

much love

~ rebel eye

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DAY 26 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

Day 26 of writing on my blog, nice. It’s also my fifteenth or sixteenth day of posting daily beats on Beatstars, and now that I have a decent catalogue of beats I have to start looking into marketing strategies to try to generate sales. One strategy is simply messaging artists and letting them know that I sell beats, probably including a few free beats they can use, obviously with a link to my beat store. I have to start searching for artists who are up and coming and whose beats match the ones I make in order to build solid business relationships so they keep on buying beats on the regular. In a way I’m happy because it feels like I’m finally starting my own business based around something I actually enjoy doing, making beats and just music in general. I’m tired of putting work in for already established companies that have nothing to do with my interests just to survive, so I know I have to put in the necessary work if I want to put and end to it for good and actually enjoy what I do for a living someday. For that reason I’m super excited to make this work. On the other hand, although I love hip-hop, from the hard beats to inspirational and thought provoking rhymes, I can’t say that I’m cool with a lot of the low effort noise that passes for rap these days, commercialized garbage promoting materialism. Unfortunately in order to promote your beats these days you have to pass them off as beats you can see some famous rapper spitting over, because if you just post it as a chill beat of happy or emotional or hard rap beat, you simply won’t get many views. This is why YouTube is super saturated with so many ‘type beat’ channels, where the title includes the name of rapper who would rap on this type of beat, along with a picture of the rapper. This is basically what I’ve been doing daily for the past two weeks, posting a beat in this format on both YouTube and Beatstars, and now I have to start marketing. The problem is that, although I do like my beats, I really would rather not post them in this way, but if I think about it for too long it feels like I’m just going back to my problem from years ago. See, I have a huge folder in my hard drive full of beats from as far back as 2011 when I first started making beats, and even thought they’re old now a lot of them are really dope, but I never released these beats in any way because my idea was to rap on them myself, not to get random rappers to rap what they want on them. See, I’ve always approached music, even my own music, as art, and I don’t like the idea of art being sold off, I’ve always wanted to release my music on my own. Unfortunately I never wrote enough rhymes to keep up with the insane amount of beats I made, and I almost always used other producers’ beats for my own tracks instead of my own, not because I didn’t like my own beats, but because the beats that fit my rapping style and content best are chill, jazzy sampled rap beats, like the ones I rapped over on my Running Rebel mixtape, whereas the beats that I produced for most of my life making music sound modern and electronic. I’ve always enjoyed making melodies from scratch, selecting the instruments and drums, and it’s only recently that I’m getting seriously into sampling instead. So my beats just sat there on my hard drive for so many years. I just got to thinking this year, I guess because I’ve grown increasingly annoyed and depressed with 9-to-5 life, that it really is time to start making a living from my music somehow, and I figured selling beats would be the most realistic way, since my rapping is not what’s most popular these days, I try to make it philosophical and inspiring, and I’m not willing to compromise that. I’ve come to peace that I might not make it as a huge success in the rap industry, and that’s okay because I enjoy doing it and I’ll keep at it no matter what. If I make it then great, if not then at least I shared my raps with whoever was willing to listen. Rap is based off of images these days, and I feel like I have too many complex ideas in my mind to just dumb myself down to be an image. The beats, on the other hand, can be made by anyone, it’s usually not a big deal since the producer is more of a behind-the-scenes person. It’s less likely that I need to sell out in order to make money on the beats side, and I’ll still be doing something I enjoy, so if I can make money making beats and that gives me the necessary time to really focus on my rapping without the need to compromise the truth, then that would be more than good enough for me. In a small way, this is why I feel shitty about putting my beats up with these random rappers’ pictures. I don’t even listen to them or like their music, so the beats are probably not even actually type beats for the artist names I post, it’s just kind of random names I choose based on what’s popular these days. Yeah, it feels wack, but no views means no sales. Hopefully as I start gaining traction I won’t need to be uploading my beats with these ridiculous names. In the meantime, I continue improving. I’ve got my new Arturia Keylab 61 mapped perfectly to FL Studio, I’ve mastered my MPC One at this point, and I’m making dope beats every day. I’m also doing daily guitar lessons so that I can eventually record myself playing and incorporate the live guitar sounds into my beats. Shout out to Justin Guitar for the super informative and easy to follow online courses, not to mention free. I really love the sound of the acoustic guitar, and that’s a big reason why I decided to learn to play it. Some of my favorite albums are Nick Drake’s albums, especially Pink Moon, and Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me”, really acoustic albums, and I can’t wait to be able to create my own chill melodies in the guitar. It’s all about consistency and never quitting. If I keep up my daily practice and put the effort in I know I can’t fail, and I’m applying the same to my beat business and every new project I take on from now on.

much love,

~ rebel eye

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DAY 23 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

Kalvonix and I have been making music together since way back when I started rapping. Back in high school when I was first starting out I was just making my own music by myself, but when I heard of a school group about rapping I was interested to see what it was about. To be honest, as a young kid with a wild imagination I imagined a full recording studio with a recording booth and all the equipment needed, but that wasn’t the case. I’m not complaining, I just mention that because it’s funny how kids’ imaginations are. The group was Access Denied, and it was made up of a few different people, mainly Calvin, aka Kalvonix, and his cousins Ohwell and Nizzl. In those days he was called “the rapper of the school” since he loved showing everyone his passion for rapping. I guess at some point he and Mr. Begg, the school English teacher, had come to an agreement to work on a school rap group, and so Access Denied was born. I joined later, but we quickly made a few mixtapes together. We usually recorded right in the classroom, after school hours so no one would be there, and our music was educational and touched on lots of different subjects, without getting too serious about them, but just getting the main message across. Those were fun times for sure, and we even did a show for the Olympics here in Vancouver, and also ended up on the newspaper front cover. “Rapping for a reason” was the title of the newspaper story. They also did an interview with us which was on TV. Of course, all of this wasn’t because we were incredible rappers, it was mostly because it was a school project and we were rapping about positive things. I didn’t mind it at all because I was writing and rapping, which is what I loved doing, but outside of Access Denied I was always working on my own music as well, which wasn’t always the most positive, but it was real to me, since I wasn’t living through the most positive times in my life either. Kalvonix was also doing music on his own, of course, and after he graduated from high school a year before me, we kept meeting up at his house to record song remixes here and there. We eventually had an idea, to release a mixtape together, since we were starting to make more and more songs together. We titled this mixtape “The Come Up.” Back then we weren’t the most professional, we were young and we were really making music kind of in a rush, to be honest. We were having fun though, so we just wanted to move on to the next track and complete it. I spent a lot of nights at Calvin’s house, rapping all through the night up in his room. The good thing is his house was pretty big so I think his parents couldn’t really hear us rapping the night away. Since we were making so much music, we eventually made the Come Up 2, and at some point we decided to turn in into a recurring thing. By the time we recorded The Come Up 3, we had decided that we were getting better and we had to get our music out to more people. That’s when we decided to go around his neighborhood knocking door to door selling CDs of The Come Up 3. I definitely don’t regret it, but the music isn’t really as good as we thought it was in the moment. Over the years we recorded the Come Up 4, 5 and 6, before lots of things in my life changed and I ended up moving away to Honduras, my home country, and eventually meeting my wife Maria, then waiting three years for her residence papers to be approved, and eventually returning here to Canada in February 2020, right before the whole COVID pandemic really started getting crazy. During all of those years we didn’t really make more music together, and maybe we didn’t even think about it. Calvin had success with his own music, always being super active with it and showcasing it to the world, and in my case, I was way into living a spiritual life, to the point that I had decided not to pursue music anymore because I didn’t want fame, because of the possibility of it corrupting me and the beautiful family I had formed with Maria. I remember actually telling Calvin I was quitting music, and he was questioning whether I was sure of my decision. In that moment I was one hundred percent sure. I never wanted fame, but I have always wanted to share my music with people, and to share inspirational messages through it. Fast forward some more time, spirituality-wise my thoughts changed in a way, and I basically decided to start pursuing music as a career again as I grew increasingly frustrated with 9-to-5 life, which I believe is corrupt, soulless and exploitative. I told Calvin I was back into music, so we put together The Come Up 8 and 9, mostly from a few of the last songs we had recorded together, as well as some songs from his albums that I was featured on. As I started getting serious with music again, and Calvin was getting more professional than ever and constantly releasing music on streaming platforms, we decided to make The Come Up 10 an album, with no remixes, just original tracks we could post for streaming. Since life is a lot busier now for both of us, it took us about to years to finally complete this album, but I’m really proud of it, and it’s really symbolic in a way. We’ve come a long way from our early days recording the first Come Up. Our flows have improved a lot, our writing is more impactful and our sound is overall more professional. It’s also been maybe a little over ten years since we started, so the number 10 is kind of symbolic in a way as well. We released The Come Up 10 this year on August 12th, a few days before his Calvin’s birthday. Kalvonix has always been a big inspiration for me, not only because we share the same passion for music and rhyming, but also because he was born with cerebral palsy and faced a lot of struggles growing up, yet he never let that get in the way of his passion and his dream, and nowadays he’s found a decent amount of success, and I’m super happy for him. I’ve always been all over the place, lacking the dedication to make my music thing happen in the way he has, but life is a learning experience, and I can say that now I’m more focused than I’ve ever been, so I’m excited about what the future holds. I’m constantly working on new beats and songs, and Kalvonix and I don’t plan on stopping our work together either, so The Come Up 11 is already in the works. For now though, give The Come Up 10 a listen, I’ve embedded the Spotify link below so you can listen right on here if interested. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to listen, since we put a lot of effort into this album.

much love

~ rebel eye

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DAY 15 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

My favorite way of making music is on the MPC One. When I first started my music journey at eleven or twelve years old I started with FL Studio, since I was just a kid with a laptop and not a lot of money saved up that I could spend on gear. I had fun making beats for sure, focusing on old school beats, then experimenting with trip-hop and ambient music a lot, even trap beats, but I was never as into it as I am nowadays. Over time I stopped producing so many beats, making a beat only once in a while in FL Studio, using other plugins such as Nexus, but I was never really super into it, for the most part I just wanted to rap. I realize now that that’s mostly because of the way of making beats that involves using a mouse and keyboard. Once I got my hands on the MPC One I was hooked, and I haven’t stopped making beats ever since. The hands-on approach to making music is a lot more fun, and it feels like an instrument I’ve been learning and I never stop learning. Basically the MPC is a DAW (digital audio workstation) in a box. There’s lots of different kinds of MPCs, but I went with the One because of it’s compact size, and based off of everything I had read online. It truly does not disappoint in a way, and even know that I’m pretty comfortable with it and feel that I know it really well, I realize that there are still a lot of ways I could get even deeper into it, that’s how powerful this thing is. Of course, everything the MPC One can do can be done in a DAW, including FL Studio, which I still use, but it’s just a lot more fun using the MPC. Another thing I’ve been getting into a lot more because of the MPC is sampling. I used to sample beats in FL Studio, but everything seemed so complicated and I ended up just cutting loops that I liked from old jazzy tracks, or even reggae and classic rock, and adding my own drums and instruments to the beat within FL Studio. Those beats were not necessarily bad, but they were just very simple. The melodies were, for the most part, unchanged, although new instrument and drums were added over them. On the MPC, however, I’m chopping melodies into the pads and playing them that way, modifying them in all kinds of crazy ways, making all kinds of different patterns, and it’s just so much fun. Ironically, getting into the MPC also got me back into FL Studio and into learning how to do a lot of things in there that I had previously neglected learning about. It sort of just goes hand in hand with everything I’ve learned since getting the MPC, for example, mixing and mastering techniques in MPC One vs. mixing and mastering techniques in FL Studio. Of course, FL Studio, being a classic DAW, offers more possibilities, since you can even load third party plugins, for example. The MPC is limited to a few plugins that come with it, although those plugins have vast instrument libraries so there’s a lot to work with, apart from expansion packs and just classic sampling. With a specific cable which I have connected into the inputs of the MPC I can sample audio from any device with a normal headphone or earphone connection, so I can sample from YouTube or Spotify if I run the cable from my audio interface headphone output, or I can sample from my phone or iPad or iPod classic, or from music device really. It’s just impressive for what it is, there’s so many ways to create music within the MPC, and just for that I would recommend it to anyone who’s into making music or beats. A lot of the MPC sounds are really electronic so I make a lot of techno or house music on there, and also hip hop beats of course. Although the MPC One is definitely a beast in standalone mode, my favorite way to use it these days is to incorporate it into FL Studio. This is an interesting workflow because it allows me to make ideas on the MPC, with my hands rather than with the mouse, and then to pass on and polish those ideas within FL Studio, or just add more sounds on top of them or structure them better into a beat. The MPC One has song mode, which allows you to put different sequences, basically patterns of sounds, together to create a full song. For example, sequence two might follow sequence one, sequences can be repeated as many times as necessary, and so on. However, it’s definitely a lot simpler and faster to arrange the structure of a beat in FL Studio, looking at everything laid out across a big computer screen rather than the small MPC One screen. Don’t get me wrong, the touch-screen on the MPC One is amazing for the size of the MPC, it works perfectly and you can even access grid mode on it, basically a step sequences like in FL Studio. It’s just a lot faster to arrange the final beat in FL Studio and master it as well, to get the final product sounding loud, punchy and clear. It’s not a hassle to transfer things either. Basically, my MPC is on my desk so it’s always connected to my PC anyways. It’s not in controller mode though so I can use it in standalone even though it’s plugged in. The MPC has a software, basically Akai’s own DAW, MPC Beats, which can also be opened up as a VST plugin within other DAWs, so what I do when I select the controller mode option on my MPC is just open the MPC Beats plugin within FL Studio. The plugin recognizes the MPC and then I can load up whatever project I was working on while in standalone mode, and just drag the individual tracks from my MPC sequences into FL Studio, either as audio or MIDI files. The audio file is just the recorded audio itself, while the MIDI file is the actual notes you played, so you can even change the sound of the melody to be one of the sounds in FL Studio, or even Nexus or Omnisphere or any other third party plugin. I could go on and on about how cool the MPC One is, but I’ll leave it at that for now and maybe talk about it a bit more another time. If you’re into making music or just getting into it and are thinking about buying and MPC One though, trust me, it’s a lot of fun and you most likely won’t regret it.

much love

~ rebel eye

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DAY 14 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

Day 14 of writing a thousand words. I’m enjoying this exercise for sure, and it’s getting kind of easier to get my words done once I start, I feel like I flow through the post more naturally. Before I used to feel as if I had to come up with something super profound in order to inspire the reader, but over time I’ve come to realize that people may find inspiration in the most trivial things. We never know the extent to which any of our ideas or experiences might inspire others, no matter how small or insignificant we may think those ideas are. For today I thought of just writing a bit about some of my favorite songs of all time, songs that I could listen to forever and never get tired of. Some of these songs give me goosebumps when I listen, and others just transport me to a dreamy, sleepy state of mind which is super relaxing and even meditative. One of those songs, and maybe my favorite of them all, is Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.” Yeah, I know, I know, big surprise, a huge stoner’s favorite songs is a Bob Marley one! Who would’ve thought it? But Bob Marley music is special, for lack of a better word to describe it, whether one is stoned or sober. Bob Marley and the Wailers had an amazing way to mix the classic relaxing reggae rhythm with powerful vocals and equally powerful, philosophical, uplifting lyrics that really make you think and feel. I know Is This Love, although popular, isn’t Bob Marley’s most popular songs, others such as Three Little Birds or One Love being more well-known, but to me Is This Love is such a beautiful song, super chill and reminds of a beautiful love, like the one I feel for my wife Maria. In fact, we danced to this song on our wedding night since I put it at the top of our wedding playlist. Whenever I’m stressed I know I can probably put this song on and just forget about the worries of life for a moment. Number 2, my second favorite song ever is probably Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” I saw a recent post that Gilmour’s guitar solo on that song was just voted as the number one guitar solo ever, and I completely agree, I was even telling my wife the same thing a few years ago! Second place, for me, goes to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” which is also one of my favorite songs, the way it progresses from an eerie, slow ballad into an insanely powerful, complete rock classic, complete with the crazy, energetic screaming of the lyrics at the end, is just amazing. The lyrics are really thought-provoking as well and they evoke powerful images in my mind. I like to listen to Stairway to Heaven when I trip, although sometimes it gets way too intense, due to the crazy energy it gives off. I think I didn’t write enough about Comfortably Numb though. It’s hard to find such a beautiful and spacey song, and the guitar feels like some sort of victory, like a triumphant vibe. That reads kind of weird, but it’s the best word I could think of to describe this amazing song, or at least the instrumental side of it. Another song which I really love is Eminem’s “Sing For the Moment.” I love the way Aerosmith’s track was sampled, and Eminem’s lyrics, especially about the reason why he raps, for kids who are inspired by the lyrics, who might not have much else in life to relate to or to just vibe with. Whether listening to Eminem or most other rappers’ lyrics is something healthy or constructive for most of the youth is another topic entirely, one that I can’t ever come to a concrete decision on. I know there’s a lot of negativity in rap music, even in the “good” rappers’ songs, but I’ve never really been able to stop listening to rap. When it’s done correctly it can be such an inspiration, and powerful messages can be delivered way more powerfully and efficiently than with any other genre of music. A perfect example of this is 2Pac. I love so many of his songs, as you can tell that he was a person who was trying to figure life out, trying to inspire others, and to express himself through poetry and music. I’m not saying he was perfect by any means, but his lyrics are definitely inspirational. Out of so many great 2Pac songs my favorite one has to be “Better Dayz” from his posthumous album of the same name. The lyrics touch upon such real things, about the stresses of an unplanned pregnancy amid a shitty financial situation, for example, or about the death of his homies and seeing his family after them and giving them the simple message “to keep the faith, and pray for better days.” We can’t expect musicians to be perfect, but I certainly appreciate it when artists try to incorporate a powerful message into their music. At the end of the day, music is amazing and beautiful, but making a positive difference in the world is ultimately the best thing one can do with one’s time on earth, and if your passion is to write, whether it’s music or anything else, it’s really inspirational to me to see people using their talents to try to put these positive ideas into the world. I honestly can’t be bothered to listen to any of the new rap that’s out nowadays. It’s all commercialized garbage created to keep listeners ignorant and chasing a shallow lifestyle they’ll probably die or end up in jail trying to live. We need more rappers like Pac, but I honestly think hip-hop is unfortunately beyond saving. There’s too much money to be made by promoting a lavish lifestyle, selling what the people want, illusions of money and power, of financial success. Anyway, I definitely went off on a bit of a rant there, but I have to draw the comparison in order for you to understand why I love songs like “Better Dayz” or “Changes” or “Thugz Mansion” so much. There’s a few more songs which are at the top with these ones, but for now I’m at a thousand words, so I’ll just leave it here. Hopefully I can get some people who haven’t heard these songs to check them out, or even to get some people who haven’t listened in a while to revisit these musical masterpieces. I’m jamming to them myself at the moment.

much love

~ rebel eye

IS THIS LOVE, IS THIS LOVE, IS THIS LOVE THAT I’M FEELINNN!
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DAY 13 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

Day 13 of a thousand words. I figured I would write about one of my favorite songs of mine, It Is What It Is. This is a song I wrote and recorded way back in 2012. It was released on my February 2012 mixtape Running Rebel. To this day, I consider this mixtape to be my masterpiece. I was trying to make a project with a unique sound, but more specifically, with the jazzy, old-school type of sound that I love so much, the sound that inspired me to get into hip-hop in the first place. This track was the most popular off the tape. In my lyrics I reminisce on old times, which even though were filled with problems, still represent the good old days for me. In 2012 I was only 18 years old, but I really felt like I had grown up and matured. I know what you might think, that at that age there’s not much that I could possibly be looking back at. That’s not the case for me though, since the craziest times of my life actually started when I was about twelve or thirteen, and although I had a lot of fun, I also got into a lot of problems. Thankfully, these problems didn’t escalate as much as they could have. I feel like I’ve always been blessed with good common sense, even when I was acting up I was never completely like a lot of my friends. I always knew there was something deeper to life, and I guess I was trying to find exactly that in the countless experiences I was having, but never finding anything. By the age of 18 I had realized that this life was not what I wanted any longer, so I wrote this song, It Is What It Is. The last part of the hook says “But we all gotta grow, yo, it is what it is,” and I feel like that sums up my mindset at the time, I was done with my old type of life and was sad to let it go, as I did have a lot of fun, but I realized that it was time to move on, to grow into a new phase in my life. There’s a lot of details in the song, about old times, old moments I lived through with close friends, some of which are no longer here with us. Overall, it’s just such a nostalgic song for me, and the amazing chill beat by Dela definitely went along with my lyrics to emphasize the nostalgic aspect of the track. I also like how he incorporated a sample into the beginning of the beat, from one of my favorite rap songs “Moment of Truth” by Gang Starr, where Guru raps “Sometimes you gotta dig deep, when problems come near, don’t fear, things get severe for everybody everywhere.” At the time I felt like I was really thinking deeply, I was finally making a decision about my life and the direction I wanted to take it. Unfortunately, it did take me a few more years to completely let go of my troubled past, so throughout 2013 to 2014 I was back into making gangsta rap songs with RRG. It took me a few years to completely free myself of who I used to be and the toxic lifestyle I was living for so long, and over that time I also quit smoking cigarettes completely, quit drinking for the most part, and quit doing all the drugs I was doing. By 2017 I released my Musical Alchemy mixtape, where I incorporated a lot of what I had learned into my lyrics, from the 7 Hermetic Principles to the Four Noble Truths, from Bible verses to quotes by great philosophers. I wanted to creative something philosophically inspiring, but I feel like I ended up being a bit all over the place on that album. I hope to be able to make an album as good as my 2012 Running Rebel album some day, but I just don’t know if I’m even the same person these days. Even if I never do though, I’m glad to have created a classic, and even though my album barely got more than a thousand downloads, since I’m still basically unknown, I’m glad to have made something I can enjoy, and which documents my growth in life. Unfortunately, now that I’ve started posting my music on streaming services, I haven’t been able to post any of the songs from my Running Rebel mixtape, since the beats I used were just picked from different websites and YouTube videos, in order to match the sound I was trying to achieve. To anyone who might be reading this blog and who is already familiar with my music, I truly appreciate you! And if you’re reading my blog and are not familiar with my music then give this track a listen, I know you will enjoy it. To be honest, I think a lot of what has prevented me from “making it” as a musician has been my own fault, I’ve never been great at promoting myself, it’s never been something I enjoy doing. It feels like I’m trying to show off or something, so I’ve always preferred to have people find my music organically rather than sharing it to everyone. However, I’m now at the point where I realize that this just doesn’t work like that. As a creative person it’s imperative to be able to market oneself. You might be super dope at what you do, but if no one knows it then it isn’t gonna do much for you, so let the world know! There’s way too much wack music about nothing out there these days, so I shouldn’t feel any shame for promoting my own music when I know that it’s dope, and that people would appreciate it if only more people got to hear it. I appreciate everyone reading, as always, and I’ll leave a link to my song, It Is What It Is, in case you’re interested in listening.

much love

~ rebel eye

DAY 12 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

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Day 12. Sober day. Right now I’m only doing 2 sober days per week. I know it’s not a lot but it’s definitely a challenge for me, coming from smoking every day for so many years. It’s been a couple weeks now and I’ve stayed consistent with this goal, so I’m definitely happy with my progress. I started with one sober day, for 2 weeks, then on the third week started doing 2 days. This is the end of the fifth week, and now I’m gonna do four weeks of three sober days. I can really see how the time I’m spending sober is beneficial for me already, I have a clearer head and I’m really starting to get consistent with my creative outlets. I’ve been making beats for more than ten years now, as well as rapping, but it’s always been something I do just for fun. I’ve never been big into staying up to date with social media trends, so I can’t say I’ve done much on the promotion or networking side of things. I don’t mean to say that I never wanted to make it in the music industry, it’s just that I never got serious enough to promote or to do any serious networking, it’s always been about the music itself for me and I’ve never felt like I had time to do anything beyond that. Now though, I’ve realized that I need to do it, whether I feel like it or not. So many people are creating music nowadays, so it’s not enough to just be good, one has to actively promote one’s music just as if it were any other business. As a young rapper coming up I never really spent much time thinking about this. Yeah, I know I was pretty immature, but at least now I’ve gotten to learn from my past mistakes so that I can do things differently from now on. I’m still young but not as young as I was ten years ago, so although I still have some time to make this happen, it’s not like I have a whole lot of time either. It’s stressful because I know that this is the last chance I’ll ever get, and if I don’t make it happen I just might be stuck in the shitty nine-to-five life forever. However, I feel like this stress is a blessing, the stress is what’s really motivating me to finally do things the right way. Nothing will stop me this time around, which is why, after so many years, I’m slowly but surely rearranging my time and my decisions in order to live with more order, in order to live more deliberately. The sober days feel boring, since my brain has been used to being high most of the time for so many years, but this boredom pushes me to spend time doing things that I wouldn’t do if I was high, things that absolutely need to get done. Anyway, I know I’ve written a bit about all of these things in my recent blog posts, but it’s just because I’m extremely excited to see where life will take me. It feels like I’m finally moving on to the next level of life, like I’m finally taking responsibility for my life and taking matters into my own hands in order to make things happen, God willing. For a while, life was feeling dead, as if nothing new was happening, as if I had settled in life and there would never be any new excitement. In a way I was okay with this realization, because I’d rather not deal with all the problems I brought upon myself when I was living my old, “exciting” life. I see now that I was wrong though, life is starting to get exciting again, and this time it’s for positive reasons, I feel excited about positive long-term changes in my life, rather than searching for excitement in highs and cheap thrills all the time. Life is deep, and sometimes we can shut ourselves off from the experiencing the depth of everything. Sometimes cutting ourselves off from it might be very satisfying, we might feel very comfortable, since we experience only what we know, or what we think we know. We try to take the easy route, to do what’s most comfortable and pleasurable, without stopping to think that maybe, at the other end of a completed challenge, we might just find something deeper, some new inspiration about life, rather than something familiar, something we are extremely comfortable in. It’s common knowledge that no good can come from staying in one’s comfort zone, but I realize that that’s exactly what I’ve been doing all these years. I’ve decided that the world out there is too crazy to deal with, and I’ve immersed myself in things which inspire me, such as powerful music or books, things that transport me away from real life. I didn’t think this was ever a problem because I never realized that this is what I was doing, in my mind I was simply enjoying something I liked. I get high and listen to an album, and it’s magical! No problem. Except that tomorrow I want to make some music, and it’s much better when I’m high. Okay, I’ve been working on music for a while now, it’s time to spend some time with my wife. Okay, let’s watch a movie, but yeah, movies are much more immersive when stoned, so here I go! You see what I mean? One moment after another, life goes by. In a way this is what I’ve always liked about weed, that it can make you more present, it can help one enjoy the mundane moments of life a lot more. I always saw this as something positive, but now I’m thinking that maybe we need to feel the absolute boredom and dissatisfaction of life if we ever want to evolve to the next level of our lives. If we can make any moment comfortable then why would we ever try to push ourselves further?

much love

~ rebel eye

DAY 8 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

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Time flies, and I’m often torn apart by indecision, since everything is a possibility, yet there’s not enough time for everything to be done correctly, or even at all. A person might struggle along one specific path throughout an entire lifetime, but does he or she finally know whether they’ve succeeded, once the moment of death arrives? Can we ever know for certain that we have lived in the right way? If there is really a right way to live, then it’s terrifying to think that we might convince ourselves into living a certain lifestyle, only to find out once it’s too late that that wasn’t really what we should have done with our lives. Would this regret even be valid though? It’s easy to wish we had done something different, once time has passed and we didn’t do it. Another story is whether we would really do it if given the chance, if we could somehow magically go back to that moment. The past is the past, and we didn’t know back then what we know now, so perhaps we would have done the exact same thing we already did, if we were ever given the chance to go back and relive, or redo, certain moments of our lives. It’s crazy to think that we might never really know whether we’re living correctly or not, we just have to trust our decisions and stick with them. There’s no trial period for the consequences of our actions and beliefs, or our lack of actions or beliefs. Certain things need to be done for other things to happen, certain sacrifices need to be made for certain doors to open. Certain beliefs lead us to act in certain ways, or to refrain from behaving in certain ways, but how can we be sure that our beliefs are the right ones when almost absolutely everyone seems to be one hundred percent positive of their own beliefs? If our beliefs are wrong then doesn’t that mean that all of our actions will be wrong from the very start, that all our dreams are doomed to failure? The scariest thing is that, to succeed at most endeavors we have to spend years and years perfecting our skills, learning, practicing, networking, diving deeper into whatever we are pursuing, whether we’re talking about personal or business endeavors. Who’s to say that, after so many years of working hard at something, we won’t be unfulfilled and left wishing we would have done something different? Maybe we’ll only realize that because of the life experience we’ve gained from whatever it is we ventured into, which we are now thinking was a mistake. But was it really a mistake? How could you have learned this lesson if you hadn’t lived your life in the specific way you have up until now? But then again, what’s the point of this lesson now when it would have helped me out much more so many years ago, when I actually had the time and energy to invest into whatever it is that I now consider what should have been my actual pursuit? Mind games, leading to regret and dissatisfaction. Buddhism would emphasize the need to live in the present, to minimize attachment to what would have or could have been, and to just be happy in the moment, to be present and not to wish for anything to have been different. Sure, this could definitely be the healthiest and most practical approach to life, maybe even the correct approach to life (again, could be, but not sure, just like any other approach to life), but that doesn’t really mean that it isn’t valid to say that maybe we would have been more successful or happier if we had done something else, if we had turned our lives into something different. The point though, as I see it, is that whatever we have gone through was our own experience, it is specifically ours so that we may grow from it by relating to it in our own specific ways, dependent on everything else we’ve experience during our lives. Maybe everything really is meant to be in such a way, and then again, maybe nothing is meant to be, which would mean that all of our experiences, all of our pain and our struggles, our joy, the love we feel our friends and family, would all be random and trivial in the grand scheme of things. It’s true that I’m not a hundred percent sure about anything at the end of the day, if I can be completely honest, but I sincerely doubt that idea, that everything we experience is trivial and that there is no deeper meaning to any of it. As we learn if we study Hermeticism, “As above, so below; as within, so without.” Everything goes way deeper than we could ever know, all of our decisions and experiences, all of our thoughts, our feelings and emotions all stem from farther away, from deeper than we could ever imagine. Well, again, that’s just kind of what I feel to be the truth, no guarantees! I know that someone has the best chance of succeeding if they focus all of their time and energy, or at least as much of them as possible, into one thing and one thing only. Unfortunately I’ve never been able to settle for one thing. I love making music because so much music inspires me, and I love writing because so many great books have inspired me as well. I love rapping because that’s what I started with, that’s what I’m best at when it comes to music, but I hate so much of what makes up hip-hop culture these days. It’s never been the healthiest culture, understandably, but I think any fan of hip-hop knows what I’m talking about when I say that things are much worse now, and it’s gone downhill in a really sad way. Another path for me could be beats, since I love producing beats as well, and I’m getting into it just now like never before, taking my beat game up to the next level, so we’ll see where this takes me with time, I pray to God I make the right decisions, and I have to work at keeping my mind clear and free from stress and distractions.

much love

~ rebel eye

DAY 5: Eternal Words (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

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Day 5 of writing a thousand words from my mind. I’m glad I’m sticking with this goal so far, it’s only been five days but I’m feeling really motivated to keep this going this time. The second time I attempted to do this daily I got up to Day 81, then when I failed it I basically didn’t post anything else on here for like two years. That was from August 2019 to now. I can say I’m finally getting back into writing, and it feels good. Writing is weird in a way. It’s such a simple thing but it can get really complex. How do we know when it’s good or bad writing that we’re reading? It’s all subjective isn’t it? When is a piece of writing finished? Couldn’t we always find another fancier word to convey our message? Writing a novel is complex, every little word matters, every choice makes a different to the overall story. Writing can be complicated in such a way, or it can be simple. Free writing is basically just thinking, but writing down what we’re thinking, or as much of what we’re thinking as we can before our mind is invaded by the next thought. So what exactly is it about writing thoughts down that makes them special? Wouldn’t the same ideas be just as brilliant if they hadn’t been written down? Ah, but that’s the thing, how would we have ever encountered these ideas in the first place, had they not been written down? Often times I feel really inspired by something I read in a book because it deeply resonates with a thought or emotion of my own, maybe one that I hold deep inside and would struggle to put into words if I tried, so I just don’t try. It’s cool to find that someone else has thought about the same thing as you and agrees with you, even if most of the planet might not necessarily see things in that way. Some of the ideas in my mind can get so complex and confusing, and sometimes it feels like I’ve been going over an idea for quite a while without reaching any conclusion. Suddenly something I read shines a light on that whole subject and shows me that I can look at the situation in a completely different way from anything I’d even considered. Whether it’s reinforcing an idea that I already have, or providing a new perspective for me to consider, it’s crazy to me how powerful written words can be, how the correct combination of words used to transmit an idea from someone’s mind can resonate so much with another person, even thousands of years after the writer has passed away. As Marcus Aurelius stated “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” What we do means everything we do, including whatever we write. It’s insane to think that his famous book Meditations, was never even meant for others to read. It was basically like a journal of sorts for him, he just wanted to write some ideas down, and here we are, reading them and listening to them thousands of years later. What if he had chosen to simply think these thoughts, but didn’t ever think to write them down? All religions have their holy books, which are presumably thousands of years old. What would religion be without those words? Now, I won’t get into a date on whether life would be better or worse without things such as religion, but if there was no religion because there was no writing, then you can be sure that there would be a lot more missing in the world, like music and art, even basic education. What would we be? We would be nothing like what we are today. That’s why, as a writer and a musician, it can be hard for me to write sometimes. For any generic radio rapper the task might be really easy, it’s common knowledge that sex, drugs and violence are mostly what sell. It doesn’t take much effort two write a few half-assed bars about how much money you have and how many women you’re having sex with. Yeah, these rappers are what society would call “successful” and who can argue? They have big mansions and luxury cars, every high school boy wants to be them, to be as successful with women as they are, to have everyone look up to you. Are they properly calculating the cost of that success though? Everything has a price, and everything requires some sacrifice. If you essentially sell your talent and allow the industry to tell you what to make music about, yeah, you will get the financial reward, the peace of mind of not having to worry about money anymore, but what about your impact on the planet and on those who are listening to you? What will come to you as a result of all of this? What are trying to promote with your words, positivity or negativity? Hope, or anger and resentment? Do you want the world of the future to be more focused on humanity, on empathy, on how to move forward and help one another to grow? Or would you rather have the young men of tomorrow measure their success by how many cars they own or how many women they can sleep with? Doesn’t this also imply that women are no more than sexual objects, possessions to be acquired? I don’t think any of this is right, but sadly this is where we’re headed as a society, every day we are falling more in love with materialism, and forgetting how to love and uplift one another. So what can you do? What can I do? Well, some of us are fortunate enough to be able to provide help to others who are not in the best situations. If you have no money though, what’s stopping you from writing? I’m simply writing my thoughts here, just like Marcus Aurelius decided to do when he wrote what would later become Meditations. I don’t know what you’ll take from this post, what anyone who reads it will take from it, but I am sure you will get more out of it than if the ideas were just left to float around in my head. I appreciate anyone who’s reading this, I believe that we were meant to connect in this way. Remember, put your heart and soul into all that you do, and if your intentions are pure, most likely you’ll be influencing the world in a positive way.

Much love

~ rebel eye