Filling the Void-Interview With Figgy of “The Wealth Club” {Diamond In The Rough}

*************LISTEN TO THIS TRACK BY FIGGY ENTITLED “ELECTRIC SLIDE MUSIC”!!! CLICK THE LINK–> Electric Slide Music

 

Music has a way of dragging you out of the monotony of a dreary day.  Music creates paradise in the midst of poverty.  Music set scenes.  You ever hear a song and it remind you of an ex? Or hear a song that causes you to drive your car faster, lift more weight at the gym, or maybe even run further?  I’ve always loved all music but hip hop touches me in a special place.  I used to listen to my older cousins Big Daddy Kane album on my tape deck.  I would blast Queen Latifah “Black Reign” through the house until my father said I had to turn it down because it had too much profanity.  That being said, I am so pleased to feature an up and coming artist on the blog!  The following is an interview with Figgy of The Wealth Club. 

1) What inspired you to form the group?

When I was in high school, I wanted to “Restore Hip-Hop to its natural state” and all that other hipster, hype beast bull. But as we started to vibe with each other and make music together we realized that we were filling a void. We were making the music that we wanted to hear, not the music being forced on us thru radio, TV, and other mainstream media outlets. So I guess our inspiration came from being sick and tired of doing the Soulja Boy

2) Name the members of the group and one unique talent they contribute to the eclecticism you offer to the music industry as a whole.

We’re made up of a myriad of talents. From producers, to promoters, all the way down to haters. But Hook, GP! & I (Figgy F) are the faces of the Wealth Club. Hook brings the raw, unadulterated lyricism (That Brooklyn Sh*t), plus he’s the hook master (Hence the name, hook lol). GP! Is our wildcard, he’s a singer turned rapper, turned singer, turned potent artist. It’s almost indescribable. He’s bringing something absolutely fresh to the industry. I always find it very difficult to talk about what I bring to the table. Along with Hook & GP! I feel like I have the ability to give the listener direct insight into my life. You don’t see that anymore in hip-hop. People are often living vicariously through their predecessors while we’re just trying to let you know what we’re doing right now.

3) At Shutyamouthandcallmeugly.com we believe that passion is the space between wanting something and needing something.   What are you passionate about and do you think it comes forth in your music?

Enlightenment, I’d like to think that we live in an age where you’re judged by your intellect and the content of your character rather than your class or skin color. Here at the Wealth Club we strive to be the voice of the thinkers, the voice of the intellectuals, the voice of the people who want to see this world become not only a better place, but a place that embraces individuality.

4) Who is your favorite music artist? Why?

We don’t have one. We can’t have one. We draw influence from everywhere. Shout out to Kanye West though lol.

 

5) Which one of your songs is your personal favorite?

“Snapshot Music” It’s about 10 mins long but it seems like 3 and it features almost everyone who was involved with our movement at the time. It was like the summary of our first summer together.

6) Wealth Club will be featured in the “Diamond In The Rough” section of the blog. That section is being developed as stomping grounds for entrepreneurs, aspiring artists, and community fixtures that I believe shouldn’t be overlooked and need exposure.   What is your plan B if you don’t reach your desired level of success as a musician? What “rough” circumstances have you had to overcome to get noticed?

You don’t need a Plan B when Plan A is paying off lol. We never imagined ourselves as top-notch main stream major label artists. When it’s all said and done, I still want to be able to go to Mc Donald’s. We still want to be regular people; we want to influence the people with our music rather than our celebrity. As far as overcoming rough circumstances, I mean that’s what we do every day. We’re on the grind until we change the world.

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If you have any questions for The Wealth Club please comment and/or inbox me at ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly@gmail.com!!!

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When the booty calls back!

CLICK HERE FOR SOUND CLIP—–>>>>>>       Memo

When The Booty Calls Back

Its me…you remember don’t you?

Its 10:59 and I’m starting to despise time

So angry that its hard to keep the rhyme in these lines

I can feel my heart beating and vibrating my collar-bone

thumping to the tick tock of that chrome clock

26 hours ago, I was entering your room

24 hours ago It felt like you were entering my womb

Planting passion and paradise

I dreamt twice

I said goodbye to the man who was a day late and a dollar short

Now he’s scraping change and flipping his calendar back

I said goodbye…

I said goodbye! For you!

Are you ever gonna call?

I’m just another one hit wonder

And you’re taking my number off heavy rotation….

remember that Pandora lovemaking station we listened to?

Well its me…

…the one you called when you were lonely.

You remember, don’t you?

By: Shaun M Nickens

You’re In Good Hands-Chest Naked In The Park (part 6)

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Tamara’s cousin Courtney was reaming into her.

“Why in God’s name would you borrow $10,000 from your ex-boo’s brother?” Courtney screamed

Tamara was looking over her car insurance policy.  The towing company came to the job to take her car to the auto glass repair shop.  She could have called a cab but it  be was second nature for her to call her older cousin.  Her cousins were good to her.  If she needed anything ever, they were there for her.   They may not be there silently but they would be there.

“It wasn’t $10,000, it was $11,300.  Furthermore, I didn’t borrow it.  He gave it to me,” Tamara said defensively.

“That’s stupid.  You sound stupid.  I’m not saying you are stupid but the words that you just released weren’t intelligent,” Courtney badgered.

Tamara was sitting on her cousins couch watching Courtney as she flailed her arms and attempted to cook dinner for her new fiance.  She dropped everything she was doing to come and get Tamara from work and consequently she burned the steak she was making.  Now she was in the kitchen  attempting to save it and make it edible.  Finally, in utter frustration, she threw the steak and the burnt pan in the trash.  She then began to rummage through her junk drawer for a menu for the local BBQ spot.  Courtney then adjusted her cut off jean shorts, ran her hand over her perfectly shaped up short hair cut, checked out her precisely plucked eyebrows in a tablespoon and then she hugged her cousin lovingly and plopped down on the couch next to Tamara.   She knew Tamara was sensitive and she knew that Tamara had been having a tough time with all the drama with Travis.

“Why did you take the money?” Courtney asked inquisitively.

“Sire knew that I was preparing my demo.  I’ve been wanting to do voiceovers for animated cartoons forever. He believed in me.  He handed over the money. Maybe he felt bad about the way his brother treated me.  I don’t know but I was in no position to deliberate.  My dreams were being handed to me in one check.”

“So now what?” Courtney asked

“Now there’s a hole in my back window because my ex thinks I’m banging his brother,” Tamara said.

“Well …are you?!”  Courtney raised her perfect eyebrow

“Courtney???!!!!” Tamara exclaimed.

“I’m just saying. The boy is sexy. I would do it.”

“No,” Tamara whispered while trying to contain her aggravation.

“It has never crossed your mind?”  Courtney sat straight up in her seat.  She couldn’t contain herself.

“No,” Tamara lied.

Courtney stood up immediately.  “Where’s the justice in the world?  Dudes take a woman to Applebees for a 2 for $20 and they get the drawers but this man gives you $11,300 and he gets no nani points?!  That’s insane!”

Tamara didn’t respond.  There was too much on her mind.

Courtney smiled knowingly.  She knew her cousin well and knew she would never admit to such lustful thoughts.  If anything ever happened with Sire and Tamara, Tamara would take it to her grave and into the afterlife.

“Well I think you should get a new car with a great security system and tints” Courtney shared.

“I don’t have that kind of money right now, Courtney.”

“You never have money.  Might as well be happy.  In fact, if my calculations are correct, don’t you have $11,300?”

Tamara rolled her eyes.

“I’m just saying you manage being broke well.  You pay your bills don’t you? I’d rather you in a new car.  You’re not an Egyptian, Nubian Queen.  No one is going to bury you in your crown with your jewels and your cash laying with your embalmed body,” Courtney then giggled while swirling the ice in her glass.

” The money Sire gave me was for my demo, Courtney.  Realistically, it’s not even a lot of money.  It would be ghetto to put a down payment on a car with $32,000 in student loans.”

“So be ghetto, ”  Courtney said matter of factly.

Courtney was in her element.  She was on her second glass of Wray and Nephews on the rocks.

Courtney had a kick ass approach to life.  Shoot first and ask questions later.  She was beautiful and intensely resilient.  She was a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl but when she stepped it up…she was flawless and breathtaking.  Even women would stop and give her props.  She had a simple and direct way of speaking.  For some reason, whenever she gave advice to Tamara, it stuck.  She was street smart.  Courtney always landed on her feet. If she scraped her knees, she had antiseptic and cocoa butter ready in hand.   Tamara respected her because she was a survivor.

“Courtney, I hear everything loud and clear.  I also know that you are trying to divert my attention away from this problem.”

“What problem?” Courtney replied sincerely.

“Travis.”

Courtney stood up so quickly that some of her drink splashed out of her glass.  She licked what she could salvage from her hand and her arm.

“Oh, oh please.  He aint no problem.  All the family we have in law enforcement? All the criminals I’ve dated????! We have friends in high and low places! I got somethin’ for that ass!”

“No I feel like it will dissipate.”

“I don’t even know what that means,” Courtney laughed.

They both laughed infectiously.  Tamara put her hand out while Courtney poured another glass of “happy juice.”  This time they both indulged.  Tamara put her head back and released a heavy sigh.  She blinked and rolled her eyes to keep from crying.

“Uh oh, you have that possessed look that you get every once in a while.  You’re a little overwhelmed aren’t you, Tamara?”

Tamara didn’t answer.  She just sniffled.

“Keep drinking while I look up your horoscope for today. ”  Astrology was big for Courtney.  She used it as a basis for many things.  She gauged all relationships around zodiac signs.  She believed it gave her insight on how to read people.  Tamara had to admit,  her cousin was good at reading people.  She had an understanding for people’s individual needs.  Courtney pulled out her new phone and she proceeded to read Tamara’s horoscope:

“Cancer, if you’re experiencing uncertainty, a level of your life is about to change.  If you feel like you’re living a TV drama…sit back and enjoy the ride!  Try to relax.  Change is the cousin of success.”

Tamara rolled her eyes again. ” Courtney, isn’t that a little vague?  Those things are so general.”

“No they’re not!!!!”  Courtney retorted defiantly.

“Tamara, you feel uncertain.  You’re worried.  You’re concerned about your future.  I’m not feeling uncertain about anything. In the name of impartiality, I’m being honest.”

Courtney sipped again and then continued.

“You are living a TV drama. It doesn’t get any more cinematic than this baby!  How fitting that the horoscope says, ” sit back and enjoy the ride.” Ride?  A car reference?!  Travis shot through your back window!  That is very specific.  Nothing vague about that.”

The more connections Courtney made, the more excited she became.

“Try to relax, ” Courtney re-capped. “I told you to get a car with security.  If you were secure, you would CONSEQUENTLY…eowwwwwwwww big word…..you would relax!”

Courtney applauded herself.  Spun.  Took a bow and then finally after one long exasperated breath, she fell back into the couch.

“Change is the cousin of success.  Come on Tamara!  I’m your cousin. I’m successful.  If you adhere to some necessary changes, you will win. Orrrrrrrrrr….maybe they mean “change” in a money sense.  You now have new money.  Proper use of it will induce success.!”

“You have to admit it!  That was logical, Tamara!”

Tamara stood up suddenly.  She re-read a small paragraph in the insurance policy.  She pounded her fist into the coffee table and the legs simultaneously broke off.

” HEY!!!! What in the seventh circle of hell????!  Slamming your hand into my table!  That was $22.99 at IKEA, Ms. Karate Kid.  What’s wrong with you, T?”

“I just read a clause that I overlooked  in this insurance policy. ” Tamara then sorted through the papers and looked at her umbrella policy.

“What’s that, T?”

“My umbrella policy.  Additional liability insurance to protect my other assets.”

“So why the alarm? What did my table do to your umbrella policy?”

“I wanted to assess my coverage and my ability to sue if Travis keeps destroying my stuff but there seems to be a tort stipulation in my documentation.” Tamara fought back tears.

“What’s the stipulation?” Courtney asked while nursing her broken table.  She was concerned.  Tamara had a troubled look she had never seen before.  As if she had done something irreversible.  Tamara stood up and rushed to the bathroom nearby.  She crouched over the toilet seat and she unleashed all her anxiety.  She approached Courtney slowly and she wiped the side of her mouth.

“I can’t sue my spouse” Tamara mumbled.

Courtney stood up and handed Tamara the rest of the bottle.

…..to be continued

-By: Shaun Nickens

Scary Nervous People Shouldnt Carry Guns- My “two-cents” on the Trayvon Martin case

From the time the Trayvon Martin story emerged, I said I wouldn’t say anything.  I heard the story of teenaged Trayvon Martin…murdered and the murder justified by a flaky FL “Stand Your Ground” law.  When it first occurred, there were pictures all over facebook with “protestors” who had photos of themselves in hoodies of assorted colors.  Usually, it was accompanied by a subtitle that read “I am Trayvon Martin.”  Despite the fact that is was done quickly and on a social networking site we must admit these are powerful statements from a generation that is always accused of being “lost.”  They marched.  They got angry.   They found direction.

How many classroom debates have I taken part in where the pivotal question is always “Where is your revolutionary spirit?”   As an ethnic and cultural studies major, I’ve often wondered what it would take to truly piss us off.  What occurrence would spark rebellion as opposed to temporary controversy?  In my short lifetime I’ve experienced 9-11, the *Amadou Diallo case, the **Sean Bell murder, *** Rodney King and I’ve even witnessed a few heated family arguments about the OJ Simpson trial.  Maybe I was too young to accurately assess the weight these events had on society at the time.  What I can say is I have a t-shirt that has a photo of ****Emmett Till on the front and the back says “Little Shop of Horrors” with a full description of the story of the unjust murder of Emmett Till and I wear it proudly.  I’m never concerned about whether it will be an uncomfortable conversation piece between someone of another race and myself. The fact remains; it is a piece of our American history and it is something that we should be ashamed of.  What broke my silence on this case is the shirt Jamie Foxx wore to the 2012 BET awards.  I quickly thought about my Emmett Till shirt and realized I am witnessing another shameful tragedy in American History.

On Monday 7/2/12, the Daily News did a brief on a mural that is being painted in East New York in honor of the slain Florida teen.  In today’s Daily News, there is a brief on the outrage expressed by Rev. Al Sharpton in regards to the second bail release of Zimmerman and all the financial support he has been getting from the public via internet financial donations.   The Trayvon Martin case has a lot to do with the generational undying social construct of race and racism.  I personally feel like it is a time for societal introspection.  Simply, we have a law that allows you to shoot a human being dead if they are scary.  I wouldn’t do that to a dog.  I cried during Bambi when his father died.  There is something inhumane about this story.  What makes them scary you may ask?  A hoodie.  This young man was 6’2” 140-150 lbs.  That’s not a big guy.  Have you ever seen a young man that tall at that weight?  There was nothing scary about this boy with his bag of Skittles.  I don’t care how many times I read the story from the perspective of Zimmerman.  There is no way on the face of the planet that he can convince me that he was intimidated by this teenaged boy with his baby face.   Why didn’t he shoot to injure?  Why did he kill him?

If we remove prejudice and all the stereotypical bull fed to us by media, we would have no way of judging one another.  How would you know your neighbor is “poor white trash”?  How would you know your co-worker is a chicken eating, watermelon picking, Bergamot scalp oiling, rapping, “NIGGER”?    Those thoughts were fed to you, subliminally.  It’s those same thoughts that gave gun-toting Zimmerman the self-appointing right to end a young man’s life.  Fight the power.  If not…you can ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly

 

-Shaun M. Nickens

* Amadou Diallo was a 23-year-old immigrant shot and killed Feb of 1999 by New York City’s Finest

**Sean Bell was slain in 2006 by NYPD the night before his anticipated wedding day

***Rodney King was beaten harshly by LAPD in 1991.  After the officers were acquitted, riots began and could only be stopped by military force.

****Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy brutally murdered for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi in 1955

This One Is For You…

If you’re always almost there

If you fight yourself not to care

If your bark is worse than your bite.

If your heart is under construction indefinitely

If your patience is deliberately tested

If your dues have been paid and you should be vested

If your aggy beyond all aggifyable agginess

If your dreams are too long for the time they are allotted

If you have felt defeated and plotted against

If you have been alone even with company

If your thoughts are sometimes remarkably too heavy and it causes you to hang your head

If you have ever felt like someone is placing boulders on your chest one by one and you are struggling to breathe

If you have ever cried because nothing is wrong and everything isn’t right

If you have ever tried to support a brother and purchased a demo cd that you ain’t like

If you’ve ever lost sleep

If you’ve ever found it difficult to eat

If you’ve ever trusted

If you’ve ever been disgusted

If you’ve ever given the benefit of the doubt

If you’ve ever taken a step back to control what comes out of your mouth

If you’ve ever felt like you could swim the Nile

If you’ve ever wanted to drown yourself in it

If you’ve ever loved

This one is for you…

-Shaun Nickens