WHAT YA LIFE LIKE?
“To devote wholly and earnestly as to some person or purpose.” What are you dedicated to? If while answering this question numerous thoughts flash through your mental, I beg you to rethink the direction of your life. I love asking rappers the infamous question, “why do you rap?” It’s amusing to see the ones that stumble over their words and attempt to create a false reason of why they create music. I always say passion is something you can’t fake and these types of artists just don’t have that passion and it shows once you listen to their music. It’s shallow, with every song sounding the same and having no meaning behind it.
The others? Oh, the others, they don't have to think twice about it. Sometimes they almost answer the question before you even finish asking it. More times than not, it's to create a better life, not for them but, for the people around them. And those are the artists who tend to make the best music, not because they're dedicated to music, but because they're dedicated to something much larger than music, thus, the dedication for music is undeniable. So, I ask you again, what are you dedicated to? Find out what truly drives you in life and use that drive to fuel your career. Rather you create music, play basketball, or work a corporate 9 to 5. Find something that motivates you to go hard and go as hard as you can. Peace and much blessings to you!
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AND LET US NOT GROW WEARY OF DOING GOOD, FOR IN DUE SEASON WE WILL REAP, IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP.
TABLE OF CONTENTS MANI COOLIN..................................................4 How to Make Your EP Stand Out............7 Editorâ€™s Bold Predictions.......................13
Fashion.....................................22 SPOKEN PHOR 8
Meet Bronx emcee, Spoken Phor. Who, through his music looks to leave a lasting impression on the world.
TONY HARRISON.................................................20 FLACO SHALOM.............................................26
Editor-in-Chief Edward Burney Writers Eric Guzman Heather Carter Tashai Long Graphic Designers Geena Giddens Amanda Dudek Christopher Hamlet Media Empowerment 1600 Clay St. Detroit, MI 48211 All Rights Reserverd
not pictures Kid Tef, J- Sun, Shelby Rozay, Jimmy Stoner, & Erin Fortune
WORDS BY TASHAI LONG
Let me introduce you to Mani Coolin, an up and coming emcee from the West Coast, who’s fresh off of the release of his latest mixtape, Bad Decisions Good Intentions. I got the chance to chop it up with Mani about his mixtape, what’s going on in his life and a lot more. Check out the Xxclusive Interview on page 6.
CHICAGO EMCEE, TREE, OFFERS LISTENERS AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE WINDY CITY’S DRILL MUSIC. If you've been paying any attention to Chicago's music scene as of lately then I'm sure you have heard of the term "drill music". If you live in Chicago then you know first hand the impact this genre of music has had on the city. So, it's always a breath of fresh air when something different hits the scene. With that being said meet Tree and his latest EP simply titled, MC Tree EP. The raspy voice emcee likes to boast that he is the founder of “Soul Rap’ and rather you agree or not you can’t deny that Tree is talented and this EP proves just that. The 6 track project shows you a much different side to the Chiraq that we have become accustom to. IXONLINE.NET 4
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It took for me to see the consequences first hand for me to say, you know what, I’m just going to do this music.
You’re fresh off of the release of your latest mixtape, Bad Decisions Good Intentions, what’s the response been like so far? It’s been great so far, I appreciate everyone who’s been listening to it. Honestly I didn’t think it was going to be as big as it was. It’s been real cool so far. How did you come up with the picture for the cover? Um… honestly that came up on the day we shot the cover. I wanted to make it look like it was bad decisions good intentions. My whole expression on there, when you look at it, it just looks like the name of the album. Just with the rosary in my hand, the way I’m looking down at the floor, everything. Now, what process did you go through while you were writing everything? When I started recording I wasn’t writing in the studio, I was writing at the house. I never finish songs the first day. I go through a bunch of sessions until it’s finalized. How do you juggle being up&coming artist and your everyday life? I know things get hectic. Aww man, I don’t know, it’s hard. I really don’t know, I take it day by day. I don’t really try to think about that too
much. I just go day by day and record my music, ya know? It’s like it’s supposed to happen. What’s the feeling like to know you’re music is finally getting the recognition it deserves? Are you growing impatient? No, actually it’s real humbling, it might be opposite for other people but it’s humbling to me. To know that people appreciate the music now. I hope it happens soon, ya know? But I’m not rushing anything. How would you personally describe your style of music? I guess I rap about real life things. I don’t think too many people rap about real life music and if they do it’s a lot of stuff people can’t relate to. Like mainstream artist, you got Kendrick Lamar and a few more. I think once people start to listen, they will appreciate it more. What was it that kept you out of the streets? I seen the consequences when we use to just hangout. But it took for me to see the consequences first hand for me to say, you know what, I’m just going to do this music.
MAKING YOURS STAND OUT We’ve heard this term used countless times within the hip-hop industry. “Hey, check out my EP, dropping soon.” A phrase that is uttered by a monstrous amount of emcees. With all of the competition and with new projects dropping every day, how do you package your EP to make it stand out amongst the competitors?
1. 2. 3. We’re living in a day and age where the average listener’s attention span is extremely short, with that being said, structure your EP to be as short as possible. However, place enough songs on your project that will captivate the listener’s ears and ultimately leave them wanting more. Let’s say keep it under 7 songs.
Visuals. Visuals and more VISUALS! Because you’re making a project with 7 songs or less, you have the opportunity to shoot a video for every song, and that you should. Yes, you heard us right, every song. This way, even if someone doesn’t download your EP in its entirety, they’ll still have the opportunity to check out each song, along with some pretty dope visuals.
Free. Free and more FREE. I know rappers only want to hear free when it’s in front of the word style, however, let’s be honest for second. When you’re a rising emcee your main focus shouldn’t be to make money, yes, that’s the ultimate goal but you can’t focus on it too much while your starting out. Your main focus should be on reaching as many listeners as possible and putting out the best music, naturally money will follow. So, release your EP via DatPiff, AudioMack, BandCamp, etc. 7 IXONLINE.NET
PHOR A constant struggle, learned lessons, a battle. These are just a few phrases that sum up what most of us call, life. Although your struggles may be different than someone else’s, there’s no denying that your life will have its share of setbacks. Through his music Bronx emcee, Spoken Phor, looks to connect with his listeners by spilling out vivid rhymes pertaining to his past and the struggles he experienced while growing up in the Bronx. A music lover since a kid, Spoken Phor says he has always been passionate about doing music. However, it wasn’t until he graduated high school that he would turn his passion for this art into a pursuing career. “Once I graduated high school I knew that this was something I wanted to do with my life, so, I started pursuing it more seriously. You know, full blown projects,
That’s the beauty of music, it’s powerful, it can put people in a certain mood and truly impact them in a positive way.
putting out material, just really getting on track.” The journey for Spoken Phor officially began in October of 2010 with the release of his debut project, Half Way There. The 10 track album set the tone for the NY artist and showed that he was definitely an emcee on the rise. Fast forward to 2014 and Spoken Phor is all set to release Dreams of Eternity. An album that will portray the dark struggles of life through smooth, timeless hip-hop. “It’s definitely like a dark sound”, he says. “A lot of the subject matter is from dark stages of my life. Stages that everyone will be able to relate too and that’s the ultimate plan. When asked why fans should check out Dreams of Eternity, Phor simply states, “I think it may save somebody, it may save a listener. And that’s the beauty of music, it’s powerful, it can put people in a certain mood and truly impact them in a positive way. 9 IXONLINE.NET
Words by: Heather Carter
ne by one the members of Verbal Vomit came into our office: Chavis Chandler, A-Minus, Nolan the Ninja, J!mmy Ston3r and Erin Fortune. They walked in cracking jokes, laughing and talking smack. I immediately felt like I knew them. It was as if we all went to high school together and was having a mini reunion. “Can we smoke in here,” one of them asked. “Yeah I don’t care,” I replied. As I set up my Mac Book to record the interview, a lighter flickers and Chavis begins to talk about his latest plans. “Yo is this shit recording,” asked Jimmy. “Yeah,” I replied. He blows smoke in the air and we start the most interesting conversation I’ve had with strangers in a long time.
IX: My first question is how do you know each other? AM: Well me Chav and Jimmy are from the same hood. CC: Seven mile between Ryan and Mound AM: I met Chav when I was selling sneakers and shit. Around ‘08. This nigga wanted some Infrared Infusion 6’s. CC: I started Verbal Vomit in the seventh grade. Jimmy, was the first person in Verbal Vomit. I met him in school cause’ we use to battle each other everyday. We were the two nicest dudes in school because we had more cultural background, as far as hip-hop. JJ: We was doing what niggas doing now. We was doing it on tapes and shit.
CC: Yeah I use to sneak a tape recorder in school and we use to lay tracks and shit during my art class cause our teacher use to let us. We went to Farwell Middle School, it’s not called that anymore. But yeah that’s how me and him got started. It was called metaphor originally. We were doing a lot of shit at that time. That was probably the most productive and the most creative we ever were because we were kids and we had a lot of time to be around each other and do other shit. We had fun with it. I met Nola in ‘09 at Bob’s Classic Kicks in Midtown, Detroit. We went there every Saturday morning and shit to do ciphers and we use to wear these lil’ Wee Ninja key chains. We got cool, started rhyming together and he started producing. 11 IXONLINE.NET
I make people believe in my shit. It doesn’t matter how good you can rap if you’re not believable.
IX: So Nolan do you produce most of the tracks? NN: You can say that shit. AM & CC: Yeah! NN: Yeah Chavis’ new album, I did majority of the production on there. On Jimmy’s , A-Minus’ and on Erin’s too. It’s real subtle. IX: Yeah I agree, it is real subtle, it’s nice. [This is when they invited me to become a part of the fam.] IX: So Erin, how did they meet you? Erin: I’m one of the newest members. I’ve been listening to them since high school (Erin’s a ** in college now). The first song I ever heard was from one of my sisters. She was like “hey come listen to this boy he’s from Detroit.” I’m like yeah whatever. And it was Chavis, it was a song called “Seasons” And after I heard that it was like he was really good. Then I heard his (Chavis’) second mixtape and they (Jimmy, A-Minus and Nolan) were all on there and I’m like they’re all good and I need to listen to them. I listened to all of them that’s when I realized they were in a group and at this time I was still in high school and I was singing in choirs and glee club. It was only until after high school that I told Chavis that I sing and he’s like “I aint know that” and I sang for him and the rest is history.
CC: She didn’t know that I got into music through singing. A lot of people didn’t know that. Everybody in my family sings. IX: You still sing now? CC: yeah [At this moment the group names a list of songs he should sing.] IX: By the end of the interview you should sing. IX: So what about everybody else? How did you get your start in music? JS: I was like 8-years old and I heard Missy Elliot for the first time. I couldn’t take it. I was like “ What the fuck is this? Oh, I gotta rap this is what I gotta do,” and from then on I’ve been making everything, all my shit. I started off recording off of keyboards and tape, then camera, I started making all of my shit. That was it. I was in everything. CC: The people that I’m around the people I make music with, we got that kinda bond that nobody can break, no matter what. I’mma always do what I can do. Like the choices for my career. Just to make sure that it’s better for me to get done with them around? I’m not just for self… AM: But not only that. What separates us from other groups around the city. It’s like everybody know Chav he’s got that buzz. But we don’t have to depend on Chav we all grind too. Like other groups depend on their leader to blow
so they can shine but we are all a union we are all together. Everybody supports each other. When we come together it’s like Voltron Jimmy: Yeah that’s crazy, like the nigga from the Power Rangers. AM: That’s how we do. We don’t need no names to rise. IX: So what is your take on the Detroit Hip-hop Scene, like the Detroit music scene in general? CC: We gotta long way to go. You want me to be honest? We got a long way to go. NN: In my opinion I feel like it needs to be more unified. If you look at other movements like, I guess the West Coast and you look at like, hell even Chicago right now you know what I mean? You got Chance the Rapper, Alex Wiley and all of them, like everybody is just more unified. In Detroit is like everybody is so deep in the competitive aspect right now that they loose touch of wanting to build with each other. It’s like hate before you even meet the person. You got people that will talk down about you
before they even hear a record by you, just because you’re making noise and they see you making noise and they want to make the noise too. It definitely needs to improve and that’s why I’m pretty sick of this shit? CC: That’s the reason why we out here fuckin’ with everybody. We different, we got the talent, everybody in our collective has a talent that can cater to someone else’s sound and make their shit sound beautiful. So whoever is working with us, they’re working with us because of that. It not like niggas out here trying to shit on other people’s shit but if somebody else does it better than you, you need to realize who is better than you at what. Because everybody is good at something. I can’t produce but Nolan can. I’m not the best rapper in the world but I’m better than niggas because of the way I present my shit. NN: Quality. CC: My quality, my cadence, I make people believe in my shit. It doesn’t matter how good you can rap if you’re not believable. I’m just fed up with this too. On another note, a lot of hipsters
niggas don’t fuck with the street crowd and a lot of the street niggas don’t fuck with the hipster shit. . I’m bridging the gap for everybody cause I did some shit with Team Eastside and I’ll turn around and do some shit with Danny Brown. I don’t go off of what everybody else gotta say. I see what the fuck I need to see and it’s my move. It’s a lot of talented artists I’ll never work with cause I don’t like their attitude. IX: How did the name verbal vomit come about? CC: I heard verbal vomit in an E-40 song. “Verbal Vomit, keep it 100”. I was looking around and seeing what everybody else was calling their shit at that time. Then I thought, this is original, this will stick, it’s not gonna get played out. IX: So what do you find to be the most challenging as an artist? Everyone: Timing NN: Cause sometimes you got some ill shit but your timing has got to be correct. Sometimes. That’s how the whole idea of having a joint slept on comes about because maybe the joint was ill as fuck and maybe it was put out at the time when everybody wasn’t really concerned with what was dropping at the time. Timing and patience but patience is actually the most challenging especially if you know you got some ill shit to bring to the table.
IX: So how do you balance your time with your art and your daily life? AM: It’s like having another job you have to find a way to balance it. E: As a college student its just school and singing. I’m in choirs at school too so between school, choirs and this mixtape you just have to find time to balance it out in a right way so that you don’t overwhelm yourself and stress about it. AM: You gotta sacrifice time a lot. I sacrifice time with my son, time at my job. Sacrificing can get you so far but sometimes you feel guilty because you’re missing out on certain things. NN: My art is my life. When I’m at home I’m creating, making beats and coming up with rhymes. When I’m not at the crib I’m at work thinking about doing whatever I want to do you gain inspiration from going about your life. So this is your life. IX: When you get into your “zone” and you’re doing your art what is the one thing that inspires you, indirectly and directly? NN: My whole theory with this rap shit is that it’s just like the drug game. When you coming up and your broke and you really don’t’ have a whole lot going on and you know other motherfuckers that you’re better than and you see them achieving more and now you want to be the kingpin so you’re working up to the kingpin spot. Once you’ve
Nolan The Ninja
My art is my life. When I’m at home I’m creating, making beats and coming up with rhymes. IXONLINE.NET 14
I sacrifice time with my son, time at my job. Sacrificing can get you so far but sometimes you feel guilty because you’re missing out on certain things.
you’ve built your clientele, once you’ve got your connects and your plugs and you rise to the top, motherfuckers you admiring are admiring you now. Its me just seeing other mother fuckers. I watch a lot of interviews from back in the day. Everybody just has this dream and if you just work hard at it and you put your soul and passion into it, it will come out get great results. AM: My son and providing for my family. JS: Strictly for the art. I’m coming straight from my imagination with my shit. Ultimately I want to be a film director. I watch movies and I’m inspired by movies. My new shit is called Surrealism. You know that era changed the way art looked. They just made fun of the world. I don’t take life seriously that’s why its humorous. It’s like Spaced out cause it’s always in my head.
IX: What can we expect from you guys in the New Year? CC: We should be doing a verbal vomit tour around Michigan. The dates have yet to be announced but we’re doing a Michigan tour. The whole crew. We’re gonna be selling merchandise and documenting that shit. And just pushing Dark Skin Jermaine. NN: And of course everybody is going to continue dropping music. Everybody got solo shit coming out this year. E: I’m excited for 2014 because this will be my first mixtape even though I already sing and have done things before like covers, it’s gonna be my art.
EDITOR’S BOLD PREDICTIONS STALLEY WILL HAVE A BREAKOUT YEAR
Apollo Mighty Looks To Restore R&B With His Soulful EP Rising Memphis singer, Apollo Mighty, looks to bring back the soulful sound that as been absent from the R&B game for quite some time. Following the release of his latest EP, VI, Apollo just might be able to achieve this task. The six track album is a smooth ride from start to finish, with each track being extremely emotionally driven. Throughout VI, Apollo lets you into his personal life and proves that he has what it takes to be the future of soul music.
Everything is lined up for Stalley to have a tremendous year. He’s fresh off the release of his award nominated mixtape, Honest Cowboy, and has a ton of momentum. Mark my words, 2014 will be big for Stalley.
NIPSEY HUSSLE’S VICTORY LAP WILL DEBUT WITHIN THE TOP 10
After seeing what Crenshaw did and the impact it had on the hiphop community, I’m even thinking it may crack the #1 spot. Let’s see what happens once it drops.
It’s a new year, which means one thing: new rappers. With new rappers comes new styles, new projects and new favorites. As you scan through the blog sites and search for those new faces of hip-hop, let us ease your efforts a little and introduce you to Mike Melinoe.
This young Detroit native is definitely an artist to keep an eye on in 2014. With a sound that is reminiscent of the vintage New York hip-hop, Mike is making a name for himself by making music he’s passionate about and not really caring what the masses think. With a new project on the way, 2014 is looking very bright for Mike Melinoe
People hear tive Pries but the Iâ€™m pissed th
etroit, MI. St. Andrews to be exact. Well, the bottom portion of St. Andrews, which is known as The Shelter. From Dizzy Wright to Dom Kennedy, as of recently The Shelter has hosted some of the top, rising names in the hiphop industry. Tonight, Denver emcee, Pries is scheduled to hit the stage. This is the third stop on The Freshman tour, the two previous cities were Cleveland and Pittsburgh, although due to some stiff weather conditions, the Cleveland show was canceled. Even with the cancelation Pries’s spirit is high and the excitement is undeniable. “Tour life has been chaotic but amazing”, says the once UNLV student. “It’s something different, something to get use too. You don’t get to eat like you usually eat. You don’t get to sleep like you usually sleep. You basically live everyday performing.” In spite of the hectic life that is associated with touring, as stated before, Pries’s spirit is high and for good reason.
Pries Words By Edward Burney
the conservathey don’t hear he fuck off Pries,
If you rewind a few years back you would fully understand. The, once homeless, native of the Mile High city has definitely had his share of troubles. Not one to hide anything or run from his past, Pries embraces it, which makes his music that much better. After signing a production deal, which would later fall through, the rapper born Lepries William Brooks, would find himself, along with a few friends stranded on the streets of California. Where, at night, hotel room floors doubled as beds and during the day they hoped to scrap together enough money to get something to eat. Good for us, Pries didn’t let those downhearted conditions bring his dreams of making it to a standstill. He continued to push forward. “I can tell you, I was homeless and I can be proud of it, look at me now, dreams do come true. I was a kid that was addicted to bullshit, look at me now.” Now, Pries is in a much better place. As each day passes his name begins to become more and more recognizable and the music continues to please the ear. With his latest single, “Willie Bandana”, Pries gives his fans the opportunity to get a side of him they may have not known existed, his alter ego as he likes to put it. “Willie Bandana is like a new me. It’s something for me to release another side of me the people don’t hear. People hear the conservative Pries but they don’t hear the I’m pissed the fuck off Pries, they don’t get that side. Now, they finally get it.”
list; and his name is Tony “Superbad” Harrison, a 23 year old boxer who currently stands undefeated with a record of 17-0.
WORDS BY ERIC GUZMAN
THE LAST PROTEGE
Detroit is in dark times these days. With the city filing for bankruptcy, many people wonder just how much the city has left in the tank. According to USA today, Detroit's population has declined 63% since 1950, including a 26% decline since 2000. The unemployment rate has tripled since 2000 and the homicide rate is the highest it’s been in 40 years. However, Detroit does have good news in its history, it’s been the home to some of the most recognized sports teams and athletes. Some of these include the Red Wings, the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons of 1989-90, Joe Louis, Barry Sanders and many more. Soon, a new name will be added to the IXONLINE.NET 20
Harrison comes from a family of athletes. He’s the grandson of boxer Henry Hank, the cousin of San Diego Chargers tight end, Antonio Gates, his brother is a professional basketball player overseas and he is trained by his father and role model, Ali Saleem El. “It’s definitely a blessing, I try not to waste the genes God gave me”, Harrison stated about his athletic background. Harrison grew up on Detroit’s west side, where growing up in that area has helped him develop as a fighter and an overall athlete. “You see a lot of athletes from around the world, but when you come from Detroit, there’s just something different”, Harrison stated. Harrison is also the last man to be trained by the late
You see a lot of athletes from around the world, but when you come from Detroit, there’s just something different. Emanuel “Manny” Steward, who was the man behind Kronk gym in Detroit. Steward has trained other big name boxers such as Tommy Hearns, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Caesar Chavez and Miguel Cotto. “It’s a humbling experience”, Harrison stated when asked about being trained by Steward and hopes to have his name mentioned along with the list of great fighters Steward has worked with. To come from such a hard city, it’s hard to leave that everlast-
ing mark and stand out from the rest. Harrison is the new guy on the block who wants to put Detroit boxing back on the map and bring positivity back to the city and it includes more than just boxing. Harrison is also very active in the community as he coaches a youth football team, the Michigan Bulldogs. It will be a challenge to restore the city, but Harrison is the one the city is looking to now.
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Shades of Flaco
Flaco Shalom opens up about life as an artist, a businessmen and the one thing that artists tend to confuse. WORDS BY HEATHER CARTER
t’s a Thursday evening in December. I’m walking down the slushed covered street to the building on the corner of Grand Blvd. and Woodward Ave. As many times as I’ve driven through this intersection, not once have I noticed this place, 6544 Woodard Ave. As I walk inside two paintings quietly introduce themselves. I glance in awe as I walk between them looking for the man responsible for their existence. The further I walk the more paintings I see. With the help of a few florescent spotlights and some fans, they lightly flutter in the air parading their hypnotizing color composition, brushwork and overall to make beauty. As I continue make my way around the place, Flaco Shalom, creator of the masterpieces, greeted me in a crewneck, paint splattered boots and a warm smile.
“Tomorrow is our last day,” he said. He rented the space for a few days to showcase his work and to sell prints. After a brief introduction he offered me a seat and an exclusive look inside the life of an artist. I was a nervous considering that I didn’t know much about art, but Shalom was cool the entire time. From 2nd grade drawing challenges to watercolors and acrylics Shalom has redefined what it means to be a modern day artist. At 28 years old, he is an entrepreneur, an innovator, an international sensation and a mentor to artists within the Metro Detroit area.
You may know him as the founder of the art gallery and studio, The Untitled Bottega. It’s a place where artists can learn, experiment and master their craft. It is, according to Shalom, the Sistine Chapel, a
a modern day Alexandria, a school of thought and a safe haven for artists. It’s a community where artists can nurture their passions and develop and exhibit his or her talent. It’s also the home to Shalom’s latest collection, Grace and Majesty. Beginning on Aug. 12 and ending on Dec. 13 of 2013, the 13-piece collection consists of a series of paintings of American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland, who Shalom refers to as his Mona Lisa. He compares Copeland’s essence to the element of water: powerful, vital and graceful. He speaks highly of his muse, claiming that she is the one that has elevated him to where he is now, artistically. “She’s pushed me to be the greatest artist I can be, period. Every time my brush touches the canvas, I know I need to kill it.” To him, each piece was better than the previous.
AT THE END OF THE DAY, ALL ARTISTRY IS ABOUT RHYTHM.
During the production of the Grace and Majesty collection, Shalom’s interest in ballet encouraged him to actually host a ballet himself. In December, under the choreography of Arryal Ramsey, The Untitled Bottega showcased “The Little Black Tutus,” a ballet inspired by the love story of Pablo Picasso and his first wife Olga Khokhlova and Shalom’s personal experiences. Shalom shared that one of the challenges that artists has is recognizing the difference between a muse and a lover. It’s a common issue within artist plight. He told me how artists incur many muses within their lifetime, and how each of his muses has propelled him to be better as an individual and as an artist. Shalom states that the most challenging thing for him as an artist was feeling appreciated. However, he knows that as an artist appreciation will come at the right time, and until he reaches his level of appreciation and supreme greatness he will continue to perfect his craft. Additionally, he hopes to bring the arts to disenfranchised places though education and artistry and that someday The Untitled Bottega is self-sustainable. He encourages budding artists and anyone with a dream to put in those 10,000 hours, brand and market himself or herself and to stretch the “creative muscles.” “Its about growth you keep at it, keep exploring different avenues and venues, you start piecing things together and once you discover your own style, you got it.”