Photo by Kevin L. Clark

“So much on my mind I just can’t recline,
Blastin’ holes in the night ’til she bled sunshine,
Breathe in… inhale vapors from bright stars that shine…
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline!
Heard the bass ride out like an ancient mating call,
I can’t take it y’all, I can feel the city breathin’
Chest heavin’, against the flesh of the evening,
Sigh before we die like the last train leaving…”

— Black Star ft. Common “Respiration”


There are a lot of people that I have to thank as a part of this trip even being a possibility. For that, go to my MySpace page and that is where your shout out is at. The trip to NYC was a blessing because I didn’t think that I’d be able to go and I didn’t think that I would make the connections that I did.


Leaving from Akron to go to NYC was fun, I met some interesting people. One in particular was Dave, who I also called Dale Earnhardt the Third. Him and Catillia were the two who rode all the way to New York City with me. Never saw either one of them after that. It was a shame — we could’ve all went out.


When I arrived at Ms. Pringle’s spot, it took me a minute because it’s not like the addresses are visably prominent on any building in New York. So, once I finally found it I had to sign in where this Jamaican guy named Jack was the security at the door. He had a nasty attitude, but someone should’ve just said the word “deport” and that would’ve straightened him out (or made him pull out a razor blade). I travelled around the city and got to meet up with Room Service, Iced Media, and stopped in the offices of Cornerstone Promotions. All of them were nice, even if I didn’t get a chance to meet Dani Lovett and Roberto Santos over at Cornerstone.


But my journey around NYC isn’t what you want to read about. You want to know about the 2nd Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Well… for that, you can go to my MySpace page to read the review about the concert.


After the show is what was interesting. My friend Yuma and I were looking for the afterparty. It was a Hip-Hop Karaoke joint that was right off of Lafayette in Brooklyn. This guy — Bilal — had attended the festival and said that he knew where he was going. So, we went too. Unbeknownst to us, we hopped on an express train that went past our destination. So, we’re hopping from train to train which made it seem like forever (even though it was only about 35 minutes of walking and switching trains) — and we finally let Christopher Columbus go his own way while we went ours.


So, Yuma and I had finally arrived at our destination (E. 14th St by Union Square). I was looking for a club, because I had never been in one while staying in New York. I talked to these two girls who also had attended the festival and asked them about clubs in the city. They pointed me to a few places, but one thing about Manhattan is that they want you to be clean like Diddy when you walk into their established. I didn’t exactly pack up some wing-tipped shoes and a button up shirt to go to a Hip-Hop concert.


The ladies pointed me in the direction of heading back to Brooklyn to go to this one spot that I can’t recall. But all I remember is that someone was stabbed their a few nights before. But I had introduced myself to the young ladies and one (Ms. Codougan) was familiar with my name. She at least recognized the name and some of the work, so I was uber-excited because of the fact that I didn’t know this woman from a hole in the ground and she was “familiar” with my name and the sites that I was associated with.


It truly made my New York experience all the more worthwhile. Which made me come to another revelation…


New Yorkers can’t dance for spit!


I finally found out about a club that was a block up the road from me. It was Webster’s Hall. It was already after 12 and the security guard named Franco had warned me. He said that it would be 30 pesos to enter into the establishment. I was flabbergasted! But I made my way over there anyways. My boy, Yuma, isn’t really the clubbin’ type, so he bounced out to head back to Mt. Vernon.


When I got there I thought I had hit pay dirt. Blacks and Latinos all chillin’… waiting to get into the mix. Reggae music pulsating from a basement door. No batty-boys, just a bunch of souls ready to get intertwined with the music.


My dreams were shattered as if Big Pun had sat on them, once the lady at the door said, “30 BUCKS!” I tried my best to Monty Hall the situation, but it wasn’t working. She then added, “I can’t let you in with that hat on… or those boots…” I was pissed. But I said that I was from out of town, showed her my ID and she let me in. But when I got in through the door…


…another lady was there asking for the money. So, I reluctantly gave her the 30 dollars, asking her if it’s truly worth it. I go in and when I looked around, I was disappointed. The Reggae room was jumping, but it was just like the ballroom on a Friday night. Nothing but a whole bunch of guys dancing around, doing the latest steps, while the girls sit around and watch. But the girls weren’t doing their own thing — they were standing around because they were outnumbered.


One thing about Webster’s Hall is that there are about six other rooms that you can go into if something isn’t your thang… I bounced in-between the Hip-Hop room and the Reggae/R&B room. It was cool. But when I went up to the Hip-Hop room, there was a male and female strippers (for the Pride weekend) and “Money Ain’t A Thang” was playing. Now, I swear that that was some old ass music. But the NY’ers were jammin’ to it like it was a Lupe Fiasco leaked album.


New Yorkers can’t dance for spit…


I mean they were dancin’ to some of the oldest, most dated, Mr. Magoo-like music that was out. Seven to ten year timespan at the worst. But the tricky part about it… was that it was all hits. Stuff that I’d probably still jam if they were on my computer.


All in all, New York wasn’t bad and I have a lot of photos and memories about this trip. I thank you all for supporting me in one way or another.


3 Responses to ““Respiration””

  1. Brown Suga Says:

    LOL, New Yorkers can dance! We are all different; from different cultures, per se. My family is from the West Indies; I know I can dance my a$$ off, fo’ sure. But to generalize like that, it’s not fair. Maybe you checked out the wrong club; Webster Hall is a beginner’s spot. If you have experience with clubbin’, I don’t recommend Webster. Strata is pretty good; for the hip and young crowd. Lotus is cool if you want to jam with a whole bunch of rock and trance-type peeps. The Shadow is for old folks, no questions asked. I mean each club has a different vibe, so it pretty much depends on your mood and what you are down for.

    Overall, I am glad you enjoyed your stay in NYC, lol. I guess we will meet again, Mr. Clark. Peace…

  2. rakimfan Says:

    Webster Hall is not a real club! I went there a few years ago after my office Christmas Party a few years ago (pre-911) and remember that when I came in there was a dude on stilts juggling bowling pins and people dressed really bugged out. I asked a chick to dance and she acted like I tried to snatch her pocketbook. I wouldn’t reccommend it.

  3. Jules Says:

    Damn, yo… I wanted to go to the Hip Hop festival but missed iot do to the “Itis”. Shit, it was only down the street from where I lived.

    And “Respiration” is my fvorite song… ever.

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