I’m just another indie artist, who makes his performances so enjoyable that most people may not even notice that I’m working. Here are some of my professional activities in 2019. I started the year with the release of my eighth book – “The Sandman’s Journal Vol. 5,” in Brussels, Belgium. My next significant work-related activity in 2019 that I probably made look easy was at the car showroom in Brussels or The Brussels Motor Show. Mind you when I go out there, I am a loyal representative of four distinctive homelands – Sierra Leone, the United States, Canada, and Grenada. My subsequent work sequence in 2019 was at the “Berlin Film Festival.” Some people may wonder why Berlin.
I wanted my fans to have a refined edition and a digital version of that work.”
I was the only artist or author from Sierra Leone at all of the events I’m highlighting in this blog. I was also the first Grenadian to register there. Both Americans and Canadians travel to Germany without a visa. We can stay for up to six months without any migration problems. American artists can record and produce their works without any form of interrogation in Germany. I found that Germany is an oasis of fascination for musicians, actors, and writers. After years of trial and error, it has happened through the great lessons of experience. Participating in an event to network, watch, or present your creative work is a task. The other duty is tedious homework. Only my closest associates see that part.
2019 is the tenth year after Soul Asylum Poetry and Publishing Inc. debuted my Penmanship. As a result, I considered it suitable to publish the second edition of that book. I wanted my fans to have a refined edition and a digital version of that work. So, when I was not out, I cooked this improved manuscript. What I presume is excellent about this book is the fact that I have worked on it in several countries. It was fascinating to do that because every state had a different mood. When I wrote and edited there, I felt another stream of inspiration that I would not have felt working in the same place. In the process, I learned that the same book could evolve differently based on the writer’s location alone.
It was a learning experience to have a mix of European, Canadian, and Caribbean influences that made me excited to see how this anniversary version of the 2019 book would fare. Another work-related activity took place in Berlin, in the Spring of 2019. I was putting the finishing touches to “Crime Rhymez,” the tenth-anniversary edition of “My Book of Chrymes,” and received a call from my dear friend, the late Prince Will CTC. He told me about a music group in Sierra Leone called Fresh Lyfe Unit. They had completed their album and had a Krio track called “Poor Nor Good.” The interpretation means that it is unfair when penury reduces one’s possibilities. He asked if I would like to be on the song and I agreed.
The Fresh Lyfe Unit song was first, then the songs with Kao Denero and King Boss LA. After recording with some of Sierra Leone’s best musicians, my German studio engineer and I dug deep to release new music productions.”
The challenge was to find out which rhythm and melodies they used. So I asked Prince to send me the track. After hearing it, I wrote two rap verses and booked a session to record the song. By the late spring of 2019, the music was definitely in the air. While editing my ninth book, many old German castles, monastery ghost towns, and museums inspired me to start a new travel blog. I felt an incredible sense of enlightenment. I also wanted to visit some exceptional Opera shows. At the same time, in collaboration with King Boss LA and Kao Denero, two of Sierra Leone’s best-known AfroHop musicians, I wrote lyrics and composed new music productions. Musically, I worked on a few radio bangers this year.
Of course, I have a particularly vibrant family and none entertainment-related business life that I do not share in social media. I joined the online community to connect with people and perpetuate my creative oblations. I prefer to keep my family and vocation life removed. The Fresh Lyfe Unit song was first, then came the song with Kao Denero and then the one with King Boss LA. After recording three tracks with some of Sierra Leone’s best musicians, my German studio engineer and I dug deep to release a bunch of new music productions. One of them was the recording of a song called “Natural Light,” the soundtrack for an Indian movie that will be released shortly. It was also my film debut.
Since “Natural Light” is a contracted song for a yet to be released Malaliam film in India, the details are still hush, hush for the moment. However, it is a song about women’s rights that speaks out against specific injustices faced by women in society, as referred to in the film, “Scorching Sun.” I first recorded the song (late spring of 2019) before going to India later in the year to do it in the movie. After recording “Natural Light” in Berlin, I sent it to the film producers in India and made another road trip. The plan was to visit the countryside, tour the old castles, museums, and historical places and get to know the German culture. I relate those places to literature, medieval annals, theater, and the Opera.
As I said earlier, Germany is a haven with various fascinating ports for musicians, actors, and writers. So I had organized to publish this “Crime Rhymez” book in Berlin…”
This time my stops took me through some big cities like Weite Welt Goslar, Leipzig, Dresden (Germany), and Enschede (Netherlands). As fate would have it, I met a famous painter named Rene Guillot. He is also a gifted electric guitarist and a bandmaster. On the same day, we saw our complementary interests in music. He introduced me to T. I. M., an old-school Dutch rapper who signed to a major record label. T. I. M. had also released a commercial rap album. I recognized this moment as a tremendous eventuality and suggested a Rock and Roll/Hip Hop collaboration between the three of us. We agreed on a theme, I wrote and composed a track, they booked a studio, and we recorded “Demodogs.”
I finished the road trip by returning to my home in Berlin. Given our new collaboration, Rene, T. I. M. and I decided to make a music video for this song. Two weeks later, I returned to Enschede, where we shot the video for “Demodogs.” And then I returned to my place in Brussels. My work-related activities in 2019 now focused on the publication of “Crime Rhymez.” However, I also had to return to Toronto, Canada, to solve some problems. It was time to restore my strength and recharge my batteries. As I said earlier, Germany is a haven with various fascinating ports for musicians, actors, and writers. So I had organized to publish this “Crime Rhymez” book in Berlin but could not do so because I had to travel.
In Germany, I often attend numerous music, literature, and film festivals. All of them are accessible to any artistes. You do not have to be a German to participate. Nevertheless, after some fine-tuning in Canada, I was on the way to Grenada with an upcoming cinematic concert in India. Remember, I also said that I am a loyal representative from four different countries – Sierra Leone, USA, Canada, and Grenada. I have remained true to Sierra Leone as the land of my birth. Together, these countries have brought me to the perfection that I have earned in life. As a result, I was in Grenada for a family affair when I published my ninth book. This release will set the stage for the coming ’20s.
I’m the only Hip Hop artist who has published several books but has never been lucky enough to be a favorite there. Not even Neneh Cherry and she was twice nominated for a Grammy and far more international acclaim.”
“Crime Rhymes” is my first book to be published in the Caribbean and probably the first by a Grenadian Hip Hop artist in Grenada. Likewise, one can say that it is the first time an author from Sierra Leone has published books in Canada, the UK, Belgium, Germany, and the West Indies. Whenever I release a book or an album, it is usually the case that, based on the situation, my PR team bills the product under one of these four nationalities. Sierra Leone is the home where I was born, but my immediate family and friends did not gravitate to my artistic productions. Since 2009, I have been their only Hip Hop artist and author who has gone as far as working on a Recording Academy nominated project.
In addition to that, I’m on four limited postage stamps from Sierra Leone. Still, many of the nationals have never heard of me, and those who did have not celebrated these accomplishments. I’m also the only Hip Hop artist from there who has published several books but has never been lucky enough to be a favorite there. Not even Neneh Cherry and she was twice nominated for a Grammy and had far more international acclaim than me. Anyhow, my artistic journey took me all over the world. I’ve received numerous awards and recognitions as a citizen of Canada and the US but none as a Sierra Leonean. That’s why I’m the Field Marshal. America is the country that gave me my assurances.
The United States restored my value, offered me lifelong assurances, and put money in my pockets. Canada gave me back my music. It had cost me my art to arrive where I needed to be in the States. Canada gave that back to me. It even threw in a new family and lifelong friendships. Canada picked up where America left off. As a naturalized citizen of both, I represent myself as a USA and Canadian artist and author. The island of Grenada has given me what I could never get in Sierra Leone. Grenada is a place where I can enjoy my life with people who look and feel like me. It is safe and free from exploitation. To all these beautiful countries, I have given my art as a representation of a product of these societies.
I often do it very casually, but any indie artist can assure you that our journey is not as rosy as it seems. Another time it could be over your head where you forget the intricate and varied activities that we engage in year after year.”
I wave these banners when it is my turn to bat. “Natural Light” is the point where I told all my female fans that I’m in favor of their objectives. It speaks of the importance of women’s rights, equality, and ethics and opposes women’s physical, emotional or domestic abuse. I have spent a lot of time over the last decade publishing blogs that have analyzed feminism as a mentality that is being force-fed by politics, the mainstream media, the education system, and large corporations. It’s easy to see how those blogs, which deal with the social and psychological consequences of radical feminism, can be misinterpreted as an attack on women in general. If you asked me, I’d say the very opposite.
What’s another reason why, in my blogs, I described radicalism in feminism as a mentality rather than an actual struggle? I wanted to separate it from the female sex in general. I believe it should be a preference. For this reason, the movie “Scorching Sun” and the song “Natural Light” are more in keeping with an Indian rather than a Western environment. I am writing this blog to present the challenging highlights of my work-related 2019. By work, I mean my activities related to music, theater, and literary writing. I often do it very casually, but any indie artist can assure you that our journey is not as rosy as it seems. Another time it could be over your head where you forget my intricate and varied enterprises.
The India run was a music/movie accord. The song addresses the liberties and possibilities of women. I experimented with the concept of rapping over an Indian beat in the spring of this year by producing and recording the song “Obstacles” by Kao Denero. Although the song was a success, I decided to go to the old school while composing “Natural Light.” Then I flew to India to deliver the performance. Of course, I made many other performances this year, which I will not go into here. You all know that I wrote some blogs that I did not mention. It’s busy, but in short, these are my professional activities this year. Years ago, I stopped promoting my shows and public appearances on social media.
I completed this work to set myself up for a clean start in 2020. Alongside the three outstanding tracks with some of the hottest Afro Hop artists from Sierra Leone fate had now taken my work-related activities of 2019 in a fantastic direction.”
That’s because I felt that someone or some people who were not necessarily my fans were watching or following me. There was a disturbing fact that whenever I applied for a show, someone called to discourage my promoter. The caller remained anonymous while executing fulminations to shut down the event. To cut a long story short, I leave it to the sponsors to do the advertising on their platforms. If the haters do not see ads, they will not make negative calls, and an epic event will happen. I also do not share the videos of these mentioned gigs but have saved them for publishing in a future project. They could be useful in a forthcoming documentary. Some of my shows are invite-only events.
The first thing I did after returning to Belgium from India was to ensure the official release of my EP “City of Kings RELOADED.” 2019 is not only the tenth anniversary of my first book, but it is also a sort of graduation year. You’ll find that many of the projects I released this year stem from things I’d been working on since 2009. I completed all of this work to set myself up for a clean start in 2020. Alongside the three outstanding tracks with some of the hottest Afro Hop artists from Sierra Leone, fate had now taken my work-related activities of 2019 in a fantastic direction. Now I was invited to be one of the judges in the “Miss Africa Belgium” beauty contest. I went there with the determination to inspire positive change.
What do I know about the evaluation of women? I’m more of an uncle giving fatherly advice. When they listen and use the hints as a reflection in the mirror, they unring the spells that bind them. Often I only come off as another big bad man. So I’ve kept my mouth closed for the most part. As a judge in this pageant, I only had three recommendations. Whoever they chose had to be an eloquent spokeswoman, a burned black, dark-skinned woman, and she had to be more than just another pretty face. All the young ladies were beautiful. They came out in various dresses and showed exciting performances to reveal their hidden talents. Some of them were dancers, poets, speakers, singers, and even comedians.
It was noticeable that they skipped the bikini part of the show, which made it a bit strange for me because I saw the male dancers in female skirts. My memory was blurred, as I could not remember an African tradition in which the African men wore feminine clothes. Grass skirts? Yes! But an almost female garment? I don’t know. Anyway, did they exclude the bikini parade to deprive the last generation of masculine men of sexually “objectifying” the contestants in the beauty contest? Or did they persuade those male performers to dance voluntarily in female clothes to demonstrate equality? The fact remains that whoever won that crown would have responsibilities that exceed their beauty.
The winner should be able to speak at important events, conduct various philanthropic ventures, and even shape the future of some children in distant neighborhoods of which we may have never heard. We needed the best candidate among all the beautiful women who tend to make an intellectual and physical impact wherever they go. For me, as someone who knows nothing about women, that’s the true essence of beauty. It is something that leaves lasting traces in our memories. The year 2019 was of paramount importance to me when I celebrated the tenth anniversary and published the second edition of my first book. After years of not recording, it also gave my fans some new music.*