We got that FIRE!
Written by LSiyfSmileyEL on January 17, 2023
Welcome to MoPower, y’all!
Thank you for coming by to listen to the music we like to listen to. If you keep it on tap, we’ll keep you on a vibe. We got that FIRE!
More than 47 years ago I sat on my father’s lap and we listened to music from all over the world in the living room of the tiny apartment we lived in named Castlewood Apartments. My father was a gigging DJay at the time and was a member of a global coalition of gigging DJays that record labels had deep connections to. This coalition had one main function: to help record labels market and break records. I was just short of three years old and I remember the first time remembering. I remember sitting on my father’s lap and he played the Hall & Oats song “I Can’t Go For That.” I remember getting up off of my father’s lap and walking over to the gigantic tower speaker. Those speakers were four feet tall and fourteen inches wide with two twelve-inch woofers at the bottom, two five-inch mids, and a large wide horn tweeter. I stood there listening to that song and I could think of nothing else for quite some time. I can’t go for that… Now.
At the same time that the Disco era was in full swing with its claws dug in deep into the party scene around the world, there was this new thing happening. We gave birth to Hip Hop in the Boogie Down Bronx. However, its parents were New York transplants from the south. South, as in the Caribbean. South, as in North Carolina. Not only that. At this time the music is made up entirely of pieces of or breaks from other music by artists from all over the country but particularly from the southern region of the USA. Don’t get it twisted. I am taking nothing away from Kool Herc and Coke La Rock, or any of the early adopters. Not at all. Hip Hop did not bubble out of us in a vacuum. It came as a consequence of segregation, oppression, systemic racism… I can go so don’t get me started. Hip Hop gave the early Hip Hop heads a touch of sanity in an environment pregnant with the next installment of revolution, it gave them a voice when there were no ears willing to hear, and Hip Hop gave them a deep unhindered sense of The Most High and self which ultimately saved their lives.
Fast forward about ten years… Dr. Disco (my father) had a regular gig at the YMCA in Fort Worth and at one of them, I witnessed him move a crowd to tears as they danced (there was something turbulent going on in the country) and it was then that I decided that I wanted to affect people like that. A few years later, I went to a house party that had Ernie G on the Wheels of Steel. Ernie G mixed LL Cool J’s “Bad” with the Biz Markie instrumental of “Make the Music with Your Mouth Biz” and the party went BANANAS! That night, all that was on my mind was “Music can make people cry and it can make people hype… I’m soooo IN!” I married Hip Hop that night and boy has it been a bittersweet relationship with a plethora of babies born of the union.
I started off as a DJ like my father. My father, a progressive man, put computers and synthesizers in the studio for my brother and me and encouraged us to explore, to do more, to accomplish more than he had accomplished. We’re talking the early 80s. We’re talking Atari, Ti35s, TRS-80s, Commodore 128s, boom-boxes, and monster house systems that the whole damn neighborhood can hear when “the knob” on the receiver is on 5 out of 20. We’re talking about that era just before NWA spoke to the world as if they were me…
My brother and I, along with our friends, had a blast growing up in Forest Hill. Danny Powell’s family had a video camera and my family had the space and DJ equipment (of course, we didn’t have our parents’ permission to use it at that time LOL!) and we recorded break dancing routines, our spoofs of Saturday Night Live, and ourselves singing along to our favorite music. This was an everyday occurrence during the summers while our parents were at work. Then in 5th grade, Marcus Raven and I created a commercial for a class project. The product was Star Wars Dog Food and we did the whole thing from scratch. And in 8th grade, I participated in a spoof of the Tastes Great! – Less Filling! campaign at school. Soon after that one of my childhood friends named DeMargus Johnson gave me his Synsonic Drums and I started making beats. I was put in a position to earn $32,500 for making eight songs (that’s a lotta money for a child growing up in the 1980s), and so by then, I was convinced I would work in media affecting people by telling stories with music and video and that I would also be that “tech head” that knew how to professionally use the equipment required to produce media.
Family issues put me in an ominous situation at a young age, however. I became involved with a street organization and was taken to prison for several crimes.
Stop 6 and Forest Hill was like the place that had me in like this protected, almost utopian place that everybody wanted to be in. But Lake Como… That was a whole other situation. I was in the elements with wolves and sheep without wool. And that’s all there was in Lake Como – Wolves and Sheep. I had to pick what I was gonna be. And I ain’t no damn sheep.
When one looks at Lake Como in the mid-80s up to the mid-90s, a West Fort Worth community that is about one square mile big, one begins to see the story of how Fort Worth became known as Fort Murda Worth. Siyf was square in the middle of it all. The whole city was against Lake Como or so it seemed to me. Experiencing in the city of Fort Worth about that time period you find a reason to understand why I became a wolf.
For a few months, I was actually on the fence concerning the wolf-sheep issue. I credit a cat named Cedrick Yarborough for making me pick. Probably the worst fistfight I EVER had.
The felonies began to find me. And so did the plantation. Prison. Uh… They’re the same thing if you did not know. If you did not know that the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution LEGALIZED slavery and flipped plantations into prison facilities and that plantation owners and their supporters did everything they could think of to criminalize the formerly enslaved, you might want to have a conversation with some bonafide historians. I have lived it. And despite knowing right from wrong, I still got caught up in what many have excellent reason to think the “powers that be” made available.
The crack cocaine epidemic (along with the heroin and cocaine – Boy & Girl – epidemic as well) across the country in cities like Fort Worth destroyed the nuclear family. It separated my generation from our parents’ generation and then dubbed my generation as “Super Predators” and my parents as “Crackheads.” And from there, young people like the
young me were taken to prison at record rates only rivaling the prison rates associated with the mass imprisonment of ex-slaves when the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed and enacted in conjunction with the Black Codes, Pig Law, and Jim Crowe. It’s still happening today people…
I always look on the bright side of that, though.
It was bleak at best while I was in the middle of it. I was in a dark place in my heart and though I still to this day wonder how I made it out the other end, I am glad I went through it all and am here to not only tell others about mine but to help people who want help who are in the middle of theirs. I was actually put in a position to find out who I am and to also change what I did not like about myself. I was able to transform myself, and don’t get the shit twisted – the Texas prison system only provided the place. It had absolutely NOTHING to do with who I am today. I did that with the help and personal tutelage of the Most High through brothers and sisters who Allah, Subannah Wata’Allah, sent directly to me.
Today, a graduate of Alvin Community College and Texas Southern University, I produce media that tell these stories in a tasteful tactful manner. That’s what I produce. Media. Radio. Television. And film. I’ve done everything but porn.
Even so, at the heart of all of this is Hip-Hop. The UBN is my and Hip Hop’s latest offspring. I do all of this for Hip Hop! Everything has always been about the music…
Music kept me sane. Music gave me a voice. Music saved my life…