Est. 2014: A One Year Reflection

Before I begin, I don’t intend to write a lot of these pieces. Both Justus and I first envisioned this space being used not to highlight ourselves, but to covering the rich Hip Hop community that surrounds us in an independent, journalistic fashion. Sure, we add in certain moments into articles that we are excited for; not as bloggers/journalists/web-based narcissists, but as fans and participants in the culture. So in short, don’t expect this to be a daily thing.

Somehow in the last year, Facebook has become my life calendar and continues to keep me on my toes when it comes to birthdays and shows. Today is no exception as it appears that it has been a full year since we first publicly launched Breaks X Lakes with features on Sifu Hotman, Why Khaliq & Metasota, Mac Irv, RP Hooks, and #LAAB Creator Adam Dunn. Although I’m still trying to grapple with the fact that it’s been a full year since this whole venture has taken off, I think I speak for both of us by saying we are astonished by the outpour of support we have received in just a short amount of time and how some misguided ambition is finally taking shape into something bigger than we had originally expected. To be honest, I think we were expecting 4 or 5 people to check us out and forget about us in the next minute. Thankfully, either through hard work or just plain luck, we have managed to catch the attention of some fantastic people within the scene and inspire us to go even harder with this digital provocation.

With that being said, we would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the constant delays in releasing features and twitter posts. As much as we would love to make this our full time careers, we both must continue to drudge away at full time jobs as well devote time to loved ones and side projects. Even now, I have been caught out of the loop with the lack of internet connection in my recent move and an inconvenient schedule for most Wi-Fi based businesses. I hope to be back online more so in the coming week, but I thank you all for your patience as we try to keep the drive alive. Along with that, I would like to apologize to the artists that we have failed to post about before their intended shows. I have a list of interviews that still need to be posted and I intend on making sure that we make these great conversations/stories available for the world to appreciate.
While we attempt to have our own lives, some have asked us about the meaning behind the madness. Why put in all this extra work with no monetary gain? To be honest, I think it’s the cruelest irony to say we sacrifice sleep just so we can sleep easy at night knowing that we have helped further the endless talent that resonates throughout our communities. Granted there are the perks of hanging out and talking with interesting people as well as checking out a lot of good music, it’s largely been a learning process for the both of us as we continue to dabble in new technologies and mediums. But most of all, it’s actually been pretty fun. From running around Soundset with a camera and microphone in the mist to playing NFL Blitz on N64 in RiverRock Studios, there have been moments that I don’t think I’ll forget if I tried (including the ass whooping I took in Blitz).

One moment that continues to stand out for me in this past year is the advanced screening of the Straight Outta Compton. As explained in a recent email, the studio and a local ad agency reached out to many figures within the Minneapolis Hip Hop scene to enjoy the monumental film before it hit theaters nationwide. Fortunately (and quite possibly by mistake), we somehow made the cut and took part in an experience that works in why Minnesota’s Hip Hop community is so unique. All within this AMC theater sat artists that have toured the globe next to those that are still on the come-up, managers that have exhausted themselves to get their clients what they deserve, beatboxers, DJs, promoters, producers and even bloggers. Although many more people should have been given seats, it made me appreciate and truly thankful for everyone that has sacrificed their time, money and energy to help make the Twin Cities and Minnesota as a whole one of the brightest beacons in realm of Hip Hop. It reminded me of why we support each other and care so deeply for everyone “outchea.”

For those that are unaware, I am not from the Twin Cities originally. In fact, I commonly find it hard to admit that I’m a transplant from Sartell/St. Cloud area. A place where many tired traditions still hold true and reject many alternatives that may test the old ways. As a Hip Hop head, this constantly clashed with everything that I believed and wanted. I wanted to be a part of community that cared to look into the deeper meaning behind bars instead of focusing on the amount of curse words used in a sentence; to actually have fun at local shows without an intrusive police presence; and would actually provide a worthy defense for why Eminem is the greatest MC ever other than lack of options. I want to believe that I am helping to foster this kind of environment for the next generation within my hometown, but I am grateful to be able to be a part of a larger community beyond city limits. This is why I hold local Hip Hop to such a high regard and why I lose countless hours of sleep, money and strain relationships to something that is bigger than even the music itself. It’s about a collective understanding that we can change the world and enrich our own existence right here at home. It’s about looking out for one another and sharing in these precious moments that form our own past and futures. It’s about navigating through the day in tune with the rhythms that drive us from one place to another.

Before I start rambling further into broader philosophical matters that I can’t even comprehend, allow me to wrap it up by saying thank you to everyone that has opened their hearts, minds and beings to participate within this thing we call Hip Hop. Whether you freestyle onstage or outside of First Ave, paint stunning portraits on alley walls or flesh, breakdance on cardboard or fix a broken car door under the guide of your favorite Big Quarters album, to everyone who arrives to shows early to support local openers and to anyone crazy enough to take a moment out of their day to turn to our website; THANK YOU! YOU are the reason we do this! So be on the lookout this next year as we are expanding into new areas in coverage with the help of some new voices to help get the word out and tell more stories. Until then, thanks for rocking with us.

Peace,

Derek