My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the best album ever, "International Players Anthem" is the best song ever, and Black Thought is the best emcee ever. I said all of those things before and I wanted to say them again because in a week I won't be able to. Not on these pages anyway.
I’m leaving DJBooth.
Honestly, I wasn't sure if I should write anything about it, but simply disappearing from the place where I’ve found a home and a voice these last few years felt weird. Plus, with so much fakery on the internet, I’ve always tried to keep it 100% honest and authentic, writing what’s on my mind and sharing how I truly feel, and avoiding doing that now would go against that principle. So here’s the deal…
When you try to make a living from the internet you're building a foundation on terrain that's constantly changing. I was lucky enough to fall into this job more than I planned it, and it's been an amazing ride while it lasted, but after five years, I think we’ve done all the growing we can do together and it's time to move on. So I’m leaving DJBooth. It’s a matter of what’s right for DJBooth and what’s right for me.
Even after all these years, I still wrestle with calling myself a “writer.” I like writing, sure, but I LOVE hip-hop and I LOVE music. Through writing my love and knowledge of hip-hop has grown deeper than I ever thought possible, now it’s time to take what I’ve learned and see what more I can do with it. For me, writing wasn’t the end game, it was the beginning. It was my way in. Now that I’m “in,” it’s time to see what else there is.
What that next phase looks like for me, exactly, I’m not sure yet - Get TOP on the phone!!!! - but I know that DJBooth has given me the tools and more importantly the passion needed to succeed, and for that I will be forever grateful. DJBooth completely changed my life. Change is the scariest thing in the world, but it can also be necessary. Flirting with 30 years old, living in the same town I grew up, and with a savings account that your favorite rapper stuffs in a stripper's g-string, I need a change now more than ever.
Before I go, I need to publicly thank the whole DJBooth squad - Dave, Yoh, Taylor, Brendan, Erikson and everyone else I worked with - you guys are doing some amazing work and building something truly special; thank you. I especially need to thank Z and Nathan. Z gave me my start here, he answered an email he could have easily ignored, and he changed my life forever. I also need to thank Nathan for being the Birdman to my Wayne (minus the whole kiss, fallout and tour bus shooting thing). As the editor on all my stuff, he fostered a space where I could write freely, where dope shit ruled over pageviews, and where I could quote Anchorman to exhaustion. I don’t know if I can ever express how much the freedom he gave me meant. He’s taught me not to use the word "literally" so much, but more than that he’s both taught and challenged me to think different and to go further, and it’s that kind of thinking that, no matter what I do next, will prove to be one of my greatest assets. (That and my knack for GIFs). Thank you, Nathan.
An additional thank you to anyone who has ever read, shared, commented, or hated on (or any combination of the above) anything I have ever written. It’s been amazing to be a part of a community I was a fan of, and the biggest pleasure I’ve had, the most accomplished I’ve felt over the last five years, was when something I wrote resonated with even just one of you. I’m honored I could give the same thrill of finding new music that DJBooth gave me when I was just a fan. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I also feel like I need to thank all the artists that make music. Not just my favorites, not just Kanye, Rapsody, Oddisee, Black Thought and K.R.I.T., (I couldn't leave without giving you my top five), but each and every one of you, from the Kanye's to the Under 1K's. You have filled my life with meaning and helped shape who I am, and I know I'm not the only one. Music is the most powerful force on the planet and you are responsible for it. Putting yourself out there for a public audience is incredibly hard and I'm able to hide behind the comfort of a Tupac Twitter avatar. Literally and figuratively you are exposed and I find the courage to do that incredibly admirable. Positive review or negative review, glowing praise or harsh criticism, I resepct the work artists do. I don't think you get thanked enough. Thank you.
I’ll continue writing for about another week - I couldn't leave you all without the most insane investigation to date (coming soon!) and hopefully Isaiah Rashad drops his album because I'd hate to not talk about that one with y'all - but after that it’s onwards and upwards for both myself and for DJBooth. See you on the internet.
I don't wanna say goodbye. So I'll just say good night.