As I was going through some of my older posts, I got the feeling that I should look at my very first post. While my very first posts “The Power of The Co-sign” and “4 Reasons you should NOT be a Christian Battle Rapper” were posted in December 2015, my first post as an official Trackstarz Writer didn’t happen until February 12, 2016. This means that I have been writing for Trackstarz for exactly one year. In that time, I have seen and experienced many things, and I just wanted to share some of those things with you the reader. Let’s take this walk down memory lane.
I’m sure some people may be asking the question: “How did you even get started writing for Trackstarz?” That is a good question, so we’ll start there. I have been listening to Trackstarz podcast since fall of 2014 when they had begun releasing video footage of their time in Flavor Fest via YouTube. They asked really insightful questions and just held me my attention. I loved how the hosts interacted with each other and the artists being interviewed. I quickly became a faithful listener of the podcast and even followed them on Twitter and Instagram. During 2015, Sean David Grant AKA Seantana began making a request almost every podcast for people to join their writer’s staff. It happened so much and I would just say to myself “Man I hope they find some writers!” How ironic right? Well one particular day, I heard Sean on the podcast ask again and I felt a jab or poke or some sort of touch in my chest and in the back of my mind I heard “You should do that.” When I got home I talked to my wife, as I run everything past her, and told her that I felt like God wanted me to write for Trackstarz. She looked at me and was like “Get to writing then!” I had submitted two user submitted articles that were well received, so I wanted to take it to the next step. I sent Trackstarz an email asking what I had to do to become one of their staff. They replied and said they would be having conference calls for all who were interested. I got on the phone call and the editor (shout out to Ashley Korth) and CEO Sean Grant were on that call and laid out the vision. I was on board and the rest is history.
There have been some learning moments as well as satisfying occasions in my time here at Trackstarz. One of the first things I had to learn was how to submit to someone else’s vision. I’m a Spoken Word artist and a solo artist at that, so I’ve been a lone wolf for most of my career as a writer. Poetry is freeform but the articles had a strict format (that I sometimes went against) and everything had to be ran past my editor. For those who don’t know, I can very cynical and harsh in my critique of things I believe are foolish or just make absolutely no sense. Ashley had me rewrite several articles because my tone was a little too harsh, and I had to obey. I also had to learn to watch what I posted on my social media, and had a phone call about some of my posts regarding police brutality. Once again, I submitted to the wisdom of the senior staff as well as my wife’s “I told you so look” and that helped me realize that now people are looking at what I do or say more so than I thought.
Being on staff has shown me that there is value to being faithful in what you do. Shortly after the Writing Team got off the ground, Sean and the other hosts began shouting us out almost weekly, to the point where they said some of our names on the podcast! That was a “Momma we made it” moment for me, if I’m honest. Having deadlines and assigned days for a particular writer’s blogs to be up really taught me how to be accountable. As a performing artist, I had the bad habit of waiting to the last minute to write, memorize, and practice a piece before an upcoming performance. I’m proud to say that writing for Trackstarz has given me some much needed discipline and helps me take the craft of writing more serious. It’s really helped me become a better writer.
I have also had some great moments occur during my time of writing for Trackstarz. As a consumer of CHH, I loved listening to an album several times within the week of it hitting the store and critiquing it, so it only made sense that I would start writing album reviews. For a while it seemed as if my Good Religion review was going to be my most liked review ever but that was until NF dropped Therapy Session. To this day that is my most liked review (27 likes) out of all the album reviews I’ve written. Another moment is when Eshon Burgundy’s mother shared my review of Eshon’s The Passover on Twitter. I felt like if you get an artist’s momma to share your work, you must be doing something right. Jered Sanders recently gave me a shout out on Facebook, and to see what he thought about my review, made my heart glad. I wrote an article for a friend’s album and he said it made him almost cry on certain parts. It’s a blessing to use my gift to build up the Kingdom and invoke emotions just from words on a page.
In conclusion, God used writing articles to push me out of my comfort zone. What I use as a barometer of whether God wants me to do something is if it’s something I don’t want to do but would be a good thing to do. This was the case for what I’m doing now, as I pigeon holed myself as just a poet but obviously I can write more than poetry. Looking back, my love for CHH has prepared to do what I’m doing now. I was already friends with a lot of CHH artists via social media as just a fan, I was already listening to albums and critiquing them in my mind, I was already listening to interviews to better understand an artists’ heart. The only difference is now I put those skills to use for a platform and vision that is much bigger than myself. When I started my wife asked what I would do if other magazines wanted to take me away from where I am now. I told her I feel like this is where I am supposed to be at, so here is where I stay until God says otherwise. 365 days later and I feel great knowing that at this particular space in this particular time I’m exactly where God wants me to be.