"The Future Belongs To The Few Of Us Still Willing To Get Our Hands Dirty"

A Gentle Dissolve

Here's a joint off the upcoming project Black Ribbon: Hard Work! that I flipped from Thievery Corporation's "A Gentle Dissolve" from their album "The Cosmic Game". Having been recently inspired from traveling and some pretty ill contributions to hip-hop music over the last two weeks, I decided to write a joint with no hooks, no bridges, and all bars! Check it out and let me know what you think. Black Ribbon: Hard Work! will be finished by the end of November so be on the lookout! Peace!

Thank You!

As I walked to my bookstore today (my family owns a bookstore here in Chicago, don't know if I said that before), I was listening to a new batch of Blueprint 3 instrumentals I'd stumbled upon whilst surfing the web, and of course I gravitated towards one of my favorites off the project, the No I.D. - produced "Thank You". The horns are so elegant and polite, I could see it was the perfect platform to speak, as Jay did on his original version, about the positivity I've been able to pull out of some of the most toxic situations. I address haters, old flames, and old friends all in a lyrically tasteful manner that shows my acceptance of their roles in my life! So thank you to all my doubters! You make me great! Black Ribbon Hard Work! Partake!

"American Fashion Menswear", by Robert E. Bryan

Luxury publisher Assouline and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have come out with a new book called American Fashion Menswear, billed as "the most authoritative and exciting book to date on the evolution of menswear in the United States over the past century. Author Robert E. Bryan has divided the volume into seven different sections based upon the diverse identities of the American man, covering everything "Levi Strauss to the Ivy League, lounge suits to Zoot suits, and cowboys to counterculture," with cameos from the likes of Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Ralph Lauren and more.

>>Council of Fashion Designers of America

Air Jordan V1 Black Infared Retro

Air Jordan VI (6) Black Infared Retro
I'm not a big Jordan head like the rest of my peers, but these are pretty dope. Air Jordan VI Black Infared Retros. Available for pre-order soon at OSneaker.


The Neptunes: Decemvir Mixtape

(taken from my post on Blindiforthekids.com)

I’ve been working on this for a LOOOONG time and I finally completed another masterpiece. For those not in the know, The Neptunes are a record production duo consisting of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, who are credited with contributing the sound for some successful Hip hop, R&B and Pop artists in the late-90s and 2000s. The Neptunes’ sound is a distinctive brand of off-kilter, stripped-down electronic funk. Along with Timbaland and Dr. Dre they were the driving force behind many of the musical characteristics of late-90s/2000s hip-hop, helping to re-introduce sci-fi style sounds into the hip-hop mainstream, along with sounds from Middle Eastern and Asian music including percussion and woodwind.

I decided a few months back to make a collection of my favorite rare, b-side, and unreleased Neptunes production, from 1999 to 2009, in order to create a dedication to over 10 years of next-level music that still stands the test of time. I swear listening to these tracks puts you in a state of mind where everything’s better around you. Decemvir, which is the latin term for “ten“, is used to describe this decade of incredible works from the stellar production duo. Their music can speak for itself more than anything I can say, so without further ado, I give you…

The Neptunes: Decemvir (A Decade Of Rare Gems & Unreleased Material)
(Disc 1 Sharebee) | (Disc 2 Sharebee)

Yi Zhou - "The Ear" Featuring Pharrell Williams

This is really dope to me. Freshness tells it like so:

"Based on Gogol’s short story, The Nose, the ear undergoes a similar Freudian treatment of amputation and detachment, and goes on a journey and transforms into an Earbridge as it gets crossed by a bridge. The story eventually ends where Pharrell is pulled back into reality reading a newspaper article about the Earbridge in Baku, Azerbijian. This collapses the art work into the other side of reality as well as the project is part of a public design project for Azerbijian involving the likes of Jean Nouvel and Cai Guo Qiang in 2013."


Penfield Stapleton Coats

New Penfield Stapleton Coats. Waterproof, windproof, and Tefloned out. Only $264. I'll probably try to grab the tan daddy for my wintertime exploits. Beware!


"The Dead" by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst, a great modern artist and avid art collector, arguably one of my favorite out of the current cultural icons, is celebrating the opening of his new installation at London's Other Criteria. The premiere features 30 new works from Hirst and a few limited edition signed pieces as well. Check it out if you're in Londontown tomorrow (October 8th).

>>Other Criteria

On Your Mark...

On Your Mark, produced by Beat Maker Beat, is a simple precursor I created late one night after a day of sessions to shoot to homies, associates, blogs, and fans to let them know what to expect from the upcoming project. It got a lot of love off top so I'm excited to see what the reaction to the project is gonna be, since this is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned!

Supreme x Vans F/W 09 Old School/Half Cab

And I was just telling myself earlier today that I needed a new pair of yellow kicks. Supreme x Vans collaborate again for a new pack of Old Skools & Half Cabs that are pretty dope. The Half Cab will feature suede/canvas uppers with leather insoles and the Old Skool will feature suede uppers with leather insoles. Dropping online October 8th. Yum.


Vibe's Alive

"just to give it power I was lookin' for an outlet / had to make my own since I really couldn't find that / but value of true art is hidden in the process" - vibe's alive

Vibe's Alive came together through the production efforts of the homie Nickless Castle, who threw me this gem after being hipped to some of my previous work. We went in the lab and threw a couple of ideas back & forth, and this beat jumped at me with a mellow vibe that I felt like personified a canvas for me to vocalize my niche in this industry -- a lover of all the styles that have worn the "hip-hop" label can unify them all in an intelligent, straight to the point approach to the art form. Rather than tackle the whole "Hip Hop Is Dead" argument, I let my skills speak for themselves as a clear indication that hip-hop is a chameleon and cannot be categorized any longer. Castle heard what I put down over the track and went back to lay the ill scratches for the chorus. What can I say, the guy is a beast! What resulted was this track, and I hope you like it! They'll be more coming from Castle & I so stay on the lookout for new shit.

2016? You Don't Say.

I suppose Chicago in 2016 was more important at the time than a 16 year old Chicagoan. Derrion Albert would have been 22 years old around the time the Olympic Games would take over the city of Chicago, supposedly joining the corners of one of the most segregated cities in the world through the welcoming of every nation participating into our "welcoming confines". Every real Chicagoan, from Wrigleyville to Calumet City, K-Town to the Low End, knows that it's a tall feat for us to get along with each other already, let alone millions of tourists envisioning a town totally different than the one they'd be stepping into for an Olympic Games. The grievances and issues Chicago faces are not the caliber which would be easily dealt with in a mere 6 years. Rather, a lifetime of struggle and resistance has existed in Chicago, with little ground gained since the years of the Civil Rights movement. People move to our city and stay in their comfort corner, with the majority never daring to go south of Roosevelt. Equally, the born-and-bred Chicagoan is one that rarely goes North of Roosevelt, unless it's for work purposes or to inquire within City offices. When such a rift exists between Chicago itself, how could the members of the Chicago Olympic Committee actually go through with making this pitch to the IOC? How, with teenagers dying every day in the streets -- not just through gang violence, but senseless acts like the one that took away the life of Derrion Albert -- could they actively say that the world would be safe here?

Derrion's story is no rarity here; rather, it simply came with visual evidence of a struggle that persists daily in our community. But how can we expect that to get through to the powers that be if we fail to confront it HERE, at HOME, where WE are? I could ramble on & on with criticisms about Mayor Daley and his practices in the past, but honestly none of that matters as much as this does to me. Lives are being lost. It's due to a lack of education, a lack of diversity, a lack of options. Simply put, if they knew better they'd do better. But the location of Derrion's beating is a clear indication of the troubles we face. Schools are supposed to be the safe haven for kids from the negative influences they may face in their neighborhoods. The mere fact that this happened at an institution of learning makes the future more ominous than ever for our youth. With broken homes, layoffs, failing schools, and a learning discrepancy between communities as wide as the hope that was obviously present to even THINK we would get the Olympics here in Chicago -- we've got a lot of work to do. And I see scary things on the horizon...

I recently made a stop at my old high school to check on the current status of things. I'll be the first to admit that I was a child of privilege when it came to education - the thought of dropping out or not going to college was never even an option for us. My grandmother was a schoolteacher for many years, my three uncles all surgeons and corporate types respectively, and my mother & father as studious of people as there ever were. My father, an Islamic Imam, a Ph.D in Religion, and a writer, while my mother, a M.D., M.B.A., and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard. Sufficient to say, school was cool for us. While I walked the hallways of my old school I ran into one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Weil, who was always one of those instructors who were as cool as a teacher could possibly be at the time. My class was a rowdy one, always getting into something crazy, pushing the boundaries as individuals while still being incredibly intelligent. As I spoke to him about the differences between my class and the classes that currently attended, he spoke to the belief that the personality had diminished since classes like mine had graduated. The kids were more into pop culture than ever, the internet had taken hold of most of their daily lives, resulting in what he felt to be a lack of personality, push-back, challenge of authority, and an all-around excitement. In few words he pretty much told me he was bored. The kids did their homework, did what they were told, and went about their business.

Ordinarily, one would think that as a teacher this type of behavior would be heaven-sent, but it immediately presented itself as an ominous fate when I juxtaposed it with what was happening with kids of the same age, in the same city, just miles away from good old Morgan Park Academy. The education-deprived kids of the impoverished neighborhoods will one day meet the culturally-deprived kids of schools like mine, and I am not excited about the outcome. Streetsmarts versus Booksmarts results in the same tired rigmarole that has us where we stand right now; mentally segregated and internationally humiliated.

So what can we do? For one, we can always keep our eyes and ears focused on what needs doing RIGHT NOW. A perspective plan is nothing if you don't have your current affairs in order to chase that plan. Imagine how strong our bid for the Olympic games would have been if our schools were improved...if our city was invested in it's own development...if kids in impoverished neighborhoods were able to broaden their horizons and know that there was more to fight for in the world than a neighborhood that doesn't care whether they live or die. Imagine if kids like the ones that attend my high school now were hipped to how truly blessed they are, acknowledged their upper hand in the game of life, and used their education to bridge the gap between themselves and the less fortunate. I happen to think a lot of the ground can be made up by an infusion of influence from the age ranges ABOVE those most afflicted, i.e. you & me. We must do ALL we can to show these kids real life is more than the block they live on, or the internet, but it's communication, face-to-face work, activity, community, and the like. Maybe then we'll be able to convince the world that we're ready to open our doors to them.

I made a song about it, like to here it here it goes.


Cut It Out! (Full Version)

"but it all blends perfectly.../let the liquor tell it"-- Andre 3000, "Spottieottiedopalicious"

Doing joints like this is easy. Not easy in the sense that I take it for granted, but easy as in right up my alley. My homie Raphael from Endangered Peace shot me over an idea to go in over this Karriem Riggins-produced track, and seeing as Riggins is one of my favorite producers, it was a no-brainer. I simply put pen to the pad and wrote what came to mind. What resulted was a 3+ minute diatribe with all sort of stuntastic vocabulary. What else do you expect from the kid by now. Indulge.

Your Dude Is Back! New Rules x LV: Art, Fashion, and Architecture

Sorry for the drought my people! I've been hard at work trying to decrease the gap between every aspect of life right now, merging it all together to form a seamless web of efficiency. There's been a few changes around here that I'd like to point out so we're all on the same page and you know what to expect henceforth from the kid. Here goes:
  1. It's no longer TheNativeSoul - I've decided to go by my government name of Sulaiman and keep it 100% organic in my approach.
  2. I'll be releasing a free download of The Expensive High - all of the tracks I created for the first part of this year up until about August, very very very soon, so be on the look out for that as it should hold you over until Black Ribbon: Hard Work! drops sometime in November. It's about to be insane!
  3. I'll be putting more non-music related posts up in order to keep the ball rolling, keep you interested, and keep you in the loop with my entire development.
  4. The white layout is back - which means crisp, clean content, and a tabula rasa or "clean slate" for my creative indulgences.
With all that said, let's get back to the dopeness! A lavish new coffee table book from Rizzoli titled Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion and Architecture is a seductive anthology of the famed French fashion house's collaborations with an international group of elite artists, architects, designers, and photographers, including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Takashi Murakami (whose updated LV monogram is featured on the cover) Richard Prince and Stephen Sprouse. Beautiful images are interspersed with critical essays that examine and position Louis Vuitton's patronage, under the guidance of Artistic Director Marc Jacobs, during "one of the most fertile periods of contemporary art and design." The book is divided alphabetically so as to serve as a sort of encyclopedia of the many collaborations, commissions and sponsorships Vuitton, a cornerstone of the LVMH luxury goods empire, has engaged in over the years.

You can put in an order for this book right now over through my bookstore, Books Ink!