I'm spending my birthday with Jah.
I reflect on where I came from - 8 year old kid from Singapore that fell in love with Hiphop by picking up a Public Enemy bootleg tape in a Bedok Market in Singapore. From there I sought out anything that Chuck D mentioned in his lyrics and read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and Blood in My Eye before my 10th birthday. Nothing made total sense at the time, but it probably made less sense to my Chinese mother that wondered why I was scribbling "Public Enemy Number 1" and "911 is a Joke" on my grade 4 binders. (Sorry Mom, love you!) By grade 5 I won a public speaking competition for my school addressing the L.A. Riots. I remember the pale confused faces of an all white assembly watching this little Chinese girl screaming "IS MARTIN LUTHER JR'S DREAM JUST A DREAM? SHAME ON US! FREE AT LAST FREE AT LAST, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY WE ARE FREE AT LAST!" The runner up gave a speech on his favourite toothpaste.
As a teenager I would watch B-boys and think they were so cool! They would walk into the parties, and people would just know who they were and the jam would really get started. I never thought I would one day be in the position to walk into the place and gain the respect of my peers and community through my own art. That in itself is the greatest achievement and for this, I love Toronto. "I never thought Hiphop would take me this far" to paraphrase Biggie. I've worked with my Hiphop heroes. In College I had "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" on permanent rotation, and today I'm sitting in New York on the cusp of releasing my first major release produced by Che Vicious (Grammy winning producer that worked on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill). I've chilled with DJ Quik, Raekwon, made a song with Kweli and The RZA. These are not by my own merits but the delicate mix between blessings and destiny. All I did was work hard and never give up like my Singaporean parents taught me.
Now on my birthday watching the Brooklyn Sunrise, I see The Pharcyde tweeting on my behalf to pass my music on to a festival. Spike Lee asking for a Tshirt designed by my camp. I'm waiting to get the go ahead to get in the studio and collab with Sean Price. (Fingers Crossed) My Facebook has 257+ birthday wishes from friends around the world - even places I've never been. I've just signed my first management deal here in New York...and we've only just begun.
I'm spending my birthday with Jah, who has given me life, which is the greatest gift. It has been the chance to chase my dreams and creativity beyond my wildest imagination. Thank you for sharing this special day with me. One Love.