HYPE BOOK

I’m happy to share the digital at no cost, but here are links to donate via Venmo or PayPal if you’d like to

HYPE is self-empowerment on unapologetic blast. It’s recognizing that repping our full self is how we’ll be at our best for the crew—the collective whole, our community doing the important work of creating joy and change.

Alongside inspiring quotes from folks like ODB, Quelle Chris, Octavia Butler, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and Maya Angelou, HYPE takes a mini dive into 4 spaces we can “honor what’s possible”—whatever that looks like for us as artists, community, and crew.

*Do you for the crew
*Ditch the inner-hater
*Just make stuff
*Love

I hope this lil book helps you embrace your path, continue beyond inevitable challenges, and remember (again and again) doing you for the crew is the ultimate gift to moving forward.

++++++

Edited by
Leah Taylor @weebotulism

Designed by
Matt McCoy @squarenoise

Printed by The Gloo Factory Tucson, AZ

Whale of a Sale 🐳

Super hyped the new record is LIVE!

Artwork by Kerrie Wallis

Dedicated to repping for our inner Manimal, my prolific bud who hosted a series of yard sales re-using the same whale-shaped sign and incredible pun: WHALE OF A SALE. I wanted this to feel like something you might find at a thrift, yard sale, or swap meet. Something that gives you just enough vibes to take it home, and it actually kinda bumps!

It started taking shape after Manimal left his human form. He was there reminding me to make beats. To Steal Sound. It became how I would grieve and honor him. It took me from a space in between creative waves to a spot where I could see the horizon.

It was one of the ways I got by during the height of the pandemic, feeling isolated from family and crew. I remember the day B dropped the [(((VIBRATE HIGH)))] HIT+RUN compilation. He wrote, “Hopefully you’re remaining focused, courageous and optimistic, finding clarity, spending quality time with loved ones, appreciating the slowness… staying active, eating right & harmonizing with your inner being.” I immediately made the beat for what would later become the first version of SKY.

This music continues to help me cope with my wife’s journey beyond breast cancer. A way to help me show up every day to support my favorite person. LOVE YOU!

Working on these tracks reminded me (again and again) that this is my healing and path—one of the things I can do during this tiny bit of existence that can help spread joy. That I will legit dissolve without these efforts.

It taught me to take hold of my work. To finish and share it. To stop creating excuses. After waiting on someone else to mix the record, I took a weekend to mix it myself. Maxing out my sound nerdom to run it from computer to cassette through a series of mixers and pedals creating a live 4-track mix from digital to analog. It was so revitalizing to the project and myself. To realize I wasn’t waiting for anything. That I had everything I needed to finish it right here in the shedio. It was on me the entire time.

Soon after mixdown, I had a quick chat with one of my music mentors Jon AD. I asked him for advice on mastering and he came through so hard with an intro to Alter Echo, a Pacific NW underground electronic and dub legend who’s been putting out wax since the 90s. He immediately understood the sound I was looking for. So grateful to both of yall!

As the mixes were taking shape, I got a massage from my friend Kerrie. She had all of these beautiful, trippy collages in her studio, many with underwater vibes. And they were all her work!! When a friend is like, “Yeah, I mess around with that too…” So dope, so humble. A few days later I asked if she might be up for creating a whale collage for the record. So f’n happy for how it turned out and honored to rep this art!

I added a few shoutouts to the tape and inevitably forgot so many people. If you’re not listed and are a part of my creative journey, THANK YOU! All my GC & W creW, THANK YOU! This amazing Tucson hip-hop community, THANK YOU! A couple of folks I wanted to name here are B & Nisey and Willie and Joe. I mean damn y’all. Thank you. CREW.

And thank YOU for hearing this art. I hope you’re digging what YOU’RE up to right now. That you’re doing you today and as many other days as it feels possible in these times.

It doesn’t have to be perfect.
If it did all we’d ever do is stay nervous.
Instead we get to do our fucking selves on purpose.

LOVE! 

Artwork by Kerrie Wallis
Produced, recorded, and mixed by Illslur
Mastered by Alter Echo

toshi

A few notes from Toshi Reagon’s QA after the Parable of the Sower Opera, Ann Arbor, MI on March 25th, 2022.

Toshi said to “Make people cross your line.” To get so right with your beliefs and actions that “They cannot test you.” She said you can do this “By showing you’re upset with this shit.”

She said to prove “You have already shown them you are down to survive in community.” And to “Make your outrage a superpower.”

She let us know we will need to “Be in community, even in ways we don’t like.” I think this was in relation to having this or that political bent (for example), but if the food runs out, you’re going to have to figure it out. Like how Laura does in the book and opera.

Toshi talked about Joy. She said “Letting light hit our eyes is our human contribution to the world.”

She said “Everything you know is a beautiful contribution to the future.”

how far down?

fire mediation

(ego disclaimer: not boujee)

searching for peace

finding work stress

move to art output

cue identity q’s

dog knows me in full joy

no proof needed

being who i am

searching for ground

finding an animal

intention is a chance

to find the core

to rep for us

and include our loves

in the joy of a creature

who just knows

today is for sue

biking yesterday i had the experience you learn about in first aid classes but rarely see. cruising around a final corner before the bike path meets up with city streets, i came upon an elder woman lying face down on the pavement. her arms stretched out in front of her.

it’s been years since i’ve taken one of these classes but i was able to breathe and calmly approach. i asked if she could her me. she could. i asked if i could help. she said i could. i asked her name and she said sue. so i sat with sue as we slowly worked on moving her legs in a position that she typically used to stand up. we took our time as her body was clearly a bit shook from the fall. a few people asked if we were ok and i said yes. i got the vibe she didn’t want a lot of attention, and it did feel like we were doing ok. nothing more to do but slowly help sue up, given her body didn’t seem to be any more injured than a bit of road rash.

a few minutes later another person came by in a truck asking if we needed help and i accepted. they seemed like the right person to help out, someone you’d feel safe around. sue and I had been on the pavement long enough it became clear some more help might be needed. they brought a towel from their truck and we got it under sue’s arms. they coached me a bit on how to lift sue, basically the first squat i’ve done in about 5 years, and with the highest stakes, holding sue in a front hug and lifting her to her feet.

another person on a bike came by and hung out just in case. didn’t ask, just stayed present about 10 ft away. not trying to add to anything unless we needed them. it was a really respectful move in hindsight. after we got sue to her feet we stood a while before moving. she held me tightly. after a few minutes, the other person and i took sue from both sides, her hands over our shoulders, and walked the 30ft to her car across the street. we had a couple of laughs about how she had “almost made it!”

the other person who stopped said they lived in the neighborhood and could drive sue’s car home. they said they could walk home from sue’s house, which was to be about a mile away. sue accepted, so we helped her into the passenger seat of her station wagon and sue and this super kind person whose name i never got were on their way.

as i biked a bit i couldn’t help thinking that sue was just out on her walk and then suddenly needed help. i thought about my fav grace dammann quote, “if i can, i must.” i thought about all the things sue has done, all the times she’s walked that path. i thought about how short and fragile this life is. i thought, today is for sue.

while i have aging parents, friends, and relatives, this was the first time i’ve needed to help another person in this way since my time working as a caregiver 10 or so years ago. this was real. a lesson to value each breath and step. a view into the kindness that’s possible between strangers. beyond everything, we were there for sue, and she accepting of us. today is for sue. hope to see you on the path again soon <3

today is for sue
everyday is for sue
no day is for sure
not even today
but today is for sue
because we’ll have a day too
when it’s challenging to walk on the path
with courage we try
it’s what we do
we will fall too