“The universe is not required to be in harmony
with human ambition.” – Carl Sagan

“There will always be an underground.”
– Chuck Palahniuk

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The first 60 days of any new year, is a perfect time to shine a spotlight on the best (and  the trainwrecks) of the underground scene.

ed. i music & prose

the artists

Bap Mason, ChildsAnonymous, Brandon Shutt & Nadine Jordan

It is a curious word: ambition. It is as much a personal emotion as a personality trait. To be ambitious is to be filled with such exuberance and excitement, that the execution becomes its own reusable source of energy and joy. Simply by doing our thing, and not forsaking our God given talent tends to inspire and build a base of fans, if we are fortunate.

Ambition empowers the soul to believe in the self. It forces the brain to think bigger than the moment, to think greater than ‘me’ even when necessity calls ‘me’ first. To imagine the place we will someday be, creates the starry-eyed dreamer, and a sometimes brutal reality strengthens our emotions, fortifying the heart to absorb the blows of loss; to not break the chain of a non stop adrenaline rush, less we never get back up. Ambition is the game of life, played on every level. It is reaching the pinnacle of our profession or within our craft, then reaching higher even still, as it becomes our way of life. And even when despair, temporarily (or for 15 years) knocks us out, and we find ourselves,  with neither the window nor the pot, it is ambition that wakes us up, that affords us a shimmer of hope. But dam our ambition comes at a cost. It keeps us honest with ourselves, so we hold off on giving up.

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the recording arts

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the sound of music

All I Know song review
by Bap Mason feat. Rocca Varnado
L.R.O., Strong Visual, Young Kings

All I Know by Bap Mason is both a tragedy and an unbridled success. It hits a rare double of being both the problem and the solution, and the simplicity of the song, is also its might. The lyrics are so emotionally charged, if not for the body-swaying groove and catch hook for balance, it would be Shakespearean only a hip hop tragedy. It is at once the jump off song of a dreamer and the war cry of a generation lost. All the times we’ve been through, all we do is smoke All we do is smoke. All I know crashes the starry-eyed flow of hitting the big time with a relentless ambition that separates artist from talk. But the beat saves us from drowning and we remember that it’s only a song.

There is a hint of brilliance, supported by the raw solo of Rocca Varnado, who adds both presence and depth. But it does not matter how sign-of-the-times the song may be, the arts in all its beauty, will devour our ambition, if we do not maintain the blow for blow dedication to match. And if Bap Mason ever believes all he knows is  enough, then the voice of genius or a slow rise to the top or just being good with life, gets buried as the lyrics lose their power and the beat becomes the entire song.

deja vu: the spotlight artist

Childs Anonymous
Hip Hop Artists

Talented, smart and professional in his pursuits. He has maintained an unyielding fan base for years, thepublicblogger included.

I am hoping Childs is here to stay. He adds a flavor to the music scene, The Neighborhood has not seen since Los Rakas (Crossing the Diaspora), who has soared to relative fame. But more than anything, he adds excitement to an underground world, throwing further turmoil into a chaotic, talent-filled pool of artists, one of whom…. is destined to be a superstar.” – excerpt from 2014 song review

Ambition keeps him flowing, and if there is a disappointment, that he has yet to reach the top, he keeps it to himself or a very tight knit inner circle, because year after year, Childs Anonymous puts it down.

⊕ Are Yall Kidding Me by Childs ⊕

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Ambition is not the alpha nor the omega in the totality of who we are. Striving to hit number one, if that is our destination, then we must not stop, even if we believe there is no way out. For ambition – with a fair amount of altruism, to be fair –  illuminates and shines and becomes a spark, that may unblock the emotional dam for the generation that follows. And only the unhinged will not release their knowledge, reducing a legacy to victim of eternity.

the craft of writing

the writers

Brandon Shutt – not a grasshopper
Brandon is currently a student, studying English and Philosophy at the University of Tennessee, but a grasshopper he is not. A philosophy and a language – to varying degrees – we all possess. But how many times or how often, do we put them to a public test, without taking a fundamental, yet critical first step Never be afraid to take a moment to think. The translation is the same for both verbal and written communication. It pays dividends, that we the speaker notice first.

The Question: Why do most readers gravitate to one-sided editorials and tend to shun essays that offer well-balanced opinions from both sides?

Shutt’s response: One can only process finite amounts of data before coming to a conclusion. Therefore, one must trust their gut as an authority in determining which side in a story is right, and this entails discriminating against sources on the basis of ideology for the sake of one’s sanity. – Please read entire answer/essay here.  Not only is it interesting and informative, but he is so skillful as writer and thoughtful in offering his philosophy, that even if we disagree, we do not feel like the enemy. But more important, he has the ability to speak to the masses, but we still must be willing to step free from our bubble and read it.

one hit wonderful

Nadine Jordan
Sometimes, it is what we do not know or choose not to accept about ourselves, that troubles us the most. I learned from my brother-in-law, when I could not outrun the fog that once covered me: ambition never dies, but lives inside all alone, without nourishment or attention to feed the drive. And like all other emotions, the void created by an unrecognized yearning, is often filled by depression, the anti if there ever was.

Nadine Jordan’s writing debut Native America is quite frankly, breathtaking. A one hit wonder, perhaps. But if the craft of writing is not her passion, her one hit is worth reading over and over again. And if literary history is kind and gives it a deserving life, it is the type of essay that may outlast time.

this is… The Neighborhood
by Kendall F. Person


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The River Still Flows ed. II: short films, talking heads and leadership… on deck and coming soon.

Follow KP on Quora 

4 Comments on “DAM OUR AMBITION

  1. Eloquent, as usual, Kendall on the bright side of ambition. For the dark side, I refer you and your esteemed readers to MacBeth. Both sides are valid — like looking at Michelangelo’s David from the front and the back — what you see is completely different but both are valid points of view on the statue. From “your” side (playfully so called), the opposite of ambition is stasis/stagnancy. From “my” side (playfully so called), the opposite of ambition is contentment. Love your piece — just adding food for thought for my friends in the Neighborhood 🙂 Gary


  2. Pingback: THE ENEMY UNCOVERED – Kendall F. Person

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