JFK International Airport, 6:30 am.
Ask any of my friends to imitate me and you’ll probably get a hilarious rendition of “God wants me to be great”. It’s the dramatic way I explain the series of happenstance that has catapulted me from BX bookseller-wannabe, to crowdfund killer, with the only press I haven’t landed being a Bible verse. There’s not a week that goes by where I don’t say “I’m so grateful. Who the f*ck does this happen to?!” This week was no exception. On my way to Portland, Oregon for the American Booksellers Association’s Children’s Institute… of aaall the seats on my flight… He decided to seat me next to BX legend, Mysonne E. Linen.
I won’t do his bio any justice, so Google him. Don’t believe everything, lol.
The reason this encounter warranted over 140-characters, is because Mysonne’s brutally honest lyrics and “gangsta, but woke as f*ck” persona inspired the poem I wrote and performed as my crowdfund campaign pitch, earning me almost $150,000 to pursue my dreams, The Bronx is Burning with Desire to Read. I deleted this part about 50 times out of fear I would ostracize my audience, lol…
I am you and it is my mission
That with the power of literature, to restore kings & queens to their thrones
And help us cope
Preach the importance of community & shop local
Mend the gap between the young and old
Recite John Lennon & J. Cole
I declare war on reality shows
That teach our children to aspire to Instagram follows
(Follow us @thelitbar though, lol)
And to be Love & Wherever wives that ain’t really wives
I only promote black love and real life
Starting with The Lit. Bar, a home to read and write…
As much as believe in my market, I have moments of defeat as I witness the heavily marketed powers that be sink their teeth deeper into our youth and even my peers; but I remain focused as the desperation to maintain their misguided influence becomes more obvious in our political and socioeconomic climate. Banking on my like-minded market paid off big time; again, I’m assured that our communities just need some leadership.
My girlfriend, Jenna Herche, has worked with Mysonne and kept his name alive in my circle through the height of his career, incarceration, and now comeback season. I’ve binged on his online content that ranges from lyrical to comical to militant. I’ll go as far as to call Mysonne the Second Coming of Tupac Shakur. One second I’m screaming “preeeach” at Mysonne’s Instagram or Soundcloud, and the next, “Lawd, this nigxa ’bout to get himself assassinated”. His narrative is that raw.
My theory: From our conversation, I got the sense that Mysonne really isn’t about fame and social media is simply his new arsenal since putting down guns.
Not to discount other conscious rappers who speak to this generation (ie. J. Cole, the G.O.A.T.), but I haven’t witnessed anyone so brazenly address the state of hip-hop and the new Jim Crow era with the capacity to entertain and command relevant platforms. See, J. Cole is talking to me–the ones who been woke; us who’ve seen too much, saved by grandma’s, praying for just one murderless summer in the hoods we left behind (if only mentally); the urban fiction readers who’ve abandoned the genre when it began to glorify rather than reflect our realities; us who internally battle capitalist and Mona Scott-Young demons, but at least know to fight, and then we come home and drink almond milk.
Then there’s Mysonne: Baby Boy’s Melvin… and today’s rap artists are the Jodies who need a different kind of persuasion.
I’m so here for the headlock my BX bredren is bestowing upon the game. Mysonne leverages his own experiences with themes of evolution, education, consequences, regret, abandonment, betrayal, and the realities of the road to success in his lyrics. Somehow he manages to balance vulnerability, humor, and aggression in his clever delivery to expose these manufactured “real nigxas” and systems that keep our communities marginalized and profitable. While Mysonne’s rhetoric isn’t new, the market is showing that we’re finally ready to receive his message. The response keeps me charged in my own endeavors as I’m riding a similar wave of wokeness.
We out here and it’s no coincidence that we’re taking flight from the Bronx.
Noëlle: What’s your favorite book?
Mysonne: Hm, that’s a hard question to answer.
Noëlle: Well, you were down for like 7 years, right? What type of books did you read in jail?
Mysonne: 48 Laws of Power, The Art of War… I would read whatever was recommended to me. Books were easily accessible. I read everyday; although I haven’t read a book in almost a year.
Noëlle: New York is glad to have you back and we’re so proud of everything you’re accomplishing to put our sound back on the map. Your freestyle on Funk Flex snatched my edges.
Do your kids read?
Mysonne: I have a 5, 7, and 19 year old–
Noëlle: Wow, I didn’t think you were old enough to have a 19 year old.
Mysonne: *Rubs face* Yea, I got that good skin. My 5 year old loves to read and he loves when I read to him.
Noëlle: Your story is remarkable. Have you considered writing a book of your own?
Mysonne: I’ve been working on a book for about 4 months. I was having it transcribed, but for some reason that stopped. It would be a memoir about my life. I come up with different ideas for content all the time; one day, I would like to turn some of them into movies scripts and other art forms.
Noëlle: I was put in this seat for a reason. When you write that book, you have to have your launch party at The Lit. Bar.
Mysonne: Of course.
Noëlle: I just heard a song you have out now with Fab. How did that come about?
Mysonne: This is an interview, isn’t it?
Noëlle: You smart. Now take this selfie for my blog. *Flash* Do it again, I gotta be cute.
Mysonne: Let me smile in this one. Get my good side… just kidding.
Noëlle: You’ve been leaning and snoring on me for the past 5 hours, so it’s the least you could do for my troubles. So how did the Fab collab happen?
Mysonne: I knew Fab for years. We connected again when he was receiving an icon award. After that he commented that I killed my freestyle on Funk Flex. I had the song That’s How We On It out so I just asked him to get on the remix and it was done.
Noëlle: Ah, the power of asking.
I saw you post something on Twitter that’s been on my mind for couple of weeks. Sooo, you really feel like it’s ok for Creflo Dollar to solicit money from his congregation for a new private plane? When I think of a preacher, I think of them being servants to God, not to themselves at others expense. The only reason I eventually worked my mind around doing a crowdfund was because the bookstore directly serves the people funding it.
Mysonne: I don’t see anything wrong with living equal to the rappers that we support when he’s feeding the souls of his following. He serves people outside of his community; he gets around on that plane… more was said on this, topic but I went deaf, lol.