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Fear

I didn’t want to write this. For a number of reasons I really did not want to write this but here I am doing just that.
Over the past number of months people worldwide were watching everything coming in and out of Ferguson Missouri with great attention. Every shred of evidence however received through meme or MSNBC was dissected. You could hear the interest in the back of the minds in empty water cooler conversations across America. Whatever side you were on, or even if you truly played the role of bystander. The energy of all of this interest came to a boiling point that historical Monday when the decision of no indictment was announced. Before that day, had you asked me to list my biggest fear and I would go silent. I wasn’t afraid of anything I thought. I was always taught to face my fears and conquer them, and that’s what I did. That’s exactly what I did, robotic like even dismissal of fear became an everyday regiment for me. I had shed fear until Monday when I witnessed fear so numbing I could hardly breath. My biggest fear is separation. Separation of people in America, and the acceptance of that separation within our society. I am afraid, that this separation will never end and thus sending this great nation into a perpetual cycle of these kinds of tragedies.
The immediate reaction when that was announced was the true America. Jubilation and pain, for there was and still is absent of a third option. The separation forced America to become what we truly are and it is scary enough to bring tears to toughest person’s eyes. We are a nation so separated and divided, that we are incapable of overlooking minor differences to see the big picture of right and wrong. It was almost as if our nation was lying this entire time.
Maybe that’s the true America. This land was built on separation and the imbalance of power. America was crafted through the struggle for power and the acts one side is willing to do in order to achieve power. I have heard some of the most vile and disrespectful comments from some people I have spent a significant amount of my life calling a “friend” only to discover a deep seeded hatred that they had for me and my mind manifest itself through their actions. At first I was enraged by them and wanted to fight against them all, and now like a prize fighter slumping down getting his battered and bruised face attended to after a championship bout; I am tired from the fight. It was as if all of the progress which had been made through the years were a lie and a tragedy like this was needed to show us the real and true America, and the results are very ugly. The separation has led life long coworkers and friends onto opposite sides and since this deep seeded separation is America’s dirty secret the discussions needed can’t be had face to face so Facebook and social media ends up as the battle ground for these nasty wars we have seen. Where all people are doing is talking at one another with hateful words and expressions. We have become a society more interested with being correct than being morally right and that is a sad sign. With that mind state I guarantee we can never get anywhere and nothing will change. For the sake of my children and nieces and nephews, I hope this stops. What happened to the love for your common man?
Very similar to a discarded leaf from a tree being carried by the wind to another city, this separation in America is being fueled and carried by hate. If something doesn’t happen soon, that same hatred and separation will adversely effect our son’s and daughter’s lives.
It is a scientific fact that things are at their weakest when separated, there is a strength in a bond. America is at its weakest right now because of a self inflicted separation and it frightens me it truly does.

Faith

I guess deep in the back of my mind, I’ve always sustained a certain amount of trust in the good of man. I believed that everything would eventually be ok. Hell, I even isolated myself from the world by skipping on the news and the harsh realities of the world. Just stay the course and everything has to work out in the end. Faith, defined as a complete trust or believe in someone or something. Blind faith means to have believe without true understanding, perception or discrimination. I guess I was somewhere in the middle. I thought the world, or at least my community could eventually work itself out. I write this as a man whose faith has been shattered and replaced with fear.
I, like many young black people in today’s America believed in evolution. The racist evil people would eventually die off. They were raised in a different time and some can’t evolve so they’re stuck in their ways. They die only to be replaced by a forward thinking younger generation capable of looking at my people like equals. It has to happen because it will happen. That’s where that blind faith comes in at. Well I now write this as a father, I am shaken to the core with fear of the future.
I am a black man in the deep south, you don’t have to tell me about racism I live in it. I always thought if I do my part and be a positive representation of men of color, eventually things are bound to work out. Faith, sometimes that’s all we have. And that faith is falling, quickly.

Have you ever looked into the eyes of a man that lacks hope? It is one of the darkest most desolate sights you will ever see. The darkness of not having a belief that things will be ok in the future. When people lose hope, things change in their attitude and actions. And I, as a black man can say I’m losing hope for what is about to happen. Our children are being gunned down in the street by people who took an oath to protect us, and they’re not only not being placed in jail they are still being paid for their actions.
There is only so much anybody can take. Only so many deep breaths and church hymns can be heard before desperation sets in and change is mandatory. The promise that “everything will be ok” only holds weight for so long. Eventually, an uprising is going to happen on a national scale, and that frightens me. I don’t know what the action will be, or who will participate in it, I just know it’s coming. My hope has been tied to this understanding of redemption long enough, and i have felt the fire of disappointment for far too long. I consider myself a thinker and a man of sound mind. I don’t know how much more I can take.
Do people really not change? If people don’t change then what is the point of growth and maturity if we revert back to who we were before?
I don’t know when I’ll reach my breaking point or what will happen when I do, I just know that faith I once had is hanging on by a very thin rope.

Aee you uncomfortable yet? The only feeling which can rival the emotion of helplessness is the feeling of being lost. You simply don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Your own numb reality has blinded your eyes from what is actually going on around you. The very real feeling of inequality has struck you in the face and you don’t know what to do right now. You are lost and uncomfortable in this feeling. What do you do now?
All of this time you have been misled and lied to. You were given monetary rewards and upward mobility in class structure to give you a sense of victory within the lie so you would cherish it. This entire time you thought you were being respected and not merely tolerated. You think the unrest in cities across the world shouldn’t effect you, for you wear nice slacks and drive an expensive car to work. You aren’t like “them”, so you don’t identify with “them”. Whatever it is that’s going on, you think you have nothing to do with it, everything has always been equal in your eyes.
Even now, occasionally you seek out opportunities to distance yourself from “them”. You mask this by declaring you are merely “thinking logically” or being “smart”. You throw out certain comments like “we’ll see how long this last” to show you are not like them. Only these notions and comments don’t feel as organic now do they? Doesn’t feel like you’re telling the truth anymore, something has shifted inside you. You can’t shake it.
But, for reasons you don’t fully understand, this does effect you. There is a voice within the most desolate part of your soul until now which repeatedly says “this is not right”. It is that voice, that voice you have been trying to silence for months in a row now. You didn’t understand what happened with Eric Gardner, the feeling began then. But Eric Gardner was an isolated event you told yourself every time you think about it. But now, weeks later you can’t help but notice that Eric Gardner is so much more than an isolated event. More than an isolated event, more of another of proof of a cycle. This feeling has mounted inside you, from a voice in desolation to something taking over your soul. Taken over so much as to bleed into your work and always weigh on your mind. You don’t understand what is going on with you and you can’t stop it.
The only thing i can ask of you is to trust in that feeling of being uncomfortable. Trust that this feeling is an organic feeling and one that deserves to be followed. Let this feeling lead you to action. For I am no fool, I do not think you will wake up today and become Malcom X tomorrow. I simply would like you to try to understand that this is going on all around you and in different levels throughout this country. You can’t act on something until you notice a travesty. I am asking you to notice now. No more.

I Am Sorry

I have failed you. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to form the perfect union, instead I’ve turned us into something different.
I have engaged in psychological warfare the like has never seen before in the bloodiest of wars, with you as the victim. My job is to protect you, instead I’ve become your biggest predator. The sword I was given to shield you from harm with, I’ve placed in your back numerous times. I’ve hunted you down, crippling you with lies and blank promises. I have gathered, and celebrated using you with my cohorts with the same mouth I promised you honor with.
I’ve left you to raise generations of families simply due to my own immaturity and lack of honor, then turned around and blamed you for it. My ego and greed have blinded me from the things really important, and you have carried the burden of my bad decisions. My backwards thinking has caused a confusion in your soul which handicapped you and anybody that comes in contact with you. I have broken you.
Nobody is supposed to be able to protect you more than me and I’ve ignored that job. I’ve brought outside frustrations, which are of no fault of your own to you to fix. My blind aggression has often times made you feel as a prisoner in your own skin and household. I’ve demanded understanding from you, then turn around and refuse you the same and somehow made it make sense in my mind, not giving your emotions even a second thought. I’ve attacked your insecurities and taken advantage of them, leaving you to pick up the pieces and regroup after abandoning you.
The way I have spoken down on you is disgusting. So bad in fact, that I have forced you to become accustomed to being called a dog and told you to deal with it.
This isn’t to promise it will never happen again, for I can’t guarantee that. For this is simply to say I have seen the error of our ways and I apologize for them. I know we don’t deserve it, but we beg for your patience as we will try to improve our ways. I am truly sorry. We are truly sorry.

Reasonable_Doubt_New

From the beginning of the album you knew this was something different you were hearing.  You could tell by the album cover, even before playing the Scarface influenced introduction to open the project.  It’s like you just knew this guy was different, this music was different,  this album wasn’t like anything we ever heard before.  And eighteen years later,  it’s power is still felt today.
The year is 1996, and hiphop is in a great place.  Nas was warming up the universe for their second helping of classic material from the poet, Ghostface is about to release Ironman from the then undefeated Wu Tang Clan imprint,  Tupac and the Fugees are about to release what we now know to be classic albums which represented their last offerings. Outkast is about to introduce everybody to the thoughts from Atliens.  But a mere week before God’s son drops his opus,  a skinny kid from Brooklyn was about to shake up the world.
What makes Reasonable Doubt so stellar,  is it came at a time when hip-hop didn’t even know that this is what we were missing. At a time when everybody in the East Coast were painting pictures of mafia ties with Italian bosses influenced from “Casino” and “goodfellas”, jay z was different.
Reasonable Doubt was written in code, you either fully understand the album or you don’t. Lines drenched in deep rooted slang such as “pay 500 for blow best believe I have 1160 to show” separate the listener from the target audience.  This is an open letter from one hustler to another. Jay-Z was painting the same picture as his counterparts,  but adding more detail to the background which only a trained eye could pinpoint but even a novice could see they weren’t the same.
Songs like “D’evils” took you on a journey where a hustler shows you the personable ugly realities that comes with life on the street.  In the second verse,  jay tells a story of how two lifelong friends since playing with Legos now find themselves as opposition and enemies. “We used to fight for building blocks now we fight for blocks with buildings that make a killing” is a reality hustlers know all to well; but one that was previously never spoken on in between the countless women, cars and partying.
Jay z didn’t just tell you all about a hustler and his triumphs,  he told you about the losses and paranoia that comes from being in the game.  He didn’t just tell you he sold drugs,  jay explained in beautiful detail the thoughts that go through the mind of a hustler. “9 to 5 is how you survive I ain’t trying to survive in getting to live it to the limit and love it a lot”. Powerful lines like this not only gives you the what,  but why a hustler decides to do what he does.
 The reason that the last song on albums is a reflective one is because of reasonable doubt.  Jay didn’t just show you a Brooklyn kid who sold drugs, he brought you deeper into a world than previously ever imagined.  You didn’t just see somebody at the dealership buying a fully loaded 325  BMW enjoying his riches from crime. You were also witness to that same dealer at the hospital with a friend who was dying from playing that same game. The listener was even given a front row seat to still that same dealer “nervous confined to a corner” with beads of sweat and contemplating giving up the life for good. Shawn Carter gave us multi layered punch lines and metaphors, which some still don’t understand eighteen years later.  And even though jay has released many more albums since with better sales and chart topping hits, reasonable doubt is the album which introduced us to the mind and world in which we have never seen before and may never see again.  Almost twenty years later, and you still can’t knock the hustle.

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#TheLionsDen is back for another run. For this installment I am bringing you an up and coming rapper out of Florida. Born and raised in the city, you can hear Trick Jr’s home-grown flow and pain in every song. With a distinct voice and delivery, Trick Jr brings you into his world with descriptive details of everyday life of a Florida kid trying to make it. What makes Trick Jr story different from your ordinary rapper, is his background. The son and name state of Ronald “Trick” Lee Williams, the leader of the once powerful “Miami boys” ring. Trick Jr has seen things most rappers only lie about. Carrying on tradition of his incarcerated father, Trick Jr is here to make sure when it is all said and done, everybody will remember his name.

When did you first start rapping and who are some of your influences

Actually i started in first grade, but I aint take it serious till 2010. And as for my influences , I’m actually more influenced by eras, and movements than actual rappers. I’m just a fan of the game but if I had to be distinct mainly Pac and slim (tupac and soulja slim)

Now of course you’re from Florida and go by the name trick jr so people automatically think that is because of trick daddy. Talk about where that name actually comes from and have you ever thought about changing your name to distance yourself from that thinking
My name I’m glad you asked that, ma name come from my old boy ima junior. Let’s just say he was a stand up cat and was respected by many, as for changing my name I thought about it but I’ve been called trick since December 26, 1987 so it’s something that just stuck with me. As for changing it Like I say I thought about it but I don’t see no reason, no disrespect to trick daddy we two different people and two different styles of music. My name is Trickjr his name Trick daddy. If you take the time you would understand it

The Florida music scene is a very popular scene with a lot of people. If you had to choose one artist to represent the state of Florida on every level who will it be?
Myself. Don’t get me wrong I listen to other people cause most rappers be so caught up in their own projects that they don’t take the time to listen to what I call the “competition” I listen to everybody but the best to represent the state of Florida I would say is myself.” I been here all my life I don’t know nowhere else

Describe your style in two words
Passionate and reality. Cause I will give it to you exactly how it happened and articulate it to where you actually feel the pain as if you were there. I call it and concrete and broken glass articulation is key. Let’s be real we all from the streets we all got similar stories it’s just how you tell it, Is what makes it interesting.

Obviously with who your father is you were witnessing a life a lot of these rappers claim to have but didn’t. Does something like that upset you?
To tell youths the truth it really don’t matter. I remember a wise man once said “America got a thang for this gangster shit” as far as rap I never look at it from that aspect but from the street aspect it makes you respects people like my father and what they did even more one thing bout that life you can’t fake it. Entertainment is entertainment and reality is reality it’s a very thin line.

Your style is reminiscent of the older days of hiphop. How does it feel being a throwback artist in the time of skinny jeans and men wearing dresses?
Lol skinny jeans and dresses huh really I think nothing of it times is changing and as an individual I do what I like I stick to what I know I don’t like to follow trends I’m a believer if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and if it still sound good I will listen. When things change I see it as an opportunity to stand your grounds even if you have to be the last one left, they will respect you more. What works for them might not for you. Stay in your lane while thinking outside the box.

I give you an unlimited budget for your debut album. Three producers and one guest verse from anybody who would it be?
As far as producers Dr Dre, Missy Eliot, and Mannie Fresh and as for one guest feature Sade because I’m a big fan and she rarely ever does features.

I remember seeing uncle luke and Wayne in a disagreement recently about out of towners visiting Miami and going to the strip clubs but not giving money back to the community. Luke even suggested they should be banned from Florida. What do you think about the entire debate and should rappers give back in your opinion
Me personally I feel what he tryin to do but I feel that it’s not that serious. When ever someone disrespect our town you would feel the same way and the fact that they getting money in your city and live in your city and disrespecting you, but if you gone do that here you gon do that any where then you lookin at as a west east and south war all over again.

A lot of the material in your music touches on personal topics like your father being in prison. Is there ever something that you may not speak on in a record or something you may have said before that you look back on now and think you crossed a line a little bit
As far as things I said I never really crossed the line and I don’t regret nothing but there are somethings that i won’t repeat… and as far as things I won’t say lets just say I choose my words very carefully due to the magnitude of my fathers situation, of course there are things I won’t say.

TrickJr Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/theo-smith-3

Link to Trick JR Confessions of a hustler vol. 1 mixtape http://www.datpiff.com/Trick-Jr-Confessions-Of-A-Hustler-Vol1-mixtape.102697.html

Link to newest Trick Jr mixtape “social Isolation” http://www.datpiff.com/Trickjr-Social-Isolation-mixtape.506742.html

Few things install fear into people like going for an interview for a job. The uncertainty of a job interview is one that can make you very nervous. There has been stories of people passing out from the nervousness of an interview. Rather it be the dream job you are going for or a lateral move in your career, all interviews come with a high level of pressure. Remembering these few helpful hints which me and my colleagues have discussed in detail hopefully will help you with that.

Let’s begin by telling you exactly what a hiring manager is trying to accomplish through an interview. Each interview is trying to evaluate the following

1. How skilled you are and how you applied these talents on a job
2. Your accomplishments and if they are on par with what accomplishments the hiring manager feels should have been accomplished
3. How you would fit with the environment and culture of the company.
4. Level of drive
5. Your potential for improvements.

Of course these five aren’t all weighed with the same importance depending on who is doing the interview. Most technological companies might put more emphasis on technical brilliance since company culture may not be as important because some will work remotely and never meet their coworkers. Some other companies will value a candidate’s first impression more and will hire off a gut feeling more often. Knowing what is being looked for is very helpful when going into an interview.

The most common mistake in an interview is the interviewees showing up far too early and upsetting the hiring manager. I’m sure you think showing up for your 1030 interview at 945 is at worst a good move if not a great one, but that is not accurate. At times hiring managers will take a candidate showing up for an interview very early as a sign of disrespect for their schedule because now they must juggle appointments around to accommodate you. Five to ten minutes early is an ideal time to come for your interview. Leave your house with enough time to account for traffic and sit in your car in front of the destination is usually the best option.

Talk in complete paragraphs not broken sentences
Ideally you want to answer each question for two to three minutes to any question. Short answers, regardless of the job you are interviewing can be the reason you do not get the job, hiring managers will feel you are being difficult and rude. Let your answers tell a story, start with a general opening remark, prove this remark as correct then give some examples to show why you decided to lead with that general opening statement. Then, to take control of the interview you want to end your answer with a question such as “is this the kind of situation or skill that I will be responsible for here?” Remember that an interview is nothing more than a conversation and if you show yourself to be easy to talk to, you’re putting your best foot forward in an interview. A candidate isn’t usually judged on how well they do on their jobs, references do that. Candidates are judged by how well they can describe how to do their job.

Read your own body language
Most if not all hiring managers believe they are mind readers through body language. Knowing not only what you are verbally speaking but what your body is saying is vital in an interview. Stand up straight, lean forward in your chair, make eye contact, allow an ample amount of space between you and the interviewer are just some of the body language rules to follow. Leaning slightly forward in your chair shows a level of excitement in the prospective job and what the hiring manager is telling you. Some signs such as rubbing your neck when answering questions can make hiring managers believe that you are lying to them and trying to come up with your words as you are going. Having a stern understanding of body language is very important when going into an interview for a job.

Do your research

Be prepared for your interview, research the company you are interviewing with. When a candidate has not done any homework on a company it shows easily, and makes hiring managers feel as if you are only interested in pay and will leave whenever another opportunity rises, which can make the next person get your job. You can separate yourself as a serious candidate by doing ten minutes of research on the company before an interview so that you can ask questions and answer any questions with more knowledge and sound complete answers. When the hiring manager ask “what can you bring to this company” you can show how much research you have done and answer this question with something more concrete than the weak “I will do a good job”. Doing research can be the difference in ending your job search or going on another interview somewhere else.

Ask for contact information

Assume that you are not the only person interviewing for a job and that the hiring manager will conduct more interviews. The best way to keep yourself in hiring managers mind is asking for contact information like a business card. When you get home from the interview send an email stating how nice it was meeting with the hiring manager and thanking him for taking time to speak to you. reiterate that you are excited about this opportunity and still want to move forward with the position. You would be shocked at how many times something as small as this gesture will put one candidate as the front-runner over others.

Of course there are other tips for interviews depending on the industry and position you are interviewing for. For any specific questions please feel free to email me at thelionwords@gmail.com and I will answer them in future posts. Good luck on your upcoming interviews.

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