I didn’t want to write a post like this, but it’s been long overdue and a tweet of 140 characters or a Facebook status that reaches just 10% of people that like the Hip Hop Life and Times FB page does not give me the opportunity to convey the message I want to get to you all.
Hip Hop has been at the core of my existence since I first heard the cacophony of noise from Public Enemy’ classic debut album ‘Yo! Bum Rush The Show’ back in 1987, the horns and sirens, Chuck’ delivery and Terminator X on the cuts and Scratches and that was it I was hooked. Ever since Hip Hop has educated me on topics you wouldn’t learn in school here in the UK, and has continued to educate me throughout the years, it has entertained me and probably saved my life on numerous occasions.
I’ve always been primarily a fan, but like many I’ve messed around with bedroom beat making, reached a reasonable standard of turntablism and gained a good network of contacts over the years, so how did HHLAT come to fruition and why has our output over the past year and a half been so sketchy at best, which often leads to the question “What’s happening with HHLAT Stix?”
To tell you where HHLAT is at today, it needs a bit of historical input so bear with me! Since 1993 I have suffered from recurrent knee dislocations, not too much of an issue at the time it was just an inconvenience that i tended to overcome by using Ecstasy, Cocaine and Alcohol in massive amounts (It’s not big or clever kids and please don’t take this as an endorsement for using illegal substances) and could regularly be found at weekends raving away with my leg in plaster gurning my face off.
What’s this have to do with HHLAT I hear you ask?
Well soon it was not just my knees dislocating, my toes and fingers started dislocating as well. In 2001 I was diagnosed with a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and since that diagnoses it now also affects my hips, hands, shoulders and back.
What is EDS?
EDS is is the term given to disorders of connective tissue. Connective tissues are made from collagen which is like glue that holds our bodies together and provides support in skin, tendons, ligaments and bones. People like me with EDS genetically produce fragile collagen which results in Chronic Pain, fatigue as muscles have to work harder because of their fragility than a ‘normal’ person, dislocations and constant soft tissue damage. I permanently use crutches hence the nickname ‘Stix’
With the knee and finger dislocations reaching epic proportions, i stepped back from making music as dislocating a finger in the middle of a set is soul destroying, EDS in general is soul destroying. Plus since 2005 I’ve had 15 surgical procedures, 5 of them major knee reconstructions. However i was still in contact with lots of talented people who i felt weren’t getting the recognition they deserved with their music, so i started doing mailshots for the Facebook group The Free Hip Hop Shop which became fairly popular.
Around 2009 a member of the group approached me to write for his website called StandUpUK and I soon became their chief writer and helped build the site a strong following. Unfortunately in 2011 the owner was looking to cash in on the reputation the site had built, i offered to buy the site from him for what he had financially put into it but he wanted more. So with a heavy heart i made the decision to leave StandUpUK, (which shortly disappeared from the net after my departure) and with advice from my Dad and Tricksta i decided to go it alone and Hip Hop Life and Times was born in September 2011.
Unfortunately that same month my Dad passed away from cancer and never got to see the site finally up and running. But with Aimee also joining me from StandUpUK and Tricksta also contributing to the site, HHLAT was on the up.
When you run a respected blog it helps to have a solid team around you especially when you have health problems such as mine. Hip Hop Life and Times has always been a labour of love, it’s never been about making money, blogging and writing about music was the way i dealt with my day to day pain anything else is a bonus. Adam joined the team and got the YouTube Channel popping with some dope content and the occasional written review. But like everything in life other opportunities opened up for the team and they’ve gone on to take them which makes me proud to see where they are at today.
So, this brings us to the present, as i previously mentioned blogging and writing about music has always been a tool for me to combat and distract me from the pain i suffer daily. This is now something that i am struggling to manage as the pain is now affecting my concentration and the ability to absorb the music. Add to that the popularity of the site and the amount of submissions i receive i’m losing the enjoyment factor and finding it hard to strike a balance between managing my health and keeping the site regularly updated, which in turn adds to the depression that i already suffer from because of my physical condition.
This isn’t a cry for help, or a post for sympathy, i just thought it was time to let you all know the situation here at HHLAT and if you don’t get an immediate response to your email, tweet or whatever way you communicate with me then i’m not ignoring you or think your music is wack, i’m just trying to survive! With that being said please don’t think i’m stepping away or giving up on HHLAT that’s certainly not the case, I’m not going anywhere.
Finally thank you to everyone that has supported us, submitted content, shared a post or interacted with us it’s YOU that keeps me going, for real!
Peace, Blessings and Love
If you would like to learn more about EDS head over to https://www.ehlers-danlos.org/