Everything I Am by HDThePoet

I heard Kanye rapping on this one song

Affirming his divergence

Claiming it as own.

It took me this to realize 

Everything I’m not made me everything I am.

I won’t ever be able to rhyme my thoughts

Nor will I ever be a normal person

May never be the best poet. 

But no one can take my creativity away from me

Cause that just everything I am.

I’ll never be able to go back to high school

And change all my mistakes,

But does it matter because I learned from them…

Everything I’m not 

Proved to be everything I am. 

I’ll never be the flashiest nigga out there 

Never be the one to get all the girls 

I’m not careless with my money

And not every woman deserves my eye.

I’ll never have the toughest interior

Will always be a lover at heart

But that’s okay,

Everything I’m not made me everything 

I am.

I’ll never be the biggest person in the room,

I’ll always just be 6 ft with my hair out.

I’ll never be your ideal Jamaican 

You’ll probably always hear English on my tongue

With Patois trying to break out.

I’ll never be perfct… 

I realized that back when life 

Made me grow,

Saw how my flaws were a part of me

How everything I’m not made me

Everything I am!

-HD-

Click here to add HDThePoet on IG!

Click here to add HD’s poetry page, “The Deep Library.”


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Da Hood Journal

Nas EBK Interview

Myself (right) alongside rising Bronx artist Nas EBK (left).

This interview wasn’t supposed to happen.

Here’s a quick story.

With the help of my little brother, I got in contact with rising Bronx artist Nas EBK, in an attempt to set up an interview in June.

We settled on a date during the following week. However, when Nas had to reschedule, I was really disappointed.

The same scene unfolded with other drill artists I reached out to. If you wanted to work, they’d either lead you on or won’t respond.

And because of that, I didn’t think the interview would happen.

The next Saturday, the day the interview was originally scheduled for, I was boarding the train, en route to Brooklyn for two other interviews I had planned.

As I boarded the train, I get a text from Nas that read, “what time do you want me to pull up today?” 

Despite already having two meetings lined up, without hesitation, I told him to meet up with me later that evening.

I just couldn’t pass this opportunity up.  When he dropped his single “Bunny In The Box“, his name started buzzing across the city.

I already knew what a conversation with him could do for my platform.

Fast-forwarding to the interview itself, it went great. Once you take time to get to know Nas, you learn that he’s down-to-earth person.

There’s more to his personality than what he portrays in music videos & his tattoos.

Also shoutout to his close friends, Chevy & Zo, who accompanied him during our conversation.

Just as he wants to see them, Chevy & Zo want to see their brother succeed.

With that being said, this interview introduced my platform to a new audience & helped get my work the exposure it needed.

That wouldn’t have been the case without Nas. 

A lot of drill rappers never gave me the time of day when I reach out to them.

Nas did

That’s why I’m so appreciative of him because he believed in me enough to make this sit-down happen.

Therefore, a special shoutout goes to Nas, Chevy, and Zo. Wishing nothing but success for these guys, I’m forever rooting for them.

Click here to listen to Nas EBK’s hit single “Bunny In The Box.”

Click here to listen to his second track “2GunzUp.”

And click here to add Nas on IG.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Da Hood Journal

Full interview from June 26 with Nas EBK.
Full audio from our interview with Nas EBK.
Snippet from our interview with Nas EBK on IGTV.

Rickey Strachan Interview

Myself (right) alongside Brooklyn writer & poet Rickey Strachan (left).

I appreciate Rickey more than he knows.

He’s a kind soul that supports my endeavors, promotes anything I post, and wants to see me win.

I’m glad that I was able to interview him. We learned more about each other as our conversation developed.

I grew deeper respect for him following our sit-down.

Attending the same school, I caught wind of Rickey’s talent as a poet during an event on campus, right before the COVID shutdown.

You can see his effect on the crowd as rhymed his poem. He had their attention.

Throughout quarantine, I noticed Rickey reach a higher level with his writing & the dope content he posted on social media.

He shared more poems & his emotional educational series where he managed dish knowledge on several crucial topics. (This guy is different!)

I was sold on his abilities once he announced in August that he was writing a book.

With that being said, there’s no one our age doing what he’s doing. His work ethic is second to none.

Not to mention that’s he’s a wonderful human that’s more toxic than he wants to admit.

It’s been amazing to have a front-row seat to the person he’s becoming.

I’m excited to see what his future holds & looking forward to working with him again in the future.

Lastly, thank you to Rickey for letting me premiere his interview at his book signing.

My first time doing that, I’m forever grateful king.

Make sure you cop Rickey’s recent book out now & be on the lookout for part two coming early next year!

Click here to add Rickey on IG.

Click here to buy his book “Things Cupid Whispered.”

Click here to check out his poetry IG page.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Da Hood Journal

Full interview from May 22 with Rickey Strachan.
Full audio from our interview with Rickey Strachan.
Snippet from our interview with Rickey Strachan on IGTV.

Start Of S.O.S

If you know, you know, you know?

This all off the top so excuse any errors.

This past weekend was a memorable one for me. It showed me the highs & lows of my profession as a journalist. Here’s a raw, unfiltered recap of the past few days.

Myself (middle) alongside artist ME + L (right), & close friend, Sean (left).

Friday, I interviewed artist ME + L , a rising star with a unique sound. Saturday, I interviewed talented poet HD The Poet , Neville, CEO of fire clothing brand Temet Nosce, and NYC’s hottest drill rapper Nas EBK. When DHJ reaches the next level, I’ll credit this weekend towards helping me reach new heights.

Myself (right) alongside writer & poet HD The Poet (left).

Sunday I premiered an interview for the 1st time during DHJ alum Rickey Strachan‘s book signing in Brooklyn. Thank you so much for that opportunity.

Myself (middle right), alongside Temet Nosce CEO Neville (far left), close friend Jaden (middle left), & Steven (far right).

Yesterday, our Creative Director Roki graduated, as well as several other alums of our platform. Congrats to the CO’21, very proud of y’all.

Myself (middle left), alongside artist Nas EBK (middle right), artist Chevy Love (far right), and close friend Zo (far left).

During this hectic weekend, we lost 2 special people to senseless gun violence. Aaron was a role model, with a strong work ethic, beautiful family, and maturity I admired. Keyshawn, someone I had no relationship with, was well-liked during my FDA years.

Photo from Rickey Strachan’s book signing on Sunday, June 27th, where I premiered an interview for the first time.

1 year ago, we lost hoop star Brandon Hendricks to gun violence. It’s a pandemic that’s still spreading. If you’re reading this, please remain safe & careful during these summer months. We don’t need to lose anyone else. My condolences go out to the families of Aaron, Keyshawn, and Brandon.

Photo from our Creative Director’s Roki’s high school graduation June 28th. Congratulations!

With that being said, I’ll conclude with this: Da Hood Journal is not a podcast, blog, or YouTube channel. It’s a platform for the people, made by the people, and used to help the people that support our vision. Big thank you to our supporters, we are going to keep building with DHJ.

Photo of Keyshawn (left) & Aaron (right), two young men who unfortunately lost their lives to gun violence during this weekend. May they rest in paradise.

THANK YOU TO Black Ivy Media & Ritha Pierre for helping me realize my full potential & more with my platform!

Photo of Brandon “B-Diddy” Hendricks, a basketball star that lost his life to gun violence, a year ago last weekend. May he rest in paradise.

If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Da Hood Journal

Raydy J & Plain Jane OG Interview

Myself (middle) alongside Bronx artists Plain Jane OG (left) & Raydy J (right).

One of the more memorable conversations I engaged in.

Shout out to queens Raydy J, Plain Jane OG, and Ashley, Raydy’s better half who accompanied her to the interview.

This conversation would’ve never happened without Raydy, who I went to high school with, reaching out & expressing interest with being on the podcast.

So, thank you for that.

Being the first all-woman conversation I held, it was jam-packed with energy.

The charisma of these ladies was on full display throughout the interview.

My favorite part was when they spoke on topics like mental health, and the injustices against women in the music industry.

In addition, I became more avid supporters of Plain Jane & Raydy following our meet up.

I took a listen to one of Plain Jane’s EP’s “Love & Lust Vol. 1”, which she downloaded on to my phone prior to our sit down.

It was such a great listen. Her music consists of mentions of the highs & lows of love, mental health, and other issues young adults face daily.

The same can be said for Raydy J’s most recent project “So Dramatic.”

Definitely a dope one piece of work.

Her music is refreshing. Once you press play on a track you’re bound to hear a heartfelt, passion-infused tune, with witty lyrics & fire beats.

Same can be said for her latest track “Demons Need Love Too” (Out now!)

With that being said, you’ll enjoy this dialogue as much as I did.

They made several great points that need to be shared with the masses.

Shout out to these queens once again for this gem.

Special thanks to Raydy for inviting me to her “Demons Need Love Too” music video shoot!

Click here to check out Plain Jane OG’s music.

Click here to check out Raydy J’s music.

Click here to check out Raydy’s YT channel.

Click here to check out Plain Jane’s channel.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Da Hood Journal

Full interview from April 16 with Raydy J & Plain Jane OG.
Full audio from our interview with Raydy J & Plain Jane OG.
Snippet of our interview with Raydy J & Plain Jane OG on IGTV.

Yea Thats Him Interview

Myself (right) alongside Bronx artist Yea Thats Him (left)

Another interview in the books.

Thank you to my guy Yea Thats Him for this conversation. I truly enjoyed it.

The coolest thing about our sit-down was the story behind it.

Before we linked up I had no idea who Him was.

We had never spoken. I’d never listened to his music before.

The only thing I knew was he had a song titled “Rondo” with Diablo Wakefield that I had on repeat.

Despite the unfamiliarity between us, when he hit me up in March asking for an interview, I felt inclined to get it done.

And I’m so happy we did.

This was the first 1-on-1 interview I conducted and the first one where I didn’t have questions prepared.

We still managed to have such a dope dialogue despite not knowing much about each other. 

After we met up, I became a bigger fan of Him when I listened to his EP “All Of Sudden.”

The EP represented his personality throughout its eight tracks: fun, charismatic, and different from the norm (or “just that nigga” if you ask him).

With that being said, I hope you enjoy watching our sit-down. A lot of gems were said & a lot of stories were told.

Be on the lookout for part 2 of this conversation. I owe it to Him & I’ll be better prepared for the task at hand.

And lastly, stay tuned in with Da Hood Journal. We are going to keep building!

Last shout out to Yea Thats Him for inviting me to a basketball tourney in his neighborhood. It was active!

Click here to check out Yea Thats Him’s music.

And click here to check out his YT channel.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Da Hood Journal

Full interview from March 20 with Yea Thats Him.
Full audio from our interview with Yea Thats Him.
Snippet of our interview with Yea Thats Him on IGTV.

Tell Ya Friendz Interview

Tell Ya Friendz CEO Cal (left) alongside close friend Jelly (right).

Back-to-back interviews featuring East Harlem legends.

Don’t say I never showed love to the Eastside.

Shout out to my big brother Cal, and his man’s Jelly.

A common theme in all the conversations I share, I enjoyed talking with the two.

It was fascinating to watch Cal & Jelly go back & forth on topics they were passionate about, whether they agreed with each other or not.

What I admire most was how they consistently respected one another’s opinions throughout the conversation & allowed the other to speak their piece.

The most memorable segments of the dialogue for me had to be the constant mentions of fashion, whenever they gave a shout out to a mutual friend from their neighborhood, Cal’s time in college at SUNY Canton, and when Jelly went off on a tangent of straight A$AP Rocky slander. (That was crazy)

With that being said, you’ll most definitely enjoy this newest episode.

Cal & Jelly are two stand-up dudes who are in tune with the culture, and have great taste in music, fashion, entertainment options, you name it.

However, they still manage to separate themselves from the norm, in their own individual and creative way. 

They have such dope personalities, they are comfortable in their own skin & always try to stay positive.

This conversation reminded me of my high school years when I would sit & just listen to kids banter during my lunch period.

To conclude, as always, thank you for the unbelievable support we’ve received on the podcast.

Without you all, this wouldn’t be possible.

We’re going to continue to evolve & build into something beautiful, one step at a time.

Thank you to Cal & Jelly once again for their time & presence. Thank you for also putting me on to Max B’s music. He is a God.

And lastly.

Tell a friend to tell a friend, to cop from Tell Ya Friendz. Fasho.

Click here to visit the Tell Ya Friendz IG page.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Da Hood Journal

Full interview from March 20 with Tell Ya Friendz.
Full audio from our interview with Tell Ya Friendz.
Snippet of our interview with Tell Ya Friendz on IGTV.
Bonus episode from our interview with Tell Ya Friendz.

D.R.U Interview 

Myself (right) alongside East Harlem artist D.R.U (left).

While writing this piece I was half asleep.

That’s beside the point.

I want to give a big thank you to my boy D.R.U, one of the more mature, stand-up guys I know.

It was a pleasure conversing with him. Just from the way he answered my questions, you can tell he’s prepared for superstardom.

I also noticed the old-school mentality he possesses, as he stands on morals others tend to disregard in 2021. That’s something I appreciate.

Overall, he’s a generous, selfless person that has no issue supporting those around him.

Thank you, my guy.

Aside from our dialogue, I thought I’ll leave you an update on the state of Da Hood Journal.

Things are about to get serious.

A few days ago, I officially concluded my sophomore year of college, and Roki celebrated the conclusion of Ramadan, while also committing to a college of her own (congrats!).

With these things out the way, it allows us more time to devote to taking Da Hood Journal to the next level.

Already in the works of interacting with a new batch of guests, it only will add to the deep list of guests we’ve interviewed already.

I look forward to sharing these fire conversations, like the one I shared with D.R.U, this summer.

With that being said, as always, I hope you both enjoy this interview, as well as getting to know D.R.U

His journey to the top of the game has just begun.

East Harlem better stand up for the one.

Lastly, shout out to Roki for suggesting that I release his interview this week. The unsung hero strikes once again!

Click here to check out D.R.U’s music.

And click here to check out his YT channel.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Da Hood Journal

Part one of our interview with D.R.U.
Full audio from our interview with D.RU.
Part two of our interview with D.R.U.
Part one of our interview with D.R.U on IGTV.

Diablo Wakefield & Naj GG Interview

Myself (middle) alongside Bronx artist Naj GG (left), and Bronx artist Diablo Wakefield (right).

Before we discuss the interview, let me get something off my chest.

Since conducting this dialogue back on March 17, 2021, I’ve noticed the strides I’ve made as a host.

While rewatching the interview ahead of its release, I learned alot about being the host of a podcast. Things like knowing what to do & what not to do while carrying a conversation.

These first interviews I’ve recorded are allowing me to look back at where I began in this journey, whether they make me cringe or not, and feel good about where I’m at now. 

And that’s always a positive. 

With that being said, let’s talk about the men of the hour.

Our guest, Diablo Wakefield, who we’ve interviewed before, & his cousin Naj GG, are two young men wise beyond their years.

Because of that, this episode was filled with a ton of gems. 

Speaking to them, it feels like they’ve figured out how they should maneuver in the real world.

Already aware of Diablo’s intelligence, I admire the way he carries himself. It’s a mixture of fearlessness and maturity that’s rare to find in a 20-year old.

The same can be said for Naj. This interview was my first time meeting him & I’m glad I did. 

You can tell that Naj is both loyal & official. 

His humble character & demeanor stood out, especially since he didn’t come into the studio expecting to be interviewed. 

When I told him he was being featured on the podcast he was appreciative of the opportunity.

All in all, this was a solid interview. It was an enlightening conversation & I’m glad that the podcast is moving along smoothly at this juncture.

I’m confident the reception of these next two episodes will be great because we’re featuring two stand-up dudes surrounded by great support systems.

Shoutout to Diablo & Naj for believing in the vision & being a part of the podcast. Also, shoutout to the Glorious Gangsters, God’s Gift, and that backstreet they kept talking about because I heard it gets critical.

And as always, enjoy the amazing content coming from Da Hood Journal.

Click here to check out Diablo Wakefield’s music.

Click here to check out Naj GG’s music.

Click here to check out Diablo Wakefield’s YT channel.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Best,

Da Hood Journal

Part one of our interview with Diablo Wakefield & Naj GG.
Full audio from our interview with Diablo Interview & Naj GG.
Part two of our interview with Diablo Wakefield & Naj GG.
Part two of our interview with Diablo Wakefield & Naj GG on IGTV.

The Fearless Boyz Interview

Myself (middle) alongside Fearless Boyz brand CEO Mike (left) & brand ambassador (right).

Today marks yet another milestone for Da Hood Journal.

Today, April 10, we officially unveiled our brand new podcast, Da Hood Journal podcast. Radio has always been a venture I wanted to do, and now, I’m getting that opportunity.

I’d like to give a special thank-you to Zeke, Ms. Pierre, & Black Ivy Media for bringing my ideas to fruition. And thank you to Roki for remaining loyal to the brand as we embark on this new journey.

With that being said, what other way to debut our podcast, than with the duo that first debuted Da Hood Journal blog, the Fearless Boyz.

For those who don’t know, Mike (Fearless Boyz brand CEO) & Sta (brand ambassador) are the faces of the NYC-based underground clothing brand. They’re also good friends of mine.

I interviewed them back in August & wrote an article about the experience. These two helped jumpstart my blog in regards to popularity.

As a brand on the rise, gaining traction across the tri-state area, people were eager to learn about the duo on a personal level. And it showed as the article of them surpassed over five hundred reads.

Such a fun time.

But in the midst of that run, with the positive reception, my work received, I worried about the longevity of this passion, with writing such lengthy articles, especially in 2021, where reading is an afterthought.

Plus, despite how grateful Mike & Sta were for the article, they were in my ear, encouraging me to record my interviews for the world to watch, rather than read what took place.

So, it’s more than fitting to have my first guest on the blog, be my first guest on the podcast. 

The first people to believe in me, this is my sign of appreciation to them.

And six articles & seven months later, here we are. The blog, once my main focus, is more secondary now. 

That’s enough about that topic though. Let’s talk about the actual interview.

I truly enjoyed it.

When the conversation first started, I’m not going to lie, I was nervous.

At the time of the recording, I was still figuring out how to work the equipment I was using, while determining which direction I wanted to take with the pod.

But as we dug further into the conversation & I was able to ask my questions, I felt more comfortable.

The whole three hours I spent with them were genuine, raw, and filled with both deep & hilarious conversation.

Mike & Sta are naturally funny. With them, nothing feels forced. And that’s what I love because it makes for great content.

And shoutout to Diablo & Naj, who accompanied us during the interview. Diablo shared his tidbits of knowledge throughout the conversation while Naj sat quietly & watched.

Their interview is coming up next.

To conclude, I’m really proud of how this whole release turned out.

I think you’ll guys will enjoy the dialogue as much as I did. Editing the audio & video was the best part because I never got tired of watching it. Shows you how charismatic the Fearless Boyz are.

Happy 20th birthday to Mike, make sure y’all wish him a good one. Shoutout to my brother Sta for being such a blessing in my life.

Lastly, make sure y’all tune into the Fearless Boyz latest drop, on their Instagram page now.

Hope you enjoy the amazing content coming from Da Hood Journal.

Click here to visit the Fearless Boyz website.

Click here to visit the Ascendante IG page.

Click here to check out the Fearless Boyz YT channel.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Best,

Da Hood Journal

Part one of our interview with the Fearless Boyz.
Full audio from our interview with the Fearless Boyz.
Part two of our interview with the Fearless Boyz.
Part two of our interview with the Fearless Boyz on IGTV.