The past couple of days I have been going through old things… doing a little Spring Cleaning if you will. As you all know, this can often lead to nostalgia, and reminders of old happenings.
I have met a lot of people along the way. Poets, performers, dreamers... Some have given me cards, some books, CDs. Some have just sung to me on the street. I often listen. I've kept most of the cards, the handmade books, the burned CD's, phone numbers or names of the street performers. Some of them are really good. I often wish that I had more money, power, or clout, just for the chance to be able to truly give one of these artists or people an opportunity. I must be saving their contact information for something right? Looking through these old relics, I was reminded of a guy I met while I was living in LA who went by the name of Style.
I met Style on the Sunset Strip while hanging out with my girlfriend at the time who was working the door at one of the rock venues over there. I was waiting around outside for her to be done, and he was sitting out front selling incense. He looked like he was probably homeless, but hadn’t been for too long. Still put together alright.
Anyway, we get to talking a little bit and he seems like a good dude. Being out front of this rock venue, our conversation soon turns to music. After awhile, Style lets me know he's a rapper. Those who know me, know it didn’t take much for him to convince me to drop a beat for him right there so that he could spit a rhyme or two.
He was good. A bit dated with his delivery, and sometimes hard to understand, but he had passion and truth in his voice. As we continued to talk he mentioned that he had spent some time in prison, where he spent most of his days writing. He was now hoping to find a place to record some of his music. I was renting a recording studio at the time, and without much of a second thought, told him he could come by sometime that week to record one of his songs.
This Wednesday’s release is the song we recorded with Style, “Shadows of my Death.” If I told you that it was a lesser known hit from the earlier days of hip-hop, most of you probably wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Between Trakshun’s smooth DJ Quick style production, and Style’s throwback flow, the track came out nice. More than that, I know it meant a lot to Style to put it down, and it means a lot for me to be able to share it with you all.
I lost touch with Style a few months after recording the song. We hung out a couple times, but the last time things got a little strange. Nothing too crazy, but he was showing some signs of mental instability that made him a bit uneasy to be around. This combined with him not having a phone number, and then me leaving Los Angeles shortly thereafter, made us lose touch.
I often think of Style, and many of the other people and performers that have touched my life in unexpected ways. Here’s to the unrecognized poets, and everyone caught in the struggle...which really is everyone. May we do our best to help when given the opportunity. We would want the same for ourselves. Love.
released March 26, 2014
Produced by Trakshun and Ashkon
Ashkon is a singer-songwriter/actor/emcee originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, now relocated to NYC. His style is
diverse, ranging from lyrically driven hip-hop, to acoustic folk/soul, to over the top, up to the minute pop. He is perhaps most widely known for his viral music videos which have received over 5 million views to date....more