Family…friends…loved ones… ALL of them have watched the effect of my love for people and music…and how it changed the world around me…so I said to myself “that’s something cool to do. That’s really something I can try.” When I was 18, I had the IDEA of being a voice for people through music. The frustrating part of having a passion for something is seeing that you have to put it on hold to achieve something else. You want one more than the other, but how willing are you going to be to see something “take a break” in order for another to manifest?
– J. Cole
Aiight bet. So check this out…
See this face? This one right here? Educationally speaking, I never smiled this BIG in 10 years. “The big 10.” I know what you’re thinking. No, I am not referring to the 50 Cent mixtape (that’s already been out). And yeah, I mean 2009 was cool. That was when I got my A.A. I’m gonna tell you why this is BIG. December 11th is going to be a day I remember for the rest of my life. Around THIS exact time 10 years ago (so strange how “the universe” works), I was just finishing high school and said “college? HA! I’m going to work.” Pass out at 3. Wake up at 10. Go out to eat. Then do it again. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? (still love that song by the way). No I wasn’t in line to be the next favorite rapper coming out of Tampa. Not I… NO! I just wanted to grab my fresh Technic 1200s and embark on this life that I built in my head called the DJ business. Between being in and out of school, questioning my own self worth, and also learning to not do things I CARE about for others and start doing them for ME, these 10 years of tears, suffering, and sweat (MOST OF THIS BROUGHT ON MYSELF) has taught me a lot. One of them being this…
“…everybody wanna talk about the pot of GOLD at the end of the rainbow… Nobody is really talking about what it took for em to get there… you know, the other side of the rainbow…the side you need to start on…”
– Mighty Jai
It never really made sense to me when I first heard it. It does plenty of good to me now. My “pot of GOLD” is different from everyone else. Keep reading though…
I gave up so much to obtain this sheet of paper. A paper that weighs about an eighth of a gram that will say “Congratulations Apolleaux, you are now apart of the educated class.” I didn’t want to be of the industry that is “compromising myself and giving up my passion for the sake of trying to impress people and fulfill their happiness.” At all. That’s the way I would always hear the societal description of “The Real World.” There’s so many people I know who “gave up” or “just decided” or “settled” instead of going for what THEY wanted to do. Paying bills and existing? That’s trash. Find something you not only care about, but are passionate about, and do that shit. You can’t spell “FUN” without “U” in the middle (you can learn a lot from kids movies if you pay attention to em). Doing things to please others is something that’s much worse than people who “get under your skin” and work your nerves just to see how you’ll react. Trust me, you’d rather deal with the co-worker at the cubicle who pushes your buttons, than the boss who never wants you to succeed (I got all kinds of experience on that. Funny thing is, me and said co-worker are best of friends now). Kissing ass to get these grades, and embark on a career that I don’t like, to pay bills that I hate, building a future with someone I don’t want to be with.
That… is “industry shit.” I know plenty of people who do it! Damn near everyone does it. Doing what you don’t want to do to make others feel happy when you are trapped inside being lonely. I don’t hate education. Don’t get that twisted. I just never was a fan of sitting in classrooms. Or taking anything online for that matter. I just wanted to blink my eyes a few times, then look in my hand and see a degree. It never works out that way. LOL, I still wanted to be me. Now, after this experience (which wasn’t bad, just annoying), I CAN. I lost friends. I got questioned on whether I have lost an interest in GOD. I was told I never give back, I have always taken. I was told I had no gratitude. None of that was the case. I just wanted people to know that I have a gift to offer to the world and wanted to start as soon as possible. You know what else is crazy about getting a degree from college? Not only is it a good look on your resume, the amount of people you meet before, during and after graduation will have an effect on you. Friends create experiences. New beginnings are always a good thing. Building bonds and memories are cool too. I cherish a lot of those memories as well. Being inspired by people who are different from me, majoring in classes I don’t know about, speaking on different topics that I could soon be aware of. Another aspect of college is the life you dream of having will be obsolete. Pay attention, because I will say it again…
“…the life you dream of having will be obsolete…”
I didn’t say it won’t be possible, because it still can be. But when you’re in school, that’s what you do. SCHOOL. So, to the future freshman out of high school, or people my age (or somewhere close to my age), don’t feel bad when someone asks you “what do you do for a living?” and you say “Full-Time college student.” That beautiful woman who you been crushing on, looking at and liking her Instagram photos, but never talked to because you didn’t have a job? Nothing wrong with that. Be proud of being in school. PERIOD. 10 years ago, I was building my name in these streets, DJ-ing plenty of shows. I also had 3 endorsement deals (L-R-G, Mountain Dew, New Era), a booking agent to keep me on tour and a radio show on Sirius XM’s own Hip Hop Nation.
See that up there? That was my DREAM. It still is. Sounds like I got it planned out at the time right? Yeah… then I came back to school. Sacrificing my love for music (or at least it was put on hold) to get this was a tough thing to do. I had offers of gigs and I would audition for em. But the same week they would offer a residency, I had an exam. I had a quiz. I had a study group to go meet up with. Annoying shit ain’t it? Welp, that’s what SCHOOL was for me. I know some of you can relate. Once coming back, there is no partying and having fun. Unless you occasionally say “not today books… not today” and reach for that favorite drink you got in the back of that fridge and vibe out. I mean who hasn’t done that at least once in their life, right? There is no “I can do exactly whatever the fuck I want.” There is no “when do you want to see your family.” Dedication to get the title “achieved college student” when you finish school is a great run, but an annoying one. I went broke for prideful reasons my junior and senior year of schooling. I was on the Prepaid Program my mother had set up for me. I was also paying for school out of pocket because I wanted my family to know I was capable of handling things on my own. I am so glad to say that I finished. You know what school feels like to me NOW?
Yup. This is my face when people ask me about school now. SO SERIOUS… I don’t have homework to turn in. No more assignments to double and triple check. No canvas log on. No exam reviews to ask teachers for. No wondering when I am gonna eat because I am worried about exam grades. No study groups. NOTHING! You know why? I’M DONE! “Straight Outta School Bih!” This is my SuperBowl. My Final Four. My Jackpot. I want to thank a lot of people on this post too. Ms. Mulligan, who planted the seed in my head when I was in high school (10TH GRADE!) to be a voice for radio and music.
Kamau, who introduced me to Southern Hip Hop back in middle school (I still have that Juvenile 400 Degrees album you burnt for me). My mother, who consistently was never a fan of the entertainment industry, but then turned around and told me the one YES I never thought I would hear. She heard Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass” on the radio one day. She looked over and told me “If this guy can make it on the radio, you damn sure can too. I don’t know what the hell he’s saying.” I will never forget those words. Biggest motivational piece I ever had in my life.
So now I got it… 10 years, 5 jobs, 2 crashed cars and a boatload of near death experiences later, I did it. I suffered. I fought through it all. I dealt with losses. I shuffled my hands to readjust and overcome. I almost questioned whether or not I wanted to just quit and work again and say “school is trash” (SO. MANY. TIMES.). I shed tears of doubting a future I thought I could never have. But, most importantly, I achieved… I did it… and I hope this motivates you.. because you can too… This thing called #TheRealWorld is going to be an interesting one. Now I can finally…FINALLY…make the most of it. For starters, I need a gold watch and a suit. Gotta make “the real world” look good.