Tef Poe's Juggling Act: Lessons Learned from James Brown

Now, I freestyle better than anything I've ever done in life. It's like second nature to me. I freestyle and speak English both on command and with minimum effort. There I was, standing on camera being filmed for a national TV show, and I can't seem to get the words to flow properly. I made it through the first round, took another deep breath and said to myself, "Just start rapping and don't look back." I had no idea how the judges would call it, honestly, because for the most part I blacked out. When it was all said and done I walked away with the win. I didn't have time to soak it in because I had to immediately begin to think about what I wanted to say in this weeks column. Sometimes I start to feel like I'm neglecting my responsibilities because I'm not always capable of giving my all to each and everything on my to-do list.

My next EP, Cheer For The Villain, drops April 1st -- but with the mental preparation necessary for the freestyle competitions, I don't have much time left to finish recording the project. If I can win three more weeks they'll retire me; the last guy that was retired from St. Louis is a personal friend of mine by the name of Big Will. He made history when he pulled this off many years ago. Truth be told I hate battling and that's the primary reason I stepped away from it. It's hard to write decent songs while you're in a battle-emcee mindframe. I think this week I'm going to try and relax and keep a sound mind. I need to finish this album, but I'm going to center most of my mental energy around being prepared to answer the call to arms. My mind and my spirit have to both be in tune with each other to pull this off. I need my spirit to give me the heart required to fight back. I need my mind to function properly and react quickly to the enemy's punchlines. I feel like I still haven't used this platform to properly showcase my abilities to the rest of the country -- I stepped back into the ring because I feel I'm capable of competing and winning.

I can't lie -- I've always had a passion for traveling, writing, creating music, performing, meeting new people and challenging myself. I can happily say most of these things take place in my life on a regular basis at the current moment. Hopefully after this BET run is complete I can spend some time in L.A. working on a few special projects that I don't have the liberty of being able to discuss publicly. I'm in a challenging position and I'm taking a few gambles, hoping they all pay off some kind of way. In the back of my mind I'm knowing eventually one may not pay off, but that's the price I'm willing to pay. Me and the homies are psycho's -- we've yet to actually fly to New York. We spend over twenty hours a week driving across America.


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