While we’re currently here on Earth, inhabiting these physical vessels, it is each individual’s responsibility to be the architect for the life they desire. As such, one has the power to actively choose to manifest and live the life they want – whether an individual chooses to thrive and live in their light or succumb to the comfortable complacency of their darkness is solely that person’s decision to make. But, based on the thoughts, words and actions you consciously or subconsciously decide to put out into the Universe, the Universe will return to you exactly what you send out.
So take your power back.
Far too often, people surrender their personal power to exterior forces – be it money, relationships, jobs, environment, dis-ease, etc. Despite all the “darkness” that seems to be taking up space around the world today, we are living in extremely auspicious times. And now, perhaps more so than ever, is the time for each and every being on this planet to take back, embrace and recognize just how absolutely and limitlessly powerful we are.
With “Around The Way”, Raz Simone links up with Clayton “C-Dogg/B-ragg” Bragg to demonstrate the power of using your time and energy to build up another individual while simultaneously putting on display how recognizing your own power can help to inspire and influence those around you. In doing so, “Around The Way” allows both Simone and C-Dogg to play their hand in making this world a better place.
At only 22 years old, C-Dogg has been surviving and thriving through all the obstacles God has placed before him, including a lifelong bout with cerebral palsy. And no obstacle is put in your way to stop you – they are only there to help your growth and help push you to recognize your own power. With 27 surgeries under his belt, 11 of which have been on his heart, the determination and the drive of C-Dogg has helped to inspire a number of people who have witnessed or heard his powerful story.
One of the people inspired by C-Dogg is Raz Simone. Although they don’t have the “same problems”, Simone and Clayton have both inspired each other with their ability to overcome adversities. In Raz’s own words, the two have the same spirit. And that spirit does not quit, does not surrender, and it certainly does not give up it’s power – it’s internal light – to exterior forces.
As Raz points out on “Around The Way” with a slick double entendre, his work is “always quality” and he never stretches it. Anyone familiar with Simone’s body of work recognizes the Black Umbrella founder has a catalogue abundant in both quantity and quality – he’s not cutting corners or laying down half-assed verses in order to get content out there. So, even when he’s helping out his people, Simone isn’t going to hop on a track just for the hell of it. According to Simone, he told C-Dogg he would only get on record with him if he was feeling it and, when it came to “Around The Way”, Clayton “slapped the mess outta [him] wit this one.”
A common theme when discussing Raz Simone is his authenticity and his realness. Being “real” does not always have to mean you’re “street” or “gangster” or anything along those lines – realness has more to do with an individual’s drive, dedication, heart and their authenticity. Realness comes from one’s ability to overcome even the hardest of adversities without getting trapped in the darkness. There are school teachers who are real, there are chefs and plumbers and cashiers who are real. Realness is about the individual in and of themselves, not the label placed upon them based on exterior factors.
In that sense, C-Dogg is real. And Simone is real.
As always, credit and praise must be sent to Simone’s go-to cinematographer, Jacob Hill. Feeling inspired by the energy of the experience, Hill went back to Black Umbrella HQ after shooting “Around The Way” and decided to edit and finalize the video that night. Instead of sleeping, Hill made sure the video was turned around in time for release overnight. That’s heart, dedication and sacrifice…that’s real. And not only did he come through with the quick flip of the video, but he cooked up a final product that gives off no sense of being rushed or half-assed. Ya’ll, there’s something to be said about work ethic
and it’s clear there’s a reason Hill is reppin’ Black Umbrella…
Much love to Raz, B-ragg and Jacob Hill for creating and sharing this beautiful message of acceptance and love. This that medicine the world needs a heavy dose of right now.
Experience “Around The Way” below and peep some older BTS footage of Raz and B-ragg in the studio here.
November 28, 2014 ~ The timing was perfect as earlier this month Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed November as Washington State Hip Hop History Month; following the lead of Mayor McGinn and the Seattle City Council who in 2010 proclaimed November Hip Hop History Month in Seattle.
Washington Hall celebrated Hip Hop History with an all-star performance line-up of Seattle’s biggest names in rap music; along with some of the nation’s top break-dancers sharing the stage. Musical artists participating in a freestyle open-mic “cypher” included platinum selling artist E-Dawg, along with city favorites Suntonio Bandanaz, B-Ragg, Sammy Tekle, Ernesto Iraheta, and more!
On stage were DJ’s Able Fader, Cues, Sureal, and A.C. who kept the place rocking from start to finish.
There was a delicious potluck buffet and a toy drive to help the B.U.I.L.D. Seattle Christmas giving-tree.
The event was sponsored by 206 Zulu, Seattle City Breakers, Unified Outreach, and Studio Narvaez, in partnership with 4Culture and Rane. It was organized by Nathan (SireOne) Hivick and hosted by the North City Rockers Ernesto Iraheta and Pele’ Ross, along with the fabled Specs Wizard.
The event will be the last break-dance celebration at Washington Hall for the next nine months as the facility begins to undergo renovations to restore the historic building and the install a new elevator; allowing special needs and wheel-chair bound visitors to enjoy the facility without limitations.
The elevator installation will be a blessing to special-needs artists with limited mobility, such as 206 Zulu founder and President Danny (King Khazm) Kogita who has been in a wheelchair since childhood. Also other artists such as Clayton (B-Ragg aka C-Dogg) Bragg who has limited mobility due to cerebral-palsy.
Clayton is a rapper from Lynwood, Washington who as has a video channel on YouTube which provides regular album reviews for NW CD releases. Clayton has been spending time in the studio and is expecting his album out in early 2015. It was after reviewing the E-Dawg CD “How Long” that Clayton was contacted with a special invitation to attend the November 28th performance as E-Dawg was headlining the event.
David Toledo (Unified Outreach) made all arrangements and acted as Clayton’s personal assistant throughout the evening; physically carrying the artist up 3 flights of steps to the performance hall and making sure that Clayton had full access to E-Dawg and the other artists as well as great seating for all performances.
“It was great having B-Ragg attend the event. He’s doing a lot with his video blog and he’s hard at work in the studio. The crowd really enjoyed hearing him rap tonight; and with his own album coming out we believe that one day he’ll be headlining one of the shows.” David Toledo said.
Clayton said he really enjoyed the show and is especially excited about the people he was able to meet in person including E-Dawg, Seattle City Breaker’s founder Carolos (Slam) Barrientes, King Khazm, and most importantly DJ Sire One and Pablo D who occasionally act as guest hosts on Boom Box Radio; a Everett-based rap program that broadcasts on Friday nights at 10pm on station KSER 90.7 Fm. Clayton is looking forward to having his new album break on the show.
The event was also attended by a bevy of local celebrities including Georgio Brown from Coolout Tv and Dave (Pablo D) from Studio Narvaez; the two partnered in October for a Hip Hop Celebration at the Experience Music Project (EMP). Also attending were TYRONE “the Working Class Hero” Dumas, members of the North City Rockers, the Vicious Puppies, Massive Monkees, Seattle City Breakers, Circle of Fire, and other famous groups.
Highlights of the night were an all-girl breakdance cypher which saw the return of Seattle’s old school b-girls Amber Jamieson and Jojo Tabora-Dyckhoff to the dance floor; as well as a “Seniors Classic” which featured “Seattle’s first b-boy” Junior Alefaio.
Judges for the night included the incredible Rigo Jones, Seattle City Breakers founding father Carlos “Slam” Barrientes, and consummate b-boy Rafael Contreras.
Wrapping up the evenings events Sam “Preach” Dumas, founder of the (Masters of the Prep aka Party People in Action dance crew) issued a challenge to 1980’s dance rivals “the Ducky Boys” to meet at the same time next year for a “prep only” dance off; reviving a rivalry that goes back to 1985 and the Seattle Bandstand television show. Will the Ducky Boys accept the challenge? We’ll know in exactly 12 months!
With construction estimated to take 9 months the event organizers hope that everything will be ready in time for the 2015 Hip Hop History Month celebration. Next year’s event promises to be on for the ages!
2015 JP Scratches
Story and photos may be reprinted in their entirety.