Hanging With Jess The Ska Kid

Jess The Ska Kid

This is a situation that is going to happen in the life of every artist. When you are on your way “up” you will meet random people. However you treat them at that point is going to have an impact on you years later. A long time ago I used to play with a group known as The Drastics. They toured the United States and Canada, building up a significant following. Their musical repertoire ranged from Ska to Jazz, but was centered on Dub.

Shouts to Fada Dougou for inviting me to play with them.

During one of our shows (at a college in Wisconsin) I remember a bright-eyed kid asking a lot of questions about our varying lineup, the meaning of the songs, the twist we were putting on traditional ska, etc. She was really interested in the music (which is rare in the midwest), so Fada and I stayed behind to answer everything. That same young lady would go on to brand herself as “Jess The Ska Kid”.

Fast forward some years later. I put off touring to raise kids and the scene changed. Although I have been places and done great things, the music industry has essentially collapsed. Let’s face it. Putting aside the expected reduction in my own popularity, I am returning to a barren wasteland as far as opportunities are concerned. My new strategy is to go around “the Industry”, directly at fans no matter where they may be.

Re-enter Jess The Ska Kid with an invitation to appear on her daring, Wayne’s World-styled home show. She explains that after helping build the radio station at that same Wisconsin school there was a new management coup. Instead of begging and holding on she struck out on her own. She didn’t know what to expect but handles issues (like Facebook LIVE copyright muting) in stride. The show is now booked a full year in advance, with even internationally touring bands adding her as a stop.

All things mimic the cycle of life and death. The music industry is no different. It was always a predatory and destructive element however, so I do not mourn its destruction. The ones who rise through its rebirth will be in a unique position to create life-worthy opportunities. I am putting my money on people like Jess The Ska Kid.

Hustle vs. Grind: What’s the Difference?

Many people are on a quest to “get rich or die trying”. So if you get the money what’s next? You should know…
How many people have you seen who are rich but they don’t enjoy their lives?

It’s because they allowed the hustle that they once loved to become a GRIND. Think about it. Grinding, by nature, invokes images of punitive abrasion. It’s aggressive and there’s no way you can enjoy that.

Sometimes you have to do it for survival, but it wasn’t meant to be a long term solution. Any time something starts grinding too much, chances are that you’ll have to replace it soon

Joints grind… Gears grind… All signs of trouble

Now how does something GET to that point?
In a word…. OVER REACH.
The hustle has taken up too much space in your life. No… You are NEGLECTING other aspects of your life!

And before you get started… the solution is not to just QUIT. The solution is to develop an EXIT STRATEGY. That way you can be mindful of other opportunities as they present themselves. With an exit strategy you are once again working with purpose. The grind is downgraded to a hustle.

It’s the definition of working SMART instead of working HARD.
So minimize the grinding. You are here to be smooth. Be Smooth dammit!

Movie Review: Black Panther

BIG NEWS about this movie!! Gollum and Bilbo Baggins appear together again!!

It’s actually very cool how Hollywood works sometimes. People you’ve grown accustomed to seeing in a certain light step completely out of character, showing their real talent. Such is the case with Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman as they match wits and skill against a breathtaking special effects backdrop. Stan Lee makes a brilliant cameo as usual.
What you read above is an example of what we’ve been putting up with throughout the years. Hollywood totally marginalizes Black talent, because we HAVE no country, no industry, no representation. Very few of us have slipped through the cracks to achieve the ever elusive superstar rating………. But wait……………. This IS a movie review

Black Panther is set in a technologically advanced African society known as Wakanda. The country uses its own natural resources and thrives despite refusing to trade with the outside world. They are steeped in cultural heritage and are socially advanced enough to have their top military personnel be an elite, all female guard (like Libya once had).

It’s also a recurring theme throughout the Marvel Universe to have a conscientious hero. Black Panther is no different. Chadwick Boseman does an excellent job of communicating the inner turmoil of a protagonist. Time and again heroes are tested with the choice to either take the easy way out, or do what is best for all. As King T’Challa (aka Panther), Boseman is a great example for his constituents.

The fictional nation Wakanda is depicted as a hidden tech oasis, secretly masking itself as a “SH**Hole country” in order to ward off outsiders. The action is non-stop, and if any member of the star studded cast managed to outshine Boseman’s charismatic Panther, it was the fierce Danai Gurira. In her role of Okoye, Gurira was the true star of the movie for me. She brings a masterful complexity to a character that could have easily been played as a one-dimensional, angry fighting machine. The end result…. She literally STEALS every scene she appears in.

When you have a movie like this, it stirs certain emotions within a people who have constantly been depicted as less than. Around the world African diaspora have been reconnecting to their culture via the way they dress. This movie has been instrumental in creating a celebratory mood among attendees. This is the POWER of ART.

I could stop there, and that would be a great movie review.
While watching, I am thankful that we can be represented in such a positive light. I intend to support the cast and crew by seeing Black Panther twice……… HOWEVER

Let us not forget that SLAVERY has returned to Africa. Modern day slaves are being openly traded in Libya, with many destined to become victims of organ harvesting. Angola and Zimbabwe now use Chinese currency. Other countries are succumbing to European colonial taxes and the high interest rates they have been saddled with. Africa’s diamond trade is still run by Cecil Rhodes’ DeBeers company, and does not benefit African economies. Minerals are mined by children for cell phones and other consumer goods. Sudanese refugees are fleeing to (and now being kicked out of) Israel. Political interests see emergency food being held at checkpoints while weapons flow freely. Pharmaceutical companies perform human tests on the population.

But hey…  I did look DAMN good in my Daishiki on opening day.
No judgement 🙂 We should enjoy this movie and support it 100%
STILL… come away with ideas of taking positive action. Be ready to learn more about the world and let’s DISCUSS what can be done rather than constantly fighting. Stan Lee’s vision of Africa’s potential should not be bigger than that of Africa’s Children.

P.S. If you’ve read this far… Please look up the Songhai Empire. It was the last African dynasty; history BEFORE we became slaves. Once I became aware of Songhai my shackles begin to fall off.

Your Idea of Success is All That Matters

SOCIETY: For far too long now we have played the game of letting others tell us what we like. Many times without question we just go along with societal programming. This is how we end up with unrealistic beauty standards and a host of materialistic failures. The wanton acquisition of liabilities gives the air of success, and simultaneously ensures failure.

Honestly there is a bit of sadism wrapped up in flaunting capital. Are you trying to succeed, or are you trying to hurt people who don’t have what you have? Your motives will betray you every time. You owe it to yourself to make progress toward your goals, but only you know what they truly are.

I would like to remind you today that SUCCESS is nothing more than incremental progress toward a which ever goal you do have. You do not have a responsibility to acquire, or even want the things others are wishing for. Simply claim small victories on your path, and set new goals.

It’s not where you are that determines success. It’s where you’re headed. Constantly redefine what success looks like. Then every step you take can be a winning one.

The Secret to Regaining Happiness

If you’re anything like me, you were determined to keep things running smoothly as the global economy waxed and waned. That meant forgetting happiness and going into hustle mode. I went into that mode and STAYED THERE, sometimes working up to 100 hours weekly as a peds nurse. THEN I would stay up all night making MC ZULU songs. I was all about chasing a dollar.

The end result: A permanent mindset of Hustle Mode & Promo & Hard Work & Grinding & Pushing Limits & Never Sleeping….
I had forgotten how to be happy. It hit me one time when we took our kids to the arcade. I realized that I was actually BORED! I WANTED TO BE AT WORK!!!! instead of enjoying the day with my kids??

Things were going well but I feel like that happened at the expense of my humanity.

Honestly, right now………………………………… FUCK THAT
Actually FUCK THAT since about 2012. I made a commitment to fitness and family. I stopped touring as much and let all my kids grow up WITH a DAD, instead of some wannabe Rock Star.

That might be more than you want to know about me, but it’s my truth. What’s your truth? If the whole “Sleep when you’re dead” mentality has made it so you’ve forgotten how to LIVE, then you need to make a similar declaration. Nothing you want is worth exchanging your health or quality of life.

Get out of your comfort zone! Find things that you SUCK AT and struggle through them. Your journey will be beautiful. One of the things that I learned a while ago is that expertise can be boring. If people know the outcome they will fall asleep. Unpredictability incites curiosity and ultimately positive change. Reinvent yourself. Try as many constructive things as you can, until you find the ones you love. Your body and mind also crave variety. Fitness levels plateau if you do the same workout forever. Life is dynamic not static. You need to mix it up!

Capoeira (like Reggae) is something I love way more than I thought I would. I don’t care who’s better or worse. I’m just happy to be a part of it. Awesome, now find your “Capoeira”, whatever it may be. Chances are though, it lies outside of your comfort zone. Break your routine. Don’t be afraid to start at the beginning!

Sometimes You’re the Hater

… and you don’t even realize it.
When it comes to opportunity or competition which of the two drive you the most? There is much to be said for healthy competition, and when two people (or teams) have the same goal, it can be the only thing you see. When I played sports or had a military goal in mind competition truly was my number one motivator. In those situations though objectives are clear. Many times there are no options. You do as you’re told, and you don’t ask questions. Outside of a structured environment though being that single-minded can actually hurt you.


When you are locked into the competitive mindset, you run the risk of not having an exit strategy… meaning you’ll never truly know when you’ve won. Your very definition of winning requires that you have an adversary. This is a person who can be easily manipulated. All you have to do is move the finish line and you’ll have them running the wrong race. People like that don’t race… They chase.

Opportunity as a motivator is the thing I’ve found to be more conducive to living actual life. Instead of chasing what someone else has, you’re granted the clarity to focus in on what you want. The way you describe success is your definition of winning, and you can do that regardless of where other people are in the race. Eventually you’ll come to realize the ultimate truth. Life isn’t a race.

Men of Means (Spoken Word)

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Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/mczulumusic/videos/10155875830138854/

Delilah or Jezebel…
Female names carrying a negative connotation throughout the years. Are they truly the perpetrators or were they victims themselves as part of a greater scheme? This is a preview one of the newer tracks I’m working on, inspired by current events / Juxtaposed against early Roots Reggae. It’s a spoken word piece called “Men of Means”. Full song will debut during the next Facebook Live Selecta Set.

More coming your way touching all the genres related to Reggae (Roots / Dancehall / Electro / Etc.)

Skinner Boxed Society (We’re All Lab Rats)

Dr. BF Skinner revolutionized animal and behavioral psychology. He took Ivan Pavlov’s groundbreaking work with dogs to a more detailed level, incorporating rats (hence the term lab rats), pigeons and other animals. Skinner kept his subjects in a controlled environment, and would observe their reaction to the various stimuli that he introduced. Continue reading →

Law Enforcement vs. The Colored Folk – Is It Really “The Rhetoric”?

Police get upset when you protest them….. but they should be out there protesting right alongside us!

What’s really happening is that the ABSOLUTE WORST among their ranks are being allowed to represent the entire community. No matter how productive they try to be, they are still lumped in with those who commit the most egregious offenses!

It’s awful how decent members of the law enforcement community are unfairly profiled in this manner! I mean just imagine if OTHER communities were unfairly profiled in thi…………. oh wait.