When I last checked in I was still sick and sweating bullets, imagining a scenario where UK customs wouldn’t allow me in. I always prepare for the worst case mentally before I go into these types of situations.
Picturing a customs agent who doesn’t much care for the cut of my jib or threatened by my tilted beanie, deciding to put the kibash on my journey with an easy stamp, will keep your wits sharp. I had an address. Always have an address available. Always have a credible story that doesn’t include you are a musician who will be making and earning tax free money in their country because getting a work visa for indy rap shows doesn’t exactly add up for you financially.Think about it, and also think about how badly artists get hassled at our borders. In fact US, Canada and UK are widely considered the toughest borders for touring artists to cross if you don’t have the proper approved documentation. So yeah, if you speak English you are a dick basically.
So all of this aside I approached the customs agent with a tale of adventure and holiday. Maybe even spruced it up with a story of romance; she seemed like a sucker for British equivalent Renee Zellweger flicks. She followed up with multiple questions about my job in the states, my current address, how long I was there – blah, blah, blah. I was so paranoid about getting turned away and so broke when I initially booked the trip that I hadn’t booked a return flight home. This wasn’t smart. And even less smart was telling the customs agent the truth about my lack of a return flight home. I noticed a strange authoritative man staring at me the entire time and inching his way closer. It reminded me of when I was 20 with $3,500 of ill-gotten cash at an Atlantic City casino and he was the pit boss who was wondering just how a young, dumb idiot like myself got all that money. He was right to wonder but after all the build-up I was cleared to enter and without much incident at all. I could finally exhale.
My first order of business was to meet the homies Mr. Simmonds and Dizraeli in the city of Brighton about an hour S. West of London. We met for some beers, at the Bee’s Mouth catching up and having a cypher with some of the best MCs the city had to offer. We sipped decent Rum and some Kronenberg’s exchanging pleasantries and raps and it felt great to be settled and hear my native language a bit. The following was a night of recovery and laying low in Brighton before the first England show in Bristol and it was much needed.
Bristol is the hometown of Dizraeli and boasts the origins of Banksy, Portishead,, Massive Attack and Tricky. Deeply rooted in the arts, you can sense the creativity in the air when stopping through. We teamed up with Sally at Phantom Laundry and rocked out at the Attic Bar. The crowd brought a serious level of energy as well as sheer numbers. Very easy to feed a crowd like that when they came specifically to drink and hear music. It was also very dope to see Dizraeli and all the pride in the crowd watching their hometown hero operate. We sipped some Hobgoblin October beers and proceeded to guest on a freestyle set after our actual sets were over as well. We ended the night with some store bought Rum and the Czech’s much better interpretation of Budweiser, Budvar. The night def got a little crazy, I may or may not have seen someone do a nitrous balloon and pass out on a Lamb Kebab, can’t confirm.
We stumbled home and crashed at Dizraeli’s older brother’s house and parted ways in the morning. We all had different plans the following day as I arrived in London via bus to spend the night before our trek to Edinburgh, Scotland for a pretty big show at one of their popular hip-hop nights. Something tells me the one night in Scotland is going to need its own post. Hi-jinks involving Castles? Certainly! I wouldn’t rule out anything on this trip. I honestly never thought I'd be doing something like performing in Scotland, but if this life has taught me anything it's that once you bust your ass consistently these sort of things not only become possible, but probable. And the only way to be in line for it is to not only stay in the game but to stay on top of yours. Well DJ Downlow’s roommate Ant just cooked homemade curry and put on Total Recall so naturally I got to go. See you at the party, Richter!