November 26 12:50am

Where You Been?

That’s the question I’ve probably heard most often from people who know me as James Watts the rapper-slash-beatmaker-slash-etcetera. It stems from the fact that I while I’ve maintained a consistent reputation as a solid artist, unlike most of my contemporaries, I’ve had a more than irregular release pattern. The last full length project that I put out to the world was completed in June of 2006; my last video, directed by the now uber-famous Rik Cordero, was shot in January of 2007. Nonetheless, here I stand, still among the elite independent creators from the New York City area. Not forgotten. Not irrelevant. Not dismissed.

There’s a lot that people don’t know about me — my life extends far beyond any of the get-fly cliches adopted by many other people who do what I do. Maybe they don’t know that I’m helping to raise a bright and beautiful nine year old who wants to be a rock star. Maybe they don’t grasp what it is to have every teenager in your neighborhood not only know your name, but look to you for guidance and support while they navigate the maze that is adolescence. Maybe they don’t know what it is to have a G on hand, without second thought, for a friend in need, or to drop important scheduled plans to take their Nana to the doctor. None of the above is really fly, but it’s real. My life is real. No excuses.

Still. I’m here.

As I sat on the sideline for the past couple, I studied. Others felt I was done. Granted, there were several points during that hibernation that I felt like I was finished, that I needed to abandon my art and move on. I questioned my own love, my own passion — any many nights I wondered aloud if this shit was even really worth it. During that time, some rappers dropped one conceptual project after another; some, one weekly series after another; most, one gimmick after another. Bloggers blogged, giving their audience poignant insight into our world; bloggers also cut-and-pasted, infusing nothing worthwhile into our culture, instead using it as a means to gain fame. Gangster rappers stop actually rapping and instead spat harsh nothings and threats via Macbook iSight cams.

Predictably, no one got hurt. Disappointingly, no one got paid. And sadly, through all this, no one’s life really changed in a tangible way. We’re all still here.

I say all this to not to come down on anybody — this is just a reflection. As I look back on this time, I feel it’s prepared me for things to come. For the first time in a long time, I’m seeing what we do through a positive lens. I’ve shaken off cynicism and jade and begun the walk towards clarity. I’m doing what I want, and it feels right. I can’t say that I’m proud of everything that we’ve become, but I still see an opportunity for change. I still have hope.



0 Responses to “WORDS FROM J.A.M.E.S WATTS- HERE”

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