South Central, CA–Anybody that knows me, understands the love and respect that I have for New York emcee’s. Those who truly respect Hip-Hop as a culture, pay homage to the greats and those who contributed to the culture during the golden era of Hip-Hop. From Big L, to Biggie Smalls, Gangstarr to Wutang Clan; there are so many other talented and influential rappers who laid the foundation from New York.
Among my top 5 New York rappers are Nas & Cormega. Hip-Hop heads know the body of work that Cormega has dropped over the course of two decades, as well as the skill he possesses as a writer and rapper. His music has always been like street gospel, where he tells the ins and outs of the traps and offers wisdom on ways to overcome as ghetto youth in ways you can comprehend and relate to.
His most recent EP, Mega, has only five songs but the level of game dropped is consistent.
Cormega had a show in Los Angeles recently and the following day I met him in the lobby of the hotel he was staying at in DTLA.
We had some tea in the cafe part of the hotel and chopped it up about music, life journey’s and even sharing advice on long distance relationships as I am currently in one. I was surprised and at ease with how easy he was to talk to. Maybe because I listened to his whole discography on a regular in college, it felt like I was talking to someone that I knew personally.
After talking for awhile, Cormega said that he wanted some authentic (vegan) Jamaican food. He also mentioned that his cousin wanted to stop by the Marathon Clothing Store. It had been a little over three weeks at this point since Nipsey Hussle had been shot and killed in front of his store on Slauson and Crenshaw.
People from all over the world, along with rappers such as T.I, Trae Tha Truth, Master P and even Minister Louis Farrakhan stopped by the store to pay their respects. Murals have been painted on both sides of the alley adjacent to the store where people stop to take photos.
Cormega and I hopped in my car and I drove from Downtown L.A to Slauson Ave on the 110 freeway. After exiting at Slauson, I drove Cormega through my old stomping grounds, pointing out various South Central staples such as the Slauson Swapmeet.
After having lunch at Pepper’s we continued driving up Slauson to the Marathon Clothing store on Crenshaw. The massive memorial of candles, photos and other trinkets people left in honor of Nipsey Hussle had been removed. That didn’t stop a few fans from milling about, taking photos.
Nipsey Hussle’s homeboy Cowboy could be seen roaming about, keeping an eye on things and Steve’s Barbershop, named after Nipsey’s good friend who was slain last year, was open for business.
It still feels unreal that Los Angeles lost someone so powerful who was in the prime of his career. We posted up for a moment at the store just soaking up the energy and reflecting on a unique individual whose life was cut short too soon.
Since Cormega is a vegan, he wanted to purchase some natural hygiene products before he headed out of town to an event in San Bernardino. One perk of veganism that I can say works by looking at Cormega, is that it definitely is reflected in clear skin and keeping ourselves looking young and intact.
Cormega and I continued up Slauson where the money is, closer to View Park, to Simply Wholesome.
This Black owned restaurant and health food store has been around since the 80’s. After he purchased his items, we sat down in the patio outside where he granted me and interview for my podcast.
I pray for the culture of Hip-Hop and that the younger generation reaches back to those who came before us, for wisdom and understanding. Much respect to Cormega for being a real one and make sure to stay tuned for my podcast segment with him coming soon. Stream his EP Mega now.
“Food for thought, I put work in, my word is bond
To my culture is proud that I wrote this
Art is exalted, calm yet ferocious,
God bless the child who could hold his
I’m focused, starin’ at the ocean
Searchin’ for peace as I question life’s purpose
Seem certain, indeed, these verses
Hold weight like Ace in the cleaners
Able to distinguish the difference between thinkin’ and schemin’
It’s like bein’ tired of waitin’ when patience is needed
Is it safe for a dreamer in a city that never sleeps?
Every day you awake is succeeded
Indeed the degree of separation increases with measures taken
Inconceivable within reach, no limitations
If you ever hesitated on Mega, maybe you ain’t know
I never needed your validation.”