Monday, December 22nd, 2014

2014_year_in_review

2014, oh 2014, what a year you’ve been. You’ve given us the ALS ice bucket challenge, the World Cup, and the Ebola scare. We saw the Ferguson riots, NY riots, and movements around the world too. And sadly, we lost many people, including one of my favorite actors Robin Williams. 2014 has been quite the year for many reasons.

As I reflect upon the past 12 months, it’s a trip that it’s already been a year. It seems like time flies faster and faster the older I get (or maybe I’m having THAT much fun? Lol). Every year, instead of simply revisiting the news, I revisit my year. From highlights in music and videos to where I’ve been and what I’ve seen, this past year has been quite the amazing one. I saw a lot, did a lot, and learned a lot too. I grew, I progressed, and I overcame. And I sound like quite the philosopher right now haha. Well anywayyy, with that said I present to you one of my favorite columns that I love putting together every year around this time…MY 2014 year in review.

The Rap Life

One of a Kind“One of a Kind” Video Released – If we’re talking about music, this is hands down the most significant accomplishment I had in 2014. Completing and releasing the video for “One of a Kind” was nothing short of a journey. While finalizing the song was a mission in itself, the video was just as challenging. Firstly, it took me forever to get the footage for this video. There were plans for another editor to put everything together but that didn’t happen. So last year (right around this time actually), I ventured to NY where I got the video footage we shot last year in NJ. Then, it took me a couple of weeks to pull the footage from the HD (long story lol). And thennnnn, I took like two or three months to actually edit everything together. I had countless all-nighters, editing and re-editing. I was a bit rusty since college but I made it (and learned a lot in the process too). It really was a labor of love. So after some extremely challenging circumstances, I overcame it all and released the video for “One of a Kind.” And if you haven’t already seen it (or if you’d just like to see it again), it is below.

FreestyleFreestyle Videos – Last year, I set out a goal to record 12 videos in 12 different places of me freestyling. I had imagined places like downtown, in my car, and with friends. I recorded the first one in Times Square, not realizing where this whole thing would take me. All I knew is I wanted 12 cool-looking locations. 2014 turned into the year of traveling for me and I ended up recording videos in 12 different cities, many of which were in Europe. I mean, I shot videos at the Colloseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Buckingham Palace in London. I also freestyled at the River Walk in San Antonio, Millennium Park in Chicago, and a casino in Atlantic City, among other places. Talk about taking in the sights, right? While I wanted to create something entertaining (which is why I decided to freestyle), it was also healthy for me to get back into free’ing. It would sharpen my skills, which was real important to me. If you’d like to check them out (which I’m confident you do), they’re also below.

Beyond Sindh feature“Beyond Sindh Magazine” Feature – So if you’ve been keeping up with me, you’d know that I was in Europe for a few months this year. When I returned back home, I received this magazine with an Ajaxxx feature! Talk about a great way to welcome someone back, right? I was interviewed by Beyond Sindh Magazine, where they asked me for the “update” on what’s been going on with me since the last time I was featured in the magazine. It’s extremely humbling to be featured in a magazine and very meaningful that it’s in a Sindhi one too (gotta represent, right? Lol). Definitely one of the highlights of 2014 for me.

V-Mix on OmniI Was on TV – Another notable moment for me was when I was on TV! “One of a Kind” made its television premiere on V-MIX, where it was seen alllllllll across Canada. V-MIX, by Facebook definition, is “Canada’s first national TV show covering contemporary South Asian artists and music videos, while also providing Canadian musicians and amateur performers a platform to showcase themselves.” This was an extremely exciting moment for me, especially to have it seen on such a large scale and by so many people. As I did before, I must give a big shout out to my homey DJ Ra for his continued support.


Personal Life

ZurichEurope Trip – If I had to pick one thing that was the highlight of my year, it might be this. I recently traveled to Switzerland where I lived for three months. While there, I had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, easily becoming of the most memorable experiences of my life. In addition to being in Zurich, I went to Rome, Paris, Munich, Geneva, and London. Talk about wow, right? I also went to the Swiss Alps, along with several other cities and towns close to Zurich. I saw the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and Big Ben in London (some of which you might have seen in my freestyle videos). There are many other places I visited too. I met some awesome people, ate some incredible food, and made memories that will last me for a lifetime. Honestly, it’s hard for me to put into words how lucky and blessed I was to have had this opportunity.

IIFA 2014IIFA – Those that know me know I’m somewhat of a big Bollywood fan lol. While I’m not AS into it as years past, I still keep up with everything. So when IIFA (Indian International Film Festival for you non-Bollywood peeps) came to Tampa, it was hard for me to stay away. Initially, I had no plans of going. As time went on though, I changed my mind and figured it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opp so I should jump on it. I went to Tampa where I saw all the Hindi film stars, including Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, and Ranveer Singh. Perhaps the most surreal moment was when I saw Priyanka Chopra haha. When she was on stage, I was just like damn…Priyanka and I are in the same room right now. Needless to say my head was spinning Lol. But yeah, I had a great time…hopefully Pri did too.

Bday CupcakeMy Birthday Week – Ah yes, my birthday 2014. Somehow, my b’day this year turned into a celebration that spanned across the month (not sure how that happened lol). While I did celebrate on the day itself, I had several celebratory events too. I started the month by attending a comedy show with friends where I laughed my ass off. Later on, I went to dinner with a mix of work and school friends, followed by bowling and pool a day later with a different group (which included family). It’s always good to get together with people that you haven’t seen in awhile, making this one of the best times of the year. As we get older, we get busier so it’s great to reconnect. And lastly, I hit up Miami for additional celebrating lol. Speaking of which…

BeachMiami Trip – I had to separate this out as its own thing because it was a several-day trip. I went to Miami to continue my birthday celebrations where we did a wholeeeee bunch of different activities. Between gambling at the Hard Rock, having some alcoholic beverages at Bayside (uh oh), and jumping in the water at Miami Beach, I had a really good time in the M-I-A. I mean, I usually always have fun when I visit here, but it was extra dope this time around. The only not-so-fun part was going to the beach when it was like a million degrees haha…but I guess that’s Florida, right? I had fun though…and who knows, maybe this is a sign of things to come?


Favorite Music

Favorite Music

In previous year-in-review posts, I break up my favorite music section into favorite albums and videos. This time around, I’ll consolidate lol. 2014 saw a ton of new music, some good and some not-so-good. The lines between rap and other genres continued to get blurred, with much more rap/pop collabos than ever before.

So what were some of my favs for this year? Well let’s see. Perhaps one of the strongest releases was “Prhyme” by Royce and Primo. Great lyrics plus great production will always have a special place in my heart lol. The J. Cole “Forest Hills Drive” is another strong release, especially because it shows an evolution from the last release. Nice work Jermaine. I also enjoyed new music from 50, Big K.R.I.T, Joe Budden, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar. There was a lot of dope music this year. At the same time, I feel like there wasn’t enough either. I guess it’s the fan in me wanting more.


The Wrap Up

So upon reflection, 2014 was definitely a great year…maybe even a milestone one. I did a ton of traveling, built new relationships, and progressed a great deal. Was it a year of ups and downs? Of course it was. It wouldn’t be my life if it wasn’t. I faced various challenges, some of which were completely unexpected, but I survived them. I encountered setbacks, fading relationships, and the usual drama. Despite these occurrences though, I managed to keep a positive attitude which really helped. 2014 definitely goes down in the history books.

One of a KindMusically, I finally released the video for “One of a Kind” which was a longgggg time coming. Between two behind-the-scene videos, pictures, and a music video trailer, I was so ready for this to come out (I think everyone else was too). The krazy part is how much work I put into this, which was like the biggest adventure ever lol. From sleepless nights to pulling my hair out to questioning life (haha), it was quite interesting to say the least. I still wonder how I made it out alive. The first couple months of the year were absolutely dominated by this. While it was challenging, I learned a ton that will probably influence my 2015. More on that in a bit lol. And as a throwback to my college days (whatup UCF!), it actually felt REALLY good to edit the video. I think that’s what makes the release so meaningful…the amount of effort that went into this.

Freestyle VideosI also managed to record 12 videos in one year, all of which were freestyles. I’m extremely proud of this accomplishment, because it was NOT easy lol. I almost got arrested doing these like three times, so you can imagine how krazy they got. I can still remember when the security guard at the casino was like, “Yo, what do you think you’re doing?” Haha oh man. I have a ton of great memories doing these, and it’s fun to re-watch them and remind myself of all the places I went. I mean, not only did I visit them but I was rapping at them! It was really cool though, because what started out as something small spiraled into something big…freestyling in all these different cities and locations. Looking ahead, I’m not sure if I’m going to continue them. I mean, there’s still some exciting new traveling opps for next year, but I think I should focus more on actual songs for next year. Let’s see though, maybe I’ll change my mind.

Eiffel TowerFrom a personal perspective, this year was highlighted by traveling. Every week for three months, I was in a new location and embracing a new culture. The trips really changed my outlook on life and opened my eyes to new things. Sometimes I think back to the places I went to or look at the pictures again and just go “Damn.” Just imagine every weekend, jumping on the train to go to a new country, sometimes by yourself. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever get this type of opportunity again. I mean, living in another country for that long isn’t something you do everyday. And with obligations back home, who knows? All I do know is, I’m extremely blessed to have had this opportunity. As I mentioned in the December 2014 Opinions Column, “I experienced things that some people probably never get to see in their life and for that, I’m extremely blessed.”

While 2014 was full of great things, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Last year, I set out to release four videos in 2014. Fast forward to today, and I only released one. While I did push to have a second one done by August, it never happened (long story). I’m not sure how to solve this for next year, but I have some good ideas. The other bummer is that I didn’t release my album “Something to Prove” even tho it’s almost done. I know I’ve been saying this for the longest now, but it’s really time for me to refocus my energy on finalizing this CD.


So What’s Next?

Ah yes, 2015. Well as I mentioned above, the goal is to finally release “Something to Prove.” It’s been a long time coming and I really need for this to happen. I’ve also decided that I still want to release four videos, which is what I’ll aim towards for next year. I’m determined to make 2015 my most successful year yet. I’ve also got plans to record more. While I don’t expect to be doing more of those freestyle videos every month, maybe I’ll do new music every month instead. I’m still debating but let’s see. If you have any ideas, feel free to share.

In addition to those things, I’d also like to tackle some new things next year. With the filming of the videos, I’m hoping to do some more editing. Technically this isn’t NEW, but the stuff I’ll be doing within the editing realm will be. Also, I’m trying to release a new EP next year along with getting into music production. I think that I’ve always been hurting in the production and engineering department, especially when the engineers don’t see eye to eye with me. For that reason, I want to try my own hand at it, especially in an effort to broaden my horizons and give me more options for the future. So between the editing, recording, and engineering, I think I’ll be pretty busy next year. Can’t wait.

With lots of music-related activities on the horizon, there’s lots more I’ve got planned too. I’m always big on improving myself and getting better, so I’ll return to some of those things for 2015. For starters, I’ll get back in the gym. I’ll also return to my language lessons, especially if I want to get that Indian CD complete. Don’t worry guys, I haven’t forgotten about that and it’s still very much coming. I’d like to draw more and read more, two things I hardly did throughout this year that I discussed in last year’s Year in Review. I realize that there’s a lot on my plate as it is, but there’s a lot of time in a year too. So yeah, I’m looking forward to an exciting 2015.

Anddddddddd with that said, that’ll do it for me and this 2014 Year in Review. Thank you for reading! And here’s to a great 2015 ahead! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!