Monday, December 28th, 2020

2020, oh 2020, what a year. Where do I begin to describe this rollercoaster? It really goes without saying, but 2020 was a year unlike any other. I mean, I know we can say that all the time, but this was entirely different. It seemed like every month, there was something else krazy happening, and it was huge. Whether it was the pandemic, the people we lost, or the protests that captured the world, we’ve never seen anything like it. Honestly, it seemed like things would never let up.

In addition, we also experienced an election year. It captivated us, it moved us, and it divided us. It seems like everyone had election fever, as there was a record turnout in the U.S. for voting. But even with the people making their voices heard, there still continues to be unresolved issues. And I mean, what a time for it to be an election year, right? We faced COVID, which shut down the world and changed everything. As the vaccine slowly starts to get distributed, there’s one thing I can tell you…2020 will be one for the history books.

While I could spend all day talking about the events that made up 2020, I won’t. Instead, as I do every time around this year, I want to revisit my year and talk about what characterized it. From highlights, to favorite things, to expectations for the new year, there’s a lot on my mind to share. So sit back, relax, and vibe out with me as I talk about my year in 2020!


What a Year

For me, if I could simplify it I’d say 2020 was a year of adjustment. I constantly had to adjust to what was going on. Whether that’s the decision I made in 2019 to quit my job, to changing up how I did things because of COVID, it never felt like I was in one place. I was always having to adapt to change, which kept me busy. Overall though, I spent the majority of my time working from home where I focused on personal development, web design and graphic design, and also music (of course). I was also able to spend more time with family, as we had to limit interactions with people throughout the year.

Let’s take a minute and talk about some of the highlights of the year.


Highlights

Personal development – At the beginning of the year, I had a long list of goals that I wanted to accomplish. However, I quickly realized that I didn’t have all the necessary tools available to me for this. So, what did I do? Well, I looked inward and focused on bettering myself. Instead of just tackling “the work”, I shifted my attention to trainings, classes, and online tutorials where I could LEARN how to do things before I even got to work. I’ve never really worked like this before, so it was a bit different than usual. However, I’m thankful that I did. I spent several months in learning-mode, in an effort to better myself while also building confidence in my skills. Once I felt more comfortable with my skillset, I got to work. It’s an important reminder that you have to constantly be learning. It’s also a good idea to dedicate time each week to keep bettering yourself.

Focus on mental health – As part of looking inward, another change I made was focusing more on mental health. Now, I’ve long considered mental health to be important. However, it wasn’t until 2019 when I began to see it really affecting me. I was experiencing super-high levels of anxiety. So this year, I began meditating on a regular basis. It’s something that took discipline. It’s also something that I wanted to do. For me, it was an opportunity to shut off all the noise, just for a few minutes, and reconnect with myself. No lie, meditation has provided a great feeling where I can unplug from everything temporarily to be in a quiet, peaceful place. A year later, I realize this practice has helped ground me, while also reducing stress and anxiety levels. If you’re on the fence about it, I would encourage you to try it – it’s really helped a great deal, especially with the anxiety that I was going through last year.

100 subscribers – A major milestone that I hit this year was reaching 100 subscribers on YouTube! So ok, I understand that to many people, 100 might not seem like a lot, especially if we’re comparing ourselves to others. However, I’m not. I realize that my journey is unique and nobody’s journey is the same. For example, Barack Obama became president at 47 years old. Joe Biden will become president at 78 years old. This accomplishment was huge to me too because I know how much work I put in to get to this point. Up until like 2018, I was stagnant with growth on there. I made a real effort to change things up, and it seems like my efforts have paid off. And by the way, I usually don’t get caught up in stuff like this, but I did wanna take a moment out to smell the roses too.

Project re-release – Another thing that I was proud of this year was I began project re-release. What’s that, you ask? Well, earlier in the year I asked for feedback about re-releasing old songs that appeared on previous mixtapes. Many of those songs only exist on CD, and not on streaming platforms. So, there’s a generation of people that may have not heard those songs. Another reason? I was driving around one day and I wanted to listen to an old song, only to be reminded that I can’t because it was on a CD that I didn’t have with me LOL. What a dilemma, right? So yeah, after all that, I re-released two new singles this year. My plan is to continue project re-release in 2021. I just need to finish the artwork. Here’s a link to the songs that have been released so far:


Favorite Music

So last year, I did a section on both favorite music AND movies. However, with COVID this year, I didn’t see as many movies throughout the year. So, I’ll just stick to music for this year lol. Here are some of my favorites.

Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon 3 – Kid Cudi returned with Man on the Moon 3, which turned out to be a REALLY dope album. From the vocals to the flow to the overall vibe, it’s a really great body of work from start to finish. It’s reminiscent of the first one but sounds fresh for today. Much props to Cudi on this.

Eminem – Music to be Murdered By – Eminem dropped another surprise album this year, where he continued to display just why he’s head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in hip hop. From the powerful message in “Darker”, the crew tracks with Slaughterhouse and Black Thought, Q-Tip, and Royce, to the mind-blowing verse on “Godzilla”, this album is FILLED with a ton of big moments. I was mostly impressed by how sharp he continues to be lyrically, especially at this stage of his career. What artist, 20 years in, still cares so much about his craft and continues to push himself like this? That’s one of the main takeaways I got from the album.⁣ ⁣⁣Overall, it’s a lot to take in but it’s a really dope album 🔥 From emotion to hypeness, the album impresses in a lot of ways.

Nas – King’s Disease – From storytelling songs to inspirational messages, this album had a lot of great messages on it. It’s reminiscent of “Life is Good”, which I liked, and carried a real mature vibe to it too. From a Firm reunion, the NY vibes on “Car 85”, the Big Sean appearance, the gems dropped on “10 Points”, to the change-up on “The Cure” (perhaps my favorite moment on the album), there’s a lot of dopeness to hear on this. Much props to Hit Boy for providing the backdrop to a great album too. Similar to Eminem (who I mentioned above), I’m also glad to see Nas continuing to put out great music, this late in his career. It’s an impressive feat for real.

The Weeknd – After Hours – Channeling an 80’s sound, mixed with hip hop and pop, made for a really great album from the Weeknd. He was able to expand his sound, yet still get busy and do his thing. It was a really refreshing album, and unlike anything I’ve heard recently. I enjoy listening to artists being creative and taking risks, especially when they pay off. I’m still unsure how this album didn’t get nominated for Best Album at the Grammy’s, let alone not getting nominated for ANYTHING. But yeah, the fans know what’s up…this was a really fire album.

It was definitely a busy year for music this year, especially with the quarantine. Some other artists with great albums included Pop Smoke, Griselda, and Big Sean.


The Wrap Up

So as we look back upon 2020, there’s many things that defined the year. For me personally, this year was defined by self-improvement.

I spent the entire year getting my new business up and running, which has been a learning experience in itself. I spent a great deal of time LEARNING and making an effort to better myself. This was instrumental for building a solid foundation upon which other bricks were to be laid. Once that was in place, I began to build my website, connect with others, and move forward. With all the work done this year, I’m feeling good about everything now and looking forward to an eventful and successful 2021.

With all the time and effort I spent on getting the business running, I didn’t do a great job of balancing it with all the other things in my life that are important. For instance, I got off to a really great start in the beginning of the year with YouTube. I was consistently posting a video a week for over a month, which was a great mini-milestone for me. However, that didn’t last long as other priorities began to pull me in other directions. So the momentum of reaching 100 subscribers didn’t skyrocket. It’s all good though.

Of course, that also means I didn’t work on enough music throughout the year and didn’t complete the album either. I’m not even mad at myself though. I prioritized and did what I had to do this year. I did drop several freestyles, re-released some singles, and did my Trump reaction video too (you can check it out below). So I mean, on the music front, while I didn’t put out the album, I was active. There’s still more work to do though…


What to Expect for 2020

1. The album – Now I know what you’re going to say. “Ajaxxx, we’ve heard this story before.” Lol and I’ll admit, I would be just as skeptical if I heard that. But I do feel like this time is different. I have a timeline now of when I need everything done by, and I’ve also re-linked up with several producers to get the album done too. So I mean, I see a light at the end of the tunnel! I’ve also got a list of songs that I need to get done. The other idea I’m playing around is just releasing the album as is, and cut the pending tracks. I mean, they’ve taken so long already and I don’t wanna keep pushing things back. So let’s see. All I’m saying is, 2021 is looking REALLY GOOD to be the year I drop the album. So yes, “Something to Prove” is coming soon!

2. The website – As part of my web design business, I want to relaunch Ajaxxx.com. This is something I wanted to do last year, but instead I focused my attention towards my business website. This year though, I’d like to update this site to improve on a few things. Next year will be 10 years with the same layout and the internet has changed a great deal over the past decade. So, it’s a great time to relaunch! And with my newly acquired skills from this year, I feel like I can knock it out fast. The creative part may take longer, but I’ll likely build upon the existing site instead of reinventing the wheel. In any case, the new Ajaxxx.com is also on the way!

3. More singles – I’ve been working on getting an updated set-up for recording. Once the set-up is done, I plan on recording a lot more, re-recording old songs, and doing more collaborations too. With my skills I picked up with mixing down music, I also feel like I can actually release the music instead of waiting around for someone to help me. Even with this goal, I know that it won’t be easy because I’ll be pulled in many different directions in 2021. So, I’m building another solid foundation NOW so I’ll be ready for THEN. That includes communicating with fellow collaborators, putting together a content calendar, and making a solid plan that I can execute. So yes, expect more singles too!

4. More videos – And last but certainly not least, I expect to put out more videos too. Music videos? YouTube videos? Something else? Not sure yet, but I know I need to create more video content for my page. The more I’ve done, the more efficient I’ve become while also improving on quality. The challenge here is thinking of videos that are easy to put out (rather than always putting out music). With COVID still around, I’m also gonna need to get more creative with the types of videos I put out too. But yes, I know this is key to my strategy of world domination, so I’ma be putting in mad work on this for 2021. Here we go!

All in all, 2020 has been a krazy year man. 2019 was an extremely difficult year for me, where I even had to see a doctor for my anxiety. 2020 was a year of recovery, if you will, where I picked myself up, realized what I had to do, and moved forward. I looked inward, analyzed where changes needed to be made, and got to work. While I wish things moved faster and certain opportunities solidified, I know that everything happens for a reason. I continue to remain optimistic and look forward to an exciting 2021.

Nothing that’s important comes easy. I know that. I also knew that going on this journey was going to come with its own set of unique challenges and obstacles. Perhaps I wasn’t ready for the emotion that came with it (even though I knew it was coming), but I know it’ll make me a better person. But here I am. With a plan in hand, a calendar with important dates, and an optimistic outlook for what’s to come, I’m ready. All I need is my planner now lol. But I’m saying, I know what needs to be done and I’m prepared to put in the work. So 2021, here we go!

And with that said, thank you for your continued support and rocking with me over the years and especially throughout this year. Hope you’re ready to travel another fun journey with me next year too haha. Aight y’all, until then, Ajaxxx signing out. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!