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Joey Spina

RUNning Rebel (Acoustic) featuring Joey Spina

in WAE Music by

Khary WAE Frazier featuring Joey Spina. The gumbo of Blues & Hip-hop represented well on this record officially featured on the ‘Preaching to the Choir’ 20008 release by Frazier. This was previously unreleased and a special feature for you!

Running Rebel Lyrics:

The Rebels are running and coming and coming
The rebels are running and coming
I’m a Rebel

Verse One

By any means necessary so my mind military
As I carry out the visions of the visionary
To the cemetery/ and it vary how I carry what I carry
Got weapons from the streets and weapons from the library
So it’s no telling what’s up in my mind
And it’s no telling what’s off on my side
Reparations ain’t nothing but a riot away
a moltov cocktail in the president’s face
Burn the Whitehouse down for Katrina’s sake
Take some land for ourselves the American way
They not red in the face they red in neck
A savage respect when he faced with his death
Fuck a ballot initiative you see what we living in
Nigguz ain’t got nothing and we ain’t getting shit
But I got a plan for the Brooks Brothers gentleman
For today’s slave master a Nat Turner of this millennium
Pitch forks and hoes now gats and Girbauds
Timberlands and shanks that’s razors to the throats
Living out the actions of Huey Newton quotes
Fueled by the fire of what Chuck D spoke
My peoples army study Marcus Garvey, Nikki Giovanni,
Peter Tosh, and Bob Marley, Muhammed Ali
Cause the teachings of the system doing nothing for me
Revolution on the institution what we need
Verse Two
I have an American Dream but reality ghetto
Public school education got me stuck in the middle
No money no job no food no hospital
Its like no way out opportunity ain’t a little
And it’s so hard for us to survive
Cancer diabetes and Black on Black crime
And the HIV got us dropping like flies
This is the way that we live out our lives
The constitution need some resolutions
Started by the revolution
I’ll do it I’ll prove it If I have to start the movement
We’ll sit down and talk it out or we’ll keep fighting through it
Black power on them bitch ass cowards to turn em’ sour
Take it up with anybody if they got a fucking problem
Whether cop or civilian it may take a million
But the rebels with me rebels and they rebels that’s killing

Use to Be: Song Background

in Lyric Breakdown & Background by


In 2009 I was a business partner in the ‘1440 Collective Studios.’ The ‘1440 Collective Studios’ was a creative space located at 1440 Gratiot Detroit MI 48207 in Downtown Detroit. Conceptually the ‘1440’ could be compared to the maker space initiatives launched throughout Detroit today. The ‘1440’ mixed the creativity of public relations, music recording, music production, DJing, live band (music) rehearsals, and video production. It was innovative. The collective was founded by Nadir Omowale, Habiba Adams, Eric Campbell, DJ Major, DJ Man Power, and myself, in 2008. By 2009, Joey Spina and Davey G partnered. A host of artists, people, and tastemakers visited, supported, and conducted business at the ‘1440.’ In 2011 the ‘1440 Collective’ closed. Today it’s remembered for the parties, (musician) jam sessions, and music recordings.

the 1440 Collective, Joey Spina
the 1440 Collective, Joey Spina

In the Spring of 2009 ‘1440 Collective’ business partner, Joey Spina, purchased a Pro Tools recording module (Pro Tools is a music recording computer software and hardware brand). The day he bought the recording module he brought it to the ‘1440.’ Spina told me how excited he was about the purchase (I’ve always called Joey Spina ‘Spina’). I told him emphatically, “I’m going to be the first person to record on it!” We laughed about it. He agreed in one week we do a recording session.

Before that conversation with Spina, I had yet to record (music) in months. I spent the close of 2008, and start of 2009 performing, and promoting my first album ‘Preaching to the Choir.’ In that process I lost the drive to write, and record music. In a week of preparation I gathered my notebooks, and began writing.

Generally I write rap songs in three styles: premise, story, or slick. Premise is a style in which I brainstorm ideas to write the song. The brainstorming process is as important as the content.

In example: If I were to brainstorm the topic of Detroit Pistons, Isiah Thomas immediately comes to mind. Bringing more color to a reference, I would recall Terry Duerod. ‘In Detroit we on guard/ like the one that came town that kicked out Terry Duerod’ – example lyric unused. So for Piston fans (especially at my barbershop, Hawk’s off Schoolcraft and Southfield, what up Mike D!) it’s special. Isiah Thomas took Terry Duerod’s place on the Pistons. That fact makes the lyric clever. Duerod is one of the best U of D Titan basketball players ever. Mentioning him is symbolic to Detroit.

The story style engages the listener in a conversation as though we know one another. Finally the slick style is a culmination of lines that I wind together in rhyme schemes, patterns, consonant placement, and alliteration to give a rap character.

‘Use to Be,’ blends the style of premise and story. The recording session also featured two vocalists; Fee Graffiti, and Polka Dot. Fee Graffiti is a singer I knew for years. We met through her boyfriend Doug Greenwood who produced music for me. She graduated from MSU with a degree in communications. She was looking for vocal and studio experience. Polka Dot is a business partner to my friend Kaunn. We met upon Kaunn insisting that we should record together. When the opportunity opened up to record music, I called.

Fee Graffiti, Kaunn, Polka Dot
Fee Graffiti, Kaunn, Polka Dot

Recording was fun. Spina had the studio set up with three open microphones. The only headphones for the sessions were used by Joey Spina. I rapped short segments of songs. Spina played along finding chords to match. When we agreed upon matching chords, I’d arrange a hook with Fee Graffiti, or Polka Dot. In two hours we recorded seven songs. The most notable songs of the seven were ‘Teddy Bears Tied Up to Trees,” and “Use to Be.”

After the session was wrapped up we shared shots of Bourbon (Spina always drank Bourbon). Two weeks later Spina gave me the sessions. I placed the ‘Use to Be’ on my ‘Notes of an Artist and Activist I’ album.

The recording is very special to me. ‘Use to Be,’ has a blues feel and I LOVE BLUES. The characters, personal relationships, and essence of Keb Mo, John Lee Hooker, and a host of others capture my imagination. I’ve always felt the hip-hop experience is as interpersonal to me as Blues. I also appreciate the manner and style it changes dependent upon the mood of the artist. “I can’t stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession, let alone two years or ten years. If you can, then it ain’t music, it’s close-order drill or exercise or yodeling or something, not music,” Billie Holiday. That’s one of my favorite quotes from one of the most powerful voices to be recorded. RIP Lady Day.

Song Performed by Khary WAE Frazier
Music Played, Composed, Arranged and Produced by Joey Spina
Lyrics by Khary WAE Frazier
Song featured on the Notes of an Artist/ Activist I Album 2008


5-12 AR Det Drum B


Use to Be

in WAE Music by

Use to Be



Song Performed by Khary WAE Frazier Music Played, Composed, Arranged and Produced by Joey Spina Lyrics by Khary WAE Frazier Song featured on the Notes of an Artist/ Activist I Album 2008 PRESS PLAY and HEAR THE MUSIC!

Yea yea check it

I’m sick of hearing things ain’t how they use to be
I’m sick of hearing things ain’t how they use to be
I’m sick of hearing things ain’t how they use to be
Values alive in my people still alive in me

Verse One
I grew up man a whole lot different than most
Father lived for his family brother just lived to smoke
Before that, yo, he lived his life for the Panthers
Mama was my teacher (and) Granny fought off cancer
Just being a kid seeing how real life is
My hero full head of hair all came from a wig
Growing up wasn’t like BIG
Tom Hanks had a genie I saw people live
My Grandfathers … both was hustlers
One who stole cars … other one ran numbers
My Great Uncle knew Kwame Nkumrah
Same blood in my veins Ivory Coast first tutor
My Great Grandfather was a preacher
One of Selma Alabama’s first Black teachers
So I’m failing on my people if I’m not a leader
My Grandmother wrote Mary McCleod Bethune speeches
So I strive for achievement
Despite what they said keep on leading
Keep on leading
Keep on teaching

Verse Two
I got the spirit
I got the soul
I got the heart of a rebel
And I’m fighting off the devil
Anybody come to me ain’t getting on my level
It’s like … it’s like
I got the heart, the mind, the spirit and the soul
And I’m losing control
Just like
uh Yea

I got the blood in my veins of a soldier and a king
Can’t step to me talking them things
Blood of a King in my veins



WAE Break-Back 5 8 2014

2009 Detroit Music Awards

in My Detroit Story by

I currently work for the Michigan Citizen Newspaper. When I began working for the Michigan Citizen in 2007, Detroit was different (no pun intended). While working at the Michigan Citizen I met Nadir Omowale. Nadir is a Detroiter by way of Tennessee. At the Citizen he developed web content. At night he made music. When we met he was preparing for a European Tour. I was interested in hearing what led a promoter to book him internationally. I found out fast. I was taken back by Nadir’s talent. His abilities in song arrangement, writing, and vocal presence are excellent. Naidr’s talents have earned him a host of awards, accolades, fans, and my support. So when he asked me if I was interested in attending the 2007 Detroit Music Awards, I hoped on the opportunity. The 2007 Detroit Music Awards was a great experience. I felt I discovered a cultural scene. For the first time, I met, and shared conversations with Funkilinium (Flint’s best party band), Malik Austin (production legend), Emily Rogers (best bass player I know), and Paul Miles ‘the Blues Man’.

Mayaeni & Nadir, Malik Austin, Nadir, Myself, Chef (of Funkilinium), Paul Miles
Mayaeni & Nadir, Malik Austin, Nadir, Myself, Chef (of Funkilinium), Paul Miles

I connected with Paul so much we agreed to trade shows. Paul performed at my album fundraiser at Malik Yakini’s Black Star Community Bookstore. I performed for Paul’s benefit show at Memphis Smoke (Memphis Smoke was a bar in Royal Oak MI that featured live music. From 2006 – 2011 it was one of the best stages to perform on in the area for sound quality and audience). I accepted Paul’s offer to perform at Memphis Smoke thinking it was small. I was wrong. Paul Miles is beloved throughout Metro Detroit. His music, jokes, and interpersonal demeanor have provided him a loyal following. Paul’s likeable. I took the stage at Memphis Smoke as the only rapper in a packed house for blues and rock. I didn’t know what to expect. During the intermission Paul introduced me to the band. This was the first time I met Joey Spina. Spina was attempting to prepare an arrangement for our set. I told them, “if I freestyle, that’s what we all do” (freestyle is an improvisational way of rapping, choosing the subject, words, and rhymes with little or no pretense). We KILLED THE STAGE. It was one of the best crowd responses I’ve ever gotten. We performed two songs, and encored one.

Me performing at Memphis Smoke, Joey Spina, 2009 Detroit Music Award logo
Me performing at Memphis Smoke, Joey Spina, 2009 Detroit Music Award logo

The next day Paul called to thank me. He also told me he submitted my name to be nominated for a Detroit Music Award in 2008. I didn’t care, because I didn’t think I’d win (Nadir explained the nomination process to me, and I gave up hope). Detroit Music Award nominations have a two tier selection process. All nominees are voted upon by the general public through ballot submissions online. I’m so internet lazy, I didn’t vote for myself. So in 2008, when I made the second tier of balloting I was surprised. Naturally, in 2009 I had full intentions on voting myself. Once again, I was so internet lazy, I didn’t vote for myself. Shockingly, enough people did. I won a nomination in 2009 for Outstanding Hip-hop Artist/ Group at the Detroit Music Awards. Joey Spina called to congratulate me. This was before I knew. I rushed to the Detroit Music Awards website and shouted over the phone “THAT’S WHAT IM TALKING BOUT’ BABY”. Spina started laughing hysterically. I believe my nomination was directly linked to the Paul Miles benefit show. In life I’m coming to find from moment to moment a transcending path, perspective, and presence is always available. During my performance at that Memphis Smoke show, it was. I was present in thought and action. I carried myself, the band, and the crowd. I was afforded another benefit as well. Many Detroit music tastemakers witnessed the performance. Ecstatic and proud of my nomination, I thought I needed the perfect date as my guest to the awards. I asked Lauren Stovall (I’m pictured above the article with Lauren at Union Street). She accepted. Lauren is the daughter of Tony Stovall. Tony is the co-owner of Hot Sam’s Clothing. Mr. Stovall has been a supporter of mine for years. He introduced me to Lauren in 2008. I couldn’t wait for the right opportunity to go out with her. The Detroit Music Awards was it. When we met she was a FAMU graduate looking to apply her business knowledge to Detroit fashion. Lauren’s realized her goals. Today she specializes in retro clothing, styling, personal shopping, and exotic looks. She’s often a guest on Detroit TV’s WDIV ‘Live in the D’ (it’s a Detroit version of Regis & Kelly). Arriving at the Awards was fun. As a nominee I was given more access to the Fillmore Theater. I’m sure Lauren was bored out her mind. I walked around back stage talking to artists. Stretch Money (and all of Hot Lava Records), Carolyn Striho, Emily Rogers, Liz Larin, Thornetta Davis and a host of others all greeted me with congratulations. Two years ago I only knew Nadir. That night I felt like the Fonz. I knew everybody at the awards. Lauren and I eventually went to the balcony to have a conversation. I knew people up there. Too bad I didn’t know enough people to actually win the award.

David Nefesh, Djallo Djakate, Myself, Tony WoJamm Womack, Bobby Murray, Karen Vesprini
Light Show Bob, David Nefesh, Djallo Djakate, Myself, Tony WoJamm Womack, Bobby Murray, Karen Vesprini (photos by Richard Blondy a great supporter of all Detroit Music)

After the award show I went to the after party I co-hosted at the 1440 Collective (the 1440 Collective was a multimedia studio run by Nadir, Spina, Davey G, and myself). That night Davey G’s friend Light Show Bob set up his rig in the 1440 Collective. Light Show Bob’s rig is a stage lighting set with colors, strobes, discos, and blinders all controlled on a keytair. Light Show Bob played notes that would trigger different lights to flash. His rig was powered by a trailer. I walked into the after party ready to rock. I stormed the stage at midnight. I was accompanied by David Nefesh, Djallo Djakate, Tony WoJamm Womack, and Light Show Bob. I called out vocalists and musicians to join the jam. Karen Visprini, Ken Murphy, Ras Kente, Nadir, and Emily Rogers all made their way to the stage. The 1440 was full of creativity. Music was the art we made. In retrospect I gathered confidence from my 2009 Detroit Music Award nomination. I struggle to believe in myself at times. Often I’ve given half effort to avoid a reality of failure. Therefore, being appreciated for something I enjoyed was encouraging. It was inspiring to know that an audience I thought would not like rap, embraced me. Since then I’ve challenged myself to be prepared to rap over any music genre, tempo, or style. Some of my biggest opportunities have come about through collaborative visions. FYI: I was also nominated for a Detroit Music Award in 2010 for Outstanding Hip-hop MC WAE Music A- 5-6

“Beats to the Rhyme, the Rhyme I just made (RIP Jam Master Jay)”

in Coming Attractions by
Joey Spina, Djallo Djakate, Scott Dailey, Bonnie Kay, Carolyn Striho, and Ron Wolf
Joey Spina, Djallo Djakate, Scott Dailey, Bonnie Kay, Carolyn Striho, and Ron Wolf

Detroit is Different is a success. One month in, and I’ve received calls, emails, and comments of appreciation. It’s been so much fun sharing my perspective of Detroit. This is a love I’m eager to develop.

This month’s theme is ‘I Love Music.’ Often I feel like my life is a movie, and a mix of popular music genres are the score (Carlos Santana, Ice T, Carly Simon, Team Eastside, Nas, and a host of others. As I’m typing this, I’m playing DOC’s ‘Blow Your Mind,’ thinking his 2nd verse has a classic rhyme pattern).

As a hip-hop artist I’ve learned many lessons. I attribute some of my attitude to the nature in which I hear, create, and perform hip-hop. In my journey I’ve connected with a host of musicians, producers, promoters, and enthusiasts in Detroit. This month I share some of what I’ve learned from them all along the way.

MAY 2014 Detroit is Different ‘I Love Music’

Detroit is Different content is released weekly on Tuesdays & Thursdays



TUES MAY 6, 2014/ MY DETROIT STORY: Detroit Music Awards Nominations

THUR MAY 8, 2014/WAE MUSIC: “Use to Be”


THUR MAY 15, 2014/AROUND DETROIT: Motown Museum

TUES MAY 20, 2014/AROUND DETROIT: United Sound Studios


SAT MAY 24, 2014/7 O’CLOCK SATURDAY STORIES: Carolyn Striho


THUR MAY 29, 2014/WHAT IF …: Motown stayed in Detroit

Det Story May 2014 copy

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