EDL Exclusive: A Letter to Virginia..

Words from Niyeezy.. heartfelt ones

I’m From VIRGINIA, where ain’t sh*t to do, but cook..

A good friend of mine told me not too long ago that I am seriously attached to the 757. When she told me that and after we finished talking, I really thought about what she had said to me. It kind of bothered me, honestly..

I say that because I know the stigma that’s attached to the 757–you stay here, you pretty much become a “local celebrity”.. but man, I have to be so completely honest and transparent as I say this. I LOVE my home. I LOVE where I’m from.. and this place is so beautiful to me. I’ve been travelling to different states ever since I was a kid & I even have a few miles on my passport. I’ve seen some things. I’ve been some places.. and still, there’s no place like home.

For awhile, I struggled with figuring out if my sentiments for my hometown were just based on the fact that I’m comfortable here. That’s also a “Virginia” thing to do. If you stick around even a second longer than the universe has asked of you, you start laying roots, and then boom. You’re complacent.. inevitably.

Most can attest to Virginia being a great place to grow up and raise your children. It’s “homey”.. but I could go on & on forever as to why it’s so hard to break free from the hold the Tidewater has on me.

I was raised in Virginia Beach. Growing up, I feel like I always knew music was going to be the foundation for whatever I chose to do with my life. I can recall vividly from my childhood moments of sitting in front of the radio fumbling through my mom & my uncles CD collections. Those times resonate more than actually being a kid & playing outside. When I got to middle school, I started to realize the beauty of this scene, pertaining to music. It was like an awakening learning of all the history of Hip-Hop that started right here in the 757, and it became real life. Once I hit college, it blew my mind because I started to pursue the art amongst some of the people who helped propel the 757 music scene when it all began. These people became mentors to me… people like Larry Live. They told me stories of how it used to be, and from those moments of sharing, it began to dawn on me how we still face some of the same exact struggles today that our elders and OG’s did back in the day.

One thing that truly flusters me about VA is the lack of unity and support we have for our own rising creatives. It’s something that I’m for certain has been a mind-boggling question and fact of matter since folks began to understand that they can truly make something of their dreams around here. Why is it so extremely hard for us to come together and build our scene to the capacity it need be? Why do we perceive other musically inclined demographics to be better than what we have going on right here? Why can’t this market flourish on its own?

Why? There are many lingering questions that cross my mind when having this sort of conversation. Just as I can go on and on about how immaculate Virginia is as an inventive state, I can also elaborate on the cons of trying to succeed and stay here. Nevertheless, we are still able to make changes.

As the great Biggie once said, “in order to change the world, we gotta change ourselves..”

We, the youth and new wave of talent, have the power to enact the changes we want to see made here. One thing Virginia can’t say it’s ever seen before is this vast amount of people who go against norms to bring vision to life. I had a conversation with my mentor last week and we were reflecting on my first curated event, EDL FEST. He admitted to me that when I first reached out to him and told him my plans, he thought I wasn’t ready. He thought the brand wasn’t ready, but we went through with it anyway. I was able to prove him wrong with success, and that’s something we ALL are capable of doing in our endeavors.

The only way to silence naysayers, achieve goals, and create something with potential to be substantial and ever-lasting is to simply do it. We don’t get anywhere far walking our journey’s alone. It’s no secret that we win bigger in numbers. So, lets win. I believe in you all. I believe in myself. I believe in us. The power is in our hands, Virginia.

I challenge everyone reading this to reach out to someone they may be unfamiliar with and connect. Don’t just connect for your own personal gain. Learn about their projects and their goals and see how you can help and benefit each other. It’s easier said than done, like anything in life, but I’ve learned that if it doesn’t challenge you, you won’t grow from it.

Encourage greatness, VA. Love is love.

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