Original Commission from @bizarrewonderland via Instagram

Infinity awaits on the other side of fear.

We are over one year into the pandemic in the United States, in what DMV-Baltimore Scene rapper Joey Brick$ described alternatively as the “hyperbolic time chamber” for creatives (especially musicians). Hundreds of thousands of people have died due to state and federal negligence, small businesses have been ravaged, and people across the board of every demographic have lost it all whilst the evils of this country’s biggest stakeholders become more apparent in the open by every passing day. It is not exaggeration or hyperbole to say the world is on fire. It’s…

James K. Fonlon, fondly known as Fonlon throughout the contemporary Baltimore/DMV music scene, is the essence of both a Master of Ceremonies and Main Character. Whichever title that fits better in your mind, just know that he IS THEE MC. One of my biggest music journalist goals when first starting in 2017 was covering all of 3SIDE’s phenomenal artists. I would interview VLAD, Max Goof, keep up with all the members via social media and at public shows, as well as include them in my own show at Bowie State University at one point.

“Who going crazy like us? No comparison,” was a rap bar Bas used in reference to Dreamville and associates for their banging single “Down Bad” in 2019, but the lyric might be even more applicable towards Memphis artist Jai Musiq and his entire community coming together for Jai Musiq’s sophomore album, all4y’all. Speaking of the word “crazy”, this year has been a nightmarish debacle from start to finish from Kobe Bryant’s death, the scare of a potential WWIII legitimately starting, Australia on fire, a whole ass pandemic, and more inconceivable occurrences that verifies the theorem that God is indeed freestyling…

Ego and boldness are only mere shock-value if they cannot be backed up, and such a jarring byline can only be fulfilled by an everyman artist such as Joey Brick$. This article’s purpose is to validate such a brazen statement when there are endless amounts of contemporary rappers putting time, blood, sweat, tears and thousands of dollars into their work. Joey Brick$ — as a holistic artist, rapper and entrepreneur working towards his dreams — is the zeitgeist of hard work in the current Baltimore/DMV music scene.

Others’ trajectories and speed levels of growth are not completely accurate measurements of…

Innovation is birthed out of the most trying times and adversities that can make or break a society. Time and time again, with our backs against the wall as individuals, communities and as a human race, we’ve used our infinite powers of imagination and perseverance to make substantial change. I’d be remiss as a writer, a Black man, and a human being not to acknowledge the blatant horseshit (re: systematic racism, police brutality, misogynoir) that is plaguing our communities in the United States of America with compound interest during an entire pandemic. One ultimate consequence from these situations is that…

It’s been hard since 1999 to not wear my love for Pokémon on my sleeve…and my T-shirts…and my backpacks…and practically any way I can wear it at this point.

Maurice Valentino

Journalist, Educator, Anime Geek and Theorist, Araki Scholar, Black as Hell

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