It's Complex.

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It's Complex.

As a Native American man that was forced into adoption as a baby, and told by the courts that my Native family could do nothing to stop the adoption process, I have residual issues that I go through. With no chance of rescuing me from assimilation into "white" America (the way the courts intended -- look it up), I grew up with no sense of identity or self-worth, stayed in a constant state of flux mentally, and found peace only when I discovered music, and that I might have a talent for doing it. I've wrestled with a lot over the years, knowing that while many Natives share a similar story, I am forced to walk my own path, and live with the decisions of a system that was designed to culturally kill me, wholesale, so that I might find their version of life. 

I don't think people understand that the death of Indian people still exists on many levels: through destitute and hopeless conditions, no jobs, drug and alcohol abuse, abduction of our people by the courts, and murder rates that rival major cities per capita. We have been forgotten, and are only looked at as monolithic relics of yesteryear in the eyes of most people. We only seem to matter when we are propped up as a one-dimensional type of entity, designed to serve a basic idea or thought (example: Indians are stoic). It frustrates me when I see a post or an article about the Native plight, and it's met with resistance, or ideas that Indians should get over what happened in the Wild West, or, that they should pick themselves up by the boot straps.

Which brings me to this...

I find it frustrating when white people -- with joy in their faces and a sense of kinship in their tone, tell me that they are also, in fact, Native American. It fucks with my mind. I get these spells where I am down, and can't figure out why. It's never lasting or depressing (the way it used to be), just a layer of loneliness that comes from not having much in the way of family. I start to process the death of my adoptive parents, the death of my biological parents, the fractured relationship I have with my Native family, and it occurs to me that I never had a chance, that the system worked, and I am forced to either continually pick up the pieces, or, quit -- It's constant -- The picking up never stops. The only one-off is the quitting part. Rinse, repeat, until the end. It gets better, I have months and years without these spells, but, the spells are never fully gone, never "cured."

White guy at bar never has to face that struggle.

I discussed it with my friend, and he put it in a way that makes sense to me, and encapsulates what I feel inside during those moments. He explained that it's another way for white people to colonize, not just land, but identity, in what the academic field calls, "Symbolic Identity." White people, especially those meeting the minuscule (and deeply problematic) blood quantum requirement, can live their lives as white people, but, can conveniently, at-will, insert themselves into the conversation when Native affairs are being discussed, because they are 1/16th Navajo or some shit. They get to enjoy their mystified versions of what it's like to be US, but, without any of the lasting damage, scarring, and  icky genocide stuff getting in the way of their experience.

White people claiming Native is a complex issue for me to tackle internally. Sometimes when I am out drinking I get people coming up wanting to join our table to talk. Most of the time my buddy Jacob and I are knee-deep into pro wrestling, or sports, but, sometimes it's social issues, or things that matter to us beyond the mundane -- one of those being my identity as a Native man living in America. It's almost a given that these people will tell me about their Native history, about their history with my culture. I try -- I really do try to stay invested and listen, but, sometimes I withdraw and go inward, and think, "fuck this guy," even though I harbor no ill-will, or anger towards that person. I bark more at the ease at which a person can claim my identity, more than the person for doing it. It's complex, because I wear being Native everyday. I wear not only my skin, but my stripped culture, the pain of not having a lifelong relationship with my family, and every minute piece of my history that I will never know, or, will only know through hearing about it or reading. 

I have no resolution, or answer other than to advise my white friends to open themselves up more to the idea that we Natives are historically oppressed, and that the blood quantum you use to mingle hard with your boy, was used as a tool for the oppression of your boys people. Read up on it, and know that I fucking love you.

I also struggle with people telling me that because I do not vote, that my opinion does not matter. As a Native man, whose people are still being oppressed, and forgotten by a system of government that swore it would honor, and protect after first attempting to wipe out, I choose to not participate. My views matter, the views of my people matter, no matter how small the voices in the eyes of the American government. My people are still struggling, still being exploited, still without hope beyond what they sculpt and mold from the base-level bullshit offered to them. I choose to not participate as a symbolic gesture, not a lethargic act of defiance. The burn I feel is generational pain, not a warmth caused because I am overwhelmed by a politician who swears he has my best interests in mind (again). You'll have to forgive me for not trusting, no matter how sincere the messenger might appear to be. But, that's another story for another day.

It's complex, y'all.

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12 Disciples "ORCA" Snapback (Only 12 Available!)

The 12 Disciples "ORCA" Snapback -- Stay murky and dark in the deep end of the Aquarium in this super limited edition bubble letter "ORCA" snapback.

Only 12 available!

Baby seals won't see you coming, but, if they do, you will slaughter them in front of their mothers, because YOU are a killer whale, an apex predator, God's lonely man.

ORDER NOW [click "store" link above]

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Grizzly Fest Special! // (1 ticket + 3 albums)- $40

This year I will be playing Grizzly Fest 2016 alongside some amazing local and national artists! To celebrate, I have 100 tickets available that I am offering with a special deal!

(offer expires May 1st!)

YOU get:
1 - GRIZZLY FEST 2016 ticket
1 - digital copy of the NEW "Orca" album
1 - digital copy of the "Survivor Series" EP
1 - digital copy of The Argyle Pimps - "Invisible Jet-Ski's" album
+ stickers & buttons!

$40! (click "store" tab above)

Albums will be emailed with download codes
Orca will be emailed on May 7th

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First 50 Pre-Order Deal a SUCCESS!!!

Last night at 8pm PDT I launched pre-orders for the NEW album, "Orca." To celebrate this launch, I offered a "First 50" deal, where the first 50 pre-order sales got the album THAT NIGHT!

The deal sold out within hours!

Thank you guys so much for supporting me, despite my extensive criminal record, and lack of contrition, or concern for my litany of crimes against god, and humanity. I hope I never get caught, and I hope YOU live long enough to regret contributing to my legacy of pain.

"You are all my children now."  - Freddy Krueger

Cockamamie Jamie - ORCA
STREET DATE: May 7th
Pre-order: (click store above)

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Uncle Jamie Says...

Rappers, here is a tip from your old uncle Cockamamie Jamie: stop treating women like objects, and only seeing them as queens when they are attractive to you - and - stop using homophobic slurs in your music.

Everyone hates when you say "faggot" in your raps. It makes them uncomfortable, and makes you sound like a shitty person. Also, leave the cashier at Forever 21 alone. She is working right now, and is probably not going to bone you anyway. You're making your buddies feel weird, when you could be sharpening your friendship over a pretzel, and some conversation.

Trust me, the older version of yourself is going to look back and wish the young you was not on the wrong side of history.

"Alright stop what you're doing, 'cause I'm about to ruin, the image and the style that you're used to." - Humpty Hump

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ILL Zee Will

We arrived in front of his apartment a few minutes earlier than expected, on our way to Los Angeles to catch the album release show for a hip-hop collective called LA Symphony. Timmy offered to jump in the backseat, a courteous extension, one that was met with trepidation on my part, as we both wanted our new friend to feel comfortable. "He can sit in the back," I said, thinking this will give him maximum leg room, and somewhat keep him out of the potentially awkward eye of the Third Wheel storm. As Timmy exited the vehicle, not phased by my backseat option plan, he opens the back door of my powder blue '95 Camry, and says, "Hey man!" to someone approaching from behind.
 

Zee Will has arrived.

I first heard of Zee Will while recording the Gentle Jamie record Survivor Series. The engineer, Jukebawks at 707 Studios, was finishing a session with him right around the time that my session was set to start. We met in passing, he cordially extended his hand, gave me eye contact, and said, "Nice to meet you." He then tidied up his business with Juke, and made his way out of the door. He seemed like a nice kid ("nice kid" is a phrase you start using in your early 30s, when you see your youth in the rear-view. Trust me - you'll do it to).

Now we're here, taking a road trip together.

At this point I almost exclusively knew Zoe (his birth name) through catching a few of his shows, doing shows together, and getting into his sound. Also, I only knew him as Zee Will at this point. I call him The Future, that's a nickname I've coined for two artists in the Central Valley, the other being Sahab, because I believe these guys have the type of talent, charisma, and showmanship to transcend the "local" tag, and "make it" (whatever that means.) This is saying a lot for Will, since he has only been MCing for roughly 4 years.

We need to get on the road.
 

The first 20 miles or so, roughly to Selma, Ca., were spent small talking. Timmy is great socially, where as I, contrary to popular belief am a bit clumsy with it all. I either appear as standoffish, which I can be, and stay quiet, with no eye contact, or I dominate the conversation, hold court like Rocky at Adrian's, and turret the shit out of the room with my loud, "fact"-laden rants. If you've been to Livingstone's on Monday nights, you've heard me. If you've seen me alone in public places, you haven't heard me. That's generally how it works.
 

You guys hungry?
 

We stop along the 99 highway at a spot called AKAL, your typical gas station with adjoined food spot, in this case Subway, and a lesser known chicken franchise called Chester's. We all loaded up on Subway, took a seat, and began to chat it up about music. At this point I kept thinking what I already knew -- this is a nice guy. That needs to be prefaced, by saying that some, dare I say a lot of rappers are tough to take road trips with. Rappers have a tendency to carry themselves in a manner that is what I would call less than authentic. Lots of controlled, sound bites, and rehearsed catch phrases, and slang designed to keep the character looking good, while simultaneously appearing to be humble, and engaging. It can be sad, the feigned humility, and graciousness, especially when those attempts appear to be wrapped in a protective cocoon of "cool."
 

Just be yourself.
 

Zee Will is Zoe Zee Cooks. The two are interchangeable, which is a very good thing. You never feel yourself being abandoned by Zoe, for an embellished character when his fans are around. Zee remains Zoe, and treats his fans with the same respect as he does his friends, and new road trip acquaintances, that would soon become friends.
 

We load back into the car, and continue our conversation about music. Zee has a deep appreciation for 2Pac, and begins to explain how that differs from being into 2Pac's shit. Everyone loves 2Pac, not many take the time to understand the complexities of Tupac Shakur as a person, and how he chose to use his art as a platform to convey this complexity. It took almost 2 decades for me to see this. Zee Will saw it in his youth. He talked about a desire to make an impact with his music, not just rock shows, and live the prototypical rap life. He spoke with conviction, and at length about a specific thing Tupac once said, one that he now uses as a mantra for his career in rap, and it's this: I may not be the direct reason for positive change, but I would like to be an influence on it.
 

You're too nice.
 

Zee Will has heard this throughout his young rap career. He's heard from people of all stages of influence that he is too nice, and that people will take advantage of his kindness. Kindness is not weakness, kindness is a virtue. If Zee Will had an affinity for caving in to shitty demands, and undercutting his hard work by operating in a naive way, that would be a direct reflection of his weakness, not his kindness. Zee Will is not "too nice," he is just a good guy, that cares about his fans, his craft, and himself. Hip-hop, as I stated earlier, has an issue with authenticity, an imbalance, a persona over person mentality. There are those rare artists that throw that outlook out the window, and operate on their own - those artists, in the past, were labeled as "conscious hip-hop." If you have a micro-fiber of pulse in the area of authenticity, you are perceived as being conscious. Huh? Zee Will IS conscious, authentic, AND nice. He is also a monster on the mic, and on stage, whose one concern is making sure that his show hits so hard, that you have a hard time looking good after he is done. He didn't say that, I did. I've seen it. It's real. Zee's upbringing is one that many young African-Americans experience in contemporary America. He's faced a litany of adversity, and shined in spite of it. When his home life took a downturn, he galvanized, and worked that much harder in his life to become a beacon. When his health failed due to asthma, and he had to move from the Fresno area to San Jose, he turned that into an opportunity to show-out on the basketball court. He won Defensive Player of the Year in his area, because fuck limitations on my health, that's why. He still gets up at 4am to make the 5am pick-up games at Buchanan High School in Clovis, Ca. knowing that no one is there to bask in the glow of his hard work. Weak people do not do things like that.
 

He's back.
 

He previewed music from his new album on the trip, one that will feature a wide range of styles, and emotions, one that will surely catapult him even further towards his dreams of making an impact in music. For being so new to rap, roughly 4 years, he has a firm handle on the art of rap, and a deep love for the craft. This guy is a gym rat for hip-hop. He never limited his tastes in music to regional sound, or genre, and his growth in hip-hop might be a reflection of that choice. He is about as well-rounded as you can be at this stage of his career. The next time Zee Will is forced to leave town, it might not be asthma that forces him away, it might be stardom.
 

Check him out:
Official Website: http://illzeewill.com
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/illZeeWill
Official Instagram: http://instagram.com/illzeewill


Gentle Jamie's pick:

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Gentle Jamie Store!

Be sure to visit the Gentle Jamie store by clicking the "Store" tab above! Never go to shitimages.com, unless you have no plans on buying Gentle Jamie merch. In that case, you can spend the rest of your life there, for all I care.

- GJ

Gentle Giant Bundle - EVERYTHING for $30!

Gentle Giant Bundle - EVERYTHING for $30!

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