Recently one of my good friends and I were catching up at my house. Discussing family, life, music, relationships, and how much things have changed throughout the years. Hell, last year alone was a world wind in my personal life. My aunt’s body was found decomposed in Brooklyn, and not too long after we buried her my mother passed away from breast cancer. If that wasn’t enough, a few months later I started having some serious health issues. Everyday I literally felt like my body was breaking down on me, consistently faced with a new ailment. Extreme pain in various parts of my body, and some days I didn’t even feel like getting out of the bed, none the less record or perform any shows. I was totally in the dark and had no clue what was going on until a specialist finally diagnosed me with Reiter’s Syndrome. Once he broke it down to me I understood I was dealing with an auto immune disease, and unfortunately had to be on medication to suppress my immune system from being in over drive. And as you all know, medication is like making a deal with the devil. You take it for one thing, but the side effects often give you an entire new set of problematic issues.
"When It Rains it Pours, You Can Hate It or Dance In It”
As the saying goes, when it rains it pours. And in the midst of all of the previous things happening, I got hit with a lawsuit. The grand amount was $1,150,000.00 to be exact. I beat the case, but just the hassle of getting an attorney and going through litigation on top of all the other issues I had to conquer was lame. Life was officially challenging me from all angles and I realized how quickly one minute things are fine, and the next things are extremely hectic. Regardless, I came back stronger in every way. After all, my mother use to always tell me ‘if you get knocked down, you get back up, no matter what.’ With that said, after taking a break to get back on track, I went back to doing what I do best, music. I dropped my jazz Hip Hop EP The Blue Tape 2, and then Vintage Art with tons of new visuals. Prior to my album dropping I was busy working with other artist, writing for artist, doing interviews, and shows leading up to the release. One of the stops I made was to see my buddies over at DJ Booth, DJ Z, and Nathan. From day one they have been true supporters of my craft so it’s nothing but love. During the stop I spoke with Nathan for his podcast about music and he stated ‘out of all the artist that started during the time you came out, you’re one of the few artist still doing your thing.’ We continued with the interview and we discussed music trends, content, and what business choices I make.
Now prior to Nathan saying that I really didn’t take the time to think about that at all. But after he stated it to me it made me think about all the artist that came out with me around 2008, and the majority of those guys are off the grid. For whatever reason, I know life happens, stress, bills, families, and etc. One day you hear an artist on the radio, see them plastered on every website, and the next day they’re gone. Almost as if they never existed like the dinosaurs. So when I reflected I began to genuinely think about why some artist are able to continue strong, sustain a good living, while others fall off the grid, the million dollar question. Now I know this blog is dragging a little bit, but I promise you I’m going to bring all of this full circle. So fast forward to recently when my friend was at my house. While we were talking about things we started discussing finances. He had questions about finances and I was telling him about an app he should download for his phone that keeps track of all your finances, bills, investments, net worth and etc. He asked to see the app on my phone so I handed him my iphone. He paused, looked at me and said ‘that’s crazy’ referring to my net-worth displayed in the app. We laughed about it and then he said ‘nah, seriously, whatever you’re doing I need to do’. I started thinking about the conversation I had previously with Nathan, and also the choices I’ve made over time leading up to the present moment. I realized a lot of things that are common knowledge to me aren’t so common at all. And it essentially boils down to one statement, knowledge is power.
"Knowledge has to be improved constantly or it vanishes"
Unfortunately people neglect to properly obtain knowledge, and to make sound choices that will not only put themselves in a better position, but also their families for generations to come. Your network determines your net-worth. The people around you will influence you regardless if you are aware of it or not. When I was young my parents taught me the value of investing your finances, and properly making sound investments. When I was a teenager I was already investing in stocks, and owned my own company. By the time I became older a lot of these things were second nature. Unfortunately for most people that isn’t the case, and there is nothing wrong with that. You can’t control the fact that you were born without a silver spoon in your mouth, it just is what it is. However, the real problem comes into play when people not only lack the knowledge, but they refuse to better themselves when presented with the knowledge. I know way too many people that I often try to show them ways they can better themselves and change their lives, but they prefer to keep doing the same thing. Case in point, we live in a digital age, which means everything is at your finger tips. Literally, everything (if you want to purchase a pink monkey that raps 2 Pac singles on Amazon you probably could) so with that said people pick their poison to their own detriment.
“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
I know people that can’t tell you their net worth because they simply don’t care to know. But on the flip side they can tell you the latest video on world star. I know people that don’t know what’s going on in the world because they don’t watch the news or CNN. But on the flip side they can tell you what happened at the BET awards and who wore the shortest dress. The point that I want to drive home is that people fail because they don’t take full advantage of the information age we live in, and as a result they fail. Instead of spending time on garbage websites, why not visit a few websites that will broaden your perspective and teach you ways to better your life. Instead of spending hours a day on world star looking at the dumb two guys do phone checks in Bedstuy Brooklyn and get beaten up for it, why not visit some websites that educate you about investing in bonds, stocks, property, and long term investments that can help you sustain a good lifestyle. Regardless if you are an average working class person or musician, you should make it your business to take advantage of all the knowledge at your finger tips. What I’ve realized is that most people and musicians prefer to be dream chasers as apposed to taking a realistic approach. Case in point, most artist and people know they want to be successful, but don’t have any clue in regards to how they are going to make it happen. So they live on the fly, not understanding that it takes proper planning to build wealth and place yourself in a position that can sustain the test of time.
"If you hang with five broke people, you will become number six"
Surround yourself with like minded individuals that strive to better themselves, and in the process steel sharpens steel. Maybe the friends you grew up with in High School are no longer suited for you. Maybe you’ve simply out grown those people mentally, and it’s time to keep a healthy distance from those stale relationships. They have made no growth, no progression, and simply put, all you now have in common with them at this point are all these years. That simply isn’t good enough anymore if you want to progress in your life. How long are they going to ball out, with nothing tangible to show? How many bottles will they buy, winning in the club but failing at life? How long will they remain financially unstable? Catch my drift. We all have those friends that are tons of fun, but ultimately we have to arrive at a cross roads and understand that some of those people can become more of a hinderance.
Now for clarification purposes I don’t want people saying ‘yo, k sparks said if I invest life will be good’. Not at all. Investing is just like anything else in life, a risk. But some risk are more calculated than others. And again, for clarification purposes I don’t want people saying ‘yo, k sparks said invest but how am I supposed to do that when I don’t have any money to begin with’. Listen, where there is a will there is always a way. I know more broke people with Gucci, Prada, and new Jordan’s than anyone else. Take a few of those dollars you would have blown regardless, research some penny stocks you feel have potential and roll the dice. You may be surprised in a good way. Hopefully this will help broaden someone’s perspective. If this blog get’s at least one person to spend less time on world star, and a little more time on CNN money planning for their future, I did my job.