Why I Stopped Internet Pirating: It Hurts

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Why I Stopped Internet Pirating: It Hurts

Before I go any further, let me start with this confession:

I used to pirate things off the net, too.

As some of you know, I am a full time creative. I’ve been making music, producing, and creating visual art for almost 7 years now and doing it full time for 3 years. However, I am both the everyday & creative consumer — (separating the two is important for a point that I want to make later on). In 2012, I started making beats along with writing and recording my own music. I would spend hours upon hours watching Youtube videos on beat making, mixing plugins and even recording equipment. But once I started doing the research I realized “damn, this stuff is expensive”. I really wanted to get my hands on a lot of the plugins I came into knowledge about but I didn’t have the money.

A Friend Put Me “On”

When I began sharing my music online, I soon discovered a new community of friends who also were music creators as well. We would always share tips with each other about beat making, song writing and all things related. I don’t remember who it exactly was but I do remember a music friend showing me how to download and install cracked music software. In the beginning I was a little obsessed. I did buy some of my own sounds and software but I also downloaded a ton of cracked software and pirated sounds. I even learned how to distinguish “good” cracked software from “bad” cracked software. I became a internet pirate connoisseur. If your software installer didn’t have 8 bit techno music and/or fake animation characters didn’t cover the window layout, you crack might of been average. I even downloaded extra pirating software, that helped override or get around software that had preventive pirating algorithms. If some of my software stopped working, it wasn’t time to buy it — it was time to find the updated cracked versions.

What’s really crazy? While I look back on this, I thought I was saving money. But while I was “saving money” I was just hurting the people who I pirated from.

It’s Stealing

Some years went by and one of my good friends told me in one of our conversations that he was going to stop pirating. He had started a business and had started producing some serious records for people and he wanted to do things right. His reasoning — I remember it almost word for word:

“If we want to be completely honest about it, pirating is stealing. Many of these companies we pirate from aren’t huge companies. But they put a lot of money into making music software and it’s how they feed their families. I was recently challenged on having cracked software. How can I put out music as an artist and a producer and ask people to support me if I’m not supporting the people who supply the tools for me to make music?”

He was right.

How dare I expect people to support my music or even buy my beats, if I’m stealing from others just to make it? He then challenged me to stop pirating music software and sounds — (we’re almost to the point I mentioned earlier). I didn’t want to hear or accept it but I felt convicted in my heart to stop. I didn’t stop pirating all at once but I slowed down A LOT. I started realizing that pirating was extra work in itself to keep up with!

Ex: When I got a new laptop and was forced to update my OS on my Macbook, a lot of my cracks stop working. So I had to either find new ones or just be without a certain sound because I didn’t have the money to get the plugin.

Eventually, I stopped. I started buying the music AND video software I was ripping off, one by one. I even accumulated some debt doing that because I wanted to be totally out of the piracy chapter in my life.

When It Hurt The Most

Last year, I started a business venture with my good friend J.Pelham. Pelham & Junior is our small sound/sample design company. We originally started working under our friends at Soul Surplus and releasing content under them, first. I had stopped pirating completely a few months before working with them. However, after a couple of months, Soul Surplus eventually gave us an opportunity to move out and start on our own. After about 3 months into us selling through our distributor, I had started seeing some of our payments being “refunded” to the customer. I instantly knew what was happening.

People were calling PayPal and telling them that someone had used their credit card to make a fraudulent purchase when in fact the lie detector test determined that was a lie! But of course, PayPal always sides with the customer when it comes to digital downloads (eye roll emoji). They were essentially getting our content for free! I was furious. I could feel my beard hair turning gold, electricity surrounding my body and gravel floating up in the air as I took to social media to express my anger. People were stealing from me! This is how I paid my bills and took care of my wife!

Weirdly enough, this made me glad I had made the decision to stop pirating software. It aslo made me realize I needed to stop pirating completely. This meant no more streaming or downloading movies or TV shows. I went cold turkey on bootlegging all media the first quarter of 2018. If I didn’t own it, I either bought it or put it on my list of things to subscribe to in the future.

“It’s Not Hurting The Big Guys”

(Remember that point about me being the “everyday consumer”? This is how it relates to you.)

Most of you may think, “Pirating (or bootlegging) is not really hurting movie makers, tv shows or big software companies.” While you may not be hurting the actors, producers or CEO’s pockets, you’re still forgetting the “little people.”

Many of us don’t sit through the credits at the end of any Marvel movie or your favorite TV show. Some of us may not look through the credits of any Call of Duty game or the latest release of Microsoft Office. But do you know that it takes a ton of people to develop these sources of entertainment we enjoy and/or develop these tools we use to work?

Let’s think about movies for instance.

There’s sound design, sound engineering, set construction, costume creation, CGI design, key grip, post production, location scouting and so much more! When you pay $10 for that movie ticket or stream it from your favorite streaming service, that’s how these small companies and labor workers get paid. It’s not just the people in front of and behind the cameras “getting rich”.

Every time you illegally download a movie (computer software, tv show, or music etc) you are literally taking money from those people’s pockets. And many of those people aren’t rich. This is how they live.

So, when you think about illegally streaming or downloading something again, remember these two things:

  1. It’s stealing

  2. You’re taking money from hard working people’s pockets — would you want that to be done to you?

Invest in yourself. Invest in those who create art that inspires you. Invest in those who create to entertain you. Invest in people that provide you the tools to work.

Til next time,

pat junior

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The Art Consumption - Everything In Three's, For Summer/Fall 18'

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The Art Consumption - Everything In Three's, For Summer/Fall 18'

Yes, I know.

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these. I really neglected my blog & I am truly sorry. That will not happen again. Although I can’t promise when I’ll update it, I will make sure I give my readers at least 8 blogs in a year. Two every quarter should be easy right?

As some of you recall, I started a blog series called “The Art Consumption” where I would highlight some kind of art whether it was music, paintings, sculptures etc (that’s actually all I got to). Well, I’m starting my 2019 with some insight to some music related content I put out last year.

From July 2018 to December 2018, I released 12 tracks. Most of them were songs and a couple were instrumentals, all of which I am very proud of. I am equally proud of the combination of photography & graphic Design I released surrounding them . And after I released the playlist of all of those songs that made it to Lyrical Lemonade, I felt obligated to give insight to the content surrounding the music. So, for this blog I want to highlight the thought process behind each artwork for each of the singles I released.

The Vision

After meeting with my manager Mike Luna in early 2018, we made a goal to put out an abundance of music following my 2018 EP, “black & mild: black wayne”. For many of you that follow me, you know that the main inspiration for my music (other than my own life) is cinema/film. One of the things I enjoy most when watching a movie is analyzing the color grading for each scene. I often follow Cinema Palette pages on social media to get more insight to how scenes & colors palettes are strategically built to be pleasing to the eye.

Mad Max- Fury Road (2015)

dir. George Miller

Star Wars- Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) dir. George Lucas.png

Star Wars- Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

dir. George Lucas

Django Unchained (2012) dir. Quentin Tarantino.png

Django Unchained (2012)

dir. Quentin Tarantino

While on my visit in Chicago, I found the creative connection & began incorporating it into my picture post via Twitter & IG. Just to test it out and see how people reacted to it.

Once I got the hang of it, I was inspired to create my own color palettes for my music. Each release would have 3 songs and each of those songs would have a color to go along with it that fit the song but also blended with the whole palette and “season”. Lastly, the small 3 color palette for each cover would be visible somewhere on the artwork. So, I called on two amazing artists who are apart of my creative team & who have helped shaped my brand to take on this task. Ryan Pham - Cinematographer/Photographer & Graphic Designer —Ruben Rodriguez.

For Summer 18’ (Part A)

For the summer I felt inspired to create music that hit hard, had bounce to it and something laid back. I already knew I wanted to use “bright” primary colors. However, I wanted to pick three items that represented the summer well, so that when people saw the cover, they knew immediately what they were diving into. I had the vision: in my head I saw 3 popsicles in my head melting. I already had the songs and so i just matched them with each appropriate color: Red (Pressure), Blue (Wouldn’t It Be Nice) & Yellow (Don’t Trip) — each of the colors had meaning as well Red = On Fire/Heating Up, Blue = Something Cool, Yellow = Slow Down.

During the shoot Ryan suggested the background, shifted my hands perfectly so that each photo would be identical (but slightly different for the “human” touch) and ever so patiently waited for each popsicle to drip so that he could snap a good picture. The last picture, (the first) was the hardest because I had to hold all 3 popsicles in my open palms. SUPER COLD! But it was worth it. If you look closely at the first picture, you can see the popsicle juice oozing past my fingers and under my hand.

Once we passed the pictures on to Ruben, he was responsible for taking the idea I had and bringing it to life with his style of design. This would be the template we would use for each season, only making small tweaks and refining the look along the way. I love Ruben’s BOLD designing mind. We went with a vintage/modern feel and he even added his own transparent sticker to each cover which gave each artwork an additional “modern” texture.

For Summer 18’ (Part B)

To close out the summer, I wanted to get a little more vulnerable with my pictures. The vulnerability was in line with the music. I had written about self love and an anthem about not needing anyone’s validation but my own. The songs had some bounce and “hardness” to the production but both were still “tender”. So I thought it’d be best to go with balloons. Pink (Love To Self), Royal Blue (Validation) & Pearl White (Free Peace). I believe the metaphors for these colors spoke well for themselves. In addition, this time around we decided to actually do more photos with the props to coincide with the theme. Here are some of my favorite pics from the shoot.

For Summer Part B Shoot Layout.jpg

Ryan found all the spots and did an excellent job instructing me on how to pose for each shot. The first shot of me hiding behind the balloon was my only suggestion but despite the wind, he made sure we captured each shot as best we code. The editing came out gorgeous, too.

This time around, Ruben added a “18’” on the main cover with the color gradients to just to refine the design a little more.

For Fall 18’ (Part A)

The Fall is my favorite season. The warm but “dense” colors and textures that “fit” the season are just variants of their originals. They have such a bold & mature feel. For example: navy blue or forrest green. The music I released for this season definitely had that feel and contained similar content. Burgundy (Got It Good), Hold Your Own (Burnt Orange) and Forrest Green (Don’t Feel Right). Each had a mature and introspective look on certain topics, especially “Got It Good” (which is actually kind of a diss track to myself). For the same reason, I choice fruits and when we shot, we went for a more introspective look too. Here are some of my favorite pictures from this shoot.

For Fall Part A Shoot Layout.jpg

Ruben decided to follow up the design with a chocolate background color instead of black. We both ended up thinking it would fit well with the full color palette as a backdrop color.

For Fall 18’ (Part B)

Last but certainly not least is the second part of the fall series. I made some metaphorical references to coffee in my lyrics and the music had a theme of “wokeness” about one’s self and surroundings, so I thought mugs would fit well. I didn’t use navy blue in the last series and really wanted to make use of the color, so I definitely took the initiative to use it here. Navy Blue (Do or Die), Copper (ReDiscover Me), Grey (Still Kinda Grey). We definitely played on the “hipster/informed” look with this one. Here are some of my favorite pictures from this set.

For Fall Part B Shoot Layout.jpg

Ruben and I both agreed that this set needed a grey backdrop. The color palette would really thrive on each one. Much love to my little sister Tavia for painting the mugs for me!

An Unscheduled Close

I initially had some really dope ideas for the Winter & Spring series but with the other stuff I have plan for this year, I had to cut it short. I really had fun creating these color palettes and it really evolved my eye for creating new visual textures. What’s really dope about this process is that once people saw the For Summer 18’ (Part B), they started to anticipate the next color structure and were eager to see what items I would use next. Some creatives even messaged me and even shared how they were really appreciative of what I was doing with my music and visuals and were inspired by the concept as a whole. Some creatives even low key copied my idea in their own way and released their music/announcements (Don’t even trip, I’m not mad. I’m really flattered haha). I still make an effort to do my color palette posts every 3rd post on my Instagram and people tend to really enjoy them. Will I do another music series like this again and have the color palettes accompany them? I really don’t know but don’t count it out completely.

Til’ next time,

pat junior

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Dear Mr. (Local) White Rapper

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Dear Mr. (Local) White Rapper

Dear Mr. (Local) White Rapper (and other white individuals who benefit from hip-hop culture),

For starters, I love you guys (and girls).

I’m grateful for the diversity and fresh perspectives that many of you bring to the Hip-Hop/Rap genre. From the great lyricism of Eminem, to the blooming evolution in musicality of Mac Miller, to the vibrant bounce and grittiness of Machine Gun Kelly, it’s amazing to see how the white spectrum of the genre influences and makes strides in pushing the culture forward artistically. Nevertheless, while I love many of your artistic contributions to the culture, I’m a bit concerned about your sensitivity to our (read: black) social matters. 

I’m pretty sure that by now you are aware that hip-hop was invented by black people and is a product of black culture. However, I’ll spare you that rich history lesson here, encourage you to study its origins another time, and get straight to the point: your voice is needed. Whether you realize it or not, you have influence, and you wield the ability to sway the opinions and thoughts of many.

We live in an era in which music, specifically hip-hop music, is thriving and impacting the world. From commercials made for mainstream brands, movie soundtracks and entire other genres of music, hip-hop’s artistic imprint is spreading like wildfire. Just look at Marvel Comics. Have you seen the variant hip-hop covers they’ve been doing for various heroes in the Marvel universe? Hip-Hop is universal. It now has the ability to speak as loud as any politician, scientist, or intellectual on this planet.

Macklemore posed a great question in his song, “White Privilege II”: “We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for black lives?” As a black man within the culture, I ask you the same question: When will you use the power of your white privilege and artistic abilities and cry out with us? Or will you continue to take from us, benefit from our culture, whether it’s on a large or small scale, and remain silent? While I believe that some instances of silence are not betrayal, I also believe you can say something that shows you care.

I get it. Some of you don’t know what to say. Police brutality (terrorism) is a very sensitive subject and you may not know how to “cry out for us.” But you have a conscience. Technology has done us a deed and given us the ability to visually record what’s happening and display it to the world. I know you see the injustice. I know some of you who don’t speak do care. Sometimes, it’s as easy as saying, “I see the mistreatment, I see black lives being wrongfully taken, I acknowledge my white privilege and I’m sorry that his is happening to you all. It’s wrong.” Compose tweets, write a blog, have a Facebook or Periscope chat with your fans, march with us…do something! Make it clear to us you care. Use your voice to spur your white fans and friends to action against injustice.

The longer you wait to say anything, the more it makes me think you don’t really give a shit. It makes me think that you’re more concerned about losing your fan base and hurting your pockets than our social matters – more than black lives being wrongfully taken. And I’m pretty sure some of my other black peers probably think the same, too. It’s very frustrating to watch you wield your power only for your own good, failing to acknowledge the culture that has given you much of that power, when others are dying from acts of terrorism in our own country.  So I ask again, will you use your influence to speak up for us?

 

A concerned black artist,

P.A.T. Junior

Note: I would like to say thank you for all of those in the local area and beyond who take the time to speak up for black people when necessary. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. This letter is addressed to local white rappers because all progress (universally) starts at home.

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The Art Consumption - February 2016 - Concert Edition: Lupe Fiasco

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The Art Consumption - February 2016 - Concert Edition: Lupe Fiasco

What's up people?

I'm pretty excited about this addition of The Art Consumption as I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite artists live in concert for the first time.  My wife (the illest wife ever) bought be tickets for Lupe Fiasco's "A Tour for The Fans" tour for Christmas last year; we went to the Washington, D.C. stop since he didn't come to lil ol' Raleigh, NC.  I figured instead of dropping a blog in January, I made a mental note to do one about the concert because I just knew I would leave inspired. And I must say, I definitely did...

For the Concert Edition of the Art Consumption, we'll focus on the concerts I happen to go to and MABYE share some snippets from the live performance for you to jam to at the end of the post.

Let me start by saying, I'm thankful to have a wife who takes interest in my art and artistic inspiration.  She actually surprised me.  I had no clue what I was getting for Christmas 2015.  So Tamyra, if you get a chance to read this: I love you and thank you again.

The Introduction (If You Ain't Know)

When it comes to lyrical Titans in Hip-Hop, Lupe is one of the biggest.  I really believe God truly pre-destined Rap Genius to be created for dudes like him (ha!). Lupe not only challenges you to unlock his Rubix Cube like metaphors but challenges you to research about social injustice, political issues, racism, religion and other topics that the average person doesn't normally care to research.  And honestly, the dude is just incredibly creative.  I was introduced to Lupe when I saw the video for his first single "Kick, Push" on MTV after school one day and was hooked ever since. And of course, I purchased the album Food & Liquor.  It's one of his "less" complex songs lyrically but still a great song.

I must admit, I got a little lost with his work after The Cool (purposely) and then picked back up after his release of Food & Liquor II, which over all got mixed reviews but I enjoyed thoroughly. And of course, I have his latest Tetsuo and Youth, which I think is his best piece of work and the follow up EP, Pharaoh Heights.  Lupe Fiasco has and continues to have a great influence on my work as an artist and is easily one of the Top 5 on my list of MCs.

 

The Concert

The show was held in Washington, D.C. (in a nice part of town might I add) at the 9:30 Club -- and catch this -- on Super Bowl Sunday.  Now, a brotha was torn when the tickets had already been purchased and watched the Carolina Panthers muscle their way to the Championship game but like I said, I'm a fan. And Lupe was putting on "A Tour For The Fans" so how could I miss that?  However, the Super Bowl worked to our advantage because me and the wife were able to get really good seats in the upper balcony area.

Picture of me at Lupe Fiasco's "A Tour For The Fans" [Picture by The Wife]

The concert started of with a few decent opening acts from artists who were from Chicago, IL (Lupe's hometown) and Billy Blue who hails from Miami, FL.  Billy actually was featured on Lupe's latest album Tetsuo & Youth on a track called "Chopper".  Lupe actually came out during Billy's set and they performed both of their verses, which I thought was pretty cool.  I think I enjoyed Billy's performance the best out of all the opening acts which were overall decent.

When Lupe came out to perform with Billy Blue, he already mentioned that he was tired from "this tour life" but then said, "But, we do this for the fans right?"  **Note To Self: Artists need to be in shape and build endurance for touring and doing consistent shows.  Get it shape young fella!** So, when he came out to perform his set, you could tell he was worn down but he still put on a good show.  He started off with performing "Mural" from his latest album --

Wait, let me stop right there. Do you understand how amazing this is? Let me help you understand:

That is almost 9 minutes of STRAIGHT BARS. No hooks.  Not mention, there's metaphor, after metaphor, after metaphor, AFTER ANOTHER CRAZY METAPHOR...you get my drift.

Well, Lupe performed this song as tired as he was all the way through. Epic, to say the least...at least I thought so. Then he followed up with "Dots & Lines" a song about not signing to a major Record Label and the troubles that come with signing.  I haven't been able to dig deep into this song so please, do yourself a favor and check out the annotated lyrics on Rap Genus.  I'd actually check out "Mural" while you're at it too.

Afterwards, the whole concept for "A Tour for The Fans" came to life.  Lupe's DJ would play a voicemail recording from a fan, DJ friend, radio personality or artist friend stating their name and what their favorite Lupe Fiasco song was and then he would perform that song.  Simple, but genius.  I mean, you're talking hit, after hit, after hit with every person singing and rapping along. Of course, at this point, everyone had shown up towards the last opener's performance and the place was jammed packed!

The show was definitely an enjoyable and learning experience.  Below, you can take a listen to some of the live action (and me and my wife singing and rapping along to some of the songs).

Song Titles in Order: "Mural", "The Coolest", "Day Dreaming" and "Go Go Gadget Flow"

Peace!

 

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The Art Consumption - November 2015

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The Art Consumption - November 2015

I'm going to do my best not to make this post about me...

After the release of my latest project "Just Because I Wanted To Give You A Short Mixtape To Listen To", it was impressed upon my heart to share some of my inspirations as an artist.  My latest project was heavily inspired by artists of various genres (not just Hip-Hop) and was a homage to art as a whole.  Plus, I thought it'd be dope to highlight local and distance contemporaries that I think should be highlighted.

Anyway, every other month, I'll be posting everything from music, movies, design, paintings and other genre's of art that are or have been a strong source of inspiration for me.

This month:

Tony G

Tautology [Beat Tape]

Tony G and I have been good friends for some time now and if there's one phrase that I can use to describe his work ethic it would be: Consistent Growth.

Tony G is not only a talented MC but he's an excellent beat smith.  I remember a few years ago, I went to go visit Tony at his apartment to check out some of his tracks just for the heck of it.  They were pretty good even back then but I'm so glad he got rid of that producer tag (inside joke lol).  Since then, I've seen him grow into an incredible artist who has an ear for great textures when it comes to producing -- I would dare to say his production is just as good or better than some of your favorite "Boom-Bap" producers.  And the plus? He's not Xeroxing someone else's style.

Tautology (isn't that a dope name?) is a beat tape that combines a little bit of Hip-Hop nostalgia and some great Hip-Hop production.  Wondered what some of your older favorite Hip-Hop jams would sound like over good gritty and out of the box production? [Click that link!]


Next...

Travis Scott

Rodeo [Album]

What? P.A.T. Junior listens to Travis Scott? Yes.  This album is incredible for so many different reasons.  Due to the fear of my inability to keep my feelings about this album short and to the point, I've provided a review from one of my favorite music reviewers on the net.  In short, Travis Scott took what we've coined "Trap Music" to a different level.  It's super melodic, the textures of sound on the production match immaculately, the lyrics are well written and the harmonies in this mug?!  This album is the Oscar De La Renta of Trap-Esque Music.  I'll let Anthony take it from here:

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