Sink or Swim Pt. 3 â€œConstant Elevationâ€
Article By: Aaron Evans
I could haveÂ comfortablyÂ ridden the coattails provided by my crewsâ€™ accomplishments and found myself quite happy basking in the glow of other shooting stars, but I didnâ€™t. I could have stood on the sidelines till the last play of the game and then screamed I was the key to victory. Yet, that seemed distasteful. I could have stayed in Ohio, close to my family and friends, support systems, and safety nets; but I didnâ€™t because of the unsettling feeling in my stomach that told me breaking through my glass ceiling meant taking a leap of faith.
For me, California has been a sink or swim situation before the ship even set sail. As previously mentioned, when I docked in San Diegoâ€™s seductive harbor, I had more than misjudged my new surroundings. I knew I had to up my game if I was to keep my lips above the surface in So. Cal. But little did I know that the responsibility would fall upon my shoulders to ask others to do the same. Opinions are like assholes, and Iâ€™m not one to act like my shit donâ€™t stink, so please take everything I say in these articles with a grain of salt. With that said, Iâ€™ve always been someone to reinvent myself again and again. Iâ€™m always trying to manifest a better me and asking the community around me to follow suit seems more than reasonable. After all, if marijuana is meant to provide constant elevation, shouldnâ€™t we be able to fly as high as we allow ourselves to dream?
True change can only come from within. Nothing I say or do can make anyone do anything. I can spit, kick, cuss, pray and plead till my face turns midnight blue; still, the opportunity to grow and blossom as an individual is a seed that only you can cultivate. I can break my back trying to create a world where itâ€™s nourished and healthy, and even plant the seed for you, but only you can see to it that it grows.
I was raised on the principle that anything you do, you do with 110% gusto. Even hobbies should have moxy and be pursuits of your personal best. As an artist, I see every song as an opportunity to learn something new. As an author, I try every month to find better topics to unearth. As an activist, I see every day as a chance to discover a better way to lead.Â Over the next several months, youâ€™re going to see â€˜Sink or Swimâ€™ and myself make several major transitions as I shed my cocoon and attempt to become a butterfly, born again.
With â€˜Sink or Swimâ€™, the time has come to develop a wider scope. Iâ€™ll still address hot button topics within the culture when needed, butÂ because Iâ€™m finding stories around every corner of our majestic city, and because the infighting has seemingly died down for the moment, I feel comfortable with this decision. Sometimes the best way to inspire change is to share stories of how others have already done so. Sometimes the best way to ignite hope is highlighting others who have never let it go.
I plan to share the story of Inocente, the 15-year-old homeless painter who lives right here in the streets of San Diego caring for three younger siblings all on her own. Perhaps her struggle will remind us that weâ€™re never swimming in troubled waters alone; that no matter how bad off we may think we are someone else has it worse.
I want to take a look at pit bulls, my favorite breed of dog. Like the medical marijuana community, pit bulls are severely misunderstood and suffer a bad wrap â€“ not for what they inherently are, but for what happens when they fall into the hands of evil and greedy people. Perhaps if we see that we are not the only ones misunderstood, our frustrations will no longer cloud our focus.
I want to cover more people like this monthâ€™s featured artist in Perpetual Motion, J.A.G., who see limitations as an invitation to break the mold. I canâ€™t help but ask myself: if we all worked with his diligence, would we reach our goals in a more expedient fashion?
My personal state of constant elevation entails stepping out from behind the shadow of my group, The Green Brothers, and setting forth to launch my solo musical career. After 6 years of spreading the green word around the world, the time has come for me to share stories more directly related to my heart. My new album is called F.A.M. (Family Always Matters), and it has absolutely nothing to do with weed. Most people would consider this career suicide for an artist who has built his name as a weed musician/activist, but I donâ€™t share those feelings at all. I never aimed to be the best weed emcee, just like Iâ€™ve never aimed to be the best white emcee, or dreadlocked emcee, or west coast emcee. I always only aimed to be the best emcee I could be, and with hard work, hopefully, Iâ€™ll take my place amongst the best emcees ever, period. â€“No matter what their background, creed, culture or preferred method of medication.
Am I stepping away from the weed culture? Hell no! In fact, Iâ€™m bringing it with me; or itâ€™s coming along, as I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any other option. After all, every note, word, mix and design was done while medicated. You could say that this album may not be about weed, but it never would have been made without weed. Iâ€™m trying to bring another presence of class to the green culture, and like others likeminded, I am trying to show the general population that we are not all the typical stereotypes of a so-called stoner. In fact, Iâ€™m so intent on bringing the culture into new horizons (as is the NUG F.A.M.) that Iâ€™m ELATED to announce that NUG Records and my label, Dove Ink Records, are teaming up to release the new album this fall. Now that gets me lifted!
Over the last few months, youâ€™ve seen NUG branch out to cover the LGBT community, the closing of State Parks, and other topics that we may not automatically think of as being related to the weed culture. This is necessary because we must all collectively step out of the closet if we are to ever be fully accepted in the mainstream world. For as we do so, we can see that the issues we are facing in the weed world are truly in the big picture of issues that our world is facing as a whole. Thereâ€™s a symbiance between all of us, green or not, and our existence may depend on coming to that realization. We need more food, we need cleaner renewable fuel, and we need new industry; yet, somehow I feel like Iâ€™m preaching to the choir and thatâ€™s why itâ€™s time to leave the church.
The real â€˜Sink or Swimâ€™ situation that weâ€™re facing has far more to do with our collective survival on this blessed planet than it does with recreational use or zoning regulations. Hemp can save the earth, end of story. Now itâ€™s up to us to write the chapters leading up to our moment of victory.
Real change can only come from within you, your constant elevation. Â I believe you can do it; now the only question is â€“ do you?
For more info on the author, please visitÂ www.aaronevansimagination.com