Capturing the culture that makes Detroit what it is.

Use to Be

in WAE Music by

Use to Be



Song Performed by Khary WAE Frazier Music Played, Composed, Arranged and Produced by Joey Spina Lyrics by Khary WAE Frazier Song featured on the Notes of an Artist/ Activist I Album 2008 PRESS PLAY and HEAR THE MUSIC!

Yea yea check it

I’m sick of hearing things ain’t how they use to be
I’m sick of hearing things ain’t how they use to be
I’m sick of hearing things ain’t how they use to be
Values alive in my people still alive in me

Verse One
I grew up man a whole lot different than most
Father lived for his family brother just lived to smoke
Before that, yo, he lived his life for the Panthers
Mama was my teacher (and) Granny fought off cancer
Just being a kid seeing how real life is
My hero full head of hair all came from a wig
Growing up wasn’t like BIG
Tom Hanks had a genie I saw people live
My Grandfathers … both was hustlers
One who stole cars … other one ran numbers
My Great Uncle knew Kwame Nkumrah
Same blood in my veins Ivory Coast first tutor
My Great Grandfather was a preacher
One of Selma Alabama’s first Black teachers
So I’m failing on my people if I’m not a leader
My Grandmother wrote Mary McCleod Bethune speeches
So I strive for achievement
Despite what they said keep on leading
Keep on leading
Keep on teaching

Verse Two
I got the spirit
I got the soul
I got the heart of a rebel
And I’m fighting off the devil
Anybody come to me ain’t getting on my level
It’s like … it’s like
I got the heart, the mind, the spirit and the soul
And I’m losing control
Just like
uh Yea

I got the blood in my veins of a soldier and a king
Can’t step to me talking them things
Blood of a King in my veins



WAE Break-Back 5 8 2014

2009 Detroit Music Awards

in My Detroit Story by

I currently work for the Michigan Citizen Newspaper. When I began working for the Michigan Citizen in 2007, Detroit was different (no pun intended). While working at the Michigan Citizen I met Nadir Omowale. Nadir is a Detroiter by way of Tennessee. At the Citizen he developed web content. At night he made music. When we met he was preparing for a European Tour. I was interested in hearing what led a promoter to book him internationally. I found out fast. I was taken back by Nadir’s talent. His abilities in song arrangement, writing, and vocal presence are excellent. Naidr’s talents have earned him a host of awards, accolades, fans, and my support. So when he asked me if I was interested in attending the 2007 Detroit Music Awards, I hoped on the opportunity. The 2007 Detroit Music Awards was a great experience. I felt I discovered a cultural scene. For the first time, I met, and shared conversations with Funkilinium (Flint’s best party band), Malik Austin (production legend), Emily Rogers (best bass player I know), and Paul Miles ‘the Blues Man’.

Mayaeni & Nadir, Malik Austin, Nadir, Myself, Chef (of Funkilinium), Paul Miles
Mayaeni & Nadir, Malik Austin, Nadir, Myself, Chef (of Funkilinium), Paul Miles

I connected with Paul so much we agreed to trade shows. Paul performed at my album fundraiser at Malik Yakini’s Black Star Community Bookstore. I performed for Paul’s benefit show at Memphis Smoke (Memphis Smoke was a bar in Royal Oak MI that featured live music. From 2006 – 2011 it was one of the best stages to perform on in the area for sound quality and audience). I accepted Paul’s offer to perform at Memphis Smoke thinking it was small. I was wrong. Paul Miles is beloved throughout Metro Detroit. His music, jokes, and interpersonal demeanor have provided him a loyal following. Paul’s likeable. I took the stage at Memphis Smoke as the only rapper in a packed house for blues and rock. I didn’t know what to expect. During the intermission Paul introduced me to the band. This was the first time I met Joey Spina. Spina was attempting to prepare an arrangement for our set. I told them, “if I freestyle, that’s what we all do” (freestyle is an improvisational way of rapping, choosing the subject, words, and rhymes with little or no pretense). We KILLED THE STAGE. It was one of the best crowd responses I’ve ever gotten. We performed two songs, and encored one.

Me performing at Memphis Smoke, Joey Spina, 2009 Detroit Music Award logo
Me performing at Memphis Smoke, Joey Spina, 2009 Detroit Music Award logo

The next day Paul called to thank me. He also told me he submitted my name to be nominated for a Detroit Music Award in 2008. I didn’t care, because I didn’t think I’d win (Nadir explained the nomination process to me, and I gave up hope). Detroit Music Award nominations have a two tier selection process. All nominees are voted upon by the general public through ballot submissions online. I’m so internet lazy, I didn’t vote for myself. So in 2008, when I made the second tier of balloting I was surprised. Naturally, in 2009 I had full intentions on voting myself. Once again, I was so internet lazy, I didn’t vote for myself. Shockingly, enough people did. I won a nomination in 2009 for Outstanding Hip-hop Artist/ Group at the Detroit Music Awards. Joey Spina called to congratulate me. This was before I knew. I rushed to the Detroit Music Awards website and shouted over the phone “THAT’S WHAT IM TALKING BOUT’ BABY”. Spina started laughing hysterically. I believe my nomination was directly linked to the Paul Miles benefit show. In life I’m coming to find from moment to moment a transcending path, perspective, and presence is always available. During my performance at that Memphis Smoke show, it was. I was present in thought and action. I carried myself, the band, and the crowd. I was afforded another benefit as well. Many Detroit music tastemakers witnessed the performance. Ecstatic and proud of my nomination, I thought I needed the perfect date as my guest to the awards. I asked Lauren Stovall (I’m pictured above the article with Lauren at Union Street). She accepted. Lauren is the daughter of Tony Stovall. Tony is the co-owner of Hot Sam’s Clothing. Mr. Stovall has been a supporter of mine for years. He introduced me to Lauren in 2008. I couldn’t wait for the right opportunity to go out with her. The Detroit Music Awards was it. When we met she was a FAMU graduate looking to apply her business knowledge to Detroit fashion. Lauren’s realized her goals. Today she specializes in retro clothing, styling, personal shopping, and exotic looks. She’s often a guest on Detroit TV’s WDIV ‘Live in the D’ (it’s a Detroit version of Regis & Kelly). Arriving at the Awards was fun. As a nominee I was given more access to the Fillmore Theater. I’m sure Lauren was bored out her mind. I walked around back stage talking to artists. Stretch Money (and all of Hot Lava Records), Carolyn Striho, Emily Rogers, Liz Larin, Thornetta Davis and a host of others all greeted me with congratulations. Two years ago I only knew Nadir. That night I felt like the Fonz. I knew everybody at the awards. Lauren and I eventually went to the balcony to have a conversation. I knew people up there. Too bad I didn’t know enough people to actually win the award.

David Nefesh, Djallo Djakate, Myself, Tony WoJamm Womack, Bobby Murray, Karen Vesprini
Light Show Bob, David Nefesh, Djallo Djakate, Myself, Tony WoJamm Womack, Bobby Murray, Karen Vesprini (photos by Richard Blondy a great supporter of all Detroit Music)

After the award show I went to the after party I co-hosted at the 1440 Collective (the 1440 Collective was a multimedia studio run by Nadir, Spina, Davey G, and myself). That night Davey G’s friend Light Show Bob set up his rig in the 1440 Collective. Light Show Bob’s rig is a stage lighting set with colors, strobes, discos, and blinders all controlled on a keytair. Light Show Bob played notes that would trigger different lights to flash. His rig was powered by a trailer. I walked into the after party ready to rock. I stormed the stage at midnight. I was accompanied by David Nefesh, Djallo Djakate, Tony WoJamm Womack, and Light Show Bob. I called out vocalists and musicians to join the jam. Karen Visprini, Ken Murphy, Ras Kente, Nadir, and Emily Rogers all made their way to the stage. The 1440 was full of creativity. Music was the art we made. In retrospect I gathered confidence from my 2009 Detroit Music Award nomination. I struggle to believe in myself at times. Often I’ve given half effort to avoid a reality of failure. Therefore, being appreciated for something I enjoyed was encouraging. It was inspiring to know that an audience I thought would not like rap, embraced me. Since then I’ve challenged myself to be prepared to rap over any music genre, tempo, or style. Some of my biggest opportunities have come about through collaborative visions. FYI: I was also nominated for a Detroit Music Award in 2010 for Outstanding Hip-hop MC WAE Music A- 5-6

“Beats to the Rhyme, the Rhyme I just made (RIP Jam Master Jay)”

in Coming Attractions by
Joey Spina, Djallo Djakate, Scott Dailey, Bonnie Kay, Carolyn Striho, and Ron Wolf
Joey Spina, Djallo Djakate, Scott Dailey, Bonnie Kay, Carolyn Striho, and Ron Wolf

Detroit is Different is a success. One month in, and I’ve received calls, emails, and comments of appreciation. It’s been so much fun sharing my perspective of Detroit. This is a love I’m eager to develop.

This month’s theme is ‘I Love Music.’ Often I feel like my life is a movie, and a mix of popular music genres are the score (Carlos Santana, Ice T, Carly Simon, Team Eastside, Nas, and a host of others. As I’m typing this, I’m playing DOC’s ‘Blow Your Mind,’ thinking his 2nd verse has a classic rhyme pattern).

As a hip-hop artist I’ve learned many lessons. I attribute some of my attitude to the nature in which I hear, create, and perform hip-hop. In my journey I’ve connected with a host of musicians, producers, promoters, and enthusiasts in Detroit. This month I share some of what I’ve learned from them all along the way.

MAY 2014 Detroit is Different ‘I Love Music’

Detroit is Different content is released weekly on Tuesdays & Thursdays



TUES MAY 6, 2014/ MY DETROIT STORY: Detroit Music Awards Nominations

THUR MAY 8, 2014/WAE MUSIC: “Use to Be”


THUR MAY 15, 2014/AROUND DETROIT: Motown Museum

TUES MAY 20, 2014/AROUND DETROIT: United Sound Studios


SAT MAY 24, 2014/7 O’CLOCK SATURDAY STORIES: Carolyn Striho


THUR MAY 29, 2014/WHAT IF …: Motown stayed in Detroit

Det Story May 2014 copy

Detroit is Different Podcast: Malik Yakini

in Detroit is Different Podcast by

Detroit is Different is about exposing artistry, business, ideas, and dynamic people, places, and things that make Detroit a mecca. The movement is supported by this website, my social networking family (I’m ‘detroitwae’ on facebook, instagram, and twitter add me), an email list, and a podcast.

A podcast is a radio or video program independently produced, and distributed through the i-Tunes network (I subscribe and listen to many, most notably the Joe Rogan Experience). Like most of my interests I feel the podcast world is overpopulated, but under represented. Detroit is Different’s podcast hosts conversations I feel are fruitful.

The Detroit is Different podcast begins with a running start. I hosted a live event, where I recorded a conversation with Malik Yakini. The event was 7 o’clock Saturday Stories.  Yakini is an educator, musician, urban farmer, craftsman, and life long Detroiter.

Malik Yakini playing guitar, Yakini speaking with Hilda Vest and myself at 7 o'clock Saturday Stories.
Malik Yakini playing guitar, Yakini speaking with Hilda Vest and myself at 7 o’clock Saturday Stories.

Our conversation was compelling, entertaining, and insightful.Above is a link to the podcast for you to listen to.  Yakini shared the his thirst for knowledge about the culture of Black people, his journey as a reggae artist, and his commitment to Black people.

Yakini’s music is played throughout the podcast as well. “Rising,” is the song that opens the podcast before our conversation begins. “Rising” features Yakini on guitar, and on Ajuma drums. “Justice,” concludes the podcast. “Justice features Yakini on Bass and Guitar along with Anoor Radin on keys, and vocals feature G Mack, Money Wells, and Saleem Rushdam.

Yakini will be playing music live at Dabl’s African Bead Museum (one the of my FAVORITE places in Detroit, across the street from my HS alma mater Northwestern) 6559 Grand River Ave (where W Grand Blvd, Dexter, & Grand River intersect, Rev. Sampson’s stomping grounds RIP) Saturday May 31 2014 at 5pm. Yakini will be playing music with the Black Star Posse which is a musical collective of artists. The event is free produced by Yakini and Tawana Honeycomb Petty for the community.

WAE Coming soon copy

7 o’Clock Saturday Stories: Malik Yakini

in 7 o'clock Saturday Stories by

Saturday April 26, 2014 I welcome you to join me for the inaugural Detroit is Different event, 7 o’clock Saturday Stories. 7 o’clock Saturday Stories is an hour long conversation between myself and a guest.

Over time I have developed relationships with a mix of people bridging gaps in gender, race, generation, culture and background. This mix has only expanded my perspective of Detroiters, and the collective Detroit story.

7 o’clock Saturday Stories inaugural guest is Malik Yakini. 7 o’clock Saturday Stories will be held at Le Petit Zinc Restaurant in Detroit’s historic Corktown district at 1055 Trumbull St Detroit MI 48216. ‘7 o’clock Saturday Stories’ is a free event that starts at 7PM and welcomes guests of all ages.

Malik Yakini is a person I admire for his vision, work and dedication. Yakini has committed himself to a family of people throughout Detroit’s community. Visions, work and dedications he’s initiated are Nsoroma Institute, Black Star Community Book Store, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, D Town Farm, and Akoben Reggae Band. Each initiative is genuinely dynamic and fruitful. Every project he’s involved in has empowered, supported, and championed Black people.

Akoben Reggae Band and Malik Yakini with Nsoroma Institute students
Akoben Reggae Band and Malik Yakini with Nsoroma Institute students

Nsoroma Institue was an African centered school based in Detroit city. Nsoroma Institute focused on teaching elementary and middle school students the legacies, traditions, and culture of African people from 1989 through 2011.

Black Star Community Book Store was a book store located in Detroit’s historic fashion district on Livernois Ave at W Outer Drive. Black Star carried a collection of art work, books, music, jewelry and visual art that expressed African and African American culture.

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network was formed in February of 2006 to address food insecurity in Detroit’s Black community, and to organize members of that community to play a more active leadership role in the local food security movement.

D Town Farm was planted in June 2008, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network acquired use of a two acre site in the City of Detroit’s Meyers’ Tree Nursery in Rouge Park as the home for D-Town Farm.

Akoben Reggae Band is a revolutionary Detroit reggae band. Akoben creates music with a focus in uplifting people and freedom.

Malik Yakini playing guitar, D Town Farm Turnips, Grandfather Yakini and grandaughter Niara
Malik Yakini playing guitar, D Town Farm Turnips, Grandfather Yakini and grandaughter Niara

I personally have known Malik Yakini for over 25 years. I was a student at Aisha Shule when we met. Yakini was an instructor (he was my big sister Dara’s math teacher). Then, and today, I’ve always called him ‘Baba Malik.’ Baba Malik has also been a big supporter of my hip-hop artistry. In 2006, I considered quitting rap altogether. It was a performance at his annual Black Star Community Book Store music festival that recommitted me. The crowd reception and appreciation was astounding.

Black Star Community Book Store also hosted a fundraiser I held for my first album ‘Preaching to the Choir’ in 2007. It was one of my favorite shows ever. The honorable JoAnn Watson, Rev. Ortheia Barnes, Blues Man Paul Miles, Eric Campbell, Nadir Omowale, Early Mac, Idris Weusi, and a collection of kids I rapped with all joine me. I rehearsed and wrote a rap with the kids. I coined the group ‘my little homies.’ I raised a strong amount of money. Even better, the rap with the kids was too much fun. Maria, Jendayi, and Tamia all held me down (then they were all in elementary and now they’re preparing to take the ACT). My cousin Devin Laster, sister Dara Harper and Father Greg Frazier all submitted visual art I auctioned off as well.

Finally, I’ve recorded music with Baba Malik and his son Andwele ‘Money Wells’ Yakini.

Malik Yakini is a very perceptive and intentional speaker. I feel opening up 7 o’clock Saturday Stories with him will be remarkable. Please join us for this creative conversation.

This event will also be audio recorded and released as a podcast on the i-Tunes network Tuesday April 29 2014.

7oclock sat stories copy

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