The Brooklyn icon appeared on Funkmaster Flex’s Hot 97 show in 2006, rapping over Kanye West’s ‘Grammy Family’ beat for 4 minutes.

I remember because I listened to it live. (I might even have a tape recording of it somewhere!)

This was back when I was teenager, before Spotify and podcasts blew up and I was stuck living in a small town in Connecticut. Listening to Flex drop bombs on the NYC based radio station connected me to the city and gave me an outlet to escape the banal of the suburbs.

The freestyle stood out then and it’s…

A highway love story.

November 2017–Our car swayed in the wind like a limp sail in the middle of the ocean as me and my girlfriend, Doy, approached the 14 highway just south of Santa Clarita, Ca.

At times the wind got so bad it made me want to pull over.

How are other people managing to keep their cars on the road–I thought to myself. My hands started to hurt from gripping the steering wheel so tight.

On January 23, 2019; rappers Meek Mill and Jay Z publicly announced the creation of Reform Alliance, an organization that hopes to keep more innocent people off of probation and parole.

Reform Alliance Partners, January 2019

The group serves as a-sort-of incubator fund for prison reform by raising and donating money, to help existing non-profits already working to reform the system, succeed.

“We are building an alliance of influential leaders in business, government, entertainment, sports, and culture to use our shared resources, energy, and platforms for massive impact. …

Great for relaxation. Helps with anxiety, depression and mild to chronic pain | $25/8th @ Beverly Medical Collective

Mars OG is a fitting name for this medium-strength, indica-based, OG phenotype, known for it’s “spacey” effects. On the first pull I feel an immediate sense of calm and relaxation in my body followed by a head-trip that feels like a day-dream.

Mars OG provides an old-school style high that effects both the body and the mind equally in a way that reminds me of Haze (another Bay-Area strain that originated in Santa Cruz in the 60’s) and other classic “heady highs” from my adolescence, strains that usually induced couch lock and blood-shot eyes. …

Great recipes aren’t invented they’re passed down.

Steven Tanner is a real life rock star that’s toured all over the world as a bassist for the alternative metal group known as Harvey Milk, been featured in magazines and even put out a solo record. But like many talented musicians, to pay the bills at the end of the month, Tanner has always resorted to cooking.

Tanner is the opposite of the kind of chef that hoards recipes. He doesn’t endorse the highbrow, celebrity chef attitude that a lot of cooks have embraced recently either. …

From The Nickel to Skid Row, the city needs more people telling its stories

In January 2018, on an unexpectedly rainy day in Los Angeles, I found myself on the streets of Skid Row. Precipitation has a notable effect on southern California when it actually strikes, but east of South Los Angeles Street downtown, it was just another Thursday morning.

People always say: If you do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life, but I disagree. Nobody imagines getting up at 4 in the morning when they think about their dream job.

Peter Halmay, 76, reads the morning paper on Halloween Day (2017)

I set off before dawn on Halloween day for San Diego by way of Los Angeles. It was distinctly grey outside, southern California has a habit of getting dark and gloomy right on the 31st of October.

I first met Peter Halmay on the second to last day of a 17 day, non-stop documentary shoot with a famous chef from Britain…

How do you document a tragedy?

I had just sat down to roll a joint in my kitchen when my girlfriend, Doy, heard a loud crash outside our apartment. She thought it sounded like a car slamming into something.

“I’m going to see what happened!” She darted outside.

It was just after 5pm, the day and the work week were both drawing to a close–I was excited to enjoy my birthday weekend. I sparked up in our mostly quiet, white walled kitchen and waited for my girlfriend to report back.

She returned, “there’s a fire!”

The city of Los Angeles is feeling the consequences of decades of bad decisions and neglect when it comes to the homeless.

The Skirball Fire broke out before dawn on December 6, 2017 in Bel-Air–the ultra wealthy neighborhood at the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains near the 405 freeway and Mulholland Drive.

By the time commuters started heading to work they were sharing videos of themselves driving into what looked like the gates of hell. In the end, the blaze burned over 400 acres of some of LA’s most desirable land and destroyed over half a dozen homes…

Buy the ticket, take the ride. View from the driver’s seat of the bus.

Lexis-Olivier Ray

Freelance Multimedia Journalist & Artist | Los Angeles Based | Contributor

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