Guyana Diaspora

'89 percent of Guyana 's graduate population live and work in the 30 relatively rich countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) -"Fruit that falls far from the tree",
The Economist, 03 November 2005'

It is estimated that there are as many Guyanese living overseas as they are in Guyana
They are spread out far and wide to almost every country on the planet
This blog was created to chronicle the news and and stories of the Diaspora

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

'All I need is one mic.'

Born in Guyana, South America, Colin Aubrey Edmonds, aka, Maskal was brought to the United States at the age of 7 by his father, who wanted to do better for his family. A "quiet street kid who got along with pretty much everybody" while growing up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY, he was drawn into the gang life, while hanging out with an older crowd and a cousin who was one of the most feared youths in the 'hood.

Coming up on the streets of Brooklyn, NY, Colin Aubrey Edmonds, aka Maskal, had his brushes with the gangsta life. But instead of hyping a bad boy past to raise his music profile, like a lot of hip-hop gangsta wannabes, Maskal is one talented rapper who is committed to dropping knowledge of a conscious and spiritual kind. Although able to kick styles from straight-up hip-hop to driving rub-a-dub and roots reggae, Maskal’s flow and superior lyrical content comes strong from the tradition of warrior musicians like Bob Marley and Steele Pulse.

Like the legendary Robert Nestor Marley, who he praises as "much more than a musician," Maskal is inspired by great icons of the Black struggle who came before him, like Marcus Garvey and Jomo "Burning Spear" Kenyatta. "I'm here to encourage sleeping warriors who are ready but don't see a way," declares the 28-year-old Rasta rapper. "All I need is one mic."

Born in Guyana, South America, Maskal was brought to America at the age of 7 by his father, who wanted to do better for his family. A "quiet street kid who got along with pretty much everybody" while growing up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, he was drawn into the gang life, while hanging out with an older crowd and a cousin who was one of the most feared youth in the hood.

"I never got as far as murder," Maskal recalls about his days as a member of the Fifty Terrorists gang. But a beat-down did land him in New York City’s notorious Spofford Detention Center. "I wasn’t trying to kill the guy," he explains. "It was just due to the injuries he suffered." Incarceration and the "Public Enemy #1" tag he was branded with when he returned to the hood, convinced Maskal to get out of the gangsta life, and led him to music and a more spiritual path.

Maskal, first caught the music flava around the age of eight listening to his father, a professional bass player, jam with musicians in their home. As a teenager, he spent his weekends going with his crew to the jumpin’ sound systems in Brooklyn. The gigantic mobile DJ systems, popularized in Jamaica in the 50s, was where some of Jamaica’s best and most famous DJs, like Screechy Dan, Admiral Bailey and Frankie Paul, showcased their microphone skills whenever they visited New York City. "Every Friday and Saturday night, I knew what I was doing," Maskal recalls. "A couple of times I passed the mic with Shaggy," he adds referring to the "Hotshot" reggae/rap star who lived in his neighborhood when he was growing up.

Maskal eventually became known in Brooklyn for his own sound system, named Big Boss, and his mix tapes became much-requested party jams. After learning how to scratch by hanging with DJ Richie Rich of the old school rap group 3rd Bass, he began dabbling with lyrics and writing about whatever he saw. "Music is a chance to express yourself to the world," says Maskal.

Now, Maskal is ready to break out and make his mark on the music scene and beyond. Naming names and taking no prisoners, the mighty young dread with the mad lyrical skills is set to educate and inspire the masses with his keen social commentary and the thought-provoking observations of a "righteous Rasta livin’ the rebel life in Brooklyn."

Maskal's lyrics are a cut above the larger-than-life guns talk and boasts of bling-bling lifestyle perpetrated in the hip-hop game, and ring with the truth of what he has lived. "My music is not inspired by falsehood," says the conscious rapper. "There's no pretense. I want my music to be positive and the people to be inspired. If you're down, I want my music to pick you up."

Strong in his Rasta stance and in honoring his Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie in his rhymes, Maskal is one rapper who believes in "practicing what you preach and preaching what you practice." His name, which comes from the Ethiopian word for cross, came to him during a deeply spiritual experience after asking for a name with meaning and purpose. And like the story of the finding of the "true cross", lost and buried for more than 300 years, Maskal’s coming is helping lift the burden of false music prophets from the music scene and bringing the meaning and purpose back hip-hop.

From thegettoymz
Guyana Diaspora

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