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10:23pm, June 23rd, 1995, Harlem Hospital I took my first breathe of life. Born into a single parent household my mother is my sole caregiver love provider, while my father estranged himself somewhere in the neighborhood. I was born Omar Rasheed Miller, my family being of Native and African American heritage. I was raised in the forever moving streets of New York City, taking residency in Manhattan?s uptown district Harlem, otherwise know as The Rough. Like any black boy living in a neighborhood right above the poverty line the siren call of the streets allured the most confused of souls. And with what time I spent exploring within this underworld, I figured it was best to walk through it. It was in this own state of mind I found myself. Something the hood made but couldn?t keep, I wanted to make it out. I?ve lost friends here, some are dead; mentally and physically, some are locked up, some are just not the same. I wanted to escape.
My mother raised me, and from sun up to sun down all I can remember is her playing music. If it?s not just an NY thing, then it?s an everywhere thing to blast those speakers as loud as you can when you've just moved into your own apartment. My mother wasn?t the biggest of Hip Hop fans so it was straight RnB music in the house. Jagged Edge & 112 albums during the day & Ginuwine & Destiny?s Child at night. The rest of my family was no different. It was when I wasn?t home that I was exposed to the existence of gangster rap. This was around the time 50 cent was getting hot and down south trap music hit the east coast like crack in the 80s. Safe to say being a gangster was in, but the overall sound of it all was depressing to me. I didn?t like mainstream rap growing up, but I loved hip-hop. It couldn?t compare to the essence of Nas, the poetics of the late great Big L, Big Pun and the Notorious BIG. You just couldn?t compare Tribe & Wu Tang to this generation. The lack of substance growing up inspired me to rap with the truths embodied by the pioneers of the 90s. I didn?t want to become just another rapper, I wanted to preserve hip hop. I wanted to be the best.
I started smoking marijuana at the age of 16, partly because I felt compelled to, even more so because I was fascinated by the stigma of weed culture. As it became habitual I began using it to expand my mind, around the same time I started expanding my skills with the pen, weed became an important part in my music creating process. It wasn?t about rapping about it or getting high because it was ?what the cool kids do?. Marijuana heightened how I processed my emotions allowing me to project exactly how I?m feeling at that moment into my music. The higher I got, the deeper it gets. Then came the addiction, the addiction to understanding who I am, what I want, what I want to feel, living in the moment. I grew addicted to being focused but always being in the zone. Marijuana isn?t a gateway drug, it?s a get-away drug. It?s let?s you see life without worrying when you want to, and let?s you focus on the battles within yourself without it interfering with your life.
Your environment makes you who are, that?s for sure. It?s the people you keep closest to you that make or break you, and that?s a fact. I was a young kid whose potential wouldn?t really be appreciated until I was much older. This caused me to be a loner for most of my childhood. It was only arriving in High School that I found out how much of an outcast I really was, as I was in a building with the very allure I?ve been avoiding my entire life. I am Harlem at it?s best, we don?t crack under pressure, we adapt, become better. So came my journey through the life of a thug, walking in the shoes of a person I didn?t want to become. Not everything about it was pretty, not everything felt good, but in the moment you couldn't complain. That was all it was, an in the moment thing, like all things in life are, and as such a thing it could become whatever you want if you invest enough time in it. Time I wasn?t willing to put in. I saw it didn?t lead me anywhere positive, not in the path I wanted to go. I respectfully declined living within I world I had sheltered myself in for years.
On my journey to ascend higher, I found those closest to me telling me they were praying for my success, but lord knows what they were telling other people about me behind my back. I?ve watched people I fed bite my hand. I watched friends get locked up and turned on in the same night. I?ve let my humble nature get the best of me sometimes. I had to quit it. It was unhealthy. So came the process of cutting off all the toxic energy in my life. It hurt letting people go, severing ties to relationships with people I thought I needed, girls I thought I loved. For a time, I was truly alone. It was in this months that I learned so much about myself and learned who was truly in my circle, my two brothers who, since day one, have never made me question their loyalty. This became the first rule in my development, to surround myself with Loyal people. This became the standard in our relationship and soon, we found that it would just be us.
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