Before I begin this particular tale, I’m going to plunge deep into my recollection of memories and break down the importance the Bronx holds to me, the place where I found myself and grew to understand that living only feels good when you know how to live and feel alive.

Rewinding back several years to when I was 22 years old when my personal hell began, I was surrounded by the wrong friends whose minds seemed to design only plots to see the rise of my demise.  When I looked in the mirror, it only reminded me of my own vanity and pain.  I thought I had it all figured out: I was on a mission with a brand new career (as an MRI Technologist) and trying to save the lost souls around me until I tripped over my swollen ego and got swallowed into the darkness of my own soul.

My alarm began singing its tune, disturbing my sleep, squinting my eyes with a tweek of liquor still inside me, time to awaken, get on my feet and start my day. But today wasn’t just any day; it was the day I began my new career and my introduction to the Bronx.  Hmmm, my fearlessness thought, a new adventure!  How bad could the Bronx be?  I’d travelled to worse blocks.  The hour kept passing as I was becoming lost in my own thoughts, so I jumped in a cab as my nervousness morphed into anxiety, running a little late, wanting to make a good impression.  The day passed by, work was just fine, I even met a couple of people who are still relevant in my life to this very day.  So I jumped on the No. 5 train line, time to ride. With each passing stop that passed I began to observe this new rawness that Bronx natives flaunted as they locked eyes and I could sense each individual’s karma in the air.

Days grew into passing months.  My personal life seemed to be crumbling all around me, from my love triangle to so-called friends plotting murderous schemes against me.  My hell turned into insanity, leaving me along with my tears and pen. As disappointment and depression poured into my life, while at work with any free time, my mind began to wonder and my eyes would well up from all the pain.  My hand began to write uncontrollably and I discovered my personal therapy.  Digging deeper and deeper, expressing my deepest thoughts and emotions that seemed to stay on the surface, I realised I began to write differently. So I found my new escape. Each new day in the Bronx was a step I took getting closer to unravelling my artistry and soul so I kept writing and writing. Then BOOM! My very first rhyme was born, entitled: ‘4Those Of You Who Hate’.

I always loved hip hop but, by this point, my brain waves started perceiving the songs differently, I realised hip hop was deeper than just being rebellious as it kept seeping deeper into my pores.  I finally understood hip hop saves lives. The depth of stories carried by the spirit and voices of authentic artists were designed as guides for getting through difficult times. Hip hop took on a new meaning for me.  It was no longer just songs I sang or rapped along and showed off to: the hop hop movement a.k.a the Revolution dissected its meaning to me and that’s when I fell head over heels in love.  Hip hop was truly originated to soothe and console souls.  Songs were prescriptions. Rap is raw because of the rawness in the streets and life.  It truly isn’t about your color or race or fixating your ego to fit in as another one of society’s proud face.  It’s about freedom to speak and express as you need to, freedom to actually live the way it fits for you and freedom from this mould that captures our soul in a chokehold.

From the east to the west side, Pelham Bay Park is a remarkable part, to Arthur Avenue  where you can smell Italians in the air. Each soul holds its own untold voice and story, from colourful cartoons watching young ones play and grow or growing up to be led astray. Where street love is partying until the sun comes up, smoking and drinking just to ease their pain and struggles away. To the merciless street and gang-related wars as bullets grab a hold taking each other’s life away and talling up broken bones as a way.  To the lost souls who lose themselves in their personal wars and become prisoners to their crooked addictions. And to the people making the best of it, raising their families and raising their communities’ awareness, in search of something better than just diamonds and gold.

Many years have passed since I began my search, my personal dedication to my recovery.  I presently live in the south Bronx a.k.a. the Boogie Down, the cradle of hip hop where it all began, from Sugar Hill Gang to the late great legendary Big Punisher, RIP.  It’s a bit ironic that I found my true voice and revised my initial mission in the cradle of hip hop where I’ve been rocked and been rocking my own cradle to grow and heal and give birth to the artist I call myself: M.A.F.I.A. Princezz!  The Bronx isn’t an easy place to live where only the brave survive and make it out alive, only the courageous smile and the pure of hearts rise.

The sun rises and sets each passing day, whispers in the wind dictate my story, but my tragedy built the walls of my glory.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini trail you’ve just journeyed with me into just another Bronx tale.