Drect’s blog about leaving Grind Time

Advertisement

Leaving Grind Time
I’m not usually one to speak out/air out dirty laundry on the internet, but with all the recent controversy surrounding myself and GTN, I feel obligated to. There are many misconceptions, half-truths, blatant lies and weird situations behind the scenes. I am taking this opportunity to tell people the truth about the battle rap world and myself. I have been silent for so long because I don’t like causing drama over the internet, but I have decided to speak on certain situations in light of the fact that I am leaving my own company.


Now before I start going crazy with the world’s longest post ever, please keep in mind that I am not bashing any individuals. I am just being honest; shit has gotten out of hand and I’ve had enough.

XXXXXX

THE BEGINNING
To really understand what exactly Grind Time is, and how things ended up this way, we must first look at how this all started.

You all know the story, I was a broke college student who used my last $1000 to invest in a camera and start a rap battle “league.”

What some of you don’t know is that I have always been the biggest fan of battle rap (#1 fan if you will.) I used to spend ALL MY TIME from high school through college taping 106th and park battles off of the VCR, talking to battlers on myspace, downloading battles on LIMEWIRE (haha), buying SMACK DVDs (and bootlegs of SMACK lol), and scouring the internet for the latest news on who battled at Fight Klub. Battling was my life before Grind Time.

Then Jumpoff.tv came along and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I saw guys like Hommy Hom, Madness, and Professor Green for the first time. I watched EVERY SINGLE battle from the Jumpoff live events in England, the NYC street battles, and the (first) WRCs. This lead me to videos of scribble jam, underground sessions, brainstorm, mic fights … basically … I had seen every battle prior to the second WRCs (which I was a part of.)
Things became interesting when I started watching THE ELEMENTS LEAGUE on youtube, which was a small Canadian battle league the hip hop community in Nova Scotia had put together. Here, I was introduced to guys like: Casper, Pat Stay, Greedy, Cronic, Decipher, Miracle and Quake.

TEL was my first look into the future of battle rap. I was highly fascinated by the idea of a “league.” It was like a battle rap reality show with real characters. And battles were OPENLY WRITTEN, which was the best thing since sliced bread. For the first time, cats were using written material to their utmost advantage by writing specifically for their opponent, consistently and openly without airs.

We’ll get back to Canadian battles later.

The name “Grind Time” was not made up by myself, Madd Illz, Lush One, or anyone who had/has anything to do with the battle movement.

I had an internship at a Internet Radio station in Orlando named “Rhythm96” back in ’07. My close friend/roommate DJ Chyld co-hosted a segment on the station with me and we needed a name. He came up with “Grind Time Radio” and we stuck with it, even though I hated the name lol. We used to interview underground artists and even had the first “Grind Time Battle” which was retired 106th and Park Champ/ex-SoSo Def Artist SunNY against Unorthodox Phrases, who was a friend of mine making a name for himself in the Orlando battle circuit. (How did an unknown nigga named “Drect” get SunNY to battle an unknown niggas name “Unorthodox Phrases?” More on my networking skills and what I actually do for Grind Time later.) If you want to hear it just search on youtube – its on the Grind Time page. Chyld moved on and I co-hosted the show with (now big Mixtape DJ/Producer) La Profecy, which ended up in us getting fired/not showing up (can’t remember.) Shout out to Chris, the owner of Rhythm96 – he was A BEAST. I learned so much from watching this dude. He was a 30-something year old black guy who lived in the back of his moms’ house. The guy had grown kids and everything. Somehow, he managed to get sponsorships from Sprint, a company van, VIP tickets to EVERY function, and pay all of his moms bills/put clothes on his kids. All this with only about 40 listeners a day lol. His key to success? He said “Get you a Jewish white girl and send her into those meetings.” Smh that Jewish white girl saved his life.
Should have taken his advice huh? We had Kap tho! That OBVIOUSLY counted for something.

But we’ll speak on Kap in a minute…

Anyways, I decided to keep the name Grind Time, learned how to work that camera, edit videos, and linked up with my dude Corey, who shot the first video. (Shout out to Corey, dude drove from Boston to NY to film/edit Bad Blood, among other things.)
After a few battles I linked up with Illz, who said together we could really turn GT into something great. That’s when we started doing multiple battles in one day and adding some rules into the mix.

People like to recognize me as the founder of GT, but I give Illz a lot of credit as Co-founder because I honestly did not know what the hell I was doing. I had ideas at that time, but he gave us direction and experience (throwing battle events like Lounge Battles.) I couldn’t have done this by myself and Illz had been nothing but kind to me – he helped me get my name around Orlando when I was a nobody. I respect Madd Illz for that.
Then we hooked up with Lush One, who threw a lot of our classics, added a bunch of divisions, and you guys know the rest.

MY INFLUENCE ON THE BATTLE SCENE
I don’t speak up to often, but I feel like my role in Battle Rap history has been downplayed (and will continue to be if I don’t say something.) People take credit for my accomplishments and sometimes pretend I don’t exist, so ill shed a little light on this situation for you guys.

– I created the whole “tier” system against Madd Illz advice lol. We had a chart in which I ranked all of the emcees in GTN by “Top/Middle/Low Tier” and placed them in (what I thought to be) their respective categories. I even remember Surgeon General calling me and arguing because I put him in the “middle tier.” Lol that’s my dude tho!

Back in these days:
http://i40.tinypic.com/34t1sev.jpg

Why did I do it? I have no idea. Just felt necessary.

The result? Til this day, everyone and their mama wants to be “Top Tier.” I didn’t even know the word “tier” was cool, I just used a thesaurus (no Peter.)

These tiers were supposed to segue into an eventual championship, and become a way for “low tier” emcees to mature into top-level opponents through accomplishment, but somehow it became GIVEN due to popularity. Shit happens I guess …

– Worldstarhiphop.com played a huge role in GTN’s widespread internet success. I had never even heard of the site until a friend of mine, Mike P aka 1080p told me about their success in college. He said everyone on the east coast was always on the website and it would be a good outlet for Grind Time. I sent Q from worldstar a HUGE email explaining why a partnership could be beneficial for both of us. After speaking with him on the phone we finalized the agreement. As worldstar blew up, their business practices changed and they slowly stopped putting our videos up. Last I heard, one of their reps told Cortez they had done enough for battle rap. It was good while it lasted though.

– Website chats also play a huge role on a few major battle sites. When the GTN site first launched, we needed a way to stay in contact with our fans and get the community talking. It takes a while to get a forum going, so I researched chat boxes on the internet and came across “chatango.” It was great while it lasted, but the spam was out of control. I wanted to find another service, but not everyone agreed that having a chat box was necessary. I still disagree, but whatever. Shoutout to URL for keeping the chat box alive.

A&R WORK
Lets be real: times have changed. When I first started this, WE NEEDED BATTLERS BADLY. We were taking ANY/EVERYBODY at one point. Of course we used internet footage to scout a large deal of talent, but there was also a lot a groundwork put in.
No one has spent more time discovering and helping develop TOP battle artists than myself. For this reason, I do consider myself the top battle rap A&R. I can’t take any credit away from any of our GMs though; they all had pretty much built their divisions from nothing. Shout out to all the West Coast vets for properly representing their part of the culture.

Hollow Da Don – I first saw him on 106th and Park and was able to contact him through myspace. The thing that impressed me the most was Hollow’s blog-style videos that he uploaded online. Dudes freestyles were amazing. I am the one who told Hollow about the Houston WRCs. We fell out of contact for a little while, until he shot me a call one day asking about the WSHH (World Series of Hip Hop) battles that Q from Worldstar threw (Mook – Young Hot, Lady Luck – Reece Steele, etc.) I had nothing to do with the situation, but it re-established our contact with each other. That’s when he told me he was undefeated in Fight Klub, but the footage never came out. Ever since then, I really wanted to help dude out. When Grind Time NY came along, I was able to reach out to former 106 champ Jay Focus and thought it would be a good theme for him to battle Hollow. Hollow wasn’t too keen on the idea, but he did it as a favor to me. When that first battle came out I told Hollow if he kept battling he would be one of the best. Homie was really humble and thankful for all the attention he received. A few classic battles later and everyone knew his name.

Dizaster – Lets revisit the WRCs for a second. You had a stacked West Coast prelim event. There was this Middle Eastern guy partnered with a black girl and they were going IN. I CLEARLY thought they deserved a spot in the division, but they did not make it for whatever reason. I looked Dizaster up on youtube and found his battles in the West Coast Pit, where he was DESTROYING guys from Fight Klub in front of celebrities and what seemed like every hood in southern Cali. He (almost) seamlessly was able to integrate freestyle with writtens and had this amazing energy that commanded the attention of everyone in the room. How was this guy so overlooked? I was mad as hell and had to do something about it. I called Dizaster and chopped it up with him – dude was cool as hell, so I started a petition on the jumpoff.tv forums to get Dizaster in WRC. Somehow, he ended up battling with Syanide in the NY division after the community was able to get a look at his youtube footage. When GT came around Dizaster was not too keen on battling, because he felt the WRCs was a bad experience and he had put in too much work at the Pit, who had not even put all of his footage out. I promised him I would try to get him the best opponent possible. I spoke to Lush, who as able to talk The Saurus into battling Diz. Saurus was apparently very impressed with Diz and took the battle with almost no complaints. THANK YOU TO THE SAURUS – that move was one of the greatest moments in GT history and set a lot of things in motion. When Dizaster heard the news, he was more excited than I have ever heard him and truly thankful for the opportunity. Watching Dizaster grow into the emcee he is now was AMAZING. With some better battle management, Diz will be undoubtedly one of the best 3 battlers in history. He has the ability to beat anybody.

Conceited – Con used to message me on youtube back in the day. After seeing one of his (crazy) freestyles on youtube, I tried to get him in GT. He explained that he wasn’t really a fan of 60-second rounds, but would support. I remember showing certain staff members his battles, and them saying, “he’s aiite – nothing special.” I was dedicated to getting this man a battle. He almost battled BC (from New Orleans) at an event in Orlando last minute, but wasn’t prepared and decided he only wanted to battle with the best possible material. A few months went by and he told me his homie Fox was doing a big battle in the Jungle and he would be battling “Tall T.” I talked to Fox, who sent me the event footage to put on Grind Time. Con had been my homie for a minute, so I sent his footage to Worldstar, and DAMN the feedback was crazy. The rest is history.

*Sidenote: Soulja Boy tweeted Con wanting to do SODMG/SONS, but idk what happened. I tried to help, but the contact was a little spotty. Con is not currently signed to SODMG.

Young Gattas – Sonny Bamboo found Young Gattas. When she battled Tut, I remember shooting her a call saying, “Why do you keep battling dudes you already proved yourself. Take time to get prepared and watch your popularity skyrocket once you start battling females.” She took my advice and I started managing her. Ill speak on her Grizzle 2 battle in a minute …

24/7 – State of Mynd went to college with him and told me to check out one of his raps on myspace. After watching it, I thought he had potential and pushed for him to get a battle in the league. I don’t think everyone was sold on him at first, but damn that battle against V-Money (who actually did good) was CRAZY. Remember the Mystique from X-men line? Still one of my favorites til this day. ME AND KAP TRIED SO HARD TO GET 24/7 – DNA FOR GRIZZLE 2. Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it off though.

Cortez – I was on youtube one day looking for emcees to battle for the first GTNY event. I came across a battle Vlad the Butcher threw that had about 200 views. It was Jay Focus – Cortez. I found his myspace and sent the man about 8 messages. I was able to get his cell number and he said he was down. Cortez played a key role in scouting a lot of the NY emcees. Anytime someone’s name popped up, he told me about their history in Fight Klub and around the city. Cortez had a lot of inside info that helped me discover many emcees that were overlooked by previous companies.

Aak – I met Aak in college, and he is one of my best friends on Earth. He knows everything that has been going on since day 1. The man is very talented, but didn’t want to battle at all. After about a year of me bothering him, he never looked back. I still want to help push Aak to the next level, which he is capable of competing on.

Philly Swain – Swain grinds harder that ANYONE I know. If you let him tell it, he came out of jail and got a call from me that saved his life. I found Swain by typing, “fight klub battle” in the myspace search (lol); Swain was about 6 pages deep. I knew we needed street cats, and he fit the profile. I was able to set up Scott Free – Philly Swain at GTNY and GODDAMN that battle blew up. Swain was a loose cannon back then and I remember being the only person not afraid to talk to him. Him and Hollow was one of those battles that changed GT for the better. Swain has been holding it down for me ever since! His music is taking off too! Congrats to the bull (lol) for signing a $1.7 million deal with G1 entertainment.

Ness lee – Ness has been a close friend ever since the WRCs. He told me that his battling times were finished – he was done. I didn’t want to hear it though! I pushed for Ness Lee to battle for about 2 years! Finally he battled Jay Focus in GTNY. We used to have conferences on his performances and discuss necessary style changes. After a few battles, Ness came into his own. He is one of the most skilled lyricists I have ever heard. Congrats on your recent success with the battles and music homie!

Lotta Zay – Lotta Zay was on 106th and Park when I still used to watch it. I remember rooting for him. I remember him loosing to Jay Focus and me throwing something at the TV – I almost broke that joint. After search for him FOREVER it ended up being him who hit me up. He never complains and has always been loyal to the brand. I appreciate your dedication homie!

Sara Kana – Lets be real, if it wasn’t for Sara Kana the female battle scene may not exist. I remember asking Cortez who the best female was in Fight Klub that we never heard of. He mentioned Sara, but didn’t know how to find her. I hunted her down on good ol’ myspace and told her SHE NEEDED to be a part of the GT movement. She was so excited! I remember when we released that freestyle/callout he did to Lady Luck/Reese Steele – I sent it to worldstar and everything went crazy. Sara battling Gattas was one of the most anticipated battles amongst our staff. Sara battling QB was the start of the new wave of female emcees. Sara has grown to be a close friend and confidant and will always be at my side going into the future. Um … I love you Sara … no homo.

Jonny Storm – I just got off the phone with him not too long ago and told him I was posting this. He goes “remember when you talked me into battling after Knowledge Medina battled Hardkore.” Im like, “oh shit … I do remember that.” Storm is one of the best battlers I have ever seen in my life. I don’t even think he tries half of the time – shit comes natural to him. Kap and I always wanted to see Storm – Hollow. It may be a little too late for that one though lol. I battled Storm in the finals of the first battle I ever entered, and he won in overtime. He was one of the people that encouraged me to go hard with battling. Knowing you may face people like Illz, Am I Am, Midaz, Hemisphere, Storm, Madness, Kap, and Critical kind of changes your outlook on battling. At least it did back in the freestyle days. I consider myself a product of the Ozone (Orlando) scene – that’s what pushed the whole GT movement.
There’s more people including ones that I didn’t discover but wouldn’t be battling on GTN if it wasn’t for me such as John John Da Don and Syahboy.

Its these relationships (not just mine – the whole staff) that helped build GT. We all felt as though we were part of something that would help EVERYONE advance their careers. It hurts when people pretend and assume I don’t care about the scene. I put my life on hold to help out people I didn’t even know that well, because I love battles/hip hop. I remember giving Knowledge Medina my last $60 so he could drive to Orlando and battle Mosh Jelton. I never even asked for it back, Knowledge was another one of them dudes who never complained and was a good sport. HighCollide is another one! I used to talk to homie on the phone in between my college classes. NO ONE COULD GET HIM TO BATTLE. I gave him every possible reason to jump in GT and he finally said yes. IM MAD ABOUT HOW THE GTN CHAMPIONSHIP ENDED UP – it was out of Collide’s hands (and mine) and I apologize to him for that. I have lost contact with a lot of guys as the years have went on and just want them to know how much I appreciate what they gave to the culture.

I also recall those moments where myself and other staff members have been on the phone for HOURS trying to figure out what matchups would be the best look. I was able to link Lush with Arsonal to discuss his first GTN battle. There were so many people who wanted the chance to battle Arsonal because he represented that street style; they wanted to prove the personal punchline/scribble jam-esque freestyle battler could keep up. Lush and I were on the phone FOR HOURS racking our brains on who to give the opportunity to. Should it be a Hollow rematch? What about Passwurdz? We ended up agreeing that Okwerdz deserved a chance. Looks like we made the right decision.

XXXXXX

CURRENT ISSUES WITH GTN –
Let me start off by saying that GRIND TIME WAS/IS A HUGE SUCCESS. As a movement it was perfectly executed, BUT the same things that made GTN a great movement were the same reasons it wasn’t a great business.

Like I said before, I used to watch EVERY SINGLE BATTLE. Now, I can’t even watch half of this stuff. Quality control is really an issue (with emcees and video quality.) I know as well as you guys we needed a new channel a long time ago, and really pushed for this, but not everyone agreed. I remember thinking that me speaking up against certain decisions was just going to add more issues to our ever-growing list.

GT was not started as a business, it was started as a hobby. There should have been contracts and paperwork taken care of from the jump, but we just went off of the trust/buddy system, which can only hold up for so long.

This is what I call “Diddy’s Law” :

Everyone hates Diddy because he has a long record of screwing over artists in favor of his pockets. Honestly, this is just him being a great business man; he understands how the industry works:

-label signs artist
-label screws artist
-artists learns business
-artists starts label
-artists screws artist
– the cycle repeats itself

As much as I hate this cycle, it seems to be the way things work. The first time Diddy tried to be a nice guy, the Jay Electronica situation blew up in his face. Now, he is probably going harder on his artist. I have no intention of “Diddying” people, but its something I keep in mind, as people try to play you.

GT not having proper paperwork has allowed artists to disclose “private” information and discredit our company in favor of another. For example, DNA had a successful career in Grind Time, in which he won and lost matches. Despite his losses, the staff really believed in him and worked to get DNA the best possible matches. First Rone, in which he won and had his break out performance. Then, the 2-on-2 against Rone and ZM (Rone and Soul Khan were extremely popular at the time.) Finally, we got him his biggest name in the form of Rich Dolarz. Then he goes to URL and downplays Grind Time. I have nothing against DNA – he is still my dude, but he shit on GT in order to make his star shine brighter (he is not the only one.) All of these things have been a horrible look for the “company.”

The THREE CEO system does not work. Honestly, its stupid as hell. I think its more of a ego thing than anything else. Its just a title and we all have no real obligations to each other or GT.

How did we end up with three CEOs? Once upon a time the whole staff went to war. A certain individual was almost forced out of the company against his own will. EVERYONE agreed to work under me, but I don’t believe I had the guts at the time to pull such a crazy move. I honestly felt bad and we went back to the old way of working. Lush basically turned into Sean Parker (see Social Network movie) and talked his way to the top – sharing power between three people was weird, but I thought this could create a system of checks and balances.

During this time, our graphic designer thought his job may be in danger, so he trademarked the logo under his name, which is why we had to change it. I don’t even like the logo, but it’s a little too late for that.

Because of this, and many other instances, I never really felt like GTN was MY COMPANY. Yes, I started it, but I never fully had control over creative decision-making. I wasn’t willing to force myself into that position either, I felt as though it could hurt a lot of people uninvolved in the business side.

OTHER LEAGUES
I have NO BEEF with any of the other battle leagues. I watch battles from every outlet. I appreciate Don’t Flop’s dedication, SMACKs contribution to the live element of battling and promotional prowess and King Of The Dots vintage approach/great organization.
Of course there are many other leagues, all with much to offer to their physical communities, as well as the ever-growing online fan base battling has built.

Unbeknownst to most people, I even extended my hand in helping other leagues bettering themselves at one point. Remember The Elements League? Well I was able to speak to a lot of those guys on MSN back when GT first started. They all wanted to be involved, but lived in Canada. Im sure Organik knew aboot Pat Stay already, but I remember telling him to look up guys like Casper, Miracle and Hollohan. I had heard about Hollohan and was able to have a few convos with him. I knew Pat Stay may make his way over there, but I really pushed Hollohan and Miracle to contact Organik. Obviously they contacted him lol. I don’t know if he reached out to them before me, but I really wanted to see those guys from Nova Scotia be apart of something huge. Glad they made it.

On another note (with a different league) …

One of the biggest things I learned through Grind Time is that being a nice guy will kick you in the ass most of the time. There is a league out there that started up a little while back. I was introduced to one of their leaders shortly after. He told me how much he respected me for building GT and needed some advice. Over the next year or two we became pretty close and talked often. I still consider the man a friend. When his league took off he sometimes asked me for favors and I was/am glad to help him out most of the time. Then a situation arose that I was unwilling to offer my hand in due to a conflict of interest. A few other people became involved and things got out of hand. His company has had a lot of success, and I have heard rumors of his staff saying things such as “grind time is dead – fuck them, they are corny anyways” and even downplaying some of our artists. This situation ultimately ended up in him and the friend that introduced us falling out. I don’t really know what to believe, but I definitely helped their movement in a few ways and never wanted anything back. If their recent success has caused them to shit on GT that’s fine, but I learned my lesson. I still consider the aforementioned person a friend, but I had a great lesson in separating business from personal. I will not make the same mistake again.

Oh yea … someone from SMACK tried to recruit me when they heard a rumor of me leaving. I respectfully declined. J

TURNING POINTS
Throughout these past four years (damn time flies) there have been a few major turning points in GT’s history. With good business sense, we would have cornered the market, shut the game down, and became millionaires, but hey …. Shit happens. I would just like to point some things out.

– Math versus T-Rex falling through created URL. Why did this fall through? Someone promised someone else the money. They money was not received and contracts became voided. I didn’t have much to do with this, but loosing that battle HURT. I lost sleep over that.

– The Jin battle falling through was also a tough one to handle. Jin is one of my favorite batters of all time and I was hype for his comeback. As you all know he was set to battle Illmaculate, then Dizaster went bananas and Jin accepted both battles. Jin was going to be in LA on November 24th (I think), but Dizaster was on the MTV 1Million dollar battle and didn’t have time to prepare for both. We had the option to do the battle on the 24th (which I suggested was a safe option), but Lush thought a New Years battle would be a great idea. As we were still discussing the battle with Jin’s management, someone released the flyer too soon and Jin’s manager became angry at our unprofessionalism and called the whole thing off. They were a few shady instances in this situation from both sides, but we never directly spoke with Jin (he obviously accepted in blogs though.) Things didn’t end on a good note and Jin’s name was unrightfully dragged through the mud, as he was just trying to help us out. This KILLED me – I felt really bad for Illmaculate also, who had every right to blow up, but never said a single word about the situation publicly.

– Kap leaving … well … um … this deserves its own section.

XXXXXX

KAP SITUATION/GRIZZLEMANIA 2
Let me start this off by saying that Kap is the man. Ill always consider him a friend, and we always keep it 100% with eachother. Kap has (as he would say) the mentality of a “boss.” A lot of times that mentality caused him to clash with the CEOs, but we all had love for him. It was actually Illz who made Kap the GM of GT Florida, even though they never really got along. He was just the right man for the job. For reasons that have nothing to do with me and I am not at liberty to speak about, they were not too keen on each other. They were able to put differences aside and thug it out (lol) for the battle scene. Then there came Grizzlemania 2 …

Grizzle 2 was the most stressful thing in the world. Kap and I got together a few times each week to plan out the battles for this. He put HIS OWN PERSONAL MONEY on the line and we hoped to see a return in sponsorship money. I put together a huge business plan to help, but no HUGE sponsors bit. Shout out to 9five eyewear though, they have always held us down.

At battle of the Bay 5, Lush and I tried to throw a 4 Man tournament together between Reign Man, Iron Solomon, Locksmith and ______ (last person was up for discussion,) but it fell through.

Iron Solomon was supposed to battle Reed Dollaz. Reed stopped picking up the phone. Kap had to choose between Reign Man and ENess. He picked ENess. GREAT BATTLE.

Sidenote: I wish Madness didn’t have to battle 8 times that weekend, him and Soul Khan would have been one of the best battles in history – it was still dope though.

After the event, Kap had took a huge loss and wanted to receive part of our youtube checks. He probably should have asked before the event, but hey … shit happens. I was not opposed to giving him some money, but others were. This small situation turned into Kap and Illz disrespecting the hell out of each other. Lush and I couldn’t stop them from starting WWIII; it was too much. On a business level I could see why we didn’t cut him a check, on a personal level it was FUCKED UP. And remember what I said about GTN being a business??? I even told Kap when I got a share of our money I would give him some. Apparently, google thought our views hiked up too much during this month and didn’t send our check. I have mixed feelings on the truth behind this (check), but whatever … shit happens.

After all of this Kap still didn’t leave and began planning another event. Him and Illz continued to have problems, and that’s when Kap left. Shit was sad and we didn’t know what to say at the time.

From this situation, my biggest regret was that some battlers were unhappy about the way their battles were released (Andy Milonakis’ page) and were not able to benefit from a GT debut like Aak, Maniphest Destne, and Swave Sevah.
Shouts to Andy for doing what he could. Kap is still the man – he always had faith in me as a businessman and emcee. I haven’t talked to him for a while, but ill probably shoot him a call tonight. What’s good homie!?!

This leads me to the next situation …

AMI MILLER versus YOUNG GATTAS
This all started when I saw Ami on 106th and Park, she was fine and with some fine tuning I thought she could be ill. I asked Kap what he thought and he said her and Gattas would be crazy, and a good look for both. I was able to contact her manager, who was confused by the whole situation, but became open to the idea once he started researching Grind Time.
Even though I managed Gattas, I still reached out to help Ami because I didn’t want her to think this was a set-up. Her and Gattas even got on the phone and spoke about how great the battle could be on several occasions. We honestly tried to help, but the contact wasn’t always there. Ami and her manager started acting like they had the situation under control so I left them alone.

I told Gattas she should try switching up her look, but she got scared and tried to fight me (lol), so I dismissed the idea. After a while she became more open to dressing girl-ish. I was able to get her a stylist (What’s good LaLa!), and the response was huge! The battle got so many views it was crazy.

Then the bullshit started …

Ami’s manager was mad because I didn’t tell him Gattas was going to look girly, he thought we cheated him. Dude was calling me every day with a new issue: asking me to delete comments – the whole 9. One day he texted me something along the lines of, “You bitch ass nigga. You have been making money off the battle blah blah blah…” Obviously he doesn’t know how much we make off one battle lol, but whatever he didn’t even want to speak to me. His people flagged the video on youtube, so I had to put it on private. Its still on private, I don’t really want to take it off because youtube has warned our account a few times and another penalty could really hurt us. Im not trying to go there. Ami’s manager and I exchanged words on several occasions – shit got out of hand. Ill just leave it at that.

Sucks because I wasn’t trying to set Ami up, I really wanted her to excel and become a part of this battle movement. She did pretty good her second time on 106th and park. I even tried to get her to battle again. It was too much though, im done with the situation. I apologize to Gattas and thanks to Kap for making it happen.

XXXXXX

EYERATE SITUATION
Im honestly not on rapmusic too often and had no idea who Eyerate was. I always saw him bashing something about GT. I forget what he said exactly, but he somehow managed to get my attention on the board. I sent the staff an email asking to ban him from GT events (at the time I had no idea he was helping sponsor events.) Lush and Sonny explained to me that he helps out and they thought it was unnecessary. Somehow Eyerate saw this message, got mad, then hacked my email account.

I received a call from Sonny and Lush a little while later saying that Eyerate was demanding to talk to me, and if I refused he would expose Grind Time. I didn’t really understand why at the time, but they seemed really concerned, so the four of us had a conference call. Eyerate told me he believed someone on the GT staff was stealing money from staff members and the community and told me he wouldn’t expose me if I gave him any information. I told him I wasn’t interested in ratting anyone out (even though a few things he said made sense), because im not down with disloyalty. He told me if I ever needed help with business I could reach out to him, but he was still going to throw me under the bus. I told him it was fine, “Do what you gotta do.”

Im still a little confused with that situation, but I honestly understand some of the topics he was hitting now.

XXXXXX

AVOCADO
Avocado left Grind Time because he was not paid (the FULL agreed amount) for his services on multiple occasions. I have never directly employed Avocado for graphics or editing, but he seems to think I’m to blame. I texted him a while back and he claimed to have no issues with me. Regardless, the scene changed once Avocado lent his hand (and arms lol), so I appreciate his contributions.

XXXXXX

FOX NEWS SITUATION
Leave it to the people to say that im rich, live in a mansion, and steal from the battle community. Let’s get something straight: any of my perceived wealth definitely does not come from GTN. Most of the top emcees have LITERALLY pocketed more money from Grind Time than I have. That wasn’t a mansion either lol it was a two-story house, in which I no longer live.

You guys may be confused, so let me put something in perspective for you: GT makes money every month off of sponsorships (normally during big battles) and Google Ad Sense. Google pays partners a 100th of a cent per view, which works out to about $1,000 (before taxes) per 1,000,000 views. They cut you a check on a monthly basis. Someone was designated with the job of bookkeeping/keeping track of our income, but there is no GT Title, .com website, or proper paperwork. We all are sitting here looking stupid now.
Irresponsibility, lying, cheating, and stealing have all been present behind the scenes of GTN for a while. My biggest mistake was trusting others and being too nice. People only have their best interests in mind and will stab you in the back over pennies.

Honestly, its embarrassing I have been letting shit slide for this long. I look crazy for never speaking up, I just figured things would work themselves out. I am, however, thankful to go through some of these situations at a young age. You learn more from mistakes than you do from success, and all these GT struggles have turned me into a BEAST.

XXXXXX


I remember when Arkaic told me “Grind Time is cool, but it will never be as big as Jumpoff bruv.” He could have been right, but I believed in GT. Everyone did and that’s why we made it.

It seemed like I was in the same position at this time last year, but I chose to stay. You really get a chance to learn who your real friends are.

It really bothers me that my character has come into question when I try so hard to do right by people. Do you know how many people offered me money to put out their battle? Did you know Hollow was going to give me the money to settle all of GTNs business issues at one point? I couldn’t take it. A few hundred dollars isn’t worth your trust (SMH @ Absyrd.)
People continue to practice bad business and I am tired of my name being attached. I haven’t agreed with about 82.6% of the decisions we have made in the past few years and im ready to move on.

I made a huge mistake in thinking that I could do everything; by doing so I probably stopped some of our growth. I had edited most of the GTN battles. Having Avocado and Corey’s help was great, but I always end up editing more than im supposed to. Til this day, people hit me up asking “where’s my battle.” I have some Boston, NY, and Atlanta battles to put out and then im done. I apologize to the emcees that have been bugging me – its not your GMs fault. In my defense, I had to slow down with the uploads because my mom is sick and I am currently in Arizona taking care of her.

As many times as people bash GT, NO ONE CAN ERASE HOW MANY TIMES WE MADE HISTORY. THREE PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT BUSINESS CREATED THE WORLDS LARGEST RAP BATTLE LEAGUE AND HELPED CHANGE HIPHOP.
The only reason I edit is because I care and I want emcees battles to come out faster, too bad it’s the other way around. I am not an editor – it’s a daunting task. I used to walk to my college at 1am (slow ass internet) and sit there for 3 or 4 hours at a time uploading battles.
I can’t complain though. I have paid my dues.

XXXXXX

THE FUTURE
Somewhere along the lines, I figured out I have a talent for marketing. I have been able to network my ass off and establish ties with some great people. I have been asked to do everything from be in charge of Rhianna’s ghostwriter’s internet marketing campaign (she is coming out as an artist) to working on a new basketball reality show that is currently in development.

Im always down to help, but I can’t see myself being part of someone else’s team. My heart lies within this battle stuff; I want to help battlers push to the next level. I remember having a conversation with Nocando about his internet marketing and him being blown away at all my ideas. I’d love to do this all the time, but Grind Time had us working 80-hour weeks lol (holla at me Nocan). We are sitting on a gold mine – a potential multi million-dollar industry and I don’t believe anyone is fully capitalizing on this opportunity.

So I have taken matters into my own hands and decided to create and new battle venture/company/league (yes im the only CEO lol.) This is a fresh new start and a chance for me to do things correctly. I have emcees ready to go, business plans, and all that good stuff.
I consider myself a GAMECHANGER and refuse to do anything that is not innovative, beneficial to all parties, and MONEY MAKING. Copycat battle leagues are the worst. I have a chance to expand into a few other markets and am ultimately in a better business situation now then I was with GT, but lets just take this one step at a time.

Appreciate you guys for being here since day one.

Oh yea … the new company is called EBA (Elite Battling Association) or Elite Battling for short.

Shout out to the person that I told it was called “ERL.” They ran back and told SMACK. Lol im not an idiot gimme some credit y’all.

Ill be here for a minute, so rock with me.

-END-

3 Responses to Drect’s blog about leaving Grind Time

  1. Anonymous says:

    So when I will get my cut I made all this happened ADR

  2. Kenaht says:

    I read a ll of that, it was A LOT to read. glad I did. I feel more insighted onto what has been going on.

  3. Arley says:

    After all this years of great entertainment i find it so ironic that the biggest battle you had to face was with your inner self and your friends, i really feel for you, I too have been growing my own company for the past 4 years, its been hard people dont understand that running a business is 100 times harder than being employed, i live in Orlando, and really feel for you, but keep it up bro, what you’ve learned in this years is priceless.

Leave a Comment