A Note of Inspiration
Often in my travels A fan will pull me aside and share with me how my music has touched them. Some of the stories are fun some are a bit outrageous, some are glum with an uplifting ending overall they all are touching. When I’m making music I hope to reach people but I never know the manner of which my music will be received.
Today a fan who goes by the name of Funky DL sent me an email. The email was heartwarming so I am sharing it with you, with his permission of course. Thank you Naphta!
Hey Ali, firstly thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to get this message to you, it’s really important to me and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
I once watched a video of you guys doing a show in NY in 98 and remember when “Tip” talked to the audience and said that a lot of people stop him and tell him that they grew up listening to ATCQ and that it meant a lot to him as I’m sure it will for yourself, Phife and Shaheed.
With me it’s a little different, yes of course I grew up listening to ATCQ from around age 11 or 12 but your music did much more for me than it would from a regular fans perspective [I say that not discounting the ways that fans can connect with music because it's personal and individual to all]
But for me as a 12 year old kid growing up in East London, UK and not having any idea at that point what I wanted to do with my life, it was my older brother who borrowed a cassette from my uncle of “Peoples Instinctive Travels” and upon hearing it I fell in love with the music of ATCQ and at the same time De La.
I listened and listened to “Peoples” and couldn’t understand at that age how there was all of a sudden this hip-hop music that was so musical and unique, when “The Low End” came out I copped it and again was startled at the precision and quality of the music but when you guys dropped “Marauders” it was officially over. I used to carry a cassette of that album to class everyday and play it in our 30 minute registration period before class and it was upon haearing that album I knew that the only thing I wanted to do when I was older is what you guys did. I listened to you guys religeously and a lot of what more so Tip was saying on your records would stick with me and resonate.
My english teacher could see at that age I had a passion for hip-hop from listening solely to ATCQ everyday and encouraged to write my school work in rhyme form to perform to my class mates, which I did and cut a long story short I began writing and rhyming everyday.
Being that ATCQ was on Jive at the time, I used to call over the label on the weekends but my calls were put through to Battery Studios in Willesden London, where the receptionist [outta the kindness of his heart] invited me down to meet him and see the studios and explained to me that you guys had been there and worked with an engineer named “Yan Memmi” I think… Eventually I met the Jive A&R guys and hooked up with a dude named “Zakes Gordon” thorugh his friend Tosh [who remixed "Oh My God" officially]
Zakes ended up leaving Jive eventually but Joined Almo SOUNDS / Rondor PUBLISHING / where he signed me over there for a 5 album deal. I released my debut album which resulted in my getting remixes for Missy and Adina Howard through East West / Warners and winning a Music of Black Origin [MOBO] award for best hip-hop act in the UK in 1997.
Since then I have had the privilage of travelling and touring Australia, Israel, the UK, France and Japan [Japan is where my music is most widely received] cutting numerous licensing deals and even releasing my music through my own imprint.
I could go on and on but the long and the short of it is that since I left school at 16 years old never had to do anything other than write lyrics and produce music for a living [ a true blessing ] and I’ve met kids in Japan, Germany and all over who have too said to me they came up listening to my music and it was like I was teaching and educating them through it. Which is exactly what ATCQ did, however knowing how important it was for those people to tell me what I meant to them, I never did get the chance to say to you guys that you changed my life and gave me the gift of wisdom, excellence, humility, humour and love through your music. I though it would be a shame that four guys who did so much for me without ever having met me, never got the chance to know that ATCQ was so powerful in my life that it helped to partly mould the person and artist I am today.
Even one of my best Buddies “Parris” a British music video director now living in NY and shooting for Diddy, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Swizzy, Luda and so many others, was partly a product of ATCQ influence. Parris wasn’t that heavily into hip-hop when we met at around 13 years old but once I put him onto that whole Native Tongue movement, Mainly Tribe and after we both attended the Tribe 1994 show in The Forum, Kentish Town London as 16 year olds, he got locked in and started DJ’ing eventually moving into video direction.
So I’d just like to say I owe a big part of my successes and experiences to the influence sown in me by you guys, I learned things from your music that my parents, teachers, friends and other influences did not teach me [ though I do not discredit them].
I truly am grateful that you guys came together to do what you did, for had it not been that way, I can truly say that my path would have been different and in looking at my path I regret nothing of it. It is a blessing to do what I do and to know I have made others feel about what I do, the same way as I feel about what ATCQ did for me.
So to you Ali, and also Phife, Tip and Jarobi… I am eternally grateful and may God continue to bless you all….
Thank you for allowing me to say so…
Funky DL [Naphta Newman, 33, London]
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