D-Link: I do music to motivate people to motivate they people.. I been through a life that no one around me was expecting me to get out.. I from the hood.. maybe not as Hood as everyone else’s, but you can’t go to Rialto and speak about music and don’t mention my name because niggas in rialto respect what I do.. Im not hear to gangbang because I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I’m in college on a Full Ride Scholarship for basketball. Im not boastin and braggin but I do believe I can influence the hood to get up and get out and make something of ourselves that everyone else is going against. I’m here to get me and all my nigga’s out the struggle.. I don’t believe in there not being a way out the hood, whether it’s legal or not.. and anybody who’s ever fucked with me knows that Ima make a way out of no way to see us all through.. Believe that..
R.I.P. Navar & Keon.. Ya’ll Real nigga’s and ya’ll families is gonna eat too..
AND LIL BLACC!!! This Is All For You My Nig.. Til we see each other on the other side you got my back and I got ya name.. Won’t nobody disrespect either of the 2.. RIP My Nig 1988-2006
THE ONLY THING SCARIER THAN A BLACK MAN IS AN EDUCATED BLACK MAN! You can take me out the hood but the hood is always gonna be in me, around me, and Marinating in me. But we still can be millionaires out this bitch.
Edition:Saturday, March 19, 2011
Chris Fleming is living his dream — and by doing that, he is trying to help others to live theirs.
The 25-year-old Los Angeles native is the force behind the Suga Shack record label, a new business venture looking to make Mustang its home. Fleming, a musician himself, helps would-be artists record their music, produce it and market it to clubs, radio stations and customers.
“I pave their career,” Fleming said. “Music is one part of it, but if your business isn’t together, if you don’t know about merchandising, I am the guy to talk to. If you have no clue about promotion, then I am probably the guy to talk to.”
Fleming has been singularly focused on his music career since age 8 and was part of the Foshay music program in Los Angeles, which is guided in part by an outreach program at the University of Southern California.
“I did a lot of things there,” he said. “I learned a lot about the business aspect and a lot about the performance aspect — they put it all together for you.”
His love of music fed his drive to find his place in the music industry. That door opened in a chance meeting with a future music executive. In 1998, Fleming attended a promotional event for Shaquille O’Neal’s launch of his album “Respect.” It was there he encountered Tom Sturges, O’Neal’s then manager, who would later become a vice president at Universal Music Group and have a hand at turning the T.W.is.M. (The World is Mine) record label around.
“I encountered him, and I told him about my dreams in music,” Fleming said. “He took my calls from that point on, and he got big- ger as I grew up. It became a mentorship, and I still call him today. I talk to him once or twice a month.”
Fleming, though, did not stay in Los Angeles. He moved with his mother to Rialto, Calif., just east of Los Angeles where he attended Eisenhower High School. It was a place he began to think he would never leave alive.
“There was a drive by near my high school, and that is what woke me up,” Fleming said. “I was 17, and there was a place across from the high school in a shopping center called the Donut Shop. That was where all the thugs hung out, and my mom not knowing that and having to be at work at 6 a.m. would drop me off there.”
He said he hung out and ate donuts until school started.
“I knew everybody, but I really wasn’t involved in the gang activity,” he said. “I wasn’t too big into it, but I was around those characters so birds of a feather flock together.”
He was in the Donut Shop the morning of the drive by.
“One of my friends who is dead now, Franklin, he came through there, and he must have had a problem with somebody because he shot the whole place up,” Fleming said. “I remember covering over a girl, and the glass busting from the windows behind us. And I was hoping I didn’t get shot. It seemed like a long time, but it was just that fast. And I remember walking outside and looking at the broken glass and then walking home.”
He said the next day he turned to a teacher in the school’s student-at-risk program and told her he thought he would not live to see his 18th birthday. She inspired him to take more difficult classes to challenge his mind, and led him to think about going to college. For the 6-foot-7 Fleming, basketball and better grades would be his ticket out of the gang-plagued neighborhoods of his hometown.
“I was the smartest person in my family,” he said. “I just wasn’t applying it. I said, ‘I am going to go to college.’”
Fleming attended the College of the Desert near Palm Springs, Calif., and his play earned him a look from the coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford that would later lead to a scholarship offer and a move to Weatherford. The coach who recruited him soon left the school, and he was faced with the prospect of working with a new basketball coach.
“I ended up never playing a game for him because I was that focused on music,” Fleming said. “He told me that it was going to be music or basketball, and I knew what my dream was. It wasn’t to play Division II basketball. It was to get this big degree (music business) to get everything going.”
Fleming now lives with his fiancée in Mustang and has launched his business. He still turns to Sturges for advice and guidance.
“I try to give him a call and see what he is doing,” Fleming said. “He is really big on mentoring. That was always his dream, and now it’s mine. Suga Shack is in essence a place where I am going to employ a lot people, a lot of family, a lot of friends and people who always wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry, but you are in a place where there is no media market.”
He said Oklahoma City is No. 47 out of the top 50 in media markets in the United States. Dallas is No. 5 and Houston is No. 6.
“Oklahoma when you are only three hours away from No. 5, I don’t see why we can’t be No. 10 in five years,” he said. “I am just trying to put together a nice scheme that would let anybody I encounter out here who wanted to live those kind of music business dreams — I can bring those dreams to light and make Oklahoma take recognition to it.”
Fleming brought his experience in the music industry to an admittedly slower-paced Oklahoma music scene.
“I started preaching this dream to people, people started believing in me fast,” Fleming said. “I have my finger in everything. From booking artists, we have our own studio, we are running out of a garage, but we are looking for a building. We have a pretty nice studio. Our sound competes with any other sound around. I have several thousand hours of experience in the studio mixing and mastering. I am the prototype that does it all.”
Fleming works with musicians from various musical backgrounds including rap, pop, rhythm and blues, reggae, country and rock. He records the music; helps promote the artist and will even book them into clubs once their sound is ready. He also performs with a band named The Geek Squad, which he said regularly sells out clubs in Bricktown when they perform.
He calls his music edgy, racy and a sound that youth are looking for. He knows parents may have issues with the music, but he wants them to know he is trying to do the right thing.
“I want to be the one that goes to the YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs of Oklahoma,” he said. “I want to go there, sit there and record music with them — just to help kids expand their horizons.”
He said he left Rialto to escape the same gang violence he now sees in the beginning stages in some Oklahoma City neighborhoods. He said he believes he can reach the youth through his music and put them on a different path.
“I moved away from the gang violence,” Fleming said. “We are today’s heroes. When I was growing up, Jesus Christ was my hero. These kids today have a whole different broad look on life and who their heroes are. Some of their heroes are standing right in their face, telling them to do all of the wrong things.”
He said he wants music to be a force in bringing families together, and he wants his company to one day hold events that are family oriented.
He wants to mentor youth just as Sturges has done for him and employ them in good job once they are in college.
But he wants everyone to understand that music is a serious business.
“I have recorded over 200 songs and produced over 200 songs for artists around here who have never paid a dime to me,” Fleming said. “I give them hope. I am very good at what I do, and when they go back to their friends, they preach it to their friends. They take it (the music) back, and their friends say it sounds good. I bring that seriousness to it.”
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