Name: Ya Boy Black Ice (YBBI, Trav Lyrics, Founder of The 41510 Apparel)
HomeTown: Richmond, CA. (S. F. Bay area, The 41510)
Genre: G-Funk/Mobb Music/Life/More sex less drama/Lets kick it/Travel/Watch out for the real killers
1990: Ya Boy Black Ice: Po Black Citizen
First official group was Po Black Citizen. Poetry was the Producer. I was the rapper, 19 years old and ready to take over the world. Prior to forming the group, I had been studying hit song structures and writing raps for like 5 years. I wanted to be ready when i got on the motorcycle. We did a lot of songs. Several tracks are featured in the "1990 Melody" available for download only inside the "YBBI/Trav Lyrics Collective" at our company website (www.travlyrics.com). We mass produced one project, a Cassette Single ( CDs didn't exist):
Po Black Citizen:
Side A: SUICIDE.
Side B: DIP TO THE BEAT.
Hearing those songs today is funny, because my flow wasn't developed. Okay, there was No FLOW, but the topics were balanced and very mature for a 19 year old. At the time, It was the best thing since sliced bread. Po Black Citizen is one of the 1st rap groups in Richmond, CA to have an actual retail ready project.
We were going to perform at the 1991 KMEL Summer Jam, a mega-concert hosted by the Bay-Areas #1 urban radio station...SIKE! Our music was hot though.
Late 1991, I left Richmond; nearly four years. No Studios. No recording. I was in limbo, just maintaining and writing raps. I wasn't in prison.
1995: Ya Boy Black Ice: 5.0 REASONS & Travlyrics Custom Graphic Design
By 1995 I was back in the Rich. I had found my flow and delivery. The rhymes are confident, aggressive, and matter-of-fact. Also my vision was more clear. I felt like a NBA point guard with "Court Vision". While I was gone i lived in several different world that changed my views on many subjects; especially the Ghetto Mentality. (Play " Living in the Town" and "Stepped on Stepped Over")
Ya Boy black Ice is a storyteller. My lyrics have two levels. Level one is for folks who check for the track and flow. Level two is for those who actually dissect the rhymes. You always get a beginning, middle and end. I intentionally leave things out, so your imagination takes over. Chains of events may vary based on one's personal experience. I have always written songs that I understand, because the songs are based on my everyday experiences.
But just like the 1990 single, everybody wasnt ready to digest my issues in one swallow, but singles were not cost effective for me. What I needed was an on-demand per song system where I could record whatever I wanted and distribute it. Then MP3.com was created. I've been in love with the internet since 1997.
The OG 5.0 REASONS album was my polished introduction: 'Hi, I'm Ya Boy Black Ice. I drive a Fifty (Ford Mustang 5.0). I have a few personal problems. My uncles are crack heads. And here's what happened last night.' That was truly my life in 1991-95. The songs are timeless and my lyrics are still relevant today.
Fortunately I diversified early. This rap thing was looking kind of fruitless, so I went into other contemporary elements of Hip-Hop cover design (graffiti) and fashion (style/swag). Travlyrics Graphic Design was established in 1995-'96 to create the 5.0 REASONS artwork. I co-founded The 41510 Brand Apparel.
1998: 41510 Apparel
The 41510 Brand Apparel was established for one reason. As a Rapper/Graphic Designer, I wanted to create a quality-first, easy to understand, “For Us By Us”, Bay Area Hip-Hop Based Clothing Brand allowing local artists (like myself) to Identify Home as we traveled worldwide. That was it. Yes, 41510 Apparel was originally created for Rappers! To BUY! Rappers were the target market. It was designed to be our Phat Farm, Fubu, Rocawear, Karl Kani, Mark Echo, etc.
Slam Dunk! No Brainer. Right? Wrong. It made so much sense that it was too complicated for artist to understand. We ultimately took it to the masses, where many people adopted and purchased our products. Here is where we learned that the masses are like sheep. They do what is popular. And popularity is very difficult to gain in the Bay Area rap scene.
Now, 10 years later and many hurdles, we have proven, accomplished and transcended our original goal. We now identify all facets of the Bay Area lifestyle, including
ALL music, Diversity, Weather, Politics, The sideshow, The Castro, etc.
My Last Rhyme Will Be My Last Breath
Exit: Ya Boy Black Ice. Enter: Travlyrics.com
The name change was a needed upgrade. My new introduction had to concisely express that I was doing much more than rapping. It was a silent command: "Go to my web site". Most people called me Travlyrics anyway. By 2001, I was a 10x better rapper; still concentrating on flow and rhyme patterns; refusing to rhyme 'Hood' with 'All good'. Ideas were still drawn from everyday conversations.
1) You can't stop listening to rap. (Play track #14)
2) My mama is from the same streets as me. (My Mama - YBBI Collective)
3) My lyrics are equal to or better than a lot of rappers, so don't tell me its all about tight lyrics. (Play track #13)
4) This paying dues thing is blatant theft. (Rest of These - YBBI Collective)
Had I continued to chase the dream, my third release would have been, "My Last Rhyme Will Be My Last Breath". With four songs done, it became clear, I was too busy with Travlyrics Graphics and The 41510 Brand Apparel was growing. Then tragedy. First, The dotcom bubble burst, causing the economy and expendable money to dry up. Then 911 hit and the local economy completely shut down on independent clothing designers. Now, there was no real money to complete the "Last Rhyme" project. Also it was crystal clear (to me) that there was a new breed of rapper coming up in the Bay Area, so I chose to lay back and ride it out until my turn came back around.
My mentality at that point was "These are good records with timeless lyrics and a competitive image. Eventually I'll be able to play by my own rules".
Basically in the late 90s, my timing was off.
By 2000, I was 29 years old with a lot of lumps from experience.
2002, my vision on life was becoming clear. I understood why certain things happen and I wanted to discuss it. Simultaneously, Bay Area Hip-Hop began to demand less, marking the pre-stages of going Dumb. Eventually Bay Area Hip-Hop made a conscious decision to ride the yellow bus. (Download "13 O'clock" Prophets of Rage featuring Ya Boy Black Ice.)
2003, I was a grown man who had to step up his game. I needed a break to catch my breath and live outside of Urban Paradox of clothing, music, meetings in night clubs, fashion shows, tables, vendor booths, and fake contests. Although, I will keep the free drinks.
Everything was shutdown. I traveled a bit as shown at www.Youtube.com/41510Brand. I became a Husband, Father, Home Owner, and Student of structured business.
2007: The Travlyrics Company LLC
Custom Graphic Design • Classic Music • 41510 Brand Products • Travlyrics-On-Demand
Recently, several things have occurred to re-spark my faith and put me back on the motor cycle.
1. At 36, my business now has structure and I know my position.
2. I've grown wiser and more articulate, so I spit fewer curse words.
2. I became a focused Husband and a Father.
3. The 5.0 REASONS Album has become a Underground G-Funk Classic.
4. Web 2.0: Google, PayPal, Itunes, Myspace, YouTube and Snocap have leveled the
playing field for the independent and less popular artist.
5. I've decided to be a part of the solution by example.
The dream has been realized. For years I've admired Ice Cube, Prince, and Chuck D for their internet presence. Since 1996, I've operated www.travlyrics.com, with hopes to make both my entire music catalog and my personal graphic design catalog available for download. No inventory. No red tape. No drama. Just an instant fair trade with no robbery, between you, me, your ipod, your closet, and that empty space on your wall.
YBBI featured on:
Dillo - Temporary Insanity - (1995)
Repo Ric's Repolation - (1998).
#4) 5.0 REASONS is the Title track from my classic 1998 CD.
Rinnessy - All Iz Never Said - (2001)
#6) Stress Free
Prophets of Rage - Brand New World - (1998)
#13) 13 O'clock
J. Official's - Grimmiest 5 - (2007)
• YBBI (aka Trav Lyrics) designed the cover art for 5.0 REASONS, Repo Ric's West Coast Repolation, Young Pone-Ready Fo Whateva, OZ-Ozone, Rinnessy - All Iz Never Said and many other Richmond and Vallejo albums since 1995.
• Prepare for the album "A Fifth of Rinnessy Over Ya Boy Black Ice".
• In late 2008, Ice-T and AC/DC are using the name 'Black Ice' for their group and album respectively. That sort of makes 'Ya Boy Black Ice' a true pioneer, due to his choosing the name Black Ice in 1990 and maintaining his identity for nearly 20 years.
• Now on twitter ---> Twitter.com/YaBoyBlackIce