Category: Articles

Reppin’ That Mug Life

From an Amazon search to lifelong supporter: Meet Jamie Robinson

Jamie Robinson found Death Wish Coffee on Amazon in 2013. Since then, he’s been hooked.

Without our supportive community, Death Wish Coffee wouldn’t be where it is today. That’s why we want to highlight our community members and introduce you to the people sipping on the world’s strongest coffee all day long.

Learn more about Jamie below.

How’d you first hear about Death Wish Coffee?

It was right around Christmas or New Years 2013. I looked around Amazon for coffee, so I searched for “World’s Strongest Coffee.” Funny, that just happened to be the slogan for the coffee that I would purchase with that gift card. I found Death Wish by searching for strong coffee. After 20 years in the Navy, you need to have strong coffee or it just tastes like dirty water. I have always been leery of “strong coffee” in advertisements because it is always bitter. No one wants to pay $20 for a pound of coffee that’s going to be bitter and probably get thrown away.

The first pot I made was stronger than 3-day-old Navy coffee, but didn’t have that bitter, “make your face cringe” aftertaste to it. From that day on, I was hooked. I kept buying from Amazon, because that’s where I found it. It wasn’t until almost 2 years later that I started buying from the Death Wish website. I have never looked back.

How you brewin’?

I drink my coffee black. This isn’t because I am some sort of bad ass, or that I have issues with dairy, it is because I like the flavor of coffee. Also, (another Navy reference) when you are on a ship that is at sea for lengthy periods of time, the milk goes bad and you don’t have that luxury. You drink your coffee black, or you don’t drink coffee. If I am drinking a flavored coffee (Barrel Brands) I will add creamer, though — but never sugar.

“How you brewin,’” you ask? Chemex. Every time I make coffee it is in a Chemex (unless I am traveling, then it’s French press).

What do you like to do in your free time?

Free time. I love that term. I have been retired since 2011, so you would think that all of my time is free. While I don’t actually leave my house and go to a job any more, I spend a lot of time working on my podcast, Mr. Throwback Thursday. When I am not networking, or researching for the show, I like to spend all the time that I can with my incredible wife of 24 years, Rye, my two sons Ian and Alex, and our beagle Chewie (yes, named for Chewbacca). I like movies, and LOVE music.

Talk a little more about your podcast. How’d you start it? What’s it about?

The Mr. Throwback Thursday podcast was born out of both love and spite. I love classic hip hop (1973-1998), and often had conversations with my best friend of 30-plus years, Bill, about “the good old days” of hip hop. We could sit and reminisce for hours on end, and wonder what happened to many of the artists we grew up listening to.

I had a friend that ran a podcast network, and I recommended to him that he do a classic hip hop podcast because there weren’t really any out there. He said that I should do it, since I knew more about the subject than he did. I wrote up a “proposal” explaining what the show would cover, and the basic format, and sent it to him. His response was, “One, you’ve got no radio experience, and two, after about six half-hour episodes once a month, you will run out of material.” Well, over 4 years and 223 episodes later, we are still here.

Every week, we cover current news about classic hip hop artists, an entire segment dedicated to news about the Wu Tang Clan, review two albums, and do interviews. We have interviewed legendary MCs like Chuck D from Public Enemy and DMC from, well, Run DMC. And not one single episode gets recorded without Death Wish in our mugs.

What’s your favorite community-related story?

I have met so many cool people through this community, and all because of our shared love for caffeine and clay. I would have to say that my favorite thing, though, is the way that everyone looks out for each other. Pre-Super Bowl commercial, we were a much smaller community — almost to the point where you could name the majority of the group members off the top of your head. Not that we were THAT small, but everyone knew everyone. If someone was having trouble, everyone bonded together to help them without being asked. When that person was back on their feet, they paid it forward. People would send Death Wish Coffee or mugs to each other just to see the other person’s week get better. It was like finding lost family, and Death Wish was the reason that we all found each other. Oh yeah, and that time Kane and Teah were rocking their Mr. Throwback Thursday shirts — that was a cool moment that I’ll always remember, too!

 

Please follow and like us:

Wu Tang is For the Children, Not the Millionaires

Once upon a time, Wu Tang was for the children. Today, Wu Tang seems to be out to defraud the biggest fraud out there. According to Bloomberg, the multi-million dollar, one of a kind album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, is NOT a Wu Tang Clan album. You may think that the large Wu logo in the center would identify it that way, but you could be mistaken.

It is difficult to feel sorry for the album’s owner, Martin Shkreli. There is no more to that statement, it is what it is. Allegedly, Cilvarings and RZA teamed up to pull off the biggest fraud since, well, Martin Shkreli. Long story short, everyone who appeared on the “Wu album” was paid up front for their services, like a feature on someone else’s album. After everyone was finished, Cilvarings put everything together and made a complete album. Many of the artists were Wu Tang affiliates, not core Wu members. When asked, these artists believed that they were working on a Cilvarings album, no one mentioned a Wu album.

There will be much more about this on next week’s episode. In the mean time, Hit Us Up and let us know if you think the Wu are still the greatest crew of all time, or if you think that they are only in it for the C.R.E.A.M. Until then, keep it classic and always remember….new school stale, old school fresh.

 

Please follow and like us:

Mr. Throwback Thursday Origin Story

I am a white male that grew up in Hyde Park, New York. What I also am is a classic Hip Hop fan(atic). I was born in 1971, Hip Hop was born in 1973; we grew up together. Why is it so hard to believe that I am a fan? This is my story.

1985, I was 13 years old and in 7th grade. I went to our local department store with my mom, and wandered around the record section. While looking through the cassettes, to kill time waiting for my mother, I stumbled on four large red letters; UTFO. Doctor Ice, Kangol Kid, Educated Rapper, and Mixmaster Ice…the Untouchable Force Organization. I convinced my mom to pick it up for me, and immediately threw it in to my box when I got home. From the first seconds of “Leader of the Pack” to the last beat of “Calling Her a Crab”, I was hooked. You may think of UTFO as a One and Done, but for that 13 year old kid they were the greatest thing in the world.

     

From that point forward, I saved up every nickel and dime that I could buy more of this music. I went back to that department store and looked at the small section of the records titled “Rap”. I didn’t know who anyone was, so I picked up a lot of K-Tel records and cassettes that had multiple artists. Many of them were titled “Rap’s Greatest Hits” followed by a number. From this collection, I could pick out artists that I liked, as well as figure out who I didn’t. Now I could pick up that Run DMC record that I wasn’t so sure about just two weeks ago, and know that I am going to like it.

Our local radio stations played pop, rock, some country, all the stuff that everyone played in the mid 80s. One Friday night I was spinning through the dial on my father’s receiver (my box’s antenna didn’t have much strength) and found 98.7 KISS FM. I found DJ Chuck Chillout spinning this music that I had recently fallen in love with…on the radio! Chuck was playing all kinds of stuff; Run DMC, LL Cool J, Salt n Pepa, the list went on. Everything that was on those Rap’s Greatest Hits records was being played on my radio! Chuck was mixing and scratching between tracks just like they did on the records. This was the greatest thing ever! I was there for 3 hours straight, and I didn’t move. Then, like Cinderella, the stroke of midnight came and the music was gone.

I went back the next night (Saturday) hoping to hear more of Chuck’s catalog. He wasn’t there, but when the clock struck 9, Kool DJ Red Alert arrived on my radio. Another three hour set of Hip Hop for me to hear, courtesy of Uncle Red. I started taping all of these three hour sets so that I could play them during the week when Chuck and Red weren’t spinning. I began to devour those tapes; learning lyrics to Ultramagnetic songs, becoming a Stetsasonic fan, studying to be an expert in the field.

I would go to school and quote the rap lyrics that were stuck in my head from the night before, and get very strange looks. I wasn’t understanding why my friends didn’t get it. Why were they looking at me like I had three heads because I knew the lyrics to all of these songs that they didn’t know? People would call me “Wigger”(not a term I use, or endorse), and ask me if I was trying to be black. I just knew that I loved the music. Why was me liking this music so wrong? The music was dope, the lyrics were crazy, the stories drew me in; it was the greatest thing to happen to me.

I didn’t understand. What did my loving music have to do with me wanting to be different? I didn’t want to be anyone but myself. I wanted to listen to Hip Hop. I wanted people to listen to it with me. I have always been “me”, and I will always be “me”. People would treat me like I was some sort of impostor because I liked a style of music that was “black”. Wasn’t rock and roll “black music”? Wasn’t R&B “black music”?

The reactions from the black kids in my school varied from borderline bullying to completely ignoring me. I would walk in on a conversation about the new LL Cool J record and try to join in. I knew this record, it was the greatest thing in my record collection right now! It didn’t matter what I knew, I was laughed at. It was like I was the 10 year old kid trying to hang out with my big brother’s 18 year old friends. I wasn’t black, why was I trying to be black? It’s music, people…..music has no color.

The white kids were worse. In the mid-80s, white kids were supposed to listen to Motley Crue, Poison, or whatever else MTV was pitching. If you weren’t listening to the MTV artists, or whatever the local top 40 (K-104) station was playing, you weren’t “in”. Of course, if you weren’t in, you were out. I was a man without a country, of sorts, in Junior High. High School, things changed.

I found a few like-minded friends in those early days, enough to convince me that I wasn’t some weirdo. I ran with a small crew, Bill, Dana, and Battle. We were a tight crew, a total of two black guys and two white guys. We were Hip Hop fanatics. This group was proving my point that music had no color. All of the people who picked on me for being a white boy who listened to rap have gone, but I still keep up with my crew to this day.

As the years went on, and Hip Hop became more widely accepted, I thought that it would get easier for me. I was wrong. I was reciting the lyrics to “True Fuschnick” when people were still down with MC Hammer. I was banging Onyx before anyone around me knew who the hell they were. The early 80s to the mid-90s was the greatest time in music, in my opinion. How is it that people still look at me like I am an alien when I talk about going to a classic Hip Hop show?

I have been (in the last few years) to see KRS One, Rakim, multiple “Fresh Fest” concerts, and the Kings of the Mic tour. Those looks don’t exist inside these shows. Maybe it’s because everyone there is 35-50 years old. Maybe as we get older, we just sit back and enjoy the music and the journey it takes us on. It’s nice to finally find a place where I’m not a wigger, I’m not a phony; I am accepted.

Today, I am the host of an award winning classic Hip Hop podcast with my best friend, Bill (also, not a Wigger). We have interviewed DJ King Shameek, Smooth B, Chuck D, Positive K, Sweet LD, DMC and the legendary Kool DJ Red Alert. We have received drops from everyone from Grandmaster Caz to MC Serch. We have been approached to play new music from classic artists. We are very happy with the way life has turned out. I still get that look, every once in a while, that says, “Yeah, right…you’re white!” That look continues to drive me, as it always has, to prove that music is colorblind. Until next time…keep it classic, and always remember: New School Stale, Old School Fresh.

 

Please follow and like us:

Enjoy the show? Please spread the word!