Blake Carrington: Creating His Own Opportunities and Relishing Every Moment [Article]
Toronto, ON – There’s something infectious about Blake Carrington’s presence. He’s a ball of energy, with eyes that light up like a pinball machine when he talks about music…or life…or his plans…or pretty much anything, actually. This unrelenting hopefulness permeates through the room wherever he is and on the stage whenever he spits. Today, he’s seated inside the Round Tree Restaurant, in downtown Toronto. Dressed in camouflage cargo pants, Timberland boots, a red vest and a Minnesota Timberwolves snapback, Blake is as eager to talk as he is to get started on his fresh made chicken pizza.
“I live my life like I have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” he philosophizes. “Because, at the end of the day, what am I losing? Nothing. I could have said no to that trip, but if I did I wouldn’t be talking to you. I wouldn’t have a crazy fuckin’ video. I wouldn’t have the Big Boy contact. I wouldn’t have a few roots out there.”
The trip he’s talking about was to Japan. The video he’s talking about is “Revenge of the Nerds.” And the Big Boy he’s talking about is from Power 106 in L.A.
As I unearth the movie-worthy stories of his adventures, his dedication to creating opportunities is astonishing. Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?
With $160 in his pocket, Blake shows up at the bus station to catch a ride to Los Angeles. The problem is the ticket cost nearly $300. The price he’d seen was for online purchases only, but after hearing Blake’s reason for going, the attendant takes $160 and sends him on his way. Blake spends the next three days on the bus in the same clothes, with no money left even for food.
“A lady I met on the bus said I looked like her son, so she bought me some food,” remembers Blake.
That was how Blake first got to L.A. and since that trip, he’s been building his contacts steadily with every trip. Needless to say, the next time he made it there, he was more prepared.
Fast forward to November 2010, after talking his way to access at the American Music Awards, he approaches Big Boy on his way out. A short introduction later, Big Boy invites him to the radio station for 6:45am the next morning. Blake shows up at 6:15am, after being up all night at the after parties networking.
“I had the same clothes on that I wore to the club when I showed up at the radio station. I couldn’t afford to sleep,” Blake says.
Making conversation with Big Boy, he hears the long time radio personality is headed on a trip to Japan in the coming months. It will be his 29th time there. Blake expresses enthusiasm about hitting the Japanese market one day too. The informal meeting ends, Blake leaves some of his music behind and everyone goes on with their lives.
While at work back in Toronto, Blake gets a call from his manager telling him Big Boy invited him to Japan to perform alongside Ray Jay. Ecstatic and surprised, he obviously accepts and flies to Japan, on his own money, in late December 2010. With him, he brings Chris Strikes, who Blake describes as “one of the hungriest directors out here.” They spend the next week exploring Japan, shooting a short documentary as well as the video for “Revenge of the Nerds” which later debuted on MuchMusic’s RapCity.
“Big Boy hadn’t even heard my shit when I was in Japan,” reveals Blake. “I got to Japan and he’s like ‘ok I’m going to be honest with you, I haven’t heard your shit.’ It was just the hustle that got me there…He told me to go extra hard at sound check for his sake. I’m a ball of energy on stage, so I killed the show and after that it was mad love.”
Not bad for what started with a $160 bus ride.
“I was excited!” says Blake about landing in Japan. “(Laughing) I was thinking like Ryu from Street Fighter. Only time I been to Japan was when I played Street Fighter. I see the culture and the people, everybody bowed to us, it was crazy…It didn’t really hit me until I was on the train going to the hotel and I just had a moment. It was around Christmas time and I had to use some of my Christmas money because Big Boy and those guys didn’t pay for us to go out there. It was another test.”
Blake cites the 1996 Jay-z song featuring Memphis Bleek “Coming Of Age,” as a parallel analogy for his situation. Jay-z raps about Memphis Bleek as the kid trying to come up in the game and gives him little tests about street smarts and loyalty. Blake recites the line “(Jay-z)Here’s a thou. (Memphis Bleek) A G? I ride with you for free, I want the long term riches and bitches.” Maybe his first test was the early morning meeting in L.A., that he showed up early for. Maybe the next test was whether he’d come out of pocket to fly across the world at Christmas time. Maybe the next test was sound check. Who knows what the next test will be, but Blake seems to be running headfirst towards it.
He’s set to release Dare 2 Dream, hosted by LA Leakers in the coming months and recently took another trip to California to shoot a video with Rich Kidd. He plans on moving to L.A., after hearing stories from the likes of Jamie Foxx (who moved to L.A. from Texas to get his start) as well as his own aunt (who lived in California in her 20’s as well). He’s found measurable success whenever he’s reached out to find opportunities and believes making a move like that will help his future. At the same time, he’s relishing every moment of life at this point.
“I love this stage. I’ll never ever regret any of the shit I’ve been through, because me going through the struggle makes the story even more glorifying…If you go in there thinking you lost, you lost man, but if you go in there thinking you won at least you experienced something. And enough of the millionaires and multi-millionaires, they go through fuckin’ drops. They fail enough. It is how you learn from a failure, how you learn from a motherfuckin’ mistake, it’s how you maneuver that shit. I don’t think of myself as only an artist or a producer, I go into business mode and think of ways to get out there, ways of building my brand. I read books all the time about certain things and watch discoveries because every successful person I look at left a trail behind them of how they got there.”
For more check out BlakeCarringtonsWorld.com
Written by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown for HipHopCanada