Part 2: Artistry
I know Chris. His family and closest friends, they too all know Chris. Chris is smart, he’s funny, he’s witty, and laid back. He’s giving if you need it, and cares about things you wouldn’t expect. But then theres another side of Chris. Kris Byrd is the persona and stage name of the Chris I grew up with. Although not a complete opposite, Kris Byrd is more hardened. Think of Tony Stark in his Iron Man suit, same person on the inside, but the outside now has a shield up to protect not only himself, but those around him. Kris and Chris are similar in a few ways, both intelligent and aware, both hardworking hustlers, but Chris the person will talk to you personally and try to understand a problem, whereas Kris Byrd is more likely to punch you in the mouth. Like I said before, a hustlers path is never easy, and you have to be this way, especially in the streets of the Bronx. You can’t treat your “Customers” the same way you would treat your family at home. On a BX corner, people and things move fast, and as a hustler, Kris Byrd can’t allow anyone to get over on him. He has to be tough, he has to be aggressive, and sometimes when necessary, he has to be ruthless.
Growing up, Chris was always an Artist. He would attempt to draw pictures of Japanese anime like Dragonball Z or Pokemon, and he was actually really good at it. His bedroom walls were covered in the drawings he did himself. But as he got older, and his experiences in the world became more pressuring, he took on another form of artistry. The pencil still touched paper, but instead of drawing cartoons or anime, he wrote about his life and experiences and turned it all into poetry. Then he would say the words out loud and let them flow to a beat, and before our eyes, Kris Byrd the rapper was born. Chris fell in love with this form of Art. It became his mission and goal to succeed at it at all cost. This is where his skill of Hustling helps him the most. Dedicated to his passion, Chris has spent hours in studios and has shot music videos all across NYC. He’s put out mixtapes and singles all in the hopes of making it big. He has performed in front of crowds small and large, and has made the connections he hopes will finally help him achieve his dream.
There are many ways to hustle in life. Those who are hungry enough will always find a way to eat. The things a hustler must do are not always noble, not always honest, not always correct. But that shouldn’t take away from what kind of person the hustler is, what would you do if you were starving? Chris is one of my best friends, more family than a lot of my actual family. The options he was given, like many people who come from neighborhoods like ours, were limited. Chris is making the best of his situation. Not only smart enough to know how to play the game but talented enough to maneuver through. His story not yet over, his journey not yet complete. The path of a hustler is long and hard, and again, never easy. But if he wants to reach the promise land and avoid the valley of broken dreams like so many before him, he has to keep going. He has to push through the late nights, the early mornings, the cold winters, the schemers, the liars, the competition, and the pain… Chris has got to hustle.