8:55 PM: I arrive at Corner Bakery Cafe in Westwood to pick up 43-year-old rapper/producer/MC Michael Troy (aka Myka 9) and his Canadian producer Factor. For some background on Myka, peep our story on his seminal group Freestyle Fellowship.
8:57 PM: “How are you, beautiful?” Myka asks. He is quite charming. He sits in the front seat and turns up the heat, even though all four windows are down. He has a swag and confidence about him, and a sensitivity.
9:00 PM: I have no idea what the hell we are doing or where we are heading. I don't think they have a clear idea, either.
9:01 PM: Myka talks about the underground hip-hop scene in the early '90s and that he started rapping at age 12. He began freestyling on the bus going to and from school. All the other kids would sit around and listen to him. Besides Freestyle Fellowship he's in the trio Haiku D'Etat, which also features Aceyalone and Abstract
Rule Rude. With Project Blowed, the well-respected open mic workshop that started at the Good Life Café, he began performing and gaining recognition for his lyrics and rapid-fire flow.
9:02 PM: “I need papers and a little bit of weed,” Myka announces. He reaches down into his pocket and pulls out some 'shrooms. “You see,” he says, dangling the plastic bag around. “This shit is crazy!” He tells me that he and his friends have been partying non-stop for the past two weeks, and he's gearing up for his West Coast tour, which begins this week. He partied in Paris Hilton's old crib the other night, drinking until the sun came up. He moved to San Francisco a few months ago, but has come back to his hometown of L.A. to shoot a video for “Mind Heights” from his new album Sovereign Soul, out on Tuesday.
9:04 PM: Myka says we are going to meet his friends in Pacific Palisades. One of them is his ex-girlfriend Shanny, whom he dated for six years. Though they broke up over shit like lying and infidelity, “It's all love between us,” he insists.
9:10 PM: Factor is stoked because he hasn't spent much time with his friends since he worked on Myka's 2009 album 1969. Shanny also sang on the album. The 30-year-old Factor bounces between Canada and L.A., working on projects and touring the continent. He became a DJ in 1998, initially making his own beats and selling mixtapes. He and Myka recorded their first song together, “Good Old Smokey,” in 2009.
9:22 PM: We arrive at Gladstones Restaurant on PCH. I park my car on the side of the road, and we walk toward the building. Myka doesn't have a phone, believe it or not, and Factor can only text on his international cell, which is dying. Myka really needs a whiskey and brings it up often. From outside the bar looks dead, and Myka figures his friends might be chilling on the beach.
9:23 PM: The ocean water gleams bluish-black against the midnight sky. Shanny, her sister Jeni and dubstep DJ Audio Dice are sitting on some blankets. There is a shrine of crystals and rocks that Shanny has collected from her travels all over the world. The contents sprawl across a black blanket. She offers me a Stoli and Sprite, taking a sip before she hands it over. “Does anyone have a lighter?” she inquires. “I want to burn some sage.”
9:26 PM: Jeni has a blue scarf masking her face, reddish-orange strands of hair pushed to one side. As her eyes close, she clutches her drum, drawing my attention to some birds that are soaring in the distance. DJ Audio Dice is wearing sunglasses and a hat, and he bobs his head each time the waves crash on the shoreline. Shanny chimes in, singing slow, resonant chants to the beat of the drum. Myka starts rapping lyrics from his song “Life or Death.”
9:42 PM: Myka finishes his rap and explains that he grew up on hip-hop and jazz, encouraged by his parents, who were both jazz musicians. He was raised in the Crenshaw District, which he calls “The Jungle.” He didn't have such an easy childhood, in and out of foster care. He reunited with his mother at age nine and lived in a crack house when he was 15.
9:44 PM: Myka takes a few shots of Stoli from the bottle.
9:45 PM: Shanny sits down next to him and puts her hand over his. He smiles at her and continues to talk about his mother. She passed away eight years ago. He believes she died from her lifestyle choices and a broken heart. It was a really difficult time in his life. Also, his ex-wife abducted their daughter and brought her to New York City while Myka was caring for his sick mother. His father is alive, but is still drinking and doing drugs.
9:50 PM: Shanny places a wispy scarf around my face. “Have you ever done DMT?” she asks. “You have to trip with me. It only lasts like 20 minutes.” This turns out to be untrue.
9:51 PM: She inhales a mix of DMT and haze cannabis, exhales a large cloud of white smoke, and passes the bowl over to me.
9:52 PM: In my head I'm thinking this is a dumb idea. Should I really be tripping on psychedelics right now? But she did say it would only last 20 minutes.
9:53 PM: I take a hit and cough immediately. Shanny tells me that I won't feel anything if I cough right away. I take another much larger hit and hold it in as long as I can. I take one last hit. Then I cough for about five minutes.
9:55 PM: I have no idea where I am.
9:56 PM: The scene looks like Africa or maybe India. It's exactly where I want to be. I see an entire city around me with bright lights and streaming colors. I look over at Jeni, and she looks like an elf. She's singing music, and I can see all of the notes floating around my head. I'm in a dream. There is beauty all around me. Myka looks right at me with sullen eyes. He tells me he's my spiritual healer. I touch his face. Or at least I think I do.
9:57 PM: I'm spinning in circles. I start playing the drum. I'm really good. Maybe that's not me playing. I'm not sure. My world is sparkly circles. I'm definitely in Africa now. I look at the elephant shapes in the distance. I see some green creatures crawling toward me. Everyone looks like a god.
9:59 PM: I close my eyes. I can feel the juice from the gum I am chewing slowly trickle inside my body.
10:05 PM: I see a lot of dolphins. I'm not really sure if they are real or not. I think it might be my hands.
10:06 PM: I start crying. Tears are running down my face. Shanny's face is glowing. She looks like a cartoon alien. She wipes away my tears and it feels really good. I ask her to do it again. Everything goes white for a second. Am I dying?
10:10 PM: She places crystals all over my legs. I feel really close to her. She asks if I'm a musician. I'm now convinced I was playing the drum.
10:11 AM: Myka welcomes me to the spiritual side. Shanny's eyes are really large. She speaks some language I don't recognize. She tells me she made it up when she was young. It's called Ibe.
10:30 PM: I'm fucking high as shit.
10:32 PM: I take this photo. It resembles what I'm seeing right now:
10:41 PM: I think we are out of Africa now. Everything is somewhat hazy, black and cold. It's still beautiful outside. Myka tells me that we are welcoming an unfolding rebirth. Cerebral limitations. The spirit of the mind. He calls himself “the Spirit Pimp.”
11:10 PM: “Where am I going to sleep?” asks Myka. “I don't really want to sleep on this beach and get woken up at 5 AM or get run over. Maybe I can call my girl Macy Gray.”
11:22 PM: “I'm so high right now! I'm tripping my ass off. I just smoked DMT for the first time!” shouts Jeni. She turns around and starts running toward the ocean, wildly.
11:46 PM: “What the fuck?” shouts Myka to Jeni.
11:50 PM: “Why are you fighting with me?” asks Jeni. “When you get drunk, you get so mean.”
“You're an open shadow, but you just freaked out on me,” he says. “You just started going crazy and growling at me.”
“Yeah, I'm on DMT, asshole!” she screams. “Get the fuck out of here! I swear to God I love you, but fucking get out of here.”
11:55 PM: Myka storms away. He yells in the distance, “This is why no one likes you!”
12:00 AM: Myka and Factor put their luggage in my trunk. They have boxes of CDs, merchandise and suitcases that were in Shanny's truck. We all enter my car, and Myka puts his head on my steering wheel and starts praying for positive energy. He's doing his affirmations.
12:05 AM: We head over to Townhouse Cocktails in Venice Beach. On the way, we stop at the Day & Night Food Mart to pick up a pint of Jack. Myka hits on a blonde in the store. Her boyfriend is waiting outside.
12:45 AM: We enter the bar. It's dimly lit and some drunks are screaming about voting for Obama. “If you don't like Obama, you should go suck a dick!” yells some artsy chick. Myka and Factor order shots of Jägermeister. They drink to the fact that they both love weed.
1:06 AM: Myka walks to the bathroom and disappears for about 20 minutes. “Where the hell did he go?” asks Factor.
1:21 AM: Factor and I walk outside and find Myka smoking weed with a guy from the Bay Area in his car. The guy is hopped up on something. Some other white rapper named Skinny from Richmond, Virginia sells Myka his CD and a joint for a $1.
1:43 AM: “I feel like we are astronauts staying together for each other floating around on this Earth,” says Myka to Factor.
1:45 AM: They have two more shots of Jäger inside the bar.
1:48 AM: Myka tells me that his best friend's mother is sick. He has tears in his eyes. He downs the last of his shot.
1:51 AM: There's a circle of men and women beatboxing outside the bar. Myka steps in and starts freestyling about having a good hustle. He's got great flow, but that's not exactly news.
2:10 AM: Myka tells me that we have to go to an after-hours speakeasy that his parents used to frequent back in the day. “It's a place of international pimping,” he says. “All these famous people hang out here. But I got no money. We at least need $200 to get some drinks and a half-gram of blow.”
2:28 AM: We enter a house on Crenshaw Blvd. The place is dimly lit with a bar in the back. It's kind of scary looking. A 30-something woman who introduces herself as Letica serves the guys two shots of whiskey and some blow with a ripped up four of clubs playing card and a straw. Factor spends about $60.
2:40 AM: Letica and Myka go way back, at least ten years. She's been a stripper most of her life and is involved in a polyamorous relationship with the guy who owns the house. One of the other girls in the relationship is also present. Both Letica and Myka can talk your ear off.
2:58 AM: We make our way into the first room in the house, through a ratty old curtain that hangs in the doorway. A Kanye West song plays through an ancient TV. It sounds like shit. Myka is blowing lines of coke, one after another. He sits behind a James Brown statue and in front of a picture of a naked woman sleeping. It's freezing in here.
3:10 AM: Myka takes another shot of whiskey and does another line of coke. He tells me: “Killers love us, but they want to control us.” I have no idea what he's talking about, but I laugh anyway.
3:55 AM: Letica and Myka are making out next to me. One of the other girlfriends/wives of the polyamorous relationship walks in the room. It is extremely awkward.
4:40 AM: It's becoming a real situation that Myka and Factor do not have a car or a place to stay. Myka meets a racecar driver named Costa in the house, who offers to give them a place to crash in Sherman Oaks.
4:41 AM:Myka and Costa do another line.
4:45 AM: Factor does not want to sleep in some random older dude's house. Myka desperately tries to convince him otherwise.
5:00 AM: We all drive around the corner to an ATM to take out more cash.
5:20 AM: Myka goes back inside the house alone.
5:50 AM: He returns with another shot of Jack and downs it in my car. “Sorry that took so long,” he says. “I had to take care of business. You know, talk to my home girl for a little bit. She was kissing me on the bar and shit.”
6:00 AM: We drive around Crenshaw trying to find a motel for the two of them to crash in. At this point, Myka asks to sleep at my apartment on the floor.
6:15 AM: We get lost and end up in Myka's old neck of the woods near Dorsey High School on Farmdale Ave. We turn the corner and Myka says, “That's where I got shot at. I've been shot in the head a few times.” He takes the bottle of Jack and drinks some more. He admits to being in a gang and even shooting a few people back in the day. We pull up to a friend's house. He shouts, “I love you!” from the car window. I advise him that's it's probably too early to ring the bell.
6:38 AM: I pull over to the side of the road and call all the motels around the area. At this point, I'm extremely tired, and Myka is going on and on about his girl, but not making any sense. I drop them off at Annes Motel on S. La Cienega. They take their luggage from my trunk and wave goodbye. I exhale, look at the time and start driving home.
6:49 AM: I open my purse and find one of the crystals placed on me during my DMT trip. I collapse in my bed with my clothes sandy and my shoes still on.
Myka 9 and Factor will be performing at The Airliner this Saturday, November 10