Who is Sharp Skills
I was born at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Inglewood, CA in 1984. During my childhood and adolescent years, I moved around a lot. This made it hard to sustain many of my friendships. So this inadvertently made me a loner. I learned to march to the beat of my own drum because as soon as I picked up the pattern of my surroundings, the beat would change.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a very driven individual. Since a child, when I found something I wanted to do, I would pour my entire heart and soul into it. This helped me accomplish some great things but it also got me into some trouble when I was younger. This passionate nature of mine led to three near death experiences.
However, I was fortunate to find hip hop music. This gave me an outlet that allowed me to channel my intense spirit. The seed was planted when I was about 8 years old. I found some of my older sister’s rap tapes and after that I was hooked. Albums/records that were instrumental in my development as an emcee were Warren G’s Regulate, Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt, and Cool Like That by Diggable Planets.
I began to memorize the lyrics of all my favorite rappers until I could deliver them verbatim for my friends on the playground. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was uncovering a passion that would take me on a journey for the next several years of my life. I really came into my own during high school. I saved up enough money to build a small makeshift studio in my parents’ basement. It consisted of a Roland BR-8 (which was a self-contained 8-track digital recording studio), a very basic beat machine, and a Casio keyboard .
I made my own beats, wrote and recorded my own raps, and figured out a way to put the music on tapes and CD’s. The music was pretty terrible by my standards now. But it wasn’t about that. It was about having the ability to create something of my own that I could be proud of.
My family and I moved to Seattle (from Omaha, NE– I know, long story) in 1999. It was a nice change of pace, even though I missed the great friendships I had developed in Omaha. So it was back to the drawing board again. I really didn’t fit into the culture of the high school I went to, so I stayed to myself. In 2000, my stepfather suddenly died from a brain hemorrhage. I’m the one who found him on the floor unconscious. 6 weeks later my biological father died from health complications. This was all during my senior year of high school, it was a very dark period in my life. But, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
In 2004, I produced my first album, about a month after my 19th birthday. It is entitled The Responsibility of Sharp Skills. Looking back, I believe I named it that because I began to feel the weight of becoming a man since I lost both of the men I was following. This album turned out to be really something in the local Seattle area. It led to being able to perform for hundreds if not thousands of people in the Pacific Northwest. I still run into people that can recite lyrics word for word from this album.
Since then, I have been able to release numerous albums and singles. My music has been featured in film and television. I also get paid to do something I love that has been a major part of my life for the last two decades.
In recent years, I’ve discovered a couple new passions. These are speaking and writing. I’ve been a pretty decent communicator for most of my life. But my desire to do it on a professional level came after I realized that peoples lives were being changed for the better when I spoke. In 2014, I released my first book entitled Accuracy: A Guide to Living Skillfully and Successfully in Today’s Crazy Times. It reflects my inner drive to realize my full God-given potential and to be the best person that I possibly can. This book has opened the door for me to be able to speak to hundreds of people, many of whom are college students.
Aside from my daily grind as a hip hop artist, speaker, author, and businessman, I am the very lucky husband of Menzelle and proud father of two of the most amazing boys on the planet. Johnathan and Philip Jr. They are my true wealth and legacy.
I realized that I was a rebel when I found myself frustrated with many of the stereotypical images that were associated with hip hop culture. While there was a time that I bought into much of the foolishness and superficiality within the culture, I decided to make a total 180 after my 3rd (and final) near death experience.
I decided to go against the grain of what the corrupted system painted me as in order to become who I really was. This life philosophy has dictated every facet of my life since 2006, when I caught my first glimpse of the vision for my life. So, at the end of the day, I am a rebel and will more than likely be that until I meet my Maker. My life’s mission is to realize my full potential and show other emerging leaders who don’t fit in with the status quo how to do the same.