Finding Paradise

Peace, my name is Chris Wise. I’m a writer, artist, and activist from Brooklyn, NY. Kareem is a great friend of mine and I’ve been a subscriber to Aghanomics for a few years now. I’m here to relay some of my life experiences, hoping to impart the spark for your personal evolution. Please give my latest single “Paradise” a listen and read about my motivation behind the creation of my favorite piece of work yet.
November 20, 2012.
Brooklyn, NY.

If you knew me back in high school and then got to know me today, you’d absolutely be shocked by the transformation. Back then, I was pushing almost 260 pounds, pretty dangerously overweight; I was pre-Diabetic as a youngster but I beat that case. I was a staunchly committed academic, not too big on studying but always putting great time and energy into my homework- I believed that’s where the true learning experience was because I was probably talking in class and not paying attention.

Somewhere between June 2009, when I graduated Salutatorian from the High School of Sports Management and now, I grew up. The trajectory of my life’s course in the past few years has been absurdly amazing. I left Brooklyn for the University of Massachusetts, a two-year experience that opened my eyes up to plethoras of opportunity and equal parts debauchery. It’s naturally reflexive to look back on the grossly unwise decisions you’ve made in your life and be scornful of the mistakes and mournful of the time lost. Let’s visit the Erykah Badu classic, Bag Lady:

Bag lady, you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you
One day all them bags gone get in your way


The baggage of an unsavory past will weigh you down and prevent you from soaring in the present. Purging is a healthy activity (if done healthily, of course) that frees the mind, body, and soul from the surrounding clutter and more importantly, the internal clutter. Through meditation and soul searching I understand that my mistakes contributed to making The Man I am today. I’ve achieved peace and happiness and I’m comfortable with discussing my past because it is theraputic; if it’s true and real, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

At UMass, I spent a lot of time smoking weed and playing video games when I was supposed to be doing homework. The negative view of that: I wasted away my very, very expensive education: The positive view: I learned that I didn’t care too much for homework! I was searching for community, a group of friends I could really connect with and have a good time. I found it for sure, it was just the WRONG community. I participated and became consumed in the drug and party culture as a means to assert myself socially (read: fit in with my peers).

I’m no longer looking for that thrill and momentary happiness that substance provides because my life has hit an amazing stride since leaving UMass and coming home to New York City. In summer of 2011, I made a vow to live by Biggie’s wisdom: “Only make moves if your heart’s in it, and live the phrase ‘Sky’s the Limit.’” I quit my stable summer job and started working the grindstone to find another opportunity. One week later, I was working for a marketing agency that had the Nike Basketball contract. I lost money that summer but I gained experience and connections that will last a lifetime. Trust your struggle.

In life, you MUST take risks. The safest paths, the roads frequently traveled have opportunities therein, but you must decide if you want to spend your life making the easy decisions. I’m only advising you to jump out of the plane if you’ve done adequate research on the fall and have your parachute prepared.

Are you happy with your current life situation, or are you starving for change?

Before this semester began, the summer was beautifully progressive and I was demoralized to return to school, even though I’d set up this great Hip-Hop Studies major which allows me to immerse myself in my passions academically. Once school started up, I was in a constant state of dread, switching back and forth between my student and artist records like Grandmaster Flash on the fader. As we’ve gotten deeper into the semester, I came to this immaculate crossroads, realizing that my academic endeavors were literally holding me back from my desired success as an artist, journalist, educator, and entrepreneur. “I just know when I’m getting one, the other’s getting away.” The candle was burning out on both ends and my hand was forced -by me- to make a decision:

Goodbye college. I can’t allow you to obstruct my dreams any longer. The window of success for me to succeed as an artist and entrepreneur will close if I do not dedicate my life to these crafts. I feel that you’ve helped me find my way and I am grateful for that. Don’t worry, I’ll pay you back soon.

I’m already meeting significant opposition to my decision, most notably from my mother. She’s telling me I’ll need to move out in a few months if I’m serious about this. That’s cool. I’m off to Paradise.

Chris Wise