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I Self Devine

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Born in 1972 in Los Angeles, California, I Self Devine exists as a testament of survival. Raised in the brutal streets during the gang and government funded crack epidemic, he strived for understanding and deeper meaning to life’s movement. His father, once a member of the Solidad Brothers, taught and exposed him to the underbelly of society. In 1980, when I Self was only eight years old, his dad left him and his mother on Christmas day.

During I Self’s childhood, he frequently moved around the Los Angeles area living in Compton, Watts and South Central. Growing up in Los Angeles provided a wide range of exposure to different art forms and all walks of life. Through much of his youth, his mother had him bused out for school to obtain a better education. The journeys to the outer school systems gave I Self his first examples of racism and in his resistance forced him to be expelled and change school districts.

I Self’s mother, a culturally aware artist and social worker, continued to teach him about Africa and the importance of knowing yourself and history. Being that his mother was radically progressive, she thought nothing of taking the young I Self Devine to go see Wild Style in 1982. This experience further cultivated the seed she planted three years previous when she purchased him the Rapper’s Delight twelve-inch for this seventh birthday. Wild Style caused a metamorphosis in the already rebellious I Self introducing him to a new phenomenon-Hip Hop.

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