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From Musing XIII:

"You don’t agree with the situation?—Well, me either because this ain’t

“Leave it to Beaver”

You don’t want to get gunned down in the street?—Well me neither,

hatred infesting our neighborhoods

like a high fever.

I have no love in my life, so I feel the pain alienated from America, I feel estranged. My life is not valued, so who’s to blame? Am I a leader, or another statistic with a forgotten name?"

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Tarik Kiley (Mixed Thoughts) started his musical journey when he picked up his father’s drum book, “The Rudiments of Drumming” at age 15.


Curious about drumming, he joined two afterschool programs while living in Los Angeles, CA. He joined a samba school, where he primarily played the surdo, and also picked up the congas while learning Afro-Cuban rhythms. While living in Baltimore, MD, at the age of 17, Tarik purchased a drum machine and amp and started programming Hip-Hop beats. It was mostly for fun.


When Tarik moved to Charlotte, NC at the age of 18, he picked up the piano, learning some ideas about chords and harmony from a friend of his. Around this time, Tarik dabbled in Hip Hop and wrote a little, but mainly focused on making beats.


Tarik would focus on making beats until the year 2009. In 2009, Tarik started writing rap lyrics again. He had been rapping since 1994, but it was in 2009 when Tarik took himself as a solo artist more seriously. Since 2009, Tarik has taken a more serious undertaking in terms of understanding the poetic foundations of Hip Hop music.


He reached out and started performing at various open mics in the Charlotte area. He joined the group Guerilla Poets in 2012--having met, Shane Manier, the executive director at an open mic. He was promoted to Vice President of Guerilla Poets in 2019, after networking and facilitating relationships between Guerilla Poets and Culture Blocks, Time Out Youth, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture. In 2012 and 2015, respectively,


Tarik published two albums, “A Nation of Fatherless Children” and “Insecurities.” Tarik continues to have a wealth of unpublished solo material. In 2016, Tarik self-published a book of poetry, based on the Hip Hop form, called, “Musings of a Lonely Mind.” Starting in 2017, Tarik decided to start teaching. With a wealth of musical knowledge, Tarik began teaching with Guerilla Poets and Culture Blocks. Through Culture Blocks, he taught the History of Hip Hop Musical Thought, the History of the Blues, Percussion and Poetry, Old School vs. New School Hip Hop, and Latin American Music. He has also taught a one day class called Hip Hop 101 at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Charlotte Lit.


A serious student of music, Tarik has researched music history and development extensively. In addition to teaching through Culture Blocks, Charlotte Lit and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library, Tarik has researched various music histories. This includes the history of the Blues, the history of Jazz, the history of Hip Hop, and the history of Afro-Cuban music. Tarik’s latest project is a podcast with fellow Guerilla Poets member, Tony Baker. The “TnT Podcast” as it is called is a podcast discussing topics in the arts and culture from an urban perspective.


Tarik continues to find ways to share the stage with other artists, and continually seeks opportunities to share his gifts with others.

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