Where do you come up
with your best ideas?
My best ideas come from hanging with my family. The power of their positivity, fueled by laughter and music, has inspired me since I was a kid. Having that, along with the layers of pain and struggle we’ve gone through, has kept us close and provided me with motivation to try and make other people feel good.
What is the best
non-material gift you’ve received?
My niece, Frankie. She’s my parents’ first grandchild and my only sibling’s first child. My sister, Kristina Marie, who is named after the old school funk artist Teena Marie, decided to name her daughter after me. She is five months old and we are already super homies. I know everybody always says their baby is cute even when they’re not, but little Frankie is actually cute AF. My sister naming her Frankie was the coolest gift. So now, whenever we are together, we are known as “The Frankies.”
What is the best non-material gift you’ve given?
I had a high school friend who attempted to commit suicide. At the time I was recording underground hip-hop music. I wrote a song and recorded it for him. He would always bring it up and tell me how much it meant to him. That it helped him so much. That was 20 years ago, and he’s still alive and well. I’m not saying my song is what kept him wanting to live, but when it comes to a human life, every little bit counts.
I think about working at the sloth orphanage in Costa Rica. Those homies are so chill.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Being sexually abused as a child, then telling my parents about it 25 years later. In our community it is something people just don’t talk about. For many reasons. My parents were the best and did everything to protect us. That’s what made it so hard. I’ve been beaten up and called racial slurs, but this was definitely the most difficult. Finally opening up about it helped me accept it. To try and love myself and become stronger. In the end it made my family and me even closer, and I hope to help others who’ve gone through similar experiences.
If you had to choose a different profession, what would you do?
I use to rap and perform at live underground hip-hop shows back in the day. So I still fantasize about recording another album. Being a successful, independent underground MC would be awesome. I also think about working at the sloth orphanage in Costa Rica. Those homies are so chill.
What is the most useful mistake you’ve made?
Going to college. I don’t regret it at all, but it seems like a mistake if you consider the fact I don’t use my degree for anything I do now. Although, it was useful because of all the people I met and am still really good friends with. It also forced me to study and memorize things, which I think helps with my writing today.
What’s the strangest experience you’ve had?
I was at Burning Man in 2008. My buddy and I were walking in the middle of the desert. We came up on this small group of people dressed as Teletubbies. They were playing a wiffle ball game and asked us to join. I love wiffle ball so was happy to join. As we were playing, an older man came up on a stagecoach. He was dressed 1940s style with a top hat. He offered us Absinthe from the back of his stagecoach. We all had some and continued our game as he rode off. This was before the Absinthe kicked in, so I was not hallucinating. Yet. It was the strangest, most fun experience I’ve had.
What opportunity do you regret passing up?
Regrets are not healthy. Especially for someone like me. I guess my one regret is not letting go of regrets sooner. Don Miguel Ruiz helped me realize that. Plus I get déjà vu regularly, so I feel like the universe is taking me where I need to go.
How do you relax?
Whiskey, a hit of weed, and a self-help book. Anxiety is my worst enemy. So I appreciate when my body allows me to relax.
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many places. Never been to Thailand. Let’s go.
What is your most indelible childhood memory?
My father taking me to the park in his Lowrider. Before we left anywhere he would always grab his palm comb out from the visor and give his hair and his mustache a few strokes to make sure he was on point. Then he would take me to my baseball games, or play catch with me and hit me ground balls while wearing his Dickies pants and Chuck Taylor Converse shoes. He was and still is the best father I could ask for.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned in school?
To be cool with everybody. School can get cliquey. A bunch of people trying to find their identity and fit in. I mostly hung out with other Mexicans and cholos, but I made an effort to be cool with everybody. I was a super little homie so I would get bullied from time to time. But now even some of the guys who bullied me in school come to my shows to support, because I just kept being cool with them. Seeing people I went to school with at my shows is the best. From all different groups. Makes me appreciate all the times I said what’s up to people in school, even if we weren’t a part of the same group. You gotta be about that One Love.
When you’re stuck how do you get unstuck?
I usually go for a walk or call a relative. It helps refresh my mind. Helps me focus on what motivates me most. Then I’m usually unstuck shortly after that.
What is your proudest moment?
Selling a TV show with my friends a couple of years ago. With tears in my eyes, I called my family and was so proud to give them the news. Even though it’s not on TV yet, it was a cool experience. I was literally delivering sandwiches the same day we found out the show was picked up. A couple weeks later, one of my character videos went viral and things began to pick up for me. I haven’t had to deliver food or bus a table since that day.
What would you like to experience before you die?
I hear they’ll be selling tickets to outer space soon. That would be cool.
For more, visit our Experience Questionnaire archive page.