Pretty Precious Cargo Recap: Vol III (Highlights from the Last Leg)

I love writing these Pretty Precious Cargo Tour Recaps because, to a certain degree, they serve as tour diaries.. I am also challenged to make time to pen them, as “real’ life usually resumes immediately after the tour’s end. So, in this final installment, I figured I’d spare you the gorgeous details and accentuate a few of the many highlights of sharing the road with my Pretty Precious Family. Here they are in somewhat chronological order:

Hopscotch Day Party Presented by Cardigan Records

As anybody who’s ever participated in a Toon and The Real Laww Situation knows, the Saturday Day Party was a hype experience peppered with a plethora of good music and an audience of equally good people. Sookee’s set was positioned smack dab in the middle of the day, before which, we sat on the grass for a spell, a moment PPC Photographer, Just captured for posterity:

the grass grows like laughter

Q: Where’s Manager Meredith?
A: In the grass.

We made our way back inside for sook’s set, rejuvenated by the sunshine on what was nothing short of a beautiful day. FYI: sook and Boogie Dan rocked Tir Na Nog (as if…). Here’s proof:

Shiprocked Like What 
Somewhere between Charleston, SC and the endlessly boring terrain known as I-95 (the Berlin faction headed to Florida for a couple sookee solo dates), sook caught the vapors. I’m no Trapper John M.D., but my guess was that she caught some 24-hour bug floating in the air near South of the Border. Anyhow,  I reconnected with the PPC crew in Charlotte after their gigs and beach trip to Florida, which means I was not present when Boogie and sook did this:

breakdancing to breaking waves


I took the Amtrak to Charlotte, which was a highlight. I love the solitude of a train ride and the rhythm at which the terrain paces by. I think I’d  do well to take more short-distanced train trips in the future.

Hotel, Motel (former Day’s Inn)
At the hotel’s front desk was Ms. Peaches. I don’t have a picture of her, but she was sweet like her name. She had a copy of Charlotte’s Creative Loafing Magazine tucked beneath a pile of invoices on top of her printer.

“An Ideal Partnership,” Creative Loafing

Sookee was feeling pretty shitty, so in an effort to nurse her back to health, I copped some raw broccoli and v8 from the grocery store. For some reason, she found both options disgusting and opted for deep rest and coconut water, which, by showtime, seemed to do the trick. We met up with the Durm PPC’ers at Snug Harbor and PPC alum JWaves (aka Jon Gregory) who opened the show with a dope, mic-dropping set.  Waves definitely set the tone for the evening as the crowd thickened with beautiful freaks (my favorites!) eager to get up and get involved.

Sook mustered up the energy to put on a solid set, after which, she received an affirming fist bump from Chaka Wolf Fever, Shiprock’s Mister(ess) of Debauchery, Disco, and Matrimony + smiles and applause from the Shiprocked faithful.

ship gets sookrocked



In The Quing City
The next day, well-rested, with a few hours to spare before heading to Greensboro, we connected with JWaves and mobbed about Charlotte for a spell, eating brunch, thrift store shopping, and coppin fresh edge ups. It’s all here:

to do list: 1) loose expensive headphones 2)punish ears with cheap ones.
3) talk on phone

J(us)t lookin at us lookin at pictures of us


edges don’t just BE fresh by themselves!


check the spreadsheet, mob out (always in that order)

Beat Boom Instrumental Pineapple Edit
Producers name they beats crazy shit sometimes.  Boogie Dan (that DJ with the Midas Touch) suggested sook and I create a new tune while we were together, in real time, no interweb exchanges, write together, record together, boom! So, at some random BP en route to Charleston, Boogie played a couple tracks for us. The one entitled “Beat Boom Instrumental Pineapple Edit,” really lived up to its name–naturally sweet with tons of bottom. Sook and I took to writing. As a consummate A-gamer, I frankly found the following photo a bit intimidating:)


…cause this shit is bangin intersectional/for the ones that we love and the rest of y’all…

Gabe agreed to record the new joint at his home studio on Saturday before we ventured to Wilmington for our final show. Just to timeline all of this: Charleston (Sunday), Florida (Monday, Tuesday), Charlotte (Wednesday, Thursday), Greensboro (Friday), record (Saturday day), go see my momma’nem (Saturday afternoon), Wilmington (Saturday night). Woman. Up.

En route to Gabe’s for our recording session, sook and I tried our verses a couple of ways before settling on some back-to-back mixtape bumrush-the-track-type approach. Here’s a video sneak peak of our latest (and soon-coming!) collab. Props to Boogie Dan for capturing the moment where we found that oft-illusive sweet (pineapple) spot:

Ok. That, up there, was cool. We finished recording and shot an impromptu video (coming soon), then immortalized the moment in traditional b-girl/boy stance.

Dope recording session at Gabe’s Clubhouse of Cavernous Sounds & Wonders

Welcome to The Olive Mountain
It’s difficult to conjure this memory without feeling an orb of extreme emotions.

Before leaving for Mount Olive, my hometown, where we had planned to stop on our way to Wilmington to meet my mom (Ms. Puddin) and a handful of my 13 aunts and uncles, I received a call from my twin (whom you met last post) regarding my aunt who’d recently had surgery to have stones removed from (in or around) her liver. Anyone who has a wealth of aunts knows that each aunt plays a particular role that is reinforced by her personality. There’s:

  • the ‘fun’ aunt (after whom one models their ‘wild streak,’ drinks, plays the numbers, boisterous for any and no reason at all)
  • the confidante aunt (who knows everything you will eventually tell your momma, first)
  • the ‘wise’ aunt (the one one intuitively knows what’s goin on with you–when you’re in trouble, when you’re exceptionally well, when you’re sexually confused, when you start doing ‘gay stuff”—has a bank of parables and bible verses that she delivers to you in the most timely manner)
  • the ‘crazy’ aunt (i mean, ‘crazy’ the way black people mean crazy: she talks mad shit and makes oddball, out-the-blue statements, which somehow reinforce your creativity. she’s the one who says stuff that only makes sense to you simply because you’ve known her your whole life and  she’s always said cray shit so you, by association, speak the language of her cray. she also gives you money).
So, the crazy aunt’s the one who had the stones. I called her earlier in the day to say I was coming through with my friends from Berlin. She was thoroughly excited, but, I could hear in her voice that she wasn’t feeling well. 

So yeah, I got a call from my twin post-recording session saying that they’d taken my aunt back to the hospital because she was complaining of pain in her mid-section. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the doctor had not removed all of the stones from her insides and they needed to perform another surgery–at her expense! I’m recounting this whole scenario for a few reasons I deem important:

1) to demonstrate that life goes on and takes unexpected turns even as you’re on the road having the best time of your life and it snaps you out of a perfectly peaceful place and back into a reality that reminds you that capitalism takes advantage of poor people and, no matter if you’re rolling around in a Chevy Suburban the size of your hometown, you’re still a product of poverty and that reality has a free pass to rear its ugly head whenever it so pleases.

2) people work hard and still live check-to-check (my aunt works at the turkey plant downhome like many of the women her age/skill level) and when they need help from this system, they are often taken advantage of because the information is presented in a way that is overwhelming and the ‘experts’ whom they are to trust don’t have their best interest at heart and do a sloppy job of taking care of them despite the fact that they have sisters in the waiting room, nieces stopping by while on tour, church members in prayer, and co-workers on the packing line who love them and are invested in their health and well-being.

3) this same system doesn’t care if you endure the growing pain in your mid-section as long as you possibly can because you want to see your niece of whom you’re infinitely proud and long to meet her friends from another part of the world and be able to brag about her like you’ve done ever since she was born ‘a-alike/b-alike,’ and showed expert spelling skills, and began drawing, and writing poetry, and having her name in the local paper, then having her name and photo in local papers in other local places and plus, through her, you see how big (and small) this world is and you, in some way, travel it’s roads and airways, and continents through her.

All this to say, we stopped in Mount Olive, but was unable to visit my aunt (and many of my aunts) because they were all at the hospital, waiting on doctors to do the job they didn’t do the first time, irrespective of the residual financial and social effects, both financial–a much, much larger commentary, I know, but I would be remiss not to mention it here.

The Good News: my momma was able to meet us at the house on keith beaver lane along with my stepdad, sister and niece. The Berliners seemed to be overwhelmed by the vastness of the land and the density of the solitude. I explained to sookee that this is where all of my common sense, my love of openness, my ability to be watchful, and my adoration and respect of the sky (and its weather) originates.

Pretty Precious Cargo with Ms. Puddin, down in the country

Anansi showing off her new “Solidärität, Respekt & Konsens” t-shirt, a gift from sookee

Before hitting the road to Wilmington, we paused for a Pretty Precious Family Photo in front of my Gramma Adell’s house, the home that reared me. Missing from the photo (but definitely present in spirit),” my aunts: Aunt Lillie B, Aunt Annette, Aunt Earlene, Aunt Bobbie, Aunt Rudy, Aunt Jesse Mae, Aunt Jean, Aunt Louise (not to mention the wealth of cousins, uncles, cousins-of-cousins…)

Pretty gets Precious down keith beaver lane

I feel this is a good place to cap the recap. So, many people to thank for food, shelter, good energy, great conversation, for active, listening ears and eager, moving bodies. An extra special thank you to the Pretty Precious Cargo Crew themselves: Tommy Rau, Gabe Turner, DJ Boogie Dan, Just, Jon G, NoBigButtL, Sonja, and, sookee. And the ones behind the scenes: Meredith and Anna. Pretty Precious Cargo has happened once again because of all of you. I am ‘unpayably’ grateful.

p.s. stay tuned




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