From the Mind Up: A Brief History of Florida Hip Hop

Words by Prana Self (Green Cove Springs, Florida – USA)

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST uses 5% language and concepts. Some translation is required.


I Greet Royal Star Allah and all human families, from a clear mind, in absolute peace! I come in the name of Allah by my righteous attributes Prana Self.

Prana is the vital life energy emanating in (and throughout) centrifical and centrifugal forces  of the mental and physical powers of my own Self.

Self is the actualization of the mind, which is Righteous.

In the Beginning

This document is to share a personal history of creating a better world that works for most of us, by a way that is shown and proven to be effective, and is documented and archived in the State of Florida’s Historical resources in Arts and Culture.

I started rhyming when I was 15, influenced by the originators of Hip Hop, and those who came after such as Dj Kool Herc , Grandmaster Flash , Kool G Rap , Rakim, Krs One, Brand Nubian, Poor Righteous teachers, Az, La the darkman, Nas, Killah Priest , Wu Tang clan and many others who are not being mentioned at this time.

In 2011 , I migrated from Tampa, Florida to Jacksonville Florida. I was 20 years of age. I didn’t know anyone here and found this as a new opportunity to surround myself with those who already had their feet firmly planted in the cultural attributes I was developing.  Rather than my previous experience, being surrounded by the people I came up with, we were more of the type of doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. (Selling drugs , telling lies , stealing, and other forms of immature wickedness.)

I desired to bring a change for myself !   So I googled ‘real hip hop’ in Jacksonville and discovered a brother named Arsun Fist. His performance was astonishing.

After his show I introduced myself. He greeted me with peace and proceeded to  invited me to a show called, “The Lyricist Live,” which was created by Mal Jones, who had just transitioned from an hour long radio blog called, The Lyricist Hour. The Lyricist Live was built from the foundation to emulate Dj Kool Herc’s park jams – an Open Mic Cipher,  during the monthly event in downtown known as “The Artwalk”.

It was a  coincidently, or perfectly aligned, with my timing of arrival.  So that is where THIS Journey began.

Rules and Regulations
Now, I was certain that  this is where I belonged. The event was the first Wednesday of every month.


There was no cursing for two reasons, one : to respect everyone, man, woman and child.

Two: to challenge the lyricist self control and develop their  vocabulary.

Mal Jones was to me symbolically like The Black Stone in MECCA. The Root of Civilization through the cultural  spectrum of HIP HOP.

The event was a platform for a  twelve month living album comprised of local artists, who could display their hard work, express their self, and be heard by all.

The show was free and always located outside on a busy corner of the downtown streets, when a group made up of a little bit of everyone came to see the arts and culture in the city. The event quickly become  a Hallmark of the Artwalk. Over the next couple years, Mal Jones took notice of my interest and consistency among other things in regards to this subject. I am sure he is willing to elaborate and is more qualified to do so.

He took on the role of my teacher quite naturally, and over a period of time, explained his purpose and goals, as to what this was for, quite simply to TEACH THE BABIES!

This HAS power, recognized and supported by all the civilized educated people of the planet earth.

After years of a LARGE amount of the support financially coming  from the small business who agreed to let Mal hold his cipher in front of their business – and the donations made by people who enjoyed the event – and in a  SMALL box labeled “donations” in the Cipher, the greater Council of Jacksonville received Mal Jones’ petition for a grant. He was awarded a $10,000 grant, of whom very few were selected and thousands applied.

Then, a representative of the State of Florida’s Division of Historical Resources requested Mal Jones, which he accepted, to document and archive his works in Hip Hop, a as a Folk art. He was  compensated with a state funded apprenticeship program.

Towards Institutionalization

To my complete surprise, he chose me to be the first in the year 2015-16  to be placed and documented by him in the states archives of historical resources for arts and culture. After 63 years of the state funded program called the “Florida Folk Life”  and also the first to perform display and share the history of Hip Hop, including the reality that it is a Folk Art by definition at the 64th annual Florida Folk Life Festival.

Since then Mal Jones went on to break history again by choosing the states youngest state funded apprentice for the  program.

Who Amari “Glory Boy” went on to be the one of the first and youngest Hip hop artist to perform with the Jacksonville symphony. BEFORE NAS DID THE SAME THING.
Now we are looking at setting a world record that has not been made known to the proper people to be registered in a book declaring it to be so… A hip hop show that has never gone on consecutively seven years, the first Wednesday of EVERY month, without a single fight or altercation.

In fact two weeks in a row a shooting that resulted in murder took place just blocks away from us. We did not hear gunshots over the loud music. We only learned of its happening when the cheerful faces of all colors ages and creeds of  those participating and those onlooking changed. They heard the news from those arriving to the party from the scene.

This was at the “ARTWALK” where people are invited and  supposed to come together as we were and do. At the Lyricist Live, a frequency exists that is there to teach and never to change.

A week later someone else was shot and killed blocks away, while we were hosting “The Lyricist Live Uncut” at a local night pub. We were all having a great time with all types of people.  The only time our event was threatened to be cancelled was not due to rain, hail, snow nor earthquakes, rather it was in a message received by the police doing their job to serve and protect.

They alerted us that a group of white supremacist had planned to protest the removal of statues of Confederate Generals who were known to be leaders of the terrorist organization known as the “klu klux klan.”
So, to prevent violence all “Outside performances” were cancelled so that  the protest could take place across from where we had hosted the event several times in the past.  Hemming park a historical place in civil rights. so rather then fall victim and cancel the show Mal Jones made History yet again by having the first hip hop show, The Lyricist live in the Planetarium of the MOSH Museum of Science.

The Lyricist Live is a cornerstone of hip hop culture in Jacksonville, Mal Jones recently became one of Jacksonville’s cultural ambassadors when he traveled to London, opening a new level of operation in The Lyricist Live’s direction for the future. Many plans are in motion the works will be revealed as have all of those of the past.  I invite all to learn more about this monument of community labor. We are building a world for those who will inherit the earth – The babies! There’s no force strong enough to slow, damage, or destroy our plans to build because we seek power in the truth to pass to the youth. It’s a natural way of life.

Thank you for your support, your respect,and everything you contribute to civilization. The world depends on you! It is a glorious time! peace to all human families of the planet earth! Humbly your brother in Righteousness, one of Allah’s five percent.

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