Mayor Jack Young’s Inauguration

Bernard C. “Jack” Young has served on the Baltimore City Council since 1996, representing Baltimore’s second district. Mr. Young became City Council President following Stephanie Rawlings-Blake taking over as mayor due to the indictment of Sheila Dixon. But just over a month ago, Young was named acting mayor because of the leave of absence by Mayor Catherine Pugh. When Catherine Pugh resigned just a week ago, Bernard C. “Jack” Young was fully vested as mayor of the city.

As a result, we now have 35 year-old Brandon Scott serving as our City Council President! Elected at the age of 27, Brandon is the youngest person ever elected to the new single member district City Council. Brandon was born and raised Baltimore growing up in Park Heights. As a proud Baltimorean, Brandon Scott is a graduate of MERVO High School and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

The Baltimore Times’ wishes the best of luck to these two in their new positions.

Marino Infantry At Milkboy Arthouse

A$AP Ant (AKA YG Addie) booked his very own show at Milkboy Arthouse in College Park, Maryland, not far from our hometown of Baltimore. As an aspiring artist myself, I leapt at the opportunity to ask him about his upbringing, his musical inspirations and aspirations, and his clothing line, Marino Infantry, which hosts a team of skateboarders that mostly hail from the DMV.

Photos by Gustavo Marinho.

Gustavo Marinho | @Mr_Gustavo on Instagram

Jourdan Taylor (JT): So, tell us where you grew up? What neighborhoods in Baltimore were you hanging out in?

A$AP Ant (AA): “West Baltimore, for real, like ‘Creek Boyz’ and all that. Randallstown, Woodlawn, Old Court, yeah.”

JT: How old were you when you got your start in music?

AA: “I’ve been in music since out the womb, DJ Nick, my brother, he put me onto like Hot Boyz and Lil Wayne and stuff like that when I was five or six years old. Music’s just part of my family, for real.”

JT: So you grew up around it?

AA: “Yeah, so… and people gotta understand this, like… You notice how everything revolves around rap music nowadays? The way you talk, smell, the clothing, – it’s all black music… and [growing up] hip-hop artists were like superheroes, you know what I mean?… As soon as you were out the womb, and your mother put you in lil’ Jordans, that’s hip-hop.”

Jourdan Taylor and YG Addie

Gustavo Marinho | @Mr_Gustavo on Instagram

Jourdan Taylor and YG Addie

JT: How did you evolve your own sound, in an era of rap that many see as “stale?” Working with producers like AR and lordfubu, who have very unique beats that compliment your unique flows – when did you start to feel like you had your own distinct feel to your music?

AA: “Clipse is one of my biggest influences. They have a song called Grindin’, where they are talking about some very serious stuff but it’s a more playful beat. It’s an iconic beat. I loved that Neptunes’ sound and – I guess you could say ‘Pharrell type-beats.’ When I made my first songs, I probably sounded mostly like Clipse. But at the time I just wasn’t perfecting it yet, because when you don’t know your sound you want to play off of other people’s sounds.

“When [A$AP] Rocky was making Three 6 Mafia-type songs, you got ‘The Way It Go’ from me… My influences at the time were changing. I tried ‘trap beats’ too. (Ant puts his hands up and does air quotes as he says trap beats…) Me and lordfubu were talking for about a year before we made our first songs together – just discussing beats. I can’t say that he made beats for me up until recently – now, he’ll say ‘oh, YG Addie’s gonna love this one’, but at first, we just developed a good relationship, for real. It was my song, ‘Diamond Dust’ that really took this all to the next level… That came out and I started to love that sound.”

Gustavo Marinho | @Mr_Gustavo on Instagram

JT: You already talked a little bit about how Hip-hop/Rap heavily influence culture, and how that’s specifically black culture. What gave you the idea to create Marino Infantry, a skate team – in Baltimore – seeing as many people believe skateboarding is seen as an activity that mostly white people participate in?

AA: “First of all, skateboarding is not “white people”, everything in skateboarding is bridging the gap [between cultures.] Skaters wear baggy clothing, skaters listen to hip-hop. It’s a way to make it so young black people and young white people can do something cool together. I got the idea from [Pharrell’s] Ice Cream Skate Team. Back in ’06 and ’07 – when I was in 8th grade – that was all I was paying attention to.

“I spoke to a partner of mine, he wanted to do denim and I said you can’t do denim – jeans are too expensive right now. The next logical step was graphic design and tees – like Stussy, Supreme – I saw them and what they were doing and I figured I could do that as well. When they started it was much harder to get screen-printing and stuff like that. Now, it’s much easier to start a clothing line, so I had to do something to stand out. Marino Infantry is bridging that same gap, too.”

Gustavo Marinho | @Mr_Gustavo on Instagram

JT: How did you take Marino Infantry global from your humble beginnings?

AA: “My partnership with A$AP Mob, definitely. I never had to worry about anything, kudos to my brother [A$AP] Rocky for taking me around the world!”

JT: In the last couple of years you have dropped so many music projects, reaching such a high level of consistency, and Marino Infantry is larger than ever. Are you leaning more into music or clothing? How do you balance the two careers, taking off so quickly, at the same time?

AA:Both. It’s both, and it’s hard. I stay working, and a lot of it is by myself. Oh, it’s hard, bruh. I don’t do anything to balance it, to be honest, besides occasionally get other people in to help me. Grassroots. But we get the job done. I’m in the studio all the time. Hard work, period. All day everyday.”

Mental Health And Me

Jourdan Taylor

Jourdan Taylor

Looking back, at twenty-two years old, throughout my life there have been several extended periods of time where I felt much lower than my usual low. This depression might last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months of my teenage life. Realizing that you may be living with depression at a pubescent age is terrifying. I lived in a way that neglected my fundamental needs for affection and attention, for fear of what I might discover had I searched inwardly, and for fear of asking for help. At such a young age, when something feels “off” within, it’s very difficult to pinpoint why you might feel that way. Teenagers are too unfamiliar with ourselves and our mental health to properly seek aid from those that can actually make us feel better. We struggle with expressing ourselves in a healthy way.

Youth in this country are sent off to live on their own at eighteen. Often times, we move to an entirely new city, take up residence on our own or with other teenagers, and we’re not properly trained on how to take care of ourselves. When a child is in foreign territory, left to their own devices, it’s actually very simple and easy to do damage to our emotional health by coping with stress improperly. This is the time when many young adults take to alcohol, drugs, and other poor methods of dealing with anxiety and depression. For this reason, it is my own personal belief that we should teach mental health as part of our primary and secondary education process, so that less people make it to college unprepared.

When I turned twenty, I felt it was time to take matters into my own hands. I was determined to find some type of treatment that could change the way I felt emotionally into more consistent positivity. Just feeling like I was being proactive about seeking treatment helped dispel the helplessness and frustration that accompanies anxiety and depression. I decided to enroll into a therapy course with other teenagers and adults. I made it known to the people charged with my care (my parents, siblings and external family members, my employer) that I would need some time and space to make sure that I was healthy enough to give them all the version of myself I felt they deserved.

But, I was still nervous. I was uncomfortable with the thought that there might be something “wrong” with me. I was afraid to confront the parts of myself I didn’t like. I was fearful that the medical professional assigned to my care wouldn’t be a person I felt like I could trust and show vulnerability to. I was worried that, by finding a therapist who could diagnose me, my worst fears about the person I might be would come to light. That I really was alone, and unique from anyone else. That I’d never feel “better”.

I had been living under the impression that no one else felt the way I did. I felt that my depression was my own, not to share with anyone for fear of “bringing them down”. It had never occurred to me that people might actually want to help take care of me. The outpouring of support from my closest friends and family was so refreshing and made me feel so good about myself, that I never turned back from my mission to treat myself better. I continually confide in those who are here for me— my therapist, my lovely girlfriend, my parents my siblings, and my friends. I make it clear that I rely on their support, and I support them too. I remember to say nicer things to and about myself, because I can clearly remember the people I care about saying those things to me too— and meaning them.

Not enough people talk about their journey to discover better mental health. It’s a very stigmatized topic amongst youth, amongst African-Americans, and many marginalized groups that already struggle with “fitting in”. There are so many of us who live each day with some form of mental health issue, and would love to feel accepted, seen, and supported by the general public. By talking about what goes on in our minds, we can help dispel the notions that people living with depression feel. There’s no shame in seeking help with mental illness, a ton of people live with depression, anxiety, and worse every single day. It is important to have a dialogue about these issues so that our young people don’t grow up feeling alone and misunderstood.

I currently live with severe mood disorder, general anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder— and I’ve never been happier.

If you feel like you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your loved ones and/or a medical professional.

Feel Nobody: Butch Dawson & Friends Show Review

There is always something to be said for originality. When it comes to creativity, there are many things one can do outside of society’s perceived boxes and the best thing one can do is to create something brand-new from the depths of their very own imagination. To craft something original, is to take one’s uniqueness and package it for others.

This may sound like a simple feat but it takes a combination of skill, talent, passion, perseverance, dedication and determination to be able to create something out of nothing. It may take years of practice in the face of countless obstacles and failures, and it may still never be enough.

It may not be enough to be an individual with a good idea. You have to be committed to that idea with every fiber of your being. The personal roadblock that many face on the “path to success” is belief in oneself— confidence. Backing your own uniqueness and trusting yourself that you are destined for the best that life has to offer, even though many may never fully grasp your vision, and that’s okay. Making a conscious decision to be an individual may lead to feelings of loneliness and doubt.

I would wager that not many people on the planet understand this notion better than Baltimore’s very own rapper, Butch Dawson. His 2018 absolute smash hit-single, “Feel Nobody,” has rocketed to over 400,000 plays between Spotify and Soundcloud since May.

A grungy, gritty, grimy track with grating 808 drums threatening your speakers, over which Dawson spits angry verses about the struggles of growing up in West Baltimore doing whatever he felt necessary to survive. (“Laurens and Division Bred! | Got it tatted on me!”) Now, that he seems to be “making it,” he wants all the people who didn’t support him to know, they have no chance coming around just because he is achieving his dreams. He “feels nobody,” because nobody was there to “feel him.” He believed in himself when not many did and now his hard work and persistence is beginning to pay off.

On Friday, December 28, 2018, Butch performed at his very own Second Annual Butch Dawson & Friends show at the Wind Up Space on North Avenue. Free to the public, featuring popular local acts such as James P and Al Rogers, it was no surprise to see a venue filled wall-to-wall with people near show time. And perform, they did. Butch Dawson and his friends also brought up and coming artists to the stage to do a song or two.

Meant to be a medley of rappers and DJ’s, performing their premier tracks to gain as much exposure at possible, about 40 minutes was blocked off for various musicians to open for Butch. It was interesting to see the thought process in allowing multiple artists to perform who in turn invited a broader circle of people to maximize exposure— potentially increasing ticket sales is the type of thinking that will propel him to the top of the rap game.

By the time Butch got to the stage the energy was peaking, the sweat was pouring and it felt much more like an evening in July than three days before New Year’s Eve. It seemed like everyone came out to see him. He played his hottest tracks of the year, mostly from his eight-track album, “Swamp Boy,” released at the end of August and the place was an absolute riot.

Then, suddenly things changed. A beat dropped. Phones started to come out of pockets with flashlights on to indicate they were recording. This was Butch Dawson’s moment. He owned the crowd and he leapt into “Feel Nobody” with the full force of dozens of people shouting the words that he penned about being alone.

By bringing together various acts from the area, Butch Dawson and his friends were able to do more than simply get booked to perform a concert. It showed that the local music community is able to come together to support each other. Everyone came together to get behind these guys and their talents. Even for the lesser known, the excitement was clear to see.

Baltimore, support local talent and let’s see just how far they will go with just a little bit of belief in themselves.

Photos by Gustavo Marinho, Follow him on instagram @mr_gustavo and check out for more images of your favorite artists!

Christmas Comes Early To Children In Baltimore

Of the nearly 80,000 students enrolled in Baltimore City Public Schools, a staggering 52.7 percent are from “low-income” families, according to Because the number of low-income families in Baltimore is underreported, this number easily approaches 50,000 school-aged children.

Over half of the students in our city, in all grades from K-12, rely upon social programs such as “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” and “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance” at school each day. Imagine the extent of the struggles faced by a family that can barely afford clothing and transportation to school for their kids each day, but cannot afford to feed them. The children of Baltimore who hold the keys to our future society severely lack the care and attention they need to grow and become productive citizens. They are underfed, underprivileged and underappreciated.

For many children across Baltimore, a holiday like Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, is but a dream. The thought of Santa Claus or the like, crawling down the chimney to deliver presents is incredibly far-fetched. For parents across the area, the holiday season can be terribly depressing. Working hours and hours just to keep the lights on, as much as they would like to be able to provide toys and entertainment for their kids— it’s a luxury they’ll never be able to afford. Many of these families simply must rely on charity and donations to make or break the hearts of poor, unfortunate little ones who deserve the chance to be happy despite their circumstances.

Thankfully, Baltimore City has a patron saint looking out for the city’s underprivileged but deserving youth and his name is not Santa Claus. Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and his Business Participation Initiative brought together over 200 businesses around the city as collection sites for donations during the holiday season. The effort was in cooperation with “Toys For Tots,” a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young held his 7th Annual Toys For Tots Holiday Reception at the City Hall Rotunda on Thursday, December 13, 2018 where the only requirement for admission was a new unwrapped children’s toy to be donated.

Jourdan Taylor

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young held his 7th Annual Toys For Tots Holiday Reception at the City Hall Rotunda on Thursday, December 13, 2018 where the only requirement for admission was a new unwrapped children’s toy to be donated.

However, City Council President Young didn’t stop there. He held his 7th Annual Toys For Tots Holiday Reception at the City Hall Rotunda on Thursday, December 13, 2018 where the only requirement for admission was a new unwrapped children’s toy to be donated. Additionally, hundreds of toys were purchased thanks to a group of generous corporate sponsors— all on display in the Rotunda of City Hall underneath a tall, beautiful Christmas tree.

“Our goal is to pack City Hall full of wonderful toys that will put smiles on the faces of very deserving young people,” Council President Young said. “During this holiday season this is one small way to make a difference in a child’s life.”

Catered by many of Baltimore’s finest restaurants, including but not limited to Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, Zeke’s Coffee, and Connie’s Chicken & Waffles, the Holiday Party was lively and festive. There was live entertainment, including a jazz band and Santa’s elves roamed around on stilts!

City Hall was packed with toys to give away while elves roamed freely

Jourdan Taylor

City Hall was packed with toys to give away while elves roamed freely

Hundreds, quite possibly over a thousand people, filled the various halls and floors of City Hall with holiday cheer. There were boxes overflowing the halls with presents and gifts, from televisions to bicycles to basketballs and hoops. The people of our city spared no expense for these children, and the spirit of giving was clearly felt in the air by all who attended. Our City Council and specifically Mr. Jack Young himself went above and beyond to bring Christmas to children in Baltimore.

Ackneil “Neil” Muldrow II Passes, Aged 80

— Mr. Ackneil “Neil” Muldrow II, a Baltimore Times consultant and contributor, has unfortunately passed away on Thursday, October 25th, 2018.

A man who reached many hearts beyond the borders of Baltimore with his newsletter platform, “Neil’s Nation”, Mr. Muldrow, was always caring, jovial, and determined to see those who were like him succeed. He spent years devoted to the advancement of small businesses and local initiatives in an effort to build up his people, and the city he called home. Mr. Muldrow knew everybody, and everybody knew him as kind, knowledgable, wise and incredibly able into his old age.

A relic of what it meant to grow up African-American in the United States during the civil rights era, a man who took it upon himself, personally, to fight for the rights of each and every person of color in our nation today.

Here at the Baltimore Times, where he spent some of his final days making us laugh, teaching us, and doing anything he could to further advance those around him, we can confidently say, the world has lost a treasure of a human being, and he will be sorely missed by all of us here, for a very long time.

In Memoriam, Mr. Ackneil “Neil” Muldrow, II.

Traveling Exhibit “TrapxArt” Brings Black Culture to DC

— “Trapxart” is a movement that fuses art and HipHop culture via self-expression. They are a team that believes in being your own boss; spiritually, mentally, creatively, physically, whatever that means to you. Their showcases are a celebration of diversity through arts, whether audio or visual, but usually both.

The brilliance behind “trapxart” events is the way that they blend our contemporary “trap” music live show and a living, breathing, engaging art exhibit experience. Most events feature musical tributes to artists or record labels who embody the essence of their agenda. This particular evening was all about Atlanta’s own trap supergroup, “Migos”.

I joined trapxart and one of their featured artists, Lexi Russell (, for an evening of custom creations and black culture, at Kabin Lounge in Northwestern D.C., right on Dupont Circle.

The top-floor nightclub was packed wall-to-wall with patrons, the DJ was playing our favorite songs. Every inch of the space was covered with creativity, from the outfits on display by the attendees, to a live art installation featuring a body-painter.

Lexi and I sat down to discuss the effect that growing up black had on the person she is today, how it influences her art, and what #blackgirlmagic means to her.


trapxart DC Recap 03/18/18

All photos taken by Gustavo Marinho (@MR_Gustavo)