Saturday, May 30, 2009

Now Tell Me What The F#%? Am I Supposed To Do?

I created this blog to promote my music and help spread the word about my friends' endeavors. I’d like to see if it works for something else…

To the handful of people who read this blog, please help me make a decision. This is a pretty weird way to ask for advice, but I am desperate for some additional insight and direction.

Should I continue medical school for two more years and get my MD degree or should I quit school so that I can make hella music and start a label?

See, one thing I learned in school is that I do not want to practice as a physician. I decided to apply because I thought medicine was the best way for me to use my education in biology to help the underdog. I still fully believe that doctors are in a unique position to have a lasting impact on the community they serve. I'm just not certain I want to serve in this capacity. The last thing I want is to be a community doctor who doesn’t love the actual practice of medicine. Without the heart to learn medicine throughout life, both the patient and the community suffer.

Music has been the only consistent extra-curricular activity throughout my life. I love it. I know it will always be there. As the momentum of my musical career continues to build, I can’t help but to relate to Kanye’s line:

I don’t know what’s better, getting laid or getting paid
I just know when I’m getting one the others getting away

I’m not sure if this connection makes sense to people other than my knuckle-headed self, but basically I’m scared that if I don’t take advantage of where I’m at in music now, I’ll miss the train. The opportunities that I’ve been given in music can’t last forever. Hip Hop is so finicky. Who knows if people will like my shit 10-20 years down the line. On the other hand, that degree is for life – I would just need to figure out a way to use it outside of practicing medicine.

So what I am asking of you, the reader, is to please leave a comment and give your two cents on the matter. There are many many many other issues at hand, but I wanted to hear y’all responses to the ones I've presented here.

Thank you. Blame it on the alcohol.


  1. Hey Fatgums, I don't think we've talked in person before but I do want to congratulate you on the Peaceful Riot CD. I picked it up at Beatrock during the release party and haven't stopped playing it since. No doubt you've got the talent.

    As for your question, it's not really something anyone other than yourself can answer, but I get the feeling that you already know what you should do and are just looking for other people to validate that decision with their comments.

    The two careers are apples and oranges. Some will tell you to stay in school because that's what you're supposed to say. Others will tell you to follow your passion for music because that's also what you're supposed to say. Truth is, there is no easy route. The first path may be filled with "what if's" and unhappiness, but the other may be constant struggle and poverty. Both have their pros and cons.

    As an artist myself I know how hard it is to eek out an existence, but I personally can't think of anything else I'd be happier doing. If you feel that same way about your craft then I really don't think you need me to tell you what to do. You should already know. It should burn like a fire inside your chest until it's no longer a choice but an obligation.

    peace homie,

  2. Eric,
    You're really in a tough spot right now. The fact that you have actually done both so far, (finish the first two years of med school (class work) and produced music at the same time (tracks for Exact Change and A Peaceful Riot, etc...) shows to me end everybody else that really knows the situation, that you are more than capable of completing both. Albeit, third and fourth years are in the hospital/clinic, but we both know that 3rd year is the 'time consuming year' and fourth year is supposedly really chill, some say it's almost a joke.

    So, do I believe that you have to give up one or the other completely? No, not completely, but partially for the next year. This is not to say that you can't do all that you want to do in the next year and a half, it will just be a little slower, and a little more hard work.

    So what are the advantages of finishing school, and what are the disadvantages of finishing school?

    1.) Versatility: not only will your knowledge change academically with respect to medicine, and clinically with respect to people, but you're way of thought, outlook, and personal interpretation of people's actions (in times of trouble and times of happiness) will be better understood. Moreover, you will have the ability/mastery of traversing many different worlds and options, and as a result you will be more 'valuable' to yourself and to others in the community just by your sheer knowledge, whether you practice medicine or not. From finishing schoo, you will have credentials to teach at any school and community spot.
    2.) Networking: like before, you will be able to traverse many different worlds, with different people, and because of that, you can market yourself to communities with a lot of variance. Being able to expose one community of academics to a community of music and hip-hop will be a gift in itself. So I think it's useful there, especially for shows, promoting, etc...
    3.) Your art is always with you, no matter what decisions you make (staying in school versus not staying in school), and you don't know where your life will be in two years, what will have changed, or who will be there in the community that supports you.

    At the end of the day, of course the decision is yours. I find myself in the same boat, whether or not doing this is the right thing, I'm addicted to my art craft, but I know I will do both. And, assuming I finish med school, I will still have my camera, and if it's not for me, then i'll know that I have completely gave it my all, and that my art, knowledge, and passion is still there.

    So does it hurt you to finish school? Not really... at least in the sense that it wont take away from your musical genius.

    Will it prolong you from the goals you put in front of you with respect to music?
    Yeah, about 70 weeks or so.

    Will you still be able to make music in the next year? Yes

    Will it be harder to do so, with respect to your schedule? Yes

    Will you be able to traverse multiple communities by finshing your degree? Yes

    Will you be able to do more things once you have finished your degree? Yes

    Will your out look on medicine change once you've spent ample time in the hospital and clinic (3rd/4th years)? Most likely, Yes.

    Will you have support from your community no matter what decision you make? Yes.

    Good luck brother.

    - chris rafie

  3. If you drop out of medical school to make beats and start a label you're on the pipe. Stick to your guns, Gums. It's hard enough to get into medical school in the first place, dropping out is foolish. Nobody enjoys hip hop more than me, but it's nothing you can't do on the side...believe me.

  4. stay in school! music will always be there. med school might not.


    -a wise young woman

  6. What up Gums! We've always been big fans of your music over @ (selfish plug), even before that, so of course we want you to keep making beats. But the grass is always greener...So why not try to do both. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. I've run out of cliches.

  7. Thanks everyone! I'm gonna take all of your comments to heart for this decision. Jesus H, who you be? How do you know what it's like on the pipe?