If You Try

If You Try

Thursday, December 25, 2014

New Music Video: Sharp Skills - If You Try ft. Gwendolyn Phillips

Today, Sharp Skills, a talented independent emcee hailing from Southern California has released a new music video for his single “If YouTry” featuring Gwendolyn Phillips (his mother). The song encourages men to dream and love again no matter what they face in life. The emotional chorus is sung by Sharp Skills’ mother who is a gifted Jazz and Gospel singer in her own right. Sharp Skills speaks on the significance of the video to him: “I wanted to write something that conveyed the pain that I’ve experienced while pursuing my dream of doing music, but also give hope too. When I wrote the song, I had a vision of my mom singing to me while I was real young not able to fully understand what she was saying. But it was my mom just pretty much telling me that I could be whatever I put my mind to at an early age you know. That was the premise of the whole video.”

The child (young Sharp Skills) in the video is played by his son, Philip Jr. “The song is super significant to me because I got to have both my mom and my son in the video. So it’s sort of multi-generational. I feel like this is something we’ll always have as a family.”

The Moon Buggee Productions video has a retro theme with fashion from the 1940’s and was shot in a rural California city. Musician extraordinaire, Laura D, makes a special cameo appearance throughout the video playing the drums while Sharp Skills raps.
To watch If You Try, click on the link below:

About Sharp Skills:
Sharp Skills is an independent emcee whose music has been featured in the official film trailer for Takers, Slow Burn, hit television shows; Bones, America’s Next Top Model, and Nikita. He has featured Strange Music’s very own “Murs” on his song “Something to Say”. In 2011 he won Cal State Long Beach’s “Battle of the Beats” competition. He has won several competitions and awards including the Inside the Music (ITM) award for Best Male Emcee in 2007. Most importantly, he knows how to rock a crowd. His charisma, energy, stage presence, and high quality music makes him a favorite at various clubs, music festivals, and college campuses around the USA. Sharp Skills is also the owner/founder of the Rebel Firm, a multifaceted creative company which now consists of a music and book division.

If You Try ft. Gwendolyn Phillips is out now on iTunes:

Website/Social Media links:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sharp Skills Dropping New Visual Christmas Day

I wrote the song "If You Try" over three years ago. I wrote it to encourage men who have a dream and feel the pressure to quit on it (or themselves) due to the pressure that life puts on us. If you have a dream in your heart, never give up on it no matter what life throws your way. Your dream or your vision is what keeps you going. It is oxygen to the human soul. I know how hard it is to grind and see minimal results. But all hard work brings a profit. That's in the Bible. So continue to work, trust God, and believe in what He has placed in your heart.
 The song features my mom, Gwendolyn Phillips, who brings that soulful gospel feel to the chorus. What's more, this song is probably my favorite on Anno Rebelio because it also encourages me every time I hear it. If you like the art work, I am printing up some limited addition posters (which I will autograph) and send to 20 people. If you hashtag #IfYouTry and you post yourself doing something inspirational on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you will be entered in the pool for a chance to win the poster. Be sure to tag me so I know you did it.

Here are my pages so you can do that:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sharp Skills featuring on New Pop Single called "City Lights" (Promo Video)

Check out Sam Knaak, producer and owner of Ear Witness Studios discussing the new single called "City Lights" featuring yours truly. Stay tuned for the official release.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pics from Back To School Bash in Temecula, CA

This past Saturday, I had the privelege of perfoming at the Back 2 School Bash hosted by the Bridge in Temecula, CA. Good times. All photos courtesy of Aaron Crane.

With rock band Of Eyes That See

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pics From Summer Fest

Summer fest was dope. Rocked with my dude xlsrebelsx.
Shot out to Afro Black for the pics!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday

To be great takes a resilient mind. I am now fully persuaded that things don't get easier on the road of destiny, the traveler just becomes stronger and more determined. To fulfill a big purpose, one has to stop looking for the easy way out. There is no easy way. They have to be willing to take WHATEVER comes their way and somehow keep moving. And everyone just isn't "bout dat life."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (The Kevin Durant Principle)

I was inspired by an article that I read not too long ago about Kevin Durant's work ethic. You'll have to forgive me for not remembering where I read it, but in short, it discussed how he used to hate workouts earlier in his career. However, after he saw the results that came from the hard and extra work, he begin to embrace the pain associated with it. He said that he saw immediate improvement in his game when he put in the necessary effort beforehand. This has led to an ever increasing hunger to become better because he now knows the formula to do so. Great food for thought amd motivation for those on the same quest.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Make Adjustments

Life sends curve balls at as constantly. On top of all the chaos in the world, we have to manage our own affairs that can be out of sorts the majority of the time. One thing I've learned is to not over think things and to make adjustments. It is important to keep a fluid mind that allows you to go with the flow. It's  not that you are giving up on the direction you want to head in, but you recognize the wisdom in riding the tide until you have the opportunity to go where you want again.

By the way, I'm not a Heat fan, but I got major respect for the kid D. Wade. That Lebron guy is pretty good too.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dope Pictures from Xpressions

These pictures are from the Xpression Open Mic show we did on 5/16. Courtesy of the great Richard Shimizu. Hat's off sir! And a huge kudos to my sis, Shy but Flyy, for organizing such an amazing event.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's Been an Epic Week

If someone would have told me I'd be running with a crew of poets 6 months ago, I probably would have not believed them. Yet here I am, with a group of some of the most talented, humble, gracious, and kind people I've ever met. We've knocked out 3 shows as a group this week! I'm truly blessed to be painting the town red with such a dynamic collective.

 Before showtime with TK Waites, Black Charlie, Philosophy, Shy but Flyy, Jragonfly Jon

                                       Photo Courtesy of Nicolassa Galvez of Long Beach's Art Exchange

Monday, April 28, 2014

Keep Creating

We all hit a wall from time to time when we are creating. Yet, we cannot let this deter us from continuing to create in some form and fashion. Sometimes we have to get creative in order to create! What I mean is that we have to find outlets when others seem to be closed off or unavailable. I read an inspiring article on the founder of Barnes and Nobles, Leonard Riggio. He said now he tends to focus on small aspects of the company that most would ignore because he is a creative soul and likes to create. Our mental capacities will continue to expand as we work the muscles of imagination and struggle to produce what's currently intangible. No matter what platform it's on, wether it is seen or not, sold or given away, continue to create and good things will happen.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Chief Attribute of Good Leadership

I am convinced that in order to be a good leader, the more selfless the person in that role must become. Often when we think of being selfless, we may picture someone in rags and begging for alms. I want to demolish that view. A selfless person is someone who has matured to the point where they are more eager to improve the lives of those around them than solely their own. They have grown to a place where they are able to balance their own wants and needs without sacrificing the welfare of those that follow. One of two things has probably occured in such a leader's life in order for this state of being to happen. They have been so humbled by the life that they have an accurate perspective on what is really important. The other event(s) that may have happened is they have been so blessed and their self esteem so satisfied that they realize the importance of pouring into other people now (since this need has been met in themselves for so long). Every leader's journey is different, but the hallmark of a leader's character is the ability to lose themselves for the good of those that follow. And generally the leader is wise enough to have built a great team of core people around him or her that will make sure the leader's needs and wants are fulfilled as well.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Just a Little Further

When you feel like quitting, simply don't. Rather begin to approach your journey in bite size pieces. Retructure your thinking so that you value even the smallest victories. Perhaps you made one additional phone call or responded to an email. Maybe you read one extra line in a book or did one extra household chore. Whatever it is, it is progress and brings you one step closer to your destination. There will be moments where we feel like we can fly and others where we feel as though we don't even have the will to crawl. That's when we have to tell ourselves "just a little further." Make the extra push, then make another, and another. Soon enough the momentum will come.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bounce Back

The quality of resilience is a must for anyone seeking significance. The crashing waves of life will always beat against us this side of eternity. We have to develop a resistance against this undesirable fact. Bouncing back from a huge letdown is difficult at first, but the more we are able to learn, adjust, and adapt, the stronger we become. Just think of yourself as one of those old school rubber balls. Even though you hit the ground from time to time, you will always bounce back. Make that a lifestyle mantra.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It Comes at a Cost

There will always be a cost associated with doing something of excellence and worth. We have to determine beforehand if we are willing to pay the cost, no matter how great, when pursuing what God has shown us. Or we must decide that we can live without what we envision. The parent who decides to raise their kids the right way must pay the cost of time, energy, and their own personal interests. The college student who will be the first in the family to graduate (should they finish) must be willing to pay the high fee of a limited social life, unwanted discipline, and intense focus. The entry level worker who wants to become a manager of a division must pay the price of working harder and longer than most of her peers. Think of what you want to do and who you want to become and determine if the cost is something you can pay. If not, don't go down that path. Greatness doesn't come cheap.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Carve Out Your Own Niche

The things that make us unique are the very things that create our platforms in life. Your personal experiences, personality, inclinations, and background are what set you apart. Don't bury that! Find a way to refine them, but never let go your differential combination. Take who you are and learn how to form it into some sort of specialization that will be useful to others. You will never be fulfilled if you try to be someone you are not. However it takes courage to be who God made you to be and it is a lifetime of discovery.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Don't Waste Your Life

Even some of the things that we deem most important will not be something we care to mention when we are laying on our death beds. What we will cherish most are the lives that we have improved through the ability to sacrifice the human heart's selfish agenda. Even if we don't get any credit from another human being while we are alive, we will be able to smile as we look at the fruit in others that we have helped cultivate. Being in such a place of peaceful contentment is reward enough. We always need to reevaluate the affections of our heart because we are often led astray, many times unknowingly. The hurt that life and people can cause us makes even the noblest of souls want to retreat into "safe havens" of self pity and selfishness. If we can resist this urge, we can overcome the hollow grandeur of self seeking popularity, the love of money, and shallow appearances. We'll be able to dive into the deeper reality which produces lifelong relationships, significant change, and enduring wealth.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Leap of Faith

There comes a certain time where we have to move from planning to execution. It won't always be under the most ideal circumstances either. That's where faith comes in. In those moments we have to trust that we will be caught once we jump off of the proverbial cliff. No great thing is ever accomplished without some sort of faith pushing a person (or people) to strike out into unfamiliar territory. I am a strong advocate of planning, but too much of it without real action leads to procrastination, and too much procrastination eventually leads to paralysis.

Check out this video where I discuss my new book...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

When you are finally starting to see some progress and make some headway, life has a funny way of reminding you that you aren't completely out of the jungle yet. Paradoxically, we can find ourselves at our best while our circumstances are at their worst. At these moments, we can give up all hope and many do. What I have found is that these points in our lives are pivotal to making a successful transition into the better space we are supposed to occupy. Something small can come along and trip up everything you have labored so long for. This is especially true when exhaustion and mental fatigue set in. It is important to keep fighting while simultaneously doing the work you are called to do. It isn't easy to do both, but it is a prerequisite of success.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Advice on Giving Advice

I am a big believer in listening to wise counsel. I affirm that it is absolutely critical to success. In fact, there is an ancient saying that states "When you wage war, obtain guidance". And another one quips "Many advisers make victory sure". So it is paramount to develop an open ear for outside wisdom. The caveat though is to make sure it is in fact wisdom that we are giving and receiving and not mere opinion. Whenever I find myself giving advice that is highly opinionated, I now try to slow my mouth down because speaking from my own experience can sometimes limit the listener's frame of reference. Everyones circumstances are different even when they have close similarities. We have to take into account that we have different backgrounds, personalities, life experiences, so on and so forth. So it is wise to be cautious in both giving and receiving advice because it can cause a major shift in our thinking, good or bad. And thinking produces actions, which ultimately affects destinies.

Friday, March 21, 2014

In the Lab with Propaganda

Had the chance to kick it in the lab with the super cool Propaganda and my partner xlsrebelsx. Props really embodies the essence of Humble Beast, the label he is signed to. We ate sushi and talked about life and music. Good times.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What Doesn't Kill You

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." -Friedrich Nietzsche
I've had my fair share of times when I've complained about my struggles, but almost always I am thankful for everything I have gone through when I reflect afterwards. For these have built a level of strength that I would have never known otherwise. Hardship has a way of altering us for the better in a way no other method can. Our trials reveal our true character and help us to get intimately acquainted with who we really are. This is an unmatched place of power once you pass through the fires of life. It makes us prioritize, removes superficiality, and the bull crap that accumulates in our hearts/minds over the course of time. If you are in a struggle now, rest assured it will change for the better. Speak good over your life, your future, and those that you are responsible for. Keep your mind on the right track and head in the direction you know you are supposed to go. These difficulties are not meant to kill you, rather they are meant to bring forth the treasure that is hidden inside of you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Always Get Better

We should be relentless in our pursuit of excellence. Once you set a new bar, raise it even higher the next time. Always have a mind to test your limits. We are born with a great capacity and often times we settle for less than our fullest potential. There should be a continual thirst to sharpen our craft, skills, and gifts. When we use what we have been blessed with, it will expand. If we squander it, we run the risk of losing it.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Adjust Your Methods in Order to Go Further

We have to be willing to change our methods in order to do what we've never done before. Growth is always uncomfortable, but necessary. Staying comfortable is the quickest way to become obsolete. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? More than likely, it's something that you are currently not doing at the moment. Therefore new habits and routines need to be formed that will lead to your desired outcome. Many people talk about what they want to have and do in life but never demonstrate the will, consistency, and courage to step out of familiar territory and do things they may not be very good at initially. That's when perseverance comes into play. What must be developed is new processes and operations for how you go about accomplishing your goals. And this my friend, doesn't happen over night.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Feed Your Fire

Do something everyday to feed your passion. You should always be perfecting your craft in one way or another. We get bored when we just sit on our gifts and the things we truly want to do in life. Don't let busyness totally eradicate your time. Good things happen when we consistently dedicate ourselves to what fires us up in life. You may only be able to give it 15 minutes a day. That 15 minutes will make a world of difference overtime if you stick with it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Finish Well

I'm pretty sure that you know that change is inevitable. There will come many points in our lives where positions, assignments, careers, dreams, ambitions, and relationships run their course. We have to make up in our mind to finish well when we are near the end of something. We often throw caution to the wind when we have completed our obligations in certain areas. This mindet will burn bridges that you may need later. It is better to leave things in exceptional order before you exit. Even though we may never come back to those places again, we want to know that we would be welcomed back with open arms if we ever decided to return. That's a huge part of leaving a great legacy.

Monday, March 10, 2014

You're Closer to Your Dream Than You Know

Don't ever throw in the towel on your dreams. As long as you have breath, push toward them and never let them go. They are meant to become reality. The adversity you face is just an indicator of how great your dream is and the impact it will have on those around you. The obstacles are meant to build your character and give you the proper perspective once these dreams are tangible. Every dreamer has it rough. Every visionary will feel like giving up at one point or another. You are not alone, the difference between success and failure is perseverance. That's all. If you can hang in there you will make it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Don't Play Games

If you have any integrity whatsoever, manipulation (playing the game) is not a sustainable strategy for longevity. Plus, if you play the game in order to get to your destination, you will have to keep playing it in order to stay there. If God has promised you something, trust Him and play according to his rules, not other people. It is tempting not to try and test the waters of insincerity, especially when you see so many around you succeeding (seemingly) in the short term from it. However, you want to be able to both win and look yourself in the mirror when it's all said and done. This takes going about your endeavors the right way, and this is not an easy thing to do in today's social climate.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Be a Trendsetter

To be a trendsetter rather that just a trend follower, you must be willing to be laughed at and seen as "uncool" initially. You even have to have enough confidence in who you are and what you are doing to survive the often lonely terrain of breaking new ground. Every revolutionary idea (along with the visionary) are highly criticized and ridiculed. This is a good thing! It means that you are creating waves and upsetting the status quo. I should caution you though, being a trendsetter is not easy. You will experience very high emotional "highs" and very low emotional "lows." Everyone cannot stomach or function well under these conditions. Therefore, always have something in your life that ancors you when emotions carry you out into deep waters that you have never been in before. Eventually you'll learn how to swim in them and actaully come to enjoy the thrill!

Download Sharp Skills' latest mixtape "Tablets of the Heart" for free on Datpiff.com (Click cover to download).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Don't Let Emotions Get the Best of You

It's important not to give into your emotions wether they be really high or super low. While emotions are a gift and one of the best parts of being human, they can lead us to make some dumb decisions that we will later regret. In many cases, you have to use self control and keep your head. The moments that you are unable to keep your head, get as far away from others as you can and vent to God, who can absorb anything that you throw at Him. I've said before that emotions should serve us, not enslave us. When you learn how not to let emotions get the best of you (good or bad), you build a threshold of character that will serve you well in every area of life.

Click on the album cover to download "Anno Rebelio."