Category Archives: Blog

NEWS | Cover Art for HUGO DA CAPO’s New Single

This is the Cover Art for Hugo Da Capo’s new single to be released in March. The video will be Produced by Troy Johnson, aka Toast 187. The Track was produced by newcomer Grizzly On Da Beat, SC. Mixed and Mastered by Paul Trahan, NOLA and Sound Lab Recordings, NYC for Biltmore Records Inc., NC and TCK & Associates LLC, NYC.


A Prayer For Donald Trump And America, From An Old Friend

Art for Life Gala Honoring Sean P. Diddy Combs Hosted by Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons

I have known Donald Trump for nearly thirty years. He has been a real friend. He has been in my home, my office and I have been in his. While I vigorously campaigned against his presidential candidacy, he won the election and I hope he hears these words.

Donald, congratulations on becoming our next president of the United States. While almost everyone in this country doubted that you could win, you believed in yourself and pulled off one of the greatest upsets in political history. Now, your new job begins and I offer you some friendly advice. As a yogi, not a priest.

You’ve never been a part of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, as neither of them ever fully embraced you. You have been an independent thinker and successful businessman, who has spoken your own truth during your entire life. While I disagree with many of the things that you have said during your campaign and many of your policies that you have proposed, you will still be our president, and I am willing to work for and with you.

You have many progressive friends from New York and your campaign has alienated many of them. It is time to bring them back into your circle, so you can get honest advice from people who have known you for years. Those who have surrounded you during the campaign have offered some very dangerous policies that would hurt people and the planet, which I want to believe you still care about. The far right wing and the alt-right were your most staunch supporters, but those people are not your friends and you know that. You have the chance to be the first true independent president this country has ever seen, but your radical beliefs you ran on during your campaign must be addressed.

Donald, you cannot target a religious group of people. That is dangerous. You cannot separate families and deport people who have only known this country as their home. That is immoral. Donald, you cannot further militarize the police and empower them to antagonize and terrorize black communities. That is unjust. You cannot wage war against women’s rights. That is disastrous. You must stop with the hateful and harmful language towards women and people of color. That is unacceptable. Donald, you cannot rip up all of our regulations that protect our planet, continue to subsidize the meat industry and put people in power that think climate change is a hoax (the rumor of who you want to appoint to run the EPA is frightening). That is beyond repair. There are a lot of people who felt the government had forgotten about them, lead them to outcomes that don’t hurt those who did not support you. Put the pain on the lack of ingenuity and opportunity that government might have not provided to them, but never punish those that think differently than you.

Since you were elected, Donald, we have already seen hundreds of incidents around the country of hate, whether swastikas spray-painted on buildings or students taunting children of color… it is terrifying. And many of them claim to do it in your name. As our president-elect, as a man, as a human being with children (who I have known since they were all born), it is your duty to denounce this kind of behavior immediately. This is not the legacy you want to leave behind.

I, like millions of Americans, will watch you very closely. Every statement you make. Every tweet you send out. Every person you hire. Every document you sign. We will be watching you to make sure that your power does not corrupt the entire union. We will never be caught off guard by any move you make that would hurt the most vulnerable in this country. In that first hundred days, you have expressed your desire to deport two million people, implement a ban on Muslims and propose a Supreme Court justice that will favor overturning Roe v. Wade. Donald, you don’t work for the Republicans in the House or the Senate (or the Democrats either), you work for the American people. And you didn’t win the popular vote, so more people in this country disagree with what you propose, so remember that if you make a dangerous move, the people will be at your front door — I am sure you heard the 100,000 people who showed up last night in front of your New York City apartment. The numbers will only grow and they will be in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue every night for four years. And I will be there with them.

An entire generation of young people fear that this country has just elected its first dictator, and I cannot blame them for thinking that. However, I know you and I have to believe that you want to listen to outside people. But if you want to just listen to people like Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pence, then I am sorry to tell you that your four years in the White House will be incredibly unpleasant. As always I stand with ALL the people and strongly admonish you to do the same.

Follow Russell Simmons on Twitter:

Ready for Hillary 2016′

“Power Corrupts & Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” – John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Message to Voters regarding the 2016 Election,

I guess the funny thing is that the same people Hillary labeled as Super Predators now make up a Good portion of the Black and Latino vote. I also remember when Bill Clinton finalized NAFTA, (National Free Trade Agreement), an agreement that crippled local economies and industries throughout the country. During the debates, the media somehow blamed Nixon for this; however I remember watching it live on television in 1993, myself. So how can we trust the media to be honest with the public without steering them or allowing them to make an honest decision? I have seen firsthand how those local economies that depended on those industries were impacted by the unfair trade agreements. If the Clintons were asked for a real answer to those and any other questions, I’m sure the response would be that those decisions were the best descions that could have been made at the time based on their level of perception. I understand that. The question is, on Election Day, do you?

I also wish there could be a three party system, but in reality that could really never work. For example if Bernie Sanders lost to Clinton and then went back and ran as an Independent, neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders would stand a chance at winning because they would split their parties votes.

So any way you look at it in this election, a vote for an Independent is a vote for Trump. Or if you choose to not participate, that is also a vote for Trump. If you don’t believe that your vote counts then you are disloyal to your ancestors who fought for that right…and it’s a vote for Trump. Get it??? Is or was the Election rigged? Do the Rothschild’s and Rockefellers control the world? Well it really doesn’t matter right now. The only thing that you can control is your one vote. You have control over your vote and also knowing that you did the right thing. So get involved in the process on all levels and unify our vote.

Quite Honestly, I do not know Trump and I do not know Hillary Clinton. I only know of their accomplishments and track record. I have heard Locker Room Talk before (mostly in Jr. High) and although I don’t agree with that language, I understand that kind of Alpha Male Egotistical language can be a sharp contrast to a person’s real outlook. As it relates to Hip-Hop? Come on let’s be real… I personally would like that kind of language totally taken out of our music period. It’s pure stupidity at this point in our evolution.

I don’t care about the e-mails that were deleted. I don’t pretend to understand all of the intricacies or the diplomatic decision making that goes into making sure that the world’s economy is not destabilized by some random sociopath or any other radical extremist groups. You should not pretend to understand the role of the Secretary of State either, or what should have been done based on your favorite media outlet or political affiliation.

I don’t care about how the Clinton Foundation was funded; mainly because the Foundation has shown that those funds were used for a good cause. I don’t care if the bag (money) was personally delivered by Pablo Escobar Himself. Does Washington need to be reformed? Yes. Is this the right time to do it? Is Trump the right candidate to do it? Trump obviously speaks for allot of people that are in need of something, and this is America, so like it or not those concerns need to be addressed.

The fact of the matter is Hillary Clinton is a woman who has dedicated her Life to Public Service. I like that and believe that she is the best person for the job. I care about forward progression. The policies that President Obama put in place will take time to work. I trust my past two Presidential votes and would like to see the glass ceiling shattered for everyone. Barack and Michelle’s endorsement of Hillary is good enough for me no matter what the mistakes of the past were. Now if you disagree with the Fact that POTUS has brought this country out of the recession of 2008 and placed us back on the right track, then you my friend are an extremist who listens to the media and does not research the FACTS for himself. We’re still cool tho… You have the right to your opinion, as do I. and that is why after careful research and analysis of the situation, I AM WITH HER!

Best Regards,

Rick M. Cruz
Biltmore Records Inc.


Day 3 | Peaceful, Organized & On Message

Directly following the looting and rioting that occurred the first night, the City seemed to come together to peacefully protest the officer involved shooting and subsequent death of Keith Lamont Scott. Charlotte is a great City and I believe that everyone here was surprised by the violent protesters looting and destroying this City that we all love. This is the City where the Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers Play. The City where so many of us go on the weekends to blow off steam, either at the Epicenter or any of the other Bars or Venues about town. To see a curfew imposed and the National Guard called in was truly surprising to say the least. However, it is also inspiring to see peaceful protesters of all nationalities and backgrounds protesting the injustices that continuously occur by Police upon people of color. Ultimately we are living in a tumultuous time were political divisiveness and racial injustice and inequality have come to a head. However, the unity displayed on this third night by Atlanta protesting in unison was an outstanding testament to the commitment the public has to the continued fight for change. Salute to all of the peaceful protesters.

Day 3 - Peaceful, Organized & On Message


In this episode of the Verbal Graffiti Podcast we began to comment on the book titled The Power Of Broke,by Daymond John it’s the first book being reviewed by our Book Klub. Currently we are offering free Books to anyone who wants to join our gang of book reading hoodlums. Obviously, this is all in fun but one of the goals of this Podcast is to encourage our community to read at least one book a month, which equates to 20 or 30 minutes a day. We will select a new book every months and give a brief review of each book twice within a 30 day cycle. Anyone wishing to join can do so by sending us an email to [email protected] There will be a limited monthly supply so if interested you would want to be among our first responders. A future goal of the Podcast is to give out books selected by the Book Klub to local Schools in order to encourage kids to read suggested books and participate in the Book Klub!

Additionally, we discussed the Hood Morning America Wake up Challenge! That’s simply the creation of daily habits or routines initiated every morning aimed at increasing productivity and vitality throughout the day. The first challenge is to drink 16 ounces of water immediately after you wake up in the morning. Studies have shown that there are many Health Benefits to drinking water as soon as you wake up and we agree that doing this will not only provide a revitalization of energy, but it was also jumpstart your metabolism. Please keep in mind that drinking water is only the first challenge, we will add on new challenges with every episode to creating the optimal step by step morning routine.

In this podcast we also released a new song titled Again! The songs is about a healthy lifestyle and just may be the theme music for the show, who knows! It’s something that Rick Cruz had in his archives but you got to admit that beat is hot! Also, make sure to check out other news and updates from Biltmore Records!


The Verbal Graffiti Podcast Episode #002 – THE FOLLOW UP

After listening to the second episode of the Verbal Graffiti Podcast you may be thinking “what does this show have to do with Hip-Hop?” Well it’s simple, this show is about inspiring our audience to get out of it’s comfort zone. It’s about challenging ourselves take action NOW in order to fully pursue whatever we set out to achieve. The show references comments from Mrs. Tamara Bunte, America’s #1 Sales Coach who just wrote a book titled PROVERBS FOR SELLING available on We also referenced Tony Robins’s 7 Master Steps To Creating Lasting Change. Again., we are not trying to teach this information but rather inspire our audience to look further into these resources for more helpful insight into overcoming challenges to business and personal goals.

The first podcast also received criticism via email, as well as feedback from friends. We narrowed it down to the top 5 critiques of the show and shared them along with our comments. The idea is that Rome was not built in a day, and this podcast will not be an overnight success, but we do plan to build it up to the point where it can be the absolute best Podcast out there (respectfully). So stay tuned.


The Verbal Graffiti Podcast Episode #001 – THE INTRODUCTION

The first episode of the Verbal Graffiti Podcast is a short introduction to the show and content. The show will air on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each Month. In this episode we introduce the show, the host and reasons to listen in. We touched on a lot of subject matter that will be covered and expanded upon in future shows. If you were expecting commentary on music then you might be in for a surprise. Yes, music is an important part of the Verbal Graffiti lifestyle, but this podcast is more focused on inspiring the listeners to be a part of our “Gang of Hoodlems” who will read books and follow success formulas to better improve LIFE for everyone who participates. The idea is not that Rick Cruz is some sort of a GURU but rather that he is trying to stick to these life altering routines and he selfishly wants everyone to participate so that he can be held accountable for sticking to the path.

We Announced Da Hood Morning America Wake UP Challenge, Da Hood Book Klub and other Challenges or information that will make the listener think that this Podcast is nothing but a whole lot of work,. And THAT It Is. But, those who participate will experience some amazing, life altering benefits. THAT is a proven fact.

This Month the Hood Book Klub will be reading The Power of Broke by Daymond John, co/written by Daniel Paisner. The books subtitle is equally as interesting as the title stating “How empty pockets, a tight budget and a hunger for success can become your greatest competitive advantage”. The book is $26 at Barnes & Nobel but we found it for $15 on THE POWER OF BROKE on We will begin discussing the book on our next episode, but you don’t have to finish the book in that time frame.

We also asked for anyone looking to actively follow along, and become a part of our “Gang of Hoodlems” to grab a yearly planner and a journal to plan out goals and track progress. Here are links to two that we really like:

Lastly please leave a comment here, or contact us via email at [email protected] with any suggestions or comments. Also you can follow us on Facebook Twitter Instagram & YouTube. Until next time friends remember “you are a combination of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. So,..choose your “Gang” wisely.

Verbal Graffiti Podcast ON FACEBOOK


New Music from HAN-AN titled “Are You Already Ready?” Produced by Paul Trahan featuring Dalvin Woods. Lyrics written by Rick Cruz and Sean Howard. Vocals were recorded at Maximus studio’s in Charlotte, NC with Ira Parker (Sound Engineer). The song was mixed and mastered by Paul Trahan of New Orleans, La.


“Only IF Rudyard Kipling knew one thing” – That line explains the theme of this track. Beast is a dedication to those who made it through the struggle; and the ones who did not. Check out the re-mix of HAN-AN’s 2007 track titled BEAST. It was originally produced by Paul Trahan and now he has remixed it for 2015 to prelude the new music that’s on the way. Are you already; Ready 11.11.15.

Music | The More Things Change 2015

This track was produced by T. Acosta, Rick Cruz and Paul Trahan for Biltmore Records Inc. The record has now been brought back with a new mix and fully remastered by Paul Trahan. Originally a statement mocking the redundant content in rap music the songs true texture lies in the social, political and ecological ideas that continue to become even more transparent today.

GRAFFITI | Street Art for Hope and Peace | eL Seed | TED Talks

Born in France to Tunisian parents, eL Seed delights in juggling multiple cultures, languages and identities. Not least in his artwork, which sets Arabic poetry in a style inspired by street art and graffiti. In this quietly passionate talk, the artist and TED Fellow describes his central ambition: to create art so beautiful it needs no translation.

Survey | Charlotte vs. Atlanta, Who has the better city?

Ever wonder why Charlotte is the most popular up and coming city on the east coast? Take at look at this. It’s a short film explaining how for years, Charlotte and Atlanta have been long time rivalries in the competition for new companies, jobs and young residents. However, the Queen City’s uptown success started with a vision nearly 50 years old. What do you think? Leave a comment let us know your thoughts!


The Chello Hollyday Band is known as one of the hottest bands in Tampa Florida. On May 8th they will be playing at the Amalie Arena before the Kevin Hart show. If your in town make sure to join them from 5 – 9 for some good music and great vibes before the big event! You can also check out Chello Hollyday on CHELLO HOLLYDAY.COM and his event page on FACEBOOK. Also download Chello Hollyday’s hit single “Let’s Make Love Tonight” on ITUNES TODAY! Available only on BILTMORE RECORDS.

Chello D