Hip-hop artist MC Yogi shares his colorful life in ‘Spiritual Graffiti’ | ParkRecord.com

Hip-hop artist MC Yogi shares his colorful life in ‘Spiritual Graffiti’

Artist and wife will lead yoga session

MC Yogi, known to his family as Nicholas Giacomini, has lived many lifetimes in his 30 years on Earth.

He grew up in San Francisco and was surrounded by gang violence and drugs.

Yogi began writing and recording his own hip-hop tracks when he was 13. He has released seven albums to date.

In 2008 MC Yogi produced a video called "Obama '08 – Vote for Hope," that promoted the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. A year later, Starbucks used an MC Yogi song as part of a campaign called "Are You In?" which promoted community service and volunteering.

A few months ago, MC Yogi delved into a new creative outlet, writing his memoir titled "Spiritual Graffiti."

Although he is well versed in writing songs, MC Yogi said writing a memoir was a new experience.

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"I haven't really written long-form projects before," Yogi said during a Park Record interview. "I was kicked out of many schools when I was younger and never got into the habit of turning in homework. So the book was like the biggest piece of homework I ever had."

The MC, along with his wife Amanda — who is known professionally as street artist 10,000 Buddhas — will do a book reading and lead a yoga class from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24, The Shop Yoga Studio, 1167 Woodside Ave. The cost is $60. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityyoga.com.

"We're offering a community yoga class where we all can move and breathe together," Yogi said. "We'll do a mediation and relaxation session and then I'll do a reading, before we open things up to questions."

As he started on the book-writing path, MC Yogi found he could approach the book as one long song.

"I always had my headphones on and listened to beats and music while I wrote," he said. "That helped me get into a rhythm, and nine months later, the book was finished."

Still, the experience was a little unnerving.

"I felt a lot more vulnerable because I wasn't wearing the clothing of music," said Yogi, who has performed around the world including the Forbidden City in China and the White House. "I've told my story before, but in the form of a poem or song with music to carry the message. The book is just words, which makes it a little more intimate. And I think it's a great way to share the stories that I lived through."

Yogi relied on his wife to give him honest critiques.

"In the beginning I didn't share anything with everyone," he said. "I isolated myself and wrote without editing just to get things all out. But when I was three or four months in, I slowly opened up and read some of the stories to her. I would read a chapter each night before we went to bed."

Yogi remembers his wife's comments.

"There was one time when she told me the writing was amazing, and I told her to wait for a bit," he said with a laugh. "After I read the rest of it, she said, 'Oh yeah. You have a lot of work to do.' She was so helpful and honest."

MC Yogi said he was asked to write a memoire after a publisher heard MC Yogi on Rob Bell's podcast "Love Wins."

"The publisher said my story would be inspiring to many young people who are currently struggling with the things I did when I was younger," Yogi said.

When Yogi stopped and considered the opportunity, he remembered various teachers and mentors who were pivotal in his life.

"Most of them have passed away, and I thought a book would be a great platform to share some of the wisdom they gave me that helped me when I was young," he said. "I felt it would be a way to carry their legacy forward."

MC Yogi is just as dedicated to yoga as he is music.

He first experienced yoga when he was 17, and that changed his whole approach and perspective of his art.

"For as long as I can remember I felt trapped and locked out of myself," he said. "I felt like I was stuck on the surface. I was depressed and anxious. But when I started practicing yoga and began doing the breathing, postures and paying attention to the philosophies, it was like this lock loosened on this door inside of me."

MC Yogi and 10,000 Buddhas will lead a yoga class that will feature story telling and a book signing from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24, The Shop Yoga Studio, 1167 Woodside Ave. The cost is $60. Tickets can be purchased by visiting this website.