NOW you guys think the whole Hip Hop foodie thing is cool, huh? Interesting. All it took was 5 years, Ciroc to blow up, money in rap music to slow up, VICELAND to give Eddie Huang and Action Brunson a show, and a 2 Chainz cookbook to pull it all together. I guess The Bite Life was just slightly ahead of its’ time. Or not.
I assume I wasn’t the first person to ever get the bright idea of combining foodie and Hip-Hop culture. Actually, it was my cousin, Marcus, who suggested it to me. At that time, I was still just trying to put my high school friends on to spots outside of Decatur via my Facebook page. I had notoriously spent close to 50% of my income eating out so I became the go-to guy to for restaurant recommendations. Wanna know where to go for your birthday? Hit me. Wanna know where to take your girl for Valentine’s Day or an anniversary. Hit me. Marcus thought I’d get even more love if I got Jeezy or 2 Chainz to go out to eat with me since I worked closely with them in my role as a music business exec. So, in the pursuit of “Likes”, I set out to do just that.
In May of 2011, I launched an embarrassing little Blogger site called ATL Bite Life. It took me over a month to get the first draft of the site “just right”. It would take another year and maybe 3 or 4 more drafts to make it semi-respectable. Sure, my palate was sophisticated enough to distinguish between Domino’s and Double Zero. But, I still wasn’t savvy enough to know that WordPress would’ve been a better option to showcase my knowledge.
I got invited to all kinds of cool foodie events around the city. I made some non-black friends. I even started my web show which finally did feature 2 Chainz as well as ASAP Rocky and a few other of my famous acquaintances. But, ultimately, I shut it down because it became a very time-consuming, non-paying hobby. Plus, trying to convince people that it’d be a good idea to have a black person on TV talking food that wasn’t over the age of 50 (i.e Patti LaBelle, G Garvin, etc) became more and more deflating as time passed.
Then, I got the itch again in 2014. I knew I wanted to expand my horizons beyond Atlanta so that I could highlight the places I dined in while on the road with Jeezy. So, I changed the name to its’ current moniker, The Bite Life. But, it quickly dawned on me that this endeavor required 100% of my attention if I ever wanted it to be great. Reluctantly, I shut the site down once again. This time, I vowed to never relaunch the brand until I had the time, money, resources, and patience to see it through.
Fast forward to now. I’ve put the music business in my rear view and set my sights on my site. I dove head first into my savings accounts, pulled out my credit cards and went to work. But, this landscape is very different from the one I left. All of a sudden, the idea of merging rap with restaurants isn’t so foreign. In fact, it seems like the new wave. So where does that leave little ol’ me?
Did I miss my window? Am I now following a trend I once attempted to pioneer? Or, is this just the genesis of a nemesis?
Outside of Chef Roble or maybe Ayesha Curry, I still don’t see too many faces like mine when I watch food-related shows. So, today, I grind to force that change. But, my goal isn’t just to put myself on. I want to create an outlet for food & beverage brands, writers, chefs, and restaurant owners that need a voice. I want The Bite Life to be the first stop for quality shows and content in the culinary space. And, I still wanna get a few “Likes” on Facebook. I just hope this third time’s a charm.