The sounds of hoots and hollers filled the room as Holt Miller stood at the mixing board and let the final song of their album ‘Love Letters To NY’ play.
“Damn B. This shit’s about to have the whole city goin’ crazy this summer.” Ace, Holt’s manager, said as he patted Holt on the back.
The success of the album was something Holt never doubted. For them, writing the album was like pulling an already completed work of art from the clouds. Everything from the melodies to the hooks and the verses were all there and all they had to do was reach up and grab it.
“Man, I’m about to cry. I feel like a proud dad right now.” Jackson, Holt’s best friend and assistant, said as he threw an arm around Holt.
As the last song of Love Letters reached its final crescendo, Holt looked over at Jackson and took their friend’s face in their hands. Without a moment of hesitation, Holt leaned in and kissed Jackson smack dab on the mouth. Being that Jackson was a first generation Italian and both he and Holt grew up just outside of Little Italy, kisses on the mouth were nothing to either of them.
“We did it Jackie, we fucking killed this shit!” Holt said pridefully.
“We? I just brought you coffee and took care of the little things. You’re the talent.” Jackson said.
Holt shook their head.
“Nah, don’t say that. It was you and me, every night in this studio together. You took care of me. This is OUR album.” Holt said seriously.
Not knowing what to say, Jackson threw his arms around his best friend since grade school, and hugged them with all his might.
“Hey, a little birdy told me the master has finished his work of art.” Said a voice from behind Holt.
Pulling back from Jackson, Holt turned to see their brother, Travis, walk into the studio.
“Ahh,nigga, I knew as soon as the celebration started you’d pull up.” Holt said giving their brother the side eye.
Travis smacked his lips.
“We can’t all be hip hop gods. A nigga gotta feed his family!” Travis said as he clapped hands with Jackson before pulling him in for a hug.
“Nah, but for real though, I’m proud of you kid.” Travis said pulling Holt into a hug.
“So you trynna cut up or-”
Travis’s question was cut short as Holt pulled back from their brother.
“See, this nigga only ever here for the parties!” Holt joked.
Travis’s hand flew to his chest as he pretended to be shot.
“Is this nigga serious B? Holt, who came up here every week to bring yo bum ass food? Who would ride an hour and a half in traffic after working a ten hour shift just to make sure you had everything you needed at all times. You know how much work I missed sitting up here with you? Don’t do me like that B, come on.” Travis said.
Holt rolled their eyes. Their brother did have a point. Being a father of three wasn’t easy, but Holt did offer to ease some of that load for their brother.
“Don’t even come at me with that I told you I’d-”
Travis held up his hand stopping his sibling.
“I know Holt, and I appreciate you wanting to help but sometimes a nigga gotta hold onto his pride and do his thang to feed his family. ” Travis said.
And that Holt understood, but that didn’t mean it made them miss having their brother in the studio with them any less.
“I told you, come mix for me and I’ll pay you!” Holt said, smacking their brother’s chest.
Travis shook his head.
“Nah, I don’t do-”
Jackson and Holt threw their hands in the air as they let out a simultaneous groan. ￼
“Trav, how many times do we have to tell you, this isn’t a hand out, it’s a job. Holt and I need people who get them in the studio with us. You and Holt could take their music to the next level, and Holt can save time by not having to deal with egotistical engineers who only make lunchroom beats. We need somebody who gets Holt and their vision.” Jackson explained.
Travis mulled it over in his head for a moment.
“What about Ace?” Travis asked, causing Holt and Jackson to exchange confused looks.
“What do you mean?” Holt asked looking back to their brother.
Travis rolled his eyes.
“How’s he gonna feel about all this?” Travis asked, looking back and forth between Holt and Jackson.
Holt smacked their lips as Jackson threw his hands in the air.
“I called it!” Jackson said, smacking Holt’s chest.
“Ahh man! You always on some bull. Ace ain’t got nothin’ to do with this. You just scared man.” Said Holt.
Travis’s eyes flicked back and forth between Holt and Jackson.
“And so what if I am. Hip hop is fucking competitive nigga and I haven’t had that much time with my beats. I’m not trynna hear them talk shit about you cause I ain’t on my shit.” Travis said.
And there it was. Travis wasn’t worried about the label, or management; he wasn’t even worried about the critics or the pay. It all came down to him doubting his abilities.
“Trav, come on now. You, me, and Jackson all know if you put out some shit of just instrumentals that he would light up the whole city. You and me G? We make sense! You ain’t gotta decide on nothing right now, but think about it. Actually sit down and think about becoming my engineer. I’m tryna make you part of the team, payroll, benefits, vacation, all that shit. You ain’t gotta answer now, but I wanna know, are you trynna join the team?” Holt asked.
Before Travis could say another word, Holt turned to Jackson.
“Did you call them?” Holt asked.
“Yeah, Sarah said the store’s been dead all day. People in and out but nothing too crazy.” Jackson said, causing Holt to fist pump.
“Cool. Bruh we bout to get some celebratory kicks, you trynna come with?” Holt asked, turning back to their brother.
Travis scoffed, offended that his sibling even had to ask.
“Hell yeah. You gonna buy me a pair?” Travis asked as he, Holt and Jackson made their way to the door.
Holt stop dead in their tracks. Turning around they smacked their lips as they looked at their brother, unamused.
“So you can have me buy you shoes, but you won’t let me give you a job so you can buy ya own shoes?” Holt asked, smacking their lips.
“Yeah nigga, one’s a hand out, and the others a gift.” Travis said as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
Shaking their head, Holt turned back around and followed Jackson out the door.
King’s Kicks, the shoe store Travis, Holt, Jackson use to window shop at as children, was about a thirty minute drive, without traffic, from the studio. So when Google Maps told them the ETA was about an hour and a half, know one was surprised. Thankfully, Holt’s driver was great at his job and was very much immune to the traffic.
As for Holt, Travis, and Jackson, they were in their own little world.
“Alright fuck it, Imma take it.” Travis said, causing Holt and Jackson to turn to him.
“That easy? Damn, I really thought you were gonna make us wine and dine you.” Jackson said, causing Travis’s face to fall.
Travis smacked his lips as he turned to Holt.
“Would y’all really have taken a nigga out?” Travis asked, turning to Holt.
“Shit, not anymore! Welcome to the team G.” Holt said, slapping Travis’ leg.
“Damn!” Travis said, causing Holt and Jackson to laugh.
Turning around in their seat, Holt placed a hand on their brother’s leg.
“Aye, look at the bright side. Now you’ll have money to buy ya own shoes.” Holt said, causing both Holt and Jackson to laugh.
After hugging one another, Jackson jumped out of the Escalade as Holt turned to their brother.
“Nah but seriously. Welcome to the team.” Holt said proudly.
After hopping out of the car, the siblings shared a hug before heading into the store for their celebratory kicks.
What shoes do you think Holt, Jackson, and Travis are gonna get?