JuMani’s Book Cypher: IT TAKES TWO

Nah, you’re not seeing double. Mid-way into the year, JuGatti and I decided to switch it up a little in July. Instead of picking one book for both of us to read and reflect on, we recommended a book for each other from our personal libraries. I suggested Angie Martinez’s memoir, My Voice for JuGatti and he picked You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero for me.


Growing up here in New York and tuning into Hot97, and now Power 105.1, I looked up to Angie Martinez as a hip-hop radio icon and as a woman in hip-hop. I admire her ability to keep her composure in interviews and the connections she makes with artist and just her overall love for hip-hop music. Known as “The Voice of New York” she was almost like a gatekeeper in music. I found her so compelling I bought her book when it was published last year in 2016 and thought my bookworm buddy Ju would appreciate it too.

When JuGatti read “You Are A Badass,” he thought of me and proposed this would be the perfect read for me and he was right. He knows me so well from my self-sabotage habits to my  constant overthinking and You Are A Badass is a book for keeping your thoughts in check and kicking that self-doubt to the curb.

Check out our interview Q&A with one another on our books below!

You Are A Badass

JuGatti: What makes you a badass?
Manito:  I’m blunt, I say what I want and not too many people can do the same. I think there’s something badass about speaking your mind and being unfiltered considering a lot of people can’t even be honest with themselves, let alone other people. Oh, and I never back down from a challenge no matter what it is. 

JuGatti: What prevents you from being a badass that you know you can become?
Manito: For me, it’s for sure self-doubt. I let fear of failure get in the way of so much, I’m in my own head so much it’s ridiculous and thanks to this book I’m aware of it even more. I know if I just had sheer utter confidence I could do whatever I put my mind to and then some, it’s all a mental game. I’m learning how to psych myself out of it though.

JuGatti: The first part of the book is entitled: How You Got This Way. Can you name a time or experience in your childhood that shaped the person you are today?
Manito: I owe everything to my grandmother Mabel. You want to talk about love and support? That was her all the way. She was a gem and my rock, encouraging me through any and everything I wanted to do and giving me the strength when she barely had it in herself to do so. She’s responsible for raising me into the young lady who writes the shit you’re reading, she was my everything. Unfortunately, I lost her to cancer at age 10 and I felt like my world was crushed. After losing her I kind of lost that confidence I had as a kid. Now I’m learning how to get it all back and be as badass as she would want me to be. I carry everything she taught me and all the beautiful things she said about me with me still. I like to think she’s my voice of reason when I get caught up in all the self-doubting I do to myself. 

JG: If you could go back in time, what’s the advice you would give to young Mani? Give 3 pieces of advice.
M: HA! 

  1. Intern more. Yeah, you might need the extra money from all those jobs you’re working but after you graduate college, nobody gives a fuck how many designer bags you sold at Nordstrom during Christmas time. It’ll save yourself the headache of hearing, “you don’t have enough experience,” even though you’ve had a job since 16.
  2. Credit is more than the idea of buy now, pay later. Get familiar with the concept of paying interest.
  3. Trust yourself. You are more powerful than you think you are. 

JG: Lastly a chapter in the book talked about gratitude, name a time where you’ve paid it forward.
M: I make it my mission to pay it forward every single day. What you put into the universe is exactly what you get back. I do my best to treat others with respect and be as helpful as possible because that’s exactly how I would want to be treated. I think that’s my purpose in this world, to share all this positivity. Spread love, it’s the Manito way!

My Voice

Manito: Coming up, Angie Martinez was an on-air personality I always made sure I tuned in to. Who was an influential radio personality to you coming up and why?
JuGatti:  Hmm this is a good question, I was always just a casual radio listener. I wanna say that Porkchop was pretty influential growing up. His energy and charisma was (and still is) unmatched. Animal House was a great segment and def helped out on the damn traffic commute home. 

Manito: What was one of your favorite stories as told by Angie?
JuGatti: The 2 Pac story was hands down my favorite. I never realized how much power radio personalities once held. They were literally the source of information in the hip hop world, if you didn’t hear it from them it wasn’t true. But that interview held such a magnitude in a tumultuous time of hip hop. It’s crazy that the same thing that started the east coast/west coast beef (the media) could’ve potentially ended it before it became too violent. Unfortunately it wasn’t prevented but that was a tall order and Angie Martinez handled it with ease so shouts to her for that. 

Manito: With hip-hop journalism taking a turn to focusing on digital media, do you think hip-hop culture is still accurately represented?
JuGatti:  Yes I believe that hip hop is still accurately represented, I just believe it’s severely watered down. It’s not about who has the most knowledge or dopest content, but who has the biggest social media following. It’s not about who is dropping the truth, but who’s breaking the story first regardless if it’s factual or not. That’s how a lot of wack niggas have these big platforms and shows to voice their BS musical opinions. Aside from that though I think digital has helped hip hop as it’s propelled them to a bigger audience and wider following. 

M: Do you have an unforgettable moment from listening to radio? Explain.
JG: My unforgettable moment is of recent years when Dame Dash was on the breakfast club. I mean he did come off rambunctious and arrogant but he really dropped jewels on niggas head about being a boss and all of that. I took it more so as motivation because working for someone else for the rest of my life isn’t the move at all. I see the whole 9-5/entrepreneur debate on social media a lot recently and I’m not here to say one is better than the other, but for ME it’s imperative that I don’t pigeonhole myself into working some dead end joint forever. So the Dame Dash one really resonated with me and I often see myself revisiting it quite frequently. 

M:  If you were given the chance to write your memoir, what would you call it?
JG: Haa great question because in my mind when something bugged out happens in my life I always say to myself ‘what chapter of my book will this be in?’ So I already gave thought to this. My book would be called “J: The Life & Times.” 🙌🏾

If you haven’t done so already, link up with my literary leading man JuGatti

Twitter: @_JuGatti , @stoop_kidz
Instagram: @JuKnowIt
 and on his website StoopKidz.com


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