A little over five years ago I began one of the most life-changing journeys of my life so far. It started on a yellow school bus after a field trip sponsored by a school program. I sat awed as several of my friends, including a young Denzel Curry (formerly of Raider Klan, now of C9), freestyled effortlessly about their skills, cartoons, anime, and movies. Afraid of choking in public, all I did was sit quietly and watch.
Now fast-forward to the present moment and my decent ability to freestyle in a manner reminiscent of Black Thought in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxzQCyHRqWA) has helped me to make life-long friends. Add on to that two free EPs and a collab album with one of my best friends, and I’ve come a very long way. I am a Hip Hop artist.
But in an era where I can run into aspiring rappers in front of the movie theatre, what does that even mean? It’s been hard to admit that I no longer aspire to be a “professional” rapper but I really don’t. As an artist I’ve invested in a garden of creativity and if I were to become fully invested in Hip Hop, I see my other creative interests dwindling. Now they don’t necessarily need to, but to maintain the control over my art that I’ve always believed to be the norm, I know they would have to. Basically, I’m not in this to be Mick Jenkins, J. Cole, or Kendrick Lamar. I just love writing raps and performing them in front of people. I’m competitive with it, but I understand that I’m not shooting everyday.
To make a simple metaphor, I’m very fit creatively, but I don’t practice rapping all of the time. In a pick up game the team that has the most talent and skill wins in the end, and I’ve got a lot of both (IMO), but neither is the sharpened sword needed to cut through any and all of the competition.
But I’m still about making music. More so than trying to best any and all competition, I’m working to develop my own lane and style. I’m challenging myself to pick up new patterns over time and I’m learning more about creative writing, music, and sound in general. And I am closer to finding the sound and sincerity that I’ve been seeking.
All of that explication is really just a long winded way for me to say that I’m working hard to finish up my next free music project Man(a). I’ve been doing a lot of my own production so it has an even more personal feel than my other projects. At the same time, I’ve only been effectively making beats for a little under two years, so many tracks are flawed/imperfect and I’m ok with that. Lyrically, I’m excited about some of the topics I’ve been able to tackle and I know there’s only room for improvement and greater introspection.
All in all, it’s turning out to be an exciting journey. Hip Hop has definitely changed me for the better and I’m excited for another chance to really express that. I’ve set a tentative release date for March 29th. Hope to hear some of your feedback.