“Hip Hop is fairly new and we should treat this wonderful blessing as a child who should be nurtured and cared for.” -Abstrakt Mind
You initially caught our attention & topped Insomniac Magazine’s Weekly Top Ten with “KTM Anthem,” then pushed the creative boundaries even further with “The Pen To Pad Theory Vol. 1.” What do you have planned for your fans on your collabo project with fellow CT lyricist, Mark Da Mighty, as part of new super group, The Saviors of Everything?
Well if I told you I’d have to ki…(laughs) Just kidding. What we have for you guys is something you wouldn’t expect. As far as pushing boundaries with our versatility, you won’t find us on old school Boom Bap beats. We’re truly trying to expand our creativity whilst giving you guys great songs and lyricism to match, on our lonesome or as a duo.
Sounds intriguing! Hmm, we’ve noticed that a lot of lyricists are emerging from Connecticut lately. Why do you think it’s suddenly become a hotbed of Hip Hop talent? Also, when did you initially link up with Mark Da Mighty and what made you decide to work together as a duo?
CT has definitely cultivated talent for a long while. Not sure why we are just starting to get attention to tell you the truth. CT culture is truly diverse in art(s). If someone isn’t an artist, they paint, write, sing, or even do spoken word. I met Mark around October of last year and I think it was like the law of attraction that brought us together. We both have similar ideas when it comes to what we would like to accomplish within our music careers and just have a love for the craft like no other! We came up with T.S.O.E.out of love for the craft and to give us another lane to travel and to stand out from other groups that are currently involved in the rap game.
When did you first realize that you had lyrical skills on the mic & what are your earliest memories of listening to and developing a love for Hip Hop?
I learned that I had some type of lyrical ability pretty early on in life actually. I was a creative writer in middle school and it carried on in high school before I started taking music seriously. I’d never thought I’d even have the audacity to step in front of a mic and record anything. I was like a kid in a candy store just eager to learn any and everything I could about rap. Whether it being multisyllabic rhymes or technical rhyme schemes and cadences. I was a sponge basically. My earliest memories of anything Hip Hop are probably hearing Jay-Z for the first time because my father had such a diverse collection. Between Hip Hop, alternative, country, pop, you name it and my father had it in his collection. I can also recall watching MTV when I was younger and just seeing the high energy and precision that went into Hip Hop. I was drawn in from the first beat break and horns I heard.
What makes your rhyme style unique from other emcees & what lyricists would you like to collaborate with in the future? Also, name the producers who influenced you as well.
First off, I believe everyone should give proper credit to the one and only J Dilla. He laid some of the groundwork for artists and producers to get on their A-game and the sampling he provided was done so masterfully, I can’t even explain all of his techniques. Producers like Dilla, Premier, Pete Rock, MF Doom, Just Blaze, and Madlib are some of the first producers I heard and was influenced by their love for the MPC. The drums were something like I’ve never heard. I would definitely love to collab with the above listed producers at any given moment!…What makes my rhyme style unique is that I give you guys messages within the message. I give hidden things within for people to catch, if they even catch it (laughs). I like to stump the listener because sometimes people really don’t pay attention. I also know that I don’t rap like anyone. I can be compared, but I just focus on the beat and what I can add to make it a whole record, or which ways I can attack it, and if I’d like to be tenacious or chill. Over time I developed that skill to take over any beat and convey what I want with either aggression or smoothness. Some artists I’d like to work with are Chance The Rapper most definitely because he’s an indie artist’s dream…Making waves for other indies and he makes such great music! I’d love to work with Tyler, The Creator and Childish Gambino as well because they are very influential when it comes to the digital age of marketing and they can both spit and produce. If that’s not hardworking, I don’t know what is. Finally, I would love to work with one of my Hip Hop idols, Jay-Z, and also Kendrick because I feel we have a similar message to convey. Also, Kendrick is just so witty behind his concepts.
What marketing ideas via social media or otherwise, have you executed to stand out from the pack?
I have a couple of things I’d like to do as such as merch ideas and what not, but I’m truly focused right now on cultivating a raw, organic fan base. As soon as I hit my mark with whatever amount of music lovers to become family, I think everything else will fall into place. I’ve noticed though, to stand out you must do things consistently and you must have the best quality you can afford.
Do you have a 5 year plan in regard to goals & achievements? If so, please share it with the readers.
As far as a 5 year plan goes, I don’t have one. I’m focused on now. If you plan too early things can come up unexpected and take you off course. But I do see myself in 5 years still being an underground artist. I don’t see any label meeting my demands that I would need, so it’s basically just working independently and networking for these years to come. I say labels won’t meet my demands, not in the sense of monetary gains, but in the sense of hijacking my creativity and telling me to do what they want. I’ve never been that kind of artist. I say f**k it and keep going.
From your experience & observations, what are the pros & cons of the music industry?
My pros of the industry are as follows. You get to meet and gain new friendships and see who’s really about the music. You get to experience different cultures through music. It’s great that someone from China can go listen to my music or search me on Google. I also love the love you receive when people know you can rap. That’s what it’s all about for me. Of course I’d like to make money but I honestly do it for the oohs and ahhs at lyrical ability. My cons of the industry can be explained simply. I don’t like people who play around with music at all! It’s a waste of my time and yours so don’t do that. Another discrepancy I have with the game is that there are too many liars. Too many times I’ve been emailed from sketchy email addresses and it comes with price tags attached with a message, “really get your music heard now.”
What advice would you give to aspiring lyricists?
Advice I would give to new lyricists…I would really just say focus and learn about the craft and just be yourself. I started out trying to be the fastest rapper and most technically sound, but realized that wasn’t me, and also people wouldn’t be able to keep up like that, or sing along. I developed a comfort zone and just began to let things flow. My advice is to flow. Be water.
Perfect! Do you have any final thoughts or shout outs?
My final thoughts are this. Hip Hop is fairly new and we should treat this wonderful blessing as a child who should be nurtured and cared for. We need to provide a message to the listeners instead of parties all the time. We need to actually put out something of substance. What will your future kids think about what you’ve done? These are the things I think about when I write music or say something on platforms others cannot. Shoutout to my boy Mark and thanks again Insomniac Magazine! You guys have been with me this whole project and I can’t wait to give you guys more drops! Appreciate you guys and thanks for being so supportive of my path!
– Interview by Kevin Keith