When did you first start getting involved with music?
That’s kind of hard to pinpoint. I definitely remember around the time I was in middle school the p2p music sharing was getting really popular… you know like LimeWire, Kazaa that type of stuff. My introduction to that shifted me from listening to whatever was on the radio and pushed me more towards finding whatever I wanted to listen to and putting it on my iPod. From that point, I started writing poetry and raps, just for fun. I also started recording myself around then. When I got to high school and started showing my material to friends, I realized that I had some talent and could take it seriously.
Back in 2011, you were on a tear on dropping music. Looking back, how big of a project was Coloring Outside The Lines, for you?
Coloring Outside The Lines as a whole was a huge project for me, mostly from a development standpoint. Prior to that point I had spent my first 3 or 4 projects recording and mixing myself, and I honestly had no idea wtf I was doing. On COTL, I recorded every song in a studio (Soundscape to be specific) which was a new experience. Also the video I put out for the song “A Nigger in Northface” did really well, and that earned me a spot on the scene here in Chicago. I think most people’s intro to me was the success of that video.
While creating Maudlin for a few years, do you ever get worried about the current climate we live in, as the ‘microwave’ era? You can put years of effort into music, but the content may only last for a little bit of time.
Hmmm, not really? That’s not something I think about. That might be because some of what contributes to that is completely out of my control. But I’ve always felt if the shit is good it’ll stick with people because that’s what all of my favorite albums have done to me. Also, that’s how I treat most of my own music anyway. By the time it’s finally out I’ve listened to it so many fucking times that I want nothing to do with it haha.
Lets get into Maudlin, what sparked the concept behind this project?
I kinda married a few ideas that eventually became Maudlin. As I’m sure you can tell, things going on in my personal life definitely drove the content. I also wanted to make a really somber and emotional project for a while, but really just for fun; creating is my favorite part of doing music. Then, as I got more and more carried away with the idea of me singing I decided I wanted to do mostly that on the project. It just made sense. 2 years and some change later here we are haha.
I want to go into the meaning behind a few songs, first, An African Werewolf in America
Ok, so I really *really* love having the race convo via perspectives that we don’t always get to hear. Werewolf is my attempt to look at how fear can be used to foster racism; exemplified by the fear of a fictional white woman crossing paths with a black man on her walk home. I wanted to paint that picture and then pose questions to the listener on what exactly led this woman to be so afraid, then juxtapose her fear with the fear that black man might have while minding his business, walking home just like she is.
Next, Hello My Name Is
So like I said, I really love approaching the convo of race in different ways… this record is another example of that. Because race is such a serious issue, a lot of art we see about it has an understandably serious or confrontational tone. If the goal of that art is to enlighten, I’ve always been curious how effective of a teaching method that is to those who are challenged to truly comprehend certain aspects of racism. One aspect is “how do things like slavery and systematic oppression affect us today?” I wanted to answer that question in a friendly, welcoming, non-condescending kind of tone, with the simplest explanation possible. I almost wanted the song to feel like a coloring book on racism. I felt like the easiest way to do that was to talk about how constant of a reminder we (descendants of American slavery) have that our entire history was erased.. stolen from us. That reminder begins as soon as were born and given the last name of a slave owner.
After the release of Maudlin, are you now more than ever ready to give the world “SURPRISE”
Idk if the release of Maudlin has made *me* more ready to put out Surprise. It’s really supposed to make you guys more ready for it haha. I probably became the most ready I’ve ever been right before I really locked in and started working on Maudlin. I was starting to get satisfied with the sound and direction of Surprise and decided I needed to shelve it for a second to finish and release Maudlin first, which was always meant to serve as a prequel of sorts.
If you could describe your music in three words, what would they be?
Alternative hip hop soul? Idk hahaha.