Dear Hip Hop,
I'm back with Part 2 of my letter to you! We last left off talking about AP, and how that wasn't meant to be...how I decided to embark on this musical journey alone. Let's jump back into it!
After AP split up, I decided to come out with an album. I must have been 18 or 19 years old at the time. I decided to name my debut album "The Catalyst". I wanted to name it that because I felt that it could be the start of a new era of music...we would change the game Hip Hop! In order to build up to the release of "The Catalyst", I decided to do a Hip Hop Weekly series.
The Hip Hop Weekly series was not my idea. The first person to do a Hip Hop Weekly series was my rap idol Crooked I (now known as Kxng Crooked). I remember first hearing about Crooked on the Sway and Tech show years ago. He had started doing his first HHW series back in 2007. I remember reaching out to him on MySpace and asking if it was okay if I made my own HHW series, and he said yes Hip Hop! While we were chatting I also asked him to be a guest on "The Catalyst" album and he agreed. That was the first time that we were able to work together!
I started my HHW series in 2007 and it helped me grow a following on MySpace! (LOL MySpace) My goal was to record 13 HHWs in a row and then release a mixtape. 13 tracks x 4 mixtapes = 52 tracks to build up to "The Catalyst". After recording the first 13, I decided to drop a mixtape!
My wonderful graphic designer, Pashii, introduced me to DJ V-DUB, a Violator All Star DJ who was also a WGCI Show Host and DJ. We linked up at a party and the rest is history! We made the mixtape and we had the Hip Hop Weekly Mixtape Release Party on Leap Year of 2008!
The show was a great success! I remember always trying to get on other people's shows in the past Hip Hop, but I was either too young or not established enough to get on those shows. So instead of trying to get on other people's shows, I made my own! "If you build it, they will come." The show was great, the mixtape was loved by many, but now is when the REAL WORK began Hip Hop. Now it was time to finish "The Catalyst" album....
And that's what we'll talk about next week! See you soon Hip Hop!
Dear Hip Hop,
How are you? It's been quite some time hasn't it? It's been nearly 6 years to the date! I released "Sink or Swim" in June of 2014. A lot has changed since then.
Back in 2014, I was burned out Hip Hop! It sucks to say but I had lost my passion, my steam, my drive. You were my love Hip Hop, but I took what I loved and turned it into something ugly. Let's back track some more...
I remember I fell in love with you back in 2000. When I was 12 years old, I remember going into my sister's room and borrowing her CDs so I could listen to you! I used to listen to the Lyricist Lounge CDs and Tony Touch mixtapes. That's when I heard REAL Hip Hop! Music from people like Gang Starr, Royce da 5'9", Heltah Skeltah, De La Soul, Mos Def, Big Pun, Kool G Rap, Biggie Smalls, Punchline and Wordsworth, and so much more. Rhymes, beats, bars, punchlines, etc. I was hooked! I had to do it for myself.
I used to scribble rhymes here and there but high school is where we took it to the next level Hip Hop! I used to call myself "Symptom" because I was kinda ill haha. And in high school is when I started battling people during lunch time. You remember that don't you Hip Hop? People banging on the lunch room tables or beat boxing, everyone gathered up in a circle, and just having fun. That's when I earned the name "Virus". I battled a senior twice in my freshman year. The first time around, I lost. I was still developing my craft. However, I earned the victory the second time around and that's when one of the students at the Open Mic told me "You're way sicker than a Symptom, you're more like a Virus!" And the name stuck with me ever since.
After high school, I decided that I wanted to pursue music as my career. I wanting to go to a studio but I had no clue where to go! I remember getting a flyer for a big battle at Sub-T and one of the top prizes was a studio session at a place called The Bank. At the time, I was only 18 so I wasn't allowed to go into Sub-T so I went ahead and called The Bank anyways. Lucky me, The Bank was in my neighborhood and that's where I met Wes.
Do you remember our first session at The Bank Hip Hop? 18 years old, super nervous, we recorded the very first "Nonpareil" over the DJ Jazzy Jeff beat! That would be the start of it all. I did it for the love and to express my art; to showcase my craft.
From there, I actually decided to take venture out into being in a group. Sam, Steven, and I formed AP aka Advanced Placement. That's when we did our first show, at DeVry University for their Battle of the Bands. We were the only Hip Hop group, everyone else was on their Rock and Roll tip and doing mosh pits haha. It wasn't our scene but they showed us love. I remember Sam forgetting his words to one of our tracks and I had to spit it for him haha.
AP recorded a few songs but ultimately the group fell apart. Everyone wanted to go their own way so we did. That's when I decided that I would focus on my solo career and not be apart of a group again. Too much stress, I'd rather carry that weight fully on my shoulders.
This is where I'll end this letter for now Hip Hop, we have so much more to reminisce and discuss! We'll chat again soon, I promise.