Dev's Vids


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Contest Song

So...I picked the instrumental I was gonna use for the Anno Domini Nation song contest...which was, arguably, the hardest part. Even though I felt some way reading the contracts, as there are minor things here and there such as limitations on unit distribution (When I eventually attempt to profit off of this) and identification of the original beat (meaning, you HAVE to tell people what the beat you bought the rights to was and where you got it, leaving you wide open for niggas to bite your shit), these are QUALITY beats frfr. I think I learned some stuff just listening to them. Either way, they are beneficial to me in the long run, and I won't be running out of beats any time soon.

Now...the song...well...God, I guess I'm kinda embarrassed. LMFAO, cuz this song is fire, like definitely something that would get heavy rotation, but...I dunno, I guess I'll just post it up on Friday.

There was this one beat that really resonated with me and I really wanna use, but I'm saving it for my third mix-tape. I already have a title, and I'm sure it's gonna be good. Kinda Curren$yish, but all I can think about when I hear this instrumental is riding around on a summer day, just cruzin with me and my sons, man.  I love that shit, because it's swag + reality, not some hyper-dimensional, ballin out of control, fuckin all yo bitches kinda shit. The third mixtape will showcase more of where I am in my present tense than anything else- The Living Enviroment and You.

I...I really wanna win this competition, hahahah. Fam, I think I might have pulled some underhanded shit when it comes to my approach, because it struck me as the most effective route to victory, but you know, I could be proven wrong. All I know is that they are judging a song based on composition, sound quality, and presentation. Some things come easier to me than others, that's all. In this situation, I picked an instrumental that goes, but isn't too hyper-trapped out, gave it a backdrop familiar to where a song like this would be played, made the hook dumb catchy, and really pondered over the delivery of the verses. It's rap, not rocket science folks. I still stand by my notion of anyone being able to do this shit if they tried hard enough.

It's not even about the money...although, that would be nice. Seriously, look at the possible outcomes:

First of all, it would be nice to ACTUALLY WIN at something.  If you look at that first place slot, and erase the notion of money, it's still PROMOTION. OH YEAH, AND A SHIITTON OF FREE QUALITY ASS BEATS. Then there's the fact that they'll put you on their mix-tape! Nigga-synthesis! Lmfao I just wanted to say that real quick hahahah. They give you 15 unlimited licences...that's an album right there actually. You could sell that with no one trynna sue you for royalties or anything of that sort, which is pretty amazing. The interview part is pretty cool as I suppose it gives people a chance to get to know you? Odd, for as many Breakfast Club interviews I been watched, I would be uncertain of how that part would go down with me in the proverbial cockpit...I'm not THAT socially awkward or anything...but I would hope that the surrealness wouldn't get the best of me, you know? And who tf dosen't like a free teeshirt? I'm sayin tho.

Aw. There I go again...rambling. This contest has been open since November and I'm a last minute entry. There is a VERY good chance that I may not win...but you can't blame a guy for hoping and giving it his all, now can you?

Monday, January 30, 2017


Crap. With the way my mind works, this shouldn't be happening right now (as it has happened soooooo many times before), but this...this is sorta beneficial...well, it really is, but I gotta explain.

The producers at Anno Domini Nation are having a contest; these guys make consistently high quality instrumentals that I've just never been able to get at for one reason or another (cuz, life hoe). They just so happened to drop a 2 gig package of instrumentals for $ bucks...3 dollars short a sack of loud...2 dollars more than goin half with a nigga. I had to take advantage because I always wanted to, and this opportunity won't come back around until end of this year.

But back to the contest...fairly simple rules, really; Submit a maximum of 3 songs over their instrumentals with proof of purchasing the beats to be judged by their panel of people to determine the winner. The prizes are pretty nice, but the top three get you (aside from money) a mixtape spot! That is pretty crucial for promotion purposes...just a way of getting my name out there. There's just one problem...the deadline is this Saturday coming (Feb 4th), and I have yet to finish downloading a beat, much less write or record.

Now fortunately, I was heading over to Roscoe's new spot on Southside Thursday, but this gives me very little time to prepare for the booth. I dunno how this is gonna turn out, but better I try and fail than not try at all and be stuck in what if mode. I'm only going to submit one song, because the focus of me recording is mostly the songs I already have written/prepared to record...but it'd be cool to win.

Still plan on releasing an instrumental for Free Beat Fridays, still plan on releasing a song from the mixtape, but plan on fitting this in my schedule somehow, because the benefits outweigh everything else.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Free Beat Fridays #2!

Free Beat Fridays is here! And with it comes another free for commercial/non commercial use instrumental/beat for whatever you wanna do! Just please credit me, Dev Structures, and for curiosity's sake, let me know how you used it!

The track is entitled Mirrors

Hear/listen to it here:

Download/listen to it here:

Enjoy yall! More music to come next week, gonna aim to do some more recording on Thursday. May release more than one song because I gotta go back to the dentist week after next and lord knows wtf this guy is gonna do to me next, smh.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Art/Instrumental: Do et Bebe, Doo eet

The art for my first installment in my Free Beat Fridays series:

Link to the free instrumental!

Dev Maneuvers "Teh Internets" Round Duex

Okay, so last time I tried to spread awareness in regards to my music in the hopes of getting some plays/fans was kinda ehhhh...I dunno, but not that successful. Yesterday while waiting for some more work, I decided to try something different - Internet Radio submissions.

In allot of situations when I tried regular radio submissions, aside from the requirement for clean tracks, they put a specific time limit on how long something can be played. Take for example WAMO here in Pittsburgh; these guys want a clean radio friendly version of a song WITHIN a span of 3 minutes. I only have one song that fits that time requirement. I plan on attempting to push that song at radio stations that accept songs from people like me (indie? non-signed? WTF am I anyway?). Coincidentally enough, the song I plan on pushing is the what I plan on recording next Thursday.

That aside, I did some research, and ran into multiple internet radio stations...I even ran into compiled lists of internet radio stations that I could submit to! What I did in turn was compiled my own list of the places I contacted, just to keep track of it. Some internet radio stations required a sort of pay to play situation; the money was nominal, but I ignored these at the moment in favor of those that take submissions for free. Other stations operated by FCC rules and required clean tracks...I'll get back to them too. After all, I don't make allot of money and what I have to spare goes into recording (aye, a nigga has bills n shit, priorities first cuz). Maybe I'll worry about those stations later, but for now I submitted to 42 different stations; of these 42, 1 was pay to play ( maybe I'll hit them up later), 4 were discontinued. Either way, not a bad little run, because now I have a list of radio stations I can consistently go to with my music. Crazy thing is, they were all over the country; East, West, South, and Midwest; there was a crazy range of station areas.

I even contacted college radio stations, but predominantly the ones here in Pittsburgh and some more well known ones throughout PA...I think even one in NY, but that one's email address was messed up. I don't know if I will have actual results, but I tried my best regarding the matter. I'll just keep at it and hope for the best as I release more music. I'm only gonna hit the street with my music when the mix-tape is finished. I don't have a plan of action for that yet, but I have time to brainstorm.

Another place I seemed to get some positivity from was Looperman. This place is pretty awesome, actually; Some time ago I was looking for stuff to sample without having to get clearance on it or any technical stuff like that and ran into this site. I never posted before or anything of that nature, but decided to give it a try.

My Looperman Profile

I made my profile, uploaded the cover art to my mix-tape in progress as an avatar, and uploaded my free beat from last friday, and also uploaded the song I did, Pittsburgh, PA. Not only did I get a welcome, but I got some pretty positive feedback.

People even checked out the two downloads! Alright! lmfao at my hype af over two downloads, hahahah~

I look at my Free Beat Fridays series as a way for me to give back to Looperman; there are allot of talented people on there just looking out just for the sake of being decent human beings...I figured the least I could do was try my best to contribute something. Not only does it reach back out to those that give stuff away for the free, it's a lookout for artists like myself that don't have that much bread to play with. Sometimes the most talented people are tied up by nuances like finances, so I hope it helps...truly.

In other news, the beat and associated artwork for this Free Beat Friday is done! I hope whoever is listening/wants/needs it enjoys it and gives me the proper credit!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Art/Music: Pittsburgh, PA

Art for the song, Pittsburgh, PA

Link to the song!

Dev Maneuvers "Teh Internets"

"Do not argue with people on the internet."

This is my daily mantra; I repeat it to myself whenever I come across things that inspire me to respond. Ladies and gentlemen, I am, by nature, a lurker, not an interact-er...but due to my releasing of music on an almost weekly basis, I found that it may be a good idea to try reaching out to sites that I've...well...lurked. I don't necessarily regret the decision...but it has yet to prove useful.

I remember reading this guide regarding how one should go about getting their music out, and in the guide, it suggested buying a low number of followers to give the impression that you are of some recognition; I believe the theory is based on the notion that people gravitate and pay attention to things that have an elevated sense of importance. I.e., you would get more views if you had, for example, 3k followers and a couple hundred listens verses none. While I can reason that this makes sense, something about it struck me as...underhanded. I just want people to listen because they like it, you know?

So given my at odds feeling with paying to play, I decided to hit up a site where I took an interview and sampled it; VladTV. The problem here, like most areas with a comments section, is that the conversation is usually limited regarding positive interaction, it is demeaning towards the subject in question, and most of the time derails into multiple parties exchanging online insults and threats...not my thing, really. But my theory behind trying this is that because commentators are so uninhibited when it comes to their reaction to stuff, you would get a response closer to truth than fiction. I would give it a try. I made a discuss for this and everything, lol.

My initial post:

I picked this and two other articles based on the number of hits it would potentially receive. I got lucky with the SB article because of his highly documented antics. People gravitate towards this stuff like ants to sugar.

I posted this:

I thought it was polite, somewhat thought out, and honest. The first reply was kkkkiiinnnnnddddaaaa surprising:

LMFAO. On one hand, I'm dumb grateful, because the reply seemed honest af, but my nigga why you finna flame me?!?! LMFAO CUZ They are trippin' on Vlad site frfr. The other reply was right up I suspected nothing less alley:

Now, a nigga was lost af. I'm not too into social media lately, but I had NO CLUE what this meant. Something told me google it, and basically, guy told me to "Kill Yourself". LMAOOO. Wild aggressive cuz, this is crazy fr! I started to question it, but I had to look again bruh:

Oh. Okay, God bless fam.

Otherwise, I sent an email to an editor from a gaming outlet I like called Kotaku, Blog or Die Pittsburgh, and Jenesis Magazine.

I ultimately only jumped by maybe what, six views? The problem is that it doesn't feel like a solid enough basis to just write it off as something that won't help. I don't think buying attention to get attention is needed...but there has to be some way to just push it and get people to honestly view it. S/O Jake Steed for being honest at the end of the day. The internet has to be for more than arguing with niggas cuz. At a loss for now I guess? I'll brainstorm some more. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday's Fog

This weekend has been one gigantic time lapse I've been unaware of until it was over. Saturday morning I went to see the dentist...who did some crazy shit to me. All I know is that I filled the prescriptions given and when I took them I was in an out of consciousness for the remainder of the weekend.

Vicodin is nothing to play with man. I didn't get much done regarding music this weekend; I managed to finish one beat, but really this weekend has been about recovery. I have to take this stuff for awhile too, smh. I don't know what people like about being drowsy af.

Roscoe has this week off to move his situation to South-side, so I guess that gives me a week to recover. To be honest, it's much needed.

Friday, January 20, 2017


So Friday is here! Last night was an event that was not only dumb entertaining, but I learned allot from the experience.

I got off of work and headed straight to my bro Roscoe Wiki's place. I've known him for a long time through our mutual friend G, and would slide through every now and then to work on some music here and there...till I fell off the Earth, lol.

We started early, and the first thing I observed is how many more people came through to see him; although it was just me and him there, the autographs of everyone who visits started taking over the ceiling board was crazy. He's had some much business growth that he's moving to a new location with more hands on deck; he's definitely making moves.

I had to shake off the cobwebs, but we managed to get through Track 1 of the Issued For Bid mix-tape...and it sounds good! Roscoe does great work man, I pretty much prefer him over everyone else (including myself) I've recorded with.

And there we go! Oh, I almost forgot; because today is Friday, I took the liberty of posting the first of the #FreeBeatFriday series I'll be doing. Potential interested person gets a free instrumental, I get potential traffic to my music. One hand washes the other and the two hands wash the face, so show love, and take the time to listen to my music. 

If you are curious, I did the artwork for the stuff; I mean, people typically do that, right? I can't be payin people all crazy to do all this random shit for me; sometimes you gotta pick and choose selectively what roles to take on yourself, vs. what you pay for. I think I did not too shabby for a noob.

If you have any feedback, leave a message on here, my sound-cloud, twitter, or even email me. I look forward to continuing music.




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Eve of Recording

I wasn't even gonna post, but something particular came up, so I figured I would try my best to spread awareness.

My nigga Buck Biddy released music a year ago and I had no clue. I'm pretty sure I mentioned falling off the globe for some time, but I feel kinda bad about it. Figured I would take the time to show some love and hope whoever out there is reading this would check his music out.

Buck Biddy - Amen

I don't wanna go into too many details, as I have before and it just leads to rambling anyway, but Bid is a decent ass person who has been persistent regarding music; two things I cannot always say about myself.

Figured I would post two of the videos I was around for...there was another I think? Been a minute tho.

That aside, It seems like the idea for Free Beat Fridays is going ahead full steam! I'm kinda nervous because it forces me to be on a timeline...I mean I make a couple beats a week for the most part, so I don't see it being impossible. All I can say regarding this matter is that I'm gonna try my best to be what I wasn't before: consistent.

Disclamer!!! Nigga I don't clear samples if I do use them, and WHEN I do, I will note that. I don't care wwwwwtttffffffff you do with these beats, just give me credit for making them. If God smiles upon what your doing and you start shining, then someone hits you with a lawsuit, it's not my fault (Master P Voice), my nigga I'm broke. I can't help you.

I guess regarding my own little mix-tape, I will be releasing songs one by one until they are all done, and then I will neatly compile them for whoever is interested. The art is done for it, but I have to work on the art for the single releases...I dunno, I guess for something to look at on YouTube...because from what I've seen, niggas normally have art to go with their music. In fact, I stopped working on a beat last night to MAKE some artwork for this up coming Free Beat Friday release. My Photoshop skills are alright, just don't expect any Picasso shit cuz.

Everything is coming along. I'm just gonna keep my head low and keep pushing. I'll figure the other stuff out later.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I Guess it's Alright Afterall

2 days until I begin the recording process (Thursday)...still not too sure what to expect. But something odd, yet funny af happened this past Thursday to me.

So I'm at home, in Northview, with my wife and kids; Mel didn't have work that evening, and the kids were on our phones playing the Amazing World of Gumball game they always play on them while I'm working on a beat leisurely. I was thirsty, so I got up and headed to the fridge for a drink when I heard a knock at the door.

Mel answers while I'm in the fridge being a fat ass, when she says it's for me. Now, I don't usually have any company, or people visiting, much less knocking on my door, so every time it happens I'm caught off guard. I walk over and I see this guy who had to be in, at most, his younger 20's at the door. Apparently, he heard and saw what I was doing because one of the windows were open. I'm not an oddball about it, so I invited him in.

From there he told me he was working on music himself and was hoping to get some from me. At this point, two thoughts trigger in my mind; One, damn I didn't know niggas would fuck with me like that, and two, what are the pros and cons of this situation? I started to play him the beats from the mixtape I've been working on, and he seemed genuinely surprised, because to him not only were they good, but he seemed almost skeptical that I didn't have equipment.

I used to have an AKAI MPD 18, and a KORG usb keyboard, but I misplaced the pad, and some rat-ass bitch stole my keyboard out my house basically. Sidebar; how tf are you gonna steal from someone that practically kept yo ass from being homeless? My wife ain't even fuck with this bitch like that and I went against my better judgement trynna be a decent person. Never tf again cuz. Making beats is abit of a task because the majority of the time is spent feeling for keys, organizing/color coding my beat structure, and playing with mixing. It would be a faster process if I had, or could afford as of this point, some equipment. I plan on getting more in the future, but I have some other pressing things to take care of financially before I can worry about that. I mean, I'm doing alright without em' anyway for now.

It turns out that the guy is living with my neighbor to the right of me; I've been familiar with her and her kids for some time, but he was a new face to me so it was hard to put two and two together. In the middle of us talking about where he records and listening to some of his stuff (which really wasn't bad) my youngest son kept offering him cupcakes my wife baked, lol.

I just explained to him that I just started not too long ago because I couldn't afford people's stuff and when I could I would blow my extra income on weed, basically. I grabbed a pen to take his information down, but he had to go. I was under the impression he'd be back, but he never did, awkwardly enough. I'm sure I'll run into him again though. Fucked up though that I failed to catch his name, I gotta do better at interactions with people, lol.

Anyhow, the meeting gave me the understanding that I made something worthwhile, and that kinda inspired ideas to generate traffic to my music stuff; I was thinking that I would try to do a Free Beat Friday's kinda situation, so people would visit my sound-cloud and whatnot. I dunno if it's gonna work or not, but it's worth trying.

I don't think that I'm of any worth great enough to be trynna charge niggas for beats, but I don't know what I'm gonna do if everyone comes asking for free shit either. This has NEVER happened to me, so I don't know how to handle this. More importantly, what beats do I upload for FBFs as opposed to keep? Sometimes I wish there was a f.a.q. to shit like this that I could follow, because now I feel like I'm shootin' at the hip. W/e, I'm just a nigga in the projects anyway. One day at a time cuz.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Then and Now

I had to take some time to think this one out; normally it's just mind vomit, but I thought I'd reflect on who I was when I started rapping vs who I am now.

The goofy nigga in the black jacket and glasses was me; back then my rap name was Rook Dev. The irony in the name was that I was HORRIBLE at, I don't even remember how certain pieces were supposed to move frfr. But I picked the name because I felt like the way a Rook moved was an honest reflection of how I moved in life; straightforward. The double meaning could reflect the bird known as a Rook. The humor in that is that Rooks can be mistaken for Crows; something reflective of my state of the same, yet different.

I made MANY a misstep; for one, I half-assedly took it seriously...which isn't serious at all. And that is okay if you are casually rapping, but I legit thought something special was gonna I would make music, the sky would open, and God would magically save me from poverty...lmfao cuz.

Everything was so new to me, and socializing among local rappers was something I was really excited for...until it happened. I was carpet bombed with egoism, middle men, and lazy, finessing, conniving people with selfish agendas...and it kinda took the wind out of me. There were good people among them with positive words for me, but the negative took it's toll ultimately. Being a decent person wasn't enough to rise out of my circumstance; I was mocked frequently, people talked wild shit about me...dawg, it was terrible. I lost my ability to record after my last mix-tape for awhile...and it wasn't money, so much as it was about willpower, and my lack of such in the face of antagonism.

G.N.S. Prod. by The Seatbelts

Another thing that shut me down was my lack of desire to perform the music I created; it wasn't all horrible, but I never went hard regarding the next steps I was supposed to take; I performed at house parties, I did a random venue or two...but nothing clicked. I couldn't move tickets. I had to BUY my Goddamned performance that REALLY performing? I don't think so. Some people had words of encouragement, but deep down, I felt disheartened by my results and folded on myself. I basically made 3 mix-tapes from the time that I started, till the time I stopped ( Masters of the Universe, 82 Lincoln, Chocolate Soy Milk), with random songs in between. I pretty much deleted everything, and I regret that, but here's what's left of it.

Rook Dev Chocolate Soy Milk

My last tape was posted sometime in 2012. 5 years later, there are a number of circumstances that differ; my living environment, my relationship status, the situations I put myself in, the number of kids I have, my mental health, and ultimately, my disposition as a person. I think I am still polite and courteous, but there's something different. I would like to think of myself as more mature, but I dunno really. I know I don't smoke as much weed as I used to, hahah.

The content of my music sort of changed now that I look back; there is no doubt in my mind that living on North-side changed me, but I don't know for sure if that is for the better or not. What I can say is that my music is, as it was before, a reflection of who I am and how I'm living...I simply am a different man. I changed my rap name, as many do, to reflect my current self more accurately; I based it on what I do for a living, and that is draw construction documents (blueprints).

In the same vein of Action Bronson being a chef to support his family, I design buildings to support mine...residential, commercial, industrial. I wasn't a big time drug dealer; whenever I did what I did it was simply an act of desperation so my babies could have diapers and rent could be paid on time. I'm not an ultra violent person; I walk an extremely thin line as a person that lives in the projects and gets up and works among design professionals who create for a living. I've held company with a myriad of people. I don't rap about shit I don't got, unless I'm referring to things I would like to have in the future. I don't catch bodies in my bars, that shit feels wrong...some things need not even to be conjured up. I'm regular as hell, just recollecting events in my life. I hope people understand that, and enjoy my music.

I start recording next'll be interesting listening to to Dev Structures and comparing it to Rook Dev.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Musical Influences/How I started

There are numerous people I have listened to thought the years that have moved me in some aspect or another, hip hop and outside of that musical realm. Although the task seems daunting, I will attempt to list my influences and attempt to recall why...HONESTLY. They are in the order that I recall them, not necessarily chronological or anything of the sort, but I'll try. If I get a little distorted time-wise, just chalk it up to age and reefer smoke from my 20's.

1) Wu Tang Clan - My uncle Leon, and ultimately me, have always been fans of old school kung fu movies. 36 Chambers of Shaolin, The Mystery of Chessboxing, The 5 Deadly Venoms, etc etc. I had to be like not quite a teen yet (like 12ish? 11ish?) when I was at downtown Newark, NJ when this guy selling bootleg VHS tapes and mixtapes had this video of a kungfu movie dubed over with tracks from Wu-Tang. I was so fascinated, because my Mom wasn't big on rap music (it was always CD101.9 in the car). I had to know more about them. I NEEDED to see what this was about. Method, and later on in my late teens Ghostface were like legends to me. I've memorized almost all of 93' Freestyle, and am one of those oddballs that thought Supreme Clientele was better than Iron man only because of the track Nutmeg.

2) Busta Rhymes - His energy was straight polarizing..."ONE MO TIME I COME, KNUCKLEHEAD FLOW THAT MAKE YOU ACT RRREEAAALLL DUMB!" hahahahah. I loved hearing him rap; Gimmie Some More, Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See...shit, mostly all of Extinction Level Event...his music I thought he was fire for real and will always have my respect.

3) Missy Elliot - LITERALLY the first woman I heard rap and was blown away. Her videos were crazy af (I can never forget her in that black bubble suit and the other vid she had where she was mimicking megaman), she was technically competent, she made jams, and I just really loved her as an artist. Her single Hot Boys was the very first CD I purchased with my own money!

4) Eminem - Man when I first heard Hi My Name is, I was like wtf is going on here? But as I listened to the lyrics I would laugh because they were so whimsical...albeit violent, hilarious. When I got sent to Jamaica to live for awhile, all I had with me were the Silm Shady and Marshal Mathers CDs...everything I felt going through elementary to middle school was reflected in the anger of this white man's bars hahah...I used to get picked  on so bad bruh omfg hahahah. But listening to him made me feel so much better, not because I wanted to inflict violence on people; I was the opposite, I never wanted to hurt anyone, and tried (a bit too hard) to get along with people and it always backfired. My friends were few and I moved every two years through NJ and Jamaica. Emimen literally embodied the negativity I felt, so hearing the lyrics were jarring. I wanted to cheer him on. I wanted him to win so badly because I identified with his position as a white rapper in a black industry and compared it to myself being a black boy but constantly being distanced by BOTH white and black peers. I was an awkward, but good kid who just got ate up and having those CDs around helped when I was isolated in Jamaica; I was mostly alone because I was poor af, shitting in out houses and fetching river water and whatnot. Em became the only connection to America I had during that dark period, so I can never forget that. My fellow underdog won and I honored him for it.

5) 50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Tryin was the hardest CD when I came back to America. This nigga blew up and everyone was blasting Wanksta when I was in 11th-12th grade. Although I couldn't relate at the time to the notion of a gangsta, there was something about his lyrics and perspective I could vibe to, and I respected him for coming up in the world from where he had initially started, It made me feel like if I tried hard enough, I could attain some kind of satisfaction in my own life and potential accomplishments.

6) Radiohead - This is where the pendulum shifts, as my music tastes started to vary; I was first, like everyone else, exposed to them by Channel 22 (back then), The BOX ( Music television YOU control lolololol). I felt like the lyrics of Creep related to me, but never explored their music until I came Back from Jamaica...and wow. Pablo Honey, Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows, etc were amazing. The vast array of emotions demonstrated to me that I could feel music OUTSIDE of hip-hop.

7) Varied Bands - This is a mishmash because it spans time; Thrice, Yellowcard, Klaxtons, The Arctic Monkeys, Green Day, Blink 182, Muse, Coldplay, Tool, Alice in Chains, My Chemical Romance, Slayer, Opeth, Metalica, The Buzzcocks, Audioslave, Slipknot, System of a Down, Linkin Park, The Foo Fighters, Daft Punk, Justice, Kavinsky, Giraffage...the list goes on. While I cannot list albums, I remember moments that these people's music were a part of, good and bad, and cannot forget them.

8) Most Def and Talib Kwali (Blackstar)- RETURN TO HIPHOP! My God how I was blown away by these two. I haven't heard thought provoking lyrics in years, and by the time I picked these guys up I was already in my 20's, listening with almost fresh ears, as I had a different outlook on life. I think this was when I really started to question how I lived, how I was treated by people, and for what reasons various issues occurred. Maybe my first awareness of the notion that an invisible hand shapes aspects of my life. W.E.B. DuBois' veil was real after-all.

8) MF DOOM - Yoooooooooooooooo. Bruh, where do I begin? When I first heard this guy, it was by accident, I ran into the Album Madvillian, then MMM...FOOD, Monster Island Czars, etc. I WILL ALWAYS BE A MF DOOM FAN. His bars were unorthodox af and his special herbs instrumentals were dope too. His features were crazy, the shit he did with Ghostface is among some of my favorite, And M.I.C. were a dope collective of rappers. I think listening to him was the first time I had a notion of like, wow, being a rapper would be cool. This nigga personified cool to me for some odd reason. This nigga was like my hero.

9) Outkast - When I was younger I heard the single Ms. Jackson as everyone else did...and LOVED it. They were dope to listen to, but in honesty I never comprehended as a youth what was being said frfr until I was in my mid twenties when I picked up ATLiens and Aquemeni...and these bars...Jesus. As a nigga that was paying child support, with a child on the way, living at the time in Upper Hill District in Pittsburgh struggling to pay bills, Big Boy was like Shaft to me, but Andre 3000 was like fuckin' Nostradamus. The odd combination over the varied cuts really made me feel like I wasn't such a social outcast as I thought, as problems I faced I realized affected not only me, but the black community as a whole. Andre's perspective on the world was like my inner thoughts being sorted, organized, and artistically fed back to me in a way that changed the way I moved as a person. To this day I honor those two albums. Yes the duo made others, but none that affected me as much as these two.

10) B.I.G. - I was late af to Big, even though as a kid we all knew and heard Notorious Thugs, Juicy, Been Around the World, etc., it wasn't until I heard them later and even The What ft. Method Man that I was this nigga was just freestylin'? Nah fam you lyin', hahahah! Def deserved the acclaim he had.

11) Lil Wayne - Bruh, this is fuckin up the timeline sorta, but I gotta flashback to when I saw this nigga in a vid of him in New Orleans right before Tha Carter? He resurfaced with dreads and this nigga's flow was wtf? Everything he was spittin was beast to me because he wasn't trynna be super lyrical, but off the head his shit was fire to listen to. Bran New is still on of those songs I like going dumb to, Carter 2  and 3 are classics, and he flamed the internet with all them crazy ass mixtapes he came out with. He HAS to be mentioned because that was the first time I identified a rapper with style; the exuberant lifestyle, the women, the woah. I'm not gonna front, I kinda wanted that life too, Wayne made that shit look fire to me.

12) Mob Deep - This is also late, but haunting af. I had Shook Ones pt. 2 memorized, the chords shook me. To this day that beat  with those bars are tough af. Up North Trip was another song I really liked, beat and bar scheme wise, because it presented a reality aside from my own...until I ended up in the projects again, lol. I have a deep respect for these niggas man.

13) Whiz Kalifah - Yo, shut-up for a second, cause ya mind is screaming and I sense the shit cuz. This nigga is the VERY REASON I STARTED RAPPING. This is long btw. When I heard Never Been I was like WHOLUP...did this nigga sample Chrono Trigger? Got Dayum' that's fire. His vibe just synced up with mine; like I memorized this vid of him when he was in a studio rappin from a phone like, "Life's good, so I'm feelin' straight, call me out o' town shawty every week a different state" bruh that shit was swag to me hahahahah.

I was at an awkward crossroads; on one hand, I got a scholarship to UPitt via the Army, but I blew out my knee and my future was uncertain. The BC at the time caught wind of me getting a D in a class that I had right after my morning pt and ROTC class ( I was sore and all busted up going into an Art class with hippy like people in ACUs...setup for failure), and basically told me that I would have to pick between being an Army officer or an Architect ( I was going to school for Architectural Studies with hopes of going  to grad school). He said, while there with a Major (My ROTC instructor that I really looked up to), AND I QUOTE, "I don't care what you choose to do in life. You seem like a piece of driftwood, you just kind of float without thinking about set goals. I don't care what you wanna do in your life, hell, you could even be a rapper for all I care, as long as you are happy". This shit hurt tf outta me, because I was really tryin; I lost 60 lbs, could do over 50 consecutive pullups, had a 276 pt score, but I was busting my ass doing all nighters to get work done, I was torn between the information officers tried to feed me vs. what actual soldiers in my reserve unit would tell me...just conflicted, fucked up physically all the time, and hurt that this nigga would even say some borderline bigoted shit like that to me, and the guy I thought I would end up like said nothing in his presence to defend my effort. For Christ's sake, I came to Pittsburgh homeless at the time and had to scrap to even graduate Community College and get into Pitt...just to loose it all.

 I was doing landmark security  for a Steelers/Jets game because even though I lost my scholarship I was still in ROTC, and we were loosin' when in the 4th quarter Black and Yellow came on. We still lost, but the energy in the stadium INSTANTLY changed. I had no fuckin' clue music had this kind of power over people, and was in awe as the crowd went wild...I was like wtf am I experiencing? I went home after my duties were performed, perplexed af...was rap for something more than coolin an vibing to? As I rolled up this mutumbo finger sized blunt of reg I had (ugh) copped cuz, fuck life, this thought started to haunt me...could anyone attain this kind of  ability? Is rap that hard? Is being a rapper such a taboo thing? And as I was rollin, I had MF Doom's Hoe Cakes beat playing in the background...I remember lighting the blunt, and although disgusting, was effective, because I was like man fuck it, Imma try. I had this headset I jimmy-rigged into a mic on some mcgyver shit and put my two speakers against it and recorded my first rap that way using windows recorder...LOLOLOLOL yoo when I heard it back I was amazed because I was like yo I expected this to come out way more trash than it did...I wish I kept it. It was some elementary bars, nothing exaggerated or made up, but when I had people I knew listen to it, they were like don't even sound trash! That's all I needed to hear...I wanted to become a rapper.  I made a whole mixtape like that; I thought I was on the road to fame and fortune, and I was geeked af thinking that this would be perfect revenge for loosing my scholarship...I'd become the very thing he said in spiteful jest and overshadow his life and take a dump on his ole muscle head, no neck havin' spoiled West Point grad yet never deployed ass.

14) Gucci Mane - When I got my first whip in the burgh, Jewlery Selection was all I played because it was in the car all the time...I heard him since black tee remix, but couldn't put two and two together till I heard this. I was thuggin every-time I rode through Hill District blastin this shit back and forth through the city, particularly to North Side. Electricity to this day is my shit hahahah!

15) Newer artists - Big Kritt (My Sub, I Got This Here), Yelawolf (Trunk Muzik, Box Chevy 1 & 2), Curren$y (Fin, This Ain't No Mixtape, Pilot Talk I & II, Covert Coupe), Meek Mill (Flamerz I & II), Mic Jenkins (The Waters), Freddie Gibbs (Fuck the World, ESGN), Danny Brown(THE HYBRID, Black & Brown, XXX), Kendrick Lamar (Overly Dedicated, Section 80, GKMC, TPAB), Schoolboy Q(Oxymoron, Habits & Contradictions), Odd Future (The OF Tape 2, Wolf, RUSTY, Dorris), A$AP Rocky (Long Live A$AP), Joey Badass (Big Dusty), Rapsody (Lonely Thoughts, Reflection verse) Action Bronson (Saab Stories, The Symbol, FKDD show, Mr. Wonderful), Flatbush Zombies (Thug Waffle), Childish Gambino (Camp, Sweatpants, couple episodes of Atlanta before I lost the, Chance the Rapper (Acid Rap) - man, music is an amazing thing. These artists gave me cuts that felt refreshing and thought there's no way hip hop is dead. These niggas could do commercial cuts and still chop it up lyrically...shit I  heard Kendrick and damn near wanted to just quit like shit he got it lolololol...but I am grateful to these guys, because their music was the soundtrack to my life at it's lowest point...these past couple years have been hard. Frfr, I'm still in the projects...but better off than how I was before; I'm married, I have a job I don't get disrespected at, am raising two out of three of my handsome sons while paying child support on time again for my oldest, and I have my sanity intact again. But these niggas were the backdrop for allot of things in my life when things were darker...when I was exposed to not so savory situations and loosing my sanity (literally)...and when I reflect, it was like I was living a movie fr.

I haven't heard anything new in awhile other than these guys, but I kinda wanna freeze for a min while I work on music again. I heard that if you listen to new stuff, you'll be too influenced by what you last heard to be of any stand out notion, so it's nothin' personal. I hear clips of Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Drake, etc. all through Northview from time to time, particularly summer. It's all fire to me. I have a deep respect for artists and the effects they have on people.

Aaaaaannnddd...this mind vomit just turned into a novel, hahah. My bad. I'm finna' stop now. Ain't nobody readin' this shit anyway cuz hahahah.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year/Soft Reset Button

I'm old as dirt...fuck.

After mild stretching, cussin' at the world and popping 3 ibuprofen, my day starts...semantics of brushing teeth and shaving/whatever happens sometime between all of that.

I'm nervous about this upcoming year.

For the first time in years, I am going to attempt to release music. I have no real expectation regarding success or failure...isn't that do they call it...based on perception? So what happens when you don't have one? I haven't wrote, or spit in years, so after writing 14 songs, I dunno what to expect. The production isn't random free beats or purchased leases this time; I actually made the instrumentals. I don't know if they will be received well or not, but I gave it some effort, so I am...concerned as to how it will be received.

Aside from that, I'm replacing furniture, getting a whip, and generally trying to be the adult people perceive me to be. Handling my shit, per say.

I'm aiming for radio, I'm serious this time.

I never had real goals with music other than to make it and upload it to the internet...somehow, in my feeble mind, I was under the impression that the internets does the rest for you. Welp, that notion is gone, and I have a mild sort of intention; I am going to attempt to give my music away on the street when it's done. I don't know it that will aid me, but it surely cannot detract, so why not try it out?

A friend of mine visited me and saw I was working on this project and suggested that he may be able to help out regarding recording/getting radio play. I'm a realist, never a skeptic, so I don't know how well this will turn out, aside from doing my own due diligence and working for what I can under the impression that I have no help.

But what if?

Look nigga, I dgaf about all of that anymore. I got a nifty day job close to where I live, it pays the bills, and my focus is always my wife and kids. I rap because...well I don't even know anymore, haha. I suppose I like the act of such, or maybe have residual aspirations...I dunno, I can't quite pinpoint it.

What happened to you? Where were you? That's how I would surmise a year of unemployment, mental health issues, family drama and self discovery. I think that''s what everyone calls it nowadays anyway.

All in all, I will be chronicling my music foray, not arguing with people on the internet, and trying to find ways to better myself not just as an artist, but as a person. I don't love everyone, but wish them well this year. I hope self expectations are met for everyone.