What inspires you the most when you create?
I’m inspired most by happiness. I’ve been through valleys that made happiness something I had to create for myself. But even when I built a life that most people would consider good, I lived in quiet desperation. Existence didn’t make sense until I found fulfillment in art. It makes life worth living. It took so much rewiring to get to that point tho & I see people I love struggling with the same things I was. It weighs so heavy on me that I feel convicted to stand up for the ideas that changed my life. My writing is centered around that mission. Unless I’m having fun with it.
Not living the life I’m trying to manifest for me, my friends, and my family inspires me to create music in general and chase my dream. What inspires the actual music itself is a combination of life lessons and universal truths I’ve learned either first hand or from others (through books, media, lectures, etc.) that people can use in their own lives to improve their current situation. Just trying to make music that inspires positive change.
Who are your top 5 influences?
My top 5 current musical influences are (in no particular order): Drake, J. Cole, Logic, Big Sean, and Kendrick Lamar.
But the top 5 influences in my life overall that pushed me into music are:
My Mom – Just who she is as a person, always being positive, fun, and loving inspire me to be a better person. She also raised me and my 3 siblings pretty much on her own and did it with grace. She’s extremely strong and taught me the value of hard work and self-discipline.
Bob Marley – My mom also has some influence with this choice as well. She listened to mostly hard/alternative rock in my early years, but also included some pop/hip-hop, and of course Bob Marley. His music stood out not only because of the different sound, but more so the different energy and way it made me and my mom feel. He taught me that you can change a person’s being with music, and especially using love and positivity, can touch your soul.
Linkin Park – Because of my mom’s musical preference of rock, I grew accustomed to liking guitars and drums, but Linkin Park was the start of the bridge that eventually led me to fall in love with hip-hop. They just have such a distinct sound that combined rock with hip-hop sounds/rhythms. They also used two different lead singers, one of which (Mike Shinoda) somewhat introduced me to the “flow” of vocals rather than a more traditional rock song. They were also my first live show when I was 10 or 11. M8 was also in attendance at this show, and our common love for their music helped us become better friends.
‘Hamilton’ (Musical) – I had this beautiful piece of work fall into my lap mid 2017 thanks to an ex-girlfriend’s mom giving us the CD of the tracks. I was somewhat hesitant to listen at first just because of the word “musical” attached to it, but I was blown away. It’s a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton and the founding fathers fighting for the freedom of America. In short, this musical changed my perception of what I thought hip-hop could be constrained to, and not only that, but that this type of lyrical hip-hop would be widely accepted by millions.
Kobe Bryant – I was born in southern California and have been a die-hard Lakers fan my entire life. Supporting/watching the Lakers has been another thing my mom and I share, and Kobe has been a big part of making that an enjoyable process. His tenacity and will to win inspire me to push myself and those around me to strive for greatness. Being a fierce competitor is essential in many aspects of life, not only from a competition (Sports, Dance, Music, Academics, etc.) standpoint, but from an internal standpoint. Everyday I’m competing with the person who I saw in the mirror yesterday, and I know I can be better than him if I try.
Big Sean – His philosophy on life resonates with me so intensely. He showed me the power of inspirational hip-hop and it’s something I feel like I have to keep alive. That music helped save my soul. It can’t die.
Donald Glover- Not Going Back is like my anthem. His music impacted me so heavily in high school, I don’t know who I’d be if I hadn’t found Childish. On top of that, the way he succeeds in every field is iconic. It made me unafraid to put my heart into multiple grinds.
Drake- Dude is legend. I respect his game so much. He knows what the people want and he gives it to em. It’s something else the way he runs the charts. He showed me the power in developing a range of sounds to your music.
Peyton Manning- I was born in Indy and grew up a die hard Colts fan. He was my first role model. Watching him balance the weight of the city and the pressure of the lights amazed me. I wanted to be him. I learned theres a recipe to become what you want to be.
My Mom – She inspired me to dream as a kid. She supported anything I wanted to pursue. She told me a man can change his stars and I believed her. She showed me unconditional love. She was invaluable to me.
When are your new projects coming out?
“Surreal” will be released by late November/Early December 2018.
“#2” will be released by June/July of 2019
What helped you get into music?
My middle school friend Zach Givens was a huge influence, primarily because he was the first person I hung around that could freestyle rap. We’re still friends today and lived together in college which is where the start of consistent freestyle practice occurred. He had been doing it longer and was way better than M8 or myself were, which always pushed us.
Another thing that got me into music was the fact that I didn’t really like too many new up and coming rappers as of the last couple years. We continued to freestyle just because it was fun, but eventually we said “I think we are as good as most of the rappers getting paid for this” and decided to pursue making music that was good by our personal standards as fans of hip-hop.
First of all, I need to thank my dad. He’s a crazy talented musician so I grew up around the music process. He plays like 4 instruments and sings incredibly well. When I was kid I would watch him practice and I think that was crucial.
I also have to shout out my homie RawtheKatt. He was willing to give us our very first set & I’ll forever be grateful. He’s put on for us since the very beginning and gave us the opportunity to build a fanbase. I love that guy.
(Show some love, @el_gato_dejado on insta. )
Ultimately, I had an epiphany that anything was possible. I always knew the cliche, but I realized the truth. From that point I started trying to figure out what was worth my time here on earth. Living the life of an artist won.
What is one thing you would tell your fans?
Love is the answer.
I love and appreciate you all more than you know. You’re the reason we’re doing this and I hope we can consistently exceed your expectations, over-deliver on our promises, and continue to earn your support for many years to come.
What are your biggest goals for 2018?
Release our first album (“Surreal”) as well as our first music video. Gain a solid fan base and continue that growth and momentum into 2019.
The album is priority one. I feel like I can’t even sleep till it’s out. Other than that just to keep building and getting better.