B-L1FE - Interview
1. Tell us your rap name and where are you from?
A1: My rap name is B-L1FE. I was born in Muncie, Indiana but now I reside in the Greater Houston Area within Texas.
2. What made you start making music?
A2: Making music was an outlet. My childhood was awful. Abuse, parents addicted to drugs, and growing up in the true trap was pretty much all I knew. When people are faced with those kinds of things they usually find a way to express it safely or find themselves in a gang life or drug culture. For me, it was a way to say clearly what I couldnt find words for as well as a personal haven and escape.
3. Who are your influences?
A3: My influences are all over the place. Not only musicians influence me but I also dont only make music. When it comes to the music side I draw inspiration from Dr. Dre, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Nas, and Jay-Z when it comes to the people who helped build rap or hip-hop into what it is today. Modern or current influences would be YBN Cordae, Travis Scott, and maybe a few others. Its hard to pinpoint influences because my music is a direct reflection of what my life currently is. If anybody wanted to know what I was going through they would just need to listen to my latest release on Spotify. Usually thats a good indicator. I let life influence me more than other artists because I dont want to sound like somebody else. Thats a death sentence in this industry. No record label says, "hey lets go sign a J. Cole clone". I make a lot of trap metal (metal and hip-hop fused) but a lot of ambient music so from the first listen it is very hard to compare me. As I grow, I hope I can expand that gap inbetween my sound and any other person's.
4. What is your take on the underground rap scene right now?
A4: Underground rap is like seasons. Whats cool or the hip thing changes often. At the start of 2019 it was the support wave. Everybody was in unison and there was a sense of solidarity. The back half of 2019 especially now, the underground rap scene seems to be self sabotaging. As soon as an artist starts to elevate above the underground, they do whatever they can to stop that shine. There is a lot of selfishness and lack to want to network which most artists dont see only damages them in the long run. In this business, you do have to be selfish but I feel right now the underground scene has lost sight of where you draw that selfish line. Its like a lot of artists get a little buzz stop showing love fall off and return to showing love. They are the reason for that cycle. I hope 2020 brings back the love and less of the hate. I do credit the loss of so many talented names as the reason the underground got so supportive. One example is after the loss of Jah. Now, its back to the normal if I cant have it neither can they mindset. Its gonna take more than just underground brands like you all here at Royal Rap or us over at SupportArt to right the ship. The artists themselves will have to pull us out of this hole.
5. What are your goals for 2019 regarding music?
A5: Well, since 2019 is almost over and I accomplished the goals I had set I will answer for 2020. The goal is album 3 and having it do better than album 2. I dropped two quality albums in 2019 and I was proud of them. On December 12th, I drop my second official EP. I hope that momentum carries me well into the third album. I want to be on stage more also. This is probably the biggest area that I will focus on. I have never had a problem on stage, but the local area is all about who you know and there are some who dont want me to get on stage and make those connections myself. However, I do have some opportunities in Atlanta and California.
6. You have 1 person to thank who would it be?
A6: I would have to thank kevspeakstruth. He was with me when I started SupportArt. Now we both own our record labels. He is no longer with SA but we speak weekly on the phone. Its amazing how via music and social media we became life long friends. He is a Florida native, but we even had the chance to perform at the same show in FT. Worth which was amazing. I would just thank him for one being my brother. Two, he always gives me sound advice and truly cares, and three for carrying on our vision to new, bigger things. His label will be a big part of his 2020 as will mine for me. This was a tough one, but I know kevspeakstruth will have my back until we in our graves.
7. What is your process for recording music ?
A7: My process for recording music is all about writing. I do things in a weird manner. I go through my vault and let beats play and kind of just freestyle a hook. They come rather easy to me and once I have something catchy I get it written and finish its structure. Then I listen to the rest of the beat to see how many bars each verse is or if there is a bridge or drop anywhere that would need a certain bar structure. This is where it gets weird. I then write the song without the beat as far as verses. I have a general feel for the timing, but I have found coming back and making it fit allows me to have different cadences, rhyme patterns, and a unique sound with every track. Its easy to get stuck in the same flow when you are writing bars simply to make sure they will fit. Thats where I feel we get a lot of the pause after every bar artists. The recording process is easy. Restructuring a verse to make it flow perfectly means a lot of rehearsing to the point recording takes all of 15 to 20 mins. I dont even rehearse for shows because that many test runs and it being what I wrote means it is locked in my brain. Overthinking can kill a lot including the recording or live performance aspects.
8. Any upcoming projects or singles fans should be getting ready for?
A8: There will be a single December 10th and it is a stand alone drop featuring Penny the Shabba & KARMAA. It is titled 'Up Now' and is a full on bop. Everybody, including myself, has been on a DaBaby terror and for good reason so we wanted to do something over a similar sounding beat. Also my 2nd EP which is titled 'Reworked' will be dropping two days after. I plan on letting the rest of 2019 glide which leads to my third album in the first half of 2020. I have been structuring and writing it since before album 1 was released so now its just finalizing features and figuring out a couple more beats. The title of album 3 is still secret and I think I will keep it that way at least until next year. However, I will leak a first here. There is a single off album 3 titled 'Bob Ross' that is a damn masterpiece. Even before I found the instrumental I knew I was onto something. It was one of those rare songs I write without a beat and then see what from the vault will work. I love investing into underground producers so I always have one hundred plus beats with no plans.
9. What is your favorite part about being an artist/musician/rapper?
A9: My favorite part about being an artist in hip-hop is that we honestly have an open canvas. Other genres are confined by what makes them that genre. Hip-hop is in a way the melting pot of music. You can bring other elements and sounds from other genres and fuse them into a hip-hop sound seamlessly. With that being said, there is a right and wrong way to do that.
10. What impact do you want to have on the world?
A10: This answer is corny but it is truly how I feel. I dont need to impact the world. If my music lifts up just one soul during their lowest and helps them heal I have done my job. During my childhood, I found music was the only thing that spoke to my soul in the dark times. I want to give somebody else that small glimpse of light that I believe saved my life over and over again.
11. What are your ambitions with music is this just a hobby or is this a full blown 24/7 lifestyle your embodying?
A11: Music is my lifestyle. In December 2018, i made the jump from day job and creative to full time creative. It is not all fun like most think. Making your own schedule only means you are now on everybody else's schedule. With a day job I found myself working the twelve hour shift to go home and write, record, or design. Royalties and revenue margins keep going up though so we are onto something.
12. Who is your favorite artist in the rap game right now and why?
A12: Favorite right now... that is a tough question. I probably have to go with Amine or YNB Cordae. Only reason I would choose them over DaBaby or Lil Baby is that they bring a new different sound with every release. I think rap is very open right now. There are a lot of artists dropping really quality stuff. Jasiah is also someone I've been glued to as of late.
13. what does the music you create make you feel?
A13: The music I create makes me feel a lot of things. It really just depends on the song. I never sit down with a mindset of this will be the topic. Thats when you force your craft and the end product isnt as good. I let life guide me. So, if Im happy my music makes me feel it. If I'm down, my music makes me feel somber. In a way, its how I know the emotion Im trying to portray in a song is properly conveyed.
14. why is music so important and dear to your heart ?
A14: Music is so important because it helped me through times when nobody was there. Being a little kid and being alone and having to fend for yourself but having a lot of pride to where you wont ask for help isnt easy. Music truly saved me. Whenever I wanted to give up, a song fixed it. Whenever I was lower than rock bottom, music fixed it. I will never turn my back on something that I know will never turn its back on me.
15. Taking this as a passion what works best with you for endeavors you may face (regarding to music)?
A15: I have found that meditation works really well for me. It allows me to see multiple perspectives and approach things in a rational manner. It is vital to have self awareness and to take accountability for our actions. I think meditation and getting in touch with your self allows that to be a lot more possible. Self awareness is a must have in this industry especially with all the smoke and mirrors.
16. whats your best collaboration experience with another artist or producer?
A16: Best collaboration would have to be 'Drown' or 'Lanes'. Both are with Penny the Shabba. We vibe so well together. Our styles align perfectly. We have another single of his coming that Im on and he is on my upcoming EP twice. He is the head engineer of SA and masters every song of mine so to be able to make such good music with my brother is amazing. To be honest, he is my favorite artist not only in the underground but in all of rap.
17. who does all of your cover art or do you make your own?
A17: I make all of my own art. Outside of being a rapper, I also do the following: design, animate, visual edit, photograph, DJ, curate, and run a clothing brand. I went to college for design so all of my projects are my art. I do like to buy art from other designers to see what they see when I tell them my idea. Its a fun process. I know how to properly express what aesthetic I want and seeing another's vision of mine is always dope.
18. who makes most of your beats or production?
A18: I have beats from so many producers. The producer with the most project placements however would be SIROKA. Kaster is a close second, but SIROKA just gets me. His beats are always super experimental and the switches and drops are heavy. The SA producers are the best in the world in my eyes. I dont have much of a need outside of them. Our executive producer and VP Yung N ICy made me some of the best customs I've ever bought this year. However, I have a bad habit of buying beats. Sometimes I will be on Traktrain in the middle of the night and if something isnt super expensive and its smooth I will most likely purchase it.
19. who is one artist you wish to work on music with and why?
A19: One artist that has caught my eye a lot has been sonnyfaygo. I definitely like the roster that WAYV WRLD is putting together. Hefna380 is also a star in the making. I really want to work with both of them. RVLA is an SA artist who makes an appearance on the upcoming EP, but our sounds blend so well together that me and him definitely need to put in way more work!
20. who is one producer you wish to work with and why?
A20: One producer I wish to work with would be Killian. I see him around social media and the beats are always good. Most producers I go reach out and we make it happen. Killian really impressed me when I found out he is only 15. The talent level is off the charts so I would love to cook something up with the little homie.
21 do you have any upcoming shows in the next couple months ?
A21: As of right now, I do not have any shows set in stone. Afton keeps sending offers but unless you have a lot of local homies it is hard to sell enough tickets. Finessers have made it impossible to get people to click a link and trust it enough to spend money.
22 for people who havent heard of you what sets you apart from other artists?
A22: What sets me apart from others is that I can spit on anything. If it has a rhythm I can spit to it. Also the way I fuse other genres. I started in music as a metal bands lead screamer. So. I have a lot of passion for that sound and the talent it takes to do it correctly and I implement it a lot into my music. Most like to say it sounds like $B but I do full screams low and high and also have a very different subject matter. I can actually go from rapping to screaming mid bar and get em all on the same take. I never record something that I cant get in one take. I feel that if you cant get it one take then you cant perform it and I want to be able to perform an entire album in its proper track order one day. Seeing J. Cole do that with FHD was something truly unbelievable.
23 at the end of the day what does music mean to you ?
A23: To be short, it means everything. It means a better life for me. It means my daughter having access and chances I never could have imagined having. Now that I do this for a living, I couldnt picture going back to trading hours of my life for a paycheck.
24. Any live shows or projects you got coming up? A24: No live shows are set in stone. You can find videos of live performances on my YouTube. Projects coming would be my second EP 'Reworked' and my third album in 2020.
25. Where can the people that checked out this interview find you? A25: If you want to know more about me, every link to any of my content can be found in my linktree ( linktr.ee/lifewitha1 )