I see that you have a new album dropping soon called Aspire to Inspire. What is the inspiration behind this project?
The inspiration for this project was to put out a follow up release (debut solo release was entitled Feud For Thought) that truly embodied who I am as a hiphop fan, artist, proud father, husband and man to put it simply. My solo journey really began to take off following the previous release and the response I received from that project inspired me to continue in this vein.
So many opportunities (gigs, production, blog features etc) have come my way as a result of what I do and how I do it that I seem to have a vibe that people feel they can identify with. I make honest, grown man rap that I think people want to hear. This inspires me and reaffirms that I'm on the right path. Also, just my general life motto of self improvement and uplifting my community with positive energy would also be my inspiration for this project.
Does the project feature any guests and who handles the production?
As far as guests go, I wanted yet again to keep it me. Meaning, I didn't want to flood the project with features. I'm old school like that. I got one vocal feature from an emcee by the name of Mathematik. He's a member of a crew called Gill Breathing that I'm also a part of. He's a veteran Toronto emcee that I look up to and gained a lot of inspiration from coming up. There is only one other song I'm trying to get some singer vocals on.
A few scratch features are also in the works still to be confirmed, so I'll keep that one on the DL for now. But overall 2 vocal features at the most. As far as production goes I've got producers and beatmakers from different parts of the world involved on this project. Most of them aren't names that the masses probably familiar with, however, trust me they bring the fire. I've got a few vibes from different parts of Canada, USA, New Zealand, UK and Germany. Tracklist will be finalized in the next few weeks.
What do you want to accomplish with Aspire to Inspire?
What I want to accomplish? I want to continue where I left off with Feud For Thought. I want to continue to deliver thought provoking, honest and insightful lyrics over tight production and build my following in the process. Deliver a vibe that isn't really represented enough in hiphop these days. I want to share inspirational / motivational messages to the masses. People respect a good message when delivered the right way. I feel I can do that and that I have done that.
Would you mind sharing your writing process with the masses?
My writing process probably varies from most artists. I don't write every single day. I don't just write for the sake of writing. I write only when I'm inspired to do so and when I feel I've got something worthwhile to talk about. I never wanted to be considered as that guy that was known for writing "filler". Every song has a purpose, whether it be social commentary, a love song, inspirational tune etc. But, when the inspiration hits me, it is 100% of the time driven by the beat and music that I'm working with. The sample or melody typically determines how I'll approach the song.
Over the last few years, I've also used the title of the beat to guide me. Most producers name their beats. A lot of the time, I'll just take the beat title and run with it. After about 3 or 4 songs I'd look for the common thread and at that point I'll already get a sense for the direction I'm going to take for the remainder of the joints. By the time I've reached track 8 or so, I'm pretty much certain of what I'm going to title the project.
Would you mind sharing 3 tips that artists should use to market their album?
3 tips for artists to use to market their album in my opinion (where I've found some success) are as follows (in no particular order)
1. Utilize social media to the fullest (promote your album on twitter, facebook, instagram, youtube etc). While doing so, do your best not to spam.
2. Submit / release / share promo tracks off the album to blogs, online radio, college radio, mixtapes, compilations, online song contests etc.
3. Try to perform your material live as often as possible in front of your target demographic. Open mic nights, talent showcases, cyphers etc. Be sure to bring your merch with you when you do.