One thing that I’ve been trying to learn to do lately is write more meaningful music. The more I look back on the songs that I released on my soundcloud the more I realize how meaningless it is. Not that I didn’t like them, I love those tracks I dropped some bars. But I don’t talk about anything more than, “I want to kill every rapper in the game, I want a car, I want a house.” Just little things that anyone can talk about. There’s no depth to the music. So a lot of the artists I’ve been listening to lately are mastering or masters of that craft of writing from the heart. I’ve been listening to Vince Staples because of how real he is in his music. He talks about the way he grew up. He doesn’t glorify the gang life or the drug life because he doesn’t smoke or drink. He talks about the different things he has to live with and how he looks at it now compared to how he looked at it then. So when he talks about murking someone’s son because of some gangbang shit. He’s not saying that shits cool. He looks back on it and knows how wrong it is. But he also was in a different mindset at the time where emotion and empathy was pulled away, it was all business. I’ve also been listening a lot to Earl Sweatshirts, “I Don’t Like Shit” album. In an NPR interview that he did after it released he talked about how he felt like this was his first album. He felt this way because he felt himself actually putting heart into this album. He was going through a lot at the time in his personal life that he took out of his head and put down onto the paper and you can hear the sincerity through his lyrics. While him and Na’ Kel were working on the track, DNA, Na’ Kel decided to go on an acid trip for creative release. Fifteen minutes into the trip he received a call telling him that his friend was just killed. He was stuck and had no idea what to do with all his mixed emotions. Earl told him to just write it down. That ended up being his verse for DNA. More recently I’ve been on an Amy Winehouse kick. This is the first time I’ve actually tried diving into her discography. I listened to hit songs by hers like “Valerie” or “Tears dry on their own”, but I feel my ears are now truly being opened and blown away is an understatement talking about how I feel about this woman. Besides her amazing voice, how real she is in her music it’s the rawest I’ve ever heard someone on a song besides listening to Rex Orange County. In interviews they’ll ask her what a song is about and she’ll say almost the exact lyrics and it makes complete and total sense. She literally just takes whatever’s on her mind and puts it down in front of her. She was going through a rough break up where the guy was trying to hold her back from doing a lot of things she wanted to do like go to the slick rick concert and then he almost made her miss the Nas concert and that’s what she talks about in Me and Mr. Jones. No metaphors, just as literal as she can be. I appreciate that kind of stuff so much, it’s a person opening up like that to millions of people almost inviting us into their personal lives. Which is something a lot of mainstream popular artists don’t do. They keep their music topics strictly on surface. They’ll talk about a break up and how you should feel. But they don’t talk about their break up and how much it actually tore them apart even if they didn’t show it. I feel like I know what it takes to be able to write something as raw and real as that, and it’s to get uncomfortable. You have to talk about the things of your past and put it onto paper because that’s where the honesty is. Some people don’t realize it but everyone can tell the difference between honest music and pop chart manipulation. I can’t be afraid of the things I’ve had to deal with in the past. Even if it’s not as intense as gangbanging or losing loved ones. Everyone’s been through stuff in their life that sits on their minds at times whether they want to admit it or not. Writing about the things that make you uncomfortable is what teaches you to put heart and feeling into your work. So I will continue learning and listening to Amy for the next little while.