Input on how SupaHotBeats convinced him to share his harrowing Columbine experience

Categories: Profiles

Westword: So bring us up to speed. What have you been up to?

Input: It's been a pretty crazy six months. Just been kind of wrapping up the two projects. Since the last time we talked, which I think was a while ago, I was just getting started on that SupaHotBeats project, and then Broken and I were doing our followup to Left for Dead. Both albums wrapped up about the same time. Late July, early August is when I finished recording both.

So the first one, Broken and I have our Never Heard of Ya album, which is our followup to Left for Dead. We're releasing on the thirteenth of this month, so just under two weeks now. Saturday is our album-release party for that one, so just been getting all of that put in order. We've got Sims from Doomtree and Astronautalis both on the bill for that one. They'll be performing with us. Both of them are featured on the album, too. Our whole live show is going to be featuring all the artists and musicians that performed and played on the album. So getting all of that put together has been the main focus of everything.

January 1 is when SupaHotBeats and I are dropping our project together. So when all this passes with Broken, I'm going to literally have to switch hats and start going into the next album with him. We're going to do a three-city release for the project, between here, Atlanta, and then, depending upon a couple of things, either L.A. or Chicago. So I've just been crazy-busy and overworked on getting these two albums up to par with each other. The nice thing is they're two completely different feels and sounds. I think it will definitely hit two completely different fan bases.

What's the name of the SupaHotBeats project?

That one's called Bombs Over Everything. That one ended up being seven tracks total. Never Heard of Ya is ten tracks total, and the SupaHotBeats one is seven. It's pretty crazy how that one came together and what it's worked into. It's been cool, man, a whole new experience working with a producer of his caliber that's just on a whole other level of the industry and kind of where he is networking. I did A3C Festival in Atlanta. I went out two weeks ago, and Saturday, the last night of the festival, SupaHotBeats and DJ Booth put together a showcase, and they brought me out for that showcase. The lineup was nuts. It was Tech N9ne, Yelawolf, Rittz, Emilo Rojas, Chris Webby -- just out of control heavy-hitters. They threw me on just two slots before Yelawolf and Tech N9ne. It was crazy, man.

What was it like to work with SupaHotBeats? What did you learn?

We did seven tracks in five sessions. So I was in Atlanta a total of six days over two separate trips, and we worked 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day. It was all from scratch. We went into the studio and just locked ourselves in there. He would just basically start with a metronome. He'd build drums, do melodies and everything he does is sample free, re-created, or if he digs a sample, he'll just take a piece of it and bring in musicians and build it out, kind of like Dr. Dre style. So nothing's ever actually sampled. It's all either recreated or sample-free.

Just the whole motivation on that side was cool. We'd start a song, and he'd just kind of being vibing out to it, getting the feel for the beat, and he'd look at me and be like, 'What do you think? Do you like this beat?' I'd be like, 'Yeah, man. I already got a verse and a chorus for it.' And he'd be completely taken off guard by the way that I was able to write to everything. So it was just a really cool chemistry, kind of his whole approach to recording.

When I would be in the recording booth and stuff, he'd be sitting there and just his pointers -- kind of how he envisions things -- he had such good insight, in terms of making me push myself and find new ways to accentuate certain things, which I don't have here at home. Broken and I work great together, but he does his thing and I do my thing, and then we just kind of meet in the middle and that's it. But with SupaHotBeats, it was more of one hundred percent together on every single thing, from the sound to whatever else was going on. So it was definitely like an insane, insane experience.

And then just his whole insight and his ability to really look at certain things in a way that really opened up my view point on certain things. Like I told you how I was at Columbine and that whole experience. Over a fourteen year period of my life since the shooting and everything, I was always one of those people that just never wanted any association between my music career and that part of my life. I just didn't want the two to correlate, because I thought if something happened, if that was the reason I got any kind of publicity, I didn't want that to be the only thing. I wanted my music to speak for itself.

SupaHotBeats was the first person to really open my eyes to be like, 'You've got to tell your story, and make this come to life.' Our project has the first song I've ever written about my experience, and it came out to be one of the most powerful songs I've ever written -- probably the most powerful song I've ever written. It was something so ridiculous, I can't wait to unleash that song itself to the public, because I think it's going to be something that really strikes a lot of nerves. And you know, it's probably going to be both positive and negative, just because of the content and everything. But I think it's something that definitely needs to be heard.

What's it called?

The song itself is called "Sprits Fly." It features one of SupaHotBeats's artist in Atlanta, this really, really dope R&B -- she does hip-hop, kind of, but it's mainly R&B -- her name is Nikkiya. She sang the hook on this song. And the same thing: We made this song in like 45 minutes. We sat down, made the beat, wrote the chorus, wrote the verses, everything. It was insane the way it just kind of clicked together.

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