Sunday Music Spotlight

Blake – The underground rapper you need to listen to right now

Not many artists are able to capture the real-world issues that we all deal with in their lyrics, lots of them get so popular that they lose their genuinity. But that's not Blake's philosophy.
Pick #1

Pick #2

Pick #3

Not many artists are able to capture the real-world issues that we all deal with in their lyrics, lots of them get so popular that they lose their genuinity. But that’s not Blake’s philosophy. The main reason he is one of my favorite artists is how real his music is. He makes it how he likes it, and doesn’t try to please other people, and his lyrics explain that fact in many of his songs. Here are my top three picks from his repertoire of music, just to give you a little taste.

#1 – Lately

This was the first song I ever heard from Blake, and it stole my heart immediately. The song opens so innocently, and sounds like its going to be mellow and relaxed, and then the raspy vocal hit you so hard: because you never saw it coming. His lyrics in this song specifically can be applied to anyone, any artist especially, who is struggling to get noticed while staying true to what they want to create.

In a personal interview with Blake, I asked what the explanation and origination was for his lyrics in “Lately.” He explained that “Lately came about in college at a time where everyone starts to think about internships, and starting your ‘career,’ and entering a professional setting. But here I am still making music…” This is an extremely common theme I have personally seen in all musical artists in the beginning, choosing whether to do what they are really passionate about, or give up on it for the security of a “real job.” He continued, “It’s really a story of dealing with self doubt but also having the confidence to be like, ‘wait a minute, I’m actually the man and none of this really matters right now.’ It’s that inner struggle that I think a lot of people go through…” Anyone with big “unattainable” dreams for themselves can relate, “…Lately is really my internal monologue in that transitional period in my life. To put it simply “lately” is what I’ve been dealing with lately.”

#2 – Unfold

Again, this song shows the real struggle of “small” artists, and how hard it is to be genuine in a world that requires so much of you. This song definitely has a more serious feel than my number one pick, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less enjoyable. This song is for a different mindset, more of a contemplative one, a reassessment of your life, really. The vocals in this song don’t stop, and only give you a second to breathe during the chorus. It’s slow and chill, but his voice keeps the song intense, and leaves you listening all the way to the end.

I asked Blake what helps him gain inspiration for his music, because as artists of any medium know, inspiration is an elusive mistress. He explained, “…Inspiration can be random but I also find I’m most creative between like 9 AM to 2 PM on Saturday’s…having zero stress, the suns out, no neighbors are going to complain if it’s too loud, laundry’s done…I can just create freely.” Inspiration for any musical artist is an issue that I believe many people don’t realize very much, their listeners pressure them for new music consistently, but really good music takes time. Time to craft, takes a piece of the soul of the writer to make it amazing. He concluded, “Whatever happens, happens. No pressure. But on the flip, lyrics come at random times and some stuff is made spontaneously but that’s my ideal setting.”

#3 – Time Zone

This song is featured on my playlist of inspiration because it really evokes that deep artistic feeling I am constantly in search of. Its a song you can dance to, and also cry to. Yet another reason why Blake is an artist that needs to be in your library.

This song specifically mixes complex lyrics with a complex music mix, so i asked Blake which he likes better: writing the lyrics or mixing his music? He explained, “I definitely like producing better. It’s so experimental and …anything can happen. I always feel carefree when finding the right drum sequence or digging through obscure samples… I can just make whatever I want in that moment.” You can feel both the sound and the words he threads into his songs, like a patchwork of creativity and perseverance. “Writing on the other hand is a lot more personal and a labor of love.”

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