One of my old classmates reached out to me in November and asked me to check out a track called "Dreams." I didn’t get a chance to listen to it until mid-December, but I must say when I finally heard the song I was impressed. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m an avid music lover, especially when the music has meaning. "Dreams" is without a doubt a song with substance; it definitely speaks to the mind of the conscious thinker. The song sheds light on certain taboo issues in the black community, issues people are reluctant to address. These issues include the constant occurrence of senseless violence and people’s lack of morals and priorities. The verse below which is actually one of my favorite verses on the track speaks on one of those issues:
“We conditioned to the violence…… black and brown riots, to the point that our alliance follows moments of silence, and it’s sad that the people never see the evil…….. so long as the Gucci belt matches the Evisu.”
I wanted to know more about the artist behind the music, so I got in contact with the Oklahoma City rapper, who goes by the name of X1, and asked him a few questions. Check out his responses below and his track "Dreams."
1. How long have you been rapping?
“I began rapping at the age of 12. My cousin (Shout out to Shamelle. I love you dearly) lived in Oklahoma; however, her father lived in DC. She would go see him every summer and come back with Tribe Called Quest, Common, The Roots, Big Pun, Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, and Mos Def albums. I knew at that point that I had to do this.”
“When I first heard the Eminem LP, and Jay-Z’s Blue Print. Those projects molded me as an MC. Eminem’s wordplay and Jay-Z’s swag and metaphors made me feel like words could influence a vast audience. I wanted to do that. Coming from a place where messages are often preached but seldom heard, I knew I had to find a lane to make people listen. I thought that Hip Hop would be the best vehicle to accomplish that.”
3. What artists influence your music?
“Legends, Pun, Kweli, Jay, Big, Andre 3000, and Eminem. New cats…. KRIT, Kendrick, J-Cole, mostly Kendrick though... lol.
4. There are many rappers trying to break into the music industry right now; what do you think distinguishes you from other artists?
“I refuse to compromise my core values to attain fame or status. I would rap to break even at the end of the day. So many individuals come into the game with one view and remain with another. Jay said it best, 'I’m sorry, mama. I promised the money wouldn’t change me, but I would have went crazy had I remained the same me." Though I look to Jay as an influential entity in the game, I disagree with that viewpoint. I would rather go crazy or be deemed crazy than lose touch with myself and what I stand for. My philosophies are real simple: Attain knowledge of self and trust God. With those things being pillars of my belief system, I don’t see failure being an option. The message is lost in the music. I believe that I was put on this earth to bring that message back with lyrical skills to compete.”
5. How far are you trying to take your music?
“As far as God sees fit. When He tells me that it’s a wrap, it’s a wrap.”
6. Do you have a specific audience that you’re trying to reach?
“I’m trying to reach anybody who is willing to listen. I know that the mass public is growing tired of the same re-manufactured garbage. It’s as if they are suffocating. My prayer is that I am the breath of fresh air needed.”
7. Are you working on any special projects (albums, mixtapes…etc) right now?
“I have just finished my mix-tape entitled The Desperation. I have a collaborative project with a close friend of mine named Dewun Music called X-Wun Lesson 2, as well as a project with another dear friend of mine named Leslie Sanders called X1’s Human Nature: The Revolt. I’m constantly working to spread my talent and message through as many outlets as I am allowed. Also, late next year I will be working on a project with my brother Jordan Frescher. The title is still undetermined, but he and I together are called Nat Turner; you could probably get an idea of what it’s about by that alone.”
8. Can you tell me a little bit about your track “Dreams.” What was the inspiration behind the track? The concept/story behind the song?
“It was pretty organic. My boy Trey sent me the instrumental with Candace singing the hook. His friend Delreco, a producer from Jackson, MS, was the genius behind the music and the bars just came. The music sounded like liberation, so I had to do it justice by speaking to that effect. It is to date one of my favorite songs. I feel like with the appropriate platform it could do great things, not only musically but also culturally.”