DNL

It’s been forever-and-a-half since I last posted on here… Wow. So, here’s some updates.

On my life:

It has been rough the past year and a half. I watched my dad slowly succumb to a cancerous brain tumor and finally pass away in October. Roughly six months prior to that, my grandmother died, and six months before that, so did my cousin. All of my friends were unavailable during the majority of this time and I was taking a year off from school, so my life sorta stagnated. I didn’t do much of anything for the whole year aside from sitting inside my house and trying to cope with what was going on. With seemingly no one to go to, I relied on God. I grew spiritually, more in this time of struggle than any time before in my life.

Because there weren’t many people to talk to about what I was going through, I turned to writing lyrics as an outlet for my thoughts and emotions and wrote some of the best stuff I’ve ever come up with. Needless to say, I wrote a lot of stuff because, sadly, there was a lot to write about. Actually, not sadly. I can honestly say that I’m glad I went through what I did. It is what caused me to grow in the Lord and in a way it inspired my lyrics—rather, God’s faithfulness throughout my struggles inspired my lyrics.

On my music:

Like I stated previously, I have written many lyrics over the past year or so—enough for at least two albums. In addition to writing lyrics, I’ve been working on my production skills, as well as remixing and making mashups. So, I’ve been busy.

I have yet to record most of my songs due to not knowing how to do certain things in recording, lacking a place to record, and not having good delivery or mic presence when recording due to lack of practice, and consequently coming up with a record that is not up to my standards. To work towards recording better I’ve been practicing my songs on a semi-regular basis and also have found a place to record.

However, that isn’t to say I haven’t been doing anything. Here is what I am working on currently:

KJBoard III Mixtape - Collaborative mixtape 5 years in the making I’m overseeing development of (yes, it’s been in the works since before I even liked rap). I’m contributing a verse to a cypher on the mixtape, 2 original songs, a beat for another artist on the mixtape, and some remixes and/or mashups.

Stand, Pt. 2 - Single - Single, again featuring Protégé, that may also be on Growth - The EP and (in the single release) will come with the acca and instrumental for remixing.

Whether The Storm" - A really personal track from Growth - The EP which might be a “leak” as opposed to an “official single.” Will probably be featured on a few compilation albums.

"Darkest Hour (ft. TaB)" - My main collab for the KJBoard III Mixtape. Features TaBornakle.

"Too Close Remix" - I’m being I was going to be featured on this guy Illtalian’s mixtape, Notti Insonni, on a track remixing a song by Alex Clare called “Too Close.” Unfortunately, putting the song on the mixtape didn’t work out, but the track will be released eventually.

As far as production goes, I’m trying to expand my genres from just old-school-style sampled hip-hop beats (yes, I know I have a few other styles and influences, but the primary style of the beats I’ve released are that). I’ve recently developed an interest in electronic music, particularly dubstep, and have been working to achieve that sound, though I’m limited by the software I have.

I have a few mashups that are due for release as well. Most of the ones that I’ve done in the past year, however, can be found on my Soundcloud. I also have a concept for a tentative mashup album where I literally take all the accas from one album and put them over the instrumentals of the other.

I’ve tried my hand at remixing a few songs as well but I’m gonna be silent on which tracks they are until I release them. Sorry.

As you might have gathered by now, Growth - The EP will not be coming out for a while. I may even scrap it and use the songs on a bigger Growth mixtape. Likewise, its sequel mixtape has the same status.

On GrowiN Records:

What’s GrowiN Records, you ask? It’s my “record label.” I use quotations because it’s mostly just a brand for me and this group of artists I’m a part of. It’s really informal—there’s no contracts/record deals and no distribution setup. If Protégé, for example, was trying to get signed by some bigger label, he could do it with no issues. It currently consists of me (DNL), Protégé, and Common Prophets (metal-hop band which Protégé fronts). We are planning on doing some local concerts this summer.

On keeping up with me:

I’m going to try to post here more often from now on, but in the event I do not, my music can be found on my SoundCloud and I often post on Twitter @DNLHipHop. GrowiN Records can also now be found on Twitter at @GrowiNRecords.

Check out the first single off of the KJBoard III Mixtape:  “Misfits” by Rue & Illtalian.

Be sure to get the full mixtape when it drops! I’m going to be featured on a few tracks, plus there’s several other talented artists on there as well.

A mashup of “Feel It (ft. DJ Revolution)” by Braille over “Handle Business” by Courtland “Xperiment” Urbano.

Listen/Download

So I figured out how to compose stuff and export it from Sunvox, the standalone synthesizer I posted a pic of a couple weeks ago. Got something good-sounding.

Now this is interesting…

In the process of writing and recording my song “Forget It,” I’ve repetitively lost my focus and forgot the point of the song to begin with.

It’s ironic because when I lost my focus like this last summer, this song came as a result of coming back into focus and realizing my foolery.

I keep on thinking stuff like, “I gotta get some music out there so I can just say I’m still here and still doing my thing” or “I’m gonna just write a random verse about nothing, record it and just get something done to show how much better I am” or “I have to get this perfect; anything less is a failure.” All these thoughts are focused on getting music done and done just right for music’s sake, for the tiniest feeling of “fame,” for me.

That last one I didn’t even realize I was thinking until recently. Perfectionism… Well, here’s the deal:  I’m going to do my best on these tracks, but I’m not going to obsess over it like I have been. If the track sucks, well, so be it. I’ll continue to get better as I keep doing this and will eventually release something that meets my admittedly high standards.

Anyway, I’d like to just request anyone who reads this pray for me, that I keep my focus and that I don’t overly worry about the quality of the tracks.

Very short demo of my new microphone with a song off of my EP called “Forget It”.

So… used a center-panned vocal remover on “Banana Republic” by Ill Harmonics to see if I could get the acca or the instrumental from it… I got the dubs, a very quiet beat, and the hi hats. Weird. Though, I think because this is an old track, it’s like the first I’ve actually been able to get something workable with this tool. Everything else nowadays is overly mixed to the point you either ruin the beat or the vocals when trying to get the acca or instrumental.

(a.k.a me blabbing on for a long time about tons of stuff you may or may not care about with bits and pieces of legitimate info here and there)

I feel like I mesh well lyrically with many of the beats produced by Allrounda Productions. Dunno what it is about their style but I find I can rap well easily on them. I have like three (possibly four or five, depending on if the concepts for a few songs I have actually develop) of them I’m using for the album I’m sorta working on writing now that will be after “Growth - The EP”.

Speaking of the EP, I will be recording it most-likely with Protégé’s instrument mic and/or my laptop mic, whichever works better. I will also (finally) be investing (nothing) into a makeshift pop filter, now that I realize their usefulness.

I’m actually finding that my next album is easier to write for than any of the stuff for “Growth - The EP”. That might be because it’s all very personal; kinda more real than what I’ve written before… There’s been a lot of tragedy in my life lately… However, God is using that to impact me greatly and it shows up in my music. There’s also no features or relying on other people to do things where I’ll have to wait then for a while while they finish their part of the song (which, aside from writing and recording on my end, is what is holding up “Growth - The EP” from being released as all four songs depend on someone else, but those peeps are waiting for me to finish my parts before they can do anything, so it’s really my fault… But, yeah… As far as writing goes, two songs for Growth are finished being written completely and have been for a long while, while the other two are more or less not finished; one is almost finished with two halves of two separate verses and a bridge to be filled, the other only has the chorus and most of a verse done.

One last thing, Protégé’s own EP, I believe, is coming along nicely. I actually don’t know exactly how far he’s gotten with it yet, actually, but he’s shown me some verses he’s written and some of them are really good.

New beat. Did most of this last night/yesterday morning about a week ago in a sort of creative frenzy.

I was going for a sound somewhere in between Anno Domini Records’ underground beat style and something like Courtland “Xperiment” Urbano. The layout of the song (length of verses, etc.) was inspired greatly by “Death In Me” by Braille. I could see myself actually using this for a song or if not, letting someone else use it for one.

I also sorta “tagged” my beat per say with some samples from a couple different songs. Props to anyone who knows where they’re from.

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