That’s what i kept telling myself my 23rd year of life would be. As a 22 yr old waiting in line for a midnight release of WWE ‘13, i was handed raffle number 23. When i got home, before even playing the game, i stuck that 23 on the back of the PC i record on. At this time my only full project released was ‘While We’re Young’. Purple|Panda was a month away, but i was thinking of how my contemporaries were graduating college while i’m yet to receive a single credit. How they were moving on to self sustaining jobs, and i still lived with my parents, working fast food. I needed age 23 to be a big year for me, and i told God i would go to the military if it wasn’t.
So did my Mom. I tell her my military plan and she says “boy you better shut up and do your music”. I mean….yes mam.
March & April of 2013 were nice steps up for me. Some guy named Sango reached out to me, the release of #SPZRK3 to keep fans happy, and a huge assist from my friends D-Flow and Cheno Lyfe. They connected me to CHH (Christian Hip Hop) producer G-Roc, who had already worked with some notable CHH names. The first record we did together was acquired by Derek Minor, titled ‘We Are (Champions)’. The second record we did is still to this day a secret, and the third was specifically for Canon, titled ‘Mad Haven’. I got my foot in the door.
May 7th, 2013, i turn 23 and release ‘The Loner’. This was the attention getter. It seemed that both mainstream and CHH connected to this project equally. Then things started getting really fun. Some recognizable CHH names asked me to feature on their records all at once it seems. Summer 2013 saw records with Cheno Lyfe, Kidd, Rhema Soul, Social Club, Black Knight, Derek Minor, Canon, and D-Tropp. I also released a single just for the summer titled ‘Best Of Your Love’, which became my biggest single at the time.
Here’s the tricky thing about music. You don’t want people to get tired of you, but you also don’t want them to forget you. So you start saying no to features, and you take time for your own music. In this time period away, I received 3 contract offers. I was about to sign to one label after one more phone conversation, but then Mickey Holm calls me and goes “Don’t sign with anyone, I’m making a record label”. Hahahaha. I still sat and talked details with him. The number one thing that won me over, STRT TRBL was willing to let me do whatever genres of music I wanted. There was no brand sound that i had to stick to, as was the case with the other two. Five months later, STRT TRBL releases ‘Lucid Dream’, my 5th free project.
Sango’s imprint seemed to be on each of my most successful records. ‘Serotonin’ is a huge fan favorite, ’ U N I V E R S E' is my most popular song yet, and 'Middle Of Things' is the most popular from his album, North. January 2014, i get a text from Sango and it says “Have you heard of Stwo?” I hadn’t. He replies “listen to ‘Syrup’, he’s gonna remix Middle Of Things”. Then this happened. The remix has over 1 million plays on Soundcloud AND YouTube. Amid our success, Sango asked me to join him in Austin for his headline event at SXSW. It would be the first time we met. I also caught up with Stwo at 2 events, and was asked by Live Mixtapes to do their showcase.
The Live Mixtapes Showcase went so well that I was the only artists they tweeted bout that day, though much more popular ones performed. At that event was a rep from Empire Distribution. A month later STRT TRBL signed an amazing digital distribution deal with Empire for all STRT TRBL artists.
Featured on the same song as Andy Mineo, features with This’l and Tedashii, recording my debut album in Gainesville, Florida, getting my first ever merch, Traveling on the regular
AND IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF GOD.
He’s been faithful to me and the gift that He gave me, as I have used it for His glory. I’ll continue to do the same at age 24. Let’s see what happens.