“Even if one kid hears my words and decides to breathe // Once was worthless, now he sees he has purpose inspired by me // I’ll be furthest in my dream, it’s my verses versus these demons” – Wear It Like A Rose
When I was in second grade, I was pressured by my mother to enroll in formal piano lessons. No more than a year later, I began learning violin at school, and continued both through the end of high school. However, coming from a traditional Indian upbringing, I never really considered music as a viable profession.
This changed during my sophomore year of college, when I was 5150’d for planning to overdose on Tylenol Extra Strength. During this time, even with many therapy sessions and psychiatric consultations, I found the most recovery through the poetry of hip hop artists. My experience inspired me to harness pain as a source of energy to help others through pain with music.
“Cause the only rest I’ll be getting is when I’m resting in peace // When I say I work 24/7, I don’t exaggerate it” – 451 Degrees
By far, the most significant part of my journey as a new artist has been the intense work ethic and initiative required to stretch the bounds of my comfort zone. During the winter of junior year, I spent thirty hours every week putting together beats from instrumentals, samples, and producers, writing lyrics, and refining my amateur rap vocals in the booth. This was on top of time spent finding resources to create professional music, including a microphone and studio headphones, a recording booth, an artist network on and off campus, and marketing avenues and strategies, all while making money to fund this growth.
All my work culminated in the release of my first mixtape, 451 Degrees, which highlighted my journey through certain struggles in life and strived to connect with the listener on a deeper level of understanding discouraged by social norms.
“I’ve been born, 1996, same year Makaveli died, shit // Cooking records in few as seven nycts, looking at some big shoes I’m finna fill” – Castle
While I had vast knowledge and experience in music theory, I sought to advance and become well-versed and innovative in hip hop. I took a very organized approach, first honing my lyricism, vocalization, and vocal mixing, then stepping into production. I remixed catchy commercial tracks with instrumentation and vocals, with the ultimate goal of producing, recording, mixing, and mastering entire tracks from scratch. I tackled vocals on 451 Degrees and grew into production through my Wilfrimixes over last summer. I am most proud of my diversification of style on Technicolour Beat and Worry, and my vocal skill on Eyes On Fire.
“Fans are turned to patients, blasted eardrums and sprained necks // Decibel levels are higher than Larry Page’s paychecks // Whiplash from headbanging to the beats I’m baking” – 12
The most memorable moment of my journey so far happened during my first full performance last year. After rapping Wear It Like A Rose at 576 Alvarado, I was approached by a listener in the crowd who thanked me for writing and sharing that song, as he had been through similar circumstances with depression. I have also had the pleasure of performing my music at smaller events such as The Institute for Diversity in the Arts Open House, Castaño Café Night, and other open mics, as well as larger venues such as Venue Oakland.
“I bless you with records, blessing you with my presence // So often, it gets to feel like every second is Xmas, I mean // How many rappers start rapping in March of one year // Then drop thirty tracks by the next, like it’s for fun, yeah” – Unmasked
My latest project, Second Nature, is in the works and will be releasing on March 11. It focuses on the beauty of humanity’s mere existence, and how human life should be valued so much more in the world than it is today. I have put my creativity to the test with unique production styles including cinematic, retro, and boom bap tracks, varied vocal styles inspired by Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and G-Eazy, collaborations with artists across different genres, and playing piano and violin myself on a few tracks.
Click here to listen to Unmasked, a teaser track for this project – I hope you enjoy!