Tales in Hip Hop Nerdism Ep. 1

When I first started wanting to really push towards recording and releasing music, I was probably in 7th or 8th grade. I had been writing from around 4th-5th grade up to that point also, but my mind never really grasped or reached towards the concept of actually making it happen until then. It always seemed so intangible.
As I began a quick 3-4 month trip to Rapid City, SD during my 8th grade year, I was deep within one of my darker moments of depression at the time. Nothing felt right, and with the parental situations placed in front of me, I'd go to school in what would be a cycle of negativity. I never had much money, and never knew how to properly spend it when I had it, so I'd go to school looking kinda rough. Thus, I was often really the odd kid out (even though I went to the school that had the reputation of having more "native" kids who understood that struggle - yeah, stereotypes and my previous abilities to believe them).
I even remember one day I tried on these cheap jeans I just got from an older cousin without checking to see if they were ripped anywhere, and sure enough they were ripped right at the crack! I never knew this until I walked off the bus at the end of the day and everyone I passed by immediately started laughing out loud. Fun times.
It was also around this time that I really began getting interested into all facets of music, especially independent, underground music. I'd go to the library every chance I got just to read some manga/manwha/graphicnovels and sign into that quickly passed 1 hour limit on the internet. I'd go to myspace music pages for people like NightShield, Maniac, Tactile, and so many others. I'd go to soundclick pages and look at everything there too. People like TCE, Smart Alick, and so on. One of the artists who was ALWAYS on my playlists, though, was The Derelict a.k.a. Asharri: The Vagabond of Underground Elements, Hatchet Men, Project Zero, and so on.
THEEEEEE song that pumped me up and said "I so want to do this," was his track "Attack" under the alias The Derelict. I got chills when I first heard it, literal chills. It features an intro from the film "Juice" where Tupac Shakur's character gives one of the great speeches still remembered today. "You gotta be ready to throw down, stand up, and die for that shit." It also features a really dope dope dope sample that I'm actually blanking on at the moment. I knew that not only did I want to rap anymore, but I also wanted to make my own beats and just own my own shit. I also remember thinking to myself, "He's definitely one of the artists who I'd kill to collaborate with." Thoughts like that always entered my mind, but never were truly believed. I always figured my lyrics/performance/etc. would always be basic and nowhere near another artist's level.
*****Listen to "Attack!" by The Derelict straight from the Soundclick page!*****
During my freshmen year in high school, I started making/releasing mixtapes like crazy. I called them that simply for the fact that not one single beat was from myself. I was just writing and writing and fitting things into things. Not expecting even a reply, I emailed Derelict about possibly collaborating. To my surprise, he responded and we got on a track called "Coast to Coast" which he produced. I was and am always so honored by his willingness to put me on that young and unexperienced, and frankly, I was just really wack back then lol.
Fast-forward, we did more collaborations since then, but it wasn't until this track here that I felt really polished and ready to contribute a worthy verse in terms of my skill-level and ability to record a semi-good quality audio file. I submitted a verse intended for a different beat he had me spit to for a title called "Heartbeat" (coincidental enough, the track title for one of the first legit music videos I've done in the past) - and on a whim he said that it just fit better for the beat you hear on this song currently. This beat uses that same sample from "Attack" - and I lost my mind.
I overthink and reflect too much because I'm grateful often. This track to me is kind of a dream come true to a kid who just wanted to be a part of the art and represent. I definitely give my props to Derelict often, and continue to do so in times like these where the inner hip hop geeky kid in me screams joyfully.
I also hope someone else who is thinking distantly about recording and collaborating with people they respect doesn't lose hope or sight of that thought. If a wack rapper like myself can make that happen, there's no reason why you can't too. Keep the art and culture alive, no matter who listens or who doesn't.