Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

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From Johnny Cash: As a child I always had big dreams. I always knew that I wasn't cut out for what others were cut out for, and others weren't cut out for what I was cut out for. I wrote my first song as a young boy, living overseas with my two sisters, mother, and father. The song probably wouldn't have went far, though the talent and potential showed, it was still lacking the proper rhythm and structure. That didn't stop me from singing it (not sure what genre it was lol). The first time I set foot on a stage was in daycare. We were living in Hampton, Va at the time and it was the first day filled with introductions and activities to break the ice between kids. A counselor asks aloud if anybody wants to come up and sing, for some reason I was overly excited to go up there, and I'm not even a singer. The spur of the moment plan was that my sister and I were supposed to go up there together and sing but she bailed so I was alone. That made no difference. I went up there and sung the first song that came to my head, "I just wannnaaa be close to youuuu." Till this day I still don't know who's song that is, I just remember that I heard it a lot back then. Coming back from overseas, we moved to Randolph Towers in Arlington Va; from there to Woodbridge, and from there to Stafford. My mother made me sign up for music class when I started middle school and I took that all the way until sophmore year of high school (2005). That was five years of note reading, instrument playing and concerts, but more importantly, five years of learning. That year I would also meet the people that would change my life forever, but keep in mind it was the change that I had desired deep down inside. At Brooke Point High School, mixtapes would float around the school and often I would always find one somehow. I would listen and with every song I played, my own set of words came to my head that I would put to the song; every single song. I began writing verses in my composition notebook that was previously for stand-up. I had wrote my first 3 verses but kept them a secret as I was no where near ready for the world to hear. One day in class, my nigga Tim Tim tells me they have been recording and they were about to record some more after school at DJ Poundz crib. I go over there after school, this is where I hear Yung Philly rap for the first time and all I can think to myself is "this nigga nice". Inside, their group City Facez began to record under the basic sound recorder operations of DJ Poundz. I sat back and watched but believe me I watched every second; observations are the best teachers, and people with actual talent are always the best influences. Freshman year I had met Yung Cypher. I knew he rapped but I still kept my foot out and remained just one of the niggas hanging out on weekends and such. Days after witnessing the first studio session that i've ever seen before, I end up chilling and goofing around with Cyph and my other two niggas. Randomly, he says we should record and all I see is that this is my chance to get in. Right then, I became a part of my first group, Kne Era, and Kryptonite was born. I'll be the first to say I wasn't good back then, but i kept doing it for a few reasons; because it was fun to me, because I could definitely see something in it, and because I definitely knew I could do it. Cyph wasn't always around so the rest of us, Phynale, Beneficial, and I didn't know if he still considered his self a part of the group, but that didn't stop us; we had already been started. Literally starting from the bottom in comparison with the other rappers in town, the three of us kept at it, recording track after track. Each time we recorded I could see growth. Benificial's lyrics would get better and Phynale's flow would improve, and both would improve each time for me also. Sophmore year was coming to a close but unfortunately, an incident at school lead me to being expelled before the school year could end. At that point however, I had my own little studio set up in my basement; a basic mic and acid pro, and I had nothing but time on my hands. I kept writing and kept recording, in attempt to master this craft. The first time I realized that my musical growth could show was the day DJ Fatt Matt decided to stop by. He was clicking the buttons and I was the rapper. I spit a verse that I had wrote earlier in the week, and immediately got my first real good feedback. My potential was starting to show and the rapper deep within was starting to emerge. Over the summer, everybody from Yung Philly, Kne Era, and Yung Cypher to Ace Baby and G Stat would come over to record. This is the period we started making actual songs the people could feel, starting with a tribute to our parents all the way to music people could ride and dance to; this was the birth of Xtended Clips. Though the team was extremely strong and we could only get better from there, the summer was ending and everybody except me was getting ready to return to school. Aside from online classes, I still had too much time on my hands. I began working on my first cd "Tales From the Krypt." I planned out all the songs with just me and planned the features as well. I made every song that I intended to and got everybody I wanted featured on it. It was a beautiful project but at a personal level I still wasn't ready. January 06 I returned to school with a new swag, a new mind-state, and a new vision. I was officially a rapper, but my abilities were still limited. I could write but nothing came off the top…..yet. I would find myself in battles, nervous because I knew what it was but at the same time if I wanted to do this, I was going to have to do this. The battles meant nothing to me. I could care less about the outcome or what the other says, as long as I met a personal standard that I set for myself; as long as I said something (metaphor). Many of the battles I didn't meet that standard but that was just more fuel to the fire; keep at it. This was also the time Yung Philly started working on Shoot or Salute me Vol.1. Everyday he would come and record; not only that, but he came prepared every time. I remember hearing lines that would just have me dumbfounded like how did you think of this? At that point, I feel as though, he had finally started to see the potential that I have as well. Day in and day out we would record, each of his verses better than the last, each of mine getting more public ready; we were working. By Senior year, Kne Era was dead and Xtended Clips had broken up due to too many complications. Everybody was pretty much doing their own thing but music stayed with all of us. Watching Yung Cypher make a beat on fruity loops, I began to learn yet another program. Soon after, I was fooling around with sounds in attempt to make a beat. The beats I came out with were best described as basic, but the melody in my eyes was always were it was supposed to be; practice makes perfect but for some reason I could never write to any of my beats. The battle scene changed slightly in my favor. I still couldn't really battle, but I had reached a level were I could "speak up for myself", but still didn't really see this side of my talent increasing much. I was now working with pro-tools at the house, teaching myself everything I knew about; figuring the program out basically. Me and Yung Phi would continue to record as I reached a point in my engineering where I was comfortable with it; soon my comfortability with the sound would deminish; it was still a lot more I had to find out about the program in order to use it to the best of its abilities. After graduation, I decided to go to the Art Institute of Washington. Fresh in college (2007) , I was happy about the way things were going. My songs were up to par with the rest of them, if not better, my lyrics had everything the listeners wanted, and my style was my own. I stepped into the school already knowing more about the pro-tools program than half my classmates; this was too easy, but I was there for a reason. Working with the best of equipment and a few teachers that were pro-tools certified, I knew this wouldn't take long. While others were asking the questions that I asked myself when first learning how to use the program, I asked the questions that I knew would better my music. The more I learned the less serious I would take school. Problems at home also started to get to me. I'm supposed to focus on so many things but all I wanted to focus on was this music. Cyph, Phi and I get word of a best performance competition with a 500 dollar first prize in Woodbridge. We figure that all three of us are nice so one of us is going to win it. Later that night, I have my first performance as Kryptonite. I didn't win but as I expected going in there, one of us did, however I didn't leave empty handed. Aside from the judges criticism, which I did somewhat listen to, I learned about something else that night that only observation would provide light to. Every song needs bass. Bass brings out the best reaction from the crowd. Not so long after the competition, I make the first beat that I can actual rap on, which would later become the song " I make that Bass Go". From there the beats would keep coming none-stop. They weren't the best but there definitely usable and an attitude or vibe could be drawn from the beats to make a decent song. I started working on my second official project, "All Work No Play", which was never released. My first year at AI (Art Institute) went by and I was getting through all the courses by simply doing what i've always been doing. Attention started slipping however, and my focus was placed elsewhere. I only liked a couple of teachers and this was a problem because I had more than a couple teachers and the only reason I would not like a teacher is if I really didn't consider them teacher based upon how they taught; I saw it as time being wasted. The problems at home reached their peak as my parents divorce became official and I could only see myself as being in the middle, torn between two sides i've always known; I had to escape. By then, my "I don't care" attitude was in full effect and classes would start to get skipped. I took a hiatus from recording with my own equipment. My studio was set-up was left in my apartment provided by the school, another place I had to get away from. Yung Phi and I would take out talents out Manassas and stay with DJ Fatt Matt for a while; though we weren't doing much recording, the music was still with us. We would find ourselves rapping all hours of the day, day in and day out, forcing my inner "freestyle" to emerge. After a couple of months, it was nothing for me to rap infront of a group, whether it was something I wrote, or coming straight off the head. This was the first time I really saw how much I've grown as a artist from all these years. I didn't last long once classes started up again. I found myself losing track of the class schedule, even sometimes showing up on days when final projects were due; luckily all I had to do was play a song that I had already mixed down to get away with it. Soon after, I would drop out from AI. Only to experience what I needed to for what I wanted to do. I felt as if the skills I had gained were that of which Kryptonite could never have possibly possessed; I felt like a new man. From then on, I would be known as Johnny Cash. No other year received more of a distaste from me than 2009, but only now can I see that it was really one of the most important years of my life. I was 19 and all I had was my music, and my niggas that I make music with. We had done many songs with Q, Mr. R&B in the past, and it turns out he was still just as hungry as the rest of us. The grind was about to be engaged; no playing, we had songs to be made. This was the time period that my beats really stepped up as I finished one particular beat that would later become Phi's hit "Fantasy Girl". By then, we had started working with Sho-time; he already had my respect as a rapper because I knew he had been rapping since back in the day also. Four of the most talented artists in the area, plus another one of my beats would lead to another hit, "Party Stop". Each of us admired the next persons flow and at the same time, the level of competition in the room would only ensure that the best of out work was brought to life. This was the birth (On Phi's behalf) of the Triangle Offense, better known as Tri- O, four the the hungriest niggas that you have ever seen with a common purpose; to make it. And just how the real world works, nothing that is supposed to go smoothly ever does; the world sends little minions called distractions your way to make you forget about what you really doing, trying to affect a once strong focus. In May, I get caught up on drug charges, and two months later I get caught up on an alcohol charge; only in Stafford county. I don't see anytime time for that, but probation, community service, and my license being suspended for more than a year is also a bitch, yet i'm still thankful. My mind was still on the music. Everyday, the Tri would record and record, and record some more; track after track and song after song. I would burn a cd of everything we did so we could listen to them when we drove off somewhere, but from an engineer stand-point, so I could make mental notes of any edit needed to be made that I didn't catch while mixing with the headphones. Word soon got around of the cd and people started asking for a copy. The cd was in no way any kind of mixtape, but at the same time it was; from then the cd was known as the Tri-O leak. Months after, Phi's cousin and a good friend, Mula Mitchie would move back to VA. We would soon find that Mitchie could spit, and from there, him and Scotty BOW would be the two newest members in the Tri. The grind was set on heavy and the mentality was "take everything", Tri-O was getting stronger by the day, and I knew from the beginning, the only thing that could stop us was ourselves and we weren't about to let that happen in anyway. After the leak, more and more projects would be planned. We started working on Phi's "Wayne Turner Vol.1" mixtape (dropping in August 2010), Sho and Phi's "Street Resurrection" (coming soon), and Phi and Q also have a mixtape in the works. While trying to ensure that all these projects met their deadlines and sound the best that they can sound at this point, somehow, I still manage to find time to work on the only one of my projects that I really plan on releasing, "Cash World". I left school in '09 because I believed it would take a year to get signed. In 2010 I could look back at '09 as a fail, but it's actually far from it. So much growth came from these years and I now feel like I'm ready for whatever comes my way; a feeling that I guarantee i wouldn't have obtained if I didn't leave. A lot of people rap these days just to rap. I rap because that' s what took me in, because that's what I am. There is nothing else that I can see myself doing in life; it's either this music, or I will have to live knowing each day that I failed; failed to music, failed to everyone I know and love, but even worse, failed to myself. I don't plan on failing.


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