By Anthony Mclaude, Rock At Night New Jersey
Interview: Hip-hop artist-90 One
The rebirth of a young lyrical Slick is in smack (bang) storyteller mode. 90 ONE has been living life fast like a racing game, and from the looks of it, well, let’s just say that he’s not settling for second behind no one as he uncovers the details behind his first studio album, No Cover, an emotionally charged funky and brash record that bears no filter.
Temple, Texas born and currently causing a scene as a resident in Houston, 90 ONE made his presence felt by winning the 2014 Next Lyrical Genius Competition back in November 15, 2014. This became the victory route that took his success to higher heights from that pivotal moment in time onwards; followed by giving one of the best performances of his career during the final night at the Matthew Knowles (Beyoncé’s father) Talent Competition. It was a well-recognized triumph for an efficient, hard-working, and trusted artist. However, it wasn’t all “girls and gold” while being signed under Matthew Knowles record label, Music World Entertainment.
“I was supposed to be under “Artist Development” and they told me they wanted to rush the artist development process to get things started faster. I was all on board for this. I’m always looking to grow as an artist. They set me up with a producer in Dallas for the entire 2017; I only went to Dallas maybe three times. We didn’t get anything accomplished, we didn’t get any songs recorded, and I wasn’t reimbursed for my expanses as they promised. I knew what I was worth and they were slowing me down. So, I requested to be let go. I’ve done more in the first two months of 2018 than they did for me in an entire year. I didn’t feel like my career was a priority to them, so I had to gain my control back.”
Timeless admirers of the Hip Hop head will soon be seeing a revival of what made the 90s culture bump, all thanks to 90 ONE reminding us what real Hip-Hop expression is all about.
The debut album, No Cover, is a disarmingly candid introduction to a record that is authentic, truthful and soulful. Although having suffered from heartbreak due to losing people who he once trusted and cared for, he took those isolated stages and verbally sounded off on them like an electrifying mic-drop by creating an uplifting, brutally honest and empowering luminescent of sound that can’t be hidden in the unsung murk any longer. On the track, “Pray 4 Me,” 90 ONE addressed each issue singlehandedly, one being an overwhelming distress of a former lover’s betrayal. He rhymed, “Maybe I’m too trusting/maybe I was rushing/Maybe I was real/ and you was all about that fuck shit.” 90 then tackled the issue of an unsupportive confidant as he blatantly expressed writing all of the emotions that have been tearing him apart. “You jealous nigga/13 years and you’re supposed to be my best friend/Never thought I’d have to put your loyalty to question/I used to wonder who would be my best man/ you or Jordan/ but he was more supportive/And he’s something like the realest nigga that I thought of/but it’s still all love every time your name is brought up.”
While having listened to Pray 4 Me, 90 proceeded to go further into the details behind the roughly thudded lyrics. “I felt like I had been betrayed by the people closest to me. Wondering how I’m doing, how I’m feeling. I was like, well why do you care so much now? Why didn’t you care when you were doing me wrong? So it was like, I don’t need you to worry for me cause life’s been hard without you. But I don’t need you to worry about me, just say a prayer for me.”
Penning a blazing trail of his own rhythm down to the slum realities of earth, 90 ONE is a fearless and straightforward artist with such a solid charismatic Hip Hop background that contains a viral side effect which causes his loyal fan base to overdose on emotional symphonies, impactful lyricism and distinctive cords. This melodious entrepreneurial emcee with the gifted catchy hooks evokes a raw, yet sweet honey-like feeling when listening to his music. “I have to stay true to myself. I’ve lost myself before. I know what it feels like, and I also know the joys of being my true self. I’m here to inspire others to pursue a better version of them. While working on this album it has taught me to put my full emotions into my music. It has taught me how to tell my truth with no filter, no cover. It’s about taking the mask off and being who you truly are,” shared 90 ONE.
August 14, 1991 (as his pen name alludes), 90 ONE was not solely born surrounded by music, but by the teachings of women who helped raise him. “I was raised by women. My mother had me at 21. My great grandmother was a big part of my life, and my mom’s mother was as well. We didn’t come from the best neighborhoods in Temple, but we still were doing a lot better than others we knew. My great grandma was very protective. I’d often get frustrated when she wouldn’t let me go hangout or let certain people over. But, it helped me in the long run today. She instilled a lot of things into my character that I wasn’t aware of at the time.”
90 ONE grew up with lyrical flavor in his ear when writing songs in a similar aspect of taste that reminded him of rugged, yet happier times during the Golden Era of the Boom Bap, and while listening to his favorite iconic OG’s in the rap game (Phife Dawg, De La Soul, Wu Tang-Clan, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, NWA and KRS-One) is what lured him in to digging deep into the 9 Elements of collective consciousness, rightfully proclaimed as Hip-Hop. “I was always that kid in the car rapping and singing every song, word for word. It felt good when I would memorize a song and could recite the whole thing. I used to see how fast I could memorize new songs. In 5th grade, before we had Genius.com and could search lyrics, I would go home and listen to “Word of Mouf” by Ludacris. Roll-Out was a big song at the time, but I never knew what he was saying. I remember sitting in my room with my Walkman writing out the lyrics to his song. Once I finished it, I memorized it and made sure everyone knew that I knew all the words at school the next day. What made me become a fan of words in music; I never felt like I had a story to tell, so I figured I’d never be a rapper. But, I knew at a young age I wanted to work in music. What actually inspired me to rap were two things that happened in 2009; I went to Texas Southern University. There was this group called the “VS Boyz,” they would make songs and do shows at this club I promoted for. I just felt like if they could do it then I could. But, when my great grandmother passed that year, I just really started focusing on rapping. It was an escape.”
On the straight and direct track, No Cover, 90 reveals despite the unsupportive jealousy of transgression, his spiritual light is still going to shine during the time of motivating others. “I don’t really care what the cost is/as long as I ain’t taking no losses/I’m all about my business like an office.” As a hip hop artist, 90 ONE, is not uniquely known as a rapper, but as an entrepreneur, radio host and on air personality who to his surprise achieved a spot on Tuff Talk Radio. “It’s crazy how I ended up in radio. I’m not sure how to word it without it being drawn out.” During a problematic pandemic striking the economy to falter and halt its day-to-day received foldings of paper money, bank notes, and more direly, deteriorating patients who have fallen ill to COVID19. 90 expressed what he’s being doing to stay above the drowning surface of this anticlimactic monotony. “I’ve been pushing my Lyrical Layers playlist and working on things for the radio. Getting the royalty checks from streaming has everyone in my chat rooms motivated.”
A second follow-up album could lead to a sophomoric disaster. Nonetheless, nothing quite creatively intimidating has ever stopped 90 ONE from using adversity as a stepping stone to lyrically pen out his growing accomplishments. “Yeah man, most definitely. I’m actually very excited for a 2nd album. I have a ton of music to be released so I’m looking forward to getting a concept together for an album.” Aside from being quarantined, 90 still finds a way of doing business by seizing the initiative and serving other artists, 90 ONE is what you would call “The Plug.”
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