Growing up I wrote JAY-Z & Big lyrics down as I memorized their words and mimic'd their flow. Their first albums influenced me as a kid and still do till this day as an artist...as a rapper. As I began to record this album, I looked into myself to find that place that they found in themselves as they crafted Reasonable Doubt and Ready to Die. I've lived in that place for much of last year till as of late, when I finished recording. I look to create that experience for another young kid, writing my lyrics down as they listen to this album. An experience that would live with them as they got older. As their views and perspectives become their own and not the ones that were told to them or told to believe.
In order to create that experience I had to give you what I've become on this album. To do so, changes were made in my personal & professional life. Some of them were hard, some of them were easy, but all of them were necessary. Those that are my brothers and sisters, KNOW they're my brothers and sisters. Those relationships are as good as gold. They keep me grounded as I chase my dreams, and at times our dreams. They influence and help me become the man and artist that I am. But they don't determine who I am. I do that. I put the work in throughout the years. And no one will take ownership of who I am but me.
It's my last years in my twenties. I have a lady at home that reminds me everyday what needs to get done. I have 3 beautiful kids that when I look into their eyes, they remind me everyday what needs to get done. I have a phone full of emails, text messages, calls, tweets, DMs, photos and documents from friends, family, managers, lawyers, business partners, DJs, fans, haters, you name it, that all remind me everyday what needs to get done. So when I don't hear my name mentioned in a conversation, or a on a list, that I've rightfully put in the work for, I'm going to feel a way. When I read or hear opinions of why or where I'm currently at in my life & career, I'm going to feel a way. When I get endless feature requests to hop on another marijuana record as if I'm only a "weed rapper", I'm going to a feel a way. It's only right, that I do. And it's only right I give it all back to you in my music, so that YOU can feel some type of way too.
This year is my year to be completely independent, through and through. To take ownership of my creations and destiny. To do it the way I want to do it. To do it with the niggas I want to do it with. So that I'm 100% sure that you, that kid somewhere, that kid anywhere, is getting it how I want you to get it. That good ol American Dream. Complete Independence. Total Freedom from whatever you may be experiencing in life. That's the purpose of music and the results of great music. So just keep one lit and listen closely as you dream, zone, achieve.
Don't be a fool. Be sure to support Dream.ZONE.Achieve, releasing Tuesday, April 1st.
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.