“I’m still writing rhymes, but besides that I’m chillin’,
I’m trying to get this money, God, you know the hard times, kid”
–Nas: One time
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Potent words from a true rap legend. I don’t know what mindset Jay Knight was in when he sampled these Nas bars, but that sample is the main reason I’m writing this piece. I remember the first time I heard the “Chillin’” beat, I felt inclined to write to it but didn’t know where to start. Fast forward a couple of years and I’m chilling in my room browsing through some riddims and the beat comes on. What follows is a flood of words that pour onto paper and in less than an hour I’m sitting there with 2 complete verses, rather a complete song. I record a demo and forget about this song for the next 3 years.
Enter Blacq Alex…The best way I can describe the brother is as a student of hip hop. I met the bro through some mutual friends and I thought he was a cool enough dude, but at that time I had no idea that he is a rapper. I then linked up with the bro a few months later when getting my dreads retouched and the first thing we talked about is how we both make music, funny that. He sampled me some tunes and to say I was blown away feels like an understatement. You know the feeling you get when you listen to an artist that is undeniably talented? The beat starts and you’re skeptical about what you are about to hear, then the first 4 bars hit you and you think “ok they’re good” but that skepticism lingers on, then they back it up with the next 4 bars, and the next, and before you know it the song is finished and you’re left speechless. Rinse and repeat this process for the 3 tunes Alex played me that night and you get the picture. That same night we scheduled a studio session.
Weeks later, we’re going through some beats to work on and it’s looking grimm. All the beats I played the bro were met with a shrug and a brisk “next please” and I was getting discouraged by the process. This went on for a while until the bro suggested I just play him some old Shottaz music while we rest from the beat selection process. For some reason I picked the one folder which had all my unfinished demos, played the first song in the list and here we are…I am proud to give you – Chillin’.