When I do sit down to listen to rap, I try to focus on the lyrics more than anything. For instance, Eminem is well known for being the first successful white rapper. He came out about a decade ago, and has been making music ever since. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the game, like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg and has made albums that irritate, offend, and cause unfiltered laughter. He is a true talent and his new album, Recovery, is one of his best.
Not being in the scene as much as I was in college, I have fallen a bit off the local bandwagon. Every big city has a ton of people trying to make it in the music industry, and a lot of bands will push the limit. Here in Indianapolis, bands like the Virgin Millionaires and The Last Good Year have made a name outside of these Indiana cornfields. But what about rap music? Surely there are some guys in this town that know how to rhyme, right?
Well, there is at least one. He is pretty new to the scene, and I had the chance to sit down with him and interview him for my blog. He is also a featured artist for the upcoming rickyleepotts.com presents six bands for six bucks. His name is Brad Real, and he is everything you’d expect from a guy who is bound for stardom. Speaking of lyrics earlier, Brad understands how to write. But he writes clean. Most rappers, like Eminem, have explicit lyrics logos all over their disc. But Brad’s does not have that. I have listened to his new disc about six times, and I am pretty sure I have not heard a single profanity.
But what makes Brad so enjoyable is that he is not just about the music, he is about the business behind the music. He understands that his career is just that, a job. He busts his butt in this city getting people to his shows, working with the talents that he knows have potential to push him forward, not drag him back. And that shows in his album.
The album is titled Married to the Game, and features a total of nineteen tracks. But for a rap album, that is nothing unusual. While I think the photography he used could use some work, the quality in the lyrics and the beats make up for it. The disc starts off with Brad telling the listener that, “This is what I was born to do. I feel it inside of me. It tugs at me like something has to be done.” That is a great way to kick off an album filled with professional beats and a handful of guest appearances.
I hate it that the best song on the album is the second track. It’s titled Ain’t Budgin’ and sounds like something you would hear on MTV, not in a nightclub in downtown Indianapolis. But he is just starting, remember, and he has a long way to go before he makes it on stage with the likes of Eminem and Dr. Dre. But the disc never lets up. The very next song, Let Yourself Go, throws some deeper bass and almost techno grooves at the start. Then you are hit with some songs that you can just tell have personal meaning to Brad.
One thing that I hate is when rappers start their songs by shouting their record label or their name over and over. And while that happens a couple of times on this disc, again, the lyrics just take over. All I want is to hear the next song to see what he has wrap around these polished beats. Songs like Lay It Down, featuring A.C.E. O.N.E. and Nowhere featuring Jon Young and Jay Cash just smack you in the face with truth.
You literally forget that this kid is local. But one thing that impresses me more about this kid than anything is that he is so incredibly nice. When I first introduced myself to him to request an interview for my blog, he bent over backwards to make sure I had everything I needed. Then, prior to his new disc’s official release, I had one sitting in my mailbox. He wanted to share his music with me, and also make sure I knew how much he appreciated the interview.
I have since been listening to this album over and over. And while I say he has a long way to go in his career, I don’t think that would upset him. I think he would agree, that he would shake my hand and say thank you for telling him the truth. Why lie to the kid? He is young, he has a lot to learn, and he will find his way in this business no matter what I say. He is driven, he is a great writer, and his personality will take him far whether in music or something else. You need to get this album, whether you like rap or not. Support local music, and before you know it this kid singing at Birdy’s Bar and Grill on a Saturday night will be sitting next to Mariah Carey at the Grammy Awards. This kid is going far. Rather than leave you with my final thoughts, I thought that no one could say it better than Brad himself. “We’re going to make it. Indianapolis has something to say. Thank you.”