PA Vol. 57: The Time @DrizzleSez Interviewed @SpeedontheBeat

In this PA, the mic is turned back onto Speed. For one of the first interviews in a while, Drizzle delves even deeper into the well that is SOTB. Discussing racism, privilege and a slew of other topics, this is Speed possibly more open than he’s been in a while since “retiring” from music, including his discussions on his mental illness.

Drizzle: Lemme Q you up for a minute. Why did you focus on heartbreak in our interviews?

Speed: Waste no time, why don’t you? Loss helps make us who we are, plus I needed to humanize you. Some people often see you as this insurmountably profound dude who doesn’t let shit get to you. I wanted to say “hey, Drizzle is still human. He hurts like the rest of us. But, there’s a reason why he doesn’t let every little fucking thing get to him.” Kinda like how when we did the alcoholic and bipolar PAs.

Drizzle: So, what’s something that drives you, then?

Speed: My kids. I’m sometimes a hardass on my oldest, but everything I do, I do it to better their lives in some way. Kinda like Homer in that one episode of The Simpsons.

Drizzle: I can see that. But, what started the madness that is “Speed on the Beat?” Because, I mean, it was a thing before you had kids.
Speed: Truth be told, SOTB is kinda a Perfect Cell scenario of the stuff I did as a college and high school student. J dot Speed and all that. You can hear some J dot stuff on The Sorest Loser, for instance. 
Also, SOTB is kind of a “fuck you” to certain people. It’s weird, to be honest, that something that’s helped a lot of people become better kinda has a tiny bit of a root in giving people the finger. But, then again, not really because I’m still giving people the finger. 
Also, believe it or not, I was shy as fuck before UMD. I was outspoken, but it came in bursts. Being J dot or SOTB or whatever, it’s helped me actually say what’s on my mind more often throughout the years. It’s not a security blanket, by any means, because I am SOTB regardless. But, you know what I mean, right?
There’s a lot more to it, but yeah, that’s kinda the layman’s terms version of it. 
Drizzle: So, personas aside, do you see the Interweb as a method for people to say what’s on their minds?
Speed: Depends. A lot of the Internet is trolling. But, a lot of truth can be said in the dankest of memes. 
Drizzle: So, is the type of usage of the Interweb removing critical thought or embracing it? I mean, someone’s making the memes, someone else is using them. Which is more prevalent?
Speed: Probably usage in most communities. But, then, that becomes a meme in itself. I mean, look at us.
Drizzle: Gingawd is making us fucking idiots, then. So, you said SOTB shit was kind of a middle finger. Care to elaborate?
Speed: Meh. There were people in my past who thought I wouldn’t be shit. Then, of course, there’s the whole Ms. Pink Jacket thing. That had a big effect on me and opened my eyes to some shit. I mean, I’d been through shit over the years, but love and like and all that shit, it’d eluded me until that shit. Had I not fallen for her all those years ago, I probably would’ve been a different person. For better or worse.

Drizzle: So, making a monster essentially. Moving on from the reckless, you seem to jump in and out of the rap game like you’re playing the Hokey Pokey. It’s gotten to the point here people who follow you just roll their eyes when you’re like “oh, I’m done.” 
The last time you quit, what was the reasoning?
Speed: Aside from still grieving about my mom, I just didn’t really have shit else to say. Still don’t. That’s why there’s no new album yet. “Name Up in Lights” is a thing, but there’s no full album yet. If I get inspiration, maybe one day there’ll be new Speed beats and bars. If not? Meh, I’m content either way.
Drizzle: So, it’s safer to say “hiatus” versus “retirement.” When’s the next album?
Speed: When/if I get inspiration.
Drizzle: Hmm. You fuck bitches? 
Speed: Wait, what?
Drizzle: Do you, nigga, fuck bitches?
Speed: I mean, I’m a man. I have fucked on my fair share of women. However, I’m in a committed relationship and I’m not gonna just go out here, fuck that up, just for some pussy. Nah. Unless, of course, there was some sort of open relationship agreement or something. Then, maybe.
Drizzle: So…you don’t fuck bitches?
Speed: I guess not. 
Drizzle: Why do you try to meta? Rather, why do you choose to overcomplicate answers or predict other people’s reasons for asking?
Speed: Most people have ulterior motives. Plus, I try to control my own narrative. No one tells my story better than me, you know?
Drizzle: What story have you told?
Speed: My story, for starters.
Drizzle: In my experience, people who evade questions or “try to control the narrative” have things they don’t want people to know. So, what do you want me or other people to know?
Speed: Nothing. I’m more open than a strip club on the Super Bowl. However, I like to tell my story my way. You know I don’t have shit to hide, my dude. I, unfortunately at times, wear my heart on my sleeve.
Drizzle: That’s probably a meaningless analogy in today’s age. Likening yourself to Google would be more appropriate. But, why control the stream of information unless you desire information to not be absorbed until you say so. Hiding is hiding, my negus, even if you only intend to hide something for a short time.

Speed: I mean, most Baltimoreans our age have probably heard of the Ms. Pink Jacket thing through someone they know–or they read about it. That’s hyperbolic, yes, but the reason for “hiding” a few tidbits about myself if for the kids. 
As you said before, you wouldn’t tell your kids every story at once and you’d use different ones to tell different lessons. I’ve been trying to avoid letting my kids see how deplorable–no Trump–I was as a young adult. But, then again, I’ve talked about that shit in my music enough. So, the hiding is kind of for nothing, if you think about it. It’s already out there. 
I mean, Jovanni, my oldest, has unfortunately witnessed, first hand, how much of a piece of shit I was before everything. Everything meaning being properly medicated and getting my shit together with everything from alcohol abuse to treating people with respect and shit. I was a humdinger as a young adult. 
Drizzle: So do you think you put out a good example for your kids?
Speed: For the most part. I mean, there are some things I do/have done that I wouldn’t want them do do. But, for the most part, I think I’ve done good so far. 
Drizzle: There’s saying it and believing it. Personally, I think my answer would’ve been “I hope so.” So, what do you hate?
Speed: Nazis. Fuck all the “love your enemy” shit. They don’t love me? Fuck ’em.
Drizzle: Okay. Then, what do you love? 
Speed: My kids. My girl. My friends. Dope music. Video games and all that. As complex as I am, I’m still pretty simple.
Drizzle: So, how would you feel if your kids began to sympathize with Nazis? What would you do?
Speed: Probably start off with something like “you’re Black. You do realize Hitler and ’em hated us just as much as Jews, ‘Gypsies,’ and the other folks slaughtered during the Holocaust, right?” Then, I’d teach them the negatives of being a Nazi sympathizer. 
Drizzle: But, it’s a question that all parents have to deal with .How do you handle a situation where your child has or develops ideas that you strongly disagree with? How do you think that has shaped you specifically and how does it help or hurt your relationship with your family? 
For example, our generation–the big thing was “gay.” Was it okay to be gay? That sort of thing. The answer is yes, but our generation was–and still is–plagued by conflicting ideas on the subject. So, how have the thoughts of the previous generation influenced you and your relationship with your family?
Speed: I was never a person against LBGT folks or whatever. But, those past generations made me realize that a lot of the stuff my parents preached was bullshit. I mean, my 81-year-old stepdad supports Trump even though I’ve warned him about the negatives surrounding that. My mom loved to call gay folks “faggots,” even though there were gay folks in my family. My dad lived through Jim Crow-era America. 
Shit like that made me less willing to compromise, but also more willing to hear other sides even if I disagreed with them. Essentially, I’ll hear you out. But, I’ll be quick to tell you shut the fuck up if what you’re saying is ignorant as fuck.
Drizzle: I see, I said. What other active projects do you have going?
Speed: Well, SOTB just hit one million views. Now, I’m going for two. Other than that? PA is coming back with a vengeance. I’m always looking for more writers. Not doing too much in the music field. Et cetera.
Drizzle: Sounds like nothing inspires you. 
Speed: Nah, quite the contrary. I’m just finding myself disinterested with certain things.
Drizzle: Then what does interest you?
Speed: Life is Strange interests me. Powerful orgasms interest me. Kittens interest me. One is a dope-ass game. One is something I love to have happen with me or to me. And the other? They’re fucking kittens.
My kids’ wellbeing interests me. I’m trying to do right by them. Marriage and being “marriage material” interests me. Lady Speed wants to get married, but I want to make sure I’m the best possible husband I can be before I walk down the proverbial aisle and do it. 
Whether or not Captain Planet can beat Superman is something that interests me. 
I know the answer. However, I’d like to think it’d be a lot closer than some people think it’d be. I mean, Captain Planet is an environmentally-conscious version of Goku. How dark Rick and Morty will go interests me–
Drizzle: You don’t need to continue. I see the question annoys you.
Speed: But, it didn’t. I just wanted to give some wide-spectrum answers. 

Drizzle: Tell me about a time where you ego has helped you and a time where it’s hurt you.
Speed: Getting noticed for rap, for starters. 
My ego helped because I was like “hey, with this lo-fi thing, I’m doing things a bit differently than most other DMV folks.” However, it hurt because I had a little buzz come and it turned me into an asshole towards anyone and everyone who came into my way. To be fair, I was in the middle of a long-term mental breakdown when I first got noticed as SOTB. I wasn’t in my right head. That doesn’t excuse all my behavior. But, I know now that I said and did some shit that I should’ve thought through it I was, well, more sane at the time.
Drizzle: Do you think your ego could cloud your judgment? For example, would you get married to an idea and defend it until you die regardless how often it was refuted?
Speed: I think ego can cloud anyone’s judgment. However, to be better humans, we have to put that shit to the side. We have to look at actual smarty smarts every once in a while instead of always going with our heart brain.
Drizzle: A lot of smart dumb niggas have made similar claims. You’re far from dumb. So, what’s your thought process between being wrong and simply defending ideas?
Speed: Oh, I know. I think you can defend wrong ideas with right data. So, you’ve gotta draw a line in that shit. Look at the Nazis, for instance. They defended wrong ideas with so-called right data. All those people who point to Black-on-Black crime being a bigger problem than racism defend wrong ideas with “right data.” So, we need to take that data and parse out its true meanings.
Drizzle: The amount of crime by race is actually pretty proportional to the amount of each race there are in the country. The punishments are skewed to hurt minorities, Blacks especially, hence the disproportional jail populations. I’m not pulling this out my ass, either. It’s an actual FBI study.
Speed: But, you see what I mean. Data isn’t/can’t always be the end all, be all. You’ve got to analyze that shit.
Drizzle: This brings up another point. Black people get the short end of the stick in popular opinion no matter what the data says. Can you describe your experience being Black in America?
Speed: I’m Black, I’m usually bald, I have a beard and I identify as male. So, in other words, I deal with a lot of shit. Someone suggested I shave my beard to play the game. I told them “fuck that.” I know my job. I know I’m better than the White guy who doesn’t know shit. And I get my work speak for me. Except when it doesn’t.
You know how on Insecure, Lawrence was like the White dudes were afraid to tell him they didn’t like his ideas, probably because he was Black? 
Try that shit on a day-to-day basis. I don’t know. I tend to find that respectability politic shit to be a worse form of racism than the “hey nigger, go back to Africa, you porch monkey” racism.
Drizzle: It’s from fear, but go on.
Speed: At least the “hey nigger, go back to Africa” folks say what they mean. Fuck them the long way, but at least they say what they mean. “I don’t like you because, in my eyes, you’re lower than shit. You’re a nigger.” Fuck them, but I can respect that more than “oh, hi Black guy. I’m afraid to say what I need for you to do to make this company better because I’m afraid you’ll get offended.”
Drizzle: Those people don’t generally hate you. And the fact that they’re afraid of you usually breaks them when they realize what’s up.
Speed: Ever since seeing Get Out, I’ve been even less kind to respectability politic racists. 
Because fuck them. All racists can go suck a spike-lined dildo, but yeah. At least respect me enough to confront me with your racism. Don’t hide your true colors. Fuckwads.
Drizzle: Most don’t realize that’s what it is, though. So, winding down. Do you think you’d be the same person if you were white?
Speed: I think that I would, fundamentally, be the same. I’d just have white privilege to help people. I’d like to think so anyways. Then again, my folks being poor bringing me up could mean I’d have ended up being some Dundalk White trash or something. No offense to Dundalk folks, because some of you are cool. But we all know that there’s some pure basura there. Anyways. Being White and poor, it could mean that I grow up with not-so-well-off Black people and empathize with them better. I could mean I’m one of those White people who thinks they understands “the struggle” better than a POC. 
It’s hard to tell. But, I’d like to think I’d be the same person regardless of ethnicity and race.
Drizzle: Fair. A lot of growth is perspective. Final question. Do you think you have the perspective for greatness?
Speed: Greatness is something that can’t really be taught, in my opinion. We all have the capacity for it. However, we all don’t get to fully reach our greatness because we fail to see the greatness in front of us or the greatness in others. This isn’t a one-man show. Ever.
My personal perspective has a lot to do with making others realize their greatness as well as my own. Call me foolish or altruistic. Either way, I can’t reach greatness without the help of others and vice versa. Sometimes I just happen to be in the right place at the right time for greatness to occur. However, it’s something that can’t just be taught. It can be honed and fostered. But, you can’t teach someone to be great, per se.
Speed on the Beat

Whatever you need to know about me, you can find out on Dad of two, cat dad (of two), mental health advocate, Team Support Dope Music in All Its Forms.

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