During 2013 and with Songs For…, I learned I needed to change my ways and began to accept my bipolar diagnosis. In 2014, with Death of the King, I learned more about my mental health, how it had an effect on everyone and everything around me. I also learned to become a better father, something I learned the hard way. With Baltimore Commercial Break, I learned/reminded myself that, while Baltimore has its flaws, it made me into the strong person I am today. In fact, there may be a sequel to that project coming soon. I also learned to begin coping and dealing with Mama Young’s death. Without rehashing my album themes, August is my favorite month.
This year, I decided to up the ante and release two projects in August, one on my birthday (8/17) and one on 8/26 (the day UMD students begin the new semester).
The first, These Beats of Mine 2, helped me revitalize my love for production. For the last three or four years, my beats were mainly leftover tracks from Songs For…, DOTK, and Team DAR sessions. To say they were dated in some ways is an understatement. I still had bars for them and trappy boom-bap doesn’t seem to go out of style. But I was in a rut, production-wise. Honestly, I’d forgotten how good it felt to craft a beat or flip something or add in some knocking bass loops.
When I started JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, I fell in love with its emphasis on music and musical references. The story, too, but especially the musical side of things. I knew I had to create work based on it. These Beats of Mine 2 started as a love letter to the series, but became a rallying cry for Speed on the Beat the producer. The releases thus far are below.
The second release, The J Dot Era Vol. 2, is a project that brings my artistic career full-circle, as it brings some of the songs I did during college and before and releases them in 2019. From “Feel Me” to “Been Too Long,” I hope people get to experience what it was like to be J Dot Speed. Lyrical as hell with off-kilter beats. It was freeing to bring that side of me back out, even though I never want to become J Dot again. The project is a “grand opening, grand closing” sort of deal for J Dot Speed, as it ends with the official death of the persona (about ten years after I stopped recording as J Dot).
All in all, I hope everyone who listens enjoys these projects and sees the growth and the rejuvenation. By the end of August, I’ll still only be 31. That’s young. It’s experienced, but it’s young. My best years are still ahead of me as a person (and possibly as an artist). Support dope music in all its forms and all that.