I’m a bit late on this one—over five months late, in fact. However, I want to take some time to revisit one of my most-streamed albums, The Sorest Loser. Why? Simply put, to know where you’re headed, you have to remember where you’ve been.
When I began writing and recording this project, I was a few months away from dealing with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. The title became a bit of a pun towards my ailment in 2016, as I literally was sore as hell during and after my bout with SJS. My brush with death changed a few things mentally.
Even before that, I wanted to do a sequel to Baltimore Commercial Break without doing an outright sequel. That was still a few years away, but I did want to continue my Baltimore-influenced projects. It was only right.
Additionally, I wanted to show fans and new listeners alike that I wasn’t just doom and gloom. That is especially since Unhinged, the album that detailed my grief process over my mother’s death, was only a few months old. People who came to know me through that album, I feared, saw me as a proto-new era emo rapper or something. Not that, musically, there’s anything wrong with that. However, I have more than that to offer.
Out of that desire to show less angst and sadness, we got “Don’t Call it a Comeback” and the (intentionally sort of poorly sung) “Se Roquel.”
Out of that desire to crawl out of the pits of despair, I started rappity-rapping again—as seen on songs such as “Vouch for That.” The biggest thing to take away from TSL is that music became fun again.
Hell, life became fun again.
I think that’s why this album always holds a special spot besides having close to 200,000 streams on Spotify. It was the first in a now four-plus year run that was less about my emotions (read: my depressive streak) and more about everything else I had to offer as a human, as a father and as an artist.
One of the biggest things I said about my music is this: whatever I did, I didn’t want it to be one-sided. If I was going to leave my music as a legacy, I didn’t want people to see just one side of me. I mean, I built a site on the idea of “get to know the person, not the ‘persona.’” I had to go about music differently than the way I did before this album. Before this project, I focused mainly on the depression and the negative feelings I had about myself. It wasn’t bad lyrically, but doing three or so years’ worth of “I’m sad” music? I had to switch up.
Four years later, we’re at yet another crossroads. In 2021, I’m working on some things. One of which, tentatively, is a sequel to The Sorest Loser to mark its fifth anniversary. Unlike the original, I’m planning to work with other artists and producers—mainly to keep up with the “working well with others” mentality that I’ve followed over the last few years. Starting with Black Fatherhood, my 2021 is slated to be one of the biggest SOTB years ever.
Here’s to you, The Sorest Loser. Without you, I’d probably still be solo dolo, making depressed music.