When I sit down to make a project, I first think about what I’ve done to this point, both as a “no-fi” artist and just as an artist, period. I think about what I want to do with the project, who I want to reach with it (usually everyone, fans and newcomers alike) and how I plan to go about it. In making The Sorest Loser 2, I wanted to go back to that gritty lo-fi/no-fi sound that I grew up with, both as an artist and as a fan. I wanted to encapsulate the feeling I got from hearing raw freestyles on the radio or on someone’s Soundclick (remember when Soundclick was the big indie site?) and put that into a 2021 album about who I am and why I matter in the grand scheme of music’s space.
I wanted to celebrate myself, but also celebrate folks before me who did the no-fi thing, such as Blu, Danny Swain and even Charles Hamilton. Additionally, I wanted to, like the first TSL, pay homage to Orioles legend Earl Weaver. Weaver’s quote about winning and losing (“On my tombstone just write, ‘The sorest loser who ever lived'”) inspired the title as the first TSL was also a part of my first “Baltimore Trilogy” of albums that ran between the first BCB, Unhinged and TSL 1.
Paying homage to indie legends does not a complete album make, though.
I also wanted to continue the nerdy energies I started with Caviar Dreams, utilizing my vast nerd knowledge to craft an album that’s chockful of references that aren’t exactly normal within hip-hop. Yes, there have been many anime references in rap; I’m not claiming to be a progenitor of anime rap. However, I wanted to take what I knew about the genre and relate it to my life, my music and my life lessons. That’s how you get songs like “Refresh” (named after an enemy death knell from Sailor Moon) and “Champion Sound (Akane and Ranma”) as part of the TSL2 tracklisting. It’s how “Catchemall” is finally getting a wide release after originally being a bonus track on Bandcamp. Essentially, I wanted to make the quintessential nerdcore album while still keeping it true to me and keeping it Baltimore AF. It’s why “No Hooks Needed” sounds like it’d be in a boombap version of Final Fantasy X.
Personally, I drew influence from my children and their evolving tastes and minds. The children are our future and I see them both becoming more like me (hopefully, more of the good than the bad) with each passing day. Additionally, I drew influence from conversations with True and Apollo about our place in the grand scheme of things. Specifically, I drew from how, in some ways, we’ve become indie legends in our own right to create a lo-fi boombap-meets-modern-rap album that, thanks to Genius allowing me to type out lyrics, shouldn’t be ignored because of a missed bar. I drew influence from Benji’s beats because the brother is amazing with his production and drew inspiration to harmonize a bit more on the album from folks like Carter Marie (who graced me with her presence on “Never Fail”), Xhriiy and Chris Cassius. It’s why the upcoming third single for TSL2, “Can’t Stop the Reign” leans heavily into that sing-songy rap space as much as it does with barring up people. It’s why “Refresh” has a bit of a newer sound to it that isn’t straight “mumble jumble” but it isn’t like most of my discography, either. I wanted to try something new with TSL2 while still being true to myself and, like I said, being Baltimore AF.
I hope that you all enjoy the album as much as I enjoyed crafting it. The second official single, “Never Fail,” drops on every DSP on this Friday. It’s currently available on Bandcamp, per the below. The final single, “Can’t Stop the Reign,” will be available on August 3 (two weeks before the album officially drops).