One of the main reasons I had a bit of difficulty releasing Ultra Afro Light (let alone finishing it) was because I didn’t have the proper kinds of guests I wanted on the album that were truly interested in being a part of the project.
I had a few different artists that had some interest, but didn’t complete any of their tracks or I just lost contact with. It happens quite a bit when you are trying to collaborate with different artists on one project, so I learned it’s just best to contact a bunch of folks just in case a good amount of those collaborations fall through or if the tracks don’t make the final cut.
I collaborated with K.Raydio a few years ago through another artist I did production for; this was before I initially met her in person. I always thought K.Raydio was an incredible vocalist and songwriter who was very comfortable singing over rap/hip-hop beats that didn’t have much variation (like bridges, changes) without over-singing on them. I sent her a few beats for the project in the summer (or fall) of 2014. She hit me up with Nexus Bright (as a zip file with the vox, and original mix) in my email a week later. I’m usually used to rappers sending me stuff after a few months (or not at all) so I appreciated her quick response and work.
The first time I heard Asia J‘s work was through one of Marvelous Mag’s projects that I did a few beats on (check out Soul City). I was impressed by her laid-back and straightforward rhyme style and flow. She can also sing and harmonize fairly well then switch very quickly back to raps. The track “Mic Check” almost didn’t make the final cut because I had a small amount of trouble contacting her after I mixed down the track and to inform her about the eventual release on my birthday. I decided to email her ONE LAST TIME (I sent out around maybe 3 to 4 emails through out 2015) and she responded back instantly with interest and gratitude. I was SOOOO hyped up and glad I didn’t have to shelve the track; I really wanted her vibe on the project.
Kaiji (In Stereo) is a frequent collaborator that I’ve been in contact with since 2012 or so. I randomly send Kaiji beats that I am working on that she can choose on her projects and I can pick any of those to be featured on mine. A day before the album was planned to release, she sent me “Bubble Vibes” out of the blue. I thought it fit with the concept and flow of the project, so I decided to have it featured as a 2nd rap track on the project.
I decided upon rather late to see if Renée Copeland was interested in collaborating for the project. I very impressed by her very open-minded, free and very experimental musical approach – I thought it would be a perfect fit for the project. I sent her 4 tracks. She ended up sending back 3 songs over the course of a week and a few days before the album release date. I was very impressed and surprised. I couldn’t decide upon just using 1 track, so I used all three, with the honor of opening and closing the project.
I’m very glad these collaborations went as smoothly as they did. They were very natural and were almost last minute ideas that popped up in my head. I’m thankful that the artists were inspired enough to lend their time to create something inspiring. It made me realize when things don’t go originally as planned, that’s usually a signal for greater things to come.