Speed on the Beat Interviews: The Renaissance

A couple months back, I introduced you to The Renaissance, a college student who also made noise as a visual and audio artist. After hearing his Social Colour mixtape (a mixtape that is like Coloring Book mixed with R4/KWH and some old-school Ye vibes), I wanted to chat it up with the 19-year college artist. Finally, after a few miscues on my end because life came wayyyyy too strong, I got to check back in with him in preparation for his new album. Without further delay, let's get into the interview.



Speed: Man...in between my job ramping up the difficulty to All-Madden, scheduling, and the whole SJS thing, I'm sorry this took so long. But, thank you for agreeing to this one. How've you been?

Renaissance: I've been good. Just working and praying. This new project, Product Of My Generation, is coming together pretty nicely; I'm looking forward to sharing it with the world.

Speed: So, what's the focus of it this time out?

Renaissance: I'm going to focus on some of the observations I've made on myself as a person, as they relate to our generation and our tendencies. So, I'm telling my story. But, [I'm] presenting it in a way that everyone in my generation can relate to.

Speed: Alright. So, what are some of the elements of this generation are you going to zone in on?

Renaissance: Pride, envy, fear, emotion, and faith.

Speed: Well, you definitely have me intrigued. So, for those in the SOTB readership who've just stumbled upon you, how'd you describe yourself from a musical standpoint?

Renaissance: People can expect a pure artist and good intentions from me. Part of the reason I chose "The Renaissance" as my stage name was to further represent the Renaissance man, or in other words the jack of all trades. Music has always been my first love, but by incorporating elements such as acting, visual arts and everything in between I hope to use those to create a better platform to be able to express my ideas.

I personally feel as if everyone has a voice but everyone isn't comfortable enough to speak, and God gave me the will to speak my mind and express my ideas. When people see me I want them to see not just talent, but to also realize that all of our goals and ideas matter and they are all attainable. I feel like I can say a lot of the things that we are affected by (but don't acknowledge) within my craft.

I want people to look at me and think, "I'm not alone when I go through things," and I really want to resonate with the hearts and souls of all my people. I get so inspired by artists that are true to themselves and their environment. I seek to be one of those artists and inspire another young person on the come up, to continue the cycle.

Speed: So, kinda like a therapist but more like a friend for folks?

Renaissance: Yeah like that friend who naturally gets it and is always there for you, not a real therapist with a degree, because friends are better than therapists on this context. Like, the non-ordained preacher. He won't reap the benefits of leading the church, but he also will be able to dodge the corruption of the church as well. His message won't be tainted, and he'll always keep it real. I'm that preacher.


Speed: Speaking about religion, and I usually avoid this question because I stay away from so-called "organized" religion for the most part, how big is religion and/or spirituality within your life and music? Because I'm really digging the preacher analogy.

Renaissance: I'm a very spiritual person. More spiritual than religious.

Organized religion is for groups but my spirituality directly applies to me. My faith as it relates to my music is really strong. Faith that an idea will come to light, faith that I can achieve my creative goal, but also the faith not to worry. I recognize that I'm a vessel for God that flows through me and my arts. So I'm very aligned, spiritually. I do have my ups and downs, but I receive confirmation from God about my career and my ideas very often, so there's a sense of balance.

Speed: True true. I feel like, especially over the past couple years that, like, personally, if God wasn't looking out for me, I'd probably be dead out here somewhere. So, I know you mentioned you also act. How'd that come about?

Renaissance: Music has always been my passion through life. But, I always looked at my life as a movie and always wanted to act. So, I started writing scripts and doing small plays. Now I'm a Drama Major at Morehouse College and I do productions frequently. My plan is to have my visual art skills and my acting skills create a higher platform for me as a hip-hop/rap artist.

Speed: Ah, I got you. A triple threat. So you got into acting after rapping?

Renaissance: Yeah I've been rapping since I was 8. I didn't get interested in Drama until teenage years
Always been into the visual arts, just not heavier than the others. But, yeah, being bullied in school made me live a different life through my raps.

So, in school, when I was being picked on for my weight and being a nerd and being the youngest. In my raps, I was living the confident and macho life I wanted to. I was talking about I was the best rapper in the game, how couldn't nobody mess with me, etc. I wrote my Grammy speech in elementary school and I've been updating it ever since.

Speed: As you got older, did the introspection and advice just grow into place or was it a conscious switch from just the macho bars?

Renaissance: I began to become as confident as I was in my raps, in real life--which made my rapping and the stories I was telling more transparent and real

Speed: See, that's the key man. You have all these rappers--people in general, even--just faknig the funk. That's especially when it comes to confidence. So, I'm legit happy for you and your progression. Don't change, man. But...when's Product Of My Generation dropping?

Renaissance: Saturday, September 17th. My 20th birthday.

Speed: Exactly one month after my 28th. Always cool to see artists dropping projects on their birthday. I've heard the "Cold Ass Winter" and "Hot Ass Summer" snippets. Sounds a bit like KRIT mixed with a bit of, like, Logic. So, where can folks reach out to you?

Renaissance: I'm a pretty approachable online figure when it comes to social media, so really any social media platform. Most of my music is on Soundcloud but I will say that this new project will be presented differently. The last project I did I hosted from a website I created just for the project.
I'm thinking about doing the same thing for this project.

Speed: Oh, alright. Well, definitely keep me in the loop about your plans for it. Want to feature it on the site. So, when it drops, will people have to pay for Product or is it going to be free?

Renaissance: It's gonna be $Free.99.

Speed: There you have it folks. Come get some dope soul food this September fo' free. And that's courtesy of The Renaissance. Do you have any special shoutouts or parting words?

Renaissance: Shoutout to God. Now, as far as parting words? I'd like to say this. 

"Pride is a killer."

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