Blueprint knows the stereotypes about underground rappers, the good and the bad. The Columbus, Ohio, rapper-producer knows that people like their lyrics, their indie hustle and their do-it-yourself work ethic.
He also knows that the underground rappers tend to be limited in their songs, that they tend to be unable to make songs that stretch beyond their demographic and that their vision can often be limited and, by default, limiting.
With “So Alive,” the empowering single from his new Adventures in Counter-Culture album, Blueprint chose to flip the script by sing-rapping, by leaving open-ended resolutions with his storytelling and by having a video that is as mysterious as it is inventive.
For Blueprint, being experimental and pushing himself is one of the best ways for him to continue growing as an artist, as a person and as a businessman. “I know that we just can’t do the same thing over again and expect some of these doors to be open to us,” Blueprint says. “I think what we do has to be fresh and new, in addition to it providing counterpoint [to mainstream rap]. Until we do that, nothing is going to change or people are not going to be excited about what we do. They’re just going to put it in one little basket at a time.”
A New Way to Tell Stories
So with Adventures in Counter-Culture, Blueprint pushed himself sonically and creatively. He wasn’t just making songs about being a rapper, about nice he is on the mic or how great it is to be underground. “So Alive,” for instance, features Blueprint telling the stories of people who struggle and then achieve great things. The song shows that you can find help in someone else, someone who supports you and helps keep you focused on achieving your goals.
Although several mainstream rappers also address meaningful topics with their music, Blueprint feels that independent rap allows artists the necessary freedom to deliver their message in a truly unfiltered form without worrying about whether or not the song will make it on the radio or to the top of the charts.
You can still be considered an underground hip-hop artist and you can still be creative as fuck.
“It will always be relevant because underground hip-hop will always be there to provide counterpoint to commercial or mainstream hip-hop. I think that that can be good and that can be bad because if it’s just a counterpoint, then it’s always reactionary and that can be the problem as well. If it’s reactionary, it can never grow like it truly should. But providing counterpoint is important for a lot of music listeners and creators out there because you can’t really survive off of listening to the [mainstream] shit all the time, or just having no variation in what you listen to.”
And, most importantly according to Blueprint, there’s no lack of credibility when you deliver quality material that may surprise listeners.
“You can still have integrity in what you’re saying,” he says, “You can still be considered an underground hip-hop artist and you can still be creative as fuck and not do the same damn song over and over again.”
For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker
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