Revisit the style of old school hip-hop with Diamond Blacc, giving you an edge with his sound and style. A rapper from Philadelphia, Blacc is creating a niche for himself with his heavy bars and robust lines-out with a fire to prove something. I had the pleasure of talking to Blacc about his journey to this EP, Shannon’s Son.
About the album
“Shannon’s Son” is my debut EP that showcases my authenticity and expressionism as an artist thus far. It is a reflection of self and the music I create. Everyone who knows me recognizes me as my mothers son, so the title is like my call tag. This EP is both an experimental and explorative showcase of sound, tone and subject that sails through a multitude of genres.
My music is a reflection of the change that is occurring in hip-hop right now. Diversity in artistry, music, sound and even genre are more apparent now than ever before and I am on a mission to forge my own lane in the music sphere.
This is exactly what Blacc is about, the change in the very atmosphere of hip-hop and everything else that goes with it following a tumultuous year. His songs might disguise themselves as something mundane and talked about, but the statements lie under the sheets. Some songs might even be too drawn or purified to mean something that sounds very basic, but that’s part of the charm of Shannon’s Son, the random nature of the debut album.
The art of what is in a name
Choosing this stage name, Diamond Blacc tells me how it has been derived and what it means to him.
I have always viewed myself as a diamond in the rough. I have come a long way in my life and endured a great deal. Yet despite all that life has thrown my way, I am grateful to say that my experiences have shaped me into the best version of myself.
My stage name and life experiences are synonymous to that of a diamond. Diamonds endure extreme heat and are formed under immense pressure to become the beautiful gems we admire near and far.
Though songs like Shining & Memories have political undertones or at least mirages, they can easily be misunderstood. Blacc tells us about his music process, of creating and deliberating what he feels is art.
I wouldn’t say that I intentionally write songs to have any specific social or political impact. I write from the heart and I speak my truth in my lyrics. Through my music, I seek to inspire, encourage, and uplift others to be their most authentic selves and live their truths. If speaking my truth in my lyrics were to be received as socially and/or politically impactful, I would be very appreciative of such comparisons.
How a track is written-beat to rhymes
The first few tracks are invasive of a very interesting writing and rhyming process, especially Poppin‘ & Rollin‘, meant to be heard together. You tend to realise that the intent might alter in each phase, so I asked Blacc about his process:
When I write, the beat is in control. It is the melody that dictates the lyrics. I like to meditate for a bit to clear my head and listen to the beat a few times through headphones. I enjoy writing in private and often small spaces where I can be alone with just myself and my music. I’ll freestyle a little bit, and I will write everything down.
After a few rough drafts the structure of my song builds, develops, and flows on its own. There is a magic that grows organically and often out of spontaneity. I believe I just steer the path. The closing track is perhaps the most important part of the song and I always like to make sure my closing remarks are smooth but impactful. I like them to conclude the overall message of whatever I’m presenting but done so in a way that is pleasing to the listener’s ear.
With a good beat and flow on a track you can nearly say anything as long as it is pleasing audibly to your listener’s ear. I keep this in mind when writing my lyrics and apply the technique throughout my verses but especially in my closing remarks. I want listeners to be left satisfied but still wanting to hear my songs again and again.
Diamond Blacc has a great compilation for a debut album, with interesting tight beats, all the way to lyrically complex bars that tend to deviate your rigid train of thought. The trap vibe is evident in songs like Make Me Cream, while his introductory songs are talk from a point of success and freedom. It is part of the rich fabric of hip-hop and yet aims to push towards a new style. Just remember him as Shannon’s son.
There’s going to be a lot more of Diamond Blacc once he’s on the grind, many singles and projects on the move. Till then, listen to his chill hip-hop rhythms and structure here: