When Inspiration Strikes Real Artists Create

Inspiration is strange. It has this ability to be fleeting when you most need it and abundant when you have no platform to channel it. Like, for me, I get these great ideas while showering, driving or any other time when my hands are not free. And while cell phones make for great digital notepads in a pinch, most times, unless I’m around my pad and pen or home studio, the moment passes. There are times when I’ll go weeks without writing or having the desire to even record anything. This especially happens when I have what we like to call “homework,” aka commissioned collaborations of all sorts.

So with all that said about being uninspired the question of what actually does inspire me remains. There is no set regimen for inspiration. It’s not like taking a walk through Prospect Park is an instant recipe for a successful song. I’m typically inspired by really random things with no set order.

Paying a bill, looking at a condo being built, losing a hat or buying sliced mangoes may sound extremely random but at times can be far more inspirational than any beat tape in the world. The way my mind processes information is so strange at times that I’ll have a rapid fire stream of conscience that will take me from topic to topic at neck breaking speeds. The result is usually a seed that eventually blossoms into something workable.

Listening to another rapper doesn’t typically inspire me to write songs for the fact that a lot of times that results in emulation and I’m not into imitation. The last time that it happened and produced a successful product, however, was when I heard Wale & 9th’s Back to the Feature mixtape. Playing it (while in transit I may add) led to me writing a handful of verses that ultimately became Aight, New Drink, a sort of quick strike project if you will that I did while mixing Don Cusack in High Fidelity.

Oddly enough, I really enjoy listening to bad music and when I say bad I don’t mean some subjective opinion. I’m talking unequivocally bad, under-skilled and lacking practice. A lot of what the music people call bad is well produced and requires at least a certain level of skill to make. Like people shit all over the Black Eyed Peas for their pop sensibilities but chances are will.i.am can out produce a lot of these Johnny-Come-Lately, local sensation ass niggas and those are the people I enjoy seeking out and listening to. I consider it to be palette cleansing.

One thing is for sure though, when I’m in a creative groove there are always distractions. Actually the only way I know I got a good session going is because my phone will constantly ring, I’ll get a million random texts or something else that requires my “urgent” attention will pop up. Maybe it’s just me but it feels like when I devote my attention to one task I get inadvertently pulled off task.

If there is one thing I have learned it’s that when you get the urge to write/record it should be done at that moment. The same way that when you get hungry you should eat, when you get inspired you should create.

Donwill
MC Day Job

  • Mr. I Rap Better Than U

    This was an perefect description of the inspiration to write. I can only record on the weekends, so all week i will have a thousands rhymes, and amazing hooks flying to my brain. When i’m at the top of my musical inspiration, it’s like i’m the god of music. I can listen to anything and it will sound great, i’m talking from Taylor Swift and Lady GaGa to Chamillionaire mixtapes and throwback Jay-Z. Everything sounds good just because it’s music and that inspires my musical ideas. I can create a metaphor out of anything and i feel like people should honor me for my lyrical abilities.

    It’s a special feeling it feels like music is life, and i am music. But when it goes away..theres nothing i can do to get i back. I’ll be inspired Monday through Thursday, then with no reason being evident it all goes away Friday morning. I listen to my old songs i once found legendary and they now sound like a 2nd grader put them together. All rap songs now just sound like random talking and other genres just sound like a person playing a part as an artist. I couldn’t come up with a rhyme if my life depended on it and i feel like i’ll never step to the mic again.

    It’s funny..usually it’s somewhere in between though and it goes in cycles. I know others feel the same way, i never write rhymes down on paper. It just seems like once i can physically see the lyrics, they lose there special touch, plus i don’t need to write rhymes i can usually remember my whole verses.

    Right now i’m pretty musically inspired, hope it lasts till Friday afternoon, wish me luck it does..

    • http://twitter.com/aquma aquma

      “I can create a metaphor out of anything and i feel like people should honor me for my lyrical abilities.”

      Serious?

  • caino

    Sods law idicates that when you got that dope verse or dope hook in your brain, you wont be in the position to write that shit down! lol

    My son is my biggest inspiration, l strive for him!

    the other day he asked me what l love most in the world… without thinking l said ‘ you little man, your my prince’, he looked at me from the the dinner table…and he said ‘ to me…its sausages’ (while eating sausages for dinner). Now tell me that aint inspiration! lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxprofit Max Profit

    Nothing easier to write about than pain.
    Nobody likes bringing up bad memories but this is when an artist is at his or her best.

  • http://xxlmag.com sammy

    who gives a fuck,

  • valdez

    “Inspiration is strange. It has this ability to be fleeting when you most need it and abundant when you have no platform to channel it. Like, for me, I get these great ideas while showering, driving or any other time when my hands are not free. And while cell phones make for great digital notepads in a pinch, most times, unless I’m around my pad and pen or home studio, the moment passes. There are times when I’ll go weeks without writing or having the desire to even record anything.”
    ———————————————–

    wow, so true. anyone who is an artist knows how true that is. i thought i was the only one who comes up with the best stuff at a moment when i can’t write it down. then u keep saying, either out loud or in ur head, in an attempt to remember, but it never works. SMH.

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    Dope blog! My creative process required a dope beat by me and only me. No samples, no co-producer, just me and my Roland DR-5. I was a producer/MC in a group setting and we had some really hot songs (never got past our block though) but the solo joints we did came off better than group efforts so I feel you on that “homework” gripe.

    My apologies to getting to your blogs so late (read all 3 today) but this is some good shit. Looking forward to the next one.

  • http://www.emcdl.com EmCDL

    Damn Donwill, you on point with this one. I’m always inspired when I’m at work, at school, out and about, etc. and I’m usually NEVER near my equipment to produce it…now this is as far as producing music. When I’m writing rhymes (Yes I do write ryhmes occasionally), I usually have a set of post-its near me and I’m always writing a verse or two….it’ll either pop in my head all of a sudden or when I’m listening to music. I just really started collaborating with folks for this new album I’m working on, so I’ll be experiencing the ‘homework’ phase as well one of these days.

  • jrock

    idk this is a good example of kid cudi to me and alot of other artists but all of his music is about how he struggled and what he went through and how he got where he is and he got criticised for it but honestly i have no inspiriation to write just for fun i dont want anything out of it i just do it for fun and i can nvr think of anything until i have a pen in my hand and pad in front of me and my thoughts jus flow on the paper

  • DJ

    idk bout yall but i put my skull candies on bump some young money or wiz and get a pad and write not much inspiration in my life right now rough times my struggle doesnt really inspire me it jus pisses me off and im only 15 jus out here grindin tryin to get by if music takes me somewhere great love music but not much inspiration for it

  • http://creativitygames.net Ryan

    I don’t think it’s so much a question of inspiration striking you but you being open to inspiration. There is so much around us yet our minds only really see a small fraction of that. It’s when we are open to seeing more of what is really there that we see the opportunities.