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.