On the eve (April 7th) of Brainstorm’s The Celestine Prophecy EP release, the Seattle emcee/producer spoke with HipHopDX about the process behind his first solo project, seeking out other producers for the right sound, as well as what Dyme Def has in store for the near future.
Best known for his work as part of the DXnext alumni trio, Brainstorm encountered a strong positive response for a solo project after dropping countless freestyles (more appropriately termed “freeverses”) online last year. “I’ve put out so much music that if you’ve gathered everything that I’ve done since last year, as far as original material, I would have a double album. And people kind of saw how consistent the music was getting. It just got to a point that people wanted it; they kept asking me for it.”
Despite the demand, he explained the completion of The Celestine Prophecy was rarely set in stone due to different musical and personal delays, including the birth of his son Eli. “This project got to the point where local people were saying this was turning into the ‘Seattle Detox’ [laughs]. People don’t know, but with The Celestine Prophecy, I had made about five [different versions] already and this was the actual version that I decided to stick with.”
What fans end up receiving on The Celestine Prophecy is a six-track EP that hits all the right keys, from battle rap attacks (“Shadowboxing”) to underdog braggadocio (“Fuck With Me”) to inspirational euphoria (“Come Down”), all the while highlighting the 25-year-old’s growth since Dyme Def’s 2007 debut album Space Music. “Musically I wanted it to be completely different than what I was doing with the group,” he said. “People know Dyme Def as a group that makes good party-type Hip Hop music. But with The Celestine Prophecy, I wanted to establish myself as a solo artist. I felt like this was my personal testament, and everything on the project that I’m speaking on I’ve either done it or witnessed it.”
Interestingly enough, the one-time Red Bull Big Tune champion felt his own production would have been a hindrance to the project, and instead utilized a handful of close producers he’s come to know over the years to provide a more “grittier” sound for his solo debut. “Personally, I hate rapping over my own shit man. I don’t know what it is, I think I may be one of the few producers that feels like that, but I’m one of them. I love my beats, and I love to hear Dyme Def and other people on them, but not me.”
Included on his hit list was Rob Bates, who he met during the finals of the Red Bull Big Tune in 2008. “You know what’s funny? When I was in New York and stayed in that loft with all the producers, it just so happened that me and Rob Bates were sharing a room together. And when everyone else was asleep, we were up making beats. He’d make a beat and I’d just be like, damn that shit is hard. Then I’d play him a beat and he’d be like that’s filthy. From there we just built a mutual respect for each other and that’s why he laced me with the beat for ‘Come Down.’”
He continued, “Originally it wasn’t even supposed to be mine. He initially sent it to me and I loved it, so I ended up making a song to it and sent it back to him. He was like, ‘Man, I already sent this to someone else, but since the song is so dope you can go ahead and keep it as long as we continue making music together after this, then we’re good.’”
Another beat smith that made the cut for The Celestine Prophecy is Northwest brethren Trox out of Portland, Oregon, who similarly punched a ticket for the Red Bull Big Tune finals last year. ‘With Trox and I, we’ve known each other for years now. Anytime I hit up Trox I’ll be like, ‘What’s up bro?’ And this guy will send me like 50 beats, and I’ll probably love 40 out of the 50. Trox is one of my favorite up-and-coming producers out there. Trox is pretty much like my Bean Two [laughs], ‘cause of course I got Bean One, so he’s Bean Two.’
With The Celestine Prophecy finally in the (near) rear-view mirror, Brainstorm alongside Fearce Villain and S.E.V. are looking to fortify their name in a city that is still developing an identity in the Hip Hop arena. “We’ve done a lot, and most people know the name and respect it, but I think others are still sleeping on the fact that we are one of the elite acts out of Seattle. People can’t come to Seattle, talk about Hip Hop and not mention Dyme Def.”
Kicking off 2011 with their “Pay Day” series and releasing a new record every other week, Brainstorm says the group will continue the series until the end of this month with something new coming shortly after. However, for those expecting their tentative next album P.T.O. (Paid Time Off) sometime this year, you may want to revise those plans. “All the ‘Pay Days’ we’re supposed to lead up to P.T.O., but schedules got kind of hectic and we didn’t want it to turn into another Celestine Prophecy where we said we were coming out with it and it never surfaced until a year later.”
With that said, fans of Dyme Def and veteran producer Bean One can visit YukTheWorld.com, a revamped site that features their full catalog of music, daily updates from the group, as well as an independent clothing line started by Fearce Villain and Bean. “Everything that has to do with Bean One or Dyme Def is on that site. If anyone wants to keep up with new music or see what’s going on behind the scenes with us, that’s the main central base to visit. Everything we come out with, we put it there first.”
In the meantime though, The Celestine Prophecy is more than enough music to hold them over, and Brainstorm hopes his followers will feel the same. “I want people to look at this project and be like, damn this guy Brainstorm, he’s dope with Dyme Def and he’s dope on the solo tip. I want people to recognize that I am definitely a force to be reckoned with, and I feel like this project is a really good representation of me and everything that I stand for.”
You can download The Celestine Prophecy below.