Beleaf released his Red Pills + Black Sugar album last year to detail his struggle with depression, contemplating suicide and living through abuse. He is seeking to rebrand himself with his Beleaf in Fatherhood video series.
“I don’t wanna be known as the depressed rapper,” Beleaf says during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “It’s not a good look for me. Eminem can do it. Eminem can get away with it. I can’t.”
In the video series, which releases an episode every week and started Monday (October 19), the Kings Dream Entertainment rapper shows how he has come to a new stage of his life by becoming a father, one who stays at home to care for his two children (Theophilus, 2; Uriah, 1) while his wife works.
“Sometimes you question yourself: ‘Man, are you being a good husband by not being the breadwinner?’” he says of his relationship with his wife, Yvette, a math teacher at Oceanside High School. “She makes more money than I do. I get lump sums because of the music. I get huge amounts of money, but not as often as she does. It’s a lot of that identity crisis sometimes. You think, ‘Man this is hard.'”
Beleaf hopes that sharing his experiences through the Beleaf in Fatherhood series, which features new music with each episode, will give families in similar situations something to relate to.
“We know that this is just a rough season right now for anybody who’s just trying to figure it out,” he says. “They’re in their careers. They’re not set in their careers. They like what they do, but they’re just trying to figure out how to make enough money. The kids are small. The kids have huge needs.”
Beleaf says that having a family has given him a new sense of responsibility for his music.
“Before, it was, ‘Oh man, this is fun. This is a hobby,’” he says. “But now, it’s, ‘This has to make sense financially. It has to be multiple different things. It has to be something fun I have to do. It has to be something that brings home money. It has to be something where I have to figure out how to retire from this or how to move on from this.’ It’s turned me into a goal-setter and more of a fierce emcee.”
He has found that people assume marriage and a family ends any prospect of a Rap career. However, Beleaf says that becoming a father has actually enhanced his ability as an emcee. He is preparing a mixtape and EP to continue with the themes he establishes in the video series.
“It just reminds me of how much a servant I am as an emcee,” he says. “I’m doing stuff more for you than I am for myself because I’m trying to serve your ears. I’m trying to serve your lifestyle. I’m trying to serve your car ride. So when I’m saying stuff, it’s not so much that it’s what I want to say. It’s what I know you’ll feel.”
Watch the first episode of “Belaf in Fatherhood” below: