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Life & Work with Vlaad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vlaad.

Vlaad, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’ve been rapping since I was 6 years old. I don’t know what influenced me to want to rhyme words at that time; I just know the more I was exposed to rap, the more I wanted to do it. The influence really came once I started visiting my dad in Baltimore. He’d play all the fresh shit at that time like Kanye, Jeezy, and Wayne. All my friends in Baltimore were older than me and they loved Wayne. We knew back then that Wayne didn’t write his raps down, so we would try and emulate that. That was my introduction to freestyling. They would often make me beatbox the cypher. That exposure created my love for rap, but I didn’t start doing it every day until high-school. I was more interested in illustration up until I auditioned for Duke Ellington and was denied. I got tired of drawing after that and start writing like crazy. I recorded my first rap during my freshman year of High-School. That was also the year I met my brother Tromac. Since then, we’ve been locked in making music together, building our collective, 3SIDE, brick by brick and steadily getting our names out into the world.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The road doesn’t even exist. I’m on a backroads trail, off the beaten path and shit. It’s hard to see where you’re going when you don’t exactly know where you want to end up. That can present itself as target audience issues, rebrands, and general dissatisfaction with your own work. All things that I have and do struggle with. But my main struggle has been figuring out exactly what I want out of this. It used to be as simple as fame, money, and sex. You get older and realize that fame is a shallow thing to aspire to, sex isn’t reserved for celebrities, and that money is easily made and lost and there are many ways outside of entertainment to do so. I had to stop seeing rap as a dream that held all my needs and desires. I had to see it as a craft that I could get good at and make work for me. Something that can provide stability for myself and my family so that we can have the freedom to explore the other things life has to offer. From that perspective, it’s a lot easier to figure out what I’m working towards and the steps that need to be in place to get there.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I think people should know that I love the craft of rap and that I’m committed to honoring its storytelling and lyrical roots as well as embodying its attitude, which, to me, has always been “buck the system”. As a rapper, I get to express my thoughts in one of the rawest ways possible, and I’d like to use that privilege to amplify the things that are important to me. Right now I’m in the early stages of making my album, The Key of Death, which I’m treating as a defining project for myself. It is intended to be a sonic account of the end of an era and the birth of the next. I’m excited to get it out into the world and see how people react to it!

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Consistency. Can’t keep up if you don’t keep it up.

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Image Credits
Ali Truman Sam Kiegel

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