Verbal Canvas. A day with DC’s own, Da Challenger

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Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
Born and raised in Washington, DC. Then spent my high school years in the suburbs of Maryland. As far back as I can remember, I have always been a writer. I used to keep a journal of all my thoughts I never shared. Something like a journal, but I didnt write in it everyday. It wasn't until my high school years when I had a bunch of friends that would freestyle and battle rap during our lunch breaks. I wasn't really into the freestyling aspect of it then, it wasnt something I did often. I would do it here and there with my closer friends. Or if I was at a party frat house fried. LOL. I decided to become an artist a few years ago when I realized I could tell stories vividly and rhyme while doing it. Alot of my fans have told me that was one of the things in hip hop that was missing. Music with substance and purpose. Im not knocking the music thats coming out lately, but there was a time when you got clowned if you looked or sounded like anybody else. You looked like you lacked originality.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Be yourself. No matter what the masses want, do what you want. A carbon copy will never shine as bright as an original. Do what makes you happy. If you come from left field, GOOD!! Just dont fall into a trend. All trends end.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
I make mistakes all the time. It usually comes from catching eyes with someone in the crowd, or laughing at my own lyrics because I remember something that happened while recording or rehearsing. When that does happen, I usually, do a little dance and pick up right on the 1.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to tour. But its in the works.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
As of right now, I am not looking to upgrade anything about my home studio. I am currently running ProTools 12HD with an audio box usb interface. And a MXL microphone. And things are sounding good!!
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Going to local shows, playing with other artists who have a similar genre or niche. Also going to popular hangout spots and blasting my newest material, stopping random people asking them to listen. At the end of the day, either they will or they wont.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Man, if i could perform alongside Jay-Z, Black Starr, The Roots, Pharell, White Stripes (Seven Nation Army to be exact), Fabolous, Michael Jackson.... My list is crazy. All of these people helped mold the artist known as Da Challenger. From songwriting, to performance, to just the overall way the songs come about. I would love to be in the studio with all these people and more.. Lots more!
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
I am currently pushing Verbal Canvas Vol II. My latest project. Vol III is in the works. I have started my own label City Music Records LLC. And have two artist Im working with. Gangsta Glamour and Lashes Bighead. And I guess you could say myself as well.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Running my label. I love music. I want to be an icon.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
Be on the lookout for Vol III and new music from my artists on the label.
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
Major shoutout to Master David. He actually produced the entire Vol III. Shoutout Khalil Williams, Poverty Beatz, everybody that has liked, commented, shared either Da Challenger's or City Music's posts on social media. Rae Lyrique, one of many people who told me never to give up. All the people on my email list that get to hear music before I release it. My team of Hot or Not critiques. Shoutout to all the people that told me Boom Bap would never make a solid comeback. And everybody that has walked this journey with me. You all are appreciated. And last but not least. Lashes and Glam. The two chess pieces of City Music. You two make this journey worth taking!