The Right Beat: Hip Hop Artist Using His Experiences for Inspiration | Characteristics
Before moving to the Owensboro area, 34-year-old rapper and musician Adrian Yancy, known as W!Fi, had an early interest in hip hop and rap.
“It was impressive,” Yancy said. “I liked the stuff that impressed me…I grew up in Philadelphia and, I mean, hip hop was everywhere for the most part. I liked it in general, but mostly it was the people who were good at lyrics that really stuck with me I thought it was cool that someone could take…a concept and then do a whole song and not go off the rails and…stick it to this concept, even if it was not necessarily in an initial way.
Although surrounded by music, Yancy admits he didn’t perform when he lived in Philadelphia, but started writing around age 9, even when he wasn’t sure what he was noting. exactly.
“At first (I was writing about) nothing. Absolutely nothing,” Yancy said. “It was frustrating because you couldn’t put that thought together to make it connect until (having) practiced and having situations as an adult… The more I went through (things), the easier it was to paint a picture rather than having it. just be a bunch of random splatters on a canvas.
It wasn’t until he moved to Pittsburgh as a teenager that Yancy started thinking about acting, while trying to find the confidence to step out in front of a crowd.
Yancy attended Taylor Allderdice High School, where one of his friends from college eventually found success as Grammy-nominated rapper Wiz Khalifa, while another student became Grammy-nominated rapper Mac Miller. , which was only a few years behind Yancy.
By the time he entered adulthood, Yancy began to take his journey as a musician seriously and began writing “less superficial” content and experiencing situations that he could truly express, rather than just ” try to rhyme.
“I like underlying things — things that say things without saying things,” Yancy said. “Things that mean more than one thing because it leaves the listener with this open opportunity to understand what it means to them.”
One example in particular was Yancy writing about how people saw him based on the way he spoke and his upbringing made him “less African-American or black” due to his use of proper grammar and vocabulary, which were part of his upbringing. his father.
“The first thing was probably how I’m perceived as a black man because of the way I speak,” Yancy said. “It’s the first thing I wrote that I really put a bit of ‘me’ into it and really knew what I was talking about and had a point to make.”
Yancy got his start at age 21 as part of a hip-hop group TUA at a small Pittsburgh bar that held a contest consisting of about 20 headline acts. Although nervous, Yancy and the band won and received free recording studio time.
He continued making music as part of The DIG’s duo with friend and fellow rapper Walkman, born Kevin Reilly, releasing a mixtape.
Yancy eventually moved to Owensboro in 2015 with his then-partner, who was originally from the area, and focused on fathering two children, now aged 5 and 8.
“We were supposed to be here for about a year,” Yancy said. “We separated but we kept a good relationship (and) I just wanted to stay close to my children. … (And) one thing that was important in my relationship with her when we arrived here is that whatever happens, she has always been a huge supporter of me and the music in all situations.
Yancy also wanted to finally move with his music and, for the first time, by himself.
After taking a self-imposed hiatus, Yancy eventually found himself performing in the Louisville area and a small handful of shows in Owensboro at Bar Louie and Club Unk, while also opening for rappers Haystak and Riff Raff. .
But it wasn’t until last January that Yancy began to tackle his career, releasing his first single and music video “Clouds” on New Year’s Day, followed by “No Bottom Shelf” about a month later. late.
“The year before I planned to do it and I didn’t want to regret that I never gave it the shot I think I should give it,” Yancy said. “It’s just the kind of thing you look at and say, ‘Look, if I tell my kids to go do something they want to do, I’m going to do the same thing. I developed more self-confidence, so I felt it was worth it.
Within its first two months of release, Yancy was contacted by Mostly Paper Productions, an entertainment company based in Bowling Green and Louisville, which offered
him a “risk-free” contract to help him reach a
“It was really fast,” Yancy said. “(It was) humbling, it was exciting.”
Since signing, Yancy plans to release an upcoming 10-track project in the coming months and is working hard to find the perfect sounds.
“I spend a lot of time looking at the beats, like way too much time,” Yancy laughed. “I buy them or rent them from producers all over the world… Beats are important, and I’ve been told I’m very versatile and rap just about anything, but I don’t like unless it’s easy (to log in.) I listen to hundreds…maybe even more than that probably (in) a week.
Yancy also does the recording, editing, cutting, splicing and creating preliminary mixes of his tracks before sending them to the label or a trusted friend to help with the mastering process in order to get the best product.
Still, Yancy makes sure to carefully review the work before the songs are released to the public.
“I’m very picky and that’s only because I did it myself, so I really know what I’m talking about…and how to tell you what’s wrong,” Yancy said. “It shouldn’t just be big and full of sound, but it should be clean and nice to listen to. Because even a good song – if it’s harsh, it’s harder to enjoy.
With his newfound confidence and continued growth in performance, Yancy writes about what’s honest to him, organic, and how he feels in the moment.
“I’m against talking about things I have no experience with,” Yancy said. “It’s more important for me to say, ‘Hey, I can’t relate, but I’m here for you’ than trying to pretend I can; it’s the same thing. I’m not gonna rap or try to tell a story that’s not something I was close enough to or experienced because it’s empty, in my opinion… It just doesn’t feel right to me.
And Yancy plans not to stagnate even if her work receives praise.
“I just don’t want positive feedback. For me, one of the most important things in any situation or whatever you do is growth,” Yancy said. “If you don’t like it, tell me because I’ll probably ask you why.” If not, I’ll keep doing the same thing which may not work. I want to know things like that.
Although he has already taken a break, Yancy feels that music will always be a part of him in many ways.
“It’s therapeutic. I don’t think I’ll ever stop…I love it so much,” Yancy said. “I like the expressive part and I like being able to express it. I like to impress myself when it comes to that…It’s also timeless – there will be certain songs that I can release (that) I don’t have yet. I have songs that I have for my children… (and) I know that whatever happens to me, my children will be able to listen to it. It will be there; it will not nowhere.