True's Interviews: Speed On The Beat

Today, we look at one of the original TEAMDAR members, Speed on The Beat. Speed, who's been like a brother to me ever since I brought him into the TEAMDAR fold back in 2011, is a man that's in some ways struggling. With myself, music, personal life, and in general(like many of us). I wanted to sit down and talk with Speed about everything that's been going on, and present it to the public. As always with a True God interview, I add in my commentary on some of these things. I give you, my brother, and TEAMDAR capo, Speed on The Beat.

1. So, it's been a while since we've had a chance to talk with you about your music. What's been going on in the life of Speed?

Since our last talk, a lot has changed. But, I'll get into the details in a few. Let's just say, for starters, I discovered a lot about the way my mind works and why it works that way.
2. You've admittedly been playing the background in terms of TEAMDAR recently, why is that? Will we see you active again?

I'm always active with regards to DAR, even when I'm in the background. I faded out from the radio show for a simple reason. I got overwhelmed. Instead of pulling the team down, I let everyone else pick up my slack to the point where I didn't need to be there all the time(True's Note: Speed is one of the vital parts of TEAMDAR, however the team didn't pick up his slack. They created their own lanes within the brand and team). 

A great leader knows when to let other lead(True's Note: Again, when Speed wasn't on his job, or had his attention turned elsewhere, I knew that the team needed more parts. I suspect Speed stayed away from the radio show, because there was a full squad already in place). Joe, Muse and Jelly, you've got it on lock. But, with that said, I'm still open to a return to DAR Radio, even if not with the flagship show. 

It's in my nature to be a behind-the-scenes type of guy sometimes. I feel like I get more done when I'm behind-the-scenes. That's why I sometimes step away. It allows me to keep my head and focus on what I need to focus on to keep my team going. 

Now, I've had people ask me if I'm like "fuck DAR" nowadays, since I've started to come up outside of DAR(True's Note: As the leader and founder of TEAMDAR, I've always wanted Speed to be a brand of his own, thus the reason why I wanted to give him my brother the opportunity to show his talent. The terms "outside DAR" may seem funny to you, the reader, but it's Speed's way of saying he has outside projects)

Without DAR, "Speed on the Beat" would be just another rapper/producer saying shit that people should hear, but no one give a damn about. This is a team effort. But, at the same time, we all cover different lanes at times, which allows for an all-around DAR attack without completely oversaturating the name and being put on the "Struggle Rappers I Block" list. That's the beauty of having different opinions and stuff. A lot more ground gets covered with minute differences versus everyone having the same exact opinion on everything.

3. What's the motivation behind this "DOTK" album?

Death of the King is an album that shows a man losing himself, even after he's been "reborn." Now, on Songs For..., we all think that everything's cool and that Speed's finally got everything figured out. By the mid-point of Death of the King, we discover that Speed, the character and the actual person, have been lying to themselves to try and justify some of the fucked-up things that've occurred and it's eating him alive. It's pushing him to lose himself even more and pretty much snap. 

It's representative, in some ways, of people claiming religion even though they're foul or people who say one thing then do another. You can't praise Jesus if you're out here killing your own people, just like you can't claim intellectualism if you're out-and-out glorifying foolery. WhereSongs For... was more about trying to come back after losing it all, Death of the King is the aftermath of that. Like, now that you're more cognizant of how your so-called valiant deeds are damaging people you care about, what do you do? If me pushing Raquel away was supposed to protect her from what I feared myself to be, what happens when I try to come back, after the "Reconciliation" we hear on S4

Also, the album's about me becoming more comfortable with who I am, and coming to terms with the fact that I suffer from bipolar disorder. That sort of thing can be kind of crippling at times, especially when not taken care of properly. That's something that I was in denial about for a while, and that denial kept me from achieving a lot of things that I wanted to. It also caused some crazy damage. The first two albums were also told from a guy who hadn't come to terms with his issues completely, so there's a bit of an unreliable narrator thing going on there.DOTK is, in some ways, the correction of that unreliability. 

Lastly, the album marks the "death" of the Speed on the Beat album that completely sounds no-fi. With past albums, I intentionally would let the engineer just leave shit all jumbled. I'm of a slightly clearer head now, so why not reflect that? I think people'll be surprised with this one, on a lot of levels.

4. What would you consider to be your favorite songs off the album?

I loved doing "Money Where Yo' Mouth Is" because I hate these Twitter revolutionaries and all these faux-pro-Black fingerpointers that pop up when issues first arise, but fade into the scenery when things get remotely "too real" for them. The beat on that track always gives me goosebumps.(True's Note: The track is pretty dope, and allows for Speed to paint his picture intricately

"Come And Get It" which is supposed to have a verse from the homie Dugee Buller when everything's done, was a fun song too. Fun because I got to talk on some shit that I usually shy away from, violence and other stuff. No, I'm not saying violence is fun. But, it's a good way to show all sides of the story. I tend to shy away from talking on that sort of thing in my story because I don't want to become yet another guy that's misconstrued for glorifying violence. I hate that sort of thing, but the track needed to happen.

I'll tell you my hardest track to do, though. The interlude "Pr(a)eying on Niggas" was tough for me. Because, I mean, I had to speak from the mind state of where I was mentally as I began to crash again. In other words, I had to speak from the point of view of a completely "Unhinged" Speed on the Beat. And, rehashing the way I felt during that time, it was difficult. It was needed, though, because you can't forget a lesson just because it makes you feel uneasy. It also helps bring everything full-circle, as allows some of those underlying unhinged thoughts to finally be spoken and show where I was, where I was heading, and where I need to go. I won't spoil the whole album, but it's an interesting ride.

5. So how are things with you and Raquel?
So, you just gonna go against the grain, huh? I told you not to ask me about that shit (Laughs).(True's Note: Speed from time to time, likes to gamble with his life apparently haha.)

But, lemme stop before August Alsina(or True) pops up out of nowhere and tries to spark me (Laughs). Things with Raquel, honestly? They're kind of strange, in a way. Why strange? Well, things can go smoothly as all hell for a while, then one of us--spoiler alert: a lot of the time, it's me--says or does something to upset the chemistry and all hell breaks loose. It's something that happens within every relationship, the "fights" and all. But, admittedly, we're both stubborn individuals, and with me being a guy who's trying to manage his mental health without much outside assistance, it can get a bit heated. 

I mean, you've got a guy who's bipolar and has more manic episodes than just straight-up non-manic ones. You can usually tell when I'm manic by the output of music. I once recorded a whole album during an episode--which I trashed because it was on some other shit. It's kind of cool to see something come together frantically like that, but I know it's not healthy. 

But, anyways, you have me. Add in a woman who doesn't really take any shit and you've got a situation where fireworks will surely light up. Is it healthy for either of us? Like I said, hell no! It's obviously not exactly healthy. Sure, I can crank out a Songs For..., but it's ultimately dangerous. Why? Because we both know that we could eventually say or do some shit that you can't come back from.

I mean, just a little while ago, we got into a pretty heated exchange where we both just, like, left the house for a bit and chilled out. But, as long as that sort of thing isn't a daily occurrence--and we're both willing to work to keep shit together? I'd say things are slowly but surely getting back to some semblance of normal. I'm working on getting my disorder sorted out again and trying to keep the peace, and the pieces, together. We've talked about, you know, therapy and stuff because we both need to be on the same page for us to work as cohesively as we desire. The love's there, but we still need a little extra push. That's natural, though. If you've never been in a relationship where you have ups and downs, you're not in a relationship. You're in some sort of dream world and you need to wake your ass all the way up.

6. How's the little prince Jovanni doing?

He's a heartbreaker in the making. I'm sure some girl, in twenty years, will sample "Love Can Be Hazardous to Your Health" and call him out. But, seriously, he's good, man. He's three now, and I'm honestly flabbergasted at how mature he is for a three-year-old. You've gotta watch what you say and do around him, because he's smart. He'll pick it up and he'll recall it, almost verbatim, and just make you just be like "damn, kid. I thought you didn't catch any of what I said." 

He's always an inspiration for me to do better, so this album, just like S4, is dedicated to him. The final promo Ultimate Warrior did always comes to mind when I think of Jovanni and how my music relates to him. When I'm gone, or even as he grows up, I want to leave a legacy for him to look up to. As every legacy, there will probably be some rotten leaves, but I have to be sure that he can learn something from me, just like other people. If I can't do that, then everything I've done is for nothing. I'd just hope that his lessons from dad are a bit more personal, as I've watched him grow up.

You're probably wondering why this is a shorter answer than others. Well, I'd rather not just put everything about him out for the world to talk about. I'm glad I'm not more well-known for that reason. He's three, he doesn't need a fucking microscope on him now.(True's Note: It should also be noted that as fathers, we would like a piece of our world to be private. The Vines, Instagram photos, or tweets about our children only sit to show the deep love we have for them. I'd say Speed gave us more than enough details, even in what seems like a shorter answer. He said all that needed to be said)
7. There's been some things you've alluded to in regards to some females you've encountered in recent times, care to speak on that?

Ah, ye ol' Speed on the Beat Story Times(True's Notewhich derived from the TEAMDAR story times based off the show from myself and Joe, but we will let Speed have this one haha). 

Well, a majority of these stories are re-purposed from my older misadventures. In other words, I'll change a name or a time period to give people a chance to catch on and laugh with me--and hopefully learn something from my miscues with women. They're crazy, and men make them that way sometimes, because we're just as off. 

I like to think of myself as a less-douchebag version of Tucker Max, the I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell guy. I tell a fucked-up story, it's 99.3% true (with, like I said, a name change or something), and I hope to entertain, but also cause people to think of their own lives or question me on some things. Like, for instance, why go after a woman who seems just like Raquel if Raquel's trying to make things work with you after the Dezeray thing? 

The #SOTBST stories fill in some gaps that I purposefully leave in some of the Songs For... Trilogy. They also attempt to answer, for instance, the above question. Many of the #SOTBST stories deal with a crazy situation with a woman that I tried to replace Raquel with. As I mentioned in a post of my own revisiting "Heartbreaker," as much as I may care for someone else, Raquel's the one I see myself with. So, there's another layer to these stories besides the laughs. I'm a serial monogamist, even though I sometimes have battled with sex dependency and stuff. Pardon my bluntness, but pussy is pussy. Sex is sex. I need more than sex to be complete. Throughout these stories, while they were actually occurring, I thought it was just that I wanted sex or needed it. But, you'll notice that every single one of these stories ends with me back where I started. Why? Because none of these other women out here compare to her. 

I probably put her on a pedestal even more than some, but that's the mother of my child. Will I ever not love her? I can say that I'll always love her, even with someone else. That's why these stories tend to have wacky adventures and even wackier endings.

8. Do you believe that you are attracted to drama? It seems, like the rest of the team, drama follows you a lot, do you think you attract it?

Raquel, she's said a few times that I seem to need drama and fuckery to thrive. As much as I attract it, I fucking hate drama. That's why I stay out of a lot of situations where shit can pop off. I'm a relatively peaceful person, even in my moments, so I hate drama. Sure, I'm an opinionated person and I'm stubborn, therefore, drama loves to find me. I try to avoid it, because I love peace. But, it's a natural thing. And sometimes, it's unavoidable.

For instance, with that whole "La Reina" thing. Karen, she's in her lane, I'm in mine. So, I don't care what her followers think, especially since a few of them, I know they've heard my music (laughs). But, I saw a topic that I wanted to talk on, I spoke on it, and loved the discussions that arose from it. Do I think she's a slut or what-the-fuck-ever? Naw. She, like me, saw an opportunity and took it. So, in that sense, we're similar and she's got my respect. Her followers? Some of them or fucking crazy, bruh. And I've blocked a few of them because they came at me sideways and I didn't feel like dealing with dumb shit. Drama is prefaced usually by dumb shit. I started from the bottom, achieved greatness, graduated from college and have a relatively decent nine-to-five. Dumb shit is something that I despise with a passion. Therefore,drama is something doubly despised.(True's Note: I won't go into too much detail, but as a brother to Speed, I've found his gravitation to the La Reina chick to be a bit weird. Some would assume he's using her followers to promote DAR related stuff, and perhaps that's true. I've not got into with La Reina very much and don't plan to. Attention whores are not to be appreciated usually within the DAR circle)

Now people may ask "Speed, if you're bipolar and kind of not-all-there sometimes, how do you avoid falling for drama and dumb shit?" I try to meditate. I go out and chill with the fam sometimes. I do music especially. Music's a hell of a lot cheaper than paying someone to listen to you bitch for an hour a week, because it's going to be even more objective. A therapist, they'll try to be objective, but they know you. Most of my listeners, they may know Speed on the Beat, the artist, but they aren't fully aware of who Speed on the Beat is outside of music. I'm practically the same, but I can't tell all my secrets to the world.

9. What's in the future for Speed on The Beat?

The world and everything in it.

10. You spoke of retiring at some point from the music industry. Is that still a goal or do you plan to keep making music?

In a word? Sorta. While Death of the King isn't the last album I'm working on, it is the beginning of the end. I mean, in the album, you hear the figurative "death" of what it meant to be "Speed on the Beat, the No-Fi King" and you begin to hear a more human side of me. I've always been the person to talk about my issues, and I've never shied away from them. 

But, throughout the initial stages of this album, I started to see repeating patterns in my behavior(s), as I mentioned. I began to question why were things always getting so fucked up. Part of it goes back to the BD, but even outside of that? I realized something, partly because of, like, therapists and shit.

I was telling a story, but I wasn't exactly telling my story, if that makes sense. The Songs For... Trilogy is my story, but up to DOTK, it was told more so in hindsight and told from a perspective to make it seem like I knew all the answers. I don't. Why the fuck would I want to represent myself as all-knowing and all-together when I'm a mess part of the time? (Laughs) That's not real shit. And, as you know, I pride myself on being all-the-way real with my life--and not just to make myself feel better. If I wanted to make myself feel better about the shit, I'd just sit here and talk about bullshit. So, DOTK is the end of that. The next album after that? It's the "what's next for Speed now that he's...'keeping integrity, not guises'" album. Once you kill the "King," or once you try to clear the fog and kill illusions, what's left? Will the man be better for the wear or will he, because he's been dependent on being this figment, falter? I hope I'm better for the wear, because, shit, I at least feel better, even if I don't know all the answers.

Now, production-wise? I've literally got a couple hundred beats no one--not even you, True--has heard.(True's Note: Nigga, hit my inbox with all them beats that I have supposedly NOT heard ASAP. This ain't a suggestion, this is a threat haha)

So, I may not produce anything else or record anything else new, hence me saying I'm joining the "27 Club." I'm almost 26. So, August 17, 2015, I'm done creating new music. After that point, buy my old shit or take one of these old beats (Laughs). Speed's effectively dead to the music world after that, even if I remain on some Dilla shit.
11. Any final remarks/shoutouts?

Like I said, yeah, my manic episodes create some awesome sparks of genius. But, that shit is scary. So, if this album can, I don't know, push someone to actually seek help for their own illnesses like I have and will? I see it as a success. I'm not trying to be an advocate for bipolar treatment, especially when I'm not exactly the model of perfect management of the illness myself. But, I would like people to take my words and my journey and learn from the shit. As with all my albums, I'm giving a portion of the proceeds to charity efforts in the DMV. With S4, I reached out to WillRap4Food and a few more efforts. Hopefully this time, I can put even more money where my mouth is. Especially since the album isn't as "no-fi" this time around.(True's Final Note: The TEAMDAR charity work is very vital to the brand. With the entire team reaching out to WillRap4Food and all the things that we've done, including helping to feed poverty stricken families, it is vital to us that we help our fellow man/woman. Speed's journey is one of self-reflection and awareness building. When you reach the point where things start to fall apart, you regroup, and I believe that's where Speed is heading to. Regrouping. Awareness. Understanding. Before he leaves music behind, which I don't entirely believe he will anyway, knowing him better than almost anybody else, he will definitely want his legacy to be more positive than negative. We all do. Let's hope Speed finds his sanity, peace, and happiness)


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