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This Beautiful Mess I've Made.

By Kuro Seijaku Published 3 months ago 10 min read
Mania (cover '2021')

"I see change, in the leaves. Watch the autumn fade the spring and the summer. I just need to find another way to live today, I'm really caught in a daze..."

Just over a year ago these words met the world, as part three of what started as a trilogy of albums; describing myself as an artist. This project took two to three years to come to fruition, and now I couldn't be more conflicted with it. Drugs, sex, money, and pain. These are the four elements that make up the album. I realize that saying this much could be professional suicide, being as how large corporate entities frown upon this behavior, but it's the truth. My truth.

It was the story I never wanted to tell, the one I was never proud of. The story of how lately the kid has be fixated on bright lights and low lives and he’s become manic. Originally that wasn’t the focus, the goal was to speak on trauma. To analyze pain on a much larger scale and address it in a manner that would be able to help. Throughout the entire process of planning this album I came to realize that the best way to accomplish this would be to put myself on display. To show that I genuinely want to help all those of feel like outcasts in a world that seems out to get them.

If you asked me where I saw myself in 10 years at age 10, I'd probably say I wanted to be a chemist, an astronomer, or some type of scientist. At 12? A game designer, programmer, or a tech specialist. At 15? That's when I finally felt like I knew, I’d found my calling and realized that I wanted to be an artist above all else. I had started producing and trying my hand at rapping.

I spent my early years growing up in Baltimore, MD specifically, in Liberty Heights. This is where my scholastic career began with elementary school. It was here I stayed until age 9. I learned and lost so much in so little time having just arrived in this world. While my parents made life better for us I was never truly able to shake the foundation that I came up with. It has shaped everything about me, even today.

At age 6 or 7 I came to understand and appreciate just how serious the world could be. I had my first near death experience being hit by a car right in front of my school. As serious as it sounds, to me now, it was just another day. If memory serves, it was the winter of my second grade year.

The day began as normal, I woke up, had breakfast, got ready, and just happened to be a little late to school so we were in a rush. My parents drove me to school and stopped across the street right in the front. I only needed to cross and I'd be able to begin another uneventful day of boring school work, waiting to get back home so I could play and forget about the day.

Life had other plans. As I get out of the car I was ready to cross the street and ran. Unfortunately the car at the top of the street didn't feel like slowing down, nor did it seem as though the lady driving noticed me. Instead choosing to speed up and striking me head on. Let me tell you, man anyone who saw that will tell you that I flew. Looking back on it now it's actually kinda funny.

However as I fell for what seemed to be hours and yet instantaneously I heard my parents more distressed than I ever have since. To be honest, I'm sure that in this moment they believed that they had lost me forever.

I am sometimes of the opinion that they in fact did. It's all kinda fuzzy now, but in my slow descent back to earth I remember my vision only returning after hitting the ground. Sometimes when I reflect I wonder if this was indeed the day I actually died. Why? Well when we had gotten me to the hospital and the doctors were able to evaluate me I only had minor scratches on my face. No lacerations, broken bones, internal bleeding, or blunt force trauma. I was perfectly healthy, so much so that I only got one day of school off (boo) it was by all means miraculous.

Now, growing up in a place where you're used to hearing shootouts every other night, watching high speed chases for fun, and hear helicopters overhead in the age of chirping flip phones, experiences like these do something to you. Hell any near death experience in the hood either makes you feel wary or invincible. I was the latter, for years I swore that I either had died or was dead. As a child who was religious I even believed for a time that I had met God. Told something to the effect of "It isn't time yet, you still have people who need you." To me it was completely normal.

Being the perceptive child I was, sometimes my astute nature and maturity for my age led many of the adults around me to complement me on how intelligent I was.

So in 2020, as a 22 year old man who had yet to achieve great things in my opinion, you could only imagine where my mind was. “Kurokami” was my focus that year, well “Kurokami” and my girlfriend. From 2019 to 2020 I worked my ass off. I had a decent job, great friends, and a wonderful lady to call my own. I'd even gotten the chance to live with her for sometime. Still living in my parents house, they accepted her into our family like she was one of our own.

May 25th of that year, I felt like I was on top of the world. My best friend and I had been working on a plan to start our very own record label, just like the artists we grew up listening to. I had complete and total faith that we would succeed and still do to this day two/three years later. So what happened? Well the EP was a success. We had took advantage of the fact that everyone was in the house due to the new quarantine measures put into place that year. Promoting on social media like crazy.

It was the first time I had made over $500 off of just my streams. I was amazed by what we were able to accomplish. Fast forward to 2021, single, broke, out of my parents house, and completely lost. These are the factors that drove me to create 4 albums for each quarter of the year and have it all release that same year. This was a hefty task, why four?

Well to be honest I took inspiration from one of my contemporaries. An incredible artist by the name of “YTK” I don’t believe we ever spoke about it personally. However I remember him talking about it during the rollout to his project “From Grace, For Grace” and I loved the concept. I had been following his music for awhile by then and was really looking forward to hearing 4 bodies of work from him in rapid succession. That’s when the idea had stuck for me and honestly it saved me.

2 would've been too depressing. I began the series by working on 'Shirotenshi' (White Angel) first. A reflection on the insane times I’d been experiencing, the end of my relationship with my high school sweetheart, and of my direction after the greatest accomplishment of my artistic career since my 'Kid' mixtape & 'Lately' EP.

After that, I wanted to have some fun with my music again. This caused me to create 'Watch||The Plan' the album that felt like a mixtape for me. With these two on my hands, I started to regain some of the confidence I'd lost. Covid made getting performances harder and as an anti social young man with an immense sense of ambition I needed a way to remind myself of what I was doing this for.

After that I had the opportunity to do anything and so I set my sights on doing ‘Negative Space’ and that eventually became “- Kūhakū” album 4/4. This is where Mania’s sound was born. Negative Space was going to be a break from convention in the style of my biggest influence Kendrick Lamar. Specifically in the style of his ‘2015’ LP “To Pimp A Butterfly” even down to the cover art. I was planning on doing a photo shoot that would be inspired by it’s cover with a similar color scheme and sound.

That’s when I realized, I didn’t start this journey to be my influences, I appreciate them for their work and help pushing the envelope. However if I’m to affect change it’s got to come from me, and so it did. The sound of ‘Negative Space’ became “Mania” this beautiful mess I’ve made. I finally broke with convention in a real way. I didn’t do what I thought anyone else would do, I did what Kuro would do. I portrayed a man who felt like a boy because he realized that he’d cast aside everything he believed in for a shot at a dream.

Stepping out of the dark

It was after this that I felt I was truly able to be the artist I was meant to be. It didn’t have to be intricately planned because I’d spent 3 to 4 years prior to it’s release examining the manic mind. In the middle of Covid what better time was there to release this? An illness that has attacked not just the body but the mind? This was the perfect time to address it. Yet throughout the entire run time of the project I don’t believe I mentioned it once.

Because this wasn’t about that, Covid was a byproduct of the mental state of our society. Never in modern history have we experienced mania in this nature. Where society could be so well informed and yet completely distant from acting in a sensible manner. I saw this coming and thankfully to this day have yet to have caught Covid that I’m aware.

So this was my service, I worked in an essential industry. Helping to send packages to those who couldn’t leave their homes. After a 10-12 hour shift I’d come home and record, mix, master, prepare marketing material, evaluate my company, and manage the releases of our artists. I made it out to any events that I could and stayed busy 24/7. Unfortunately this caught up to me.

I wasn’t living in a healthy manner, I had given myself up completely and dedicated myself to providing the world with value the best way I knew how. After awhile my body and mind began to break down. I had mistreated myself trying to patch up the pain I was going through to inspire hope because I didn’t know what tomorrow would hold. I was willing to risk everything until I almost lost everything.

The music had consumed me, the character of Kuro Silence was dying. This character didn’t go out with a whimper though. He went out with a bang! After finally releasing the rollercoaster ride of an album that was Mania, I went on to master this style through two final projects as Kuro Silence.

“- Kūhakū”: my negative space, and “Kokoro”: my heart. I felt that the story of Kuro Silence had been told to it’s completion. Making room for Kuro Seijaku. I still identify as Kuro Silence, however that side of me as an artist is save for production. As Kuro Seijaku is the artist, the vocalist, the rapper. Reborn through an experience that would have killed me as a younger man. If I hadn’t slowed down, if I had continued to let my depression eat away at me and believe no one cared. I’d really be dead.


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About the Creator

Kuro Seijaku

“Kuro Silence (Seijaku) is a rapper/producer from Baltimore, Maryland. From trap to experimental, Kuros work defies normative currents of Hip-Hop’s soundscape with his work ethic and forays into Hip-Hop’s many sub-genres.”

-Channel10 Podcast

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