Artist Statements

Shabazz City High School: The Impulse 2

Album cover of a royal dog


  • "Outerspace" by Demigloom

"Oh god! Everything was so different. The album cover is just a photo of me standing in a cemetery. I wanted it to reflect me. I’m a bit of a weird person, silly goose, I thought me standing in a cemetery with my logo in the corner was kind of cool. I initially made it to reflect me rather than the song itself and I had other images in mind, but I just went with it. When I listen to the song and look at the image they seem to match fairly well. 

The song is about how much I love my girlfriend. I think that the music reflects my feelings more than the lyrics. I don’t like those lyrics personally, and the hook by animal control has nothing to do with the subject matter. I made the first part to reflect the warmth and joy that my girlfriend makes me feel. It’s written in a major scale and the melodies are bouncy and cheerful. I didn’t want it to be repetitive and boring so each chorus has a different synth line and there is a long solo after the second verse. The style of the first part is supposed to be a chaotic blend of a few styles that I work with. It has a lot of sounds that are used in rave music, but also a lot of sounds from modern hip-hop and 80s R&B. The ending was supposed to reflect how I felt when we were apart. I wanted something gloomy and eerie, like romantic classical music, but I also wanted a ragtime swing. I think what I ended up with was very bittersweet, which is what I was going for. The sort of resolution at the end is intentionally incomplete, ending on an awkward note, very much like how I feel when I hug my girlfriend goodbye. 

The podcast was about my understanding of authenticity as a concept and how one’s life can be authentic or inauthentic. Just about what people pursue and why it is or isn’t authentic."

  • "Dope" by Andrea

"So, my inspiration for my album cover was Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album. I like that music because I grew up with it. I really like that music. I based the song off my album cover and added personal lyrics for me and some other people. It talks about grippy socks from the mental health hospital. You said something about authenticity so it made me think about that time in my life, but I wanted to make it funny.  

I didnt really have to overcome anything to finish, I just found beats that would go well together. I feel really good about everything at the end, it’s a really good song."

  • "Trigger Warning" by Norah

"I think for the song, I think my inspiration was based on my mental health when I was younger and a little of how I feel now. The podcast was pretty different. It was pretty chaotic and matched with my personality more, I’m a not thinking straight kinda person.  The album cover was really a splattering of everything I felt while creating the music onto a paper. Its almost normal to me, what’s on the paper, because since 5th grade, when I broke and all the feelings I have been repressing, broke through and broke me down.  

It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to say in the song. The beginning of the song represents my early happy childhood, but there was always something there that was off, the heavy breathing represents that. The screams and the switch over to the sadder section and crying represents 5th grade and when everything happen. Its crazy because I was only ten at the time. The beeps, which is like a hospital monitor, represents when I couldnt get what I was thinking to stop, not suicide but kinda like that. When the music starts to come back, there is early childhood loops, but its different, there are new sounds. From 5th to 9th, I thought this is just what I had to deal with and resisted therapy. I was in a better place, but I wasn’t great. The end of the song represents how I have been lately, genuinely feeling better."

  • "Calm Music" by Leon

"My inspiration is to be myself. I wanted to be able to express myself through my personality in my music and talk about what is important to me in the podcast. I did the cover and the podcast with Maurice because we have the same type of personality and he is easy to communicate with. When we are doing the work he doesn’t mess around he just does it.  For the song, wherever my mind went that is where the song went, it’s a different type of song style.  Really it was me improvising, like a freestyle. I chose the Charlie Brown piece, I saw a youtube of it, and I decided I wanted to choose that."

  • "On Borrowed Time" by Henry

"The inspiration for my album cover is the FLCL album cover, it’s that cover, but it’s me.  I can’t draw so I asked my dad to do it, I really like his style. Having him do the cover was really cool. He isn’t a professional, but he has had his own art booth. 

For the song, I was really stuck. My mom contacted a friend’s friend of my mom who helped me brainstorm something. She played the violin in the background for a spoken word I wrote. I don’t like it, but it’s authentic jazz improvisation, she is just playing after having read my poem. I made up the poem, the inspiration is from a game called Dead by Daylight. I don’t really like that for a song idea, but she was interviewing me and came up with that idea. I wasn’t fully onboard with the idea, but I wanted to actually try something, I was sick of being blocked creatively and I just wanted to go. I couldn't think of anything, I’d start, and then nothing would work. I was satisfied with what we came up with, I was so sick of being stressed. She was really helpful because she wasn’t stressed, just unbiased and that really helped."

  • "Omega" by Anevaeh

"For the album cover, I called the album unfinished, the picture is of me, my mom, and my two brothers. I was trying to say that our lives are unfinished, our line of people is unfinished, we are not done with life. In the picture we don’t have faces because our identity is unfinished we are still shaping our identity, we aren’t all the way there yet. I chose to paint it because my brother paints a lot and the style represents us. My brothers have their skin tone and hair, but its not the stereotypical way you see black men portrayed.  For the song, I sampled Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem’s Family Ties because I thought the sample was cool. I took the parts that talked about Omega, I didnt look up the definition of that. In the song there is a story about how they don’t fit into the music industry's idea.   In my podcast I talked to my brothers who have a different story than most rappers.

So all together what all my pieces talk about is that we (my family) aren’t anyone’s stereotypes. We are our own people and we are making our own story.

I do use the N-word as a show of freedom of speech and to show that we have reclaimed it. It means something different to black people than how it is used. To me, in a way it means family, friendship, almost anyone you have a bond with you can use that word."

  • "Fantasy" by Rowyn

"I made the music first. It has an urban, chill feel to it. I picked the loops I wanted because they sounded good or complimented each other. When I was making the song it didnt really have a meaning. When I started drawing the album cover I put in a city skyline and myself looking up at the stars to represent how I have always been drawn to big cities since I was a tiny, tiny child. While I was drawing I was blindsided by the idea of what the album cover and song meant to me. I chose the name Fantasy because I realized that what I was drawing is basically my fantasy. One because I want to be in a big city and two I have always been into astrology, since I was in middle school. I never really had a full idea, I went in impulsively, but by the end it all came together and made sense to me."

  • "The Ballad of Callisto" by Miller

"My dog is awesome. My dog inspired me, she is adorable, talented, all that stuff. I started with the album cover. I took a picture of my dog and sent it to a website who made her look like a princess. When I got the picture back I thought it was the coolest thing ever. When I did the music I chose random loops and then talked about my dog over the loops. In the end, it all connected and was all about my awesome dog."

  • "John" by John

"Mainly I wanted to get a good grade.  When I did the album cover I wanted to use a picture I liked. It's a picture of my duck Charlie who I really like. I had taken him down to the lake for a swim. For the song, I got together a group of my friends and I told them, “I need a stupid song that is at least three minutes.” I’ve been playing with the drummer for five or six years and the guitar player for about three. We hadn’t played much together lately so it was a little rough. We call it an ambient noise jam.  We played for a half hour and I cut it down to six minutes because so much of it sucked. My friend wrote a poem before and so I asked him to read it, he changed his voice for it, those are the vocals.  At the end, I actually thought it was kinda cool, I liked it. There wasn't a connection between the album cover and the song.  I would say that this class made me more aware of jazz so I try to make my licks more jazzy."

  • "Oh Yeah" by Finn

"I was inspired by the death of my mother.  During the creation of the song I was thinking about how could I represent her and talk about what I’ve been through. I also included my cat because she is cute. It was really hard to get motivated to do it, I knew I had to do it, but I didn’t want to to do it. Because I was able to do it in a song form that made it easier for me to do.  In the end, I’m glad it’s over and I like the song. I like the beats, I like the “Oh yeah boo boo” sample.  I really liked the loops I found and all together it creates the effect I was going for."

  • "Disco Groove or Something’" by Eddy

"The original cover that I created was for a different song than this one, but it still kinda applies because there is still some piano in this song.  Also, all the color on the cover goes with the jumpiness of the song.  When I made this song I wanted to avoid any sadness, I wanted to make people move. I like dance music because it gives you a lot of energy. It can’t just be disco music without giving you the energy to get up and move.  I have ADHD and I have a lot of energy, this song is for people like me who have a lot of energy.  The lyrics I made were trying to pull people out of their comfort zone and onto the dance floor, which is something that people have to do with me. I can be pretty hesitant because I’m scared of being mocked, even though I know people probably won’t say anything, but I’m scared of the thought."