Meet s’natra, the harlem rapper we can all relate to (interview) – djbooth 2015 electricity increase


When I told my parents I was gonna drop out of college. Nobody in my family ever did any kind of entertainment. My mom, she worked on this TV program back in the DR. She was the head of the choreography program, and she would choreograph all these other dancers to these artists that would come to the DR to raise money for the town.

Aside from that, when I told them, I was like, “Yo, I’m writing rhymes during class. I’m not really paying attention. I’m starting to go to more shows…” They were like, “Man, nobody in our family has ever done this, we don’t fuck with this, but what can we do?” For a little bit, I didn’t get any support from them because they thought I was throwing my life away. They knew that they helped me love music, but they didn’t know that I took it that seriously.

I just kept telling them, “Yo, I’m gonna do this show here and I’m gonna do this show over there.” Then when Ivan [of Brasstracks] finally hit me to go on tour, my mom was like, “Alright, I understand if you’re just chilling in the hood, but you’re about to get on a plane and go where?” That was kinda like the eye-opening experience for her.

Damn, if you asked me this five years ago, I would’ve had a more concrete answer. Whenever I hear somebody from New York, like a Dave East, there’s an element of storytelling that New York rappers will definitely have at the end of the day to separate themselves. When you listenin’ to artists, it’s like, “Okay, this dude is the man, his songs are dope,” but you don’t really feel like you know that person. [New York] artists, you feel like you know them, you have a personal connection with them. You feel like they walked the same streets you walked. It’s something about the way that the scene is portrayed lyrically that gives it that New York vibe because I don’t even know if there’s a New York sound anymore.

I wasn’t a natural-born storyteller. I think I just put in hundreds of hours of research. Like, listening to André 3000 and Nas and all of these cats, I was listening to their stories and then when it came down for me to write my shit—this is crazy, I don’t think I’ve ever said this out loud—I used to kind of write my raps like almost in the form of an outline for a story. Like I’d have a beginning, body, conclusion and that helped me stay on pace.

I started thinking about my story and figuring out the relatability factor with people because we all go through the same things just in different places with different people at different times. But the experience, the emotion you get, it’s all the same. We all get happy, sad, hungry, tired.

So the funny shit is, I didn’t even have the title for the project. After we recorded a couple songs, I just told Ivan, “Alright, this is just subject to change, like whatever it’ll be later, I’ll think about it.” And the more I played with that title, the more it started to make sense. It just captured everything going on in my life like, subject to change is a change of scenery, a change of sound, a change of mentality.

On this one Kendrick album [ GKMC] his mom is on one of the voicemails telling him this is a start of a new life, a different life, and when I heard that, this is what Subject to Change was for me. It was that project that changed everything for me as a person and as a musician.

There was one point where I kinda started feeling like that, but then I remembered that JAY-Z didn’t drop Reasonable Doubt until he was 28 and that was like the start of his career. I feel like everybody has those insecurities. If it’s not “Am I too old?” it’s “Am I good enough? Do I look a certain way?” Naturally, people think about this shit, but me, I was just so focused.

I just had the love for music, it just kept me in one lane constantly thinking about how to make my music better. I won’t lie, I’ve probably had like 16 terrible jobs where I’ve been up at four in the morning and getting home at 1 a.m., but I was still writing rhymes on receipt paper. It was just the love of the music that kept me going. It made me disregard all of the insecurities that I had, which is a crazy zone to get into. If you make music, I hope that everybody has a chance to get into that zone because when you’re in that zone, nothing else matters, just the music.