Not Your Typical Rapper: AtypiCLE
I recently had a chance to talk to AtypiCLE (formerly known as J-Rod) about his career, his inspiration and his style. AtypiCLE has huge talent for such a young guy, and I asked him if he’s been rapping his entire life. It turns out he’s been into music since about age 2, and despite being very shy as a child, he had big visions of performing in front of crowds of people. He had wanted to perform his whole life, and has brought his vision to reality in recent years.
Growing up, AtypiCLE was a big fan of Biggie Smalls and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Every Biggie song that he heard was a hit, AtypiCLE says of Biggie; “ he always delivered and had such passion in his verses. I admired how fast the rappers in Bone Thugs n’ Harmony could spit, and they lived in the same city as me, Cleveland, OH. As a little kid, I remember walking around the house trying to imitate their rapping style. Will Smith also inspired me. I like how he was able to act and rap and I liked to listen to a lot of his songs. As I got older, I appreciated his music even more since he’s a “clean” rapper like I am.”
AtypiCLE’s first official gig was at a place called Peabody’s in Cleveland, Ohio. He was very excited for this show because he was opening for Chip Tha Ripper, a big name rapper in Cleveland. The show went very well. A lot of friends and family came out to see him have a great time on stage. AtypiCLE recalls: “Some random guy came up on stage and started dancing toward the end of my performance, which was pretty interesting to say the least. At the end of my performance, people came up to me asking me for copies of my mixtape.”
AtypiCLE has described his music as atypical because he feels he’s nothing like the rappers you hear on the radio. Most of them talk about doing drugs, and sleeping with girls. AtypiCLE raps about a variety of things but does not rap about doing drugs, having sex, or how much money he has. Additionally, his songs contain clean lyrics, which is something that’s uncommon in the rap game. If you listen to “Atyp1CLE”, one of his older songs, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
What are you working on now? When he writes lyrics, AtypiCLE likes to mix it up. He reflect in some songs. For instance, in the song “Frozen”, he reflects on how cold the world is and how bad things happen to good people. In “What’s Not to Like”, he talks about how he’s making moves musically but people still aren’t really paying attention or giving the props that he feels he deserves. But songs like “Turn Me Up Some”, “Living Legends”, and “Set It Off” are songs that I’d describe as “feel good” songs. These songs are more up-tempo, and he uses them to show off my word play, punch lines. These songs are AtypiCLE’s typical picks during gigs.
This August, AtypiCLE released his latest mixtape, “Make My Mark”, and he’ll most likely be promoting that until the end of December before embarking on his next project. He’s been doing several collaborations with other artists, those works are in the making as well. Soon he hopes to put out a new free-verse to an instrumental of a song that’s popular right now.
I asked AtypiCLE about his stance on online music sales and promotions, if he feels it’s been a benefit to him personally, since it’s somewhat of a controversial topic. He had a very wise and honest answer for me; “Yes, to some extent. Some services are helpful, but I think that networking is the best way that an artist can expand his or her audience. I always stay away from promotion that simply increases numbers, because doing that won’t expand your audience. I realized early on that it’s up to you to promote yourself. You have to promote yourself and work to get your music heard.”
AtypiCLE is not only busy recording and performing, but is a college student as well. He feels that his education will help him accomplish his future goals outside of his rap career. He likes the creative outlet that rapping provides for when he’s feeling stressed or can’t sleep. His writing is somewhat therapeutic. AtypiCLE had this to say about juggling a personal life, recording career and and staying on top of his schoolwork:
“Yes, extremely challenging. I’m a student at the University of Cincinnati, studying Aerospace Engineering. I’m also involved in different organizations on campus, so I find myself always working on homework, projects, or attending some type of event, so my free time is very limited. I do my best to keep track of deadlines and write verses whenever I can. If I’m at school, I record on my Shure USB mic. But if I’m at home, and I’ve got some money, I’ll hit up my friend, Toyia’s studio and get tracks recorded there, which is always fun.”
Some of AtypiCLE’s current inspiration comes from artists like Eminem, he continues; “Eminem is a huge musical inspiration especially after hearing his story. He had to overcome so many obstacles from poverty to discrimination and a bunch of other factors, but he never gave up on his dreams. J. Cole is another musical inspiration because he went to college, and as a college student, I feel that I can relate to him lyrically and personally. I respect him for the fact that he has a college degree, and at the same time is having a very successful career as a rapper. MGK is also an inspiration. He’s a kid from Cleveland, and he literally wears his passion for Cleveland on his sleeve. He had a rough upbringing, and was practically living on the street, but with the help of his friends and his willingness to be somebody, he was able to rise to fame and become a fan of millions.” When I asked if he could perform anywhere with anyone, he loved the idea of Performing with MGK in Cleveland.
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February 27, 2014 Music