Features, Interviews

First Day Feature: Driscoe talks his unique style of music, mental health and more

Baltimore native Driscoe is a breath of fresh air. Using upbeat lyrics to cope with bipolar disorder, he’s been writing music since the age of 15. The 22-year-old musician credits hip hop music with saving his life, and even named his record label (Racing Thought Records) after symptoms of his diagnosis. In a mental hospital at the early age of 15, Driscoe reflects back on his hospitalization through some of his music. Music was not only a part of his recovery but was also a part of his sickness: “Battling psychosis, I thought that lyrics in some of my favorite artists songs were speaking about me.” 1DF had the chance to chop it up with Driscoe about mental health, being a “vibes” artist who can actually rap, the Baltimore scene, and much more.

Take me through how music has been a savior for you of sorts:

Music helped get me through my time at the hospital. It was my coping skill. It helped me get through my day and through some of the roughest times of my life. Writing lyrics is by far the biggest tool that I used and continue to use to help others. I’m hoping that my music can help people realize that they are not alone.

Dope. I feel like you just answered my next question, but I’m gonna ask it anyway: Which part of the creative process (writing, recording, performing, etc) is most therapeutic for you, and why?

Writing is the most therapeutic on a literal level. Writing was my therapy and always will be. I can put on a beat and just write and by the time I’m done writing I feel 10 times better. That right there is the definition of effective therapy.

Periodic binges and borderline abuse of substances has always had a symbiotic relationship with my own anxiety and depression. I would often numb myself, do something foolish, attempt to drown out the regret/guilt and continue to perpetuate this vicious cycle. Is that the case with you as well?

My battle isn’t so much with substances as it is with women. I don’t do drugs or drink, but I surely do love women and I have to continue to stay focused on my career so that women do not become a distraction. Lust is the drug that I need to stay away from.

As someone with legitimate, documented mental health struggles, do you think there are people who don’t truly suffer along the same lines and “milk” these various conditions as well as the compassion of others for personal or career gain? Conversely, is that kind of question part of the problem and should we simply be showing compassion for anyone who says they’re “going through it”?

Are There people that milk these conditions? Yes, There always will be. There are also a lot of people that are legitimately sick and need help. A little kindness and empathy goes a long way. It’s not our job to determine whether or not someone is or isn’t milking their conditions. Instead, we should listen without judgement and encourage people not to let their illness hinder them from doing what they want to do in life if possible.

How can we “do better” as a Baltimore scene?

Baltimore’s art scene has grown immensely in the last three to four years. The type of Events that used to be found only in DC are now becoming more prominent in places like Maryland Art Place, FRS, The Lor Store, and The Crown which are all located in Baltimore. I believe that we should just genuinely show more love and support these local businesses that are throwing these awesome events for the community.

Would you rather have your “come up” as an emcee take place during the 90s or now? Explain.

Now, because I feel as though the type of music that I make has a place in 2018 but may not have had a home in the 90’s. That along with the fact that social media has made it easier to get out there independently.

You’re versatile in the sense that you can make music that fits today’s aesthetic but can also really rap. Do you think emceeing will always remain so important to you? How do you plan on using it to separate yourself from the field?

Emceeing will always be important to me because it is a part of hip-hop culture. Without hip-hop culture, my sound wouldn’t even exist. That being said, because I can really rap, I will earn the respect of both casual music fans and hip-hop heads.

I’m a media sponge like many in 2018. And the things I read and watch very much inform my own writing. Have any books or films in particular had a significant influence on your creative process?

So my music is pretty fun and goofy, and the biggest influences for me have to do with comedy and cartoons. Spongebob and Full House references can be found throughout my new music.

Who is your favorite “rapper’s rapper” and who is your favorite “vibes” type artist? Why? Do you borrow from them at all when creating your own content? Explain.

My favorite “Rapper’s Rapper” has to be Eminem. I know it’s a bit cliché being that I’m a white rapper, but I love the way he rhymes multiple words in the same bar and how he utilizes the English Language. There are times when I cypher that I might rhyme a few words together in the same bar, but I try to put my own spin on it. Favorite Vibes artist is 6lack. He’s had two great projects, and the second one really showed his growth.

Desert island album and why:

Sideline Story by J. Cole because it helped me through some of my darkest times and was the first J. Cole project that I listened to all the way through.

2019 goals vs. 5 year goals, Go!

2019: Travel more. Record more. Speak more. Perform more.

In 5 years: Travel more. Record more. Speak more. Perform more. The goals don’t change, the magnitude and scope of the goals will grow and evolve and I look forward to what the future holds.

Break the people off with some choice words and tell them where to find you:

I live by the motto “impact a life in a positive way every day”. You only have one chance to live, so use it for good.

Driscoe’s first single “Lust to Love” was released on a ‘Manic Monday’ in the month of May (Mental Health Awareness Month). He continues to grow as a person and as an artist and plans on using music to promote positivity and joy. Driscoe recently released his second single: “Tonight”.

Follow Driscoe on social media: Instagram | Twitter

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