Young Atlas‘ ‘No Set Back 4′ had live performances from artists who well, held nothing back. On and off stage, selected musicians gave their all to the audience. Their lyrical content explored past experiences, life lessons, hard work, light-hearted moments, and how they stay dedicated to the check. But the most notable aspect of the artists’ performance was their ability to stay engaged with the crowd. Spectators from all over took flicks, ordered beverages from the bar, and blew off some steam through a hookah or popular dance move.
The room’s decor upheld a tropical-like, opulent theme. Not to mention, the venue’s wall showcased abstract art. From a distance, four neon signs also said, “love.” D.J.’s played nothing but the most popular records, making sure that the tracks kept everyone in the groove. To put it otherwise, ‘No Set Back 4’ was an event that allowed everyone to be their most authentic self. This night, in particular, let the attendees live in the moment and discard all prior worries.
During ‘No Set Back 4’, I was able to interview three musicians that put in work, around the clock: Rize, Qgotdajuice, and SooVegaz. Similarly, they encourage aspiring artists to be themselves. “Find that inspiration in yourself,” SooVegaz adds, “Stay true to who you are.”
Brooklyn-native, Rize considers himself an all-around craftsman and wordsmith. But the pen really bleeds when scribing his everyday grind, his perspective on America, inner feelings, and hardships. Speaking of which, Rize stays on the grind by looking at the money he has. Afterward, he sets a goal on how to make more. Like his song, “Transition” puts it best, Rize went from being the ‘chord’ to being the ‘plug.’ The Blue Dreamz rapper was always involved with music growing up, but he really took it seriously as time passed on. Since then, Rize’s music has gained numerous traction from those across the world due to its relatability and influential nature. To sum up his sound, Rize says, “It’s [his music] loaded with passion, different feelings, and cool vibes.” When he’s on stage, Rize is a different kind of entity. He’s still him, but he gives you different energies. Just see for yourself one day. I, myself, have witnessed this. However, when Rize is in the studio, he stays to himself. “Usually I’m alone or with a producer,” Rize continues “We speak about different topics or what we’re going to do. Ultimately, we see where our heads are at.” His recent 14 track effort, Blue Dreamz, oscillates between auto-tune and heartfelt rhymes. His songs, “Call Me Back,” and Better Dayz, sees Rize explaining how his mother’s battle with cancer has affected him. His latest album also carries his maturity to the highest degree. Rather than lollygag, Rize opts to utilize time wisely by working hard. After all, “this hard life made me [him] go for more.” He gains inspiration from rappers like Method Man, Common, Kanye West, and Ice Cube. Likewise, Rize believes the critical element of lyricism lies in wit, storytelling, and useful content. What’s next for the musician is the world. “I’m coming for it,” he adds. He suggests you listen to his songs, “Chicken” and “Collect” when on the road. A line of his that resonates goes, “Families such a tricky word. Your own blood be the ones that’ll do you worse. They put you second cause they don’t wanna put you first. Expecting the check but ain’t put in no work. And then they wonder why I’m such a loner. I use to hoop every day, high smoke marijuana. Addicted to Adderall, alcohol. I guess that’s the result of losing your mom.”
His bridge, “If that bitch can’t swim, then that bitch gonna drown,” stuck to the listener’s cerebral cortexes throughout the night. A woman of the upper class even went on to recite it to the rapper after his performance! From these lyrics alone, it’s safe to say that the rapper, Qgotdajuice says what’s on his mind. Likewise, his music encourages others to be themselves and turn-up. “I’m a trapper that likes to rage,” he adds, “If your music doesn’t have energy, then is it really music?” His sound, in the words of Drake’s “We Made It,” gets the people going. It also carries punchlines like “That be Coretta Scott, she believes in my dreams,” as heard in his song “Energy,” Qgotdajuice has been making music forever, but if we’re going by the book, he’s been rapping since the 6th grade. “Everything just came together,” Qgotdajuice says. Before hopping on stage, the “Swim” emcee likes to smoke a spliff and take Jager bomb shots. This ritual also copies the one he does at the studio. When it comes to lyricism, Qgotdajuice believes thinking before one writes is essential. In his case, he freestyles. He stays motivated by remembering the goal at hand. Speaking of “Swim,” Qgotdajuice can backstroke when diving in the pool. When it comes to influences, he lists himself and Jay-Z. Yet Qgotthejuice would love to collaborate with ASAP Ferg. To date, he has a five-track effort called The Juice Tape. Moving forward, Qgotdajuice is coming for everything! His advice to those who aspire to rap is: Don’t make a plan B. “Don’t quit,” he says.
New Jersey’s very own, SooVegaz, “throws his heart in these beats and puts it all on the line,” as mentioned in his song, “G.S. Mode.” If you don’t believe me, peep the ankh on his throat. An ankh resembles “life,” and SooVegaz mostly uses his soft, bouncy vocality and hard raps to express himself in verses, so it’s safe to say that music means everything to the artist. Speaking of which, SooVegaz resonates with this line, “This [Music] is all I got, and I won’t stop.” Between lyrics, SooVegaz is reflective. He often talks about women that (sort of) resemble “Lisa Raye,” accomplishments, luxurious lifestyle, riding for his homies/loved ones, and the obstacles he had to hurdle, which, in turn, got him to where he is today. SoVegaz’s music journey came naturally. There were no plans whatsoever; it just happened. He describes his sound as vibrant and versatile, “Every song is relatable,” SooVegaz adds, “My music encourages others to stick to their laws and to be themselves.” God inspires the rapper, along with his son and his squad. In terms of New Jersian’s supporting one another, SooVegaz believes that they do. His advice to those who aspire to be rappers is to stay disciplined, “Get rid of the doubt. Keep your eyes open,” he adds. Recently, SooVegaz dropped a 5-track effort called A.D.H.D. and a song called “Turned Table.” SooVegaz performs this song last because he wants others to know who he truly is. “Turned Table” follows the saying, “turn the tables.”
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