The Creative Process of Five Steez


When people ask me about my creative process, it’s usually hard to describe. My routine answer is that “it depends”. You may ask, “On what?” And that is where the rabbit hole begins. I’ve written songs in two hours (‘Yard Nigga Rap'), a couple weeks, and even many months by writing the verses, or the hook, whenever inspired. I don’t like to rush my music, but I have no problem doing a verse or complete song spontaneously. It’s just that the end result could vary. Songs like ‘Untold Stories’ and ‘Slaving on the Plantation’ weren’t written in one sitting. In fact, ‘Untold Stories’ began from the first verse I wrote in 2008. Nomad Carlos, who I imagined would continue the narrative, opted not to get on the track so I wrote the other verses and the hook over time and completed it in 2010.

My writing process is still just as varied on my latest EP, ‘These Kingston Times’, as it was on ‘War for Peace’, which was released in August 2012. Some of these songs were written in one sitting and others took weeks or months as I only wrote for them when moved to do so, and I even wrote verses and hooks that I eventually discarded.

What I have changed in my approach is the recording process. Most of ‘War for Peace’ was recorded from late 2009 and 2011 at my home and Nomad Carlos’ house. At home, I would be my own recording engineer, which is something I’m very much used to doing. I even mixed the songs on ‘War for Peace’ except for ‘Blazing’ (recorded and mixed by Kabaka Pyramid) and ‘Growing Pains’ (recorded and mixed by David ‘Dawit’ Kennedy’).

For ‘These Kingston Times’, I had been recording since March 2014 at the revamped Gambling House Recording Studio, which is now under new management, of which I am part. Stephen Bravo – one of my partners in the studio and my DJ – has been the recording engineer for all of the sessions (and now that I think about it, the first producer that ever gave me a beat about a decade ago). It has been a new energy when I’m in the booth because of the new environment and team around, and that is always welcome.

Production wise, I always aim to pick dope beats. It is that simple. When I first conceived the concept of ‘War for Peace’, along with its title, I knew it would have been my first real original project to be marketed to the world, hence, I chose my two favourite local producers, Damien and Inztinkz, to handle just over half the production. Since releasing the album, dozens of producers from all over the world have reached out and flooded me with hundreds of beats. So, I was able to curate beats from a wide selection that I felt matched what I believed ‘These Kingston Times’ should sound like. In the end, beats from Damien and Inztinkz did not make this particular EP. And finally, Bravo, who would have been absent from ‘War for Peace’ if it were not for his co-producer credit with Dahj on ‘Rebel Music’, has a track on ‘These Kingston Times’.

While there is so much more I could share, I hope this provides some insight into my creative process in the event you were wondering. Who knows how it will change or evolve? We’ll see. I just intend to always make enjoyable Hip Hop music worthy of listening for years to come. I sincerely hope you feel it as much as I do.

Last modified on Thursday, 03 March 2016 05:21