These days, older terms like "backpack rap" and "college rap" have become interchangeable with markers like "conscious hip-hop" and "alt hip-hop," as ways to attempt to describe and categorize hip-hop that's thoughtful and introspective. While Input's lyrics certainly fit such a designation, his music ultimately appeals to a wide array of listeners.
Taking a different approach to gaining notoriety, Input plays his many of his shows out of state, which has earned him a fan base that reaches far beyond our borders. We recently caught up with the MC and asked him about Fameless Enteratainment, how he comes up with the premise of his songs, his new album, Left for Dead, and how he's making his mark outside of Colorado.
Westword (Nicole Cormier): Tell me a little bit about Input, and the type of hip-hop you create.
Input: I am a product of Denver, CO. From a young age, I sought out a music-driven lifestyle. When I came across hip-hop, I looked no further. With the music I have created and continue to put myself into, it doesn't get any simpler; this is my life. I always connected fully with music and art that directly correlated to my emotions, experiences and desires. So in turn, my basis of creation was just as simple: To create and connect with the same ideals and conceptual motives that made me a fan and follower first.
That is what it really come down to. I will always be a fan first, and an artist second. The specifics in life that motivate and inspire me are the enablers for my music. I pride myself on being able to make music that people, as a whole, can appreciate and relate to, something that makes sense. Without those key ingredients, the music loses personality, along with interest, and if those basic principles are missing, it's hard to gain any ground.
Ww: You founded Fameless Entertainment; who do you have on board, and what do you hope to accomplish?
I: Fameless Entertainment consists of DJ Ear Attent, Satyre, Broken, Reason The Citizen & Language Arts Crew, just to name a few. As a collective, we aim to reach as many listeners and potential fans as we possibly can. With Reason The Citizen & LAC being based in California, it opens a lot of doors for us to travel to their respective areas, and vice versa. As a whole, Fameless Entertainment looks to expand the eyes and ears of music advocates and hip-hop enthusiasts.
Ww: You are definitely a writer. How do you come up with the premises for your tracks?
I: A lot of my ideas and concepts appear at random. I rarely spend time truly sitting and contemplating specifics for my music. I prefer to take an approach of listening to the beat first, and then seeing what feelings and emotions that it draws from me. At that point, the song basically writes itself. But as I've said in the past, the main inspirations for my music are love, loss, whiskey and women. I guess I'm just a simple man, no intricacies or puzzles attached.
Ww: In 2010 you released Lessons Learned with Dope Fiction. What else do you have coming as far as releases go?
I: At the moment, I am currently wrapping up my new album with Broken from Las Vegas. Left For Dead is the title of the album, and it encompasses the idea of being left behind by those you instilled trust in from the beginning. It's a refreshment and kick to the stomach all in one. I must say that this is the most pride I've had in my work to date.
We are also filming the music video for the title track of the album, which I can't release much information on, but it has an amazing treatment, and I cannot wait to release the video to the public. Aside from that record, I am working on little side projects and mixtapes with some of my Fameless Entertainment family. I have a few secret projects that I will be releasing this fall to coincide with some touring throughout the country.
Ww: This year you attended SXSW, you did a Texas tour and you just returned from Albuquerque. What other tours do you have planned, and do you feel you have more success outside of Colorado?
I: I am heading out to San Jose in August, San Diego in September and the East Coast in October. Most of it is planned to run along with Left For Dead and some new projects that I want to tour and expose to these markets and demographics. I definitely do feel that I have more success outside of Colorado, at this point in time.
There seems to be more of an openness to traveling artists, as opposed to local artists; it's just the science of the industry. I've always had a stance of creating a following outside of Denver first, and in turn, the city will start to listen. I've followed that philosophy for five plus years now, and the outcome has been nothing but positive.
Ww: You choose some of the more interesting and diverse beats that I've heard. How do you make those choices?
I: I have always had a certain ear for diversity in the production that I choose. I grew up being adamant about versatility and progression in music. I personally don't set out to find those types of beats; I guess they just find me. I know that a song has potential within the first fifteen seconds of hearing it.
If the melody, drums or bass have that certain something to make my head move and my spine tingle, it's a winner. I've been blessed to have a solid team of producers in my life, so that makes it much easier to bounce ideas back and forth, to ultimately come up with the perfect song and classic album.
Ww: What inspires you?
I: I am inspired by anything and everything that breathes and is alive. I draw inspiration from every nook and cranny in this life. From the gentleman's clubs, to the bartenders, to the bus drivers, to the teachers -- they all have a story to tell. I just see myself as the voice for those stories, and hopefully in the end, it is received in its purest form of honesty, humility and laughter.
Ww: Anything else you want us to know?
I want Denver to pay close attention to myself, my family and my associates. There is a diverse collective of artists in this city that are hungry and ready to take this to the next level. We are confident in what we create and who we are.
There is no question to the talent that lives here. I am ready to make the country and the world know what Denver, CO, is REALLY about. It hasn't been done yet, regardless of what people believe. I have made it my personal responsibility to relay the message to the rest of the world. I will see you all soon.