North Carolina’s TheDeeepEnd has had eyes and ears on him for a minute, I personally was introduced to him through his guest verse on a P.A.T Junior project. Finally, he released his solo EP “Think Good Thoughts” last month, eight tracks deep, is his current mission statement, produced by himself as well. I got a chance to sit down with TheDeeepEnd, to talk about the process of making the project, the inspiration behind and what’s to come for the North Carolina native.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who don’t know who is theDeeepEnd?
TheDeeepEnd: I’m really just a regular guy who loves music and connecting with people. theDeeepEnd and Malcolm are really interchangeable, it’s just crazy I’ve been able to face so many fears and inspire people while finding myself as an artist. I’m super in love with music, I just get jaded sometimes being an artist and dealing with the politics and over-saturation. I’m also an anime lover, 2k monster and avid reader.
DEHH: Tell me a bit on how you got started in hip-hop?
TheDeeepEnd: I originally started writing poetry around 2009 my senior year of high school, but I always had a burning desire to rap and possibly produce. My older cousin used to be on a hip-hop based radio show at NC State and when he would come home for holidays he would always try and get me to freestyle with him. I would always be too scared but one day I took him up on his offer and it really felt like the best release of emotion ever. I was supposed to do a mixtape with my homies in college and it never materialized, but I got a lot of freestyle work in during those days. Everything became real when I heard The Warm Up. I couldn’t sleep one night and I said I’d finally give J. Cole a chance. Listening to the story and the beat on Can I Live and realizing that this guy was from N.C. really gave me the push I needed. A lot of times we think things are impossible until we see someone from a similar walk of life push the limit. I’ll forever be thankful to Cole for that.
DEHH: “Think Good Thoughts” is your debut, how did the idea for it come about?
TheDeeepEnd: From depression, heartbreak, sickness, loneliness and being fed up with my current circumstances. I went through a really bad break-up, got fired from my job, started dealing with some health issues and just felt like a lot of things weren’t going my way. I felt distant from God, from my family and from myself. I picked up a book by James Allen called As A Man Thinketh, that basically spoke about how thoughts become things. I was in a super dark place, but I knew I was powerful enough to dig my way out and this became my mantra. It’s really the only reason I’m alive and it’s always been inside of me even before I realized it. When my mom died when I was 16 I really didn’t cry much, because I wanted to be a rock for my aunt and cousin, and also because I just found a way to focus on the love she did give me and all the good things that were still happening around me. When I started coming up with a title for the project I knew immediately what I would call it. If my time on earth is ever cut short I’ve at least given the people I care about a piece of me and a formula to cutting through the darkness.
DEHH: I didn’t see this coming when I first heard the project, but you produced the entire thing, what equipment do you use and what inspires your sound?
TheDeeepEnd: Like I said earlier, I’ve always loved just listening to music. I come from a big gaming background and when I was younger before the internet was booming like it is now, I used to leave games like Chrono Cross on their map screens just to listen to the soundtracks. When I would get in trouble and losing my gaming privileges, I would always just play this little Casio keyboard my mom had from when she was a kid. I wasn’t making anything extravagant on it, but it allowed me to explore myself through music. My uncle used to sing and play the keys so I would always watch him or my cousin play stuff on the full-size keyboard and it inspired me. It’s just crazy how music can effect you even when it doesn’t have lyrics attached. I tried my hand at making beat with FL studios around 2010, but it was mad hard and I got frustrated and quit. I picked up the Maschine that a close friend gave me (shoutout to Suggs), in 2014 and just taught myself how to do everything. The Machine was super natural, because I watched my brother and engineer, Arthur Adams, make beats on it all the time. I actually made my first beat with him on my first project 13 Feet Deep in 2013. My sound is really just inspired by whatever God allows to come out of me. I have like base techniques I use, but everything is usually just organic and free-flowing. I don’t even know how to describe my sound, but I felt like it was important to produce the whole project to make a space for my sound and to solidify the fact that I’m not only a rapper, but a producer.
DEHH: You have quite the network out in North Carolina but chose to handle the brunt of the vocal duties, why is that?
TheDeeepEnd: To be blunt, I’m a loner. Well I definitely was during Think Good Thoughts. I was in a groove locked in with Brian Kidd and Arthur every Friday and it just felt like I was free to be me just working with them. My production style can be eccentric and sometimes it’s not easy to find artists that organically fit into the space. I hate forcing anything when it comes to music. I had a song with RJ Hatton doing background vocals that I love, but it didn’t make the cut. He’s a fire singer that’s apart of P.A.T. Junior’s Be Absolute brand. I’ve been working with a lot of my homies post-TGT though, so you’ll get more feature-laden work in the future.
DEHH: When people are finished listening to “Think Good Thoughts” what do you want them to walk away with?
TheDeeepEnd: That nobody is perfect and everyone has sins and demons. That just because, you’re not perfect doesn’t mean you don’t deserve salvation, love, happiness, peace, financial success, etc. I think The Formula is my message to the people on how to get out of the darkness, because I’ve truly had to let go of deadweight to elevate. I also just want people to have fun and not be as serious as I am. I’m super analytical and I think sometimes that can be a detriment, but learning control and how to think good thoughts has been a great way to correct my course when things get out of hand. I think their are 2 parts to the project. The first half that speaks more to the fun side, in terms of the production and style and the second half after Katana that gets darker and gives more insight on my personal life.
DEHH: Obviously North Carolina has some legends in hip-hop with Little Brother, Rapsody and others, but there seems to be a surge right now with you guys hosting festivals, opening for premier artists and more. What does NC bring to the hip-hop table and where do you see NC hip-hop being in the next couple years?
TheDeeepEnd: The sky really is the limit for North Carolina. I could name drop a plethora of talented artists out of the area from so many different genres. I think the most beautiful thing that I’ve witnessed from living in the Raleigh-Durham area is the unity and support we’ve been able to show for each other. I worked hard to build and attract the network I have, but it all came by being genuine and supportive. It’s a lot of love out here, even people that appear to be ahead of you don’t mind reaching back and giving advice and support. I wouldn’t have made it this far without all doors opened by God and other artists, promoters around here. I think as long as we can keep working together North Carolina will blow up. All that trying to be a king and the first to make it does nothing but divide and conquer, because there’s enough for us to all eat. We could really be the next Atlanta in terms of a cultural movement from a state or city.
DEHH: You dropped your project at the latter end of 2017, what can we expect from you in 2018? (I’m serious if I don’t have a full-length from you next year I’ll find you).
TheDeeepEnd: Bro, to be honest I’m a hoarder when it comes to music. I could technically drop another project next month if we just went by catalog. TGT was done in May and while I’ve taken occasional breaks, I’m always working. It felt good to prove to myself that I could release a project the right way. Most people don’t even know I had an initial project in 2013. Now that the floodgates are open, I think we’ll be enjoying this ride for a while. This is only the beginning and I have so much work to do, but you can definitely expect more music from me in 2018. I wouldn’t want to be on your bad side haha.