Here goes another edition of Convo with Cornell. I know all of you have been waiting. I did a little soul searching for some good music and came up with Devine Carama from Lexington, Kentucky. We talked about his first live performance, his immediate goals, and Nas comes up yet again.
What is on your agenda today?
Devine Carama: Prayer, workout, pep talk my two daughters (who start 4th & 5th grade tomorrow), promo for some local events, and find some more avenues to expand my music to. The regular.. lol
Well, I hope this interview expands your music a little more. Did your parents always support your music career?
Devine Carama: Yes and no. They didn’t support it from an artistic or monetary standpoint. My parents are older therefore Hip-Hop isn’t something they think too highly of. However, my parents support me chasing my dreams. So from that standpoint they have definitely had my back.
How did your first live performance go?
Devine Carama: Surprisingly well! lol Ironically, early on my live performances were better than my performances in the studio. When recording I was shackled by pressure, staying in the pocket, and reading my rhymes off the paper. Live performances made me memorize my rhymes which made me more comfortable thus relieving some of the pressure. Also, live sets enable you to convey your message with more passion and conviction.
And what are some of your immediate career goals in the next three years?
Devine Carama: Making a living off music while inspiring the people I touch. Simple. Whether my music is reaching only 10,000 people or a million people I want to reach them in a way that inspires and motivates them to want and do BETTER. And I want to be in a position where I’m able to handle my responsibilities as man through music. I’m a simple guy man. lol
There is nothing wrong with being simple. What makes your music different from others?
Devine Carama: Honesty, I’m like literally 100 percent honest in my music. It really is my diary. I just had a talk with my mom and brother the other day about how my music might be too literal and too honest sometimes! Hahaha! Definitely more balance is something I have to find in presentation, but honesty as far as substance is something I never want to sacrifice and something I think Hip-Hop in generally is sorely missing. I’m not afraid to be uncool, unholy, a contradiction, etc. I just want my music to reflect me. I want people to go through my discography and be able to see my growth not only as an artist but as a man.
Where do you do most of your writing?
Devine Carama: Everywhere man. Lol I might be at work jotting concepts on a napkin, or in the gym or in the car writing rhymes in my iPhone. I write whenever I’m inspired and inspiration can strike at any moment
What is your occupation? (If you do not mind me asking)
Devine Carama: Right now I’m full time music. I made that decision about a year ago. Prior to that, I worked in inventory. I probably will go back this fall just to make the ends meet. I take advantage of more opportunities when I’m full time music, but with 2 kids its tough sometimes and I need that part time job to fill in the gaps of my income that shows and albums sales don’t fill.
What is the favorite track you ever recorded?
Devine Carama: That’s hard to say. But I would have to say “The Populist Pulpit” because it embodies everything I am as a man and as an artist. It’s deep, soulful, lyric heavy, uplifting, yet contradictory. That’s my “go to” piece right there. Lol If No I.D. came to me today and said show me what you got! I’d play him “The Populist Pulpit”.
Tell us about your upcoming project and how it came about?
Devine Carama: Just wanted to pay homage man and give something to my fans that have been supporting me. Nas is the greatest MC of all time in my book and lyrically It Was Written is maybe the greatest album of my generation. I just wanted to shed light on that LP for the younger generation that might be unfamiliar with it and also show my appreciation to the legend Nas for being such a positive influence on myself and the entire culture. Also, my fans deserved another FREE project from me as a “thank you” for all the support they have shown me. Nothing I do is random when it comes to releases so I figured I could just kill 2 birds with one stone. Thus giving you It Was Rewritten featuring the hometown homie 2 Mello who produced the entire project.
What are other great albums of your generation that can compete with It Was Written?
Devine Carama: Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, Blueprint, Stillmatic, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Life after Death and a few others…I just think lyrically It Was Written stood out from all those other albums.
What do you think of Nas’ latest album, Life Is Good?
Devine Carama: I think its a near classic LP. I also think it was a “clutch” album because it was make it or break it time for Nas personally and career wise and he came through in a big way. Not only artistically but record sales. Hip-Hop needed that. We needed that.. A substance and lyric driven album to do well… Nobody has stayed this relevant and consistent for this long. 20 years?! Remarkable…
No one has stayed relevant for twenty years? Have you heard of this rapper name Jay-Z? He is real underground.
Devine Carama: I’ll assume you’re being sarcastic (lol) and yeah I heard of him.. But his major label debut was in 1996 which by my math puts him at 16 years in the game. Nas first major feature (Large Professor’s “Live At The BBQ”) was in 1991 & his first single was released in ’91 and his album dropped ’94. Nobody has been consistently relevant longer than him. Nobody as of this moment. I study this ish man… lol Jay is right behind him tho bro!
Are you a Kentucky fan or Louisville fan?
Devine Carama: Come on man… You serious?! WeAreUK!!!!! Big Blue Nation all the way!! Cats eat Birds yo… lol
Any final thoughts or remarks?
Devine Carama: www.devinecarama.com