Where did the name ADUM⁷ from? What does it represent about you?
After losing Majesty last fall I just needed to reset everything about my past… Majesty was my little brother and 1 of the greatest MCs this Tri-State area has ever seen. I decided to really analyze everything about my journey in music to date and envision how I wanted to be remembered moving forward. I started to think a lot about how much veganism and spirituality play into all aspects of my everyday life. I thought a lot about the roots and origin of the Universe as well and that lead me to feel like I need to start over — Just like when God creates man in his image in Genesis. I chose the name adam because Adam’s new journey, as man, is truly a dream of the creator. I took on the name ADUM⁷ to represent this start / career reset …but with a LOT more wisdom… Adam fell to the ills of being a bit naive and misled in Genesis. The exponent “7” in my name represents the possession of more knowledge now to the “God power” or to the “God” exponent of 7. I have had quite a few names as an indie artist. Many of my peers and friends know me as RAVAGE, MeccaGodZilla or RYU BLACK from music…but the only name that I will use moving forward is ADUM⁷ which means:
A Dream Universally Manifested to the God power.
I really just wanted to leave the past completely alone and have no fear in starting completely over. Career suicide some might think…but it is freedom for me 😉
Your latest project ‘起死回生’ does not feature any samples, what approach did you have when constructing the project?
The latest album title ‘起死回生’ also known as Kishikaisei was an album, from start to finish, that represented all of the energy I had to process after breaking up with a woman I’d been with for 5 years. It was insanely difficult processing not being with this person because of the amount of sacrifice and mentorship I put into helping her grow as an artist and music producer. With that said, there was no way I could sample someone else’s music and adapt as my own in order to be fully self expressed producing this type of project. 10 months prior to producing this album, I taught myself how to play chords… like I hear or feel vibes from within and instead of listening to hours of vinyl to try and find something I would just bust out the piano and play exactly what I’m feeling. It helps keep the creative energy very high while activating and immediately translating these vibrations into music production.
To explain further, it’s like “I’m mad” so am I gonna go through countless samples to try and find something dark OR am I gonna dark and black out on piano and create right then and there.. …that was my approach…what could I do as a producer to relay the creative energy from within as fast as humanly possible without losing inspiration.
You have toured in Japan a few times already, how did that come about? What is the most memorable experience you had while there?
I was lucky and toured Japan 7 times now. In 2005 while living here in New York City, the state of rap music was just in a very weird space for me. I got a little burnt out from the energy here in NY. I saved a little money and decided to reset…like completely go somewhere where I cannot speak the language, and just don’t really know the culture like that. After seeing Bill Murray’s escapades in the 2003 film “Lost In Translation” I really liked that both him and Scarlett Johansson’s character were like invisible in Tokyo. They literally could just venture out into the city and disappear while being engulfed at the same time. They also experienced what I like to call “Disney World” for adults –An insane amount of fun for like no reason. Again, NY was just insane for me back in 2005… I went through a lot related to rap music and the personalities associated with NYC’s underground Hip-Hop scene. It was draining and like way too many energy vampires around.
My most memorable experience was my visit after climbing Mt. Fuji during the summer of 2009. While on the way up and seeing countless shooting stars and what seemed thousands of star clusters, I declared that I would return to Japan to tour and model while being super self made out there. That following January, I moved to Japan to live out all of what I declared (and eventually wrote down in my vision notebook) came to pass. I worked with A|X, NIKE, Jazzy Sport and more rapping and producing music while modeling for one of Japan’s illest streetwear brands (it’s a play on words named after one of A Tribe Called Quest’s songs…) “Applebum.” I think overall, what was most memorable is how serious I was and how serious Japan took me. Whatever I wanted to do while in that country, I was able to do. It was insanely fulfilling but also super humbling to be validated in the city of Tokyo and beyond. There was a LOT of love out there and I made some dope music with some amazing artists!
What was touring in Japan like ? What is the biggest difference you noticed about how music is received by the people?
Touring in Japan is amazing. I got in on the street level and was able to engage with both Japan’s underground and top level, A-list artists. I got lucky to be super honest. When the people found out I was touring Japan as an independent artist without the help of a record label or being in Japan because of military and rapping as a side hustle..the people were insanely giving. It feels like home out there and is very hard to leave each time.
What I LOVE the most are 2 things….
No one is out to really look for trouble. The people work SO hard, super long hours during the week…so when people step out to hit a show..EVERYONE wants to chill and just vibe out. No matter the style..if you can “entertain” well on stage the fans get into it cuz they really wanna cut loose and you’ll get TONS of hugs, high fives and offers to go drink once you’re done. I love those vibes. Haha a little different from NYC for sure..
Secondly, the sound in the clubs whether it is a tiny little lounge or an actual club that can hold 500 +capacity…the SOUND is always on point. In NY, sometimes you have a venue that doesn’t give a damn about how the artists sound on stage and the music just sonically sounds bad! The MC’s mic is too loud or too low and the sound man doesn’t care to really make adjustments to really help amplify the vibes or the sound system is kind of garbage. In Japan, every place I’ve gone too has impeccable sound. I headlined this one show during my last tour, 300+ people came out… the soundcheck was a lot of fun…during the live show the sound man was so on point and my mic was just CLEAR AF… it was powerful to body that stage spitting in Japanese too and really hearing my words resonate with the fans in their native language.. Had that club on TILT! The sound man was right there and I could hear a lil extra reverb added to my mic.. Made me sound like God. I think it’s instilled in the Japanese culture to go the extra mile no matter what and really “serve” the people…or like provide the best service possible while you’re actually working! That attitude always makes for great shows when everyone involved gives 110% regardless if they are sick or not feeling good. Japan is very much like that. The people show up and DELIVER.. ALWAYS! It’s such a remarkable, remarkable feeling to rock shows out there. Very validating!
You recently attended Shinnecock Indian Nation Pow Wow, what was the most inspirational part of the experience ? How do you plan on channeling that inspiration into your daily practice?
The thing that resonated the most was the resilience of the people regarding their history and messaging. The Nation knew exactly who they are and who came before them and shouted out a many of their ancestors while showing love and upliftment to the youth that are on the come up. I loved the warrior dances and the costumes.
I plan to study more of my native roots, Haiti and Barbados and start incorporating more of Haitian kompa and Bajan calypso sounds into future production. I’m not sure how far I’ll go with the actual sounds just yet. Additionally, regarding Haitian history, I want to channel the resilience of the Haitian people and parallel that with the resilience of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and many of the other tribes that were killed off and really put that energy in the music. The energy to really stick to truth, light, authenticity and resilience…the ideal to just not fold my creative hand to sound like what’s popular, just to be popular and gain prestige. I love the true authenticity in all artforms and want to be unyielding with my creativity and presentation of such. My sounds may evolve but ima be underground forever..that’s where I come from.
Can you share with us about your company Manafest Vision Media? Where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
MANAFEST VISION MEDIA LLC. is my indie Hip-Hop label that I use to put out and manage all the rights to my music. I keep the label small as I really just want to make sure all of the releases that come out are insanely unique and authentic to the artist I decide to distribute for. It’s a way for me to be fully self expressed as an artist and not have to conform to the standards of what a label and it’s board thinks is good. I just love creating, with no restrictions and decided that creating my own label was important to be fully self expressed.
In the next 5 years I do see MANAFEST VISION having 10,000+ hardcore fans that are supportive of our unorthodox releases. I look forward to putting out a lot more music.
You recently stated “To my musician fam… PLEASE stop making template music!” What advice would you give to an artist trying to find themselves and develop a sound that is true to them?
Mmmmmm… it’s always been important for me to try and learn and understand what goes into commercial and conventional art. Before having equipment to produce music I would literally study hours upon hours of Timbaland, J Dilla and RZA beats. I would listen and try my best hear what it is they are doing or try to figure out what was sampled and just study. By the time I got my own equipment, I had a notebook full of what I wanted to sample and a general idea of how I wanted to create my drums to stand out.
I think art/music is a LOT more interesting when each creative brings their unique flavor to the arena. I really don’t like when I hear music and I can identify exactly who the artist”s influence is… it’s like jeez, I might as well just listen to the original artists cuz u straight bit and duplicated the style. When I hear electronic music and I know EXACTLY what’s gonna happen after the drop… it’s kind of mmmmm.. I just get a lil bored lol. If 50 artists do the same exact thing after the beat drops.. It’s just seriously boring. Please try to do something slightly different / original so that art is way more art and way less a templatized formula. If that’s the case motherfucking robots will have our heads soon enough cuz artificial intelligence is on the come up and with the right programming would produce shit faster than we can blink. Blink… album done…template style.
Let’s try to be less robotic and really beast out with originality already. Staying in this particular arena of thought, I cannot deny that Kobe is great…but .. Michael Jordan was THAT NINJA..he’s the original.. It’s just a different type of respect. It’s cool that people can copy but I respect the architects a lot more… Allen Iverson was heavily influenced by MJ and he admits it..but AI’s game was like no other…he was insanely different from Mike and he showed mike how and why when Mike tried to D him up… we all saw that! LOL! Art is a lot more fun when people are original. Yes… Be influenced but put your own spin on things to really be your own person. Be more like Iverson and less like Kobe.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee
Have you ever studied Martial Arts? Where does your discipline come from?
Yes Indeed. Both my father and uncle are Kyokushin students. I studied in downtown Brooklyn at 1 of the very first Kyokushin schools ever created in NYC. My sensei was straight from Japan and barely spoke english. He was amazing. My father and uncle’s sensei moved on to found Seido Karate. That style is an evolved version of what Kyokushin is.
My discipline truly comes from, still at this age, honoring my parents and the lessons they instilled in me as a young child… just to always do the right thing and to do right by people. Regardless of the hearsay, hate, opposition etc… you won’t catch me feeding into negativity with other artists and people in my arena cuz the vision and the mission are just that much greater. I’ve had way too many interdimensional experiences to be led astray into harming others, harming my body or putting what I care about most in harm’s way.
How do you apply the philosophies of martial arts into your music?
Mmmmm.. My favorite ideal really comes from Bruce Lee. To be fully self expressed at all times. He also says “don’t think …feeeeeeel… it’s like a finger pointing away to the moon… don’t concentrate on the finger or you’ll miss all that heavenly glory.” To be that takes a ton of preparation and practice. Sometimes I practice my scales and chords but I actually cannot produce. But i get the practice in. When that feeling hits me…to where my spirit is really ready to creatively dump music out of me.. I have to not answer the phone or emails in order to get the energy out. It is a “feeeeeeel”ing ! haha. I’m a lil bit weird in that regard. When I feel it. I have to not do anything but produce for 3 days straight or longer..sometimes it’s weeks and i have a volume of very unique, sounds. When I binge produce sometimes I knock out 30 joints and a 1/3 of those are perfect for selling or an album. The others might be great as well but it’s creative energy..just raw.. Maybe too abstract for the constructs of what people will understand… maybe i should put some of that stuff out one day .. we shall see!
Do you have a ritual or routine before you start creating?
Mmmm.. kinda like what i share previously.. I have to get my daily practice in. I also have to listen. I listen to what the producers both indie and top producers are doing today. Whoever is pushing the envelope…Pharrell always does that.. I gravitate to and really study…i take mental notes of what I like and just take it all in. But this process takes a little while.. I wish i could be more mechanical but i’m not. Whenever my music production bug is low, usually my pen for writing raps is very high or my pencil for drawing/illustrating is high.. So i kind of flip flop between the arts. I am working on being a LOT more intentional with music production though because I really wanna focus on getting better and crank out a lot more volume.
Travel helps..so I do try to go on trips outta the US to get sun and be in nature. While in NY I go outdoors and walk a LOT and just observe and be quiet.. Taking everything in. The creative bug in me gets really high to where I’ll tell my girl, you I can’t wait to sit down and produce!! Then usually in another day or 2 it’s feverishly high..to where I’ll tell her like yo.. Ima go in so just know i’m on the keyboard if i’m a little quiet/ not texting. And boom … i’ll have 15-20 bangers done in a few days. Again i just have to get a lil more mechanical so that I can stay HOT and just consistently keep knocking out heatrocks.
Can you tell us an artist in any genre of music that ADUM⁷ would like to produce an entire project for and why?
Wow. Really great question… Mmmmmmm I would love to work with the Jpop star Jasmine, and lock in with my Kreative Kaiju production team to just create 1-2 new projects for her of really cutting edge music that Japan may not be ready for and may not think she’s capable of creating. I would love to take on the challenge of pushing my team to evolve as well as pushing Jasmine to evolve. To me she can totally be like the Rihanna of Tokyo.. After hearing her sing.. I felt like she could be that. Her image is less bad girl tho..but she have a really dope style that can easily have that type of presence and impact on culture there the way Rihanna does here!
How bout I’d also love to produce for BJORK!!!!! Would love to lock in and create with her!!!!!! The way she creates space in her compositions is next level..she sets you up to immerse yourself in the experience as a listener.. I’d love to produce for her !
Can you tell us an artist that people would be surprised you would want to work with and the reasons being?
Haha great question. Mmmmm there are quite a few women that produce these days. One that sticks out to me however is Ruby Ibarra. She put out the shout to send her beats.. So i revisited some of her old work and saw some videos I haven’t seen of hers yet. She’s on the MPC sampling and making her own beats and then rapping to them on youtube. Her production skills are crazy on the low low.. But like I knew of her cuz her lyricism, rap and spoken word abilities were nasty. Had no idea she can make beats too..so that was refreshing. .maybe a short 3 song EP would be fun.. Maybe we co produce the beats and rap on it. Haha.. in an ideal situation….
Oh! How bout I think Cardi B is amazing.. Would LOVE to produce music for her!
What is your equipment setup consist of today ? Can you tell us what you like about it compared to other products that used in the past?
I finally got my hands on a macbook pro! To date.. I use Akai’s MPK 49 and MPK Mini in conjunction with either Propellerhead’s Reason software or Ableton software. At home.. I use the MPK 49 because it’s a full size keyboard…but when out and about.. I love that I can use Ableton or Reason on the laptop without a keyboard at all or I can bring my MPK Mini, which is super portable, if I wanna play keys.
I used to have a recording studio out where I lived..complete with some really dope gear but now I work from home and don’t need much to get busy!
Any last words you would like to share?
Huge thanks for the opportunity to share and build. I appreciate all you do for the Hip-Hop community. To the readers and fans … thanks so much for reading this far. Please follow me on IG or my other sites below. Lastly… life is short… make sure you honor all of your aspirations if you can…cuz we have no guarantees of what the next ride will be like once we leave this human body behind… Make sure you honor some or all of your aspirations.. Try not to have what ifs. Peace and love yall.