Trey: Could you tell the Sphere audience a little bit about who you are?
Sojourn: I am an emcee/beat maker/producer/drummer/husband /father who goes by the name Sojourn… I have been emceeing for well… quite some time – hopefully it will be evident when you hear my work!
Trey: You’ve been with a handful of crews in your career. How did you get your start in hip hop and what attracted you to this style of underground hip hop?
Sojourn: I would say that I got started in hip hop as a beatbox really for other emcees in my elementary school. Then, I wanted to have a voice myself so I started writing rhymes. I also used to dance (still do on occasion). But over the years I have just always linked up with like minds at the time who cared about the art. I’m into different styles of hip hop overall but I think what’s always attracted me to this particular segment/style of underground hip hop was the attention to creativity and independence shown in the music and culture. It’s like other forms of music/art; the underground tends to be the most pure, raw, creative form.
Trey: Let’s talk about Sojournalism. What was the idea behind the album and why did it take you so long to put out a solo project?
Sojourn: Well, the idea was just originally to let people in a bit more, like to really present almost journal entries/thoughts as songs but it turned into more than that over the process of taking it from an EP to a full length album. I have been a part of crews for most of my life as an emcee. I’ve never been a solo artist until now. So I went through a tremendous growing process over the 3 years making this album. I went from just being concerned that I was addressing the concept and making my one verse dope to “wow, am I going to be able to carry an entire album of full songs?” I was working on it when my son was born, I had lost my job, my crew Future Shock was pretty much done (at the time) and I was still figuring out how to communicate via songwriting. There’s a lot that was written during this whole time that no one will ever hear, since I was at different stages of growth and learning what to share and what to keep to myself in terms of personal struggles and what not. Above all, I wanted Sojournalism to be an honest piece of work that captures some of the seasons of a man. I believe it has.
Trey: How has it been working with the Hip Hop is Music label?
Sojourn: It’s been a great experience, stress free, very open, and collaborative. It’s interesting when you work closely with an artist/label head. There is definitely a balance you learn is at work. But I think Braille has been great at being transparent with me and everybody else (on the label) as far as what’s going on and where he was at and what he felt God was doing with Hip Hop Is Music.
Trey: How would you describe the sound on Sojournalism and are there any tracks that speak to you in a significant way?
Sojourn: I would describe the sound as a cohesive, solid, almost golden-era sounding type of hip hop album. Grown folk, thinking man’s hip hop – in particular, songs that speak to me significantly are Civil War, Definitely Special (Perfect Fit), All Things Considered, mostly because of the fact they are more personal songs. But if you were to ask me next week, the answers may be different based on what I was feeling at the time!
Trey: Could you tell the Sphere audience how your spiritual walk influences the music you make?
Sojourn: I think that my spiritual walk directly informs the music I make in that it influences me to be more open about the experiences we have and struggles we all face on a human level. I try to write about what I know or have experienced and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Christ is real and that God’s grace goes above and beyond human comprehension.
Trey: What’s currently on your schedule in the near future? Will there be any tours, local shows, etc.?
Sojourn: I am open to touring but realistically right now I will most likely be doing spot dates and short runs here and there. I have a few spot dates in the works with some friends and am always trying to book local shows. So if you’re in the San Diego area, I will be around! Other than that, the plans are to just continue making quality music (that I like) that’s creative, honest, and dope.
Sojournalism: The Summer Articles is out now. Stream on Spotify.