WHILE I’M STILL YOUNG… THE TALKING DRUMS

Photo credit: GL Patterson

Most of my fans consider this to be my second album because the mixtape [Stay True] was like an album. “While I’m Still Young” is my first studio album. The “Stay True” release was a mixtape that had all original lyrics with no samples in the music [beat], shouts out to Qing Que, and I didn’t use instrumentals.

I actually started out recording it as an album in the winter of 2005. However, I had a lot of drawbacks. By the time 2006 summer came around it was looking more like my album will never come out. We had not completed the production at the time. Mind you “Stay True” was my first attempt in the studio.

Soon after we released my mixtape, the most unfortunate thing happened; one of the producers left the label and pulled all the beats he made for the mixtape.”

Anyway, eventually, when fall [2006] came around we ceased the opportunity to put it out as a mixtape through Qryptonik Records with Fred E. Fame. Soon after we released my mixtape, the most unfortunate thing happened; one of the producers [who was also an artist with Qryptonik Records] left the label and pulled all the beats he made for the mixtape.

That threw a monkey ranch in my plan. Here I was trying to push my mixtape and now I had to re-record the songs. To keep the project from falling through. I decided to record a whole new mixtape called “P. O. S” [Product of Society] in January of 07, to replace the “Stay True” mixtape which seemed like it was hampered. It seemed at the time that every rapper was coming out with a mixtape or a song called POS. So I dropped that idea.

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That winter a self-proclaimed movie producer by the name of Duke Panache’ emerged from nowhere. He started showing interest in the remaining songs off the “Stay True” mixtape. He put the deal on the table. The plan was simple, we’ll re-record the entire mixtape at our [me and Qing Que] expense and he [the movie producer] would put them on the soundtrack for his upcoming movie.

That plan failed by the summer of 2007. The movie producer fell out with all the producers I worked with. Even some of the artists who were supposed to be on my hooks. I even fell out with Que over that deal because I wasn’t signed to Qryptonik Records and we were having disagreements over percentages of royalties that were supposed to come from the movie soundtrack.

When he fell out with that guy I began to question his judgment. I sensed that he might not have been truthful about the real intent of the deal because nothing was going as plan.”

Duke brought on his own producers to record me and he bought some new beats from one of my other producers who had produced a few songs on the “Stay True” mixtape. When he fell out with that guy I began to question his [the movie producer] judgment. I sensed that he might not have been truthful about the real intent of the deal because nothing was going as plan. I opted out.

That soundtrack deal came with a lot of drama which distracted me from my original goal which was to record my album. But it allowed me to see the nature of the music business first hand as well as the true colors of people I do business with. It was definitely an eye-opening experience that I learned a lot from.

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So, I decided to do my own thing. I went independent. I established my Record label called Ghetto Breed Entertainment and publishing company called Freddy Will Publishing. It was late spring of 2007 when I went back into the studio and started to record “While I’m Still Young – the talking drums”. As I recorded, the new producers whom I’d employ started to complain because they wanted more money.

Eventually, I decided to pay a more experienced producer to record me. That was when I wrote a bunch of new songs. I also took a couple of songs from the “Stay True” and “P.O.S” mixtapes, rewrote the lyrics and revamped the production of the album. That was because some of those songs were special to me since I had written them when I was in Africa.

Being able to go through all my different tribulations like surviving the wars in Africa for example,
and coming out on top of my game with the help of no one but God, I decided to name it “While I’m Still Young”.

I wanted those songs to be heard and remembered. The concept I went with was survival and triumph. I didn’t use any samples but I did crossovers with calypso, reggae, rock n roll and dance music formats to bring a different vibe to my sound.

Being able to go through all my different tribulations like surviving the wars in Africa for example, and coming out on top of my game with the help of no one but God. I decided to name it “While I’m Still Young”. To me, Hip Hop is much like the talking drums of West Africa so I subtitled the album ‘the talking drums’ because it’s Hip Hop and it brings a message to fans from several genres across the world.

I didn’t only survive the wars I also had some tough times on the streets in the Gambia and in New Jersey. At the end of the day, I am who I am because of those experiences. I realized that if I wanted something done I’ll have to do it myself.

Yeah, I’ll take as much help as I can but I never totally rely on anyone because I don’t really know what they’re gonna do after I pay them. This album is very diverse; the lyrics show my state of mind at the time when I was writing it. I’m satisfied with the final product and I have the right people on it. I have distribution and promotion in place. iTunes and ringtones are available now for three (3) singles and it drops on the 23rd of September 2008.

I can assure you if you’re a real Hip Hop head and you want to hear different concepts you will enjoy this album. You’ll expect that an artist simply goes into the studio and records and that will be all to it. Not in my case, I sat through everything, funded and oversaw the entire project. I wrote every song except for parts of the hook on the song “Horse Dance” which S. Davis co-wrote with me.

I handpicked every beat and personally supervised the entire production. Of course, producers like Stephen Stadelman and Eddie Bullen brought my ideas to a real high level. I suggested the arrangements and whatever additional special effects to come up with the final products.

It was a tiring process that took months of stress and frustration. Finally, I’m happy to see it packaged and being distributed through my own label.”

I wrote the credits and thank yous’ personally. And I directed all the photo shoots and sat with graphic designers to create the album cover. I oversaw everything. It was a tiring process that took months of stress and frustration.

Finally, I’m happy to see it packaged and being distributed through my own label. The album contains several singles. I thank God for making it possible for me to do this along with the producers, engineers and the artists who joined forces with me to worked tirelessly and come up with “While I’m Still Young- The talking drums”… *

www.freddywill.com

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