Don't Over Think It: The Faces of AnUrbanNerd
Rapper, Poet, and Songwriter Discusses His Latest EP & The Inspiration Behind It
By Bridney Casillas
AnUrbanNerd's newest release, Don't Over Think It searches for peace and a call to action of equality for all. It traces the themes of piecing oneself together amid the current terrors and social justice issues society struggles with daily.
“I keep pushin' this boulder uphill,” he recites 2 seconds into the EP, “How do you measure progress when you still feel?" The statement, functioning as the thesis serves as an introduction to the deep, candid subject matter presented on the rest of the EP.
Released on July 31, 2020, as a 30th birthday gift to himself, AnUrbanNerd worked alongside Gary and Noetic Productions with instrumentation handled by VonLoveSound, ProdByEd, NikVrsi, and Dar'rel Banks. Proud of his delivery of raw emotion and vulnerability, his release includes songs with robust titles such as "(Not) A Love Song," "I Ain't Going Back" and the most popular single, "Never Back Down" featuring songstress Erycka Ortiz.
Allowing his thoughts and emotions to blend with each track, he felt freer in his writing and stopped focusing on being structured. His main objective is for listeners to use their voice, fight for equality, and take care of themselves mentally.
"I found a perfect blend of unique delivery, speed rap, and lyricism. I love telling stories and got to the point I can mix tranquil melodies with energized lyrics."
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the EP's title derives from a James Baldwin quote. A protest he attended over the summer in Waterbury, Connecticut, was also responsible for the title.
AnUrbanNerd, along with a few friends, were terrorized by the police. As a result, 28 of the protestors, including minors, were arrested and held until the next morning.
With everything going on, pandemic, police killings, BLM protests, distance learning, and teaching, I found my head spinning trying to remain sane. It made me think of the James Baldwin quote, 'To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time,'" says AnUrbanNerd.
The cover art for the EP, designed by photographer and poet, Letif Belcher came from a thought AnUrbanNerd had of himself, imaging his body with several heads. Each head displayed a different emotion: one happy, one sad, and one angry.
It is a visual depicting his thoughts and emotions as a Black man living in America. "He [Letif Belcher] did an amazing job helping bring that image to life."
His favorite track on the project is "I Ain't Goin' Back." The song is about him moving from city to city while finding himself back home after learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
He has performed a live version with musician, Sammy Chiba and says he helped escalate the energy of the song. Admitting his obsession with the live version of it, he is currently in the works of setting up a live recording with other musicians.
Another favorite of his, "Cakin' Music" is a song about a protagonist who falls in love with his best friend, but chooses to remain close friends with his love interest. Noting a different vibe in the song's sound, it was the most challenging song to record as it showcased his most vulnerable side.
Before the pandemic, a canceled tour organized by CulturedAF was to feature artists such as AnUrbanNerd. In the future, he says he is looking forward to making stops around Connecticut and the East Coast.
"Thankfully, I have been able to perform virtually and even host Cultured’s Talk Yo Sh!t several times this year," says AnUrbanNerd.
Coming from a musical household, AnUrbanNerd says his father is known for his karaoke, and his mother's side of the family sang and played in church. His cousin, who is a DJ known as DJ LuxuryProblems is a producer and digital media artist.
AnUrbanNerd has been rapping and writing music for over fifteen years and has released a total of 2 EP's. He also has poetry features out and says he is amazed at how his artistry has evolved over the past couple of years.
"It has been amazing watching the support grow. The fact that so many people believe and support my music, I truly feel blessed. Nerd Clan!"
Visit his website, www.AnUrbanNerd.com.