In lieu of there being no Soundset this year, we at Go 95.3 are having some fun #GoBacks with some of our favorite Soundset throwbacks and memories. Check out this piece penned by beloved hometown hero Nur-D in 2018 about his journey to playing his first Soundset ever!
You know how like in every story or movie you see the biggest adventures all begin on the most normal of days? Well that was the case for the start of my Soundset experience.
It was just a normal Wednesday at work for me. Pretty slow nothing to exciting going on when I got a call on my phone from Auggie 5000. Before I even answered the phone, I had so many emotions running through my brain – most of them leading back to either excitement or confusion as to why he would be calling me. I quickly left my desk and made my way to the stairwell where I answered the phone as nonchalantly as I could have possibly been.
Then Auggie told me that Go 95.3 wanted me to perform at Soundset 2018 on their personal stage. All semblance of cool was instantly thrown away as I freaked out completely in my work stairwell.
For context, I had been competing in Go 95.3’s Shut Up and Rap competition for some time at that point. I had only rapped in front of a group of people one other time before I entered SU&R’s Season 4, but I had managed to rack up four championships in a row, effectively retiring me from competition. Due to this, the powers that be deemed me one of the artists they wanted to represent them at Soundset 2018. I was honored, excited, and equally terrified because at that point I had never done a full set before.
Mr. Peter Parker told me that, in this day and age, how you represent yourself on social media and your marketing is just as important as the music you bring. As any new artist can tell you when you first start out – “marketer,” “promoter,” and “graphic designer” are all different hats you have to wear yourself. I am still so new to this whole hip-hop thing, but I knew that performing at Soundset was by far the biggest opportunity of my new career. So, I knew I had do something to build excitement as well as capitalize on this huge opportunity I had been giving.
Many people who know me or who have listened to my music know that I am a huge fan of pro-wrestling. One such provider of that form of entertainment is the WWE, they are sorta a big deal. For them, the biggest show they put on is Wrestlemania. But they have so many special events happening that lead up to it, all building hype for the “grandest stage of ‘em all”. Seeing how Soundset was certainly my grandest stage, I decided to follow their model. So I transformed my normal life into a weeklong event all culminating with me performing at Soundset set with all of the Shut Up and Rap Legends. Sing for my local church, put it on the road. Go on a follow for follow spree, put it on the road. Dropped a couple of new tracks, put it on the road. I put anything I could find that would make the week seem as full and excited as I was. I learned some basic photo and video editing skills on the fly from my phone to really give things an extra pop.
It was a lot of work trying to be present across all social media for a whole week while working full time, practicing for the set, and just all the other things of my life. But come Sunday, May 27 it all paid off as I got to hit the Go 95.3 stage at one of the biggest events of the summer.
Performing at Soundset was probably one of the most intense experiences of my performing life. The heat, the thousands of people, some of the biggest names in the hip-hop right now, all in the same place, with little ‘ol me on the bill! It was a lot to take in. So many new faces came out to see their favorite artists, as well as support up-and-coming talent like us on the Go 95.3 stage. I think I gained more new followers in one day of performing than I ever had before. When people stopped walking toward where they were going to turn and watch me on stage – that’s a rush in my soul that is very hard to describe.
Being a part of something so massive and prestigious was a feeling I will carry with me for a long time.
Going from a complete unknown to a Soundset performer in only a few months is a wild ride for sure, but it didn’t happen without a lot of hard work. Nothing in the business just “happens.” It took weeks of winning at Shut Up And Rap, which came out of countless hours of practicing, cultivating my online presence, and a whole lot help from fans, friends, and family. The Road to Soundset is paved with a lot of late nights, mental gymnastics, and a bit of luck – but once you hit that stage and you see that massive crowd all jumping to your music, it’s incredibly and undeniably worth it.