Thursday, May 16, 2024


“What You Deserve” is a fine hip-hop/R&B mix that deserves a move to the top


By Kurt Beyers

Influence has been making hip-hop for a long time, about 25 years, performing in lots of venues and competitions, but he only started pushing his music out to the public last year.

“I’m done cooking up the style,” he said. “Now it’s time to put it out.”

To kick off the promotion of Influence and the multitude of sounds that characterize his music, he chose “What You Deserve.”

“‘What You Deserve’ is basically a hip-hop, R&B kind of dance track. It definitely has an Afro-centric dancehall vibe to it.”

Info Black sings the hook and Influence raps the verses.

All I need is one night, just give in girl don’t fight it, Don’t be scared cause I don’t bite, only if you like Only for tonight, tell me what you like

In addition to the hip-hop, R&B and dance, bongos give the Afro beat an island lilt, which Influence attributed to the producer, Majestic Drama.

“I’ve heard a lot of those type of beats, and this is, in my opinion, one of the better ones.”

He made his first song when he was 16 and really got into it when he was 21. He is 41 now.

He has not, he admitted, given it a hundred percent all those years. He has a family and, in addition to music, he is an entrepreneur. “So, you know, music is not the only thing I have going on.”

But in the beginning, it was different.

“When I first started, of course, I was giving it a hundred percent — selling CDs out the trunk, way back in the day.”

Music is back as the main item.

“I know that it’s a dream that God put in my heart for a reason. I’ve always believed that I was gonna become successful at music. I think that I’m too talented at it to not be put in that position.”

Talent plus work. He never left music entirely. He has performed a lot and his winning competitions include the Uplifting Minds 2 National Talent Competition; The Best In The West 2 Hip Hop Competition; LA’s Next Up Music Showcase; The Showcase Tour; and the Coast to Coast Live Music Showcase. He was a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. 

He will be an official artist in the Mic Check Wynwood Season 2 in Miami from July 12 to July 15.

In his official bio, he says “R&B sparked his mind, but Hip Hop ignited his soul and became the driving force that drove him into the studio.”

The influences that impelled him to his own music come from hip-hop — Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg — and R&B — Ginuwine, Dru Hill and Boyz 2 Men.

And what was it about hip-hop that fired up his soul?

“I think, really, it was the ability to express your art in that way.”

 “That way” means, “I like rapping over hip-hop beats, obviously. I more so grew up on listening to R&B before I was introduced to hip-hop, and then it was like, ‘Ahhh! There we go.’ I do both. I rap and I sing.”

“And that’s why,” he explained, “a lot of my music has so many melodies in it and why I switch up my tone so much and do some of the things I do vocally.”

Each of his tracks is markedly different from the others. That is for a combination of reasons. One is personal preference.

“I take pride in being a versatile artist. I don’t want to have my sound boxed in. When I talk to producers and they ask me what type of beat or what type of vibe I’m looking for, I’m like, ‘Let me hear what you got.’ I really never know what I’m in the mood for, or you never know what’s going to jump out at you until you start listening. I’ll listen to 500 beats and pick one.”

Another is that, once he has a beat, he writes to it.

“I just start catching the vibe and words and melodies start flowing through my head. That’s usually the one I pick because it’s like, ‘Okay. I can put some energy into that.’”

Another is inspiration. Or something.

“Some people ask me, ‘Oh, man, what inspired you to write that?’ or ‘What female were you talking about when you wrote that one?’ and I’m like, ‘Man, I wasn’t even talking about nobody in particular.’ Really. It’s just where the song took me. That song was 100 percent creativity.”

Where he wants to go is to the top.

“I've been doing this music thing for” — he sighs — “way longer than I should have been doing it not to have been on by now. I’ve been patiently waiting. At the end of the day, this was all about God preparing you for this blessing that has been bestowed upon you, and so, I’ve just been getting ready, man.”

Waiting and prepping are over. He is making his move.

“I think ‘What You Deserve’ has the potential to be the song of the summer. I’ve gotten nothing but great responses and positive reviews. It has a great vibe, and people love to dance to it.”

Follow him to the top by connecting to Influence on all platforms for new music, videos, and social posts.

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