Peace, everyone. I'm sure most of have noticed the drastic change that finally went into effect today. For 6 years (professionally, that is...10 years for the people that have been following me since I was a young dude spittin' rhymes in high school), the name "Lyriciss" has been attached to me in some shape or form. Most first knew me as "Knawlege" when I was battling and jumping in cyphers in middle school, then as "Young L" when I was at Parkdale and Roosevelt, where the "L" always stood for Lyriciss. As I started hitting the U Street scene in '07 and '08, I was known as "Young Lyriciss", before finally leaving it at Lyriciss before I dropped my first real mixtape, The Hope, in the summer of '08. Ever since the age of 16, I've had that moniker as mine. Now, at the age of 26, I've decided to do what most artists (and labels/PRs) fear - I'm leaving behind a name, and consequentially, part of my brand in favor of doing something needed for my own personal and professional growth, along with my sanity.
When I started letting the people close to me know about this change I planned to execute, there was some concern. "Why would you leave a name you built a brand under for years? You accomplished a lot as Lyriciss - you was featured on Complex, XXL, MTV, Sway In The Morning, Rock The Bells, A3C, SXSW, etc. What if you lose fans and supporters?" And more...yes, more was asked of me. But for me, it's quite simple...I'm growing. Not only as a man, but as an artist. When I wore the name of Lyriciss, I was a young kid, focused on one thing - being the best rapper out there, period. I would write songs and focus on making the best punchlines, metaphors, similes, double entendres, and that's what mattered most to me. I also focused on bringing back that classic hip-hop sound, and I did that way more than I feel I should have as I reflect on it. It's 2014...it's impossible to bring the '90s back. It's my job as an artist to give my generation a sound and voice that represents us. Mind you, part of the focus on that classic sound was influenced and burdened by others around me, but I don't blame them for it because it was a decision I ultimately made, and at the end of the day, I was still making music that I loved and enjoyed making.
But as I get older and feel myself wanting to do more artistically, I feel the box I was in. I can see the corner I was painting myself into in the midst of me trying to make a masterpiece. When I would step outside of the box and make songs that were more conceptual than lyrical, I would be scrutinized simply based on my name. "His name is Lyriciss, but this song isn't very lyrical" was definitely one of the most annoying comments I would get on songs of that nature (i.e. "Big Gold Chain", "Blinded", "The Money", etc.), because I definitely snuck serious bars into there, but people took the subtle lyricism in certain songs and mistook it for me not being on my job as an emcee, which me and my true supporters knew wasn't true at all. It made me realize how first impressions and perception can mute a good ear. It made me sit down and think, "if I make a first impression, what do I want that to be?" And I realized that I no longer want the first impression of me to be just another rapper. I'm much more than that. I'm an artist that likes expressing myself and giving a vision of the life I see and the lifestyle I wish to experience. I want to give a voice to the folks that I know and speak to that aren't gifted with the talent that I have, that CAN'T make music, but can be heard through what I do. I'm a person with ideas and a hell of a personality, that takes pride in carrying himself as a stand-up person, that doesn't talk behind peoples' backs, that's always there for his people, that carries himself as a King. I'm me.
Hence, the birth of Rob Regal began. My birth name is Robert L. Bailey, III. Having "Rob" in my stage name, first and foremost, gives me the comfort of letting people get just a little closer to who I am as a person, and I value that now that I have it. And as a result, my music will reflect that. For my career in the past, I've highlighted my skills as a writer in technique. Flow, lyricism, concepts, etc. With this new music, I'll continue to do that, but now I'll be giving you my story. I walk around with a smile, I show a lot of love, but it's a direct result of just how much struggle I've been through. It's made me a positive person, because when you've been through enough bullshit, you don't want to walk around angry at everything. You want to enjoy everything you can possible. In this year alone, I've had the people closest to me (4, to be exact) in and out of the hospital for various reasons, and as I type this now, a 5th incident happened in the past week where my father has suffered from a stroke and had the right side of his body paralyzed. These are topics I wouldn't have touched on in my music as Lyriciss. I had a personal wall up that wouldn't allow it, because I was raised to be strong and not draw attention to the things that worry me or hurt me, but I now feel like I'm cheating my fans to not let them knows or see what incidents in my life have made me who I am. The days and nights with absolutely no meals. The period in my life where I robbed people just to have some type of money in my pocket. The deaths I experienced around me. The struggle of trying to make this music career work out because the economy is fucked up, down, and horizontally, making it near-impossible to get a job, all while trying to find the time and money to provide for my daughter.
So if you ask me where Rob Regal came from, my answer is...I was always here. I just had to grow. For the friends, family, fans, bloggers, and everyone that supported me over the years, I thank you, and I hope that continue to support me as I continue this journey in my growth as a man and an artist, because from this point on, I plan to only put my best foot forward, musically and personally.
Peace & love,
P.S. Livin' Proof on June 24th. The Reflection, Fall 2014. The Regal Era, 2015.