Aspiring emcee Dirty Needles fell out of love with Hip Hop back in 2007. After releasing his debut album 10 years later. Dirty Needles is back with a new release called Cathartic. We talk to him about his music journey and the concept of Cathartic.
Tell us where you’re from and what the Hip Hop scene is like there?
I’m originally from Youngstown, Ohio. Currently residing in Cleveland, Ohio. There’s a huge indie scene here. Cleveland has always had that going for itself in that regard. It’s mostly indie rock. But, there are some spots where Hip-Hop is allowed to flourish.
How did you get the name Dirty Needles?
I came up with the name while watching a documentary on the discovery channel about intravenous drug use. They kept mentioning not sharing dirty needles and the risk that comes from it. I thought it was a dope moniker and spent the rest of the day trying to figure out everything I could rhyme with it and it just stuck. No pun intended.
You started your music career back in ’99. In 2001 you joined the collective The Audioholics, tell us about that?
The Audioholics was a group of emcees that were ahead of the curve as far as online Hip-Hop was concerned. They established a message board similar to SOHH and AllHipHop where an upcoming artist can upload music, write out text styles (freestyles), and get feedback. It was there how I learned to count out bars and put songs together. It was also the place where I went through the process of finding my voice and developing my sound.
In 2007 you decided to go back to being a fan of Hip Hop as opposed to being an artist. What made you fall out with being an artist?
Honestly, I fell out of love with an artist. The grind of trying to get put on and doors being slammed in your face. I was sold a few dreams. Enough to buy acres of land just to have the rug pulled out from underneath me. It began to make me bitter and truth be told I stopped listening to Hip-Hop for a few years. I look back at it as a transition I needed to go through, in order for me to get to where I am today.
Over ten years later you released your debut album, Finally. Tell us about the release?
That album will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first project I started and completed. I’ve tried to put together many projects. But, for one reason or another, I never saw it through to fruition. It was pretty much my life up until that point. During that 10 year period, I went back to school for my degree. Worked two jobs to barely make ends meet, battled depression, and attempted suicide. That first album was a journey. It let me know how far I came not only as an artist. But, as a man.
On June 30 2020 you released your new album Cathartic which was inspired by a therapy session. Can you tell us about the concept of the album?
The concept was me digging though my past traumas and truly dealing with them. In life, we all have certain chapters we’d prefer to gloss over. These songs are chapters of my life that affected me positively and negatively. During that therapy session, I dug down to the root of why I see life through a certain lense. I had to dig deep and expose my flaws, failures, etc. The cover is me holding my heart in hand giving it to the listener. It’s a very personal album.
Who features on there and where can people go and cop the album?
I was blessed to have a few talented people on this record to bring my vision to life. Liz Rees, Steph Geber, Alexa Gold, DJ Mrok, Coast LoCastro, and ReVyved. Production was handled by The Illustrated One, 17 Cvndles, Robert “Boots” Pickard, and Charlie G. You can cop the album from my website www.dirtyneedles330.com or any other stream platform like iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, etc.
What has the response been like?
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. A lot of people hit me up talking about how they can relate to the content, and how they felt like they were on an emotional rollercoaster with me.
What’s next for Dirty Needles?
Next is another visual from Cathartic. I’m currently deciding between the tracks Makin’ It or Shattered for the second single. I’m also currently working on a follow-up EP with Kollectiv and Stadium Beatz that drops in 2021. That’s if the world doesn’t end before then. (laughs)
Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I just wanted to thank File Under Hip-Hop for providing this platform for underground artist to utilize their voice for the greater good of the culture.
Interview by Jai Boo