When I finished my last album “My Way Home” I took a month off and when I got back to beat-making everything I was making sounded like a dirty hallway in Park Hill or the last subway car on the 2AM F train.
The first quarter of this album was inspired by Diamond D, Large Professor, Peat Rock, Q-Tip, RZA, DJ Premier, etc.
The album title was inspired by a year in hip hop that birthed some of the genres’ most classic output: Ready to Die, Illmatic, Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik, Resurrection, etc. No shade to any rappers in 2018 but in 1994 you could walk into a record store blindfolded and come out with your new favorite album. There were great albums before and great albums after but nothing beats 1994. Come at me bro!
The album kicks off with an homage to 90s rap album intros. Things start off rugged and raw with plenty of soul and jazz loops over thundering drums but smooths out by the time we get to “12AM Looters”.
After “Into the Night” we enter the next phase of the album. This part represents what my sound is now. Still soulful and jazzy but a little more experimental. These aren’t just random beats. Like all my albums there’s a thread from song to song if you pay attention. The most obvious one being the “Gotta Try Love” / “Don’t Have A Kid” section. But even if you mix it up it all still works.
Free Tillman is a sample based instrumental hip-hop artist based in Portland, OR. Everyone from Madlib & Pete Rock to Neil Young & Joni Mitchell influences him. He started out as a rapper but eventually found that his true calling was behind the boards.
To date he has released 6 projects. His first was an EP that was a mash up of J Dilla and Fiona Apple tracks entitled “Red Dillicious”. His second was an hours worth of instrumentals called “Primo”. In September of 2017 he released a 2-part album entitled “Slouch. Submit.”
His first 2018 release was the instrumental story telling album "My Way Home".
His latest release is "1994".
I know a Lot About failure
Throughout my life I have been a recording engineer, a journalist, a rapper, a stand-up comedian and a music video director. And I have had recognizable success in exactly zero of those things. I have been fired from numerous jobs and have dropped out of college… twice. I have also been shoved into a ditch and stranded in the middle of nowhere. Ok that last example was two separate stories but I think you get the point: I know a thing or two about failure.
My memoir: How to Fail at Everything: A Practical Guide For Coasting Through Life is a humorous retelling of a life lived one failure at a time. The book uses each chapter to introduce different topics. For instance the chapter “Failing at Writing” discussed how I almost ruined an interview with rapper Rick Ross. The chapter "Failing at Women" talks about the time I went out on an innocent date with a women only to find out later that she was a pornographic actress. And no, I still didn't seal the deal.
While the tone is mostly humorous there are quite a few antagonizing moments such as when I found out the headmaster at my school referred to me as the “Black kid” when I wasn’t around or when I discuss my failure to connect with my immediate family. But whether I am discussing my short lived stand-up comedy career or my complex relationship with sports the results are always the same: me getting up after completely falling on my face.