Despite what the mainstream music industry portrays as a cookie cutter type of image for rappers, hip hop artists come from all walks of life. The hip hop community is thriving with a diverse mix of MCs, lyricists, writers, and performers. Artists discover and develop their art in different ways. Some people grow up in musically-inclined families while some people never knew they would make their own songs. The word “dope” is often used to describe artists’ music or style, but dope can also have a negative meaning for drugs like cocaine or meth. Brandon “Dopeless” found hip hop music as a means of expression, using lyrical rhymes to share his struggles as a former drug addict and troubled teenager.
Dopeless is an up and coming independent Hip Hop artist from a small town called Soquel in Santa Cruz (California). Growing up in a broken home, he felt distant from his family and had difficulty relating to other people. Sadly, he fell into drugs as a teenager while still in high school. However, a little over 4 years ago, Dopeless completed a 6-month drug rehabilitation program. “When I first started making music, I was fresh out of rehab. A lot of my material (that has never been released) at the beginning had sobriety as the main focus. But with time, the experience helped me see that sobriety helped give me life again, and music became a tool to explore all different areas of it,” said Dopeless.
Drug rehabilitation is no easy task. Many addicts have deep rooted issues that they try to mask through self-medication. Dopeless decided to take a different route and express his challenges and feelings through rap music. “To be honest, I always had self-esteem issues. Hip Hop seemed to be the only culture and genre of music that I felt most comfortable in. No other music genre or music culture has done that for me,” said the budding rapper.
Dopeless is still at the early stages of his music career. However, he performs at a number of local events and venues. He is a member of the Santa Cruz Cypher Sessions, a Hip Hop collective, program, and lifestyle movement that seeks to provide platforms for artists of types to share, learn, and build positively in the community. If you’re in California, you can check out Dopeless perform at the Blue Lamp concert venue in Sacramento on April 2, followed by the Santa Cruz Hip Hop Festival at Camp Krem in Boulder Creek that same weekend. He is also working on building up some merchandise inventory (stickers, key chains, shirts, etc) to help advertise his music and movement. Follow Dopeless and Cypher Sessions on social media for more info.
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